Gift fic for [ profile] vampirebitch!

Dec. 25th, 2015 09:30 am
[identity profile] posting in [community profile] viggorli_xmas
title: the prince in the tower
Gift fic for: [ profile] vampirebitch
Author: will be revealed on 2016/01/01

summary: Orlando cancels his plans with Viggo. It's not unusual, in their line of work, but it worries Viggo nonetheless, especially once he's had time to think about it..
rating: nc-17
disclaimer: they belong to themselves, not real.
note: The RSC are actually putting Hamlet on next year, so I put Orlando in Richard III instead. In this story, they're trying to capitalise on the whole skeleton thing and it's a bit of a rush to get in before the BBC movie next year; ergo, a current-day AU in which they've been casual relationship since NZ, with doses of h/c and angst.

Viggo was surprised, to say the least, when Orlando called. It was not something that they talked about, or that they openly shared, but Viggo had been under the impression that Orlando treasured their times together as much as he did, though lately they had done more sleeping than anything. Orlando's call was short and to the point - he'd been offered work, he had to take it, and he wouldn't be able to make it to Idaho in six weeks as they'd planned, and didn't know when he could reschedule.

It was no real slight on Viggo, nor did it put him out; he had freedom enough that he was able to change plans at a whim, and if he did not spend his break in Idaho, he could easily spend it wherever Orlando was, or take the time to relax on his own, restoring balance to himself. That was something he sorely needed, and he didn't think much of Orlando's call for days after, for these things happened occasionally, and it was not the first time.

On his own, though, and with time, Viggo became restless. Idaho was not the sanctuary it once was, and it wasn't the same without the horses; he had not been able to bring himself to replace them, and it was quiet without them, in the way that an absence feels like a void that cannot be filled, even after time.

It was out of that void, and not without a dose of curiosity, that Viggo set about finding out what had Orlando so busy, and out of contact for so long. Contrary to the belief of many, he was perfectly able to find Orlando's information online, and follow a trail through forum comments and news articles to find what he needed. He felt a bit awkward looking through the forums, though he knew that the women posting about what they would do to Orlando were no threat; it seemed to violate some of the boundaries he had set between the fans and his private life, and he wondered what Orlando would say to some of the posts. He might laugh, and set Viggo's mind at ease, or find inspiration in one of the comments and distract him from his concerns.

Instead, it appeared that Orlando had taken up the offer from the Royal Shakespeare Company and had dropped out of the realm of the paparazzi. It had been a dream of Orlando's to perform <i>Hamlet</i>, so Viggo couldn't fault him for taking the chance, though it was beyond him why he wouldn't share the news; he had called Viggo and almost squealed when he was offered Romeo. Instead, Viggo realised that Orlando had sounded a good deal more distressed; what he had taken as disappointment may well have been anxiety, a thing he knew Orlando dealt with privately, or stress.

Viggo had seen Orlando drive himself to an overworked mess more than once, and he determined that, since he was on his own time, that he would surprise Orlando. Not only would he see for himself whether Orlando was well, and allay some of his own guilt for not being as observant as he once was, but he would perhaps spend some time in London on his own pursuits before travelling on to Madrid.

Viggo booked plane tickets, and then, on a whim, looked at the site for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He couldn't place what was niggling at the back of his mind; they normally prepared their productions years in advance, and while it was not unusual that Orlando might have been required immediately, if only for promotional materials and for the cast to be assembled around him, the more Viggo replayed the conversation in his mind, the more something seemed to be off.

He found his reason on the first page he looked at - Orlando's headshot, above 'Now Showing' and a ticket link for <i>Richard III</i>.

"Oh no," Viggo said, and changed his flights. He didn't need to pack much; he could get to Madrid and back in a day if he needed more than fit in his old backpack, the one that had seen him through from New Zealand and all his travels in between.


