“Are you sure this is okay?” Ryouma asked, looking around. “This cafe looks pretty fancy…”
Nanao waved a hand nonchalantly. “Of course it’s fine. Can’t I treat my adorable junior once in a while?”
As expected, Ryouma’s face went a bit pink as his gaze went to the floor. “That’s not it… I just feel like we should split it…”
“Don’t be silly, it’s a normal cafe, it’s not that expensive.”
Ryouma looked back up, meeting Nanao’s eyes. His cheeks were still flushed, but he finally stopped looking so uncomfortable. A smile graced his features as he nodded his head.
“Okay. Thanks, Wakura-senpai!”
Nanao nodded his head, grinning back.
“No need to thank me, your continuous presence and source of amusement are thanks enough.”
Really, Ryouma made it so easy. To tease… to rile up… to fall for…
“Only you, Ryouma-kun,” Nanao said with a sigh.
“What?” Ryouma’s eyebrows creased with a mix of confusion and curiosity.
“Oh, nothing,” Nanao grinned.
Once their orders were taken, both of them getting tea and different pieces of cake, Ryouma started to fidget with his hands on top of the table.
“I’m sure it won’t be long,” Nanao said with a smile. Ryouma’s eyes widened and he flushed again.
“Ahaha… am I that obvious?”
“Quite,” Nanao agreed. “But I just know you well, Ryouma-kun, as well as how much you love sweets.”
Ryouma laughed in response. “I guess you do. You are always giving me sweets, Wakura-senpai. I feel like I should repay you in some way.”
“No need,” Nanao said. “As I said, your company is enough of a repayment.”
Now if only Ryouma knew how much he meant that…
“If-if you say so…” Ryouma looked flustered as he eyed his hands on the table. Nanao smiled. He meant everything he said, but it was so easy to tease Ryouma. It was his favourite pastime, finding new ways to turn his cute junior red.
The only problem was that Ryouma never seemed to pick up on the flirtations. No matter how much Nanao teased, flirted, paid attention to him, it seemed Ryouma wasn’t getting his hints…
Nanao stifled a sigh. It wasn’t long until the waitstaff appeared with their orders. Nanao watched, endeared, as Ryouma’s eyes lit up upon seeing the piece of chocolate cake in front of him.
He took a sip of his tea, almost forgetting about the piece of cake in front of him as well. He was too absorbed in watching Ryouma take a careful bite of his cake, watching his eyes close as he tasted it, a noise of pleasure coming out of his throat.
It was Nanao’s turn to avert his eyes as the sound turned Nanao’s thoughts in a very not family cafe-appropriate direction. Ryouma had no idea what he was doing to Nanao, did he?
“This is so delicious,” Ryouma said happily. “I’m coming here again and again in the future too!”
“I’m glad you like it,” Nanao said sincerely. “And make sure you take me with you, alright?”
Ryouma nodded. “Of course!”
Satisfied by that response, Nanao took a sample of his own piece of cake - lemon cream. It was quite delicious. He also made a noise in his throat, licking his lips as he swallowed his first bite.
His eyes moved over to Ryouma, and his heart raced upon seeing the look on Ryouma’s face. Ryouma was staring at him like he was entranced, his mouth opening enough that Nanao could see his tongue.
Nanao raised an eyebrow, a teasing lilt in his voice. “Like what you see?”
Ryouma licked his lips as he nodded. Nanao was taken aback by Ryouma’s honesty, when he saw just where Ryouma was looking. His eyes had dropped to look at Nanao’s plate.
Oh. Ryouma’s reaction was for the cake.
A bit disappointed, but willing to take advantage of the situation all the same, Nanao scooped a bit of his cake on his fork and held it across the table to Ryouma’s lips.
Ryouma looked startled, but he didn’t hesitate - his mouth closed around Nanao’s fork as he sampled the lemon cream. He chewed, swallowed, leaned back, and sighed.
“That one is so delicious too…” he murmured happily.
Nanao chuckled. “You really are shameless when it comes to sweets. Did you not realize that was an indirect kiss just now?”
