los angeles, i'm yours

Author: Minervacat
Fandom: LOTR RPS
Characters: Hannah, Viggo, Liv, Dom
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Not real, don't know 'em, made it up, etc.
Summary: It's all fake plastic trees and smog-colored sunsets, nothing in the entire goddamned valley is actually real, but it's all amusing, and that what counts.

and as it tells its sorry tale in harrowing detail its hollowness will haunt you

Hannah doesn't really like L.A. much better than she liked Iowa, but at least she knows Los Angeles. She can't remember Iowa, except that it was flat and cold and there were weeks on end in winter when they didn't see the sun, but she figures that the fact that she can't remember the place means she didn't like it very much. It's a reasonable assumption, and in L.A. there's sun and sand and an ocean. No matter what Midwesterners tell you - there's nothing about Lake Michigan that even compares to the swell and splash and scent of the Pacific Ocean crashing in a dark stretch beyond the boardwalk at Venice Beach.

They moved to Los Angeles for Elijah, not for Hannah or Zach, but it's Hannah the city suits most. Elijah plays the industry like a pro by the time he's 17, and Zach just leaves, but the shimmer and the shine of Los Angeles' façade is made for Hannah, tiny and pretty and with a whole lot of disposable income.

Elijah takes Hollywood by storm, especially after Rings, but Hannah takes the greater Los Angeles metro area by storm, and she's willing to bet that she has a damn sight more fun doing it than Elijah does.

It's all fake plastic trees and smog-colored sunsets, nothing in the entire goddamned valley is actually real, but it's all amusing, and that what counts. Iowa was boring, and Los Angeles is not. Hannah thinks that as long as she's around, life should make her laugh, and life in L.A. never fails her on that count.

For example: there are places she can go, places overrun by people who Elijah knows or knew or used to work with or used to fuck, and she's recognized instantly, even if it's as "that Wood kid's little sister". It's not fame, but it's something like it, and recognition is better than fame, anyway. No one asks her to sign autographs or tries to wring favors out of her, but she gets to skip to the front of the line at all the best clubs and people in the bathrooms offer her coke and E and all kinds of drugs she's never even heard of.

Dom could probably tell her what they were, but she's not going to call and ask him about them, either.

On the other hand, she can go to Venice Beach and disappear. Her blue-green-purple-pink hair is no more insane than anything else you see on the boardwalk, and often it's actually much less. Los Angeles is great, because she can be famous and a nobody and Hannah Wood all at once, and Iowa wouldn't know how to handle her.

She calls Viggo, makes him come down from the hills and take her out for sushi, and at the one place they go, everyone stares at him and the paper says she's his latest under-aged girlfriend.

L.A.'s like that. Hannah doesn't like it, but she thinks it's cool all the same.

a plaintive melody truncated symphony an ocean's gargled vomit on the shore

Viggo is in Los Angeles because he's not really sure where else to be. There's the ranch, but that's vacations, for the breaks in between work, and the work won't come if he's not where the work is. He doesn't need to work, Rings made sure of that, but Viggo likes to be busy, he likes to have something to do with himself. Painting and poetry fill some of the time, but not all of it.

Viggo's in L.A. because that's where the work is, and the work is something do with his time.

Plus they've got really great sushi, which is in short supply up in Idaho, and eating sushi is another way to fill the days.

When Viggo gets bored with the work, and bored with words and paint and film, he teaches himself to make sushi. In his Los Angeles kitchen, he could order it in but he might as well learn how to do this right - never have a shortage of it up at the ranch again. It's the sort of thing that takes patience, which Viggo has in spades, but after long, fishy-smelling afternoons and dozens of pots of rice, he's got it down to a science.

It isn't an art, not the way he does it. In Japan, and certainly in most of the places that serve it in the city, it's an art form, but for him, it's not. It's just something to do - that's what everything is, something to do, and he enjoys some of it more than others of it, but it's all just a way to fill the days, looking for perfection in something.

It isn't sushi. Henry taste-tests for him, gives him the thumbs up on taste and the thumbs down on early presentation - the California rolls, not real sushi but Viggo likes them all the same, fell apart in your hands or your chopsticks, but he's got the technique down now and they're fixed. Henry says that he should have the cast over for dinner, make them all sushi and drink sake and reminisce, but there aren't many of them left in Los Angeles - Orlando's around, a bit, but he doesn't return calls, and Dominic is unreachable most of the time, off in his own glittering television world, a place Viggo staunchly refuses to go.

He calls Liv and finds out that she's around, and she's bored, and she'd love to come eat sushi, and Henry grins at Viggo when Viggo tells him.

He lets Liv come over and play her dad's records on his old turntable because she's feeling sentimental about being a rock star's daughter. He likes the company. He feeds her sushi and lets Henry drink beer with them, and it's nice. It's not the life of a star, but it isn't half bad, either.

