Wellington, New Zealand, 2000
“Jesus, mate, that’s got to be the worst on screen kiss I’ve ever seen.” Dom Monaghan leans back at his ease with his arms and legs outstretched and his bare feet propped on the glass-topped coffee table. He’s staring at the TV screen- paused to show a freeze-frame of a couple in mid-kiss- and shaking his head in disbelief. At his side, Billy Boyd, his head pillowed on Dom’s bare bicep where it rests on the back of the couch, adds his agreement with a soft-voiced, “Aye, Dommie’s right.”
”Fuck you, Dom, and you, too, Billy,” Elijah Wood retorts without heat, but Sean Astin, who has learned to interpret every nuance of his young costar’s voice, thinks he can detect a subtle hint of irritation beneath the words. “How the fuck well do you think you’d kiss if your mom was on set with you?”
“A hell of a lot better than that. For Christ’s sake, Doodle, Rachael’s fucking hot; you should’ve been able to forget all about your mum while you were snogging her,” Dom says, and then he and Billy intone together with their almost frighteningly flawless timing, “G-g-g-great ass.”
Elijah is sprawled on the other side of Sean from Dom; with a sudden lithe motion, he leans forward, grabs a copy of Time from the coffee table and launches himself headfirst across Sean, reaching out and hitting Dom on the top of the head with the magazine. But he is giggling uncontrollably as he does so, and Sean is laughing, too, at Dom and Billy’s spot-on mimicry of a line from the movie they are watching. A brief tussle ensues over the magazine, involving much cursing, tickling and flailing of arms.
“Hey, I haven’t read that yet,” complains Sean, when it appears that the newest issue of Time is likely to be reduced to confetti. Eventually the magazine is returned (wrinkled but intact) to the coffee table, but Elijah remains where he’s landed. He turns over on his back, and wriggles until he is comfortably settled with his jeans-clad legs draped across Sean’s thighs, and his head pillowed on Billy’s lap.
Sean places an affectionate hand on one of Elijah’s bare feet, and squeezes it gently. Elijah, flush-faced and breathless from the tussle, gives him a cheeky grin in return and wiggles his bare feet suggestively, hobbit-speak for a foot massage. Sean willingly obliges, taking one of Elijah’s narrow elegant feet in his hands and working his thumbs into the arch. The hours the hobbits spend with the large prosthetic hobbit feet glued on take their toll, and no amount of foot massaging ever seems too much. Elijah gives a small huff of contentment and his eyes flutter closed, long lashes fanning out on his rosy cheeks.
Sean feels utterly content in that moment, too, reveling in Elijah’s enjoyment, in the laughing and teasing and camaraderie that he so often misses out on as the ‘married hobbit’. Christine and Ali are home in the States visiting her family, and Sean has to admit that it’s nice to be able to enjoy an evening out with the lads without constantly checking his watch or worrying if he has had a few too many drinks. He sometimes envies the unmarried members of the cast their freedom, he admits to himself in a rare unguarded moment, and immediately feels guilty for the thought, even though it goes without saying that he misses his wife and daughter dearly.
Sean releases the foot he’s been massaging and lifts its mate into his hands. He begins patiently kneading and rubbing it while Elijah watches from under half-closed eyelids, a slight smile of utter bliss curling his lips. Warmth floods through Sean at the sight. There is nothing too good for his Mr. Frodo, and nothing he would not do for this wonderful young man. He has never known anyone like Elijah, possessed of a grace and maturity far beyond his years, a compassion and decency antithetical to the Hollywood environment in which they have both been raised. It had in fact been Elijah’s idea for the four hobbits to have dinner together after the day’s shoot is over, and Sean is well aware of the unspoken reason for the ‘hobbit night out’, and of the thoughtfulness and caring that went into arranging it.
He and Elijah have been working closely together for nearly a year now on principal photography, and Sean has learned that you can’t work that closely and constantly with another human being and not become acutely sensitive to their moods. There is very little either can hide from the other anymore, and certainly not the episodes of homesickness that both experience from time to time. The bond between him and Elijah is so close that Sean sometimes imagines it as a physical thing, as if, in certain turns of light, he will be able to see the subtle silver glint of elven rope as it stretches from one to the other. A silly fancy, maybe, for one so pragmatic as Sean, but Elijah brings out the fanciful in him, and working in Tolkien’s world, speaking his beautiful and profound words, only intensifies the feeling.
