They were not fighting.
“So, you are fighting, huh?” Aina said, stuffing her face with pizza.
Damn her. “No.” Galo snached another pizza plate. They were already piling up in front of him. And on the sides. And on the floor. “We just…”
“Decided to disagree loudly in the station?”
Galo pouted. “You didn’t have to put it like that.”
“Well, I’m not going to lie to your face. Also, you did throw a mop at him.”
“On accident! It was an accident. There had to be a better way of cleaning the floor.”
Aina snickered. “Well, good job. Lio really did look like he was going to combust, even with all that water on him.”
Galo solemnly bit down his pizza. Oh, so it is this serious, then , Aina thought. If even pizza couldn’t distract Galo, then the world had to be about to burn down again.
Thinking about it, there were more instances of things happening since Lio was around, weren't they? Galo always liked to show off - no surprise there - but the amount of broken equipment and kitchenware definitely increased every time Lio was at the station. Maybe because Lio was the only one that hasn't seen the matoi mop trick about a thousand times already.
“He told me to sleep on the couch,” Galo said blankly mid-bite.
Oh. "Wait, isn't he the one that should sleep on a couch? Since he lives in your home?"
Galo stared. "Why would he sleep on a couch? He could get cold."
Aina looked at Galo. Galo looked at Aina.
Aina decided that unpacking it all right now was not worth it and took another bite of her Inferno Volcano Margarita Megamax pizza.
The not-fighting was resumed the next day.
Lio made a point of talking loudly to anyone but Galo, but only when Galo was in the room. Far from subtle, but it seemed to have worked; with every second Galo was more and more restless, fiddling with whatever was the closest thing to him at the moment, and trying to pretend as if he wasn’t looking at Lio every five seconds.
So Lio pretended not to see Galo’s looks, and Galo pretended that he did not see Lio ignoring his looks.
Aina was about to start yelling when Galo made a nondescript sound and charged at Lio.
Lio, to his credit, did not make a sound as he was picked up. But the look on his face as Galo picked him up and threw over his shoulder was still priceless.
And then Galo run out of the room, with Lio still dumbfounded over his shoulder.
Aina looked at the rest of the Burning Rescue. “Do you think we should…”
“No,” said everyone in unison.
All right, then.
There's a bet going on among Burning Rescue members. Aina was sure whatever was going on between Lio and Galo would be resolved within a week, give or take.
Lucia was giving them less than two days.
"Obviously," she added, not even raising her eyes from the screen in front of her. "Just look at them."
"I am looking," Aina said. "I just don't see how they can work it out when they're both so…" She shook her head. Of course it would be naive to think that just because the imminent threat hanging over their heads was over, the two of them would work it out, but still. The fighting and the obvious something growing between Lio and Galo was going to kill all of them if it wasn’t resolved soon.
The worst was that probably neither Galo nor Lio realised what was going on. The intensity just seemed to come natural to them; it was overwhelming everyone around them, but they themselves didn’t get burnt on the heat between them.
It was insufferable.
The door to the common room opened with a bang. "Holy fuck, you won't believe what Lio did."
Whatever it was, Aina was already believing it. "Yes?"
“Look!” Galo shoved something in her hands. A small, plastic box.
She looked at him with question in her eyes.
Galo was all but running in place with the impatience. “Open it!”
She did. Inside was a bunch of… something? Might have been rice and stuff, before something horrible happened to it. She could just barely make some burnt… cheese? It could have been cheese. Or gum. Either one was possible with that smell.
“It’s Matoi!” Galo yelled.
Aina squinted and tilted her head. The pattern on the rice could vaguely look like something, given the angle - maybe a rabbit, maybe a dog, or maybe just a mess.
“You are not looking at it right.” Galo took the box back, huffing with disappointment. “You need to tilt it like this, and then just a bit-”
“Sure, dude.” Aina patted his arm.
Galo yelped. “Stop! I almost dropped it!” He delicately closed the lunchbox, as if it were made of glass. “Lio made it.”
“You said that before.”
“I did?” Galo laughed awkwardly. “Well, uh. That’s- well, just wanted to say that.”
Aina looked at Lucia and a thread of understanding passed between them.
“So,” Aina said, turning back to Galo, “I get it that you are not fighting anymore?”
Galo blinked. “We were fighting?”
Aina passed Lucia the bet money.
Aina didn’t really play video games, but that excuse was good as anything to go check up on whatever it was that was going on in Galo’s house.
It still surprised her just how much of the small, cramped apartment improved since she was last there. Gone was the stacks upon stacks of pizza boxes; gone were the heaps of unwashed clothes and an unholy amount of energy drinks.
It seemed Lio was as restless as Galo was if left to his own devices.
“So,” Aina started after enough time has passed to not seem like she came here just to ask that, “how’s Lio?”
“Lio?” Galo’s eyes stayed glued to the screen, which did not help him as Aina’s character landed a combo on him. “He’s… well.”
Uh-oh. Unspecific and laconic. Things were afoot. Let’s start delicately. “What’s he up to these days?”
“Mostly being with ex-burnish. Helping them fit in.” Galo’s character launched a flurry of blows, which Aina’s blocked effortlessly. “But… I’ve been thinking.”
“About making him a part of Burning Rescue. Like, formally.”
That wasn’t such a bad idea. “It could be a good PR idea. The Mad Burnish leader, now saving people from the fires.”
“Also, it would be good to know what your husband is doing.”
Aina dropped her controller.
“Yes!” Galo struck a pose as a cheerful music played from the game. Aina couldn't care less.
“WHEN DID YOU GET MARRIED?!”
Galo jumped. “Oh.” A surprise crossed his face. “I knew I forgot something.” He coughed. “Well… remember that time we fought Kray? And I said Lio’s flames protected me? So. Uh. Lio told me that this was kinda really super important and intimate and we are married now.”
She didn’t want it to make sense. But to think about it… moving together, all the petty squabbles, home-cooked meals, the small things… It was all too easy to see it all fall into place.
Aina didn’t even have the strength to argue anymore. And maybe she didn’t need to, since Lio would probably always be there to argue with Galo.
And good for them, honestly. She was giving up.
She shook her head, sighed, and kicked Galo’s ass again.