Orlando had always struggled with finding his characters, though by the time he reached a set, most people watching would never be able to tell. Sometimes he needed a nudge towards his way in - a thing he identified with that he could build on, or a new perspective that allowed him to understand the character and find his way in. However, having generally played characters who were good, or not outwardly bad, Orlando had called Viggo, in a similar way, when he'd been cast in The Three Musketeers. Viggo had talked him through the process; it was no different of course, but Orlando kept looking for his charm in the wrong place. Viggo's own process was so different that he had thought he couldn't help, but when Orlando had found it, after a few days of transatlantic calls that left Viggo exhausted, as if he had jetlag from a trip he hadn't taken, he had said that talking to someone who didn't think he was stupid was the thing that had helped the most.

Viggo cursed himself for not noticing at once. But, if Orlando hadn't chosen to come to him, he supposed he should respect that.

It was the last thing he intended to do.


Viggo didn't remember much about the stage. There were things that stayed with him, of course - the smell of theatre makeup, the heat of the lights, the absolute darkness at the front of house, the adrenaline that was the only thing getting him from mark to mark as him replayed everything in your mind while waiting for his cue. He hadn't enjoyed it, mainly because it was repetitive; one finished telling the story and then ripped all the pieces apart in order to do it again the next day, and the next. It was limiting, confining in a way that even film was not; once it was done and polished on camera, it was done, and if something needed to be changed, he could come to it as if it were the first time, or slipping back into place to find a different way through. Theatre was stagnant; once it was rehearsed, it had to be the same, again and again, even if the energy changed. He could not be on stage and be his character, and understand that this was the right way, because it had been written and set in stone years before, and had to be the same for each audience. With film, it was the same, because the audience saw the one performance, which by then he was distant from; on stage, he had to make an effort to be consistent, and it meant he could not fully settle in character.

If Orlando was truly anxious, Viggo could well understand it. Unfortunately, he could now do nothing but be there to pick up the pieces; he would arrive, if the airlines cooperated, with time enough to get a taxi to the theatre for the final night. He would just have time to slip in and find his seat before first curtain, and Orlando would not even know he was there.

It seemed, though, that that was how Orlando preferred it.


For once, Viggo found events fell in his favour; his flight was early enough that he had time to change in an airport bathroom and a taxi was waiting at the stand just as he reached it. He was able to find his seat without disturbing anyone and was not recognised, although with his beard and his hair the way it was and still messy from the flight, he was both unsurprised and grateful. This was the other thing Viggo disliked about the theatre; he would be required to sit still for a good two hours. Some people he knew could get away with doing something small with their hands; one woman he knew knitted, and if anyone told her off she showed them a pre-typed note explaining that she had a medical condition and needed to keep her hands busy, but Viggo had no such excuse and would hate to lie about it just to relieve the stillness that had been so bothering him. He read the program, noting how carefully it avoided naming a main actor, and catching a nail on the cast page where it had been glued in, and he tried to comb his hair out of his eyes with his fingers. The lights dimmed, however, and he sat on his hands; he did not expect to be so instantly captivated, and he wished for a pencil, though he would be able to capture this image from memory later, if he wished. Orlando was transformed on stage; the production was traditional, as far as Viggo could tell, and Orlando was stooped, even his face contorted, and for a moment Viggo thought he was looking at someone else, and that Orlando would come on later, in another role.

He no longer had trouble being still, for he forgot to even breathe, until there was silence in the theatre, and Orlando shuffled from centre stage.


Viggo found fate again smiling on him; one of the stagehands greeted him with a smile guided him to Orlando's dressing room without even being asked, though Viggo had been prepared for pictures and a bribe. "We gave him one to himself; he seemed to need it, poor thing. He'll be so glad you came!" she said, before dashing off. Viggo had committed what seemed to be a cardinal sin - that of sneaking out before the applause and curtain calls had finished - if the reactions of those whom he slipped past had been any guide. He had, however, beaten Orlando to his room, and been able to get backstage without having to push through a crowd, or being caught on camera.

