broadwriting: (sean bean (smoking))
[personal profile] broadwriting
Title: "Temporary Monogamy" (18/27)
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) |



Karaoke night, like most of the other traditions, had been born out of a desperate need to keep spirits up when the 12-hour shooting days stretched to hellacious 15- or 16-hour days. Also, like most of the traditions, it was all Billy's fault. Everyone, and rightfully so, was scared as hell of Viggo and Karl and their pranks, and so they both got the proper respect, as was their due. But not enough attention and accolades were given to Billy's crazy schemes to bring the cast and crew closer together. If they really were this tight-knit band of men who were closer than brothers, they owed it all to their pint-sized general.

The bar tonight was filled with the usual suspects (minus Viggo, who was banned from this particular pub after the incident with the mace and the flower pot, and Elijah, who'd been dragged off to dinner with Astin and his family, who were visiting), the drinks were free-flowing and strong enough to put hair on Orlando's chest (although he still wasn't sure about the purple shots Billy'd made him do), and Dom, who played karaoke master each week, was up on the makeshift stage caterwauling to a song that Orlando thought was supposed to be 'Black Velvet' by Alannah Myles, but he couldn't be certain. He also thought the song was supposed to be a ballad, but there Dom was, giving it the full-on Axl Rose treatment, complete with wailing and head-banging.

Much like with poker, Dom thought of himself as a decent singer. No matter what anyone said to the contrary.

Orlando shared a commiserating grimace with Billy, then glanced down at the table to see if he could catch Sean's eye. Ever since the debacle of the mudslide – and the 2½ days they were stuck together in that tiny cottage – Sean had been...slightly off. Not enough so that a stranger would notice, or even casual friends, but, well, Orlando was neither. He knew Sean, knew him almost as well as he knew himself, even, and something was up. Oh, he was still friendly enough, still laughed at all of the right jokes, still participated in all the group activities, still spent his downtime on set matching Orlando on the chess board, and breakfast was still its usual affair of trading stories and all that, but it was like Sean's mind was sort of...elsewhere.

Orlando wondered if it had something to do with Sean's impending trip back to England to finalize his divorce. No matter that this was his third time, it couldn't be any easier to stand in front of a judge and dissolve your marriage. Especially when there was a child involved. British custodial law was notorious for stripping away paternal rights, and Sean had to be feeling the strain of that. Orlando wanted to wrap a steady arm around Sean and let him know that he was there if Sean needed a shoulder, but, well, Sean wasn't making a big to-do about it, and he didn't want to be the one to bring it up.

Fuck, he was so soddin' British sometimes.

Thankfully, the song – and Dom's butchering of it – came to an end. Dom took a half-bow, even though no one clapped (and, even if they had, it would have been in relief of the song ending.)

"That had to be, and I mean this sincerely, the worst rendition of that song I have ever heard," Craig stated, not even waiting until the final notes had died down. His drink was the sort of bright orange that looked like it might be radioactive.

"And now you know why I don't sing," Harry said, raising his usual glass of port in salute. Karl, who was sitting between him and Sean, hummed his agreement. He looked vaguely horrified. Orlando didn't blame him. It was rather the stuff of nightmares.

"Fuck off, I owned that song," Dom stated, turning up his nose at everyone at the table. "Takes a special sort to appreciate my skill."

"Dom, the only thing you should be doing with your mouth is –"

Dom clapped a hand over Billy's mouth, eyes comically wide. "Why Billy, I never!"

"That's not what the bathroom wall says," Marton grinned. Although, if there were bathroom wall odes to Dom, Marton had probably put them there himself. Those two did have a sort of odd half-flirty, half-antagonistic thing going on that, in Orlando's experience, normally meant sexual attraction.

"Heathens, the lot of you." Then Dom looked at the sign-up sheet. "Sean, Orlando, you're up, DJ's choice."

"Fuck me, mate, why do we always get stuck with DJ's choice?" Orlando complained, as he stood. He and Sean almost always sung duets on karaoke nights – mostly because they could harmonize well, but also because Sean wouldn't sing by himself, and Karl refused to sing in public. Having heard Karl in the shower, Orlando couldn't say as he blamed him.

