Completely, Absolutely, Positively, Unequivocally...
Ryuu could pinpoint the exact moment in which he knew he was absolutely, positively fucked.
Well, actually, strike that.
There were a couple of them.
It started when he felt his ears burning before classes- the name Naruko Io sticking out amongst the inane chatter amongst the other second-years. He didn’t quite catch the individual words around the name, just a couple here and there- uptight, greedy, cold, money-loving bastard , to name just a few. The nail in the coffin was when they insinuated Io would be lonely the rest of his days; counting his stock balance in isolation and watching the world go by around him. That’s what got Ryuu up and yelling.
“Says you, asshole! Weren’t you at the bottom of the list for the last set of exams? You’d be lucky to even be hired as an underling of Io’s after we graduate,” he’d growled, earning nothing more than a sneer from the boy doing the majority of the teasing. It could have been left at that, the group looking as if they were going to drop the entire conversation, but Io just had to have chosen that moment to walk into the conversation, blinking as three or four heads turned to look at him at once.
“Oh, look, there’s the other half,” one of the other boys had said, smirking. “They defend each other, right on cue.”
“Eh?” Ryuu arched an eyebrow. Io’s expression hardened. It was imperceptible to anyone else, but Ryuu could tell- the mask went up without warning. And it was directed at him.
“Naruko was saying something like ‘we’d be so lucky to get even one of the girls you’ve gone out with to look our way,’ wasn’t that it?” the boy jeered. Io brushed past him and took his seat, but didn’t look at Ryuu.
“Tch, ‘what girls?’ we said. Ain’t that right? It’s so typical, the loser ‘couple’ sticks up for one another,” the boy continued- Ryuu couldn’t remember his name- but what he did remember was how Io’s voice was like ice as he cut off the boy’s bitter laugh, flatly stating:
“Call me what you like, but Ryuu is ten times the man I’d ever be. ‘Loser’ simply isn’t possible with him.”
He was definitely fucked when his first thought wasn’t gratitude, but outrage, complete with his heart tightening in his chest- how dare he sell himself short to make me look better .
It hadn’t gotten any better with the entire panda monster incident. The Defense Club, to no avail, had attempted to get the ice to crack, but it was no use. Io was stubborn, but Ryuu could be even more stubborn, and he wasn’t going to let it go that his best friend(?) thought that he was a better man! It wasn’t even remotely close to being true. He had tried to tell Io as much, but Io wouldn’t have any of it, flatly insisting that Ryuu “get his head out of his ass” and see his worth to society. It was dumbfounding. How could someone so smart be so stupid? It had killed Ryuu, sitting back-to-back with Io, tension so thick he could practically see it, and he hadn’t been able to do anything about it. Io wouldn’t see reason, and Ryuu, as much as he had wanted to turn around, snap a silly selfie with Io and get on with their lives… he knew Io wouldn’t just let it drop. Nope. He wouldn’t concede unless Ryuu admitted he was better- like the self-centered braggart the entire class thought he was.
And it would snow in hell before Ryuu played into his reputation like that .
So, he hadn’t looked at Io. Because looking at Io would have made him want to say things, or do things, even if he didn’t quite know what things his brain wanted him to do. He hadn’t looked at Io until they were in the midst of yelling down the stupid green panda thing, and it was almost a mistake. Io, as stoic as he usually was, had a fire to him when he was fighting. Ryuu didn’t see it often- they weren’t in true danger enough (what, with Yumoto taking care of pretty much most of the attacks) to get really into any of their battles, but on those rare occasions… Io’s grey eyes lit up like fireworks, and his face had this determined set to it; a similar expression to when he was moving numbers around in his head or calculating a big net gain from his latest venture. But it was ten times more intense when he was Battle Lover Sulfur- and that intensity almost made Ryuu falter. So, so fucked .
