Title: Believe, Be Bold, Begin
Summary: Billy begins a new adventure.
Notes: Happy holidays! I hope you enjoy this. The title is inspired from a quote by Horace: "Begin, be bold and venture to be wise."
Post-reveal Notes: I had a ton of false starts trying to write Billy/Dom for you but I couldn't make anything work. I hope you liked this despite the pairing.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.
More often than not, field trips with Viggo always turned into some kind of adventure; you agreed to go at your own risk. In the end you almost always had a good time, always came away with fond memories, but there could likely be quite a few bumps along the way that you weren't likely to recover from quickly. And yet Billy still found himself dragging his arse out of bed at an ungodly hour for a day off, and packing provisions for an outing with their King.
He was already half asleep again when Viggo banged on the door, somehow allergic only to Billy's doorbell since his was the only one he routinely refused to use. Billy yanked the door open and shoved his way out without speaking a word; people didn't get polite conversation or invited inside when they forced him to start the day at this hour. As soon as he'd stumbled into the car he promptly fell asleep to the steady hum of wheels on pavement, his head propped against the window.
Viggo shook him awake about an hour later, the sun already warming the air, and they climbed out of the car, pulling their backpacks, fishing poles and Viggo's sword from the backseat.
"Figures you're not leaving that in the car," Billy grumbled, nowhere near properly awake.
"I still don't get a 'good morning'?" Viggo smirked, pulling his pack up on his shoulders.
"After the others get here. Then I'll be forced to be social."
"No others. Just us." Viggo locked up the car and started walking toward the woods.
No one else was coming? Billy's thoughts skidded to a halt. Why would Viggo only invite him, and on a fishing trip of all things? Billy knew he was tired, his brain more than a little fuzzy, but what Viggo said just did not compute. However, he also knew he'd get lost in a minute out here if he didn't keep up, so he trotted off after Viggo, pushing his confusion to the back of his mind.
It was a good two-hour hike before they'd reach the place where Viggo wanted to fish. Leaves cast a sun-dappled mosaic beneath their feet as they filled their lungs with pine-scented air. The trees and grass, still bathing in yesterday's soaking rain, were a rich, warm green broken only by the occasional smattering of color from stray wild flowers in the field. Billy didn't mind the exercise, although he did question the wisdom of such an activity on one of their coveted days off. They set a nice, leisurely pace, and once Billy stopped mourning his state of consciousness at that hour the conversation flowed easily. It was nice to spend time on their own, apart from the jumble of bodies that often highlighted their time together. Billy thought about how different this was from when he hung out with Dom. They spent just as much time talking quietly as they did trying to make the other piss with laughter, and he knew without a shadow of a doubt that Dom would be his best friend for life. But there was a definite difference in how it felt to spend time alone with Viggo. For every new piece of information or new story from his past, for each smile or laugh or thoughtful gaze, Billy felt a frisson of excitement and energy, the peace that comes from the utter surety of rightness of place.
As the trees opened up the lake slowly came into view. The narrow mere stretched almost like a river, cutting a clearing for itself through the trees. Billy and Viggo dumped their packs then cleared a small circle for a cook-fire before heading out to collect wood. Once the temporary camp was ready for cooking their catch, they grabbed a couple of apples and a canteen of water from Viggo's pack and walked over to what Viggo described as "the spot" several yards away. It turned out to be the spot, all right, but for mosquitoes and dive-bombing sandflies, not fish. After an hour neither had anything to show for their efforts but bug bites.
If Billy hadn't been so relieved to be away from the hectic bustle of their daily lives, or with someone who was clearly more attractive to the pests than himself, it would have been really unpleasant. As it was, he sat back against a rock loosely holding his fishing pole, quietly laughing every time Viggo slapped himself or swatted at the air.
"Don't laugh," Viggo mumbled. "You'd be flailing like a windmill just about now."
"True. But since I apparently don't have blood as sweet as nectar ..."
"You could make yourself useful and catch our dinner."
"Never had much luck with fishing," Billy replied, shoving over just enough so he could lie flat on the ground. "Never really been my thing."
"Then why'd you come?"
Billy cracked his eyes open a little and saw Viggo watching him, an unreadable intensity in his eyes. "I thought this was going to be a group outing. Figured I'd just hang out, have a few laughs."
He swore he could see Viggo visibly deflate, as if he'd just given the wrong answer for some unknown quiz. But in no time the moment passed and Viggo was himself again. He pulled his line out of the water and tramped over to Billy.
