Pairing: EW/OB, LotR RPS
Length: 6,900 words
For: vegetariansushi, becoz I think u r grate. And for talesinbloom and deleerium because you’re both pretty damn great too :).
Disclaimer: I don’t know any of these people—it’s just a lucid fever-dream.
Summary: Orlando and Elijah find out just how much trouble two tongues can get their owners into.
Notes: This story is part three of the Doll series, which includes: Doll, and Fully-Posable Action Figures. Part four is in the works: Reverse-Alphabetical Fornication.
How to Say I Love You and Other Slips of the Tongue
Orlando stared at Elijah in disbelief. He'd obviously created a fucking monster.
"You can't be serious," he said. "We've already done it five times!"
It was all beginning to seem like some improbable dream to Orlando, the hours since the party blurring into one long, vivid cycle of not-entirely-awake foreplay and definitely-not-asleep orgasms, interspersed with occasional bouts of erotically fogged unconsciousness.
"So let's go for the record," said Elijah, fingering his own nipple and shuddering suggestively, "you know you want to."
And that was the whole problem really, in a bloody nutshell. Orlando did want to, and he could feel himself getting hard again, just from looking at Elijah's big, pleading, self-satisfied, confident eyes.
"Fuck," said Orlando, "This is going to hurt like a sonofabitch."
"Yeah," said Elijah, grinning, "but in a good way."
Orlando considered his options. There was no way he was going to suck Elijah off for the obscene amount of time it would take him to come; Orlando's jaw was already aching from the last two times. His elbow wasn't in much better shape after the two extremely drawn-out handjob duels he and Elijah had fought, each trying to make the other come first. And, despite Elijah's grin, Orlando suspected that both of them were way too sensitive to go that route again anyway.
So that left... what? He looked down at his knees, seeing the carpet burns there, and remembered the first time.
"Do you have any lube?" Orlando asked.
Elijah quirked an eyebrow, but leaned over to the bedside table and fossicked in the drawer for a moment. "One tube of lube," he said, and threw it to Orlando.
It was half-used, and Orlando didn't let himself think about that. At all. He just popped the lid, squeezed out a big blob and slicked himself up. The cool slide of it felt like bliss against his raw cock. He did the same for Elijah, and earned a heartfelt sigh.
"Open your legs," he said when he was done.
Elijah re-quirked the eyebrow, but opened his legs without question; tilting his hips a little so that the tight pucker of his arse was right there, in Orlando's line of sight.
That wordless offer did all kinds of things to Orlando's insides, and although they were mostly good things, a not insignificant part was panic. Because by now it was pretty obvious where Elijah wanted to go with this whole... fuck-a-thon they had embarked on, and Orlando really wasn't sure if his heart could take it.
But for today... or tomorrow... or whatever the hell the time was right now, he could still ignore it; Elijah wasn't ready to press the issue.
Orlando slid himself between Elijah's legs, lined up their cocks, slowly pressed his hips down, and gently started to rock them both to ecstasy.
"Fuck yeah," said Elijah, arching up into Orlando's rhythm, "just like that, Orli."
Crap, Orlando thought, because after five times he was starting to recognise Elijah's sexual quirks, and this was obviously going to be one of those times that Elijah talked, and that meant sooner or later he'd say...
"Love it, man," said Elijah, right on cue, "fucking love it."
...that word. Slipping off his tongue like it was easy.
Orlando changed position, pressing closer so that he could bite down on Elijah's shoulder, not wanting to let any of his own words slip out, not ready to admit to love while everything was so new and unsure.
"...don't stop, Orli..."
But every time Elijah said that word...
"...love it so fucking much..." Elijah's hips frantically rocking up into Orlando's thrusts, his blunt fingers clawing at Orlando's back "...yeah, just like that..."
...it ramped everything up, up, up inside of Orlando; made it all so fucking good. And if Orlando didn't know better, he'd swear Elijah was doing it on purpose; doing it deliberately to make Orlando go crazy with want. As though Elijah already knew, after just five times, where every bloody one of Orlando's buttons was and exactly how fucking hard to press to get right under his skin. God. What would Elijah be like if they ever hit double figures?
"...god...I just want to crawl into your fucking skin, man..."
Orlando bit down harder on Elijah's shoulder, his senses filling with the heady scent of sex on Elijah's skin. He groaned, pulling back from the bite to lick the sweat off Elijah's straining neck, wanting to consume the smell of him.
Elijah's hips lifted right off the bed in response.
