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Title: The Way We Shake and Sway

Author: kiltsandlollies

Original story: Parasite and Body Language by suede_scripture

Pairing: Billy Boyd/Dominic Monaghan; implied Dominic Monaghan/Elijah Wood and perhaps something other, too.

Rating: hard R

Summary: Disease sometimes proves its own antidote.

Pre-reveal notes: For the 2007 Lotrips Remix. Parasite and Body Language seemed to mesh so well in a multi-layered world that they proved too hard to resist remixing together. I enjoyed the originals very much; I hope the Remix lives up to them.

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.

:: The first step to deal with a known parasite is to avoid its host. ::

Dom's already sweating a good three hours before the ceremony. He bitches that it's because they'd stood outside smiling for each other's cameras for too long, and the sun's brutal today. Billy would call it something else, though; however buffed to a preternatural shine Dom might be from his pre-Oscar visits hither and yon, on some level he still looks shaky and ill, his eyes bright but unfocused, his smile wide but more crooked than usual. And then there is the sweat, the feverish heat coming off of Dom that makes Billy shrink away when Dom steps too close and Billy thinks they might spark on contact.

"One more," Elijah calls out, launching his cigarette to the ground with a quick downward flick of his wrist before he pulls the battered camera from his pocket and tosses it to Ali. He takes the stairs two at a time back up to them, and four pairs of sunglasses cover four pairs of eyes as Ali takes her aim. She waves Billy in from his stance behind Dominic, urging him nearer, and Billy obliges, but only just.

"Where'd you think you were going?" Dom says, low and charming over his shoulder. He seems somehow taller than normal to Billy, and Billy quickly writes it off as just the hair, just that plume of soft yellow rising from Dom's head like proud feathers adorning an otherwise easily overlooked bird.

"Protecting myself," Billy smirks beneath his sunglasses and nods at Dominic's back. "Practicing safe sweat."

Dom has the grace to laugh, but even behind Dom's dark red lenses Billy can see the flash and glint in his eyes. "You could button up, there. Ruins the line when the jacket's open."

"The line being my first concern, after comfort and all that."

"Because comfort made you to catch that plane back here only at the last fucking minute," Dom says, more quietly. "All about comfort, you."

Elijah coughs, says "Guys," and all four of them straighten up a bit and turn as one, shoulders to the camera. Dom lets Ali get off two practice shots before he tips his head back just enough to talk to Billy again.

"No getting away from me, Bill; I'm under your skin by now."

"You get comfortable then," Billy smirks, giving in but not yet quite, and then turns to face the camera and Ali, too. "I might dare you."

:: The second step to deal with a known parasite is to build up one's own defense. ::

Billy's head is already spinning, barely two hours after the ceremony. When he finally reaches the American Legion hall, he runs the small gauntlet to the bar with one hand behind clutching hers, releasing only when she tugs it away and gives him a wicked but still sympathetic smile and tilts her chin at the bar, at Dom's joy-flushed face propped in his hand as he listens to some girl rattle on beside him. Elijah's back is to Dom's, but he turns as if he knows Billy's arrived, and steps around Dom and toward Billy with the widest of grins.

Dominic and Elijah have already played to their audience here, Billy knows it; he'd heard some of the reaction over tinny mobile phone lines and listened to it echo in his quieter car for minutes after he'd hung up. He'd talked himself into and out of doing the same four times on the way over, until finally she'd shot him a look--wicked, again, but challenging, too--and he'd nodded, taken another drink from the stash in the car and nodded once more.

Over Elijah's shoulder and beyond his embrace Billy watches Dom watching him. Dom's fingers dart along his lips, little exploratory motions that tease and tempt and then suddenly don't. As Dom stands, Billy feels two hands push at his back--hers and his, Ali's fingers long and honey-coloured and Elijah's stubby and pale--and Billy advances, steps into another small crowd that parts this time for one larger, one that welcomes him with a warm, surprised roar.

He knows before the words leave his mouth that he won't remember any of them tomorrow, and so he's careful to not say too much. The offer of a guitar is too good to refuse; the shield it creates fits too well to not wear. Nearing the end of the song, Billy looks to the side of the stage and sees all three of them and almost loses his words, his place in the music, everything, but recovers the instant Dom flexes his fingers around the neck of the bottle he carries and smile, sure he's won Billy's dare.

:: The third step to deal with a known parasite is to let the infection run its course. ::

Billy's already sweating, not two minutes after he's finished the song and retreated backstage and past the bar, down some musty corridor Dom walks like a ghost who lives here on the weekend, which for all Billy knows he might do. The whole thing screams of a bad idea, the worst idea, but when he tries to speak it, Dom looks back over his shoulder and his eyes tell Billy to follow, dare him not to. Dom's already won the night's round and then some, so the next step Billy takes is back into his arms.

