Title: Five Ways Orlando Got Dom and One Way He Didn't
Original Story: "Five Ways In Which Elijah Lost Dom and One Way He Didn't" by Shanalle
Pairing: Dom/Orlando, Dom/Elijah, Viggo/Orlando
Rating: R
Summary: See title!

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.


Orlando woke up Tuesday like any other Tuesday. At the first sound of the alarm, he rolled over and arched in a spine-crackling stretch. He pedalled his feet wildly under the blankets to wake himself, and opened his eyes.

Everything was blurry.

Screwing his fists against his lids, Orlando rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and tried again.

Still blurry.

After repeating the same process six times, Orlando finally gave up on the miracle cure of rubbing his eyes and lurched upright. His morning wood all but poked him in the stomach. That was odd. Orlando's hardons tended to be more of the horizontal variety, not quite so... aloft as that.

The foot of the bed seemed terribly far away. Normally after a good stretch, his heels touched the edge of the mattress, but now there looked to be miles of space between his feet and bed's end. Perhaps that was down to his wonky vision.

Orlando cast the bedclothes aside and gaped. If he weren't already having trouble seeing properly, the sheer gleam of exposed pasty skin would blind him at once.

It was at that moment when he realized that this definitely wasn't just any other Tuesday.

Leery of investigating the evidence of shortened legs and an unusually vertical erection, Orlando looked instead at his hand.

He squinted.

Orlando brought his hand closer, and closer, and closer still to his face. At last, at a distance of two inches, he could finally see his own hand only it wasn't his own hand. The skin was ivory, the hand square with short thin fingers. The nails were gnawed down to the quick.

Stupidly, Orlando wiggled his fingers. Definitely not his hand. It looked like, actually, well... but it couldn't be.

He peered at the bedside table. There seemed to be a new blotch there. Leaning til his nose nearly touched the table, Orlando discovered a pair of folded spectacles.

With dread, Orlando donned them. Immediately the room jumped into focus. He avoided looking directly at the glaring pallor of his short-legged body and hefted himself out of bed. Perhaps he was just... ill. He could have got food poisoning. Food poisoning that bleached him, shrank his legs, and ruined his eyesight overnight.

But a trip to the mirror only confirmed it: Orlando was no longer Orlando. He blinked, dazzled by his overwhelming whiteness in the glass. The thick fans of lashes on his oversized blue eyes flapped hugely, spawning massive winds that whirled like hurricanes behind his spectacles, temporarily blinding him again.

He was Elijah fucking Wood.

This was just perfect.


Of course, first things first; straightaway he had a wank. Elijah wasn't really Orlando's type. Orlando's taste ran more to scruffy and sarky, all told. Still, that didn't mean Orlando hadn't occasionally fancied Elijah, or wondered a bit.

What with Elijah's smaller hands it was hard to gauge objectively, but measured against the slick glide of Elijah's palm, Lij's tackle was really quite nice. The circumcised head was a bit less sensitive than Orlando's own; he took advantage, lavishing a bit more lube and really working the knob til heat rippled all through him and he got off, shuddering into his fist.

Wobbling a bit, Orlando decided being Elijah might not be so bad after all.


Two hours later and, yes, he was still Elijah fucking Wood. No one on set seemed to notice, seeing as how Elijah was now, apparently, Orlando fucking Bloom. If Elijah was upset about it, he hadn't said a word. But then, they hadn't had a chance til now.

Slowly, cautiously, Orlando (Elijah?) approached his other self, trying to overcome the bizarre sensation of looking up at himself. "Are you...?"

"Yeah, are--"


"What the fuck?"

"No idea, mate."


The day went sort of like that, which was bad enough. How the hell was he meant to be Frodo? He'd been an elf for nearly eight months; an elf who spent the lion's share of his time standing about looking tall and lovely and remote. Unlike Legolas, Frodo had sheafs of dialogue... multiple complex relationships with other characters... emotions.

"Let's try it again, Elijah," Peter said, quite kindly, considering it was the fifteenth take. "Remember, you're fond of Sam and wary of Aragorn, not the other way round."

