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"I think I like you."

"So you're not sure?"

"I think crippling loneliness is fucking with my reasoning," you shrug. Despite your calm exterior, he can hear your heart beating a mile a minute. You hands are wringing your shirt. Your hair was shoulder length then. It curls at the ends from how you always had it tied back. That day, you had your hair down.

"Yeah, that's what it sounds like," he nods, "'cause you're like a gross nerd who I like as a friend."

"...Yeah, same."

You were both sixteen, then.

Both you and Nero had changed. You buried yourself in work. Nero found himself dating Kyrie. When he and Kyrie weren't working romantically, they broke it off amicably. He never told you that. You never asked. You just carried on like you always did. He helped Kyrie with the orphanage. It was like back then.

You came by often to see the kids. Then he started to notice his feelings. A small smile on your face as you read to them, your little gestures. All of it. He found himself liking you. Not like a sibling or friend. But, romantically and physically. You never noticed his small gestures. His willingness to spoil you with coffee runs, or how he was always there to lend an ear, you never noticed any of it. You brushed it off as friendly skinship. You slept in his bed without clothes on, you walked around his small apartment without clothes on, you did as you pleased. It all took its toll on him. He pretended that it didn't bother him.

But, it always did. He would force himself to rush to the bathroom whenever you wore something he appreciated. Some days it would be underwear that looked damn good on you, other days it would be his shirts and nothing underneath. You weren't even trying to seduce him. You just did it so naturally. The cherry on top was that you were oblivious to the effect you had on him.

 

"Hey there nerd," you sit on his back as you greet him. He was sitting on the floor as he stretched before getting on his daily run. He can hear the loud crinkle of the plastic bottle in your hands. He has to force himself to sit up in order to get you off of him. He grunts as he gets on to his feet.

"Morning, Dummy," He glances at your attire. Again, you stole one of his hoodies. As you stretch your arms and yawn, he can see you wearing his boxer briefs. Well, the ones that he bought that were a little too tight. Your hair was messy from sleep. He wishes it was because he had his fingers tangled in your hair the night before. He wants you to be dressed in his clothes because you couldn't find your own. Nero wishes you looked so sexed out because you were fucked so thoroughly by him the night before, not because you slept for ten hours for the first time in three days. You yawn again. Fuck, he had to get out of here.

"I'm gonna grab us breakfast," he lies, "What's your order?"

"Oh shit, brekkie, I thought it was lunch," you slur mixing international slang with your usual speech, "Uh, how about a quickie-"

"A French cruller, a large black tea with three pumps raspberry and two sugars, got it," he wishes a quickie was something else entirely. God, he just wants to lift you onto the counter and- no, he couldn't do that. He walks toward the door. You hum and hug him from behind. You weren't wearing a bra. And your scent would be buried in his clothes.

With a sigh you drawl, "You're the best Nears, have a safe trip, yeah?"

If he didn't get off on the thought of fucking you senseless, sure he would have a safe trip. He'd have the safest trip if he could focus long enough to get your damn breakfast.

 

When he makes it back, you're sitting at the coffee table. As per usual, you were dressed in those light oversized dress-shirts he loved seeing you in. Every button but the middle button was undone. He could clearly see the matching underwear underneath. Blue roses on white lace. You even had that damn joke gift choker on. Said choker was a gift from Nero, you had joked about being treated like a dog at times, so he bought you a leather choker styled like a leash for Christmas. You glance up from your book. With a lazy smile you greet him, "Welcome back, how was your jog?"

"Could be better," since he spent it screaming at himself to will away his boner, "Iced, right?"

"Yessss," you happily moan as you sip your drink, he swears it doesn't make blood rush elsewhere, "Nears, I love you."

He wishes it was an actual confession. Nonetheless, he nods before fixing himself some food. He notices the small container still warm in the fridge. The sticky note on top has his name written in your writing. As he takes the lid off the tupperware, he can smell the delicious pasta made just the way he liked it. Grabbing a fork, he digs right in. It wasn't anything crazy by any sense of the word. There's breaded chicken off to the side and divided by steamed vegetables, but he can see the pasta was the focus. He thinks it's cute how you made some of the carrots into hearts. It isn't as amazing as Kyrie's food, but a good third place because your brother's food topped even Kyrie's own.

You walk over to sit in front of him. Clicking on the electric kettle, you read as the water boils. After a brief moment, you get up to grab a mug. Gently placing it in front of Nero, you scoop some instant coffee into his cup. Finally hearing the click of water being done, you start on making him a cup of coffee. The moment is so domestic, it reminds him of those first moments of being with Kyrie. Though, he doesn't want to remind himself that you aren't together. He wasn't even expecting you to make him coffee.

"...hot."

"Wh-What?"

"I said to be careful because it's piping hot," You tilt your head. Holding back a laugh, you grinned as you bite your lip. You go back to sitting in front of him as you read. You twirl a strand of hair between your fingers. As light shines through the kitchen, it illuminates your skin. Nero glances up from his food to see a strand of hair fall in front of your eyes. Swallowing what was in his mouth, he brushes the strand away from your face. He tries to just brush the hair away without touching you.

As he tucks the hair away, you glance up from your lashes. Slowly looking away from your book to make eye contact with him. Your cheeks are red. Your lips slightly parted and eyes wide, you blink quickly before looking away.

"I- I have to go," you stutter. Your book is left wide open as you rush to your room. Left alone in the kitchen, Nero finishes his food before taking his mug of coffee with him back to his room. Placing the coffee down on the nightstand, he takes his shirt off and tosses it aside. Plating a hand firmly on the ground, he gets ready to do push ups. He had to wind down from his run. What was he thinking?! Brushing hair away from your face?! That was number one in overtly romantic stuff you don't do with the best friend who you're crushing on! He wanted to smack himself. Quickly doing as many pushups as possible, he switches over to his other hand. He probably had the most stupid look on his face.

He didn't want to give off "crushing" vibes. Yet, here he was, doing the exact opposite. Resigned, he stops at two hundred. As he glances up to his door, he can see the door open just a crack. From behind the door, he can hear quick footsteps rushing off somewhere. Were you watching him? No, it must have been his mind playing tricks. Just to be sure, he goes to check in on you. He makes his way over to your room. The door is wide open as you set up your practice dummy. He hides behind the corner as he sees you get dressed.

From the corner, he can see your naked back as you tug on your compression bra and his basketball shorts. You throw on one of your tight compression shirts. The same ones that flaunt your toned muscles despite your small and dainty form. The very same that shows the curves you thought didn't exist. You wrapped your hands in gauze as you weighed the dummy down. Finally, you play upbeat pop music on your phone. You try to turn it to full volume. He tries to will his erection away.