Oh yeah. He'd definitely created a monster.
"...I need..." Elijah begged, "...please, Orli, please..." He pushed at Orlando's shoulders, too wild with want to hold back his strength, pushing so hard it hurt, "...I need more..." tears were standing in his eyes, and then he was flipping Orlando over onto his back, and Orlando was letting him do it.
Elijah straddled him, quick and sure, and the feel of Elijah's knees pressing into his sides, the feel of sudden weight holding him down, sent Orlando soaring, pulled the breath out of him as though it was on a string he was sharing with Elijah, pulled back and forth, back and forth with every rocking movement.
Elijah reached down between them, lifted his hips and then moved Orlando's cock so that it slid right up between the cheeks of his arse. And then.
Tight sliding heat.
Orlando gripped Elijah's cock in one hand, letting Elijah's own thrusts set the pace; slid the other hand up Elijah's chest, the flat of his thumb stroking tiny circles over and over a straining nipple, the soaring feeling lifting him right up out of his own body. Fucking Elijah was, Orlando decided, like the dreams he sometimes had of flying, an endless, dizzy vertigo that usually resolved into a soft landing between warm sheets.
"...so good...love it...Orli, fucking love..."
Orlando came, Elijah's arse a slippery heaven around him, his hands clenching tight in reflex.
Elijah's face flushed as he choked on the words still in his mouth, and then Elijah's come was painting Orlando's belly, and it took everything Orlando had not to say the words back, just let them slip off his own tongue as they died on Elijah's.
Elijah looked down at the mess on Orlando's stomach. He trailed a shaky finger through it as though amazed there'd been anything left inside him. Orlando shuddered at the touch.
With a satisfied sigh Elijah collapsed onto Orlando's chest. "Jesus, Orli. Is it just me or does that get better every fucking time?"
"Better," Orlando managed, still trying to get his breath back, and wondering exactly how that was possible when it had already been the best sex ever, even the first time on the carpet in the loungeroom.
Obviously, when it came to sex, Elijah belonged in the monster sex-god category, and it was scant consolation to know that Elijah's unleashing was all at his own door. Because, as Orlando lay there, wrapped in Elijah's arms, their spunk slowing sticking them together in all sorts of places they'd no doubt regret later, he couldn't help but remember that Dr Frankenstein had been as big a monster as his creation.
And wasn't that just an ironic fucking kicker to what was already the worst sexual metaphor of all time.
"Don' wanna get up," Orlando muttered into a pillow.
Elijah ruthlessly pulled it out from under Orlando's head. "We can't stay in bed forever, lazy bastard!"
"Why bloody not?" Orlando rolled over onto his back and blinked up at Elijah's smiling face. If they never got out of bed they could keep on having sex with each other until they died of exhaustion, which sounded like a good plan to Orlando.
"Because I'm starving," Elijah said, as though that was a reasonable reason to stop having sex.
"Me too," Orlando admitted, wrapping a leg around Elijah's waist. "How about breakfast in bed?" Unfortunately the seductive effect was somewhat spoilt by Orlando's stomach choosing that moment to growl as though a pack of rabid dogs had taken up residence in there.
"I think not," said Elijah, slapping at Orlando's leg. "When I yell out 'bite me, Orli' in the heat of passion, I don't want to lose actual body parts."
"Wuss," said Orlando, moving his leg away just far enough to be able to run his foot along Elijah's calf. "What's the odd bit of cannibalism between friends?"
Elijah snorted. "Somehow fellatio suddenly seems a lot less appealing now."
"Bet I could change your mind," Orlando said, managing to find the energy to leer.
"I'm sure you could," Elijah said. "If you had enough time to. But as Sean, Dom and Billy will be here in about..." Elijah leaned over the edge of the bed and pulled the digital alarm clock up off the floor by its power cable.
Dammit. Orlando had forgotten about the post-party clean-up party that Sean had organised. But surely that was still hours away? He watched nostalgically as Elijah grabbed at the clock and squinted at the time; Orlando was quite proud of the contortion that had resulted in Elijah kicking it off the bedside table during the night. He'd had Elijah's dick in his mouth at the time.
"...shit! About twenty minutes," said Elijah, dropping the clock back onto the floor, next to the tube of lube. "And I have to shower. I reek." He slid off the bed before Orlando could stop him, and darted into the bathroom. The door didn't quite close behind him.
Orlando watched him go. God, Elijah had a delicious arse. Orlando just wanted to sink his teeth in and lick and chew and... his stomach rumbled again.
