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TITLE: Skitter
ORIGINAL STORY: Tea-Stained Voyeurism by Megolas
AUTHOR: queenofalostart (
PAIRING: Viggo/Dom, Dom/Lij implied, Billy
SUMMARY: "Viggo wonders if Dominic would let him write across his stomach, trace lines of muscle and movement with deliberate fingers and rough palms, heavy pens and dark-colored inks."
NOTES: Many thanks to Dee for organizing the challenge. Cigarettes and wine to lalejandra for the beta, title, and general fabulousness. Also, thanks to all of you who read early versions and told me I "had something there."
DISCLAIMER: This is fiction. And not even my own. Storyline lifted from Megolas.


Viggo likes to write things down - grocery lists on scraps of newsprint, letters on napkins, lines of poetry on hotel stationery. He favors heavy pens with black ink, a quirk he picked up from Exene. She gifted him with a "proper pen" the day after their wedding, pressing it into his hand as she told him that "real words needed more than a bitten-off pencil sharpened with a Swiss Army knife."

So he used that pen and the ones that came after it to write real words - at least, words he wishes were real. He pulls their heft across paper that's glossy and smooth or rough and crinkled without much effort or thought. He uses black ink that smells of shells and metal to create reality with every down stroke, obliterating it on the upswing.

He spills out his frustration, his pretension, all his self, everything Viggo, hopes he can scratch it out with a ballpoint knife so it won't poison Aragorn. He spends evenings, mornings, whenever he gets off shoot, hunched over his kitchen table with cups of coffee and torn hunks of multigrain bread with soft knobs of fresh butter, eating and drinking and holding cigarettes between his fingers until they burn down and nip at his skin. Ash and crumbs cover the table, the papers smudging with grease and grinds.

He finds himself writing things that make less sense than usual. He sees Elijah rise from the waves after a particular long haul and writes, "His hair looks up at me like a freshly born kitten covered in placenta and meowing for its mother." Things about Orlando like, "Milk, bread, baby potatoes," because he's always complaining about the fact his ice box is perpetually empty because Liv keeps stealing his food. Billy - gloriously cold and shivering quietly outside the gates of Moria - gets snatches of song, lyrics, things about flying to the moon and dancing in the dark and kissing until someone cries, letters colored in with neat circles topping the i's.

He doesn't worry so much about those words - they're on par with his usual ramblings. On par even with the ones During Exene, a time period he's not sure ever stopped, but has definitely waned. But Dominic, Dominic pulls fucked up things out of Viggo's brain through his fingertips just by opening wine bottles for Liv and sharing comic books with Henry and writing notes to himself on the back of his hands with black Sharpies. He makes Viggo push words across the page, things like "Hands grasp at straws, drinking wine that tastes like lion's blood and smells like rain," and "He's a white English (k)night. Looking at him makes me squint, makes me want to scrape my knuckles against concrete, all the while feeling like a voyeur," and "Green green green crashes down around my ears and I feel gloss underneath my fingernails and want to swallow his laughter and pull him into moon-colored rooms with my tongue."

Viggo reads the words, laughs at himself and remarks to the empty room that he's turning into a 15-year-old girl with a crush. He vows to cut the shit and start acting his age.

But acting his age is such a fucking chore, especially when he's the Numenorean and surrounded by three hobbits and an elf. They're crowded in his tiny living room, arguing about God knows what, something about lines and how Orlando's "always gotta be right." Elijah is a blur of movement and for a brief second Viggo worries about his carpet and how it would fare if it met the beer Elijah seems keen on spilling all over himself. But the worry passes, mostly because he's already looking away from the argument, his eyes drawn by a flash of marked skin, a glint of silver. Dominic moves on the couch, his tee shirt rucking up and exposing slashes of black ink shaped into Elijah's name crossing over his hip. His hand comes down to tug the shirt into submission, his fingers resting on his belt, rings clinking against the buckle. Viggo's eyes are trained on the tiny movements, words itching from his fingers. He wonders if Dominic would let him write across his stomach, trace lines of muscle and movement with deliberate fingers and rough palms, heavy pens and dark-colored inks.

The spell is broken by an unmistakable clatter of porcelain and slosh of liquid. Viggo takes a quick breath, an inhalation smelling sharply of Elijah's cigarettes and Orlando's cologne. A Scottish-sounding sigh followed by a colorful curse resonates from the kitchen, and Dominic's eyes flicker toward the sound, passing over Viggo on the way, skittering over his face. The crinkle of concern on Dominic's forehead is enough to propel Viggo up and out of his chair. He bounds into the kitchen, affecting the Ranger, ready to do battle with broken crockery.

But the crockery's not broken and Billy's just standing there, in Viggo's kitchen, clutching at a dripping cup, staring at the half-inch or so of liquid at the bottom of the mug like it means something. Like the tea leaves that don't exist because Viggo buys the filter bags will tell him something he already knows. At first, Viggo chalks it up to drunkenness, maybe even to exhaustion, but it's not until he tugs and rips and drapes a paper towel over the kidney-shaped spill does he get a clue. Black-inked words bleed under his hand, ridiculously fucked-up words about looking and watching and jealousy and rapture and Dominic. He strangles a gasp in his throat, congratulates himself for not being too much of an idiot by naming names in the inked-over mess.

The spill shrinks underneath the rough cotton, brown tea and black ink merging into a blurry amalgamation of strokes and curves. Viggo looks at Billy, gently plucks the cup from his fingers, tells him it's just a notebook, that it's no big deal. Viggo tries to reassure him, but he can't remember how, mostly because Henry hasn't needed reassuring since he was 7 and still waiting for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. But Billy, Billy with his wide-open eyes and tightly closed lips, he needs it, needs the reassurance, but Viggo can't give it to him because he doesn't even have any for himself. So he pats Billy on the shoulder, squeezes a bit, tells him to go sit down and he'll make the tea, all right?

And he does, they both do. Billy floats back into the living room, holding his shoulders too stiffly, face blank like he just saw his parents fucking in the shower or something. Viggo boils water and fingers tea bags until they split open under his hands and broken leaves scatter across the countertop.

Minutes later, hours really, after Orlando has admitted that he's wrong for once - but just this one time, damn it! - Viggo sees it. Sees how Elijah touches his tongue to the rim of his beer bottle as he stares at Dom, sees Dom staring back at Elijah with fingers splayed across his stomach, sees Billy taking both of them in with a swallow stuck at his Adam's apple. Right then and there Viggo decides that it's too dangerous, that he's too old to fight for the right to openly stare and lick and touch and grunt. Not that Dominic's not worth it - Viggo has a feeling he is, knows this from watching the way Dominic's fingers skitter over tree trunks and palms cradle insects and forearms stroke through dark water. He's real, broken and rough and there, and Viggo thinks he would like to write about watching fingertips rub against the spider web of skin at the juncture of forefinger and thumb. He decides he needs to buy a special pen for that - a heavy, old-fashioned pen with ink colored to match his tea-stained words.

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