Authors: poicale and trueriver
Fandom: The Charioteer
Notes: our Sunday Tea and Fic Challenge, dedicated to Lorie...time limit 60 minutes, prompt "Laurie writes Fanfic"...oh - and Lorie? we're still waiting for yours ;)
“What are you working on, Spud?” Ralph’s eyes roved keenly across the scattered papers on the desk. Laurie hurriedly gathered together some loose sheets, blushing faintly.
“It’s just, well, a kind of short story I suppose… not your sort of thing. Just gave me something to do while you were away.”
“I’d be happy to look it over for you, Spud,” Ralph smiled charmingly, “if you’d like that.” The sun slanted into the room, on a warm July morning, gleaming golden lights on Ralph’s hair, making his eyes sparkle with intensity, and reminding Laurie of the night before.
It was wonderful to have Ralph home. Laurie had been working hard at his writing while Ralph was away, on an idea inspired by the work of one of his Oxford professors. Perhaps he could show it to Ralph; he would hardly guess, after all.
“Well, if you really want to. It’s rather rot.”
“Surely not, Spud. You sat there all last evening gazing into space and then scribbling furiously. I thought you’d be more interested in the fact I’d come home.” He raised an eyebrow, a glance which communicated much, and that Laurie had learned, invariably led to the bedroom sooner or later. “The hero must be pretty special.” He commented with his perceptive smile.
“He is.” Laurie thought with affection about the last great Captain of the West, tousled and stern, with the beginnings of a beard, hair grimed with dirt, which still shone golden in the sun. He was there at the last defence of Gondor and Rohan, to challenge the Black Gate and the might of Mordor. His writing had left him in a fever, excited and breathless, night after night. Sometimes he had even forgotten all about Ralph’s absence. Last evening, he had finally finished, having brought the men through darkness and fire to a new day. He had laid down his pen with a deep satisfaction, not unmixed with the anticipation of Ralph’s homecoming.
Laurie handed over the sheaf of papers, immediately regretting it.
“Don’t laugh,” he muttered awkwardly, “I told you, it’s nothing.” He twisted in sudden embarrassment, “Oh, and the names don’t mean anything either.”
Ralyonir, for the Lord’s sake, Laurie was furious with himself, as he made his hurried retreat to the kitchen. No room for doubt there; he tugged open the tea caddy, cascading tealeaves across the floor.
To hell with it, he thought, blushing to the roots of his hair, as he proceeded to burn his fingers on the furiously boiling kettle. Well, he had to base the hero on someone. Then he remembered how Ralyonir had found Lauriden among the wounded, and brought him safely to Rivendell, tending to him and healing all hurts. Lauriden had woken eventually to the fragrance of athelas, like the scent of orchards. He had looked up into the grave tenderness of Ralyonair’s eyes, blue as the sky. Stupid, he told himself, as milk slopped across the afternoon teacloth. That’ll teach you to stop being a bloody schoolboy after all these years.
Ralph’s face gave nothing away as he studied the pages, a slight frown marking his brow. Laurie sat in an agony of waiting, pretending unconcern, pouring the tea unsteadily so it splashed into the saucer.
Finally Ralph looked up, smiling broadly. Laurie had been anxiously scanning his face, now and then glancing away so as not to be caught looking. He met Ralph’s eye now with seeming unconcern as he casually handed him his teacup.
“I told you it was rubbish.”
“It’s a romantic idea, Spuddy,” Ralph took the tea and drank calmly, “writing your own scenarios into someone else’s novel.” He was quick to notice and soften Laurie’s disappointment.
“Well written, though. Lauriden’s a nice character,” he smiled gently, setting down his cup. “I’m glad Ralyonir went back for him.”
As he handed back the papers, their hands touched, and Laurie laughed into Ralph’s eyes.
“Ralyonir,” Laurie murmured later, smiling privately as he remembered. He was very tired now, neither had slept much the night before, and the lovemaking had been strenuous. There had been no need to make the bed, in any case, they had returned to it after tea.
