Title: Lovely In Her Bones
Series: Stranger Than Fiction
Fandom: Crossover (X-Files/LOTRiPF)
Summary: “Insecurities and scars and all that kind of thing are what makes the girl, right?” –Dominic Monaghan, Loveline
“So,” Orlando said casually, “I’ve been here three days and you have yet to bring home a girl. Have you grown discreet or is something going on?”
Dominic wanted to answer, but it was difficult to speak with seventy kilos of Orlando flattening his spine. He glanced over his shoulder, but he didn’t need to see Orlando’s face to know he was looking smug and calm.
“Rumor has it you can bring home anyone in L.A.,” Orlando went on. “Rumor has it you’re the next Colin Farrell. But I have not seen any proof of this.”
“Change places, please,” the yoga instructor called. Dominic and Orlando exchanged places on the mat, Orlando cross-legged with his arms stretched out before him and Dominic pressing down his back.
“Been making too many epics, mate,” Dominic said, pushing Orlando nearly flat. “You’ve picked up the speech patterns.”
He felt Orlando’s chuckle in his hands, and smiled a bit too. They could talk about this here: the class was careful of its celebrities. They were not the famous people in the room, either–that honor belonged to the pop star a row behind them–but still Dominic was reluctant. He could, and did, much to the delight of his long-distance carrier, talk to Billy about her. Billy had figured it out the first night, and he understood the paradox: wanting to show off the woman you love, but also wanting to protect her from the uglier sides of fame.
Dana was like his secret life. She was a center of calm normality; when he was with her it was all bare feet, kids’ books, lazy mornings and kisses eloquent as words. But as much as he wanted that every day, he knew everything would change if he brought her here.
“There’s a girl,” he said finally, low into Orlando’s ear. “She lives back east and I don’t see her very often.”
“Back to you own mats, please,” said the yoga instructor, sitting cross-legged in front of the class. Dominic let Orlando up and sat too, his back straight and one leg crossed over the other.
“Really?” Orlando said as they twisted into the next pose. “Why would you date a girl you don’t even see that often?”
“Kate’s working. Is this girl an actress?” They both twisted the other direction.
“No. She works for the government.”
Orlando laughed aloud and the instructor said, “Enough talking, please,” as he helped a starlet get into the pose. There was the pop star, two starlets Dominic recognized from an ensemble comedy, the winner of a reality program and the third banana from a sitcom. Typical class, though the girls had been whispering to each other about Orlando since he’d taken off his tracksuit top.
“It’s different, then, innit,” Orlando said in a much lower voice. “If she’s a regular person, it’s a lot different.”
The pop star said from behind them, “He’s right. It never works, entertainers and civilians. We need somebody who understand how crazy things can get.”
“Too much talking,” the instructor said. “Maybe we need to do the sun salute again to tire you all out.”
“Sorry, Navin,” Dominic said, and Orlando muttered “Sorry,” giving Dom a sly smirk. Troublemaker, he mouthed.
Wanker, Dom mouthed back with a grin.
After class Dominic and Orlando got bottled water at the juice bar and went out to the gym’s patio, to drink and watch the swimmers in the pool below. “So tell me about her,” Orlando said. “What’s her name? Where’s she from? What’s she like?”
Dominic lay back in the lounge chair and closed his eyes. “Dana, Washington, and wonderful.”
“And you gossip like a girl, Bloom.”
“You waited three whole days before telling me you’ve got a girlfriend. I’m hurt.” He added, “When Lij was seeing that singer he called me up from the cab on the way home. I never guessed you’d be the type to play close to the vest.”
“She’s private. I respect that.”
“And none of your friends met her. She’s real, yeah?”
“Wanker,” Dominic said comfortably. “Billy’s met her. Met her the same day I did. He approves.”
“He wouldn’t approve of secrecy, Dommie.”
“It’s not secrecy. It’s privacy. She’s a regular person and she’s got a kid, and it’s all kinds of complicated. I asked her to be my date to your premiere and she said no: too many cameras.”
“She does like you, doesn’t she, Dommie?” Orlando said, taking off his sunglasses to look at him directly. “It’s not just because you’re famous.”
“She likes me,” Dominic said. “She couldn’t care less about the fame thing. But it’s complicated. She’s got a lot of things to deal with.”
“And she’s got a kid. You pick the most interesting people.” He put his sunglasses back down and relaxed in his chair, ignoring the second and third glances he received from everyone around them. Among all the liposuctioned, botoxed beauty he was like a bronze god: lean, tanned and strong, six feet of human perfection.
Dominic rubbed his chin, remembering the blemish he’d noticed that morning, and sighed. Nothing like hanging out with Bloom to remember the vagrancies of life. “She’s older than I am,” he said. “She’s forty. She’s beautiful. And she’s incredibly smart: she’s a doctor.”
“Forty,” Orlando said. “Hm. Ashton and Demi have started a trend.”
“A woman who knows what she wants and how to get it is a very good thing,” Dominic replied. “A woman who knows what she’s doing is even better.”
“That good in bed, eh?”
“A gentleman never kisses and tells.”
Orlando started laughing. “Since when are you a gentleman?”
“Since I met her. You’ll have to wonder and envy me.” His cell phone rang: Dominic took it from the pocket of his gym bag and flipped it open. The unfamiliar number made him scowl: he only gave this out to a few people. “Dominic Monaghan’s phone. If you’re not friend or family please call my agent.”
“This is John Doggett. Dana Scully’s partner.”
Dominic sat up straight. “Oh! Oh, hi. Hello. I remember you. Is something wrong? Is Dana okay?”
“Yeah, she’s okay, she–well, here.” He heard Doggett hand the phone over, and then her voice, soft and slightly husky: “Hi, Dom.”
“Hey,” he said. “Hey, you.”
“Hey. Are you in L.A.?”
“Yeah–I’m at my health club right now. Where are you?”
“I’m in L.A. too. I’m in a hospital at the moment.”
“Oh, my God,” Dominic said. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
“I’m fine. I had a fall but I’m okay. I have a huge favor to ask, since you’re here in town.”
“Of course. Anything.”
“Can I stay with you for a few days? I can’t handle sitting long enough for the plane ride home. I won’t get in your way. I really just want a quiet place to lie down.”
“Dana. You’d never be in the way. You can stay as long as you need.”
“Thanks,” she said quietly.
He listened to her breathing for a moment, then he said, “Where are you? I’ll come get you.”
“It’s called Mount Sinai–I’m not even sure of the streets. Agent Doggett, where are we?”
“Paper?” Dominic said to Orlando, who gestured he had none but got up to ask for a napkin and pen from the clerk at the juice bar. Dominic scribbled down the address and cross-streets as Dana got them from Agent Doggett and said, “Okay. We’ll be there soon.”
“Okay.” She sounded exhausted, and Dom nodded to Orlando that they’d be leaving. “We?” she added.