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A sudden ringing at the door wakes Poe from where he fell asleep, hunched over his crammed desk. He stirs, dropping several pens and books with a loud clattering sound. Blinking drowsily, he turns to look at the clock and frowns when he realises that a) it’s way past his personal deadline and b) his manuscript is nowhere near done. A sigh makes it past his lips and he stretches his body before remembering that it was the doorbell that woke him in the first place.

Hurriedly, Poe scrambles up, making his way towards the door, and as if on cue it rings a second, and a third time, a lot more insistent and continuous.

With an impatient ringing like that, it can only be one person, Poe thinks as he opens the door and, as expected, finds Ranpo standing outside his home. “Ranpo-kun…”

“Poe-kun! How’s your new mystery novel coming along?”

At the mention of the still-unfinished manuscript waiting on the desk behind him, Poe scowls, briefly distracted from the unexpected visitor. “It’s…a work in progress. I was actually just–“ Poe stops mid-speech and turns his attention back to Ranpo. “But,” he glances at his watch to confirm the time, “it’s the middle of the night, Ranpo-kun. May I ask what brings you here?”

Ranpo grins. “Aren’t you gonna invite me in, Poe-kun?” Before Poe even has the chance to answer, Ranpo strides past him into his apartment. “I had a case nearby and as you so correctly deduced,” he pauses and hums when he spots Poe’s desk, “it’s the middle of the night. So, no one was available to pick me up and I knew you lived around here so coming here was the only logical solution.”

Ah, Poe thinks and opens his mouth, only to close it again, can’t argue with that. Ranpo flops down on the couch and stares at Poe as if he’s waiting for him to do something or say something. Heat rises up in Poe’s cheeks and he clears his throat awkwardly, his brain finally catching on. Ranpo is literally in his apartment right now, sitting on his couch, looking around his stuff and breathing his air.

“I–I’m sorry,” Poe starts. “For the mess, I mean. I didn’t–I didn’t really expect you to come over. Or anyone. Actually.”

Ranpo waves a hand in the air and stretches himself out on the couch, losing his cape and hat. “I don’t care about that, Poe-kun.” Poe just stands in front of the couch, rooted the spot and feeling out of place in his own home. “Right. Well, I…Um, are you just gonna sleep–“

“But I do have to say your home is quite different from what I expected.”

“Huh?”

Poe knits his brows and looks around the room, slightly cringing at the complete mess it’s in. “Different? Different how?” What exactly had Ranpo been imagining? Scratch that–why had Ranpo been imagining his home to be anything at all?

Ranpo shrugs and shuts his eyes, mumbling, “That’s for you to figure out.”

Poe’s frown deepens. If this were one of his books, he would say that it’s clearly foreshadowing, perhaps a deeper meaning behind it, and while the main character isn’t aware of it, the reader knows already–but this isn’t a book and Ranpo isn’t normally that vague about things. The Detective lying on his couch yawns dramatically and Poe takes it that the conversation is over for Ranpo.

Still, he keeps standing there for a few minutes, unsure what do to with himself, before he eventually decides to get back to work–his novel doesn’t write itself and the final deadline is looming over him like a Damocles sword. Besides, he knows Ranpo well enough to know that he’ll stay, no matter what he says.

“Poe-kun.” Ranpo’s voice startles him, “Do you have snacks?”

Poe lets go of the chair and turns to look at Ranpo, thankful that his hair hides his heated face from view. Ranpo fixes his gaze on Poe, his piercingly green eyes studying him intently and Poe forgets to breathe.

“Er–no. I’m sorry, it’s–it’s actually…been a while since I last went shopping…” He scratches the back of his head in embarrassment and blushes even darker when he realises that, as a matter of fact, it’s been a while since he last had anyone visit him.

“Ah, shame. I really could do with a middle-of-the-night snack now.”

When can’t you, Poe thinks, then, maybe there’s a shop nearby?

