hobbithabit (hobbithabit) wrote in inyourembrace,

The Beginning Part 1

Dom sighed and looked down at his surroundings. Here they were again; he and Billy, trapped up a fake, animatronic tree while everyone else went to lunch. Dom hadn't minded at first, had loved the solitude up here, the isolation, the time to think and plan out loud with Billy. In fact, Dom had *cherished* those times, had looked forward to them....right up until the time he'd realized he was falling in love with his fellow hobbit. Even Dom wasn't sure exactly when it had started-it had all come on rather gradually, snuck up on him, sort of. But, there had been no doubt in his mind what was happening when one day, last week, he'd been chatting with Billy, about football, of all things, and had leaned over and come a hairs-breath away from kissing him. There was no thought involved...it had simply seemed like the thing to do. The *only* thing to do. Dom had come so close, in fact, that he'd had to make up a ridiculous excuse about slipping out of his harness to explain why he was suddenly practically sitting on Billy's lap. He didn't think Billy had entirely bought the story, but hoped he hadn't any actual clue what the *truth* had been, either. Dom had even, on a few memorable occasions, gotten a hard-on while strapped into Treebeard. He'd tried to convince himself at first that it was simply some weird side effect of being balanced on a teeny, uncomfortable bicycle seat, but after a while, that excuse had stopped holding any water. After all, it happened *out* of Treebeard as well. In Makeup, on outdoor shoots, at parties...shite, even alone in bed. All of these things had one common denominator, however; Weasel only popped his head up when near, or thinking about, Billy. Which all posed a very unique problem. Billy was, as far as Dom knew, completely, utterly straight. He'd never given any indication otherwise, watched the birds walk by on set the same way Viggo or Astin did, with a wink and a grin. Though they'd become close friends, confidants, even, Dom had never revealed his own sexual orientation to Billy, afraid of what he might think if he were strapped up a tree for hours on end with a bloke who was wondering what he'd look like starkers, if his arse looked even nicer bare than clothed. The problem was, Dom's infatuation was getting rather difficult to hide- especially Weasel's recent antics. A few mintues before, Billy had leaned his head back and closed his eyes, trying to take an innocent little kip, and the little bastard had taken one look at Billy's gorgeous, perfect neck and had immediately saluted. Dom scooted around best he could on his perch, and sighed again, noisily. Billy opened his eyes and looked at him, and Dom blushed down to the roots of his hair, hoping like hell that Billy wasn't a mind reader. Dom cleared his throat and tried to make conversation, keeping his eyes averted from Billy. "So, uh....Bills. Did y' catch th' MannU game last night?" 'Oh, brilliant, Monaghan. More football.', Dom thought to himself. 'Dom and Billy sitting in a tree- K.I.S.S.I.N.G.' If only. Dom sighed yet again and scooted around in his seat some more. This day was turning out to be the longest of Dom's life.

Billy blinked his tired eyes and stared at Dom for a moment before closing his eyes once again and tilting his head back.. "How much do I have to pay ya to shut up so I can sleep Monaghan?" Billy asked, half serious, half teasing. The long filming days were starting to catch up with Billy, especially considering that he could sleep, let alone think of sleeping in the contraption they called Tree Beard. It was more like it should have been called torturing device that left his arse and family jewels feeling as if they'd gone through a meat grinder. Dom peeked up at Billy and saw that he was once again leaning back. He couldn't help staring at the pale, smooth skin of his neck once more and then to his mouth and his perfectly shaped bow lips that begged to be kissed. Weasel was straining against the fabric of Dom's Hobbit trousers, screaming to be released. Screaming to be touched. "And for the record I didn't see the Man U game. Was sleeping. You should try it sometime." Dom swallowed hard daring to speak once more. "I couldn't sleep last night." The moment he said, he wished he could take it back. Billy's eyes fluttered open and focused on Dom's. A look of concern coming over his emerald green eyes. "You've been having a lot of sleepless nights lately. Everything okay Dommie?" Billy asked.

Dom blushed again as Billy looked at him- he was blushing so much today that he was afraid Merry's ears would come right off. "Everything's fine, Bill, thanks.", he answered softly, vowing to leave it at that, not say any more, blurt something that could possibly incriminate him. Of course, keeping quiet was not one of Dom's natural talents, and his mouth immediately ran away with itself. "Just been thinking a lot, y' know? About stuff." Dom's brain was screaming at him to shut up, but his mouth just kept going cheerfully onward. Dom sometimes wished he could find a way to muzzle *himself*. 'About *someone*, that is.', Dom thought to himself. That was *another* of Dom's problems, however; oftentimes, what he imagined to be a thought in his own mind passed his lips without him ever noticing it. With a jolt, he realized it had just happened again, when Billy echoed, softly, "Someone?" If Dom could have borrowed Frodo's ring at that moment, he would have slid it onto his finger with absolutely no hesitation. He'd rather face an army of Ringwriaths then have to explain to Billy who, exactly, 'someone' was. Dom blushed furiously yet again, and was desperately trying to think of a lie, when he was saved the effort by people starting to file back onto set. He'd never been so happy to see Pete Jackson in his life. When the director looked up to he and Billy and told them to get ready for scene, Dom could have French kissed him out of relief. Dom just hoped Billy had a very short memory and wouldn't fire questions at him later.

