A/N: I know I keep saying it and everything, but still, thank you guys so much for all your reviews. This story has officially the most reviews and it's not even finished yet, I'm really grateful for all of your support, thank you. -heart heart heart- To be honest, I'm even less satisfied with this chapter than the fourth. I actually changed the entire scene after Burn and Gazel yell at each other because it was cliché and overblown, but I'm not sure if I'm that much happier with this approach. Anyway, I did all I could; if you don't like how it came out, feel free to leave. Still, I hope you guys enjoy it nonetheless~
Gazel stood at the lake, his hands in his pockets. In spite of the winter cold, the boy did fine without a scarf and gloves. His immunity against low temperatures had never faded over the years. He gazed across the frozen water, even though he couldn't see much because of the darkness. At least his sight wasn't being blurred by the snow; the shower had finally stopped.
Gazel checked his watch with a small frown. Burn still wasn't here… It wasn't that late, barely past dinner time, but the longer he waited there idly, the more he feared Burn wouldn't show up at all. What was he even supposed to say if he did? Gazel wanted to see him, yes… but he had no idea what Burn would say to him. He hoped he wouldn't fly into a rage and aim for his other eye.
Gazel turned and looked at the street behind him, which was separated by a grass field that lay buried under the snow. He let out a sigh when he took in the Christmas decorations and lights, a cheerful tune playing somewhere, and most enviably: couples walking and smiling. He was supposed to be one of them, along with Burn… He truly hoped he would be. This year.
Gazel perked up when he suddenly heard a different noise and flinched when two familiar boys raced across the field, seemingly running for dear life. Were those two Hiroto and Midorikawa…? The pair disappeared behind a couple of bushes, which then started to rustle. Just as Gazel took a few steps forward, about to investigate, a third boy appeared. Gazel turned around and looked straight into the eyes of his boyfriend. His heart skipped a beat, and so did Burn's when he saw him.
"… Gazel," he breathed. He was panting like mad, apparently having run just as fast as Hiroto and Midorikawa. Wait… had he been chasing them? Was that how they lured him here? Gazel mentally facepalmed. Bunch of idiots… He looked up when Burn asked him: "What are you doing here?"
Gazel didn't know how to answer that. He preferred to evade the shame that came with "I've been waiting for you because I want you back." He had no idea if Burn felt the same way, and if he didn't, Gazel couldn't take the pain of hearing his rejection. He slowly glanced to the side and mumbled: "I don't think it's really your business anymore where I go, is it?"
Burn gave him an angry look. "Is that any way to greet your boyfriend?"
"You're not my boyfriend. We split up. You split us up," Gazel reminded him spitefully. His words were bitter and filled with pain, something Burn instantly picked up.
"… I didn't… I mean, I just said that in the heat of the moment," he said awkwardly.
"Don't try to justify your actions, Burn," Gazel snarled. He regained eye contact, determined to have his say. He was going to throw out everything he felt, without letting Burn interrupt him this time. He raised his voice when he continued: "You insulted me, multiple times. You brushed me off, and yelled at me, and you fucking punched me in the eye!"
"Only because you wouldn't shut the fuck up!" Burn yelled back. His hesitance had completely vanished to make way for an emotion he was all too familiar with: anger. Like hell was he going to let Gazel talk to him like that. "You couldn't go a single day without acting like a bratty little princess, always having something to complain about!"
"I complain because you've turned into a heartless asshole!" Gazel retorted. "You suddenly act like I'm your possession rather than your boyfriend! How do you think that makes me feel? Dismissing me like I'm a piece of trash!"
"What the hell am I supposed to do then?" Burn screamed. "It's your fault if you want changes in this relationship, Gazel! I've always been myself!"
"No, you haven't! You act like you don't give a shit anymore! Which you don't! Otherwise you wouldn't have suggested we break up!" Gazel reasoned. He nearly lost his voice when he added: "You're an insensitive, childish, uncaring bastard!"
"What was that?" Burn stomped to the other boy and grabbed him by the collar. He actually managed to lift him off the ground, but Gazel appeared unimpressed by his strength. He just stared at Burn with narrowed eyes, his irises filled with a darkness so cold it could kill.
"… what? What are you gonna do? Are you going to punch me, Burn? Just like last time?"