“Guess I’ll have to sleep without one.” Ranpo averts his eyes–Poe breathes–and shifts around, tossing and turning a few times on the tiny couch before he yawns again and finally stills. Poe is left watching the back of his head, the steady rise and fall of his body and swallows as he listens to him breathe. The fact that, not even half an hour ago, he had been alone, working–or rather, trying to work–on his novel and now Ranpo’s here with him, still hasn’t completely registered in his brain.

“Do you…want a blanket? Ranpo-kun?”

The words leave his mouth almost without permission but before he can regret them, the figure on the couch turns and Ranpo blinks up at him. “Thought you’d never ask.”

Suddenly, Poe feels incredibly stupid and like the worst host ever. “Right. Of course you do. I’ll–I’ll just get one.” He quickly hurries to his own room and starts rummaging through it in search of a spare blanket. When he can’t find one, cursing under his breath and tossing an unreasonable amount of dirty laundry behind him, Ranpo calls from the other room, “We could also just share yours, Poe-kun.”

Poe freezes, hands still buried in his drawer, and his eyes widen. He’s incredibly glad for the fact that there is quite literally an, albeit open, door separating them right now because what even is he saying. That’s when he spots a clean blanket at the bottom of his drawer and with a relieved sigh, he pulls it out. Upon returning to the living room, he finds Ranpo looking at him curiously, a glint in his eyes. Poe swallows and avoids his gaze, handing him the spare blanket.

“There you go. Next time, you should maybe tell me you’re coming so I can properly prepare.”

Ranpo cocks his head to one side and grins and Poe’s face turns beet red when he realises what he said. “Not–not that I’m expecting there to be a next ti–“

“I’ll let you know,” Ranpo interrupts him and drapes the blanket over himself, hiding his face underneath it. Poe’s mouth falls open and he’s left staring at Ranpo lying on his couch once again.

He doesn’t know how long he’s been standing there, silently observing Ranpo in complete awe and not daring to move for fear of disturbing the peaceful picture before him. Briefly, he wonders whether Ranpo is asleep already or if he can feel him lingering behind him like a creep, when suddenly Ranpo’s voice breaks him out of his thoughts and makes him jump.

“You’re allowed to move, Poe-kun. Don’t be so timid.”

Of course, he knows.

It’s the early morning when Poe’s phone rings. To say that it’s unusual would be an understatement–nobody actually calls him these days, he only really got it to stay in contact with the rest of the Guild and even then, he preferred to text.

Now, for some strange reason, it’s ringing, though, and Poe stares at it for a moment, surprised that it’s even working. After the caller still hasn’t given up after the tenth ring, he finally picks it up.

“Poe-kun! That took you a while. Are you busy working?”

“Er,… Um, I–Ranpo-kun?” Poe furrows his brows and grips the phone a little tighter. “How did–why are you–how do you know my number?”

“Because I know everything, of course, Poe-kun.”

Poe smiles softly and runs a hand over his tired face (he’s really not a morning person). “I won’t question you any further on that, then.” He yawns, trying his best to do it silently. “But what did you call me for?” Poe’s confused as to why Ranpo would call him at all, let alone that early in the morning. Perhaps there’s a case he wants to talk about or he got lost again and needs him to take him back to the Agency.

“Did you know that playing cards once helped American war prisoners escape?”

“I’m–uh–what?” Poe had never been more confused in his whole life. “Ah, no, I’m afraid I didn’t know that, Ranpo-kun. Is that so, then?”

“Uh-huh, apparently so. Yosano told me yesterday. Shouldn’t you know that stuff, what with you being American and all?”

“You can’t really expect me to know every little detail about America’s history, Ranpo-kun, even if I am American,” Poe replies, though a small part of him feels honoured that Ranpo would even assume such a thing. "I’m sure there are things about Japan that you don’t know, either.”

“Well yeah, of course there are, but I don’t have time or space to waste on that kind of information, I am a Genius Detective, after all.” The way he says it, like it’s the most obvious thing ever, has Poe suppressing a laugh, the unfamiliar action leaving him slightly surprised at himself.

“How did that kind of topic even come about?”

“I asked Yosano to teach me how to play cards.” There’s shuffling noises in the background and Poe can hear the grin in Ranpo’s voice as he speaks, and he wonders what he’s doing right now. Probably spinning in his chair, eating some kind of sweet from the sound of it.

