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Don't Look Down

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Against his better instincts, he let himself agree. "Sure," he said. He squinted up at Orlando, at the dark shape draped lazily against the doorframe, silhouetted in the late afternoon sun, limned in gold. He'd squinted up at that shape, and heard him say something about another fantastic waterfall not fifteen minutes walk away, and Viggo should come and see it. He'd let himself agree.

It'd been easy. So easy. It had been too easy at the beginning, as well, barely 48 hours previous. At the beginning, after slightly more wine than was safe, with two half-eaten slices of chocolate cake and the recent memory of Orlando's lips against his cheek like scorch marks. With their laughter still echoing in the air, and Orlando suddenly looking almost scared and a lot more sober than he had thirty seconds ago, it was easy for Viggo to put his cake down on the kitchen bench and hold out his hand. "C'mere," he said.

They could have talked more, could have gone on with puns and quips about it being his birthday, and unwrapping his present, but they didn't. When Orlando took his hand, Viggo simply pulled him close and kissed him. Splayed his fingers against bald scalp and sank his tongue into a willingly-opened mouth. Breath against his cheek and hands curling around his waist. Wine and chocolate, and Orlando moved forwards, against Viggo, bringing them into painfully perfect alignment.

It was perfect in its imperfections. In all the ways they didn't quite mesh, in all the things that didn't quite work, the small problems.

When Viggo woke the next morning, that's what he remembered. Not the beautiful things - Orlando pressed against him in the kitchen, hands on warm skin, or arched and gasping, his fingers curled nigh on painful-tight in Viggo's hair, or sweat-slick against him in the still, quiet night. Those things would come back to him later, to trouble him. What he remembered first, when he woke, was that it had been good, and that it could be even better. Together, they could make it even better.

Then he realised why he'd woken; the impact of another body on the bed beside him. He blinked, blearily, and rolled over.

"Watch it," Orlando warned. "You'll squash the croissants."

Viggo paused, shimmied around more carefully. Orlando tore open the paper bag, let it act as a makeshift plate for the faintly-steaming pastries. He lay them on the bed between them, between bemused, half-asleep Viggo and Orlando's bare chest. He was lying on his side, propped up on one elbow, the sheet rucked down around his waist.

"Croissants?" Viggo repeated.

"Mm-hmm. And coffee." Orlando twisted, reached behind him to the nightstand for two take-away coffee cups, lids firmly in place. "I was starving, so I went down to the cafeteria. I didn't think chocolate cake would make a good breakfast."

Viggo took the offered coffee, couldn't help the smile his mouth was determined to curl into. Couldn't help the way it widened in response to Orlando's own smile, sipping at his coffee. Orlando had got out of bed, got dressed, gone down to the cafeteria to get breakfast. And then he'd come back, and was here again, naked in Viggo's bed. Dark and gorgeous skin against his white sheets, only an armslength away. It was tremendous.

At that moment, he'd known it.

This could hurt.

But all he'd said was: "We'll get crumbs in the bed."

Orlando had arched up, a sinuous curl, to kiss the corner of his mouth. "Stop whinging and drink your coffee."

The next day, Orlando showed up in his doorway, limned in gold, and told him about another fantastic waterfall he should see, and Viggo couldn't do anything but agree. He went with him, followed him along the bush track that was too narrow for anything other than single file. Followed him and watched his shoulders move underneath his T-shirt. Orlando didn't seem to feel much like talking. Viggo didn't think he could have talked if he'd wanted to.

The track petered out in a clearing where the gorge plunged into hills, and Viggo could hear the water thundering far below. Orlando led the way confidently across it, to where a narrow ledge cut into the cliff face, sloping gently downwards. A bird called somewhere, and Orlando looked up, twisted his neck, all alert and Legolas. There was a grin on his face, bright and beautiful, and a bead of sweat trickling down his cheek, far back, near his ear.

Viggo found his voice, found what he needed to say. "Looks dangerous."

Orlando laughed, and took a few steps along the ledge. "Yeah, but all the most beautiful things in life come with risk."

Viggo watched him as he paused a few steps down, turned his face up, as if he could feel water spray already.

He supposed it was so. Beautiful things. Such beautiful things.

Orlando looked back along the narrow ledge, waved encouragingly, totally misunderstanding the reason for Viggo's hesitation. He smiled, stretched out his arm. "Come on, Vig. It's easy. Just take my hand, and don't look down."

On the other hand, maybe he understood perfectly.