Time in a Bottle: 62 Three Sentence Fics by Lbilover

Originally written for the 2014 Baggins Birthday Celebration: Time in a Bottle, a New Zealand Love Story, in which the theme was Sean/Elijah during filming and promotion of The Lord of the Rings. My contribution was to write a three sentence Sean/Elijah fic for each of the 62 prompts that were provided for inspiration.


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Sword practice:

Billy crowed as he landed a blow on Sean's arm. Focus, damn it, Sean scolded himself, and then an enchanting giggle messed with his concentration and Billy stabbed him, straight in the heart. Death-by-giggle again, thought Sean ruefully, but couldn't regret it.




Elven loom aftermath:

"For a safety hobbit, you're pretty fucking careless," Elijah remarked, gingerly touching the giant lump on Sean's skull.


"'Partly cloudy with a 100% chance of looms falling from the sky' wasn't part of today's weather forecast, Elijah, or I would have worn a helmet, trust me."


But then Elijah replaced finger with lips, and Sean thought that maybe he wouldn't have worn a helmet even if he'd known.




Blood clots:

"Master Frodo can play with my blood clots anytime he wants," Sean says, over the 'eww, Elijah' coming from the grossed out crew. Of course, Master Frodo has carte blanche to play with any part of his Samwise, if he only knew it. But for now, blood clots will have to suffice.




NZ sunrise:

"How lucky are we to see this every morning?" Elijah enthuses to the camera crew, waving his arm at the Wellington harbor and the glorious sunrise beyond. He bounces into the makeup trailer, where Sean greets him with a dawning smile that rivals anything nature has on display outside. How lucky am I to see this every morning? he asks himself.




Homesickness:

It wasn't supposed to work this way. He was supposed to be homesick for LA, for his family and his old life. But here he is, home at last after eighteen months in New Zealand, and he's homesick all right: for Sean.




Exhaustion:

Sometimes the exhaustion is so bone deep that neither of them feels like eating. Instead, they find a sheltered spot away from the set, curl up in each other's arms and fall asleep. It's so like Frodo and Sam that no one thinks anything of it; they simply let sleeping hobbits lie.




In the tattoo parlor:

Sean expected getting a tattoo to be a form of torture, and it was even more painful than he'd been led to believe. But that was nothing compared to the torture of watching Elijah shuck his jeans and pull his shorts down far enough to expose the milky skin of his abdomen and the downy treasure trail leading to delights concealed only by plaid cotton. At the sight Sean nearly whimpered, turned craven, and joined Ali under the table.




Locked out:

The symbolism doesn't escape Sean: sitting outside in the bitter New Zealand night, waiting for a locksmith to arrive and make a key to replace the one Elijah has locked inside his apartment. If only, he muses, that same locksmith could make a key to open the door to Elijah's chilly heart. But that's not how Sams serve their Frodos, by thinking of themselves and their desires, so Sean pays the locksmith, pockets the key, and drives it to the club where Elijah, oblivious, parties on.


Locked in:

"You're drunk, Elijah - you'd better give me the key," Sean says, guiding his giggling, swaying costar up the steps to his front door.


Sean lets them into the darkened apartment, and hardly has the door closed behind them than Elijah has it locked and Sean pushed up hard against it. "Not that drunk, Seanie," he says, and Sean realizes that the key to Elijah's chilly heart had been in his pocket all along.




On Mt. Ruapehu:

It's strange that the most profound acting experience of his life has come on the stark slopes of a volcano. An active volcano, Sean reminds himself, beneath whose stony surface bubbles extraordinary pressure and heat that could erupt at any time. He and Mount Ruapehu, it turns out, have a lot in common.




In Hobbiton:

"I could be happy living here," Elijah mused, gazing out over the green and gold fields of Hobbiton.


"You'd die of boredom in a week, Elwood; there's not a record store in sight," Sean mocked.


But mockery was the final refuge of those who'd already lost the fight but refused to admit it, and Sean in fact believed that Elijah could be happy living in Hobbiton - only he wanted to be the one to live there with him.




At Bag End:

"It sucks that they have to dismantle Bag End when we're all done," Elijah said.


"But Peter said he's going to take it and reconstruct it in his backyard, so don't be too glum, Elijah."


"Maybe we can move in there, Sean," Elijah replied, and then blushed bright red when he realized what he'd said.




At Mavora Lake:

Forcing his body to obey his brain and go into the frigid waters of Mavora Lake is the hard part. Once he's in, floundering around and then letting himself go under is the easy part.