The remainder of the fight with the panda monster had been a haze- so much of one that Ryuu hardly registered how close Io was to him as they performed the True Love Attack and subsequent Love Fountain . If he had, he surely would have noticed how warm Io was in the heat of battle, how his chest rose and fell with each breath, how his ears turned pink when he exerted himself or was yelling things that Ryuu didn’t want to hear…
“ Give it a rest already, you icon ! ”
Nope. He didn’t notice any of that until later, not until he and Io were practically chest-to-chest, screaming compliments at one another while Kinugawa-senpai and Yufuin-senpai held them back. The fire in Io’s eyes burned straight through Ryuu, and it was only then that he suddenly became hyper-aware of his surroundings and Io’s oppressive presence so incredibly close to him. He could see Io’s chest heaving, the faint flush to the tips of his ears and his cheekbones… he could smell Io’s (expensive) cologne, practically feel his breath ghosting against his face and the rest of the clubroom just… ceased to exist. He hardly even noticed when Kinugawa-senpai let him go, nor when Yufuin-senpai screamed out the window about how stupidly they were behaving. The only things that registered in his mind were Io’s words, blaring on repeat, and the overwhelming thought that ‘ right now, all I’d have to do is lean forward and I could kiss him .’
What was also overwhelming was the realization that he wanted to. Badly .
...he was completely and utterly FUCKED .
And once Ryuu came to that realization, it suddenly seemed like everything Io did was nothing short of torture. It was like all of his best friend’s quirks, tics, and idiosyncrasies became twelve times more apparent and subsequently twelve times more attractive . Io’s gait, walking into campus the following morning like he owned the place? Attractive . Io’s secret little smile when he checked his portfolio during class? Doubly attractive . Io biting his lip in deep concentration as he ignored the rest of the Defense Club, most likely worrying about the results of the closing bell? Attractive as fuck . Ryuu spent a decent amount of time looking at Io during the day- no more than a best friend should , he’d like to think- but thanks to bullies, a stupid panda monster, Yumoto’s pitiful sewing job, and their ridiculous fight- the floodgates inside of Ryuu had opened up and there was absolutely no turning back. And so, he looked, and looked, and stared … and he’d never been subtle about anything, so why would he start then?
“The difference between today and yesterday is striking,” Yufuin-senpai said, breaking the silence that had fallen over the clubroom. Five heads simultaneously snapped up from what they were doing- Yumoto from cuddling a struggling Wom-san and Wom-san from said struggling, Kinugawa-senpai from his book, Io from his tablet, and Ryuu from... watching Io work over the top of his smartphone. Shit. Real smooth.
“What do you mean?” Kinugawa-senpai said. Yufuin tilted his head, leaning over onto his right arm lazily. He had a knowing half-smile on his face, and his eyes tracked slowly from Io to Ryuu, settling on the latter until Ryuu started to feel just a little uncomfortable. He hadn’t been watching for that long, had he? And had Yufuin been watching him watching?
“Yesterday, the two of them wouldn’t even look at one another until everything boiled over,” Yufuin said pointedly, still looking at Ryuu. “Today-”
“Oh! I know!” Yumoto interjected. “Today it’s like Ryuu-senpai can’t keep his eyes off of Io-senpai! Right?” Yumoto’s bright voice had never sounded so grating. (Well, never might be a bit strong… but nonetheless…)
“Hm? What now?” Io said, sounding unfortunately not the least bit shocked, and more curious, although Ryuu figured his ears could easily be playing tricks on him. His body had been known to fail him in the most dire of circumstances, (the screw monster coming to mind fairly easily) and having five sets of eyes watching his every move was more than enough reason for him not to trust his own reactions. The only thing he knew was that it was getting uncomfortably warm in the club room.
“Y-you’re making shit up!” Ryuu said, hoping he didn’t sound as hollow as he thought he did. He also hoped his face wasn’t giving him away- it was really stifling in the room- but again, he’d never been known for subtlety, had he?
“Mm… no, it’s true,” Yufuin said, his amused smile turning more into a teasing grin. “You’ve been watching him for the last twenty minutes, at least.”
Had he really been staring that long?
“Was there something you didn’t get to say yesterday?” Kinugawa said, blinking innocently, but Ryuu wouldn’t put it past him to be in on it with Yufuin. He’d caught them more than once sharing their own looks- but pointing that out wouldn’t help his case at all. Not when he was trying to brush the entire thing aside as Yufuin’s projections or Yumoto’s interpretations (which were rarely wrong, if he thought about it).