Poe is so distracted by his own thoughts that he merely hums Mhm in agreement, not really registering the words until Ranpo adds, “Maybe we could play cards some time.” That’s when Poe’s brain focuses again only to short-circuit a second after. Did he hear that correctly?

“You…want to play cards with me?”

“Yeah, why not? That way we can continue our competition in a game and I get to beat you once more.”

Poe huffs and replies, “Don’t be so sure of that, Ranpo-kun, I have quite a lot of experience playing cards, I’ll have you know.” He and Lucy actually spent a lot of time of time playing various card and board games back then.

“We’ll see about that,” Ranpo laughs and Poe presses the phone closer to his ears. The sound is better than any music he could ever hear and he finds himself wishing he could wake up to it every morning.

“Anyway, I gotta go now, I need to leave the Agency before they force me to do boring paperwork or something.” There’s an obvious distaste in his voice and Poe shakes his head silently, amused to find that Ranpo’s aversion to that still hasn't changed, before whispering, “Alright. Have a good day, Ranpo-kun.”

“Yeah, you, too!” And then it clicks and the line goes dead and Poe’s left with a phone in his hand and a tingle in his chest.

It’s only after they hung up, well into the day, that Poe realises that they didn’t actually talk about anything relevant.

The doorbell rings and Poe smiles.

It doesn’t take him more than five seconds to open the door and he’s met with Ranpo, scowling slightly as he stares up at him with his hands in his pockets.

“Ranpo-kun!” Poe greets, like it’s a surprise to find him there, when it really couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Ugh,” Ranpo groans, “it’s been such an exhausting day, Poe-kun.” He flops down on the couch and leans his head back until his hair falls to the sides, revealing his face. “I had to do everything myself again, I really am surrounded by idiots.” He sighs theatrically and rolls his eyes.

A small smile plays around Poe’s lips as he looks at Ranpo fondly, indulging himself because he knows he isn’t looking.

“I wish you could have been there with me.”

Poe’s heart catches in his chest and he nearly gasps in surprise. Ranpo never wants anyone with him on his cases–maybe to praise him or get him from A to B but never because he thinks they can truly contribute something. How is Poe not going to get his hopes up when he goes and says things like that? He swallows–once, twice–and racks his brain for something to say, something to diffuse the situation and clear the tension in the room, something to–

“Do you want some cookies?”

He feels stupid for blurting it out like that but at the mention of snacks, Ranpo promptly raises his head and his eyes light up. “Brilliant idea, Poe-kun!”

“Wait, I-l’ll get them.” Thankful for the excuse to leave the room for a minute, Poe almost runs into the kitchen to prepare the snacks. Having that kind of brightness directed at him always throws him off-guard, even if it it’s meant for the cookies rather than him.

He returns with a tray of chocolate cookies he bought this morning and some various other snacks from the stash he started building in one of his cupboards. “Oh! Those are my favourites! You really know me well, Poe-kun, well done!”

It’s really not that often that one gets complimented by Ranpo himself, so Poe soaks it up and revels in the way his name sounds so oddly familiar and soft coming from the Detective’s mouth.

“Your blanket is in the closet, by the way.”

Ranpo raises an eyebrow at that, halfway through a cookie, and Poe chokes on air. “I, um. I mean–fresh blankets are in the closet.”

“Sure, you do,” Ranpo says and finishes his cookie, a grin on his face.

“Ranpo-kun…is there any reason in particular that you wanted to learn how to play Idiot of all the card games?” Poe asks and Ranpo gives him a grin.

“Nope! Why do you ask, Poe-kun?” He tilts his head innocently but Poe makes out the mischief glinting in his emerald eyes.

“No reason, huh?” he says as he takes his deck of cards and looks through them, expertly exchanging the cards in front of him with better ones. “You start then”

Ranpo thinks for a moment and Poe’s gaze flicks up to the glasses perched precariously on top of his head, and he’s not sure if he should feel offended or relieved that he doesn’t use them. “Two threes.” Ranpo decides eventually and draws two cards.

