by Calico

"That orange's o-- hey, no, you can't eat that," Orlando protested, catching Viggo's wrist and tugging, frowning at the discoloration, the way it looked half-decayed, "it's off, or something. Christ. Good job I saved you in time."

Viggo raised one eyebrow. "Blood orange," he said, lightly. "Never seen one before?"

"Blood what?" Orlando said, then opened his mouth softly, thinking, oops. "Ah. So it's meant to look like that."

"Delicacy, even," Viggo said, smirking, then cut his gaze down between them, where Orlando was still pinning his hand to the shiny checked tablecloth, fingers shocking pale against the tan of Viggo's wrist. He was still holding the segment of orange; blood was right. Looked like a blood-blister, the mottled purple-red from the centre of a bruise.

"Looks freakish," Orlando said, then thought that maybe insulting the guy's taste wasn't even the best way to get in his good books, let alone his pants. "Er, but cool. Freakish-cool. Like... vampire bats," he heard himself suggest, then continued wildly, "I mean, in a good way - they're cool! - so like them, but appetising - freakish but very cool, and tasty, and." Viggo's smirk had widened into a closed-teeth grin. "Not that I eat vampire bats," Orlando added, belatedly. He was caught up on the blood thing, apparently.

"No," Viggo said. "At least, one would hope not." He leaned back slightly, making Orlando even more aware of his light clasp on Viggo's wrist. Oops, he thought, again. Too long to be natural. Let go.

He couldn't - could only just prevent his hand from closing tighter, only just not scrape his chair closer to Viggo's and put a hand on Viggo's thigh and butt his mouth against Viggo's cheek in a hopeful hopeful helpless offer, so it wasn't that surprising that he couldn't make his fingers relax and slip onto the cool vinyl. "Mm," he said, instead. "Well, I have really strange tastes, sometimes. I like all sorts. Especially fruit. Guavas, for example." He wondered if he'd shut up soon. "Prickly pears."

"Guavas." Viggo tilted his head. God, he looked good when amused. Ridiculously sexy. God. "But you never tried blood oranges?"


"You wanna?"

Orlando looked at the dark piece in Viggo's fingers before he could help it, then felt time start to stretch ominously around him, and fuck, not good, gaze lingering on Viggo's hand, practically staring at the press of his fingers, pale red juice from the freakish bit of fruit seeping over his fingertips, and this was stupid, now, and there was going to be no way to explain it apart from the whole you captivate me thing, and he had a feeling Viggo had asked him a question but couldn't think what it'd been, and maybe there was some way to keep face after this but Orlando didn't feel awfully confident of it right now.

Viggo made a small noise in the back of his throat, sounded like half a chuckle. "You want this?" he asked, lifting his wrist, and Orlando made himself loosen his grip, let his hand rest forgotten on the table, watched silently as Viggo brought the bit of orange up between them and then crushed it slowly, juice rolling down his fingers, sharp bright smell tainting the air. "Mm?"

"Sure," Orlando said faintly, looking at the shiny shiny glisten of Viggo's fingers - staring, really, staring for real now - and Viggo's smile faded as he brought the broken segment to Orlando's mouth, one end plump and cool against his lips, the rest a pulpy mess, taste of it slicing through his mouth, citrus so strong it felt hot on his tongue.

"It's good, this. Ripe," Viggo said, soft and innocuous, and Orlando tugged at the orange with his teeth, sucking it into his mouth, lips feeling sparkling red with the flavour of it, senses undercut with the warm rough brush of Viggo's fingers drawing back.

He had his hand back on Viggo's wrist before he could help it, steadying Viggo's hand against his mouth, because Viggo couldn't have meant to pull away, couldn't have, course not - and he kept saying that as he licked Viggo's fingers, licked the warm strong length of his hand, squirmed his tongue against Viggo's palm, sucked the tip of his thumb into his mouth and tasted tasted worshipped it; kept saying that even when the orange had slipped forgotten down his throat, even as he eventually met Viggo's eye, saw the dark light there, had to look away again.

He stopped saying that when Viggo's other hand curled against his shoulder, not an invitation. Okay. This hadn't worked; time to accept it. He let his mouth come to rest on the inside of Viggo's knuckles, lips parted so he could feel the tiny subtle pulse in his fingers, and looked up again. No diffidence, please. For God's sake, don't let him look ashamed. He wasn't breathless, at least - neither of them were.

The light in Viggo's eyes was alien - no distaste, no enthusiasm. Orlando swallowed. Frankly, he had no idea what to do with this, this bloody unfamiliar reception, although the temptation was there to memorise every iota of not-negative vibe and then crawl back to his room and curl up defeated to sort obsessively through those precious iotas until he'd come up with a new battle plan. Or budgeted for a convenient get-away-from-him holiday, one or the other.

Preciousss iotas, his mind provided helpfully, which was just great. Thanks. Hell, maybe he needed a break from all of this, not just his favourite dark-eyed renaissance man. The taste of the orange was ringing stark in his mouth, richer than normal oranges, a fraction more exotic, unless that was just the salty bitter traces he'd licked off Viggo's skin.

Viggo's hand rested on his shoulder for a few more of those long, time-stretched seconds, then slid down, delicate pressure, down his t-shirt sleeve and then over his bare arm, eventually closing round his wrist in cruel symmetry and easing Orlando's grip apart. Like working at orange peel, Orlando thought distantly, helpless as the smooth warm bumps of Viggo's wrist withdrew, not even that sure that this was happening. Rejection, christ. Ouch. This was why he should stick to teasing the hobbits.

"By the time you're my age, they'll probably have bred a whole new line of these," Viggo said, voice thick with audible effort to stay neutral, and nodded at the neat pile of bright orange scraps on the table, and it still took Orlando a few seconds to work out what he was talking about.

Hmm, he thought, blankly. Viggo was still holding his hand. Rejection was usually faster than this, and less stuffed-to-the-brim with cowardice.

"I've got work to do," Viggo said eventually, when Orlando quietly refused to answer, and then he was bringing Orlando's fingers to his mouth, slow chaste press of softfirm lips to his knuckles, and then the familiar cacophony of chair legs screeching against the tiles burst into life, and Viggo was letting his fingers go and sweeping the orange peel briskly into the cup of his hand and walking away clutching it, stiff-paced.

Orlando laughed shortly, a soft bruised sensation in his chest. Bloody fantastic, this. Bloody fantastic. He tightened his fist against the tabletop until that sensation flowed through his fingers, until his hand was aching and his palm tingled where his nails hadn't been cut short enough and the feeling of Viggo kissing his hand was almost gone from his sense-memory, and then he coughed and shook his hands irritably, fed up with the tension and the building headache and the unfairness of being born a few fucking years too late. :)


more Calico