“Unresolved tension, perhaps?” Wom-san took that as his opportunity to chime in, wriggling free from Yumoto’s grasp to jump onto the table in the middle of the room. Ryuu was feeling cornered, cursing the fact that he’d once again chosen the desk at the back of the clubroom. Was the thermostat broken or something? He felt a drop of sweat run down the back of his neck.
“It did seem like you two made up, but if there’s anything lingering you should get it out in the open.” Yufuin just didn’t know when to shut up, it seemed. “It’ll be bad for the club if you two argue again.”
“Yeah, Ryuu-senpai,” Yumoto said, placing his hands on the table dramatically. “If you have something to say to Io-senpai, you should say it!” Five pairs of eyes peered at Ryuu expectantly. This is how I die, of heat stroke.
“Ryuu… do you have something to tell me?” Io said, but Ryuu couldn’t place his tone. Was he amused too? Annoyed? Exasperated? The walls were closing in on Ryuu. Io’s gaze was the most oppressive. And he didn’t even have anything to say! Nothing that he could say in front of the Club, anyway. Certainly nothing that he could say to Io’s face. He couldn’t even say it to himself! It had been less than 24 hours since he’d even come to the stupid realization that Io was goddamn gorgeous- in addition to being amazing . He hadn’t had the time to even process what any of it meant. Ryuu swallowed hard. There was only one thing he could do;
Run away like a little bitch.
“I-I’m going first!” he said too loudly, standing up from his chair so fast that it fell over with a crash. The others jumped slightly.
“Going where?” Yumoto asked.
“K-Kurotama! Away from all this s-stupidity!” Ryuu grabbed his bag and threw it over his shoulder, storming towards the door to the clubroom. He knew he must’ve looked guilty of something- what, with the way everyone continued to stare at him, but if he stayed in the clubroom for one more minute he wouldn’t have been able to breathe. The door slammed shut behind him and he darted down the stairs, ignoring the commotion that started up behind the door once it closed. He figured he’d be followed quickly, but if he could get enough of a head start, maybe he could calm down enough to play off the entire situation as a joke or something by the time the others caught up with him.
If only his heart would stop its incessant pounding.
“Well… that was certainly unexpected.”
“I wonder what’s gotten into Ryuu.”
“Io-senpai, you should go after him!”
“You think so?”
“It seems you’re the source of whatever the problem is.”
“Though… En-chan, did you really have to point out that he was staring?”
“It would have been noticed sooner or later.”
Surprisingly, Ryuu managed to make it all the way to Kurotama without any of the others catching up to him. He greeted Gora-san at the door briefly, though he ducked into the changing area without answering Gora’s arched eyebrow and unspoken question as to where the others were. He was still frazzled, although he’d finally stopped feeling overheated and like he was about to drop dead from stress. He just hoped he could get a decent-length soak in before the rest of the Defense Club showed up. It would give him a chance to gather his thoughts into some semblance of coherency, instead of a constant stream of ‘what the fuck’ and ‘why does Io have to be so… attractive ?’
Ryuu supposed he'd always known Io was attractive on some level, but he'd never really realized that Io was attractive to him, before. In the same way that girls were, even. Well, perhaps not exactly the same way… while he'd certainly noticed that some other boys were attractive, before the whole Io incident it had just been a subconscious base-level thing, like noticing the day was overcast or that an apple was red. That had been the extent of his feelings towards most of the girls he dated, too, save for a couple that really had got his heart pounding even when they weren't physically next to him. But Io was different than anyone he'd ever found attractive, before. Maybe it was because it wasn't just Io’s outside appearance that was attractive. It was more than that- it was his mannerisms, (if he was happy, he held his tablet in his left hand, stressed, the right) his wit, (the sea slug comment???) his voice… (oh, when he said Ryuu’s name…) his intellect… (Ryuu was very rarely jealous of anyone’s academic achievements. Io at times made him feel positively stupid .)
So perhaps that was it. Io’s everything was attractive. He just had been too thick to notice it before Io all but confessed that he found Ryuu of all people more amazing than he was.
What kind of crazy backwards world did Io live in, anyhow?!