"Hang out, never have to get acquainted with a fishing pole." Viggo swatted Billy's rod out of his hands, giggling at Billy's half-hearted protests, before dropping down beside him. "Do you miss Dom, Elijah, Orli?" he asked, reeling in the lines.
"No, I just thought there'd be more of us."
"I needed I break from all of it," Viggo shrugged, "from everyone. Just for a little while."
Billy sat up to get a better look at Viggo, but Viggo kept his eyes focused on the rods. It wasn't that Billy didn't understand the urge to get away from everything, he just wondered why Viggo had invited him at all if what he wanted was solitude. But as much as they joked about Viggo going off on his own to sleep in the woods or at the stables with the horses, when he was away from the group it was often with Sean in tow. Maybe he'd just gotten used to having a partner in crime.
"Aye, I get that way sometimes." Billy picked idly at the patchy grass. "And with Sean back in London you've lost your escape mate."
Viggo stiffened slightly, glancing quickly at Billy before getting to his feet and heading back toward the camp. "We need to start figuring out what we're going to eat."
Billy watched Viggo's retreating back for a moment before standing up and jogging to catch up. He couldn't say exactly what it was, but there was something strange in the way Viggo was acting, something off in his demeanor. Was he melancholy? Tense? Nervous? Billy wasn't sure.
Over the last couple of months he'd begun to think of himself as a Viggo connoisseur. Mannerisms and expressions, habits and moods, he'd made note of almost everything, filed it away in his personal scrapbook. No harm in looking or in noticing, he figured; he'd been doing something similar with Dom and a few of the others; friends should know each other in and out. But at the end of the day, the room hushed and lonely, it was Viggo's file he pulled out to mull over, Viggo's information he studied, Viggo's voice that lulled him to sleep every night.
But his Mortensen expertise was failing him now, and a sharp rumble in his stomach reminded him of their present dilemma.
"Do you think Richard would be pissed if you actually killed something with that sword?"
"I have lemons, herbs and spices, a couple of potatoes."
"A veritable feast."
"We could bake the potatoes then head back to the car, find someplace for a real meal."
"Or we could give thanks to my inner Pippin and eat what I brought." Billy knelt down by his pack and began rummaging inside.
"You brought food." Billy smirked a little hearing the slight edge in Viggo's voice: bringing food was, of course, quite an offense in Viggo's book.
"You know me. My stomach and your fish don't always go together ..." Billy ducked as Viggo swatted at his head "... so I brought along some provisions to make sure I didn't starve." He looked up at Viggo with his best game show host grin then began removing each item as he named it. "Trail mix, grapes, ravioli, carrots and ..." he finished with a flourish, "... chocolate."
Viggo sat down next to him and picked up the chocolate. "You're lucky this was in the bag or I might have been really annoyed with you."
"I know my audience."
"Yeah, you do." There was that strangeness again, that slide into serious that threw Billy slightly off kilter. But then Viggo was grabbing everything and bouncing back to his feet and Billy was left wondering what it was he was missing.
"I could make something with all this," Viggo exclaimed, dumping the food at his feet as he crouched down to stack some of the wood and start a fire.
"Why don't we just eat them as is," Billy suggested, moving over to try and retrieve his stash.
"No, it'll be great." As Billy reached to pick up the bag of trail mix, Viggo quickly pivoted, taking hold of Billy's wrist. "Trust me."
Billy could practically feel all the meanings behind those words slide across his skin, brand themselves into his blood. The heat from his wrist sunk into him, slowly melting his nerves and setting off big warning signs of Danger! Keep back! Do not pass go! on a steady repeat in his brain. He scrambled for something solid to hang onto, searched futilely for a joke to ease the sudden tension. But the only word his brain could summon revealed all he wanted to hide.
The concoction Viggo put together wasn't the worst thing Billy had ever eaten, it was just kind of ... odd. The flavor wasn't half bad, but it left a lingering aftertaste that Billy could've lived without. And the texture: just thinking about it made Billy shudder. He'd inhaled all of the grapes for dessert just to wipe it from his memory, which was fine by Viggo because it left him with all the chocolate.
What Billy focused on most was the meal prep itself. He'd alternated between helping and taking playful jabs, and they'd fallen into a domestic rhythm that at once felt familiar and startlingly new. There'd been an undercurrent of something rich and expectant between them that even now pulsed like a warm beacon in the night, guiding them toward one another.
They'd been talking by the dwindling fire for what seemed like hours, sharing cigarettes and the flask of whiskey Viggo had squirreled away in his pack. The sun would soon fall beneath the tops of the trees and the air was already beginning to cool.
"We'd better start heading back," Billy shifted slightly, using a hand on Viggo's thigh to help lever himself up into a better sitting position.
