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Disclaimer: A work of fiction; the recognizable people in the story belong to themselves and have never performed the actions portrayed here. I do not know the actors nor am I associated with them in any way. If you are underage, please do not read this story. I am not making any profit from these stories, nor do I mean any harm.

Title: Grace Is Gone. 2
Rating: PG-13 to R
Fandom: Lotrps
Pairing: BB/DM
Notes: one / two / three / four




Dominic walked into the kitchen and found Elijah talking on the cordless. He froze in mid-stride and watched as Elijah's head turned, smiled his toothy little grin, and pointed to the phone. "Billy," he mouthed. Dominic's stomach flip-flopped in that uncomfortable, feels-like-you're-falling feeling. He violently shook his head "no" and waved his hands as if he were fending off an attack, backing up until he hit the counter. Elijah frowned at him and mouthed, "What the fuck?". Dominic slid down to the floor and held his head in his hands, still shaking it no.

Elijah laughed into the phone and then said, "No. He's not back yet." There was a pause and he added quietly, "I don't know, Billy." Dominic grimaced at the lie.

Another pause before Elijah stomped his foot on the floor to get Dominic's attention as he said, "Yeah, I'll tell him." Dom looked up, met Elijah's eyes, and then turned his head to the side, covering his mouth, closing his eyes, and shaking his head again.

"Yeah, you too," he heard Elijah say, another pause and then, "talk to you soon."

Elijah disconnected the phone and they sat there in silence for a few minutes. Finally, Elijah stood up to put the phone back on the receiver, his chair scraping against the floor. He walked across the kitchen stopping at the doorway. He turned to face where Dominic sat huddled on the floor.

"What was that about?" he asked.

"Nothing." Dominic's voice was a muffled monotone through his fingers.

"Fucking liar." Dominic winced and Elijah felt slightly guilty. He tried another tactic. "You haven't spoken to him since you got here. What's that been? Four, five weeks? He misses you, Dom. "

Dominic met his eyes and Elijah could see they were bright with unshed tears. He wondered idly if Dominic was finally going to lose it and tell him what had happened between him and Billy. Dominic only cleared his throat, lowered his hands, clasping them tightly as he straightened his arms out in front of him onto his knees. He licked his dry lips and mumbled, "Yeah."

"If you need to talk, Dom, I have a great shoulder to cry on. It's all soft and mushy since I don't work out anymore."

Dominic arranged his mouth in what could pass for a smile. A very tense smile. "Nothing to talk about, mate, and I don't cry. Ever," he added for emphasis.

"Sad movies excluded, right?"

"Yeah, well."

Elijah sighed. He decided it would be easier talking to his dog. He turned on his heels and started to walk out of the room again. Stopping at the door, he said, "He wanted me to tell you that you made a promise. I suppose that's nothing too."

"Yeah."

Elijah mumbled ,"fucking idiot," and left Dominic alone in the kitchen.

Dom sat on the floor for what seemed like hours afterwards. He felt hollow-as if someone had taken everything from inside his body, leaving just the husk. He couldn't move-would implode if he tried. The crushing ache that was in his chest would just consume him. He fought with tears. Fucking nancy boy, he thought, fucking idiot.

He would have to see him again. Have to talk to him. Laugh at his jokes. Listen to his stories. Watch him be all happy-Billy with those fucking sparkling eyes. Fucking mistake seeing a colleague-falling in love.

He remembered each time Billy had turned down his advances while they were in New Zealand, those first months learning to be hobbits, learning each other. Billy must have said the same thing a thousand different ways. "No, Dommie, I don't date co-workers." "No, I don't shag my mates." Then finally. . .finally, that night. Persistence had been his ally, and Billy, frustrated but laughing at the same time, had asked, "What do you need to hear, Dom."

-------------------------------------------

*"She broke my heart, my Grace is gone / One more drink and I'll move one"*


Billy stepped out of the shower and rubbed at his head with a towel. Wrapping it about his waist, he ran a hand through his short hair, then dried said hand on his towel covered hip. He walked over to the sink and ran his hand over the smooth, wet surface of the mirror. Reflective Billy looked back at him. He looked down at the sink, grabbed the side with both hands then looked back up, staring hard into his own eyes.