Poe follows with two more threes and burns the deck, earning him a scowl from Ranpo. He smiles–half apologetically, half boastful–and bends over to draw two more cards. A soft breeze is coming in through the window, the yellowing leaves outside rustling in the wind, and Poe feels a warmth spread in his chest when he looks at Ranpo sitting in front of him with his legs crossed and brows knit as he carefully ponders his next move–it’s been a while since he last played cards and it’s quite interesting see Ranpo so focused on something that’s not a mystery or one of his cases.

“So,” Poe starts and breaks the silence, “how did they do it then? The American war prisoners?”

Ranpo’s eyes remain fixed on his cards as he places three Queens on the floor. “Apparently they were specially designed cards that would peel apart when they got wet.” He draws three more cards and looks up at Poe then, waiting for his turn. “Underneath it were pieces of a secret map they used to escape.”

Poe wills himself to tear his eyes away and plays a card.

“Cheap trick, if you ask me. I would have figured it out as soon as they boarded,” Ranpo continues and adds two more cards to the pile.

“Of course, you would have, Ranpo-kun,” Poe mumbles absent-mindedly, suddenly way too focused on the game. Ranpo grins at the words of praise until Poe burns the deck, finishing his hand and grins confidently at Ranpo who still got three cards in his hands. “Told you I’m good.”

Ranpo huffs and scrunches up his nose, causing his glasses to fall off his head. Both their eyes snap towards them as they hit the floor and Poe immediately picks up them and hands them back. Ranpo takes them, brushing his fingers against Poe’s, but places them behind him on the couch. “I don’t need them.”

“Is that so?” Poe asks when Ranpo finishes his hand and draws from the cards in front of him. “Yeah, pretty sure, Poe-kun.”

Poe frowns at his own cards, suddenly not so sure of his victory anymore. “You would like Lucy, I think,” he says, “she’s really smart, too, and quite blunt.” He glances at Ranpo who’s watching him intently, a gaze that’s normally reserved for his cases only. “Maybe. I don’t really like the Guild. Also being with other people is exhausting.”

There’s a momentary pause where Poe raises his eyebrow, hidden behind the masses of his hair, but he decides not to mention the fact that Ranpo’s quite literally spending time playing cards with a former Guild member right now. Surely he knows.

 

They play in silence after that for a while until Ranpo slams down his last cards and triumphantly yells, “Two tens and I burn the deck and win!” Poe scowls at the cards in front of him.

“I really am the superior one of us,” Ranpo says and grins cockily, before adding, “How about a rematch?”

“Poe-kun! Are you home?” Ranpo enters the apartment and looks around the empty living room.

There’s a clattering sound coming from the bathroom and a hissed curse, before Poe comes out, a towel wrapped around his lower body and hair slicked back with water. Ranpo’s eyes widen when he spots him and he drops the bags he’s been holding on the floor.

Poe seems equally as shocked, staring at Ranpo like a deer caught in the headlights and only just catching his towel before it can drop to the floor, too. “Ranpo-kun!”

It doesn’t take Ranpo long to regain his composure (much quicker than Poe at least) and he picks up the bags again, grinning. “Ah, I’m sorry for intruding, Poe-kun. I let myself in.” Strangely, there’s not the slightest hint of regret in his voice.

“Ah, n–no. It’s…quite alright, Ranpo-kun. I, uh, I gave you that key after all.” Ranpo walks past him and into the kitchen and soon after, he can hear him rummaging around, opening drawers and cupboards, and he furrows his brows in bewilderment.

“Ha! I knew you didn’t go shopping today!”

Quickly, Poe follows him into the kitchen, feeling very confused and even considering the fact that maybe he’s still passed out over his desk, when he finally notices the bags Ranpo brought with him.

“…Huh?” So much for being a writer, he thinks.

“Today’s the day you normally go grocery shopping. But, I know you have your deadline tonight, so I figured you probably won’t make it today.” Ranpo explains casually while he hops on the counter and lets his feet dangle. It takes Poe’s brain a minute to catch up but when he does, his jaw drops as he looks at Ranpo incredulously.

“Wait a minute–those are groceries?” He points at the bags on the floor. “You went shopping?”

