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Reaching for Faith

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It was a lie.

Telling people that raising his intensity was something he did instinctively, was a lie. As the days turned into weeks and the hell of predawn wake up calls began to weigh him down, Orlando knew all too well that it was a lie. Worse still, it was a lie others would soon be able to see through. Ian, Elijah, Sean, Billy, Dominic; pretty soon they’d all be able to tell that 'PJ' had cast the wrong unknown actor. Today or tomorrow, they’d all be able to tell that he didn’t know his ass from his elbow. That was the fear that chased him through his dreams bearing down upon him more ferociously than a rampaging Orc.

Collapsing into a folding canvas director’s chair, Orlando wrestled with the knot of anxiety that was camping out in his stomach. Even if he were lucky, even if the majority couldn’t tell, he knew that Viggo could. Every time that damned camera lens moved to train him in its sights, he could tell that his inadequacy screamed through. The aperture of that bloody lens turning under Viggo's skilful fingers captured him. It captured him hanging on by a wing and a prayer. Forever caught in the click of a shutter, hanging on by his fingertips.

If Viggo didn't know now, then he’d know once he printed the photos. He’d be able to tell then, for sure. And then what? Orlando swallowed hard. Anxiety morphed into heartburn. He swallowed hoping the stinging burn wouldn't twist into low grade nausea.

This was why he’d become the clown on set. Humour could mask anything. Unless you knew what to look for behind the mask. And luckily he didn’t think anyone was looking.

Anyone but Viggo. Viggo, who would stand there and look at you as if he could see right through you. It was as if, for Viggo, the camera didn't lie but instead, it peeled back lies and half truths leading down to the marrow of truth itself.

And yet they were happy with how he inhabited the character.

Orlando snorted to himself as the words ran round inside his mind, mocking him. Inhabit Legolas? As if he even had a clue how to go about finding the character. How did you find a other-worldy, all knowing creature who was thousands of years old? How the hell did you find him within you when you had nothing to draw upon but reckless life experiences?

Orlando shivered momentarily, despite the early morning sunshine. His recklessness had led to pain, numbing fear, and struggle. It had led to hours and days that had crawled past. It had led to fears that threatened to swallow his future.

He'd been very lucky. Very bloody lucky.

Which, of course, was why he feared that any moment his luck would run out.

Orlando knew that there was probably something he could draw on from the hours he’d laid on a pavement in agony. Something that he could tap into, in order to help his performance, from the days he’d spent lying drugged and motionless on crumpled antiseptic smelling hospital sheets. But he'd trained himself to never look back. He hadn’t looked into himself then. Not then and not in the months that followed. He knew that he hadn’t done anything but shove his terror down into himself as deeply as it could go and deny the reality of the situation. It wasn’t happening, hadn't happened, wasn’t real.

A role.

He'd lived through the pain, fear and rehabilitation, played it out in his mind like a role. He'd thought that applause and a clean bill of health would free him. And it had, freed him to push life’s limits to the maximum and never look back at what he’d struggled through. But denial wasn’t going to help him this time. Not here, not now.

Escapism wasn’t helping him find Legolas. Riding had helped him to do exactly that, ride. Fencing and sword play and archery had given him the skills he needed to pretend, but they hadn’t helped him get inside the heart of the character, the being he needed to become. Okay, so he knew he had the external characteristics down. That much he was sure of. He knew he’d captured some of Legolas’ elegance and grace but anything deeper than a two-dimensional image was beyond him. And a two-dimensional flimsy grasp of the character was not going to sustain him for the endless shoot that stretched out before him.

Neither were abstract terms like noble and honour bound. Or beautiful. How could you be luminescent, when you weren’t? How could you be beautiful and wise, fleet of foot and otherworldly, when you were a hyperactive fidget and a wise ass? What did you do when your luck at faking it ran out?

After all, he could never afford to let himself forget that Stuart had been sent packing. This was PJ’s dream, PJ’s vision and if he couldn’t pull his talent out together with his finger, one of these days he’d be the one sent home.

As one day of shooting morphed into the next, all Orlando felt was mounting, suffocating panic. Maybe that was why he was grabbing at straws and trying other people’s ways to connect to their character.

