Originally written in 2005 for the Waymeet 'Twelve Days of Christmas' challenge.
“Now this is definitely the life,” Sean proclaimed, taking a sip of his Dom Perignon. It was late December and cold out, or as cold as it got in southern California, but he was blissfully warm. The water in the Jacuzzi steamed, tendrils of mist curling up in the cool night air as the jets swirled liquid heat around his tired muscles and tickled the soles of his feet. But even greater warmth came from the young man leaning against his chest, back to Sean’s front, and one foot tracing a lazy path up and down Sean’s calf.
Elijah naked in his arms, a glass of champagne, the stars and moon smiling down… Yes, this definitely was the life, Sean decided, twirling the stem of the flute and admiring the effect as the Waterford crystal, with its delicate etching of two turtle doves, shimmered in the moonlight.
“I told you a Jacuzzi out here would be a good thing,” said Elijah with supreme smugness.
“You won’t get any argument from me.” Sean set his glass on the edge of the Jacuzzi, the better to wrap Elijah in a hug. “About this or your ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ surprises.”
“That’s not what you said Monday morning,” Elijah reminded him, grinning.
“Yeah, well, waking me up at 7 a.m. by blasting the Partridge Family singing Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree was cruel, Elwood.”
“Come on, Sean,” Elijah joked, “that version is a classic. Besides, I made up for it with the poached pears.”
“Very true; but meaning no offense to your cooking, Lij, it was more the presentation than the food itself that was so effective in- ah- soothing me.”
“You liked the way I applied the caramelized sugar, did you?”
“Hmm, I did," Sean replied, tracing the outer edge of Elijah's ear with his tongue, causing the other man to gasp and squirm, "almost as much as I liked the way you removed it. So," he continued, "you've given me partridges and pears, turtle doves and champagne, and Cornish game hens at the best French restaurant in LA. The question is, what do you have planned for day four?”
“If I know you, Irish, you've applied your critical thinking skills to the question, and now you're ready to tell me the answer."
“As a matter of fact, wiseass, I did do some research on the Internet earlier-" Elijah looked at him and rolled his eyes; Sean pinched him in a very private place, and continued, “-and discovered that the actual wording for the gift the true love gives on the fourth day is ‘four colly birds’, not ‘four calling birds’. Colly means sooty or black, and the birds in question would have been blackbirds, not ‘calling birds’.”
“Indeed?" said Elijah in a mock pompous voice. "And this research has led you to what conclusion precisely, Professor Astin?”
“Well, keeping with the food theme you seem to have going… I’m guessing pie,” Sean answered deadpan. “You’re going to bake me a blackbird pie for dinner tomorrow night.”
“Sean, that’s fucking gross,” Elijah exclaimed, sitting up so abruptly that he created waves. “How can you possibly think I would do something so disgusting?” He gave Sean a look of total revulsion.
“But Elwood, you’re always telling me I’m not adventurous enough- when it comes to food, that is.” Then Sean couldn’t keep a straight face anymore and began to laugh. “Ah hah, you really thought I was serious there for a moment, didn’t you?” He tickled Elijah’s ribs.
“You-” Elijah choked out, pushing Sean’s hands away. He turned over and straddled Sean’s lap, wrapping his legs around his thighs. “You are in big trouble, Professor,” he purred. “We have ways of making you pay, you know.” His attention was diverted by a lone droplet of water that was slowly trickling from Sean’s collarbone over the tanned rise of his muscular chest toward his nipple. “Mmm…” Elijah leaned forward and followed the trail of moisture with his tongue, tasting and teasing until Sean was breathing fast and moaning, “Jesus, Elijah-" When he could go no farther, Elijah paused. He gave Sean one quick, mischievous glance, took a deep breath and dove under the water. Sean’s held fell back and a strangled sound caught in this throat.
It wasn’t until much later, after he’d gotten his chance to pay Elijah back in kind, and they were both in a state of boneless satisfaction, that he vaguely recalled an odd sound he’d heard right before Elijah disappeared under the water. He thought he must have been imagining it, but it had sounded almost as if Elijah had murmured, “beep, beep.”
Sean was on the set of 24 the following afternoon, but his mind wasn’t as focused on his work as it normally was. It was nearly five o’clock, and he still had no clue as to what Elijah’s fourth day of Christmas gift was. When his cell phone vibrated at his hip, he was certain it would be Elijah. Sean looked down at the display, and frowned. It was Dom Monaghan’s number. Dom and Lij talked constantly, and Sean normally only heard from Dom when he couldn’t get in touch with Elijah for some reason. God, if anything was wrong… he grabbed the phone.
“Dom? Is everything-"
“Mithter Athtin?” a voice said in the weirdest accent Sean had ever heard.
What the fuck? “Who is this?” Sean demanded.
“Mithter Wood athed me to give you a methage,” the spluttering, lisping voice continued, without identifying itself. “He thes ‘the early bird geth the worm’.”
Sean actually held the cell phone out and stared at it in disbelief. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear… no, it was impossible. Shit, he couldn’t really have Daffy Duck on the phone, could he? Daffy Duck? His mind went into a rapid word association process. Daffy Duck- Ducks- Birds- Calling Birds… calling birds. He burst out laughing, and put the cell phone back to his ear. Struggling to control his mirth, he said, “Tell Mithter Wood that I got hith methage and I’ll be home ath thoon ath I can.”
Sean was grinning like a fool when he disconnected, and getting some odd looks from the people around him. When his cell started vibrating again fifteen minutes later, and he saw Billy Boyd’s number, he was somewhat prepared for the voice of Tweety Bird to give him another message from Elijah: “Birds of featter flock togetter. Hurry home.” A short time later, it was Viggo calling, saying, “This is your ol’ Buddy Big Bird with a message from Elijah Wood,” and then he sang in a jaunty Sesame Street melody, ‘A feather in hand is better then a bird in the air.’”
He was still wiping the tears from his eyes when the fourth and final bird called. It was Elijah at last, but all he said were two very short words: “beep, beep.” But the way he said them… Jesus, thought Sean, his mouth going dry, how could a cartoon roadrunner sound so damned seductive? The remaining few minutes on set were excruciating, and the moment he could, Sean bolted. He nearly broke a land speed record getting home, and he didn't need any Acme Corporation products to do it, either. Wile E. Coyote would have been jealous.
He found Elijah in their bedroom. Reclining on the bed. He was stretched out on top of the covers, wearing a large red feather boa artistically draped around him, a come-hither look, and not a single thing else. “beep, beep,” he said in that same body-temperature-raising voice.
Sean had always considered red to be Elijah's best color. This proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was. Any thoughts of finesse flew south like migrating birds. Sean lunged.
The early bird got the worm, the birds of a feather flocked together, and a feather in hand turned out to be infinitely better than a bird in the air.
“Oh god,” Sean groaned, “I don’t think I’m going to survive until day twelve at this rate, Elwood. You’re killing me.” They were sprawled together in bed crossways, sweaty and limp, the feather boa (looking somewhat the worse for wear) wound around them both.
“Hey, don’t give up now, Seanie, or you’ll be very sorry,” Elijah advised him. “I’ve got some totally amazing shit planned.” He placed his lips close to Sean’s ear, and whispered, “If you liked how I looked today, just wait until you see how I look dressed up as one of those maids-a-milking.”
“beep, beep,” growled Sean, and went on to prove that maybe he was going to survive Elijah's Twelve Days of Christmas after all.