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The Awkward Girl and the Gentleman

Chapter Text

A high-pitched scream bounced off the walls inside the girls' dormitory at the Death Weapon Meister Academy, and it could be heard all around campus.

The scream escaped from the lips of Tsugumi Harudori; a freshman in the academy's NOT, or Normally Overcome Target, class. Her roommates, Meme Tatane and Anya Hepburn, also freshmen in her class, were confused at the girl's shriek as she entered their dorm.

"What happened, Tsugumi-chan?" Meme asked, concerned.

"Did something happen when you were with Akane-kun?" Anya pondered, referring to a friend of the trio that Tsugumi hung out with that afternoon, Akane Hoshi.

"Y-Yes, actually..." Tsugumi stuttered, staring down at the ground as her cheeks turned a light pink color.

"Well?" Anya said, resting her hand on her hip. "Are you going to tell us?"

"Well..." Tsugumi reached up and played with the ends of her black hair which was pulled into two pigtails. "H-He...asked me..."

"What did he ask?" Meme sat down on her bed and pulled her reddish-brown hair out of the ribbon that held it up in a side ponytail.

Tsugumi drew in a deep breath. "H-He asked me if I wanted to go on a date with him!" she rushed, her face turning beet red.

"Oh, Tsugumi-chan, that's wonderful!" Meme clapped her hands together.

"A date?" Anya repeated, cocking her head to the side.

"Have you ever been on a date, Anya-san?" Tsugumi asked.

"I've been set up with some nice gentlemen..."

"I can't remember if I've been on one or not..." Meme rubbed the side of her head. She had a hard time remembering things.

"What do you do on a date?" the black haired girl wondered aloud.

"Maybe we should ask someone," Meme suggested.

"Like Eternal Feather-senpai, or maybe Kim-san," Anya said, flipping her golden locks over her shoulder, imagining the two upperclassmen. "They've probably been on dates before."

With a determined look on her face, Tsugumi clenched her fists and held them in the air. "Let's go ask!"

"Yeah!" Meme and Anya called out in unison, throwing their own fists up.

.

.

.

Exiting their dorm room, the trio marched down the hallway and into the down a flight of stairs. At the bottom, they rounded a corner and entered the dormitory’s cafeteria, scanning the people inside as they walked.

"I don't see Jim-senpai or Eternal Feather-senpai anywhere," Meme said, her face falling slightly.

" Kim -senpai," Anya corrected tiredly, as she did this all the time.

"Wait, I see her!" Tsugumi exclaimed, and pointed at a pink-haired rebel, Kim Diehl, that stood across the room. She was speaking to Ox Ford; a strange bald boy who had two horn-like pieces of hair sticking almost straight up, and he wore goggle-looking glasses. He seemed very happy to be talking to Kim.

After Ox said something, Kim's face flushed a color similar to her hair. She turned away from him, punching his chest lightly as she did so.

He grinned and walked away.

"Kim-senpai!" Tsugumi called as the three made their way across the room.

Kim looked up for a second, and then quickly looked away in an attempt to hide the blush on her face. "What do you want?" she muttered.

"Have you ever been on a date before?" Anya asked, which made Kim's cheeks go even pinker.

"Hell yeah, I've been on dates!" Kim declared somewhat nervously. "Why? Did someone ask one of you out?"

Meme and Anya silently pointed at Tsugumi, who blushed instantly and brought her hands to her face.

"Who was it?" Kim smiled evilly, leaning closer to the black haired girl. "Someone in the NOT class?"

"Y-Yes..."

"Who?"

"Um..."

"Who?" Kim asked again, this time more demanding, her eyes giving a death stare.

"A-Akane-kun!" Tsugumi squeaked.

"You mean that sword meister?" Kim asked, her evil smile growing wider. "Ah, that's right, you have been hanging out with him a lot lately, haven't you?"

"Y-Yes," Tsugumi mumbled, twiddling her index fingers.

"Do you like him?"

"O-Of course I like him!" she stammered. "He's very kind and polite and—"

"No, no, no!" Kim slapped her hand to her forehead. "I mean, do you  like like  him? Do you think he's attractive?"

"I—Uh...maybe...?" Tsugumi stuttered.

"Does he like you?"

"He asked her on a date, didn't he?" Anya interrupted. "Wouldn't that mean he does?"

"I guess." Kim shrugged. "So are you two an item now?"