It will make me a better actor, he thought to himself, as he sank down into a cross legged pose in the middle of his bedroom floor. It will make me... more. Charismatic, deeper, real. Or maybe I’ll find something, something to stop everyone realising that my landing this job, this opportunity was nothing but blind luck. After all, which other young actor with practically no experience got a job like this?

The Hobbits had more experience, Hell, Lijah was a star. And the Princess? Well, her talent had shined forth from day one. Having acted with Jeremy Irons, Sir Ian and Beanie weren’t that much of a stretch. Not for her at least. The hobbits had formed fast friendships and those translated well onto the screen. Beanie had long played men at arms, and all that Shakespeare in his first year at Rada had made Kingship as easy as breathing. Ian, well Ian was jokingly tagged a thespian legend and he'd stepped into the role of the wise old man, on and off set from day one.

And Orlando?

He'd watched and waited and played at being one of the boys. That was why he was clutching at drama school breathing exercises and anything he'd ever heard or read about meditation. That was why he was struggling to contort himself into the lotus position in the half-hour before his alarm would normally slice through his much-needed sleep.

After all, it worked for Viggo, didn't it? Viggo who'd mentioned in maybe not quite jest that he'd invoked Aragorn, become him, allowed the character to channel through him, as if Viggo were a mere vessel for a voice from another dimension. At least that was how it looked to Orlando. For there were days when even in black jeans and a shirt, Aragorn looked out at the lush New Zealand landscape from behind Viggo’s eyes.

That was why Orlando had decided to try and follow the other actor’s example. That was why he was trying to meditate, again. If at first you don't succeed...

Oh hell!

He exhaled sharply and forced himself to keep his eyes closed. Rudimentary breathing exercises were easy, after all they were building blocks tossed around as warm up at Drama school. Breathing exercises he could do and did do. Orlando had practised his breathing between takes, trying to capture Legolas’ stillness, trying to stop himself from fidgeting. But breathing exercises weren't helping him find Legolas; they weren't even helping him find a way to fake the Elf's inner stillness, calmness, balance... whatever it was that thousand year old beautiful creatures radiated.

That was what Orlando envied when he watched Viggo in the moments he became Aragorn. The lines between the actor and the King in Waiting were blurring at the edges. Blurring in such a way that removing a wig and a costume didn’t banish the character back to the printed page. The boundaries between Viggo and the character he was playing were porous. And Orlando ached to be able to achieve that same intensity of focus. He ached to lose himself and question where he ended and his character began.

Which was why he was up, morning after morning, in the predawn stillness, sitting cross legged in the gloom of an unlit room trying to still his mind and find his centre.

On the nineteenth day that anything resembling meditation had escaped him, Orlando approached Viggo. Clutching his half heaped plate, he'd gone up to his cast mate in the lunch queue and tried not to ramble on too much as he begged for help.

"So you want me to give you some meditation pointers? Viggo asked, as he grabbed a bread roll and balanced it next to a small mound of greens and a chicken leg.

"Yeah, I ... really. Yes." Orlando had stammered, trying to force down the sudden awkwardness, wondering why he suddenly felt like he was imposing.

"Meditation?" Viggo asked in a soft spoken voice. "Not visualisation?"

"What's the difference?" Orlando had asked. Viggo's gentle smile and an invitation to join him the next morning were the only answers.

The next morning found Orlando sitting cross legged on the grass next to Viggo as the sun came up. Sitting cross legged and trying not to fidget as his bum threatened to get pins and needles. Orlando shifted and exhaled heavily. Every sound he made was gratingly loud in the morning stillness.

"Your mind is a jumping monkey, Elf-boy."

Orlando could hear the straining patience in Viggo's voice. He bit his lip knowing that if he hadn't shaved his head into a stupid Mohawk, he'd probably be playing with a rats tail.

"What do you want to get out of this, Orlando?" Viggo asked patiently, not moving from the lotus position he was in.

Orlando could see that Viggo's eyes were still closed his hands resting palm upwards on his knees. His hands that were broad and elegant, poised and yet totally relaxed. How could a man wield a sword, in deadly pretence, then wield a brush in a flush of creation?

"Sorry, I" Orlando tried to settle into the position. "I, I didn’t mean..."

"Orlando," There it was again, that tone in Viggo's voice that spoke of leashed frustration. "What do you want to gain from doing this?"