 

"For fuck's sake just talk to him!" You hiss to yourself as you strike the practice dummy. Your punch is weak. There isn't the definitive thud of a hard strike. Now, he was eavesdropping, some friend he was.

"He's giving vibes," you tell yourself, " good vibes, and your stupid ass called him hot while you knew he was distracted."

You grunt as you land a heavy kick. You follow up with a quick jab, then land another kick. You exhale and punch. You speak aloud once again, "Plus, he probably already knows…"

He takes in a breath. Walking in front of your open door, he knocks on the door frame. You whipped your head around to face him, wide-eyed and blushing again. He crosses his arms and leans against your door.

"Wanna spar?"

"Kinda in the middle of something," you look back to the dummy, firmly you strike at it with an open palm, "Can't you call Dante or something?"

"Nah, it's been a while and I can tell we need to blow off steam."

You brush past him.

 

If you needed a punching bag, he could take it. He would take all your hits if it meant he could watch you in action. Your face scrunched in determination as you plan your next attack. He blocks a kick to his face with his arm. Pushing your leg away, he steps back. Your leg remains in the air before putting it back down to settle back into fighting form. You huff before grinning. That lopsided smirk gives way to you rushing at him. You pull his hair to knee him in the face.

"Keep your guard up," you tease. He accidentally let one of his hands turn into claws. His clawed hand scratched open your shirt. Your skin peeked through with light red marks on your skin. He pushes you back. Grunting you fall onto your back. Fuck. He didn't mean to use so much force. You chest heaves as you catch your breath. Before you can get up, he clambers to pin your hands above your head. He settles himself between your legs. Pushing your body slightly off the ground, you struggle to move your legs.

"That's a point for me," he grins, "how's about a prize?"

"How about you not get hard during a spar?" Your eyes flick down to where he's pressed up against you. He lets go of you in embarrassment. You take the chance to switch positions. You pinned him down as your thighs were very close to his face. You used your knees to lock his arms down. With your legs spread in front of his face, he's really glad it was just the two of you. Sweat lightly layered your skin as you pant above him.

"Just kidding," you stick your tongue out, "but seriously, you never notice you pitch a tent whenever we do this?"

"You're the one looking."

"That's because I'm always looking for an opportunity to get you on your back."

"Was that supposed to be threatening?"

"Nah, it was a promise," you take off your shirt gauging the severity of the scratches, "do you yield?"

"For now."

You climb off of him. Content and panting for breath, you help him up. You grab your shirt and throw it at him before running back to his apartment. He sighs and glances down, oh shit he really was hard. He can feel heat rush to his face. Flustered to runs after you. You were so gonna get it.

After a short while, he catches up.

 

You both took a chance to shower. Like usual, you joked about it, "Wanna just shower together- we'd save a lot on the water bill that way."

Like usual, he brushes it off as a joke. This time though, you wrapped your towel around his neck and pulled him towards the bathroom. You had to have been possessed by something. You stripped in front of him as you locked the door. Pulling off the clothes that clung to your skin, walking past him towards the shower to turn the hot water on all the way, then looking back at him before stepping in. You didn't draw the curtains. He had a perfect view of your form as drops of water fell off of you.

"What's with the sudden, y'know, shamelessness?"

You shrug before grabbing your bottle of body wash. You had to be pulling a trick on him. Some sick joke you wanted to pull. He can feel your eyes on him as he strips. If he was being invited, there wasn't a reason for him not to decline. Throwing all reason out the window, he joins you. He pulls the curtain closed as he steps in. He towers over you in this small space. The hot water pelts his back. Your bodies pressed together in the small shower. Your skin was already soapy from cleaning off the dirt and grime, replaced with a rosy scent he could never place.

"Thought we could enjoy a shower together."

"What happened to saving water?"

"You're not wrong," you pause to grab his own body wash behind him, "but tell me something-"

You lather his body wash in your hands before massaging it into his shoulders. Bringing your hands down his chest, you speak up again, "Do you like me, as in, romantically."

"A little late to be asking that," he growls. He helps you out too. He massages your sides and back as best he can while he stands in front of you. You run your hands back up his chest to rest at his neck. Sure, he likes you. He returns with a question of his own, "So I'll bite, I'm guessing this is you liking me back?"

"So the man can take a hint."

"No," he presses you against the wall, your legs at his waist as he gropes your thighs, "You just made it very impossible to flirt with you."

He can't tell if it's the heat getting to him or the fact that he's fantasized about this. You pressed against the shower with hair matted to your face in all your naked glory. You tilt your head and grin as you wrapped your legs around him, pulling him closer to you.

"Then I'm sorry for the misunderstanding," you wrap your arms around his neck, "Cause you never told me you and Kyrie split, so forgive me for being slow on the uptake, I'm not into taken men."

So someone told you.

"You never asked," he buries his nose in the nape of your neck. Your fingers found purchase in his wet hair. His hard on was pressing against you. If that cute little gasp was anything to go by. Testing the waters, he places a kiss close to your ear. Your hands fall to the hair by the base of his neck. You close your eyes as he peppers your skin with kisses. Content sighs leaving your lips. He decides to tease you a little, speaking as close as he can to your ear, "You should know better than to tease."

"I thought I left some pretty big," you had to sigh into the word as he rubs against you to pull you up higher, "hints, to let me know if you were single."

He laughs a little. He has a feeling you were right. You would never actively go around his apartment half-naked under normal circumstances. He knew better. You were practically saying "take me" with how you dressed the past couple of weeks. He bites down at your neck. Your back arches into him. He finally lets you down,  you both came in to shower not for sex. Though, he honestly just doesn't want to be pruney. You sigh before helping him clean off the suds that didn't go down the drain. Luckily, neither of you saw any red swirls in the midst of the white suds disappearing down the drain.

Getting out of the shower, you wrap a towel around yourself. He didn't bring one in with him. As he grabbed your clothes and his off the floor, he tries to take as many quick strides as he can back to his room. It's mostly to dry off though. As he opens the door, you throw something at the back of his head. He can see you walk off stark naked towards his room. You poke your head out of the door, "We're the only two people here, don't be shy about your nice butt."

"You're the only one who thinks that, also you're the one with the nice ass here."

"Sure, mister bubble-butt-six-pack, I'm stealing a shirt."

"Goddammit," he quickly wraps the towel around his waist. As he carries your clothes, he walks in on you pulling on his ratty sweater. He tosses his clothes onto the floor. He leans against the doorframe, "you couldn't have picked something better?"