"Someone?" Billy asked softly with a grin and then watched the surprised look that came over Dom's face, followed by blushing. Billy was surprised to see such a reaction from Dom. They'd become quite close, best mates even almost from the moment filming began. And he was now all to curious as to who this someone could be. However, the one thing they didn't talk much about was dating or rather who they had dated and what not. Billy supposed it was because they had not reached the level of being *that* comfortable with each other, even though it seemed like they had talked about everything else under the sun. Billy was about to ask who this someone was when the crew began to file back onto the set. "We'll go for a pint after filming is over and talk, yeah?" Billy said giving Dom a wink and a smile. "Sure," Dom replied, putting on his best smile even though inside he was cursing himself for being so stupid. Next thing he knew he'd be blurting out 'I think I'm falling in love with you Billy.'

Everyone on set settled into routine, and Dom even managed to rope Weasel in to some degree. That is, until Pippin's turn to speak came around. Billy started saying Pippin's lines, and Dom became hypnotized by his smooth, sweet voice, the look of his perfect, bowed lips as he formed the words. Dom wanted to just lean in and lick softly along them, taste the sweat that had beaded there from the hot lights, wanted to nibble gently along Billy's lower lip, tease him with slow, sweltering kisses until Billy melted against him, wanted to.... Dom jerked back to awareness when he heard Peter hollering. "Everything all right there, Dom? Merry needs to look as if he wants to shake some sense into Pippin here. At the moment, you're looking like you'd rather *shag* him." If Dom hadn't been strapped in at that point, he'd have fallen right out of Treebeard. Everyone on set started snickering- even P.J. was laughing like a bloody loon. Dom blushed furiously, not even daring to glance over at Billy. What in the Christ must he be thinking?? If Peter had noticed the look from halfway across the set, there was no way in hell that Billy could've missed it.

Billy had been concentrating on his lines, but Dom's intense gaze on him had not gone unnoticed. It felt almost as if Dom were mentally undressing him. The thought sent a slight shiver down Billy's spine, but it went relatively unnoticed or maybe Peter just thought it went well with the scene. At any rate Billy continued his lines, not stopping until Peter called cut and then hollered up to Dom. "Everything all right there, Dom? Merry needs to look as if he wants to shake some sense into Pippin here. At the moment, you're looking like you'd rather *shag* him." Billy saw the immediate crimson blush that came over Dom as if from head to toe and couldn't help blushing himself a bit. Billy couldn't help laughing as well. Dom looked gob smacked as if he wanted to crawl into a whole. Billy leaned over and said quietly, "'tis all right Dommie, I have that affect on lots of people." Billy grinned and laughed once more, giving Dom a friendly pat on the back.

Dom had two choices here: blush madly and generally make an arse of himself all bloody day, or go into defensive!Dom snark mode. Snark won out, and he hollered back over at Pete, "Well, of *course* I want t' shag him! Who wouldn't?! Just look at those perfectly pointed ears and that adorable little bum stuffed into those tight wee trousers! A veritable hobbit buffet, ladies and gentlemen!" There were a few more snorts and giggles, and then everyone set back into work. The rest of the crew may have bought Dom's act, but he knew Billy hadn't. Billy had seen the blush, seen Dom's mortification. There was no doubt about
that from the kind, empathetic look in Billy's eyes. That was one of the things Dom loved most about his friend; it was as if he was able to see into Dom's soul, see things that Dom was able to hide from everyone else. How was it, then, that it seemed Billy didn't see the most obvious thing of all? That his best friend was falling head over heels in love with him. Dom went through the rest of the shoot in a fragile state, balanced between desire and shame. He couldn't wait for the work day to end, so he could sit alone with Billy at the pub, but was also terrified of the idea at the same time.

Dom was relatively quiet in the make up trailer as they had their wigs, ears and feet removed, which for Dom was a rare thing. He seemed almost an endless ball of energy, even at the end of a long day. And for once he told Elijah no music. So Billy knew something was a bit off. Knew there was something on Dom's mind. Truth was he'd known that long before today. Dom had been distracted lately. That was the only way Billy could describe it. He hadn't been sleeping and on more than one occasion he seemed to be avoiding Billy. Billy thought it was just a phase, but there seemed to be more to it than that. Finally the feet were off and Billy had changed back into his street clothes. Billy stood outside Dom's trailer waiting for him to change and actually thought he may have fallen asleep because he was taking so long. Billy was about ascend the steps and knock on the door to see if everything was all right when Dom walked out. Billy smiled at him. "We still on for that beer?" he asked.

