"I've missed these lips far too much." Edward growled hungrily against his mouth as they made, or more stumbled their way into the bedroom.
Large, rough hands kneaded his bottom and he choked out a gasp.
"I-I can tell..." he breathed his hands reaching up to card through the taller man's dark hair.
"Mm... good." his lover purred squeezing sculpted buttocks roughly to elicit a gasp so he could invade the shepherd's mouth with a thick tongue.
Thomas let out a small squeak his eyes sliding shut as he revelled in the sensual feeling of soft lips against his own.
They were soft, and well moisturised and felt rich and luxurious, like the finest of silks.
Edward's tongue swiped briefly against the roof of his mouth, his teeth, and the inside of a cheek before meeting his with gentle caresses that were indeed, so very tender and sweet.
He let his own tongue wander too, and it wasn't long before things stated to heat up as their tongues explored each other.
Thomas found the kiss became more and more fierce, desperate even. Teeth knocking against each other every now and then, small nips to his bottom lip here and there, his tongue occasionally being stilled as it was held between the man's teeth, and every one his groans of pleasure was greedily devoured as Mr Little took the reins in the bedroom.
Finally needing air he patted a firm hand against the man's chest a couple times.
Understanding the action Edward pulled away huffing slightly with a wolfish grin on his face as he watched the younger man gasp for breath.
Head spinning slightly Jopson had to pause, but he leaned forward to nuzzle into the crook of his lover's neck, pressing his cheek against the warm flesh with a content hum.
How he'd missed him.
There has never been another in his life that had ever brought him as much joy as Edward Little.
He himself was a friendly man by nature, but seldom had he ever found many friends with whom he could make lifelong friendships.
Well, besides Francis Crozier, a retired Royal Navy Captain. He'd met him eight years ago when he worked briefly in a tavern. That was before his mother got so sick.
A kind man of Irish heritage who was a sort of surrogate father figure. Especially since his father had left for America upon learning of his mother's addiction.
Never in his wildest dreams would he think to find a friend of such value, nor did he ever believe he'd find the man of his dreams at a horse show.
A burning feeling of warmth filled his chest rather than a pit in his belly.
It was a pleasant feeling, one of warmth, content and adoration. It was like a gentle but intense wave of joy, like the world he lived in was perfect.
Like it was perfect as long as he had Edward Little.
He smiled against the warm flesh of Little's neck, before placing a gentle kiss to the sun tanned skin.
When long arms wrapped affectionately around his neck and shoulders Edward's eagerness seem to quell, still there, but now tempered as he enjoyed the sweet embrace.
Tempered as he enjoyed his Tom.
His sweet, affectionate, warm, gentle, beautifully bright-eyed Thomas.
Smiling adoringly he removed his hands from that magnificent behind, and placed them carefully upon the man's waist.
Edward was not a man usually drawn to others, wasn't a socialite, he was hard to impress, preferring to keep to himself.
People drawn to him normally didn't stay long, and he didn't mind that. He knew most people he met were intimidated by his ever stoic demeanor, his seemingly non-existent sense of humor, seriousness, and lack of a smile.
Oh he had a smile, indeed he did, it just took certain things to draw it forth and it had never been people.
Animals maybe, especially horses.
It had never been people... until he met Thomas Jopson at a horse show.
Now there was one person, not people, but one person who could make him smile.
When he first saw Thomas Jopson at that event on such a beautiful sunny day, he'd found that for the first time in his life he'd been drawn to something other than a horse.
So mesmerized had he been, that he'd felt the need to approach this individual.
Though when he finally stood behind the stranger, he realized just after tapping his shoulder that he knew not what he was going to say.
~ Memory: Four Years Earlier ~
Good Lord, this was a mistake! How could he be so impulsive!?
As he berated himself with hand still hovering in the air after tapping the stranger's shoulder, the unknown man had finally turned around completely.
Edward heard a knicker and felt the soft coat of a horse's neck stretch forward over his shoulder. A large black head came into view, lowering to sniff at the stranger's even darker black hair.
'Zeus!? Oh no, how could I forget about this great beast!? Dammit Edward you're such a fool!'
As soon as the man found himself staring at the underside of the large Shire stallion's neck, he flinched with his eyes going wide.
Edward was starstruck.
Those eyes... oh how beautiful and unusual in color.
Pale in color... but at the same time they were blue... no green... wait... they were gray... goodness he didn't know.
They reminded him of the clear and tranquil stream on his family's property and it's water such a pale blue that he could see the occasional fish swimming around his ankles while he let the cool liquid caress his bare feet.
They reminded him of the pale green that the leaves of his mother's garden and house plants take up from a lack of sunlight.
They reminded him of clear see through ice, but yet there was a mix of off gray and watered down steely gray.
They.. were beautiful.
