*throws massive smooches and hugs*
I would like to thank firehead30 for my beautiful rose and happier_bunny for my ecard. Thank you guys!
And now, here's chapter 6
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. And I would never drive that fast on a bike around Mulholland Drive. Forest Lawn, maybe...
Author's Note: So I always wondered, if Orlando was as big of an adrenaline junkie as he is (sane people do not bungee jump), why don't writers put him on motorcycles more often. It just makes sense.
And when I say motorcycle, I mean one of the sportbikes or superbikes, NOT a Harley. Yuck.
Also, I think I wrote this because my hubby and I are getting just a bit restless since the weather hasn't been very conducive for bike riding...
Chapter 1, 2, and 3 - wherein Orlando is at the diner
Chapter 4 - wherein Viggo diaglogues with Orlando
Chapter 5 - wherein Sean makes dinner for Orlando
Sometimes it isn't about how you got there.
It's not even about when really.
It's about how quickly you arrive at your destination, which is not the same as when.
You could leave early enough so even if you drove like your grandmother in her 1981 Oldsmobile, you could get there on time, or even early for that matter.
But to leave when you knew it was way past the time of leaving to make it there on time, and then actually making it there at the required time must mean only one thing.
You were going really, really fast.
Which drove this point home to Orlando now, in the morning, on a warm Los Angeles day, going down Mulholland Drive on something that should never have been declared street legal.
160 horsepower, not sitting in an engine compartment of a nice safe car, but between his legs. It was a testament to Japanese technology to make sure you not only get from Point A to Point B quickly, but that you defied all laws of physics while doing so.
It also made it so you couldn't think about much else but the roar of the engine beneath you and the asphalt you were leaving behind, your helmet drowning out all other sounds.
Which is the way Orlando liked it.
Yeah, his bike had been in impound more times in one year than Dominic had gotten laid, but it was there for him when he needed it.
When he didn't want to listen to himself think.
The speedometer was reading 100 mph and it still wasn't fast enough to elude all the ghosts from his distant past, ghosts that had reappeared after one of the most wonderful nights, if not the best, of his entire life. Namely a night spent with one firefighter named Sean Bean.
"That man looks funny."
"What was that Orli?" Sammy asked.
"That man. He looks funny."
Sammy looked over in the direction her three and a half year old brother was pointing.
"Orli, that's just the store owner, Mr. Walsh. He's just fat. Really, really, really fat. That's all, now put your hand down. Mum told you it was impolite to point."
"It's not cuz he's fat, it's cuz he's got a big, red hole in the middle of his shirt," Orlando said.
"I don't see a hole. Stop being silly."
"It's there." Orli turned from the shopkeeper and looked up at his sister. "Can we watch 'The Hulk' on the telly when we get home?"
"You know how mum feels about you watching that show."
"I like that show. I like that show a whole bunch. I like it this big," Orlando said as he splayed his arms out to his side. "Where'd they find an actor who could change like that?"
"There's two actors playing the role Orli, not one. If there was someone who could do that, he would be a freak," Sammy sighed, the little boy knowing when his sister was getting tired of his questions.
"The Hulk's not a freak. I think he's cool," Orlando said and looked at the man behind the counter again. "That Wish guy is dripping now."
"Orli," Sammy warned. "Come on, we need to get the milk and hurry home before mum worries."
They both stepped up to the counter, milk in hand, ready to pay when Orlando looked at the man again. "Sir. You look funny."
"Wot? Why...cheeky little bastard," the man scoffed.
"Sorry sir. He's just...well...active imagination," she winked. "You know how it is."
"No. There's a hole right there," Orlando pointed at the man, right where his heart was.
"Here's your milk. Now be gone with ye, bloody upstarts," the man grumbled.
Sammy grabbed Orlando's hand and made their way out of the store, walking along the street, talking about nonsensical things that most kids do, while Orlando suddenly noticed the amount of police cars rushing through the street, their sirens blaring. It reminded him of that other really cool show on the telly, the one with the neat red car and the guy named Starsky.
