Sean wasn't the kind of guy who liked to explain himself to anyone. He just did what he did and felt what he felt and if it was good enough for him then it ought to be good enough for anyone else. Viggo knew this only from watching him, because Sean wasn't the kind of guy who liked to explain himself.

So Viggo knew about the fear of flying before the subject ever really came up, because he saw how Sean's face grew faintly paler when Orli raved about bungee jumping or skydiving, how the smile fell from his lips when Peter talked about the logistics of getting to some of the more remote locations. He knew it couldn't have been crippling because Sean had made it to New Zealand in the first place, and had plans to return home for some length of time when the shooting schedule permitted it, but it was also it went beyond mere discomfort.

"One foot after the other and then up and in and close your eyes and you won't feel a thing and... bugger all I can't even fool myself, won't feel a thing, not in this lifetime--" Sean muttered under his breath, and would have been muttering even more quietly, Viggo guessed, had he known someone was standing so near behind him.

"You have anything you can take?" he asked quietly, leaning in closer but not touching.

If Sean's head had snapped up any harder, he might have broken his neck. "Take?" he said, his muscles still steel-tense as he looked back over his shoulder, came face to face with Viggo. "I'm fine."

"I know you're fine," Viggo agreed with him, stretching the definition of fine to its outer limits. "Do you have anything you can take so you can stay that way?"

The tension didn't leave Sean's shoulders, but his head dropped back down again and he shook it slowly from side to side. "It'll be over soon enough, and my feet'll be back on solid ground."

"Soon enough," Viggo repeated, and that at least was true. Just a few minutes in the chopper, really, and it would all be over. But he could see from the lines on Sean's face, from the tautness in his muscles, that his gut didn't agree with his reason. He would have touched, rubbed his back or clasped his shoulder or even squeezed his wrist, but Sean's body language was shouting back-the-fuck-off and Viggo was listening.

Sean took a deep breath and someone in a headset called for the cast to board and he was doing it, just like he said he would, one foot after the other all the way into the helicopter. With Viggo right at his heels, squeezing into the seat next to him even though it would have been a better fit for someone Elijah's size.

Sean's eyes were closed but if Viggo hadn't seen him before, hadn't known what those muscles were doing beneath the bulky costume, he would've looked like he was resting. Like he clearly did to everyone else.

"Bean's got the right idea," said Orlando bouncing -- yes, bouncing, the boy could bounce more than Viggo had seen any grown man do before in his life -- into a slim wedge of seat across from them, between two hobbit bodies that grunted and poked at the invader. "Catch it while you can."

"Like you'd waste a moment with your eyes closed when you could be lookin' down at the mountains," said Billy, giving him another poke for good measure.

Sean twitched and didn't open his eyes, but he was obviously listening, and was probably right at that moment imagining the sharp, hard mountains falling away beneath the helicopter as it rose up into the sky. As, from the gentle rocking and road of the engine, it was about to do any moment.

Sean twitched again and tensed up and fuck it, Viggo shifted in his seat, like he was carving out more room for himself, and snuck a hand around to tuck just inside Sean's costume and touched him. Just touched him, a gentle skin-on-skin that he hoped would be soothing. That would have been soothing if someone had done it to him.

For the first few moments it was like he'd made things worse. Sean's body turned up the volume to shouting again and even Orlando gave him a second glance, but then he relaxed into the touch. Viggo could feel the skin bend around his fingers, softer than he'd imagined, a piece of Sean that never saw sunlight, was never worn to callus.

The helicopter listed to one side and both of them went with it, curving around a mountaintop and around each other, and then Sean's fingers were seeking out Viggo's, slipping into his own costume and groping around until they caught something and hung on. Viggo closed his fingers around Sean's and held on tight, and silently promised not to let him go.

"Not soon enough," Sean murmured, lowly, just enough to reach Viggo's ears. And then he lapsed into silence again, his too-quick breaths measuring out the moments until they landed.

Viggo found he was counting the moments, too. But unlike Sean, he was savouring every one of them.


Written to the terms of contre la montre 10jun04 challenge
Time: 38 minutes (:47 with editing)