Orlando exhaled, swallowed his feelings of inadequacy and came clean. "I want to find Legolas, Viggo."

"I wasn't aware he'd left you."

Orlando laughed.

"Never had a hold on him Viggo. Not the way you have on Aragorn. I mean... I never feel as if I'm him you know? I never feel I'm more than a bloke in a wig and contacts, trying to look aloof until Peter says cut. It's not like that for you, I can see that and..."

"And?" Viggo prompted softly.

"And pretty soon Peter's going to discover that I'm... a fraud. And then it's going to be back home for yours truly and signing onto the dole."

"You don't have a lot of faith do you?"

"Used it up two years ago I guess.," Orlando shrugged. "I mean how much luck do you get in a lifetime?"

"Depends how open you are my friend." Viggo stood, stretched and moved to stand behind Orlando.

Funny how everyone thought that he was graceful, when the older man was the one who moved ... elegantly. That was the word Orlando thought to himself. Viggo was elegant. His movements were sparse, precise, fluid as if everything he did, every movement, even every thought, was a step in a dance with life. And yet he was playing the Elf.

"You're never going to get this you know, not unless you find a way to shrug off some of that fear." Viggo said, slicing through Orlando's mental wanderings.

"You can see that?" Twisting round, he tried to look at Viggo from over his shoulder. "My fear?"

Strong hands grasped Orlando's head and moved it gently so that he was facing the view again. He wondered fleetingly if he leaned back if his head would be touching Viggo's knees.

"It's coming off you in waves. I can almost taste and smell it." A warm hand ruffled the ridge of hair that ran across the centre of his scalp. "Breathe it out, Orlando. Breathe out the fear before it chokes you."

"And then you'll help me?" Orlando asked, feeling young and vulnerable, clutching at the help being offered. Two hands came down onto his shoulders for a moment, and their heavy warmth radiated safety.

"I'll help you my elven brother."

And he did.

Viggo's help, like his focus and intensity, was all encompassing though. Morning meditations and weekend treks into the middle of nowhere. Treks that started out with Orlando trudging up a hill carrying a bright red rucksack and ended with his learning basic survival skills. And then there were the questions. Endless non-rhetorical questions.

Who did he think Legolas was? What did he think Legolas' friendship with Aragorn was based on? What kind of moments had filled Legolas' life? Was he contemplative? A warrior? A hedonist? A loner? What made this one Elf different from the others of his race? Curiosity? Lust for life? Hunger for the unfolding change? Desire to capture the past? The moment? What?

The questions, and his lack of an answer, stayed with Orlando through out each take, through out each word he didn't say on camera.

What was Legolas' role in the fellowship? What was his friendship with Aragorn based on? Where they brothers? Comrades in arms? Shield mates?

Viggo had asked that question with a wry grin that had sent Orlando scurrying to an internet cafe the following Saturday morning. Shield mates, Samurai, Elven warriors and princes of men. Images coalesced in Orlando's mind and began to taunt him.

And then, once again, he lost his centre. Lost whatever ground he'd gained.

Not that watching "A Walk on the Moon" hadn't helped him lose himself.

It certainly hadn't helped his increasing preoccupation with all things Viggo, to see the man bare chested and painted like a pagan God. Painted and crawling over that woman with the sun on his back. Crawling, leaning and tenderly brushing the hair out of her eyes as the pendant he wore around his neck on a leather thong swung forward to touch her face, it's movement reminiscent of the kisses being pressed to her mouth. Drowsy with encroaching sleep, Orlando couldn't tell if he wanted to be in the scene, painted and transformed into art, or if he wanted to be Viggo whose energy filled the screen and warmed the woman lying beneath him.

Orlando carried the image of Viggo's bare broad back and broad shoulders around with him all day. Found himself watching Viggo as he climbed and walked. Found himself realising that the quiet confidence that made Viggo regal was not shrugged off with the wig and costume at the end of the day.

That quiet regal demeanour called to him, a pull low down in his solar plexus. Viggo was magnetic in his intensity, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise when Orlando realised that the pull he felt was in part attraction. He found the other man attractive. Not because he was talented. Not because he was Aragorn, just because he was a man. Because he was Viggo.