"Huh?"

"Boyfriend and girlfriend?" Kim said, annoyed. "Jeez, you are really new to this."

"N-No, I don't think so..." Tsugumi explained, looking slightly disappointed. "He just asked if I wanted to go on a date with him someday, so I said yes... And then he had to leave..."

"Do you want to be his girlfriend?"

"I-I don't know...I've never been in a relationship before!" Tsugumi smiled nervously.

"Not even back in Japan?" Meme asked, somewhat surprised.

Tsugumi shook her head.

Kim sighed. "So why did you come to  me  about this?"

"Well, I was wondering...what do you do on a date?" Tsugumi asked, laughing nervously.

"It depends on where you go," Kim said, sitting down at one of the tables. "I mean, if you go to the movies, watch a movie. If you go to the park, walk around and hold hands. Do whatever."

"What was your best date, Jim-senpai?" Meme smiled.

Kim shot her a glare. "It's  Kim ," she growled. "And I don't know, I went out with a cool guy from the EAT class once," she said, referring to the Especially Advantaged Talent class of the DWMA. "He took me out to dinner and then we went to a carnival. It was really...nice."

"Have you ever been on a date with Ox-senpai?" Anya asked, the corners of her mouth curving upwards ever so slightly.

"What?!" Kim tried to hide the blush that crept onto her face. "No! Why would I go out with a dork like him?! And you better pay me for the advice!"

Meme, Anya, and Tsugumi giggled.

"Thank you, Kim-senpai," Tsugumi said and bowed respectively. "It was nice talking to you!"

"Whatever," Kim muttered and looked away.

The trio left the cafeteria the same way they had entered and walked back to their dorm.

Tsugumi jumped onto her bed. "I'm really tired!" she said into her pillow.

"Me too," Meme said, picking up her pajamas from on top of her sheets.

"I'm going to go wash up in the restroom," Anya said, and she exited the room again.

Meme changed into her pajamas and climbed into her bed. "Goodnight, Tsugumi-chan."

"Goodnight, Meme-chan," the Japanese girl replied, and buried herself in her blankets after changing into her own PJs.

I wonder if Akane-kun wants us to become boyfriend and girlfriend,  she thought to herself.  But why would he like a plain flat-chested girl like me?

Soon enough, Anya came back into the room, and Tsugumi drifted off to sleep, Akane still on her mind.

Chapter Text

As usual, Tsugumi woke up and saw Meme sleeping next to her. The forgetful girl sleepwalked, and almost always ended up in Tsugumi's bed before dawn.

Being careful not to wake her friend, Tsugumi got out of bed and put the sheets back over top of Meme. Stretching, she picked her school uniform off of the floor beside her bed and proceeded to change.

After pulling the shirt over her head and smoothing her skirt, Tsugumi sat back on her bed, trying not to wake Meme in the process, and put on her knee-high boots.

Anya sat up in her bed. "Good morning, Tsugumi-san," she said while yawning.

"Good morning, Anya-san," the black haired girl said cheerfully. "Are you ready for class today?"

"I suppose," Anya replied, a hint of confusion in her voice. "Why do you sound so excited?"

"No reason..." Tsugumi looked away, hoping Anya wouldn't notice her red cheeks.

"Ah, I get it," Anya said playfully, shaking a finger at her friend. "You're excited to see Akane-kun, aren't you?"

"M-Maybe..." Tsugumi stuttered, smiling to herself.  Yes.

"Tsugumi-chan," Meme mumbled, throwing the blankets off of her. "You're up early, right? Or is it the afternoon?"

"It's morning, Meme-san," the blonde girl said. "Tsugumi-san is just excited to see Akane-kun~!"

"Oooh!" Meme clasped her hands together. "Maybe he will give you the details of your date!"

"Yeah..." Tsugumi sighed happily. "Maybe..."  Or maybe he was joking again...

.

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.

After eating breakfast in the DWMA cafeteria, the girls walked toward the NOT classroom, which was next to an EAT class called 'Class Crescent Moon'. Tsugumi stood outside of the door, Meme and Anya urging her inside.

"I-I can't!" the Japanese girl whined. "W-What if I mess up?! What if I embarrass myself?!"

"You'll be fine, Tsugumi-chan," Meme said kindly, opening the door slightly.

