“Yes! I have criminal record! And now I’m off to punch someone, so if you’d kindly—"
It’s been a tough day.
Ever since he came to this school, Akira had a hard time blending in. No matter how many times Ann sang ignore them, ignore them, ignore them into his ear, it was hard not to take what his classmates, teachers and the school in general kept whispering behind his back. As if they knew anything about him.
The information that the new transfer student had a criminal record spread like a wildfire through the tiny community Shujin High School represented, and ever since people got a wind of that, it didn’t matter what really happened, or what Akira had to say, or how he behaved. Save for the few people who actually cared enough to listen to his side of the story, everyone assumed he was some kind of a monster; and weren’t shy in discussing it, even when so much time had passed, even well in Akira’s earshot.
Today was just one of these days when the raven couldn’t take it anymore. And so, feeling someone tap his shoulder gently from behind, he turned around and yelled.
Only, as he did so, Akira stilled in his tracks, staring – face growing progressively redder – at the slightly taken-aback face he very much recognized. It was – a very, very handsome – face of the Student Council President, upperclassman and Akira’s crush ever since he first set his eyes on him, Goro Akechi himself. And right now, he was looking surprised and even alarmed at Akira’s outburst, and the raven wanted to kick himself.
Of course it had to be Akechi this time. Of fucking course.
“…ah, Kurusu-kun, I… I simply wanted you to know you have dropped your book.” Akechi murmured after another awkward moment, looking away as he handed it to him. Akira swallowed thickly and accepted the book, wishing it had been something more impressive than the new Feathermen manga he got from the bookshop during the lunchbreak. What would handsome, intelligent, perfect Goro Akechi even like reading? Maybe Akira should invest in some law books or something…
“Thanks.” he murmured, blushing furiously. “I’m sorry, I…”
“No, please… that’s quite understandable. I… I wish there was something I could do to help you endure this. All I can offer is advice not to pay these whispers any mind.”
Akira felt his lips stretch in a small smile as he hugged the book to his chest. Was Akechi – this Akechi – actually worrying about him? And… he could be wrong, but he could swear the other boy was blushing, too…
“So, erm.” Akechi coughed after another moment of awkward silence. “You… enjoy Feathermen?”
He sounded casual about it, and Akira immediately panicked.
“N-no! I mean… haha, it’s a kids’ show, right? I… I got this for a friend. My friend. Who just disappeared off somewhere, I swear he was here the minute before, maybe he had to go to the bathroom, I…”
“Ah. I see.” For a second there, Goro looked rather crestfallen; before shaking himself off and smiling at him lightly, if fakely. “Well then, Kurusu-kun, I need to get to class.”
“R-right.” Akira nodded.
“These two idiots.” Haru sighed, leaning lightly against Ryuuji as they hid in the bushes, watching – and listening on – the whole exchange. Ryuuji nodded in agreement, letting out a groan.
“I made sure he dropped the stupid book, too.”
“And they’re both so into Feathermen! They could finally start talking about that and actually get the relationship going after half a year of crushing!” Haru scoffed, standing up once the coast was clear and helping up her friend, beaming at him despite her annoyance. The two of them – Ryuuji being Akira’s best friend since the raven transferred to their school, and Haru being the best friend of one Goro Akechi whom Akira had an extremely reciprocated crush on ever since their eyes first met – have been trying to set the two of them together for months now, to no avail. All of their plans – including the one with the stray cat, the one with a runaway cart with cleaning supplies and the one with a tie, a pin and a very small hat – did not work. Neither did today’s attempt at getting these two lovesick fools together. They were running out of ideas.
“Ryuuji.” Haru said heavily, resting her hand on the blond’s shoulder as he looked at her with big, round eyes. “I think it’s time for the ultimate plan.”
Ryuuji’s eyes widened even more, and he shook his head in disbelief, staring at her.
“Yeah. You know what to do, right?”
“…right. Shit, but if that won’t work…”
“Ryuuji.” Haru said, and her voice turned just a tiny bit threatening. “It will work. We will personally guarantee it to work. Now get going and I’ll meet you on Sunday at Akira’s place.” she nodded firmly, determined look in her eyes.
“It’s time for good old truth or dare session.”
Haru and Ryuuji ended up pulling all of their available strings to set up the little party at Akira’s place this Sunday.
Ann they didn’t even need to convince to come; the moment she heard it was a set-up for Akira to finally be getting the boy he was agonizing about for past six months, she was in it, and ready to take on organizing all of the supplies they would need. Yusuke and Futaba were a little more reluctant – Yusuke because he wasn’t sure he’ll be able to afford to come, a worry quickly overrun by Haru’s insistence and by the offer of free food – and Futaba because there will be people there, which, in turn, has been overrun by Ryuuji letting her know Ann was definitely coming, as well.
