"Azu-kun," Iruma's voice, soft and bemused, reached Asmodeus' ears and he turned his head slightly. "Have you, done something different?" he asked.
"What do you mean?"
Iruma shrugged, "I don't know. Something about you just seems, different. But I can't place my finger on it."
Asmodeus frowned, if anything he should be the one asking Iruma that. Over the last couple of days he'd noticed that Iruma had been acting, a bit odd to say the least. From the corner of his eye he'd caught Iruma more than once just sort of, staring at him. Not judgingly or anything, just sort of, watching him, as if he were curious about something or carefully studying him. Not that he particularly minded Iruma-sama watching him, or even studying him, but he would at least like to know why.
"It must be your imagination Iruma-sama. I haven't done anything different," he said. "Perhaps it's the stress of the tests playing with your mind."
Iruma looked thoughtful for a moment before a smile broke out across his face, "Yeah, that's probably it."
It was strange though, that Iruma would even say such a thing in the first place. Iruma was fairly observant so if Asmodeus had done something different, worn slightly different clothes, done something with his hair, he would almost certainly notice it and probably say something about it.
But that was just it, Asmodeus hadn't done anything different with himself, hadn't changed anything about himself or his routines, so, why would Iruma think something was different? Why would he pick up on something that wasn't there?
Was it a different smell then? Perhaps David had picked up something new for washing their clothes and that was what Iruma was picking up on.
As soon as he got home he was going to investigate, if he couldn't get to the bottom of this he would never be able to rest.
Of course, investigating meant, in this case, just straight up asking him the moment he got home.
"Changed brands?" David shook his head. "No Alice-sama, I haven't changed anything, your mother is very specific about what we use."
Asmodeus bit the edge of his lip, if it wasn't something like that then what was it?
Some snooping around the bathroom revealed that everything he used to wash was the same as ever, in fact nothing was out of the ordinary, as he'd previously thought. So it wasn't a different smell. He sighed as he looked in the mirror, pushing around a strand of hair from his face, he hadn't changed anything about his appearance either, preferring to keep thing the way he liked them, so couldn't be that.
So why was his dear Iruma-sama acting so, odd?
Maybe it really was test related stress. Despite picking up some decent study habits, Iruma did still struggle with studying and tests, and they did have several coming up soon. Well, once those were done surely things would go back to normal.
They did not, in fact, go back to normal.
He still caught sight of Iruma not so subtly watching him, and looking away the moment he was caught and pretending he hadn't just been watching him. And it became even more evident when Asmodeus stretched his wings out during gym class and hard a soft, faint 'wow' coming from beside him.
He turned his head in time to catch sight of a faint blush on Iruma's face, a very rare sight, before the blue haired boy quickly looked away.
Asmodeus had seen these kind of reactions before, but never directed at him. No, they had always been directed at someone else.
"Mother!" Asmodeus all but slammed the front door open, wings still unfurled behind him in his hurried state to get home and get answers. "Is this your doing?"
"Now now dear, there's no need for such raised voices," she chided, seemingly materializing out of nowhere at his side. "Now, what seems to be the matter Alice-chan?"
"You! You've, you've done something to me, you had to have," he sputtered, pointing accusingly at her. "Iru-certain people have been acting, weird around me. The same sort of weird they get around you! This can only mean you've done something to me."
For a moment she just stared at him, then, she began to laugh. Not mocking laugher, but as if she'd just been told the funniest joke in the world.
"Oh Alice-chan, I haven't done anything to you," she said. "Well, not really. I expected this day to come but already? Oh how time flies." She put her cheek in her hand with a wistful sigh before patting Asmodeus' head playfully. "My dear, this is all your doing."
"What are you talking about? I haven't done anything," he sputtered.
"Well, maybe not intentionally, but it's all you," she said, only making him more bemused. "Sweetie, how do you think I enthrall my audience?" she asked.
"With your magic," he said, wrinkling his nose in disgust. "And...perfume, among other things."
"Hmm, yes, to a degree. But that's not all, after all any old demon can do that. I'm a succubus dear, you know this."
Asmodeus frowned, what in the Netherworld was she getting at? Despite his mother being one, he'd never actually taken the time to ever study the nature of succubus that closely. All he cared to know was that everyone, man and woman alike would fall at her feet if she so much as looked their way, it was frustrating to say the least.
"Pheromones," she said, answering his confused silence. "We give off pheromones to make us desirable to those around us."
That...would certainly explain why it seemed like everyone fell head over heels for her instantly, regardless of their relationship status or orientation with nothing more than a smile or flutter of her eyelashes.