As they walked through the front door, their mum ran up to them, crushing them both protectively to her chest.
"Mum? You alright?" Sammy asked.
"I just heard about what happened at the store, and...and I was so scared because you were there...and you weren't...here," his mother frantically got out.
Orlando looked at the way his mother was shaking.
Which was strange, because mothers didn't do that.
"There was a robbery...an armed robbery. The store owner...he was shot in the chest, with a shot gun. Oh God," his mum cried as she held onto her two children once more.
Orlando looked up at his sister who was looking back at him, the same look on her face as his mum.
She was shaking too.
Orli wasn't sure what the fuss was about but he guessed this wouldn't be such a good time to bring up watching the telly.
Orlando increased his pressure on the throttle, giving it more gas. A Busa that was traveling at 100 mph was positively crawling.
He looked down at the speedometer which was now reading 120.
That was better.
Although it still wasn't enough to block out more of those bloody ghosts.
He remembered what happened after that day, how Sammy had told him that they would never bring up what Orli had witnessed in the store.
She had said something about not wanting her brother to be thought of as a freak.
So it had never been brought up again.
Until about a year later, when the shite hit the proverbial fan.
"Mum, it's not just that da died, is it?" Sammy asked her mum, who sat ashen-faced on the sofa, little Orlando clutching his big sister's hand, the grief not quite hitting him yet as it had his mother and sister.
"No...I," Orlando's mother started, then looked at her youngest fondly and just as quickly, glanced away.
"What is it then?"
"Orli, baby, why don't you go into the next room and watch the telly?" his mum said while smiling at him.
Okay, he may have only been four, (well actually he was this close to five) but he was smart enough to know that that was code for his mum not wanting him to hear what she was about to say. So he left, but he hovered just outside the doorjamb so he could still hear what they were saying.
"Orli came to me, last week, the night before your father died. He told me that we needed to call someone because his da was having a hard time breathing. He was warning me...oh God," his mum couldn't finish as she started to cry harder.
Orlando looked at his sister and saw his sister's face turn a few shades pale.
"Had I just listened, maybe your father would be alive today," she managed to get out before breaking down again.
"Mum," Sammy started as she walked carefully to her mother, "you shouldn't feel guilty about this. It's not just you. I mean...I had a hard time." Sammy stopped and caught her breath. "I...I have a little story to tell you."
Orlando continued to listen attentively around the corner. Obviously his mum was very upset because of him, and that made him feel sad. But Sammy was going to make it all better.
After all, storytime always made him feel better too.
Orlando looked down at the speedo once more. He was coasting along at 140, going through turns fast, faster than was safe around these sharp curves. He was leaning all the way over to the left and all the way over to the right as need be, not even riding in a straight line anymore, not even riding upright for that matter. In fact, he was leaning so far over, he could have reached out and touched the pavement, not that he would do that.
That would be dumb.
As he looked at the asphalt rushing past him as he leaned over, the road stopped looking stationary and took on the look and feel of a raging, dark gray river.
And yet, as fast as he was going, as much as his thoughts were taking up his attention concentrating on the road, the memories were still there.
It wasn't until Orlando was a little older that he realized what it was he had been seeing with Walsh and his da, and that he really was the freak that Sammy had tried to warn him about.
And he wasn't even as cool as the Hulk.
He learned to live with it, learned to keep his mouth shut, his mother and sister offering their quiet support.
It was only until he met his two current best friends, Dom and Billy, that he had let down his wall for just a bit and let them in. They had thought it was cool. Well, Dominic had thought it was cool and Bills had gone along with it. But he could see it every now and then in their oldest friend. He would regard Orlando with a compassion that, much to Orlando's grateful relief, held no pity. Billy saw how much Orlando's 'gift' affected him.
