He is honestly surprised that they have managed to keep going this long, and Sean Bean is not a man who is often surprised. Somehow, though, in a world where he cannot even go down to the pub without the Daily Mail commenting on his clothes (and who puts on a suit and shaves to go to the pub to watch the footie, really), they can do this in his own bloody house and nobody gives a hoot.
"They're not interested in me," Viggo says, about just waltzing through Heathrow like it's Moria all over again without the running and the jumping and a bunch of green screens round the place. Now that may be true, but he's sure that they'd be interested in what Viggo had in his bag, if they had looked in it. Viggo is quite the collector.
"Just us this year," he said when Viggo had arrived on his doorstep (no need for a doorbell when you're waiting right there). He could say he imagined the slight smile on Viggo's face, but he'd put it down to the idea of sleeping in a bed for sixteen hours, which is what Viggo went and bloody did.
Sean drank the wine by himself that night; no point letting it sit once it's open, of course. Though attendance has been dropping off - the first year, their little reunion had twenty men and filled not only his house but half a bed and breakfast down the road, the owners of which had politely requested he not suggest a repeat of that weekend.
Apparently, something about leather upsets people. The thing is, when you've been that close to someone, for so long, you don't just let it go.
Viggo certainly doesn't let go. He's quite tenacious, could probably hold on during an earthquake (he's glad they didn't test that out during filming), but that's not what he's doing now. Apparently a rested Viggo is also a relentless Viggo and he will not stop, not even to let Sean catch his breath. Ordinarily, he wouldn't mind - Viggo has this knack for rhythm that means the pain never starts to fade; the blows overlap and instead slowly build until they overtake everything but the warmth Viggo's hand leaves behind.
Ordinarily, it's enough; today, it's not. He can still hear the birds making all sorts of racket in his garden and he knows that the milkman will drive past on his way home in forty five minutes and distract him unless he's so far down he isn't listening. Viggo stops.
"You need more, don't you?"
And that's why he loves that Viggo can do this, and the reason he does this every year even if he's supposed to be off in Morocco getting shot at again. It's not that he lucked into a group of friends that understand, or that they can guarantee discretion.
It's that he doesn't have to bloody ask for what he wants because Viggo knows him well enough to not need it all written down and signed in cor-damned triplicate before touching him just like that, with the heel of his palm putting just the right amount of pressure on his spine and sliding up until that hand is on his neck and kneading at the tension there.
"I got you," Viggo says, and shows him the new toy. Last year it was a whip, and he said no and locked himself in his room until Viggo promised he wouldn't use it like that.
This year it's just a flogger, nothing special, but Viggo says he had it custom made just for him.
Sean has a moment where he thinks Viggo probably killed a deer and tanned the leather himself, but then his whole body feels like it's in ice and on fire at the same time and he forgets how to make sounds that come out as words.
It's across his shoulders and then back over the last of the marks from before and he can feel it working its way under the skin and spreading until they're melded together and cover him like a warm fluffy blanket. He closes his eyes and sees only nothing; hears only a snap every three seconds and this could last forever.
"Lie on your side for me." Viggo helps him roll and touches him. His voice is quiet, like from far away, but he knows it's just for him and nobody else can hear even the echoes.
He didn't know he needed it until Viggo was there in front of him. It fades and grows smaller and more intense until he has to and he screams it into the silence; then he's warm and a new kind of relaxed, where nothing matters but the way Viggo keeps moving against him.
He shifts his arm, puts his hand down between them but Viggo pushes it away.
He opens his eyes and sees Viggo's head thrown back, his eyes closed; he hears Viggo say something but he's not sure what.
Then it doesn't matter because Viggo looks into him and sees something, he's not sure how he finally asks for one thing for himself, but Viggo knows that this kiss, as short as it is, is what he needed for right now.
"Reckon we should invite some of the new ones next year, what do you say?" he asks after, when he's been lying still enough that he could probably sleep if it weren't the middle of the day. Viggo's been up, moved around a bit doing who knows what, but is back and lying on his back. There's seventy six cracks in the ceiling, probably some of them have an interesting shape; could be that or just a thought that won't go away.
"I liked this." Viggo's voice is still quiet but it's clear now, still only for him but only in this room, he thinks.
"How about we don't wait a year, then," he says, instead of protesting about new blood and old traditions and how he'd really like to be shown off to someone who hasn't been caught up a mountain with him but might just understand anyway.
Viggo's asleep, but that's probably a yes.