Burn gritted his teeth at Gazel's well-known wittiness. He had once again resorted to a physical intervention in the heat of the moment, and for one split second, Gazel's words really did urge him to lift his fist and teach him and his all-knowing attitude a lesson. But it was then that he remembered what good that move did last time, and he slowly let the other boy sink back in the snow. Once Gazel touched the ground, he put his hands in his pockets and glanced to the side, just like Burn.
An uneasy silence fell over them as the boys trailed off in thought, each having their own impression about the situation. Gazel was actually surprised that Burn hadn't gone through with hitting him, in spite of his provocative words. Even though he knew he wanted nothing more than to reconcile with him, Gazel's endless pride had once again gotten in the way, something he was inwardly beating himself up for. Burn was doing the same thing, albeit for his reckless behavior. He, too, had felt too proud to just let Gazel's accusations run him over, and he had almost let his anger get the best of him a second time. He was sure Gazel would've wanted to definitely end it after that dangerous action, but to his surprise, his boyfriend said nothing, nor did he walk away. Both boys considered the fact that the other was still right in front of them, and wondered if they were allowed to cherish a little bit of hope because of that.
Gazel eventually perked up when he thought he heard a small "brr" escape from Burn's mouth. He saw how he dug his hands deeper into his pockets and hid his face behind his scarf as much as he could. Regardless of their more than awkward position, Gazel couldn't help but grin at the familiar sight.
"Still allergic to cold, Burn?" he said softly, a playful tone in his voice.
"Oh, shut up," Burn retorted, but a similar tone was present in his answer, showing his tension was fading as well. When the two regained eye contact, their expressions both softened up. Burn and Gazel felt like a weight had been lifted off their chests after shouting out their feelings, even if they were nothing but hurtful accusations. Unlike all previous times, when they felt defending themselves and only constricting themselves further was the only solution, they were now prepared to open up to one another and aim for the most important goal: recovering their relationship.
Burn suddenly moved closer again, but unlike a moment ago, his approach was slow and calm. When Gazel saw the tender look in his eyes, he lost reason to move away and didn't resist when Burn placed a hand on his cheek. Remembering it was gloved, though, the redhead quickly pulled back and removed the piece of garment before he lifted his hand again. His touch was warm due to the lack of contact with the chilly open air, and Gazel felt another uncontrollable smile spread on his face when Burn gently brushed his fingers across his cheek. Not only was his touch warm, it was also pleasantly familiar.
Burn thought he actually felt something jump inside his chest at the sight of that smile. It had been a long time since he'd seen Gazel smile so warmly, so sincerely. The fact that it did away with those dreadful thoughts of Gazel no longer wanting him back made Burn even happier. After dropping the second glove in the snow, he placed his left hand on Gazel's other cheek, holding his face in a soft grasp.
"It's been a long time…" Gazel whispered, unknowingly voicing his thoughts.
Burn flashed a modest smile of his own and nodded in agreement. "I know…" He carefully continued to fill the gap, bit by bit. Gazel's smile dropped in slight surprise, but he stayed in place and actually encouraged Burn when he realized what the redhead intended to do. He closed his eyes and puckered his lips right before they were touched by Burn's, gently and prudently. The very moment he realized Burn was actually kissing him again after an endless series of arguments, Gazel felt a spark of sheer happiness race through his body, and he eagerly deepened the lip lock when Burn didn't pull back. Encouraged by this action, Burn slid his hands further back and wrapped his arms around Gazel's neck. Gazel returned the embrace just as tightly, clutching onto the fabric of his coat. They had missed this, so much… These moments when they could share their mutual affection without a single care, touching and kissing each other like it was the most natural thing in the world. Burn and Gazel could barely believe that they were finally experiencing it again, having been through quite a bit of painful moments together. Burn eventually pulled out of the kiss, determined to put an end to that chapter of their relationship. He realized, admittedly with a little help, that the best way to solve an argument was simply by opening up. And so he did.
"… Gazel… I'm sorry…" he whispered, and he lowered his head as he spoke. "I'm sorry for being such a jerk… It wasn't that I didn't care – I was just… scared. I was really scared of losing you. I didn't want you to come up to me and say you've gotten tired of me, or that you've found someone else…"
Once again, Gazel responded with a bright smile. It was a surprise to hear Burn speak such vulnerable words, but it was because of the rare sight that he knew how much they meant. Burn was finally being honest with him, finally toning down his worries, and actually love him only more for the silly thoughts he was voicing. He was happy… so happy, and relieved, that Burn loved him that much. "You idiot…" he scolded gently, and he reached out to touch Burn's cheek with his own hand. "Why would I ever want someone else…? Just… don't hold back in front of me. It's really frustrating."