"But what does that have to do with me?" After all it wasn't like the whole school was falling head over heels for him.
"You're part succubus dear, so it's only natural you'd inherit some things from me, aside from my good looks."
No, she couldn't possibly mean...no there was no way, none at all. There was no way he was doing this to himself, none at all. He shook his head, cheeks flushed at the implication that he was the one doing this to Iruma-sama. He couldn't be, he wasn't a succubus, succubi were only women after all. For him to be doing something like this he'd have to be an incubus.
"How do I stop it?"
"Oh you don't dear. That's just how we are. Although, in your case, since you're young and growing into all this, it's probably only affecting someone you already like, so, tell me sweetie who is it?" Asmodeus yelped as she went in for another smothering hug, a devilish grin on her face. "Who is it that my dear little Alice-chan likes so much that's he's already enthralled them?"
Asmodeus' cheeks flared a deep shade of red and he wiggled free of her grip. "There isn't anyone-I don't...like anyone...certainly not like that, you must be mistaken," he said, stumbling over his words and practically bounding out of arms reach. She had to be wrong, after all, the only person who seemed to be affected was his Iruma-sama, and he didn't have affections for him. Absolutely not, it was all strictly platonic, it had to be, after all he'd pledged to serve him! That didn't mean he was attracted to him, that was absolutely preposterous.
Before his mother could grab him again to pester him further, Asmodeus hightailed it out of there to somewhere else in the house. He needed to think about this and try to clear his head, to figure out on his own what was going on, because his mother clearly was no help.
Asmodeus whined, letting his head hit the wall of his bedroom with a dull thud. There was just no way, no way he was attracted to Iruma-sama. Alright sure, Iruma was kind, helpful and humble, while also being surprisingly strong. And he was quite adorable, if Asmodeus did say so himself. He was quite admirable as well, to say the least, and had this charisma about him that made people just want to follow him. A fine specimen of a demon really.
So his mother had to be wrong about why this was happening. But, no one else was affected by it, or if they were they weren't being as obvious about it. It was only Iruma-sama who'd shown any indication of acting different.
He groaned, burying his face into his hands as he dropped onto his back on the bed. This couldn't be happening, it just couldn't. There was no way that he, Asmodeus Alice, was getting red faced and flustered over some boy.
He slapped his cheeks harshly, how dare he think something like that. Iruma-sama wasn't just 'some boy', he was, in Iruma's own words, his best friend. Were best friends even supposed to feel, like this, for each other? He wasn't sure, after all it wasn't like he'd ever had friends, let alone a best friend before, and the last thing he wanted to do was make things weird between them. What if Iruma didn't want to be friends any more? He didn't want that, not at all!
'If she won't tell me how to stop this, then I'll just figure it out on my own!'
"Azu-kun? Is something wrong?" asked Iruma, looking Asmodeus up and down curiously as they walked to school.
If pheromones were the problem, Asmodeus had decided that clearly the solution was to cover himself up. After all there had to be a reason that succubi always dressed so, revealing. Clearly the more skin was showing the more pheromones were released and the more potent the effect was, so if he just wrapped himself up, and layered up, then he could minimize the effect. Clearly a flawless plan.
At least that was the intent, and the plan that he'd been thinking about that morning when he got dressed, piling on several layers of shirts, a pair of gloves to conceal his hands, a thick scarf around his neck. What he hadn't taken into account was just how overly hot he was going to feel after putting it all on and doing, well anything. They weren't even at school yet and he was sweating bullets and felt like he was going to die. He hadn't even been able to fly to Iruma's home to pick him up, already feeling to warm and restricted then.
"Of course, everything is fine," he said quickly, waving Iruma's concern off, lest he make him worry and ask more questions.
"Are you sure?" he asked. "You're all, covered up."
"Oh, that. I, uh, I was feeling a bit out of sorts this morning so I though I ought to bundle up, then I won't get sick. Or make anyone else sick." He swallowed hard, pulling the scarf further over his mouth. He hated having to lie to Iruma like this but, he certainly couldn't tell him the truth.
"Oh! Well I hope you feel better soon Azu-kun," replied Iruma after a moment.
By the time they got to school, Asmodeus was certain he was going to die if he didn't take a few layers off. If it was this bad just getting to school he'd never survive the entire day this way. He'd roast before first class even ended.
But, if he took anything off it would defeat the whole point of covering up in the first place.