He loved Dom for thinking he was cool and he loved Bills for knowing the real truth of that statement and still being okay with it.
Viggo had found him while the three of them had been living in London together, the older man convincing him to come home with him to live in Southern California. Of course, Dominic and Billy had refused to let him leave without them. Dommie had cited the reason for moving something about how the birds in California were hot and the weather in London sucked.
But Orlando knew the truth.
They would always be there. To them he would never be a freak.
He would always be their best mate.
Of course, thinking about his best mates made him think about Eric and Sean. Eric was Sean's best mate. Didn't he deserve to know what fate had in store for him? But what if he did tell the man what his fate was, how would he take to the news? That is, after he stopped laughing in Orlando's face.
Would he quit the department, get a job as a bouncer at some bar? Would him quitting mean that somewhere down the line, someone else wouldn't get saved because Eric hadn't been there to save him? If he didn't quit, would he be too scared to do his job, which would thereby result in him getting killed in a fire anyway, possibly taking someone else with him too?
It could drive a person mad thinking about possible future outcomes when one fucks with fate.
Orlando caught the black and white on the side of the road, the lights just coming on, as he sped past.
One look in his mirror told him it was no longer a problem.
Most of the LAPD and their standard issue vehicles could never catch up with his Suzuki.
Though, it was rather cute the way the local law enforcement at least tried.
Getting onto the freeway, he had to downshift but once he was on, he was up to full speed again.
Orlando loved the freeway this time of the morning, just as dawn was breaking. It was right before rush hour. One of the perks about working at Fed-Ex was how early he needed to be in. The freeway was by no means empty, but it was pretty clear, making it possible to use as his very own race track. He was up to full speed again, hovering dangerously around 150 mph, his helmet trying to take his head with him as it continually pulled him backward. He was fully aware of how his front wheel was sometimes not even touching the road.
Still, he wasn't going so fast as to forget about Sean.
He remembered how everything was going so smoothly.
Well, in retrospect, nothing had gone smoothly. If he had to rate their night on a Richter Scale, he would have given it a 6.5.
But it had been bloody wonderful. That moment, on the living room floor amidst the wreckage, when Sean had been one with him, when the older man had practically tried to crawl inside of him, had been the one defining moment in his entire life when things had been as crystal clear as they could possibly get.
That he finally knew where he belonged.
And where he belonged was at Sean's side.
Of course, life being what is is, and whoever said life was a bitch was a bloody genius, life had decided to choose that time to remind him of his reality.
To go one minute from sheer elation and joy, to the next, trying to wipe your lover's blood off your naked chest and hands was just bloody unfair.
But at least he had seen it.
He finally had glimpsed what would happen to take this wonderful man from him.
It would happen in Sean's house, in the morning if the time on the clock and the light coming in from the windows was anything to go by, when Sean was coming home from work.
It wasn't gang-related. It wasn't a hunting accident. Sean wasn't some super secret agent.
It was just about a guy who was interrupted in his ransacking of Sean's home. Being so surprised, the intruder unloaded a clip from his 9mm into Sean's chest.
That was it.
And what was the bloody point? It was all over a few items that wouldn't amount to much on the streets.
So Orlando, despite having remembered what all the ghosts in his head had to say about not saying anything, keeping what you knew to yourself, blah, blah, blah, after having danced around the situation once more, decided he would tell Sean everything.
And he was just about to tell his lover, risking the man considering him crazy, or worse, a freak, when they had been interrupted by Mr. Tall, Dark and Well done. He had seen Eric holding a duffel bag, obviously a standard issue bag from the Los Angeles Fire Department. It was then that it clicked in Orlando's head and he realized that he had seen one of those in the vision, which meant that the next time Sean came home would be when it would happen.
Since he couldn't tell Sean everything then, because of the emergency and damn those Santa Ana's anyway, he decided only one course of action was required.
He would make sure that Sean wouldn't be there when the man was ransacking Sean's house.