And so, after having their prosthetics and makeup removed- Sean grousing because this had been one of those days when they’d had their hobbit feet applied unnecessarily- Elijah had gathered Billy, Dom and Sean together and they had driven to a favorite pub for a drink (or two) before having dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant. It was a meal punctuated by the hobbits’ usual somewhat sophomoric teasing and crude humor- and Sean was very grateful Chris was not there to witness her husband’s participation; he’d probably be have been banished to the guest bedroom for the next six months at least.
That had been part one of Elijah's Plan- and it was most definitely a Plan with a capital P. Part two of the Plan called for moving next to Sean’s house for beer and a movie (Dom’s choice, and he was very coy about his selection when grilled by Billy and Elijah during dinner). Sean, in full ‘Safety Hobbit’ mode, had insisted on doing the driving for all of them (and the several six packs of cold beer in the trunk), and sending Dom and Billy home later in a cab. There was some good-natured grumbling over Sean’s edict, but in the end he prevailed.
Elijah, however, is not going home- this is part three of his Plan to Cheer Up Homesick Sean. Understanding how large and lonely the rambling two-story house feels to Sean when he is living there alone, Elijah had informed Sean that morning in their make-up trailer, using his best no-nonsense voice, that he would be staying over- for as long as Sean needed him. This is not the first time Elijah has taken up temporary residence in the guest room, just as Sean has been a guest in Elijah’s own house from time to time. They have learned how to keep each other’s demons at bay.
When they get to Sean’s house, Elijah disappears to dump his overnight bag in his usual room, while Sean puts the beer in the fridge and Billy and Dom stake out the sofa. Once they are all settled, their first round of drinks in hand, Dom, with an impish grin, pulls a DVD out of his coat pocket and waves it under Elijah’s nose. It’s The Bumblebee Flies Anyway, and Elijah groans and protests.
“Shit, man, I can’t believe you are doing this to me. I thought you were bringing us some porn.”
“Sorry, gay boy,” Dom teases as he puts the DVD in the player and punches the play button, “This is what’s on the schedule for tonight. Hey, it could be worse, you know, I could’ve rented Flipper.”
Resigned, Elijah throws himself back on the sofa and assumes an expression of extreme boredom.
Although Sean sympathizes with Elijah- he hates being forced to sit and watch his own movie performances- he has to admit he’s glad Dom has rented this particular movie. Sean has never seen Bumblebee, one of those unfortunate nearly ‘straight to video’ movies that all actors dread being involved with, but he has heard good things about Elijah’s performance as an amnesiac teen, and he welcomes any chance to see Elijah on screen.
Dom picks up the remote and starts the DVD player again, but while he and Billy continue to take the piss out of Elijah over the kiss, Sean tunes out the good-natured ribaldry and focuses on Elijah’s performance.
And a brilliant performance it was, Sean concludes later as the credits roll. Elijah was on screen in virtually every scene, yet never once put a foot wrong. Sean’s admiration for his young costar rises, impossibly, yet another notch. No one, seeing him in Bumblebee, could ever doubt that he has the range and confidence as an actor to carry The Lord of the Rings on his slender shoulders.
…Dom definitely has a point. It is, undoubtedly, one of the worst, if not the worst, screen kisses Sean has ever seen. Sean gives Elijah credit for trying, but honesty compels him to admit that if he were grading the kiss, it would earn no more than a D- for technique. Lij hadn’t even opened his mouth, for Christ’s sake, just mashed his closed lips against Rachael Lee Cook’s with no finesse at all.
Sean looks at Elijah and mentally shakes his head. How can anyone with a mouth like that kiss so inexpertly? Elijah has his head tilted back as he talks to Billy, and the finely etched lines of his mouth stand out in sharp relief. The lower lip is full and soft; the top curves sweetly. If one studies Elijah’s mouth closely (as Sean has), one can detect a slight asymmetry- the left side curves slightly higher than the right- yet somehow this makes his lips all the more intriguing and tempting. And as for their color, that soft flushed pink…
Sean draws himself up with a mental rein on his imagination. Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! This is not the first time he’s found himself admiring that sensual mouth and wondering what it would be like to kiss it, or how it would taste and feel beneath his own. The truth is, for all the talk about Elijah’s extraordinary eyes, it is his mouth that, in Sean’s opinion, could truly tempt an angel to sin. But then, he rationalizes as he always does when the temptation is strongest, it’s only to be expected that he’d notice Elijah’s mouth. God only knows he stares at it often enough- for hours every day in fact. It’s difficult to imagine anyone in Sean’s position being immune to the effect of Elijah’s face, and not just his mouth, but also his eyes… his flawless skin… the elegant line of his nose… the faint cleft in his chin…
“All right, we’ll ask Sean his opinion, then.” Dom’s voice jars Sean from his musings. “What do you think, Irish? Was that, or was that not, the worst screen kiss you’ve ever seen?”
