Disclaimer: Hey! A sequel! I own its predecessor, but not the characters. Shucks.

As stated, this follows the not-so-wonderfully-constructed New Years' Resolution fic I wrote waaaay back. If you read that, you might have an inkling for what's in store. If you haven't, don't bother going to read it; it's not that great. Nor is it required to understand what's going on this time around.

Morty/Falkner pairing, shounen-ai of the sugared strawberry kind.

New Years' Absolution

'Cute' was the word Morty used in his mind.

According to his watch, it was about eleven minutes to midnight. All across the region, people were bunkered down in bars and homes and other establishments of broadcasting technology. Ears pressed to radios, eyes glued to televisions, party hats on tight and noisemakers ready to pop. Everyone was crowded around some instrument, watching and listening and howling the last night and the last moments of the old year. Completely ready to bring the new one in with a terrible roar of sound.

Except Falkner.

The Wing Master was firmly planted outside, in the woods outside the city, among the lone conifers and evergreens and naked trees. The moon was full overhead, the snow freshly fallen and reflecting, and he was just standing there, a bag of seed in hand, bundled up in winter coat and hakama...and a knit green and white scarf securely wrapped around neck and lower face.

Hoothoot weren't especially noisy when eating, but it was amusing watching them hop across the snow and nip at it, then race for Falkner's offered hand when he crouched down to meet them almost eye-to-eye.

Feeding the birds at eleven-ten minutes to midnight, with only the light from heaven to illuminate his path, and dressed like his mother had done it for him. Clearly, it made Morty's chest ache lightly.

The year had been one to remember. And it started wonderfully, until the next morning came. A drunk Falkner didn't get blank spots in his memory like other drunks would. He remembered the kiss, and then remembered to avoid Morty for weeks afterward.

They were very long weeks, Morty concluded.

Shame did funny things to people; Morty wasn't a stranger to the pesky emotion. And he knew Falkner might pull a complete withdrawal of Morty's presence, he even predicted it as it happened. But while Falkner went out of his way to make sure he and Morty were never within senses-distance, Morty had another objective to fulfill: his last minute resolution. The one he made when he let Falkner kiss him (or was it viceversa?) at the first strike of twelve.

An innocent act brought them full circle; a whole year had past, with the time ticking away to the exact annual moment that sealed their relationship, however badly it got started.

Seven minutes. There -was- a reason they weren't at the Snowleague this year, thought Morty wasn't sure it was because Falkner was avoiding the hype of the crowd, or the admittance that, yes, they shared a quiet life together.

A fresh resolution: get back at Whitney and the Cerulean sisters for making them the subject of juicy gossip and interest.

Falkner dropped the last remnants of birdseed into an arcing spread over the ground, and gave the scrambling Hoothoot one last, long look before strolling softly back to Morty's side. "Thanks."

"Any time." Morty draped his arm across Falkner's shoulders, and they started back the way they came.

The trees were eerily silent, with the kind of thick calm Morty reveled in back home. The ghosts loved that hanging air of suspense and tension, lived to weave it about their territory and ready to spring a trap for the ones unfortunate to snare their web. The surrounding air, however, was made different. Falkner was leaning against him, and it felt nice. Enough to ward away the otherworldly spirits' perversion of 'quiet'. "I'm telling you," the blonde murmured. "It'll only be worse that we're not there. The first rumor of the new year will, without a doubt, be about us."

"I don't care." Falkner's retort was muffled behind the wool. "They would've wound up stalking us with their damn camcorder instead. A rumor is better than that."

Morty shook his head, tsking. "You realize this rumor is going to be along the lines of, 'Morty and Falkner spent New Years' putting the mattress to good use!', right?"

Falkner's eye widened as far as it would, although Morty wasn't too sure if it was because of the falsetto, or the implication. Then Falkner suddenly scowled and ducked his head, more so to hide his blossoming proof of embarrassment. "I can live with that. They can believe what they want."