Zeus snorted a breath in the man's face, and the warm rush of air from the horse's nostrils caused him to flinch in alarm, and moved a thick lock of black hair loose from its part to hang over his temple.
"Oh!" the man gasped in surprise, taking a slight step back.
The horse whinnied comically, quite pleased with himself and began tossing his head about playfully.
Coming back to reality, Edward pulled backward on Zeus's reins firmly.
"Zeus. You know better." he admonished the large horse who snorted in response tossing his face up with indignation.
Whoever said horses had no personality was absolutely mad.
Regardless the horse took a couple steps back to and began to munch on some grass behind him.
The man before him was absolutely gorgeous.
Hair the darkest shade of ebony there ever was, and skin tanned from working in the sun, and there was stubble upon his jaw.
Shorter than he but lean and muscled. He'd been wearing a white cotton long sleeve shirt with the laces at the top loosened, black trousers that had some tears and specs of dirt and mud on them, brown muddy boots.
A farmer maybe?
The man looked at him curiously, those eyes so... so incredible that it took his breath away as they shifted their gaze from him to the large stallion behind him.
"I-I'm so sorry, sir! I forget Zeus's big I'm so used to him... b-but he really is harmless. I-I forgot to tie him up... before I... came over to talk to you." he gushed before he could stop himself.
When the man's eyes widened slightly in surprise, Edward felt his cheeks heat up and Zeus nickered behind him, almost mockingly, as if telling him, 'You awkward fuck.'
He glared at the stallion behind him and the horse snorted not giving a damn.
Edward ran his tongue over his lips as they suddenly felt very dry before turning his gaze back to the stranger.
Though he was surprised to see a small, shy, abashed smile curving full pink lips upwards as he pushed that errant strand of dark hair back to tuck it behind his ear.
"It's alright. I just wasn't expecting to see a horse..." the man paused for a second blushing lightly as he realized how absurd that sounded since he was at a horse show, "I mean- that is to say... I haven't seen a horse so close before."
Edward exhaled a breath and nodded, glad the stranger hadn't been offended.
"I didn't know there could be a horse so big."
He had to clear his throat just to speak again and he pulled forward on the reins. Zeus stepped forward gain, this time coming around to stand beside him as he shifted his hold up the leather to handle the large stallion better.
"Zeus is above average for a Shire. He was done growing at six years old. 19.2 hands... definitely the largest horse we have." Edward explained rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.
"May I?" the smaller man asked politely, eyes bright and a sun beam smile that revealed pristinely white teeth and prominent dimples upon his face.
Edward felt week at the knees at the sight of such a joyful smile.
"O-Of course!" he replied swiftly.
He clicked his cheek at the stallion and he stepped forward with a small nicker to investigate the new person again.
Edward was surprised by how eagerly Zeus met the stranger's hesitant hand, letting long nimble fingers brush his dark face and lowering his large head further to let him stroke his off-white mane.
"He's beautiful." the other man stated aloud with that wonderful smile still on his face, and those eyes still oh so enchanting.
Immediately Edward turned bright red and soon darker bordering into violet as the stranger paused in his attention to his large Shire stallion. His eyes were wide and his smile had fallen to a look of surprise, his tinting prettily.
"I-I... mean um... your eyes... I have... I've never seen such a color... I'm sorry... I-"
A sweet, beautiful laugh erupted from the man's throat, a laughter so cheerful and void of any sarcasm or cruelty.
"I'm sorry... that was too forward." he apologized again after the man's laughter died and warm eyes focused on him with a smile.
"I take it that's why you came to talk to me, sir?" the man asked though his voice had a hint of playful knowingness.
Edward was still blushing when the man chuckled softly at him, shaking his head. "Rest easy, sir. I jest."
Heaving a sigh he felt his heart fluttering when he extended a hand towards him.
Feeling like a fool for introducing his horse before himself Edward's face continued to burn awkwardly.
Easing up on the reins in his hand allowed Zeus to wander back behind him to munch on a weed while they talked.
He reached out and took Mr Jopson's hand giving a firm handshake.
Thomas smiled sweetly but there was a mischevious glint in his eyes, one of which winked at him playfully.
"I must say, Mr Little," he trailed off letting his eyes scan him up and down, smiling at what he saw before continuing, "You're quite possibly the handsomest man I've laid eyes on today."
Oh god he might faint.
All at once he felt a hard shove in the small of his back that sent him flying forward towards his new acquaintance, who didn't have time to brave himself and instead lost his balance as he crashed against his chest.
Both of them toppled to the floor with a cry of surprise, him landing on top of Thomas who let out an 'oof' as the breath was knocked out of him.
When he opened his eyes as he recovered he saw those beautiful lips just centimeters away from his, ragged puffs of breath tickled his nose.
Both men stared at each other, too shocked by the intimate position they had landed in.
