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On A Winter's Night

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If you had told Boxman back when he’d first met KO Kincaid that the lord would one day be sitting in a cozy cabin in the middle of the woods, he would have said you were an insane imbecile.

And then he probably would have dropped a box on you.

Still, as the situation was, Boxman sat curled up in his chair, his eyes scrolling through the book he’d been attempting to read for the last half hour. Mikayla was curled up on the carpet, snoozing softly, and Double Beat had found a snuggle space on Boxman’s bed in the other room. The flames crackled gently in the fireplace, the wind whistling just outside. The snow wasn’t falling harshly, but it had to be very cold out there if the ice on the windows was anything to go by.

Just as Boxman was thinking about closing the book and perhaps turning in for the night, there was a knock at the door. His head shot up in confusion, wondering who could be here at this hour. It was roughly ten o’clock at night and he hadn’t received a call from any of the kids that they were stopping by.

He opened the door, knowing he could probably handle whatever lied beyond it, only to pause in his tracks.

There he was, standing there wearing that striped green scarf Boxman had made for him last Christmas. And of course, no actual winter coat. Boxman remembered needing to remind him all the time to put on an actual coat whenever he left the factory during those snowy months.

Professor Venomous gazed back at Boxman, his eyes filled with…regret? Sadness? Pain? It was hard to decipher. Without another moment to spare, the professor pulled out a cake from behind himself, holding it out to Boxman as he bowed his head.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered softly, the words sounding foreign coming from his mouth.

The cake itself looked to be covered in chocolate frosting, Boxman’s favorite, and in horribly drawn out pink letters was written on the center “I’m sorry”, complete with a tiny heart cookie above the words.

Boxman stared at the offering for a moment, piecing together just what Venomous was attempting to do. Really, anyone else would consider it a terrible form of an apology for everything that occurred. Most people probably would have slammed the door in the man’s face.

Yet, a small smile crossed Boxman’s face.

“Here we go again…” he said fondly, hands moving to his hips.

Venomous’ head came back up slightly, peeking out over the cake, his gaze a silent question. Stepping to the side, Boxman held out his arm.

“Well, you might as well come in. You’ve got to be freezing out there.”

The professor hesitantly moved inside, glancing at Boxman briefly before placing the cake down on the nearby table. Boxman shut the door, locking it and found himself staring at the door.

The feelings rushed through him like an oncoming freight train. Boxman had taken so much time to focus on his children lately, he had pushed Venomous from his everyday thoughts. Not that he didn’t think about him at all. Oh, he did. Often. But with the way Shadowy Venomous had treated him, for what Venomous himself had done, and for how everything ended up, it had just felt…over.

“It’s so warm in here,” Venomous said after a moment.

Boxman turned around, watching Venomous rubbing his hands over his lab coat covered arms. “Yeah. I got the ventilation working pretty well so it doesn’t get stuffy.”

Venomous gave a nod. “Right, right.”

Well. This couldn’t get more awkward.

“I’ll put your cake in the fridge,” Boxman said, picking up said cake. “Make yourself comfortable!”

Boxman quickly headed into the kitchen and opened the fridge. He placed the cake on one of the top shelves that was mostly vacant (after all it was just him, Mikayla, and Double Beat, which wasn’t much), shutting the fridge door before thunking his head against it.

Was this right? Was he making a huge mistake? Should he even bother forgiving him?

He let out a gentle snort, smirking softly.

He was always weak around Venomous, wasn’t he? From the first moment he’d met him, he could still remember his knees going weak. His heart picking up speed. His palms growing sweaty.

And then, he got to know him. They spent time together, talked with each other. They even made each other laugh. When was the last time someone had made Boxman laugh like Venomous did? He couldn’t recall.

He rubbed the back of his neck thoughtfully as he stood there, trying to work up the courage to go back in the living room.

Venomous had hurt him. Hell, he’d hurt Fink. Someone Boxman had been sure he’d never directly hurt, even on an emotional level. And it had still happened.

Still, Venomous was here now. And he seemed like he wanted to make things right. Boxman owed their relationship a chance to hear him out.