Asmodeus whined in frustration as he tugged at his collar. He really didn't want to subject Iruma to all that again, but he also didn't want to keel over and die. A tough choice.
"I'm sorry, Iruma-sama, but I need to go and change. I...may have worn a few too many layers," he said, and before Iruma could reply, he took off, just about ripping some of the clothes off as he ran.
So the layers were something of a bad idea, but the gloves and the scarf could certainly stay. After all even with a layer of two he was still covered up, and they weren't going to interfere with him going about his day. Hopefully.
Iruma wasn't quite sure what was going on with Asmodeus. It had started when he noticed that something about his friend just seemed a bit off, because every time he looked at him it felt like there was something different about him that he just couldn't quite pinpoint. His looks, his mannerisms, something just felt different about him. Not a bad different, just different, which had led to many an instance where Iruma found himself just staring at him and praying that he wouldn't get caught.
Of course, when Iruma had asked about if Asmodeus had done anything different, he'd chalked it all up to test related stress. And it would have stopped there, except now, here he was, dressed in more layers than Iruma had ever seen any one person (or demon) wear at once. At least this time he knew what was different.
Asmodeus claimed it was because he was under the weather, but that didn't seem right. He was too energetic to be sick and he'd been perfectly fine the day before, oddness aside, so there was no way he could have gotten that sick overnight, right? Certainly if something like that had happened he would stay home.
Then a worrying thought came to Iruma. If Asmodeus really was sick after all, what would that mean for him? Could he even contract demon sicknesses, being a human and all? If he could, what would they do to him? Suddenly he really hoped Asmodeus was lying about being sick and that whatever this was was just some kind of demonic quirk.
"Hey umm, Clara?"
"What is it Iruma-chi?" she asked, grinning widely as she walked backwards to turn and face him.
"Do you think you could check on Azu-kun for me? Make sure he's alright?" he asked.
"Leave it to me Iruma-chi!" With a grin and a short salute she was gone, taking off in the same direction that Asmodeus had gone only minutes ago.
He watched as she ran after Asmodeus, practically skipping as if it were a game of hide and seek.
Iruma wanted to check on Asmodeus himself, but if he was actually sick with anything, even the demon equivalent of a cold, the last thing Iruma wanted was to get sick s well, that could be disastrous. He felt a little guilty sending Clara after him, on the off chance he was under the weather, but at the same time, with everything he'd seen her do he wasn't even sure she could get sick.
But, if Asmodeus really wasn't sick, why would he lie and cover himself up like that? It wasn't like he was self conscious about his appearance or anything, so why cover up?
As he pondered these thoughts, Clara came racing back with Asmodeus in tow, Asmodeus now having shed a few layers in clothes, though he was still sporting the gloves and the, in Iruma's opinion, rather fetching scarf which he was currently holding to keep out of Clara's reach, as she made a grab for the end of it every time he let it loose from his grip.
If Iruma had thought he'd had trouble not staring at Asmodeus before, it had somehow gotten harder. It was ridiculous, a simple change in his clothes shouldn't have made him more distracting but there he was, seated next to Iruma and being even more of a distraction with his scarf and gloves.
As Iruma stole a glance from the corner of his eye at Asmodeus he felt his heart leap in his chest and his stomach start twisting and fluttering.
He looked away quickly, clutching at his chest nervously and hoping that Asmodeus hadn't noticed. How was he supposed to explain himself?
'Sorry I was staring at you but you just look really nice today?'
As if. He didn't have the nerve to say something like that, even if it was the truth. So he just buried himself in his school work, trying to ignore the shaking of his hands and the fluttery, almost nervous feeling welling up inside him.
So help him he was going to make it through the day, hopefully without alerting Asmodeus to whatever was going on.
It wasn't easy though, constantly finding his gaze drawn back to Asmodeus whenever the demon's back was to him or his attention on something that wasn't Iruma.
And it didn't get any easier by the time school let out and they were headed home. Not at all.
Iruma had to fight the urge to stare at Asmodeus as they walked home from school, his heart fluttering in his chest every time he did, and each glance risked getting caught by Asmodeus. Luckily, for whatever reason, Asmodeus was also avoiding looking at him and was uncharacteristically quiet.
As they reached the place the two of them normally parted ways, Clara having parted from them earlier in the walk, Asmodeus cleared his throat and turned to Iruma. "Well, this is where I must say goodbye Iruma-sama," he said, voice slightly strained as he tugged the scarf closer to his face.
"Y-yeah. See you tomorrow," said Iruma, barely managing to bring himself to meet his friend's gaze. "Um, Azu-kun!" As Asmodeus turned to leave, Iruma called out, taking a half step towards him.
