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ophelia, you are so well-read

dirty diana (dirty_diana)

Rev. Alixtii O'Krul V (Alixtii)

X-Men: The Last Stand

Anna Paquin/Ellen Page



Thanks to llaras for the last-minute beta!

"Ophelia you are so well read so,
Leave me spell bound, unadorned and unrefined"

--"Ophelia", Kinnie Starr

Ellen says no to X-Men twice before she ends up in Vancouver in the middle of a cold and rainy spring, getting fitted for hair extensions. Brett calls her and tells her that she's the only one he wants. Ellen rolls her eyes at that, since he can't see her, but at the same time it's kind of awesome to hear.

(This is before Juno, before Whip It, before Ellen gets sick of hearing that she is the Next Big Thing in Hollywood.)

Ellen just wants to work. She doesn't want to be the next big anything, and she definitely doesn't want to do superhero movies. But she flies out to Vancouver, and suddenly she's working with Hugh Jackman and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin, and they both turn out to be two of the nicest people she's ever met.


Every new morning when Ellen wakes up, her life is too much coffee and the nearest pair of Converse and cleanest pair of skinnies, and it's weird the first morning that she wakes up and Anna's warm breath is touching her shoulder.

"I guess this is where I do my walk of shame," Ellen says. Giggling a little, because she's never had a reason to use that phrase before, and it sounds stupid coming out of her mouth. Anna laughs, and Ellen figures out that she's not going anywhere just yet.

By the time Ellen gets her coffee, it's later, though you can't tell by the dark Vancouver sky. Her hair is damp from Anna's shower, and her socks are missing somewhere under the bed, and Ellen wraps her fingers thankfully around her Starbucks venti paper cup.

(Ellen doesn't really believe in on-set romances. They're stupid, and messy, and mostly pointless. There's nothing about being with Anna that will make Ellen change her mind.)


("She likes you," Ben said, but Ellen didn't even want to think about that at first. Girls were pretty, and scary, and Anna had this habit of touching her hair when she talked that made Ellen want to watch her fingers.

Anna said the same thing about Ben, in the beginning. Maybe they were both just imagining things, anyway.)


Ellen talks too fast. Acting classes should have trained her out of it, but didn't. All the guys she's ever liked always just rolled their eyes at her, patiently, and wait for her to run out of breath.

Anna only speaks when she's got a point to make. The pace of her words is patiently steady, like a metronome.

"You're pretty," she tells Ellen, the first day they're both on set. Ellen blushes, then feels stupid.

Truthfully, Ellen isn't pretty at all. She's just a Nova Scotia tomboy who hates skirts and stupid LA parties, who doesn't wear makeup except for the tube of Burt's Bees that she always carries in the pocket of her jacket. Anna makes her wish she was more of a girl. Anna makes her sit still, on the bathroom counter, and applies mascara to the ends of Ellen's lashes and lipgloss that sparkles to her mouth. Then they kiss for a long time, Anna pushing her back against the mirror, and it's sticky and gentle.

Ellen draws the line at trying on any dresses. Anna's clothes would all drown her.

("You're pretty," Ellen tells Anna, much later, and the corners of Anna's eyes turn up in a smile.)


Ellen doesn't mind that Anna wants to see her in makeup. But Ellen just wants to cut her hair off again, to wear pants and button-down shirts and hold Anna's hand in the street. She wants to write fragments of modernist poetry on Anna's skin, and mark the letters of her name on Anna's palm. Ellen.

None of these wants make any sense, she knows. Ellen never mentions them.


It's a year full of firsts. X-Men is larger and flashier than any set she's ever been on.

"It's like a really shiny and expensive summer camp," Ben says. "Except we're getting paid." Ben thinks the whole thing is awesome. He stands around on set in his ten thousand dollar wing costumes and lets Ellen give him sloppy morning hugs.

She says, "Dude, when you learn to fly, can I get rides?"

"When I learn to fly," Ben answers solemnly, "of course you can get rides. Promise."

They high-five on that. Ellen thinks Ben would make the best taxi service ever.


Ben finds out her nickname sometime near the end of filming. He thinks it's hilarious. Up until then he'd been calling her E, which made her sound like a street drug. Ellen told him so.

"The Tiny Canadian is so much better. You should have a superhero costume made up."

Ellen wrinkles her face. "Whatever, loser."

"What? It would be awesome. You could have a giant T on your chest." He mimes the letter across the harness that he's strapped into. "You could fight for truth and justice and...what's the Canadian equivalent of truth and justice?"

"Pretty sure it's truth and justice," Ellen answers.

Green screen work is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing ever invented, but Ben makes her laugh through it.


Anna says that around Ellen, she's starting to feel like a giant. She says it in a nice way, smiling with her arms around Ellen's waist. Ellen at eighteen figures she's probably as tall as she's ever going to get. That's okay sometimes, like when she sits in Anna's lap, on the edge of Anna's bed, and doesn't mind being tiny, or being the new girl on a set full of old friends.

"Maybe you are a giant," Ellen points out, before burying her face in Anna's neck. She smells like sugar and cinnamon. "A giantess. With giant fingers and giant toes. Maybe I'm the only normal-sized person. No one ever thinks of that."

"You're a dork," Anna whispers before she kisses her.

When Anna puts her hand underneath Ellen's shirt, her fingers seem to be just the right size.


(On the press tour, Ben and Ellen mostly just hide out in his hotel room drinking crappy American beer. Sometimes when they're both bored on sets in completely different cities they'll have lightning-speed text conversations. About current events, or Golden Age cinema or eighties' cartoons. But she's missed being around him.

"What happened with you two?" Ben asks her.

Ellen shrugs, because there's nothing to tell. She doesn't even believe in on-set romances.)


 Left By:
Rev. Alixtii O'Krul V (Alixtii)

2009-12-27 05:39:00

This is awesome. You inhabit Ellen in a way which is fun and hip and Ellen, and the on-set antics are just right. I particularly love the relationship between Ellen and Anna, the way it is fraught with the uncertainties of an early relationship and the coming-to-terms-with-sexuality angst, and the way the whole thing is wrapped up in the slightly surreal experience of playing Kitty Pryde in a superhero movie. Hee! Guh. Squee.

 Left By:
Guest (Liss)

2009-12-28 19:24:17

I really liked the characterization of Ellen here. Cool fic.

 Left By:
Guest (aphrodite_mine)

2009-12-29 18:17:37

Oh, this is FANTASTIC. You've written Ellen at a really key time in her life, and these two relationships both shaping her and refusing to shape her are great effects for the story. The section where Ellen wants to re-shave her head and wear pants and write poetry--oh MY, that was possibly the most exquisite thing I've ever read. Thank you for writing this.

 Left By:
J Calanthe (jcalanthe)

2010-01-06 17:10:17

This is awesome! I really like Ellen & Anna's relationship, and that Ellen is such a different kind of woman from Anna, and from the usual Hollywood scene.