broadwriting: (potc (will&elizabeth))
[personal profile] broadwriting
Title: "Temporary Monogamy" (12/27)
Author: Brenda ([livejournal.com profile] azewewish)
Pairing: Orlando Bloom/Sean Bean (Karl Urban/Sean Bean)
Click here for full disclaimers & notes.

Prologue | Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen | Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen | Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty-One | Part Twenty-Two | Part Twenty-Three | Part Twenty-Four | Part Twenty-Five | Part Twenty-Six | Part Twenty-Seven (and Epilogue) |



When Orlando was little, he remembered waking from bad dreams or with the feeling that the monster under his bed or in his closet really was out to get him, and padding down the hall to his mum's room, favorite teddy in hand, heart lurching in fear. His mother never grumbled at him to go back to his own bed, to be a big boy; instead, she always held her arms open and welcomed him, snuggled him close to her under blankets that smelled of vanilla and lilac and soothed his fears with a kiss to his forehead and a hug.

He wasn't too proud to admit, if only to himself, that he still wished things were that simple. That his fears could be soothed by a cup of tea and a biscuit and strong, loving arms to hold the world at bay. Oh, sure, the filming was going as well as could be expected, and yeah, he'd made grand friends that he sincerely hoped would have his back for life...but the rest? He had no idea what to do about that. About the nagging feeling of emptiness that haunted him long after every failed date.

Miranda was right. He was far too good at this whole British, brooding thing. Stick a cravat on him and give him a limp and call him Lord Byron. He could make up his own gothic poetry.

Tonight's Elf Night was a party at Liv's that had mostly moved out to the kitchen and the deck overlooking the ocean. Liv really did have the best view out of all of them, which was her right as the goddess she was. Orlando didn't know a single person on the set, including Peter, who wasn't a little bit in love with her. And every time she hugged him, he felt almost as safe as he had in his mother's arms.

"Why aren't you out with the others?" Liv asked, sinking down beside him on her beat up sofa. Orlando immediately curled into her embrace, taking comfort in soft limbs and the lingering scent of perfume on her skin. He was just drunk enough not to care that Craig would give him hell for this later. Right now, he needed a woman's soft touch.

"What should I do, Liv?" He mumbled the words along her neck. "My love life...it's...women are...total disaster."

Liv stroked gentle fingers across the bristles of his mohawk. "You want my advice on women?"

He glanced up at her with bleary eyes. "Still a woman, yeah?"

Her smile was kindness personified. Orlando wondered if she really wasn't part angel. "We're all different. I wouldn't know how to tell you what to do. What appeals to me might not appeal to anyone else."

"Yeah, I guess." He was just so tired of trying. Trying and failing and worrying that his life was passing him by while he was trying and failing. Which sounded more Shelley than Byron or maybe Brontë, but he couldn't be sure. He'd only paid attention to the Romantics in school because Lillian Dakota, bless her D cups, had been a huge fan.

"You need to take a deep breath. Let everything happen naturally." Liv smiled, hugged him even closer to her warmth. "You'll find someone. I believe that. And it'll probably be the minute you stop looking, and it'll probably be the person you least expect it to be."

He had no idea what she was talking about, but her voice was soft, like what he imagined down feathers would sound like, and it was easy to lay his head back on her shoulder and not think for awhile.

***

The house was pitch black when Orlando finally managed to stumble his way inside. He could have sworn he'd turned on the light before he left, but that had been many shots of tequila ago, and things were still a little fuzzy. After he'd left Liv's (avoiding the double whammy of Craig and Marton trying to gang up on him with more suggestions), he'd somehow wound up at this sketchy dive, playing darts and beating the pants off of everyone. Considering the prizes had been in the form of drinks, it was a wonder he was still upright.

He would have to remember to tell Sean about the body shots contest with the Maori bikers that were at the bar, though. He half thought about heading down to Sean's to tell him while it was still fresh in his admittedly sloshy memory, but Karl's car was in Sean's drive and, well, it was late. They were probably asleep. Or busy. Or asleep after getting busy. Or whatever.

He wondered if Karl and Sean slept all spooned together the way that he and Jemma used to. If Sean stole the sheets or if Karl snored or if they started by sleeping apart and somehow, during the night, migrated together like magnets. Christ, he missed just waking up with someone, never mind what had happened the night before.

He had his phone out, dialing the familiar number, before his brain fully registered the act.

Jemma answered on the second ring. "Hullo."

Orlando was momentarily surprised at how cheerful she sounded, but then it sort of flickered through his mind that it was twelve hours later in London, so it was the middle of the afternoon there. "Heya."

