“Lio, Liooooo,” Galo whines, bold brows drooping as he slumps behind Lio’s stoic figure, “—please tell me we can just go straight to bed today, I’m so tired—”
Lio doesn’t even spare him a look as he walks towards their (Galo’s) humble abode, rolling his crystalline eyes as he fishes out his keys and turning it into the lock, “Idiot. Everyone’s tired, it’s not just you. You just feel extra tired because you offered, you volunteered, to lift much more than what Ignis even asked of you. You and your competitive spirit. You may be big, you oaf, but Varys is triple the size of you—”
“He is so not,” Galo pouts, pushing at the door and holding it open for the other to come in, which he does, strolling past him breezily, “—and it’s not my competitive spirit, it’s my Matoi spirit! The fiery, determined spirit and soul of the far east island warriors! They fought fires with their bare hands, y’know!”
“I know, I know,” Lio says, “I remember that from the very first time you told me.”
Galo silences at that, a rarity on its own. Lio takes the lack of response as a blessing and heads straight into the kitchen, but not before he glances back to see what’s keeping his idiotic firefighter so long at the door. Galo's bent over some bushes, seemingly waving at the green shrubbery. Okay, he was fine, then. Very fine. Too fine. Whatever.
His cold fingers move to plug in his electric water heater; momentarily, he pauses, glaring at the stove as if it was some sort of monstrosity, before heading to grab a jar of tea leaves from the cupboard.
Or, rather, he tries to. And it’s a valiant effort. But he can’t reach it, the very tips of his fingers brushing up against the glass jar. Lio feels a slight snarl building in his throat, a guttural one. He was so cold. And so tired.
“Galo,” he says, “Galo Thy—”
“That’s me!” Galo exclaims, suddenly having manifested straight behind Lio, and he startles, an image of discomposure as he tries to retain some of his usual poise and elegance. Soon enough, though, he feels warm arms wrap around his waist, pulling him close to a solid, heated chest, and he can’t silence the slight sigh of comfort as he feels a chin settle into the crown of his head.
“Sorry, sorry,” Galo whispers, his quiet, indoor voice still a far cry from what a whisper really was defined to be, as he glances up at the cupboard from his position atop Lio’s head. “—I did some cleanin’ before we went into work today. Found a little spider tryna nestle near your jar of leaves,” (“It’s tea,” Lio says, exasperated) “—but I got him outta the house and into the bushes outside! Y’know, the one I was—"
“Waving to,” Lio finishes his sentence for him, shaking his head and fluffing out his multicolored locks around his head, effectively shaking Galo off of him, “—you really are an idiot.”
Galo doesn’t even hesitate at that one anymore. “Yeah, yeah, your number one firefightin’ idiot! Galo Thymos, the newest recruit of Burning Rescue, at your service!”
Lio can’t help the smile that crosses his lips, staying silent in lieu of jabbing a rather sharp elbow into Galo’s ribs, “Hurry up, then, O Gallant One, and get my tea leaves for me. You can do that one little thing, can’t you?”
“’course I can,” Galo says, and absolutely bamboozles Lio by lifting him up instead of getting the jar of tea leaves with his own hands.
Lio is so taken aback, he can’t even say anything. He's just there, breathing. Or maybe no, he’s not breathing. He’s always been strategic; he knows he needs all the breaths he can manage to yell at Galo to put him down. Actually, he could just do that. He could make Galo put him down. Physically. Violently.
Instead, he just simply exists for a full moment, mind flashing back to when the entire team of Burning Rescue (Meis and Gueira included, almost meshed into each other in each other’s arms in a clash of blue and red) had huddled around the communal TV to watch The Lion King together. Galo had immediately launched into singing the songs and goading Lucia, Vinny, and Varys into singing (and acting) it out together, much to the chagrin of Remi, Aina, and the Mad Burnish trio.
Right now, he felt like Simba. Dangling over the Pride Rock.
He also really, really wished the Promare could come back. Just for this split second.