Under other circumstances, the acting challenge might have excited Orlando, but after all, Elijah had spent weeks and weeks studying his character before filming commenced, learning the proper accent and getting used to the costume.

The costume! Orlando's head felt hot and scratchy from the unfamiliar fringe of Frodo's hobbit curls. At the other end, as well as being cold, the hobbit feet were amazingly slippery.

Elijah's feet sweated positive oceans, and the latex prosthetics allowed not even the tiniest drop to escape. It would be hard enough to suddenly learn all Frodo's lines, imitate Elijah's Frodo accent, and act the lead role without having to waddle about with plastic bags of frigid sweat fastened round his ankles.

Bad as that was, it actually got worse. Orlando was looking through Elijah's trailer, wondering where the hell Elijah kept his paracetamol, when there was a knock at the door.

It was Elijah-- or rather Orlando-- if this kept on, Orli would have to make up new names for them both to keep track.

Elijando? Orlijah?

No, that would just be silly.

At any rate, it was Elijah in Orlando's body, and just to complicate the question of identity still further, Orlando's body was still kitted out as Legolas. Orlando admired the fit of Legolas' green tunic on his own chest and shoulders. It really looked quite fetching from this angle. No wonder Dom fancied him.

"You!" Elijah shut the door behind him. "You! And Dom!"

"Er. Yes?"

"Why didn't I know you were doing Dom?"

"Well... we haven't exactly been hiding it, mate. Remember all those times we've gone out dancing, and Dom and I were out on the floor grinding against each other? All the parties where he's been sat on my lap?"

"I thought he was just kidding around!" Elijah flailed. Unaccustomed to Orlando's long arms, he knocked over three stacks of CDs and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figure.

"What about the time we came to the make-up trailer holding hands--"

"He's a touchy guy!"

"--and announced we'd been dating since three days after Dom arrived in New Zealand?"

"I thought it was a prank!" More flailing. At this rate there wouldn't be a single stacked CD or upright action figure left in the place by nightfall.

"I don't know why you're upset about it now," Orlando said. "If you're bothered, we'll just tell him about the body-switching thing and he'll leave off."

"No!" Elijah shouted. His pique was turning Orlando's face an unflattering shade of fuchsia.

"Oh. In that case, don't tell him, and you can have a go if you like."

"Have a go?! Do you do this a lot, tell other people they can have a crack at your boyfriend's ass?"

It took Orlando a second to parse that out, as the crack and ass bits seemed as though they ought to go together in a different way than that. "I don't often switch bodies with other people, no..."

"I can't believe you! Dom deserves a way better boyfriend."

Now Orlando was beginning to get a bit upset as well. "All right, you think you'd be so much better for him-- give him a go and we'll see, won't we?"

"Fuck you. I'm going to ruin your body," Elijah threatened. "I'm going to go eat a stick of butter in a hot dog bun, with a glass of melted ice cream to drink and a plate of sugared pork fat for dessert."

Orlando gasped.

"I mean it. I already had salted cheese and bacon sandwiches for lunch. White bread, Orlando. White. Bread."

Now that was going entirely too far.

There was a tap on the door, and Dom poked his head in. "Everything all right? I could hear you two all the way from the craft services table, shouting the place down."

Set on revenge, Orlando thought fast. He shuffled in Frodo's slimy hobbit feet. "Come in," he said, and as soon as Dom was safely inside, he said, "I've been out of sorts today, and E-- Orlando's just been after me to admit why. The truth is, I'm jealous of him, Dom. I want to be with you."

That certainly shut Elijah up; he snapped Orlando's mouth closed with a loud clack of teeth.

"You do?" Dom asked, gobsmacked.

"I really do," Orlando nodded. "And he's just been saying he'd be all right with it if we... tried it on, maybe. Just to see."

"But." Dom's expression was all confusion and honest regret. "Lijah, I wish... but. Orli and me..."