The dressing room was sparse; unusually so, Viggo thought, for Orlando would have been using it for several weeks. Orlando had had some hand in decorating their make-up trailer in New Zealand, and was known to be something of a hoarder. Though the play would not have given him much time to find things that sparked his interest enough to keep them, there should have been something more than street clothes, a script, and alternate costumes to show that this was Orlando's room. His personality seemed absent, somehow, as if this were a room for passing through. Viggo nearly checked for a secret passage behind the mirror, but stopped himself when he noticed that what he had thought was a couch was actually made up as a bed. Orlando wasn't the type to be so consumed that he needed to sleep at the theatre, though Viggo suspected the creative team behind the Company had seen a lot more committed than even himself, and would not have stepped in had Orlando followed in his wake. The answer was revealed when Viggo straightened the blankets, intent on making room to sit, and found an electric heat pack between them. He pictured Orlando again, sketching the main lines in his mind as if he were preparing a portrait, and as he traced over the stoop of Orlando's back with his mental 4H, he understood.

He found an outlet under the mirror with a charger already on it, and set the heat pack to warming. Orlando would need it, and tonight, he would not have to wait as long.

"Viggo," Orlando said, sounding tired and out of breath. Though he had used a microphone, he would still have had to project his voice, and it would have been tough with the prosthetic only allowing him limited breath.

"Don't have to talk," Viggo said. "Just, let me, okay?" Orlando pushed past him and seemed to fold in on himself before settling on the bed. Viggo closed the door and latched it with a makeshift wire and nail contraption that seemed jerry-rigged for privacy. Orlando grunted behind him, and when Viggo turned, his arms were contorted, apparently in an effort to start removing the costume.

"I said, let me," Viggo said. He deliberately dug up a memory of Aragorn and New Zealand as he said it, hoping that some of it would slip through and trigger something in Orlando that would let him relax, but it didn't seem to work. Instead, he struggled more, and Viggo had to untangle his arms from the tunic before he unlaced it. The prosthetic was tied around Orlando's chest and secured with tape and Velcro. Mindful that it may need to be used again, Viggo ripped the tape carefully, but Orlando's own struggles split the Velcro and Viggo was able to lift it away. Orlando was feeling around on the bed, and then he seemed to flop, unable to hold himself up, when he glanced towards the outlet.

"You're really here," he said, to which Viggo nodded.

"We had plans," Viggo said. "I didn't have anything else to do."

Orlando nodded, his eyes closed. There was enough always unsaid between them that it was enough; Viggo had kept their time free, in case, and had bothered to come when Orlando could not come to him. That was how it was; nothing more, nothing less than a relationship kept on an even and familiar keel, grounding them both.

There was a beep, and Viggo was distracted by a light on the table. Orlando groaned and rolled over, and Viggo, as if no time had passed, retrieved the heat pack and lined it up with the worst of the scarring, knowing from experience where the pain would be. Orlando was resolute on his rule about pills, and Viggo knew there would be none in the dressing room. Orlando would only take them at home, and therefore, at Viggo's, where it could be relied upon that he would not need to move once the lethargy hit. Orlando's body needed the help, though, so Viggo had to get him home. He would have to brave a taxi again, most likely; Orlando was in no condition for public transport, and it was unlikely that Orlando had driven here.

"I can hear you thinking," Orlando said, without moving. "Stop thinking," he said. "Someone will let me know when I can go." The tell-tale slur of Orlando's words had Viggo rethinking his assessment of Orlando's discipline, and after only a few seconds, he found Orlando's pills in a drawer, and water in a mini-fridge hidden in a cabinet.

"There's a driver to get me home," Orlando said. "He's not you, though." Viggo wanted to ask why, but he knew the answer; it would be the same as his own, if he had the chance and been in Orlando's position.

"Take them," Viggo said. Orlando sat up, holding the heat pack on his back. He took the pill bottle and a water and, as if he was as used to it as he had been in New Zealand, swallowed two pills at once.

He was asleep when Viggo carried him up the stairs to his flat.


Orlando stumbled into the kitchen long after the sun had set the next evening. Viggo had expected that Orlando may even sleep through the night, but he had prepared enough food for the both of them, intending to have Orlando's share ready for him to heat up on his own. Instead, Orlando ate it almost mechanically when Viggo set the plate in front of him; in fact, Viggo suspects he didn't even taste it, only chewed and swallowed from habit. The entire plate was empty before Viggo finished with his own, though Viggo had only given Orlando a small portion, having remembered that Orlando's appetite was one of the things the pills took away.