“Well,” Sean temporizes, wishing that Dom hadn’t put him on the spot like that, fearful of hurting Elijah’s feelings. “I wouldn’t exactly say the worst ever.”
“But?” prompts Billy. “Shite, Sean, you can’t stop there!”
Sean gives Elijah an apologetic look, shrugs and says carefully, “But I’ve- uh- seen better.”
Billy snorts in disgust at Sean’s reticence, and makes a clucking sound, but-
“I rest my case,” says Dom, spreading his fingers and raising his shoulders in an expressive gesture. “Even your faithful Sam thinks it sucked, Doodle.”
“Beggin’ your pardon, Mr. Frodo, sir,” Sean says in his Sam-voice, his hand warm now on Elijah’s bony bare ankle, “and meanin’ no offense, I’m sure.”
“None taken, my dear Sam,” Elijah replies lightly, perfectly in character. He reaches for the remote and turns off the DVD player. “Who wants another beer?” he asks, rolling off his human sofa and climbing to his feet. When Elijah returns from the kitchen with four sweating bottles in his hands, the conversation has switched to a debate over the merits of a new video game.
But Sean can sense something, some small restraint, in Elijah’s manner for the rest of the evening. Perhaps it is only Sean’s imagination, but it seems to him that Elijah won’t quite meet his eyes, and in unguarded moments, he appears uncharacteristically grave. It bothers Sean more than he wants to admit that anything he has said or done has caused Elijah to feel constrained around him. And as Sean is by nature a worrier, he finds it impossible to recapture the carefree mood he was feeling earlier. He begins to fret and wish that Dom and Billy would leave so that he can have Elijah to himself, and discover what exactly is bothering him, or if in fact it is he himself who is the cause.
He gets his wish soon enough. Since they had been in Feet at 4:30 that morning, and are expected at the same time tomorrow, it is barely eleven o’clock when a taxi arrives to pick up Dom and Billy. Feeling slightly buzzed by the wine and beers he’s consumed, Sean accompanies the two hobbits to the door, and waves as the red taillights of the taxi fade into the darkness.
Alone at last: Sam and his Mr. Frodo. An illicit thrill courses through him at the thought. Jesus, Sean, you have had too many beers. Time to sober up.
With exaggerated care, he locks and bolts the front door before returning to the living room. Elijah isn’t there. Bathroom, Sean guesses, as he goes over to the stereo and tunes it to a jazz station he favors (and Elijah tolerates). They had drunk enough beer among the four of them to float a small boat. But then he catches a whiff of clove, and realizes that Lij has gone out on the patio for a smoke. Sean heads outside. The night air is balmy, and the omnipresent rasping drone of wetas mingles with the soulful music of Keith Jarrett on piano; it proves an oddly appealing mix of sounds.
Elijah, cigarette in hand, is lying in a lounge chair, ankles crossed, head tilted back to look up at the night sky. There is no moon tonight, and the stars are astonishingly bright, sparkling jewels strewn across the night sky as if scattered there by the hand of a generous dwarf.
“Hey,” Sean says softly, sinking into the lounge next to Elijah’s.
“Hey yourself.” Elijah takes one more drag of his cigarette then stubs it out in an ashtray on the glass table beside his chair; small sparks of orange and red flare and die. He hasn’t even looked at Sean, but continues to stare up at the sky, the starlight catching in his long eyelashes, and glimmering in the liquid depths of his eyes.
Sean studies Elijah’s intent profile, and once more his gaze lingers on that perfect mouth as the younger man exhales a final long stream of cigarette smoke.
“Beautiful night,” Sean comments, feeling the need to say something, however inane, to break the silence between them. He leans his head back against the seat cushion and joins Elijah in his stargazing.
