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AUTHOR: Laura (lafisher)
ORIGINAL STORY: Just Like Heaven by Azrhiaz
RATING: R, for language
SUMMARY: 'Okay, so sometimes the shit that he says comes out wrong somehow, kind of skewed, like he speaks without running it through the maturity filter or something, but he’s not fucking inferior for all of that. Just inexperienced, maybe. '
NOTES: Simply put, this story wouldn't exist without Twinklypixie. Merci beaucoup!
DISCLAIMER: The story below is a remix of an origianl story by Azrihaz. Moreover, this remix is a work of fiction. Neither I nor the original author claim any knowledge or ownership of the actors portrayed herein.
"step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.
and in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right."
“Where did I put that goddamned wax?” Elijah mutters, thumping his hand on top of the chest of drawers in frustration. Not that it’s particularly important. It’s just something to do, a way to keep his hands busy. Gives him something normal to focus on. Not that focusing on Orlando isn’t normal. Ok, well, that’s it, isn’t it? It isn’t normal, and thinking of Orlando focusing on him makes him sort of excited-panicky, and twists his insides into so many fucking knots that he could keep the British Navy afloat for years. Which is why he’s currently obsessed with finding out where his surfboard wax ended up, even though it isn’t doing one damn bit of good at keeping his mind off of things.
Giving up on the bureau, he slides to the floor and begins pawing through the piles of clothing and magazines under his bed. He has to sort of shimmy his upper body under the edge of the box spring, hand stretched out in front of him, groping blindly into the mess.
The thing is that he’s pretty sure that they shouldn’t, that it breaks some sort of buddy code or something, an unspoken rule that he doesn’t understand. But it’s easy to ignore the rules if you don’t know they exist, and Elijah’s used to trading on youth and naïveté anyway. It isn’t artifice exactly. Not a completely feigned countenance, but he’s pretty sure it’s not quite who he really is, either. It’s fucking hard being ‘the kid’, even if it is only supposed to be in his own mind. They can bullshit all that ‘old soul’ business all they want. True, he doesn’t act 18, not always, and he’s got a pretty solid idea of how the world works, thankyouverymuch. But he’s an actor, for fuck’s sake. He has been since oh, forever, and by now it’s not all fucking subconscious. He’s trained himself to observe, and he doesn’t miss the looks that sometimes fly past between the others, can’t ignore the superior smiles that forgive him for being ‘only 18.’ Okay, so sometimes the shit that he says comes out wrong somehow, kind of skewed, like he speaks without running it through the maturity filter or something, but he’s not fucking inferior for all of that. Just inexperienced, maybe. But if they’d stop fucking treating him like a child with too many toys for one goddamned second, he might be able to change that.
He hears someone jogging softly down the hallway and pokes his head out from underneath the bed as the footsteps approach his door.
“Hey, Orli!” he calls, taking in the long limbs and bare feet as they glide past. He pretends not to study the smooth skin flashing above the waistband of his sweatpants as Orli steps back, grabbing the top of the doorframe with both hands and swinging for a second before digging his toes into the plush carpet.
“You coming surfing today?” Elijah throws out over his shoulder, voice once again muffled by the thick mattress over his head, grateful for its discretion in hiding his overheated face. Fucking pale complexion. “Billy says the waves are gonna fucking rock today and-”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, mate.” Orlando sounds funny, like if Elijah looked up he’d find him bouncing on the balls of his feet, maybe clutching an ice cream cone in one hand and a balloon in the other, huge brown eyes wide and open like one of those Japanese cartoons. The image is ludicrous enough to make him giggle, and he starts to feel brave, like maybe he can handle this after all, should and shouldn’t be damned. He draws himself out to look Orlando in the face. Which is a big fucking mistake, because, of course, Orli looks nothing like an anime cartoon character, and quite a lot like he’s drowning and Elijah is the only one who can save him. His heart starts stuttering against his ribs, and the knots start trying to tie themselves together into one big knot, and he really hopes that Orli doesn’t notice that his eyes are focused on the brass door hinge just over his left shoulder instead of on his face.