"Point taken," Burn answered, beaming an innocent grin. He also had a nearly uncontrollable happiness building inside of him, just hearing those reassuring words from Gazel's lips. He raised his head and nuzzled their noses together, adding: "I promise I won't hide my feelings from you again."
"And don't hit me either," Gazel added quickly.
"And I won't hit you either," Burn repeated obediently. "As long as you don't worry so much. Gazel, I don't want you to doubt that I love you… No matter how much of an idiot I can be, that's one thing that will never change."
"I know… I know that now," Gazel nodded, smiling. "I'm sorry for complaining so much."
"It doesn't matter," Burn reassured him. "None of it does anymore…" He ended the last few words in a whisper before he closed in on Gazel again, and the couple met in another intense kiss. Just like before, they embraced each other like their life depended on it, venting their cropped up passion for one another by deepening the kiss more and more. Eventually, though, Gazel felt Burn's weight overthrow his and he lost his balance, throwing them into the snow. Burn pulled out of the lip lock when he landed on top and flashed a playful grin, which Gazel returned. "You idiot…" he whispered, before he grabbed his boyfriend by the cheeks and resumed the kiss. Burn happily gave in and shut his eyes, merely enjoying the firm grip Gazel held on him. Neither of them cared if people were looking, or even what was happening around them. All they focused on was each other; it was almost like they were trying to make up for all the times they'd been fighting, while they actually could've spent their time much more wisely. From now on, they were going to… they were definitely going to.
Hiroto, Midorikawa, Desarm and Aphrodi watched the couple quietly, having remained in the bushes the entire time. While the other three grinned widely, satisfied with the result of their hard work, Midorikawa blushed and whispered: "Have those two no shame? They're in public!"
Aphrodi chuckled at that remark. "You have a point there." He eventually got up on his feet and waited for the others to follow him before he approached the couple, clapping his hands a few times. "Congratulations."
Burn and Gazel broke apart when they heard his voice and looked up, only to see their other friends appear in sight as well. They figured they should probably get up and did so, brushing themselves off with an equally deep blush. "Thanks…" they muttered shyly.
"Thanks for everything," Gazel added. He wasn't keen on voicing it, but it was thanks to such caring friends that he and Burn had managed to resolve their issues. He knew it, and he felt grateful, but he would make sure the two of them would be able to solve any future problems by themselves. Luckily, Burn was thinking the exact same way.
"You're welcome," Hiroto smiled. "It's great to see you back together. I'm guessing you two think the same thing, regarding that… interesting kiss from before."
The couple shot him a similar glare and then looked at each other, the blush on their cheeks darkening. Hiroto didn't have to rub in that he and the others had witnessed every single moment of their conversation. They regained eye contact with him and told him "Shut up" at the exact time, making the other boy chuckle.
"Alright, alright." Hiroto took a look at his watch and added: "How about we all go for a drink? We'll all freeze at this rate, staying out in the snow for so long."
"Sure," Burn agreed, "but just one more thing before we do that." Everyone, including, Gazel, sent him a confused look when he bent through his knees and started scooping up snow. It was when he got back up and flashed a devious smirk that Hiroto realized what he was planning, and he made a run for it. He snickered when Burn's snowball hit his neck, and Burn snickered along, until a second snowball suddenly flew into his face.
"I've always wanted to do that!" Midorikawa chimed, causing the others to laugh as well.
"Oh yeah?" Burn grinned and quickly made another snowball. He started running after Midorikawa when he zoomed to hide behind his boyfriend, and Gazel, Desarm and Aphrodi soon joined in on a snowball fight. Laughing and playing without a care in the world, the boys would take another hour before they got home, freezing under a layer of snow and not regretting it one bit.
A few days later, Hiroto awoke when the morning sun broke through the clouds. He turned to his left to check the clock on his nightstand and saw it was a little past 10. It was December 25th; he and Midorikawa had spent the preceding evening dining in a fancy restaurant and taking a romantic walk in the snow. Hiroto then turned to his right and met the serene face of his boyfriend, who was sleeping on his stomach. Both of them had disposed of their tops, in spite of the unfitting weather.
Smiling tenderly, Hiroto scooted closer to the green-haired boy and wrapped one arm around him. This caused Midorikawa to wake up not much later, and he smiled just as brightly when he opened his eyes and looked into Hiroto's.