"Stop struggling or you're really going to embarrass yourself!" Anya said, pushing Tsugumi through the door. Tsugumi quickly regained herself and walked inside the room nonchalantly, even though her heart was going a million miles per hour.

The classroom had a large, almost stage-like area at the front, and it had rows of seats and desks in the back. Sure enough, Akane was sitting at one of the desks, his weapon partner Clay Sizemore casually leaning on it.

Akane was wearing a white button-down shirt and a black blazer, a tie around his neck. His black hair was combed to go over his left eye, and metal-framed glasses sat on the bridge of his nose. Clay, who had short brown hair, was wearing the same outfit, except without the jacket.

Tsugumi squeaked before hiding behind Meme and Anya in a desperate attempt not to be seen.

"Come on, Tsugumi-chan," Meme said gently, breaking the wall she and Anya created.

"Oh, hey, Harudori!" Akane called, grinning from across the room. Anya and Meme pushed her toward him.

Tsugumi gave them a glare before blushing and walking over to Akane.

"I'll leave you two alone..." Clay smirked before walking away.

"So," Akane said, smiling at Tsugumi. "What's up?"

"N-Nothing much..." she said awkwardly, giving a small smile.

"Hey, about yesterday..." Akane began, shifting his position to sit more comfortably. "You seemed pretty shaken up. Did I do something wrong?"

"N-No, of course not!" Tsugumi said, shaking her head and hands. "It's just...well..." She looked around to see if anyone could overhear their conversation.

Noticing Tsugumi's discomfort, Akane glanced down at his watch and smiled. "We have a few minutes before class starts..." he said, taking Tsugumi's hand. He led her out of the classroom and into the hall, closing the door on his way out. "You were saying?"

"It's just...I'm not really...I'm kind of..." She sighed. "I don't understand why... I'm just plain, flat-chested, and nothing special..." She stared down at the ground, blushing.

"Heh..."

Tsugumi looked up.

"You're really cute when you're flustered," Akane chuckled.

"I-I'm not cute..."

"So you're wondering why I asked you on a date, right?" Akane asked, leaning against the wall.

Tsugumi nodded.

"Remember that one time we went to Deathbucks and talked about why meisters go to the DWMA?"

"Yes..."

"I said I would protect you, right?"

"Yes...and then you joked around and asked if I'd become yours..."

.

.

.

Tsugumi and Akane sat outside of Deathbucks, a local coffee shop. After asking why meisters come to the DWMA, she listened to him explain.

"Well, to put it another way," he continued. "There may be lots of people coming here just because they want to have authority over others. 'A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body.' Perhaps the majority of people come here just to become heroes who protect the world."

"So, do you want to become a hero as well, Akane-kun?" Tsugumi asked, cocking her head to the side.

"Hm...You could say that in my case, it's related to family," he replied, and told her the story of why he came.

"So that's why you came to the DWMA," Tsugumi said once he was finished. "So, are you planning on moving to the EAT class later on, Akane-kun?"

"I guess so. I came to the DWMA to use my power for others," he said, holding his glasses in his hands.

"I look up to you..." Tsugumi said, fidgeting nervously. "And your ability to act based on your own beliefs. I only came here because I just happened to be a weapon. So I was wondering what kind of goal I could work towards while going through school life here...ah, I mean, I'm sorry!" she squeaked, shaking her hands. "I didn't call you here to discuss about my problems! Sorry..." She looked down at the table and sipped her drink.

Akane grinned. "You really are cute, aren't you, Harudori?"

"I...I am not cute..." Tsugumi blushed.

Sitting back in his chair, Akane continued to smile. "So...will you aim to become an 'EAT', Harudori?"

"Huuuuuh?!" Tsugumi gasped. "Th...That's impossible! If I try to become an 'EAT', I'll probably end up losing my life... Someone like me, who has no experience of being hurt, and who ends up being frightened of running into a traitor has no chance of becoming an 'EAT'."

"I will protect you."

Tsugumi looked up abruptly. "...!"

"Whether I become part of the EAT class, whether it be a traitor or anything else, I will protect you from it, Harudori."

"Uh...uh..." Tsugumi stuttered. "I mean...but..."

"To do that, I need you to be close to me, Harudori." Akane held out his hand to her.

"Kya! C...Close?" Tsugumi said, her face turning pink.

"Will you become mine?" he asked while holding her hand in his.

"Huuuuuuuuuuuuh?!" she squealed. "Wh...ah-wh..wh.."

