Gluttony: Feeding the Beast Withinbysecretslasher©
Sean was having trouble breathing as he gazed at is lithe young co-star. Elijah was across from him, soaking wet after the scene in the rain and looking for all the world more beautiful than the first time they had met. He pondered his dilemma as he watched the younger man laugh and joke with the other two hobbits and the make up people during the short set up break.
Weeks ago, feeling like a lifetime, Sean had arrived in New Zealand without his wife and child, who were still packing up the house and making the arrangements for their 2 year stay in the little country at the bottom of the world. The first night he and the others had met, Sean had been struck by an odd feeling of 'rightness'. At first he couldn't pinpoint what it was. He had thought it was the instant brotherhood between the hobbits, or perhaps the excitement of embarking on an epic film making quest, but now he knew he was wrong. He knew that the sense of completion was the same as what he felt with Christine, only different too. With Lij, it was a strange and disquieting mixture of being star struck, fraternal feelings, love and something more. It was the something more that had Sean's insides in an uproar.
All of a sudden he felt a wave of nausea wash over him, much like the waves that they rode their surf boards on so easily. He felt himself go hot and then cold as the bile rose in his throat. Knowing his own body, he rushed past the others to a small copse of trees and then with a hitching of his breath, he vomited into the underbrush. One heave. Two heaves. Three heaves. Four heaves and then nothing but dry retching and that horrible tightness that ran from his lower abdomen to his neck. He was startled by the cool hand that rested on the back of his neck as he bent over, hands on knees and spittle and bile dripping from his lips. He felt his balls go cold and then when the voice came, hot.
'Sean'' Said Elijah in his soft, almost boyish tones. 'You okay''
Sean shivered at the genuine love and concern in that voice. It made him want to vomit all over again, but it also made him feel good too. Elijah cared about him, deeply and it hurt so good to know that. He closed his eyes and nodded his head at his friend's question, enjoying the quiet away from the main group and letting the sickness in his belly ebb. He felt Lij press his body close to his own as the young actor slipped an arm around his shoulders and press his face against his hair. Another shiver, this one reaching down into his crotch, shuddered through him and his thoughts were in turmoil.
[what would he think if he knew how I felt...what would he say and do....would it frighten him or brighten him...what are you saying....you're married to your soulmate...you have a daughter and here you are contemplating the pleasures of a same sex relationship with someone you consider your brother...it scares you....scares you so much you are now puking your guts out in the back end of the New Zealand brush...you have never wondered about what it would be like to be with another man...and now here you are enjoying his touch...you must have gone insane]
Their quiet tableau was shattered when the voices of their two comrades broke in.
"Seany, laddo, what the fuck is wrong with you." Came the cheeky Mancunian accent of Dominic.
"You can't be pukin' like that Sean!" Trilled Billy as he joined the group. 'Peter 'll thrash the hide off you.'
Both men laughed and Sean felt Lij turn his head. He knew without seeing that his friend was glaring at the rest of the fab four. He knew he would jump to Sean's defence as he always did when the other two decided to act like school boys.
'Shut the fuck up, both of you!' Said Lij, his voice taking on a deeper timbre that made Sean's balls ache. 'I think he's really sick.'
The carping and joshing of the others stopped immediately as they gathered round and helped the Santa Monican stand upright. Sean didn't look any of them in the eye. He was too afraid of what they might see. A production assistant rushed up and offered him some paper towels to wipe his mouth and a glass of water. Lij held the water as he cleaned his face, then held the cup for him to drink. Sean's trembling hands couldn't hold the cup still.
He drained the cup and then handed it to the P.A. before turning to face his friends. His eyes still avoided Elijah's but he was able to speak without his voice quavering too much.
'I'm okay guys. Honest.' He began, swallowing hard to clear his throat of obstruction. 'I just ate too much at breakfast. P.J.'s force feeding is starting to get to me. I'm just not used to this much food for so long a period of time. I'm fine.'
He sighed and clapped Billy on the shoulder and poked Dom in the gut as he turned away with a grin he knew didn't erase the worried look in his eyes. He heard the three following him back to their chairs that awaited them set side.