“You don’t have to if there’s something you’d rather do,” he says quietly. It’s a fucking easy out that he’s offering, an escape: a chance for both of them to slide away, egos intact, pretend like nothing ever almost happened. He thinks that maybe he should take it, that if Orlando doesn’t jump at the chance, he should. Suddenly it all feels like it’s too big for him, like a kid who sneaks into an R-rated horror movie with his friends and ends up wanting to piss his pants in sheer terror. But there’s that fucking word again. Kid. And that does it. He’s not some snot-faced brat and he’s not running scared, not this time. He slides his gaze over and locks on Orli’s eyes.
There’s a beat where Orlando just looks back at him, and he’s sure that the answer is ‘No,’ or rather ‘Yes, there is something I’d rather do. Lots of things, actually. In fact, I don’t have time for surfing at all. You know how it is.” The silence stretches on so long that Elijah’s almost convinced that Orlando is out, that all this fucking soul-searching and worry was for nothing, and he feels his face start to flush again, this time with embarrassment. But then –
“No, s’good,” Orlando answers, and everything speeds back up to real time. Elijah exhales. “It won’t kill me to hang out with you lot for a bit.”
And Elijah smiles, fucking beams, actually, and reaches up to grab his wetsuit off the bed.
He watches Orlando ride the wave, balanced precariously on the board, wet skin glistening in the too-bright light. He doesn’t look as comfortable as Billy out there, but damned if there isn’t something about the sunlight and the ocean that just makes him look good. And if the appreciation is a little more than merely aesthetic, he thinks, leaning back a bit and supporting his weight on one arm, well, someone that beautiful has to be used to it by now. Elijah hisses in sympathy as Orli loses the wave and tumbles sideways into the surf, limbs flying every which way, board popping back up to the surface.
The only really strange thing, he reasons, is that it never came up before this, right? How many nights (oh god, how many nights?) of drunken – well, debauchery might just be the term – of stupid bets and even stupider promises, and it isn’t like they’d be the first, not even first among the cast, he thinks, eyeing Dom and Billy tussling playfully in the water, and the attraction is definitely there. He fists his hand in the sand and brings it up, watches the grains drain through his fingers. But a few months later is reasonable for an adult relationship, right? It isn’t a love at first sight thing, or a long-standing unspoken crush. It’s more of a drifting thing, a lost and lonely comfort thing, if you look at it closely. A ‘you’re here, and I’m here and it just seems natural thing’: like breathing. And maybe it is that simple, he thinks shifting forward again as he watches Orlando bob to the surface, sucking in great deep lungfuls of air. Maybe being empty is what makes you full – like, what is it? Negative space? Push everything out and the pressure from outside makes you fill back up, no matter how hard you try to resist. It’s anatomy, and not breathing is simply an impossibility.
Orlando catches Elijah’s eye, and his mouth stretches in a smile as he turns around, heading back out. And Elijah doesn’t need science books to tell him about instinct, not with the way his whole body just started tingling. But something in Orlando’s expression makes Elijah wonder just how long he’s been trying to hold his breath.
Elijah’s halfway to standing and just about to catch his own wave when he sees Orli fall again, body slapping the water painfully. That’s the 6th time he’s wiped out today, so Orlando’s mind is more than a little obviously not on the waves, but then, neither is Elijah’s own, which he’s about to prove in a rather spectacular manner. Then he’s up and he bites his lip in concentration, but it’s too late and he loses it, too, cursing as he plunges into the surf.
“Jesusfuck!” he splutters as he comes up again, “Ow!” He’s pretty sure that there’s going to be a fantastically huge purple colored bruise on his shoulder by tomorrow morning, and he shoves the board away in anger, reaching out a hand to stop it from doing further damage as it comes bouncing back on its tether. Being careful of his shoulder, Elijah paddles in, too antsy to even bother with another try.
He’s beginning to think that this whole thing is a bad idea, a really, really bad fucking idea, and that overwhelmed feeling from earlier comes rushing back, bigger and more impossible than ever. He’s pretty sure that he must be missing something, and that the look in Orlando’s eyes is the only clue he’s going to get. But fuck it all, he just can’t work it out. He knows that Orlando wants him, that much has always been clear, but that’s not a problem. He wants Orlando, too. This is fucking stupid. They both know what they’re getting in to, it’s not like anyone ever pretended it was anything else. So what’s the fucking deal?