"What's the rush?"
"I'd like to reach the car before the stars come out. We have an early call tomorrow."
"You know, I didn't really get lost in the woods."
"So Sean was just telling tales? Trying to smash your mighty woodsman persona?"
"Maybe I deliberately wanted to stay out there all night."
"Ah, I see. Get Sean all to yourself in the wilderness, have your wicked way with him."
"No!" He paused, thinking it over. "Well ..." Billy laughed but the humor didn't reach his eyes. He knew it was silly to be jealous; he had no claim on Viggo. But still it bothered him when he thought about the two of them, about what was between them. Almost from the start there was an ease about them, an unspoken connection that he wished he could emulate. He wouldn't trade his experiences here for the world; the friendships he'd made, the amazing sights he'd seen and new things he'd learned. But there were times when his need for Viggo clouded his thoughts to the point where he'd almost trade it all just to be in his life as so much more than a friend. He was glad there weren't such things as genies magically granting three wishes because when rational heads prevailed he'd regret losing everything he'd gained in New Zealand for the love of this man. But it didn't stop the longing, or the hopes he could replace Sean in Viggo's life.
"What if I said," Viggo continued, cutting into Billy's thoughts, "I pretended to be lost just so I could capture the forest at night."
"Not buying it."
"So I could see the sky full of stars?"
"And study the constellations?"
"How about you rambled your way around losing track of time talking to birds or eating moss, until the sun set and the clouds blocked the moon and you had no idea how to get back out again."
"So you don't want to suffer the same fate, huh? Not even to watch the stars?"
"Not even if you had another flask of whiskey."
"And here I thought I was offering quite the romantic proposition."
Billy looked at Viggo hard, trying to read him. He had an almost wistful smile, but his eyes, held firmly on Billy, hid something Billy wanted desperately to see. In the next instance the moment was gone, the discovery he thought he could almost touch pulled out of reach once more.
Viggo sighed, stretching out the kinks in his back and legs. "I don't know any stars or constellations, anyway. We could always make them up."
"I know what some are supposed to look like but I wouldn't know how to find them."
Billy looked around for some kind of tool, and not finding one handy swept off a bare patch of ground and began to draw a stick figure with his finger in the dirt.
"Supposedly that's what Virgo looks like."
Viggo pressed closer, studying the drawing. "Could almost be someone splayed out spread eagle."
"Well you know us Virgos."
"Do you know Libra?"
"It's almost like a house," he mumbled, drawing the figure. "Although that looks more like a rocket."
"Or a penis."
"There you go, always thinking about little Viggo. Has he been shooting people to the moon a lot lately?"
Billy was expecting some kind of laugh, one of Viggo's goofy cackles he'd begun to privately catalog. Instead when he looked up he found himself pinned by an unexpectedly penetrating stare. A look that managed to be both playful and deadly serious.
"Only one, just for fun, and he didn't do the shooting."
Billy couldn't look away even if he tried. He swallowed, surprised at how tight and constricted his throat felt.
"Sean?" he asked thickly, not really wanting to hear the answer but needing to know.
"Yes." Viggo's voice was firm, his gaze steady. "But it didn't go beyond that. If Sean were in New Zealand, I still would have asked you to come with me today."
"Ah yes, I can see it now. Me having to fight off being lured into a threesome or some such nonsense."
"Billy, stop." His voice was louder than he expected, and he seemed to shrink back from it a little. "Sean and I fooled around only once, that's it. Think of it like ... expending a little sexual energy with a friend."
"But when I watch you," Billy began, pausing to clear his throat, "when I see you together, it looks like so much more."
"I could say the same about you and Dom."
"Dom? For all of Dom's bravado he's not really into casual flings. If we were to get together, we'd have to be together."
"I know that. I'm just saying that from the outside the friendship you and Dom have could appear to be more intimate."
Billy nodded, trying to let all of it sink in. Other than the amount of time Sean got to spend with Viggo, maybe he didn't have cause to be jealous of him, to worry about what they meant to each other. And it seemed important to Viggo that Billy know this, that he believe it. Billy started to feel hope rising in his chest.
"So you and Sean are just friends. Once with benefits but that was it."
"And why did you ask me to go fishing?"
Viggo leaned slightly closer, his eyes shifting to a sultry winter ice. "Because you have to start somewhere."
A couple of months passed and he and Viggo had, as Billy liked to think of it, bypassed the express for the local train enjoying the scenery as they rode. There was something inordinately intimate about simply sharing space, something exciting about the slow build. Dom thought they both had their heads up their respective arses, but for Billy it was complicated. Becoming involved with someone on a job was tricky in the best of times. And Viggo wasn't your ordinary cast member, Billy's feelings far from everyday.
