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It was naïve of him to think that because his inbox wasn’t piled high that it would be a relaxing morning.

In his defense, in the year and a half since he had become Prime Minister it had never happened before. Every morning his box was overflowing with more files, letters, and papers than he could read in a week, never mind a day. He always spent the first twenty minutes in his office sorting through the pile and organizing them into sub-piles to be disseminated amongst himself and his staff in the hopes they would be addressed in a timely manner.

That morning there was only one file—light green, which meant something that Blaine still wasn’t able to discern. The color schedule that he had been presented with when he first entered office had long since been abandoned when it became clear that every department had their own system anyways and 3 times out of 10 people just put things in whatever file was nearest to them.

Light green was nice and non-threatening though. Not like the light blue, which was the only universally used color and which heralded a new disaster and a headache that wouldn’t be leaving him for at least two days.

He didn’t even think of the file as he went, humming, to the kitchen. He said cheerful hellos to all of his surprised staffers – it was normally Jane who collected his morning coffee and pastry of the day for him – and had time for a quick chat about everyone’s weekend plans.

He meandered back to his office fifteen minutes later, licking the last crumbs of his danish off his fingers and with a perfectly structured schedule of his morning in his mind up to through the trade meeting he had at 10:30. For the first time in months he thought he might be able to tackle his e-mails, review at least half of the briefings he was, theoretically, supposed to look at before meetings and not during or after, and maybe even make some headway on the energy portfolio. 

Sitting down at his desk, he took one more sip of his coffee before pulling the file to him.

The crest in the lower right-hand corner made it immediately obvious why he hadn’t been able to identify it—it was from the palace. Although the government had been closely entwined with palatial affairs ever since the country converted from the monarchy to democracy, those matters were very rarely important enough to land on the Prime Minister’s desk.

Interest piqued, he flipped open the cover.

Before he made it through the first paragraph, he felt his stomach drop.

“A reliable source,” the page read, “reports one of the twins has plans for an elopement.”

The page continued with the time, date, and location of the ceremony, as well as the estimated number of people who would be in attendance. The relationship, it seemed, had been going on for some time but had been kept quiet because it was with “someone the King would find distasteful.”

Blaine’s heart hammered in his chest.

“One of the twins” he read again and then cursed the so-called reliable source for not being more reliable. One of the twins.

Specificity, of course, wasn’t needed. Everyone knew Quinn was in a long-term relationship with a man whose lineage was even more impressive than hers and who was very much approved of by her father. Rumors had been swirling of their impending engagement and not even a month could go by without their smiling, love-struck faces appearing in the papers.

Someone the King would find distasteful.

That would be one way to put it, if Sebastian’s father ever found out he was marrying a man, although Blaine probably would have used stronger words.

One of the twins.

He shoved the file away from himself and was standing up before he had even thought about it.

“Reschedule my morning,” he snapped at Jane, who looked startled to see him bursting through the door.

“Sir?,” she asked.

“Family emergency.” For a second, he could have sworn that her eyes took on a knowing glint as they darted to his desk.

She nodded. “Consider it rescheduled.”

---

Just going to the palace was an insane idea. He gathered that from the way his driver, Marcus, looked at him when he practically demanded that they go; even more insane, given that he wasn’t going to “the little palace,” as Sebastian always called it. It was a wing of the main palace, connected by a covered walkway, that Sebastian and his siblings had been allowed to move into as a "rite of passage" when they turned 20.

Sebastian’s older brother, Robert, had moved out when he got married, although he and his wife still kept an unofficial residence there. Although most of Blaine’s interactions were with the King, Robert had been taking over more and more official duties, and Blaine’s office had worked with the crown prince on a couple of projects.

Blaine babbled at Marcus for a while, concocting some roundabout explanation about why he was meeting Robert. How he was only in town briefly before leaving and it was easier to meeting there than anywhere else.

Marcus, at least, was used to his babbling. It tended to come out whenever he got overexcited, over exhausted, or just plain nervous about anything and Marcus often got the brunt of all the idiosyncratic that he had to keep hidden from public eye.

He was less used to just leaving the Prime Minister somewhere and being told he didn’t know how long he would be and that Blaine could “get a cab or something” to get back.

