merry slashmas to aelane, whom I angsted over delivering to because she does plot so much better than I can. she wanted nothing but a happy ending, and I hope there is one. kisses for sparcck, just cos.
"'An ontology of dudeness'?"
"Mmm?" Billy looks up. Dom thinks it is probably not so much at the sound of his voice, rather, his looming shadow, which is, in Merry-garb, very looming.
"There's being keen on surfing, Bills, and then there's taking it too seriously. You know, you're becoming a surf-nerd." Dom crunches into his apple and pushes his index finger up against the front of Billy's book.
Billy gives him a sideways smirk. "Poo-shooter, Dommie."
"Oh, fuck you."
Billy folds the corner of his page over, carefully even. "You coming out with me Sunday, then?"
"Putting that to the test, are we?" Dom spits apple pips out on the ground. "I didn't know there was anywhere around here."
"We can have a wee look-see."
Dom squints out at the bay, desolate flax-and-sand dampened by drizzle, the sea murky where the waves foamed onto black sand. Billy's sketch - on the paper the fish and chips were wrapped in, green coloured pencil he found underneath the seat - looked like architects plans for the landscape, nature's draughtsmanship. Even the swells were in the right alignment.
"Told you," Billy says, his chin balanced on Dom's shoulder. "There's a formula for great surf. All to do with the angle of the swell to the bay, and the incline of the sea floor."
"The fuck would I do without you, Billy?"
"Drown," comes back over the dunes.
"Layers and layers," Billy says.
"Eh?" says Dom.
"The cliffs. Layered. Sandstone." Billy fishes out his keys from his pocket and chips away at one of the surfaces. Soft, grainy shards fall onto his shoes.
"Just like pastry," says Dom, watching the flakes drop. "Pastry. Mmmm. Where can we get pies here?"
"Pig. We just had lunch."
"You're hungry too." Dom looks over the edge, down at the beach. The track is narrow, forcing them to walk single file. "Stupid idea to come up here," he mutters.
"You're always hungry. I think you've got worms." Billy sounds cheerful, deliberately so, but Dom wants to ignore it.
"That's fucking disgusting, Billy."
"I think we need to get you to the doctor. We'll get some tablets, and in a few days you'll be right as rain."
"Sometimes you're really not funny."
"Worms can be a nasty problem if left untreated, you know."
Dom turns away, furious for a second and trying to figure out why. Billy is still talking. "I saw this documentary, once, about these children in Ecuador--Dom?"
"I don't--" Dom, still stalking away, throws up his hands. "Just don't," he calls. "Not today."
Billy is ticklish in very specific places; the backs of his knees, the curve of his pelvis (there are helpful freckles there to mark the spot) and the undersides of his biceps. Dom tests each of these reactions until Billy cannot breathe and squeals at Dom to stop.
Dom laughs so hard at Billy's squeals that Billy stomps out to the kitchen and refuses to talk to him.
Billy cannot keep his eyes open, Dom notices when he finally kisses him.
"Eyes open, Bill," he mutters between buttons.
"Difficult," Billy whispers, slurs, tips his head back, exposed throat that makes Dom think oh what the hell as he walks Billy backwards to the bed. One corner of his brain notices that Billy's usually excellent co-ordination is all shot to pieces with a little snogging, and he wonders how much it will take before Billy stutters, before he is completely without grace. Billy trips, and Dom has to balance him upright for another two steps, but the little throaty sigh when he has Billy flat on his back is worth the effort.
"Flushed," Billy groans just as Dom comes, his hand wrapped around himself, and Dom doesn't understand until later, when he watches the same pink stain spread across Billy's chest and neck, and he's mesmerised by the nearness of Billy's blood underneath his hands.
Dom wonders if they are having an argument, a real one.
"It's not that it isn't admirable. It is." Billy looks tired. It might be the flight, of course, the time zones, something like that.
"But you think I'm being hypocritical." He can hear the plaintive whine in his voice, the need for approval. Rare, and only around Billy.