Reluctantly admitting defeat, Orlando slowly rolled up into a sitting position.
The water came on in the bathroom, followed by a blare of music.
Orlando contemplated the bathroom door while scratching at the dried come on his belly. It was a dilemma. To actually witness a wet, soapy, naked Elijah with the possible added attraction of being the soap-applying agent in the wet, soapy, naked Elijah equation was right up there on Orlando's top ten perv list of Things He Wanted To Do To Elijah.
Only twenty minutes. Less, if Elijah wanted to actually get dry and dressed. Say twelve minutes, fifteen at the outside, if Elijah didn't mind being a bit damp around the edges. Not much time to get up a really good lather.
On the other hand, twelve to fifteen minutes might well be the only window of opportunity Orlando would ever get to tick the wet, soapy, naked Elijah item off his list.
With a determined set to his jaw, Orlando stood up. It wasn't exactly a dirty job, but he was still the man for it.
He snuck into the bathroom, wanting a little voyeuristic moment before Elijah realised he was there.
Elijah was a slippery not-quite-blur behind the rapidly fogging glass of the shower door. His hands were high, pushing wet hair off his forehead, and his body was a round, smooth lick waiting to happen under the pounding spray of the water.
Orlando didn't get hard again, but it was a close thing. He rested a soothing hand on his chest as his heart picked up the pace.
Elijah sensed the movement and turned. With a loud squee-squaw, he rubbed a patch of glass clear and pressed his face up against it, all squashed nose, big eyes, and lewd tongue wiggles.
Orlando snorted, the pressure in his chest easing. "Doofus."
"Come on then," Elijah said, pulling back from the glass and sliding the shower door open. "Before all the hot air gets out."
Orlando didn't wait to be asked twice. He took the three steps needed to get to the shower, and stepped in. Elijah closed the door behind him, then kept right on moving until Orlando was against the wall and they were sandwiched together.
"I've never done it in the shower before," Elijah said, pressing an open-mouthed kiss onto Orlando's neck.
His tongue was the exact temperature of the water.
Orlando shivered, wrapped his arms around Elijah and dropped his head until it rested on Elijah's shoulder. "I don't think today's gonna be your lucky day, either," he said, regretfully, trailing one hand up and down Elijah's side, lingering over the ripe swell of his arse. "It's gonna be a while before I'm up for anything."
"Yeah," said Elijah, biting Orlando's jaw. "Me too. Never thought I'd live to see the day."
"I'm pretty good with soap, though," Orlando offered, lifting one hand to the soap holder, but not quite able to reach.
"I thought you might be," Elijah said, ignoring Orlando's efforts to get to the soap. Instead, he tangled his wet fingers in Orlando's mohawk and tugged until they were mouth-to-mouth. "You know, I've never actually snogged in the shower either," he said, his lips a whisper-soft tickle against Orlando's. "In fact, I'm a total shower virgin."
Orlando forgot about the soap.
If Orlando had one regret about the last twelve hours, it was that there hadn't been anywhere near enough time spent kissing. And in particular, there had been nowhere near enough kissing initiated by Elijah. So he stood absolutely still as the water thundered onto the tiles and let Elijah make the tiny forward motion required to turn the teasing touch of lips into the hot, wet pressure of a kiss.
Elijah's mouth was slick and tense, pulling at Orlando's, sucking at the edge of his bottom lip until it was gripped in a firm bite, and then, just when the pressure was too much, Elijah let go and changed angles, going for the top lip this time. His tongue slid across Orlando's teeth and gums, probing up, tasting, teasing. Then he pulled away a little, and the warm, dull taste of water seeped into Orlando's mouth before Elijah renewed his attack, sweet and alive, tongue smooth and intimate against Orlando's palate. And Orlando's chest was burning as he kissed back, licking the gap between Elijah's front teeth, feeling the brush of Elijah's eyelashes against his skin, but who needed breath? Who needed a base element like oxygen when there were kisses like these filling his mouth, making his blood roar?
Restlessly, Orlando ran his fingers over water-smoothed skin, the hollows of ribs, the curve of a hip, around and down until his finger traced the hot crease between Elijah's arse cheeks.
Elijah came alive beneath his touch, purring and pushing back into Orlando's hand. "God, Orli, you get me so fucking hot."
Orlando took advantage of Elijah's backward shimmy and nudged him towards the soap dish. He managed to grab the soap just before they crashed into the far wall of the shower. But the angle was all wrong for what he wanted to do, his non-soapy hand pinned between Elijah's arse and the wall.