"I think Dom does it on purpose," Sean replied, clapping Orlando on the back. The touch was warm, welcome. For the moment, everything felt normal. Orlando couldn't help the inward sigh of relief.

"I think you've got the right way of it."

They both took their places at the front. Billy handed them their microphones. "So, what's it to be tonight, Dom?" Orlando asked, after giving Sean a cheeky wink, more than willing to keep the light atmosphere going. "More Rick Astley or Milli Vanilli or Duran Duran?"

"Could be another George Michael song," Sean guessed, scratching at his chin. "Thought we did alright on 'I Want Your Sex'."

"That's because you were a wanker and made me sing most of it, and don't think I've forgiven you for it."

"Keep it up, gentlemen, and I'll have you warbling...ah, never you mind, here we go, this will definitely do." Dom's grin was positively diabolical. Orlando was already anticipating a long night.

When the first strains of the song carried through the speakers, Orlando didn't recognize it at first. It took Sean letting out a heartfelt groan before he placed it, and, by then, it was too late to do anything about it.

Sean's look promised Dom severe retribution later as he took the lead:

Baby when I met you, there was peace on earth

Of all the songs in the universe, Dom had to pick this one. And not just any song, either, but a country song, at that. And, because Orlando couldn't figure out the song from the beginning, he was stuck with singing the Dolly Parton part instead of the Kenny Rogers part. And him without the tits for it.

But he gamely jumped in when he was supposed to, trying desperately to read the words (he only vaguely knew the lyrics) and keep with the tune:

You do something to me that I can't explain/Hold me closer and I feel no pain

He and Sean still managed to complement each other, even while singing what had to be the most ridiculous song in the history of music. Honestly, who wrote lyrics like 'Everything is nothin' if you've got no one' and expected to be taken seriously?

Thankfully, by the chorus, everyone at their table (and a few of the other tables) was singing along, albeit loudly and way off-key. There was something to be said for a generous bartender, and men who knew how to take advantage of it.

Islands in the stream/That is what we are...

Craig and Marton were the loudest – no surprise there, considering they never missed a karaoke night. Even Karl and Harry were getting into it, and the only reason they ever came every week was for the cheap drinks. Although, Orlando had to admit, the utter humiliation at singing this song in front of an entire bar was somewhat lessened when Billy swung Dom to his feet for what looked like an impromptu bit of square dancing. Especially since Dom couldn't figure out where to put his feet and kept tripping over Billy. It didn't help matters when Craig and Marton joined in and started spinning Dom around like a wind-up toy.

With any luck, Dom would learn a much needed lesson.

By the time the song was over, Orlando was laughing so hard he could barely sing, and was hanging onto Sean for support. For his part, Sean finally looked relaxed. More like himself. Seeing his normal smile was like a balm to Orlando's nerves.

"I think next week we need to get someone else to pick the songs," Orlando said, when they'd handed their mikes back to Billy and were headed back to their table.

"Good thought, but hold off on it until I get back."

Orlando wrapped his hand around Sean's arm and dropped his head on Sean's shoulder. "How long am I going to have to do without you?" he asked, in his most dramatic voice.

"Three weeks, at most," Sean replied, and patted Orlando's arm in a consoling manner.

"I shall count every minute."

An enigmatic look flickered across Sean's face for a moment before he hauled Orlando close for a one-armed hug. "Just promise not to get into any major trouble while I'm gone."

"I promise not to get caught, how's that?"

"Close enough."

Orlando hoped that the time back in England with his girls would do Sean some good. He had to be missing them desperately by now. Perhaps that was also accounting for his strange mood. He turned slightly, enveloped Sean in a tight embrace. Ignored the slightly startled intake of Sean's breath against his neck.

"I really will miss you," he murmured, when all he really wanted to say was that Sean was the best man he'd ever met and he hoped that Sean would one day realize just how much he had to give. He hoped the hug would convey all he couldn't put into words.

There was an awkward pat on his back, and a brush of lips against his ear. "I'll miss you, too," Sean murmured back, and there was something about the way he said it that made Orlando think that maybe Sean really did know what Orlando really meant.