Ryuu placed his bag into one of the storage lockers and began to undress, loosening his tie completely and shrugging out of his jacket. The heart-shaped patch in the lining caught his eye, and Ryuu bit his lip. He could have gone his entire life without knowing Yumoto was behind his jacket’s upgrade, and that he and Io matched . He and Io had playfully refuted Wom-san’s insistence that they matched him , but in addition to the rest of the previous day’s events, Ryuu hadn’t been able to get the image out of his mind. It made his heart clench and his stomach hurt. He sighed, folding the jacket in half and moving to hang it up with his shirt, tie, pants and underwear, taking his time to put his clothes away instead of haphazardly throwing them into the locker like he usually did. He looped a towel around his waist then pulled off his headband, letting his hair fall to his shoulders with a couple shakes of his head. The headband had been bothering him recently, cutting into his scalp more than usual and leaving him with mild headaches by the time he got to the bath. He ran his fingers through his hair a few times, pulling the slightly tangled strands apart. He’d thought about wearing it in a ponytail, instead, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to get rid of his signature look. Perhaps he was as vain as his classmates said he was.
“Your hair is getting long.” Ryuu nearly jumped out of his skin when none other than Io’s voice came drifting through the changing room. The door swung shut quietly and Ryuu glanced over his shoulder as Io headed to the locker next to him, as usual, standing much too close for Ryuu’s comfort. Why is this happening? Suddenly, the feeling of being uncomfortably warm was back- which was definitely not conducive to getting into a hot bath- but this was ten times worse. He was alone, with Io, and aside from his towel, completely naked. And while he’d been naked around Io and the rest of the Defense Club more times than he could count… considering his little realization… the context meant everything .
Completely, absolutely and utterly FUCKED .
“Er- yeah… I might need to start wearing it up soon,” Ryuu said, stuttering in a vain attempt at normalcy. Io was standing still next to him, not making any moves to undress or put his things away or anything. Just… standing there, watching him. Literally the opposite of what had evidently happened earlier. Only this time, Ryuu was painfully aware of the staring. He couldn’t meet Io’s eyes. Instead, he shut the storage locker and again, decided that “running away like a little bitch” was the best course of action. Maybe Io would let him soak in peace. He wasn’t known for being talkative. Perhaps he’d realized that leaving things well enough alone was for the best! Oh, Ryuu could only hope. He turned to head towards the bath, reflexively grabbing the towel around his waist so it wouldn’t fall.
“You’ve been acting differently.” It was a statement, not a question. Like any of Io’s other observations about the weather or his stock portfolio. Ryuu winced.
“Y-you’ve been letting Yufuin-senpai get to you,” he said, waving his hand dismissively. “E-everything’s fine.” He didn’t turn around.
“Then what was that about earlier?” Io asked pointedly.
“What was what about?”
“Don’t play stupid with me, Ryuu- ‘I’m going first!’?” Io’s voice was low, slightly mocking, but as direct as ever. “You were avoiding something.”
Ryuu growled and spun around, unable to help his reaction. “I was avoiding being a victim of one of Yufuin’s pranks!”
Io simply folded his arms, unmoved. “Yufuin-senpai pointing out you were looking at me is a prank?”
Ryuu swallowed. The room was starting to feel warm, again. “I wasn’t looking at you.”
“Don’t lie to me, Ryuu.” Io was persistent. Persistently gorgeous . Ryuu’s gaze fell to the ground.
“I wasn’t looking at you!” He knew he sounded hollow, petulant. He gripped his towel harder.
“I saw you.”
Ryuu’s head snapped up at that. Io looked at him expectantly, grey eyes surprisingly patient yet probing. Ryuu suddenly felt as if his tongue was stuck to the roof of his mouth. He shifted on his feet, tearing his eyes away from Io’s face, not trusting his own expression. Io had caught him- though what he was thinking was anyone’s guess. “...I-I was just… resting my eyes… d-daydreaming.” One final excuse wouldn’t hurt?
“ Ryuu .” Io saying his name like that… stung. Io was absolutely fed up, and it was all his fault. He didn’t know . But he wouldn’t understand! Ryuu felt something clench inside his chest- something desperate. He was backed into a corner.
“What do you want me to say , Io?!”
“Whatever you aren’t saying, obviously.”
“It isn’t just a matter of something I want to say ,” Ryuu said, letting out an exasperated groan and rubbing his face vigorously with his free hand. “Seriously, Yufuin can put a fucking cork in it. I don’t know where he gets the idea-”
“Then what is it?” Io wasn’t having any of it.
