EPILOGUE: FALL


Day 365

You sit beside him on the subway.

The students surrounding you are free and easy with their laughter, happy chatter almost obscuring the mechanical screeching of the train. You read his magazine over his shoulder- it's not very interesting, but you forgot your phone in the apartment the two of you are renting together this year, and you have nothing else to do. The angle and the crowding around you make it so you have to practically sprawl across him to see, your arm warm along his shoulders. He snugs himself more tightly into the crook of your body as the train rounds a bend, and you drop a kiss into his hair.

When your stop comes you stand, holding out a hand to help him from his seat. He takes it, laces your fingers together, smiles. The autumn sunlight gilds his hair, limning it until it looks like a halo. He tucks his arm through yours. The air is brisk, the wind carrying just the barest hint of winter chill.

Shadow joins you for a while as you walk, keeping a distance so studious it's almost mocking. Vio punches him good-naturedly, tugs him closer, and the three of you walk arm in arm, taking up most of the sidewalk and snickering like schoolchildren. He drops a kiss on Vio's forehead when he comes to an intersection, his eyes on you the entire time. You let go of Vio long enough to run him down, tripping him into the nearest stretch of grass and delivering the harshest knuckle-noogie you can. He laughs, unable to fight you away, and you hear Vio join in at the point when you start ripping up handfuls of grass and shoving them down Shadow's collar.

He manages to flip you, turns the tables and does the same to you. Your face is pressed into the earth. Vio comes over and you wave a hand for help. Instead he plops himself onto your back, digging his fingers into your armpits and ribs.

You don't care how many people are looking. You're happy, and you mean to stay that way.

Vio finally lets you up, brushing dirt and blades of grass from your hoodie and pants. You return the favor, waving goodbye to Shadow when he leaves. You grab dinner from a café to bring home, Vio stationing himself on the couch with a book nearly as soon as you've eaten.

You tolerate this for roughly twenty minutes before you decide enough is enough.

"Viiioooo," you whine as you lean over the back of the couch, mushing your face against his hair. "Pay attention to meeee."

He heaves out a huge sigh and closes his book with a sharp thwap, but his eyes are warm as he cranes his neck around and kisses your cheek. "You are obnoxious," he murmurs with humor in his voice. "Like a barely-trained puppy." He kisses you again, full on the mouth this time. "About as cute as one, too," he adds.

"Aw, Vi, I knew you cared," you simper, batting your eyelashes at him as you heft yourself over the back of the couch, sliding down until your head rests in Vio's lap. "I'm sure I can be much more interesting than that book, though," you say, waggling your eyebrows outrageously until Vio dissolves into chuckles.

"You are incorrigible, you know," he says between fits of laughter, his hands smoothing your hair back from your eyes.

"You love me for it," you point out, and everything inside of you thrills when he answers,

"I do."

"How about love?

Measure in love,

Seasons of love…"

end.