Archive: MA only
Category: Alternate Reality, Qui/Obi, Romance
Summary: Quinn and Ian celebrate their first anniversary.
Series: Academic Arcadia -- 1) Wedding Gifts 2) A Symposium on Love 3) Dinner and a Movie 4) Please Call First 5) Masquerade 6) A Change of Clime 7) Christmas in Williamsburg 8) A Paduan New Year's Eve 9) Flux 10) Ki of Tranquility 11) A Rescindable Honor 12) An Honor Conferred 13) Outmaneuvered 14) Valentines by Design 15) Mastery 16) A Walk in the Park 17) The Man of the Moment 18) St. Patrick's Play 19) Avocation 20) Sustenance 21) A Cruise for Two 22) Mother's Day 23) A Long-expected Anniversary
Feedback: Is treasured at MerryAmelie@aol.com
Disclaimer: Mr. Lucas owns everything Star Wars. I'm not making any money.
To Alex, my friend and beta
Thanks to Nerowill for her great idea of having the lads use Elvish endearments for each other.
Jo was not the only one surprised by the mail that May. The day before Ian and Quinn's anniversary, they received cards from Jo and Keith, Kathy and Monty, and Bant.
The professors could see that the cards were chosen carefully; there was no reference to gender in either text or illustration, making them suitable for any type of couple. Ian idly wondered how much of a market there was for this sort of thing; he knew it must be an intentional strategy on the industry's part, but he'd never seen statistics on the percentage of gay purchases.
His parents had sent a card they might have chosen for Kathy and Monty: a decorative fountain with a short poem underneath. Opening it, a check fell into Ian's palm, as he read his mother's expansive ramble congratulating Quinn and himself, and wishing them well in the future.
Passing it into Quinn's eager hand, Ian watched his lover as he read. Surprised pleasure lit Quinn's face. "I never thought we'd get anniversary cards, lad." After giving them to his parents for years, Quinn was delighted at finally becoming a recipient himself.
"I didn't expect it either, although I really should have. They've been wonderful." Ian handed him the next letter, one with a New York City return address. "Here's Kathy and Monty's -- your turn to open it."
"Kathy must have picked this one," said a chuckling Quinn. Two mice posed before a fairytale cottage, alongside predictably saccharine sentiments. He'd seen cards like this when shopping for his parents, but had scrupulously avoided them.
"Oh, my!" Ian groaned. "Guess this is the flip side of exchanging cards." He read Kathy's note, relieved that it was not as fanciful as the drawing.
Quinn opened Bant's envelope, to find a tranquil ocean scene, and her hopes for their continued happiness. Passing it to Ian, Quinn heard his soft sigh.
Placing the cards by their cruise photo on the bookcase, Quinn wrapped his arm around Ian and stepped back to admire them. "The first we've received as a couple, lad." He took Ian's mouth in a tender kiss.
They moved to sit on the couch, their eyes drawn to the shelves every so often. Ian playfully entwined his left calf with Quinn's right, and rubbed gently. Both of them were already anticipating tomorrow's festivities.
Quinn woke to the sound of faint chugging from outside the bedroom. Cracking a sleepy eye open, he found himself alone in bed. Dressed in nothing but his blue silk boxers, Quinn went out to investigate the source of the noise.
He thought it was coming from his office, and warily walked in. A miniature steel train set circled the room, set upon the ledge where he normally kept plants. The tracks ran on the doorway-high ledge around the office in a loop. The cars were labeled: Longbottom Leaf, Prancing Pony Ale, Cotton's Mushrooms, Westfarthing Grapes.
Quinn laughed in delight as he looked for his sneaky lover. He heard an answering laugh, and Ian stepped out from behind the door, clad in grey sweatshorts. Quinn immediately grabbed him in a bear hug. "Thank you, Ian. It's wonderful."
"You're welcome, Quinn. Happy Anniversary!" Ian pushed the switch to turn off the train, knowing Quinn would want to check out his handiwork.
Sure enough, Quinn unhooked the carriages and examined them one by one. "This must've taken you hours to customize." Each 'company' name was written in elaborate script of a different color: sky blue, evergreen, cream, and brown. A pipe, tankard, and baskets of mushrooms and grapes adorned the cars as well.
Ian beamed. "It did. I'm just lucky you've had all those family get-togethers recently."
Quinn kissed him, still holding the Prancing Pony car. "Clever lad. Now I know why you claimed the kitchen needed repainting." He put down the carriage with care, then took Ian into a proper embrace, kissing him thoroughly.
"It was good camouflage," Ian chuckled. "Metallic paints give off strong fumes. I tried to keep the place well-ventilated, though. I opened every louver in the terrace."
"What a priceless gift you've given me. It's such a lovely reminder of our first meeting -- only you would think of combining Tolkien and trains like this." Quinn couldn't resist kissing Ian's already puffy lips again, unable to tell whether Ian's inviting blush was from praise or Quinn's ardent attentions. They pressed closer together, relishing these anniversary kisses.