Hasn't he been doing just that, ever since he met Elijah?




What Peter observes:

Knowing the demanding ordeal that awaited them all, Peter tried to choose actors who were not only right for their parts, but could form a fellowship as real and enduring as that of the characters they played. It didn't take long for him to conclude that his method had been a success.


But sometimes, when he watches Elijah and Sean together, their intimate smiles and unconscious touches, he wonders if he did his job too well.




Helicopter rides:

Unlike poor Bean, Sean isn't afraid to ride in helicopters - a good thing given the number of remote locations they have to be flown to - but sometimes he likes to pretend he is.


"Oh god, I don't think we're going to make it over that ridge," he gasps.


"Hey, it'll be all right, Seanie," Elijah soothes, taking Sean's hand in a tight, comforting grasp, and Sean quickly suppresses a guilty smile.




Bungee jumping:

At a certain point Sean got sick and tired of playing Chicken Little-Hobbit. After all, nothing truly disastrous had occurred despite his prognostications of doom, so why the fuck not go bungee jumping? Besides, Elijah was taking a pass, having admitted that he finally met his 'scared shitless' Waterloo in diving head-first off a bridge whilst tethered to a giant bungee cord, and if there's one thing Sean's been looking for, it's opportunities to impress Mr. Frodo with his daring.




Down time: (A/N: Both pizzeria and pizza actually exist)

For two whole glorious days they don't get out of bed except to use the bathroom and answer the knock of the Hell's Pizza delivery boy.


"Lust pizza," Elijah giggles, feeding a recumbent Sean a piece of venison pepperoni topping, "was there ever anything more aptly named?"


Sean chases his pepperoni down with barbecue sauce sucked suggestively from Elijah's thumb, answering him without words.




What Ian M. observes:

Sean Astin and Elijah Wood are resolutely heterosexual: that's what I keep telling the press, and they're more than willing to believe an old British queen like me. And perhaps at first I believed it myself. But when that old British queen, who also happens to be a wizard, discovers he's been mistaken, he can take steps to keep the knowledge secret and keep it safe.




Channeling Frodo and Sam:

"I'm thinking of getting a tattoo of Frodo's stab wound on Weathertop," Elijah tells Sean one day.


"Don't get me wrong, I'm all for channeling our characters, Mr. Frodo, but you do know that that wound never fully healed, right?"


"Maybe that's the reason I want it," Elijah says softly, his eyes on Sean's wedding ring.




Carrying the franchise on his shoulders:

Sean is sometimes the butt of his fellow actors' teasing for his safety concerns, and Elijah has done his fair share of it. But not this time, for Sean's fear that he might let 'the franchise', as he puts it, fall from his shoulders and get hurt is terribly, terribly real. But so is Elijah's trust and faith in Sean's strength to carry him as Sam carried Frodo; no, he will not wear a harness.




Keeping Elijah from biting his nails:

"Elijah, will you please stop biting your nails?"


"Make me, Astin," Elijah retorts, and raises a provocative thumb to his lips.


It's not how Sean meant to stop him, but it's certainly effective - they both agree to that, when they can speak again.




Wellington bar hopping

Dom and Billy introduce Elijah to the concept of pub crawling. In his mind, though, he has another name for it: Sean escaping. But the more bars he visits, the more he realizes that you can run, but you can't hide.




Te Anau snow

The snowflakes are large, fat and wet; they clump in Elijah's hair, cling to his eyebrows and lashes. Viggo, ever the artist, immediately grabs his camera and sets about immortalizing their beloved hobbit on film, while Elijah, ever obliging, willingly models for him. There are times when Sean is jealous of Viggo's Renaissance Man mystique, but this isn't one of them.




What Billy and Dom observe

It isn't until Billy and Dom go their separate way to Fangorn, while Sean and Elijah head to the Emyn Muil, that certain truths about their fellow hobbits reveal themselves and become ridiculously apparent whenever the four of them are together.


"How could we have been so blind?" Dom asks Billy.


"We couldn't see the forest for the Treebeard?" suggests Billy, and ducks and runs.




Jealousy

As far as Sean can tell, Elijah doesn't possess a shred of jealousy. While he wrestles with unworthy feelings of envy in the presence of the tall, lean, athletic Viggo and Orli, Elijah appears indifferent. When Sean shamefacedly reveals his failing to Elijah, Elijah gives him a look that makes his blood start a slow boil and says, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Irish."




