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to be marvelous

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Jack has no idea why Sammy keeps scowling at the gazebo.

It’s a nice location for a wedding, not that Jack’s been to many, and certainly not recently. Lake Hatchenhaw in early spring is cool enough that you need a jacket, but not much else. The gazebo overlooking the lake is picturesque. Jack’s never met either of the grooms, but apparently neither has Emily or Sammy.

Sammy definitely knows at least one of them, though, from the way he’s fuming.

“Did you have a torrid affair with one of the farmers and that’s why you’re so upset?” Jack teases him when he notices Sammy’s set jaw. Sammy’s face immediately melts into worry, because of course it does.

“Of course not,” Sammy says, and there’s Jack’s overly earnest fiancé. “You’d have to kill me first.”

“Oh, shut up,” Ben, who’s seated on Jack’s other side, cranes his neck and reaches across Jack’s lap to hit Sammy’s chest. He turns to Jack and says “Sammy has a nemesis.”

“Does he now?” Jack can’t help but laugh at the perturbed look on Sammy’s face as he reaches across Jack to slap at Ben. Jack really should’ve made sure they sat next to each other so he wouldn’t be stuck in the crossfire.

“They’re both perfectly lovely people,” Emily says from Ben’s other side. They’re seated near the back of the crowd of white chairs facing the gazebo, probably about fifty in all. Not many people have arrived at the wedding yet, let alone any members of the wedding party that could overhear them.

“One of them is a vigilante,” Sammy mutters under his breath. Jack doesn’t know if he’s kidding or not but laughs anyway. “Who isn’t even good at it. Though I have nothing against Kirk. He just has bad taste.”

“Dwayne’s really nice,” Ben addresses Jack, rolling his eyes in Sammy’s direction. “We went to high school together. He’s always been great. He’s just a little – um – not quite Sammy’s speed.”

“He needed a petty rivalry,” Jack supplies, because he does like to think he knows his fiancé pretty well, even if he’s still getting to know King Falls and how Sammy fits here. How Jack fits here, now. It’s a lot to think about, a lot to consider, but there are certain things about Sammy that haven’t and could never change.

Mainly that Sammy’s first instinct is always pettiness and annoyance.

“Exactly,” Ben nods. “He made up with Lily, so it was only natural he’d need someone to direct his mean energy at in a productive way…”

“I’m right here,” Sammy scowls at Ben. “This isn’t petty. This is serious.”

Jack raises his eyebrow and can practically feel Ben and Emily doing the same.

Sammy’s scowl deepens, but Jack knows he’s not really mad by the way he leans against Jack’s shoulder just slightly. “Okay. Maybe it’s petty and serious. It can be both!”

“I’m sure it’s life or death, baby,” Jack pats his shoulder, letting the pet name slip out because he can. They’re sitting waiting for a gay wedding to start, and he can use a pet name for the man he's going to marry soon. It’s a lot to take in, but Jack’s trying to focus on just enjoying it.

“Where is Lily, anyway?” Emily cranes her neck through the crowd. “She and Katie are supposed to be here by now.”

“Great, my other favorite person.”

“Today’s just so hard for you,” Jack laughs at the pout on Sammy’s face that’s so clearly put-upon. Jack’s never known a version of Sammy that didn’t take rivalries to the highest level.

“Wait until his rant about the gazebo. Ron practically built it for you guys, but all Sammy can do is –”

“I’m not getting married anywhere that Dwayne Libbydale thinks is good! Sorry for having taste and standards!”

Jack wants to kiss Sammy so badly, but old habits die hard, and the pet name was good enough for now. Besides, Jack wouldn’t want to steal any limelight away from the couple actually getting married.

The ceremony is lovely. Both grooms cry through their vows, and Ben cries right along with them. Jack has to blink away a few tears. Even Sammy’s mumbling commentary about how Dwayne’s tie is crooked comes to a stop for a few seconds.

The reception is held just outside Begley’s Bait and Tackle, and Sammy somehow convinces Jack that they should dance, even though Jack’s not very steady on his feet yet. Much to his chagrin – Jack desperately wants to go for a daily run again. He has too much pent-up energy after two months of difficulty getting out of bed. Baby steps, though, and Sammy does an admirable job of keeping them both upright even though neither of them can dance for shit.

