I've had a rather mixed history with slashababy, and this year was no exception. My recipient dropped out, and I thought that would mean that no one would read the story... and I was a bit upset at first, as I'd spent an inordinate amount of time doing re-writes on this (and re-writes and yet more bloody re-writes, and I *still* didn't quite nail it, which I wouldn't be admitting publicly if the recipient hadn't dropped out :). I know that sounds melodramatic--me getting upset over a fanfic exchange, but I don't do commercial presents anymore, so my Christmas stories make up the majority of my gifts both given and received, and a big part of my joy in doing a story exchange is in bringing pleasure to someone else. I work really hard at that. Hence my disappointment.
It all worked out okay in the end, though--lots of other people seemed to enjoy the story, so I got my Christmas-buzz on after all.
The Request: "Domlijah or Vigorli" and wants "RPS (read: non AU) angst or no angst... I like 'em both."
Disclaimer: All made up!
Thanks: To vegetariansushi who has been madly beta-ing my work at a rate of knots lately. Thank you, sweetheart! And big thanks also to scotsnow.
~ Day 30: The curious habits of dogs ~
Elijah woke to the stuttered, "That, that," of a dog barking nearby, a few houses over maybe, the sound over-loud in the hush of the Los Angeles night.
He rolled onto his side, right hand instinctively seeking out warm skin, but finding only cool, crisp sheets and an undented pillow.
"That, that, that, that, that!" argued the dog, breaking open the night with inarticulate frustration. "That!"
Elijah blinked at the dim outlines of the room, eyes gritty with lack of sleep, and then pulled the unused pillow into his arms and buried his face in it, breathing deeply. It smelled of Tide and fabric softener and just slightly of foam, and not even a little bit like sea or grass or the rangy odour of male sex.
When he finally tumbled back into sleep, Elijah dreamt he was arguing with someone who kept walking away from him into the next room, in an endless, sprawling house full of countless next rooms, and no matter how fast he spoke, how fast he walked, he could never catch up, never find the right words, never make Dom stop and listen.
~ Day 29: Parting is such sweet sorrow ~
"God, this is insane," Dom said, peering around Elijah's shoulder.
Elijah nodded, twiddling with his sunglasses. He and Dom were lurking behind a pillar in one of LAX’s many Business Class departure lounges, trying to escape the guy in wrinkled cargo pants who kept taking photos of them.
In a dull, tinny voice, the call came over the intercom for the third time: "Passengers for American Airlines flight 302 to Hawaii now boarding at gate three."
Elijah snapped the arms of his glasses together and slid them into his pocket. "That's you," he said, resting a hand on Dom's forearm.
From beneath lowered lids, Dom's gazed lingered on Elijah's mouth. "Yeah, I know," he murmured.
Elijah leaned forward, tongue wetting his bottom lip.
As Dom leaned in to meet him, he flicked an assessing look around at the handful of people heading past them towards the gate. "Fuck!" he hissed, as he spotted a familiar pair of cargo pants vanishing up into a nearby phone hutch.
Elijah let out a disappointed sigh, swaying backwards as Dom stepped away. "Is it too late to duck into a toilet for a quickie?"
"You have a dirty, dirty mind," Dom said, "and I like it," but his smirk was half-hearted, and his hand went to the boarding pass stuffed into the back pocket of his jeans.
An impatient voice assured them that it was the final boarding call for Dom's flight.
Elijah let his head thump back against the pillar. "So much for that idea."
It felt like a thousand miles of ocean was already between them as they looked at each other.
"Come on," Dom said, stepping in for a quick hug, "you know it won't be forever, Lij."
"I know." The words were exactly what Elijah had been expecting to hear, and he pressed a chaste, relieved kiss to the side of Dom's neck. "Love you," he said.
"You too," said Dom, but when he pulled out of Elijah's too-tight grip, Dom was staring at Elijah's cheek, his ear, the sunglasses sticking out of his breast pocket. Anywhere but his eyes.