Too close

Of course these things happen when filming a movie; Hollywood lore is littered with the detritus of on-set affairs. Sean, as a solidly married man with a child, considers himself immune and misses the warning signs. Christine doesn't, though, and lets him know in no uncertain terms that he's gotten too close to his costar.


Not close enough:

Eyes now open, Sean tries to back off, put a distance between him and Elijah, only to discover that it's an agony as great as Sam must have felt when Frodo sailed away at the end of the book. The anguished look in Elijah's eyes every time Sean evades his touch or declines an invitation only adds to the agony. Finally, reluctantly, Sean is forced to admit that, far from being too close to Elijah, he's not nearly close enough.




Tears of laughter:

Sean is so bloody serious sometimes, always worrying about stuff or sitting with his nose buried in a thousand page book on political history, and when I reach the limit of what I can take, I make it my mission to make him laugh. Of course, I have a selfish motive, too: he looks so fucking attractive when he laughs. It's a bonus when I can get him laughing hard enough to cry, because his tears keep him from seeing the expression in my eyes.




Fellowship:

When the shit hit the fan - and it did, big time - the fallout from the revelation of Sean and Elijah's relationship might have destroyed everything that Peter had created and nurtured among the cast. But instead they closed ranks, stood fast behind their Sam and Frodo. A Fellowship, indeed.




Bendy boy demonstration:

"Wanna see my party trick?" Elijah asks, and without waiting for an answer, proceeds to hook a leg behind his neck, bend his head and take his waiting cock in his mouth.


"Holy shit, I didn't think such a thing was even possible," Sean exclaims.


With a wet pop, Elijah releases his cock; his blue eyes sparkle wickedly as he says, "My, you have led a sheltered life, Seanie."




Fauxhawk:

The level of angst among the cast and crew when Elijah appeared with his fauxhawk should have been laughable, but instead struck Sean as rather sweet. It wasn't long before everyone loved it, though, and it became a kind of good luck ritual to rub a hand along the stiffly gelled ridge while Elijah giggled his adorable giggle. Sean kept his hands to himself, but in the privacy of the bedroom indulged to his heart's content, and not only with his hands.




Dancing lessons:

Sean's bitching and moaning about the weeks spent on dancing lessons that were never used drove Elijah up a wall. Finally he decided to do something about it. "We're going dancing," he informed Sean in a won't-take-no-for-an-answer tone, and that night took him out to the Party Tree, where they danced until the stars faded and the sun came up.




In feet:

As hard as the crew try to take care of the hobbits' feet, Elijah's are usually bloodied by the end of the day. It's the real reason Sean counts and resents every day their prosthetic hobbit-feet are put on without ever being seen on camera. But he can't tell Peter that, so it remains his little secret.




What Viggo observes:

Elijah Wood is without a doubt the most extraordinary person I've ever met, young in years, yes, but possessed of the soul of an ancient to go with his breathtaking Botticelli beauty. He likes older men, that's clear - he flirts outrageously with Ian - and I'd have snapped him up in a heartbeat if I hadn't discovered early on that a ten-year age gap is what he most prefers.




Educating Sean about music:

Elijah doesn't consider himself unintelligent, but he's lacking in formal education, especially compared to Sean with his double college degree from UCLA. So when he discovers what a philistine Sean is about music, he jumps at the chance to do some educating of his own. It's a heady feeling, one he'd love to expand into other, more intimate areas - areas he's pretty sure he knows a lot more about than Sean and would love to be the first to show him.




Costume party:

Sean felt ridiculous in his 18th century costume, complete with white powdered wig and tight satin knee-breeches - damn Elijah for insisting on it, and where the hell was he, anyway?


And then a vision in an ice blue silk gown came tripping towards him, blue eyes flashing, long dark tresses framing an oh-so-familiar yet completely transformed face.


Sean took her proffered hand, covered in a white kid glove, bowed gallantly low over it, and asked in a husky voice, "May I have this dance, Miss Wood?"




Pranks:

When the Tig prank starts, Sean is a little guilty about how he, Dom and Billy are winding Elijah up. Half a dozen different times he's tempted to let the cat out of the bag and confess, but the penalties Dom and Billy devise for Elijah's apocryphal rule breaking make it impossible. Not even the saintliest person, and Sean is definitely no saint, would deny himself the sight of an enchanting, giggling Elijah removing various bits of his clothing.




First time:

Their first time was in a hotel in Paris, where they were attending the premiere of Two Towers. It should have felt vaguely seedy, having hotel sex, even in the City of Light - but it didn't. What it felt was profound, life-altering and beautiful beyond description: the merging of two souls destined to be together.


