Pairing: Sean A. and Elijah W.
Word Count: 961
On a crispy cool morning in early November, Sean set about raking up leaves while Elijah was sleeping in. The trees were deep in their fall splendor, the sun shining warm and bright from the patch of sky blue overhead. Sean went at the job with enthusiasm, feeling good, and soon had an impressive pile of golden red and pale yellow. He raked it high and tidied up the edges, breathing in the earthy rich scent, then put the rake away and went inside.
Elijah was up, sitting at the computer with a steaming cup of coffee, checking his email, it looked like. Sean sat down beside him and pressed a kiss to his warm cheek. “I have something for you.”
Elijah looked at him with dismay. “Sean.”
Sean smiled slyly, “Hush,” and took his hand, pulling him to his feet. “Come on.”
Elijah flopped back down to the couch to put on his brand new hiking boots.
“It isn’t far, but we can walk down to the lake after.” Sean dropped to his knees to help with the laces. The boots were necessary, if Elijah was going to be tramping around the woods with him. Elijah gave him a little smile of sweet affection when he straightened from the task.
“Should I bring the camera?”
Sean said, “Sure.” He led the way, out and around to the east side of the clearing beyond the garden, and stepped aside to present his masterpiece.
“Wow… Sean… it’s enormous!”
Sean laughed. “That’s a big word.”
“It’s a big… pile.”
“I borrowed some from the woods.”
Elijah took a picture, and several more, from this angle and that, then stood there staring at it, looking both touched and amused. “Now what?”
“Now we get to mess it up.” Sean took a step backward and fell into it. Leaves scattered every which way, with plenty left to make a nicely cushioned bed. He held out his arms, smiling, luring.
Elijah giggled, and joined him, more carefully. He snuggled into the crook of Sean’s arm and held up the camera to take their picture, then set it on Sean’s chest to keep it safe.
“Hmmm, maybe you shouldn’t have brought the camera.”
Elijah gave him a straight-faced, wide-eyed look. “You mean there’s more?”
Sean nuzzled his cheek and nibbled his ear lobe. “I did have thoughts.”
Elijah responded with a shivery sigh, but laid his head on Sean’s shoulder and just hugged him tight. “I’m sated.”
“I am. You woke me up in the middle of the night and ravaged my body, remember?”
Sean held him close. “I guess I did. But you woke me first, lying up against me like that.”
They lay there for a while staring up at the beautiful sky, Sean thinking it would be amazing if you could take a snapshot of a moment, not just the image but the way it felt and smelled and tasted. He tucked this one away in his memory with all the others he’d been particularly saving the past few weeks, and turned his head to see Elijah’s face in the sunshine, eyes closed, softly smiling. There was another one.
Elijah stretched lithely against him. “It’s the weekend, Sean. What should we do today?”
Sean thought about it. “There’s a downed oak out by the stream. I need to haul it in for firewood. I need to finish winterizing the garden too. And do something with all these leaves.”
Elijah said he needed to fill the birdfeeders.
“We could paint Tilda’s house for her.” Sean did mean to do that, a nice thank you gift. “But not today. I was looking at the news earlier and saw there’s a late-night triple feature at the drive-in tonight, Indiana Jones.”
“Oh cool.” Elijah caught his eye with a fetching smile. “It’s supposed to get down to forty tonight. You’ll have to keep me warm.”
Sean leaned in and kissed him. “I promise to keep you warm. And we don’t have to stay for the whole thing, unless you want to.” They’d take a big bag of popcorn and a thermos of hot cider. It would be fun. “But first, breakfast.”
Elijah grabbed his camera and scampered up. “I’ll make breakfast. Whatever you want, as long as you have a recipe.”
Sean grinned up at him. “Dutch Baby. But I get to help.”
Elijah grimaced. “I don’t even know what that is.”
“It’s a big, crispy, puffy pancake like thing, with lemon juice and powdered sugar.” He caught Elijah’s offered hand and got himself to his feet, and they brushed off the leaves.
“Do we have lemon juice, Sean?”
Sean said, “No, but they’ll still be good.”
Elijah slid his arm around Sean’s waist as they headed back around to the porch. “Sean, did you and Daniel go to the drive-in movie a lot when you were here with him?”
Sean reached up to pluck an amber leaf from his dark hair, and pressed a kiss to his temple. “You know, I never ever got around to asking him. I knew he wouldn’t like it, just like I knew you would.”
Elijah softly smiled. “I’m glad. I know it’s dumb, but it’s nice to have something that’s just ours”
Sean hugged him close as they walked. “It’s all just ours, Elijah. It’s all different with you, don’t you know? You make me feel young again, and I don’t mean just less old.” He laughed. “You make me feel so young I want to go to drive-in movies with you, and do something grand with my life. You make me want to start again.”
Elijah looked up at him with little tears twinkling in his blue eyes. “Thank you, Sean.”
Sean smiled at him. “Oh Elijah, thank you.”