“Yeah,” says Elijah in an unusually pensive tone. “The stars seem so much closer here in New Zealand, don’t they, Sean? As if I could stretch out my hand and touch them.” He raises a hand as if to do just that, then laughs a little self-consciously and drops it.
“You’re right; they do. But do you know, I think I’m finally getting used to the sight of the different constellations here. It seemed so weird at first- the strange stars, and the moon traveling across the sky in the opposite direction.” Sean adds with a wry smile, “Not to mention the water in the toilets doing the same thing.”
Elijah gives him an amused look. “Potty humor from you, Sean? You’ve been hanging out with me and the other hobbits too much.”
“Nah, just trying to cheer you up, Elwood. You seem kind of melancholy, and that’s not like you. I’m usually the melancholy one. Something on your mind?”
Elijah hunches his shoulders under his well-worn tee shirt. “Not really,” he temporizes. “Well, nothing important at any rate.”
“Let me be the judge of that, okay? Tell me what’s wrong, Lij. I’d like to help if I can.” Sean sits up and eases around in his chair until he is sitting crossways, facing Elijah. He rests his elbows on his knees and links his hands loosely together.
“My kissing technique, or lack thereof, is what’s wrong, Sean. And that’s hardly a serious matter,” Elijah replies, but there is unmistakable hurt, even bitterness, in his voice as he adds, “Even if, on a scale of 1-10, it’s a minus 100.”
Oh shit, thinks Sean, I did hurt his feelings.
“First of all, that’s not true,” Sean states, giving Elijah a stern look. “And second of all, you were how old when you made Bumblebee? Seventeen? How many of us are accomplished kissers at that age, especially when we’re trying to perform in front of a camera? Cut yourself some slack, Lij.”
“I was eighteen, Sean. And the point is, I’m not getting any better. It’s not as if that was my first on-screen kiss. Remember The Ice Storm?”
Sean does, and thinks that the less said about that screen kiss, the better; it was perhaps even worse than the one in Bumblebee. He keeps his mouth firmly shut.
“And now I’ve got that shoot coming up in Toronto where I have to kiss Mandy Moore and Franka Potente,” Elijah goes on, his voice rising slightly. He jumps up and began to pace restlessly back and forth. “I get to make an idiot out of myself with two beautiful women this time. Fuck.”
“Well, if you go into it with that attitude, Lij, you’ll make it into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Stop thinking so negatively. You’ll be fine.” Sean tries to sound upbeat, but Elijah isn’t buying his pep talk.
“That’s easy for you to say, Mr. Married Hobbit,” he retorts, stopping in front of Sean and putting his hands on his hips, “but the only way to improve is to practice, and in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s a definite lack of available females to kiss in The Lord of the Rings. Arwen and Éowyn are taken, not to mention they’re twice as tall as Frodo. Fuck, poor Mr. Frodo doesn’t even get to kiss the only female who is his size.”
“I’m sure if Mr. Frodo asked nicely, Sam would lend him Rosie to practice with,” Sean jokes. His humor appears to be misplaced, however. Elijah scowls at him.
“Very funny, Seanwise.” For the first time since Sean has known him, Elijah sounds exactly like a sulky teenager. It is a shock, and convinces Sean, as nothing else could, just how deeply the joking has affected the younger man.
Sean opens his mouth to speak, but somehow the words he’s intending to say are not the ones that emerge. “Or he could always practice with his Sam.”
Where the hell did that come from?
Sean feels his face begins to redden with a flush of embarrassment, and he thanks God for the relative darkness. He can feel Elijah’s gaze as if it is a physical touch, burning into him. He’s probably trying to decide if Sean has lost his mind or is making a particularly lame joke. His response, therefore, comes as a surprise.
“Do you mean it?” The question is low, hesitant.
Jesus, Elijah isn’t laughing, or looking at Sean as if he’s nuts. He sounds utterly serious. “Hell yeah, I mean it. Mr. Frodo needs practice, and who better to help him than his Sam?”
That’s right, keep it light, Astin, keep it between Frodo and Sam. That way it’s just an acting job, an exercise.
“Then, if Sam really doesn’t mind, Mr. Frodo would be grateful for his help.” The words rise a little at the end, and Elijah has his head tilted to one side, considering, as though still unsure that Sean actually means it.
Sean stands up and holds out his hand, ghostly pale in the starlight. “Come here, Mr. Frodo,” he says gently.