"I'm joking," Akane said, smirking nonchalantly.

"Huh?!"

"It's only been two weeks since you came to the DWMA, right, Harudori?" he asked, standing. "There's no need to panic even if you don't know what to do here...your goal."

Tsugumi looked surprised.

"If you're still troubled with it after a year..." He slid his glasses back on his face. "I'll find one for you."

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.

.

"It actually wasn't a joke at first," Akane laughed. "I just got scared of what you'd say and added that at the end." He rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. "I kinda regretted it, so I asked you out yesterday."

Tsugumi nodded, still blushing furiously.

"I like you, Tsugumi."

She gasped sharply.

"You're not plain at all," he went on. "You're interesting and unique, and I couldn't care less about your 'flat chest'. And you're really special. You're adorable, nice, and funny." He smiled genuinely. "And that is why I asked you to go on a date with me."

"A-Akane-kun..."

"You can drop the 'kun' from my name," he said. "Just Akane will do."

"A-Akane..." Tsugumi said breathlessly.

"Are you free this Friday night?" he asked, laughing inwardly at Tsugumi's shyness.

"Yeah, I think so..."

"Then I'll come by your dorm at around seven, okay? For our date." He smiled.

"O-Okay..."

Akane turned to walk back into the classroom.

"Wait, Akane..." Tsugumi peeped.

"Yeah?"

"Does this make us...you know...uh..."

"Boyfriend and girlfriend?" Akane finished, as if he was reading her mind. He bent down slightly and gave her a peck on the cheek. "Only if you want to. Now come on, Sid-sensei will kill us if we're late."

Her face bright red, Tsugumi nodded and followed him into the room as the bell for the start of class went off.

Chapter Text

Tsugumi rushed over to where Meme and Anya were and sat between them. She stole a glance at Akane, who was being high-fived and nudged by his smirking weapon partner.

"Tsugumi-chan, what did he say?" Meme asked.

"I'll tell you after class," the black haired girl mumbled as their teacher, Sid Barrett, began teaching.

.

.

.

"So?" Anya said when the bell sounded, indicating the end of the school day.

Tsugumi smiled at Akane before she, Meme, and Anya made their way out of the classroom and headed back to the girls' dorm.

"So what?"

"What did Akane-kun tell you?"

"Did he tell you when and where your date will be?" Meme chimed in.

"Yes..." Tsugumi said, opening the front door of their dormitory. "Well, he said Friday at seven, but he didn't really say where..."

"What else?"

"H-He complimented me and said he l-liked me..." Tsugumi stammered. "And then I asked if we were a-an item, like Kim-senpai put it..."

"And what'd he say?!" Anya's eyes were shining.

"He...he kissed my cheek and said 'Only if I want to'...!" Tsugumi squealed.

Grinning, the three girls shrieked as loudly, if not louder, as Tsugumi did the previous night.

"Jeez, what are you all screaming about?" an annoyed voice said from behind them.

They turned around to see Kim staring at them as they walked through the main lobby.

"Is it about that guy you told me about yesterday?" Kim asked, putting her weight on one leg.

Tsugumi nodded furiously.

"What'd he do?"

"H-He told me when our date would be, and...k-kissed me..." Tsugumi stuttered.

"On the lips?"

"No, cheek..."

"Aw, that's no fun," Kim said with fake disappointment, following it up with a laugh. "You freshmen are so innocent."

Tsugumi pouted.

"I'm kidding." Kim followed them up the stairs. "Anyway, you're not the only one who got asked out recently," she added, grinning and blushing slightly.

"Really?" Anya said, smirking. "Did Ox-senpai ask you out again?"

"Yeah...and I said yes," Kim said quietly, averting her gaze from the blonde.

"You owe me five bucks, Meme-san!" Anya exclaimed, pointing at the forgetful girl.

"You guys made a bet on my love life?!" Kim shrieked.

"If Anya-san says so..." Meme said, patting the sides of her skirt. "There's no money in my pockets..."

"Your skirt doesn't have pockets, Meme-chan."

"Oh? Then I must've misplaced my allowance again..."

"I can't believe you'd do that!" Kim pouted furiously. "Y-Yeah, I like Ox-kun...a little..."

"I knew you guys would get together," Anya said proudly, sticking her nose in the air and walking to her room.

"Sorry, Kim-senpai," Tsugumi apologized and bowed. "Come on, Meme-chan."