Ranpo shrugs. “Obviously. But damn, let me tell you, those bags were heavy. Like–so heavy I almost left them at the store! How do normal people live like this?” He shakes his head in disbelief and Poe feels a chuckle forming in his throat.

“Anyway. Sorry for…disturbing you,” Ranpo adds and motions for the towel still wrapped around his middle. The chuckle dies in Poe’s throat as his face heats up.

“Ah. Oh, god. Ranpo-kun, I’m–I’m sorry, oh god.” Poe’s voice breaks in embarrassment, “This, ah, really isn’t the proper way to greet–um, to greet someone.”

Ranpo doesn’t reply and merely lets his gaze wonder over his body, humming quietly with a mischievous grin on his face.

“I like to take a shower, ah…when I’m stressed. It–it helps me think. Kind of.” Poe’s more than aware of the fact that he’s making this whole situation more awkward than it already is by explaining things that really don’t need explaining, but he just can’t help himself.

“Interesting,” Ranpo finally says, drawing the word out. He then proceeds to turns around and search the bag next to him until he successfully retrieves his favourite brand of Ramune.

Of course, he bought a shit ton of sweets.

Poe halts and takes a closer look at the shirt he just took out of the washing machine.

That’s…not his, is it? He unfolds it completely and stretches his arms to hold it in front of his body. No, this one is at least three sizes too small for him.

Upon closer inspection, he realises that, oh, he does recognise the shirt. He’s seen it plenty of times already–on someone else. Poe gasps in surprise and lets the white garment slip of out of his fingers.

This is Ranpo’s shirt. Why is Ranpo’s shirt in his laundry? Poe kneels down and goes through the rest of the pile, successfully retrieving various other pieces of clothing that definitely don’t belong to him.

His heart does a somersault at the thought of Ranpo leaving his belongings behind, like they’re living together or he wants to be prepared in case he stays over. He probably just can’t be bothered to do the laundry, Poe tries to calm himself, it means absolutely nothing. He’s just lazy when it comes to things like these.

Suddenly he hears the sound of keys turning in the door and quickly stuffs Ranpo’s clothes back into the basket with the rest of his own. He rushes into the hallway, only to find Ranpo removing his shoes at the entrance and smiling up at him past his bangs. Poe stares at him, wide-eyed, with his brows furrowed in confusion.

”You have got to stop looking so shocked every time I visit, Poe-kun,” Ranpo says with a grin.

“N–no, but…I thought–I guess I just–“ Poe takes a deep breath and starts again, “I thought the Agency is supposed to be on a work trip in Shinagawa today. How did you even get here by yourself?”

Ranpo straightens his posture and shrugs casually, “Why, I took the train of course, Poe-kun.”

“You what?” Poe didn’t think it was possible for his eyes to widen even more but, alas, Ranpo proved him wrong again. “By yourself? You don’t…That’s–That’s not what you do, Ranpo-kun.”

“Well, I do now. It’s not actually that difficult once you get the hang of it. It’s just annoying.” Ranpo yawns and walks past him into the living room, sitting down in his usual place on the couch. “Anyway. If you don’t have any plans for today, we could try out that new ice-cream store down the street?”

Poe’s frozen to the spot, still completely baffled at the fact that Ranpo took the train by himself and apparently has been doing so for quite a while now. Willingly. It’s when Ranpo’s words sicker in that he feels the oh-so familiar blush forming on his cheeks. “I, uh…no. I mean–no, I don’t have any plans for today yet. I’d like to go, yes.”

He joins Ranpo on the couch and glances at the other man, forgetting all about the laundry in the bathroom. “Awesome!” Ranpo exclaims and grins broadly.

It’s the middle of the night and outside Poe’s window rages a storm worse than anything he had ever witnessed before. Poe turns and tosses for hours in his bed, unable to get to sleep, because as much as he loves stormy nights–they always get him into the best writing mood, somehow–they’re a pain in the ass when all he wants to do is sleep (Poe's as far from being a heavy sleeper as he is from being a morning person).

