“Are we all ready?” There are nods and called out ‘yeah!’ from around how huge pile of wood, ready to be ignited away. Of course before it was built up, we made sure the ground was safe, all sand and we set up a rough stone circle around to keep it contained. Not far we have several buckets of water but I know they’ll be completely useless, we have Mira so I think we’re safe.

I think we all decided that tonight was a grilled supper kind of night so we bought hamburgers, we had hot dogs, steaks, salads, we all brought a little something. Armin brought in a sort of dessert I’d never really seen before and it was a delicacy. I could have had a second serving if I hadn’t been so full already.

“Agni, if you’d please?” He grins and I can only feel relief as it floods me. After the little issue we’d had with their sister earlier today, I’d been afraid they would not have showed though they both did. They’ve been quiet most of the dinner time but now, as we’re all settled around the soon bonfire, the makings of s’mores not far from my left, they both look a little livelier.

Within moments, the bonfire is a roaring mass of fire, hot and surprising. I knew he’d get it going without even breaking a sweat. We could have done it the old fashioned human way but at times, a little use of the gifts doesn’t hurt. Mira isn’t far in case it gets out of hand but that’s not my first bonfire and it’s not my last.

At times I feel as if things are less tense since Zora’s been gone. I mean, sure, she only just today really left but for weeks now she’s refused to come to the shared meals and she hasn’t really been around, things haven’t been as tense. It’s comforting. Agni settles next to his brother, just watching the flames, a pleased sort of smile to his lips and I see about starting the preparation of s’mores. I know the twins have never had any and I wonder if Quentin and Yael even know what they are. This is a good experience, really.

The fire burns well into the night. By that point, Armin has dozed off in his chair and we could all just sleep outside, the sky is clear and the air is warm but there are still mosquitoes out there and that’s just not a good idea. I share a look briefly with Lex who nods at me and while he works with Mira to make sure the fire is completely out, I carefully bundle Armin in my arms to take him back inside to his apartment.

It’s as I’m backing away into his door to open it that he seems to slightly come to. In the darkness of his home, I can’t see him blush but I can feel him and I can’t help the slight grin. I know he has a soft spot for me, a small sort of crush. I find it sweet but sad. I wish I could give him what he really deserves but I can’t do that for him. I love Lex with all of my heart and I can only offer Armin a friendship.

“I could have walked.” His voice is soft and rough with sleep.

“Armin, you were fast asleep, this isn’t any trouble with me, plus, I love the chance I get, carrying you this way.” One of his automatic lights turns on as I walk past and I grin at him. His cheeks flame a little more deeply and he hides his face against my chest.

Once in his bedroom, I set him down on his bed and I back down a step. “I’m teasing you, Armin, I just appreciate being able to do small little things now and again. Lex is a brute and he’s too big to be carried and I’ve always somewhat wanted to know what it felt like, so thank you.”

He smiles at me, a gentle sort of smile. I bid him goodnight and I slip back out again to help with the rest of the picking up.

Quentin and Yael are picking up stray bits of stuff that the wind has taken on a ride away from our meal and bonfire zone while Agni and Mira finish burying in dirt and sand what’s left of the embers. It’s comforting to know that we all keep busy and help. I spent time in different communities and while I was younger there was a lot of ‘everyone for themselves’. These very communities barely lasted, rarely really got off the ground.

We leave the twins on the second floor, making sure they get into their apartment just to be safe, before climbing up to the third where I’m more than content with flopping onto the bed, feet still dangling off the edge because I forgot to take my slip on shoes off. I would have stayed barefoot while outside but with the fire so close I didn’t want to chance it. Agni and Mira were barefoot, I’m not surprised. They were the only ones who were, however.

Next to me, Lex settles down with a stretch. There’s that pleased smile on his lips and I can only mirror it. This has been a good meal and a good evening. It doesn’t beat supper and movie but it was a good change. Now and again a bonfire is nice, much as that evening we went to the restaurant and to the theatre following that.

I feel like a mother bear, whose cubs all are doing great things with their lives. I feel like I’m doing my part in helping everyone I’m close to in this moment of my life. I didn’t know if I’d ever feel that way. Before, really, it was just Lex. I kept my focus on him, I kept my heart and my mind on him but now we have a bigger family and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

With a slight shift, I get my shoes off and they thump mutely onto the carpet. I wiggle my way higher up on the bed, a low, worn laugh escaping me. Lex snickers, at the sight of me I’m sure and he shakes his head as he simply keeps on watching me. I know where the rest of our evening will go, though at this point it’s more night since we’re well past midnight. I don’t mind. I love it when we spend quality time together this way and we always sleep better.

I’m sure we’ll be sleeping well into the morning if not early afternoon but weekends are meant to be relaxing and are meant to be for taking things slow. I’m not about to rush, I’m not about to run around with my head cut off. I just want to spend a few good hours pampering and being pampered by the man I love after a good, filling meal, a good time around a huge fire and friends.

I’ve never asked much of the world in general though at times I feel like I might be asking for the moon when it comes to certain things but that’s why I tend to not let my hopes be raised too much too quickly. This life is fine this way, not perfect but pretty damned closed, I refuse to let anything weigh me down. I refuse to be beaten down by people who might think they know what’s best for me. This is my life and I’ll decide myself what I do with it and who I spend all of my time with. To hell with everyone else.

For now, I forget the world exists, I shed my clothes, slip between the covers and grin coyly at my lover as he closes the door, turns off the light and joins me.


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