He re-watched that one scene in the film that night. Re wound and re watched again and again, trying to ignore the small voice at the back of his mind, the one saying that maybe, just maybe what he wanted was the touch of Viggo's fingers smoothing his hair away from his face with such tenderness. Maybe what he wanted Viggo to hold him as if he were so precious.

What was Legolas to Aragorn? What was he to Viggo?

As they climbed mountains and watched sunsets on and off camera, Orlando tried to sense where he stood. Friend and mentor? Warrior and apprentice? King in waiting and Elven prince? What were they to each other? Orlando questioned, observed ,and above all, tried to keep breathing. After all, Viggo had mentioned, once, that it was all about the breath.

He could keep breathing, but meditation was beyond him. It was all well and good to see your thoughts, your fears, like drifting clouds or puffs of smoke, but what if your thoughts were more like scenes from a movie, or songs from mythical sirens? And his were. Haunting, taunting and getting worse daily.

And that was before the dreams. Dreams that flowed like the rhythm of one’s breath. Dreaming, watching...

Viggo painted and bare chested, crawling on the ground like a large cat about to pounce. Viggo, darkened haired and unshaven as Aragorn, reaching out to run his fingers over tracks made by special effects Orcs. Viggo, rain drenched with water dripping from dark long hair; Viggo whose hands were stained with mud and earth.

Lounging in a canvas chair between takes, Orlando watched Viggo as he walked, paced, stood, sat, smiled, breathed. Orlando found himself just watching Viggo. Preoccupation, hell, he might as well be truthful with himself. This wasn't preoccupation; this was a brush with obsession.

So it shouldn't have come as any kind of surprise when the dreams turned sexual.

Restless with exhaustion and confused, unrealised desire, it was easy for Orlando's imagination to cast him opposite the lead in his Viggo-drenched dreams. The older man's sun and paintbrush kissed body was pushing him down into the grass as music pounded in the background. Long hair tickled the sides of his face and gentle kisses firmed as they trailed their way across Orlando's face. Although there was a part of him that knew he was asleep, although there was a part of him that knew it was nothing more than obsessive dreaming what Orlando wanted more than ever was to know the touch of Viggo's broad, agile gifted hands.

It was the image of those hands trailing across Orlando's chest that woke him as he reached through the mussiness of sleep to try and feel Viggo's touch more acutely.

Lying on sweat soaked crumpled sheets, Orlando knew two things. He was hard and he wanted, desired Viggo. And he was late for that morning’s meditation. If you could call the ungodly dawn hour, morning.

Twenty minutes and a frigid cold shower later, he was sitting cross legged in the centre of Viggo's living room listening to the rain beating against the windows. His stomach gurgled loudly in the pale morning stillness, reminding him that he hadn't had time to stop and grab even a coffee. And yet he felt alert, awake, alive...

All the stupid over used phrases about life suddenly seeming Technicolor came to mind. Maybe this was what it was like for Legolas with his enhanced senses, maybe it was like a swing shift between depression and blinding joy.

Cracking his eyes open slightly, Orlando gazed at Viggo. In a worn and frayed t-shirt and a pair of jeans, he sat barefoot crosslegged and unshaven. A ring sat curled around the third finger of his left hand, calling attention to his fingers. Seated in a weak puddle of sunlight, Viggo looked more like a work of art, than the artist he was.

Smiling, Orlando let his gaze drift, wishing that he could reach out and touch the other man who was sitting, inwardly focused. All that was audible to Orlando was the quiet harmony of breathing and the thumping of his heart. Slowly, he focused all his attention on Viggo, reaching out carefully to caress him with his eyes, the way he knew he couldn't with his fingertips.

The square jaw with a dimple in his chin, high cheekbones, light eyes. Orlando wondered idly if Viggo's beard would rasp against his cheek and scratch against his chin if they kissed. Feeling his dick throb, Orlando shifted his weight and wished he'd grabbed something other than the tight fitting hipster pants he had on.

"Orlando, what's so interesting?" Viggo asked almost as if he could feel the weight of Orlando's gaze on him.

"Interesting?" The word was spoken on an out breath as Orlando dropped his gaze to Viggo's arms. Light hair dusted the forearms muscular and strong from all the hours of sword play.

Viggo rolled a shoulder slowly, tilted his head to the left and stretched. Then he opened his eyes.

