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red roses and white knights

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“Package for you, Kirsten!”

Kirsten turned. “I’m not expecting anything!” she called back around half of the sandwich still in her mouth. She made a small meep sound, covering her lips before she swallowed. “Are you sure it’s for me?”

“Well,” the runner came over. He had a giant bouquet of red roses on his arms. “I can’t think of anyone else who might be receiving this.”

“Is that a card for it anywhere?” Kirsten lifted up the swathes of lace that surrounded the flowers. It was a huge bouquet, and gaudy beside; something that was completely antithetical to her taste. She really couldn’t think of anyone who would send this to her, except perhaps as a joke. But it was October, not April.

“Ah-hah!”

Out from the pile of fabric she found an envelope. She picked it up, turning it over, and she giggled at the name emblazoned in beautiful, waxy red ink in front.

“Viggo!” She called. On the other side of the set, she saw her onscreen husband turn to her. She raised the bouquet, grinning, and raised her voice so that the whole set could hear her:

“You got flowers! Huge ones!”

Laughter burst out all over them, and Viggo was shaking his head even as he walked over. “Kids these days,” he drawled, his American accent fading into something that was indefinably British. Kirsten blinked, tilting her head to the side even as Viggo plucked the flowers out of her arms. He caught the director’s eyes, and waved a hand at him as he made to walk off.

“You’re not even going to check who sent those?” Kirsten couldn’t help but ask. She wanted to know who would send the King of Men flowers. Especially flowers like that.

Viggo snorted. “There’s only one bastard who would send me something like this on my birthday,” he said, pulling off Chester’s sunglasses and setting them in his hair. He dug out his phone and started stabbing at buttons. “No one else has the same shitty sense of humour.”

Despite his words, Viggo was smiling. It wasn’t Chester’s smile, the small, insincere thing that Kirsten had been seeing all along. It wasn’t Viggo’s friendly smile either. No; this was a huge thing, nearly covering his whole face, as if he was trying to not cackle with sheer glee but not succeeding very well.

A man, then. Most likely a very good friend. Men usually didn’t talk about their girlfriends like that. At least, not in front of women.

“I’ll see you in ten minutes, then?” She asked. Viggo blinked at her -- he had asked Hossein only for five -- but she shrugged at him. “I still have to get a drink and finish my lunch.”

Viggo nodded, a small laugh escaping him.

“Thanks.”

***

“You fucking bastard.”

Sean’s laughter was like rain in the heat of a Greece afternoon. The perfume of the roses was thick, curling around him. Viggo leaned against the side of an alley, tipping his head up to look towards the skies. Athens was such a beautiful country, but Viggo had barely been able to see it. Every single shade of gold only reminded him of one man.

Now Sean’s voice was in his ear, and his gift was right in front of him to be touched. Though...

“Did it have to be red roses?”

“Yer the one who named me Sir Sean the Chivalrous, aye?” there was the soft noise of clinking porcelain. Viggo smiled, ducking his head. He could already see Sean in his mind’s eyes, puttering around the kitchen, stirring milk into his tea.

“Only performin’ me duty.”

“Mmhmm, and here I was thinking that you’re the Lady of Shalott, and I’m your Lancelot.”

Sean barked a laugh, “Ya sing like utter shite, Vig. Would’ve broken me mirror.”

“I notice you’re not denying being a girl,” Viggo pointed out. He knew that he probably looked like a complete lunatic right now, dressed as he was in 1950s fashion, holding a huge bouquet of flowers, and laughing to himself at the side of a street. He hoped Greek police didn’t patrol here often.

“Me arse sashayed in Spanx and a tight dress in front o’ five million people, love,” Sean chuckled. “I even got a name fer me ta use if I ever want ta be a girl, and that’s Tracie.”

“I don’t know,” Viggo mused. “I think ‘Shana’ suits you better.”

He spoiled his own joke by cackling out loud right after it, hiding his face amongst the flowers. He inhaled the scent and let the sound of Sean’s own laughter wash over him, until his hand curled tight around the base of the bouquet and he could feel his eyes start to burn. Viggo took a long shaking breath, tipping his head back until it hit against the wall.