"Turn around," he ordered.
"Don't stop," said Elijah, pressing back harder than ever onto Orlando's hand.
"I don't intend to," said Orlando, managing to tug his pinned hand free. "I have a plan. Turn around, Elijah."
Elijah watched Orlando lather his hands, and then, without a word, turned around, folding both arms against the wall and resting his head against them.
For a moment, Orlando stood under the water and watched the flex and clench of Elijah's muscles as he impatiently shifted his weight from foot to foot. Then he stepped forward, licked the back of Elijah's neck, and slid his hand between Elijah's legs.
Elijah made a choked sound when Orlando's finger brushed over his balls and tensed, breathing raggedly, when Orlando slicked soap all the way up his arse, in one smooth glide.
"Again," said Elijah, as Orlando lingered for a moment to trace a soapy circle over the small of Elijah's back.
"Okay, okay." Orlando pressed down with his thumb this time, starting at Elijah's tail bone and pausing when he reached the tight pucker of Elijah's arse. He circled it, smearing lather onto the smooth skin.
"In," said Elijah, holding his whole body unnaturally still, "please, Orli."
Orlando pushed against the resistance until his thumb was gripped and squeezed by Elijah's muscles. He imagined what it would be like to slide his cock in there, and a wave of heat flashed across his skin, from his scalp right down to his toes. God. He almost regretted that last time on the bed with the lube. If they hadn't done that, he'd be able to find out what it was like to be inside Elijah, right now, and to hell with the consequences to his heart. A finger just wasn't enough. Orlando really, really wanted...
He stopped moving his thumb and licked his lips, wondering if Elijah would go for it.
"Harder," said Elijah, restless again, hips bucking a little. "Come on."
"Wait," said Orlando. "I have a better idea."
"Better than this?" Elijah asked, sceptically, and huffed out a disappointed breath as Orlando pulled his hand away.
"Yeah," said Orlando, slapping Elijah on the hip. "Come on, back up and let me rinse you off."
"Why?" asked Elijah, sounding mulish. "I haven't had enough of the soap yet. I like soap!"
"So do I," said Orlando. "But not in my mouth."
The shower suddenly sounded as loud as Niagra Falls.
Elijah turned around and stared at Orlando. He swallowed hard. "Jesus, Orli."
"We don't have to--"
"Yes," said Elijah. "We really do have to!"
"Right then." Orlando pulled Elijah under the water and between them, they somehow managed to get him rinsed off and propped back up against the wall.
Orlando sank down onto his knees, mouth watering. He leaned forward, nuzzling gently against Elijah's warm skin. Then, slowly, he spread Elijah wide and dipped his tongue in, circling around and around in an ever-decreasing spiral, until, finally, he was there. Right there.
Elijah quivered as Orlando licked the same spot, tongue gentle, over and over.
"Oh god," Elijah whispered, and then the sounds he made became muffled, as though he'd bitten down hard on his own arm.
Elijah tasted of soap and tap water and skin and just a little bitter and earthy. He felt hot and slick and shaky.
Orlando hardened his tongue and pressed in, letting Elijah's muscles grip and pull at him. Working back and forth, in and out. And now Elijah was more than shaky, he was sobbing, unable to keep back the sounds, his whole body jerking with each thrust of Orlando's tongue.
"Stop." The word was wrenched from Elijah. "Stop, Orli."
Orlando pulled back. "You don't like it?" he asked, wondering how he could have mistaken dislike for passion.
And then Elijah's knees gave way. He slipped against the tiles and fell back awkwardly, fell back onto Orlando, who caught him and held him tight. Elijah clutched back, still sobbing.
"Shh shh," Orlando murmured into the damp tendrils of Elijah's hair, running his hands soothingly up and down Elijah's arms. "It's okay."
"God, Orli," said Elijah, turning in Orlando's arms until they were face to face, the sobs dying away into occasional hiccoughs. "I have to be lying down before we do that again."
"Okay," Orlando agreed, more than relieved that it seemed to be passion after all. He'd never actually made anyone lose it like that before; he hadn't really believed it was possible. But now that he knew, he hoped he'd get another chance to do it to Elijah. Orlando trailed comforting kisses along the side of Elijah's chin. "Whatever you want, Lij."
Elijah raised both hands to cup Orlando's face. "I want you to do that again," he said, eyes bright with desire and left-over tears. "I want you to stay tonight. Please stay. Say you will."