He stepped out of the kitchen, wandering back into the living room, only to give pause at the sight before him. Mikayla was curled in Professor Venomous’ arms, her little plug tail swishing back and forth. She was uttering a low purring sound as Venomous lightly stroked her head. He was seated on the couch perpendicular to Boxman’s armchair, smiling softly at the catlike creature.

Boxman remembered how the two used to cuddle. They had become cuddle-buddies barely a week after Venomous had moved into Boxmore. Mikayla would curl up in Venomous lap while he worked, while he watched television with the family, even sometimes at dinner. Right now, his daughter looked over the moon curled up in Venomous’ hold.

“Someone missed you,” Boxman said, taking a seat next to him.

Venomous glanced up, giving a small nod. “Seems that way.” He offered the man an awkward smile that came across more as a grimace.

Boxman copied the expression before glancing down at his lap, his hands folded. “So…”

“So…” Venomous said, trailing off the same way.

Then, they both spoke at the same time.

“Professor, I just wanted to say—"

“Boxman, I’m so sorry, I didn’t—”

The two blinked at one another before similar soft smiles crossed both their faces.

“Y-You go,” Boxman said, a bit sheepishly.

“I just…” Venomous glanced down at the content Mikayla. “I’ve been ashamed. I’ve tried coming here or going to the factory so many times. So many times, I just kept turning around. I was so scared to face you.”

Boxman could see the pain on Venomous’ face as he spoke. Not only were they painful thoughts, but Venomous wasn’t entirely comfortable with these types of emotions. After living at Boxmore, he’d begun to improve and show his fun, emotional side more often. Then…well. Shadowy came into the picture.

“Am I really that scary?” Boxman joked lightly.

“You know what I mean,” Venomous replied, a small blush appearing on his cheeks.

Boxman moved to place a hand on Venomous’ shoulder. “I won’t lie, PV. I’m still pretty upset with you. You hurt me.”

He saw Venomous wince slightly at the words.

“But…you’re here,” Boxman said with a soft chuckle. “You had to trek through a good few acres of snow to get here.”

“And all holding that damn cake,” Venomous replied with an air of humor.

Boxman gave another snort. “…Venomous, are you…okay?”

There was a beat of silence. Then, he replied, “I’m…managing.”

“Managing?”

“I still have problems. A lot of them.” Venomous sat back in his seat, causing Mikayla to fly off of him and dash to play with one of her toys. “But KO and Fink convinced me to go to therapy.”

Boxman’s eyes widened. “Really?”

“Yeah. It’s only been a few weeks, but,” he said, shrugging, “I guess it’s been helpful.”

“That’s great!” Boxman replied, giving the man an encouraging smile.

“Yeah…” Venomous said, his mouth quirking into a tiny grin. The grin disappeared quickly as he met Boxman’s gaze again, his expression serious. “Box, I…what I did. How I hurt you. How I betrayed your trust, I…I’m not asking for you to forgive me. I…” His gaze cast down to the carpet.

“Yes?” Boxman pressed slightly.

“…I just missed you so much,” the reply came, sounding a little watery.

Boxman felt his heart take off, flapping around in the air like a feral pigeon. “Oh, PV…I missed you, too.”

“You did?” Venomous asked, his hair drooping in front of his face. “Even after everything?”

“Of course!” Boxman exclaimed. “Venomous, I might be upset with you, but…I…you know.” Boxman blushed gently, moving to tug Venomous up gently by his chin. “You’re my best friend.” Lord Boxman, the man who once hated anything to do with friendship could finally admit that he had indeed found a best friend. Times most definitely change, don’t they?

Venomous let out a soft laugh as he was tugged to face Boxman. “Yeah. We are best friends, aren’t we?” His gaze softened. “And…much more than that.”

“Yeah…that’s what hurt more than anything,” Boxman said, once again watching Venomous’ face wince. “Not to lay it on thick or anything! It’s just…” He subconsciously tugged at the collar of his sweater. “It felt like you chose power over me. Over Fink and the kids.”

“It—It wasn’t like that,” Venomous forced out. “Not at first. Shadowy told me that if we joined forces, I could be powerful. We could be an incredible villain and—” He cut himself off, looking more ashamed. Then, he sighed. “I wanted to be worthy enough for you.”