Tsugumi pushed Meme into their room and shut the door, leaving Kim blushing in the hallway.

.

.

.

"Are you excited, Tsugumi-chan?" Meme asked, sitting on her bed.

"Y-Yeah, and nervous," Tsugumi said, holding out her hands. "Look, I'm shaking."

"I'm surprised Friday came so quickly," Anya put in. "And now, Akane-kun will be here any minute~!"

"I like your outfit, Tsugumi-chan," Meme said, smiling.

Tsugumi's hair wasn't in its usual pigtails, but instead was braided on either side of her head. She wore a lavender t-shirt with the DWMA symbol on it; a cartoonish skull with three circles for the eyes and nose. She also wore a black skirt and her usual black boots, and she had bracelets on each wrists.

"Does it look too dressy?" Tsugumi asked, examining herself in the mirror one last time.

"No, no! It looks fine!" Meme assured her. "I'm sure Akane-kun will like it!"

Almost as if on cue, there was a knock on the girls' door. Sure enough, Akane stood behind it, a bouquet of colored roses in his hand. He wore more casual clothes compared to his usual uniform; a DWMA t-shirt along with his blazer, and dark blue jeans.

"Wow, Harudori," he said, handing the bouquet to her. "You look great."

"T-Thanks," she mumbled, awkwardly taking the roses from him. "Y-You do too." She set them on her dresser.

"Shall we go?" Akane asked, holding his hand out and grinning.

"Y-Yes..." She reached out and took it, blushing.

"I'll bring her back before midnight," he said to Meme and Anya before leading Tsugumi down the stairs and into the lobby.

"S...So," Tsugumi said after they exited the dorm. "Where are we going?"

"It's a surprise," he said, giving her a small smile. "One of my friends from the EAT class let me borrow his motorcycle."

"Who?"

"Soul Eater."

"Oh, that's Maka-senpai's weapon, right?" Tsugumi asked, referring to Maka Albarn, a meister in the EAT class.

"You know Maka?"

"I met her once or twice when I first came here..."

"I see she influenced your hairstyle." Akane reached over and played with one of her braids with his free hand. "Though apparently not tonight."

"I-I thought they were cute..." Tsugumi mumbled, embarrassed.

"They look cuter on you," Akane said, swooping down and kissing her forehead quickly, causing Tsugumi's face to turn cherry. "Anyway, the motorcycle's outside of the academy, so let's go get it."

"O-Okay."

Sure enough, parked outside of the DWMA was an orange motorcycle with a license plate that said 'Soul Eater'. Taped on the seat was a note that read,

"Crash it and you die.

–Soul."

"H-He's not serious, right?!" Tsugumi asked, a scared look on her face.

"I don't think so," Akane said unsurely. "At least I hope he's not. He  is  a scythe, and he has these scary sharp teeth—"

Tsugumi squealed.

"I'm kidding, his sharp teeth aren't dangerous," he said, rubbing her back comfortingly. "If he does try to kill you, I'll protect you, don't worry."

Akane swung his leg over the motorcycle and sat down. Tsugumi sat behind him.

"Wrap your arms around me and hold on," he commanded.

When she complied, he started up the bike and rode out of the campus.

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.

.

They rode through the winding roads of Death City. The sun was beginning to set and looked tired as it sank in the sky, while the grinning moon rose on the opposite side of the Earth.

The wind whipped Tsugumi's braids around as she rested her head on Akane's back, breathing in his scent. She felt his warmth and relaxed, calming the fear of the motorcycle and the so-called 'Soul Eater'.

"Are you holding up okay back there?" Akane asked, turning his head slightly.

"Yeah," she said, holding on to him a bit tighter.

"We're almost there, so hang on a little longer, okay?"

"Okay..."

They were now in a part of Death City Tsugumi didn't know existed. It was similar to the area near the academy, but the buildings in this area were brighter and there were more people. As opposed to their being mostly foot-traffic, like back where she was familiar with, there were several cars on the road ahead and behind them.

They pulled into a parking lot next to a building that had a neon-colored sign. Akane drove into one of the spaces and stopped the bike, and put the kickstand down. He hopped off and held his arm out to Tsugumi, who held onto it and climbed off of the motorcycle as well.

"Well, we're here," he said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. "Sorry, it's not much, but it's all I can afford right now."