When Quinn next spoke, his voice had deepened. "You couldn't have known this, but I always wanted model trains as a boy. Somehow I never got them, though." Quinn looked at the tiny set with a wistful smile.
"I'd have loved them too, but my parents concentrated on books and clothes for Christmas."
"Well, thanks to you we have our own set for two now, and that was something worth waiting for." Quinn nuzzled into russet hair gratefully.
Ian and Quinn left the door to the office open, so they could see the little train make its rounds. The two headed to the kitchen for a breakfast of juice and granola with skim milk.
When they'd finished eating, Quinn took Ian's hand, saying, "Come and see what I've got for you." He rummaged in the bookshelf, removing a few volumes from the second row, which revealed a small package in white paper. It looked for all the world like a jeweler's box in wedding wrap. Quinn handed it to Ian, whose complexion suddenly matched his gift.
Ian inhaled sharply, and tore off the paper. It was a college ring from Jedai University in Cortica, with an aquamarine set in the center. Ian immediately tried it on the ring finger of his right hand, where it fit perfectly. He gazed up at Quinn in adoration. "How did you ever think of this? Now I can wear your ring in public!" An enthusiastic Ian grabbed Quinn for a kiss worthy of the gift.
"Have a look at the inscription, lad," Quinn said in the lazy purr Ian had made of his voice.
Ian took the golden ring off expectantly, and peered inside. "Ammeldamin," he said, pitched low. "My dearest." This time he replaced it on his finger to stay.
Capturing Quinn's waistband in his hands, Ian walked backward, pulling him toward the bedroom with a possessive growl. He pushed Quinn onto the bed and straddled him. "How would you like to celebrate, ammeldamin?"
Quinn looked up into his eyes, and said slowly, "Why don't you tell me, love?"
Valpolicella in front of them, they drizzled the warm pane with herbed olive oil and quickly finished it all. The men ordered seafood fra diavolo for two, and sat back with their wine.
Quinn smiled as Ian's aquamarine flashed at him across the table. "Are you in the mood to read A Long-expected Party aloud with me this evening?"
"I'd love to, as long as you take the part with Gandalf's fireworks display. You've got the perfect delivery for it." Ian sipped his water.
"Done." Quinn smiled in anticipation. "Besides, paper is the recommended gift for the first anniversary," he added dryly.
"You know, Quinn, that book's a particularly apt choice for tonight for another reason as well." Ian's tone conveyed a wealth of private meaning. Quinn had been reading The Fellowship of the Ring when the two of them had met on the train to Massachusetts.
"So you remember that, do you, lad?" Quinn teased.
Ian snorted. "I'm not likely ever to forget."
"Neither am I."
Their salads came, along with another basket of bread. The men still had the place to themselves on this Wednesday afternoon, and the waiters knew better than to hover at Cal's.
Ian said, "I'm just lucky you got out that book. You looked so intimidating, and that gave me an excuse to start a conversation."
Quinn lowered his voice, though they were alone. "I wasn't expecting to find the love of my life sitting next to me in Business Class."
Hearing Quinn call him "the love of my life" brought out Ian's dazzling smile. He softly translated the words into Elvish. "Mela en' coiamin."
Quinn repeated them, and added his own private smile for Ian.
A few minutes later, their entrees arrived and the men started to eat. The heaping plates kept their attention focused on the feast at hand, until they'd had enough and decided to save the rest for home.
"This coming semester, I've heard you'll be asked to sit on the required textbook committee for the intro courses." Quinn sipped the last of his wine.
Ian's eyes widened. "I didn't expect that yet."
"It's quite an honor. You'll be the only junior faculty member there." Quinn's pride shone in his eyes.
"Isn't Case the head of that committee, though?" At Quinn's nod, Ian said, "I thought he wasn't exactly pleased with us for pushing Danny."
Quinn chuckled. "He's not, but Case is a fair man, and knows talent when he sees it."
"Says my unbiased friend." Ian's eyes had picked up the sparkle of the wine.
The men decided to share rum cake for dessert, accompanied by Amaretto lattes. Some people came in for dinner while they finished their meal, but no one was seated near them.
Quinn said, "Lucky we got here when we did. We've had the place to ourselves."
"Timing is everything."
Ian and Quinn walked back home in the early evening. Sleepy after the large meal, they were ready for a nap and went to bed. When they woke up, Quinn had become Ian's de facto blanket since the real one had been kicked to the floor.
"Is it still our anniversary?" Ian asked, happily immobilized at the moment, his front deliciously pressed against his lover, his back upon the soft cotton of their summer sheets.
Quinn looked over at the clock. "For a few hours more," he said, voice barely audible as he rubbed his cheek on the side of Ian's neck. "But we'll be celebrating well past midnight, lad."
"I can see that." Ian smiled as Quinn's hands began to roam.
When the men were relaxing after their celebration, a sweaty Quinn snagged his copy of Fellowship from the nightstand, pulled Ian onto his chest, and started to read the first chapter to him, his mellifluous voice taking them to Middle Earth, where their romance had begun.