|The events described in this story are fictional. The author makes no assertion about the lives or characters of the real people whose names and identities she has used in the writing of this story, and makes no money from it.|
"Yours is brown."
"Uh-huh. Okay. And yours is red?"
"But not a Coca Cola red?"
"No, more of a cherry red."
"No, cherry red!"
It was they were in a restroom at the time. In a restroom in a club (this was New Zealand, the club was in New Zealand), and one of Viggo's hands was splayed flat against the wall-tiles, leaning, bouncing a little. They were talking about what colours people's names were, or at least Elijah was. Elijah was telling Viggo what colours people's names were, because apparently he knew.
Viggo said, "Brown is okay. I can live with brown. Brown is very liveable-with. It's a warm colour, you know? Like the earth."
"It's a nice brown," said Elijah.
The music came through the walls, muffled and gagged by the walls, reduced to the bare bones. It went up through Viggo's heels and into his legs. Beat beat beat. Outside the restroom was the club and outside the club was New Zealand.
"So what colour is Dom?"
"Dom is lemon yellow. But it has these tiny little kind of specks, which are like pink and blue."
"That sounds kind of garish."
"Oh no, because it's like a really small pattern. It actually looks okay. It's all totally random, anyway."
Viggo considered this for a while, the random nature of the colours of people's names (he was drinking beer, the tiles cold under his hand, the beer cold and getting warmer as it travelled into him), and he said:
"How does it work? I mean, how do you know?"
Elijah shrugged. "I just do. Like, Tuesday is orange, and Thursday is pale pink. Always has been, always will be."
Viggo wondered, if Elijah poked him in the stomach with a finger, whether it would be enough to push him over. He was balancing (in in New Zealand, in a club, in a restroom, in a restroom in a club), balancing and bouncing on his fingers of his left hand against a cold tiled wall.
"It's really not a big deal." Elijah said.
"Sure sure." Viggo nodded, and drank his beer.
"Anyway, why are we drinking in here? It's really unhygienic!"
In the restroom. They were in a restroom in a club in a city in New Zealand, but it could have been anywhere, really. Anywhere with white ceramic tiles, and mirrors, with music coming through the walls and the smell of chemicals and piss. It was only when you got outside that you really knew where you were. Viggo imagined the city (outside the bathroom, outside the club) like a round grey glittering nest in the middle of the wild.
"I don't know!" Viggo looked down at Elijah, genuinely puzzled. "Why are we doing that?"
"I don't know either!"
Viggo thought how funny it was, when people got together like this, to drink alcohol and feel music shaking their skeletons around, how these kinds of things just happened. How you'd just suddenly find yourself somewhere, and not really be able to recall the exact route that led you to be wherever it was, with whoever you were with. He thought of all the people inside the building, rattling around from room to room: corridor, dancefloor, cloakroom, bar. Inside this club, inside this city, inside New Zealand.
"Well," he said. "I think that's a very interesting gift you have there. You know, with the colours, and..."
Elijah shrugged. "Oh. I don't think so, really. Not like it actually -- does anything.
"Hm. Well..." Viggo shrugged and smiled, and Elijah smiled, and Viggo balanced on his springy fingers, against the wall.
"You know --" Elijah was looking up and around, at the ceiling and the walls. He was making wide, sweeping gestures at nothing with his empty glass. "This is all so amazing. Isn't it? Isn't this just great?"
"What? The men's room?"
"No!" He rolled his eyes. "I mean, all of this!" Flapped his arms about. "Everything. It's just so fucking cool! I mean, isn't it?"
"Uh-huh." Viggo stood very still and felt the muffled jarring thump of the music in his bones. It made him want to do something, or ... something.
He put his empty bottle down on the floor. Then he reached out and took Elijah's glass from him, and held it up to the light. It wasn't quite empty.
"What are you drinking, anyway? It looks disgusting. Kind of ... green."
"Actually, you know what? I don't even remember. How scary is that?"