"He doesn't mind, just this once," Orlando promised, looking over at Elijah. Lijah looked back at him, blank with forced calm; Orlando was rather impressed really. His face had never been that still and stoic in the mirror.

"It's okay," Elijah said tersely.

"Well... maybe just this once," Dom repeated, and when Orlando touched him, Dom reached for him eagerly.

Strange to be looking up at Dom, strange to feel Dom heating up so quickly and wrapping his arms around this smaller body. Dom kissed him without the usual rush of tongue and teeth, taking his time about it, gently sipping at his mouth with a sort of careful reverence that Orlando had never felt from him before.

"I've always thought you were so bloody lovely," Dom admitted quietly, cupping Orlando's cheek.

Orlando pressed close and moaned in answer to cover a distressed little noise in his own voice from across the room.


"C'mon, just a little bit further!" Viggo's voice echoed loudly through the quiet of the night and Orlando ran after him, breathless.

"Where are you taking me?"

"Just a little further," Viggo said, reaching for his hand and pulling him along. "The stars out here are amazing."

They reached a clearing and fell into a pile of arms and legs on the grass, Viggo holding Orlando close to him.

"Look at it, Orlando."

It was amazing, Orlando had to admit. The sky was cloudless and bright with stars, more stars than he would have thought possible, except that anything seemed possible in New Zealand. It was probably the best thing Orlando had ever seen.


They lay there in the grass, just looking, until Viggo turned to him and grinned. "You like it?"

Orlando leaned forward and smiled against Viggo's lips. "You're-- thank you."

The kiss was lazy, sloppy, and distracting enough that neither of them saw one star moving forward in the sky, growing brighter by the second. It wasn't until the light hit their bodies directly that they noticed-- more of a spotlight than anything else, and piercingly bright.

"What the hell...?"

The light grew stronger, bigger, until both Viggo and Orlando had to shield their eyes from it, their hands instinctively clutched together in what was almost fear.

And then it was gone.


The light flashed again, this time tilting upward and Orlando saw it just seconds before Viggo. Not a star at all, but a...a ship, and if he was hallucinating, this was one mad vision because there was a ship. Flying. In the sky.

"Orlando?" Viggo repeated, his fingers gripping Orlando's more tightly.

"Look at it," Orlando's hand slipped from Viggo's as he stood.

As he moved away from Viggo, it was like slow motion. Orlando felt himself go liquid, floating, his feet barely moving at all, even as his speed increased.

He could hear Viggo shouting hoarsely after him, but the roar of the ship (the ship!) was too loud, too much. Orlando couldn't hear Viggo over the din; and then he couldn't hear anything at all.



"Vig...?" Orlando rubbed his face.

"No, it's Dom. Come on then, Orli, wake up."

Pushing himself up, Orlando looked around. Dom knelt beside him. They were in a windowless room. Protrusions from the walls and floor seemed to form furniture, of sorts. Every surface looked like brushed steel.

"Where are we?"

"I dunno," Dom answered. "There was a light in the sky. It pulled me up."

"Same thing happened to me!"

"I think we've been abducted by aliens."

"I think you're right."

They clutched each other in terror and shivered for ages. But eventually that got boring.

"This stuff is springy!" Dom said, trying out the sofa-shaped protrusion.

"Really? It looks like metal." Orlando lowered himself onto the bedlike lump. It felt soft and bouncy. "You're right, it is springy!"

They jumped on all the furniture blobs for a while. It passed the time.


Orlando's stomach growled. "I hope they intend to feed us."

"I hope we can digest whatever they eat," Dom replied. "Do you smell sesame oil?"

They looked over at the table-sized shelf. Empty just moments before, it was now cluttered with white takeaway boxes.

Dom approached the food and popped open a box. "Moo Goo Gai Pan."

Orli sniffed suspiciously at a carton that seemed to be full of almond chicken. He considered the odd red lettering on the box. "The writing on the side doesn't look like Chinese, though."

"It looks like some kind of alien language," Dom agreed.

"That's a bit worrisome, isn't it? We've no way of knowing what it says."