Elijah places his hand in Sean’s without hesitation, but the palm feels damp. He is scared, this fearless young man whom Sean so admires. A fierce tenderness wells up inside him. Elijah should never be afraid of anything, certainly not this. He tugs on Elijah’s hand, pulling him closer bit by bit, giving him every opportunity to pull back or change his mind. But he doesn’t.
Sean isn’t sure if he is more terrified or elated by the fact.
They are face-to-face in the welcome darkness, a darkness that holds just enough light for them to see each other, but not too clearly. It is so much easier to be brave in the dark, Sean decides, and he isn’t thinking only of Elijah now.
They stand so close that Sean can feel the heat radiating from Elijah’s body. He smells like beer and cloves and sweat, all scents that are intimately familiar to Sean from their months of filming, yet suddenly seem brand new and unexpectedly exotic. Intoxicating. An almost overwhelming impulse to pull Elijah into his arms and kiss him breathless sweeps over him. But he manages, with difficulty, to remain still. For this isn’t about him, not at all. It is about Elijah, about helping him, about giving him confidence in himself. Sean must not make the first move.
“Any time you’re ready, Mr. Frodo,” he says, holding out his arms to the side in a gesture of welcome and submission. “I’m all yours.”
A long, long moment passes while Sean watches the rapid rise and fall of Elijah’s breast, and waits for him to gather his courage. Holding himself still is one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.
Drawing a deep breath, Elijah carefully tilts his head to one side so that their noses won’t bump, then slowly leans forward until his mouth is a scant inch from Sean’s. He hovers, indecisive, for a moment then squeezes his eyes tightly shut and presses his closed lips hard on Sean’s mouth. They rest there for barely a second before Elijah jerks back as if he’s been stung.
Well. Sean bites back a smile. “That bad, was it?” he teases. “I don’t have cooties, you know.”
Elijah rubs his nose and gives a sheepish laugh. “Sorry. I guess I’m more nervous than I thought. I’ve never kissed a guy before.”
A bolt of lust-filled satisfaction rockets through Sean at the confession.
“Neither have I, Elijah,” he replies as calmly as he can under the circumstances. “Look, I know it’s difficult, but try to relax.” Yeah right, Astin. ‘Do as I say’... “Don’t think of it in terms of kissing a man. After all, it’s only me, only your Sam. No worries, Mr. Frodo. Okay?”
Elijah nods, but doesn’t look entirely convinced.
“Try again,” Sean encourages him. “But this time, open your mouth a little. Kind of, I don’t know, shape your lips against mine. And take your time. This isn’t a race, Elijah. No one cares how fast you go. It’s all about slow and soft and easy.” Sean can see Elijah processing his words, that quick brain assimilating the information the way it does instructions from Peter or Fran on set. Jesus, hasn’t anyone ever given him any help with this before? Elijah takes direction so beautifully and is willing to try just about anything…
Uh oh, Seanwise, probably not the best line of thought right now, not if you’re going to remain passive and let Elijah take the lead.
Like the skillful actor he is, Elijah follows Sean’s instructions to the letter. He obediently parts his lips, and keeps his eyes open as he touches his mouth to Sean’s a second time. No startled jump now, but a tentative movement of warm lips on Sean’s, then a nudge, and Sean accommodates it at once, opening his own mouth and allowing Elijah to mould his lips over his own.
They remain that way, perfectly still, exchanging breaths, and it takes every ounce of Sean’s will power not to react, not to try to take control, as he would have if Elijah had been female. Into the tumult of his mind, flashes the startling thought that he has never before experienced anything so intimate as this simple touch of lips on lips.
Elijah draws back a fraction. He raises his eyes, long lashes brushing Sean’s cheek with a touch like gossamer. His expression is hesitant, uncertain. “Sean?” he whispers, searching for reassurance.
“It’s okay. You’re doing great, Lij. Try again.”
He settles his lips over Sean’s once more, no hesitation now, but this time moves them in tentative exploration, and Sean makes a small sound of encouragement, opening his mouth wider, urging Elijah to deepen the kiss. He traces the edge of Elijah’s lips with the tip of his tongue, and Elijah follows with his own tongue, imitating Sean’s action. As if they are engaging in the mock swordplay on set, Sean touches his tongue to Elijah’s and retreats. Elijah follows, Sean retreats again, and soon with growing confidence and a complete lack of self-consciousness, he is kissing Sean as if he’s done so forever, their tongues dancing and twining together. And oh God, Elijah’s lips are soft, softer even than Sean has imagined, and he’s been right all along, no one with such a mouth could be a bad kisser, all it has taken is a little encouragement, and- Sean gasps as Elijah pulls Sean’s tongue into his mouth and sucks on it briefly.