"Get better, ok?"
Asmodeus' features softened and Iruma thought for sure he was going to melt on the spot. "Thank you, Iruma-sama. I'll do my best. I'm...sure my mother will make me rest."
Iruma watched as Asmodeus' large wings unfurled and he took off, heading for home and leaving Iruma to walk the rest of the way home.
Once Asmodeus was out of earshot, Iruma let out a sigh of relief. His heart was hammering so, so fast and so hard in his chest, to the point that he'd worried that Asmodeus might hear it. He couldn't understand it, it had never happened before, and especially around Asmodeus. It was like nervousness but also, not. After all, why should he be nervous around Asmodeus? Asmodeus was his friend, his best friend, there was no reason to be nervous around him.
Too lost in his thoughts, he barely noticed as he stepped inside, forgoing his usual greeting.
"Oh, Iruma-sama, I didn't hear you come in," said Opera, looking up as Iruma walked past him.
Iruma stopped, jolted from his own head and turning to look at the cat eared demon. "Huh? Oh, hello Opera-san." He glanced around, a bit surprised he hadn't yet been jumped upon and asked about his day by his grandfather. "Is Ojii-san not home?"
"Afraid not, but I wouldn't worry, he'll be home in time for dinner."
Iruma nodded, "Thank you, Opera-san." he lingered on the spot, chewing on his lip anxiously. He could always ask Opera-san about, whatever was going on, surely they would have some idea. "U-um, Opera-san, can I ask you something?"
"Well it's...what does it mean when your chest gets all fluttery and light when you look at someone, when you, can't stop looking at them? And your hands get all sweaty."
Opera looked thoughtful, cat ear twitching in focus. "Well, it depends, is this person someone you like, or not?"
"I-what?" Iruma stared at them, what kind of a question was that? "I like them, why? Does it make some difference?"
Opera tapped their chin, "Well, if it was someone you didn't like I would have said what you were feeling was deep loathing and the desire to beat them into the ground. But, if it's someone you already like then it's a different matter all together."
"O...k?" If Iruma did know one thing it was that whatever he was feeling was not loathing towards Asmodeus. In fact, he wasn't sure he'd ever felt that towards anyone in his life, even if they probably did deserve it.
"It means you probably like them."
Iruma's confusion only deepened, of course he liked Asmodeus, that much was obvious. His confusion must have been evident as Opera cleared their throat. "What I mean is, Iruma-sama, you probably find them to attractive. You are, attracted to them."
Attracted? Well, he supposed that Asmodeus was good looking as far as demons went, and as far as people he knew went. He definitely had his fair share of admirers, that was for sure, Iruma had seen the way some of the students looked at him. Was that how he had been looking at Asmodeus?
Wait, staring, heart racing, sweaty palms; suddenly all the volumes of First Love Memories that he'd read to Ameri can rushing back to him, all the doki-dokis and blushing and love confessions and pining and flushed faces and oh god.
"Th-thank you Opera-san! I um, I'm just going to be in my room," he stammered out, cheeks reddening rapidly as the implications hit him.
Opera watched, somewhat amused, as Iruma took off running off to his room, the sound of the door slamming shut from somewhere in the house following not to long after.
"Teenagers will be teenagers," sighed Opera, shaking their head before going back to what they had been doing, watering plants.
Iruma groaned, burying his face into his pillow as he dropped onto the bed. He couldn't, he couldn't be crushing on Asmodeus. Asmodeus was his friend, his best friend, he couldn't be crushing on him. What would Asmodeus even think if he knew? Actually, he would probably be flattered, but there was also a chance it would just make their friendship weird, and Iruma didn't want that. He whined and buried his face into his hands. Crushing, he'd never crushed on anyone in his life, how could he suddenly develop a crush now?
"What am I going to do?" he groaned.
Asmodeus growled in frustration as he tossed his bags aside, having gone right past David when he got home and straight to his room. It had taken all his self control to maintain an air of calm and collectedness all day, when in reality his emotions had been boiling just before the surface. While shedding the layers had helped stop him from overheating, a new heat had begun to grown under his skin. One that only seemed to worsen as the day went on.
As the day had worn on he'd found his thoughts (and sometimes gaze) constantly drifting back to Iruma. Which made it infuriatingly difficult to stay on track in the middle of class. It really didn't help that he kept finding his thoughts being drawn to one idea in particular. For some reason, he couldn't help but suddenly want to just grab Iruma and, smush their faces together. Or, more accurately, their mouths.