Now that he had her on the phone, he had no idea what to say.

"Orlando? Is that you? Are you back in London?"

"No, no, still, uh, here. In Wellington." He should hang up. He had no idea why he was calling. He needed water to stave off the inevitable hangover. He should probably make some toast to put something in his stomach. He should definitely stop thinking the dangerous thoughts he was thinking.

"What time is it there?"

"Um." He blearily looked at the clock on the microwave. "Little after two."

"A.M.?"

"Yeah. No rest, y'know. For the wicked. Or downtrodden. Or weary and demoralized souls yearning for flight. Um...whichever."

"Have you been drinking?"

He bristled for a moment before deflating. She had a point. He did tend to get a wee maudlin after one too many. And he'd passed that point a good few hours ago. "Yeah, but it's not, uh, like that, I promise. I just...I miss you," he finished, wincing at how needy he sounded. This wasn't why he called. Was it?

Jemma sighed. "I miss you, too."

"And I've, um, look, I've been thinking..." She could fly out, stay for a few days, maybe they could try...

"Don't." Her voice was gentle. "I'm seeing someone else."

"Oh." Humiliation burned through him for a moment, clear and blinding hot.

"I'm sorry."

"No, don't. It was...stupid idea, yeah?"

"No, it wasn't." She brushed off his half-hearted attempts at deflection with ease. But then, she knew him better than just about anyone. "You're homesick. This was bound to happen."

"I guess," he mumbled, and slid from the counter to the floor. The ceiling was easier to contemplate when he was on his back, even though the room was spinning a little too fast for comfort.

"You haven't...you don't have anyone there?"

He appreciated the concern, but really, he was fine. He was fine. "I've been, y'know, looking, but..."

"Don't force it. You tend to get all wrapped up in your head and forget to relax. You'll find someone in time."

"Now you sound like Liv."

"Who?"

"A friend." Suddenly, he wanted nothing more than to be completely alone. "Hey, look, I should, uh, y'know, get some, uh, go to sleep. Take care?"

"You too. I'm glad you called."

"Yeah, ta."

He stayed where he was long after he'd hung up the phone, staring at the small, spiderweb cracks in the ceiling. Staring at the shadows dancing on the walls in a timeless duet, tangled together, forever out of reach. It was a great metaphor for his life right now. Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair, he recited silently, wondered if maybe Shelley hadn't had the right way of it after all.

***

Orlando woke the next morning, curled on the linoleum floor of the kitchen, mouth tasting of something foul, feeling like his head was stuffed with cotton and with bones that creaked like an old man. Fuck, he was getting too old for this. For maudlin thoughts and passing out on the floor and mornings that felt like regret.

He tried to drown himself in the shower, just to end his suffering, and was vaguely disappointed when he didn't succeed. Death had to be preferable to the way his head was pounding a drum beat that would have put Judas Priest to shame.

He swore he was done with drinking. And women. And poetry. In that order.

He was still repeating the mantra when he stumbled into the Cuntebago to grab his script before facing the makeup chair, hoping against hope that Viggo hadn't either drank all the coffee or dumped it in favor of the really foul-smelling herbs he claimed was tea of some sort but smelled like dirty socks.

It only took him a second to recognize he wasn't alone. It took another second for him to feel heat suffuse his cheeks as he took in the sight in front of him.

"Oh, hi, Orlando," Karl drawled, voice hoarse. Sean smiled at him in greeting, but didn't say anything. His lips were swollen and red from Karl's lips. The two of them were lying on the compact sofa, Karl half on top of Sean, Sean's hands skating under Karl's shirt, exposing a strip of golden skin. They looked comfortable, peaceful, gorgeous, and together. The absolute physical manifestation of everything Orlando knew he'd never have again.

Orlando stuck his hands in his back pockets. He couldn't think of anything else to do. He couldn't have moved if his life had depended on it.

"Need anything?" Sean's voice reeked of lust and laughter. The sound sent shockwaves down Orlando's spine.

"I, uh..." Orlando shook himself, got his bearings again. It was far too early to feel this mad churning of emotions. No one should be this discombobulated before coffee. "Yeah, I'm sorry, I just..." He ducked in, snagged his dog-eared script from the table and started to back out of the room, pounding head forgotten. "You two just, uh, y'know, carry on. With whatever it was. Um. That you were doing."

He most emphatically did not meet either of their gazes as he all but fled from the trailer. And promptly ran headlong into Harry.

Bugger.

