He looked across the bustling party to see Sean smile at him, green eyes flashing with some secret mischief, blond hair awry from being mussed by hobbits and a very unruly elf. He felt his own mouth smile in response, felt the corners of his eyes crinkle in amusement as the two of them shared a joke that passed unnoticed by the throng around them, by cast and crew, by family and friends.
And he wondered, when had that happened?
When had the sight of those eyes, jade-flecked and gentle, first made his pulse leap in his throat? When had that smile, sly and innocent together at once, become a cherished thing, sought after and encouraged?
When had a night in, watching Sean's beloved soccer, sorry, football become the best possible use of an evening? When had an afternoon sketching in his garden while Sean pottered in the flower beds made for a golden memory, burnished to a lustre by constant contemplation?
When had the feeling of Sean's breath on his face first made him realize that more was possible, was necessary, was essential? When had the scent of him, of sweat and leather and earth, begun to cause a jolt to his senses, his soul?
When had the taste of Sean's tongue in his mouth turned into something he could remember, not just imagine? When had the touch of his skin become a sensation he could conjure at will?
When had nights spent in Sean's bed evolved into mornings spent in his arms? When had time spent apart started to seem a limbo to be endured?
When had they become so completely tied together?
A touch at his elbow brought him back to the celebration around him, wild music swirling through the room chased by exuberant young men and women.
"You all right?" Sean asked, mouth close to his ear, close enough that the words were felt more than heard.
"Yes," he said. "Oh, yes."
And he was.
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