They kept walking. A few metres of retracing their tracks, before Morty spoke up, slowly and cautious, "What if...that rumor wound up as fact, instead of fiction?"

Falkner stopped dead.

Bad idea, genius, his subconscious scolded him. Morty tipped his head to the side, acting mused to rectify. "But I guess then it'd be lying to deny it, so we better not. I know how that eats at you-"



He didn't speak immediately, opting more to find possible refuge in touching a barren oak's trunk. "I've been...thinking, y'know? Um..." His tone and lack of eye-contact said everything: Falkner was flustered and nervous. "I...I mean, you and me, we-...I think..."

As the same time, hope and fear clung to opposite sides of Morty's gut like a heavy adhesive, because this was either the conversation that meant, 'can we just be friends?' or...-that- one. They both started the same, regardless, and Morty was leaning more to the fear of things.

In retrospect, Falkner asked him to forego the Snowleague and just spend the night together in each other's company. Asked him to tag along to go feed the owls, a thing he did once a week. Asked him, really, to make sure they were as alone together as possible. No possible ears to overhear, except by the creatures that couldn't talk back. Yeah, Morty was leaning toward break-up. Then again...

"I...I wouldn't /mind/...you know..."

That- was much more promising. Morty folded his arms, and tried his damnedest to keep any sort of smile off his lips. "Sooo," he drawled, "is this an allowance to...step up the relationship?"

Falkner shrugged feebly. "Maybe."

"Nuh uh, you aren't getting out of this so easily." Morty grinned. "You need to say it. Loud and clear, to my face."

The limette shifted, then huffed and stalked to face Morty eye-to-eye. Morty let slide the fact that Falkner sunk lower behind his scarf to lessen his mortification. "Sadist," he murmured, making sure Morty knew what he thought of him. "Sex, alright? What do you want me to say? 'Morty, I want you to fuck me until the Miltank come home'?"

With a low, impressed whistle, Morty's grin widened. "Do you kiss your boyfriend with that mouth?"

Falkner's visible eyebrow rose, his face still very, very hidden. "I never had a complaint before."

"Nnn, let's encourage it a little then." A chuckle, and Morty leaned forward to press a chaste kiss on Falkner's forehead. "Otherwise, that'll do. A passing grade."

"Thank you, 'sensei'." Now Morty knew Falkner was getting back to his regular self, his sarcasm a lesser, always reliable trait. "Just wait, I'll get you for making me say it."

The blonde snickered- oh no, he wouldn't- and suddenly, like the fell swoop of the predators Falkner admired so much, Morty was tugging down the scarf and claiming his mouth under practiced lips.

Falkner remained, since a year ago, just as pliant and receptive as always, with no less the same, light taste. A neat fit together, they made, and maybe now (or rather, soon) he'd discover if they fit so well in other ways. A day very much to look forward to; he could picture it clearly. Perhaps not the events prior, but certainly the results-

The beeping of a watch signaled the turn of the hour. The turn of the year. Falkner and Morty glanced down at it simultaneously, Falkner holding Morty's wrist still with his own hand.

The time read as so: 12:00:04 AM

And they looked back at each other, with small smiles of irony. "Well what do you know..." Morty whispered.

"Shhhh. ...Happy New Year, Morty."

"Happy New Year." A pause to soak in the moment. "Now c'mon, I'm freezing like you wouldn't believe. Cocoa, we're making lots of it, I swear."

As they finally made to finish the trip back, shoulder to shoulder, Morty couldn't help remember back to the last Eve. This was the ultimate outcome to a self-promise he'd been determined to see to the end. Falkner was his, and the same went in reverse. He couldn't ask for more, not right away.

Though...a small one, just for kicks: I promise, this year, that I'll get Gengar to stop acting so jealous.

No doubt, it was destined to be an exciting new year.


Yay! A journey complete is a journey well worth it. Happy holidays to you. ...I need a serious beta.