"We still on for that beer?" "Yeah, sure. Looking forward to it, mate." Dom smiled at Billy, then tried to ignore the racing of his heart as Billy smiled back. Dom *knew* he was being uncharacteristically quiet, not himself at all. And, he also knew that Billy would catch on soon if he hadn't already. Dom had to make as if nothing had changed, as if nothing was bothering him. He turned his soft smile into a cheeky grin, and took Billy by the arm, hopping down off the trailer steps. "Your car or mine, Bills? 'Course, you *were* th' one who asked me out on th' date, so technically you should drive.", Dom grinned, hoping Billy couldn't hear the pounding of Dom's heart as it sped up at the mere mention of the word 'date'.

Billy stopped and looked at Dom, his smile turning into a smirk. "A date, eh?" said steering Dom toward his car. "Well, I'll have you know you're not as pretty as most of my other dates, but I suppose you'll do." Billy grinned and chuckled as they walked. Dom didn't say anything, he just smiled and shook his head at Billy. They reached Billy's car and Billy unlocked it. He watched as Dom slid in and buckled up. Billy went to the drivers side, climbing in and buckling up as well. As he started up the car and pulled out of the park he glanced at Dom with a cheeky grin. "Being this is our first "date" and I did ask, I guess you expect me to pay for your drinks as well."

"Being this is our first "date" and I did ask, I guess you expect me to pay for your drinks as well." Dom shook his head and smiled, though his heart was sinking. Billy had just said most of his dates were prettier than Dom. Dom wasn't so much upset at the idea of not being considered good-looking by Billy- after all, he realized he was fairly goofy-looking, especially in Merry makeup- but by the use of the word 'pretty'. Blokes just didn't use that word to describe other blokes, no matter *how* gay they were. Which meant Billy's dates had all been birds. Which meant that Dom was fucked, or rather, in this case, had absolutely no chance of being fucked. Which was enough to dismally depress him. He sighed inwardly, but tried his best to keep his smile in place. If Billy had any indication of the turmoil going on inside of Dom, he gave no sign of it, just drove towards the pub with a serene smile on his face. Dom started playing with the passenger window, rolling it up and down, pressing the button over and over, out of nervousness. At least it kept him from reaching across the seat and trying to hold Billy's hand. That would probably be frowned upon highly. "Nah...y' don't have t' pay for my drinks, Bills.", Dom said morosely. "I have a feeling I'd make you go broke, tonight." Drowning your sorrows in alcohol was never a good idea, but Dom was willing to risk it tonight, if it'd only numb his heart for a little while.

Billy was in a good mood despite his concern about Dom. He was hoping that a night out, a few drinks and someone to talk to about whatever or whoever was on Dom's mind, would help. Billy glanced over at Dom as he played with window. Up and down it went over and over. Nah...y' don't have t' pay for my drinks, Bills. I have a feeling I'd make you go broke, tonight." Billy's smile faded and he glanced at Dom once more. He looked sad and Billy just couldn't understand why. "I'll take that chance," Billy said. "Tonight drinks are on me. And besides," Billy said a grin coming back to his face, "there's no way in hell you could out drink me. I am Scottish after all."

And besides, there's no way in hell you could out drink me. I am Scottish after all." Dom wanted to match Billy's grin, wanted to be happy, but just could not. "Wouldn't bet on that tonight, Bills.", he muttered. Dom and alcohol were a bad mix. Not because he couldn't hold his liquor- he, in fact, could drink like a bloody fish, although he suffered horrid hangovers more often than not- but because when he drank he was not merely talkative, but became positively *garrulous*. Sober, even Dom had his limits to conversational topics, but get him drunk and all bets were off. He was likely to blurt just about *anything* to Billy, not that it could make much difference at this point. Billy pulled into the lot of the pub, and Dom followed him inside silently. Where there had once been a seamless, easy, playful friendship between them, Dom now felt uneasy and unsure, nervous almost. It made him feel sad in a way that he could not explain, as if he'd lost part of himself. He'd never been in love before, not really. Oh sure, there'd been crushes aplenty, and lust, but never real love, nothing like what he felt for Billy. The sexual aspect wasn't even most important to Dom; he wanted Billy's smile to be the last thing he saw at night and the first thing he woke to in the morning. Every day for the rest of his life. Dom was terrified of the depth of feeling he had for Billy, and even more terrified of that feeling destroying the closest and most beautiful friendship he'd ever had. Dom sighed softly as he followed Billy into the darkness of the pub, wondering if there was a way to talk oneself out of falling in love, or if it was already too bloody late.

Billy sighed. He couldn't seem to pull Dom out of the funk he was in even with his "witty" humor. He pulled into the lot of the pub and shut the engine off. He turned Dom who was already opening the door and climbing out of the car. Billy sighed once more and climbed out of the car. Inside the pub they found a table near the back and sat down. The place was small, smokey and dimly lit, but it seemed just right for the mood Dom was in Billy thought. "I'll go get us a couple of beers," Billy said, quickly standing and going to the bar. He returned a few minutes later, sliding Dom's beer over to him. Dom grabbed the beer and took a long drink, draining nearly half the bottle. "So are you going to tell me what or whose got you in this mood?" Billy asked point blank. He didn't like seeing Dom like this. It wasn't the Dom he had come to know and care for over the course of filming. Dom looked up at him a bit shocked at his bluntness, but didn't say a word, he simply took another swig of his beer. That was fine Billy could wait. He was a patient man and he knew that sooner or later Dom would have to talk.