“It isn’t a matter of saying something, it’s whether you’ll even believe me or not!”
Some sort of understanding seemed to wash over Io’s features. “I thought it was about yesterday,” he said, and for a brief, blissful moment, Ryuu thought maybe he understood. But the defensiveness came back, Io moving to place his hands on his hips like he often did when he was in lecture mode. “You need to accept the fact that you’re much more-”
“ No. No. Stop right there, I’m not doing this shit again Naruko .” The last name was a slip, but Io’s eyes widened a fraction. Ryuu winced inwardly- he was getting closer and closer to spilling and he had no idea what would happen. It was terrifying. And Io was so… he glowered. “Goddammit you don’t fucking get it.”
But Io’s gaze hardened into ice. “No. Apparently I don’t.” His voice fell flat and he crossed his arms over his chest again. “Explain it to me, Zaou. ”
“Don’t-” Ryuu started, but his voice died in his throat. A thousand words were at the tip of his tongue but none of them seemed like the right ones. What did he say? What did he do? He gripped his towel tighter around his waist, desperately wishing that he wasn’t having this conversation basically naked . But Io was the master of bad timing. Or maybe that was himself. Either way, it was happening. It was happening whether or not Io accepted it. Ryuu felt as if his heart was going to burst out of his chest at any moment, but Io was looking at him with such steel, such hurt… he had no idea, did he?
“Fuck. Io. Jesus Christ. Okay. If you’re actually gonna let me explain, it’s like this,” Ryuu said, rubbing his temples. “I get that you think I’m more amazing than you are or some bullshit, and you aren’t gonna concede to that. It’s not necessarily that that bothers me, even though it does bother me on some level. What bothers me more is the fact that the fact that you think I’m more amazing than you are won’t stop bouncing around my goddamn skull. And because of that, in the course of the day I went from mildly irritated to absolutely obsessed. Because all of a sudden I can’t get you out of my head .”
“No- let me finish.” He held up his hand, trying to ignore how much it was shaking. “It’s- I thought about you all day. And fine. I was staring because I was thinking about you.”
Io had schooled his face back into his typical mask; Ryuu felt vaguely nauseous. Carefully, Io spoke, his voice quieter than Ryuu expected. “What were you thinking about about me?”
“Mostly about the fact that for some reason, being aware of how you think I’m more amazing apparently makes you ridiculously attractive .”
If Ryuu hadn’t been mid-speech and practically so embarrassed he could melt, he would have laughed and taken a picture of Io’s expression. He ran his hand through his hair. The floodgates were open. There was no turning back.
“You’re so attractive I can’t think about anything else. I can’t think about anything except how smart you are, how much I admire your dedication to your finances, how when it comes down to it even though none of us really want this whole Battle Lover thing you actually are willing to… fucking destroy stupid monsters that ruin our day. Even moreso how you put up with me and how much I talk about girls and my stupid dates and you humor me when I want to take selfies even though you hate pictures… and I’m so glad you don’t make me delete them ‘cause in the last 24 hours I’ve looked at every single picture of us in my phone at least six times-” Ryuu trailed off mid-sentence, but only to take a breath because he’d been speaking so fast he’d run out of air. He felt dizzy and a bit ill and Io was looking at him, wide-eyed and curious and shit .
“I...I’m talking too much. I’m trying to say that-” Ryuu’s mouth was suddenly dry. This was a mistake .
“I mean that I-” Apparently, stopping to breathe had stopped his flow. A huge mistake.
“I-” His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth again. He forgot how to swallow. Everything is going to be ruined.
“I…” Io quirked an eyebrow. They were much further apart than the previous day, but suddenly, Ryuu couldn’t keep it to himself any longer. He doesn’t know how amazing he is.
It only took a split second to decide…
FUCK IT .
Securing his towel onto his hips, Ryuu strode across the room with as much bravado as he could muster, coming chest-to-chest with Io. It mildly irritated him that Io was taller. Io’s eyes widened a fraction- those gorgeous , grey eyes- and Ryuu reached up to place both of his hands on either side of Io’s face, and lean in to do what he’d (if he were honest) been thinking about doing practically nonstop since the day before.