Last time:

The necessity of staying apart until the divorce was final was clear to both of them, but that didn't make it any easier, especially on Elijah. In the aftermath of their lovemaking he uncharacteristically clung to Sean and said, "Sean, I'm scared - what if this is our last time?" Sean took his face between his hands, looked deep into his eyes and said, "It is our last time: the last time we'll ever have to be apart."




The Safety Hobbit acts out:

"This simply isn't acceptable, Peter; Elijah is going to get hurt," a furious Sean told their director, before stalking off the set.


"Peter, let me talk to him," Elijah said, and ran after his costar.


Whatever went on between them, Sean returned a changed man, and voiced no objection as they strapped Elijah into a harness for the Watcher in the Water scene.




Getting in character:

My approach to acting couldn't be more different from Sean's. He opens himself to emotion in a way that amazes and frankly scares me. But it's the reason Sam can break down into heart-rending sobs while Frodo stands there unmoving, struggling to release a single tear.


Getting out of character:

My approach to acting couldn't be more different from Elijah's. Sometimes I frankly envy him for how easily he seems to shed Frodo's skin at the end of the day and become himself again. Me, I carry Sam with me everywhere, and sometimes I wish I knew how to quit him and the love he feels for Frodo.




Role playing:

Elijah is adamantly opposed to role playing Frodo and Sam: "We're not them, Sean, and it's not healthy to pretend we are, not when we're in the middle of filming."


"So, who do you want to role play - Gollum and Faramir?" Sean jokes.


When he's done giggling, Elijah says, "How about we role play ourselves, Sean, 'cause right now I don't want imagine myself making love to anyone but you."




Filming The Long and Short of It: the AD's perspective:

Staying still is hard for Sean, but this directing gig gives him the chance to bounce exuberantly from spot to spot, from camera to actors to props and back again. He looks utterly adorable in his baseball cap, red hoodie and jacket, but it's the glow of happiness that makes him truly beautiful in my eyes. He's totally in his element, and I can see that, as much gratification as he gets from acting, behind a camera is where he's born to be.




Drunken phone call:

The phone rouses Sean from the depths of sleep; he murmurs "I'll get it" to Christine and gropes for the receiver.


"Sh-Sheanie, can you come and get me - 'm at the harbor," slurs a voice almost unrecognizable as Elijah's.


Shit, he's drunk, Sean thinks in a panic, and says, "Stay put, I'll be right there," before rolling out of bed, avoiding Christine's puzzled gaze.


Queenstown moonlight:


He finds Elijah leaning over a railing, being sick into the dark waters of the harbor. He looks pitifully at Sean when he's done, the moonlight revealing the silvery tracks of tears on his cheeks as if they were Dwarf-runes on the doors to Moria. "'m sorry," he whispers, but Sean makes no reply, only sweeps him into his arms and shelters him from the moonlight and the secret it has betrayed.




Keeping each other warm:

As costumes go, it could be worse. The Elven cloaks are made of the finest New Zealand wool and provide a welcome barrier against the biting cold. They are also voluminous enough to hide wandering hobbit-hands as Sean and Elijah 'keep each other warm'.




Finding alone time together:

It became necessary to devise a plan or they'd never find time alone together, Sean and Elijah concluded. If they snuck away from the set together on a regular basis it would definitely raise red flags with the others, so they never did, but spaced their departures well apart and went in different directions.


They thought themselves so clever, but as a matter of fact, they didn't fool a soul.




Drowning sorrows:

"Come with me," Elijah tells Billy and Dom, and takes off running toward the bridge, where he mimes pulling something from the inside of his jacket and dropping it into the Hutt River below.


"Doodle, what the fuck are ye doing?" Billy demands.


"Drowning my sorrows," Elijah says triumphantly, "because I don't need them anymore: you guys, Sean loves me."




Running lines:

With so much challenging dialogue to learn, not to mention the ever-present shadow of Tolkien looming over them, Sean and Elijah spend a lot of time running lines. They want to do justice to the Professor as well as Peter, Fran and Philippa. But it also gives them a chance to say some things as Frodo and Sam that they can't say as themselves.




Sean keeps a diary:

Dear Diary,

I met my Frodo today for the first time, and he made me forget that I'm a married man. Dear god, what am I going to do? This wasn't supposed to happen.


Elijah keeps a diary:

Dear Diary,

I met my Samwise today for the first time, and I think I've fallen in love. But guess what, Diary? It turns out he's a married man - I am so fucked.