For once, he actually found himself glad to finally part ways with Iruma-sama, he didn't have to keep trying to hold back.
Tiny sparks danced across his hands as he mashed them together in frustration. Why couldn't he just banish these intrusive thoughts? Why did it make his skin feel like it was burning? And why did it make him feel so, so, mad? Was he mad? No that wasn't right, it wasn't anger, frustration maybe?
Outside the bedroom door, his mother sighed, putting her cheek in her hand.
"Oh dear, looks like Alice-chan's got a bit of a Wicked Phase going on. I was afraid something like this might happen. I just hope he's not as bad as I was."
The next day...
Regardless of what Opera-san said, crush or no, Iruma was sure he could handle it. Don't think about it, don't act on it, it shouldn't have been that hard, even if he was around Asmodeus all the time. Surely keeping it under wraps couldn't be that hard.
That was what Iruma had told himself all morning and he was beginning to believe it, up until he stepped outside and was greeted by Clara and Asmodeus. This time he definitely knew something was up and something about Asmodeus was different.
While the excessive layers and scarf and gloves that he'd been wearing the previous day had been shed for his regular uniform he was now sporting a gold cuff that clipped to the edge of his left ear, catching Iruma's eye as it sparkled in the sunlight.
On top of that, he was holding himself differently and had swept some of his hair back, and it was making Iruma feel all sort of funny things.
"Shall we be off then, Iruma-sama?" he asked and Iruma's heart skipped a beat. Was it his imagination or was Asmodeus' voice, lower than usual?
"Come on Iruma-chi!" squealed Clara, grabbing his arm and dragging him off down the road.
"H-hey Clara, does Azu-kun seem, different to you?" he asked.
"Azu-Azu?" Clara looked over her shoulder at him, then back to Iruma. "Azu-Azu seems the same to me!"
"He does?" Maybe he really was imagining it, maybe his crush was making him imagine things that weren't there.
Just then, his foot caught on a rock and Iruma suddenly pitched forward, arm pulled from Clara's grip in the process. An arm suddenly wrapped around his waist, catching him before his face could could have a friendly meeting with the ground.
"Are you alright Iruma-sama?" asked Asmodeus.
"Yeah I'm...fine..." Iruma trailed off as he looked up at Asmodeus, still hovering over him, one arm around his waist. Was his gaze always so, tender?
"Iruma-sama? Should I perhaps carry you the rest of the way?"
"It's fine-I'm fine!" he squeaked, quickly leaping to his feet and brushing himself off, and praying that his cheeks weren't too red. "Come on, let's get going."
Oh no, oh no he wasn't going to be able to keep this up at all. He was going to crack, like an egg. If it were somehow possible, he was pretty sure that Asmodeus had gotten more attractive overnight. Could demons even DO that? Well he wouldn't put it past them really.
If the walk to school was agonizing, class was worse. As they settled in and Asmodeus took his seat beside Iruma, he swore the demon sat closer than usual, brushing up against his side as he did so. Sure Asmodeus was known to be clingy from time to time, but this was different. He was almost pressed to Iruma's side.
"It's-" Iruma started to speak but stopped, what was he supposed to say, what did he want to say? "It's nothing."
"Alright alright," grumbled Kalego-sensei from the front of the room as he tried to settle the class and Iruma quickly turned back to face him, lest he get scolded for talking in class. Again.
Meet me out back at lunch time. By the large tree.
Iruma looked at the message on his hel-phone curiously, then up at Asmodeus, who was acting like he hadn't just sent him a sneaky, under the table text, which he had as one hand was still down in his lap with his phone. Did he want to talk to him about something?
A throat clearing cough came from the front of class and Iruma quickly stuffed the phone away and turned his attention back to his work. If he was going to meet with Asmodeus then he couldn't be getting an hour long lecture from Kalego-sensei.
Of course, focusing was easier said that done, especially with Asmodeus nearly pressed to his side. Iruma felt every little movement, from the shifting of his position to what had to be intentional movements; his leg brushing up against Iruma's, letting his hand pass a hair's breadth from Iruma's, fingers ghosting just over his skin. It was all so distracting and he just wanted to grab Asmodeus' hand in his, to curl his fingers around his. t one point he swore he felt Asmodeus' hand come to rest oh so casually on his leg.
'No, focus Iruma focus!' he said, mentally kicking himself as he stared at his paper, trying to ignore Asmodeus as he sidled against him again. Asmodeus had been many things but he'd never been this touchy before. In any other circumstance Iruma might have allowed himself to enjoy it, but this was the middle of class! How was he even supposed to focus when Asmodeus was practically breathing down his neck?