Dom should've known that Billy would call him on his mood. Once Billy sunk his teeth into something, whether it be work or a friend's problem, he didn't let go easily. It was another thing Dom loved about him. Of course, there wasn't much Dom *didn't* love about him. That was the trouble. Sighing, Dom pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lit up, squinting at Billy over the smoke. "'m sorry, Bills.", he said softly. "'m just in a mood lately; I'll get over it." Well, at least the mood part was true; Dom was fairly sure he would not simply get over it, not without wrenching his heart in two, at least. He knew he had t cheer up, however, simply to keep his sanity. Dom's moods were often dark, brooding, but he got over them extremely quickly, as well. If he stayed in a funk for more than a couple hours at a stretch, it was totally uncharacteristic. This present 'mood' had lasted for well over two weeks, and it was time to be rid of it. He figured he could just as easily be in unrequited love whilst cheerful as morose. Dom smiled at Billy. It took a huge effort at first, but once the grin was on his face, it felt natural. No matter what, Billy was still, and always would be, his friend. "Ever been in love, Billy?", Dom blurted without thinking, then nearly smacked himself in horror. Lovely...not even half a beer gone and he was already causing trouble. Lord only knew what the rest of the evening would bring.

"You don't need to apologize Dom. I'm just a wee bit worried about you." And that was the truth. Billy worried about Dom. Probably more than one should. Then again he thought about Dom more than one should as well. Some days he couldn't seem to get him out of his head. But he chalked it up to them becoming so close and such good mates. But other days...well, let's just say that other days, Billy's mind drifted. Billy leaned back in his chair studying Dom. Watching the way his lips inhaled on his cigarette and then blew the smoke out. Billy shifted in his chair and took a drink of his beer. It was time to stop studying Dom. But he couldn't. Dom fascinated him in a way very few people had. He was different that was certain. But he was also quick witted, funny, caring and sensitive. A side that Billy was sure he didn't let many people see. But Billy had on the many nights they had stayed up talking late into the night. There was definitely more to Dom than met the eye. Suddenly Dom smiled and Billy couldn't help returning his smile. But his smile faded when Dom spoke. "Ever been in love, Billy?" Billy's eyes went wide. He had not been expecting *that* question. He stared at Dom for several moments. "Sure, everyone has," Billy finally said. Dom was still staring at Billy as if he were expecting something more. "But real, true, honest love, only once...and that was a long time ago." Billy looked away and took a drink of his beer.

"Sure, everyone has," Dom sucked down the last of his cigarette and stabbed it out in the ashtray. "Not everyone, Bills.", he said quietly. "I haven't...not till now, anyway." He was about to go on when Billy spoke again, talking about being in love once, long ago. Dom looked up at him, both curious to know what kind of person Billy would fall for, and dreading the certainty that the person would be nothing like Dom himself. "What did it feel like, Bills?", he asked, instead of asking who. "Did it feel like your soul was flying apart?", Dom asked softly, then smiled a little. "Probably not...that's most likely just a quirk of mine....I do everything *else* strangely, so why not love, too.", he grinned a little, shaking his head, waiting for Billy's answer.

"Not everyone, Bills.", he said quietly. "I haven't...not till now, anyway." Dom's statement got Billy's attention in a big way. So that's what all this was about. Dom was in love. Billy smiled, thinking how wonderful it was that Dom had fallen in love for the first time and the ride he was about go on. "What did it feel like, Bills? Did it feel like your soul was flying apart?" "No, at least not in the beginning." A wistful look came over Billy's face. "But it is like flying in a way. It's like taking a running jump off a cliff and then soaring. It's scary, but then it's the most wonderful feeling in the world. It makes you feel like anything and everything is possible." Billy smiled, his thoughts going back to his one true love. "Is that what this is all about then?" Billy asked still smiling.

"Yeah, I guess 'tis.", Dom smiled faintly. He'd listened to Billy's descriptions of love, and understood them, because he'd also felt them lately, but in his case there was also a pall of darkness over the whole thing. Dom wanted to be able to feel as if he was freefalling without
having to worry about crashing onto the rocks below. "I suppose it's like that, like you said, when th' other person loves you back, yeah?", he asked softly. "Unfortunately, 'm fairly certain that's not th' case with me." He tried to smile again, and took a long draught of his beer, finishing it off in one gulp.

