'Yet another day begins in my boring ass life.'
Jean huffed and rested his chin on the desk in front of him. It wasn't even halfway into the school year, and he was already bored with the entire production.
'Senioritis my ass. I've had that shit since freshman year.'
He glared at someone talking particularly loudly next to him, willing them to please shut the fuck up it's way to early for your shit. But no silence was forthcoming, so he went back to grousing while the class waited for their perpetually late teacher.
Someone to his right, the side opposite the insanely stupid loudmouth, Eren if he remembered correctly, tapped his shoulder and so he turned his glare to them instead.
To his credit, the freckled boy didn't even flinch.
"What do you want?"
The boy tilted his head a bit to the side. "Huh? Not much. How're you this morning?"
Jean was perplexed, and he was pretty sure it was showing on his face, but he played along. "Uhh, okay. I guess."
"What do you mean 'what's wrong'?" Jean resisted the urge to click his tongue and turn away.
"I think the question's pretty self-explanatory. You just seem irritated is all, so what's the matter?"
Jean rolled his eyes. "Who wouldn't be irritated coming to school with a bunch of mindless chatterboxes and ignorant assholes?"
The freckled boy's eyebrows went up. "Wow, you sure know what's eating you."
"It certainly helps." Jean's reply was heavy with sarcasm.
It was then that their teacher decided to prance through the door. An eccentric woman, she bounded into the room and performed a split in front of the class, holding her hands above her head in elation.
"I'm heeeere! Did you miss me!? Are you all glad to see me!?"
"Yes Ms. Hanji." Less than half the class muttered unenthusiastically.
"RIGHT! Let's get down to business! What do we have scheduled in Biology today…"
Throughout the day, Jean began noticing that he had more than half his classes with Freckles.
He was only just now aware of this because the kid would barely leave him alone!
In reality it was simply idle chit-chat and harmless socialization, but to Jean, it was too much socialization.
He had about died when the kid came up during his lunch hour and sat next to him at his imminently empty table, but right now was the icing on the cake.
When he stepped out of the building, FINALLY, after his last class, he thought he was home free.
Somewhere along the lines they had exchanged names, and now, as Marco jogged a bit to catch up to him, Jean whirled around and got in his face, despite being at least an inch shorter.
Marco didn't budge, just looked a bit confused, but Jean soon cleared that up.
"WHY must you insist on hanging around me!? ME. OF ALL PEOPLE. Don't you have some friends that actually want to be around you? What do you want!?"
For a moment, Marco was quiet, then he just smiled at Jean, and the sandy-blond had to admit, it was probably the cutest smile he'd ever seen on a guy.
"I don't want anything, you just seem like you need a friend."
Jean felt the anger drop from his expression and instead felt his ears heating up. He backed down and averted his eyes, continuing on his way home.
Marco fell in step wordlessly beside him, a sweet smile gracing his features.
It was Marco who reached his home first, and Jean watched as Marco bid him goodbye and disappeared into a house on the corner.
The sandy-blond sighed and kept walking until he reached a small two-story house nestled in between two larger houses.
It was relatively darker in color than the other two, and so blended into the surroundings, unnoticed by most.
Jean sighed in irritation and unlocked the door, making his way through the haze of cigarette and whatever other kind of smoke permeated the air of the house as quickly as possible.
Past the loudly snoring, surrounded by beer cans, overweight man passed out on the living room couch, up the stairs and into the relative safety of his room.
Jean locked the door behind him and dropped his schoolbag near his desk, falling face-first onto his bed.
It had been just over a month since Jean met Marco, and as much as he told himself he didn't, he really valued the freckled boy's company.
And somehow, over the weeks, he had managed to worm his way into Jean's heart, and he now had his own little spot to occupy, which really came as quite a shock to the sandy-blond.
Making friends wasn't what he did, and he was pretty new to the whole thing, but at the moment, he was pretty sure he was doing something right.
It was the end of September, and the weather had just started turning chilly. He was walking home on a Friday with Marco by his side when the ebony turned to him with a smile.
"You know, there's an Autumn Festival going on today at the park. You know, the one a couple blocks from my house? Do you want to go?"
Jean adjusted his scarf nervously. "Y-yeah. Sure."
'Why are you stuttering?'
The face in his mind looked so entirely unamused Jean wondered if he were making that same face at the moment, but he didn't think so.
But that's the least of his worries anyway. He'd much rather be going to a Festival with Marco than go home to…nothing.
They stopped at Marco's house to drop off their schoolbags, and then they were off.
The day was perfect for the Festival, with an overcast sky but a low chance of rain, and the changing leaves rustled by a slight breeze.
But some popcorn, candy apples, and a hayride later, it began to rain. The duo was pelted with icy drops as they made a run for Marco's house.