"Huh." Viggo put Elijah's glass down on the floor next to the bottle. "Oh, hey," he said, pointing at some empty space behind Elijah. "Isn't that --"
"What?" said Elijah, turning. And Viggo caught him off balance, pulled him and swung him round and pinned him against the tiled wall, folded his arms comfortably and immovably across Elijah's chest.
"I am your king," he said. "Swear allegiance to me."
"Get off of me, you fucker!" Elijah was laughing, scrabbling ineffectually in an attempt to push Viggo away.
"We royal types," said Viggo sadly, as Elijah kicked at his shins, "we just don't get the respect any more, you know? We become terribly insecure at times." He licked Elijah's forehead, because it seemed like a fun idea.
"You are such a freak," said Elijah. "Such a total freak, I swear. Man, I fucking love you."
He hung there, pressed against the wall. His hair was dark against the white tiles. His eyes were shiny and alcohol-bright.
"Elijah," said Viggo. "Please believe me when I say that I've always thought of you as a total freak, too."
"Remarkably freakish individual."
"Well, thank you, that's -- that's lovely. Thank you."
He smiled and nodded his head up and down like some kind of bird. Up down, up down. On one of the 'up's, Viggo kissed him. It seemed like the thing to do. Elijah's chest felt small and solid under Viggo's arms. It felt unusual. He hadn't been sure, originally, what kind of kiss it was going to be; a peck on the cheek or a smack on the lips. He hadn't even been sure it was going to be a kiss at all. It had to be something though. He had to do something. The noise in this place was physical, and it pushed at him from the inside. It had to get into him, and then, when it was there, it had to get out again.
The music pushed at him and he pushed at Elijah, pushed with his arms and with his lips and tongue. He smiled, and Elijah laughed into his mouth -- and it was that kind of kiss after all. Elijah's head went back against the tiles with a reckless muffled 'crack' and Viggo thought, hey, that's going to hurt in the morning. But Elijah seemed not to notice. He was busy being open to new experiences. His eyes were half open. His hands wavered and hesitated and finally come to rest, butterfly-like, on Viggo's hips.
Viggo leaned back and looked at the enthusiastic flush of pink he'd left around Elijah's mouth. He put a hand in Elijah's hair and made it stand up in product-heavy tufts against the blank white wall.
"You have interesting hair," he said.
"Well," said Elijah. "Okay. That was..."
then the deep skeletal thud of the music changed suddenly, grew tissue
and muscle and skin, as the door to the restroom squeaked open and banged
against the wall. A spongy, damp shred of singing burst in for a moment,
then evaporated as the door squeaked shut. Elijah's hands fell softly
away from Viggo's hips.
Viggo's looking down at him, hair flopping lank on his forehead, that crazed look in his eye. Elijah thinks, Viggo, you have a pretty questionable sense of humour.
"Why are you making me do this?"
"Go on. I just want to hear. I thought you wanted to be involved."
"Well, sure, but. This just isn't really my "
The way Elijah sees it, he has a choice. He can either stand here, in this closet or whatever, and sing 'Happy Birthday', and sound like a tone-deaf Marilyn Monroe on crack. Or he can just fuck it up on purpose.
"Happy birthday to you "
Viggo looks at him.
"Hap -- What?"
Viggo's eyes are half-closed. He speaks lazily through his smile.
"You're not taking this seriously, are you?"
"Well, neither are you. Um, you're not, are you?"
"Not the point."
"Isn't it? Okay. What was the point again?"
"Fuck, don't ask me!"
They grin at each other and Elijah folds his arms tightly over the laughter in his chest. It's one of those things. He doesn't really know why it's funny, it just is. This kind of thing, this descent into random silliness, happens a lot with he's with Viggo. Even now, with New Zealand far behind them and the future spreading out cheerfully ahead, like the yellow brick road. It fills Elijah with a kind of sweet and wistful pain, a sharp longing for the past back again, and everything how it was. He clings to these moments as though they're tangible things.