Dom's like nothing and no one's Billy's ever had or for that much wanted before. There's never a romantic hurdle to climb, rarely an abject apology to make, only sometimes a certain care to be taken, and almost always an unbelievable fuck. That's the danger of him, though, Billy thinks; that's the risk, taking it, taking Dom, all for granted--whatever pleasure it brings them both, there's the gnawing sensation in Billy's bones afterward, the buzzing in his head, the phantom fingers so unlike hers that lick up Billy's spine in the middle of even the warmest nights to chill and wake him, the parasitical need of Dom's that eats Billy from the inside out, the disease that is its own and only cure.

Billy takes one look back down the corridor before Dom tugs at him, pulling him around a corner and down a few stairs and into more darkness than even the dark grey light of before. Dom's hands fall first on Billy's face, smoothing lines and tracing lips, then lower, down Billy's chest to his waist where they rest but for that maddening flex of his fingers into Billy's skin. Dom's hands look at first glance to be capable of great harm, as if they could crush and hurt, but they never follow through on the threat. Instead their touch just makes Billy's blood rise to the surface under his skin, going cold and hot and back again.

Dom's kiss tastes different than usual, laced with something sweeter and more spiked than his typical candy and cigarettes. Billy turns his head, eager for more and less of it at the same time, but Dom's working too quickly for Billy to get a real handle on the difference or anything else, frankly. When those hands of Dom's work open Billy's trousers and wrap around Billy's cock, Billy swallows and waits to feel the flat of Dom's tongue on him, curls his own fingers into fists and tilts his head and grits his teeth when Dom picks the worst time possible to take a breath.

Yes, you're under my fucking skin, Billy wants to tell him, stay there if you want, but don't do this, don't get in my head, because it's killing me and I thought--

"You thought it was killing me."

Billy's eyes don't fly open; that would give Dom satisfaction he doesn't need. He can feel Dom's smile against his skin before Dom's lips close around him and take him and swallow him, Dom's tongue sliding and darting in ways it hasn't, ever, in ways Billy knows suddenly Dom's learned from someone else, someone whose shadow is visible along the wall around the corner when Billy squints and concentrates hard on the sight. Someone whose blood is singing in Dom's veins now, whose need is just that much headier and more malicious than Dom's own.

Billy's never had to fight off two infections at once, and he's not about to start trying now.

:: The fourth step to deal with a known parasite is to heal. ::

Dom's head is still buzzing after he's made Billy come, and hard, too, with the sort of guttural cursing Billy keeps to a more polite level when he's not in the company of cheerful wolves like Dom and Elijah. Not that Dom's all that lupine at the moment; while he can scream a hundred words without pausing for breath, he can whisper, too, against Billy's ear while Billy tucks himself awkwardly back into his trousers and tries to catch his breath.

"Run, you. Run on back." Dom almost giggles, swiping his hand across his mouth and letting his voice go lilting and sweet. "She let me get lucky wi--"

Billy shoves at him, knocking Dom off balance and well away. The shadow around the corner backs off, too, but Billy doesn't give chase; he's too tired and wants to know--something, anything. Dom's smile as he rises back to his feet is fierce and dark and fatal but in the end honest, as if he's never had reason to fear the telling of secrets, while Billy feels sometimes as if he's had nothing but.

"That," Dom says plainly, holding his hand out, palm open. "What you're thinking, what you feel like you can't hold in without wanting to hit something, that's what I've been fucking carrying for years. It's your turn, Bill." Billy shakes his head, but Dom smiles again. "It's your turn. You get to know what it's like now. What it smells like, how it fucking tastes." Dom takes that step too close to Billy, and the heat of him overwhelms Billy again when Dominic leans in, their foreheads almost touching. "You get comfortable, Billy," he smirks, more gently than Billy could. "Poison your fucking self now; we're finished doing it for you."

It takes Billy until they're back at the bar, posing for more pictures and smiling only a little less easily than before, to realize Dom had never sounded angry; his voice had never risen and he hadn't walked away. If anything he'd supported Billy's stagger back into the now-lessened crowd, his hand low on Billy's back and rubbing gently and his face tilting, concerned, when Billy's eyes blurred over and he lost the thread of conversation.

He'd also said we're, not I'm.

Billy waits until Dom's involved in some low-level argument with Elijah before he chances looking at both of them and then at Ali, diagonally across from him with that smallest cat's smile and her own chin propped in her hand, listening indulgently to Dom but taking Elijah's side in the debate. Their common knowledge of Billy's weakness--their common knowledge that the three of them together make for Billy's strongest weakness--is his, now, too, and the better part of Billy is grateful for it even as he fights it, even as he finds, like Dom had, that's it's hard and heavy to carry, that it's never been sunk so far under his skin, that it's the first time he's ever wondered exactly who's infected whom.

A flash goes off, stirring Billy from his thoughts just as he's determined to accept that common knowledge but not surrender to it entirely. He still has some fight left, though it's not yet surfaced when Dom tugs at him again, this time with Elijah at Billy's other arm, to drag Billy into the only real light left in the room, neon and faintly ridiculous above them.

"One more," Elijah calls out, and tosses his camera to Ali. Billy doesn't move this time, caught between Dom and Elijah, and they stand and straighten and turn as one, shoulders to the camera. Ali waves Billy in from his stance behind Dominic, urging him nearer, and Billy obliges, but only just.

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