It wasn’t a fight that Blaine was in mindset to have, so he just smiled apologetically and hopped out of the car, making a mental note to buy Marcus a bottle of his favorite rum that evening.

Jane, it seemed, had called ahead to let them know to expect him. At least, no one seemed overly surprised to see him and no one made any move to stop him. Or maybe they just weren’t sure of what the protocol was when the Prime Minister showed up and stormed the palace.

He had only been to the little palace a dozen or so times and it had been years, but he still remembered the way to Sebastian’s suite. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to forget, every time he’d been there his heart had nearly pounded out of his chest with the fear that he would take a wrong turn and end up somewhere he definitely was not supposed to be.

“That’s ridiculous, you idiot” Sebastian had said, after the third time Blaine had navigated his way on his own. “This is my home. We’re not hiding state secrets behind every door. You can go wherever you want.”

Blaine had never quite believed him and he had never had the desire to explore.

Sebastian’s rooms looked more or less the same as Blaine remembered them. The walls had been painted a lighter, more neutral colors and the pictures of them and their friends had disappeared, replaced with abstract artwork that the Sebastian Blaine had known never would have picked out for himself.

The couch was new too, Blaine realized as he sat down. He had liked the old one, and not just because of the number of times he had had sex on it. This one was nice too, though.

“Sir, is there anything I can get you while you, er, wait?” A middle-age man in a well-fitting suit appeared at the door. From the rustling in the hall, it sounded like half the staff had gathered just around the corner to observe the proceedings.

“No. Thank you. I can, uh, just wait for Sebastian to return.”

“Very well, Sir. His Royal Highness is away at the moment. Is he expecting you?”

“Uh, no. Not exactly. Is he, um, are you expecting him back today?”

The man stifled the grimace of anyone who had ever tried to get Sebastian to adhere to a schedule. “Yes, he is expected. We can let him know that you’re here.”

“No. No, that’s fine. Don't call him,” Blaine said too quickly. “I can just wait its… it’s fine.”

The man gave him a look that made it evident that whatever it was, he, at least, wasn’t fine and, if Blaine had been anyone else, he would be being hauled off to whatever dungeon he had always envisioned made up their basement.

“Very well, Sir.” The man inclined his head and withdrew from the room causing the whispers in the hallway to immediately grow louder until someone issued a series of Shhhs and everyone shuffled off, presumably to continue to gossip in some other corner of the building.

It was insane, Blaine admitted to himself after almost half an hour.

He was insane.

He was just sitting there. In a room where three quarters of the contents were familiar to him but he felt too uncomfortable to even move from the couch.

But he couldn’t leave. Because Sebastian was getting married.

Married.

For a decade he had dreamed of being the one to marry Sebastian. It was a fantasy he had let go of years ago but it didn't erase the fact that, for almost a third of his life, it was something he had believed would happen to him.

Although there had been so many reasons that they ended when they had, what it had all boiled down to was the fact that they both had their own lives and neither of them was willing to sacrifice their vision of their own futures for one where they could be together.

Blaine couldn’t regret it. He couldn’t have gotten where he was in politics if he was with a member of the royal family. The fact that he had ever been friends with Sebastian had almost ended his first campaign before it had even begun.

He was proud of the work he had done and the mark he was leaving on the world. He wished things could have been different, wished that they lived in a world where they could’ve had each other and everything else they wanted out of life. They didn’t, though, and he had come to terms with that but...

But.

Sebastian was getting married and they had fallen so far from each other’s spheres that Blaine hadn’t even known he was seriously seeing anyone.

It was another twenty minutes before Sebastian came bursting through the door. He was accompanied by another man and laughing so hard they had to lean on each other for support in order to stay up.

“Blaine?” Sebastian asked, startled. He immediately stood straighter. “What are you doing here?”

“They told you,” his friend laughed. “It wasn’t just a trick to get you back here faster.”

He guessed he should have known better than to think they would listen to him about not calling Sebastian.

“Umm,” he said inelegantly.

Sebastian stared.

“Well.” Sebastian’s friend coughed. “I’m just going to be going, then. I’ll see you later, yeah?” He asked but didn’t wait for an answer, just ducked in to kiss Sebastian’s cheek.

“Yeah,” Sebastian replied dully. “See you.”