This way, he could keep Sean out of trouble and he wouldn't have to come right out and tell the older man about his 'gift' just yet.
He wanted Sean and himself to get to know each other better before dropping that bomb.
Because when he did, he knew it would be nuclear.
"Sean? Sean, is that you? I can barely make you out?" Orlando replied while talking loudly into the phone.
"It's so good to hear your voice lad," Sean said wistfully.
Orlando could almost hear the smile covering Sean's face, the lines around his eyes crinkling up, when he said that, despite the static.
"Bloody reception. I just got a break. I wanted to call you," the older man said.
"You okay?" Orlando asked haltingly.
"Yeah, just got off the heli. Can you believe it? Me? Up in a bleedin death trap!"
Orlando laughed into the phone. "And still in one piece I take it?"
"Yeah. I was thinking about you when I was up there."
"So you being in a flying death trap made you think about me?" Orlando laughed. "So what are you trying to say?"
"Oi! Not like that. I just kept thinking about you and it distracted me enough...and now I'm gettin' all mushy. Now don't you start laughing, cheeky little..."
"I'm sorry Sean. I'm sorry," he said while he stopped laughing. "That was sweet. So how's Eric? He's not like, rushing in and fighting any fires with his bare hands, is he?"
Sean chuckled. "No, lad. Eric's a bit smarter than that."
"When are you...um...coming home?"
"That's the other reason I called. I'll be home Tuesday morning."
"Tuesday," Orlando sighed. "I'm getting that day off Sean, so I can spend the day with you, yeah?"
"Yeah?" Orlando could see the smile again. Suddenly Sean's voice got far away sounding. "I gotta go. You know, big fire," Sean said and laughed again, the laugh sounding a bit anxious.
Not wanting to keep the man hanging on the phone when it was obvious he was needed elsewhere, Orlando simply said, "Bye Sean," and hung up.
Everything rested on Tuesday morning.
Which was tomorrow.
Orlando was deep into his thoughts when he saw the flashing lights again.
Just another police car that he bypassed quite effortlessly.
A wicked smile spreading across his face, Orlando thought that sometimes this was just too much fun.
Of course it was fun when you were dealing with the usual cops and their standard issue vehicles.
Orlando watched as a black and white Mustang sped past him and then moved himself in front of his speeding bike.
It wasn't so much fun when the standard issue vehicle was no longer one from the general car pool but one of the Mustangs purchased for the LAPD because of all the inconsiderate punks who drove their NOS injected cars in street races and all the other inconsiderate punks who drove their bikes as if they were Chuck Yeager trying to break the sound barrier.
Orlando downshifted quickly so as not to end up a permanent ornament on the back of the black and white. He slowly pulled over and brought the bike to a full stop on the shoulder, watching as the officer exited his car.
Orlando knew the policeman right away.
Officer Karl Urban.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad. The cop was just as much an adrenaline junkie as himself.
That, and they had known each other on a more intimate note more than once.
"Hello Orlando," the tall, well built cop greeted, the only thing that seemed to be regulation about him being his jarhead hair cut.
"Officer Urban," Orlando respectfully addressed him.
"Orli," the man sighed as he took off his sunglasses. "You know how fast you were going?"
Orlando peered into the warm, hazel eyes, trying to come up with something witty. "Well, being that I don't want to perjure myself in a court of law, I'd have to say 55."
"Yeah, times that by three," Karl smirked.
"So, okay. 55 times 3 would be...um...5 times 3 is 15, carry the 1..."
"Don't be cute," Karl said as he rubbed at his temple.
"Look at this face. 'S hard not to," Orlando said flippantly.
"Fuck Bloom! I can't look the other way this time! You had two, two cars call you in."
"You're impounding the bike, aren't you?"
"Yeah, I have to. Hell, I should fucking take your ass in," Karl said in frustration.
"Oh please, Karl, don't do that," Orlando pleaded.
That would not be good.
