Characters/Pairings: Sean Bean/Viggo Mortensen
Disclaimer: Didn’t happen, just the product of my imagination.
Summary: “He wanted bigger love, but he only knew how to avert his eyes and pretend to look at someone else.” Every eighteen months, sometimes sooner when he couldn’t help himself, Viggo and Sean would continue their ritual of meeting. A companion fic to sometimes, part two of refractions.
Notes: Inspired by Just Coffee again, and also Vienna Teng’s Harbor.
Fear is the brightest of signs
The shape of the boundary you leave behind
Sometimes Viggo thought he had spent over ten years waiting for Sean to learn a language. The language of him, writ in all the words in that he had made into codes and tried to form on his lips a thousand times. Insubstantial things, not truly words at all for they were embodied not in letters but in the soft twitches of his fingertips as he tried to keep himself from reaching out; in the fluttering of his eyelashes as he tried to breathe in Sean’s voice and store it in his lungs. There were proper words in standardised languages too: the countless words he shaped into poems and stories, but they were mutated, twisted little things, torn apart and remade until they no longer resembled anything like Sean and himself.
The code had a keystone to unlock all the codes and make their meanings pour out wild and unrestrained, crashing upon Sean like the white foam of the Rauros Falls had upon Boromir. It would be so easy to release it, as easy as a child opening his hands and allowing a butterfly to fly free. Yet Viggo continued to keep the keystone hidden, tucked under his tongue. It was a cold and bitter thing, constantly nudging against the sides of his mouth, urging with his sharp edges for release, for him to reach over to transfer it to another mouth. Speak, sometimes he could hear the keystone say. Speak.
Sometimes, it said Kiss him, because the words had been failing him all this while. Yet the keystone remained where it was, and truth curled like a ball in the very depths of his own chest.
For Viggo, the once-every-eighteen-months meeting with Sean was a ritual, as sacred and instinctive as a believer’s need to fall onto his knees and pray to God in times of adversity. Like an addict, he would start twitching and his nerves would pull tight and tie themselves into knots as the day he could possibly meet Sean approached. Then he would start counting down the days, a timer ticking at the back of his mind. He became like a bomb, waiting to explode.
It always took so much effort to detonate himself, to not burst out with words until he became a babbling mess. Yet he always did. His restraint had become part of the ritual itself, as inescapable as the need to find Sean and remind himself of all that he couldn’t have.
Sometimes Viggo’s hand would curl so tight around the glass of his beer mug during their meetings at the pub so hard that the glass would shatter. Sometimes he wanted it to shatter. It would be poetic then, the two of them surrounded by sharp glass.
(Viggo’s metaphors escaped him sometimes – or perhaps he just thought they escaped him, because he didn’t want to unwind all the meanings he refused to admit to himself.)
He liked to think that Sean never noticed the desperation tinging his own breath whenever he was allowed to slide his hand around the back of Sean’s neck and feel the way his heart beat against his palm. Sometimes Viggo wanted to wrap his legs around Sean’s waist and pull him inside himself, to feel the comforting heat of Sean’s cock within himself, keeping him there as if the joining of their bodies was equal to the joining of their hearts and mind.
There was ritual in the rocking back and forth of their hips as they took each other; something sacramental in the soft gasps that escaped out of Sean’s lips with every scrape of Viggo’s cock over his prostate; something terribly precious in the way he stroked his hands down Viggo’s sides. Afterwards, Viggo would try to trace the hands on himself, his arms wrapped around his own torso. But his own hands were the wrong shape, the pressure was wrong, and his shoulders ached and burned away all possible illusions.
Sean could always have had him if he only asked. Viggo tried to make it clear with grasping hands because it was too dirty and base with words. He tried to offer himself with his messages. Hey, are you free to meet up was coded; a hidden, scared way of saying I want to see you, I want you with me. Subtlety was key, he thought, because if might terrify Sean if he was any more obvious.
(In the depths of his mind, where poetry and art and photography resided, he knew that wasn't true. He wanted bigger love, but he only knew how to avert his eyes and pretend to look at someone else.)
Once, just once, he was brave enough to tip up his head and press a kiss on Sean’s forehead. Let me be your harbour, he thought then, heart trembling as he took in the scent of Sean’s hair and the salt-sweet scent of his sweat like the cleanest and freshest of air after a lifetime of drowning.
Let me be your port in the storm. Let me hold you close and become the one you return to, so that one day I might return to you too.
It was for Sean that he spoke his code. For Sean's sake that he gave him a CD with the songs that represented his heart as much as he could without saying it himself. He burned his heart into the smooth metal along with the music's data, but Sean had never said a thing about it.
Maybe it was because he could he could see the reflection of a broken, fragile heart barely kept together with duct tape and sheer will within the reflection of Sean’s eyes.
Viggo moved to Spain and tried to find happiness with Ariadna. For love's sake he moved, he told himself and her and others. But that was code as well: it was for love's sake. Not love for her as he knew he implied, but the bigger love, the love he could feel threatening to take over his whole heart. His love for her was smaller, easier, and he could look her in the eyes instead of away. She was his harbour, and he could want to ne nothing else for her sake instead of wishing to be what he knew he could and maybe should be.
There was always fear when it came to the big loves. The last he had felt it was Henry and Exene, and though he could be a father, he couldn't find it within himself to be a husband again. There would be too much change, too much need for it. Viggo was too old for such things, he knew.
If he had met Sean ten years earlier, or even earlier than that, then maybe…maybe he could have convinced himself to take that chance.
(It really wasn’t for Sean’s sake that he spoke in code at all. The fractured heart he saw in Sean’s eyes might be Sean’s, and he had convinced himself that if he took the first step, he would tear both of the duct tape off both of their hearts and scatter the pieces all along the ground to be crushed beneath both of their feet into dust.
Maybe he was just a coward after all. If it was Sean who took the first step, then Viggo could blame him if anything went wrong and they broke both of their hearts. He kept that knowledge deep within his heart, deeper than the words and the colours that bloomed within his mind, because he still would like to believe himself to be a good person.)
Every eighteen months, he and Sean continued their ritual. Sometimes it was sooner than eighteen months if he could not take separating himself from Sean for so long, or if Sean asked. Viggo could not deny him anything. They would drink, and maybe smoke together. They would talk about their projects, catch up over the last eighteen months (or twelve). Sometimes Viggo would take the risk and show Sean the photographs he had taken, hoping against hope that Sean could read his heart in the shadows of the leaves he captured, or maybe in the stark colours – or the lack of – or even in the strange angles he used. His photographs were always a little bit distorted, a little bit abstract. Perhaps Sean could tell something from that.
Sean never did, and Viggo would try his best to not feel disappointed.
After they talked, they would find a place where they would have sex. Fuck. One of the two words. They had almost a routine by now. Sean would always kiss him on the neck first, moving down to his collarbone, his teeth scraping against his pulse. Then Viggo could push him down onto the bed, or let Sean do it, and their clothes would slip off their bodies. Sean would always reach for the lube first, whether he was on his back or not.
He could almost write a step-by-step damned recipe for their meetings. They had been the same since the first time a year after the Fellowship of the Ring premieres. Nothing had changed, and despite Viggo’s loathing for stagnation, he couldn’t bring himself to change a single thing.
The dangerous thing about rituals was that the word itself was a mere synonym away from habit. Sean – the unreachable, unattainable nature of him – was now habitual and Viggo’s heart was a small, scared butterfly. He wasn’t a moth, and now he couldn’t help but envy one.
A moth would have the strength and courage to fly towards the flames, death be damned.
Part 3: one day