Pairing: Richard/Aidan (The Hobbit)
Summary: How did Richard find out drinking too much the night before makes one's facial prostheses slide off the next day?
Prompt: “I like my men to be men.” I hope this suits.
Note: I made up the Greek dancing.
New Zealand, 2011-2012.
Boot camp. Name learning, twice over: human and Dwarf. Mask-making. Wig-fitting. Costuming. Meeting one's scale double, stunt double(s), riding double. Learning to fight with axe, sword, spear, and varying degrees of heavy clothing, makeup, prosthetics, wiggery, and for most, fat-suits as well. Flying. Falling. Floating in barrels. Learning to move all over again, with a center of gravity far closer to the ground, and a girth different enough that spinning on your heel could mean falling flat on your arse until you got the hang of it. Not that that was all bad. Good-natured helping each other up became as much of a routine as the falling, firm grips and pats on the shoulder (or the arse) included.
Then there are lines, practiced in costume and out, in makeup and out, in prosthetics and out. Does the voice work? Can the eyes be seen? Is the padding too heavy, constricting breathing, movement, volume? There are stories of the old days when filming stopped for overhead flights because the actors couldn't hear each other over the jets' roar. There are rewrites and rewrites, and the old hands say "Get used to it. It'll be worse when filming starts."
There’s learning what each man drinks, and how much. Who’s married, who isn’t. Whether someone can carry a tune (Richard) or is best left to mouth the words (Aidan). There are rare days off, for surfing or laundry or sleeping.
There’s getting to know who’s adventurous, and who’s averse to risk. Martin’s a homebody, preferring to Skype with the kids than go out with the lads. Jed knows every place that’s any fun in every place they are, whether Wellington for studio work, or on location. There’s the inevitable pairing off by interests, by who one’s housemate is, or by accident.
And there are surprises.
There’s the way they get partnered for sparring, and the way Richard and Aidan get paired often. There’s the way Richard breaks out in a laugh at the pranks Kili and Fili pull. There’re the parties, where Ian will pull any of them up for a dance partner and lead without any question. There’s the way it becomes ordinary, lying on top of each other in piles in Bilbo’s doorway, or burlap sacks awaiting their fate at the hands of Goblins.
And there’s this:
There’s the way that Richard finds out that alcohol, consumed under the influence of a weekend of unusual events, will melt the adhesive of his prosthetics the next day.
There’s the way that Aidan agreed to come with him for a weekend to see the mountains. There’s the way they’re comfortable walking along without speaking, letting the trees and creeks and wind do the talking. There’s picnic under the clouds, and napping in a dell, and checking into their cabin when they finally get there. Tomorrow a couple of the others are driving up to meet them, but tonight it’s just them.
The room is big, two queen beds, flat-screen tv, in-room tea service and microwave. Richard chooses the bed nearer the door. Aidan dumps his rucksack on the other bed, takes off his boots, and claims first shower. Richard grimaces, then accedes, and says he’ll make the tea.
The shower’s big (no tub) and the towels are thick and the soap is locally made and lathers up wonderfully, and Aidan’s in the middle of rinsing the shampoo out of his hair when Richard steps into the shower behind him. It’s a waste of good hot water, Richard says, but Aidan just smiles over his shoulder at him.
It’s every bad porno ever made, isn’t it? The quick suck-and-fuck in the shower, leaning on the tile moaning while the other guy gets his rocks off. But that’s not how it goes. Richard scrubs Aidan’s back, and Aidan scrubs Richard’s, but then Aidan gets out, standing under the heat lamp, and towel dries his hair while Richard sings show tunes to himself.
The restaurant is small but very good, the food fresh and the wine- all New Zealand wine- superb. They finish two, one with the fish and one with the beef, and have another taken to the room, before retiring to the bar for a nightcap. One drink becomes two becomes three becomes a bottle as a conversation about World Cup teams gets heated, with an impromptu haka lesson from three fellows at the bar and the complete history of the All Blacks spun engagingly by the bartender. They don’t breathe a word of who they are or why they’re in New Zealand, PJ’s secret is safe with them, and Richard pockets the slip of paper with one of their new mates’ hiking recommendation on it before they go back not at all unsteadily, to their room.
Richard’s brought pajamas. Aidan sleeps in his shorts and t-shirt. Aidan combs conditioner through his hair. Richard flosses after he brushes his teeth.
Both of them have brought condoms. Neither one quite expected that.
Richard laughs first, holds up the bottle of wine. Aidan laughs too and brings two plastic glasses. Richard pours, they toast, but don’t drink. They put their wine down and look at each other.
Aidan moves first, but only just. Their noses are too big and Richard gets hair in his mouth and Aidan nearly falls off the foot of the bed when Richard pushes him onto it, but there’s no question, no hesitation. No talk. Just touch. No kissing- later Richard will confess that he’d thought it would feel weird, kissing another man, and Aidan will confess he’d thought the same, then each one will be surprised at the other for that- but there’s touching and tasting, and finding out Aidan’s ticklish between his 6th and 7th ribs on his right side and that Richard likes his balls sucked but not hard, and there’s plenty of time to figure out that if they fuck in one bed, they can sleep in the other, if they get that far.
The next day they wake late. The wine, uncorked and undrunk, is on the dresser. Aidan’s in Richard’s t-shirt. Richard’s naked. The headache isn’t bad. Hiking with the others goes well, and no-one comments when Richard and Aidan bunk off early after dinner, leaving their fellow dwarves to the All Blacks.
No-one comments over the next weeks when Aidan and Richard take to spending a lot of time together, or when, on location, they share a flat or trailer or room. They don’t flaunt it. It’s just not an issue. They’re best mates, and leave it at that.
Oh. The drinking and prostheses?
That was McKellan’s birthday party. Someone put on Greek music and Ian insisted on a shot after every toast (not that he drinks like that, no, darling, not at his age, but the rest of these young chaps should drink and dance in his honor!) and Richard and Aidan kept up the them all.
Aidan, of course, has the least wee bit of prosthetics for his nose. No problem.
Richard, however. . . But it was ok. They just shot around him while makeup got him sorted.