He doesn’t really question the clattering noises from outside his bedroom, writing them off as another waste bin falling over outside, and squeezes his eyes shut in desperation. When he hears the door to his bedroom swing open, however, his eyes follow immediately and dart through the darkness in panic, trying to find out who entered his home.

A small shadow stands in the doorway, unmoving, and for a split second Poe thinks someone might have come to murder him, when the figure moves, sneezing and sniffling, before complaining quietly, “Stupid storm...”

Poe’s not really sure why Ranpo is in his bedroom in the dead of the night while a violent storm is wreaking havoc outside but he decides not to question it. The sight in front of him, shadows and lights flickering across Ranpo’s face in turns, while he watches the storm with startlingly sparkling green eyes is so poetically beautiful, it could have been straight out of one of his books. He doesn’t dare move a muscle for fear of disrupting the scene, so instead Poe holds his breath and pretends to be asleep.

Ranpo yawns tentatively, probably trying to be as quiet as possible so as to not to wake him, and walks over towards the bed. Poe squeezes his eyes shut even tighter, terrified of his body betraying him under the scrutinising gaze and he can feel Ranpo’s eyes boring into him, trailing over his face, lingering, and his body hidden underneath the blanket. He focuses on steadying his breathing, suddenly unsure on how to breathe most naturally. Why did he come up with the idea of trying to deceive the Greatest Detective again?

All of a sudden, almost enough to startle Poe, Ranpo sighs, climbing into the bed next to him, and promptly Poe’s not sure his breathing is the only thing threatening to expose him.

The first thing Poe notices when Ranpo sighs in satisfaction and shuffles closer to him, is the heat radiating off the smaller man. Despite the (most probably) freezing temperatures outside, his body feels like a furnace next to him–although Poe can’t be sure the warmth spreading through his body is not, at least partially, due to the sensation of having Ranpo so close.

The second thing he notices is that the other man is soaked to the bones. He suppresses the urge to detach himself from the wet clothing but forgets all about those thoughts when Ranpo decides to bury his head in the crook of his neck, his breath hot on Poe’s skin. “Night, Poe-kun…”

Poe’s heart hammers inside his throat and he stares at the dark ceiling, afraid to even blink, listening to Ranpo’s breathing slow down until sharp, fast exhales turn to sleepy, soft whiffs of air against his skin.

So much for getting to sleep tonight.

Poe spends the whole night thinking about the morning. How is he supposed to act when he wakes up? What is he supposed to say? Should he even address the situation at all? The thought of how Ranpo would react when he wakes up, and maybe even realises what happened in the first place, makes his stomach jolt–and not in a good way.

When Ranpo eventually does shift next to him, stretching and rolling off his by now quite dead-feeling arm, Poe squeezes his eyes shut in a sudden panic, cursing himself for being such a coward.

A few seconds pass when nothing happens and then, “Oi, Poe-kun. I’m aware that you’re awake, you know.” Poe’s eyes grudgingly flutter open, only to be met by sharp emerald ones–much closer than he expected.

Ranpo leans in even more, studying his face closely, before a grin spreads on his face. “I also know you were awake yesterday night, by the way. You should have learned by now that you can’t fool me, Poe-kun.”

Poe gulps. “Uh…I, um–right.” His voice, hoarse and slightly raspy from lack of sleep, sounds unusually high unlike Ranpo’s whose seems to have got even lower over the course of the night. He closes his mouth lamely and keeps on staring at Ranpo, racking his brain on how to best address this…current predicament. Or the tingling feeling in his chest when he realises Ranpo’s body is still pressed to his side. He’s never really been that good at writing romance.

“I can, uh, take you…home?” Poe blushes as soon as the words leave his lips, too aware of the fact that his bed hair doesn’t do much for hiding his face from view right now. This sounded awfully like he a) wants Ranpo to get out of his apartment as soon as possible or b) offers to escort him back like an overprotective boyfriend or something.

“I am home.”

The world stops for Poe, the whole universe does, and he’s not quite sure anything ever existed anyway besides him and Ranpo right in this very moment, as his focus zeroes in on him, the image burned into and the words echoing in his mind. Ranpo looks at him innocently, only the slight upturn of his lips indicating that he does very well know his words just caused Poe’s lungs to stop working (It’s way too early in the morning for this, Poe didn’t even have his coffee yet).