"I suppose it's like that, like you said, when th' other person loves you back, yeah?Unfortunately, 'm fairly certain that's not th' case with me." "And just what makes you think this person does love you? Have you asked them?" Billy knew it was as simple and complicated as that. Love was a splendid thing, but sometimes getting to the point of telling someone you love them was the hardest part because there was always a chance of rejection. Billy watched as Dom drained his beer. To say that his curiosity was killing him about who Dom was in love with would be an understatement. Billy's mind ran the gamet of possibilities. Someone from the cast, or even the crew. Or maybe some local he had met. Whoever it was, it was obvious that Dom was certain his feelings would not be reciprocated.

"And just what makes you think this person does love you? Have you asked them?" Dom shook his head softly. "No, I haven't, but there's no need, really. I already know it won't work.", he said very quietly, but also tried to keep the smile on his face. Billy frowned at him however, and said, just as quietly, "Dommie, you cannae know if you don't ask." Then Billy's curiosity got the better of him and he just had to ask. "So, this mystery person, Dom...someone I know, or not?", Billy asked with a sly smile. Dom shook his head immediately and lied through his teeth. "No, Bills, no one y' know. No at all." "Ah, a local then. Well, don't keep me in suspense, Dommie, out with it. What's this person like?", Billy asked with a raised eyebrow, curious as hell as to what Dom might have fallen for. Dom had to lie, and efficiently, so he simply pictured the polar opposite of Billy, and ran with it. "She's tall, quite tall.", Dom blurted. "Brunette, lovely wavy brown hair, soft doe-like chocolate brown eyes. Not overly-bright, but certainly not daft. Quite svelte, though curved and muscled in all the right places. Gorgeous bronze skin, flawless, cheekbones to die for. Bloody *awful* dresser, though...can't accessorize for shite, wears the most god-awful combinations of skirts and blouses.", he babbled, then stopped in horror as he realized he'd pretty much just described Orlando Bloom in drag. There was definitely something wrong with him, Dom decided. This couldn't possibly be normal behavior. He opted for silence after that, wondering how Billy was taking the news of this dream woman, hoping like hell that he hadn't noticed the uncanny similarity between her and everyone's favorite elf. Dom flagged down the bartender for another drink frantically. He was definitely going to need it.

Billy nodded his head as Dom described the woman he had fallen in love with and forced a smile upon his face as he did so. "She sounds like a real beauty," Billy said when Dom finished. "But I still don't know why you think she doesn't love you or won't love you back?" And suddenly Billy was firing questions off at Dom. "What's her name? How long have you known her? And where did you meet her?" Billy stopped and chuckled slightly. "Sorry, Domm, you've never mentioned her before and I must admit I'm just a wee bit curious about her." Billy ordered another beer as well and sat waiting for Dom's reply.

Billy had been perfectly, serenely quiet all evening, and then suddenly fired a barrage of questions at Dom so fast he had no time to even think about ducking. One thing was on Dom's mind, the same thing that was *always* on his mind lately, and it was most assuredly not some feminine Orlando Bloom look-alike. So when Billy asked his lady love's name, Dom immediately, without thinking, blurted, "William.", then had to make as if he was choking on his beer to cover his slip up. He fake-coughed for a few moments, then looked back up to Billy, whipping out the first female name that came to mind that was closest to William. "Wilma, I mean!", Dom nearly shouted, then rolled his eyes inwardly. Wilma Monaghan. Had a lovely ring to it, that. He imagined himself having to go through life bellowing at his wife in a Fred Flintstone voice, and started giggling. And once Dom got to giggling, there was no stopping him. Billy only stared at him as he finally got himself under control. "I know...", Dom finally hiccupped, "her name's bloody atrocious, but what can y' do, yeah?" He then went about trying to make up plausible sounding lies to the rest of Billy's questions, telling Billy that he'd met her in a music shop in Wellington that she went to all the time, that he'd known her about 8 months (which just so happened to be the exact amount of time the cast had been in New Zealand) but had only fallen for her recently, and that she was a candy striper at the hospital in her spare time. Where he came up with this last bit of information, God alone knew.

Billy took in Dom's story listening carefully, watching him closely. 'Wilma?' Billy thought. It was an atrocious name, but he wasn't about to tell Dom that. "Well," Billy said when Dom had finished, "she sounds interesting." Though what he was really thinking was, she doesn't seem like your type at all, except for the music part. And just why Billy even thought that about a woman he'd never met and knew very little about, both surprised and puzzled him. But Dom loved her and Billy would be there for him and do his best to help him out. The waitress brought their beers over and Billy paid her. He took a sip of his beer and looked at Dom who was once again gulping his down. "All right Dommie, I know who she is, what she does and how you met her, but you still haven't told me why you think she doesn't love you. I mean you've been seeing her for eight months now, there must be at least a little something there or she wouldn't keep seeing you, right?" That was the one question that Dom had been avoiding and the question that Billy wanted the answer to the most. Why did Dom think Wilma didn't love him? He was a great guy. Funny, smart, sensitive, cheeky, spontaneous, caring and kind. What wasn't there to love?

