After they learn to surf, surfing as metaphor for life seems too easy. Too easy to not make the comforting comparison when someone's having an emotional wipe-out. Too easy not to think about a good day's filming as a great wave, caught and ridden back to the shore.
Too easy, full stop.
It's Dom's way to make those jokes when Orlando's broken another rib or Billy's had a bad day; quirk his mouth up at the corner and fire off something sarcastic and heavy-handed about getting back on the board and trying again. It makes them laugh. That's what Dom does, makes people laugh. If he can do it with double entendres about waves and boards and leashes, then he's going to.
Surfing makes him fearless. Makes them all fearless. When thousands of pounds of water are crashing all about your head and you're not sure you're going to make it back up to the surface, that teaches you a lot about fear. Orlando likes to pretend that he's always been fearless, and Dom thinks that he probably has, to some end – but the surfing, the feel of flying on the water, seals the deal for all of them.
Lack of fear makes the bad jokes easier, too, for what it's worth to Dom – a solid punch from Viggo is nothing compared to hitting the ocean face first.
Which is why, when Dom wakes up one morning and thinks, Dear sweet Lord – I think I'm in love with Billy, he doesn't recognize the feeling that floods his chest. He feels trapped under waves that he can't escape, like he's gotten knocked a good one by his board, and he's absolutely bloody petrified. He's fearless, but there is mortal terror roiling underneath his skin, and he doesn't understand it at all.
He doesn't understand where this whole in love thing came from, except that maybe it's been under his skin and at the back of his brain for months now, he doesn't understand where this fear thing came from, and he certainly doesn't understand how in the bloody hell they have anything to do with one another.
But they do, and Dom knows it. He just can't find a surfing metaphor to fucking explain it.
He tries to talk to Orlando about it. Dom's feet are pasted on, and he's sitting in the makeup trailer while the girls glue Orli's ears to his head. "Aliens abducted me last night, Orli," Dom says. "I woke up thinking I was in love with Billy. Seriously in love."
"There's no such thing as aliens," Orlando says placidly, turning his head so the girl can get to the back of his neck. "Maybe a meteor fell in your backyard and it's warping your brain. Like kryptonite."
"You're a bloody moron," Dom says. "And stop reading Lij's comic books. They're warping your brain. More than it was warped already. It's not kryptonite, wanker." And he gets up and stomps out of the trailer as indignantly as he can manage – which, in latex hobbit feet, is unfortunately not particularly indignantly. Orlando's voice drifts back to him from the open trailer door.
"So maybe you're in love with him." Dom can hear the mockery in it, but he can hear a hint of sincerity, as well. So maybe I am, Dom thinks, and he shudders, because what do you do when you're in love with your best mate?
He can obsess constantly about it, is apparently the answer to that question. He thinks about it so constantly that he mucks up his lines and forces 16 takes of one scene before he gets it right. Then he thinks about it so much that he dumps an entire glass of apple juice into said best mate's lap at lunch. After that, thinking about it means Dom's trapped, staring at his best mate's damp, sticky crotch as Billy berates him for being so goddamned clumsy (his words say angry but his voice says come lick this off to Dom's utterly demented brain) and there's a lump in his throat and he upends at least two chairs in his haste to escape to somewhere, anywhere, that doesn't feature Billy Boyd's wet pants.
He runs into PJ as he flees the scene, and PJ tells him he looks haggard, has he been sleeping alright, anybody who's tired wouldn't have had a good morning, it'll all be fine. Dom tries to nod and smile agreeably and agree that he's just tired, not head over heels in love with Billy, but all that comes out is something strangled. PJ stares at him strangely. Dom bolts. He hides behind one of the crew trailers until someone comes to drag him back to the set when the break's done.
He tries to talk to Orlando again after lunch, but it's even less good to talk to Orli when he's all elf-placid and stone-faced than when he's just normal Orli-placid. Dom turns his head in a break between takes and hisses at him. "It's not like I was struck by lightning or anything."
Orlando crooks an eyebrow at him.
"It's not," Dom insists. "It's like when you can't remember your grandmother's phone number but you know you know it, somewhere. And all of a sudden you're drinking with your mates, not thinking about your gran at all, and then you're writing her number down on a bar napkin so you won't forget it again because it's suddenly surfaced in your thoughts."
"You're comparing your feelings for Billy to your gran's phone number," Orli points out. Viggo snickers at this. Orlando cracks his Legolas mask with a grin.
"I hate you both," Dom says.
They finish the day's work without any more incidents stemming from or relating to Dom's sudden distraction. PJ tells him to go home and sleep. Instead, finally out of makeup and costume, he steals a beer from one of the camera guys and collapses against the side of the crew trailer he'd been hiding behind earlier.
It's quiet, and he's alone, and he can sit peacefully with his beer and contemplate both love and fear all by himself, which is all he really wants at the moment. He'd like to sit and think about how he's going to finish filming, finish the rest of his life, while he's in love with his best mate.
Fear is a strange emotion. So is love, but fear is stranger. Love is something you want, something people crave and strive for and lose lives over. Fear is – fear is not that. Fear is things you don't want. And yet, Dom thinks, they're both so tied up together, fear of loss, fear of rejection, fear of never finding love, that ...
"That what?" a voice to his right says. Billy's leaning against the side of the trailer, the setting sun glinting behind him. Dom has to squint to make out his features – oddly blank – against the silhouette of the sky.
"Did I say that out loud?" Dom asks. He can feel his blush rising as clearly as if Viggo had taken a dripping paintbrush and colored him red from head to toe. He drops his head into his hands.
"Mmmm," says Billy, staring down at him. Dom can't see him, but he knows the feel of Billy's eyes on the back of his neck. Come to think of it, says Dom's brain, Billy must stare at you an awful lot, for you to know what it feels like when he watches you. Dom tells his brain to shut up. "You did. I wasn't meaning to listen; I just happened to be here."
"You make a habit of passing by the back sides of trailers that have nothing to do with you, do you?"
"Aye," Billy agrees congenially and drops down beside Dom. "It's the only place I can find my addled best mate when he's run off in a snit."
Dom takes a long swig from his bottle. Billy just sits, patiently and silently. Minutes pass. Billy's waiting for him to finish his sentence, Dom knows. The one about fear. And love. And being in love with your best mate, and realizing that you have been for just about as long as you've known him.
"That," Dom says slowly. "Fear and love are so tied up together that ... people don't take chances when they should. Afraid they're going to lose love, so they don't ever try to find it." He lets the words sit between them in the silence. Billy's eyes, Dom is certain, are now boring holes in the side of his head. He wonders idly if the makeup girls could fix that with latex. He'd hate to be broken-hearted and have holes in his head.
"And?" Billy prompts after another long moment.
"And nothing," Dom says. "Fear stops love in its tracks. Full stop." He pulls his eyes away from the bottle in his hands and meets Billy's eyes; Billy's expression tells him nothing. "And there's nothing you can do about being afraid. Even if you're in love."
"Well," Billy replies. "It's a good thing one of us is still fearless, you daft wanker."
He kisses Dom, and the beer bottle drops between them and rolls away, and this, Dom thinks, is better than surfing, better than flying. This is free-fall out of fear, and it's flawless.