How had they reached this point so quickly? Orlando wasn't quite sure, but he found that it was impossible to refuse Elijah while he was begging so prettily to be fucked.
"I'll stay," he agreed, and closed his eyes as Elijah leaned in to kiss him, feeling dizzy with affection.
The loungeroom was still a total disaster area. They were all crowded around the tiny island of clean they'd made, with the pizzas Elijah had insisted they order on the coffee table in the middle. The decision to eat before cleaning up was one that Orlando was totally behind.
Sean was staring at Orlando in amazement, a half-eaten piece of pizza held, forgotten, in his hand.
Orlando stuffed yet another slice into his mouth, ignoring Sean. He couldn't seem to get full, and he knew he'd need his energy for later... because he was going to get a chance to make another of his Top Ten pervy Elijah fantasies come true!
"So," said Dom, who'd stopped trying to match Orlando three slices ago. "What did you guys get up to last night?"
Billy wiggled his eyebrows. "Other than the non-stop sex olympics, that is."
Orlando didn't falter, knowing that Elijah would have some ready answer that diffused Billy's half-sincere innuendo. He took another huge bite of pizza, wondering what it would taste like if he ate it off Elijah's belly. He added the thought to his list of Things To Do Later.
"If you are implying that Orlando and I spent the night fucking each other, Billy," said Elijah, his tone an icy one Orlando had never heard him use before, "then I'm shocked and offended."
There was a surprised silence. Orlando forgot to chew, staring at Elijah, heart pounding. This wasn't the light-hearted misdirection he'd expected. What was Elijah thinking?
"Lij?" said Billy, frowning. "I didn't mean--"
"Our love is entirely pure," said Elijah, with a look too pious to be believed, "beyond the petty urges of weak flesh." He fluttered his eyelashes at Orlando.
The pizza suddenly tasted like cardboard in Orlando's mouth. He had only acquired his current Number One Pervy Elijah Fantasy a few hours ago. It involved Elijah publicly declaring his love for the first time, and maybe that was sappy, but it had never occurred to Orlando, not in his wildest moments of insecurity, that it would be fulfilled by Elijah the afternoon after they’d had sex for the first time… as a joke.
Dom cracked out a sharp laugh. Sean relaxed, the momentary tension leaving his shoulders.
Billy grinned in relief. "Okay, you had me going there for a second, Lij."
Orlando somehow managed to swallow without gagging, and, because Sean was looking at him again, he forced himself to take another bite, even though all the pizza he'd eaten was lying heavy in his stomach.
The happy anticipation of a moment ago was gone, because Orlando knew what was coming next, and he couldn't understand why Elijah had played it this way. He'd never suspected Elijah of having a sadistic streak before, but now he wondered.
"So," said Dom, winking at Orlando, "when's the wedding?"
"Oh Dom, I never thought you'd ask," Orlando replied by rote, feeling weighed down not only by the lead-lined-cardboard pizza, but by the inevitable knowledge that no matter what he said, for the rest of the day it was going to be endless jokes about how fucking pure his love was.
Orlando's garbage bag was full. He tied it off and looked around at the only slightly diminished mess.
"We're gonna need more bags," said Sean, as Orlando passed by on his way to lean his full bag next to the front door.
Orlando nodded. "I'll go," he said, making sure his bag wasn't about to topple over and re-make the mess, the way Dom's first bag had.
"Give Elijah a kiss for me while you're in there," said Dom, over the roar of the vacuum. "But hands off Billy. I have him on a dirty love diet."
"Yeah, yeah," Orlando muttered, flipping him a two-finger salute.
He went through to the kitchen, and headed straight for the garbage-bag drawer, having done clean-up duty often enough to know it by heart.
"...what about Cameron Diaz?" Billy was asking, while vigorously sudsing a dirty chip bowl. "She can't really be that hot in the flesh."
Orlando wished Billy wasn't there, so that he could have a moment alone with Elijah. He still had the taste of cardboard in his mouth, but he knew a few of Elijah's kisses would solve that problem. And, after all, he had instructions from Dom.
He tried to come up with some believable reason for luring Elijah into the laundry.
"I've never really met her to talk to," said Elijah, tea-towelling a coffee mug.
Orlando smiled fondly at Elijah's back, and then turned to fossick in the drawer for the Super Big, Super Tough bags that he knew were in there somewhere.