He kissed Io.
Io was stiff against him at first, but as cheesy as it was, the first thing Ryuu noticed was that Io’s lips were anything but stiff. They were soft, warm, and kissing Io was so much different than kissing a girl. The mechanics were the same, but Ryuu’s heart had never done backflips before when he kissed a girl, nor had he ever seen fireworks behind his eyelids. He felt tingly from his head to his toes and then Io started to kiss him back .
Ryuu thought that if he died right there, he’d at least die happy.
Io’s arms looped around Ryuu’s waist loosely, fingertips teasing his bare skin. It felt like pure electricity where their lips met and while the kiss was relatively chaste, Ryuu had never felt more turned on in his entire life. Everything just felt so… right . He wasn’t sure how he managed to keep his body in check, but he managed for the time being, reluctantly pulling his head back slightly after a few moments to finally let the words he’d been holding back tumble out against Io’s lips before keeping them inside suffocated him-
“...I like you, Io.”
Ryuu caught Io’s smirk through half-lidded eyes before Io chose to respond by kissing him again hard , pulling Ryuu tight against him and smashing their lips together clumsily. Ryuu felt his knees buckle, but then he was moving backwards as Io pushed his back into the nearest wall, allowing Ryuu to sag against Io as he wrapped his arms around Io’s neck. Emboldened, Ryuu nipped at Io’s lower lip, which earned him a soft groan and Io’s parted lips and tongue and oh, fuck , it was unlike anything he’d ever felt, before. His entire body felt too warm, but it was in a good way; instead of feeling suffocated he felt invigorated, alive , like every nerve in his body was on fire. He was hyper-aware of each individual sensation- Io’s fingers gripping his hip and running through his hair, leaving goosebumps in their wake, Io’s clothed chest pressed against his bare one, Io’s hitched breathing with each brush of their lips, Io’s tongue sliding across his lower lip repeatedly… his senses overwhelmed, he was quickly turning to jello and yet he didn’t want to stop. Ever.
But the others would likely show up, soon, and probably wouldn’t appreciate walking in on… that . While the thought registered in the back of Ryuu’s head, Io must’ve had a bit more wherewithal to slow things down, his desperate kiss becoming a little more gentle, until he pulled away with a soft hum. Ryuu’s lips felt swollen and part of him felt like he might faint, but when he opened his eyes, dazed, Io simply smiled at him and dammit all, Ryuu would take the dizziness if it meant he could see Io smile 24/7.
“...Ryuu,” Io said after a moment, his voice thick. Ryuu shivered.
Io’s smile faltered. “...you’re an idiot.”
Ryuu blinked, some of the fog clearing only to be replaced by mild panic. “What?”
“I like you, too,” Io said, as if it were the most uninteresting thing in the world. Yet, his lip quirked back up into a smirk and he reached up to flick Ryuu’s forehead. “It’s about time you told me. I was beginning to wonder if you were rejecting me- I thought I was being obvious.”
Ryuu’s eyes widened and he felt his face get warm again. “W-wait,” he said, unable to help his stutter. “...what was that?”
“I’ve been dropping hints for awhile, now.” The statement was matter-of-fact, but Ryuu wasn’t following.
“Since spring, at least.”
Ryuu was floored. “What hints?!”
“Pretty much everything you covered,” Io said, pulling back to count on his fingers. “Letting you take pictures of me even though I can’t stand it… listening to you drone on and on about your dates-”
“You’re making all that sound like a bad thing-” Ryuu started to protest.
Io continue, unperturbed, “-and defending your image from the other boys in class. I thought I was pretty clear when I said that you’re more amazing than I am.”
“...but I’m not!” It was hard for Ryuu not to pout. He didn’t want to go through that again . But Io simply stared at him.
“ I was trying to make a point , Ryuu .”
“Oh…” Ryuu blinked. And then he felt his face heat up. If his cheeks didn’t match his hair before, they definitely did, then. “... oh .”
“Idiot,” Io said, threading his fingers back through Ryuu’s hair. Both the motion and the chuckle he let out after made Ryuu shiver, which didn’t go unnoticed by Io. He slid his fingers down the back of Ryuu’s neck to his shoulder, lightly tracing a pattern along his skin. Ryuu swallowed thickly.