Memories, moments and words of the last months whiz by Poe’s inner mind. Ranpo sitting next to him while he writes, humming in approval or giving tips, Ranpo listening to his raw writing, something he never even dreamed of doing before, nights spent watching weird movies together, arguments over ridiculous amounts of chocolate in the cupboard and suddenly Poe relaxes. Because this is right. This is home.

“I see your brain working at full blast there, Poe-kun. I’m sure you’ll figure it out any second now.” The voice breaks him out of his thoughts and Poe’s gaze focuses on Ranpo and the impish sparkle in his eyes as he leans back and crosses his legs, watching him in barely-concealed anticipation.

“I love you.”

Ranpo loses all control of his expressions at that–and it’s hilarious, honestly–and Poe’s not scared anymore. After all, there won’t be any other words he’ll be so sure of as those, it’s only ever been a matter of saying them–and he’s a writer, after all, releasing words is what he should do best.

Still, there’s a slight hint of panic creeping up in the back of his mind at the rare sight of a shocked and speechless Ranpo in front of him, the fact that he can’t quite make out what he’s thinking making him nervous. Maybe he got it all wrong, maybe he ruined everything again like always does, and why would he even go and say such a thing out of the blue in the first place, surely–

“Of course you do. But I knew that already, Poe-kun.” Ranpo interrupts him–saves him, call it what you will–from his quickly downhill-going thoughts and watches him, every hint of shock wiped from his face, replaced by an intense look of ease and comfort. “I didn’t expect you to actually say it now, though,” he adds and there’s the faintest blush on the bridge of his nose.

“Oh,” Poe whispers and waits, before adding, “So it’s alright?”

Ranpo rolls his eyes dramatically and basically throws himself on top of Poe then, wrapping his arms around his middle and drawing his face so close, Poe could count the lashes framing his eyes if he wanted to. “Unlike you, I’m not a man of many words, Poe-kun,” he says slowly and hot breath hits Poe’s face. In a swift motion, he presses his lips against Poe’s, his rain and bed tousled hair tickling the sides of his face.

Poe gasps and Ranpo pulls away slightly, looking at him with pupils blown wide, shadows in his eyes and a smirk on his face. “Don’t steal my breath, Poe-kun.” The sight does something to Poe, a heat pooling deep down in his stomach, and a feral, low growl escapes his lips as he sits up and grabs Ranpo’s awfully crinkled shirt, pulling him into a kiss.

Faintly, he can hear Ranpo chuckle against his lips when he buries a hand in his hair and presses their bodies flush against each other almost desperately, but Poe doesn’t care anymore, all those years spent longing for this taking over his actions and mind.

When they break apart, Poe’s panting heavily, his urge to breathe the only thing forcing him to pull away–a weakness of the human body, really, if you ask him. The sight of a disheveled and, quite satisfyingly, flustered Ranpo on his lap also does nothing to help calm his racing heartbeat.

“Poe-kun?”

Poe’s mind is still spinning and hazy, he’s quite literally feeling intoxicated, and his lips feel fuzzy as he hums in response, “Mhm?”

“I want to tell you something. Because knowing you, you’ll still doubt it, even after this,” Ranpo breathes into his ear and Poe shuts his eyes at the sensation. “I love you, too.”

A shiver runs through Poe’s body at the words and he forces his eyes to flutter open–after all this time, he needs to see him, needs to see Ranpo say it, and he never wants to shut them again.

Ranpo’s eyes shine against the dim light of the room, a fond smile gracing his features, and Poe thinks he looks ethereal. He’s certain that he’ll never be able to describe this feeling, this moment of pure adoration and love, all the words he could ever think of paling in comparison.

“Home,” he whispers and it tastes like a promise on his lips.

Ranpo hums, lying back down and placing his head on the left side of his chest. “Home is where the stash of candy is.”

__

this is a place where I don't feel alone,
this is a place where I feel at home,
'cause, I built a home.
for you,
for me.