~ later that day ~
It had been a very long, very damp day. Peter had made them do the gateway scene over and over and over until they got it just right. Sean had never felt this way about doing a scene before, but he wanted to scream at the Kiwi director to just get on with it. Normally he was ready to do it as many times as he needed to, tirelessly and uncomplaining. But today was different. Today he just wanted to go home and curl up next to his wife, cuddle his daughter and do nothing. Instead, he was stuck in the rain doing take after take and all the while staring at Elijah's hardened nipples that poked through the fabric of his shirt. He felt like he was going mad and there was no end in sight. Peter wanted them to take a couple hours break and then get ready for the night shooting.
As if the schedule for the day's shoot wasn't bad enough, lunch had been terrifying. Sean had to face another overloaded plate of food. He had almost choked as he saw how much he was being expected to eat, but P.J. had already told him that he had started to lose weight and needed to bulk up again. But he had done it. He had stuffed his face while the others ate nice regular portions, and Elijah even picking at his food and hardly eating anything at all. Sean had jealously watched every morsel that actually made it to his friend's rosebud mouth, wishing he were putting something else between the blue-eyed boy's lips instead of macaroni and cheese. Those thoughts had been enough to almost make him want to vomit again, but he had pushed the images away and continued to stuff his face. He even managed a wan smile as the boys teased him about his 'pigging out'. But not Elijah. Lij had looked concerned and even whispered to him to slow down. Worry coloured the younger man's face as he watched Sean shovel in food like he was hoarding it for the winter. But Sean just ignored his friend's protests with a snarled reply.
'I can't slow down and you know it. Peter will kill me if I don't put some of this fucking fat back on. Sam's a fatty and so am I.' He had said, tears filling his eyes.
Elijah had just given him one of his stern looks and then jumped up from the table to speak to their director. Sean knew he was going to ask P.J. if Sean could cut back his eating habits just a bit, but he also knew what the answer would be. Peter would chuckle and say no. Lij would whine and whimper a little, but never pull a diva fit even though he could have. Then Peter would claim that he would make sure Sean had a personal trainer and all sorts of other things when the shoot was over. And Lij would give in, trusting Peter to keep his word. That would be that and Elijah would come back to sit next to Sean and try to cheer him up. He knew how much his older friend hated all the extra pounds he carried.
These memories clouded Sean's thoughts as he made his weary way back to his trailer. He just wanted to get his feet up and have a beer. As he trudged along he ignored the laughter and camaraderie he heard all around him. This day had depressed him to a point he had rarely been before. As he reached his trailer door a shout stopped him and he turned. It was Elijah.
'Hey...' he began, his voice trailing off as he saw Sean's face.
'Hey.' Sean said glumly in return.
'Want some company'' Lij asked, his blue eyes seeming brighter than ever.
Sean shrugged and gestured for his friend to precede him into the trailer. He sighed and felt his body begin to respond in inappropriate ways. Shaking himself, he trudged up the steps and closed the door behind him, leaving the 'Do Not Disturb' sign outside. He didn't want P.J., or Billy or Dominic coming in with demands of any kind. He knew Lij would just let him be.
As he walked into the dim interior of the trailer, he flicked a light switch and caught sight of himself in the mirrored wall. He was disgusted by what he saw.
He was huge. Grossly obese. Enormous. He made an elephant look anorexic. And he could not look away.
Lij noticed him staring at his reflection and the young man came to put his arm around his shoulders.
'You don't look bad you know.' His voice low, throaty and pleasant. 'In fact you look better than when you were too skinny. Like in Toy Soldiers.'
Sean just gave his friend a disbelieving look, while his stomach tied itself in knots at the sound of that silky voice. He glanced back at the mirror.
'I hate myself. Christine doesn't say anything, but she's not too fond of all this blubber either. And I feel like I'm the world's fattest man. How can you say I look better'' He said with a sigh as he sat heavily on the sofa that ran along one wall.
Lij sighed and plopped down beside him, placing a hand on his knee. Sean shook with the effort of not pulling the hand higher to a much less bony place. He studied the smile on his younger friend's face and almost began to cry. A shout from outside stopped his tears.
'Dinner! Sean Astin front and centre! Sausage and mash with gravy, three veg and a nice thick piece of chocolate cake for desert!'
