It wasn't easy to sleep in full costume, not for most people, not on a shoot like this. It wasn't like falling asleep in front of the television after watching the game, drowsy from too much junk food and beer. Not unless you were in the habit of wearing velvet and cord and metal chains and fasteners that dug into your skin no matter how carefully you moved. It could be done of course, but most of the time it was easier to just forge ahead and forget about the times when you might've caught a few minutes of sleep.

It was sheer exhaustion then, Viggo figured, that had allowed Sean to slump against the back side of a trailer and close his eyes and drift off to sleep, fingers laced over his belly like he'd only meant to sit there and rest for a moment. He looked so peaceful, caught in a moment where for once he wasn't being torn between duty to the production and duty to his family.

He was beginning to tilt dangerously to his right, though, enough that Viggo decided he should sit down next to him, prop him up so he wouldn't fall, so nothing would shatter that fragile peace.

Or at least that's what Viggo told himself.

His belt dug into his ribs as he settled himself onto the hard ground, the metal of the trailer pressing too firmly into his shoulder blades for comfort. He stayed anyway; he'd been in more uncomfortable situations and for much less reason.

Viggo'd meant to just pass by, really, taking a shortcut to snatch up his camera, hoping to snap off a few shots, or maybe finally capture a moment when that magical look crossed Orlando's face, the one he got when it dawned on him again just where he was and what he was doing. He woudn't be getting that camera. Guarding Sean's sleep made all other errands pale in comparison.

Sean's lips were slightly parted and he was breathing through his mouth, the result of sinus trouble from the flight that had gotten in only the day before, maybe from the flight itself and maybe from overmedication. Viggo held his hand up and felt the warm breath tickle across his palm as Sean exhaled, held it there for a long time and didn't stop to think whether or not anyone was watching until his shoulder began to cramp.

No one was there; he could hear hoots and laughter in the distance, closer to the set, but no one came by where they were, and no one would until they were looking, and Viggo hadn't left them with any reason to look.

Holding his hand there a moment longer, he ran one finger over Sean's lower lip, dry and soft with rough bits from teeth and sunlight. Just as it looked.

Viggo finally lowered his hand into the sharp tufts of grass poking out through the mostly bare earth and watched as Sean's head lolled slowly to the side, like he was turning to face him, hesitant even in his sleep.

They'd left things in an awkward place when Sean had flown home last, not exactly more than friends, but no longer just friends either. It wasn't so much that anything had happened -- or would, even, he couldn't be sure -- but the potential had finally worked its way to the surface and they both knew it. They hadn't said it out loud, but they knew it.

They hadn't talked about it the whole time Sean was gone, when they spoke on the phone, but that was by choice and while there might have been an underlying tension there wasn't an awkwardness that would have suggested they were avoiding it for other reasons. On the phone, oceans apart, wasn't the time or the place to creep forward with this unknown thing developing between them.

And now Sean was back, and things felt exactly as they had been when he left. As though they had left the situation in suspended animation until they were in a position to deal with it.

Which they were now, but not right at this moment. Right at this moment Viggo thought Sean had the right idea, as he felt the days and weeks and months of filming weigh heavily on him.

He closed his eyes, just for a moment he told himself, and maybe it wasn't so hard to fall asleep in these costumes after all, when you were exhausted to numbness, inside and out.

He didn't wake until someone shook his shoulder, and when he cracked his eyes open he saw the sun was lower in the sky, that more than a few minutes had passed.

"You're needed on set," said Orli as he stood up straight again, and there was that look that Viggo had been waiting to capture, the faintly wondrous, faintly baffled, faintly pleased look. Maybe it wasn't meant to be captured. Maybe it was a sign that he was meant to be focusing on the things that could be had.

"Already?" said Sean, voice sleep-gruff. He still leaned against Viggo's shoulder, only moving enough to lift his head. "Jus' resting my eyes for a minute."

"Right," said Orlando, looking from one to the other and back again, the look slowly vanishing from his face again. "They've got search parties out, didn't you hear them calling?"

"Obviously not," said Viggo, yawning widely, stretching only as far as he could without separating himself from Sean. And hoped he wasn't obvious about it. "Tell them we're coming, would you?"

Orlando looked amused now, purely amused, a look they were all familiar with, a look that Viggo had captured many times before. "Because I'm your loyal errand boy," he said, but a moment later he did leave, half walking and half jogging back to where Viggo did, now, hear people calling their names.

"Guess we should go, then," said Sean, staying put, finally looking at him. Viggo couldn't read anything into that look. Or he could, he could make up in his head what it meant, but he had no way of knowing if he was right. "Up for a drink later?"

"Any time," he said, and meant it. "Find me when we're done." Sean nodded and reached up and rested his fingers against the bare skin above Viggo's collar for a moment, then curled his hand around Viggo's shoulder and used it to push himself to his feet.

"See you on set," he said, and paused a moment, then turned and stalked off, around the trailer and out of sight.

Even after Sean left Viggo could still feel his rough fingertips brushing against his throat.


Written to the terms of contre la montre 20jan03 challenge
Time: too long. hours.