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To Tim, it had always seemed that Ned glowed. Even before they had become close, before Tim knew him at all, he could tell. Sometimes it was as if his skin was coated with a layer of light, barely there, only noticeable to him. “It’s sweat” Ned had said, jokingly, when Tim mentioned it, but Tim knew better. He had been at faery, and he knew that glimmer. Ned was not fae, but he had been touched by it somehow.

Ned never seemed fazed at Tim’s strange comments, not even before. Nor did he ask Tim where he had been when Tim left to explore the Hidden Realm. Tim had been concerned about what he would say the day Ned inevitably asked him where he had been, but that day never came. It took him some time to realize Ned must have known all along.

Theirs was a strange relationship, in a few ways. A lot of things were left unsaid, but it didn’t feel like it lacked understanding. Sometimes Tim would spend a long time away, and yet, whenever he came back, Ned would be waiting for him, solid and warm, and Tim would feel comforted when he hadn’t even noticed how much he had missed him.

A long time ago, when Tim had been young, he had thought about going to Faery one day and never coming back. As a kid, he wasn’t sure there was anything for him in the village worth returning to. Now, as he curled tightly to the warm body next to his and felt Ned’s strong arms around him, he knew he would always come home.