Boxman’s eyes fluttered in surprise. “What.” He couldn’t even seem to word it in the form of a question, he was in such shock.

“You’ve always given me so much,” Venomous explained, staring down at his clawed hands. “You gave me my passion back. You showed me a whole field I’d barely touched previously. You and your children became my family. Finally Fink and I weren’t on our own anymore.” One of his hands reached up, pressing his fingertips to his forehead. “The more Shadowy spoke to me, telling me that I had the potential to be a powerful villain, the more I believed him. I believed I could protect you and our family if anyone ever tried to hurt us.” His teeth grit together. “I thought if I worked with Shadowy, maybe he wouldn’t try to hurt anybody I cared about again.”

There it was. Now Boxman understood. “You thought you could reign in the beast, huh?”

“I was foolish,” Venomous scolded himself. “An idiot to think I could do such a thing. Shadowy had no heart. He didn’t want to work with me. Once I agreed to give him some control, he took over. He used my body like a puppet. I watched from deep inside my mind as he manipulated TKO and destroyed the factory. I…I sat there in horror when he kicked you out.”

Boxman could see the tears welling up in Venomous’ eyes, the professor trying very hard not to let them fall as his gaze went to the fire. “I kept screaming at him to go after you. It broke my heart seeing you brokenhearted. I wanted so badly to get back in control to find you. But the more things went wrong, the less in control I felt and that only gave Shadowy more power.”

“You had a front row seat to the whole thing and couldn’t stop it,” Boxman mumbled out.

“Finally, I did have a chance. When TKO began to talk back to Shadowy, getting furious at him for not doing what he said, Shadowy began to lose control. He was so furious and it led to the tiniest feelings of helplessness. It was just enough. I started to push him out the weaker he became and when TKO landed a hard punch to him, that’s all I needed.”

“I wish I’d been able to help,” Boxman found himself saying out loud.

“Me too,” Venomous replied. “I wanted to go to you when he spoke to me, trying to entice me to his side, but I panicked. I was frightened he’d take over and do something horrible to you.”

Boxman’s hands tightened in each other’s grasp, feeling the need to wrap his arms around the professor. “You shouldn’t have worried about me so much.”

“How can I not worry about you?” Venomous challenged, looking back at him. “For Cob’s sake, I love you, Box. Even if you were ten times your current power level, I’d still be worried—mmph!”

Boxman had grasped onto Venomous’ cheeks, pulling him in for a hard kiss. After getting over the initial shock of the physical contact, Venomous did the same, his hands wrapping gently around Boxman’s neck. Within only a moment, the kiss became heated, their tongues coming out to greet each other. Oh, Boxman had missed that slitted tongue wrapping around his own.

Before he knew it, he was seated in Venomous’ lap, their chests pressing against each other. Boxman’s hands moved up to Venomous’ hair, burying themselves in his dark locks. Venomous let out a purring noise in response, Boxman able to hear a faint rattling noise.

Then, without warning, Venomous pulled back, panting hard and looking like he’d gone a bit out of his mind for a moment. “I…Box, are you…?”

Boxman didn’t need to hear the whole question. He smiled, his hands moving back to the professor’s cheeks. “I love you, too,” he said, his thumbs stroking along the other man’s skin. “I never stopped. I don’t think I’m even capable of that, heh.”

“Even…even after—?”

“Yeah. I must be pretty crazy, huh?”

Venomous gazed back at him before letting out a stifled laugh. Then, it turned into a chuckle. Soon, he was laughing loudly, almost hysterically. And within a moment, the tears were finally falling down his face, his eyeliner running.

“Oh, PV,” Boxman cooed softly, trying in vain to wipe away the tears.

“I’m—I’m sorry!” Venomous coughed out through his blubbers. “I’m so sorry for everything!”

Boxman wrapped his arms around him, pulling him in for a hug. Venomous accepted the hold fiercely, his head burying into the crook of Boxman’s neck as he sobbed quietly. Boxman stroked his back, gently murmuring soft words of comfort near his ear.

After a few minutes, or however long Venomous and he sat there together, the cries died down.