Viggo thinks maybe he'll open a sushi joint in the little town south of the ranch, but he just leaves Liv a message to come over and eat sushi instead.

and all the boys you drag about an empty fellow found from Saturdays to Mondays

Liv can't imagine not living in Los Angeles. She can't even imagine not living in L.A. proper -a suburb, full of interstates and cement, wouldn't begin to capture the essence that is at the core of the city.

Liv didn't grow up here, but she can't imagine how she survived before she did. New York isn't bad, there's something intangible about Los Angeles, something that Liv can't put her finger on, but it's there, and it makes her love the city. She's not stupid; she knows that more people hate L.A. than love it, but if she's in the minority, so be it.

There are ways and ways of being famous; Liv has shied away from infamy, shied further and further away from her father's spotlight as she's gotten older, but she likes the fame that comes with being her. She rolls her eyes at the paparazzi photos that catch her looking sloppy, ignores the staring fans unless they've got the guts to approach her, and actually delights in fishing for rumors about herself.

It's funny, the things people will say about you when you have more money or more notoriety than they do. Fame's a strange creature; end up famous and you might get everything you've ever dreamed of having, but along with all those dreams, there might be a couple of nightmares, too.

Liv's heard things that she could count as nightmarish, if she didn't know how to laugh, but she does, and really - what's the point of living in L.A. if you can't see how funny the whole goddamned thing is?

By thing, she means fame, and Hollywood, and stars on the sidewalk outside Graumann's. It's nice, sure, but it's also hilarious, because anybody could be famous, if they wanted.

She just wanted it worse than most, she supposes.

Once, Liv started a rumor that she was having a lesbian affair with Cate, just to see how long it would take to get back to her. She and Cate had been out to lunch, catching up, drinking too many mango martinis and signing autographs on the back of the photocopied list of daily specials, and they'd thought the whole idea was a great laugh.

Cate mentions on a talk show that someone had told her the week before that she was having a tremendous affair with Liv Tyler, and while she and Liv were great friends and Liv was a beautiful woman, there was nothing of the sort between the two of them.

It turns into that Telephone game that people play when they're young; pass the message, see how distorted it gets. The tabloids twist it around, and one afternoon a couple of weeks later, Dom cals to tell her that he'd heard from Evangeline who'd heard from her cousin who'd read it in the Star, that Liv was shagging Cate, and could he come over and watch?

Three weeks, four days, and an hour and a half. Liv takes Dom out to dinner that evening.

but oh the smell of burnt cocaine the dollar and decay it only makes me cranky

Dominic Monaghan is a creature of the night.

They call New York the City That Never Sleeps, and London's not so bad for a night life once you get past the pubs closing early thing, but Dom, if he's being truthful with himself, prefers the night life in L.A. New York has traffic and rumble and noise, but Los Angeles, nights cool in the middle of the desert, has glitter and shimmer and hum.

It isn't much to look at during the day. Dom will concede that to people who challenge life in L.A. The sun bleaches everything out, turns plants to dirt and dreams to dust, and he knows that his hair is among the things that Los Angeles has bleached. He knows that Billy doesn't like it, and when he was still seeing Hannah and Viggo and Lij, Hannah would tug at it with her tiny fingers and ask him why.

Dom never asked her why she dyed her hair purple, and he never answered her back.

It's L.A. - it strips things down, steals their colors, turns whatever it touches to the same brassy look that all the studio signs have got. Dom's hair, Dom's career, Dom's friendships. Brassy and fake and polished like the rest of the fake plastic trees in the city.

But at night - at night, in the dark, with the breeze and the smell of salt on the air, Los Angeles is a fairyland, a playground for overgrown children with designer drugs and designer shoes and disposable cash.

Dom thinks Los Angeles after sunset is the most magical place in the world. Fuck Disneyland - give him glittering clubs and free drinks and an ocean to drive towards for the sunrise, and he's happy.

He messes about with drugs when he first moves over to the States after Rings; smokes what people hand him, snorts mysterious powders up his nose, takes brightly colored tablets that dissolve instantly on his tongue and do God-only-knows-what to his body. He draws the line at needles; you've got to draw the line somewhere, right?

He doesn't know what all the drugs do, but the city flickers before him, lights and colors and thumping bass with a hum of human noise underneath it all, and he falls in love with Los Angeles because it's like nowhere he's ever been before in his life.

He goes out with the cast of Lost and it's fun, they're nice kids, but it's not Rings. Viggo's not a nightlife sort of guy, and Elijah's gone off to New York, and Liv's not what he's looking for, so Dom calls Hannah even though she's not speaking to him and leaves her a message about the way the city looks, and that she should meet him.

An hour later, when he walks in the door of one more anonymous club, Hannah's sitting at the bar sipping something pink, with an umbrella, and she grins at him through the crowd, and Dom thinks, Los Angeles, I'm yours.

how I adore this place its sweet and bitter taste

feedback always welcome.