He'd experienced whirlwind romance, had engaged in frantic can't-live-without-touching-you sex, he'd done slow and tender courtships. What was happening with Viggo was deeper, more personal, more raw and death-defying and altogether brilliant. Every quiet moment or an evening crying with laughter, every hushed conversation or animated discussion about politics or sports, all of it was to be savored, left on the stove to simmer and steam. Billy treasured all of it.
Night shoots for Helm's Deep over the last month relegated their time together to phone calls and e-mails, messages stuffed under trailer doors or propped in makeup mirrors. And even that communication became harder to maintain as Billy's schedule tightened and all either of them had time or energy for was a quick chat before one or the other headed to set or fell asleep.
It was a crisp Autumn morning, and Billy was cranky, tired and running late. But if he managed to get out the door in the next five minutes hardly anyone would notice but Dom and the feet crew. He stuffed the latest script revisions into his bag, ransacked his bedroom to find his wallet, then headed for the kitchen in hopes of a couple of quick swallows of coffee. But as he turned the corner, the distinctive sound of a key rattling in the lock drew him up short. Someone continued to fight with it, intermittently agitating the doorknob, twisting it back and forth, finally resorting to brute force as a harsh bang marked an attempt to push it open. Billy stepped closer and looked through the peephole to see Viggo's distorted face swimming on the other side. He yanked the door open and was nearly stabbed with the key Viggo was once again jabbing toward the lock.
"What are you doing?" Billy was impressed at the lack of annoyance in his voice.
Viggo looked at him, a mixture of exhaustion and confusion brightening his eyes. He stepped past Billy, dropping the key onto a table. "It wouldn't turn the lock."
"That would be because I never gave you a key," Billy replied, closing the door and following Viggo into the front room.
"You didn't?" Viggo's voice trailed off into a long, drawn-out yawn. "You should have."
"Vig, it's great to see you and all but I'm late and you're incoherent so ..." Billy didn't bother finishing the thought; Viggo may have been standing in front of him but he wasn't fully present. He had the urge to simultaneously give him a dope slap and tuck him into bed wrapped in a warm blanket. Viggo looked drawn and strung out, clearly in need of a little TLC. Billy sighed and shrugged his bag off his shoulder. He'd be late, but maybe an extra helping of charm would help minimize the rebuke.
"You want to sleep here today?" he asked, steering Viggo to the bedroom.
"Yeah, just for a little while."
"I think you should make that a long while." Making Viggo sit on the bed, he didn't bother doing anything more than help him pull off his shoes and jacket before bundling him in the comforter and an extra blanket. He gently wiped the hair off Viggo's brow, then quietly closed the door and headed for the studio.
It'd been an unplanned for short day. Some mechanical problems that only seemed to escalate the more the crew tried to fix them meant Billy was free shortly after lunch. He hung out with Dom for a while, hunting down Elijah's set to harass him before going off to play some pool. All the while his mind drifted to the absurdity of the morning and a worn out Viggo sleeping in his bed. Since the fishing trip they hadn't even slept over as friends or crashed as part of the larger group after a night out, and now he wondered if their unhurried pace was indicative of something fractious. Or what if Viggo was growing impatient. It had seemed too soon to exchange keys, yet he'd had a copy of Dom's and Orlando's within a month of meeting them. Why hadn't it even crossed his mind to do the same with Viggo? He'd been enjoying the newness of it all, the almost dreamy, free and easy quality to what they were doing. What if he'd waited too long?
Suddenly a pool cue bonked the top of his head.
"You're getting all Gidget moon-dreamy about the non-surfer dude in your bedroom. It's making me ill, man, and slowing up my game."
"I could kick your arse blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back while reciting every line of Shakespeare."
"So why have I been able to keep playing even though it was your turn five minutes ago?"
Billy pushed up off the stool scowling insincerely at Dom, but as he moved toward the table Dom blocked his path.
"Just go home."
"He's still asleep."
"Maybe. But you want to be there when he wakes up."
"If we're heading toward Gidget territory again ..."
"Go home, Bill. Something important is happening, or something that could be important; even I can feel that. Go."
Billy absently rolled the cue between his palms, his eyes cast down at the ground. "It's just," he began, looking up at Dom, "I want so much. It's like this large trunk pushing down on me begging to be opened, a heavy weight that never goes away. But what if Viggo doesn't want the same thing? What if I've waited too long or not been open enough or something?"