“…you really still love me?” came the muffled question.

“I do,” Boxman said without hesitation, his smile returning as he still stroked the man’s back. “Come on, PV. You’re the only one for me. Who else is gonna put up with my nonsense?”

He heard a stifled laugh against his neck before Venomous pulled back. His makeup was an absolute mess, the poor thing, but for once, Venomous didn’t seem to notice.

“You’re not the one with the nonsense in this relationship,” Venomous replied, sniffling a bit.

“How about we call it a draw?” Boxman replied, his clawed hand cupping Venomous’ chin. “PV, if you’re serious about handling your problems, I’m in, okay? I want to be there. I may not know anything about mental health, but I do know how I feel about you.” His eyes became half-lidded, love shining in his gaze. “I said it before on that creep’s yacht. We’re two of hearts.”

A smile worked its way onto Venomous’ face. “Thank you…”

Boxman leaned in, pressing a gentler kiss to Venomous’ lips. “And hey, maybe some therapy would do me good, too, heh heh.”

Venomous let out a soft laugh, wiping at his eyes and grimacing at the ruined makeup. “I would have put on water-resistant eyeliner if I knew this would happen.”

“Hey, you still look gorgeous,” Boxman replied, snatching a tissue from the nearby table and wiping at Venomous’ cheeks.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Venomous said, his voice filled with fondness as he gazed back at Boxman.

“I’m Lord Boxman. Ridiculous is my middle name.”

“I thought it was Gaylord.”

Boxman looked into Venomous’ eyes, seeing the beginnings of a smirk lighting up in them. “Hysterical,” Boxman replied with a smile before pressing another soft kiss to the man’s lips.

Venomous returned this one and soon, the two were trading soft kisses back and forth. Gentle, sweet pressing of their lips and Boxman quickly forgot what he was even doing. He pulled back for a moment, staring at the professor. Venomous looked back at him, his face still marked with a little ruined eyeliner, but he had a genuine smile on his face. The kind of smile Boxman remembered seeing on his face back at Boxmore. The type of relaxed and happy grin that made Boxman want to smile, too.

“PV,” Boxman said, moving to take his hands, the tissue dropped, “I know we’ve apart for a while, but I…”

Venomous listened, patiently waiting for Boxman to finish, his head tilted slightly.

“I missed you so much,” Boxman stated. “I tried not to think about it, tried to just focus on other things, but you always appeared in my head and now that you’re here—…”

“Box, I don’t want us to move anything too fast for you—”

“I’m not getting any younger, PV,” Boxman said, finding his gripping onto Venomous’ coat. “And we’ve already missed so much time together and—if you want to—”

“Yes,” Venomous said quickly, nodding his head, “I do. I want that.”

“Cob in the cornfield, then kiss me already,” Boxman replied with a wide grin.

Without another word, Venomous drew Boxman into a heated kiss, his hands curled around the metal plates on Boxman’s head. Boxman tugged him closer by his coat, deepening the kiss with urgency. Their lips pressing against each other repeatedly, growing with enthusiasm every second.

“Boxy—do you—perchance—have a—” Venomous tried to ask in-between smooches before Boxman quickly spoke up.

“Yeah—yeah, just—mm~--just lemme—show you.” He forced himself up onto his feet, dragging Venomous with him by his coat.

He swung the door fully open, noticing Double Beat happily laying on the grey sheets. He snatched her up, trying to scoot her out the door. However, even in her just awakened state, she noticed Venomous, barking a delighted greeting out.

“Hi, Double Beat,” Venomous replied to her, still panting from the kiss.

“Not now, sweetie, Daddy is busy.” Unceremoniously, he pushed the metal dog out by his foot, slamming the door and locking it tight. Immediately, he was back on Venomous, reconnecting their lips.

Venomous wrapped his arms around him, running his hands down his back. The journey ended at Boxman’s rear, the professor cupping his cheeks firmly. A hard moan echoed from Boxman’s throat, suddenly shoving Venomous backward. The professor fell back on the grey sheets, Boxman crawling on top of him, continuing the kiss.