Obliging, you take it off and grab his jacket instead. You walk over to his dresser and grab a pair of his underwear again. Pulling it on, he can hear the snap of the waistband going over your ass. It's a shame you won't have them on for long. It's a damn shame. You looked really cute. Pulling the curtain closed, he snakes his hands around your waist. Pulling you flush against him, he carries you over to his bed. Placing you down, he climbs on top of you.

"Hey there."

"Hi." He had no idea where you were going with this.

"So, were we gonna get intimate?"

"Just- just shut up and let me kiss you." He leans down to finally shut you up. Pressing a chaste kiss to your lips, he pulls off the towel. You wrapped your arms around his shoulders pulling him close. His fingers find their way to the waistband of his briefs. Pushing them down as he moves, he grabs your ass. You hum into the kiss. Your hands dragging down to his chest again. Now that he had a feel for where you were, he deepens the kiss. Tugging them off you completely, he tosses them to some corner of his room.

You could keep the jacket on though. The jacket can stay. He likes seeing you in his jacket. You pull away from the kiss, gasping for breath. You were really cute right now. He leans and peppers kisses on your skin again. Nipping at your skin, he stops at the middle of your chest. With a grin, he bites down on the spot right above your heart. You slap your hands over your mouth to muffle the moan that slips out. He slowly licks at the bite as he kept eye contact with you. Your fingers find his hair again as you pull him in for another kiss. He pulls back to view his handiwork.

"So," he drawls, "ready to get more intimate?"

"Just shut up and fuck me into the mattress," you groan, "Christ, we talk too much."

"Your wish is my command, babe." He reaches into the pocket of his jacket. Tearing off the wrapper with his teeth. He makes sure you're watching as he puts the condom on. His slow movements were probably torture to you. Good, that impatient look on your face is all he needs to spur him on. You groan before sitting up and putting your hand on top of his. Helping him quickly slide the condom onto his cock.

"I'm not waiting a hundred years for you to just put on a condom like you're a damn tease," you push him down onto the bed, "You're not hot shit, and I'm damn sure not gonna let you act like it- you move when I say."

Okay, so maybe he was a little turned on by you taking charge. Your hand rests on his chest as you lower yourself onto him. Easing down onto him, you moan quietly. Your breath staggers for a moment before you start moving slowly. Grinding your hips against him, you guide his hands to your hips. His jacket slides off your shoulders giving way to a more erotic sight. He hisses as your nails dig into him. Through staggered breaths, you give your commands, "Move."

"You sure?" He asks, "You might be in for a rough ride."

"I'm not fucking glass," you pout, "I'm not riding you out of obligation, I'm doing it because I've wanted you to fuck me senseless for a while now."

He raises his eyebrows at that. How long was "a while" to you? He slides his hands up to your waist. He takes in all the scars on your body. Your shoulders, your stomach, all along your waist, all of it. He had all of you right in front of him. He grinds back against you. Taking all of you, he makes sure you melt at his touch. Grabbing your thighs, he spreads your legs a little farther. He wants you so bad. He wants you to lose your haughty attitude. He pulls out almost completely before plunging deep into you. You shudder above him. Biting at your knuckle, you start to grind against him. He grabs your wrists before switching positions. With his back against the headboard, he pulls you back into his lap, lining his cock up with your entrance again. You tighten around him. You groan again. Biting your lip, you hold back your groans. He had to do a little more work to your little cues.

"This isn't what I imagined."

"What? You wanted me to be submissive and docile?" You manage to ask between groans. As if to emphasize your point, you grind a little harder. You lean in close to his ear, the laugh in your voice is lost in the heat of your breath, "Go on, come for me, baby."

"Oh, we're not playing this by your rules."

"We're not?" You feigning innocence right now was gonna grind his nerves, "Because you're looking like putty in my hands right now."

"Yeah," he growls, "We're not playing this game 'cause I'm taking the lead."

He pushes you down onto the bed. Pinning your hands above your head as he thrusts into you. You arch into him. His name rolling off your tongue like prayer. You throw your head back with a gasp. Your legs wrapped around his waist again. He can feel you tightening around him. Your toes curl at the small of his back as you arch into him more eagerly. Nero obliges you, giving you more of that pressure you wanted, he holds your hands hostage with one hand while the other gripped your hip. Holding you down, he nips at your skin as he feels himself edge closer and closer to coming.

"Oh- Nero- just- mm-"

"You like that 'cause I'm not even close."

"Hah! Bring it Lover Boy, ah- you're not hot- oh- shit."

He's thrown his reason out the window. Thrusting erratically into you, he tries to take his time making sure he chases his own orgasm after you do. Your hands struggling not to fight him, your breath getting shorter with every gasp and stuttered moan, yeah, you were close. He was too.

"Ah- hah-"

"Yeah, same here."

 

The afterglow is...well, it was you breathing for a little before taking the condom off of Nero, grabbing towels and a small basin then cleaning the sweat off of him. You eased yourself on top of him before just resting your head on his chest. Nestling yourself into him, you sigh. Tracing circles on his skin, you press lazy kisses onto his skin. You kiss along his jaw and down his neck.

"I wouldn't do that," he warns.

"Do what? Kiss my cute boyfriend?"

"Your other hand isn't playing innocent." He watches your hand dragging down his skin and lingering very close to his dick.

"Oh shit, sorry," you apologize, retracting your hand from him completely. Awkwardly you place it at his neck. Pink tinting your cheeks as you glanced up at him. Flicking your attention back to his skin, you trace the outline of his collarbone. Your nail drags along his skin, as shivers go through him. This wasn’t much in terms of pillowtalk, but he could still appreciate it. It’s not as if you could really do much, he knows, because neither of you had been in many relationships. This was going to be a bumpy ride for sure.

Still, he knows that you’ll manage. From you content sigh as he kisses the crown of your head, he can tell. You look up at him again, this time, you reach up and kiss him. Slowly, you roll on top of him. Your hands linger just before his length again. This time, he can feel your fingertips ghosting over his skin. He holds in a small breath as your fingers ghost over the tip. The bump of your fingers as you skim over the slit is almost too much for him. Not to mention, he can’t anticipate what you’re going to do next. He lets his head fall back onto the pillows. His eyes fluttered shut as you line yourself up with him. He didn’t have any condoms. Oh shit, “Wa-wait, I don’t have any more condoms!”

“Yeah,” you agreed, “so try not to come too fast.”

“Wait- you want to do this bareback?!”