"We wouldn't know what it said it if was in Chinese either," said Dom, and ate a mouthful. "Mrmrmrmgghm."

"Are you all right?!"

Dom swallowed and grinned, pressing chopsticks into Orlando's hand. "Try some! It's delicious!"


The meal was amazing, easily the best Chinese takeaway Orlando had ever eaten. Replete with the finest Szechuan and Hunan cooking had to offer, he cracked open a fortune cookie and stared at the slip of paper.

We are you only for to observe. No will to you harm come.

"What's that look about?" Dom asked. "Does it go really well with 'in bed' or sommat? 'You will soon find yourself with someone new, doing something indescribably filthy yet desperately exciting'...?"

Orlando passed the fortune to him.


"Maybe they think that's how we communicate?"

They cracked open all the cookies. The messages all seemed to be well-meant reassurances in broken English. Dom read them out in a Yoda voice til Orlando nearly pissed himself laughing.

The fortunes did make them feel a bit better, though to Dom's disappointment, none of them went well with "in bed".


It wasn't so bad, really.

At first they were both gutted that they'd probably lost their jobs. But then they noticed that nothing was changing. Dom's stubble never got darker than a rakish shadow; Orlando's jaw stayed clean. The gash on Dom's leg, a souvenir of Sean Bean accidentally stabbing him with a sword, stayed pink and scabby, never healing.

Dom reasoned that they were probably being held in some kind of stasis outside of normal time. So they stopped moping about their roles being recast while they were gone.

They never saw any aliens or anyone else. Whenever they were hungry, takeaways appeared on the table. When they were done, the leftovers disappeared. There was a sort of bowlish, toilet-shaped thing off in a corner, and after they loudly wished for walls around it, the room reshaped to provide. Then they had to cross their legs and loudly wish for a door.

There wasn't much to do, but they soon instituted a rigorous exercise routine to give the days a bit of structure. And from waiting around on set, they already had loads of ways to stave off boredom. They played Cup and had chopstick fights. Dom told jokes and started conversations with silly questions about salads and favourite films and dead pets.

Orlando tried to imagine what it would be like to be stuck in a room alone with Sean, or the other Sean, or Elijah, or even Viggo. The conclusion was inescapable. "Sblomie, you know... I think of all the people in the cast I could've been abducted with, I'm glad it was you."

"I'm trying to work out if that's a compliment."

"It is. I mean, I know you and Elijah were, um."

"Yeah. And you and Viggo."

"Right. But it could've easily gone differently, you know? If you and I had been together a bit more..."

"We're certainly together a bit more now."

The bedlike lump was very, very springy indeed.


Whenever Orlando was in L.A., he and Dom slipped away from handlers, publicists, and personal trainers (especially personal trainers) and met to indulge in a mutual secret weakness: the full English.

At first this morning was like any other, with mutual grunts of satisfaction at the sight of plates heaped high with bangers, beans, black pudding and glistening, cholesterol-laden eggs. But eventually, Orlando looked past his own ravaged plate and saw that Dom was only making a hash of his chips and grilled tomatoes.

"Everything all right, mate?" Orlando asked.


"Oh," said Orlando, stymied. "Well, then," he added helpfully.

"It's Elijah. He's changed," Dom said. "It's like he's been replaced by a clone from some mad government program that duplicates people in the top tax brackets."

"Is it?" Orlando tried to imagine what that would be like. His head started to hurt.

"Yeah, that's exactly what it's like." Dom sighed. "He keeps acting surprised about every little thing. I kissed him and he took a swing at me. I made his favourite meal, eggplant parmigiana, and he claimed he'd never eaten it before. And he keeps taking deep breaths and talking about how much sweeter the air tastes when you're free. This is L.A., Orli. He's talking about sweet air in L.A."

"Maybe you misheard him. Maybe he said the air tastes sweeter when it's free. Maybe he's been going to one of those oxygen bars?" At Dom's withering look, Orlando shrugged. "I don't know! Perhaps he's getting ready for a role. You know, really immersing himself, like Viggo."

"He hasn't smoked for two weeks."

