by eyesdarker

Viggo sees gold and blue all mixed up in a tumble of sea-water, pain and a hard body hitting him. Sees sunlit skin as the world rights itself. Sees long, glittering golden hair, sparkling in the sunlight.

For a moment, film-memory heavy upon him, Viggo thinks he's smashed his surf-board into an elf. Gold hair, wide face with high, sun-blushed cheekbones. Then the elf swears at him:

"Fuck's sake, mate, you never ridden a board before?"

The illusion shatters, film-reality segues into the everyday world and Viggo drags himself from the method actor's reality into water and sunshine. He focuses, finds himself looking not at an elf, but at regular human. An angry human.

"I said, haven't you ever surfed before? That move...hell, mate, that was bloody dangerous."

"No." Viggo speaks softly: uses his favourite tone, the one that combines the understated power of a man who does not need to shout to make his point with just a hint of vulnerability, of shyness.

Golden hair flicks off glowing skin, arcing silver drops of water against a Hockney sky. Viggo remembers his teenage reading, his obsession with Tolkien's world and thinks of the gold and silver trees of Valinor, made into the moon and the sun. Again, he is shaken back to reality, when the broad Australian accent cuts across his thoughts:

"No what? No, you've never surfed before? Well, sorry, mate, thought you were a regular." White teeth echo white sea-foam, skin echoes sunshine until Viggo starts to wonder where the world ends and the not-elf starts.

Not noticing the wall-like wave approaching, Viggo is confused when the Australian yells: "Fuck! Swim! Bloody swim! Look at that ....."

And the world breaks again around Viggo as he breathes in water, sees azure.

"You okay there, mate? Fuck, that was a big one, didn't see the bastard coming."

Viggo shakes his head, coughs, wants the world to be gold all around him again. Wants to see again that shade of skin that reminds him of long, hot summer holidays in Denmark, where the sea was of waving wheat, not of cold salt water.

"Yeah, I'm...I'm ok. Thanks. And...look, I'm sorry about hitting you. I...," Viggo is tempted, as he has often been since the filming, to slip into the auto-pilot of skills honed over long months: so many percent Aragon, a touch of Bilbo-like humility. "...Are you ok?"

Muscles flex under summer-sun skin as the creature twists to look at a strong leg, where a deep gash is visible. "Yeah, no worries. Give the make-up people something to do."

Viggo says: "Oh, you're an actor, too!" then immediately winces inside as he plays back the sentence in his head and hears its triteness.

"For my sins." Sea-foam grin contrasts with autumnal chestnut eyes. Skin round the eyes crinkles as the other, golden one, smiles. "Name's Heath." Strong grip and lop-sided grin at the ridiculousness of shaking hands while waist-deep in water. "And...hey, fella, I could be wrong but I'll swear I've seen you somewhere before?"

"Young farmer in Witness. Great Harrison Ford film." Deadpanning comes easy to Viggo, he draws on the memory of Ian McKellern winding up Peter Jackson with insane, actorly requests for blue Smarties and dancing girls in his trailer.

Heath, the golden Heath, laughs and runs strong fingers through his hair. Matte gold skin, shiny paler auric hair. Viggo watches, transfixed, at the artless gesture.

"Yeah, sure. Great film and you were third farmer from the left. Ah, sure, my lord Aragorn, no real good jobs since, then?"

Viggo is amused. Can't remember the last time 'fawn' was replaced by 'tease', except among the fellowship actors. "What about you?" he says. "I know I've seen you in...oh, of course, that film Rufus Sewell did a while back. He was Count...wait a minute...Count Adhemar, that was it."

Clear laughter, clear eyes, glowing skin. Everything about the man he sees is clear, clean, bright. "Yeah, right, mate. Count Adhemar's Tale, they called it. Listen, I'm heading out. Wanna tinnie?"

Imagining the stately Elrond's response to such a request, Viggo bows deeply. Summons his silliest, broadest Strine accent: "My Lord Von Lichtenstein, I should be delighted."


"'Cept they only do these bloody cocktails, not proper beer." Viggo wonders if Heath carries a paint-box around with him, painting the world gold as he goes. The setting sun floods across the bar, pouring over Heath's hair until he seems to be in a molten river of ore.

Heath plays with the cocktail stirrer, a little golden straw with an incongruous, gold-painted, plastic cartoon duck on its end. He chats easily, seemingly unawed by Viggo's fame.

"So, yeah, there I was with all these fuckin' great posters of me plastered all over every city. Really creeps, you out, mate, got afraid to look in the mirror when I shaved case I wasn't so pretty any more." Heath's laughter, (and Viggo has to shake himself mentally, remind himself the laugher isn't actually golden in tone or colour), rings out across the room.

Viggo feels a sudden need to take control, to be the centre of attention. "Have you seen any of the stories that people write?"