You nod with a grin. Your breath catches as you put him inside you completely. Your chest presses against his as you drop your hips down. He almost doesn’t notice your small shiver of pleasure. Your eyes flutter shut as you let his name fall from your lips. Sweat still stuck to your skin from focusing on his aftercare. His hands linger on your skin as he lazily follows your pace. Though he’s struggling to hold himself back. Still sensitive from the first round of sex. You’d give him shit if he even thought of coming before you, he’s sure. You moan as he drags a hand to the back of your neck, pulling you down just to bite down hard on a sensitive spot. You tighten around him. Fuck, he throws his head back onto the pillows. The sudden feeling of your heat eating him up accompanied by your calling his name, it was all starting to catch up to the both of you. You call out his name one more time as he grinds into you. You go taut against him, ragged gasps following as he chases his second orgasm of the day. You moan into the crook of his neck as he finally comes. Your hips move eagerly as he calls out your name.

“Okay,” you breathe, “I’m good now.”

“Yeah, I’m all sexed out.”

“Wait, I need to pull you out,” You slowly lift your hips, a soft breath caught in your chest as you make sure he’s watching. His length falls limp against his stomach. You lazily shrug his jacket off as he watches his spend going down your thighs.

"Luckily I can't get pregnant." He doubt you had any contraceptives on you, so chances were he would have to buy them for you. He makes a mental note of that to add it to the daily grocery list.

"What the fuck made you think it was a good idea to do this bareback?"

"...I wanted to know what it felt like…," you mumble into his skin.

"What what felt like?"

"What it felt like to be held by you with no bars held."

His expression softens as he pulls you to his chest. He honestly had no idea how a hardass like you had such a cute side. You groan against his skin. Your naked skin brushing against his as you shift above him. He switches positions with a grin. Flipping you onto your back with him above you, he kisses your skin with heated fervor. Your fingers find his hair as he trails down your neck and chest. He stops right before your entrance.

His tongue lapping up his own spend mixed with yours. Though, he had to admit, he didn't think today would be the day he swallowed cum. If he was being really honest. But, you looked like you wouldn't be able to handle cleaning yourself out. You try to guide his head away from there. To where you had you had him inside you. You could try all you want, but he's not really in the mood for listening to you right now. Luckily, he didn't come as much as he thought he did. So, he wouldn't have to swallow much.

"You're not-"

"I am," he kisses the inside of your thigh. Hiking your leg onto his shoulder, he bites down on the inside of your thigh. He grins, "I'm gonna devour you right here, right now."

Oh, and he's definitely gonna make up for all the lost time he could have been doing this.

Chapter Text

If anyone could appreciate naked cuddles it was Nero. Your usually warm skin was hot under his embrace as he kept you close. You snuggled back into him. You would stretch your arms out from having them for extra support under your pillow. You almost purr under his near scalding warmth.

His arms were wrapped around you as you both slept. Your fingers running through his hair rouses him from sleep. He can feel you wiggle to sit up. Or at least try to sit against the pillows. He lets you shift around before settling on placing a tired open mouth kiss to your shoulder. He can't really do much besides that. He was still trying to wake up. He really hoped to stay in bed.

"Little early to be up," he murmured into your skin. His eyes were still closed, but he could tell you were fully awake. You give a breathy laugh before prying his arms off of you. As he rubs the sleep out of his eyes, he can see your naked body looking around for clothes. From where he is, he can see where he held onto your hips. The small bruises were forming as you pulled on one of his shirts.

You walked towards a corner to grab the underwear he threw off you yesterday. Pulling it on, you walked back over to him. The effect of you wearing his clothes was never lost on him. Your scent was buried in his clothes now. You gave him a light peck on the lips before heading off towards the kitchen. Nero was still lost in the afterglow of you finally being his. You poke your head back into his room.

"What did you want for breakfast in bed?"

"You?" You roll your eyes at his answer. A smile playing on your lips as you walked back to force him to sit up in bed. Taking both of his arms and pulling him to sit up against the now slightly damaged headboard. When he finally sits up, he pulls you back into bed. Wrapping his arms around you again, he kisses the back of your neck. Taking in your shampoo to make sure this was real. Your warmth bleeds through to his skin. You almost nestle into his touch. Almost.

You turn your head to face him.

"Seriously, what did you want to eat," you ask again, "soft boiled eggs, toast and some hot coffee?"

"Mhm, salted," he nods. You don't move from your spot as you stare him down. Oh, goddammit, you just had to be a hardass now, he sighs and rolls his eyes, "please."

"See? Manners matter, I was about to salt your black coffee."

As you get back out of bed again, his phone rings. Of course, he couldn't have a moment of peace could he? He gets fucked out of his mind only to have someone… video call him? Begrudgingly, he answers only to see Dante on the other end. He groans before trying to cover his camera. If Dante saw him right now, he would never hear the end of it.

"You can't hide kid, I already caught a glimpse before you covered the camera."

"What do you want?"

"Whoa, your dear ol' uncle can't call to check in?" Dante pretends to be hurt.

"What do you want?" Nero repeats. He really wanted to have this call be over and done with. If Dante caught you wearing Nero's shirt and nothing else, Nero would definitely never hear the end of it. He groans as Dante's face light up. He takes his thumb off the front camera. Well, there was no point in trying to hide that he had fun yesterday now.

"Whoa, forget what I want," Dante began, "Who got you laid?"

As if by some horrible timing, you popped back in with a tray of food and coffee, "Room service, breakfast is ready, Nears."

You place the food down in his lap and pull him in for a kiss. Your hands making his head turn to face you. He gets so lost on your touch, he completely forgets about his phone. That is, until Dante speaks up again, "Well, that answers my question."

Goddammit.

"Was that Dante?" You pull away. His mouth is still slightly open from you stopping when it was getting good.

"No," he couldn't lie to you. As you finally turn to the direction of the phone in his hands. Dante waves before your face turns to utter shock. You cover your face shouting profanity after profanity. Quickly, you rush off to the bathroom. Here he thought you were going to shower together again.

Licking the inside of his teeth, he glares at the screen.

"You couldn't just hang up could you, old man?"

"Nah," he grins on the other side, "curiosity got the better of me."

"Well," Nero pinches the bridge of his nose, "what?"

"I popped by last night, and you didn't answer your door."

You popped back in wearing your own clothes and glasses. You lean against the doorframe. Huh, it was rare to see you in glasses. It was honestly really hot. He blinks away as he feels his skin heat up again. You give him a smile before mouthing to him. He was too focused on your outfit to really pay attention but, he nods nonetheless. You blow an air kiss before disappearing again with a quiet giggle. Nero grins and rubs his neck. Dante clears his throat.

