Summary: Orlando is plagued by bad dreams
Notes: Alptraum (elf-dream) or Alpdruck (elf-pressure): German for nightmare. From Wikipedia: An alp is a nightmare creature originating in German folklore. [It] attacks during the night, controlling [the victim's] dreams and creating horrible nightmares.
In New Zealand, Orlando always dreams of falling.
Not the gentle, controlled fall of bodies into autumn leaves or the type of sudden fall that leads to jerking limbs and calls the dreamer back to waking, but an endless fall that nothing Orlando does can slow or stop. Sometimes he floats, drifting endlessly from scene to scene, half-remembered conversations from childhood filling the air around him. Sometimes he plummets, images rushing by too fast, no time to catch onto more than the sharp edge of something here or there, leaving bruises in the soft skin of his body that he's sure he'll be able to see in the morning, and never can. But always falling, always downward, never changing, never landing.
When he wakes, he doesn't feel rested, but it doesn't seem natural to blame a dream. As he slumps into the makeup chair in the mornings and removes his sunglasses, bloodshot eyes rimmed with red stare blearily back at him. When Janine asks after his sleep like she sometimes does, he usually mumbles something vague about sodding hobbits keeping him out too late. Which isn't a lie: the grueling shooting schedule is rivaled only by the hectic pace of their partying. Not that Orlando is complaining. They still aren't doing enough to keep him from getting antsy. And anyway, thanks to his fellows among the cast and crew, he's hardly ever alone long enough to learn his lines, forget having time to spend pondering the meaning of his subconscious fantasies.
Besides, it isn't the first time he's had dreams like this. Used to be when he was a child he'd wake up remembering the glorious feeling of flight, what it was like to see the world from above, and with the lingering knowledge of how to change course with the slightest twitch of a muscle. But then there was that ill-fated trip across the roof and, maybe understandably, Orlando hasn't dreamt of flying since.
It's late, and Orlando is well on his way to so pissed he can hardly see straight.
"So what else is new?" says Dom cheekily from his place opposite Orlando at the table, and it takes Orlando longer than it should to realize that it's directed at him. Which means that he must be thinking out loud again.
"Fuck off. You're not any better," Orlando slurs, taking advantage of his mate's slowed reaction time and reaching across the table to snag Dom's glass.
"Oi!" shouts Dom belatedly, flailing about and practically slapping Billy in the face in his attempt to leap across and reclaim the rest of his lager. Orlando knows he's done the right thing keeping Dominic from finishing the drink when Billy and Elijah reach up as one from either side of Dom, and with a hand on each shoulder push him back down to his seat. It's a testament to how quickly they've all grown comfortable with one another that Lij and Bill's pointless argument about some obscure band or another doesn't even miss a beat.
Orlando chortles and with a feeling of great accomplishment at having saved Dom from himself, finishes the drink in one gulp. He slides the now empty glass back across the wet tabletop, and then slips out to the edge of the booth. Dom glowers and mutters something under his breath, but doesn't try to move again. He can't hear it, but Orlando imagines it's probably about poncy elves, so he crosses his eyes and sticks his tongue out at Dominic before standing.
"I'm off home," Orlando announces to no one in particular, and beside him, Viggo stirs and looks up from his whisky.
"Night, elf," he calls gruffly.
"Night, smelly human. Night, tiny hobbits."
Without waiting for an answer, he begins winding his way through the press of bodies to the exit. He isn't thinking about much at this point besides "home" and "bed," but he pauses just long enough to flash a wink at a particularly pretty bargirl. She colors but gives him a wide grin in return, and then the door is in front of him and he pushes it open.
Outside, the night is cold, just this side of uncomfortably so. It's gone on autumn without him realizing it. Of course, time is backwards here so Orlando never really knows what the weather is supposed to be anyway. And probably wouldn't dress for it if he did. Not his style.
A taxi pulls forward, and he climbs in, letting his head fall back on the seat as the driver accelerates off. His eyelids feel heavy, whole body does in fact, and the vinyl of the seat is warm against his skin where his shirt has rucked up in the back. It isn't a long ride, but he doesn't live next door either. He's just begun to drift off when his mobile chimes. Fumbling in his pocket, he pulls it out and raises it to his ear without even bothering to open his eyes.
"'Lo," he answers thickly.
"Dom. What-- ?"
"I'm coming to yours. 'Stoo far and I'm knackered. Never make it!" Sympathizing with the yawns that punctuate his sentences, Orlando can forgive the slight whine that threads its way through Dom's voice at the last.
"That's what you get for wanting to live on the water, tosser. Should have had a brain like the rest of us and chosen a place closer in."
"Right, well, you just remember that the next time you want to catch some waves, mate. Good luck finding someone else with his own private beach where no one can see you get drilled!"
"Ooh, Dommie, tell me more about your fantasies," he replies huskily, waggling his eyebrows before he remembers that Dom can't see him.
