This is an older fic that I've always had mixed feelings about. I think it perpetuates fanon stereotypes about Sean and Elijah that haven't held up with time. So, take it for what it is, and if it floats your boat, great. If not, I understand. :-)
“What’s a five letter word for a trout basket, Irish?” Elijah asked. It was morning, and Elijah was sitting at the kitchen table, hunched over the New York Times crossword puzzle, and tapping his teeth with a pencil.
Sean, passing by on his way to the refrigerator with a carton of orange juice, stopped behind Elijah and rested his chin on his lover’s shoulder, peering down at the newspaper spread out on the table. “Creel,” he supplied. He noticed that the puzzle was nearly finished. Elijah was getting damn good at his new hobby, he thought proudly.
“Thanks,” Elijah penciled in the answer, then turned his head and gave Sean a quick thank-you kiss. “You’re fucking brilliant, Astin, you know that?”
Sean shook his head in self-deprecation. “Nah, I just read a lot, that’s all.”
Later that morning Sean was working in his study when Elijah poked his head through the door.
“Hey,” he said, “can I come in for a minute?”
“You know you don’t have to ask, Lij.” Sean waved him into the room. “What’s up?” he asked.
Elijah was holding one of his iPods and headphones. “I want you to listen to this,” he said, setting the earpieces over Sean’s ears. “It’s a new band I discovered at Amoeba yesterday- Lady Jane Grey.”
Sean grimaced. His musical tastes and Elijah’s were usually poles apart. He hoped whatever it was wouldn’t deafen him too badly.
“I saw that, Irish. Don’t be so fucking suspicious,” Elijah chided him as he pushed ‘play’. “I bought this specially for you. As soon as I heard their music, I thought it was right up your alley. Trust me, it’s as far from heavy metal as it could possibly be.”
Sean listened for a few minutes, pleasantly surprised by how normal the music was, and touched by Elijah’s thoughtfulness in picking something he knew that Sean would like, but that Sean was certain was not at all Elijah’s cup of tea. He gave Elijah two thumbs up, and Elijah grinned, pleased at the success of his choice.
“Can you load this on my iPod?” Sean asked him. “It really is right up my alley.”
“Your wish is my command,” Elijah intoned. “Now I want you to listen to this.” He scrolled through the iPod for a few seconds and selected another song.
Sean nearly jumped out of his chair as an unidentifiable screech that was supposed to be music assaulted his senses. “Jesus, Elijah! What the hell is that? Nails on a blackboard?”
“Radiohead’s latest,” Elijah informed him. “Is it fucking brilliant, or what?”
Sean just rolled his eyes, and handed the headphones back to Elijah.
After lunch, Sean and Elijah retired to the den to play computer games. Sean wasn’t sure why he even bothered when Elijah was in another league altogether and routinely trounced him, but it was gradually taking Elijah longer to win, and that gave Sean hope that he might have a chance one of these days.
Today, however, was not that day.
“Oh, you are in so much trouble now, Astin!” Elijah exclaimed as he destroyed another one of Sean’s soldiers with a series of lightning quick maneuvers. “Yes! I. Am. Fucking. Brilliant!” He raised his wireless mouse in the air in triumph.
Sean sighed in sudden exasperation, and leaned back in his chair. He couldn’t take it any more, but it wasn’t losing to Elijah at Halo that was getting on his nerves. “Elijah,” he said testily, “do you have any idea how often you use that word?”
“What, ‘fucking’?” Elijah glanced over at Sean, eyebrows raised in surprise. “Does it really bother you?”
Sean shook his head. “No, not ‘fucking’,” he said. “I don’t think I even hear that word any more. I mean ‘brilliant’. Do you have any idea how often you use the word ‘brilliant’ to describe something? Everything with you lately is ‘brilliant’. Have you ever considered trying a different adjective? The English language is full of them, you know.”
Elijah stiffened visibly. His brows contracted. He set down the mouse slowly and deliberately on the mouse pad.
Uh oh, thought Sean. Open mouth insert foot, Astin. Should have just kept your big trap shut.
“Well excuse me, Mr. Million Word Vocabulary,” Elijah said with a cold sarcasm that pierced Sean like shards of ice. “I’m sorry if my choice of adjective offends you.” And Elijah got up and walked quietly out of the den while Sean sat there feeling lower than a worm. Elijah wasn’t angry, he was hurt, and Sean had sworn to himself that he would never needlessly hurt Elijah.
But not even a minute later Elijah was back, and it was clear that his feelings had quickly morphed from hurt into seriously pissed. Bright spots of color burned on his cheeks, and his blue eyes were stormy. Sean had never seen him so angry.
“You want to know something? You’re my lover, Sean, not my fucking teacher or my father,” he said, hands on hips as he glared at Sean. “So just fuck off, okay?” He turned and stalked away.
“Shit,” Sean said aloud to the empty room. “Now that was fucking brilliant, Astin.”
A stony silence prevailed in the Astin-Wood household for the remainder of the afternoon. Elijah hated disagreements and was usually quick to forgive, but it seemed that for once he wasn’t going to be the duck with water rolling off its back, he was going to be the elephant with the long memory.