As soon as they stepped inside, Marco's mother, a kind-looking woman with her son's eyes and freckles and a mop of sandy-colored hair that was messily tidy, shooed them both away to take hot showers, Jean in the upstairs bathroom and Marco downstairs.
When Jean got out of the shower, a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt were in a folded pile on the counter.
Jean gratefully pulled on the clothes, warm, as if just out of the dryer. As he tugged the shirt over his head, he was assailed by Marco's scent.
If there was one way to describe the way Marco smelled, it was warm. It was Marco's own unique scent, and Jean felt a sudden rush of, what? Affection? Longing?
But that didn't make any sense, did it? Whatever the feeling was, it had started out alright, but now it felt…heavy, and Jean didn't like it at all.
He would have to push the feeling aside for now though, he'd figure it out later.
When he came downstairs, Marco and his mother were waiting for him in the kitchen. When Marco saw him, he himself dressed in sweatpants and a hoodie, he poured something steaming into a mug and walked over to him, hands outstretched.
"It's hot apple cider. I think you'll like it."
Jean reached out and took the mug, wrapping his hands around its warmth.
When Marco took his hands away, they brushed ever-so-briefly over Jean's. The touch startled him a bit, not from the actual contact as much as how sensitive he was to it.
He had never noticed himself to be so sensitive to others touching him.
'Or maybe it's just Marco…'
The thought had Jean raising his eyebrows, but before he could think any longer on it, the front door opened and closed once more and in stepped a tall man, at least six feet tall, dressed in a dripping trench coat.
Marco's mother rose and went to help the man out of the coat, after which she bustled away somewhere, presumably to the laundry room.
She was back only moments later, smiling at Jean and leading the man into the kitchen.
"Jean, this is Mr. Bott."
Jean shook the man's hand. "Nice to meet you."
"And the same to you." Marco's father was smiling, and he flashed his son a look before turning back to Jean, hazel eyes bright behind somewhat unkempt ebony bangs. "You must be the Jean we've been hearing about."
Jean raised his eyebrows, turning to look at Marco. "Am I now?"
Marco just grinned and shrugged, obviously trying not to chuckle.
Jean simply smiled, going to at last take a sip of his drink. "Woa! That's really good!"
Mrs. Bott smiled. "Why thank you. Have as much as you like, I'll be making it well into Christmas if I know these two."
Jean chuckled. "I can't blame them."
"Alrighty now, I still have to finish dinner, so all you boys, shoo!"
Jean smiled and followed Marco into the living room as his father went upstairs.
Jean then noticed the fireplace in the back of the living room, surprised he hadn't noticed it sooner, as it was lit.
Marco laid down in front of it, stretching out on the carpet before the brick of the fireplace, patting the spot next to him.
Jean's heart gave a painful beat, but he ignored it and laid down next to the ebony, facing the fireplace.
Jean then made the mistake of looking over at Marco. The firelight played across his cheeks, making his freckles stand out even more than usual, and the yellows and oranges reflecting in his eyes had Jean transfixed.
He found that it was impossible for him to look away, even when Marco turned to look at him.
And there it was. Marco smiled in the sweet way he always did, but this time there was something else there that he failed to catch.
And then Marco was suddenly right up against him. The ebony rested his head on his folded arms, still looking at Jean, and the sandy-blond at last followed suit, pressing just slightly closer to Marco as he closed his eyes, warm from the fire and from Marco and completely and utterly content.
But it was only a short while later that Mrs. Bott called out that dinner was ready, rousing them from their dozing.
Dinner went smoothly, filled with pleasant chatter and conversation. Mostly consisting of "How's school?" and "Marco's told us all about you."
They somehow got on the subject of how he and Marco even met, and when Jean had finished the tale of how Marco had effectively made a sociable person out of him, the ebony had a light blush dusting his cheeks, but he was smiling nonetheless.
Once dinner was finished and the boys had finished cleaning up, Mrs. Bott told Jean that he had better call home.
It was still raining, as well as getting late, and she didn't want him walking all the way home, so it would be better if he stayed the night.
And it was the weekend, so school wasn't an issue. Jean frowned, but agreed and took his phone off the table where he had placed it after his clothes had gotten soaked.
He called, but no one answered, so he left a short, clipped message on the answering machine and ended the call with a rather vicious button jab, depositing the phone on the table once more and growling to himself.
"Bastard doesn't even know I'm gone I'll bet."
He didn't think anyone had heard him, but Marco had just come into the hallway where he was standing.
When Jean turned and saw him, he just looked the other way, but all at once Marco's arms were around him in a hug, his chin resting on his shoulder, and after a few moments, Jean wordlessly hugged him back.
When they pulled apart, Marco gently grasped Jean's wrist, tugging him towards the stairs.
Jean nodded, stifling a yawn, he was pretty tired himself.
"You can have my bed, I'll sleep on the floor."