"Galo Thymos, if you don’t …” he starts, fingers almost like manacles in their grip on the firefighter’s broad shoulders, “I’ll—end you—”
Galo has the audacity to laugh. “C’mon, fireball, pick up the tea leaves! They’re waitin’ for you! they’re like, ‘Ooh, Lio, Lio Fotia! Please pick us up, we’d like nothing else’—ow! Ow, ow! Lio!”
To his credit, Galo, though wincing in pain, lets Lio down gently. Lio responds by giving a rather curt smack to the side of his arm (all muscle, those biceps) before grabbing a mug to pour the hot water and the tea leaves into. The heat that sears his fingertips and palm is hot, but Lio welcomes it all the same. He leaves his hands on the surface of the mug until it burns, until he can’t keep them on the cup anymore, and turns his gaze onto Galo when he takes his fingers into his own.
“Enough of that,” he says, uncharacteristically somber as he pulls Lio close to him, and he allows him to, settling into the other’s clavicle as he closes his eyes, “—c’mon. Take a couple of sips and let’s head into the shower. Got a long day tomorrow, too.”
“Yeah,” Lio agrees, and opens his eyes just as Galo presses kisses onto his palms and herds him into the bathroom. Sentimental fool.
They climb out of their clothes, Galo much quicker than Lio. While Lio stares at himself in the mirror, Galo turns around to turn on the spray of water, and gives a slight hum of contentment and relief when he feels warmth from it. Sometimes, Galo’s apartment would run out of hot water, and … those days would be pretty tough on Lio. Galo frowns at the memory. If he could, he’d warm up the water himself. Maybe he could purchase—
"What are you thinking about?” Lio says, pushing his hair back behind his shoulders and shoving at Galo’s broad back, reveling in the warmth his skin seemed to radiate, “—get in the shower. I won’t forgive you if the water’s cold.”
“Just, yanno, thinkin’,” Galo says, so genuine and honest as he turns to face Lio, “D’ya think that maybe I should just invest in a buncha electric kettles and just boil water for you every time you shower? That way, you won’t ever run outta hot water, and you could even take a bath, and maybe you could use the cute lil’ rubber ducky that Lucia gifted you—”
"Enough of that,” Lio responds curtly, crowding Galo into the shower and pulling the curtain closed behind him, “we aren’t talking about that. That’s Lucia we’re talking about. Do you even know what that rubber ducky could be?”
“Uh, a rubber ducky with a cravat?”
“Nevermind,” Lio says, too quickly, and tosses Galo the bottle of shampoo that he favored, coincidentally pink and blue in color, “—you’re up, Matoi fanboy.”
“I'll make you a ‘Matoi fanboy’ someday outta you too, just wait,” Galo says, but his smile is audible in his tone as he catches the bottle, squirting some out onto his wide palms before massaging them into Lio’s hair. “They’re really inspiring guys, y’know. Yeah, I’ve always had passion and I’ve always had soul, but they … They were really what made me blaze through my job at the FDPP. They were so brave, so spurred on, to save people from the heat that no-one knew what to do about. I … I’ve always wanted to be like them. To help people. Fearlessly.” Galo trails off, and all that the two of them can really hear is the sound of the water running and the slight shick-shick-shick of Galo’s fingers working the suds into Lio's locks.
Lio turns to face him. “You do that,” he says, voice soft, “—you do just that.”
Galo’s somber eyes gain back a little bit of light into a brighter cerulean, and Lio loves that spark, that light. He turns back around before Galo can see the soft smile that flits across his face.
Galo continues, tucking stray strands of hair behind Lio’s ears and finishing up the shampooing job. “I always knew how it was to have fire in my soul, to have it blaze and encourage me forward, but I didn’t know what it felt like’ta really have fire in my heart until I met you.”
A slight beat. Lio’s heart misses a slight beat. But just a little.
