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“Are you alright?”

First there was confused, his head bobbed lightly to the side, eyebrow raised barely an instant. Was that directed to me? Viggo's lips trembled slightly, almost blurted out a standard response, just like how he answered everyone else in the cast and crew. Fine, he would say, fine enough to keep this machine running anyway, despite the desperation and frustration that kept pushing and pulling, stretching and tearing his heart. Over years of work he had learned to keep his emotions away from his job, to deal with them separately and independently. He had always been a private person, more so after he entered this profession; seldom did people actually notice the subtle changes in his gestures, his words, his facial expressions, and his harmless façade of not caring and not sensing .

But Sean was not everyone else , Sean was talking to him, seeing him as he truly was. Viggo was never a machine, far from it; he was perceiving all the time, observing his surrounding, taking in whatever it might offer, good or bad, singing for the glory of life and mourning for everything that had come to pass. He was consistently feeling, but chose to process its consequence on his own, mostly. Viggo couldn't make out a usual excuse, as he realized the other man was asking him , not the personage he created.

Then there was anger, shocked at Sean's sincere inquiry. How dare you ask me something like this? Sean must have known the root of this mild distortion of his façade, the root of all these pain and suffering and suffocation and misery and death -- because why wouldn't he? The way he looked at Sean in between all those shots and beers, for sure would sell him out in a blink.

Can you not see I'm yearning?

And there was ashamed, too, for wanting and never brave enough to admit it. What a hypocrite he was encouraging other young lads to pursue their loves and dreams, while he only dreamed about this one thing and it stayed solely in his dreams.

Soon it became fear, he wouldn't able to hide if he were to look into those emerald eyes, and god, what would Sean say when he found out? Nothing, probably, Sean was never a man to judge harshly. Sean was shy and a bit awkward at first, very much like himself, but a few beers later he would be open, cheerful, thoughtful, a rough northern Brit but with a gentle soul, a beautiful human being as their eyes met under dim overhead lamps of a noisy Wellington pub.

Knowing this did not help with his fear at all, unfortunately. Anxiety creeped back in his head, crawled under his skin, making Viggo shifted and squirmed uncomfortably on the makeup chair. His fingers fidgeted unconsciously on the side of wrinkle papers of his small notebook, as he tried to evade Sean's worried eyes by staring at the photograph of a horse stable freshly hung on the mirror. This mirror was patched with random pictures, photos and notes, but the glass was not fully covered, yet. He dared not to look at himself in there, either, for he knew he would see a pair of struggling eyes glared back at him, screaming for both control and confess .

Concerned, only a tab too much, twisting and drilling his stomach. He felt sick, like one of those nights he got drunk with the hobbits and a certain elf. It was only due to his highly regulated self-control that he didn't profess all the agony and distress to his friends. Dom was too drunk, Orlando was too oblivious, but Elijah, ironically blind as he was, certainly saw something amiss when he turned to his left side routinely and tried to find a familiar warm smile, only to spot a messy dance floor and the flickering disco ball too bright that stung his eyes. Elijah didn't say a word, though, when he rubbed his tears away and laughed at himself. That had not came to his concern like now, facing Sean and avoiding Sean at the same time.

But what would happen next? Boromir's dead, and too soon to his liking the chair on his left-hand side in their make-up trailer would be empty, too. And who would be then to bother with his well-being?

Can you not see I'm hurting?

Finally it was sad, a surge of helplessness and fatigue ran through his veins. Maybe it was the long shooting hours that he should blame, maybe it was the coward in himself, or maybe, he could even blame it on the inevitable charm of a certain British bastard. His world hadn't been so blue ever since the fucking hippie 80s. Still, piercing green orbs kept glancing at him, waiting for an honest answer that he couldn't offer.

Can you not see I'm dying?

"No, I'm not alright." Viggo murmured under his breath, light and hoarse, almost inaudible, but he just could not lie to the man he cared so much about, "And I don't know if I will be alright ever again."

All of those emotions would make it to his next painting, or a poem, a prose, a song even, but they would never make it to his lips.

Viggo uncurled his fingers, ripped off a blank note page and stuck it on his mirror. The unoccupied sheet looked so alien among other colorful and expressive memories on the glass, yet he couldn't decide what and how to put down things he wasn't supposed to put, wasn't supposed to feel.

Not as simple and empty as it seemed, this note was the first attempt to express the hope and torment in his heart, like his quavering words. Maybe he would find a way to manifest them on the canvas one day; or maybe when Sean left, he would finally take away the photos and memories and sentiments , so Viggo would be able to feel something else again.