"...you're busy so I'll-"

"Yeah, don't call again," Nero hangs up without glancing down at his phone. Getting out of bed, he grabs a pair of sweatpants off the floor and pulling them on. He could honestly care less about going commando. He puts his phone in his pocket just in case someone calls about something relevant. As he almost trips on some house slippers, he can see you sitting down in the small kitchen. Quietly, he puts on the house slippers. Your legs are crossed as you make yourself some tea. You were reading the book you left open yesterday. The kitchen window was open to let in the gentle breeze. Your hair blew gentle with the sway of wind. Being as quiet as he can, he takes a seat in front of you. As if by clockwork, a strand of hair falls into your face. Using his index finger, he brushes the strand out of your face and tucks it back into place.

This time, you glance up from your lashes before looking at him properly. You give him a smile. Letting your lashes flutter, you place your chin in your palm. God, you're here, and it's real.

"Didn't realize I was dating a sexy librarian."

"Had to kill the moment," you laugh before leaning back in your chair.

"It's true isn't it," he grins, "I've never seen you wear your glasses except when you're headed to bed sometimes."

"Well," you drawl, "I felt like wearing them today."

He can feel you nudge his foot with yours. The quiet clack of you taking off one of your slippers isn't lost on him. Your bare foot brushes against his. Your foot pushes the bottom of his sweatpants up a bit, brushing against his ankle before dropping your foot back down. He hums as he places his hand over yours. His thumb lightly stroking your hand. You glance back down to your book and continue reading. He pulls away to get his breakfast out of his room to eat out here.

When he comes back out, you're still reading.

"What're you reading?"

"Hm? Oh, it's a poem anthology," you smile, "William Blake."

"Yeah? Wanna read me something?"

"Like what?"

He shrugs. He wouldn't mind just listening to you read it. Better than hearing V rattle it off from memory. It wasn't as if Nero could sit long enough to read it himself anyways. You give a breathy laugh before flipping to a random page. You hum as your eyes scan through. Nero digs into his breakfast. The scratch of silver against ceramic is resounding in the quiet of you finding a poem.

"How about this?"

Your fingers trace over the detailing on the page.

" I went to the garden of love,

And saw what I had never seen;

A chapel was built in the midst,

Where I used to play on the green. "

"Is there more?" He asks. You giggle before glancing back down to the page. Your fingers tracing down to what looked like the next part. He finished the last of his breakfast. Placing his fork down, he watches you smile before reading the next passage. Gold detailing shining as sunlight shines through the window.

" And the gates of this chapel were shut

And 'thou shalt not' writ over the door;

So I turned to the garden of love

That so many sweet flowers bore. "

You spoke so gently as you read, it felt like you were the only two people. Like time had stopped. Normally, he wouldn't get this sappy, but could anyone really blame him? He's not gonna lie, he's pretty whipped.

"This must be boring," you apologize. You shut the book closed. An apologetic smile on your lips as you take his plate. You put the dirty dishes in the sink before walking back over to him.

You nudge his chair back. He pushes his chair back for you to sit in his lap. You wrapped your arms around his shoulders. Giving him another peck, you lean away from him. Feigning a grimace, you lean away. He quirks a brow.

"What's up?"

"Morning breath."

"Whose?"

"Who do you think, nasty?" Oh right, he forgot to brush his teeth. He was so caught up in being with you, he forgot. Forget that, he didn't even go on his usual run. You got off his lap and gestured to the bathroom. With a smile, you push him towards it.

 

When he walks out of the shower, you're sitting on his bed wearing one of the few dress shirts he had. You had on black lace this time, still wearing your glasses. As he looks you up and down, he can see the separation between your skin and thigh highs. You glance up from your spot. He can tell you're wearing some type of color on your lips. The slight pink is there. You purse your lips for a moment and play dumb to him being in just a towel. Your eyes flick up to the ceiling then to the hardwood floors. He crosses his arms and leans against the doorframe. His lips quirk into a smirk as he watches you swing your feet. Folding your hands in your lap, you finally look over to him. He tilts his head slightly. He tosses his phone onto the bed. 

"Y'know it's rude to do that," he says walking over to his clothes. Grabbing a pair of sweatpants again, he drops his towel. His back is to you. Well, nothing to hide since you were both exposed to each other last night.

"Do what?"

"Coming into a guy's room knowing he has to get dressed after a shower and thinking you won't get in trouble for it," It's more a warning of what'll happen if you don't tread carefully. He's got half a mind to pin you to his bed again. You hum again. This time more knowing than playful. Oh, you were gonna play this game, huh? Well two can play that game.

He ties the drawstring firm before turning back to face you. He goes to sit back on the bed. The curtains are still closed when he sits against the headboard. You climb on top of him, wrapping your arms around his neck, you try to roll your hips against him. Despite his self-control, he groans as you roll your hips again. Slowly, you mouth kisses against his skin. Inching lower and lower down his chest, he can see the lipstick marks. His fingers catch in your hair as you undo his drawstring with your teeth, palming at his erection. A breath catches in his throat as you trace the outline of his cock through his sweatpants. Your nail drags long the outline as your hot breath tickles his stomach.

Before he can throw his head back, his phone rings again. With a groan, he looks at the caller ID. It's Dante again. He doesn't pick up as he pulls you up for a kiss. Whatever you had on was probably smeared on his lips. Not like he really gave a fuck. His phone rings again. He groans and shoves it into the drawer of his nightstand. It buzzes against the wood. You hum into his kiss as his hands move down your body before grazing your chest. He unbuttons your shirt as he nips at your jaw. Sliding his shirt off your arms, he drops it off the side of the bed. He pulls away to toss the black lace off of you and across his room.

Vrrr vrrr vrrr

"You should get that."

"Leave it," he drags a finger along your heat. You gasp against his skin. You hunched over and occupied yourself with his collarbone. Pressing wet kisses there, he helps you out of your underwear. Sliding the small scrap of lace off your hips, he licks his lips-

Vrrr vrrr vrrr

"Oh for fuck-"

"I got it darling," you reach over for his phone. Despite your chipper tone, you threw open the drawer and angrily pressed the call button. As you see the caller ID, your face lights up. Placing the call on speaker, you press a finger to your lips with a devious grin. Mirth dancing on your features as you help him slide your underwear down your thighs and off your legs. He bunches it up and tosses it away. You readjust your thigh highs.

"What is it?" You pretend to huff angrily. In reality, it's you sighing against his touches. His hands roaming your naked chest and tracing old scars. He massages your thighs and knead at your ass.

