broadwriting: (sean bean (shades))
[personal profile] broadwriting
Title: "Temporary Monogamy" (17/27)
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) |



"So tell me whatcha want, whatcha really really want..."

"I dare you to sing that next karaoke night," Sean said, interrupting Orlando in mid-verse.

"Oh, that'd be horrible, I can never get the zig-a-zig-ahs part right." Orlando stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Maybe "2 Become 1" or "The Lady Is A Vamp", though."

"You know, I should have pegged you as bi just by your musical tastes," Sean said, with a grin.

Orlando shoved Sean's shoulder lightly, but not too much. Wouldn't be a good idea to jostle the driver, especially while said vehicle was still in motion. Outside the windows, the passing scenery was lush and green, dotted with sheep and a few houses. The ocean was the sort of blue that looked like it belonged in a fairytale. Of course, that was true of the entire country. Karl was right, this place changed people. Called it enchantment or what you will, but it was certainly true. At least, as far as Orlando was concerned.

"There's nothing wrong with liking the Spice Girls," Orlando said. He could think of far worse bands to listen to on a long journey. "Go on, then, who's your favorite?"

"Baby, of course," Sean laughed. The sound was carefree, light. "Christ, the way she sucks on that lollipop..."

"Oh yeah," Orlando sighed, lustily. "Looks like she knows her way around, y'know?"

Sean risked a quick glance over before focusing back on the road. "Who's yours, then?"

"Ginger." Like Sean needed to ask. "She's short, but those legs, man, they go on for years."

"You are very predictable," Sean agreed, with a smile. Orlando didn't bother to deny it. What would be the point?

"I know, right, women and men, show me a nice set of thighs, and I'm a goner."

"Jerry does have very nice thighs," Sean agreed.

"I mean, not as nice as yours or Karl's, of course, so I suppose it's only fitting that you two are together."

Sean chuckled. "I suppose that's one way of putting it."

Orlando drew his knees to his chin to get more comfortable. "What's Karl up to, anyway, while we're down south?"

"Uh, besides filming Edoras?" When Orlando said yes, Sean pursed his lips in thought. "I think he mentioned helping Harry weed his garden."

"I swear, those two..." Orlando would never, ever get it. He cast another sly glance at Sean's profile. "Does it, y'know, I mean, does it bother you? I mean, that they'll probably get back together sooner or later? Jerry worked craft services on that movie they did together and he said he's never seen two people more destined to be with one another. Said it was like watching two puzzle pieces connecting. He's a bit of a fanciful one, though."

"I think he might have a point," Sean said. He didn't look upset by the shift in conversation, which was nice. Orlando knew he kept bringing up Karl and Harry's unorthodox relationship with alarming regularity, but Sean never acted like it was an odd thing for them to talk about. "They are very suited. I just think they needed some time. I consider myself fortunate that Karl's been choosing to spend some of it with me."

"And when it ends?" Orlando'd spent so much time in awe of their relationship, how easy it was, how free, that he never really bothered to think what it might do to Sean when they did end things. "I mean, you've been together for almost nine months now, that's a long time."

Sean nodded. His hands were light and relaxed on the steering wheel. "I think we'll always be friends. I like to hope so, anyway."

"I'm sure you will," Orlando said. All the same, he couldn't help wishing that Sean would find his own Harry one day. Someone who would make him laugh and keep him from thinking too much as he was prone to do. Sean had so much life in him, and so much to give – he'd just had a bad run of luck in the whole making it last department.

"Hey, do you mind if we stop in the next town for a minute?" he asked. "Thought maybe I'd get in some shopping for everyone back home while we were out and about."

"That's the idea," Sean replied, with a small smile. "Get in some sights, do the tourist thing. Long as we're at the hotel by dark, I think we'll be alright."

"Aces," Orlando said, and smiled himself. The sun was shining, he was with one of his best mates, and it really was shaping up to be a very nice day.

***

"I'm really sorry," Orlando repeated, for what had to be the hundredth time that hour. Outside their small refuge, the rain continued to come down in sheets, obliterating the sight of even the other houses nearby. Orlando hadn't even known rain existed like this outside of the jungle.

And they were caught in it because of Orlando. Because he just had to stop at every small shop that piqued his interest, and Sean had been indulgent enough not to hurry him and insist they get a move on. Christ, he was a rotten travel companion. He had no idea what Sean was thinking.

"It's alright, stop apologizing," Sean replied, also for the hundredth time. He sat near the crackling fireplace, wrapped in an afghan throw, cup of tea in hand, looking, for all the world, like this was just a normal Sunday visit at Orlando's instead of them being trapped in a total stranger's guest house while the road they'd been driving on was being washed away into the bloody Pacific Ocean. Orlando supposed that filming all of the Sharpe films in India or wherever had pretty much made Sean immune to crazy weather patterns. Still didn't make Orlando feel better.

"Come on, sit, drink your tea before it gets cold."