Maybe there was a load of tea-towels to wash, and Elijah could show him how to set the washing machine? No. Too lame.
"Sometimes I think you're heterosexually challenged, Lij. It's Cameron Diaz," said Billy, with a suggestive wave of the sponge. "Who wants to talk!"
"Well… tall and athletic just isn't my type," Elijah said, as he put the mug away. "But you know who I have met..." He made his own exaggerated waving gesture with his tea-towel-free hand. It was a wave full of lewd, female curves. "...Drew Barrymore. I swear, she's a walking hard-on waiting to happen."
"Yeah, I'd believe that," said Billy. He half-turned to face Orlando. "Have you seen Poison Ivy, Orli?"
"Sure," said Orlando, pulling out the packet of garbage bags and slamming the drawer shut with an unnecessary amount of violence. "Who fucking hasn't?"
"Uh oh," said Billy as Orlando left the kitchen. "Look's like there's trouble in pure-love paradise, Lij."
Whatever it was that Elijah said in reply caused Billy to burst into laughter. Orlando could hear it all the way into the loungeroom, even over Dom's vacuuming.
He tossed the packet onto the coffee table and headed for the front door.
"I'll take these ones out," he said to Sean, gesturing at the full bags. He opened the door, hefted four bags--athletically--and escaped into the cool, rainy afternoon air.
He dumped the rubbish bags into the bin, pushed them down so there'd be room for the next lot and closed the lid.
When he was done, Orlando turned and looked back at the house. He stood, feeling the gentle tug of the rain against his scalp, hearing a sudden gust of laughter borne to him by a flurry of wind. And he couldn't move. Couldn't take one single step back up the path towards the house.
It was all too much. Elijah's bedroom was a bomb site, wrecked by the explosion of their lust, and if anyone looked at it for even a moment, they'd know. Know exactly what had happened between them. But, of course, no one would look at the bedroom's unmistakable truth. Why should they, when Elijah was telling brilliant, cardboard-tasting lies of fake true love, and his maybe-not-lies about pretty girls?
Orlando hadn't let himself think about what it would be like to actually be with Elijah, but if he had, he would have known that there would be secrets and lies. And, all in all, he could have lived with that. Sneaking around wasn't too high a price to pay for having Elijah. But that realisation wasn't what was stopping his feet from walking back up the path towards the house.
No. It was something simpler: a deep-in-his-gut sense of vertigo. A sudden, unreasoning fear of heights.
Because it was one thing to take a leap of faith in the exhilarating knowledge that you were held safe by an unbreakable bond, but it was another thing altogether to willingly fall knowing that you were going to smash when you hit the bottom.
Standing there in the rain, away from the glittering seduction of Elijah's eyes, Orlando knew, deep in his gut, that sooner or later he was going to smash.
He was in freefall, had been for months, falling deeper and deeper in love with Elijah. And he'd naively thought that Elijah might eventually feel something too, that there could be a connection between them. A bond that would keep his heart safe. He'd let himself half-believe that, right up until Elijah had opened his mouth and lied about pure love, as though it were a joke, making it quite clear that whatever else Elijah was feeling right now, it wasn't love. Nothing even close to love.
Orlando's nerve broke.
He ran for his car, splashing through the shallow puddles forming on the driveway. Dug his keys out of his pocket, dropped them, grabbed them back up with shaking hands, got the car door open and threw himself in. With a grinding protest the engine turned over and he was driving, driving. The rain was beating down hard, suddenly, and the road was a blur, so he flipped the wipers on high, and they squee-squawed over the glass like Elijah's hand wiping away shower mist, and it wasn't making any difference at all, because the rain was still there, filling his eyes and making the whole world seem dim and far away.
He drove on automatic pilot, unaware of anything around him except the rain, and, half-an-hour later, when he finally pulled up in his own driveway, Orlando was vaguely surprised that he'd managed to get home without ending up crashed somewhere along the way.
An hour after the phone stopped ringing, there was a knock at the door. Orlando wondered, dully, which one of them it was. Sean, come to lecture him, or Billy and Dom come to joke him back into good humour.
He opened the door to find Elijah standing on the porch, shoulders hunched, hands shoved deep into his pockets, looking small, cold, and obscenely young.
The silence between them was a tangible thing, like some multi-armed special-effects creature from the movie. It had one of its tentacles stuffed deep in Orlando's throat, and Elijah looked equally uncomfortable, opening his mouth but letting out only a puff of breath, visible in the chill evening air.
