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Joy.

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Tamaki doesn’t remember being dragged into this, but he’s sat down across from Hadou and next to Mirio without any argument and is handed a glass of water. By whom, he’s not quite sure.

 

Tamaki realises, that that is only done under the impression that he is – how else to put it? – wasted. He might be; he does feel pretty sleepy. With a careful glance at Mirio, he can tell his friend is also pretty far gone, judging from the flush across his face.

 

It’s not a bad look on Mirio, necessarily. Tamaki can appreciate the blush, even if it’s nothing to do with him. He’s always dreamed about that; about finally speaking up somehow to Mirio and making his face burn red with some smooth words. Tamaki could be flirtatious, if he wanted, surely?

 

But Mirio looks back to him and Tamaki’s head snaps away to the middle. He can barely hold back the laugh from that – of course Tamaki could never be flirtatious or smooth: he’s Tamaki. Tamaki doesn’t do smooth, or flirty, or anything to do with romance and a steady mind.

 

‘Alright! Listen up!’ Hadou calls. ‘We’re starting this game of Truth or Dare with the… oldest! Who’s that?’

 

Tamaki falters. Truth or Dare?

 

Oh no.

 

Oh no – no no no no no –

 

He looks between Hadou and Yuuyu, and then back to Mirio, then back at Hadou. He immediately understands what this is.

 

Hadou has a glint in her eye; the kind a cat has the second it is about to pounce on some unsuspecting prey; the kind that topples a kingdom at the swipe of a blade; the kind that the gods witness when a legend challenges their name. Her expression alone summons a storm of chills along Tamaki’s spine.

 

She planned this.

 

The oldest isn’t Mirio – he was pretty close, though – and Tamaki blunders through the first couple of rounds of the game. A lot of his classmates are pretty wary of poor Tamaki, as Hadou had explained to him – a lot of people find him concerning. He can’t blame them. He would also be concerned, if Tamaki was not himself.

 

They probably think he’ll cry or freak out if they pick him. Which he probably will, Tamaki realises, just as someone lands on the mine face-first and picks Hadou. She glides through her dare and ends up shouting at Tamaki from upside down on the sofa. ‘AMAJIKI.’

 

‘Y-yeah, Hadou?’ He’s surprised he can even talk. His brain is just blaring FAINT AND GET IT OVER WITH and there’s little room for anything else.

 

‘AMAJIKI, I DARE YOU TO KISS M-’

 

‘Nejire.’ Tamaki, Mirio and Hadou may be at the top of UA, but Yuuyu is the real hero out of all of them. ‘You need to ask if he wants a truth or dare first.’

 

Hadou freezes. ‘Oh, yeah, right! TAMAKI,’

 

‘- Truth.’ He rasps.

 

Then Tamaki realises his mistake.

 

 

 

Nejire burns with the glory of it all. Her legs wiggle like she’s riding a bicycle in victory. Tamaki almost takes the loss and passes out right there. Maybe that’ll save him half the humiliation lined up here.

 

‘DO YOU HAVE A CRUSH ON TOGATA-SAN?’

 

He looks straight down at his knees because he doesn’t know where else to look. His classmates are looking at him. Hadou and Yuuyu are looking at him. Mirio is looking at him.

 

He fumbles with the glass of water and mumbles something vaguely coherent.

 

‘CLEARLY!’

 

Tamaki pretends his water is more alcohol and downs the glass before he clears his throat and speaks up. It is a miracle his voice doesn’t shake or break. It is a miracle he hasn’t just died from the embarrassment of it all on impact.

 

‘I like him.’ He admits.

 

‘HA!’ Hadou screeches.

 

Yuuyu looks pleased as well but leans back and topples Hadou from her perch on the sofa. She falls back and behind the seat and the only sign she’s still alive is her gleeful cackles.

 

 

 

 

‘Well, that’s okay!’ Mirio speaks up. ‘I like Tamaki, too!’

 

 

 

 

Tamaki turns to him, mouth agape. Did Mirio just –?!

 

‘Yeah, of course. I think it’d be weird if we didn’t like each other. We’ve been friends for almost ten years, y’know! Of course, we’re friends.’

 

Tamaki lingers in his thoughts and drives them all to an emergency stop. Then it clicks.

 

The whole class emits a groan. Tamaki presses the cold glass up to his forehead.

 

Tamaki, in the middle of the resigning chaos, realises that it is his turn.

 

‘Hey, Haya-kun. Truth or dare.’

 

Yuuyu smiles at him. ‘Dare.’ She might be taking a hit for Hadou.

 

‘Okay, uh. I dare you to… kiss… Hadou..’

 

Hadou recovers herself at this point, floats back to the top of the couch and sits on it like a throne. Yuuyu has to reach to meet her lips and the kiss they share is a delicate and candid affair. They move together so well – it’s mesmerising. Tamaki can’t help but wonder if – maybe if he had taken the dare after all –

 

No. Don’t do that. You’re already physically wasted, Tamaki Amajiki. Keep your wits about you. He glances at Hadou just as she finishes up the kiss and her eyes are still glittering. A dragon on guard, but a dragon nonetheless.

 

She’s still got a plan in action, after all.

 

Yuuyu is talking to someone. Tamaki leans out of the conversation since his turn is over. He can tap out for a little bit if it means he’s not included in the game for a couple minutes. The peace is appreciated –

 

 

 

 

Someone is way too close to him.

