Title: Death Does Not Become Him
Warnings: supernatural. minor character death, talk of death, language, VERY DARK HUMOR
Summary: What if there were people who could see how, what of and when a person will die? What if one of those people was Orlando? And how does Sean fit into all this?
Disclaimer: None of this is true.
Except for maybe Viggo...
Author's Note: I would like to extend a huge Thank You to my beta, simplyshanni. No matter how many times I read a chapter over and over and over again, I always miss so much. So thank you once again. *hugs you tightly*
“Viggo, which shirt should I wear? This one,” Orlando said as he put a garish red checkered shirt in front of his bare chest, “or this one?” he said as he switched to a bright orange one.
“I like the brown one,” Viggo replied, not looking at the shirts at all.
Orlando put both shirts down in exasperation. “Usually when one asks for someone’s opinion and shows them the options, they have to actually look at the options before blurting out random answers.”
“Go look on your bed,” Viggo said, never taking his eyes away from the Hollywood Hill landscape before him.
Orlando ran into his bedroom and there on the bed was a shirt.
A brown shirt.
The softest shirt he had ever seen in his entire life.
And yes, he could tell it would be soft just by looking at it.
Orlando picked up the garment and let the material flow through his fingers. Bringing the supple fabric to his cheek, he nuzzled into its feather-light softness, after which he quickly put said shirt on and marveled at the feel of the material as it brushed against his sun-warmed skin.
A shiver ran along his spine as it made contact with his nipples, his sensitive nubs instantly hardening.
Oh yes, this was going to be an interesting night.
Him, acting like he was on a first date, Sean with his bedroom eyes and wicked smile, and separating them both would be a shirt that had no right feeling this sinful against his overly sensitive torso.
He was already feeling slightly nervous about tonight. He had been thinking about his dinner date with Sean for the last twenty-four hours. Thoughts of what the night would bring were doing strange things to him all around. He hadn’t eaten much, hadn’t kept his mind on work and hadn’t slept very well. Now Viggo had to go and throw in this evil shirt that made him feel tingly all over.
Viggo was always fucking with his head.
“What’s with the shirt?” Orlando asked the older man as he walked back out to the deck.
Viggo slowly turned his head, tipped his sunglasses down his nose and whistled low. “Nice. Very nice.”
“What’s wrong with the shirts I have?”
“This is a trick question, isn’t it?” Viggo sighed and turned toward the landscape again. “I’m tired of you looking like a table at a goddamned catering event. Most men read GQ for their fashion tips, not Martha Stewart.”
“This coming from the man in sunglasses and a white billowy shirt," Orlando scoffed. "You look like the leader of some crazy cult based in South America.”
“This is Hollywood. I need to camouflage myself in the surrounding area,” Viggo said as he got up off the deckchair and leaned against the railing.
“Ah, and now we see the Homo Sapien Viggo come out of his habitat to commune with his environment,” Orlando whispered as if he were a nature show host.
“I’d like to commune with that,” Viggo said as he looked over the railing. Orlando walked over to the edge of the railing to join Viggo and looked down. Their neighbors on the lower part of the hillside were throwing another poolside party. Two of the bikini-clad girls looked up at that precise moment and waved enthusiastically.
“Hi Viggo!” one of the girls yelled. Orlando and Viggo watched as the girl’s skimpy top tried to move with her as she bounced up and down.
“Are those things even real?” Orlando asked Viggo. “Shouldn’t they be more jiggly?”
“Voglio seppellire la mia testa nel suo tette,” Viggo yelled back down in perfect Italian.
Both girls giggled. “That was beautiful Viggo! What did you say?” she yelled back up.
Viggo smiled down. “Oh, just something about fallen angels out of heaven, dear.”
Both girls giggled again and bounced off toward the party.
Orlando looked at his mentor incredulously.
“What?” Viggo asked and shrugged.
“You said you wanted to bury your head in her tits,” Orlando laughed while Viggo smiled back. “And why would you want to anyway? Those things look like they could poke an eye out!”
“Well, that’s one way to go,” Viggo chuckled as he turned from the railing. “Ever seen anyone die from that? Or better yet, from having been suffocated by breast implants that got out of control?” Viggo said menacingly.
“Huh,” Orlando muttered, “death by mammocide.”
“You’ve been hanging out with Dom more than I like,” Viggo said as he pointed an accusing finger at Orlando, then regarded the shirt. “Wear the shirt, Orli. Oh, and you’re welcome.”
“Thank you Vig,” Orlando said sarcastically. “Why the sudden generosity?”
“Because I can tell you really like this guy, so I thought I’d make sure you made a good first impression,” he answered with a yawn.
“You pick this up on one of your vibes? What, my aura projected some shite or...something?”
“No, because you haven’t shut up about this sprout guy since you told me about the date,” Viggo smirked.