Ryouma’s eyes flew open with surprise, his face turning bright pink.
“Ah-!” he said. “I… I… I… didn’t think- it… it was an acci-!” Ryouma let out a strangled groan as he put his head onto his arms on the table.
Amused, Nanao reached over to poke Ryouma’s head.
“Give me a piece of your cake and we’ll be even.”
Ryouma looked up again, still flustered, but receptive to the idea.
“Okay,” he agreed. He put a piece of his chocolate cake on his fork, moving it across the table to Nanao with a shaky hand, his gaze averted to the side.
Nanao leaned forward, eating the piece right from the fork as Ryouma had just done.
“Mmmm,” he agreed. “It’s delicious.”
Ryouma finally looked back at Nanao, beaming. “Right? When can we come back here, senpai?”
Apparently being flustered at their shared forks had eluded Ryouma for the moment. But excited, genuinely happy Ryouma was just as wonderful as flustered, shy Ryouma.
“Soon,” he said.
As they finished their cakes and left the cafe, Ryouma had a spring in his step as he looked around, eyeing the trees and the fallen leaves around them.
“Are you still that happy about the cake?” Nanao asked.
“Oh,” Ryouma flushed a bit, “no… I was just thinking that it’s Halloween soon… it’s a bit exciting.”
“Because of your sweet tooth, and there’s a lot of candy available?”
With a laugh, Ryouma put a hand behind his neck to scratch it. “That is a big reason…”
“Ryouma-kun, you’re so cute,” Nanao teased lightly, the gears in his head turning.
“Wakura-senpai, don’t tease me~!” Ryouma whined, lightly hitting his arm, which just made Nanao want to tease him harder.
But his mind lingered on one thought for the rest of the day.
Nanao came to school the next day with a bit of extra weight in his bag. His teasing hadn’t been getting through to Ryouma, at least enough for Ryouma to pick up on his feelings, so Nanao decided to take an extra step.
Inside Ryouma’s shoe locker, Nanao left something. A box of candy, along with a note.
Of course, Nanao didn’t leave his name on it. He was bold, but he wasn’t that bold. He wanted to give a subtle hint, not an outright love confession. That wasn’t his style.
In Ryouma’s locker now sat a heart-shaped box of chocolates - not really Halloween themed, but still, candy. Honey flavoured candy, a flavour that reminded him of Ryouma. And the note along with it read you’re as sweet as these candies.
At most, it was a hint, something for Ryouma to think about and wonder. And if it didn’t amount to anything, at least he hoped it would make Ryouma happy.
After all, the candies really tasted good. Nanao couldn’t help but buy a bunch extra for himself, popping them into his mouth throughout the day.
They were sweet, aromatic, and it made Nanao think of autumn, Ryouma, and potential sweet kisses he fantasized about.
The day went by too slowly for Nanao’s liking when all he wanted to do was find out what Ryouma’s reaction was to the surprise present.
But finally, he entered the club room to see Ryouma sitting at the table, Kyoutaro snoozing next to him. The first years weren’t there quite yet.
Ryouma was staring at the box of candy with a flustered look on his face. As he walked in, Ryouma’s eyes snapped up to meet his, and somehow in that moment, his face grew another shade of pink.
“Oh?” Nanao said, acting surprised. “What could that be?”
“Ah…” Ryouma said, clearly embarrassed. “I found this in my locker today.”
“Could it be that you have a secret admirer?” Nanao teased.
“Huh? Me?” Ryouma blinked. “I… ah… I don’t know. Maybe?”
He stared down at the box, opening it up, and taking a candy, unwrapping it, and popping it into his mouth. He still looked flustered, but a smile formed on his face as he ate a few more pieces.
Nanao thought it was safe to say his plan worked - Ryouma looked distracted, in deep thought, and he was enjoying the candies, too.
It made him happy knowing that. Even if Nanao’s feelings didn’t get through to Ryouma, he got to see Ryouma smile - to make him happy in this small way.
When Ryouma was looking the other direction, Nanao reached into the pocket of his blazer, grabbing another one of the candies and putting into his mouth, savouring it.