"Don't flatter yourself, elf," Dom says, and his crooked grin is audible through the phone. "Anyway, it's cool, right? I'll sleep on the couch?"
Orlando is silent for so long that Dominic begins to fidget and cough on the other end of the line. He's tired. Wiped, in fact, and he hasn't been sleeping well. But it's Dom, who would do the same for him. For any of them.
"'Course, Sblom. See you soon."
When Dom arrives, he's already put the water on, and is reaching up to the top of his cupboard in search of two clean mugs. Or even one clean mug, really. Left to his own devices, Orlando would simply reuse one of those currently cluttering the counter. But he's sober enough to remember that it isn't polite to serve guests from a dirty cup - even unnecessary and annoying middle of the night guests who don't give you enough of a heads up, Dominic.
The front door slams shut just as his searching fingers encounter the rim of a mug that's been tucked into the far corner of the cabinet. He pulls it out and dumps the tea bag in, turning to the kettle as Dom makes his way into the kitchen and drops heavily into the wooden chair by the table.
"God, Orli, my head," he whines, cradling his face in his hands and rubbing at it wearily. "It never stops, does it? We just go on like this forever? Day after day of walking the same five meter stretch over and over while PJ bellows at us - 'More hobbit-like, Dominic! Stop dragging your feet, Dominic!'" He drops his arms to the table and looks up at Orlando, suffering written in his every feature. "This must be what hell feels like."
Orlando chuckles and sets a mug down in front of both of them before taking his own seat. "Well, maybe if you stopped dragging your giant hairy hobbit feet through the muck and tearing them to pieces every scene, PJ would go easier on you. Just a thought."
"Wanker," but the insult is half-hearted at best, and Dom takes a sip of tea, closing his eyes in contentment. "Ah, that's the stuff." Then Dom goes suddenly serious. "Hey, honestly though, what about you? It looks like you've been having a rough time of it lately." He gestures at the mess around him. Dirty plates, bowls, and cups stacked to the ceiling, bits of dried food clinging to the counters. "Even Lij's place never gets this bad, and he wouldn't know how to wash up dish if his life depended on it!"
Orlando shakes his head. "Not that bad. I just haven't been sleeping right. Feels like I can never catch up." Dom nods in sympathy, and Orlando feels brave enough to elaborate. "And I don't know, man, this is going to sound a bit mad, but it's just. I'm bored, Sblomie. Nothing here moves fast enough for me. It never does."
"You're kidding, right?" Dom asks, incredulous. "As big as this thing is? Orli," he reaches out, a light touch to the back of Orlando's hand where he's inadvertently curled it into a fist on the table, "you know these films are going to change everything, right? For all of us? For you, especially." A hint of bitterness creeps into Dom's voice, so slight that Orlando almost isn't sure if it's there or if the beer has caused him to imagine it. But when he glances over, Dom's mouth, normally so ready to smile, is set in a flat line and he won't meet Orlando's eyes.
He shakes his head and pulls his hand back from Dominic's to circle his mug, feeling the heat sear his fingers and not caring. "The fuck do you mean by that, Dom?" Orlando's patience is running thin, and although he isn't quite sure why, the statement sets him on edge.
Dominic looks up, surprised. "You don't know, do you? Look around you, Orli. They're all a little bit in love with you, you git!"
He indicates the refrigerator, already covered in photos and mementos from the few months they've been here. Photos of Orlando and the hobbits piled on top of each other like cuddly puppies on someone's couch - he can't remember whose, one of the crew perhaps. Orlando and Viggo both in costume, eyes locked as they engage in a fierce arm wrestling match. First round at the pub that night had been on the loser, and Orlando had won, thanks mainly to the distraction of Billy sneaking up behind Viggo and planting a surprise kiss on his lips. He and Liv in the makeup trailer, with her rubbing the newly shaven sides of Orlando's head as he leans into her touch, and both laughing, laughing, laughing like they'd never stop.
"We're all a little bit in love with each other, Dom," Orlando says, feeling more than a smidgen proud of the insight, truth be told. "It's part of the magic of this place, this time. Every film set isn't like this. They won't always be in love with me. With any of us," he adds quickly. He's tired and exasperated, and he isn't in the mood to deal with Dominic's self-esteem issues.
It's Dominic's turn to shake his head. "They will," he says quietly. "They all will. You'll see." The fight seems to go out of him then, and he wipes a hand across his eyes. "Look, it's getting late and I've gotta get some sleep. We have feet in the morning."
Orlando nods and resolves to let it go for now. Dom's right about the one thing - it's late, and just as it always happens, morning will be there before they're ready for it.
Orlando is falling again, fast this time, and the scenes that rush past are full of good-looking people in colorful outfits yelling his name. Some of them he knows, but most he doesn't. They're all stretching out as if to stop or slow his descent, and he reaches back, trying to catch hold of a hand, an arm, anything to ground him, to keep him from the endless plunge. The area below him is shrouded in darkness. No matter how far he falls, he can never see the ground. The area above him stretches on into nothingness. The hands snatch at him, snagging in his clothing, sliding across his skin, but nothing holds and no one can keep him, so after a while he closes his eyes on their worried faces and lets himself fall.