Dom was man enough to admit when he was royally screwed. Billy had him over a barrel here; Dom hated to keep lying to him, but there really was nothing else for it. He'd started this charade- now he was going to have to see it through to the end. The only thing in Dom's favor was that he was an actor, and very good at making up stories in his head. He took another long drink of his beer, lit another cigarette, and went about deceiving his best friend. "I haven't been *seeing* her, Bills...not like that. Just, y' know, at the shop. We've never actually gone out or anything." Dom said. "All right Dommie, I know who she is, what she does and how you met her, but you still haven't told me why you think she doesn't love you." Ah...now that was the kicker, wasn't it? What the bloody hell was Dom supposed to say to *that*? He figured it would be best to stick with what had worked so far, so he answered Billy relatively honestly; except of course for the fact that he was speaking about a woman instead of Billy. "She doesn't like men. Like that, y' know. 'm almost positive that she's gay." Dom took another drag of his smoke and waited to see what Billy might possibly have to say to *that*.

"I haven't been *seeing* her, Bills...not like that. Just, y' know, at the shop. We've never actually gone out or anything." Billy was surprised by Dom's words. He wasn't dating Wilma. They'd never gone out, yet he was in love with her. That didn't make much sense to him. How could you be in love with someone you didn't really know? Something about Dom's story was beginning to not sit well with Billy. "She doesn't like men. Like that, y' know. 'm almost positive that she's gay." Billy's eyes went wide for a moment and then he made himself relax. "Is that why you haven't asked her out?" It was the only thing Billy could think of to say. He cleared his throat and then spoke again. "I mean what makes you think that?" Billy's mind was whirling with a million different questions he wanted to ask Dom, things he wanted to say, but he held back, for now anyway. He wanted to see what Dom would say.

"I mean what makes you think that?" What indeed? "Well...", Dom started slowly, seriously wishing he'd never opened his big fat mouth in the first place. "She, y' know...*flirts* with women, checks 'em out, stuff like that." He sighed and concentrated on his glass of beer, not able to look Billy in the eye anymore. "I just know, is all.", Dom finally answered quietly. "I mean, I've...uh...shown interest around her- you know me, Bills, I can't keep things from showing on m' face even when I try- and she's never shown any back. She just...doesn't like me like that, I guess." Dom was starting to get depressed again, not only at the fact that he was lying to Billy, but at the hopelessness of the situation. If he hadn't known before that Billy wasn't interested in him, he knew it now, for sure- during all the mention of this mystery woman, Billy had not once gotten a jealous look in his eye. Dom would've given anything in the world to see it, but that look simply wasn't there. Billy looked, if anything, glad for Dom.

"I mean, I've...uh...shown interest around her- you know me, Bills, I can't keep things from showing on m' face even when I try- and she's never shown any back. She just...doesn't like me like that, I guess." Well, that was true. Most of the time Dom couldn't keep from showing how he felt, whether good or bad, off his face. And right now was a perfect example of that. Dom looked absolutely down and depressed. Billy reached across the small table and laid his hand over Dom's. "I'm sorry Dommie," he said quietly. "I know this isn't easy. I know what it's like when you love someone and they don't love you back." Billy gently squeezed Dom's hand and then pulled his hand back across the table, downing the rest of his beer.

"I know this isn't easy. I know what it's like when you love someone and they don't love you back." The simple touch of Billy's hand set off a fireworks show of emotions inside of Dom. A bit of longing, yes, and a touch of lust, but mostly, an overwhelming feeling of love. Dom prayed that Billy would keep his hand there forever; he wanted to turn Billy's hand over and hold it properly, entwine their fingers, hold it to his lips and kiss the soft skin of Billy's palm. But, of course, Dom did none of these things, and Billy removed his hand right away. But the memory of his touch would stay with Dom for a long, long time to come. Billy's words, and the sadness behind them, sunk in then, and Dom asked him softly, "What d' you mean, Billy, that y' know what it's like? You said you'd only been in love once. Is that what you're talking about?" Dom had assumed, from what Billy had said earlier, that the time he had been in love, long ago, had been reciprocated. Now Dom didn't know *what* to think. And why did Billy look so terribly sad? The pain on his face looked fresh, not like an old wound. What was that all about? Had this person he'd loved really left that deep of a scar on Billy's heart?

"What d' you mean, Billy, that y' know what it's like? You said you'd only been in love once. Is that what you're talking about?" Billy nodded his head which didn't really answer Dom's questions. He was lost in his own thoughts. Thoughts that up until this night he had kept safely tucked away where he didn't have to think about them. But now they were out there and there was no avoiding them. Billy had been in love once and it was the most wonderful feeling he'd ever known and he was sure he'd found the love of his life. But that was long ago and after that he swore he'd never let his heart fall that hard for someone again. But the old saying was true..."never say never." Billy finally looked up at Dom. "Aye, I've only been in love once and that's what I was referring to." Billy paused not sure he wanted to share the story with Dom, the first and only person to awaken his heart since Corey. Billy knew he cared deeply for Dom. That he liked him, but he was also scared to let his heart fall in love with him. Not that it mattered at this point, Dom was obviously straight and had no clue that Billy was not.