“So…” he said quietly, finding it hard to think with Io’s hand quickly descending down his body. “W-what happens now?”
“Well I’d been hoping that as ‘experienced’ as you are, you’d only find it natural to ask me on a date,” Io said, sounding amused. Ryuu didn’t know it was possible to feel so warm. The club room’s atmosphere was nothing compared to the heat he was feeling from Io’s words.
“I- er-” Ryuu stuttered. Io’s hand was dipping lower, trailing up and down his side and brushing dangerously close to his towel. He wondered if Io was trying to get him excited. But if he thought too much about that, he couldn’t get out what he really wanted to say. So he pushed that to the back of his mind for the time being, clearing his throat before speaking again. “A date sounds nice, but we know each other well enough already that I… I’d rather ask you to be my b-boyfriend, instead.”
The b-word sounded foreign coming from his mouth when he was referring to someone other than himself, but at the same time… everything clicked into place at once. He wanted Io to be his boyfriend; someone he could go on dates with, take pictures with whenever he wanted, kiss whenever he wanted (and more… ulp )... Io blinked, and then smiled so warmly Ryuu thought once more that he might simply pass out from the sight, but then Io was kissing him again and Ryuu was a little too preoccupied to pass out, what with Io’s arms around him and his lips quickly becoming something Ryuu was addicted to. When Io finally pulled away, they were both short of breath and clinging to one another as if life depended on it.
“Boyfriend, it is,” Io said, and Ryuu was pleased to note that both the tips of Io’s ears and his cheeks were flushed; Ryuu wasn’t the only one feeling the heat. “Though I’ll be disappointed if you don’t take me on at least one of your ‘famous’ dates. I’d like to see up close how much you stimulate the economy.”
Ryuu snorted, holding back a laugh as Io mischievously quirked an eyebrow. “Oh, don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of dates. Though you may have to help me pay for some… I’m not as rich as you are.”
“You’ll just have to pay me back, somehow,” Io said, though his lips twisted into a smirk as he added “I’m sure we’ll think of something ,” his fingertips wandering along the skin of Ryuu’s lower back. Ryuu bit his lip, the suggestion bringing up all kinds of thoughts he hadn’t dared to entertain before. Io chuckled again and Ryuu squirmed. He’s enjoying this too much .
“In all seriousness, I’m… happy,” Io said after a bit, his eyes meeting Ryuu’s as he reached up to brush some of Ryuu’s hair away from his face. “I didn’t think you felt this way.”
“I didn’t think you did, either,” Ryuu said quietly, tilting his head forward to rest his forehead against Io’s. “I thought you wouldn’t believe me or you’d make fun of me or something... “
“Never,” Io said.
“Anchaaaaaaaaan~ we’re here!” Yumoto’s (very) loud voice filtering in through the changing room from outside broke the silence. Io made a face and stepped back as Ryuu sagged against the wall a bit, running his fingers through his hair.
“They were bound to come eventually,” Ryuu said, annoyed. He felt much, much better after his admission, but he didn’t quite think he was ready to say anything to the rest of the Defense Club yet. Although Yufuin would probably take one look at the two of them and figure it out… Ryuu just hoped he’d keep it to himself, for once.
“Go ahead and get in the bath,” Io said, moving towards the lockers as he began to undress. “We can tell them, later. They’ll be suspicious anyway, but you might not want them to see…” Io trailed off, his eyes falling down towards Ryuu’s waist. Ryuu glanced down and groaned; he’d been hoping a certain something hadn’t been too noticeable…
“Don’t worry about it, just go,” Io said, chuckling. “After we leave, we can figure something out about it at my place, if you want.”
Ryuu was absolutely floored. He’d never expected Io to be so… nonplussed. “I-I thought you’d want me to take you on a date, first!”
“You said yourself we know each other well enough, already,” Io said matter-of-factly, sliding out of his uniform jacket and starting to unbutton his shirt. The voices from outside started to get louder, but Ryuu almost didn’t hear them. He was too busy staring at Io’s collarbone. “Ryuu?”
He coughed. “...fair point.”
Io just smiled.
Ryuu was completely, absolutely, positively, unequivocally fucked.
And he wouldn’t have it any other way.