"Fuck's sake," Orlando managed at last, and even though a small, bitter part of him wanted to slam the door shut in Elijah's face, he couldn't make himself do it. He stepped back, opening the door up in silent invitation.
Elijah sidled in, careful not to make body contact.
Orlando closed the door and turned to face Elijah, who was standing in the middle of the room, staring down at the carpet. Orlando rubbed at his face, wondering how red his eyes were. He felt completely inadequate in the face of this impending conversation. He knew Elijah was going to ask why he'd left, and he had absolutely no idea how to begin explaining that he was a jealous, love-sick idiot.
"God, I'm such a dick," Elijah said, looking miserable. "I'm so sorry, Orli."
That... wasn't the script Orlando had been expecting. "What?"
"I knew everything I was saying was wrong, but I just couldn't seem to stop." Elijah looked up. His face was still pale with cold, and his eyes looked big enough to swim in. "You were so cool about it all, and I wanted to be too, but I just..." he pulled his hands out of his pockets and wrapped them around his chest. "It felt really weird listening to Billy and Dom's gay jokes after what we..." His eyes dropped back down to the carpet.
Dammit. How was Orlando meant to find a way to say, "Stop, I want to get off," when Elijah was being all... vulnerable.
"I guess I over-compensated," Elijah said. "I'm sorry."
Looking at Elijah, it occurred to Orlando that maybe he'd been expecting too much. Sometimes it was easy to forget how young Elijah really was, and, despite the vertigo still tugging at him, he just couldn't stay angry when Elijah was so obviously upset.
Orlando gave in. "Okay," he said, wondering if it ever really would be.
Elijah smiled and took a step forward. Then stopped, the smile dimming. "Okay, you forgive me and we can go back to being friends? Or okay, you forgive me and we can have sex again?"
Orlando snorted. Yep. That was the Elijah he knew and loved. Never content with an inch if he could take a continent. "I thought you said you felt weird about it."
"No." Elijah shook his head. "I felt weird about Billy and Dom's jokes..."
"Join the fucking club," Orlando said, remembering his own reaction to recent jokes.
"... but sex with you is definitely not something I'd put in the weird category," said Elijah, taking another step closer. "Maybe in the so-hot-I'm-about-to-have-a-heart-attack category."
Orlando flashed back to the feel of Elijah's lubed cock against his own and shivered.
Elijah seemed to think that was an invitation and closed the distance between them, one hand out, reaching to touch Orlando.
Orlando dodged, putting up his own hand, waving Elijah back. "Stop."
Elijah stopped, frowning. "You don't want to?"
And now that it was crunch time, Orlando found that he couldn't do it. Couldn't play safe and say "No" to Elijah while he was standing there, all gorgeous and half turned-on and wanting Orlando.
The question was, could there be a way to have Elijah and still lessen this horrible feeling of vertigo?
"I want to," Orlando replied, voice rough with the truth of it. "But what I want even more is to see if we can stay friends as well. Because once this has burned out," he waved at the palpable sexual tension between them, "we'll still have to work together."
"Publicity's going to go on for fucking years, Lij," Orlando said. "Just stop and think about how crappy that could be."
Slowly, Elijah nodded. "Not to mention the weird Dom and Billy factor."
"Yeah," said Orlando. "I could definitely forgo a repeat of today's performance."
And this time, to Orlando's vast relief, it was Elijah who gave in, a look of guilt flashing across his face.
"So, what's the plan, then?" Elijah asked. "We only fuck on alternate Sundays or something?"
Orlando shrugged, feeling too exhausted to come up with something clever. "Let's just see if we can watch a video and have something to eat without it turning X-rated and worry about the rest tomorrow."
"Alright," Elijah said, walking over to the couch and plonking himself down. "You can pick the movie." Then, with a dramatic shudder, "But not a romance, okay? 'Cause that would be totally wrong for two guys just hanging out. And not porn either. That's just asking for trouble."
"Quite finished?" Orlando asked, opening up his video cabinet.
Elijah nodded, shucked off his shoes and tucked his feet up on the couch in his usual video-watching sprawl.
Right. Not porn. Not a romance. Orlando could do this.
He put on the first big, dumb action film that came to hand, and went to join Elijah on the couch.
After an hour-and-a-half of staring fixedly at the TV screen--and just as Bruce Willis was machine-gunning a bunch of bad guys--Orlando risked a look at Elijah.
He was curled up at the other end of the couch, eyes closed, breathing in the deep, even rhythm of sleep. Given how little either of them had slept the night before, Orlando wasn't terribly surprised. He let himself look his fill while he had the chance.