 

He flinches away on instinctual purposes alone but something catches him: a gentle hand on his opposite shoulder, which helps tug him back into-

 

A kiss. He’s being kissed.

 

On the cheek, but it’s a kiss no less.

 

Mirio leans away again and he’s still a little pink from everything. Tamaki is probably a lot worse off now. He feels ready to combust.

 

Was that Yuuyu’s dare? Had she actually gone against Tamaki for the sake of Hadou? He thought they were friends, goddamnit! Tamaki rubs at the spot where Mirio had kissed him, scrubbing it with his sleeve. He holds back a noise that could rival a kettle boiling.

 

Tamaki wishes he’d had some semblance of a warning; then he could’ve braced himself, prepared himself for the best thing he could ever experience. Embed the feeling of Mirio’s lips on his skin into his memory so hard it was practically engraved there like a bruise.

 

Okay, Tamaki. Little weird. Maybe he was a little bit tipsier that he had initially thought.

 

The class grumbles again.

 

‘When I said kiss Amajiki, ’ Yuuyu laughs, ‘You know I meant like, properly kiss him, right?’

 

‘Well, maybe you should’ve specified!’ Mirio retorts. ‘I followed your requirements, after all.’

 

‘Bah!’ Nejire belts. ‘Just because you’re not brave enough to kiss him properly. Mirio, it’s your turn.’

 

But Mirio is quiet. Tamaki ticks for a moment before he notices- and then he realises, Mirio is staring at him.

 

The gaze induces pressure on Tamaki in the weirdest of ways. Mirio always looks so focused; it’s hard to not lose yourself in the stare. He always feels warm when Mirio does look at him – maybe Tamaki has convinced his heart that Mirio isn’t just checking up on his friend, but instead checking out. Delusional. He huffs.

 

‘Hey, uh, Tamaki.’ Tamaki turns in surprise. ‘Truth or dare.’

 

‘Dare.’ He says, before he can really think it through, whatever Mirio is planning.

 

‘I dare you to kiss me. On the lips. Properly, as Hadou said.’

 

Tamaki only knows two ways to react to such a proposition.

 

 

 

  1.      Freak out.
  2.      Freak out.

 

 

 

‘What?’ He shakes.

 

‘Kiss me.’

 

Somehow, he’s found a third option.

 

 

 

  1.      Freak out.

 

 

 

What?! ’ He almost yells.

 

‘Tamaki!’ Mirio says, just a little louder. A hand gets placed on his shoulder again; warm and perfect for holding. ‘It’s okay. It’s just a dare, right?’

 

Tamaki takes a deep breath and looks at Mirio again. Yeah, he’s right.

 

It is just a dare, right? There’s no reason Mirio would do this for any other reason – a matter of pride between him and Hadou. It’s ridiculous to think Mirio would ever like him in that kind of way.

 

Besides, Tamaki is pretty sure Mirio is straight.

 

It’s just a dare, Tamaki.

 

.

 

.

 

.

 

The kiss lasts twenty-two seconds. He knows because he counts.

 

It’s amazing.

 

Mirio kisses like he’s done it before, like a pro kisser. Does that exist? Who cares. Tamaki’s brain is still fuzzy from the kiss. He’s not thinking straight. He’s really not thinking straight.

 

Full homo. Mirio takes a little gasp and the feeling ends – but it still lingers perfectly. Like the best kind of meal; filling and warm and delicious. Their mouths had slid together like – oh who cares what it was like! This is no time for similes or eloquent writing!

 

It was everything.

 

Tamaki passes out exactly fifteen seconds later and Mirio holding him like something precious is enough to send him spiralling deeper. He could die here, but that’s okay. Mirio’s kissed him. Oh my god. Oh my god, Mirio kissed me ?!

 

He jolts awake and grasps at Mirio’s collar. He thinks that people are laughing – but maybe that’s just mutters of concern. Tamaki slips under again.

 

 

 

 

Is this what a good panic attack feels like?

 

Is there a word for that?

 

Tamaki thinks in his own head at some point, still dreary with sleep. He curls up to whatever is warming him. Joy.

 

The word is joy.

 

 

 

 

He wakes up properly and quickly the next morning, and the only way Tamaki can tell is from the pain in his head and how it feels like lifting a tonne off his pillow. He sits up properly with a groan and meets resistance.

 

Someone is way too close to him.

 

Again.

 

Tamaki sends a little prayer to gods above that it is who he thinks, and then looks down.

 

Nestled between himself and the wall, Mirio has an arm around Tamaki’s waist. He’s snoring and their legs are tangled like they’re meant to do that. He blearily stares at Mirio, wrapped up in his blankets and clinging to Tamaki and it’s enough to quell all urgency in Tamaki’s brain to wake up.

 

He slides back down into his bed and re-arranges himself till Tamaki’s arms are curled around Mirio’s shoulders. Hands grasp at his waist.

 

The kiss had been nice, but he wonders now if there was any point to it. Mirio might’ve kissed him anyway. Maybe. He won’t know, because Tamaki is a coward and cowards never ask these kinds of questions.

 

He vaguely thinks, just as sleep slips over him again, that a kiss is pressed against his collar, so gently it’s barely there. But a kiss nonetheless.