Blaine’s heart thudded as he realized that this wasn’t just a friend. It was probably Sebastian’s fiancée.

He was good looking, about Sebastian’s height with dirty blond hair, a strong jaw line, and clearly in excellent shapre.

“Right then,” the fiancée said. “Prime Minister,” he bowed his head to Blaine before backing out of the room.

The door was heavy and the sound of it thudding close startled Blaine, causing him to jump.

“You’re in my room,” Sebastian pointed out.

“Yeah. I guess I am.”

Blaine thought again about exactly how insane he very clearly was. He should probably be removed from office. He had just spent an hour sitting in Sebastian’s rooms and now he didn’t even know what the hell to say.

“Um,” Blaine cleared his throat. “I guess congratulations are in order. He seems like a good guy.”

“What?” Sebastian was blinking slowly at Blaine, still looking stunned.

Beating around the bush had never exactly been Blaine’s forte, so he took a deep breath and dived in, “I know,” he said, “that you’re eloping with, I assume, that guy,” he gestured at the door.

“I’m not... What.” He shook his head. “Why would you think that?”

“A report was sent to our office,” Blaine explained. “And I know we’ve grown apart over the years but you’ll always be important to me and I just—”

“Blaine,” Sebastian interrupted, “I’m not eloping. With anyone.”

“I won’t tell,” Blaine promised, used to Sebastian’s staunch denial about things he would rather not admit to being true. “I would never do that to you. I mean, I guess I’ll have to figure out some way for the office to suppress it, but I can do that. At least until you get back from Italy.”

He had done a good job so far in ignoring the sting of that. Of all the places they and their friends had gone together, the weeks they spent off the coast of Italy were the ones that stood out the most in his mind. Of course they had only gone so often because Sebastian liked it so much and it was ridiculous to think that he would have stopped going just because of the time they had spent there together.

“I’m not going to Italy,” he said slowly. “The report must have mixed me up with—” He froze.

“Sebastian?”

“Quinn,” he breathed. “She left today. A spur of the moment trip with some of her friends. She didn’t say who was going.”

“Quinn?" Blaine asked, "That doesn't make and sense, Didn’t she always want a big grand wedding?”

“Yes,” Sebastian said distractedly, patting down his pockets for his phone. “What the fuck. I didn’t even know she was seeing anyone. Not since she and Andrew broke up.”

“They broke up?” So much for his staff staying on top of palatial affairs.

“About five months ago. Dad’s been trying to keep it out of the papers. He knocked someone else up. She got an abortion but it will still be a huge scandal when the press finds out and WHERE THE EVER LOVING FUCK IS MY PHONE?”

Wordlessly, Blaine held his own phone out, which Sebastian snatched away, tapping in some numbers and breathing heavily as he listened to the ringing on the other end.

Blaine had panicked when he thought it was Sebastian getting married but the fact that it was Quinn made him feel worse. Sebastian and Quinn were what they called “unconventional twins” which, as far as Blaine could tell, meant that they had almost nothing in common (and by product of going to different schools since the age of 7) and spent 80% of the time pretending the other didn’t exist. Despite all that, they were fiercely devoted to and protective of each other.

“My whole life,” Sebastian had once said when he tried to explain it to Blaine, “she’s been the only constant.”

Sebastian had joked once, about her wedding. How it should be him, not their father, who walked her down the aisle and how Blaine would be there to make faces at him, just in case he started to feel something that might result in an emotion being displayed on his face. Not that he would, but just in case. And then he and Blaine would dance afterwards on a terrace beneath the stars.

While Sebastian paced back and forth, Blaine went to his closet, found a garment bag, and did his best to not wrinkle the nicest looking of his suits as he shoved them in.

“Lucinda Quinn,” Sebastian yelled, after giving up on the fourth call and finally resigning himself to voicemail, “if you do not call me back in the next half hour or before you do anything fucking stupid, I,” he floundered for a minute before starting over again. “I know where you are and what you’re doing. Call me back. That is not a request.”

By the time he was done, Blaine had found his dress shoes and had gathered up enough other clothes to fill a small carry on.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Sebastian snapped. “Can you stop going through my things, thanks.” He pulled his bag from Blaine’s hands.

Blaine smiled. “We’re getting you to Italy.”