He stood to put the dishes in the kitchen and the rest of his in the fridge, but Orlando grabs his wrist, loosely, but with a grip strong enough to catch Viggo's attention and stop him taking the plate from in front of Orlando.

"Please, Viggo," Orlando says, and it seemed to Viggo as if the last of the role had worn away, and without it Orlando seemed both younger and more vulnerable, as if all the time between them hadn't passed.

"Okay, Orlando," he said, because he didn't know what else to say. "Okay."

He followed Orlando back to the bedroom, slowly, for Orlando was leaning on the walls as he walked, but Viggo hung back; Orlando would ask if he wanted help, and if he was honest with himself, he was grateful that Orlando didn't ask. It felt a bit less opportunistic if Orlando was able to make it to the bed on his own, and was able to ask for what he wanted. Indeed, the scenario was not unfamiliar; Viggo had followed Orlando like this several times in New Zealand, and once or twice since, and it was always the same. Viggo looked after Orlando until he was strong enough to ask, and after the first few times, the words didn't need to be said.

It was reassuring to Viggo, in a way, that Orlando still wanted this from him; it was something he could do for Orlando that nobody else did, and it relied on an understanding between them that had developed over time. Orlando had spent years, even before they met, being more than what his body dictated, and when it got too much, he needed to be reminded that there was more than just the pain. Viggo had learned to accept that sometimes Orlando's body wouldn't be responsive; that sometimes he would be the one doing the touching, the only one to be hard, and to internalise that it didn't mean Orlando wasn't interested. It meant that Orlando's body wasn't in the same mood as his mind, which was very much present and interested. Orlando had explained, once, that same night that they chased the moon, that when it was like this, he needed it more; it was a physical and tangible reminder that there was more than the pain, and even if he didn't come, and even if it hurt too much to be touched in some ways, he still felt something beyond it. It was what helped Orlando overcome it, time and time again.

It was why, when Viggo had put enough of the pieces together to know that Orlando might be strained, that he had come.

Orlando lay on the bed, carefully adjusting his spine until he could lie with the least pain, when Viggo entered, having detoured for a glass of water, a straw and Orlando's pills.
"Don't be a hero," Viggo said, and Orlando snorted.

"Haven't been, really," he said, but he opened his mouth to let Viggo feed him the pills and water.

"That may be true," Viggo said. Orlando had certainly played against type quite well, and Viggo was in no doubt that he had used the pain to do so. "But you don't have to do that either. Just let me," he said.

Orlando did; he didn't resist when Viggo moved his arms and pulled the worn t-shirt off, leaving him naked on the bed. He only adjusted again while Viggo stripped, wincing as he did.

"I won't last long," he said.

"Don't need it," Viggo said. He crawled onto the bed and snuggled beside Orlando, carefully stretching his legs out so he didn't bump Orlando. The blanket had been shoved to the side and was easy to pull over them. Orlando made a sound that could have been disappointed, as if he'd expected Viggo to kneel between his legs. "I got you," Viggo said, and he traced patterns on Orlando's chest until he'd settled, and his eyes were half-closed. He was close enough that when touching Orlando's skin began to affect him, he could easily rub against Orlando's side.

"I want it," Orlando said, after a while, when Viggo had worked his way down close enough that his hand occasionally brushed below Orlando's hips. While Viggo was near the point where he could come, Orlando was only half hard, at best; it was enough, though, that Viggo could wrap his hand around Orlando. He was gentle as he slid his hand up and down the shaft, in time with his own movements, until they grew erratic. Orlando shivered, and mumbled something which Viggo didn't quite understand. He pushed himself up on his other arm, though it was nearly dead from having lain on it, and looked down at Orlando. His eyes were closed, and, finally, some of the furrows had eased from his forehead.

Viggo sighed, and slipped out of the bed to clean himself up.

Orlando would pay it back, in time; he always did. For now, though, Viggo wanted to draw, before he got drawn into the stillness again, and with Orlando there, chose not to leave.
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