Orlando gaped. "Dom! Elijah's been replaced by a clone!"

"I know!" Dom dropped his head into his hands. "I just don't know what to do about it."

"Break up with him, for a start?"

Dom fiddled with his plate, pushing a rasher of bacon into obscene congress with a heap of bubble and squeak. "It was sort of intriguing at first. You know, someone who looks just like Elijah, but behaves entirely differently. And then I thought, if this is his clone, then when the real Elijah gets back..." he trailed off, his voice rich with implication.

Orlando waited. And waited. "Er, what happens when he gets back?"

Dom rolled his eyes. "A threesome?"


"Only it's two weeks now, and he doesn't seem to be coming back. I suppose I should try to find him." Dom didn't sound enthused.

"Doesn't he have people to take care of problems like that for him?" Orlando pressed. "Let his agent go looking. That's exactly the sort of thing he pays those types for."

"Let me make a phone call," said Dom.


"His agent's on it," Dom said five minutes later, and tucked into his mushrooms and kedgeree with renewed zest.

"And have you broken up with him?"

"Technically I was never dating this version of him," Dom answered around a mouthful of porridge. "So I don't know that I need to go to the trouble of breaking it off."

Orlando smothered his potato scones and white pudding in tomato sauce, deep in thought. "What about when the real Elijah gets back?"

"I dunno." Dom finished off the kippers. "I have to admit, the bloom's been off the rose for a while now. Elijah's got quite spoilt and jaded recently, treating people badly, whinging about trifling things, taking everything for granted. It's almost as if he were setting himself up for the karmic retribution of being replaced by a clone who's spent his entire life enslaved, deprived and miserable while the real Elijah fails to appreciate his freedom and good fortune."

"That's fitting, then."

"Yeah. Poetic justice and that."

"Look, Dom," Orlando speared a slice of ham with his fork and came to the point. "You've already spent some time dating someone who looked like Elijah but acted quite differently. So, to complete the transition, why not move on to someone who looks and acts differently?"

"Suppose I shouldn't ask out Tobey Maguire, then."

"Only if you'd like to invite him along for a threesome," Orlando declared boldly. "With me, I mean. That is, not only with me. It would hardly be a threesome in that case. You, him and me. Or really I'd rather just, you and me."

"You and me?" Dom slathered his toast with marmalade and lemon curd and ate it with the last of the devilled kidneys and clotted cream.

Orlando waited, his heart in his throat, sausage and delicious crumbly oatcakes in his mouth.

"That does sound good," Dom beamed. "Yeah, Orlando. You and me."


Everyone came back from lunch to return to the Council of Elrond scene, but Elijah was missing.

Frodo, however, showed up right on time.

"Kiran?" Peter asked doubtfully.

Elijah's size double looked up from his chess board, set up near the caterers. "Eh?"

Everyone looked at Frodo again. He looked back, dignified and small. He was unmistakably not a size double in a mask and wig. He was a living, breathing Elijah in miniature, with real sable curls and real furry feet.

Very politely, his accent flawless, he said, "I'm afraid that's not my name. I'm Frodo Baggins."

"So cute!" one of the female crew members groaned. She sounded avaricious.

Quite a few of the female crew were sort of closing in on Frodo. Even Liv crept near.

Orlando made sure his bow was close to hand.

"Nice to meet you," Peter answered. Barrie whispered to him, and Peter nodded. "Could you come this way, Mr. Baggins? I'd like to speak to you in my trailer." He led Frodo away.

"Take a break, everyone," Barrie said.

Kiran looked after Frodo with a critical eye. "Needs more arm swing."


Orlando sidled up to Dom, who looked more stroppy even than circumstances seemed to warrant.

"All right?"

"No," Dom said shortly.

"Oh. What's wrong, then?"

"Well, how'm I meant to feel?!" Dom burst out. "My boyfriend's three feet tall!"

"Elijah's your boyfriend?" Orlando's stomach did a sort of swooping double somersault. If Dom were inclined to have a boyfriend, that was more hope than Orlando had yesterday; but if the position were occupied, it wasn't exactly time to pop the champagne cork just yet.