Hands were scrambling everywhere on both sides, tugging at clothing desperately. Venomous’ lab coat was quickly discarded, along with his and Boxman’s boots. Venomous quickly tugged Boxman’s shirt off, pressing open-mouthed kisses to the skin along his chest. Boxman let out a happy sigh, cradling Venomous’ head with hand, the other reaching down to unbutton the man’s pants.

Venomous found himself slightly distracted, feeling like something was poking him from behind. Curious, he reached a hand under his back, pulling out—

“Mm—Box, haven’t I told you to stop leaving food in bed?” Venomous said, holding out a half-eaten croissant.

“Hey, you can’t prove that’s mine,” Boxman replied, snatching the food from his hand and tossing it elsewhere. He began kissing along Venomous’ neck, biting lightly beneath his jaw.

Venomous let out a breathy moan at the sensitive spot, replying, “Come on, there’s going to be crumbs everywhere.”

“I’ll fix it after,” Boxman replied distractedly. “Lovemaking now, cleaning later.”

“Alright, fair enough,” Venomous said before managing to push Boxman over, now the one on top of him. He eyed him up briefly, biting into his lower lip. “You look so scrumptious~”

The hair on Boxman stood on end at the low growling sound from Venomous’ throat, watching his eyes go half-lidded with desire. His hands flew to Boxman’s fly, unzipping and unbuttoning it with lightning fast speed. In the next moment, his member was freed and Venomous was working him over, double handed.

Boxman’s head fell back, gazing up at the ceiling as he let out a wailing moan of pleasure. Venomous wasted no time including his mouth, causing a cry to fall from Boxman’s lips. He tilted his head up just enough to see Venomous’ head bobbing with great enthusiasm, even letting out his own moan around Boxman’s cock, which caused a chain reaction. Boxman let out another hard moan, one of his hands flying to Venomous’ hair, gripping his black locks. That drew a pleased growl from Venomous and Boxman could see in his dazed state, Venomous’ purple tail swishing back and forth just behind him.

Venomous pulled off briefly, looking like he needed a chance to breathe. “Fuck, I missed you,” he whispered, making eye contact with his bedpartner.

“I can tell,” Boxman replied with a soft laugh before giving his hair a tug. “C’mere.”

Venomous obeyed, crawling back into his earlier position, only for Boxman to once again switch them over. The turn wasn’t a hundred percent effective, the two ending up more on their sides than anything due to the angle. However, the two burst out into laughter.

“At least we didn’t fall off the bed this time,” Boxman snorted out.

“Hey, I don’t think my hip ever fully recovered from that,” Venomous chuckled, pressing his forehead against Boxman’s.

For a moment, the two gazed at one another, drinking in the other’s presence. Then, Venomous’ claws reached out, dragging themselves down Boxman’s back. Boxman let out a sharp gasp, his organic eye widening.

“Is that okay?” Venomous whispered.

“No—yes, yes, it’s okay. I just—I haven’t felt your claws on my back in so long…” Boxman’s eyes fluttered shut, trembling at the touch.

Oh, that should not have turned Venomous on as much as it did. The professor let out another growl, sounding possessive as he pressed his lips to Boxman’s.

Then, the scramble to rip off more clothing continued. Venomous struggled to pull his sweater off, Boxman assisting him, before the latter tugged off his own pants and underwear. Venomous struggled with his slacks, trying to work the button open, but his fingers had become shaky.

Boxman’s hands wrapped over his own, pressing a soft kiss to his lips. “Let me,” he said softly, managing to get them unbuttoned.

Embarrassed, Venomous replied, “Sorry, I’m just—”

“Don’t,” Boxman said, his eyes alight with adoration. “I feel it, too. It’s a miracle my fingers are still working.”

The two shared another chuckle before their kissing resumed. Venomous pants and underwear soon disappeared, leaving the two fully naked. They pressed against one another, Boxman whispering, “How do you want it?”

“On my stomach. At first. I want to turn and look at you,” Venomous replied softly.

Boxman nodded, replying, “I, uhh…I don’t have any lube, but, umm…I can get you ready the old-fashioned way?”

Venomous’ eyes lit up at the suggestion and he nodded eagerly, quickly getting into a position with his folded arms on Boxman’s pillow.