"Is your boyfriend there, Angel?" Of course it's Dante with his shitty timing. Your voice is even as you tug his pants off his hips. Just enough to where his hard cock is in its entirety and enough to pull his pants back up without struggle if someone were to be at the door. You line your entrance with his length biting back a quiet moan as you lower yourself onto him.

"Nears is," you had to pause to adjust to his size, he was throbbing inside you, Dante probably doesn't suspect a thing, "uh, in the middle of something."

You bite your lip as you took him in completely.

"No kidding? What's he doing?"

Your eyes screw shut when he starts to roll his hips into you. Carefully, he replaces you biting your lip with licking at his fingers. You took hold of his wrist to keep his fingers between your lips.

"Sorry Dante," Nero lies, "I just got out the shower, what do you want?"

It's his turn to bite his lip as you lap up your saliva from in between his fingers. The long languid motions rushing straight back to his cock. He tries to keep his breath even as he rolls his hips to match your pace. Experimentally, he thrusts into you. You bite down hard on his fingers before lapping up the blood.

"Well, I figured I would try and check in on you guys," Dante slurs, "Y'know since I uh, interrupted earlier, is Angel still in the room?"

"Nope," Nero lies, you pull his fingers away to stifle a giggle, "They just went into the living room."

You grind against him. You roll your hips back biting the back of your hand to keep from gasping and moaning too loud. Nero takes hold of your hips to help you out. You use your hands to easily use Nero as a support. Your hands on his chest as he pushes you down onto him. He cover a moan with a cough. You tighten around him.

"Cool," Dante doesn't even know the half of it, "So what's the sex like with them?"

"What?" He got lost in you around him for a moment. You raised your hips for a moment before inching back down onto him. Why were you two even doing this? You pull him into a kiss to stop the trembling breath that almost leaves him.

Dante repeats himself as you pull your lips away. Properly hearing him, you stop completely before waiting for Nero to give his answer. You cross your arms and wait patiently, he groans. He just wanted to have more of your sweet touch. Dante was adding fuel to the flame, he sighs and answers. Quietly shoving your hips down against his, he places his fingers against your lips again, he grins, "I don't need to tell you jack shit."

"Aw c'mon kid, I bet Angel's a real freak," he notes, "the quiet ones always are."

"Yeah, no, did you call for something important?" Nero is nearly ready to hang up and put his phone on silent. Pulling his fingers back out of your lips, he rolls into you again. You pout and lean down to nibble at his ear. Your hot breaths are quiet as you take his earlobe between your teeth and biting down harshly. He reflexively smacks your ass once to get you to stop. He nearly moaned! His breath hitched as he waited for Dante to say something.

"What was that?"

"Just a bug, look," Nero kneads your thighs in apology. Worriedly, he furrows his brows as he tries to ease the pain. A silent question of whether or not it actually hurt. You shake your head with a smile going back to kiss along his jaw again. Nero finishes his sentence, "If you're calling to dick around I'm hanging up."

"What- aw c'mon kid-" Nero's thumb lands on the hang up button. The moment he does, he breathes a sigh of relief before rolling you onto the bed. His hands are pressed against the scratched up headboard as he starts to finally thrust into you. Hungry for more of your sounds and quiet whimpers. 

Knock knock

"We're not even making noise !"

"Nears, please, move, " you plead. You move your hips against him with a groan. He obliges. Thrusting into you erratically as he chases both for yours and his orgasm. Hurriedly fucking you into his bed as you claw at his arms. Your toes curling as you reach your peak. You clench around him. Soft gasps leaving your lips as he keeps going. Your legs bring him flush against you as he gets close.

" Please ."

"One of these days- mm, I'm gonna boss you around in bed," it comes tumbling out of his mouth as he groans in your ear.

"'One of these days' better be soon because I want you to take charge," you tangle your fingers in his hair. Okay, he's gonna remember that.

" Nero- "

" Give it to me, baby ."

 

Knock knock

Not even a single moment to breathe. Nero tucks you into bed.

"You're gonna answer the door?"

"Yeah?"

"XYZ, Nears," you turn away and bury your face into his pillow. He rolls his eyes and tucks himself away. Quickly, he checks himself in the mirror and wipes off whatever you had on your lips off of his. The other lip marks were trophies in his opinion. Carefully, he shuts the bedroom door. He puts his house slippers on and answers the door.

The old man pestering the both of you all morning waves at him. Nero moves aside to let him through. Dante makes his way through and peeks into the crack of your open door before glancing to Nero's own closed door. With a grin he looks Nero up and down before slinging an arm around him.

Nero shoves his arm away as he speaks, "I'm so proud of you Nero, getting laid twice in one week!"

Nero runs his hand down his face before making his way over to the fridge. You were probably really thirsty. He grabs one of those cans of sparkling flavor water you like. He'd never get why you liked the shit. Something about your brother and you drinking it whenever you ate together..? He grabs a cold can and a bottle of water for you. Going to his door, he knocks before it opens slightly. Your hand pokes through to take the drinks. It withdraws only to come back with his shirt and pointing to the lip marks. He leans against his door frame and shrugs, he honestly couldn't care right now. Your hand slaps his arm and shoves the shirt at him.

He could hear you yelling at him.

How about we have some decency around guests? I don't give two shits if you look good without a shirt, we have clothes on in this apartment when there are people besides us.

He'd argue that you didn't have pants on the last two weeks but that was to get his attention. Then again, you followed your own rules by making sure to wear your clothes properly if someone even so much as knocked on the door. He tugs the shirt on as he walks back to where Dante is sitting in your nesting spot on the couch. No, really, it's the only spot that has blankets and fairy lights covering it. You had a small bundle of books on the table next to that spot because you claimed that spot. It belonged to you. Or did until Dante shoved the blankets to the other side. You were gonna chew his ass out for that if you ever came out.

Nero goes and hands him a beer. Just to...make it easier to force him out. No sugar coating that. Dante takes it happily as Nero speaks, "Don't you have anything better to do than to bug me?"

"Nah," comes the blatant answer, "I came to visit the two new lovebirds."

"You calling wasn't enough?" You shut the door behind you properly dressed and cleaned up. You have in your contacts. Despite wearing pajamas (you bought a couples pair as a joke one time because it was apparently cheaper but he thinks you just wanted to wear a couples outfit with him...y'know as a joke), you were fully dressed with your hair brushed neatly. You walk over with your arms crossed and a frown on your lips. You grab a chair from the kitchen and sit down a little ways away from Dante. 

Nero decides to follow your lead and take a seat.

"I'm impressed you guys aren't fucking like rabbits," the old man notes.

