Still Playing Roles by Alexa Bond

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Story notes: Thanks so much to Natalie Richards for great Beta and for being a great friend to me. You've been a wonderful support to me in this hard time and helped me a lot; thank you, my angel *hugs*.
Chapter notes: Set during the filming of LOTR.
We're still playing roles. The realization of it hits me as I watch the others around the table in the pub. I allow my thoughts to wander as I'm not presently involved in any discussions. Lij who sits to my left is busy trying to figure out if he can sit in Dom's lap and kiss him at the same time, making Billy who sits at Dom's other side complain over the moving around they're doing as he's doing his best to impress Liv who sits across from him. On my other side sits Viggo and normally most of my discussions are with him, but right now he's talking politics with Karl who sits on his other side. So that leaves me with the rare opportunity to just sit here at the end of the table and watch, observe my fellow cast members. I hadn't really thought of it before, us playing roles. I should have though; it's so obvious. It's not that we act out the characters we portray in the film; Ian can hardly be called a dignified wizard the way he's always in a good mood and has an easy smile on his lips and so with the others as well. No, it's not like that. It's different. We play roles we think others expect of us, based on what impression we think they have of us. We act the way we think they want us to, we think is expected of us. We do or don't do things based on that.

My glance falls on each of my fellow cast members in turn. Liv, a true beauty, always ready for fun, always direct and easy going. Seemly without a care in this world and someone who doesn't think too much over things. Then to Billy and Dom who by now can hardly be spoken about in separate sentences. Both filled with life, ready to try anything, always making fun and causing trouble. Lij; the youngest and kind of the baby to us all though he doesn't act the part. Ready to cause trouble as well, never found alone, always up to something and mostly remembered, especially by Ian, by his loud and wild taste in music... even early in the morning. In short, a teenager knowing he can cause trouble and get away with it because he's the youngest. Then there's Orli. It's hard to find the right words to describe him. He always seems happy, always causing trouble, doing wild and often insane things, making jokes, always smiling and someone who doesn't seem to think that deeply over things. Also, very known for his openness in touch and flirtation with practically anyone, especially the Hobbits and Viggo.

I would mention Viggo here, but I'm not sure what to say. He has without doing much at all, been known for his great intelligence and depth of thought from day one. He's expected to say things none of us understands and stands many times like a spectator more than a participator to the events happening. Karl is much like Viggo that way; he's also known for having deep thoughts, but unlike Viggo he's almost as wild at heart as Orli, both seeming to possess a kind of wild fire no one can tame. John is almost never here so though he's always kind, he seems to prefer keeping to himself. Ian is always up for anything, loves to try to spread the good word of homosexuality around, not that this crew need that much in the way of encouragement in that department, always in good spirits and ready to help if needed. Astin is known for his mothering, his calm and gentle ways yet also his fanatic fear for someone to get hurt. Dave is the quiet one, seeming almost shy at times though that might just be until he gets to know everyone better. The other actors are rarely with us so I don't consider them in my little thought experiment.

But back to my theory on role playing... as I look around the table I can see it. I can see Liv laughing, see Orli flirting and suggesting something which makes Billy play along and they tongue kiss while the others cheer and laugh. I see Karl and Viggo ignore the noise and keep talking, probably about saving the world from itself. Watching all this, I realize that we do indeed keep well within our roles. Even I have a role and I know very well what it is. Orli said it so eminently when he called me the 'Northern Bastard'. I pretty much have the role of a strong, dominating man without too deep thoughts, who's plain and maybe even a bit boring, but all in all without too many emotions... 'I can take it' they always tease me with.

Thinking about it, I'm not saying it's all roles we play. I seriously doubt that, but this just isn't all we are. I've spoken with Orli and I know he can have deep thoughts. I know all of us who have been pushed away like we don't think as deeply as Viggo and Karl, and mostly we probably don't, though at times we do have our bright moments. I know that with passing years, I myself tend to think a lot more about everything. If I couldn't think in deep patterns and sometimes, though granted of course far from Viggo's level, could express even artistic views then what would Viggo and I share? There's just so far you can come with a closeness in age and both having kids.

Yet, it's not just that. It's also the whole emotional matter. I'm not saying I'm a very emotional man or easily moved to tears, but I'm not made of stone either. Passing years filled with three divorces and children do a lot to a man. So that can sting a bit, especially as it was one of the things my departing wife complained about.

With emotions, my thoughts fall upon matters of the heart. For some reason Orli's nickname for me truly means many think I'm some kind of bastard - coldhearted, who only seeks my own pleasure. Narrow-minded as well, which goes with the whole not a deep thinker image. Yet, that image is far from true. I'm very insecure in matters of love, in most things I do in fact. When interviewed I'm still very nervous and can hardly form a proper sentence while Viggo of course is always secure and strong, enough so to even answer in foreign languages.

I just don't know how anyone can expect me to be secure in matters of the heart when I've been burnt every time I open up? When all I love leave me? That doesn't give confidence... on the contrary.

I watch as Lij and Dom kiss and I smile at the sight. Something like that is another thing where we're playing roles. Yes, I've never claimed to be homosexual and I'm not, but I am open enough to seek love by person and not gender. Unlike my younger crewmates, I just want to keep my private life private. This may be why everyone seems to think I'm straight and since I've always been afraid of rejection, the last couple of years littered with divorces not helping, has made sure I didn't fight too much to tear myself free from that role.

When I think about it, I could fall for Viggo; I could see that happening. It's in Viggo's role, as an artist, deep thinker and open-minded person to be alright with being with a man, but as I think about it, think about roles we play, then I realize that all I know of my new friends is what they choose to tell me or show me. I have no idea if Liv often cries when she's alone. I don't know if Orli may in fact be a virgin; I don't know if Viggo might never want to or have ever been with another man. I don't know. All I see are the roles they play.

And then as Viggo turns his attention back to me and I smile at him, I know that it's my turn to play my role. The role of good friend, the good plain British friend who doesn't get crushes on his male costars.

Yeah... playing a role. I wonder if one day we won't all get tired of this. Acting may be what we all love but 24-7 is a long time to act in... even for us who sometimes get paid for it.

Then Viggo begins to talk and I listen because I'm the good friend who's not in love with him and because I'm not a deep thinker so I didn't just think about the roles we play... because I'm just Sean and I have to play the role I've been given.

Isn't that what actors do after all?

The End
Chapter end notes:  This never happened unless I have psychic powers and can change the past, present and future. Any likeness to real characters is all in your mind, nothing more. This is fiction, made up, never happened, not real... you want that in other languages as well? *LOL* I intend no infringement, this is a piece of amateur fan fiction, and I make no money off it. Only the original idea contained within this work is the property of the author. Please do not copy this story to any website or archive without permission of the author.
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