Boxman gripped onto his legs from behind, pulling him taut against him and causing a delighted squeak to come from Venomous. Then, he was lowering his head between Venomous’ cheeks.

Venomous’ face became buried into Boxman’s pillow, his pleased moans and groans slightly muffled by the material. Boxman’s tongue pressed into him over and over again, keeping his cheeks spread for better access. Venomous moans quickly became a high-pitched whine, his own arousal pressing into the mattress. His tail whipped back and forth above Boxman’s head, making a whip-cracking sound once its master began his whining.

“Boxy, please…” he begged, teeth unconsciously biting the pillow.

Boxman pulled back, pushing himself back up. “If it’s too much—”

“I’ll be fine, just please, please, do it,” Venomous breathed out, his body trembling with anticipation.

Finally, the two were connecting, Boxman’s cock sliding inside, and producing a long-drawn out moan from Venomous. Boxman pushed in, keeping his movements slow, partly to not hurt the other man and partly to keep from releasing too early.

Boxman’s body laid against Venomous’ back as he reached a stopping point. For a moment, the two laid there, both breathing heavily. Slowly, Venomous’ hand reached up, blindly trying to grasp Boxman’s hand. Boxman got the message, taking his hand and intertwining their fingers.

“I’m ready if you are,” Venomous stated, sounding like he’d had enough time to adjust.

Boxman nodded, pressing a few soft kisses to Venomous’ shoulder blades. His hand reached down to grasp onto Venomous’ tail, the base hidden under his belly. He rubbed his fingers against a spot he’d remembered, feeling the tail going happily limp in his hold. Then, he began to thrust.

The bed creaked with each other’s movement, soft gasps from Boxman and Venomous following. Speed began to pick up and Venomous’ free hand, seeing as Boxman already had his hands full, slithered down to his cock, tugging at it. Soon, Boxman’s thrusts were becoming even quicker, sliding in with practiced ease.

“B-Box,” Venomous cried out, “C-Can—on my back—”

Boxman pulled out briefly, manhandling Venomous over onto his back, the latter allowing him to do as he wished. Then, he was back inside, their hands and fingers reconnecting. Boxman was leaned over Venomous, the two gazing at each other with reverence.

It had been too long. Too long since they’d been intimate. Too long since they’d been vulnerable.

Venomous hand left his member, bringing Boxman’s face down enough to kiss him. The latter out a thrilled moan, pumping his hips furiously. The professor gathered that Boxman was close, recognizing the way his face tightened and his eyes squeezed shut.

“Come on, Boxy,” he whispered, a hand buried in Boxman’s green tuft of hair, “It’s okay, let go for me, love.”

And he did. Boxman let out a yell as he came, Venomous moaning as he felt the warm liquid fill him up. Boxman’s thrusts soon slowed, their automatic pumping dying down. He pulled out, his release dribbling down Venomous’ inner thighs slightly. Boxman panted heavily, still riding his orgasm as he tilted his head back, trying to bring himself back down to Earth.

He finally glanced back down at Venomous, the professor’s eyes on him with a look of love. He also noticed Venomous hadn’t come yet. He leaned down, taking a hold of his cock after releasing Venomous’ tail.

“You don’t have to—”

“I want to, you shush,” Boxman replied before his mouth wrapped around Venomous’ member.

Venomous let out a happy sigh despite his protest, head falling back onto the pillow. It wasn’t long before he released, Boxman drinking down the orgasm.

Soon, the two were laying side by side on the bed, their hands now switched to hold each other better. For a few long, long minutes, they only panted lightly, staring at the wooden ceiling.

“Well,” Boxman said once he’d regained his breath, “I didn’t expect my night to go like this, that’s for sure.”

The bed creaked as Venomous rolled over to face him, his hair now a complete mess. “If you want me to go—”

“What? No. Stay!” Boxman pushed himself over as well, reaching his free hand over to stroke Venomous’ cheek. “Why would I want you to go?”

Venomous shrugged before leaning his face into the touch. “I just don’t want to force myself into your life.”

“Hey, I let you in,” Boxman pointed out. “I kissed you first. And I told you I wanted this.”