"Yeah, on-line stuff. There are hundreds of women, writing stories about us. Well, not us, exactly, but about Aragorn, about me, all sorts of actors and characters. Some of it is very good...and some is, well, bordering on the pornographic."

Brown eyes open eyes open wide. "No, I hadn't heard about that. Sounds bloody hilarious!" And Viggo struggles to keep his mind on the conversation, lost in an autumnal fantasy of golden leaves and newly-fallen chestnuts.

Heath grins: "You don't mind people writing x-rated stories about you?"

"I'm not sure...would you mind it?"

Soft lamplight has replaced the setting sun. Gold ore switches to a cupric glow around Heath's face. "Nah, mate, I'm cool! Fuck anything that moves, me! Man, woman or small, furry..." He holds the cocktail stirrer up to his face. Glowing eyes regard the little plastic duck with disdain. "Sorry, fella. Not ducks. Gotta draw the line somewhere, ya know?"

For the first time since he can remember, since he started living with the strain of being Aragorn and Strider and getting everything right for himself and the millions of Tolkien-lovers, Viggo laughs. Really laughs. Feels how strange laughter feels inside him.


Viggo writes poetry about gold for a while. Struggles with the imagery, keeps being forced back to copper, to metal. Wants to capture the flavour of a summer day and a man seemingly built from sunshine. Gives up in disgust when the essence eludes him.


"Hey, Viggo! Didn't recognise you with your clothes on there, mate!"

Viggo turns, the almost-forgotten accent ringing like a bell in his head. Has a fleeting vision of a sunrise, somewhere in Italy, with the sun starting to light up an empty town square and the church bell ringing clear and bright through the warming day.

"Heath! Hello, there. What are you...well, I guess that's obvious, why would you come to an Oscars party, after all? are you?"

"Yeah, never better, 'cept this bloody tie is strangling me." Heath pulls at his wing-collar, a starched hospital white against could Viggo have forgotten that particular shade of gold? That molten smoothness?

"Something wrong, mate? You're looking at me like I've got...."

"Yeah, lipstick on your face." Come on, Viggo, act. That's what they pay you for. "Er, there," he points to his own face. "Yeah, fine now."

"Thanks." Grin lights up the eyes, Viggo suddenly realises for the first time in his life that brown eyes can, indeed, sparkle. "Guess I must have been overdoing the kissing."

"Look, mate. I'd bloody kill to get out of here. You wanna grab some grub? Catch up?"

Again, Viggo is left trailing in Heath's wake. It's an unaccustomed feeling for one so used to being the centre of attention. He tastes the feeling, plays with it. Decides he likes the freedom.

"Sure. Let me tell my agent."


"...And then I couldn't get the bloody armour off again! So there I was, dying to point it at the porcelain, hitting myself against the wall trying to shake the armour loose! "

Heath's face softens, loses the professional smile. "Hey, enough actory stuff. Listening to me yabbering on, that's real boring. Read any good...hey, hang a sec! I read some of those stories you told me about. The ones on the net?" Golden hair flops down over glowing skin as Heath vigorously shakes his head. Raised eyebrows of disbelief are such a contrast to his broad grin, that Viggo can't begin to guess what Heath's reaction to the stories is.

"And what did you think?"

"Fuckin' hot, some of them, man! And real weird seein' myself spread out like that, saying things I'd never say....guess that's not much diff from the tabloids, though. Yeah, they were fun. Might give 'em a try myself, one day!"

Heath's reaction is refreshing. Very few of the fellowship actors had been at all pleased to find their lives, dreams, characters, rewritten by people who knew next to nothing about them. Viggo realises Heath is still chattering, hastily tunes in again.

" anything good lately?" And they are off, chatting easily about books, films, as though they've done the duty chat, the funny-stories-told-by-actors bit and can just relax and talk like the real people Viggo was afraid he would never speak to again.


Viggo hesitates outside his hotel room. He's enjoyed not being the decision-maker tonight. Now he doesn't want to push Heath, wants Heath to make the move. The memory of a clear voice saying it will 'fuck anything that moves' rings through his head. Sufficient 'anythings' have tried to throw themselves at Viggo over the last year for him to feel he's not unattractive.

All through the evening, Viggo's been pushing away images of gold skin sliding over his, of warm brown eyes an inch from his own...trying not to want too hard.

Heath grins. "Great evening, Vig. You're the best, mate!" He raises his face, drink-flushed blush over high cheekbones over golden skin. Leaning forward, Heath wraps strong arms around Viggo's chest and hugs him hard.

For a fleeting moment, Viggo thinks he can smell sun-warmth on the skin against his face, taste the sea in the soft hair flowing over his mouth. Then the pressure against his body is gone and a cheerful "See ya, mate," echoes in the empty corridor.


Viggo sees a little golden duck-shaped charm in a jewellers. Buys it on impulse. Keeps it on his bookcase for a while.


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