I'm saying nothing else.
Characters/Pairings: Sean Bean/Viggo Mortensen
Disclaimer: Didn’t happen, just the product of my imagination.
Summary: “He wanted bigger love, Viggo had once written. Had to have it like he had to dream himself to sleep.” Sean and Viggo meet every eighteen months, sometimes sooner, but never more than once every year. It is a ritual, maybe. Edit: Now part one of refractions.
Sometimes, almost miraculously, they would be at the same place at the same time. Their lives were like two graphs, travelling their own ways, only meeting when the stars aligned or something equally ridiculous. It usually happened once every eighteen months or so, or – if they were lucky – once a year. Sean had stopped trying to make himself believe that he didn’t want more.
It always started with messages. In voicemails, emails, or sometimes even actual pen and paper being delivered to his London house (no, Sean thought, that was just that once).
Hey, I’m heading over to where you are right now. Want to have a drink?
Hey, that sounds great! Where?
Then they would find a bar – or a pub, if they were in Britain – and they would sit there, looking at each other with wry smiles on their faces. Sean rarely remembered what they talked about: often their children or their projects or even the newest photographs Viggo or taken or the new places they had both gone to. What mattered wasn’t what they said, Sean thought – it was the sound of Viggo’s voice, the way he slurred his word and drew out every consonant as if tasting them on his tongue; the way he would consider his every sentence before saying them. Viggo was the only man he knew who spoke in complete, grammatical sentences all the time.
They never did talk about their girlfriends – or, during two meetings, Sean’s wife. Those were topics that were off-limits, hovering over their heads like ghosts, like smog that refused to be batted away.
Afterwards, pleasantly buzzed by drink, they would go to Viggo’s rented house, or Sean’s hotel room. If it was Viggo’s place, Sean would always take note of the little things that Viggo had picked up in his time – no matter how brief – in the city doing whatever he was usually doing. There were always touches of Viggo all over the place, whether it was the eclectic sheets or the seashells on the mantelpiece and nightstand. One time, it was the curtains, with strange prints of wild horses leaping over moons.
Sean’s hotel room was always empty. He didn’t pick things up like Viggo did. His memories he preferred to keep in his own head, hoarding every single image and sound like Tolkien’s dragons hoarded their treasures. Unlike Viggo, who always brought an extra bag with him whenever he travelled, Sean nearly always left with exactly what he brought.
The only times he didn’t was when Viggo gave him things. There were little pieces of memory dotted all over Sean’s place: a photograph of a bitten apple, a CD of some musician Sean had never heard of unless from Viggo’s lips, sometimes a particularly interesting-looking rock or two. He kept them all in his living room, stuffed in his display case, the one mess amongst all the neatly organised paraphernalia he was given from his movies.
He could always try to pack them up properly, or even stow them in the attic. But mess was always appropriate when it came to Viggo, so Sean left it like that.
Viggo would make mate if they went to his house; Sean would get more beer from the minibar. But they always ended up in the bedroom with their hands reaching out for each other. No matter how long Viggo had held a cold beer, his fingers were always warm as he dragged Sean down to the bed.
They would fuck. Either Viggo driving inside Sean, or Sean driving inside Viggo. Sean would grip Viggo’s hips, or thighs, or shoulders, or hands. Anywhere that they could reach. His thighs would clench around Viggo’s legs when he was the one on his back, heels digging into the back of knees. Viggo’s nails would dig into his shoulders when it was his turn. Not too hard, because they never did leave marks on each other.
When they fucked, their breaths came out as heavy pants, disappearing into the air even thought they were all laden with the thousands of words they would never speak to each other. Or at least, the air was heavy with Sean’s words, with all of those that he wouldn’t – couldn’t – say.
Lonely air it was, truly, never touching. Sean always thought Viggo beautiful whenever he tossed his head back, his hair plastered to his face, his lips parted and trembling with every exhale he released.
They did this every eighteen months. Sometimes shorter, but not more than once every year. Like a ritual, sometimes Sean tried to tell himself. Could something be a ritual if it had happened less than ten times? Viggo would know; would even tell him the etymology of the word, he bet. He was always interested in that sort of thing.