In the flickering light Elijah looked perfect.
Like a doll.
Orlando wondered when he'd ever get over it, this pervy Elijah-doll fixation he had.
Maybe... terrifying thought... it was permanent. A fetish born out of earliest childhood that would never be exorcised.
The nearest of Elijah's hands lay in a sleep-curled invitation. Orlando reached over and slipped his beneath it, gently twining his fingers with Elijah's so that their hands rested together comfortably on Elijah's thigh.
"I don't think that counts as a friendship thing," said Elijah, blinking sleepily.
"It's not X-rated though, is it?" Orlando pointed out.
"True," said Elijah. He tightened his fingers around Orlando's and let his eyes slide closed again. A little smile played around his lips as he drifted back to sleep.
Orlando stared at their entwined hands for a long time, while in the background Bruce Willis totally unexpectedly killed all the bad guys, rescued the heroine and saved the universe.
Orlando woke up some time deep in the night. The TV glowed at him bluely, revealing that the other end of the couch was empty of Elijah. He leaned forward and found that Elijah's shoes were still lying higgledy piggledy on the floor.
He got up and went on the prowl.
Orlando found Elijah in the kitchen, sitting over a bowl of soggy cereal, a dripping spoon forgotten in his hand as he read a book propped up against the fruit bowl.
"That must be some book," said Orlando, getting out a bowl and sitting down. He poured himself a serve of cornflakes.
Elijah blushed until he glowed as red as the apples sitting in the fruit bowl.
Orlando paused, one hand on the milk carton, as he realised what Elijah must be reading. He leaned over the table and lifted up the corner of the book, until he could see the title: The Gay Kama Sutra.
Elijah ate his mouthful of soggy cereal, feigning casualness as Orlando gently lowered the book back into its place.
"So," said Orlando, pouring milk over his cereal. "What do you think?"
Elijah shrugged. "The plot's weak, but it'll come in handy if I ever want to create lewd tableaux of action figures."
Orlando laughed, spilling milk onto the table. "That's incredibly unhelpful information."
"Yeah," Elijah agreed, scooping up another bite of limp cornflakes. "I know."
They smiled at each other, and Orlando started to think that maybe things were going to be okay after all. He reached over to the sink for a sponge.
"Reading this..." Elijah pointed at the book with his spoon. "I've had a thought."
"Sounds dangerous," said Orlando, dropping the sponge onto the milk spill. "What kind of thought?"
"About those alternate Sundays of ours," Elijah said. "I think we should do the book. Everything, from A to Z."
"What?" said Orlando. "Like homework? Isn't that a bit..." he trailed off with the word anal still on his tongue. Anal. Which started with A.
"Fun?" Elijah suggested. "Hot? Decadent? Sexy?"
Orlando slowly dug a scoop of cereal out of his bowl, thinking it over. "On one condition," he said, biting into still-crunchy cornflakes.
"What?" Elijah asked, dropping all pretence of eating his own soggy mush.
"We do it in reverse order," said Orlando. "Z to A."
"Actually, I don't think there is a Z." Elijah pushed his bowl away and picked up the book, flipping to the back. He glanced at the last page and then looked up at Orlando, one eyebrow quirked. "You want to start with Water Sports?"
Orlando refused to feel embarrassed. Elijah clearly wasn't going to give Orlando his heart's desire. So if Elijah was going to get what he wanted, then Orlando was damned well going to have a whole bloody alphabet worth of hot sex first. It was only fair.
"You're the one who's the completist wanting to do everything," Orlando pointed out. "Besides, I've already had my tongue in your bum." He shrugged, scooping up another spoonful of cereal. "What's kinky after that?"
"Good point." Elijah snapped the book shut. "Okay, reverse alphabetical it is." He stood up and walked around the table. When he reached Orlando, he pushed the cornflake-loaded spoon away from Orlando's mouth, and leaned down, sealing the deal with a kiss.
It wasn't a bad deal, Orlando thought, even though he knew that he was going to have to keep his mouth fully occupied if he wanted to be sure that the words, "I love you," didn't slip out when his guard was down.
But even though the deal didn't have any place for love in it, Orlando had still figured out how to say "I love you" to someone who didn't want to hear it.
He imagined, as he kissed Elijah back, that the words were like braille, etched in his mouth, and that he was speaking them, silently, onto Elijah's tongue with every intimate slip of his own.