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Story Notes:
I'm bad! I should be working on the third part of my Shot Through The Heart trilogy, but apparently I had this story in my head and it needed to come out. I hope you enjoy! Please review, I love that! It's like crack to me.
It had all started with a painting, and ended with a trashy magazine, the kind with glossy photos that no person with intelligence would even look at, let alone purchase. The painting hadn't even been one of his best. He'd thrown it together too quickly, and he usually did more abstract pieces than this one. However, the look in the other man's brilliant brown eyes as he'd handed it over to him had made him feel like it was more precious than anything else on earth, from the Hope Diamond to the Crown Jewels of England. He hadn't been painting it for himself, really. It had all been for the actor who played the Elven Prince.

Orlando had thrown his arms around him, hugged him tightly, and kissed him on the cheek before pulling away to look at the painting. An Elf, golden-haired, stood highlighted by a beam of sunlight. All else around him was dark, shadowed, but the prince stood at the very center of the piece, and all the focus of the piece was on him. Way off in a corner, a figure dressed all in dark browns and blacks watched the Elf. It wasn't hard to decipher what it meant. The Ranger, not yet King, silently watched the Prince in an attitude of near-adoration, while the Elven Prince was completely oblivious to the attention he was getting.

Of course, Ian, Dom, Elijah, and all the rest of their co-stars had made fun, but neither of them minded. From that time, which was one not-so-remarkable day near the beginning of filming Fellowship of the Ring, they'd been absolutely inseparable. There had been all sorts of rumors about them, and he found himself treasuring every single one of them. Each person who thought he had a chance with the gorgeous young British actor was a person he considered a friend. He and Orlando never spoke of these rumors, though they talked about other things for hours on end.

Those years that they spent together in New Zealand, filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy, passed far too quickly. As their time together drew to a close, he found himself becoming more and more achingly aware of the fact that this would all soon be over. He was determined to say something. He had it all worked out for the last day of filming. His entire being became obsessed with this one moment, where he would tell Orlando everything. The younger man might laugh at him, but that was a risk he had to take. He couldn't hide this any longer.

He was so focused on this time, so obsessed with planning it out to the minutest detail, that he was caught totally off guard when Orlando knocked on his hotel room door the night before he had planned to speak with him. He had finally gotten to sleep after many hours of worrying, so he was blurry-headed as he opened his door and looked blankly at the young man in front of him. There was a strange look on his fine features, thinly-veiled desperation, almost.

“Damn it, Viggo, I couldn't, just simply could not, leave after filming tomorrow without telling you this. Are you ready? Good.”

He wasn't given any time to process that before the man continued, his gorgeous British accent hurried as he pressed on. The older man was just left there to blink, his sleepy brain still trying to catch up with what was happening.

“I love you, alright? I love you, and everything that we've done together, all the time we've spent just talking, has meant so much to me that I can't just let it go without trying. I know I'm not much more than a child, I couldn't be anything else to you, but, please, just give me a chance....”

Before he was given any chance to respond, or even get it through his brain what the other man was saying, Orlando was flinging his slender body at him and wrapping his arms around his neck. Their lips met, but the older man's were shocked and unresponsive. It was a lot to process, when he'd been spending the last week thinking about how he was going to say nearly the same words. His mind was slow catching up. The few seconds that it took for him to realize what was happening was a few seconds too long. As he stood, still blinking and gasping and trying to make all of this make sense somehow, Orlando shook his head, muttered something indistinct under his breath, and turned around to walk away quickly down the hallway. A door slammed, and the young British actor was lost to him.

He had all night to think on his mistake, on his lack of action that may have just cost him everything. He wouldn't give up. He couldn't. The next day, he was determined that he would find the young actor, sort everything out. But when the sun rose the next day and he hurried down to the set, he found that Orlando was firmly entrenched in conversation with Sir Ian McKellen. Although the older British actor seemed almost amused by this new attention, he also clearly wasn't about to pass it up.

For the rest of the day, there was no chance to speak to the younger man. He was always in Ian's company, and seemed determined not to so much as look at the man he had made so dramatic a confession to just last night. The dark eyes never even looked his way. Many times, the older man tried to corner him, but Orlando was not cooperative in the slightest. He could understand, even if it infuriated him. Orlando had taken a chance, and had, as he had seen it, been rejected. He wasn't interested in having that happen again, and so he avoided any chance of it.