“I know…my therapist—” He broke off to laugh a bit at that. “’My therapist’. I can’t believe I’m actually saying that phrase now.” He shook his head. “She says that I believe myself to be unworthy of love. Of people’s time and energy.” He cuddled a little closer to Boxman, pressing his cheek to the other man’s chest. “Especially after everything that happened. It’s why I kept putting off coming to see you. I didn’t want to bother you or bring up how I hurt you all over again.”

“I’m glad you came here,” Boxman replied, stroking his hair. “I thought about going out to find you myself, but…”

“You weren’t the one in the wrong,” Venomous finished for him. “And I’m glad I did, too.”

Boxman pressed a kiss to his head. “Yeah. And you brought a cake and everything. You know me too well.”

Venomous let out a small chuckle. “Quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

“Damn right—oh! By the way, did you actually make that cake?” Venomous wasn’t exactly known for his talents in the kitchen.

“A-hah. I had a little bit of help from Fink. Actually, a lot of help from Fink.”

“How is she?” Boxman asked, his hand stroking Venomous’ bared back.

“Better. She’s much better. We had a lot of time to talk things out. About Shadowy and everything that happened.” Venomous smiled. “We feel closer than ever.”

Boxman grinned back. “That’s great!”

“And what about you and the kids? I read about Ernesto and Jethro taking ownership.”

“Yep! Things have been pretty great. Darrell just bought a farm, Shannon is trying to find a network to give her a television show for herself, and Raymond and some of his copies formed a band.” He laid his chin on Venomous’ head. “We had some fun after we all went back to Boxmore, but after everything…” He shrugged. “I just wanted something new. I’m still not sure what that is, but I think it’s good I left.”

Venomous ran his hand through Boxman’s chest hair, replying, “I know what you mean. After Fink and I came back, I’m still struggling with what to do with myself. Fink started her own gaming channel online and she’s actually making money off it.”

“Really? Good for her,” Boxman said, impressed.

“I still have plenty of leftover money to keep us taken care of for a while, but I’m not sure what to do. I have options, I suppose. I could become a teacher, open a shop, maybe take on a new hobby.”

“I was thinking along the same lines,” Boxman replied. “You and I have some money-making talents for our fields.”

Venomous nodded quietly, pressing a kiss to Boxman’s skin.

“You said you’ve talked to KO?”

“I did. Things aren’t great, really, but all progress is good progress. He’s the one who apparently had the idea for me to go to therapy. He started attending a while ago and thought it might help me. I tried it just to prove I value his opinion, but I’m starting to see the appeal.”

“Mm,” Boxman hummed. “And what made you come here? Finally?”

Venomous was silent for a moment. “My therapist during our last session…we talked a lot about you. And we spoke about risk-taking. Taking a risk to come see you.”

“And what was the risk? That I’d slam the door in your face?” Boxman replied, pulling back to peer down at Venomous.

“Yes,” he replied. “That you’d refuse to even open the door, really. But it was a risk I needed to take if I had any hope of speaking to you again.” He gave Boxman a tired smile. “I’ll have quite a lot to tell her at my next appointment, hm?”

Boxman returned the smile, pressing a chaste kiss to Venomous’ lips. “Definitely a lot. Especially about what a good lay I am too, right?”

Venomous snorted out a chuckle. “That fact is going to remain private. If I start spreading that around, I’ll have to wait in line for any time with you.”

“As if I’d even want to be with anybody else but you,” Boxman purred back, nuzzling his nose against Venomous’. He pulled back, letting out a yawn and rubbing at his organic eye.

Venomous noticed the tiredness, leaning down to tug the comforter over the two of them. “You’re starting to nod off a little, Box. It’s late and you should get some sleep.”

“You’ll stay, though?” Box replied, getting himself comfy.

“As long as you want me,” Venomous replied, snuggling back against his chest.

“Good.” Boxman’s arms wrapped around him, letting out a content sigh.

From the lone window, Venomous could see the snow beginning to stir up outside. The wind’s howling grew louder, gently shaking the cabin. Yet, Venomous had never felt more relaxed as he cuddled against Boxman’s chest, listening to his heartbeat.