“Huh?” he asked as he turned in Orlando’s direction.
“Bean. Not ‘Sprout.'"
“Oh, I knew it was one of those.” Viggo suddenly changed his expression when he looked at him with concern. “You okay?”
“Just nervous, yeah?” Orlando said as he made his way to the railing again. As he looked down at the party, the visions came at him all at once. The same girl who had called up was now tinged in blue and had impressive bruise marks around her throat. Another girl had a steering wheel embedded in her chest. A man walking about had the telltale signs of fatal heart disease, the open-heart surgery evident in all its gruesome glory as it failed mid-way. Another young man was dead from an overdose of heroin.
A song by an ‘80’s band called Oingo Boingo came to mind as Orlando continued to look down at all the ‘pretty’ people.
It’s a dead man’s party
Who could ask for more
Everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door
Orlando shuddered once, cleared his mind and looked down at the festivities yet again. Everyone was back to normal. The girl who had waved before looked up and waved to him.
Orlando waved back, never giving away what he knew. What was he supposed to say to these people?
Be careful whom you date? Don’t drive a car when you’re shit-faced drunk? Don’t do drugs? Exercise regularly and cut the cholesterol out of your diet?
And maybe world peace could be achieved if everybody just decided to be nice to each other.
The lyrics of the song continued to float through his head.
His life was one big ‘dead man’s party.’
And there were times he wished he could stop playing the host.
Orlando walked back inside where Viggo had been watching him. The older man turned and continued to talk to him as he walked into the kitchen.
“I don’t know why you should be,” Viggo said, pulling Orlando from his thoughts.
“Nervous, that is. I mean, you’re going out with a guy who supposedly gets shot to hell not too long from now. What could possibly be making you nervous? You don’t plan on going anywhere near East L.A., do you?” Viggo asked worriedly.
“I know when I die, Vig,” Orlando said. “Don’t go there.”
“There are worse things than dying,” the older man shot back.
He could never argue with Viggo when he brought that particular argument up with him.
Orlando diverted the conversation away from himself. “I never thought of a gangland shooting.” Orlando stood and pondered on what Viggo had just brought up. “Oh this is just making me so frustrated!” Orlando shouted, throwing his hands up in the air. “Do you think I could really make a difference here? Do you think I could really save Sean in time?” Orlando asked, pleading with Viggo to give him the answers he really needed and not any of his cryptic nonsense or bullshite.
“The future’s not set in stone, Orli,” Viggo said as he placed his hand on Orlando’s arm. “All kidding aside, you’ve been given a gift to see these visions. No...listen to me,” he insisted as he noticed Orlando try to move away from him. “It was given to you for a reason. I know you feel useless sometimes, when you feel you can’t make a difference, and add that on top of the fact that people with your gift rarely make it past their teens before offing themselves...”
“Viggo, you do plan on helping me here, right? Cuz I gotta tell you, your pep talk sucks big time, yeah?”
“I’m just saying, you’ll do fine. You can do this. I know I discourage you from telling people about how and when they’ll die. I mean, look at Dommie,” Viggo said while shaking his head back and forth.
God, yeah, look at Dommie.
The guys had always indulged themselves in all the thrill-seeking sports, which had included surfing.
That was until Dominic had worn him down and he had finally given in and told his friend how he would die.
He didn’t have a set time, and he couldn’t quite see how it happened. There just weren’t enough of the particulars. He only knew it was from drowning and that it was a long way down the line.
Billy had been rightly pissed off that Dom had cornered Orlando and had put Orlando in the position of divulging that information.
Billy had never wanted to know how, when or where he died. He was only worried that he would die alone. He had told Billy he didn’t know the particulars of that, but Orlando had assured him that being the good friend he was, he couldn’t possibly imagine Billy being alone when he eventually died.
Dom, on the other hand, had insisted on knowing and when he found out, that had been the end of all sports that included water.
No more surfing, no more sailing, no swimming. At all.
Had it only been that, he and Billy could have lived with it, but it had gotten much worse.
They had tried to reason with him and, despite the fact that Dominic, himself, had admitted it was irrational, the man still couldn’t bring himself to go near the water. Orlando had told Dom that the vision had not changed, despite all of his precautionary measures to avoid death by drowning, but that didn’t seem to lull Dom into any sense of security.
Water had become his new phobia.
Just looking at the vast expanse of the ocean, which was hard to avoid since Bills and Dom lived in the Santa Monica area, could bring everything to a screeching halt. Out of nowhere, he would suddenly seize up and just stare out.
Dom explained that it felt not unlike someone who experienced vertigo. His head would swim with dizziness and he would feel unsteady on his feet.
Thankfully he was okay with showering and the likes, which was a huge relief to their little group.
It was after Orlando had seen the effect of his vision on Dom, and the fact that he would always have to live with the guilt of being the cause the man’s paranoia, that he’d decided he would never tell anyone what their fate would be.
