Could be considered more Sean and Elijah than Sean/Elijah.
Something’s been bothering Sean all morning. As Peter sits back in his director’s chair, removes his headset and announces they’ll be breaking for lunch, Elijah wonders again what’s wrong. Whatever it is, it hasn’t affected Sean’s performance as Sam, and only someone who knows Sean as well as Elijah would even notice the subtle signs of distress. But when Sean immediately disappears instead of joining the rest of the cast and crew under the food tent, Elijah’s worry escalates and he sets out to find his missing costar.
“Seanie? You in here?” Elijah opens the trailer door and discovers Sean sitting alone on the couch, his shoulders slumped and his face hidden in his hands. Alarm surges up inside Elijah. “Seanie…” He hurries inside and takes a seat beside Sean, putting an arm around him. He says gently, trying to hide his anxiety, “Hey, what’s happened? What’s going on? It’s not one of the girls, is it?” Ally and Lizzie are at home in California with Chris while Sean is filming pickups for The Return of the King.
Sean raises his head and draws a shaky breath. “No, they’re both fine. Talked to Chris this morning. It’s nothing like that, Lij, nothing serious. I’m sorry for worrying you. I’m just being stupid, that’s all…”
“Don’t say that. Ever.” Elijah gently shakes Sean in reproof. “You’re never stupid, Sean. If something’s happened to upset you, I want to know what it is. I want to help. Now come on, Irish, tell me what’s going on.”
Sean’s eyes are dark and filled with pain as they meet Elijah’s. Whatever it is, he has been truly hurt and a righteous anger against whoever is responsible begins to burn white-hot in Elijah’s belly. But he restrains his emotions, and only waits in sympathetic silence for Sean to begin.
“It’s Luke,” Sean says quietly after a moment. “I got an email from Mack last night with a link to an interview Luke did about Jeremiah. He made a… comment about me, Lij. Hurt like hell, to be honest.” Sean huffs a choked-sounding laugh that has a hint of tears about it. “I couldn’t sleep for thinking about it. I guess I’m feeling kind of betrayed. I thought I had done such good work on Jeremiah, you know?”
Luke Perry, you fucker… Elijah knows how Sean invested himself in his character, Mister Smith, knows the emotional toll it took on him to play a character so complex and tormented. And he also knows how proud Sean is of his acting and directing in Jeremiah, and that he thinks it’s some of the best work he has ever done.
“What exactly did he say, Sean?”
“That I have the ‘metabolism of a gnat’, quote unquote. He implied that I involved myself too much in the making of the show, Elijah,” Sean says dejectedly. “Like I was trying to take it over or something.” He frowns and fingers the belt of the gray robe he’s wearing over his costume. “I don’t know, Lij, maybe he’s right, maybe I was too involved, too pushy… if so, I certainly didn’t intend it, but you know how I can get…” Sean sounds uncertain, the lurking self-doubt that drives and torments him rising up like a ghost.
Elijah can well believe that Sean was awake all night worrying about Luke’s words and allowing them to fuck with his mind and shake his confidence. He cares so damn much, and it breaks Elijah’s heart to see Sean this way. Perry, if you were here right now, I swear…
“Seanie, you just stop it, right now,” Elijah says strongly, before the torrent of self-recrimination that he can tell is building inside Sean can break free. He rubs a comforting hand on Sean’s tense back. “And I want you to listen to me, okay?” Sean nods. “Leaving aside what I think of Perry’s lack of professionalism for dissing you that way to a reporter, he was damned lucky to have an actor of your skill and dedication working on his show. Just like I’m damned lucky to have had you to work with on Rings. You think I don’t count my blessings every day, Irish? God, how would Frodo or I have survived without you? If Luke can’t appreciate his good luck in getting you for Jeremiah, then fuck him is what I say. But don’t you give one moment’s credence to that crap he spouted, understand?” Elijah hugs Sean tightly and adds, “Mr. Frodo is gonna be seriously pissed with you if you do.”
Sean manages to summon a shaky smile at that. “He is, is he?”
“Yeah, he is.”
“Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to piss off Mr. Frodo.” Sean’s voice sounds lighter, and Elijah relaxes. His words have gotten through as he hoped.
“I’m happy to hear it.” Elijah can feel the tension seeping away from Sean’s body beneath his encircling arm. “You gonna be okay now, Sean?”
“Yeah. I am already, Lij. Just talking to you helps. It always does.” Sean’s green eyes are no longer dark with pain, but warm with love and gratitude. “Thank you for being there for me, Elijah, not just now but since the very beginning.” They embrace. “You’re not the only who counts his blessings every day, you know,” he whispers.
“Mutual admiration society, huh?” Elijah quips, and they both laugh. “Now let’s adjourn the meeting, Samwise, and go get some lunch. I’m starving.”
They leave the trailer hand in hand. Sam and Frodo or Sean and Elijah: they are always stronger together than apart.