"Shouldn't you be off at a soapland or something?" You gesture for him to buzz off. Nero chuckles before giving you a high five. You give a content grin. Dante looks shocked as you cross your arms again.

"I'm hurt and here I was thinking you two needed the birds and bees talk."

"We don't do anything to warrant you of all people giving us that talk."

"Not even leaving me at the door while Nero busts a nut or having sex while I'm on the phone with you?"

"No," Nero is impressed you can just lie so easily, "because we don't do that shit."

"You're sure?"

"If you're talking about the lipstick on Nero's stomach," you tug Nero's shirt up, "that was me testing out if my new lipstick was too sticky."

Dante shrugs and lets the subject go. Nero pulls his shirt back down. The movement is lazy and that doesn't really explain why there's a pink mark right before where his happy trail meets his pants. It doesn't really explain the new hickeys on your neck either. It could probably get brushed off as an overzealous makeout session, honestly. Nero's waiting with baited breath for Dante to say something else.

The old man seemed so eager to give him shit. You turn to Nero and quirk a brow. Rolling your eyes, you speak up again, "Also never say 'bust a nut' ever again, it's gross- but really did you have a job for us or did you just want to kill time and try to catch us at an intimate time to just tease Nears?"

You crossed your legs. Your tone went saccharine for a second and it makes both men shiver with fear. You never used a sugary sweet tone unless you were starting to get annoyed. You being annoyed was never a good thing. It meant you would grab your sword and start swinging. Nero places a hand on your knee. Easing you back into calm.

The old man stands with his beer still in hand.

"I know when I'm not wanted."

"Call if you have a job ," Nero calls after him.

You both wait patiently for the door to close before tugging off clothes. The firm click of the door noting it was locked and secure. He tugs off his shirt and you throw off pants. With a sigh of relief, you slouch in the wooden chair. He can still smell sex on you. Even through that stupid sugary sweet body spray you used sometimes. 

He still had to do some quick shopping, but that could wait for later. He walks over and picks you up and out of the chair. He carries you in his arms and back to his room, nudging the door open, Nero carefully places you on the bed. You stripped off the rest of your clothes and climb under the blankets. From under the blankets, you shuffle for a bit before your hand pokes out and drops some underwear off the side of the bed. Nero does the same, kicking off his pants, he joins you under the blankets. Finally, naked cuddles. After some sleep, he would go out and get some more condoms and contraceptives. 

You turned to face him. A smile on your face as he opens the can he brought for you. The tab hissing happily as you sit back up. He passes it to you.

"So, what's gonna be for dinner?"

"Mm," you pull the can away from your lips and swallow the sparkling water in your mouth, "Takeout, I don't feel like leaving bed today."

Nero hums contentedly, "So dinner and a movie in bed?"

"Yes please ."

Chapter Text

Your mind blanks as the scratch of the record player in your head stops. Your mental music plays a memory to the tune of "plastic love". Your eyes close as you watch the street below you. Slow oldie jpop plays out as cars drive past. Watching the bustle of nightlife brings up memories.

 

You were envious of his fleeting glances towards her. He was a month or two older, despite that, you still had a crush on him. Not that it really mattered. You, Nero and Kyrie were childhood friends. Being the new child introduced into the Order's religion, you were frightened of the sudden change. Now, he was sixteen. So were you. You didn't really mind because you both went through puberty together. But what you did mind was how obviously in love he was with Kyrie. Though neither she or Nero would act on it.

"What do you think she'd like?"

"I'm sure whatever you get her," you turn to the next page of your book, "she's gonna love it Nears."

He dragged you to a small stall at the festival. He wanted to get her a present. He guides you through the crowd as you read. Your book was about this guy who was in love with his friend but doesn't act on it so he runs off to another country to forget his loved one- yeah you could relate. You glance up to see Nero staring down at necklaces. After a moment, he finally decides on one. You kept reading, maybe to bury the pain, maybe to just forget that he likes her and not you. You read to forget.

He pulls you toward the church. You stop and tuck your book away, remembering Credo chewing you out for neglecting your duties. You wouldn't be able to bear watching them being lovey-dovey. You decide to lie to him, not for his sake but for the sake of your dwindling pride, "I gotta help out, see you inside."

He nods clutching the small box in his hand.

 

"I think I like you," you blurted out one day. You remember it clearly. In a last-ditch effort to try and get this dumb crush off your chest, you confessed. Your heart was beating out of your chest. You were scared of him laughing at you. Or worse, pitying you and deciding to try and distance himself from you. He looks shocked.

"So you're not sure?" Of course, you weren't sure! You were a kid struggling with the concept of love and like. You just wanted to get rid of this dumb lump in your throat that made you weak in the hopes that it would turn out okay. That it would turn out in your favor. But that look on his face makes your heart sink into your stomach like an anvil. You lied to him that day.

"...I think crippling loneliness is fucking with my reasoning."

God, I've liked you since we were kids , you want to tell him, I've liked you for so long but I can tell you only have eyes for Kyrie. And I don't want to jeopardize our friendship because if I do, I'll lose you. You keep it to yourself. You wring your shirt to keep your tongue in check. If you spoke now, you will regret it. When you do make your mistake, you would rather it be because you can blame it on being drunk. You laugh awkwardly.

"Yeah, that's what it sounds like," he nods with a grin, you love that dumb cheeky grin of his, "'cause you're like a gross nerd who I like as a friend."

Your hair brushes against your skin. You put your hair down because you remember he said he likes long hair. You found out only after you had already cut it into a bob. It grew weird and honestly, you hated how it looked on you. After that day, you decided to cut it all off. You smile back at him. You told two lies that day.

"...yeah, same."

I like you so much but I know you just like her.

You grin and pretend you weren't crying inside.

 

You were both eighteen now.

You decided to get a job that would take up so much time, you could forget about Nero. Forget about the orphanage him and Kyrie ran. It worked for a while before you started to reminisce about the past. While you sat in a cafe, you began to scroll through old pictures. Typing the next report due for your job. It wasn't due for a while but, you like being a little early with your stuff. One picture strikes you as a hard slam to your heart. You and Nero from two years ago. God, his dumb emo cut grown out looked so dumb. When you got into the Order of Swords you drew your hair out, just for him. God, you were just as stupid as he was. Why did you think that you could even date him? You bitterly laugh to yourself as you sip the black coffee the baristas knew you hated because it was all just bitter instead of your regular sweet drinks.

 

At age twenty one, you were bitterly calling her. Because she didn't deserve to suffer because you had a crush on her boyfriend. You wanted to still be on good terms with her.

"How are you and Nero?" 