Orlando left the window (not like the rain was letting up anytime this century) and sat on the sofa across from Sean. He didn't pick up his cup. "I'm really..."

"Orlando, if you apologize again, I promise, I'll toss yer ass out into the rain," Sean interrupted, his voice a gruff burr of exasperation. "Christssake, it's not like you can control the weather."

"Not yet, but I'm working on it." Orlando replied, managing a weak smile. Sean's hair and skin glowed golden in the firelight, shimmered like he was some king of old or maybe even Apollo granting an audience. Right now, Orlando felt like a peasant prostrating himself. It wasn't a terribly pleasant feeling. Still, better to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with Sean. He could think of far worse people. Like Viggo. Who'd have probably taken the opportunity to strip naked and run out into the storm to commune with the rain gods or whatever small, furry animals were nearby.

"Did you get hold of Peter or Karl?"

"Both, actually," Sean replied, rubbing at his chin. He seemed relieved at the change of topic. "They think it might be a day or two before the weather turns."

"And us without a chess set." It was another apology, but Sean's soft, crinkly smile showed all was forgiven.

"I found a pack of cards and board in the bedside drawer when I was looking for a dry shirt," Sean said, far too nonchalantly for Orlando to think he wasn’t up to mischief. He'd learned early on to beware of that tone. "You might be brilliant at chess, but there hasn't been a person yet that can beat me at cribbage."

Orlando's naturally competitive spirit rose to the occasion. "Is that so?" When Sean simply inclined his head, Orlando gestured at the coffee table. "Let's see what you've got, then."


As it turned out, Sean wasn't exaggerating. Orlando had learned to play the game at his gran's knee, and considered himself to be a steady enough player, but Sean was the undisputed heavy weight champion at cribbage. He soundly beat Orlando in hand after hand, showing no signs of weakness, no matter what Orlando tried to turn the tables.

"Remind me what I was thinking again?" Orlando complained, after getting thoroughly trounced on show points for what felt like the hundredth time that night. Outside, the weather was still Noah-like and showed no signs of letting up. Inside, they'd traded tea for a nice bottle of bourbon that they'd found in one of the kitchen cabinets.

"You've got nothing better to do?" Sean offered, dealing the next set of cards with a deft flick of the wrist. Man should have been a professional card shark for all the skill he had. Orlando had no idea he'd been keeping such a valuable skill under wraps for so long. It was a constant surprise and delight to him that he kept learning more and more about Sean as time went on, even if this particular epiphany was coming at his own expense.

"If you ever bitch to me about beating you at chess again, I'm just going to laugh at you," he grumbled. His new hand wasn't much better than the last one. It was a damn good thing they weren't betting anything more than cigarettes or he would be fucked.

"You laugh at me anyway. It's one of your better qualities."

"It is?"

"Mmhmm," Sean assented, frowning in concentration as he looked at his cards. With his reading glasses perched on his nose, he looked like a professor. Albeit, a better looking, far sexier and more charismatic one than any that Orlando had ever had in school. Orlando would bet no one would've fallen asleep in Sean's classes. "Not too many people know the fine art of how to laugh at their friends."

Orlando gave Sean his most serious, no-nonsense look. "I'll always make fun of you, Sean," he vowed, and was rewarded by Sean's surprised bark of laughter.

***

Even though Orlando insisted on taking the sofa instead of the bed, Sean had been equally insistent that they flip for it. Luckily, Orlando won anyway, which meant that Sean was enjoying a proper night's sleep on a proper bed. Which was more than what he could say about himself, but, well, he was young and all. Resilient, or so the saying went. Besides which, no matter what Sean said, it was still Orlando's fault they were in this mess; wouldn't feel right, taking the bed.

Sleep, however, was still eluding him. It wasn't so much annoying at this point as it was expected. Ever since that day at the beach, about the only times he'd fallen right to sleep had been the nights he'd spent with Jerry, and they'd worn each other out. Fuck knew, he could certainly use one of Jerry's mind-erasing blowjobs right about now. He contemplated a quick jerk just to settle his brain, but it seemed sort of off – rude in a way – to do that sort of thing with someone right in the next room. Especially since said person was Sean, and, well, Sean was practically family.

He really hoped Sean would forgive him for this – that they'd be able to laugh about it one day, and Orlando wouldn't feel so horrible about the whole thing. Not that Sean was one to hold a grudge, but it'd be nice to move past it. Orlando knew he definitely owed Sean a few rounds, at the very least.

Ah, well, nothing to do but sit it out and wait for the rains to stop. Orlando would just have to make sure he did his part to be a good sort of roommate. And maybe this was the sort of thing that would only strengthen their friendship. Orlando rather liked the sound of that. He could picture him and Sean on down the line, sitting at a pub, still telling stories and ogling pretty girls in short skirts, with a chess board (no way he was ever playing cribbage with that man again) between them.