Sean couldn’t stand it, and paced restlessly through the house, pausing outside the closed door to Elijah’s study every fifteen minutes. Elijah had never deliberately closed a door on Sean before. He couldn’t believe how much it hurt. But he deserved to have the door shut on him, didn’t he. God, he could be an insensitive prick sometimes. Would it have hurt to let a little annoyance pass? Jesus, Elijah was one of the brightest people Sean knew. So what if he thought the word ‘brilliant’ was brilliant? Who the fuck was he anyway, the language police? I’m sorry, Elwood, he thought remorsefully.
After two hours of the silent treatment, Sean had had enough. He knocked on the door. “Elijah?” Silence. “Elijah, please. Let me in. I want to apologize.” He paused, and rested his forehead against the door. “You were right,” he said quietly, “I’m not your teacher or your father. I’m your lover, and I love you. I’m sorry.”
Just when Sean was about to give up hope, the door slowly opened. The two men stared at one other. Elijah’s expression was sober as he studied Sean’s face and searched his eyes for the truth. Sean opened his heart to that searching gaze, and hoped that Elijah would see the contrition he felt, and know that it was real.
Gradually Elijah’s eyes softened, and his posture relaxed. “Apology accepted, Sean,” he said.
“Elijah…” Sean breathed the word, relieved beyond belief. Tentatively, he leaned forward and Elijah moved to meet his mouth. They kissed, a gentle kiss to seal their truce, and then they rested with their foreheads touching, hands cupping the backs of each other’s neck, drawing strength and comfort from their closeness.
“I’m sorry,” Sean whispered again.
“It’s okay, Sean.” Sean could feel the silken brush of eyelashes against his cheek as Elijah raised his head and kissed Sean gently between the eyes. “It’s okay,” he repeated.
“But it’s not okay,” Sean insisted, pulling back and setting his hands on Elijah’s shoulders. “I was out of line- I should never have criticized you like that. I…“
Elijah placed a hand over Sean’s mouth to stop the flow of self-recrimination. “Sean, it’s okay,” he said a third time. “Stop beating yourself up over this. Are you going to try and tell me you never had a disagreement with Chris?”
“You’re not perfect, Sean. I’m not perfect either. We’re gonna piss each other off sometimes.” Elijah studied Sean’s tense, worried face. He wasn’t listening. He was stressing and obsessing in that way he had, worrying at what had happened like a dog with a bone. “What’s really bothering you, Irish?” he asked. “Come on, talk to me. I hate to see you like this.”
Sean cracked as all his fears- irrational though they might be- rose to the surface. He pulled Elijah into his arms, into an embrace so tight that it was almost painful. “I’m afraid, Lij,” he confessed. “I’m afraid that I’ll drive you away with my behavior. The way I acted earlier… Jesus, why should you put up with it? You could have anyone-“ he broke off, unable to go on.
“Sean, do you think I don’t have fears, too?” Elijah demanded. “Do you think I don’t worry that I’m not smart enough, not educated enough for you? Fuck, Sean, why do you think your criticism bothered me so much? You and Chris went to fucking college together, the most I’ve ever done is play a college student in a few movies.”
Sean stared at him in disbelief. “But that’s ridiculous, Elijah! You’re one of the smartest people I know. Whether you went to college or not is irrelevant.”
“And you are one of the most supportive, most caring people I know,” Elijah interrupted. “Do you honestly think I’m going to dump you because you got anal on me? It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last time. And let’s get something totally clear, Sean. Even if I could have anyone- which by the way is flattering, but total bullshit- I don’t want anyone- except you.” Elijah shrugged. “So we have the occasional argument. Isn’t that part of being in a relationship? As long as we forgive each other, and put it behind us, fuck, maybe it’ll make us all the stronger.” He cupped Sean’s face between his hands. “Have faith in yourself, Sean. Have faith in me. Have faith in us.”
Sean’s eyes filled with tears. “You humble me, you know that?” he whispered. “But I do have faith, Elijah- it just gets a little shaky sometimes.”
“Well, any time it needs shoring up, you tell me, okay? That’s what I’m here for. I love you, you duffus.” Elijah hugged Sean fiercely. “Now c’mon, let’s go get something to eat,” he said. “I’m starving. This arguing shit is hard work.”
Sean laughed a bit unsteadily and wiped his eyes. “Sounds good. My treat, okay?”
“What a brilliant suggestion, Seanie,” Elijah replied, grinning and ducking.
Sean punched him lightly in the arm. “Brat.”
***Their lovemaking that night had an element of desperation to it, the way it had in those first heady, uncertain days in New Zealand. Elijah was like living flame in his arms, Sean thought, as his lover trailed a line of passionate kisses down Sean’s throat, his chest, the trail of hair below his navel...
But that was Sean’s last coherent thought for some time, for Elijah had reached his goal. He took Sean’s leaking cock in his mouth then relaxed his throat to take him deep, and slowly and expertly brought him to a shattering climax.
When Elijah was done, Sean could only lie there, dazed, gasping for breath, and fulfilled beyond his wildest dreams. Elijah raised his head and gave Sean a smug look. “Good?” he asked, as if there was any doubt.
“Are you kidding, Elwood?” Sean replied incredulously. “It was way beyond good. It was fucking brilliant.”
“Oh yeah?” Elijah crawled over to the bedside table and grabbed the lube. “If you thought that was brilliant, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”