"The two of you couldn't be more fucking obvious if you tried." Dom swung an arm across Billy's shoulders. "He came to you, didn't he?"
"In a sleep-deprived stupor."
"He's there, right now, because you're who he wants to be with. You two have been dancing around each other for weeks, and I know that it's been a deliberate choice for both of you. But clearly you've made some kind of organic curve. Don't start questioning everything now." He turned Billy toward the door and gave him a little shove. "Just go home."
Billy laid the pool cue on the table then turned back and gave Dom a hug. "Thank you."
He stopped at the market on the way home to pick up a few things to cook for dinner. It was clear Viggo hadn't been sleeping and so very likely he also hadn't been eating properly either. He'd wake him up in a couple of hours, get him in the shower, make him eat, and then they'd talk. And if they didn't have time before Viggo needed to get to work, they'd make time tomorrow. How two people could talk so much and yet avoid the big conversations was beyond him, but he was intent on putting an end to that.
As he pulled in the drive, he figured he'd have time for a quick nap before cooking, maybe even catch up on some e-mail or phone calls he'd been putting off. But those plans were put on hold the moment he walked in the door and saw two walls in the living room covered with big sheets of paper most of which was filled with various shapes and scrawling letters and bold strokes of multi-colored ink. Viggo was sitting on the coffee table staring at one of them, his mouth moving silently as if he was reading or reciting something from memory.
"You're home." Viggo's head lazily pivoted toward him followed by a small twist of his torso, making Billy think of a marionette just barely held upright by its strings.
"What is all this?" Billy asked, letting the bag of groceries slide from his hand to the floor. "Where'd you get the paper?"
"Went to the store."
"So instead of sleeping you went shopping."
"Would you rather I'd drawn directly on the walls?" Viggo stood, started to walk to the opposite wall, then slumped down onto the chair instead.
"And you went on a paper hunt with the house unlocked."
"That's why I need a key!"
Viggo's exasperation almost made Billy laugh out loud but he stifled it; the day couldn't get any more preposterous if it tried. "Is this why you haven't been sleeping lately? You keep getting inspired to draw?"
Viggo shook his head. "This isn't art. I wanted to send you a message."
"I started trying to do personalized signal flags, then some Boyd-specific hieroglyphics, thought maybe a kind of cryptogram. That's why this side is kind of muddy. I tried graffiti because a mural was just fucking obvious. And then ..."
"What was the message?" Billy interrupted, sitting on the arm of the chair.
"That's part of the problem. I haven't really decided yet, but I know I have to tell you something."
Billy carded his fingers through Viggo's hair. "And you wonder why people sometimes have a hard time understanding you."
Viggo turned into the touch, looking up at Billy with a soft, contented smile that always pulled Billy in like a magnet.
"I did remember why you haven't given me a key, though," Viggo sighed, shifting slightly so he was facing Billy more.
"And why is that?"
Viggo reached up, curling his hand around the back of Billy's neck and pulling him down. "You haven't given me a key because I haven't kissed you yet."
The distance between them closed rapidly, dizzyingly, and Billy found himself pulled into a vortex and he hoped he'd never break free. Viggo may have been slightly punch drunk, but that didn't stop his kiss from sweeping through Billy like an inferno of molten lava, searing him to his very core. When Viggo pulled back, Billy trailed after him, not caring when the angle became even more awkward. It seemed like everything had been building toward this moment and now he didn't want it to end.
When they finally broke apart, Viggo would not release Billy's eyes, staring straight through him, breaking all of Billy's fears, everything he held back, into pieces.
"Did you get any sleep today?" Billy asked, worrying Viggo's shirt buttons with his fingernails before pulling them loose.
"A little. Not enough."
"What time do you need to be on set?"
"Six, I think?"
Billy glanced at his watch. "You can still sleep for a couple of hours. I'll drive you there, you can get Orlando or Sala to bring you back here when you're done.
"Bernard lives closest though, and Craig might ..."
"It doesn't matter. Just get in someone's car and tell them to bring you here."
"Okay," Viggo laughed.
"And by then you'll have your very own key."
The wide toothy grin on Viggo's face slowly softened into an easy, relaxed grin, his eyes swimming with emotion, rivaled only by Billy's own overflowing love and affection. Billy knew more often than not when you spent time with Viggo you could never be sure what was going to happen or how quickly you'd recover. Some days could be a non-stop thrill ride, other times you'd be right to fear your brain slowly oozing out of your ears. And yet he knew without hesitation, free of doubt and worry, that right now, right here with this man in this place, was exactly where he was supposed to be. It was the beginning of an adventure of a lifetime, one he wouldn't miss for the world.