"Well. I suppose technically he never said we were boyfriends," Dom sulked. "He's a bit deep in the closet really. And it's not as if I can ask him now! He's probably off in Hobbiton shagging Samwise. I always thought Lij really fancied Sean more. If Sean were single, Elijah never would've given me a second look."

"I would."


Orlando's heart hammered. "I'd. Give you a second look... I have done, I mean."

Dom hesitated.

"And I wouldn't ponce around and leave you wondering," Orlando added. "If we were boyfriends, you'd know."

"Yeah?" Dom looked at him searchingly. Then he reached for Orlando's ear and pulled. Hard.


Dom flicked Orlando's prosthetic latex ear-tip between his fingers. "And you're human, as well," he said. "That's two you're up on Lijah."

Orlando held his breath.

"Bugger it, who knows when this mess will get sorted? I think that's enough to declare a winner," Dom decided. "Come on. Let's go to mine."


"We've got to hurry!" Elijah grabbed for Dom's hand and pulled him toward the shuttle.

The hatch was open and people were pouring inside it, each more urgently than the last. Shouts of c'mon! and there's no time! were all around, faceless figures moving past, bumping into him in their rush. They were all headed for the same place, the shuttle. Their last chance at safety. The final option for the continuity of mankind, the President had said just moments before.

Dominic clutched Elijah's hand so hard his knuckles ached and they ran as fast as they could, Hannah close at Elijah's other side. Behind them, the terrified screams were muffled by the thunder of the sky, the crash and boom of rocks as big as houses falling to the Earth, the roar of flames.

Elijah stopped. He and Hannah had stumbled on-- Christ, a body, lifeless and forgotten-- and Elijah looked above at the red glow.

"Leave it, Lij!" Dom shouted, the words lost in the bedlam of the crowd. He pushed Elijah and Hannah bodily forward, driven to make sure they'd make it aboard.

The throng of people pressed and shoved and then someone pulled at Dom, hard, and his grip was torn from Elijah's shoulder. Dom fell to the ground; he covered his head to stop himself being trampled to death.

"Dom?!" Elijah yelled, but his voice was fading.

Four. Three. Two.

There was a loud crash and the shuttle hatch slammed closed with a sharp reverberation of steel against steel.



The shuttle lifted into the air, and Dominic waited to die.

But once the craft was blazing skyward, the enormous sounds in the distance faded away to nothing. Dom straightened. No one else was in sight. It was quiet. The ugly roil of the sky calmed.

"I'm mad," Dom said. "I'm mad, or this is the afterlife."

He looked about, and scuffed his shoes on the tarmacadam. "Mad, then," he decided. "The afterlife probably wouldn't be a car park."

"Hullo, Dom."

Spinning to face the familiar voice, Dom stared, his jaw dropping. "Orlando? What're you doing here in the post-apocalypse?!"

"Please," scoffed Orlando. "There's no apocalypse. A feigned crisis was the only way to get those tossers to emigrate."

"Emigrate? Why?"

"The planet's on the verge of environmental collapse... it's been teetering on the edge for ages, you know that well enough. But the general population wouldn't stop taxing Earth's resources, and they wouldn't bloody leave voluntarily. So... they got a bit of a push, that's all."

Dom pinched himself. Awake. "And you're in on this? You?"

"I always was a better actor than you gave me credit for," Orlando smirked.

"But what about Elijah? Why didn't you pull him back as well?"

"You think I should've recruited Elijah to stay and help restore the environment? Two pack a day Elijah? 'Lighten up, dude, reducing my Mustang's smog emissions would take away from its retro charm' Elijah?"

"He was getting better," Dom protested. "It's been ages since he's gone out clubbing seals."

"Forget him, Dom." Orlando slipped his arm around Dominic's shoulders and swept the other hand at the landscape in an all-encompassing gesture. "We have the whole world practically to ourselves, just you and me. We'll plant trees and gardens. Save endangered species. Together we'll make this earth a paradise."