"Harry, hi!" he exclaimed, too brightly, then winced when the sound pierced his brain, hoping that Harry wouldn't notice exactly how much his cheeks were burning.

"Hullo." Harry's smile was genial, if slightly puzzled over the overtly affectionate greeting. "Karl inside?"

Bugger. No matter how close Karl and Harry still were, well, it just wouldn't be on for Harry to waltz in and, like, see things. Like, uh, that. The cuddling and kissing and, uh, whatever it was Sean and Karl were doing. But Orlando also knew himself well enough to know that he was a shite liar (probably explained the poker thing), so he didn't even try. "He's, um. I mean, I wouldn't, um, go...uh, y'know, I think they're, um..."

Harry's face cleared, and genuine amusement took the place of confusion. "Ah, like that, are they?"

Orlando mutely nodded. He had no idea why Harry didn't seem more bothered by the fact that Karl was just a few feet away snogging another man.

"You seem flushed." Harry leaned in, dropped his voice all friendly-like, and put a hand on Orlando's shoulder. "Was it that traumatizing?"

"Yes. I mean, no. No, it wasn't..." Christ, he sounded like a bloody idiot. He needed coffee and a bottle of aspirin. "Nevermind, it's not, uh, important. Walk me over to makeup?"

"Sure," Harry shrugged, and thankfully didn't mention what Orlando had seen again.

***

"I think that's my cue to head to makeup," Karl said, just after the door slammed behind Orlando. He shifted to climb off the sofa, and was stopped when Sean tightened his arms.

"Don't move on my account."

"I'm not, I'm moving so Maria won't murder me." Karl leaned in for a last, lingering kiss, then gently extracted himself from Sean's hold. "I'll see you tonight?"

Sean smiled and stretched, looking for all the world like a lazy cat after a nap in the sun. It was a damn nice temptation. "Your place, then?"

Karl nodded, and watched as Sean also stood. "Think we scarred the lad for life?" Sean asked, voice a low, curious hum as he stepped in for another kiss.

Karl smiled, and shook his head, thumb scrubbing across Sean's beard in an affectionate swipe. "Not even close," he answered, thinking of the look on Orlando's face. There had been stunned embarrassment, yes, but, unless Karl was completely off his nut, there had also been arousal.

Definitely time for him and Orlando to have a talk.


(To Be Continued)

(**Just in case anyone's interested, the poem Orlando's quoting is "Adonaïs", by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was famous for, among other things, really great poetry, marrying Mary Shelley (of Frankenstein fame) and having an affair with Lord Byron. *g*)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-21 03:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dienw.livejournal.com
Great chapter. Always excited to see this fic updated. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Thank you, baby!!! The updates might not be as fast, since the later parts need to be fleshed out a LOT more, but I am still diligently working on them. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-21 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] afra-schatz.livejournal.com
Okay, first of all: Bon Jovi and Goethe and now Lord Byron???? I know for a fact that I never told you that my best mate and I for years have been saying that there should be an AU out there in which Byron and Orlando are brothers and live all nobility like in a little castle in Canterville and go fox hunting the entire day - so Orlando comparing himself to Byron must've been you reading my fucking brain. AGAIN.

Aside from that really cool mind reading trick of yours, I'm hurting SO BAD for Orlando right now. It's this slow and quiet aching that won't go away, that you spread so very well throughout this entire chapter. Self pity is such a hard thing to pull of - nah, that's not well phrased... it _would_ be self-pity, if it weren't so nice and subtle and heartfelt what Orlando is going through. It fits so well that the fact that interrupting Sean and Karl to Orlando stings because of their 'togetherness' in contrast to his feeling of lonliness - and at the same time it camouflages so nicely his attraction to Sean that he's not even aware of.

Oh, and I loved the bit about Orlando going on about being too old for this - :).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amygirl.livejournal.com
You always say exactly what I'm thinking so much better then I could ever dream of saying it.

Brat! :-P

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
*laughs* Yes, she is rather, isn't she?