"Aye, I've only been in love once and that's what I was referring to." Dom sensed the hesitation in Billy's answer, but couldn't help his innate curiosity. "What was her name, Billy? Or don't y' want t' talk about it?", he asked softly, not wanting to pressure Billy if he didn't want to share. Besides, Dom wasn't sure he himself was up for hearing about Billy's past love- that would be just a bit too much like stabbing himself in the heart. Dom finished his beer and immediately flagged down the waitress again, this time ordering a whiskey sour instead. Screw beer; it wasn't going to get him to that plateau of numbness he needed tonight.

Billy ordered a whiskey from the waitress thinking he was going to need it. Actually what he thought he needed was the whole damn bottle. When the drink arrived Billy took a long gulp. It didn't even come close to good Scottish whiskey, the best whiskey in the world, but it would have to do. "What was her name, Billy? Or don't y' want t' talk about it?" Billy looked at Dom for a moment, gathering his courage. "His name was Corey." Billy watched the shock and surprise that came over Dom's face and the way he tried to hide it. It was almost enough to make Billy laugh, but he didn't. Instead he carried on. "I met him when I graduated from drama school. A great man. He loved music, films, books...all the things I did. It was uncanny really how much we had in common. After a year we bought a house together. We were so happy. We talked about having a commitment ceremony, adopting a child, the whole nine yards. I was the happiest I've ever been. I thought I was the luckiest bloke on the planet." Billy paused several moments, took another drink of whiskey and then went, his voice softer. "But I came home one night from rehearsal at the theatre and he was gone. All his clothes, possessions, everything. There was no note, no nothing. He was simply gone. I never heard from or saw him again." Billy looked down. "I blamed myself. I thought it was something I had done wrong to make him leave.." Billy paused again. "I still think about him and wonder where he is, what he's doing, who he's with, if he's happy." Billy looked up at Dom. "That's kinda fucked up, yeah?"

Dom went into a complete and utter state of shock as Billy spoke; his whiskey sour dropped from his boneless grasp to spill all over the table. Dom didn't even notice. He had once stupidly stuck his finger in a light bulb socket while changing it; his limbs had gone numb and tingling, his eyeballs had felt ready to explode, and his heart had stopped in his chest for a moment. This was far worse. Billy was gay. He'd just come out and said it, straight to Dom's face, there was absolutely no doubt about it. Dom had been wrong, so ever-fucking wrong, and now he was in a place he simply couldn't find his way out of. He'd lied to Billy, lied to his face, told him he was in love with a woman. Could things possibly get anymore fucked up than this? If so, Dom didn't want to know about it. He opened his mouth several times, trying to speak, but managed nothing more than imitating a fish. No sound would come. Billy must think he'd gone mad, but Dom simply couldn't help it. He finally managed a squawk that somewhat resembled human speech and got to his feet. "'scuse me, Billy.", he whispered roughly, then turned and bolted for the restroom at the back of the pub without another word. His head was spinning, the ground was threatening to go out from beneath him. He shoved his way into the bathroom, went over to one of the sinks, turned on the 'cold' tap, and immediately shoved his entire head underneath it, soaking himself. After a few moments, he looked like a drowned rat, but at least some of the shock had gone away. He straightened back up, gaped at himself for a few moments in the mirror, then pushed his way back out into the pub, dripping trails of water behind him. He spotted Billy at their table, looking angry and hurt, tears standing in his eyes, and ran over to him. Dom still didn't know what to say, how to explain his rude and bizarre behavior, but he knew he couldn't stand to see Billy looking like that, knowing he was the one who had hurt him. Dom stood by the table for a few moments, then sat down once again, hair dripping onto the tablecloth. "There is no Wilma, Billy.", he whispered, looking down at the table.

When Billy finished his story he felt drained. He hadn't spoke of Corey in years and yet here he had told the whole story to Dom without so much as a second thought. Dom sat mutely, just staring at Billy. When he suddenly stood and excused himself, running to the bathroom in the back of the pub Billy felt certain he had said too much. But he was angry and hurt as well that Dom would just walk away. Billy let out a heavy sigh and was about to leave, Dom could get a cab back to his place, when Dom ran up to the table and just stood there. His head was soaking wet and water was dripping onto his face and his clothes. Billy gave him a strange look as he finally sat down. "There is no Wilma, Billy.", he whispered, looking down at the table. Billy was a little surprised at Dom's words, but not terribly. He knew there was something fishy about his story. And even though he still felt a little angry and even confused at Dom's reaction Billy decided to stay. "So why did you lie to me, Dommie?" Billy asked. He couldn't understand why Dom would lie to him about being in love with some made up woman. That hurt nearly as much as Dom's reaction to his telling him that he was gay.