"Yes, Orlando. Interesting. What's so interesting this morning that you can't find the first step towards inner stillness?"

"Nothing." Orli shifted slightly, beginning to jiggle his crossed left leg so that his knee bobbed up and down slightly. God, now what? Anxiety errupted in his belly, blocking out the warmth of desire that was pooling between his legs.

"Come here."

Viggo held his arm out, gesturing with his fingers. The very same fingers Orli had dreamt about. Fingers that he'd wanted caressing his cheek, flicking over a nipple, fingers he might want to bite on gently or suck. His cock decided to throb, swelling slightly as blood rushed towards it on a sudden wave of lusty thoughts.

"Come here, Orli."

Was it his imagination or had Viggo's voice suddenly dropped half an octave? It sounded as rough as the stubble he wore daily as Aragorn.

Orlando stood still, frozen in gut clenching embarrasment. It was all he could do not to look down at his own crotch and see if his swelling tumescence showed. God, if he got any harder, Viggo would see. Viggo would be able to tell and there was no way he could tell the guy that he got off on meditation.

Awkwardly, he walked over to Viggo and stood with his arms by his side. Stood, shruggged, and tried very hard not to think that the older man could reach out and slide his fingers into the button fly of his rust coloured pants. Slide his fingers in and just rest them there, feeling Orlando pulse and throb, feeling his dick lengthen and harden, fill and ache.

"Preoccupied this morning?" Viggo asked, amusement heavy in his voice.

"Oh God." The embarrasment Orlando felt was more painful that his further swelling penis. "Oh God, Viggo I'm so sorry!"

A cheeky grin spread across the other actors face. "Don't apologise, I know what it's like. I remember. Young, dumb..."

Orlando groaned again and buried his head in his hands. He ran his palms over the Mohawk wishing that the feel of the short spiky hairs was somehow comforting.

"Listen I'm going to go grab a quick shower and get dressed."

Viggo stood, stretched and yawned widely. The tatty, paint splattered t-shirt he was wearing rose up and Orlando found himself trying not to look at Viggo's belly button. Sunlight from between slatted blinds turned the exposed strip of skin into a photograph. A photograph that Viggo might take in the mirror.

"Feel free to make yourself at home." Viggo's voice was full of unspilled laughter. "Catch."

Throwing something over his shoulder at Orlando, he turned and headed to the bathroom.

Clutching a box of kleenex in his hands Orlando curled up into a foetal ball, lying on the ground in the puddle of warmth Viggo's just vacated. The sound that spilled forth from his lips was a cross between a groan and a swallowed sob.

Pathetic, that's what he was pathetic.

The drive to the set passed in a blur of silent embarrassment, the time in makeup spent focused on coffee and a pastry. With his contacts in and the wig firmly glued onto his head, Orlando tried to focus on something other than what had gone down that morning, or rather what hadn't. Early morning, gave way to set-ups and lighting, to gaffers that yelled and crew that laughed, to cables and clapper boards. He thanked the script boards for his lack of dialogue, and tried not to focus too intensely on Viggo during his scenes.

It would have been easier not to breathe.

And that was why he found himself alone at lunch, pacing off set. Walking around trees, running his palms over the bark. Pausing, he toed off Legolas' boots and shrugged off most of his costumed tunic. Leaning back against the tree, Orlando tried to center himself and breathe.

"There you are. Was wondering where you disappeared to."

The voice was warm and ticklish against his face. Orlando kept his eyes shut, not wanting to see Viggo so close. It was bad enough that he could feel him, feel the intensity coming off him in waves.

"Wasn't hungry." His voice cracked slightly and he pressed his palms firmly against the tree. Different sensory input would be good about now. He rubbed his palms against the tree, enjoying the roughness. He tried not to think about the soft scratch of Viggo's beard and how it might feel... anywhere upon his body.

"Orli," his nickname was spoken like a caress and as Viggo breathed it again, Orlando couldn't help but open his eyes.

Sunlight coming out from behind a cloud lit Viggo’s face more subtly than the worlds most talented Director of Photography. Light, light seemed to shine out from within the man’s eyes.

"Orli, you still embarrassed about this morning? Mmm?" Viggo asked in a low voice.

The blush that spread to Orlando's waxen pointy ears was enough of an answer.

"Orlando, you have nothing to be ashamed about. It has happened to all of us at some unwanted time or another."