Elijah's skin prickled with adrenaline and his mouth went dry. He swallowed back the words that wanted to spill out--all the horrible, desperate words that it was too late to say--swallowed hard, his throat clicking. "Right," he managed. "You'd better..." and he gestured towards the gate.
"Yeah, I'd better." Dom walked a few steps backwards, slinging his backpack over one shoulder as he went. "I'll call you," he said, holding a thumb-and-pinky phone to his head.
Elijah managed a nod in response.
A moment later, with one last backward glance, Dom slid his boarding pass into the machine and disappeared through the gate.
~ Day 28: For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him ~
With promises of alcohol, decadence and public semi-nudity, Elijah had lured Dom away from his compulsive ticket and passport checking and re-packing of bags. The nudity had been the clincher, so they were stretched out side-by-side on two beach chairs belonging to a very expensive hotel, watching a team of lifeguards doing energetic training manoeuvres down near the waterline.
Dom pulled the umbrella from his pina colada and twirled it into a rainbow of colour. He waited for Elijah to take a sip from his own pina colada, and then said, with a sly, sidelong glance, "Gay marriage is legal in Hawaii, isn't it?"
Elijah just managed not to choke, but couldn't stop the flush from staining his cheeks. He fluttered his eyelashes at Dom and asked in his best Southern-belle drawl, "Is that a proposal, darlin'?"
Dom's answering grin--all teeth and bright eyes and evil intent--dimmed as a shadow fell over Elijah.
It was cast by two petite Japanese girls, who were shying and shaking their long ponytails by the side of Elijah's chair. They looked just like two pastel-coloured anime colts. When Elijah looked up at them, they thrust autograph books at him, interrupting each other with giggles as they proclaimed themselves "E-lijah's big fans."
Somehow, Elijah managed to stay polite as he signed, even when Dom slid off his beach chair and slunk away across the sand, leaving Elijah to watch his own back. After a torturous conversation in Janglish-and-giggles (them) and English-with-gestures (him), which included the denial that, no, he'd never met Harry Potter, he finally got rid of them and headed off across the sand to find Dom.
Dom was just returning from an ice-cream van, carrying two huge double-scoop cones.
When Dom thrust one of the cones at him, Elijah's heart turned over, as though he was some horribly cliched heroine from a romance novel. He took the cone and licked a lewd circle around the melting crown.
Dom gave him a tight-lipped smile in return, just as the taste of imitation strawberries exploded across Elijah's tongue.
And then Elijah had to turn and face the sea, free hand sheltering his eyes as he blinked, blinked, blinked away the sun-glare reflecting off the waves.
Down at the waterline the lifesavers adroitly rescued each other, while Elijah stood on the hot sand silently drowning in a sea of strawberry-flavoured hell. Dom stood by his side, watching him as he ate every last fucking bite of the fucking ice-cream Dom had bought for him.
It took a long time: Elijah had always loathed strawberry.
But then, Dom knew that.
~ Day 20: The body is his book ~
Elijah let his book slide onto his lap, forgotten. Through the french windows he could see Dom standing next to the azure circle of the pool, speaking animatedly on his cell phone.
The occasional clutch of words drifted in on the afternoon breeze, "I got it?" and "Hawaii," and "fucking fantastic!" but he didn't need them to recognise that Dom was shining with joy. Shining like the star he was about to be.
Elijah rested his head against the chair's cushioned back and watched the light play across Dom's features, the corners of his own mouth twitching upward with vicarious exhilaration.
~ Day 12: The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike ~
Elijah was buoyant, floating naked in the blood-warmth of the swimming pool, staring up at the freckled glow of the Milky Way. No breath of wind ruffled the skin of the water and the night's sounds were a comforting hum of white noise. It happened, then, as it always did, with a mix of stealth and wonder: the universe pinwheeled above him and turned itself inside out so that he was falling endlessly into the sky; so that the stars were falling endlessly into him. His breath echoed through the womb-like water in a steady beat, while his pulse seemed to flash and zing like a rain of comets, making his skin tingle with the joy of being alive.
