Set after the werewolf land arc. Please pretend that there's actual season change in the story…


Frankenstein, who's been fixated on the book he was reading, turned his head and found a grey-haired man. "M-21? So you came here, too."

"Yeah," M-21 approached Frankenstein slowly, taking a glance at the book on Frankenstein's hand. Sherlock Holmes, obviously already unwrapped before Frankenstein took it, judging from the quite worn-out cover.

It was at a bookstore quite far from their house that M-21 saw Frankenstein. The grey-haired man here was sheltering himself from the cold of winter air outside, also looking for a book that might interest him. Frankenstein himself went out to take a stroll before deciding to come by the bookstore.

"Good choice for your 2-day vacation," The scientist grinned, "Didn't know you're into books,"

"Not really, I'm just spending my free time." The younger man shrugged, "Don't know where else to go. Being at home all day is boring."

Frankenstein raised his eyebrows slightly. Of course being at home all day was boring, that was what M-21 did all the time, avoiding unnecessary contacts and conversations with others—much to the doctor's slight displease.

Frankenstein glanced at M-21, "You didn't go shopping with Tao and Takeo?"

"No way," M-21 rolled his eyes, "Anyone who've ever shopped with Tao knows he's always the one choosing stuff for the one accompanying him."

The older man chuckled. To be honest, he was a little delighted to see M-21 outside of the house and in the same place as him. This man rarely went out of his room, except for meal time and examination session. It was difficult for Frankenstein to look at M-21, even though they lived and worked at the same place.

And now, the very man whom presence was always looked for, was standing next to him, scanning books on shelves that might interest him. His grey eyes flicked from book to book, and the scientist occasionally followed his pale, slender fingers reaching a book and he turned it to read the synopsis, before finally returned it back to the shelf.

Frankenstein couldn't focus on his book.

"Hey," M-21 broke the silence between them, "Are you going to buy that?"

"This? No, I already have it."

"Huh? Then why are you…?"

"Well, it has no wrapping, so…," The blonde man shifted awkwardly, "And I came here for the same reason as you, heh—anyway,"

Frankenstein put the Sherlock Holmes on the shelf. M-21 stared at him, no longer scanning the books.

"Since you're here, how about being my company and trying some coffee? The place's not too far from here." said Frankenstein, smiling. "It's my favorite coffee shop."

M-21 didn't respond, hesitating.

Frankenstein hastily added, "We're here to waste time, anyway, so—"

"To spend time," M-21 cut off, "Right. Let's go then. Your treat?" he smirked and took a step towards the store's entrance.

"No way, it's just a coffee." Frankenstein quickly followed, draping his hand on M-21's shoulder. The small gesture stopped him for a few miliseconds, but he let the scientist.

Frankenstein, though, noticing the reaction, quickly slid his hand, putting his palm on the shorter man's back instead.

When they were outside, it was snowing.

"Uh," The younger man trembled. Frankenstein noticed that M-21 only wore his usual black suit and a red scarf around his neck. He frowned, "It's winter and you only wear those?"

M-21 clutched his scarf, and himself; a failed attempt to warm himself.

"I forgot that winter is this cold," He looked away out of embarrassment, then snorted, "The last time I was in winter was when I first got out of Union's lab."

The man next to him didn't say anything. All he did were thinking how can he underestimate the Winter and fighting the urge to drape his hand on M-21's shoulder again, this time to warm him. "And you didn't feel the cold when you stepped outside of our home?"

"Well, it wasn't snowing at first and the bookstore's much warmer than our house with the fireplace not lighted, you know,"

Frankenstein threw a look that couldn't be described by M-21.

"I think I just looked down on it, hmph. I can handle this temperature, don't worry," But M-21 shivered again.

Suddenly he felt something warm was put on his shoulder, wrapping his back.

M-21 glanced over his shoulder and saw Frankenstein without his thick jacket … and said jacket on his shoulders.

"Seriously," Frankenstein heavily sighed after hearing such irony, "Are you really going to walk like that?" Always trying to be strong in front of anyone.

"But, how about you?"

"Just wear it, I can handle the cold better than you." He's stronger than M-21, anyway. Besides, Frankenstein couldn't stand seeing M-21 being cold and shivering.