“It was a good piece of work, Spud.” Ralph kissed Laurie’s neck, his words pulling Laurie back from the brink of sleep, filling him with deep and complete happiness.
“I’m glad you like it really, Ralph. You know it was about you anyway…” His reserve broken down, he was able to confess it now. He yawned. “But you don’t think the idea will catch on?”
“In about fifty years, I would think.” Ralph pulled Laurie securely back into his arm and closed his eyes. “I must say, I don’t know what possessed Lauriden to follow Ralyonir in the first place; he was safe enough where he was.”
“He would follow him anywhere. Ralyonir had great courage, you see…” Laurie’s voice began to soften and drift away, “…courage of the heart, you might say…” and then he was sleeping.
“Why do I have pointed ears?”
“What?” Laurie looked up from the newspaper to see Ralph standing next to the writing desk holding a piece of paper.
“In this story, I have pointed ears.”
“It’s not you,” Laurie said quickly as he felt his face get hot.
“Well, it’s not my name but the description certainly fits, with the exception of the ears.”
“I’m sure loads of people fit the same description,” Laurie protested.
“A tall, lean blond who is hopelessly enamored of a man with chestnut colored hair,” Ralph raised an eyebrow pointedly, “How many people does that description fit?”
“I…it could fit many…several, at least.”
Ralph looked back down at the paper, “Where’s the next page?”
“The next page? The last line of this is ‘His tongue trailed down the smooth chest of the elf before.’ Obviously his tongue ends up somewhere. I’d be interested in knowing where.”
“You’d,” Laurie struggled to take a breath. Hearing Ralph read those words had flooded his whole body with heat. “It’s under the writing pad.” Laurie’s voice broke and he bit his lip, “I…honestly, I’d hid that. I thought I had.”
Ralph’s mouth quirked up, “I found this crumpled in the bin.”
Laurie cursed under his breath. He’d been frustrated with how the story had been going – he’d rewritten that page and he’d just crumpled and tossed it. Next time, he made a mental note, he’d burn them. Ralph, meanwhile, had retrieved the whole story, all seven pages, from under the writing pad.
“You’re really going to read it?” Laurie asked with disbelief.
“I always said you were a good writer. All those letters you wrote me when I was away, you always made events come alive.” Ralph smiled fondly, leaning down and pressing a kiss against Laurie’s forehead, before sitting down in the other armchair.
“You think it’s good?”
“Well, I’m not certain about this elf nonsense, but the rest of it hangs together fairly well…of course it’s mostly sex on the page I found, but the dialogue seems realistic.”
Laurie groaned with mortification.
“In fact, I think I recognize some things you say. Is this semiautobiographical?”
“Ralph, just…oh, fine, read the whole thing, I don’t care.” Laurie stood, walking quickly to the kitchen. His face felt so hot he considered sticking it in the icebox to cool it off. He heard Patch’s nails click on the floor. “Your daddy is mean.”
“I can hear you! And I might not act out page three if you’re not nice to me!” Ralph called from the parlor.
Laurie tried to think what was on page three and felt a flood of arousal when he remembered. “Daddy is the best daddy ever, isn’t he, Patch?” Laurie made sure to raise his voice, so Ralph was sure to hear him. He heard Ralph’s answering laugh as he put the kettle on. He puttered around, waiting for the water to boil feeling more anxious by the minute – especially when he remembered what was on page five. Alec had told him about that trick. He chewed his lip nervously as he heard Ralph’s footsteps. He turned, wiping down the counter to avoid making eye contact. He felt the heat of Ralph’s body against his back.
“You liked it?” Laurie was proud of the fact his voice hadn’t cracked.
“Mmm,” Ralph kissed the spot right under his ear, “It’s quite inspirational. Come upstairs with me, so we can reenact it.”
“We can’t do it all – my knee—”
“Yes, yes, and I don’t have the ears.”
“Will you stop with the ears?”
“Spuddy, come upstairs, and I’ll do my best to make your fantasy come to life.”