It’s so goddamned frustrating. He wishes they could just talk about it, sit down over an over-large cup of coffee, giggle like a couple of girls and hash all this shit out. But girls they most definitely are not, and talking isn’t something Orlando does well. Besides, Elijah wouldn’t even know where to fucking start. It’s like there’s this huge dark cloud of convoluted assumptions and intertwined relationships just hanging out over his head, and everyone else knows exactly what’s going on in there. But for some stupid reason, he can only see inside the wispy places on the very edges, no matter how much jumping and running he does trying to catch up. He thinks that it probably comes back to that lame-ass kid thing again, and isn’t that a ray of mother fucking sunshine? Shit.
By the time Elijah reaches the shore, he’s so angry and confused that he can hardly see, and Orlando is more than halfway up the beach, shoulders slumped and footsteps heavy, spine curved as if to ward off the sun. Elijah’s breath catches in his throat, and he unhooks the board, pushes it swiftly out of his way, and takes off after Orli. Absently, he follows the snaking line Orli’s surfboard made in the sand as he dragged it dejectedly behind him, concentrating on the pattern of darker water-stained spots to the right of it. Elijah’s not sure what he’s planning on doing, not even sure if he’s planning on doing anything, really, but it’s just too goddamned insane for him to stay outside and pretend to enjoy himself while Orlando goes off oon his own, not even caring –
He stops when he reaches the doorway, just stands still and watches Orlando moving around the cool interior of the house, tries not to think about what’s happening or what’s going to happen. Takes a deep breath. ‘Live in the moment,’ people are always saying, and maybe he should stop fucking thinking about shit and start fucking acting. It’s easier to deal with all the emotions if he doesn’t attach any consequences to his actions, which, he thinks vaguely, is not a particularly Adult thing to do. But if he concentrates on Orlando, focuses on the five steps between them instead of the thumping of his pulse in his throat, then things seem good. Quite a bit better than good. Fucking fantastic, actually, despite all the worry. And then Orlando turns around.
“Everything okay?” Elijah asks, only not asking that at all, not in the slightest, too tired and sun-dazzled to rehash an issue that’s already been settled.
“Yeah,” Orli half-whispers, and Elijah can see him trembling, see the water droplets sliding down his arms and dripping from his fingertips to puddle on the linoleum. Elijah steps forward, subtracts one step, and then adds it right back on as Orlando steps backward and onto the carpet behind him. ‘Oh, no you don’t,’ his mind growls, ‘it’s not that fucking easy.’ And without a conscious decision, he surges forward matches Orlando step for step until Orlando suddenly stops moving. Just stops, like he’s frozen, and Elijah tries to catch himself, but can’t, can’t fucking stop, not now, but he slows it down, just enough, and his mouth gropes gently for Orlando’s as his momentum carries them towards the wall. And if he hasn’t exactly been waiting for this forever, it’s certainly been long enough, and (thank fucking god) Orlando isn’t fighting it. In fact, he’s doing the exact opposite of fighting. What he’s doing is more like melting, and it’s getting harder and harder for Elijah to think of why he shouldn’t be doing this.
In fact, it’s getting pretty damn hard for Elijah to think of why they haven’t done this before, and why they’re doing this now, and much of anything at all except the taste and smell of Orlando, and the way his skin feels, damp and slightly sticky when Elijah traces his fingers over the back of his neck, and cups his head, forcing the kiss deeper. He groans somewhere in the back of his throat, mumbles inane and useless things into the crook of Orlando’s neck as his hands fumble to undo their wetsuits, frantic to touch Orlando’s skin again, to taste and smell the parts of him that aren’t visible.
But Orlando places a hand on his, steady now, and smiles down at him with no trace of sadness or pain or anything at all lurking behind it. And Elijah wonders how he could have imagined that before, how he could have thought he’d seen anything ugly in something so fucking glorious, so mind-numbingly beautiful, and then it’s all he can do to remember to breathe as Orlando leans in to kiss him again and again. And now it’s Elijah that’s melting, can’t keep his footing, as Orlando presses him down, carpet soft and comfortable under his back, cushioning the blow.
Orlando’s careful fingers find the zipper, tug his wetsuit down, and then, slowly, off, and Elijah shudders as Orlando moves back and repeats the actions on his own. And then there’s no more time for thought, for cataloguing action, for anything but ‘touch’ and ‘feel’ and "Now, Orli." Now. Right now. And for just this moment, he's not a kid, not an adult, not anything but Elijah. And everything is as fucking perfect as it’s going to get.
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