Ben makes cooing noises and takes pictures of them, even though he and Emily dance to every single song. Katie even spins Lily around the makeshift dance floor, which makes Jack laugh so hard he can’t breathe. Lily’s flushed but pleased embarrassment is a sight to behold. 

Jack's so glad they’re all here. He’s happy, and he knows Sammy is, too.

Sammy’s scowl only returns when the two grooms greet each table, and the rest of their table is out on the dance floor. Sammy's forced to shake hands with the shorter and stockier of the two, who must be Dwayne.  

“Congratulations,” Sammy does manage to get out in an almost polite tone. “It was a nice ceremony.”

“Oh, Sam, thanks so much for coming,” Dwayne says, and Jack can immediately see through his equally polite tone. Anyone who purposefully calls Sammy by the name Sam does it to rile him up. Sam is not Sammy’s name, which Sammy makes abundantly clear to anyone who’s ever met him. “And this must be Jack! It’s wonderful to meet you.”

Dwayne’s voice does gain genuineness as he shakes Jack’s hand. Then he does start scowling at Sammy in a direct mirror image. Jack almost laughs.

“How are you liking the town?” Kirk shakes Jack’s hand as well, and he rolls his eyes while Dwayne and Sammy are distracted with glowering. Jack smiles at him, appreciating the knowledge that this rivalry is definitely two-sided, and Kirk definitely has the correct attitude about it, which is resigned acceptance. 

“It’s really nice, everyone’s been so welcoming,” Jack says truthfully, though he avoids any of the complexity involved in that. Jack’s happy, and he likes King Falls, and he’s with Sammy, and those are the important things. “Thank you for inviting us.”

He steps on Sammy’s foot, and Sammy mumbles out a thank you, too. Kirk hides a laugh in his hand as he and Jack make knowing eye contact.

“Oh, we wouldn’t have let you miss it!” Dwayne is clearly delighting in Sammy’s discomfort, which honestly, Jack is more amused by than anything else. “We can’t wait to come to your wedding. Have you set a date yet?”

“Oh, there’s no way you’re –”

“July 8th,” Jack takes Sammy’s hand to squeeze, and rolls his eyes when Sammy shoots him a betrayed, wide-eyed look. “We really hope you guys can make it.”

“We really do,” Sammy cups Jack’s hand with his own, and oh, he’s changing tactics. God, he’s really engaged to such a fucking moron. Jack grins at him because there’s nothing else to do, and Sammy’s clearly having a good time. “It’ll be so nice to have you there. I just hope I don’t commit a crime before then and you crash my own wedding to zip tie me.”

Jack doesn’t quite understand the reference, though he recognizes Kirk’s long-suffering eye-roll as a message to ignore what was happening.

Dwayne’s eyes narrow. “I hope you don’t commit a crime before then, either, Sam. Would be a real shame.”

“Well,” Kirk clears his throat in interruption. “I doubt anyone will commit any crimes. Before, after, or during anyone’s wedding. No zip ties will be used."

"That's kinky."

Jack bites his tongue to keep from laughing. God, Sammy really must have a nemesis if he's willing to make any sort of sexual comment about him. 

"Honey," Kirk, bless him, valiantly ignores Sammy's commentary even as Dwayne's face twitches. "We have to go talk to your aunt before she leaves. Let’s leave these gentlemen be.”

“Have a lovely evening,” Sammy waves as Kirk pulls Dwayne away from them. Dwayne looks like he’s about to open his mouth with a retort, but Kirk gives him a long look that clearly says be good so all Dwayne does is wave back. Though in a suitably sarcastic way.

“Did you enjoy yourself?” Jack asks, not bothering to hold in his laugh as Sammy lets go of his hand. “Were you having fun? That looked fun for you.”

“Oh, shut up,” Sammy knocks their shoulders together, not quite making eye contact, but his smile gives him away.

“God, you’re so predictable,” Jack grins. “What, did this guy steal your parking space or something and now you’ll hold a grudge forever? Or did you steal his parking space and he accused you of committing a crime? Is that the crime thing?"

“I told you,” Sammy says. “He’s a vigilante superhero who dresses up like Batman and calls me on the radio to antagonize me into reporting him to the police. Which I don’t do, so that does make me the bigger person here, thanks.”

“.....Okay, you most definitely did not tell me that.”