"Well, you're the one," he says, "you're the one who kidnapped me and shut me in your fucking closet!"
Viggo looks down, directs his smile at the floor. He strokes his jaw gently with his thumb, up and down, up and down.
"It's for the acoustics," he says. "And it's not really a closet."
Elijah shrugs. Okay. It's not a closet. Although he doesn't know what it is if it isn't a closet. It has all kinds of closet-type things in it, like boxes and bottles and buckets and things. Empty canvas frames are stacked like redundant glassless windows against a wall. But there are also coloured paper lanterns strung in extravagant swooping curves from the ceiling, and something that looks disturbingly like a skull grins down at Elijah from a high shelf. The room smells of paint and dust and something sweetly hot and unidentifiable. A glimmer of milky light falls from a small square window, high up on the wall. And there's a fish in a box.
"Why do you have a fish in a box?"
It's a glass case, standing up vertically, so that the great stuffed thing inside it appears to be diving into the floorboards.
"What, you don't have a fish in a box? I thought everybody had a fish in a box."
Viggo looks at him -- looks and considers -- and says, "Okay, get on the floor."
"Like this." And Elijah is staring down at Viggo lying on his back, his blue shirt and the dust-dark souls of his bare feet startling against the pale wood. "Lie down," says Viggo, "and sing a note, like, Aaaahh!"
Viggo stretches his arms up and folds his hands behind his head. He looks up at Elijah, and his eyes are clear and expressionless. Elijah thinks how little they reveal of what's actually going on in Viggo's head. You never can really tell. Elijah feels too tall now, impossibly and unnaturally tall. He sinks to his knees and, a little awkwardly, lies down on his back on the hard floor.
"Like this?" he says, and sings, Laaahh. Lalala. The note is heavy and round; it sits in a warm pool at the back of his throat.
"Aaaahh," sings Viggo.
"How does it feel?" Viggo's hair makes a soft sound as he turns his head on the wooden boards. Elijah looks up, at the paper lanterns hanging red and green and pink under the ceiling, not moving.
"It feels orange," he says. "Or kind of burnt gold. Like amber or something. Different. Standing up it was a lot yellower."
"Yeah," says Viggo. He shuffles his heels on the floor, rubs them one on the other, and Eljah hears the swish and hiss of clothing moving with his body. "Well. Everything seems a little different from down here. Don't you think?"
He reaches over and puts out his hand, rests it on Elijah's chest. "Do it again," he says.
Elijah sings his note, and it travels, bronze and curving, like a bell; resonates in the empty spaces of his head and throat and chest. It vibrates under the warm weight of Viggo's hand on him.
"Redder," he says. "Darker."
Viggo does not ask him to sing again. He stays where he is, his hand on Elijah's chest, moving up and down, up and down as Elijah breathes in and out.
Elijah thinks that he could just get up and walk out of here if he wanted. It would be easy. He could suddenly remember an urgent appointment, a meeting or a lunch-date. They could postpone this thing to another day, another week, another lifetime. If he wanted.
Elijah isn't always quite sure what he wants these days. He isn't even sure he really understands the concept. Things just seem to happen; they unfold around him without his consent, opening out like big, gaudy flowers. Lying here on the floor, with Viggo's hand resting on him and the sound of his breathing filling up his head, he wonders when the events of his own life started to feel so inevitable, like small parts of a huge machine over which he no longer has any control.
He puts his own hand over Viggo's, and it feels small and ineffectual in comparison. Their fingers curl and interlock. They shift towards one another and their movements seem loud in the still, small room. The feeling of Viggo's mouth on Elijah's comes with a sweet, sick lurch of memory, and for a moment he panics, thinks blindly: this is all too late, too late and wrong, the wrong time -- but the moment passes, and he lets it go, gives it up.