The voice belonged to the caterer that was taking care of Sean's nutritional needs.
Sean's anger finally boiled over at that point and he flung himself off the sofa to begin pacing the room.
'Fucking food! Why does my life these days revolve around fucking food" He raged.
Lij's soft voice stopped him short.
'I've heard that fucking food can be fun!' Said the young man with a slight laugh under his words.
Sean turned to face his friend, his expression one of disbelief. He looked long and hard into Elijah's eyes, amber to sapphire and then they both began to laugh. Long, hard and hysterically, rolling around on the floor and clutching at each other. When they finally stopped, they looked at each other, knowing another milestone had been reached. They had just grown closer, and Sean didn't know how to stop it. Part of him didn't want to.
The call to dinner came again and with a sigh they both straightened themselves out. Sean's mood was lighter than it had been knowing that Elijah really did understand and was able to make him laugh. A dark thought flashed through his mind.
[Christine never makes me laugh about my weight...she just tells me that it's better to be a fat man than a fat woman...that never makes me feel better]
He shook off the thought and followed his friend out of the trailer.
~after the shoot, sometime around midnight~
They were finally finished for the day and allowed to go home. Thankfully, they had a late start tomorrow. Sean planned to spend the morning with his family and put thoughts of Elijah Wood out of his head. He just had to get through tonight's goodbye. He finished pulling on his street clothes, hating the way his jeans fit so much tighter than they used to, and grabbed his bag of things. He tried to ignore the monkeying around of his friends and co-workers but it was difficult when all of them were still in their underwear. His eyes strayed to the slight but supple form of his 'Frodo'.
He hadn't realized he had stopped to stare, as he took in the not-quite broad shoulders, the pale and gleaming skin, the dark rosebud nipples slightly taut from the chill in the room, the smooth chest that was completely hairless, the hip bones protruding, Sean was mesmerized. He stayed that way, drinking in the sight of his young friend and the mound that protruded from the front of the cotton boxers Elijah was wearing. It was Dom who shook him out of his reverie.
'Oi! Astin. I'd offer a penny for your thoughts but the way you're staring at Lij's shorts makes want to ask for money to forget it!' Said the Brit with a laugh.
Sean blushed and just sneered at Dom, using every ounce of acting skill he possessed to make it seem as if he was merely lost in thought. Dom bought it but as Sean turned to leave the trailer, his eyes met Elijah's and he felt his heart stop for just a moment. He saw understanding in his friend's eyes and joy too. Fear gripped his now fast beating heart and he tossed a goodbye over his shoulder and rushed from the trailer. He didn't listen to the returned farewells as he all but ran towards the transport that would take them back to civilization. He was stopped by the sound of a slamming trailer door and a clipped British accent.
'I say, Sean. Do you have a moment'' Said the cast's almost eldest statesman.
Sean turned to reluctantly face Ian McKellan, jittering on the spot, eager to get away before Elijah could finish dressing and catch him alone.
'Yes Ian. What can I do for you'' He said brusquely.
Sean stood there, dancing from foot to foot, trying not to appear rude as Ian rambled on at length about how Gandalf and Sam related to one another. Sean wasn't really paying attention. He was just nodding and making affirmative noises at seemingly appropriate moments, until Ian finished his ramble and he could get away. He was counting the seconds, wondering how long it would take Lij to dress quickly without arousing suspicion and finally catch up with him. Sean knew that's what his younger friend wanted to do. He knew from the look in his eye as he left the trailer. Sean was terrified.
He groaned inwardly as he heard the slam of another trailer door, a trailer he had recently vacated in a big hurry. The sound of running feet came around the corner of another of the cast trailers and then Sean's peripheral vision caught the glimmer of his raven haired friend. Ian spotted the young man and hollered a greeting. Lij responded but he only had eyes for Sean. Sean could feel those crystal blue orbs burning holes into his head as he ignored the younger actor. Ian rambled on some at Lij, who responded much the same way that Sean had until the penetrating voice of John Rhys-Davies called for Ian's attention. Ian smiled and excused himself leaving the two younger men alone. Sean said his goodbyes and then turned to walk briskly away, without looking at his friend. A hand on his arm stopped him as he was whirled around to face his greatest fear.
