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"No one will notice," Viggo says again. "They haven't yet."
"There's always a first time." Elijah, Viggo notes, is drawn somehow finer than he was in New Zealand. He shifts his shoulders like he's expecting a blow. The hollow between his collarbones is... hollower.
Viggo's comparisons run out there, though, because all he can think about is that dream -- dabbing cobalt violet in that hollow, tracing the lines of bone and sinew with a paint-dipped finger and tickling fine brushes. Expensive paint, meant for accents and small detailing, spread liberally, even wastefully.
Not that he would consider it a waste.
"Fine. Let's go." It sounds grudging, and Elijah has the grace to realize it, and look abashed. Viggo ignores the tone, takes the words, and grins: victory. The county fair it is.
Stopped at the top of the ferris wheel is always the best part, like touching the sky. He gets this feeling sometimes near his cabin, and once or twice on drives through Montana. Everything else rushes away, and only he and the sky are left.
And Elijah, nerves wound up tight and thrumming beside him.
"Amazing, isn't it?" Viggo stretches and starts to reach around Elijah, thinks better of it, and simply flails, rocking their car.
"No, it's-yes, okay, just stop that. Please." Viggo looks at Elijah -- strips away the haze of dream-paint that still hovers, and really looks -- and realizes he's clutching the safety bar so hard by rights it should be bent. Maybe the ferris wheel wasn't such a good idea after all. He laughs at himself, for forgetting what he should have remembered about Elijah: his fear of heights. Acrophobia.
"I take it Orli never dragged you on the Tower of Terror when you two went to MGM," he finds himself saying, and marvels that he can make perfectly sensible conversation when he's not even thinking about it. Some would say that it's the only time his conversation is sensible.
"Fuck, no." It sounds like a prayer, or an invocation. Viggo can almost hear the tension in his shoulders crank down a notch when they start to descend. This time, when he stretches, he gives in to impulse, clasps Elijah's near shoulder in a move he thinks feels faintly avuncular. He hears Elijah's quick breath when they dip to the bottom and start their ascent once more.
"You need to learn to let go." It comes out before he can stop it, but at least he bites off the rest.
Learn how to fly.
Viggo likes listening to the carnies and their patter. He used to wonder what it would be like to be part of the traveling family.
Fellowship, he thinks.
The Tilt-A-Whirl sends them shifting and sliding against each other in the little car. Elijah's shoulders are still sharp and angular, but they're not drawn up so tight any longer and he laughs when a jolt sends him tumbling across Viggo's lap. The hunger in that thought -- Elijah on his lap -- startles him, and he thinks of the forces acting on them.
Circles are -- he remembers this from the physics course he dropped in college -- centripetal force, and a centrifuge is just a machine. There was an illustration in his text, tangents off a circle repeating to infinity. He'd lost himself in the play of angles and curves and missed whatever the instructor had said next. Gravity, of course, is down, but it's really just the pull of one body on another -- the force Elijah exerts on him. Does Elijah feel it as well?
Elijah is pale -- paler -- once the spin and tumble stops, but he's easy, relaxed into it. The carnival-food scents in the air make Viggo's stomach roll, twist, and growl like the engines on the carny rides. He could eat something, probably, and he checks with Elijah, hands him the candy apple he asks for. His mind skitters over new parallels, beautiful-brilliant hard surfaces hiding secrets, and he tucks it away for contemplation later.
Deciding what to eat takes his full concentration. He could, if he let himself, drift from stand to stand and gorge himself on salts and fats and sugar, a bite of this, two of that, until his head was swimming with flavors and his body dull and logy. Better to choose only one thing, and appreciate it. The stand advertising elephant ears has a hand-painted sign that might be a toddler with shining white teeth gnawing on an elephant who looks more bemused than irritated. The faintly drug-addled silliness of it appeals to him.
"Messy," he comments from inside a cloud of powdered sugar. Elijah tries to help by brushing at his shirt, and draws feeling out after his hands. "Don't worry about it," Viggo says, and tries to make it not sound like a dismissal as he walks away.
The teeth marks on the apple Elijah eventually offers him exert a strange, elemental pull. He wonders if the center gaps in their teeth match up, which even he has to admit is strange, and he shakes his head no because he doesn't trust his voice not to circumvent his reason. Elijah says something he doesn't catch as he finishes his elephant ear, and he resorts to an all-purpose sound of agreement.
The hall of mirrors always makes Viggo think of self-portraits, his reflection blurred in the brushed metal, warped tall or wide or twisted; not the crisp lines and stark realism of photography but a half-dozen canvases begun and discarded, none of them matching what he sees here. Himself, trebled and doubled again, every copy strange and different, all of them right.
Elijah's giggle eases around the corner and into the mirrors, and for a second he can almost see it echoing and bouncing around him. He wonders if he could paint that, capture the bright light and flitting spark of it on canvas.
Elijah is a blaze of color in the room, reflected back and forth, and Viggo thinks again, learn how to fly, and then he's not thinking about anything except candy apples and cobalt violet.
For brush, he has lips, teeth and tongue; for paint, spit and memory.
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