M-21 grasped the jacket. It was dark blue and has fur on the hood. "People are staring—"

"People stared at you before," The blonde man folded his arms, knowing M-21 liked to ignore people on purpose, "C'mon, just accept it and let's go,"

He hurried in the hope that M-21 followed and didn't pay too much attention to him. To tell the truth, Frankenstein, as a modified human, also had his limit. He was actually cold too, and the significant temperature difference of when he wore the thick and extremelly comforting jacket and when he didn't bothered him. But he knew M-21 felt colder than him and he was a priority.

But apparently Frankenstein couldn't help himself to not holding his own arm.

M-21 saw it and stopped. "See? You're cold too."

Frankenstein, making an attempt to look composed—which he was most of the time, exhaled, "Right, fine. Yes, I'm cold. But not as cold as you."

"I'm giving this back to you." M-21 almost took off the jacket completelly before Frankenstein held the jacket in place.

"No, no need, M-21—"

"You're cold, and this is yours."

"No—argh, M-21, it's okay, really." said Frankenstein, somehow his voice went slightly higher in volume. He was too lazy to argue, and especially with M-21, whom he knew could run his mouth to no end. He meant, instead of arguing, he could talk about something else with the younger man, anyway. Something more … intimate. Hmm.

"You're stubborn,"

"Say that to a mirror, perhaps, Frankenstein?" M-21 gave the older man a smug look.

The man who received the smug face of M-21 wanted to reply, but instead thought of something better. "If you're that worried about me being cold, why don't you just hug me?" Following the sentence, Frankenstein, with a smirk, stretched out his arms. He thought he was being ridiculous for trying to joke this way to the younger man, and he was sure the other wouldn't do it, but … Frankenstein wouldn't mind the intimacy, if he did.

He wouldn't mind, but he was not ready for it to come seconds after.

The scientist's eyes widened.

He sensed hesitance, not too much strength put on the arms on his back, yet also affection. It was pleasantly resilient. And long. A moment of silence passed, and the arms tightened, giving warmth to embraced body. M-21's head was on Frankenstein's shoulder, his face away from the older man. Frankenstein, gradually realizing what was happening, felt his face getting warmer.

They stayed at that position for a minute.

"Frankenstein," said M-21, "Your heart's beating fast."

He gulped, trying to reason—but M-21 wasn't stupid.

But Frankenstein realized that he could also feel M-21's heart beating. Fast.

The man peered at the face that was away from him. There was a faint blush on it.

No way…

Lifting one of his dangling arms, Frankenstein covered his mouth with a fist. "M-21, you…"

A few seconds of silence. It felt like Frankenstein—no, both of them—relished the calm moment, relished each other's company, the warmness that started to spread to their whole bodies.

M-21 murmured, "So, you're the same…"

Frankenstein replied under his breath, "Yeah," He finally hugged back the smaller man in front of him, intending to share the body heat he had. "Since when?"

M-21 didn't answer, but Frankenstein could feel that M-21 blushed harder.

"I'm not sure … maybe when you accepted to take care of that fake M-24,"

The grey haired man sighed before continuing, "Thought I was sure you and Mr. Rai are … you know,"

"What?" Frankenstein couldn't help but smile, tightening the hug, "No, we're nothing like that. He's just my master, and I'm just a devoted servant," Though it's understandable he thinks so.

"And I was afraid you would hate me after everything that happened,"

The words that just came out shocked the scientist, the smile disappeared.

"Why would I?"

M-21 hesitated, "I know I have … irritated you a few times," There was a respite. "Like, when I asked Mr. Rai to awaken the fake M-24, and when I was in the werewolf land—"

"Listen," The taller man exhaled, hard and long, "You didn't know yet that awakening someone takes a toll on Master's life force, and when I finally meet you in the werewolf territory, I was exhausted, so," Another sigh, "Sorry if I looked angry or anything, I was actually glad you were alright. And when I look irritated at you, I'm just worried. Probably."

With that, M-21 raised his head to see Frankenstein smiling warmly at him.

"Anyway," Frankenstein ducked his head, murmuring right next to M-21's ear, "I'm interested in you earlier. It's annoying, but you have to know," The doctor thought he has lost the battle of whoever -get-interested-in -the-other-first.

"Heh," The other man chuckled, "I want to know when."

"We can talk about this while sipping some coffee," The smile on Frankenstein's face didn't disappear, and he nuzzled M-21's hair. He would never think the man he was hugging right now would reciprocate his feelings—heck, he never thought he could voice it directly. All he could do all this time was taking care of M-21 and giving him the support he needed, in the hope that his acts and gestures would forward the message.

Frankenstein was glad he met M-21 at the bookstore today.