a/n: it's been a year oops (sorry i've been so busy and stuff) also, sorry i was too lazy to capitalize this!

warnings: RUN ON SENTENCES BECAUSE I TEND TO DO THAT A LOT SORRY also me trying to write love but i can't because i suck

#9 – warm and bittersweet

on cold winters, windows fogging and snow piling beneath feet to cover the rusted ground; christmas lights dancing around the rooftop and houses lighted with families together, all cozy and warm around the fire; rin and len watch, hands intertwined, eyes blinking out the glass of the windows in the living room, cold to the touch.

it's something about the laughter in the house (miku and meiko, mostly, whenever kaito did something rather stupid), the gentle rustle, breeze, through the trees, the green and red flickering on and off, alternating; it's something about everything, the smiles and presents and ornaments hung, the frost temperature that surrounds them, but also stirs up a warm feeling down the pit of their stomachs, something that says happiness.

"it's cold tonight," len mutters absently, his thumb tracing lines down rin's palm, soft and gentle and a little tickling, but it's all that makes rin curl a smile. len seems to turn in time to see it happen, and he blinks, but mirrors the curve of rin's lips with his own. "do you want hot chocolate?"

"sounds good," rin nods, and tugs len's hand with her own in the direction of the kitchen.

len hums enthusiastically, "tastes good, too," and rin laughs at that, light and fluttery and it makes len's stomach flip and coil at the sound, melodic and kind tones that yelled rin rin rin in his ear, and len wants to hear it forever.

(and he can.)

he follows rin to the kitchen, watching as her shoulder-length hair sways with movement, blonde and thin and refreshing, interesting; and len could watch her all day.

miku glances at them from the stove, spatula in hand (and len breathes in the smell of meat sizzling atop the pan), and smiles cheekily, "i know what you two want. come on, shoo shoo, i'll do it." she pushes them out of the kitchen lightly, and when she leans down to whisper to them, her hair just barely reaches the tiles. "how does extra whip cream sound? just make sure to finish it before kaito and them come back, okay?"

they watch her make it, the grounded chocolate mixing with warm milk creates an intoxicating smell, and she grins at them both as they watch her stir the sugar in with hungry, interested eyes. "gosh, it's like you haven't drank hot chocolate in a billion years or something."

(rin says it underneath her breath, and len barely catches it, "maybe we haven't.")

they lie on the couch after, side by side, tv on some ice cream show (kaito insisted he'd get to tape it), and mugs of hot chocolate in their hands. it's hot, steaming, and the whip cream slowly dissolves in the heat by each second, but somehow, len thinks it isn't as warm and comforting than the palm of rin's hands; the palms of their hands together.

he gazes into his cup, cocoa swirling around the cream, and when he closes his eyes and takes a short sip, he inhales, long and deep.

it smells of something sweet, kind of like rin's shampoo or her soap (bodywash, body lotion; len doesn't know the difference), lingering on her skin or the layers of her hair, but at the same time, not quite, not like rin at all; because rin smells of oranges, all tangy and citrus and sweet, and this smells just like a mug of hot chocolate.

(but len realizes why it reminds him of rin; because they both make his insides curl, makes his insides feel happy and warm and it's a feeling len loves.)

rin hums and len looks over, watching her face flush and her lips curve, and she turns to him and smiles deeper, eyes bright and blue and len can never believe his looks the exact same because rin's always looks like the perfect shade, kind and twinkling and beautiful.

"your hot chocolate's going to get cold if you keep staring at me," she says, giggling, and len wishes he could kiss her voice.

"let it."

her eyes crinkle at the corners and it's something len sees often, but he couldn't resist the urge as he leans up and kisses the small creases, soft and brief.

he doesn't pull away after, just stays for a while, mug in lap and hands resting on the bone of rin's shoulder. he hears her breathe in and out, watches as she leans into his touch, eyes closed and hands clasped tight on her cup.

he leans in closer, a breath away from her ear and he kisses it, smiles as she shudders a little.

"i love you."

it's not him who says it because it's light and airy and quiet, and his chest tightens, full and elated, and he doesn't know whether to breathe in or breathe out. he watches her fingers from his peripheral view, thin and long, wrapped around her cup; watches as the hot chocolate whisper mists of heated air, secrets, to him, words sugary and bittersweet and warm warm warm.

(just like their love.)

he breathes in.

"i love you, too."