Later, long after Elijah had lost all sense of time, Dom slid into the pool, the dark shape of his head cutting through the water like the fin of a shark. His hand on Elijah's foot made the universe turn right side out again.
"How'd it go?" Elijah asked, manoeuvring so that his legs were wrapped around Dom's waist, but keeping his arms wide, crucified against the soft give of the water's surface tension.
"Don't know," Dom replied, fingers skirting Elijah's navel, drawing circles on his belly. "The bullshit factor didn't seem any higher than usual though. They asked some weird questions about how I'd liked living in New Zealand."
"Well, that's a good sign," Elijah said. "They would have snowed you with shit if you weren't in the running."
"That's what I figured," said Dom as he thumbed Elijah's left nipple.
Elijah shivered and pulled himself up against Dom's chest so that he could lick the sweet curve of his ear.
Dom leaned into the touch. "I hate this part of the game. Some days the goalposts feel so fucking far away." His hips flexed against Elijah's, their hard-ons brushing together, igniting a familiar burn. "Like I'm never going to make it."
Elijah tightened his legs around Dom's waist and sucked a string of kisses down his neck. "It's not far," he murmured between kisses, "It's so close I can taste it on your skin."
Dom's breath hitched--Elijah's name spilling off his tongue like a prayer--and he pushed them to the edge of the pool, the edge of control, and after a long, languid ride, right over the edge into ecstasy.
~ Day 5: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful ~
"I hate these fucking meetings," said Dom, tugging fitfully at his shirt. "No fucking job is worth this!"
"Who in their right mind wants to be a star, anyway?" Elijah agreed, smacking Dom's hands away and smoothing the fabric. "You can just stay here and be my pool boy instead. I've always wanted a pool boy."
Dom snorted and snuck a hand around Elijah's waist, giving him a lightning fast wedgie.
Elijah squealed and leapt away. "Hey!"
"Clean your own pool, Wood," Dom said, leering, nearly all of the nervous tension gone from his eyes. "I'm just here for the hot sex."
~ Day 3: As flies to wanton boys ~
"Oh, fucking hell!" said Dom contorting in his seat to see the billboard as they snailed by on the peak-hour freeway. "Orlando looks like a fucking rentboy in that getup! Wait 'til I tell him!"
"Thank you!" Elijah said, honking at a driver in a cowboy hat trying to merge an SUV into a space the size of a go-cart. "That's exactly what I said to Astin, but he was all, 'the male body is a temple' blah, blah, and 'don't perpetuate the myth of the consumer gaze' blah, blah." Elijah glanced up from the almost-stalled traffic to ogle Orlando's enormous biceps. "God, did he look that hot in New Zealand? He didn't, did he?"
"Nah," said Dom, with a breezy wave of the hand. "It's all air-brushing and special effects, innit?"
Elijah nodded, still ogling. "He's having a pretty special effect on me right now, actually."
Dom biffed him hard on the arm. "Eyes on the road, Romeo. You had your chance."
"Yeah," Elijah said, looking over at Dom, "and I took my chance."
"Oh," Dom said. And then, trying for nonchalance but looking a little bit thrilled, "Oh, you sweet talker."
An enjoyable tension filled the car, and they sat without speaking for a moment, revelling in the simple pleasure of being in the same place at the same time.
By the time the traffic finally started to move again, the silence was thick and electric, ramping up with each sidelong look. It shattered abruptly as the cowboy's SUV swerved into their lane, its over-revved engine roaring like a banshee. Elijah slammed on the brakes and their bumpers just missed, paint molecules practically spinning off in the suction force of the SUVs wake.