There is an easy strength in Viggo's kiss; there's a warmth in it that somehow reminds Elijah of filming in New Zealand; of the relief of simple human contact after long and painful hours in the cold or the wet. A slap on the back or a hand on the arm. Something he's looked for, now and then, amongst the glitter and crowd and shine that is his life now, and never quite found.
Viggo pulls Elijah closer, so that their bodies tip together, puzzle pieces that don't quite fit. Elijah slides a hand up underneath Viggo's blue shirt, and touches skin that's hot and damp and unfamiliar. He clutches at Viggo and pushes him down, tries to press him into the varnished wood like he's something fluid and boneless. Viggo says, "Ah. Fuck," because he's neither fluid nor boneless, and bits of him are crunching nastily against the unforgiving surface.
Elijah says, "God, shit. Sorry." Hangs there, frozen and uncertain.
But Viggo half smiles. He says, "No." He reaches for Elijah and pulls him down again, leaves damp warmth and breath on Elijah's face and the side of his neck. They slip and slide on one another; items of clothing, suddenly discovered to be irrelevant, are tugged at and loosened and discarded. When, finally, Elijah pulls his face away from Viggo's, his bottom lip catching and scraping on Viggo's teeth, and looks down, over the weave of their arms, at the bare lengths of their twin bodies, he is strangely shocked. The different tones of their two skins jar and clash together. He presses his hand down into the damp skin of Viggo's arm, and when he takes his fingers away, they leave five small marks behind.
Elijah presses a trail of little marks down Viggo's body, touching him on his side, his ribs, his thigh. He slides the hand into the darkness that hides in between their bodies, and touches Viggo there, his belly, the gentle rise and downward slope of his hip. He touches Viggo's cock, which is hard with life and heat. He touches his own, and he touches them together, and Viggo makes a small sound in his throat and moves his hips under Elijah, pushing at him. His hand moves down Elijah's spine, and around. He pinches the soft flesh between waist and ribs, and laughs when Elijah twitches and cries out.
For answer, Viggo kisses him, pushes on his shoulder with one hand, and they slip back onto their sides on the hard floor, mouths locked in some kind of complicated war or dialogue, a strange and noiseless conversation. Elijah's hand moves on Viggo's cock, and Viggo's on his. Elijah breathes him in, inhales the crazy, sweet, Viggo-ness of Viggo, and tastes it, and lets it out in small, low sounds into the cords and hollows of Viggo's neck. He thinks fleetingly how once, long ago, he used to have words in his vocabulary like 'wrong' (blue) and 'inappropriate' (orange and green stripes) and 'embarrassing' (lemon yellow). He thinks how little effort it requires to forget words like that. Words disappear for Elijah in dandelion puffs, cotton candy hardening to crystal. Everything is zigzag, kaleidoscope fast, metallic. Everything sounds like a string of plastic beads in the mouth, pulled fast between tongue and teeth. Everything confused in a salty-sweet, warm blanket of dissonance. Everything, until.
Until for a small moment, the world is bleached out in a brilliant blissful lack. Lack of colour, of taste, of texture, of sound. All these things are refined and stripped back to their beginnings, their essentials, until there is nothing left but one tiny, intense point of white light. And then, slowly, the world fades back in.
He's lying on the floor. The wood is warmish under his body, and smooth, but there's a draught. His skin goosepimples and he feels the soft hairs rise on his arms. Above him, the paper lanterns are still, almost. If you look carefully you can see them swing faintly, very faintly to and fro. Elijah sits up and begins to fish for his clothes, before he gets cold. He needs a Kleenex. He needs a hot shower.
Viggo's face, eyes clear and unfathomable as ever. Viggo's hand on his arm, warm and light. It stills him. He looks down at Viggo's hand, and it doesn't go away. Elijah wonders what Viggo's thinking about, and whether he'll kiss him again now. Now, or today, or another day.
"I was wondering," says Viggo. "What colour is Wednesday?"
blue," Elijah tells him. "With sharp bits." He doesn't
even have to think about it.