Flashes of Sean coming home tomorrow and Orlando not being there to save him sprung to mind.
"I said I'm not bro. It's cool. It's cool," Karl said as he held his hands up. "But I gotta take the bike. I'm in enough trouble as it is, the suits and IA are watching my ass..."
"Yeah, well can't blame them," Orlando leered lasciviously as he peeked around the tall man, his arse nicely defined by the regulation uniform pants.
"As if. Last time I remember, I had your ass up against the hood of my Charger, you screaming the whole time I fucked you hard and fast," Karl laughed.
"I was screaming because I kept hitting my bloody head against your hood scoop," Orlando winced in remembrance. He then sighed in relief when he realized he wouldn't be hauled in. "So, you're calling it in? Fuck! Viggo's gonna be pissed. He'll have to be the one to get it outta impound," Orlando said.
"I'll get one of the yards I'm in good with to tow it. You can pick it up later today, okay?" Karl relented. "He'll stash it at his garage."
"Really?" Orlando smiled. "That's a relief."
Karl whistled as he walked around the bike. "These were a new pair of Metzlers," he said as leaned over to look at the tires. "The chalk marks are still there. They're toast!" Karl got up, a smile spreading across his face. "Fucking A!" The officer grinned and high fived Orlando. "Alright, I'll get this called in. You...um...need a ride anywhere?"
Orlando moved to the front passenger side of the Mustang. The bike being towed wasn't such a bad thing but he had been careless.
Had it been another cop, not only would the bike have been impounded for days, but he could have been hauled in for reckless driving.
He got lucky.
He could have kicked his arse at the moment for being so reckless when he needed to keep it together for Sean tomorrow.
"Alright, they'll be picking it up in a few," Karl said as he came back to the car and settled in the driver's seat. Orlando watched as his savior put his sunglasses back on and started the car, moving safely into traffic.
"So, this car set up with nitrous oxide?" Orlando smirked.
Karl turned to Orlando and smiled brilliantly. "Now Orli, that wouldn't exactly be legal."
"Fag?" Orlando said as he held his box of cigarettes out to Karl.
"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Karl growled out. "Oh," he said as he sheepishly looked at the smokes. "No thanks. Crack the window open man."
Orlando put the cigarette to his lips, lit the end and took a long drag while looking out the passenger side window. "Why do we do it? Go faster than common sense would allow?"
"Most people would call us suicidal I guess," Karl shrugged. "My friends all have different reasons. Me?" he continued. "It's cuz I can fly. I'm airborne," Karl smiled as he turned to face Orlando. "I'm weightless. Even in the Charger. Ya know? Well, of course you know. You were fucking flying," Karl said and then hit the steering wheel for emphasis. "Fuck! It was beautiful! You were beautiful man!"
Orlando sat back and thought about what Karl had just said. One word struck true.
That feeling of being without weight.
Webster defined weightless as 'lacking apparent gravitational pull.'
There was just too many things weighing heavily on Orlando.
This morning he had wanted to forget for just one moment. Forget about everything and what he had to do the next day. Forget that he had not been able to sufficiently warn Sean.
He had stalled and then lost his chance when Eric arrived.
Because he was a coward.
And he knew that because he was thinking clearly for the first time since Friday night.
Because at 140 miles per hour, nothing is more clear.
He had fucked up.
And this had weighed on him. So he had set out to fly so he could feel the guilt and everything lift off him.
But it hadn't.
And he almost fucked up again. He could have very easily been arrested and then where would Sean be?
But he hadn't been taken in and he could set things right. He had to.
Orlando pulled on the cigarette again and looked over at Karl.
He remembered the first time he saw the vision of handsome officer's death. He had put the vision completely out of his head, off in the way, way back, somewhere where it could never be opened. It was one vision he had managed to exorcise out of his system.
Because Karl's death was just too horrible to look at.
After all, running into a freight train while going 220 in a Dodge Charger was not a pretty sight.