"So why did you lie to me, Dommie?" Dom wanted to tell Billy everything, wanted to just blurt out 'Because I'm in love with you.', but in the end, couldn't do it. Billy being gay was a step in the right direction, granted, but there was the little matter of this Corey bloke he'd been so in love with. And still was, Dom was terribly afraid. The way Billy had spoken of him was not the way one speaks of something in the past, but of something they hope to be in the future. Billy still loved Corey, admitted he still thought of him. And Dom was certain, because of this, that his heart would get broken if he was to admit his true feelings to Billy. He simply couldn't risk it; would rather have that spark of hope left inside than nothing at all. "I lied because I was afraid y' wouldn't understand, Bills.", he finally whispered. "'m not in love with a 'she' at all, but a 'he'. A man." Dom looked up to Billy, finally meeting his eyes. "'m sorry for not trusting you enough t' know that you'd understand. You're too good a mate not to. Love you, Billy." This last was said as it had been many times before between them-friend to friend. But to Dom, the words meant everything, even if he couldn't say them the way they should be said just yet.

"I lied because I was afraid y' wouldn't understand, Bills.", he finally whispered. "'m not in love with a 'she' at all, but a 'he'. A man." Dom looked up to Billy, finally meeting his eyes. "'m sorry for not trusting you enough t' know that you'd understand. You're too good a mate not to. Love you, Billy." Billy's heart stopped a moment. Had he heard Dom right? Dom had said he was in love with a man. Well, that was news to Billy. He didn't know Dom was gay. Wouldn't have even guessed it. There was a slight twinge in Billy's heart at the words none the less. "'m sorry for not trusting you enough t' know that you'd understand. You're too good a mate not to. Love you, Billy." "It's okay, Dom. Believe me I understand." Billy paused "Love's not an easy thing is it? But it sure can make you feel like your on top of the world. Corey and I use to drive out to the country to watch the sun set and talk about our future. In fact that's where he gave me my promise ring." A smile came to Billy's face as he thought of the silver band he still wore on a chain around his neck. Almost unknowingly Billy's hand went to his chest, pressing lightly against the ring. "He was my whole world. I still miss him sometimes, especially laying alone in bed late at night. think those are the hardest to get through. The days aren't so bad, you can keep yourself busy, occupied, but at night it's just you and your thoughts." Billy let out a sigh, looking wistful, lost in his memories.

Dom had geared himself up to tell Billy more- to perhaps not admit the *whole* truth just yet, but at least a good part of it- when Billy started speaking of Corey in a wistful, loving voice. All ideas of honesty left Dom's mind, and his heart sank. Sunsets and promise rings. All the things he'd dreamed of someday having with Billy, and Billy had already *had* them once, long before Dom. Billy's hand went to his chest, absently caressing, and it didn't take a Mensa grad to figure out what was under there, kept next to his heart. Dom had a 'secret necklace' beneath his own shirt as well, and now the whole thing struck him with a kind of sick irony. Last month, Billy and he had been fucking around on set, playing their nonsensical little games, and Billy had somehow gotten his elven cloak caught up in a prop. His elven brooch had gone flying, hopelessly bent. Costume had nearly pitched a fit, had had to replace it quickly before shooting could go on. P.J. had picked up the bent brooch, had stared at it, given Billy a stern look, then had thrown it in the trash without a second glance. Dom had waited till everyone left set, then had fished it out. It was a piece of Billy, and Dom could no more throw it away than he could stop breathing at will. He'd slipped it on a chain and put it around his neck, and it had been there ever since. Still bent, one point broken off, but Dom thought that only gave it more character. But now, sitting here in love with a man who was obviously in love with someone else, the whole notion seemed foolish, stupid. Dom vowed to take it off as soon as he had the chance, although he knew in his heart of hearts that it would not happen, he wouldn't be able to even if he tried. He sighed and waved the waitress over, ordering another drink, then looked Billy in the eye. "Love's not an easy thing is it? But it sure can make you feel like your on top of the world." "Wouldn't know anything about that, Bills.", Dom nearly whispered. "Right now, it only feels as if m' world is ending."

"Wouldn't know anything about that, Bills.", Dom nearly whispered. "Right now, it only feels as if m' world is ending." Billy gave Dom a strange, yet concerned look. Maybe Dom was already drunk. He'd already had three or four drinks, but really, that was nothing for him. So Dom's words and the sad, longing look on his face puzzled and worried Dom.. "Don't worry Dom, maybe this man that you love, just needs some time. Or maybe he doesn't realize how you feel." Billy was trying to reassure Dom, trying to give him some hope. The one thing he wasn't doing was asking who the man was. He figured if Dom wanted to tell him he would. Billy reasoned it was someone close to them, someone he knew quite well. It wouldn't surprise him if it was someone in the fellowship. They were all close, but there were a few Dom was closer to than others. Whoever it was one thing was obvious, Dom seemed to think he didn't stand a chance with them. "I've got it!" Billy suddenly said, rendering a look from Dom who was drowning his sorrows in his drink. "You need to do something to show this bloke how you feel," Billy smiled. "You know, send him flowers, or a gift of some kind. Write him a poem or something."
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