They were both blushing and Edward had a feeling he knew what had happened as soon as he realized Zeus had been behind him and the reins were no longer in his hand, having dropped when he fell.
His suspicions were confirmed when he heard Zeus neighing happily.
When he turned to look over his shoulder the large horse was trotting in a circle tossing his mane about.
~ End Memory ~
Edward had known as soon as he saw those magnificent eyes that he found the love of his life.
Thomas Jopson was, and would forever be, his heart... and hopefully before he left more than just a lover.
A wave of nerves hit him hard, and he swallowed the lump of emotion that had arose in his throat at the thought of what he planned to ask Thomas before he left tonight.
"I love you Edward." Tom whispered gently in his ear.
He turned his face to kiss the younger man's temple.
"I love you too, so very much. My Thomas."
Their lips met briefly before they parted, and Thomas smiled with something lusting in his eyes.
"Your Thomas, eh?" he asked leaning in close to lick the shell of his ear and voice dropping to a breathy purr, "Why don't you show me how much of me is yours then Mr Little."
With a fire renewed, Edward didn't need to be told twice. Immediately he was working on the buttons of the loose white or whitish flannel he normally wore for work around the farm.
He hadn't been dressed for the occasion of Edward stopping by. Realizing this now his cheeks were aflame because he must look a mess.
- - -
Edward smiled smugly as Bill came trotting up to them both there was sheep wool stuck between his teeth and they both laughed, even though Thomas swatted his arm scolding.
"You awful man, Edward." his giggled rebuke hardly admonishing.
Edward smiled adoringly at him and his beautiful smile before turning towards him and placing his large hands upon Thomas's broad shoulders.
Jopson leaned in expecting a kiss but pulled back when he noticed Edward's serious expression and how he appeared lost in thought.
Alarmed he placed a hand against that whiskered jaw and met big brown eyes.
"Edward. What is it?" he whispered softly, worry in his voice.
His lover gulped violently, he watched how his Adam's apple bobbed fitfully and his eyes developed a glassy sheen to them.
"Thomas. I have to tell you something." he uttered gently, his voice edged with emotion.
"Is something the matter?"
When Edward shook his head and swallowed again, proceeded to offer a small reassuring smile Jopson was confused.
"No, everything is perfect."
Bewildered and at a loss Tom wiped away a couple tears.
"Then why are you crying?"
Edward took in a shuddering breath, exhaling before pressing his forehead against his affectionately.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw his sheep upon the hill.
"Because I'm scared, Thomas."
His love's hands trailed down his shoulders to his biceps which he rubbed soothing circles into before continuing down until he found his hips.
What on Earth was the matter? Things were fine an hour ago when they were making love... well besides the interruption of a couple naughty fluffy beasts.
Oh no, he wasn't breaking up with him?
"Afraid you'll say no."
Baffled and ready to press the panic button he opened his mouth to speak but Edward quieted him with a hand.
The look in the older man's eyes was nothing but warmth and nervousness.
"Just listen Tom, please?" he pleaded.
Uneasy, confused, but curious he nodded.
Edward took a breath and let his hand leave those lips only to cup his stubble cheek tenderly.
"Thomas, the past four years have been the happiest for me, I never thought I could love another person in the ways I love you. I've never been one for love, but you... you bring that out in me Tom. Somehow from the moment I laid eyes on you at that fair.. I was drawn to you. I saw you standing there and I had to talk to you. Nothing else mattered."
His young lover's eyes had gone quite wide and began to brim with tears.
"As soon as you turned around and I saw those eyes... I knew. I knew that I had to have you. That we were meant to meet somehow."
Taking another deep breath he slowly sank to one knee he continued to stare up into those sea-glass eyes now wide as an owl's.
"I love you Thomas. I love your eyes, your smile, your body, your kisses, your hands and their touches, the tender warmth of your embrace. Most of all I love your heart. Everything, I love everything about you. I love you so much it drives me mad."
A couple tears trickled down Jopson's face as he stared into the older man's big, puppy dog eyes. Oh how he loved them.
"I want to wake up every morning from now until I die to the sight of your angelic face. I want to wake up with you in my arms. That's why I-"
He swallowed thickly as he reached into a pocket on his waist coat pulling out a small box and licking his lips nervously.
"Oh my..." Tom muttered eyes wide and yet unreadable.
"... I have to ask you. Thomas Jopson, my heart, will you grant me the greatest gift in the world and marry me?"
He opened the small ring box revealing a dazzling sterling silver ring.
Looking up he heard a sniffle and as soon as he saw Thomas crying, he broke down sobbing himself, and all the sudden he was tackled to the grass by a blur of white and black.
Lips crushed against his, they were wet with tears as were his.
"BAAAAAAHHHHH!" came the deep rumble of a handful of sheep from atop the hill.
They both promptly started laughing.