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Dude, you totally need to write this AU. Like, now. (And Karl can be the baron that they're both lusting after...what, it could happen. *g*)

I'm really glad the self-pity wasn't too thick. I don't want to lay it on, but it's important that I keep his feelings of lost-loneliness in the front of everyone's mind. He's as oblivious as paint, but so much fun to write.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-26 04:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] afra-schatz.livejournal.com
We sorta cast Karl as Thor already... (don't ask me how Norse Mythology came up)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-26 05:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
I could totally see that. And I highly approve. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-21 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vienna80er.livejournal.com
Poor Orlando, he's really suffering so deeply at the moment. I think a bit of a talk with Karl would do him some good... get him to think about something else. :)

Btw: I think 27 chapters are to few. The way things are going and Orlando is asking 'everyone' for advice and/or help... ;P Kidding, sorry!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Oh, man, the talk with Orlando is a thing of joy. *g*

Things'll start to pick up in the later parts. I know it's slow-moving, and there are reasons for it - mostly that I'm writing about Orlando dealing with his sexuality as well as him & Sean being oblivious fucks - but they won't remain oblivious forever. Promise.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-21 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mistry89.livejournal.com
Poor Orlando. He really is brooding on it now, the hangover and this primal scene (ok, not really, but you know what I mean) is bound to knock him further off-balance. I can't begin to believe he'll react when Karl settles in for this talk .....

The only really bright spot for him was the darts match (and body shots)!
Thank you :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Oh, man, Orlando can brood with the best of them. It's a joy to write, but I really do feel for him. *pets him*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-21 11:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] january-snow.livejournal.com
poor Orlando, i'm really sorry for him. and things are getting more and more interesting :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
*grins* Yeah, he's far too much in his own head at the moment, but that'll change. Sort of.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amygirl.livejournal.com
Awww....I just want to squish and cuddle Orlando so hard in this one. So lonely and sad and I love that when he thinks of what Karl and Sean could be doing it's such quite little couple things the spooning in bed the stealing covers. He's definitely craving a relationship which is exactly the reason why this little experiment isn't working because he's not looking for the short-term even if he thinks he is.

Which I'm sure is stating the obvious point of the fic but...yeah...sometimes I can be a little slow on the uptake when distracted by all the lovely shiny bits. Which this fic has a ton of... *nods*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Yeah, Orlando's quite the romantic. It's sort of sweet. And, deep down, Sean's the same way, which is what Karl's picked up on. Clever Karl. He deserves a cookie. Harry. Harry and cookies. Something.

And thanks for sticking with the slooooooowness of the plot. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 03:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] giselleslash.livejournal.com
Oh, the poor little poppet. He needs a good solid shagging...surely you're going to give it to him the very. next. chapter. Yes? You're not? Poo.

*g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Not the very next chapter, no. But soon. Ish. Sort of. Look, it's complicated. I blame Orlando. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wendyr.livejournal.com
Shelley, Byron, and Judas Priest in the same chapter... I approve! ;-)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
I thought you might. *g*

Temporary monogamy

Date: 2009-01-22 03:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] argentine65.livejournal.com
Orlando is so young but feeling old because he is lonely and there is a little of envy when he sees Karl and Sean close together.I quite can imagine little Orlando with his teddy bear and I wonder what Jemma thinks now about Orlando's career and life. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story. Martha

Re: Temporary monogamy

Date: 2009-01-24 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
I'm glad his youth and loneliness came through. Those are tricksy things to write, man. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rinakabu.livejournal.com
great chapter, the story gets better and better!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Thank you so much, baby!!!!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-22 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] krazykitten46.livejournal.com
Between his talk with Jemma and his close encounter with Karl and Sean I think he may be ready. Delightful. I love clueless Orlando.

bon

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
He's getting there. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-23 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sparkedbylore.livejournal.com
her voice was soft, like what he imagined down feathers would sound like
Lovely.

Jemma is rather nice ... abrupt at times, but not unkind.

They looked comfortable, peaceful, gorgeous, and together.
*nodding*

There had been stunned embarrassment, yes, but, unless Karl was completely off his nut, there had also been arousal.
Not surprising at all. Talk? Talking has NOT helped Orlando so far.

You used 'discombobulated'! Cool.

Thank you.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Yeah, Jemma was tough, because I didn't want her to be unsympathetic, but it had to be clear that Orlando just wanted to be with her at the moment out of self-pity, and she'd know that. *g*

I love the word discombobulated. It doesn't get used enough.

And yes, talk. I promise, it'll be an eye-opener. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-23 06:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rifleman-s.livejournal.com
"Orlando stuck his hands in his back pockets. He couldn't think of anything else to do. He couldn't have moved if his life had depended on it."

Mmm, I'd probably feel the same!!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-01-24 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
Dude, I'd be scrambling for my cell to take a picture SO fast. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-03-29 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kitty-trio.livejournal.com
Okay *rubs hands together* Mother Hen Karl has a plan *g*

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-01 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azewewish.livejournal.com
And I love him for that. Go Team!Karl!!

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