“I miss you,” he said, softly. “When are you flying off to South America?”

“Couple o’ weeks,” Sean said, and his voice was quiet too. Viggo could hear the quiet shifts of his footsteps, and he wished he was in Sean’s London home right now. Sitting with Sean on the couch, or at the kitchen table, watching as the autumn sun’s light cast its rays upon his skin and hair. He wished he could have felt Sean’s skin against his own this morning.

“How’s filmin’ on yer end?”

“It’s going fine,” Viggo said, and he was glad for the change in subject, for if he dwelled more on what he could not have he would have started crying in public. Not that he minded that; it was simply that Chester was not the kind of man to have swollen, red eyes.

“Only thing is... I can’t help but feel that it’s a little strange to play husband to a girl closer to my son’s age than mine.”

Sean chuckled. “Ya should feel lucky. Not many men get ta play Casanovas at yer age. All I ‘ave left are dad roles; only a matter o’ time before they start askin’ me ta play grandfathers.”

“You mean that hasn’t happened already?” Viggo teased. “You’ll make for a good grandfather, what with going bald and all those wrinkles.”

“So says the man who ‘as so many gray ‘airs that the big bosses put it down on yer contract that ya got ta be acquainted with a bottle o’ dye,” Sean shot back.

“Have you seen your own bathroom lately?”

“Oh, fuck off,” Sean huffed, but he laughed almost immediately. Viggo closed his eyes, curling slightly into himself.

“You know what would make the best birthday present right now?” he asked. He knew that Sean wouldn’t mind the sudden change in subject, or even the change of tone. “Just you, being here.”

“Oh?” There was a curious note in Sean’s voice that made Viggo frown even as he kept his eyes shut. “What’s that sayin’? If ya ‘ad a good day on yer birthday, ya would ‘ave a brilliant year?”

There were footsteps that were getting closer, but this was a busy area.

“I’ve heard of that, yeah.”

“Open yer eyes, Vig.”

Viggo opened his eyes.

Sean stood there, his phone in one hand and the other shoved into his pocket. He gave Viggo a lopsided grin before he ducked his head.

“Ya was near impossible ta find, I swear. Ended up ‘aving ta abandon me tea in the shop ‘cause ya just decided ta not go there. Then I realised- it’s just like ya, ya stupid bastard, ta not take yer filmin’ breaks somewhere decent. Only ya would find the hardest ta find alleyway and ‘ide in it.”

Viggo blinked.

“Tell me you’re not a hallucination,” he said.

“I ain’t a hallucination,” Sean said obediently. He laughed as he took a step forward, shoving Viggo further into the alley. The back of his hand brushed against Viggo’s cheek, and Viggo dropped his phone. Metal and plastic clattered to the floor, but Viggo didn’t care. His hand was holding onto Sean’s hand, warm and much better than a cold phone, and pressing it against his skin.

Sean’s pulse beat against his lips, the frail bones of his wrist as familiar as Viggo’s own.

“I thought you couldn’t make it.”

“I can’t stay fer long,” Sean said, and he leaned forward. Viggo exhaled, closing his eyes as their foreheads touched, focusing on the sound of Sean’s voice thrumming in both ears, Sean’s heat against his body. “A week at most, then I ‘ave ta take a plane all the way down south.”

“One day’s enough,” Viggo murmured. “More than enough.”

The bouquet was crushed between their chests as Sean’s hands enveloped Viggo’s face, holding him close and kissing him hard. They kissed like they couldn’t breathe without each other, tongues searching, tasting, finding every single spot in each other’s mouths that had already been memorised but which was always a joy to find again, each and every time.

When they pulled away from each other, Viggo took a shuddering breath. He plucked a slightly-battered rose from the bouquet, slipping its stem into the buttonhole of Sean’s white polo.

“My Lady in shining armour,” he breathed, knowing that he was late back to set and grinning like a fool and not caring about either.

“Birthdays,” Sean said, his finger pressing against Viggo’s lips and slowly, slowly slipping downwards, “are important.”

End