A/N:Thank you so much to all of you who reviewed!

Sorceress Sakura: My first and quickest reviewer! Thank you so much for your support!

DFLLI: A very amusing suggestion. :) Thanks! However, I think it will have to wait for another plotline. If it makes you feel better, you could pretend Garet is the Fusion Dragon instead? 0.o

Winter Darkblade: Thanks for the review! You read Serendipity? Did you review? Because I don't remember having seen your name, that's why I'm asking. Even if you didn't, thanks for the double compliment! #is happy#

Azusasan: You reviewed my fic! Eeek! #dances around merrily# I absolutely love your work! That Bittersweet Kind of Way was just excellent (I love the bad cookies and Ivan's paranoia), and I love your Picard x Felix fics! I'm so glad you like my fic! #bows humbly# I hope this part meets expectations!

Isaac's Girlfriend: I assume the first part of your review is answering my "why do I feel like a perv" question? Nope, I don't think that's it. See, I'm also a Fullmetal Alchemist yaoi fan, and I ship RoyEd (Roy 29, Ed 15). So... nope, I have no age squick to speak of. Also, Ivan may be 15, but Isaac is only 17. That's not bad at all. I dated a 17 y.o. when I was 14, so I see no problem with a 2 year age gap. What I was sort of wondering is what the rest of your review was meant to say. I think FFNet chopped it off or something. I do know (I hope) that it wasn't a pairing flame, despite the age comment, because you wrote at least one mildly IssacIvan piece yourself. So, please, review again and tell me what you thought! I really want to know!

000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000

Previously:

"I- Isaac..." He managed to croak out before his throat closed up with shame and he decided to count the particles of dirt at his feet: If he had had even one chance in a million-- he had just totally, completely blown it.

000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000

Chapter Three

000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000

Isaac licked his lips nervously, his teeth catching his bottom one in a childhood habit he'd thought himself rid of. Gods, this was embarrassing! He could feel the flush that had rapidly overtaken his face, one that was three parts embarrassment and one part something else that he wasn't sure he wanted to admit to. He didn't know what to say, so he shuffled a little and shot a look up at Ivan, who appeared to be doing the same thing.

The violet-eyed boy fell silent after his initial recognition of his friend and sometime-crush. He didn't know what could be said, but he fervently wished that if any speaking was going to be done, Isaac would be the one to begin it. He didn't quite trust his voice at this point, and nothing could compound his shame more than having it crack at the wrong moment (something it had been starting to do with alarming regularity in the last year or so). There wasn't much chance of his wish being fulfilled, though. Isaac wasn't very talkative at the best of times, and this was certainly far from the best of times.

Apparently, though, luck was on Ivan's side on this particular morning. He nearly jumped out of his skin as the older boy cleared his throat.

"Ah... h- hey..." Isaac managed, which was something close to what he'd meant, but not really. It was meant to come out something along the lines of, 'Hey, Ivan. There you are. We're getting ready to go', and carry no indication of what he'd seen or heard. So much for that. It was pathetic, and pointless, but at least it was marginally better than uncomfortable silence.

"...hey..." Ivan responded, though the reply was directed more towards his shoes than to Isaac, and was little louder than a sigh. At least it was something, and his voice hadn't cracked. He was thankful for that. Of course, his voice hadn't gotten into it much, as the sound had been mostly air.

The silence descended again, and Isaac was at a loss. It was obvious that Ivan wasn't going to start talking, so the Venus adept made up his mind. It would be simpler if they just forgot about it. He had always been good at solving problems, but this one was something he'd never before come across. However, if he'd picked up anything from this insane quest, it was that problems didn't always need to be solved right away. Sometimes they couldn't be. So maybe, if they left it for a while, the solution would present itself. So far it was the only thing he could think of.

"L- look, I won't tell any-"

"I'm sorry!" The shorter blond interrupted, cutting Isaac off and reducing him to stunned silence. Ivan could feel something pricking at the back of his eyes that felt suspiciously like tears, though he did his best to stop them from forming. His mouth, however, seemed to move of its own accord, and he couldn't stem the flow of words. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! I know- I know you heard what I - I... I'm really sorry and I won't ever mention it, and I didn't mean to, you know, like you, like that, b- but I couldn't help it! And if you want me to- you know- leave or something I will and I won't bother you again, a-".