Jean looked at him incredulously. "What? It's your bed! I'm a guest! Jeez, where did you learn to be so overly nice?"
Marco looked somewhat indignant. "But it's because you're a guest."
They went back and forth for a couple of minutes before Marco finally asked if he would be happier sharing the bed, to which Jean finally relented.
Marco surprisingly had a queen mattress from previous residence, so the both of them fitting comfortably was not an issue.
When they had finally gotten settled, they were quick to fall asleep, back to back and snug as bugs.
The first thing Jean saw the next morning when he opened his eyes was black.
He blinked once or twice to clear his vision a bit and noticed that it was Marco's hair.
He was still sleeping, facing him, almost curled into a ball, an extremely cute and warm ball, and Jean couldn't stop the smile that tugged at his lips.
He settled back down and subtly inched closer to the still-sound-asleep Marco until he felt the other's breath fanning over his lips.
Jean was suddenly aware of the legs twined with his beneath the covers and his heart did another weird little jump, but he pressed ever closer.
When Marco's breathing changed and he finally cracked open his eyes, he blinked sleepily in the most adorable manner Jean had ever seen.
Jean found himself hypnotized again, taking in every single freckle on Marco's face.
They were most prominent on his cheeks, but he had them everywhere; across his nose, along his jaw, on his forehead, even a couple on his eyelids, and Jean saw them all.
The sandy-blond suddenly had the irresistible urge…to kiss them all.
And when Marco blinked his sleepy chocolate eyes at him and smiled so sweetly and tenderly, he couldn't stop himself when he started to lean forward.
Marco's voice was barely a whisper, but even the disturbance didn't deter Jean.
As the sandy-blond's face got closer to his own, Marco's lips parted and his eyes fluttered closed again.
It was only a simple close-mouthed kiss, but to Jean it felt like the earth had opened up and swallowed him.
His stomach was doing somersaults and his heart felt like it was beating a mile a minute, and yet everything felt so slow.
He tentatively reached up and brushed his hand along Marco's cheek, and the ebony pressed his mouth firmer into his.
Somewhere along the line, Marco's hand had come to rest on the side of his neck, and now Jean gently carded his fingers through Marco's hair, cupping his head and moving their lips against one another.
They continued like this, just lazily kissing, until they both found the need for air to be of more importance.
There was only an inch or so space between them, and Jean had taken to lightly grazing his thumb over Marco's cheek, much as Marco was caressing his neck.
Marco was the first to speak, and it was so quiet and so utterly unbelievable that Jean wasn't sure he heard him right.
"I love you, Jean."
Jean just stared at him for a moment. "Love? Not even like?"
Marco shook his head. "No, I feel much more strongly than just 'like'."
Jean scrunched his eyebrows together. "But…why? How could anyone love me…"
Jean looked off to the side, but Marco turned his face back to him, pressing a quick kiss to his lips.
"Everyone has the ability to be loved, and you are the person I fell in love with."
Marco took his hand, lacing their fingers and squeezing. "I think you're perfect the way you are, and even if you don't think you're the kind of person to be loved, I know differently, and I wouldn't change anything about you for the world."
Jean surprised him by throwing his arms around him, squeezing him hard and burying his face in his hair.
And when Marco heard the small whisper next to his ear, he just smiled and held on tighter. "Thank you."
Every weekend after that was heaven for Jean.
Every Friday he and Marco would spend the first of their three days off together in front of the fireplace with Marco's parents and a never-ending supply of hot apple cider.
They talked about anything and everything, and Jean loved the simplicity of just sitting down and talking to a family, even if it wasn't his.
And after Marco's parents had gone to bed, the two would curl up under a blanket in front of the flames and whisper to each other, though they really didn't have to be so quiet.
The whispers soon turned to soft touches, which in turn gave way to soft kisses, and they normally spend a good while just getting lost in the other before sleep would finally be too tempting to resist and they would make their way upstairs and fall into bed in a tangle of limbs until the next morning.
But then came the topic of why they never spent the night at Jean's house.
The sandy-blond tried to play it off. He didn't have a fireplace, or a bed big enough for two people, his parents weren't good company, there would be no apple cider!
But Marco was having none of it. Eventually, Jean had to tell him. His house was embarrassing. His mother had died years ago. His father was a horrid beast of a man who drank, smoked, and brought home a new 'girlfriend' at least twice a week and wasn't exactly agreeable, even at the best of times.
The reality was, Jean didn't want Marco to have anything to do with his father or his house, because as long as he was away from it, he was happy.
And besides, he knew his father would definitely not like it if he found out about their relationship.
Just the thought made Jean pale with fear. Not of what his father would do to him, he could handle whatever the bastard threw at him, be it furniture or punch, but Marco…
If anything ever happened to the freckled boy because of him, he thought he would die.