"...It's hard to argue with paradise," Dom said.

"Fantastic! Just one question. Would you shag me if I were the last man on earth?"


"Well, I'm not. But I'm nearly the last man on earth. Close enough?"

"Yeah," Dom nodded, nuzzling against him. "Close enough."


"I've dreamed of this," Dom murmured, and Orlando realized he was in trouble.

"By dreamed of this, you mean literally, yeah?" he asked, nervous. "Like, between a bit about showing up to sit exams in your underwear, and another one about being in your grandparent's house only it's not really their house, it just feels like their house, and you can't find your dog?"

"Not actually dreamed, you twat," Dom laughed, snuggling close in a way that Orlando instantly found horribly suffocating. There was a whole yard of bed over there going to waste, why couldn't Dom use that? "Daydreamed, imagined it. Hoped, fantasized. Dreamed."

"So when you imagined this, did you cover the bit where I remind you that we're only a few weeks into shooting the biggest project of our careers, a whole world of opportunity is yawning wide open before us, and it would be silly to make some kind of commitment just now?"

Orlando avoided Dom's eyes.

Dom sighed. "In my dreams it went more along the lines of, oh Dominic, you've rocked my world from its moorings, I can't bear the thought of being apart from you ever again. And there was a bit more of you complimenting my cock, as well."

"It is really nice."

"Thank you," Dom said glumly.

"I mean it. It's impressive, especially for a guy your height--"

"Thank you, Orli, that's enough."

"All right."

"...Maybe a little more."

He inched under the sheet. "What if I show you what I think of it, instead?"

"Careful, you wouldn't want to commit to that."

"Don't be like that, Dom. Can't we just have a good time?"

"It's not as if I wanted to exchange rings! But it would be nice to think you felt something for me."

"I feel loads of things for you. I just think it would be a bad idea to promise anything right now."

Dom tried to muster annoyance and huff at him, but it blended into a groan at the movements of Orlando's hand. "Never mind. Let's just have another go and then tomorrow we'll forget all about it."

"Great!" Orlando smiled, and set to.


Several years passed.

The films were a tremendous success. Orlando's fame grew. It became harder and harder to tell who his real friends were, and who just wanted to be along for the ride.

His ninety-ninth one-night stand wasn't any different from his first. When he dated women, he could almost see them tuning out his words and choosing their premiere gowns in their heads.

A whole world of opportunity yawned wide open before him: yawned big and dark and bloody with sharp ugly teeth.

Every time he spoke to Dom on the phone, Orli's heart ached. Dom sounded so down and depressed about moving to L.A. He got a car, and his own place, but all he ever seemed to do was moon around Elijah's little cottage and brood.

Orlando tried to cancel a few things to visit, but his career had its own momentum now, and he was swept along. Between pitches, meetings and script reading sessions, he dreamed about Dom.

It was a bit hard to imagine how he'd win Dominic back; Dom had his pride. The daydreams got a bit outlandish at times. Alien abductions, body-switching, Armageddon... still. As much as Dom was proud, Dom was also sentimental. Orlando was sure he stood a chance.

At last he managed to clear some time and rang Dom to make a date. He could hear Elijah in the background, close, laughing low, asking who was calling.

Orlando ignored it, went back to the hotel and imagined Elijah trading places with Frodo, disappearing into Middle-Earth. Not forever; he had nothing against Elijah. Just for a little while. Long enough.

He met Dom for lunch. Dom looked amazing, down to the last detail. He had a new hairstyle, a new wardrobe, a new ring.

Orlando made his pitch.

"You were right all along," he said. "I was stupid to push you away during shooting. I've regretted it for ages. I've been out of sorts, and I know you've been unhappy--"

"That was a few months back, mate," Dom answered, and rested his hand atop Orlando's, patting gently.

Orlando clutched at him. "It doesn't have to be that way ever again. I want to be with you. I promise. It'll be just like you always dreamed it would be."

"I'm sorry, Orlando," Dom said kindly. "But I just don't need those dreams any more. I'm happy with reality now."