Galo, naively, takes Lio’s silence as awkwardness and laughs, a little awkward himself. The embarrassed tinge in his tone makes Lio fall in love even more with the big oaf, but he doesn’t need to know that. “Too cheesy, huh? Man, maybe I am eating too much of the Inferno Volcano Margherita Megamax Pizza ™ these days. It’s so good, though. Varys and I can go through at least ten—”
“Ten thousand?” Lio finishes for him, effectively cutting him off as he turns around to face Galo again, lashes wet and clumped and beautiful, and Galo’s brain short-circuits because all he wants to do is to kiss away the wetness from them, “you really—"
“Oh, uh, hold on, close your eyes!” Galo says, hurriedly, and Lio does exactly that (but not before giving an exaggerated show of rolling his eyes), “wouldn’t want the suds’ta get into your eyes like last time, right?”
Right, Lio wants to echo, but is unable to with Galo’s surprise kiss.
Almost of their own accord, Lio’s hands fly up to grasp at Galo’s face, pulling him in closer; Galo, surprised at Lio’s own reaction, curls his warm hands onto and around Lio’s hips, slotting themselves closer. Galo’s chapped lips are warm and soft, and Lio’s lips taste slightly like the tea he’d been enjoying a second before, and both of their hearts synchronize in their wild, wild beating.
"Sentimental,” Lio whispers against Galo’s lips, and feels bold enough to open his eyes. His gaze immediately catches Galo’s own, and he can feel more than see Galo’s grin, “you make me too sentimental, Galo Thymos.”
"Nah, nothing such as ‘too sentimental’—or, at least, with me. I’ve got you, Lio Fotia. And I'm never, ever gonna let you go!”
“… Fool,” Lio sighs, but it’s soft and abashed and round at the edges, and Galo’s known Lio enough to recognize it as a sigh of endearment, so he just kisses at Lio’s eyelids until they slide shut. Adjusting the spray of the shower, he washes away at the soapy locks until it’s just Lio’s hair that remains, slick and shiny. He squeezes out some of the water until it’s dry enough to towel-dry the rest of the way through, and allows Lio to wash his body himself.
Galo washes his own hair with passion and energy like every other thing he does, scrubbing through his scalp and trying to settle those ridiculous blue spikes down to wash them through. Some droplets travel down the span of Galo’s broad shoulders and back, and Lio’s amaranthine eyes trail to trace the invisible lines they carve down the planes of his body. Lio busies himself with washing his body before his hands can move to help Galo wash himself off, face a slight tinge of pink. He blames the water. The hot—
“C-old,” Lio gasps, and Galo seems more concerned for him than for his own sake, tossing away wet droplets away from his hair and turning off the water. Opening the curtains, Galo quickly grasps at the fluffy towel that Lio definitely seemed to appreciate, before wrapping him into the warm cloth and effectively creating a Lio-burrito ™. Beaming, he grabs a second towel to place onto Lio’s head, which the ex-Burnish takes gratefully. Only when Lio climbs out of the shower, significantly dry and ready to bury himself under their weighted, warm covers, does Galo towel himself off with his own towel, quick and efficient. He passes by Lio, who’s still huddled under the towels, and grabs at their toothbrushes mounted on the mirror, pink for Galo and blue for Lio (Galo had absolutely insisted, citing a reason about Lio de Galon and something something), and squeezes toothpaste onto it before passing it onto Lio.
“I know you’re tired, Lio, just a little more, okay?”
Lio just nods, brushing at his teeth. Galo brushes his teeth with passion and fire, too. Lio suppresses the urge to roll his eyes yet again. What an enigma, his Galo Thymos. His gallant one.
Blushing, Lio spits and gargles in record speed, throwing his toothbrush back onto the rack and leaving the steamy bathroom to head to their conjoined bedroom. Galo tilts his head and peeks out the door, toothbrush still in mouth, but all he can catch is the sight of Lio’s hair flippantly giving a wave before disappearing into the doorway its owner had disappeared into.
Shrugging, Galo finishes brushing his teeth, tries to brush his hair, itches at his side-shave-slash-undercut, and hangs up the towel onto the towel rack before switching the lights off. He steps into the living room, checking to see that all the other electronics were shut down, before opening the door and giving a wave to the general direction of the bush that he’d dropped off his spider-buddy off in the morning prior.
