The Story Continues

Chocolate So Sweet

As Lynus walked down the stairs from his room, he glanced at the small parcel in his hand. Wrapped in tissue paper with ribbon were the chocolates he had made that morning. Binah insisted that he wrap it up, going as far as handing him the exact material that he needed. Of course, he wasn’t surprised by it at all.

While it technically wasn’t Valentine’s Day until tomorrow, Lynus didn’t see the harm in giving Axel his chocolates tonight. Explorers were always a little unorthodox about things, so why should celebrating Valentine’s Day be any different?

Besides, Lynus got the feeling that he would be spending the morning reassuring and coaxing the others to hand over their chocolates to their chosen partners. Even Tobyn might need a bit of coaxing as he was still rather uncomfortable about showing affection. Rahas was likely to be the most difficult, but then again the dark hunter had been surprising him a lot the last few days. Macerio was going to be flighty and skittish about the whole thing, while Magnus would no doubt be an adorable but nervous mess, doubting that he had the courage to do something so bold.

Lynus wouldn’t be surprised if all of them threw their chocolates at their respective recipients before they abruptly fled, and avoided them for the rest of the day. Well, until Binah and Becky managed to track them down, of course.

As he stepped from the bottom step into the foyer, Lynus heard a light noise, like that of someone uttering a sound out of embarrassment. He turned in the direction he assumed the noise came from in time to see Macerio hastily scurry away from Lirit, a light blush on his cheeks.

While Lynus knew why Macerio was shy and skittish, poor Lirit didn’t. The orange-haired troubadour looked a little confused and rather disheartened, no doubt wondering if he had done something to cause Macerio to suddenly avoid him.

However, when Lirit glanced over at Lynus and their gazes locked, Lynus gave him a small, reassuring smile as he lifted his hand and placed a finger to his lips. Silently, he reassured him that there was nothing to worry about and he would find out soon enough.

Again, Lirit looked confused, tilting his head to the side slightly, his brow furrowing just a little bit. However, his expression brightened considerably when he caught on and he smiled a beaming smile. He then quickly turned in the direction Macerio had fled in and disappeared from sight.

Lynus had to chuckle to himself as he continued to the tea room where he knew Axel would be. Perhaps he didn’t have to reassure and coax Macerio tomorrow morning after all.

The fire in the tea room was burning brightly, offering the only source of light. And Axel, just as Lynus had expected, sat on the couch in front of the fire place, gazing at it with a slight look of contemplation on his face. He, however, soon turned to face him the moment Lynus stepped into the room and his expression brightened into a sincere warmth when their gazes met.

A thought of how lucky Lynus was to have someone like Axel in his life, someone who would both brighten and relax upon seeing him, something who sincerely and genuinely cared and supported him. Someone who loved him and allowed Lynus to love him in return.

Pleased that there was no one else in the room, Lynus quickly approached Axel and without hesitation lowered himself onto his lap, sitting himself sideways. Axel arched an eyebrow at him, but didn’t say anything. He simply wrapped his arms around him, one around the small of his back as the other draped over his legs, his fingers curling under the bend in his knee.

As Axel pulled him closer, effortlessly cradling him against his chest, Lynus lifted up the box of chocolates he had made and presented them to him. “Made you something,” he said simply.

Axel glanced at the chocolates before looking back at him, the thumb of his hand that rested against Lynus’ leg unconsciously rubbing circles against the fabric of his pants. “Made something?”

“Hm, cooked something, really,” Lynus replied as he set about unfurling the ribbons and paper from the box, not wanting Axel to remove his arms from around him. “This morning, actually.”

“Ah,” Axel made a noise of realisation. “That’s why Binah was adamantly preventing anyone from entering the kitchen.”

Lynus chuckled as the thought of the pink-haired troubadour planting her hands on her hips as she shooed away curious onlookers entered his mind. She was simultaneously wise and childlike. Stubborn and supportive.

Axel’s eyes lit up a little in a sense of childlikeness Lynus hadn’t seen since their childhood when he revealed what he had made. “Chocolates?”

“Milk chocolate,” Lynus said as he lifted a small piece and offered it to him.

“I haven’t had chocolate in ages,” Axel murmured as he allowed Lynus to pop the small piece into his mouth, his face soothing out into a peaceful expression as he allowed the chocolate to melt in his mouth.

“I know,” Lynus said, pleased by his reaction as he rested his head on Axel’s shoulder, curling closer toward him and picked up another piece. “It was nice to be able to make chocolate again. Especially for you.”

Axel had given him so many things during their time together, so it was nice that Lynus could give him a gift in return. Even as something as simple as chocolate.

“Ah, but isn’t Valentine’s Day tomorrow?” Axel asked as he allowed Lynus to gently feed him another piece of chocolate, letting him take it between his teeth before using his lips to pull it into his mouth.

Lynus couldn’t say he was surprised that Axel knew what tomorrow was and chuckled lightly. “I wasn’t the only one in the kitchen. A few certain others were there, too.”

“Let me guess; Macerio, Tobyn, and Magnus?”

“Rahas, too.”

Really?”

Lynus uttered a small chuckle again as he picked up another piece of chocolate. “Convincing the others to give their chocolates tomorrow may take the entirety of the morning.”

When Lynus offered to feed Axel another piece of milk chocolate, he instead took it between his teeth and slid the arm around Lynus’ back to his shoulders, his hand entangling in his hair that was free from its usual binding. He then gently tugged Lynus toward him and Lynus felt his eyes slowly slip close as his face move closer to Axel’s.

The sweet, velvety taste of the milk chocolate only enhanced the gentleness of Axel’s kiss and Lynus soon forgot where he was, where they were. He slipped his fingers through his short red hair and moved closer to him, losing himself completely into the tender caress of Axel’s lips against his own.

The chocolate had long melted before they finally drew apart, but stayed close, their foreheads resting against each other’s. A long moment of comfortable silence stretched out between them, Axel softly running a hand up and down Lynus’ back while Lynus toyed with a strand of his hair, the box of chocolates momentarily forgotten on his lap.

“I’ve got a gift for you, too,” Axel said after a moment and he made the motion to get up, though his arms still around him.

But Lynus grabbed onto the front of his shirt and shook his head, causing Axel to slump back down onto the couch. “It can wait for when we retire for the night,” he said as he wrapped his arms around his neck and he buried his face into his shoulder. “Besides, the fact that you’re here with me, alive and well, is the best gift I could possibly ask for.”

Lynus heard and felt Axel draw in a sharp intake of air, but he didn’t say anything; he just tightened his arms around him and kissed his hair.

After a tender moment of just holding him, Axel’s lips brushed against the hollow curve of his ear as he whispered to him; “I love you.”

Lynus smiled softly, the words warming him so easily. “I love you, too,” he said in return as he lifted his head from Axel’s shoulder and pressed his lips against his once more, his beloved redhead immediately pulling him into a deep and passionate embrace.

Somewhere, far in the background, Lynus could have sworn he heard the door to the tearoom softly close. But as he wrapped his arms tighter around Axel’s neck and shifted himself slightly on his lap so that he could be held closer to him, he didn’t dwell on it. It didn’t matter.

Because, in this moment, in Axel’s arms, nothing else mattered.

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