Time did not care how tormented he was, and passed just the same. The last day of filming was complete. At least, while he was dressed as Aragorn and walking down to meet the people of Gondor after having been crowned their King, Orlando had no choice but to face him. The truth was, though, that it only made matters worse. Both of them were far too professional to allow anything to get in the way of doing their jobs. Still, he thought he felt the younger man's shoulder twitch just slightly as he laid his hand on it.

The project was, essentially, over. The Elven Prince and the King were gone. The Elf ears, long blond wig, as well as the sword and crown all went back to the props department. He didn't even see when the young British actor left the site, and that, as far as he could tell, was that. It was over. It was all over. Orlando was gone, and so, he noticed, was the older British actor who had played Gandalf. He fought down a pang of jealousy as he turned away to leave himself, to go home to New York. It truly was over.

Except, of course, it wasn't. Orlando went on to become a huge star, bolstered by his excellent portrayal of the Elven Prince, Legolas. The first time he saw the young man's beautiful, fine-featured face flashed over the front page of a sleazy tabloid newspaper, he wanted to rip it from the display and tear it to pieces. It was in a supermarket, and the harsh lights glared off the smiling young man with his arm around one of his co-stars, the dark beauty that he had presumably met on the set for Pirates of the Caribbean.

It should have been over then. After all, it is supposed to end with a tabloid newspaper. Something, however, kept him from giving up hope entirely. Perhaps it was that Orlando was constantly quoted as saying that he was just friends with the bevy of beauties that clung to his arms on the front page of those glossy newspapers. On YouTube, he searched for interviews of the younger man by the hour, and eventually, he found one where the handsome man actually looked right into the camera, smiled, and said very clearly and distinctly “I'm still single.”

It felt like Orlando was trying to tell him not to give up, although he was aware that was the mentality of a stalker. So, for years, he stayed away, and the other man never tried to contact him. They never worked together again, and London and New York are very far apart, so it was a simple thing to keep his distance. Hadn't he already lost his chance, after all?

Perhaps there truly is no end to this story, but an end came when he was at a coffee shop near his house. It wasn't the best one in the city, but he liked it because it was near his house. In his hands, he clutched a shiny magazine, with a picture of the young man who had claimed his heart splashed on the front page. With him was the beautiful supermodel with the same of one of Shakespeare's heroine's, and the thing said, in bold script, that Orlando was finally getting serious with someone.

His fingers clenched into tight fists, and the magazine was crumpled in his grasp. A voice broke him out of his subconscious destruction of the paper, and the well-modulated British tones were familiar, so achingly known to him.

“There is little sense to the destruction of anything, even something with as interesting a take on the truth as this rubbish has.”

Blue eyes raised, meeting dark ones that were filled with fear, worry, and a small bit of hope. With a soft exhalation of breath, he rose to his feet, looking almost hungrily into those eyes. He had thought maybe distance had increased the other man's charm, brought it beyond what was humanly possible. He found, rather, that memory had not been sufficient to the task.

“Orlando...”

The younger man nodded, a slight trace of a smile on his lips now. Slowly, they moved together, and this time, when their lips met, there was no hesitation. Viggo was not going to lose out on this second chance that he'd never expected. The kiss lasted a long time, and when they moved apart, he felt like a promise had been made and accepted, on both of their parts.

Slowly, those amazing eyes fell down to the tabloid that the other man still clutched in one hand. He laughed and grabbed the older man's wrist, raising it to draw his attention to the newsprint. He raised an eyebrow, his eyes sparkling with merriment.

“You shouldn't believe everything you read.”

He gently released his wrist and let it fall, and the momentum caused that newspaper to fall to the ground. The supermodel's smile flashed up at them both for a moment, but Orlando was already moving forward once more, and neither of them had any more time or attention to spare for either her or the magazine. A black shoe came down on it, and the two man walked off, arms wrapped around each other, just as it had been in the old days. Only now, they both knew there was a promise for so much more.

The tabloid newspaper, crumpled, scuffed, and barely legible anymore, lay there for a long time, just another piece of garbage on the streets of New York.
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