The thought was pleasant enough to settle his thoughts and send him drifting into sleep.

***

"Well, whaddaya reckon?"

Karl wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm and looked around the garden. "I'm thinking if you were wanting something different this year, you could plant a few four o'clocks or nicotiana right there, next to the clematis, to fill in when the spring bulbs are done. Reckon it'd be very pretty come full summer. And it'll draw the butterflies."

"Hmmm...you might be on to something," Harry said. He was equally sweaty and grimy from mucking about in the dirt. By the time Karl had been done for the day and changed out of costume and makeup and made his way over to Harry's, Harry had been digging about, pulling weeds, for a couple of hours.

Karl sat cross-legged on the ground and took a long pull from his bottle of water. When Harry dropped next to him, Karl passed the bottle without a word. They watched the sun set over the hill in silence, and the first of the night stars appearing in the blue-black sky. No matter where Karl's work took him, he never felt as much at peace as he did on this corner of the earth, with Harry beside him.

"Thought about lamb kefta for dinner," Karl eventually said.

"Expect you'll have me chopping parsley for tabuli, then," Harry replied, giving Karl a small smile.

"You're better at it than I am."

"It's a fair trade." Then Harry nudged at Karl's foot. "What is it?"

He should have known that Harry would have picked up on his mood. "You were right," Karl admitted, softly. "I think I fucked up with Orlando."

"I never said you fucked up. Besides, I think this is good for him."

"What, Jerry?" When Harry shrugged in the affirmative, Karl frowned. "He's a nice enough fellow, but..."

"But you were trying to nudge him in Sean's direction, and he didn't fall neatly where you wanted," Harry finished, his voice without censure. Karl couldn't argue, as that was exactly what he'd been wanting.

"I still think they'd be good for each other."

"No doubt." Harry dropped a warm, heavy hand over Karl's. "But you, of all people, should know better than to try to push people where they're not ready to go."

"Touché." Karl hadn't thought of it quite like that, but that's why he had Harry to think of all of the things he couldn't. He laced their fingers together, savored the simple contact. "I suppose Jerry is a good man to have as a first lover."

"He'll take good care of Orlando until he's ready to move on," Harry said. "Much like how you're doing with Sean."

Karl's grin was slightly wicked. "Well, now, I wouldn't say I'm with Sean just out of the kindness of my charitable heart."

Harry's laugh carried in the breeze, the sound lifting Karl's spirits in the way that nothing else ever could. "Fuck me, I would hope not. If Sean Bean was a disappointment in bed, what hope is there for the rest of us?"

That was Harry for you. Self-deprecating to the core. Much like Sean, come to think on it, and maybe Karl really did have a type. With his free hand, he cupped Harry's chin, ran his thumb over soft bristles. "There is no comparison," he said softly, and smiled. He waited, patiently, until Harry returned it, then untangled their hands, and stood. "Enough navel-gazing," he declared. "Ready to eat?"

Harry came to his feet gracefully. "If I'm not cooking, always."

***

The hardwood floors chilled Sean's feet when he finally rolled out of bed in the morning. Rain was still beating a steady tattoo against the roof, so Sean figured they most likely were stuck here for another day, even if the weather did turn later on. He could think of far worse people to be stuck with, however – Orlando had been a delightful companion, in spite of his insistence that somehow this entire debacle was somehow his fault.

After stumbling into the bathroom for a much needed piss and to scrape off whatever'd been left to rot on his teeth (he blamed the bourbon), he went wandering out in search of the kitchen and, more importantly, the first cup of tea of the day.

Orlando was still sprawled on his stomach on the sofa, his mohawk a dark, spiky punctuation to the tangle of sheets that were twisted around him, face half buried in the cushions, limbs everywhere. His cheeks were creased with sleep, and light snores contrasted with the sound of the rain. He looked young and impossibly innocent, with one bare foot sticking from the edge of one blanket, and one hand dragging the floor.

And, standing there, looking down at the slack features of the man that he considered to be one of the brightest and best people he'd ever met, in the fussy living room of a stranger's house in the middle of nowhere, clad only in his boxers and shivering slightly from the chill of the morning air, Sean Bean's heart tumbled completely, irrevocably, and totally into love.

He was in love with Orlando Bloom. With his boyish enthusiasm and boundless energy and bottomless passion. With the prankster that helped Karl and Viggo with their nefarious plans, with the kind-hearted man that fed the strays that hung around on set, with the coltish, yet beautiful way Orlando moved. With the man who made him laugh and think, who quoted Shakespeare and Yeats and Monty Python with equal measure, and yet had no clue about his own appeal.

He hadn't thought it was possible to feel this way again – not with his colorful past or admittedly less than stellar track record. Yet, here he was, a man chasing 40, falling for a man who could almost be his son, yet one who had a soul that was wise beyond his years. Christ, how could he not have seen it sooner?

Karl was definitely going to be insufferable about this.


(To Be Continued)

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