The sound of the lunch break bell had never seen such a sweet sound to Iruma's ears.
Asmodeus had already taken off, gone in a flash before Iruma could say anything to him, so Iruma hurried to pack his bags so he could chase him down to find out what he wanted.
"Where are you going Iruma-chii?" asked Clara, hanging over the edge of his desk, feet kicking back and forth.
"O-oh, Azu-kun wanted to talk to me about something," he said.
Her green eyes widened in excitement, practically sparkling, "About what?"
"I don't know," said Iruma, scratching the back of his head. "But I guess I'll find out. I'll join you for lunch in a bit, ok?"
"Aye-aye Iruma-chii!" She jumped up, hand flying into a sort of salute before dashing off to the lunch room.
Clutching his bag tightly, heart pounding in his chest, Iruma trotted down the hall and out the doors, shielding his face against the sunlight with one arm as he stepped outside. Out back and by the tree, that's where Asmodeus had said to meet him, so he had to mean the one Iruma had accidentally made with his magic, it was the only one that could really be considered 'large' around there.
Why somewhere so private though? Perhaps it was something he didn't want anyone else to hear, a secret conversation. The idea of a secret conversation was, exciting to say the least.
Excitement nipping at his heels he took off, legs shaking as he ran and heart beating in his chest.
A sea of tiny pink petals covered the area surrounding the tree; whether by a quirk of magic or what Iruma wasn't sure, but the tree seemed to be in perpetual bloom, always covered in a blanket of pink blossoms, which in turn tended to cover everything else in pink petals as they fell.
"Azu-kun?" he called out, pace slowing as he neared where the tree's roots met the ground. "You wanted me to meet you here?"
Iruma's head turned in the direction of Asmodeus' voice to see him standing under the tree, leaning up against it, beaming with similar excitement.
"Azu-kun!" A smile broke across Iruma's face as he bounded towards him, kicking up petals in his wake. As he neared he noticed that Asmodeus' wings were no longer hidden, something he usually did unless he was flying. "Why did you call me all the way out here?" he asked.
Asmodeus looked around for a moment; ever since the cherry blossom tree has made its appearance it had become something of a tourist attraction, everyone wanting to see it. Luckily the novelty had worn off after a few weeks so the area was, quite mercifully, empty. Looking back at Iruma, Asmodeus made a 'come here' gesture and indicated for him to follow him as he headed in behind the roots.
He really was being secretive wasn't he? Well, Iruma could play along and without a word, he followed Asmodeus out of sight behind the tree.
Almost as soon as they were hidden from prying eyes, Asmodeus slammed his hand into the root wall beside Iruma's head, causing Iruma to yelp in surprise and drop his bag.
"A-Azz-kun!" he stammered, suddenly realizing he'd been kabedoned by Asmodeus, against a tree. "Is, is something wrong?"
Asmodeus ran his free hand through his hair, pushing some of it back slightly before turning his attention once again to Iruma. "You know, you've really grown over the summer," said Asmodeus, looking down at Iruma, who was fighting to keep his composure given the situation.
Iruma looked Asmodeus up and down for a moment, before bringing a hand to the top of his head and measuring outwards. He really had grown a few inches hadn't he, no longer coming up to Asmodeus' shoulder but closer to his chin. Somehow he'd never noticed that he didn't have to look up as far to look at him or talk to him.
"I'm not sure how I didn't notice it before," he continued, bringing his other hand up to cup Iruma's face tenderly. "Shame on me really."
Colour flooded across Iruma's cheeks and he was sure he was going to pass out on the spot. His heart was beating so fast that he swore it was going to beat right out of his chest. What on earth had gotten into Asmodeus? He'd never acted like this before.
"Truly you are becoming a fine demon, Iruma-sama." As Asmodeus spoke, he traced a finger down along Iruma's cheek, following the curve of his jaw till he reached his chin. He took Iruma's chin between his thumb and forefinger and Iruma felt his breath hitch in his throat. Asmodeus' pink eyes were piercing, and between that and their sudden closeness, a flicker of nervousness rushed through him. "And I feel like such a fool to have not seen it sooner, and to have held myself back and denied myself for so long."
"What are you t-" Iruma was cut off as Asmodeus took a step closer, closing the distance between them before leaning down and planting his lips on Iruma's. The blush that had painted Iruma's cheeks spread out to colour his whole face, reaching all the way up to his ears as a startled squeak caught in his throat.
