"I never thought…" Head resting on Marcellin's shoulder, Vale shifted slightly to better look up at the night sky. "There were so many stars. Or that they were all visible-"
"Or that you'd ever see them." Marcellin followed in Vale's footsteps and he too moved his body. The two men lied on their backs by the riverbank, concealed by the swaying grass, an expanse of lights and nebulas spanning infinitely above them.
"The first time I saw them I was amazed too, you really don't get this kind of spectacle in the city." Accompanied by the river's whispering, Marcellin's already soft voice took on an even softer note; it had stopped being a human sound and rather felt like a part of nature, something unimaginable in any other context. All Vale could do at the man's words was nod and let out a hum of agreement. He did not want his own voice to ruin the ethereal atmosphere. He wanted… Vale moved closer to that man he adored, pressed his face into the crook of Marcellin's neck, allowed one of his hands to rest on the man's chest as a halfhearted embrace.
For as much as he wanted to keep gazing up at the stars, Vale found his eyes closing as all his senses focused on Marcellin.
The sound of a single clap.
Vale opened his eyes and saw Marcellin's hands together but upon closer inspection noticed they were not pressed against each other, he left a space as if he were holding something between them. And before Vale could ask what he was doing, Marcellin parted his fingers enough to let Vale see.
"I caught a shooting star."
Vale had to adjust his position (a shame, seeing how comfortable he had been) to see the tiny flickering light Marcellin had caught. At its sight, a snark that came all too easily to Vale tinged his words.
"Marcellin, that's a firefly."
Annoyed at having his moment of peace interrupted in such a way, Vale returned to the earlier position and once more attempted to forget the world in favour of the man.
Marcellin, unfortunately, had other plans.
When he felt Marcellin trying to sit up, Vale's hand that had been resting on the man's chest made to grab him, to wordlessly ask him to stay - the attempt was halfhearted. A part of Vale knew Marcellin could slip through his fingers at any moment and though he tried to believe Marcellin would keep his word (for once) he also had bruises to remind him what the man had made him go through, what trusting him had led to.
"Have you ever caught fireflies?"
"No, they aren't exactly easy to find in the city."
Vale hesitated before standing up. Marcellin was the one that would have lazed in bed all day given the chance; had Vale not been so annoyed about having their cuddling interrupted, he would have found the situation ironic.
"Hold this one I'll get a jar."
An uncharacteristic enthusiasm radiated off Marcellin. Vale wordlessly accepted the firefly as it was transferred into his hands and, as Marcellin walked off to grab his backpack, he observed the tiny creature jumping about his fingers. He's so stupid, it doesn't look like a shooting star at all, Vale thought.
Marcellin returned with a jar and swiss army knife; he made holes in the lid as he walked.
"Careful, don't force it in." Marcellin watched Vale trying to put the insect in the jar. "They're very delicate." It was a pointless warning, because he already knew the gentless Vale was capable of. Marcellin held his tongue until the firefly was trapped.
"Now we need to get others too," a gentle chuckle, "it'll get lonely otherwise."
Vale wanted to comment that if Marcellin truly cared about the creature's wellbeing he would not have trapped it in a jar, but decided against it at the sight of a genuine smile donning the man's features - he could have gazed at it for hours had Marcellin not begun walking away in search of fireflies.
"How do you plan to catch them? We don't have bug nets." Vale followed after the man as Marcellin drew closer to the river. The soil grew muddier and Vale had to watch his step lest he slipped, watching the ease with which Marcellin walked along he wondered if Marcellin had done this before… No, Vale corrected himself, he wondered how many times Marcellin had done this before.
"Like this." Marcellin cupped his hands around a leaf whereon a firefly rested and pulled the creature away. Vale opened the jar and Marcellin introduced the firefly to its temporary home.
The fireflies flew slowly and aimlessly and frequently came to rest on the flora that decorated the riverbank; catching them was easier than Vale had anticipated. Once or twice Marcellin reminded him to be careful but he soon stopped when he saw how gentle Vale was. Gentler than him, even. The two drew closer to the river, in the middle of which was a rock (the moss covering it glowed blue in the moonlight) covered in fireflies. Vale briefly feared Marcellin would take off his shoes and roll up his trousers and walk across to catch them, but thankfully the man limited himself to a smile and content hum at the sight before walking back.
In a matter of minutes, the jar was full enough to give off substantial light. Marcellin's face gained a newfound handsomeness in that glow; Vale's cheeks reddened inappreciably at the sight.
"That was fun, wasn't it?"
Marcellin's smile then was candid and childlike and contagious enough that Vale too could not help but smile, as he followed Marcellin and also lied back down in the earlier spot.
"I enjoyed it."
Vale placed the jar by Marcellin's side and resumed the cuddling they had interrupted earlier. But resuming was soon not enough and Vale pressed more of his body against Marcellin's, then half-climbed him and, when Marcellin gave no indication of wanting to stop there, Vale straddled the man.
Between the fireflies and the cosmos above, Marcellin's face looked so beautiful that Vale's earlier blush darkened noticeably. Marcellin chuckled, raised a hand to stroke Vale's warm cheek with a loving hum.
"My cherry tomato…" Marcellin wanted to say more besides just uttering the nickname but when he felt Vale's lips against his own all he could do was let out a gentle hum, close his eyes, stretch his arms outwards-
He hit the jar. He hit the jar and it toppled over and the lid slid off and the fireflies began pouring out.
"Oh no." Marcellin's eyebrows came together in a frown. Vale too could not help but watch in dismay as their hard work flew away to resume lighting more than the two lovers on the riverbank.
"Well, guess we'll go and catch them again…" The earlier frown disappeared off Marcellin's features in favour of a playful, teasing smile. He was not serious and he knew Vale saw through it. Amused, a rare smirk donned Vale's face.
"You'll be too tired after this."
And before Marcellin had a chance to ask what Vale meant, his lips were caught in a passionate kiss.