"Orli... Orli, wake up! Orlando!" Someone's hand is clutching at his shoulder, shaking him, and for a moment Orlando is still in the dream, and it's Dom's eyes staring at him, wide with fear as Orlando's hand slides from his grasp and he continues to plummet.
"Orli!" Dom grabs his chin in one strong hand and squeezes until Orlando opens his eyes in shock.
"Hey," Dom says quietly once he realizes Orlando can see him. "Hey, man, hey. You were having a bad dream."
"Dom?" Orlando's voice is thick in his throat, his brain fogged with sleep.
"Yeah. Yeah, Orli, it's me." Dom lets go of his chin, and sits up straight. Orlando can see him clearly in the light spilling in the half-open door. His hair is sticking up every which way, and the stubble on his chin stands out in sharp relief, thanks to the sidelight. He's perched on the edge of Orlando's mattress, gingerly, looking weary an older than his years.
"Time is it?" he asks, trusting Dom to fill in the gaps.
Dom groans. "Better not to ask. You alright?"
Orlando winces. "I was having a dream. Couldn't move, couldn't seem to get enough air," and as he says it, he realizes that his pulse is rushing, his breathing rapid, and beads of sweat have popped up on his forehead.
Nodding, Dom gently places his hand over Orlando's heart. "Alpdruck," he murmurs, and Orlando shakes his head, making a conscious effort to breathe in and out.
"Yeah, well, you're not exactly a sight for sore eyes yourself, Sblomie. Arsehole," he adds for good measure. And now that his heart is starting to slow, it's becoming somewhat painfully obvious that other parts of him are waking up, too.
Dom snorts. "No, elf. Alpdruck. That's what my old nanny in Germany used to call them. Nightmares," he explains, when Orlando continues to stare up at him blankly, trying to keep Dom's eyes above his waist. "That's where the word comes from - 'mara' which became 'mare'. 'Alp' in German. They're like. Well, a little like a succubus, maybe, but not nearly as attractive."
"Ta, mate. You're a regular OED," mutters Orlando, and bends his knees, using his legs to lever himself into a half-sitting position. Dom leaves his hand on Orlando's bare chest, and Orlando's skin tingles where they touch. "So what you're saying is that some stunningly sexy but satanically evil spirit woman is causing my bad dreams?" Right. Somehow that image isn't helping things.
Dominic scoots further onto the bed, pressing his side into Orlando's hip, eyes twinkling. "No, I said they were not attractive. Filthy little beasts, actually, if you believe the stories. And you supply the content of the dreams, but they're the ones who keep you stuck there." Orlando's cock hangs heavy between his legs, throbbing in time with his heart.
"How? By what? Holding your ears so the dreams can't leak out?" His lips twist in a wry smile. And now that they're on the subject, how exactly is it that he's never noticed how long and elegant Dom's fingers are, never imagined how they might feel wrapped around his --
Dom laughs, low and throaty, and Orlando's cock jumps. "Now, that would just be silly. No, elf-boy. More like..."
And before Orlando can react, Dominic is straddling his hips, pressing their erections together, rocking slightly, and leaning forward over him until their lips are inches from touching.
Orlando's smile deepens and Dom leans down, capturing Orlando's mouth with his own. Gentle at first, but then more frantic, and Orlando parts Dom's lips with his tongue, nipping lightly at his bottom lip as Dom gasps, then pulls back. Orlando follows him, grasping for Dom's t-shirt, burying his fingers in the folds and pulling it forward, over Dom's head. Dom comes free, and the grin on his face is so bright that Orlando is tempted to close his eyes against it. Of course, if he did that, he wouldn't be able to see the shadows playing on the planes and angles of Dom's chest, leading Orlando's hands to find and stroke the most sensitive spots.
Orlando runs his hands lightly down Dominic's sides and down over his hips. Dominic shivers and moans, then gasps again, as Orlando leans up and catches a nipple in his teeth. Dom thrusts his hips forward involuntarily, his cock sliding against Orlando's with only the thin fabric of their boxers between them. Orlando arches his back, aching for more contact, and Dom slides off to his side, pressing kisses to Orlando's chest and making his slow way down Orlando's stomach to his waistband.
Then, without warning, Dom reaches out and slides Orlando's boxers down. Orlando's cock springs free, and Dom pauses, while Orlando writhes, trying to find something, anything to touch --
Dom's hot breath rushes over the head of Orlando's cock and Dom's fingers -- those beautiful, clever fingers -- begin to explore. Then Orlando is made entirely of feeling and he has only one thought: that this is the kind of dream he never wants to wake from.
And this time when Orlando falls, his eyes stay on Dominic all the way to the ground.