Jean yawned as he tried rereading another paragraph, the words "transference" and "counter-transference" turning into watery ripples as he shut his eyes in utter exhaustion. Stretching out in his seat, he looked around, taking in the quietness of the city library. Sneaking a peek at the clock, 06:47 pm, Jean groaned as he bent his head down to rest at the table, two columns of books regarding psychoanalytic theories greeting him.
The low scratching of pen against paper made him turn, watching as Marco diligently copied something from a thick book that lay open beside him, a small smile on his face. Jean rolled his eyes; only Marco could stay in the library for five hours and still act like he was having the time of his life.
"What are you looking at?" Jean blinked, taking a moment before Marco's question sank in.
"You." He replied, simply. He smirked, seeing the other man's suddenly reddening face at Jean's answer.
"M—me?" Marco squeaked, hands stilling.
So, that's what it takes to make him stop.
"Yeah, you. Like how weird it is that you were here since lunch and, yet, you look like you just won the lottery or something."
Marco shook his head, frowning, face still read. "S—shut up. This is an big project for me, okay?"
Jean laughed, reaching his left foot to lightly graze it against the other's leg. "Hey, I was just kidding. I know how important this is to you. I'm just bored here."
The noise of a book falling made Jean turn, glancing to the far side of the room and he saw one of his school mates—Eren Jae-something—leave, a shorter man with a deadpan expression in tow. Boyfriend, Jean thought, as he watched their interlocked fingers.
He continued to watch them, their retreating figures fading into the growing darkness beyond the entrance.
"I think it's sweet," Marco spoke as Jean returned to his books. The other man had also been watching the couple, something warm and tender in his eyes. Jean felt his heart beat a little faster. He ignored it.
They continued to work, Marco on his biology paper and Jean with his psychology assignment. As the minutes turned to hours, somewhere along the lines, Jean's leg made contact with Marco's. He didn't pull it back, feeling the other leg lean against his. Neither broke contact until the librarian told them to leave, pointing at the clock glaring a red 10:04 pm.
Walking towards home—they lived close, has been since they were little—their shoulders brushed, but neither pulled away. As Jean turned, his house a block nearer than Marco's, he turned and maybe stood a little too close as he said goodbye, eyes counting the freckles on the other's face.
Marco, if he had noticed or not, said nothing, save a "See you tomorrow, Jean" before smiling, also standing a little too close.
Jean guffawed as the hero of the movie made another sleazy attempt to impress the girl, Marco laughing beside him. They were the only ones in the movie theatre, in the middle of the day, where the rest of the world was at lunch. It was Jean's idea, to skip class and watch a movie.
Actually, everything that screamed "rule-breaker" was mostly Jean's idea, Marco following only because someone had to keep an eye on the man before he ended up in jail or something.
As the movie continued on, Marco went to grab some popcorn from the container in Jean's lap. His fingers came in contact with the Jean's, who also had the same idea at the same time.
Flustered and unsure of what to do, his fingers stilled, feeling Jean's index lightly touch his. Repressing the shiver that crawled up his spine, Marco recalled his hand quietly. A few seconds later, another hand came into his vision, close to his mouth, popcorn held between his fingers. He glanced at the other man—saw Jean looking straight at the screen—before opening his lips. The popcorn fell into his mouth, cheese flavouring tickling his tongue as he ate.
A few minutes later, Marco grabbed some off the container and raised his hand to Jean's lips, felt the other open them before Marco released them, and he swore Jean kissed his fingers as he did so.
The movie played on, ignored by the two men as they continued to feed each other, stealing tiny slivers of kisses here and there over and over again.
The bustle of the noisy canteen during lunch time surrounded Jean as he found the table Marco was sitting at, plopping his tray down before taking a seat beside the other. Soon, Armin—one of their close friends, really smart, really small guy—took a seat in front of them.
"What's up?" Jean asked the shortest one out of the three, digging into his sandwich as Marco greeted with a muffled "Hi, Armin" as he, too, ate.
Armin gave them a smile before sighing, taking a piece of French fries into his mouth. "The professor didn't get our assignments. I spent two days on it."
Jean grimaced; he hated those kinds of things. Beside him, Marco made a sympathetic noise, said something about his zoology professor doing the same thing once.
As they continued to eat, conversation lightly flowing, Jean felt Marco inch closer to him. Not at all bothered by it—even welcoming it, in fact—Jean pushed closer as well. Marco asked about what Armin's assignment was, watched the shorter blond's eyes lit up and he began talking excitedly as Marco smiled along.
Jean glanced at the other, taking in the freckled cheeks, the dark hair, the interest gleaming in his eyes. Marco always had the ability to cheer people up, to find something in people that made them special. He made Jean feel that way, a lot.
Without even being aware of his actions, Jean lightly wrapped an arm around the other's waist. Then, to his astonishment and pleasure, he felt Marco's hand grasp his, folding their fingers against his stomach.
Jean looked at him, saw a grin even as he continued to talk to Armin. His chest suddenly hurt, but it was a good pain—like the tension in his muscles after a good work out or the kinks in his back after finishing a really long report and knowing he got it right.
Jean liked this kind of pain, and he liked it even more as Marco's thumb started to trace circles on the skin of his hand.
Feeling light and happy, Jean joined in the conversation—teasing Armin and smiling as Marco looked at him with something tender.
Jean realized that loving Marco was the same as breathing. It was almost normal, like a function his body had been born with. He had expected something different to happen when he finally admitted that, yes, he loved Marco.
He expected fireworks, butterflies in the pit of his stomach, ice to run through his veins and his soul to sing with glee.
He expected fleeting touches to spark excitement in his groin—they always had, to be quite honest, but it had gotten so common even before Jean realized he was in love with Marco that it was like breathing, like existing.
He realized that knowing he was in love with Marco and not knowing he was in love with Marco was eerily similar. His actions were the same, his words were the same, even the light of something tender, something warm in the other's eyes were the same. Like Marco had always looked at him like that.
He realized that, yes, Marco had always looked at him like that, and Jean knew that he had always loved Marco, ever since they were young.
As they continued to walk home from the university, shoulders touching briefly, Jean glanced at the other. Marco turned to look at him, smiling. Jean took in that smile, those kind eyes, the freckles that Jean loved to poke and count and Jean couldn't help it if he suddenly wrapped his arms around Marco, face in the crook of the other's neck.
Marco squawked, and though it was a really unflattering noise, Jean found it incredibly sexy. Just to hear it again, he nuzzled his nose down the other's collarbone, inhaling his scent—traces of cologne, of freshly laundered clothes and of something inherently Marco.
"J—Jean, stop that. It t—tickles!" He laughed as the other stuttered, yet Marco's hands gripped Jean's hips close—like he never wanted to let go.
Jean leaned his head back, arms not releasing their hold on Marco. He leaned in, faintly pressing their lips together. He didn't need to say the words, to seal it, because he knew that Marco knew and he knew that Marco felt the same.
Just like breathing, Jean thought as he deepened the kiss.
Marco squawked once more.