Summary: discovery - five years too late
Notes: for lotrpschallenge challenge #17
Disclaimer: I know nothing, own nothing, have nothing.
Feedback: please <3
There were pages and pages and pages. He could barely read the handwriting but he didn't need to - the meaning was clear. Brow knitted, he sat back and curled his legs up beneath him, holding the notebook in his lap and flipping through page after page - memory after memory. They weren't his. Of course he remembered most of the moments that went with the pictures and he could make out the dates. Orlando remembered each moment, but he had never looked at them like this.
Some of the pictures seemed... intimate. They were of him.
The tip of his elf ear; his face when he was smiling; his hands gesturing, another of them holding an arrow, a book, covering his mouth; a picture of him sleeping, a picture of him passed out on a couch with a pyramid of cans on the table. Him as Legolas, him at a premiere or two. The first time Orlando had seen him, the last time. There were a few of him posing, or trying to hide, obviously aware of the camera-wielding Hobbit.
There were pictures of them together. A weird angle – they had been holding the camera away from them, they had been laughing so hard they had nearly dropped the camera; a snapshot of them eating together in costume, a picnic at one of the locations in New Zealand; cut outs from magazines showing them together at premieres. Together.
His throat felt tight and Orlando searched the pages for more meaning. It was a coincidence, surely there were other notebooks like this one. One for him, one for Billy, one for Viggo and Ian and Sean and Elijah. It wasn't just him - it couldn't be just him.
From what he could make out of the scratchy handwriting, there were accounts of what happened in each picture, of the day that surrounded it... but that made up only a small portion of each page. There were long and drawn out ramblings, he could just barely make it out. Longing, condemnation, frustration, friendship, contentment, joy.
More pages, more pictures. A scrap of paper he had written a note on during a premiere; the napkin that he had wiped his bloody nose with after he'd been knocked across a club. The sticker off the beer they always drank, slapped onto one of the pages.
The truth hit him like a ton of bricks. There were no other books like this - there was nothing else in the world that was just like this. Nothing so plain and so subtle all at once. Nothing that was a silent and screaming a declaration of love. Five years. Five long years, they had spent time together, visited each other. Five years - he had never known. No one had ever said a word and Orlando had never known. Gently he traced his calloused fingertips over one of the pictures of them together.
Had it hurt? It must have hurt. No one could love so much and keep it all hidden and not hurt, could they? What would things be like if he had told Orlando? How different would his life be if he had just known?
The gentle voice brought him out of his daze and quickly he shut the book. "I'll be there in a minute."
He wiped his eyes with a trembling hand, then found a blank page in the back of the book. Orlando grabbed a pen off the table in front of him, jotting down a quick few lines before he got up and rested the book on the glass table. A deep breath brought him his composure and he put a smile on his face as he walked into the front room. Kate smiled back at him and gave his cheek a kiss.
"Are you ready to go?"
"Yeah, I am."
"Good, now let's go or he's going to leave without us."
Dominic got home at nine fifteen that evening. He walked into his living room and sat down on his couch. He picked up a pen off the table and recovered an envelope of recently developed pictures from his pocket. He flipped open his notebook to the next clean page - the pictures fell numbly from his fingertips. Orlando's face smiled up at him from the floor, shot glass raised in a toast.