Orlando swallowed and nodded, his mouth suddenly dry.

"But you're embarrased about getting a hard-on in front of me?"

Orlando hadn't thought his face could get any redder. He felt heat burning his cheeks."Yeah I guess."

"Because I'm a man?" Viggo asked gently, leaning in towards Orlando.

He shuddered, thankful that the tree was behind him lending its shade and support. "No, yes. I don't know."

He could feel the blood pooling in this groin again, feel the erection that had never quite gone down, fill, lengthening and hardening against his thigh.

Viggo's hair was almost tickling the sides of Orlando's face, just like in his dream.

He moaned softly, unable to keep the small noise within.

"Orlando, you're beautiful. Don't you know that? Haven't they told you that enough on and off set?"

Broad hands that looked as if they could hold the world or cradle a flower blossom, reached up and pushed the pale green bandana Orlando was wearing from off his long pale blond wig. Fingers laced in the dyed tresses and brought strands forward so that they fell onto his bare shoulders, onto his chest.

"You are beautiful in motion and in hard won stillness. And in your arousal."

Orlando felt himself moan and arch forward so that the blunt, hard ridge of flesh rubbed against Viggo's thigh.

"Beautiful when all you could do was watch me. Was it you watching me Orlando, or was the Prince of Mirkwood watching Aragorn?"

"Me, it was me." Orlando panted, swaying to try and rub himself more firmly against the hard muscled thigh.

He ached to reach down and slide his hand into his fly and hold onto himself. Ached to touch his prick, stroke, rub...

"What is Aragorn to Legolas, Orli? What do you think Legolas wishes he could be to the king of men?"

"Please, Viggo please!" Orlando panted, the low ache in his belly spreading. The tension and the need to touch himself, almost unbearable.

"What do you want Orlando?" Viggo's voice was still gentle.

The hand that was purposely stroking and teasing the skin around the scar on his back, was not. Deft fingers swept down Orlando's lower back and suddenly one broad palm was cupping his left bottom cheek.

"What does Legolas want to be to ... me?" Viggo asked leaning in so all Orlando could see were his eyes, blue behind darkened lashes.

"Anything. Everything.... wants to be everything," the words were breathy sobs spilling forth the way his jism ached to.

"Viggo please!" Orlando cried out, not caring if anyone heard them, if anyone saw them.

"What to you want my pretty-Elf?"

The broad hands were carressing his back, cupping his bottom and thankfully Viggo had shifted slightly so that the bulge of Orlando's aching prick rubbed against the side of Viggo's groin.

"Touch me. Kiss me, please Viggo kiss me." That was what Orli wanted.

He wanted Viggo's hands on him, he wanted to spill his sticky cum between Viggo's sword callused fingers and onto his slightly roughed palms. But more than anything he wanted a kiss, he wanted to feel the scratch of Viggo's beard and the firmess of his lips.

"With pleasure."

He watched Viggo lean in towards him, then felt the rasp of a tongue swiping across his lower lip. The older man's tongue slid into his mouth as Orlando moaned brokenly. He was so close, so damn close to what he'd needed all day. So close to that moment of blinding pleasure.

The kiss was deep, instant and for a dizzy moment, Orlando wondered if Viggo could pull his soul from him with a kiss. Then, with a slight tug Orlando felt himself pulled tight against Viggo, who swallowed Orli's cry of surprise as a longed for hand deftly slid between their two bodies to cup Orlando's aching flesh.

"Come for me my Elf." Viggo whispered and kissed the words around Orlando's earlobe.

His hand pressed and stroked firmly, and Orlando felt himself shudder. Shudder and come, with his open mouth pressed to Viggo's shoulder. Hot splashes of come spurted out into what he realised was Legolas' costume and he felt his knees tremble but Viggo was there, holding him close, holding him up.

"Viggo." He breathed the word, breathed in the earthy scent of the man holding him and didn't want to move.

"My hedonistic Elvish prince."

Gently Viggo smoothed strands of Orlando's wig out of his face and pressed a kiss to his temple.

"Is this where you tell me that I'm precious?" Orlando said falling back on cynicism, terrified of what the next moment would bring.

"Live in the moment Orli. That's all Legolas does. Live in the moment, and conquer your fear."

THE END