“I think I’m getting the hang of this,” Elijah murmurs against Sean’s mouth in a fair imitation of his ‘Sam’ voice.
“You-" Sean grins against the velvet smoothness of Elijah’s face, and nips at his earlobe.
“Hey, I thought this was my show,” Elijah protests but Sean can feel his answering grin.
“That’s what you get for teasing your Sam, Mr. Fr-" Sean’s words are cut off as Elijah, determined, kisses him again, only now one small strong hand is cupping the back of Sean’s head, fingers sliding into the shorter, softer hair at the nape and pressing him into the kiss. Elijah delves even deeper this time, opens his mouth even wider. His tongue flicks out to touch Sean’s and twines briefly around it then he licks at the insides of Sean’s mouth, tasting and exploring every inch slowly and thoroughly.
Oh sweet Jesus… who is teaching whom now?
The kiss goes on and on. Sean is an active participant now, his hands resting on Elijah’s shoulders, his mouth just as eager, just as passionate as the younger man’s. And he is beginning to grow hard. He’s been fighting against arousal since the start, not wanting to worry or frighten Elijah, but it is a losing battle; Sean’s self-control is in full retreat.
Elijah makes a sudden, needy small noise in the back of his throat, and presses closer to Sean, so that he can feel Elijah’s own arousal burning against his hip. And that is the moment when all pretence dies.
This is not Sam and Frodo, but Sean and Elijah. This is real. Real Sean wanting Real Elijah, and wanting him more than he’s ever wanted anything in his life. Elijah must know, he must be feeling the rigid line of Sean’s cock against his stomach. There is no way in hell to disguise it, and Sean no longer wants to. Because Elijah isn’t backing away.
The thought is like setting flame to dry tinder.
Sean’s hands drop from Elijah’s shoulders to seize slim, jeans-clad hips and pull them flush with his own, pressing their erections together. It is the most exquisite sensation Sean has ever felt in his life, and the two men moan into each other’s mouths as they rub their cocks together, tentatively at first but then harder and harder. And Sean knows it will be exponentially better if there are no layers of clothing between them.
“Oh god, Sean,” Elijah’s head falls back, and Sean takes immediate advantage, kissing the vulnerable line of his throat, down to his collarbone. He sucks on a patch of soft skin there, below the neckline of Elijah’s shirt, sucks hard until he knows it will leave a mark, a sign of Sean’s possession that others will not be able to see. Elijah’s hands are not gentle as they wind in his hair and tug him up into another kiss. What is it Sean said about slow and soft and easy?
Fast, hard, urgent- they are all that matter now.
They begin to tug at shirt hems, frantic to feel naked skin on skin. First Sean’s tee shirt, then Elijah’s, goes flying, and at last their naked chests are pressed together, and the touch of that ivory silken skin against his own sends Sean completely past the point of no return.
Bed, Sean thinks dazedly, but realizes that they will never make it that far. They stagger and the backs of Sean’s knees hit the lounge chair. He falls back onto it and Elijah follows him down, straddling him, impossibly still kissing him, fingers twisted into his hair, kissing him as if now he’s tasted of Sean, he can never ever get enough.
“I want you, Elijah,” Sean tears his mouth away and finally gives voice to the longing he’s been ruthlessly suppressing for months, since the first time they met and embraced in a hotel lobby in LA. “God, I want you so fucking much.” His voice is hoarse with raw emotion.
“I want you, too,” Elijah says as he begins to rain damp, frantic kisses anywhere he can reach- Sean’s chin, his throat, his shoulders and collarbone. “Jesus, Seanie, you are so beautiful, so fucking beautiful.” His fingers comb through the curls on Sean’s chest, the slight tug and pull as they catch briefly on his ragged nails is electrifying, sending sparks of sensation sizzling along his nerve endings. One of Elijah’s nails scrapes across Sean’s nipple and he gasps. Fascinated, Elijah touches it again, feeling it tighten and bud beneath his touch. He experiments with the other nipple, eliciting the same reaction, and, enthralled, bends his head to take the nipple in his mouth, sucking and teasing it with his teeth. It’s more than Sean can stand. He’s so near the edge now, it’s almost painful, and any more teasing is out of the question.
