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Disclaimer: I am a sneaksy little liar. This never happened.
Notes: The obligatory camping story, lotrips-style. For Christina, who requested Karl Urban/Viggo Mortensen first-time fic. Happy Holidays, with my sincere apologies for being late.
The bonfire flickers in and out of view as they walk to the river. Sometimes when Karl looks over his shoulder he can see nothing but the black outline of a makeup trailer, haloed in glowing orange. Other times he can see the full uneclipsed blaze, crossed now and again by shadow figures in motion. This far away the air is still tinged with a faint smoky flavor, but the cold reigns supreme, the wind nipping freely at exposed skin and shivering the ribcage with its breath.
He is careful not to let the fishing pole drag on the ground. It's Viggo's pole. Later when they draw up to the riverbank he will let Viggo take it back and thread it with careful hands, long elegant fingers twisting the line until the reel spins out smoothly. He'll want to ask how Viggo learned to do this, the first thing he might ask in a veritable book of things to discover about Viggo.
But he won't. Because with Viggo it always seems a shame, somehow, to interrupt the act of watching.
It's full dark by the time everyone gets their lines in the water, but they're lucky: a bright moon rises over the trees, reflecting against a canopy of clouds above and washing the hills in silver. Karl shakes his head. Sometimes he still can't believe he belongs to this place.
Viggo shares around some of his cigars, and Barrie makes sure everyone has a cold beer at hand. The heavy scents and tastes crowd out the fresh air, which is a shame, but Karl doesn't mind so much. He likes the sound of happy conversation floating up from the others, the occasional mysterious splash, a shout of uproarious laughter.
"They're gonna scare the fish," Viggo says, slurring around his cigar. He gathers up his line and beckons with a tilt of his head. "Come up further if you actually want to catch anything."
Obediently, Karl follows. The river chuckles to itself as they set up again on an outcropping of rock. It's the only sound except for the low whistle of the wind. They dare to take off shoes and socks to dip their bare feet, but the icy water makes them rethink the idea in a hurry. Karl jerks his legs back up and almost falls backwards, cursing and laughing at himself. Viggo grins, a wide face-creasing grin.
"This was a good idea," he says after a moment. "Camping, I mean. I'm glad you and the others decided to come along."
"Wouldn't have missed it for the world." Karl props the fishing pole up between his legs, spreading his knees a little. His thigh presses against Viggo's, and after a moment Viggo shifts his position as well, until they are touching along shoulder and leg and hip.
That's something new in his life, Karl thinks. He's never really met a group of people so comfortable with each other, so easy when it comes to the sharing of touch and affection. He had arrived on set and immediately been embraced by no less than two dozen strangers, brought into a fold of warmth and camaraderie like a man arriving home. He remembers Viggo gripping his arms and smiling, standing close enough for Karl to see the place where he had chipped his tooth.
It's a welcome newness. He can feel each person on this mad magnificent project, whether friend or mere nodding acquaintance, nudging and pushing him like sculptors pressing warm hands into clay. Each change they bring about feels like a passionate kiss, a boon for good fortune in future. Here, anything good can happen. Here, anything good will happen.
As if to prove him right, something tugs on the end of Viggo's line.
"Looks like you've got a bite, mate," Karl says. He maneuvers his pole out of the way.
Viggo stands on the rock and reels the fish in, little by little. It's a big one, Karl can tell, but Viggo doesn't look excited or worried -- just calm, determined, patient. Karl notices the way his bare feet grip the rock, his skin porcelain white except for the purple bruising around one toe.
Finally Viggo has the fish flopping and gasping at the bottom of a pail. He tips a little river water into it to keep the fish breathing, his hands calm and sure.
"That's a lovely bastard," Karl says. "Know what kind it is?"
"Isn't this your country?" Viggo smiles, real pleasure finally crossing his face. "Let's just hope he's edible."
Orlando whoops when they come back to the group a couple of hours later with three fish in the pail, all Viggo's. The others crowd around excitedly; he's the only one of them who's caught anything. Karl is amused at that, or perhaps more full of admiration: Viggo, conquering New Zealand when even her own are bested. Another "how did you" question he'll never ask.
Sometimes, he tells himself, it's much more interesting to wonder.
It turns out the fish are edible indeed, especially when paired with bottles of hearty Australian wine. Karl sits beside Viggo a few yards away from the bonfire, legs stretched out in the grass. He looks down at Viggo's knee, sees a fish scale blinking in the firelight, and reaches over to brush it away.
Viggo meets his eyes with an unreadable dark gaze.
Everyone's a little tipsy from the wine, voices bright and loud in the night; Karl himself is pleasantly numb. But Viggo's look sends a subversive, shadowy thrill through him, setting his head to circle deliberately around secrets he hasn't shared yet, even with himself.