"What a dickhead!" said Dom. "God, is dickheaditis a disease here? Is it in the fucking LA water supply or something? It's not contagious, is it?" He turned to Elijah with a look so mournful and grave that it made Elijah explode into a fit of the sniggers. "You'd tell me if I ever caught dickheaditis, wouldn't you, Lij?"
"You sure you don't want me to give you dick-head-itis?" Elijah said, trying to leer in between the snickers. "Because I've been told I'm pretty good at it."
"Well, maybe." Dom's hand was warm and intimate against Elijah's thigh. "But only because it's you."
~ Day 1: A hope beyond the shadow of a dream ~
Elijah waited in the arrival lounge next to a dusty potted plant. He glanced again at the electronic flight status board, and the flight from Germany was still blinking LANDED in bright red letters. Elijah did a quick tally of minutes--disembarking, the nightmare that was LAX Customs, flirting with the air stewards--then glanced at his watch. Dom should be coming through any minute.
Sure enough, his bright blonde shock of hair weaved through the crowd a moment later. Elijah waved, and as soon as Dom spotted him, he made a beeline for Elijah, grabbing his hand and dragging him through the crowd. Dom went right past the baggage carousel without slowing down, taking them away from the busy arrival area. They started picking up serious speed as soon as they got to the concourse.
They were running flat out by the time Dom spotted what he was looking for. He did an abrupt u-turn, pulling Elijah down a side-corridor, narrowly avoiding a little old lady with a walking stick. A moment later they slammed into the disabled toilet cubicle.
Dom dumped his backpack and snapped the lock with one hand, while reeling Elijah in for a frantic kiss with the other.
"There was a reporter out there!" Elijah protested, but he was laughing and tugging at Dom's t-shirt in between kisses.
After Elijah's third abortive attempt at getting his shirt off, Dom grabbed the hem out of Elijah's hand, ripped it over his head and threw it carelessly aside. It landed in a precarious drape over the cistern of the toilet.
"Less kissing, more fucking," said Dom, going for Elijah's pants. In a blink they were unzipped and pushed down to Elijah's ankles and Dom was pressing him up against the cold, slightly sticky tiles. Another quick, fierce kiss, and Dom dropped to his knees, clenching Elijah's ass in both hands. "I've missed you so fucking much," he said, just before his mouth closed around Elijah's cock, hot and slow and hungry.
"I've missed you, too," Elijah managed to say, his breath stuttering at the shocking, too-long-ago familiarity of Dom's touch. Elijah’s whole body was prickling with lust. His mouth was wet with the want to kiss Dom, kiss and kiss and never stop. Then Dom's tongue swirled around the head of his cock and without warning Elijah was right there, right on the brink of orgasm: everything turning inside out... time moving with a deceptive slowness... the whole universe pinwheeling around him.
Dom made a greedy noise and sucked harder; and with a rush of vertigo, Elijah was falling headlong into light and darkness and the sweet thrill of being alive. He gasped out, "Dom," as he came, fingers tight in Dom's hair, hips arching, and it felt so good, so damn right.
When Elijah peeled his eyelids open, he found Dom grinning up at him from the grotty tiles of the bathroom floor, mouth lopsided and glistening with sweat and spit and spunk.
"Yeah!" said Dom. "I still have it."
"Yeah," Elijah agreed, voice harsh, as though he'd been screaming. "You've always had it, Dom." He touched a finger to Dom's lips, still burning with how much he'd missed Dom, still dizzy with the endless fall of orgasm. Still freefalling with the wonder of Dom's skin sliding against his own... Falling so far, so very far, that it felt like he'd zoomed lightyears past passion, gone right beyond want, overshot love, and ended up somewhere else altogether.
Dom's tongue flicked out, skimming the blunt ends of Elijah's fingers, feeling cool against Elijah's heated skin.
"Love you," said Elijah, the words pushing their way out as Dom used his body to climb up from the floor.
"You too," Dom replied, and then he kissed Elijah; kissed him with total concentration, as though Elijah was the only thing in his world, as though there was nothing else Dom had ever wanted more.