They walked around to the front of the building, where they could now read the sign. It read 'Death City Diner' on the sign above the entrance. The building was colored baby-blue, and it had a row of windows on each side.

"It's fine," Tsugumi said happily. "It's more than fine. Thank you, Akane." She hugged him. "I'm really happy tonight."

"Me too, Harudori," he said, and returned the embrace. "Now..." He grabbed her hand. "Let's eat, shall we?"

"We shall," Tsugumi said, giggling. They pushed open the front door and entered the restaurant.

Chapter Text

“Table for two?” a red-haired waitress asked, looking at Tsugumi and Akane as the entered the restaurant. She wore a maid-like uniform; it was similar to the one Tsugumi had worn at her part-time job at Deathbucks. On the waitress’s chest was a nametag that said ‘Yuna’.

“Yes, please,” Akane said, giving Tsugumi’s hand a slight squeeze.

“Come with me,” Yuna said, gesturing for them to follow her deeper into the diner.

They passed through several rows of booths and tables until they reached one on the back wall that was empty. Yuna set two menus down on the table and brought out a small notebook, also grabbing the pen from behind her ear.

“Can I get you some drinks to start out?”

“Uh, a root beer for me,” Akane said as they sat down across from each other. “And...” He glanced at Tsugumi.

“P-Pepsi,” she stuttered.

“Alright, coming right up,” Yuna said, and disappeared into the back kitchen.

Tsugumi shifted awkwardly, staring down at the colorful menu. She peeked up at Akane, who was staring at her.

“Are you alright?” he asked. “You’re acting strange.”

“I-I’m fine!” she said, shaking her hands in front of her and giving a smile. “I’m just nervous, that’s all!”

Akane smirked and nodded. “First date, huh?”

“Y-Yeah...”

“Don’t worry,” he said, reaching across the table and grabbing her hand. “It’s mine too.”

“R-Really?!”

“Yeah, is it that shocking?”

“W-Well, you seem like you know exactly what to do,” Tsugumi said, giggling slightly. “You’re s-so calm and I’m a nervous wreck...”

He shrugged. “I don’t know why I’m not freaking out. But it’s not really a big deal anyway; I’m hoping this is just the first of many dates.”

Tsugumi’s face turned red, and she was about to say something when Yuna returned with their drinks. She set them on the table along with two straws.

“Thank you,” Akane said.

“Are you guys ready to order?” she asked in a monotone voice that sounded bored.

“Yeah, I guess,” Akane said. He looked at Tsugumi, waiting for her to speak up.

“Y-Yes...” she squeaked and picked up her menu. “I-I’ll have...capellini.”

“And I’ll have soba.”

Yuna tucked the menus under her arm and finished writing their orders in her notepad. “Coming right up.” She turned and walked back into the restaurant kitchen.

“Your stuttering is cute,” Akane stated flatly, causing Tsugumi to cover her face with her hands in order to hide the blush that crept on her cheeks.

“S-Stop calling me cute!” she mumbled.

“See? There it is.”

“S-Shut up!”

“Tsugumi,” he said. “Look at me.”

Picking her head up for a moment, she looked at Akane, who reached over and poked her nose.

“Eh?!”

“Your nose is all red,” he noticed. “As well as your whole face, of course.”

“Do y-you have to point that out?” she sighed.

“Yes.”

Soon enough, Yuna came back with two plates in a tray that rested in the palm of her hands. She set the capellini in front of Tsugumi and the soba in front of Akane before moving to a different table.

To avoid bringing the conversation about her blush back up, Tsugumi stuffed a fork-full of the thin noodles into her mouth. “This is really good!” she said after she finished chewing.

Taking a bite of his own noodles, Akane nodded. “This too,” he commented. “This place is one of the best in Death City.”

“Even better than Master’s shop?”

“Not quite,” Akane laughed. “But close.”

Tsugumi smiled and sipped her Pepsi. “I’m sure he’ll be happy you said that.”

“I don’t think my opinion matters too much to him,” Akane smirked. “He has plenty of other happy customers.”

“I guess.” She sipped up the last of her Pepsi and set the glass back on the table.

“Oh, do you want a refill?” Akane asked, motioning to the empty glass. Tsugumi replied with a nod. “Excuse me!” he said loudly, hoping to get the attention of a nearby waitress. She looked up and walked over to their table.

“What do you need, darlin’?” she said.