"We're doing well," she practically chirps, "what about you?"

"Same old," heartbroken and bitter as you down a shot of vodka. The angry bitter feeling you had dulled the cough syrup taste lingering in your mouth. God, you hate the taste but it humbles your anger. Seething turns to a simmer and you can put yourself down without crying into a bottle. You didn't drink and when you did, it was to forget how much you hated the person you became in such a short amount of time. You didn't even feel the slightest bit buzzed. Dante watches you from the opposite side of the bar. You asked him to watch you tonight. Mistake number one. You called Kyrie hoping for bad news. Instead, they were going steady, the kids at the orphanage saw them as surrogate parents. You can hear the kids playing in the background. You dig your nails into the meat of your palm.

Dante gestures you over to his side.

"Invite me to the wedding," you joke through your sarcastic tone, "chat later, Dante is on top of the pool table."

You hang up before she can say goodbye.

"Here to make fun of me? Shouldn't you be shoving your tongue down a brunette's throat or something now?" You drawl. You gesture over to the bartender. You decide to request a water. Every conversation you had with Dante needed you to be sober. Or at least somewhat. Today was the latter. Dante downs his whiskey. You sigh as he places his glass down. You were going to be the one talking tonight, you guess.

"I called expecting bad news," you took the spot beside him, "they're doing great, in case you were wondering."

"So, how are you doing, shortstack?"

"Like a horrible fucking friend," you wave a hand lazily, "what kind of friend calls expecting their two best friends to be broken up just to get a glimmer of hope? You fall in love with one man your whole life and no one is exactly like him, too short, too tall, his voice doesn't settle right-"

You continue, "I can't keep fucking being like this, Nero isn't mine, he never was, never will be, so I can't just keep expecting a man like him to just drop into my lap like some lovelorn prince charming gallavanting for cinderella." You glare at your hands. As if to prove your point, you gesture a crown in the air before fanning it away. You dropped your voice down to nearly inaudible as you felt the stupid tears coming. Dante places a hand on top of your head. 

You swat his hand away, "I don't need your fucking pity , I'm allowed to be bitter and angry because I can blame it on being drunk."

You can't. You're not even buzzed.

"You're not drunk and we need to get you out of here before you do," he began, "Come on, we'll go grab some ice cream and watch those shitty korean dramas you like so much."

"Love Playlist is a treasure and you know it."

"If the main couple could just communicate then sure," he grins, "How about that other one with the stunt actress or whatever."

"Secret Garden? Can't we just watch Akagi then?" He drags you out of the bar. Your hoodie already in his free hand as he guides you by the hand. The streets are dimly lit. Lampposts illuminate the sidewalk as he walks in the direction of the shop. You had been staying with him recently as a sort of secretary and part-timer. 

"Should we just watch Sailor Moon then, princess?" He knows you hate being called anything feminine. Then it hits that he spent the entire walk dragging you from your own angry thoughts. God, you actually were pathetic to have Dante of all people cheer you up. You stop walking. You hang your head low as you stood beneath a light. What were you doing? Pulling your hand away from his, you bury your face in your palms. Tears were already welling up in your eyes but you couldn't feel a single drop fall down your face.

All of this because you were jealous of something that wasn't yours. You feel your whole body shake as the tears start to fall. Being this weak was mistake number two. You angrily rub at your eyes to stop crying. Dante turns to you and places your head against his chest. 

"I'm pathetic."

"You're not, you're a badass who just has a glass heart and a bit of alcohol in your system."

 

What was the first sign of hope? Was it Nero looking for apartments in Red Grave while Kyrie was in Fortuna? No, he could just be looking for somewhere closer to live with her. Was it his sudden urges to buy you specialty drinks from that place you like? Nah, it wasn't as if he was spending his own money, you always said you would pay. Maybe you were just reaching for straws. You sat in Dante's chair. Fiddling with your own weapons, you yawn. Slow day and nary a job in sight. You folded your arms and started to rest your head against them like a makeshift pillow. You're sure the guys would be back soon. One of them could carry you to the couch or your bed. 

After a couple moments you drift off.

 

"So, kid, do you like Ace?" They were walking back from a quick job. Nothing too crazy. Just a quick kill and go.

"What jacked up notion of 'friendly conversation' is this?"

"Same notion that's curious why you decided to crash at your uncle's place," Dante isn't one to mince words. You grew on him. For all the grief you gave each other, he thought of you like one of his own. He just couldn't stand seeing your eyes light up every time Nero talks to you. Then, when the kid turns his back or leaves, you lose that smile and your eyes lose that shine. He isn't liking how long it takes Nero. For every second he had to think about it, Dante hates to admit, he gets a little more pissed for you.

"Kyrie and me broke up," Nero tells him, "I just want to be around for easier access to the job."

He knows that's a lie. Both he and Nico manage just fine from Fortuna. He doesn't want to out your feelings. He's not a raging ass. He waits.

"Besides what even brought this on?" Nero is changing the subject. A lot of things brought this on. For starters, he's seen the way the kid looks at you. Longing glances like he couldn't even touch you. His need to follow your every wish even though he hates doing it. All for you. He would be damn happy for you if Nero would just nut up and tell you. He shakes his head. Forget it, kids should solve their own problems.

"Nothing, forget it."

 

Your mental record scratches and you find yourself in the present, no longer drifting through bitter memories. Dante told you what happened. He was the one who filled you in on Nero. The song changes again, this time "This Is All I Have For You" comes on. You tap your foot as you wait for Nero to come home. You were starting to drift asleep too. The door opens just as you feel your chin slip from where you had it rested on your palm. A warm hand nudges you awake only to be met with you refusing to open your eyes. A sigh, and then you're being lifted from your spot, "You didn't have to wait up for me, angel."

"Mhm, I wanted to," you nestle into his shoulder, "Welcome home, Prince Charming."

He laughs at the name. His breathy laugh catches in his chest as you rest against him. He nudges his door open with his foot. Kicking it closed behind him, he places you down on the bed. You roll around for a moment as his weight is gone. You hold onto his pinky, a silent request for him not to go yet. He leans down kissing the crown of your hair. He pulls away and you hear the shuffle of clothing. He was home. You were glad you waited for him.

He climbs back into bed. His warm skin touches yours. He wraps an arm around you. The giant teddy bear he got you is pressed against your back. He pulls it toward you with the utmost care. As childish as it was, you named the big guy. His name is Blanco to match the person who got him. The large dark brown bear sat idly behind you as Nero peppers your skin in gentle ticklish kisses. The sensation makes you giggle as you return his affection sleepily.

"I'm home."