Title: Kismet, or the Geography of Us
Author: Viktoria Angelique
Original story: Discovering Me, Discovering You by kiltsandlollies
Pre-reveal notes: I recently was trying to start reading all the old
fic I hadn't read previously, and when I got my assignment, I was pretty darned excited about getting to pick one of her stories to remix. I decided to go with "Discovering Me, Discovering You," because it was one of my first stories of hers and I just love the way it reads, the way the relationship is portrayed, and how the setting is not the usual Treebeard one but rather the rest of the Fangorn shoot. I was a bit nervous about sticking too close to the original, for fear of not doing the author justice, so this is probably best read on its own, though it could feasibly serve as a companion piece with the limited dialogue.
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
Dom has an odd habit of naming animals, plants, and inanimate objects.
His first car was Rudi, after a childhood friend. His car in New Zealand is Thumper, after Bambi, a name whose significance no one, least of all Dom, knows.
His computer is Hilge, as it's a bit of a shit computer, all things considered, and bulky. Lester was his first pet, a mouse that he kept under the bed in a box with holes in it until Matt tattled and his mum started screaming and he had to let Lester loose into the wild, where Matt's cat Genevieve promptly ate him. Dom cried about it, alone in his room, on and off for three weeks.
Dom has a pen named Molly, and Elijah teased him about it once – who the fuck names a pen? – but after Dom explained that it was a calligraphy pen, and very special, and he'd had it for years, replacing the ink dutifully whenever it ran dry, Billy admitted that he, too, likes stationary and writing with an instrument worthy of the missive itself. That confession led to the story of how Billy got into book binding, and how despite the arduous, tedious nature of the job, Billy still was proud to be a part of the process that brought a beloved book to a reader's eager hands, and he liked the thought that his hard work contributed to someone else's enjoyment. That was the first of many nights where Billy crashed in one of Dom's guest rooms, after hours of talking and the final heralding of the sunrise from the kitchen window.
Today, Dom is naming bugs. Billy humours him, of course, because he always does, and he says dutiful hellos to Marcie and Frederick and Tilde and Anamarie as they sit in the loamy soil that's been shipped in for the Fangorn set, alone on their tea break in this fantastical world with its blue-screen boundaries.
Dom is glad to be done with the scenes shot in Treebeard, not because of the discomfort of Treebeard's arms or even the reduced crew involved which is admittedly much calmer, but because of the connection to the earth he feels down here. Being up in the arms of a mechanical tree, it was hard to imagine that he was really in a magical forest, full of mysticism and wonder, afraid for his own future and the fate of his friends. Now, down here, it is easier.
Dom likes to think of things in terms of shapes, points and lines and directions. He likes being grounded, likes feeling his connection to the earth. Here on the ground, he can imagine a straight vertical line running from the earth through his feet and up through his body, bursting into terminus at the sky. It is a tangible connection, like the line he imagines each morning when he does his yoga to centre himself. Up in Treebeard, he looses this sense of grounding, and everything becomes skewed, the proportions and distances and paths of the lines unpredictable. He is loose and floating, and even Billy doesn't stay in one place proportionate to him, can't keep him on an axis.
When Dom was ten years old, his family took a day trip to the Schwarzwald. He remembers the trip well, from the scent of the forest to its overwhelming density, the way the growth closed in on him and, rather than causing him fright, made him feel safe. It was like being enveloped, a natural cocoon. He wasn't afraid of getting lost, because he had his parents. He was free to be childish and fanciful, to imagine faeries lurking in the bushes and to speak to them in a tongue that only they and he could understand.
School in Germany was hard for Dom. The other boys were suspicious of him because of his accent – unlike other English boys it was strange, imprecise. It wasn't quite English, because Dom had been born and Berlin and had never not known how to speak German, and he had only been to England a few times that he could remember, to visit family. The difference made him awkward, and he didn't quite know how to handle it. He tried to joke around, but he usually had it all wrong.
Matt didn't have the same problems, as he had been born in England and German was his second language. Sure, the boys in his class sometimes made fun of his accent, but Matt knew how to joke around, how to make a game of it. He would insult the other boys in turn, but he had a brilliant sense of tact for a child his age, something that Dom had never possessed. He'd make fun of the Germans, but he knew never to bring up the war. Once when Dom was very, very upset, he turned on a boy and said, his voice even, "am mindestens hat mein Grossvater nie jemand lebendig gebrannt." The others didn't really talk to him much after that.
The forest was a sanctuary. After that first trip, he managed to convince his parents to return twice more, before they all packed up and moved back to England. There was nothing like the forest in England, but still Dom liked to pretend. He remembered die Brudern Grimm, the stories he had learnt in grade school. They were scary, harsh, much more cruel than the watered down English versions, but Dom wasn't bothered. He had grown up on them, and he liked finding the seeds of hope in the tales of distraught children and wicked parents. He imagined that one day he would go on a long, perilous, epic journey, and he would scatter breadcrumbs until he found his way home.
Sitting in the soil, his back against a tree, real but imported onto the set and kept alive only by feats of modern horticulture, he turns to Billy with a frown. "Do you think the hobbits ever thought of scattering breadcrumbs?"
Billy gives him a bemused look, a funny little smile that makes something warm settle in Dom's stomach. He is always going off on tangents like this, but Billy is used to it. He covers a yawn with his hand, and Billy lifts his arm wordlessly. He grins and settles under it, his head sinking until it lands in Billy's lap. He curls his knees up, his hobbit-feet half burrowed in a patch of moss, and shifts until he is comfortable.