“Can she get another refill?” he asked and pointed to Tsugumi’s glass. “Pepsi.”

“Of course,” she said and picked it up. “Give me one second.”

Akane leaned back against the back of the booth and brought his own glass to his lips. The waitress came back minutes later, a full glass of Pepsi in her hand. She set it down on the table. “Here you go, hun,” she said, and headed toward a different table.

Akane looked at her. “Now isn’t this better?”

“Hm?” Tsugumi shot him a confused look.

“You’re not blushing or stuttering anymore. Don’t you feel more comfortable?”

She stopped for a minute before closing her eyes. “Yeah.”

“I’m glad,” Akane said.

“Akane-kun,” Tsugumi said.

“Hm?”

“It’s getting kind of late.”

“Alright,” he smiled. “Now hurry up and finish your food,” he said, looking at his watch. “We have another place to go before I take you home.”

Finishing the last of her capellini, she giggled. “Alright, alright.”

They left their empty bowls on the table, along with the bill and a tip for Yuna, and made their way towards the entrance. Akane held the door open as Tsugumi went through and onto the sidewalk.

“By the way,” Akane said, reaching down for Tsugumi’s hand. “Remember, you can drop the ‘-kun’.”

“Alright, Akane,” she giggled.

They went back into the parking lot and over to the bike. Akane put the kickstand back up and sat down in front of Tsugumi, who wrapped her arms around his waist. “Where to now?” she asked, raising her voice over the motorcycle’s engine.

“Just wait and see,” Akane said, and pulled out of the parking space and out onto the street.

Chapter Text

Tsugumi’s braids flapped in the wind as she and Akane flew down the street on Soul’s motorcycle. She was anxious about where Akane was taking her, but the ride was relaxing nonetheless.

Snapping out of her own little world when Akane stopped the bike, she looked up at her surroundings.

“...Akane?”

“Yeah?”

“Where are we?”

In front of them was a field of grass. They had taken a side road and were now far from streetlights and urban activity. The only sounds to be heard were those of nature.

“I thought we could go stargazing before we went home,” he said. He walked forward and sat down, motioning for Tsugumi to sit with him. She plopped down next to him. He shook his head. “No, not there.”

Looking confused, she felt two hands under her arms, and before she knew what was happening she was being lifted. She was set back down in Akane’s lap. He wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on top of hers.

She was glad it was too dark to see her blush.

They both stared up at the sky, which was dotted and dashed with star after star. Tsugumi sighed contently and relaxed in Akane's embrace.

“We can stay out here for a couple more minutes,” Akane said, “and then we’ll head back home.”

“Mmm,” Tsugumi confirmed.

Akane glanced down at his watch. The illuminated numbers read, “11:30”. He tapped Tsugumi’s shoulder. “Stand up. We should start heading back.”

“Okay,” Tsugumi stood and stretched her legs before following Akane back to the motorcycle. They got back on and headed back to the DWMA girls’ dorms.

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They pulled up to the front of the dormitory, and Akane swung his leg over the side. He noticed Tsugumi slumped against him, and turned around to see that she had fallen asleep. He smiled and picked her up bridal style. He opened the front door and headed up the stairs and toward her room. He knocked on the door three times, and Anya opened it. She gasped when she saw Tsugumi.

“What did you do to her?!” Anya screeched.

Akane laughed. “Don’t worry, she’s just asleep.”

Meme came to the door behind Anya. “Eh? Tsugumi-chan?”

“I brought her back safe, as promised,” Akane said almost proudly. He leaned down and kissed Tsugumi’s forehead before walking in the room and setting Tsugumi on her bed. He took one last look at her before heading back into the hall. “See you later,” he said to Anya and Meme, and made his way back down the stairs.

Meme closed the door and climbed into bed. “We’ll hear what happened in the morning,” Anya said, and turned off the light.

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Tsugumi was first to wake up. She opened her eyes slowly. “Akane-kun…?” she mumbled. She sat up and saw that she was in her own dorm. “Awe, I must’ve fallen asleep…”

Anya was next. She sat up and yawned. “Good morning, Tsugumi-san. How did you date go?”

“Good, actually!” Tsugumi smiled. “It was really nice.”

“You’ll have to tell us the details when Meme-san wakes up,” Anya grinned.

“I’m awake!” Meme bolted upright in her bed suddenly.

The girls giggled, and Tsugumi began telling the tale of her magical night with Akane.