In the wake of Parnassus falling, Promepolis is in shambles. Kray has been arrested and the administration is in shambles, scrambling to reorganise themselves and an interim government. Meanwhile Burning Rescue have been all around the city, helping out with the rescue efforts. Despite the extra help from the citizens and Mad Burnish, they're all exhausted, and even Galo is flagging a little.
In part, it is due to the physicality of the work. They're shifting rubble, setting up shelters, handing out provisions. The work never seems to end, and most days Galo falls into bed dead to the world, wakes up again the next morning only to repeat the process.
The truly exhausting part is the mental strain. Promepolis now is more afraid of the Burnish than ever, especially since Kray was revealed to have been one. People have spat at Lio or refused his help, or changed their attitudes visibly once they find out he was Burnish. Fights have broken out and Galo has had one too many shouting matches with people over their prejudices, while Lio and Aina try to hold him back from doing more damage.
It drives him nuts, that people are so stubborn in their prejudice. Lio seems unbothered by it, like he expected this somehow and is resigned to it. It's not even the slightest bit okay, and Galo doesn't like how Lio just shrugs and says that's the way it is.
But beyond that, Lio has his hands full with trying to resettle the remains of the Burnish, working with Meis and Gueira to make sure that they are safe and cared for, that there is enough water and a roof over their heads. If Lio isn't out with Burning Rescue, then he's with the former Burnish, tending to their needs in whatever way he can.
It's something of a wonder he hasn't collapsed yet, what with how hard he's pushing himself. But every time Galo offers to help or step in, he is brushed aside. The only thing he has accepted is Galo's offer to crash at his place, but both of them barely have enough time to rest and eat before they are out the door again.
Maybe it shouldn't be so surprising that he finds Lio curled into a chair at the kitchen table, head pillowed on his arms, surrounded by paperwork on all sides.
Something in Galo's chest wrenches at the sight, how he pauses at the entryway just to watch Lio for a brief moment. He doesn't want to disturb him, especially if Lio is really sleeping. Lio stays up later and is awake earlier than he is, and Galo doesn't know how much or little he is sleeping. But he worries that Lio will run himself ragged, push himself until there is nothing left to give.
Galo knows how just hard Lio loves, how fiercely he can love. Lio loves so hard and so fiercely that he will burn down a city for it.
It must be so painful to love that much, Galo thinks. But Lio has survived it, has continued to live and love that fiercely, like he doesn't know how to do it any other way.
It's so strange to think that all the fire in the world used to burn from inside him, like it hasn't hollowed him out and left him empty. He is still here, still giving and pushing forward. He is still fighting for them, and Galo thinks that it's no wonder the Burnish look up to him so, that they love him so. He loves them back just as much.
It's hard to miss the way Meis and Gueira position themselves around Lio, like they would protect him if they could, would fight the world for him like he has for them. It's harder to miss how the kids run up to him, how he always bends down so he is looking up at them, the gentleness in the way he takes their hands.
Those hands have started countless fires, have almost razed a city to the ground. Those hands have fought and bled to live another day, in defense of those who cannot fight for themselves. Those hands have burned themselves out, wrenched out a future of some sorts for the Burnish, inch by painful inch. Those hands are still working, fighting, trying to make something out of this world they are living in.
Galo has watched him burn and blaze with all the anger and pain in the world, watched him pull armour over himself until he is all hard lines, as unforgiving of the world as it is of him.
But curled up at the kitchen table, head pillowed in his arms and hair falling around his face, Lio looks softer and kinder, nothing at all like the notorious leader of an arsonist group responsible for at least seventy percent of the fires that have blazed across Promepolis in recent years.
He's not anymore, though. The Promare have left and Lio is quieter in their wake, even as he gets up every morning to help Galo with Promepolis's recovery efforts. It's hard to forget that part of the city was a war zone, or that Lio had only recently blazed through the city in search of justice and vengeance, screaming for the right to exist.
The Burnish are people too, they forget.
Galo doesn't know what world it is they are building or rebuilding, but he wants it to be a better one, a kinder one. One that can love as fiercely as Lio does, be kinder and more forgiving than the one they have, more tolerant of the differences between people.
"What are you staring at." Lio's voice is raspy, his eyes slits as he watches Galo. How long has he been awake? Was he ever sleeping? Galo just grins, tucks away his thoughts as he puts the kettle on. Lio makes a soft noise of thanks when Galo puts a mug of coffee before him, unfolding slowly to curl around it.
He's still staring, but he can't help himself. Lio shoots him a look, distinctly unamused by it. "What?" he demands.
"Nothing," Galo says, turning to look at his coffee instead. "Nothing at all."