He looks away, then steels himself and meets Viggo's eyes again. He's probably just making -- what, exactly? -- a great deal out of nothing.
But no. Because here is Viggo standing, unfolding himself fluidly from the earth, and as he stands he leans into Karl and brushes his lips against Karl's ear in a moist wash of heat: "Want to take a walk?" And Karl knows, somehow, that isn't what Viggo is really asking for.
It's another of Viggo's mysteries, the way he makes no distinction between man and woman, or at least, the way Karl thinks he doesn't. He's never actually seen Viggo do anything below deck with anyone -- would have thought him a monk if it hadn't been for the frank sexual appraisals he's occasionally seen in Viggo's eyes, the banked-flame flicker of response whenever a member of either sex shows interest. Only a flicker, though. As far as Karl knows, no one else in New Zealand has had the opportunity to fan that flicker into anything more, though not for lack of trying.
Is that what Viggo is offering him now?
He glances around the fire, not sure what he's looking for. A savior? A blessing? But the others are all oblivious, and it's just him and Viggo here, this question hanging between them like a blade above a rope.
Later, he will wonder aloud, "Why?" And Viggo will say, calmly, "Because you'd never have asked first."
Standing over him now, Viggo is patient and silent. Karl looks up and notices Viggo's hands at eye-level: strong, lean, slightly ragged around the nails from work and rough treatment. Sculptor's hands, artist's hands.
Karl looks down and swallows. Looks up again, nodding. "Yeah, all right."
He reaches up to grip Viggo's forearm, Viggo holding him in turn. Heart pounding, Karl allows himself to be hauled to his feet and led into the shadows away from the fire.
And it is different from anything he might have expected, this first and last mystery of Viggo's -- the first Karl learns the answers to, the last he had ever thought to explore. Firelight flickers at the edges of his vision as Viggo leans into him, pressing Karl against the rough bark of a tree, teasing with lips and tongue, opening Karl's mouth with his own.
So different, the scratch of stubble surprisingly pleasurable, the sudden heat flashfiring down to Karl's groin. He can feel those unspoken secrets awakening beneath his skin, responding to new hardness, to unexpected tenderness.
Viggo at first is gentle. He waits for Karl to become accustomed to each move, to a kiss below the jawline, a rough hand cupping his face, another sliding around his waist. Open night air woven with man scent, so close together, and closer to Karl than he has ever experienced. It's intoxicating.
He lets his own hands explore. Fingers stumbling over muscle and bone, sparse hair at Viggo's chest and trailing down his belly. Lightly, Karl brushes Viggo's erection, gasping when Viggo catches his hand and presses it harder against him.
"Feel," Viggo rasps in his ear, making Karl shiver. "I want you." In turn he drops all gentleness and traces the hard length of Karl's cock through his trousers. The force of arousal hits Karl so hard his vision grays out. "You want me, too," Viggo says, voice strained, and the sound of this warrior-poet reduced to single syllables is like a key unlocking a door.
Karl pushes them off of the tree, onto the ground. Viggo stretches out beneath him in the grass, mouthing his throat, hands scrabbling at button and fly, snaking inside his waistband to encircle Karl in a hot, knowing hold. Frantic, Karl writhes on top of him, moaning with each stroke.
"Vig," he says, like a drowning man, "let me -- " His own hand reaching down to squeeze. Hurrying, fumbling, Viggo rolls them onto their sides, undoes his own trousers, and guides Karl in.
Karl barely knows what he's doing -- he's done plenty of this before, but never for anyone else. It's only Viggo's deep-throated groans that tell him he's getting it right. He can hardly think at all anyway, all the blood rushing down to his cock, the edge approaching like a burst of fire.
Viggo kisses him, bruising and hard, thrusting his tongue inside Karl's mouth. Karl kisses back, sloppily, hungrily. Nothing else in the world, everything reduced to these few sensations in the dark, suddenly as necessary as breathing. Viggo's arm around his shoulders, drawing him close. Pumping his hips into Viggo's hand, faster, Viggo somehow keeping up the rhythm, faster still, and then --
And then the night, condensing itself to one point before exploding outward like a cavalry charge.
A heartbeat later, Viggo, breaking free of the kiss to arch his neck, gasping for air, a shout escaping his throat as his cock pulses in Karl's hand. Karl watches in wonder, the sight of Viggo's orgasm somehow more wild and beautiful than all the land surrounding them.
They come down together, breaths mingling. The sweet smell of grass and earth floats up through the scent of sex and sweat. As his heartbeat slows, Karl laughs, full-throated and open.
"What?" Viggo asks, smiling lazily in the light of the distant bonfire.
"Nothing," Karl says. "Just -- camping was a great idea. A fucking fantastic idea." He slings his leg over Viggo's, heedless of the mess. Rolls Viggo onto his back and kisses him again, deep. "And I'm really, really glad I decided to come along."
December 27, 2003