"Good morning… and Merry Christmas, Midorikawa," Hiroto whispered.
"Merry Christmas, Hiroto," Midorikawa whispered back, and he leaned in for a morning kiss.
The couple got up after an extensive cuddling session and went downstairs for breakfast. Around 11, the boys cleared the table and Midorikawa muttered: "I wonder if Burn and Gazel had a good time."
"Why don't we ask?" Hiroto suggested with a wink. "They must be awake now, right?" He and his friends all knew Burn was the one to sleep in at any given time, but on the morning following a night they might have spent staying awake until 3 am, it was possible both boys were still asleep.
Hiroto tried his luck and dialed the number of the early bird's cell phone. He smiled when Gazel picked up after a few rings, although his expression dropped when Gazel greeted him with: "Your timing's become terrible, Gran." Hiroto raised his eyebrows; was he just the king of bad timing? He was about to ask for an explanation when it literally passed by the kitchen window. Burn rode his bike through the snow with Gazel on the back and a plastic bag around his wrist. The silver-haired boy waved shortly at their friends, using the hand that was holding his phone. The other one was tightly wrapped around Burn's waist to keep him from falling.
While Midorikawa waved back in an awkward gesture, Hiroto snickered and said: "What are you guys doing?"
"We snuck out to buy a cake," Gazel answered. "It's an apology to Aphrodi for treating him badly when me and Burn fought."
"That's awfully thoughtful of you," Hiroto grinned, leaning on the counter. "Had an enjoyable Christmas Eve? I'm assuming things are fine between you two again."
"They're great," Gazel confirmed. His voice gave away that he was smiling. "We went to see a movie and had dinner in this really great restaurant. It's just like how it used to be."
"Except that my bike needs some serious inflation," Burn added in the distance, and by the slipping and yelling noises that followed, Hiroto guessed they'd only just managed to avoid face planting in the snow. He snickered once more when Gazel snapped: "Keep that thing straight!" and Burn answered: "I am, you idiot! You wanna take over?"
Just when he was about to express his happiness towards the bickering couple, Hiroto heard a peeping tone that told him a third person was calling. He quickly checked the phone screen and added the caller to the conversation when he saw it was Desarm.
"Good morning," Desarm greeted them. "And Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas, Desarm," Hiroto and Gazel replied in sync, and the redhead added: "Had a good time?"
Desarm answered with a yes, even though he left out the fact that he'd spent Christmas Eve with his own loved one. Their night had been one of the calmest: they both had their hands full on getting the kids to sleep, seeing as all little orphans were more than psyched in sharing the Christmas spirit. After sending them to bed, Desarm and Hitomiko barely had any strength left and simply spent the rest of their time watching a movie, cuddled up on the couch. Considering Desarm's shyness in front of the woman he so deeply admired, he was more than happy with their simple, yet heart-warming private moment.
The three boys continued their chat for a few more minutes, Midorikawa jumping in to say hi as well, until Gazel announced he and Burn were home and everyone hung up. After Burn put away the bike, the couple locked hands and hurried into the apartment, eager to give their present to Aphrodi. They found the blonde in the living room, reading a book by the fireplace. He looked up when he heard the door open and smiled at his friends. "There you are." Aphrodi took off his reading glasses and inquired: "Where've you two been? You disappeared after breakfast."
"We've got a little something for you," Burn grinned, and he revealed the strawberry cake. When Aphrodi widened his eyes in surprise, Gazel explained with a smile: "For putting up with us."
Aphrodi chuckled at that remark and grinned: "Someone has to." He then got up from the couch and approached his friends, wrapping an arm around them each. "Thank you both," he smiled. Burn and Gazel smiled back and returned the hug twice as tightly. "You're welcome, Aphrodi."
A few minutes later, the trio gathered together around the living room table, each with a piece of cake in their lap. This year was the first Christmas they spent with the three of them, rather than Aphrodi leaving Burn and Gazel to celebrate together while he filled the time off on his own. More than happy to see the couple back to how he treasured them, Aphrodi threw his drink high up along with his friends, a big smile shining on all of their faces.
A/N: So yeah, that was it! I truly hope it wasn't a let-down for you guys. If there's anyone who doesn't like this chapter because there isn't enough fanservice - don't worry, I shut off my brain for the Chaos fic I'm writing right now. XD Yeeeah, this one will be rated M, hoho~ Anyway, thank you all for sticking with me through another story and see you next time! -chu-