“Elijah-“ he gasps, “too many clothes.” His hands go to Elijah’s waist and begin to fumble with the buttons on his jeans. With immense difficulty, for Elijah refuses to stop kissing and licking and nibbling at Sean’s skin, they struggle and wrestle and wriggle until finally, finally jeans and boxers are stripped away, and tossed aside. Sean’s hands cup Elijah’s naked ass and pull him closer, until their cocks are trapped intimately together between their stomachs, slick from the fluid welling from the tips of both. And though neither of them has done this before, blind instinct guides them as they begin to rock against each other. Sean manages to get a hand between them and wraps it tightly around both their cocks to heighten the sensations they are feeling. Elijah covers Sean’s hand with his own, and buries his face in Sean’s neck. As one, they thrust into their linked hands, faster and faster, driving toward climax. Elijah comes first with a short sharp cry of “Sean!”, followed almost immediately by Sean, muffling his own cry of release in Elijah’s soft hair. He feels warmth spilling over their entwined fingers, and then Elijah slumps, panting, against Sean’s chest. Sean can only hold him, shaking with aftershocks of sensation, and unable for once to say a single coherent word. Never has he experienced an orgasm so intense.
“Sean, oh fuck that was amazing,” Elijah gasps, after a minute or so spent regaining his breath. He raises his head and stares into Sean’s eyes, searching them for his reaction. Reality is beginning to intrude, and worry is following hard on its heels. “Sean?” Elijah asks in a tentative voice when Sean doesn’t say anything. “You okay?” He can’t keep the apprehension from his voice. “I know this wasn’t supposed to happen, but… I’m not sorry, Sean,” he says fiercely, “I wanted it, I’ve wanted it for so long.”
Had Sean ever truly allowed himself to envision this moment, he would have expected his first reaction to be guilt, and from the look on Elijah’s face, he’s sure that that is what he is expecting, too. But the truth is, all Sean can feel is joy, pure unadulterated joy. Guilt will come later, as of course it must, but for now-
He cups Elijah’s face with a hand that trembles a little, and smiles reassuringly. “I’m okay,” he says, “I’m really okay. And the only thing I’m sorry about is that it took us so long to do this because let me tell you something, Lij, that wasn’t just amazing, it was fucking brilliant." He strokes a thumb across Elijah's swollen lower lip. "Mr. Frodo, sir, you are a fast learner and no mistake.”
Elijah’s answering smile is so radiant, Sean is surprised it isn’t lighting up the night sky like a beacon. “But brilliant or not, we need to clean up,” he adds, grimacing a little and making as if to sit up.
“But I don’t want to move,” Elijah protests, leaning perilously over to grab a pair of boxers from the ground. “Won’t this do?”
“In a pinch, I suppose it will,” Sean agrees, taking the boxers from Elijah and cleaning them both as best he can. When he is finished, Elijah settles back down against him, a warm, boneless weight- forever welcome, infinitely dear.
Elijah yawns. “’Mm, sleepy,” he murmurs, then, “I love you, Sean.”
Sean can tell by his steady breathing that Elijah has fallen asleep in that way he has, instantaneously and deeply. But Sean remains wide-awake, content simply to hold Elijah and watch the stars wheeling overhead. Surely they have never burned so brightly before?
Music still drifts outside from the living room, and Sean laughs softly as he realizes what is playing: Al Jarreau, singing Teach Me Tonight. Could anything be more perfect? He sings along sotto voce,
Did you say I've got a lot to learn
Well don't think I'm trying not to learn
Since this is the perfect spot to learn
Teach me tonight
Starting with the ABC of it
Right down to the XYZ of it
Help me solve the mystery of it
Teach me tonight
The sky's a blackboard high above you
And if a shooting star goes by
I'll use that star to write "I love you"
A thousand times across the sky...
As the final note of the song trails away, a shooting star, in a blaze of glory, streaks across the sky. Sean’s heart catches with the beauty and wonder of it, of this night, and of the young man sleeping so trustingly in his arms.
I'll use that star to write "I love you"
A thousand times across the sky
“I love you, too, Elwood,” Sean whispers.