That convinced the girl immediately. Not to mention, she, too, was only too happy to finally get her brother a date.
Makoto was possibly the hardest to persuade – largely because of the exams coming in two weeks for most of them. Haru disappeared with her in the Student Council room for fifteen minutes, though, and after that Makoto emerged entirely convinced, if blushing.
All was ready to go, then. That is, after Haru, Futaba and Makoto descended on unsuspecting Goro and all but forced him to declare he will come with them, too. What finally convinced him was the not-really-lie about Akira saying he wants him to come – the information which made Goro flush and straighten his uniform as he murmured he will think about coming after all.
Haru made a mental note to put Futaba in charge of hiding Goro’s sweatervests immediately before he will leave the house.
It was the first time all of them got together like this – and the first time all of them invaded Leblanc all at once, too. Ann, Ryuuji, Yusuke and Makoto became Akira’s friends with shortly after him arriving in Tokyo; and after Makoto introduced him to Haru, Goro and Futaba came into their circle of friends as well. Still, they never met all together before, majorly owing to the fact Akira considered the task of talking to Goro and inviting him somewhere to be more terrifying and stressful than pretty much anything else – and the Student Council President seemed to be thinking the same way about asking Akira out, too.
He and Futaba came as the last ones that evening; and Akira was a mumbling mess from the moment he saw his crush climb into his room, cleaner now than it ever has been, from what all of his friends could see. They grabbed something to drink from the table and everyone sat down in a rough circle, chatting and laughing with each other; and rolling their eyes at the two oblivious boys, as both Akira and Akechi were stealing glances at each other across the room constantly. Then again, they couldn’t really be blamed. Through the combined effort of their friends helping out, themselves trying to impress the other and the day not being school one, both Akira and Goro were dressed with casual elegance, and looking better than ever.
Haru winked at Ryuuji, and he nodded, quickly finishing his talk with Akira; and then…
“Hey, how about we play truth or dare?”
They all agreed, eventually; not in any small part thanks to Haru and Ryuuji’s insistence. The two of them procured the bottle and explained the rules to everyone, Haru being the first one to spin.
The end of her bottle fell, somewhat disappointingly, on Yusuke.
“Truth, please.” the young artist smiled at her, and the girl thought for a moment, before grinning sweetly.
“Whom out of all of us here would you like to paint naked the most?”
The game continued, and the questions, after Haru’s example, got only more private and entertaining. Makoto admitted on having a crush on someone from the group, which surprised absolutely no one, but made Haru smile and even blush a little; Futaba hacked their school’s official site and put a dancing unicorn on it. Ryuuji, with a knowing, though somewhat sad smile confessed to wishing he could switch bodies with Haru, so that they both could look how they’d prefer to look pre-transition. Haru had to show them her weaponized ballet technique, which almost made Goro loose his teeth. Goro, blushing up to the tips of his ears had to own up he loves Feathermen franchise; which in turn made Akira choke on his tea.
And then, finally, Haru was spinning the bottle again; and the tip landed right on Akira, as if the girl managed to will it into place.
“Truth or dare?” she smiled sweetly at him, and Akira hesitated; looking from her to Goro and all the rest of them.
“T—” he started, only to shake his head as he saw Haru’s grin widen. “I mean… dare. Give me dare.”
“Okay.” Haru beamed at him. “I dare you to kiss the prettiest person in this room.”
For a moment, there was silence; and then, the whole group started to laugh, everyone – everyone except Goro and Akira, who frowned at Haru, crossing his arms over his chest.
“…hey, that’s not fair. I mean… you’re making me choose between…”
“Just who you think is the prettiest, Akira.” Haru winked, even though Goro was scowling at her now. “Whom you’d really like to kiss. On the mouth, mind you, no chickening out.”
The raven took in a deep breath and turned red; and then…
“…close your eyes, everyone.”
“…huh? But that’s not…”
“You’re making me give away my first kiss, even if to a person I want to kiss, so at least give me privacy for it.” Akira said evenly, looking flustered – if determined. Slowly, every single one of his friends closed their eyes; one after the other, Ryuuji being the last one to give up with a whine. They all heard quiet shuffling as Akira moved forward; heard Goro’s soft gasp when the raven’s hand cupped his cheek, and then silence; a whispered I’m sorry, and then Goro’s breathless reply of don’t apologize, you idiot, and silence again. By the time they were getting restless enough to open their eyes again, the two of them were making out, Goro’s hands wrapped around Akira’s waist as the raven dragged his own shakily through the other’s no longer perfectly combed hair.
Ryuuji grinned, falling back on his seat beside Haru as the rest of them hooted and whistled at the two.
“…you’re an effin’ genius, Haru.”
“Yes, I know.” the girl nodded with a smile. “Turns out, they only needed a little dare, in the end…”