"Oh, look at that one," he murmurs sleepily, pointing with one finger to a squat black bug emerging from the soil. In the name of authenticity, most everything here is real, and so much to Billy's disdain, there are indeed plenty of bugs on the set. "Let's call him Otto."
"All right," Billy agrees, and Dom can hear him smiling even though he can't see it.
"And that one?" Billy asks after a moment, pointing to a ladybug.
"William," Dom replies with a broad smile.
"I'm a ladybug?" Billy exclaims.
"Yeah," Dom agrees. "The pretty ones are male, didn't you know?"
"I suppose you should be a ladybug too, then."
Dom closes his eyes and thinks. Any other day, any other time, any other situation, it would be a joke, light-hearted and warm. But Billy's tone belies that expectation, and Dom sighs, burrowing closer, not cheapening the moment with a comeback of his own. Billy's fingers fall to Dom's hair, stroking his wig, and Dom imagines they are stained with dirt but he doesn't care.
If a vertical line keeps Dom grounded, then a horizontal line keeps him tethered, tethered to Billy. Dom has always enjoyed freedom, never wanted to be held down, but suddenly now, here in this strange place, he doesn't mind. He likes to imagine a solid, horizontal line, one that painlessly pierces both their hearts and keeps them inextricably linked, locked to one another. He can't guarantee that this connection won't fade with time, of course, that the line won't rust and wear and become shaky with age. But he doesn't think that it will.
Dom has never been all that good at geography. For someone reasonably well travelled, there are embarrassing gaps in his knowledge. He was seventeen before it suddenly occurred to him, in a fit of excitement in class, that the world was round. He laughed it off, of course, and his mates quickly forgot about it, but the epiphany was crucial for him. He had never really understood the concept, looking at flat maps all his life, knowing that Ireland was left and Germany was down and right, but suddenly it made sense to him. Russia touches Alaska, and if you keep going east for a very, very long time, you'll be back in Manchester.
Now, it seems that he isn't even related to the globe, isn't touching its surfaces. He knows in his brain where New Zealand is located on the map, how it relates at least to Australia and Indonesia and Japan, but it still feels so distant, removed, like a floating island that doesn't actually touch the water he swims and surfs in so regularly. He likes this isolation in ways, the strange, magical things it causes like those stolen mornings in the Schwarzwald with the dapples of sun only occasionally hitting his hands to remind him that he was indeed still part of this earth. In other ways, it worries him, because he wants to root these experiences, this existence, to the earth to which he knows he must eventually return in some permanent way. He doesn't want to lose his equator, his Billy, any more than he wants to lose the Prime Meridian of ground and sky.
But as he curls now in Billy's arms, his feet firmly rooted in the soil and Billy's hands in turn entwined in his hair, vertical and horizontal come together for a moment and he is witness to a new plane.
He wakes some time later, and Billy's hand still moves rhythmically through his hair, Billy's breathing a gentle sigh somewhere above him. He feels like a child, lying in his best friend's lap, knowing that Billy has been watching over him in his sleep – protecting him, as foolish as that may sound. They are on a closed set, in a safe place, but still Billy protects him from curious eyes, from the possibility of returning crewmembers. Dom knows somehow, like he knows a few fundamental truths, that Billy is guarding his dreams, and watching over their intimacy. He is keeping this moment for them, and Dom loves that.
He shifts, and he feels a hardness nestled against his ear. He rubs his cheek against it, and Billy stills, but Dom doesn't relent. He knows suddenly that the pieces fit, that their plane has been nailed to earth and it is solid and real and he clings to it, clutching Billy's cock as he sits up and bites at his lips. His left hand has somehow found Billy's in his sleep, and he doesn't let go, because this he realises, is what prompted Billy's arousal, and he can't take his mind off of that thought for the moment.
"It's all right, Billy," he murmurs, and they relax into each other. Billy surges to orgasm over a period of ten minutes that is amazing and sacred and secret, a memory that Dom instinctively knows he will keep with him for the rest of his life. When Billy falls back into stasis, his breathing evening and his heartbeat slowing, he gives Dom a questioning look, but Dom shakes his head.
"Later," he promises. "At home. My home. Can't wait to take you, Billy," he whispers, and he feels the shudder that his promise produces. He tucks Billy back into his trousers and laces him up, and they kiss slow and even, like honey and everything Dom has ever felt is uncensored now, free for Billy's ears, safe in the knowledge that Billy is his protector and they are so blissfully on the same page.
Communicating with Billy, Dom thinks, is like talking to the faeries in the Schwarzwald, and that's all Billy is really – a forest faerie. A beautiful pixie, an ethereal thing… a hobbit. Dom leans forward once more and tastes Billy's smile, then he scoops a weta into Billy's hands. Billy jumps slightly, and Dom smoothes Billy's brow with his fingers. "It's about time you held one."
"What's this one called?" Billy asks, his voice husky even as the bustle of crew coming back from tea alerts them to the end of their break.
Dom smiles childishly, and takes the weta from him again, depositing it in the loam and squeezing Billy's hand once more before he stands. "Kismet."
am mindestens hat mein Grossvater nie jemand lebendig gebrannt - at least my grandfather never burned anyone alive
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