Fandom: Celebrity RPS
Pairing: Orlando Bloom/Sean Bean
Challenge: AU Orlibean. Sean is hired to kidnap Orlando who he assumes is a spoiled rich kid who turns out to be anything but, when the ransom isn't paid the order comes down for Sean to kill him. It's a race against time to get them both to safety. Written for amygirl's request at the_challenger.
Summary: Sean's little brother has a taste for the ponies but no talent when it comes to choosing winners, and owes a local gangster a lot more money than he can come up with. Sean agrees to do an "easy job" in payment of the debt -- kidnapping a spoiled young punk named Bloom and hanging on to him while the gangster gets a ransom from the lad's family. It should've been a simple job, but then things started to get complicated.
Disclaimer: I don't own anyone you recognize. I know nothing about their social lives or sexual activities, more's the pity. This is fiction, period. It is done as a labor of love and I make no money from it.
Previous Chapters: One, Two, Three, Four, Five
Sean woke up around dawn to the sound of a couple of birds shrieking at each other outside the bedroom window. The light in the room was dim and hazy, as though it were clouded over outside or even foggy. His right half was just about chilly enough to bear that out, but his left side was toasty to the point of sweating.
He turned his head and squinted to the left. Orlando's face was burrowed into his pillow with only the dark, messy waves of his hair showing. There was barely a handspan of space between them, a closed-off bubble of warm air under the covers where their shared body heat had collected.
One of Orlando's hands was burrowed under Sean's back and one leg had slid underneath one of Sean's and hooked around it just enough to give him the sensation of being locked into bed.
Not that he was, of course -- he could get out whenever he liked -- but the gesture made his lips quirk in a half-smile anyway.
He raised his leg up and off of Orlando's and rolled away from the hand. Before he could get up, though, Orlando startled awake and gasped, then flailed until he found Sean's arm and hung on with both hands. They both froze for a few moments, then Orlando jerked his hands away and babbled, "Sorry, I'm sorry, I just-- I was dreaming and...." He trailed off, sounding unhappy and embarassed and turned away, his head ducked down between his shoulders.
"It's all right, lad, don't fret." Sean gave him an awkward pat on the back, then a rub. His sleep-warmed skin was smooth and inviting to his fingertips but Sean made himself pull his hand away slowly. Either sudden moves or perceptible perving were likely to frighten the boy and Sean didn't want to add to his troubles. "I don't blame yeh for being jumpy -- anyone would be. It's all right."
Orlando bit his lip and wrapped his arms around his drawn-up knees, a position Sean had come to recognize as expressing fear or nervousness. "Do you really think so?" he asked. "I mean, it might not be up to you. I believe that you wouldn't do anything but the other man who was here last night, or someone else who works for your employer -- I think they would. And I know my father isn't going to pay what they want."
Sean clenched his jaw and stared out the window at the gloomy day. He'd been feeling well enough when he'd woken up but now all their troubles came rushing back to thump him.
He saw no use in lying and said, "You're right, they would. They'd kill yeh if he said and eat a sandwich while burying the body. And likely do more before...."
Sean trailed off and his eyes unfocused while his brain went scurrying down a path it'd begun last night hadn't followed to the end. Donny was the sort who didn't much care if a lass were willing and Sean had no doubt he'd do the same to Orlando if he had a chance, and claim that he weren't no pansy-boy so long as he was the one doing the fucking. The thought made him want to snarl but there was something else to it, something that'd been niggling at the back of his mind.
There -- last night, Donny'd had fun frightening Orlando, trying to get him to believe that Sean would be the one doing the raping, and jeering that Orlando would enjoy it. He'd known that Orlando was gay. Hadn't he? Sean frowned and thought.
Orlando'd said that Donny had said that Sean Bean was gay too, which meant he'd been pretty damn sure that Orlando himself was gay. It hadn't been just random nastiness -- he'd known. Which meant Merriwether'd known.
So why hadn't he told Sean? All Sean had been given was Orlando's name and a blurry photo that looked like it'd been taken with a camera phone through a car window, and his address. Sean had had to go following the lad about and find out where he went and what he did, and had discovered his fondness for gay clubs and bars on his own. If Merriwether'd known then why hadn't he passed that on when he'd given Sean the job?
