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Disclaimer: This is a non-commercial, non-profit work of fiction under the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged or condoned by the persons whose names are used without permission.

Before Our Eyes

Author: vensre
Original Story: Character, by kiltsandlollies
Pairing: Billy/Dominic
Rating: R for language
Summary: "Just how long have you been planning to use that line?"
Post-reveal Notes: Gratitude to everyone on my writing filter, but even more to ali_jayne (conceptual assistance and moral support), elousia (men kissing sunday nights), and the real hero of this story, tigertale7 (betawork, hand-holding, sense-talking, perfect-phrase-finding). Thank you! And special thanks to Kiltie: it was a pleasure and a thrill to work with one of your stories.


Dominic enjoys absurd jokes more than most, but he's not partial to this one. "Quit messing about. Of course you have."

Elijah shakes his head and shrugs. "Just never got around to it. I think I'll have plenty of exposure to the text, though. Even off-set it's like Hobbit immersion camp." The other two don't appear shocked by this revelation; Sean is drinking coffee in a distinctly unconcerned way, and Billy seems to be more interested in watching the kitchen doors for a sign of their food arriving.

"Piss-taking ends now. Don't make me beat you, Baggins."

Elijah huffs a laugh. "Seriously, I've never read it," he says. "I did see a pretty weird cartoon when I was a kid, but that didn't seem to have much to do with what I know about it now."

"When you were a kid? So, what, five years ago?" Sean asks, and earns himself a smack to the back of his head.

Gripping the edge of the table, Dominic mutters, "Didn't read the books." He is only somewhat exaggerating his horror. Not that he imagines Pete would allow the main character to go awry, but everything about Rings has been so far beyond his expectations - past anything he'd hoped for - and it's become personal for him. When he notices Sean eyeing him as though calculating the intercept angle for a possible butter knife stabbing, he sits back, turning to Billy, beside him on the booth bench. "You've read them, though, right?" he pleads, even though he already knows the answer.

Billy says, "Yeah," and gives him a bit of a reassuring shoulder-bump.


Billy reclines in the sand, allowing Dominic to play idly with one of his hands, which has resulted in mini-piles of sand dotting halfway up Billy's arm. He is not being quite so obliging with conversation.

"Really, I can't do it, Dom. I'm just waiting for the day when we're fucking in your trailer and you call me Pippin and I'm forced to murder you," Billy says, a faint smugness in his tone undercutting the threat considerably.

That, after an argument over Billy's reluctance to discuss his character off-set; Dominic supposes he's had faster mental turnarounds, but he can't think when. Suddenly he doesn't know what to do with Billy's hand, still clasped playfully between his own, so lets it rest where it is as he tries to get a grip on what's happening. "Did you just say something about fucking in my trailer?"

After a moment, Billy solves Dominic's minor dilemma by taking back his hand to go up on one elbow in the sand, pushing his sunglasses up to sit atop his head. "I did, yes," he says, looking Dominic in the eye.

"This is..." where it could go awfully wrong, he thinks, but Dominic's not the sort to laugh off an opportunity when one presents itself. "An option?" On second thought, he is the sort to laugh at just about anything, and he imagines he may yet laugh at this. But at those really important junctures, he prides himself on saying yes then going straight off to check prices on flights to New Zealand - or something like that.

"A possibility," Billy says saucily. He lies back on the sand again, giving Dominic the impression that he is done dispensing information for the moment.

"A possibility," Dominic echoes, with mild disbelief.

"But not a very great one, not if you don't shut it about Merry and Pippin when I'm trying to have a lie down."

And there's the catch, although it doesn't seem to be a completely unreasonable one. Dominic puts his head to one side and stares at Billy in a concentrated attempt to read his mind. Just in case something is getting through, he tries to project how grateful he would be for this not to be a wind-up. Billy gives him a wild look out of the corner of his eye, and they smile in unison at each others' expressions.

"You'll burn out here if you fall asleep, you know," Dominic notes, hoping vaguely for a setup to a sun cream joke. Or possibly a sun cream incident.

Billy, though, seems extremely serious about his nap. "You are not building a case for getting fucked, Dom," he says, slipping his sunglasses back down over his eyes and tucking his hands behind his head.


As soon as they reach Billy's flat after dinner, Dominic makes for his favourite spot on Billy's sofa and props his newly-defaced copy of The Two Towers on the lamp-stand - in case Billy needs a reminder of the matter at hand. Once Billy's keys are on the hook and the post joins the pile on the kitchen counter, Billy takes up his usual place on the other end of the sofa, his back against the armrest. Catching sight of the book, he rolls his eyes.

"What? You're the one brought up fucking. I hope it's not a shock that I'm also interested in the subject."

Chuckling, Billy shakes his head. "All right, you held up your end. If it's fucking you want to talk about, then by all means."

"Just how long have you been planning to use that line?"

"Hm? Oh, the thing about the trailer? That was spontaneous, thank you very much. You aren't usually quite as manic about talking work on our off days."