Battling imaginary spiders in his sleep:

Elijah startles awake when something glances painfully against his head; it's Sean, who is fast asleep and flailing in the grip of a nightmare. He grabs Sean's wrists, pinions them, and then straddles Sean and says repeatedly, "Shh, Sean, shh, it's okay, it's okay," until he's awake and aware.


"I dreamed I was caught in Shelob's web and couldn't move," Sean says, and then he huffs a laugh and adds, "And now I'm caught in your web, Elijah, but that's not a nightmare, it's an impossible dream come true."




Elijah can fall asleep anywhere:

There's something endearingly childlike about Elijah's ability to fall asleep anywhere in an instant. I can't tell you how many times I've turned my head to talk to him, only to find him lost to this world. But there's nothing in the least childlike about Elijah's slow smile when he blinks awake a few minutes later and discovers me watching him.




Sean conscious about his weight:

Sometimes I wish Sean could see himself through my eyes - no wait, not sometimes, all the time. I get that for him his self-esteem is almost literally tied to his waistline, but he's so much more than the pounds he carries. Convincing him of that fact might seem like a hopeless case, but then so did getting the Ring to Mount Doom, and Frodo managed - can I do any less for my Samwise?




Elijah's cloves:

Cloves aren't that common among smokers, at least the ones I've known. They have an unusual scent, impossible to mistake. Which may explain why, whenever I smell it, I can feel an erection coming on.




Sean always has his nose in a book:

"I'm thinking about becoming a book," announces Elijah out of the blue.


That grabs Sean's attention, and he looks up from The People's History of the United States and remarks, "Did you just say you're thinking about becoming a book?"


"Yeah, because you seem to find them a lot more fascinating than me," Elijah grouses, and Sean, laughing, shuts his book and demonstrates, to Elijah's ultimate satisfaction, that he finds the pages of his costar pretty fascinating reading, too.




Watching each other's films on DVD

"Not Icebreaker, anything but Icebreaker, it totally sucks."


"Listen, Astin, if I had to suffer through Flipper, you can bloody well watch Icebreaker with me," Elijah replies, putting the DVD in the player and punching 'Play'.


He doesn't tell Sean that he's already seen Icebreaker three times, and yeah, maybe it does totally suck, but it stars Sean Astin in a form-fitting red ski suit, and that alone makes it worth watching a dozen times at least.




Sean's concern about Elijah's fascination with Ian

Elijah's relationship with any of our cast mates is none of my business, but I could wish that he wasn't so taken with Ian. Not that I think anything would happen between them, Ian is far too wise to allow it, but that doesn't mean Elijah can't be hurt. Selfishly, if he is, I want to be the one who's there to pick up the pieces.




Elijah hasn't read Lord of the Rings

Fans and interviewers rag on me all the time about the fact that I haven't read The Lord of the Rings. But I will someday, I swear. To my and Sean's kids.




Celebrating Elijah's 18th 19th birthday [Elijah wasn't in NZ when he turned 18]

A/N: A recent article in the NYT about an Internet power couple said that they met when she was 18 and he was 28, but he waited to court her until she was 19, feeling that somehow that extra year was significant.


Sean finds it obscurely comforting that Elijah is turning nineteen, which is weird considering that eighteen is more or less equivalent to a hobbit's coming of age at thirty-three. But somehow that extra year makes a big difference to Sean, and he wonders why. Then Elijah looks up from the birthday cake he's cutting under the food tent and smiles that certain smile at him, and Sean understands exactly why.




Their first meeting with Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson has to be one of the most laid-back guys in the world, but Sean can detect a certain tension in their director as he and Elijah sit down with him for their first meeting. No doubt, Sean thinks, he's wondering if his Frodo and Sam will hit it off or if the next year will turn out to be a nightmare of clashing personalities and egos. Elijah catches Sean's eye, gives a slight wink, and Sean knows that he is thinking what Sean is, that if Peter had been in the lobby of the Hotel Sofitel on a certain August afternoon, he wouldn't have a shred of doubt.




Lyrics to 'Time in a Bottle' by Jim Croce

We traveled a long and hard road, Elijah and I, over the four years that Rings filming lasted. Like our fictional counterparts, it took every iota of courage, strength and, yes, hope that we possessed to emerge at the end triumphant, professionally and personally. Elijah likes to make fun of my taste in music, but now, as we stand on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theater, waiting to see if Return makes Oscar history, I can only look at my Frodo and be reminded of what Jim Croce sang: I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with.


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