He'd had more information about the lad than he'd shared. What else had he known, then?
And what more had Sean not known about this godforsaken job?
It was like a neat little puzzle in his head had suddenly unfolded and become much larger, more complex and nastier than he'd ever imagined. What if this wasn't just a kidnapping? What if Orlando weren't just some random rich twit Jack Merriwether'd decided could bring him some cash? Orlando had said it himself -- his father would like nothing better than to get rid of his troublesome and embarassing son.
What if the whole kidnapping deal were just stage dress to disguise a hired murder, with Sean set up to take the blame for it? That'd also explain just why Merriwether'd been so eager to farm out this particular job to some amateur -- someone who had no criminal record, who had no friends in Merriwether's employ, who'd never been connected with him before in any way -- rather than having one of his own bully-boys do it.
"Sean?" Orlando's voice sounded hesitant and a slowly searching hand touched his wrist in a bare brush of fingertips. "Are you all right?"
"No," he said bluntly. "I'm not." He stared at Orlando's slender, curled-up body and his still-muffled face and spat out a curse. "Bugger it all. I quit." He reached out and yanked the coiled scarf up off of Orlando's face, then tilted the boy's chin up with the back of one hand and forced him to look, eye-to-eye.
He had brown eyes, large and soft. Gorgeous.
"Morning," he said gruffly. "M'name's Sean Bean. Good to meet you."
Orlando stared in shock, then gave him a shy grin. Sean could see his eyes moving back and forth as he searched Sean's face, then swept a good look down his bare torso to his rumpled boxers, then took a quick glance around the room before returning to Sean. "How do you do?" he asked, still smiling. He held out his hand.
Sean took it and squeezed, careful not to use too much pressure, then gave the hand a yank and tugged the lad into his arms for a rough hug. But only for a moment.
"We're leaving," he said, then stood up and headed for his clothes. "Get dressed. We can get something to eat later when we're away from this place but I can't rest easy here anymore. We have to get away and think what to do because this is too twisted to trust to hopes and crossed fingers."
A glance over his shoulder saw Orlando nodding. Sean looked away and focused his thoughts on getting into his clothes as quickly as possible, and away from the nearly-naked young man dressing behind his back.
An hour and change later, the two of them were sitting in Sean's car, under a tree in a shadowed corner of a car park. Sean had pulled up to a McDonald's window and bought each of them a huge cup of coffee and a sack of breakfast sandwiches, then driven off and found this grungy, out-of-the-way place to stop.
Sean and his brother'd called these things "grease butties" when they were teenagers but they were hot and fast and filling -- good enough. They could find a proper restaurant and have a decent meal later, if they had a later.
He and Orlando were far enough away from the cottage -- and not in the direction of Sheffield -- that Sean felt comfortable sitting for a while. They needed to relax and eat and get their bearings, talk about some things and figure out what should happen next. It wasn't going to be a comfortable conversation and Sean wasn't looking forward to it at all but it couldn't be put off for much longer.
Sean swallowed a bite, then said, "So, we need to think on what to do now."
"We can go home -- my home," Orlando said, an odd combination of excitement and reluctance in his voice. "We can explain to my parents what happened and that you took care of me and wouldn't let them hurt me or cut my finger off or anything. Or maybe we should go to the police first and explain to them? It'd be good if you walked in on your own, wouldn't it? I could explain to my parents after and my family would help you -- I don't want you to go to prison after you protected me."
Sean glanced over at him, then looked away. "It might not be that easy," he said slowly, trying to figure out how to say what had to be said. "I was thinking, about what Donny said to you, and some other things, and I don't think this is as simple as it seems."
When Orlando shot him a curious glance, Sean explained his line of thought. He kept his gaze focused straight ahead, out through the windshield at an ad for washing powder plastered on some shop's back wall. When he'd finished, he forced himself to look at Orlando and said, "I know this is a terrible thing to ask, but I have to ask it -- do you think, is there any possibility at all, that it's your da trying to be rid of you?"