"Guess it was the thing with Elijah. Why would he even go for the role if he hadn't read the books?"

"Same reasons an actor goes for any role, I'd imagine. He saw the script and thought he could do the part well, he liked the people involved with the project."

"I suppose." Dominic scowls a little as he bites back a yawn. It may have been a mistake to pass up a midday nap, but he doesn't want to be ragged for it now.

"Don't think you'd want to trade with him, though."

"No," he agrees. "I'm more than satisfied. This has all been shaping up to be bigger than anything I thought I could get into. The magnitude of it, the details...just, the quality of work everyone's putting in. It's going to be amazing."

Billy nods, and both are quiet for a moment, thinking it all over. The evening light is waning; Dominic turns on the lamp beside the sofa.

"Besides," Dominic says, "Merry spends the whole second part with Pippin. Good thing I get along with the actor playing him. In fact, there's no-one I'd rather be kidnapped by Orcs with."

"Well, lucky you."

Dominic smiles and sings, "Come a little bit closer," under his breath. Billy hears, and shifts nearer Dominic's side, laughing softly.

"Not for your bad pick-up lines."

"I'll have you know that the one about the size of a man's nose has a firm basis in pseudoscience," says Dominic. He crowds Billy a little, and is surprised to hear a shaky intake of breath in response.

"Shouldn't've clued you in," says Billy lightly. "Should have kept you guessing and just jumped you sometime."

"How would you know I'd be in favour of that?

With a quiet laugh, Billy reaches for Dominic's hand and tugs it close, stroking the fingers unhurriedly in much the same way Dominic had played with Billy's hand that afternoon at the beach - fingertips pushing into the hollow of Dominic's palm in a way that goes straight to his cock. Billy bows his head to press Dominic's thumbnail to his dry lips, not quite a kiss. His eyes flick intently up to Dominic's own, then to his mouth, his free hand lifting to stroke down over his cheek and trace the stubble from temple to jawline as Dominic leans into the caress. "It's my job to know these things," Billy says.

Dominic tilts in close, his mouth to Billy's ear. "You could jump me now," he says, and it comes out rushed and uneven against Billy's jaw.

Billy turns at once to kiss him, hard and sweet. The next is gentler, barely more than a tender brush of lips. Dominic opens his eyes when their foreheads come to rest against each other, and they breathe, but Dominic can't be so close just then without tipping his head up again to align their mouths, simple kisses growing longer and deeper.

Dominic's hand clutches Billy's shoulder, and Billy's hand comes with it, still grasping Dominic's wrist. Billy smells of sun and salt, his skin warm. They let go as Billy twists to sit closer, then plunge back into another intense kiss. One of them makes a sound of pleasure in his throat.

Dominic can't remember what he expected kissing Billy would be like, and supposes fantasies wouldn't compare anyway. Then Billy sucks at his lower lip and rational thought is banished; they're concentrating only on each other, their mouths meeting and parting and meeting again.

Eventually, Billy eases back, looking Dominic up and down. "You're tired."

"You can tell?"

Billy half-smiles at him, and nods. He looks beautifully dishevelled.

"Hmm, physical communication? Let's see what I can get off you." He moves in for another kiss, tilting his head thoughtfully when it ends. "You're plotting something." Another kiss. "Possibly something dastardly."

Billy laughs. "Not really, nothing in particular. I mean, I am, but not at this moment."

"Damn. I guess we'll have to work on that," Dominic says. Billy's arm fits around his shoulders snugly, and Dom lets himself lean, resting his head against him.

"Plotting something, or kissing?

"Both. It'll be our secret code. Perfect for the mines of Moria, when it's pitch dark and the rest of the Fellowship could hear anything we say. Provided we can find each others' faces. Although I don't think Merry and Pippin would let themselves get too far apart in a place like that." He cranes his neck to see his friend's face.

Billy raises an eyebrow. "No slight to Merry, but I'm looking to spend my time with Dom whenever I have a chance."

"Hmm, see your point." Dominic resettles more comfortably, curling into Billy's side, turning over a vague thought about creating a path with Billy separate from Merry and Pippin's, wondering whether even if things weren't as they are - even without the film - maybe they'd have met anyway and felt just as right.

"You should have a kip. Don't deny you're falling asleep right now."

"Mm-hm. It's a bit late to nap though."

"Go to bed, then. Stay here tonight. Might want to rinse off first if you've got the energy."

"You mean you don't like sand in your blankets?"

"Oh, go on," Billy says, trying to pry Dominic off his lap. They stagger up from the sofa together, disentangling reluctantly. "You know where everything is. I'll be in in a while, all right?"

Dominic nods, but hesitates. He stands still, looking at Billy, then reaches out to touch his face, rubbing his thumb up over the bridge of Billy's nose and forehead.

Billy smiles, and says, "Yeah," as he catches Dominic's hand and kisses it.


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