But it wasn't even worth thinking about. It would never happen, and thinking about it only gave him an upset stomach.
And so it happened that one day after school, Marco decided to pay Jean a visit.
They had parted ways earlier, but he knew where Jean lived because sometimes he would walk him home, instead of the other way around, when it was particularly good weather (any other time Jean shooed him into his own home) or when he had an errand to run after school.
And when he knocked on the door, he really wasn't expecting anyone other than Jean to answer, so he was greatly surprised when a balding, overweight man who looked to be in his late 40's opened the door with a grimace.
It took him a moment, but Marco found his tongue quickly.
"Uhm, hello. Is Jean here?"
The man snorted rudely. "Who wants to know?"
Marco suddenly caught the smell of cigarette smoke drifting through the open door and subtly wrinkled his nose.
Behind the man, he saw a coffee table covered in beer cans and a woman in fishnets luxuriating on the couch.
After hearing the knocking and his father actually open the door, Jean was curious as to who was there.
He poked his head out of his bedroom and looked down the stairs, of which faced the front door.
He didn't know who he was expecting to see, but never, in all seven Hells, had he been prepared to see Marco standing there.
He immediately descended the stairs, and the moment Marco's eyes met his, they were awash with relief, tenderness, love.
Jean's father caught the look, and when Jean tried to walk out the door, intent on taking Marco with him, he grabbed him by his jacket hood and yanked him back into the house.
"Who the fuck is this kid to you?" His father pointed accusingly at Marco, and then he jeered. "Your boyfriend?"
His father snorted, and Jean just gave him a dark, piercing look, staying silent.
His father was suddenly livid. "You ain't denying it!?"
"I'm not a liar like you," Jean spat.
His father backhanded him in the face so hard he was thrown to the ground.
The man stomped over to him and screamed, with a kick to his son's ribs.
"Well here's a goddamn truth for ya: I'm gonna kill your worthless ass!"
But before he could do anything more, Marco jumped at him.
He didn't hit him, but he shoved him away from Jean hard enough to send him sprawling into the living room.
The ebony grabbed Jean's hand and they bolted out of the house, his father's indiscernible screaming following them.
Neither of them stopped running until they were safely in Marco's home, the door slammed shut and locked behind them.
Mrs. Bott came hurrying around the corner out of the kitchen to find both boys disappearing into Marco's room.
Marco sat Jean down on the bed and took his face in his hands, his mocha eyes staring worriedly into Jean's amber.
"Are you alright?" His voice shook, and Jean couldn't look him in the eye.
Marco sat next to him and took him in his arms, rocking him gently back and forth as the sandy-blond whispered.
"I'm sorry…I'm so sorry…"
There was a quiet knock to his door, and Marco whispered to Jean.
"Let us help…"
He called his mother in, and for the first few minutes, she just sat on Jean's other side, rubbing his arm soothingly, before she spoke.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Marco looked to Jean, but the sandy-blond just averted his eyes, no protest forthcoming.
And so, Marco told his mother everything that had happened. Everything.
When he finished, she looked as if she had just been struck herself, and Jean muttered, ashamed.
"I'm sorry, please don't think too badly of me."
Mrs. Bott was assuring Jean that she thought no such thing when Marco suddenly asked.
"Can Jean come live with us?"
Both Jean and his mother looked at Marco in surprise, but he continued.
"It'd only be for a few months until this year is over. Then we'll both be heading away to college, and I know he's got that already planned out."
Jean is still looking shell-shocked when his mother nods her assent.
And just like that, Jean had a new family.
It was a night, not too long after they had retrieved Jean's belongings, Jean and Marco were just lying in bed together contemplating life.
Marco had Jean wrapped warmly in his arms as he whispered. "You see? Everything happens for a reason. It may have been hard for you, but it'll get better."
He leaned down slightly and pressed their lips together, holding the kiss for a few seconds before he pulled away.
Jean mused for a moment. "Everything happens for a reason…"
And he looked up into the face of the person he loved most.
He took in his eyes, sparkling and bright and full of love directed at him, the freckles that covered his skin that he loved so much to kiss, the smile on his lips that never seemed to go away, and he didn't want to go away.
He looked, really looked at who Marco was.
A kind, accepting boy who saw it how it was, and loved people for who they were.
Marco didn't want to change him, he only wanted Jean to let him love him.
In that moment, Jean really had to wonder how he ever lived without this freckled miracle by his side.
He looked up into Marco's chocolate eyes once more and smiled, pressing their lips together briefly and whispering.
"Thank God for Small Miracles."
-insert loooong whistle- WOW. I actually wrote that all at once. *wipes away sweat* DAMN THAT'S A LOT OF WRITING FOR ME. But I like it :) I'm not gonna bother explaining my reason for this, so just Enjoi ;)
characters © not mine
story © MarluxiaSutcliff116