"I didn't say that, Dom," Billy sighs, and there is a long silence while Dom watches Billy go through the ritual of filling the paper, licking it, sticking it down, rolling the joint in his hand.
"You think I should live in the forest, or the desert, or like bloody Tom and Barbara from The Good Life or something? It's hardly like I can grow organic vegetables in Elijah's garden, you know. And it's LA. I have to have a car. I'm just doing something, a small thing, what I can." He wants to say And you're not, so shut the fuck up, but he doesn't, just holds his lighter out, concentrates on the flame reaching the paper, lighting, the sound of Billy's inhale.
"I know." Billy looks calm, of course, and Dom wonders if the accusatory tone is all in his head. "I know, Dommie," Billy says, and he reaches over the table, tucks imaginary strands of hair behind Dom's ear."
"Give me that," Dom says, pulling down hard on the joint while he watches Billy's eyes dance.
"Absolutely fantastic, Billy, hurry up!" Dom is yelling, he knows this, and Rick is giving him dirty looks for adding to the general din in the studio, but fuck him, Dom thinks, because this is unbelievable.
"Look, look, these guys are amazing," Dom pulls Billy down to the ground, pretend-Fangorn beneath their feet, and cups his hands around one of the spiny creatures. "Wetas!" He grins at Billy, who grins right back (whether it is at Dom, or for Dom, or for the insects, Dom doesn't know) and Billy holds out his hands for the weta.
"You're daft," Billy shakes his head, obviously trying not to flinch as the weta makes its way up his arm, clearly searching for somewhere dark and dim and friendly, somewhere that is not a sound stage with 300-watt lights and lots of humans.
"They came out overnight, because of the heat, the guys who came in first just about had fits when they stepped on a few of them, apparently," Dom is rambling, he knows, but these are huge, and he remembers being twelve years old, spending his pocket money on the Everyman Guide to Entomology, and wishing he could go to Malaysia, or South America, or New Zealand, where the big bugs were.
"Do you think it's a girl or a boy?"
"I think I should go to bed and shut the door, is what I think. Don't you think that poor bug might be a bit sick of you, now?" Billy looks at Dom in the way that reminds Dom of his teachers at school - faintly scolding, mostly indulgent.
"I'll put it in a box, if that makes you feel better." Chicken, Dom is tempted to add.
"I let it go." Dom looks outside the kitchen window, where he'd put the weta on the windowsill. It had scurried back and forth for a minute or so, and then disappeared down the drainpipe.
"If you love something, set it free," Billy whispers with a choked laugh, and Dom punches him.
"Shhh," Dom whispers, "He can't wake up!"
Viggo just nods, following Dom into the trailer. Billy is sprawled on one of the beds, naked apart from boxers, snoring softly.
"Very tired, poor boy," Dom says seriously.
"Dom." Viggo closes his eyes, like an exhausted parent who has to deliver yet another remonstration. "You know he's going to kick your ass for this, don't you?"
"Just take the bloody photos, Vig," Dom hisses, "and you better not say anything."
"You have my silence, my friend, you know--what the fuck did you draw on him?"
Dom surveys his handiwork, tilting his head from side to side, framing Billy between his thumb and forefinger. Fine black lines connect Billy's freckles; over his shoulder, down his side. On one calf, nine freckles are joined up in a careful shape.
"Constellations," Dom whispers. "He was boring some bird stupid with them the other night outside the pub. Fucking showoff." He picks up a Sharpie he has left on the sheet. "That's Sagittarius, there, like a teapot, he said, look, there's the steam, he said, and this blonde chick giggled, 'cos it was her star sign." He rolls his eyes.
Viggo takes the Polaroids. He gives them to Dom with a long, Viggish look, hugs him.
"December too, aren't you?"
"Shh," Dom says, his cheeks hot in the dim light. "Thanks."
"You'd be my Pippin, then," Dom says, and he realises he has used the possessive just a fraction too late. The Scottish bloke with the face of a pixie grins at him.
"Aye, I would at that," he says, lilting accent just like a girl Dom knew in college. "You'd be my Merry."
Brother, thinks Dom.