"Karl, if you knew how you would die, would you do things differently?"
"If you're gonna tell me if I knew I was gonna die by eating a chicken bone, would I stop eating chicken?" Karl shrugged. "I dunno. I could give up chicken."
"What if you knew you would die doing what you loved doing...like racing?" Orlando counterpointed.
"Fuck man!" Karl chuckled. "No way! I'd give up my left ball before I gave up the race."
"Yeah, man. Hell, I go into the race thinking this might be it anyway. Ya know?"
"Yeah," Orlando nodded. "I know. I do."
"Here you are," Karl said as he pulled to the front of the Fed-Ex building. "You gonna come by my place tonight," he said as he smiled at Orlando. "I can take you to pick up your bike?"
"Yeah, thanks man," Orlando said and bumped knuckles with Karl. "But...just for the bike...I'm seeing someone..."
"That's cool," Karl shrugged.
There was a time when the thought of seeing Karl excited him. They both knew nothing would ever come of it, but it was a sort of friends with benefits kind of thing.
Now, when he thought about it, it felt empty.
He had had something incredible with Sean the other night and he wanted more.
Anything less was just unacceptable.
Orlando stood on the sidewalk looking after the car as it drove away. He threw his cigarette on the ground, crushed it with his boot and walked through the front doors.
His little talk with Karl proved one thing.
Everyone was different when it came to their fate.
Whereas Dommie was afraid to go near the water, someone like Karl would still live his life the way he wanted, despite what he knew.
Hell, Orlando always sort of knew that if he told Karl how he would die, Karl would still drive over that railroad track.
So where did that leave Eric?
And there was that weight pressing down on him once again.
There were too many things to think about and too many possibilities that weighed heavily on him and the fact of the matter was that Orlando was tired. He walked to his desk in the warehouse area and prepared for the day ahead of him.
He had been so busy for the next few hours as he had gotten lost in his work that he hadn't noticed the time. It was about 10:00 when his cell phone rang.
He didn't recognize the phone number on the caller ID.
"Orli? That you?"
"Eric, that you?"
He felt something, he didn't know what, drop into the pit of his stomach. Oh God, this couldn't be good.
"Yeah. Look, Sean's mobile lost its charge at the site, so he told me before we parted ways to call you and let you know."
"He wanted you to let me know that his phone lost its charge?"
Maybe if he played dumb, he wouldn't hear what he knew would be something awful.
"He wanted you to know he's on his way home. He's probably on the freeway right about now. There was an accident on I-5 so he'll probably be stuck there for awhile."
It was supposed to be tomorrow damnit! This is Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday. Tuesday is when he was supposed to come home.
"Why is he going home today? He said he wouldn't be home til Tuesday," Orlando asked frantically.
"They let him home early. Fire's dying down. We've got it under control. Hey! Whassup? You should be happy...oh hold up," Eric said as he cut off the phone for a second. "Look, I gotta go. Talk to you later."
And with that, Eric hung up.
Sean was in his car.
He was on his way home.
And Orli had no way to get a hold of him since his phone was non-operational.
He needed to leave. He needed to leave now. He had to get there before Sean.
His head was swimming.
He felt like he was under water.
And then there was that little ringing noise in his ears.
"Michael!" Orlando shouted to his supervisor. "Emergency. I need to get home. Now!"
"What? Wait!" a small man wearing a blue polo with the words FED-EX embroidered on it, called out to Orlando as he dashed out of the building and into the parking lot.
Orlando reached the spot where all the motorcycles and two-wheeled vehicles were corralled.
But his bike wasn't there.
Well where the fuck was it?!?!
And then it hit him.
Like that ton of proverbial bricks.
His bike wasn't there.
Because his bike was being towed by one one Officer Urban's friends.
He had no transportation to get to Sean on time.
Oh and for all my Queer as Folk f-listers who have no idea who Karl Urban is, he was the one who played Eomer in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Pretty, innit he?