Asmodeus, was kissing him! All the racing thoughts in his head came to a grinding halt, unable to focus on anything other than the lips that now found themselves pressed against his. Iruma could only marvel at how surprisingly tender and soft Asmodeus was, fingers drifting gently across his skin and lips soft but firm as they pressed against Iruma's.
Instinctively, he reached out, grabbing the front of Asmodeus' shirt to hold him close as he leaned into the kiss, closing his eyes as every rational thought left him.
"Azu-kun..." Iruma murmured his name softly as he tightened his grip on on Asmodeus' shirt and pulled him back down as their lips drifted apart for a moment.
While the initial kiss had been slow and tender, the following one, when Iruma pulled him back down, was the exact opposite. Passion and fire burned between them as Asmodeus' nipped teasingly at Iruma's lips, catching them between his sharp teeth. Asmodeus' tongue darted out, brushing against Iruma's lips before pushing past them as he forced his way inside his mouth, a noise akin to a growl rumbling in his throat while his hands grasped at and pulled Iruma close, wings flaring and curling around them. Not that Iruma put up much of a fight, letting his own arms wrap around the back of Asmodeus' neck as he relinquished his hold on his shirt, trembling and quivering under his touch as he found himself eagerly parting his lips under Asmodeus'.
The rational part of his brain would have made him back off the moment he saw or felt the fangs that close to his skin, that sort of thing was dangerous after all, but the rational part of his brain had shut off, opting to run on pure emotion and desire. Which for the moment wanted nothing more than for Asmodeus to keep kissing him, to hold him, to make his heart flutter like a trapped butterfly and make him feel all sorts of ways he never had before.
Asmodeus' desire to meet somewhere private made sense now, getting caught like this was the last thing either of them would have wanted.
Iruma sighed softly, chest pressed flush against Asmodeus while his back was pressed against the tree behind him.
Cool air kissed his skin as their lips parted and Iruma looked up at Asmodeus, cheeks flushed and breathing heavy. Likewise, Asmodeus' face was equally as flushed, a deep red that Iruma had never seen on him before.
A hand moved to cup his cheek gently and Iruma instinctively leaned into the touch with a light sigh.
He opened and closed his mouth several times, trying to find the words to say something, anything. What was he even supposed to say? Asmodeus had just kissed him. Really, really kissed him, and his head was still spinning.
Asmodeus' fingers caressed his cheek lightly as the demon smiled at him and Iruma felt his heart race again. His touch was so soft and gentle, ghosting along his skin like a feather.
All Iruma could manage was a breathy 'Azu-kun' as he looked up at him.
"I see it's not just my wings that render you speechless," purred Asmodeus. Iruma blushed even deeper and Asmodeus grinned. "Oh don't think I haven't noticed how you've been admiring my wings."
"Ah, well, they are very large and impressive," said Iruma. "Especially compared to, mine." While he didn't actually have wings the cover story provided by Ali-kun was that his wings were just tiny. Iruma bit his bottom lip nervously as he looked up at Asmodeus' wings. "Can I...could I..."
Asmodeus' tilted his head curiously, "Iruma-sama?"
"CouldItouchyourwings?" The words tumbled out hurriedly and all at once, Iruma barely taking a moment to breath.
For a moment Asmodeus was quiet, looking from Iruma to his wings. Then he blushed, like, really, deeply blushed, turning redder than a tomato as it cascaded out from his cheeks all the way up to the tips of his ears and shattering the suave, seductive act he'd been carefully crafting.
"You...you want t-to..."
"I-it's fine really, if you're not comfortable with it just pretend I never asked," stammered Iruma, hoping he hadn't just said something wrong. Was there was taboo about touching wings that he wasn't aware of?
"I'm just surprised that Iruma-sama would be so forward," said Asmodeus, wings twitching almost excitedly.
Forward? What could he mean by that? Surely it wasn't anymore forward than than what they'd just been doing, right?
Well, as it turned out yes, yes it was more forward. Just as it was considered a sign of trust, respect and sincerity to bare the root of ones wings to another demon, given the importance of wings to a demon, it was considered an even higher honour and more intimate act to allow someone to touch ones wings. It wasn't something that was done by just anyone, and to touch someones wings without first asking could be strewn as very disrespectful.
"If-if that is what Iruma-sama wishes then I do not object," said Asmodeus, now practically beaming through the deep blush on his face.