***

The bedside clock told Karl it was 2:17 am when he woke up, and Sean's side of the bed was empty. Part of Karl – the large, selfish part that knew he had to be up in a few hours for the Black Gates shooting – longed to roll right back over and go right back to sleep, but he tamped down the urge. Sean was up, and that meant he had something on his mind. So, instead, Karl pulled on a pair of pajama pants and made his way downstairs to the porch, not at all surprised to see Sean in one of the chairs, the amber glow from the tip of his cigarette the only light.

"Can't sleep again?" Karl asked, and curled up in the other chair. He didn't try to fight back the yawn.

Sean held out a hand in apology, and Karl slid his own against it, their fingers curling together. They sat in silence for awhile, watching the stars, listening to the distant sound of the waves breaking on shore.

"I like this time of night," Sean finally said. "It's quiet. Easier to think."

"Care to share these thoughts?" Something had been bothering Sean ever since he and Orlando'd had their adventure with the mudslides. Karl hadn't asked about it, even though he'd been dying of curiosity.

Sean took another drag from his cigarette. His voice was a raspy murmur when he spoke. "If I do, you have to promise not to say I told you so."

"Done."

Sean was silent another moment. "I...I'm in love with Orlando."

It's about time, Karl thought, but wisely didn't say it out loud. Inside, however, he totally gave himself a mental high five. "Are you really now?" he asked aloud, and waited for Sean's nod. "Is that the burr that's been under your saddle the past couple of weeks?"

"Yeah." Sean's sigh was rueful. "Been trying to reconcile it with myself."

"Suppose that makes sense," Karl drawled, thoughtfully, although he couldn't see what there was to reconcile. He'd known from the first that the two of them had something special. Something that would last long after they left New Zealand.

Sean squeezed on Karl's hand, gave him a searching look. "Yer not upset, are you?

"Fuck no." The reply was heartfelt, instantaneous. "You know better."

"I do, I just..."

Karl leaned over, shushed Sean with a soft kiss. "Don't worry, I won't lord it over you too much."

Sean chuckled, and the sound of it was its own admission. "I appreciate it."

Karl waited a beat. "So, what're you going to do about it? About Orlando, I mean?"

"Haven't exactly sussed it yet. I mean, he's with Jerry," Sean said, and his small grimace told Karl everything he needed to know.

"Please, he'd throw Jerry over in a hot minute for you," Karl scoffed. He was as certain of that as he was his own name. "In case it's escaped your notice, you and Jerry could be related."

"I..." Sean stopped. Stared. "Really?"

"Really," Karl assured him. He couldn't wait to tell Harry about this. "You have to promise me you'll talk to him."

"When I get back from England," Sean said. He took one last drag, then crushed the cigarette in the ashtray. "I think...it's important that I'm not legally bound to anyone when I tell him."

"Understood." And exactly as it should be, Karl thought. "You'll be good for him. And he'll be good for you."

"This is all your fault, you know, that I even started thinking in that direction," Sean told him, with a small laugh. "He sees me like an uncle."

"Unless he's into incest, no, he doesn't."

"Karl!"

Karl just grinned. "Have you truly seen the way he looks at you? He's had a crush on you from day one."

Sean's look was both skeptical and hopeful. "Maybe so, but I'm not rushing into anything."

Christ, Sean's past had done a number on him. Karl supposed he had every right to be cautious, but there were just certain risks that one should take, no matter what. And Orlando was definitely that risk for Sean. "You've been friends for the better part of a year," Karl reminded him. "I'd hardly call that rushing."

"Suppose you've got a point."

"I always do." With that, Karl got out of his chair, and settled himself on Sean's lap. He knew he could only nudge Sean so far, especially in one night. And since they were both up and all, there was no harm in taking advantage. "And now that we've got that settled, let's say we go back upstairs and start practicing having breakup sex."

"I will miss this," Sean admitted, sliding his hands along Karl's back to map warm skin. Karl shivered into it, already anticipating what was to come.

"So will I," he smiled, then closed the distance between them.


(To Be Continued)

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