The two men gazed at each other for a moment, before Elijah finally spoke and Sean closed his eyes.
'I feel it too, and it's not like it doesn't scare me either you know.' He said, pitching his voice so soft that to Sean it felt like the sweetest caress. Lij continued, 'I've never felt this way about a guy either, but fuck, Sean, I can't go on like this.'
Sean's eyes flew open, shooting anger and fear at his friend.
'Yeah, well at least you're free to explore whatever you feel. I can't!' He said, biting off the words. 'I'm married. To a wonderful woman whom I will love for my whole life. I have a daughter. I don't want to lose that just because all of a sudden I have the hots for one of my male co-stars. I wouldn't give in to temptation if you were a woman. Why should I give in just because you're a man' What kind of a person do you think I am''
Lij reeled, as if Sean had punched him. He didn't hide the hurt but let it burn into his friend. Sean was caught by the pain in those lovely eyes and turned away. He was stopped by a soft, tear filled voice.
'I think you're amazing. And your devotion and love for you family is one of the reasons I love you. I'm sorry I'm fucking up your perfect life, but you're not alone in this. So don't act like a victim. I didn't do anything to you. And I won't do anything to hurt you. But you don't have the right to break me just because you're in pain. I'm in this too.'
Sean sighed, his heart aching and his head ounding, but he couldn't face the young man. He felt lost and whenever he felt that way he needed Christine. So instead of turning and dealing with his problem like the stand up man he was, he just trudged off towards the transport area and joined the growing crowd. He didn't even notice that Lij didn't follow.
~ the next afternoon on the transport ~
It had been a tumultuous night for Sean after he arrived home in a foul mood. He and Christine had fought all night and then he had made the mistake of telling her his feelings for Elijah. It had almost broken them, and still might. Neither had slept much and Sean felt hung over.
He had looked for Elijah on the transport, but didn't see him. He sat next to Billy and he had told him that Lij had left earlier than usual and come to the set with P.J.. Sean took this information in and felt his heart sink. He felt like he was losing two of the most important people in his life, three if you counted Alexandra and four if he counted himself. He sighed and sank into a funk that not even the jovial Scot could rouse him out of. All Sean could think of were the words Christine had spoken to him.
~ earlier that morning at the Astin's New Zealand home ~
Sean watched Christine as she walked back in the door, after dropping their daughter at her morning play group. His head felt two sizes too big and his heart ten sizes too small for what he was feeling. He was afraid of what they would say to each other now that they were completely alone. Anxiously, he followed her into the kitchen as she made a pot of coffee. Neither of them spoke until the hot liquid was steaming gently in their cups. Finally, she looked up at him.
'I have something I need to say, and I don't know how to say it.' She began, and Sean could see the torment in her eyes. It made him feel sick knowing he had put that there. Christine took a sip of her coffee before continuing. 'I have known you for more than 10 years. I have loved you just as long, and I will continue to love you until the day we both part ways and die. We have been through so much together, your family problems, mine, your career struggles, but never infidelity. It's not something I'm prepared for.'
'I haven't touched him. I wouldn't!' Sean said vehemently, interrupting her obviously prepared speech. She silenced him with a flash her lovely eyes. He subsided and let her have her say.
'You haven't physically touched him, and to most people that's what counts. But for me, the thought is almost as bad. You want him so bad you can taste it. You want him so bad I now know that he's been in bed with us, not literally but somewhere in the back of your thoughts. You crave him Sean. And you won't rest until you know. It's like giving something up for Lent; you know you shouldn't have it and that makes you want it all that much more. But as soon as you have your fill, you don't want it anymore.'
Sean watched as she bent her head and tears fell from her eyes into the milky swirl of her drink. Tears overflowed his eyes as well, and he reached for her hand. She allowed him to take it and then turned her tear streaked face to his. He almost couldn't bear the sight of her beautiful face twisted with so much hurt. All his fault too. He wanted to find the words to comfort her, but he stayed silent, respecting her need to vent. Finally, when she had composed herself enough to continue, she took his face in her hands.
'I'm going home with Alexandra for a while. Just a little while, a few weeks. She needs to see her aunts and uncles and grandparents. I need to see them too.' She said, her voice shaking with emotion.