"G’night, buddy! Hope’ta see you tomorrow, too! Just stay outta Lio’s way when he tries’ta leave the house, okay? I can’t guarantee, um, your safety, if you do that. He doesn’t really like spiders. Arachnids kinda gross him out, yanno? I can totally understand that, though. I used’ta be scared of spiders too, when I was younger. Lucia made me a little spider friend robot-thing and I got over my fear of ‘em, but … I don’t think Lio’s let anything Lucia made to be near him in at least a five mile radius. Understandable, I guess. But ... um,” Galo seems to realize that he’d been just talking to a bush for the past minute or so and flushes, and sheepishly rubs at the back of his neck, going to close the door, “—stay safe! and passionate! With all the fire and the soul of a Matoi warrior! Man, those guys were cool!”
Galo locks the door behind him and travels to their bedroom, peering into the darkness. There’s a soft lump under all the bedsheets, and there’s a slight squirm as the figure tries to get comfortable. Padding on over, Galo pulls back the covers and dives in, enveloping Lio (it was Lio, of course) into his arms and pulling him close. Lio’s slight sound of displeasure of his burrito-cocoon being disturbed dies away as Galo peppers spry little kisses across Lio’s dainty features, and he tosses his hair from his eyes to look at the firefighter that had dared—
—had dared to reach for him, protect him, and fight alongside him. An idiot with the biggest heart of gold. His idiot.
Galo has so, so much love in his eyes that Lio feels like he’s going to spontaneously combust, sans the Promare. This man burns. This man is a heater, au naturel, and Lio unconsciously (or consciously, but can you blame him?) snuggles down onto Galo’s smooth, warm chest.
"Goodnight,” he says, cheek against Galo’s heart, hearing it thump, thump-thump, thump-thump, “Show me … show me, how you burn again, Galo Thymos. Tomorrow.”
He doesn’t have to look up to see Galo’s bright grin. “Anytime. Anytime, Lio Fotia. Give me the chance to, and I’ll burn for you—and no one else!”
Lio scoffs, blowing air out of his mouth. “Those are some big words coming from the world’s biggest Matoi fanboy. And pizza fanboy. Are you sure about that?”
“Absolutely positive,” Galo nods, solemn, “I know how’ta prioritize. And you’ll be my number one priority in everythin’. I swear. I swear on my scout’s honor, my star firefighter’s honor, my number one firefighter idiot in the world honor, my pancake-flippin’ honor, my—”
Lio slaps a hand over Galo’s mouth. “Go to sleep.” He only removes his hand when Galo presses a kiss against the underside of his hand, but before he can shove them into the blankets to keep them warm, a heated hand dwarfs his own and threads their fingers together. Lio’s eyes slide shut of their own accord, and for a moment, they’re in comfortable, warm, warm silence. Until:
“—D’ya think we could make a new name for our Mad Burnish and Burning Rescue team? It could be like, Mad Rescue! Dude, that’s so cool! Whaddya think? Mad Rescue! Dashing down to help people, rescuin’ citizens of Promepolis with the combined efforts of the Mad Burnish boss, Lio Fotia and his generals, Meis and Gueira, and the city’s very own Burning Rescue! Lio? Lio, Lioooooooooooo, no way you’re already sleepin’! Lio? C’mon, I thought really long and hard about this one!”
Lio looks at Galo from his perch on his chest, expression an absolute show of the sentiment ‘I can’t believe I’m actually hearing this, it’s 4 AM in the morning and we have work tomorrow, you absolute dunce,’ and silences him with a kiss.
Galo gapes at him, mouth open, before he manoeuvres himself up to tuck the blankets around Lio's form, fluffing up the pillows and folding in the blankets against Lio's side. After a moment of consideration, he fluffs up Lio's hair, too, fanning it around him like a makeshift halo. Satisfied with his handiwork, Galo nestles back into the blankets and folds Lio into his arms, his chest a pillow for the one and only 'big boss'.
"Thanks for always teachin' me how'ta burn," Galo whispers, into aromatic locks.
Lio responds by squeezing Galo's hand.
And for a minute, he finds that he doesn't miss the Promare as much as he did before.