Isaac held up a hand to stop the younger boy, still trying to process all the words. Abashed, Ivan fell silent, looking down at the ground again. It wasn't really helpful. Even the dirt was a reminder of who was standing before him in judgment. The pricking behind his eyes started up again, and he was having a harder time forcing it down. And his voice had cracked, too. Damnit. A tear managed to escape, but he visciously wiped it away with his sleeve before it could make its way past the curve of his cheek.

Isaac was poring over Ivan's words, sorting through them and making sense of them with the aid of his seemingly limitless patience. As far as he could determine, only two very important things needed to be dealt with. First, he needed to get Ivan to stop apologizing. After that, he could deal with... Wait.

He backtracked quickly, thinking over Ivan's statements again. The end, there... Leave? Ivan was going to leave? Anyone looking closely at Isaac at that moment would have seen his bright blue eyes flash with barely contained anger and a lot of determination. Ivan was not leaving. That wasn't even a decision to be made: this was a piece of knowledge that had absolutely nothing to do with Isaac's brain.

Before either of them were really aware of it, he had Ivan wrapped up tightly in his arms, his nose buried in the soft, sweet locks of the shorter boy's hair. Ivan froze.

"I-saac?" He offered tentatively, barely daring to breathe. This was... unexpected, but not unwelcome, exactly. Isaac was warm, and somehow hard and soft all at the same time. Ivan gulped, and his flush darkened. He couldn't ever remember being this close to... well, anyone, really, but especially not Isaac, and his body was reacting to it with all the enthusiasm teenage hormones could muster. He clenched his hands into fists, trying to will himself to calm down.

"You're not leaving." Isaac's voice wasn't particularly loud, but it was commanding. His 'leader voice', as Garet had named it. When Isaac used it, the decision was final, and nothing short of the end of the world was going to move him. Ivan shivered as he was held even closer, wishing he could wrap his arms around Isaac in return but not daring to make such a move. "I won't let you leave." Isaac continued, still in the same even, determined tone. "You can't. You're too important to me."

Ivan sucked in a breath as Issac loosened his grip only to plant a soft but firm kiss on his forehead. He could feel the taller boy's breath making his bangs flutter slightly as Isaac's hand travelled upward to cup his cheek and jaw, tilting his face up until their eyes met.

"I won't ever let you leave me." Isaac intoned, looking straight into those violet orbs, and something about the intimacy of the moment broke down all of Ivan's hesitation. He broke slightly out of Isaac's hold only to return almost instantly. Ivan wrapped his arms around Isaac's neck and buried his face in the taller boy's chest, then lifted his head to look Isaac in the eyes again.

"I won't ever want to." He promised, thrilling inside at the bright smile Isaac gave him as he leaned down to seal it with a kiss. It was sweet and pure, and it made Ivan feel like his chest was going to burst open, his heart was so full.

All good things come to an end, however, and this was no different.

"ISAAC! IVAN! Where are you guys!" Garet's voice echoed through the trees, scaring several nearby birds into panicked flight.

Isaac broke away from the kiss but kept his grip on Ivan. "We're here! We're coming!" He looked back at Ivan, a touch of redness still tinging his cheeks.

"We have to get moving." Ivan filled in for him. He nodded.

"Yep. Come on." With one last squeeze he let Ivan go and headed back towards the campsite. Ivan watched him go, smiling more than he had in... well, since he could remember, then trotted to catch up. It was going to be a good day.

000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000ooo000

Owari...?

Only if you want it to be!

A/N: This just seemed like a wonderful place to end. It's not the end that's in my head, though. SO, here's what's gonna happen. Since the ending in my head is R-rated or more, that ending is going up on my website (once I get it written, anyway- there's a link to my website on my profile page). I'll put a note up here once that's done. However- I will not be putting up notes for any subsequent chapters, so if you want to be informed if there is a continuation, please drop me an email or leave a review with your email address requesting to be informed of updates. Or you can also just randomly check my website, if you feel so inclined. :P

Thank you all so much! I'll have to write more of this sometime- it's fun:D

Oh... umm... I still don't have a title... I was thinking (based somewhat on a reviewer's suggestion, thanks superspork97) to call it "Morning Woods", but I think that might be just a little too perverted, even for me. :)

Any other suggestions are still being accepted!