"You are no longer allowed to think about him," he said aloud.

Reflective Billy blinked back at him.

"Idiot."

He grabbed his toothbrush and the toothpaste. Squeezing too hard, the paste glopped onto his wet chest. He threw both toothpaste and toothbrush into the sink, used his index finger to wipe off the mess then flicked it into the sink. His hands gripped the sides of the sink again as he looked back at himself in the mirror.

He could count the number of calls from Dominic on one hand. The first he had missed, his answering machine played back Dominic's voice saying that he had arrived safely in LA, that he was completely knackered and would call again later. It had lasted 54 seconds. The next came four days later, at two in the morning. Dominic had sounded homesick but unwilling to say so. Billy had mentioned that he might come over in a few weeks, once he could arrange it in his schedule. Dominic hadn't answered.

The last call was another midnight call, only this time Dominic was very drunk and spent the time talking about their time in New Zealand. Billy had just laid in his bed listening, trying and failing to work out the time difference. The connection hadn't been good, leaving Dominic sounding very small and far away as if he were standing at the end of a long tunnel shouting to be heard. It was the last time Billy had heard his voice.

Billy's had had black dreams that night-of searching for Dominic and not being able to find him. He awoke drenched in sweat, out of sorts, and reaching for the phone. At the other end, Elijah had told him Dominic was asleep then quietly gave a small apology. So began a long series of Elijah lies.

Billy called once, twice every week after that and every week Elijah told him some new lie or half-truth. Sometimes he apologized, sometimes not. After a few weeks, Billy quit trying to guess which Elijah did when Dominic was in the room. It hurt too much to dwell on it. Billy guessed this was Dominic's not so subtle way of saying that he was getting on with his life.

Picking up the discarded toothbrush and paste, Billy began brushing his teeth, the towel slipping low on his hips. His thoughts drifted to the times he and Dominic had shared this ritual, synchronizing their movements in the small bathroom. The accidental touches had often ended in kisses, sometimes more. Billy shook his head to clear the memory.

Setting down his toothbrush, he bent over to rinse his mouth, remembering instead today's call, which had seemed to underline Dominic's point. Billy was sure he had caught his name being whispered. Had envisioned how Elijah's mouth had strung out the letters of his name, maybe had pointed to the phone. Warned (was it a warning?) Dominic that he was wanted, that his persistent ex (ex-what exactly?) was once again on the phone.

No matter. He was sure of what he had heard, so he asked, "Is that our Dominic avoiding me again?" Elijah's forced laugh had traveled down the line followed by, "No. He's not back yet."

Billy had rolled his eyes and wanted to tell him that for such a fine young actor, he was a rotten liar. His rational side told him it was unfair to make Elijah feel bad about protecting Dominic. His pain, however, made him ask, "Is it always going to be like this, Elijah? Does he want me out of his life?"

He had cursed his weakness but could not stop the words. He hated the pity in Elijah's voice as he said, "I don't know, Billy."

"I'll not ask for him again, Lij. I'm sorry you're in the middle, shouldn't be. We both love you." Billy had closed his eyes then, fighting for control over his emotions. His hand balled into a fist as he forced his voice to remain steady. "If you'll just remind him for me that he made a promise. He'll understand."

"Yeah, I'll tell him."

It made it feel final in some way even though Dominic had been gone for a little over a month and a half. It hurt Billy almost as much as watching that cab drive away. It had taken everything in his being not to run after it, to tell Dominic that everything he had said was complete bollocks, that he needed him in his life, that his leaving would be like taking away his very breathe. But he couldn't. Dominic dreamed of living in the states, had talked of it forever. He couldn't blame Elijah for that either.

So that was what tonight is about: getting on with life.

He looked into the mirror and ran his hand over his trim beard. A blind date, furthermore. Reflective Billy grimaced.

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