Orlando opened and closed his mouth several times, like a landed fish gasping for air. His eyes were round and wondering and bleak. He shook his head in slow jerks, but what he said was, "I... I think... I think he could have."
He dropped his sandwich and rubbed his eyes hard with the heels of his hands. He didn't seem to be breathing at all for a few seconds, then he gasped in a loud breath, over and over. Sean realized the lad was trying very hard not to cry and looked away to give him some privacy. He took a bite of his sandwich and chewed without tasting it.
Orlando couldn't believe it but he had to believe it and his gut was clenching and he felt like he was about to vomit up his sandwich. He'd known his father was disappointed in him and wished he were different, he'd even thought that his father probably hated him, but he'd never imagined that his own father might actually try to have him killed to make way for his cousin. His normal, straight, about-to-have-a-baby-boy cousin.
He wondered if his mother knew and whether she would have done anything about it if she had.
The mental image of her standing to one side, pretending not to notice while some hired killer cut his throat sent him scrambling for the door latch. He ran the few steps over to a corner where a filthy dumpster sat against a stained brick wall and knelt down just in time to give his breakfast up to the pavement.
Orlando heard a car door opening behind him and approaching footsteps, then a handful of paper was thrust into his line of vision. He took it with a croaked thanks and wiped his mouth, then his eyes.
By the time he pulled himself back up to his feet, Sean was picking up scattered sandwiches and pieces that'd fallen off Orlando's lap when he'd bolted from the car. He tossed a couple still wrapped in their paper onto the seat on Orlando's side and stuffed the trash into the white paper bag. "Here," he said, holding the open bag toward Orlando.
Orlando nodded and stuffed the crumpled serviettes into the bag. Sean tossed it into the dumpster.
"You all right, then?" He let his eyes meet Orlando's for just a moment before looking away, one hand pushing through his short blond hair, the very picture of a male uncomfortable with strong emotion. Except Orlando remembered that hug this morning, and how Sean had let him hang on and comforted him when he'd woken up in a panic, and the burst of anger when he'd told him what that thug had said last night.
The softer feelings were in there, Orlando knew it. Sean didn't let them show often, didn't take them out and hold them up for people to look at, but he acted on them and to Orlando that was more important. He knew plenty of people who knew all the right things to say, who could take all the proper and expected feelings out and lay them across their faces like a series of socially approved masks, each for its own occasion. There were few enough people, though, who actually felt anything deeper than "Do what I say," or "Make me look good."
At least when he hooked up with someone at a bar or a club, he could have a few minutes of serious emotion, something strong and expressed honestly, with no masks and no bullshit.
Sean might not be one to express himself freely, to say loving words out loud, but it was clear to Orlando what he felt because he was willing to act on his feelings. It would've been easy for Sean to just go along with whatever his boss wanted, to pay off his brother's debt and go back to his life the way he obviously wanted. Or even to just leave Orlando at the cottage for the thugs to find, if he wanted to get out of the situation himself. The fact that he'd refused to obey his boss, that he'd stuck around as long as he had, that he'd taken Orlando with him when he'd left -- all that made it as clear as anything that he had feelings for Orlando. He had to, it was the only thing that made sense and Orlando hung on to that belief as hard as he could because it looked like his family -- his parents, his own father -- had cut him off and cast him out and arranged for him to die and Sean was the only thing he had to cling to just then.
He had to believe that Sean cared for him, that he was a man of strong feelings and decisive actions.
Just the fact that he'd gotten into this situation in the first place should be enough to convince anyone, shouldn't it? His brother had done something Orlando privately thought was rather stupid, although he'd never say so to Sean, and there was Sean doing something he obviously wasn't comfortable with to help him out and clean up a mess someone he cared for had made.
He'd made his own life harder and more complicated because he cared for his brother and it wasn't in his nature to see someone he cared for in trouble and not try to help them out. He was making his life just as hard and just as complicated for Orlando and that had to mean he cared for Orlando too. It did, didn't it?
Orlando needed it to be true, and so he believed it. He nodded to himself and got back into the car.
Next Chapter: Chapter Seven