(Or at least, Sean thought he was. It had been years since he talked to Viggo about language and words.)
Once, after Sean's fourth divorce, they had lain on the bed next to each other, sharing a cigarette. Sean looked at Viggo's mouth then; stared at the way his lips curled around the orange filter, and he leaned over and sucked the smoke as it curled out with Viggo's exhale.
It was the closest thing to a kiss they had ever shared. Friends who fucked didn't kiss, and that was all they were.
Some days he missed Viggo so much that he would say his name over and over, rubbing the edges of the sound against the sides of his mouth. Then he would find himself on his phone or laptop, trying to find out where Viggo was. If he was feeling particularly brave - or drunk - he would send a message, wondering if Viggo wanted to meet. Twice, Sean was lucky, because his lips were still forming Viggo’s name soundlessly in the air when his phone pinged with an email or a text, and Viggo would ask if he was at a particular place, because he was there too.
Sean had known the taste of Viggo’s skin for more than ten years. Salt and cigarette ash and the scent of sunshine on grass, something that reached deep inside him and dragged out his heart kicking and screaming in its vulnerability. He always closed his eyes whenever they fucked, because he was terrified that his heart would escape from his eyes before he had a chance to pull it back and lock it behind its cage of bones again, where it was safe.
It really wasn’t that Sean was afraid of love.
He wanted love. He wanted bigger love, Viggo had written once, a poem filled with heartbreak and longing so familiar that Sean wanted to call Viggo up and asked if he was writing about him, or maybe if Viggo understood him much better than he had ever thought. Sean wanted bigger love; wanted the kind that would last forever.
No, Sean was afraid of something he couldn’t name. It was always there whenever he looked at Viggo or fucked him or even received a message from him – there at the base of his throat, a solid, living thing that beat with every breath he took. Sometimes he wanted to stop Viggo from pushing him down onto the bed; sometimes he wanted to just wrap his limbs around Viggo, putting their chests together to see what kind of music their combined heartbeats would make.
Once, just once, after they had both came, Viggo tipped his head up and brushed his lips over Sean’s hairline. Like the benediction Aragorn had given Boromir, except far more intimate. His fingers had folded into the ends of Viggo’s too-long hair then, touching without holding, and he would remember forever those few seconds before Viggo pulled away.
To touch, but never to have, never to hold. Wedding vows should not mean so much to him when he had broken them four times, but Sean found the words engraved into the insides of his heart anyway.
In the end, they were not the King and the Steward, and Sean didn’t know if Viggo would remember him so well that he would die one day wearing his vambraces, kept lovingly and taken out every year to mourn over.
Sometimes when Sean was in those minutes between sober and drunk, those minutes when he stared into his beer or whiskey before taking another gulp, he knew what that living thing was in the base of his throat. It was his heart trying to escape him. Whenever he looked at Viggo, he would stare at his long-fingered hands, those hands that had made so much beauty, and thought that if there was anyone in the world who could hold the shattered, fragile thing that was his heart, it would be Viggo.
Sean knew he would give it to him, all of it, without a single shard left for himself. Sometimes he tried to make himself believe that he didn’t because a damaged heart might be glued together, but its edges were still sharp, and he didn’t want to hurt Viggo. But those words were hollow and false even in his own head.
He wanted bigger love, Viggo had once written. Had to have it like he had to dream himself to sleep.
Viggo’s words were penned years and years ago, and Sean was sure – so very sure – that he had already found someone who could give it to him. Someone without a heart fragmented and scarred; someone who didn’t sit in the corner of an impersonal hotel room after Viggo had left, mouthing his name over and over, trying to lock his taste and scent and warmth into two syllables.
For Sean, such love was better kept in dreams, and he was afraid.
He wanted bigger love,
had to have it like he
had to dream himself
to sleep. Recrossed
his legs and waited
for her tears. When
they came, he held
her hand, pretended
to be interested in
someone walking by
- Viggo Mortensen, Just Coffee
Part 2: maybe