After a moment, Iruma reached out and touched one of Asmodeus' wings, his fingers brushing along the leathery appendage. It was soft, surprisingly so and Iruma marvelled at the texture and sensation of touching it. It looked as if it should be flimsy but it felt incredibly sturdy.
He momentarily wondered if any kinds of potions or spells existed to give him wings. He supposed he'd have to ask Opera-san or Ali-san about that later.
As his fingers dragged along Asmodeus' wing he suddenly found himself swept back up in his arms shortly before Asmodeus kissed him. Again.
The world was out to get him, Kalego was sure of it.
Class was about to start and there were still two students missing. And not just any two. Oh no. The ones missing were Sullivan's grandkid, Iruma and Asmodeus Alice. And if that combination wasn't bad enough, the Asmodeus boy had been peacocking all day for Iruma. Even an idiot could see that he was 5 seconds from crawling into Iruma's lap or wrapping himself around the boy like some kind of ivy.
He really didn't want to have to look for them. He wanted them to stumble back to class on their own.
But they didn't. The screeching bell went off to signal the end of lunch and start of class and they still weren't back, which meant he was going to have to go and hunt them down himself, because he would be damned if he let any of his students skip class.
"Does anyone know where your classmates might have gone?" he asked through clenched teeth.
The Valac girl's hand shot up almost instantly. "Iruma-chi said that Azu-Azu wanted to talk to him alone, I think they're outside somewhere."
He sighed heavily, well it didn't look like he had a choice.
"You lot, stay here and behave while I go find your classmates. And someone to keep an eye on you all."
That someone turned out to be, for better or worse, Robin, who didn't appear to have a class at that moment.
"You!" Kalego grabbed him by the collar as he passed him in the hall. "Since you seem to have free time go take over my class till I get back. I'm rounding up some, stragglers."
An excited look crossed Robin's face and Kalego released him as if he'd just been burned. "Go now!" he growled, pushing him away and towards the classroom.
Stepping outside he snapped his fingers, summoning his familiar to his side. "Cerberus, let's go." If anything could track them down and make the hunt fast it would be a giant three headed dog. The beast let out a deep, bellowing bark before it took off, all three heads sniffing the air and ground.
Perhaps if he was lucky they would have left school grounds and he wouldn't find them.
With a loud, excited 'woof', Cerberus suddenly took off, barreling across the court yard at top speed, heading straight for the giant pink tree.
The universe was absolutely out to get Kalego, that much he was sure of, and as he rounded the large tree he was absolutely certain the case. Just as he was certain there wasn't enough hellfire in the underworld to scrub from his mind the image that greeted him. He supposed he should be grateful though, at least they were still clothed.
He was going to need some very strong wine after this.
The missing students were very much there, and wrapped in each other's arms very passionately.
He didn't care what they did on their own time, but would it kill them to access some self control during a school day?
This was why he loathed teaching teenagers especially, they were always right at that age where they were only thinking of thing. He'd hoped to have a few more years before worrying about that with this class but, apparently this was not to be.
Lovely, just lovely.
He coughed loudly and the pair leapt apart abruptly and had the decency to turn a deep red upon realizing they'd been busted.
Iruma hadn't meant to skip class, or even be late for class, but the moment Asmodeus swept him back up in his arms he lose all sense of time and, apparently track of it as well. He hadn't even heard the normally ear piercing screech of the school bell to signal the end of their break.
But clearly it had gone off and they were late, because a loud cough pierced the air and they looked over to see a very, very upset Kalego standing just a few feet away.
Oh if looks could kill.
Kalego snapped his fingers and suddenly Iruma found himself being lifted off the ground. For a moment he thought his teacher had used some kind of magic on him, till hot breath on the back of his neck and a sharp tugging on the back of his shirt made him look up, and into the eyes of Kalego's familiar.
Iruma whined and buried his face in his hands in embarrassment as Kalego turned wordlessly on his heel, Cerberus following obediently after him, Iruma in one set of jaws and Asmodeus held in another, the pair separated by the third head.
Asmodeus looked less embarrassed by the situation and more miffed, arms folded over his chest and wings having receded into his back.
"You realize of course, this means I'm going to have to send letters home to your parents," said Kalego, without so much as looking back at them.
Iruma's face reddened even more and he didn't dare to move his hands, he was never going to be able to face his teacher ever again. This was beyond mortifying.
"I wouldn't be to concerned Iruma-sama," said Opera as he looked over the letter. "It's not the worst thing you could have been caught doing."
"But still!" Iruma groaned as he buried himself into the cushions of the couch.
"Teenagers do stupid things all the time, even Kalego-kun."