Until now, that is.
Until a wonderful man named Sean barged into his life. A man he so desperately wanted a future with. And when he thought of a future with Sean, he didn’t think in broad terms. He thought about the little things. Things like brushing his teeth at the same sink in the morning. About eating ice cream from the same carton while watching Lost on the telly at night.
“You can do something about this. This isn’t the same situation as Dom, or anyone else for that matter. I think you should intervene - alter the immediate future. This might have something to do with your fate as well, and you know, fate is what you make,” Viggo said as he looked seriously at Orlando.
Orlando looked up at Viggo before cracking a smile. “’Fate is what you make?’” Orlando taunted. “You were watching Terminator 2 again, weren’t you, you daft bugger?”
“I can’t help it,” Viggo shrugged. “Linda Hamilton was pretty hot in the movie. She majorly buffed out for the role.”
“I would think she’s not your type, being that she looks so manly and all,” Orlando laughed.
“And I would’ve thought she was your type for that same reason,” Viggo smiled.
“Unless she grew a cock, ‘m not interested,” Orlando muttered.
The older man faced Orlando head on and grabbed him by the shoulders. “Ignoring that disturbing and strangely intriguing image and getting back onto the subject of Sean, I think you’ll know what to do. I have faith in you on this one. You can’t save the whole world, and I know that’s what it feels like to you sometimes. But maybe this isn’t about saving the whole world. Just yours,” he said and knocked foreheads with Orlando. “Yeah?”
Orli smiled. “I’m gonna go finish getting read, yeah?” he announced as he made his way to the bathroom.
Clicking on the sconces above the medicine cabinet, he looked at his reflection in the mirror.
This is what it always came down to. The visage he saw in the mirror.
Most men didn’t bother themselves with thoughts of their mortality. They would pause to think about it when passing the scene of a horrific car accident, or when they came across a news story about the scene of a homicide, or when a relative or friend finally succumbs to a lingering illness.
But for Orlando, dealing with his mortality was an everyday occurrence.
Or to be more specific, an every-time-he-looked-in-the- mirror occurrence.
It was there on his face. He wondered sometimes if this were actually his real face…this grotesque mask that taunted him daily, a skeletal countenance that would make sane people run away screaming. The disguise was really the face he showed to the world.
This was his fate. He knew when and how he would die. No matter where he went, no matter what he did, his fate was always there, in front of him, looking back, mocking him, daring him to deny it. Evidence that he too, will pass from this place.
It also made it a bitch to shave.
It was when he was faced with this evidence, that he had to admit something grudgingly.
Viggo had been right.
There were worse things than dying.
Orlando had found that out the hard way. He had always known how he would die and in knowing this information, he had become arrogant and ultimately, careless.
It had been because of this carelessness that he had had fallen out of a window, down three stories and had broken his back.
The doctors had told him that he might never walk again.
That was when Orlando had realized for the first time that it wasn’t just about when you left your place in the world.
It was about how and what you did with your time while you were still in it.
And spending it confined to a wheelchair was not something he had wanted to do. He had decided he wanted to spend the time he had on earth walking and doing the things he still wanted to do, not wasting it away while marking time, eventually catching up with the frightening image of himself that he saw in the mirror.
With the help of his family and his friends and his own determination, he succeeded in doing just that. One month later, and against all odds, he walked out of the hospital.
Viggo claimed that the accident had been proof of how strong Orlando was and it was for that reason that Viggo knew Orlando would be okay with his ‘gift.’
So Orlando never took his reflection too much to heart. The end would come for him, but until it did, he needed to concern himself with the time in between.
And when he thought about the time in between, it brought something else home to him.
That there were indeed, even worse things than dying or living your life as a vegetable.
Bills’ words came back to haunt him whenever he thought about it.
A wasted life was probably the worst thing Orlando could imagine, and who cared when you died, even if it was far, far into the future, if when you did eventually die, you died alone.
And this all brought him back to one thing.
Because he had the love of his friends and his family but his life was not complete without that special someone he could share it with and for some strange and unfathomable reason, he knew Sean could be that person.
Viggo always said he should trust his instincts and his were telling him that this was the one.
He may have only known him for all of fifteen minutes, but it was enough.
Enough to know that he would figure out what was about to happen to Sean and how to stop it. He would stop playing twenty questions with the man and get real answers. Then, when Sean was safe, he would work on the hardest part of all.
Getting to know the man more intimately so he could truly live his life.
Orlando squared his shoulders, walked out the door to his car and stopped as the warm night air washed over his face and body.
He wasn’t sure if it was the play of the shirt as it blew in the slight breeze on his skin that caused him to shiver, or the anticipation of the new adventure he was about to embark on.
I love all feedback, like Viggo loves to commune with 'nature.'