It was then when Ichiro and Taishi crashed into the room, arguing about something. Nanao couldn’t quite get the context of it, but it was something about which animal was cooler.
Ichiro’s eyes locked on the box of candies in front of Ryouma and ran up to him.
“Ryouma-senpai, what’s that!”
“Um… uh… it’s…” Ryouma blushed. “I found it in my locker-”
“Ryouma-kun has a secret admirer,” Nanao answered for him, causing Ryouma’s blush to deepen.
“Wow, really? Who is it?” Ichiro said.
“I don’t know…” Ryouma answered.
Nanao smiled to himself as the conversation continued, pleased. It would make Ryouma think, consider that he might be the object of someone’s affections, and it didn’t out Nanao’s feelings blatantly. This was perfect, at least for now. Then as time went on, Nanao would step it up, perhaps be a bit more blatant. Then Ryouma would have to catch on, right?
“Should we head to Kurotama now?” Ichiro said after a while, picking up his bookbag. Kyoutaro stood up too, yawning and stretching.
“You guys go ahead first,” Nanao said with a smile. “Ryouma-kun and I will be right behind you.”
“Sure?” Ichiro said, blinking at the two of them before running after Taishi, Kyoutaro trailing behind.
“Eh?” Ryouma asked, looking at Nanao with curiosity as they picked up their bags and left together. “What is it?”
“It looked like you were troubled with Ichiro’s questions,” Nanao said plainly. “Just giving you break is all~”
It was true, although Nanao did enjoy watching Ryouma be flustered over it. But he also just wanted some alone time with Ryouma, too.
“Oh,” Ryouma breathed out. “Thanks, Wakura-senpai… the present made me happy, but it’s really embarrassing too…”
They left the school side by side, Ryouma popping another candy into his mouth, having put a few in his pocket before putting the whole box in his bookbag.
“Hmmm,” Nanao said. “I wonder who could have given them to you… it seems like whoever it is has good taste.”
Ryouma smiled to himself. “Yeah,” he said. “I wish they put their name on it… I want to thank them somehow. The candies are really delicious.”
And Nanao left it at that. Any more prodding and he might give himself away, and he wouldn’t want that.
Ichiro, Kyoutaro, and Taishi were up ahead, and Nanao slowed his pace a bit, wanting a bit more time with just him and Ryouma without the others. Not that spending time as a group wasn’t great, but… with Ryouma always with Kyoutaro or the defense club always being together, he didn’t get to be alone with Ryouma that often.
Ryouma shivered as a strong breeze hit them, a bunch of yellow leaves blowing in with it.
A grin formed on Nanao’s face as he stopped Ryouma by putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Ryouma-kun,” he said.
Ryouma stopped, turning around to face Nanao. “What is it?”
Nanao stepped closer, leaning right into Ryouma’s personal space, his hand reaching for a leaf in Ryouma’s hair. He made sure to linger, moving as slow as possible, as his face moved as close to Ryouma’s as he could get within reasonable explanation, breathing out as his fingers enclosed around the leaf.
Just like that, Ryouma seemed to freeze in place.
That was just the reaction Nanao had been going for. He leaned back, holding the leaf in his fingers to show Ryouma.
But Ryouma didn’t register the leaf. He was staring at Nanao in complete shock. A gasp escaped through Ryouma’s lips.
“It’s the same!” Ryouma said.
Nanao blinked in confusion as Ryouma’s eyes lit up with recognition.
“It was the same candy! I just smelled it on your breath, Wakura-senpai, it was you!”
It was Nanao’s turn to freeze. Oh no. Nanao’s heart stuttered in his chest, a wave of heat spreading up his neck toward his ears. Damn. He hadn’t seen that coming at all.
Nanao had half a mind to turn around and escape, and he would have if it wasn’t for the bright smile on Ryouma’s face.
He bit down on his tongue, a panic swirling around in his stomach.
“... You have a good nose,” Nanao said weakly, his voice slightly trembling, which he inwardly slapped himself for.
He was supposed to be the one who was cool and collected while Ryouma got flustered, but he didn’t expect to be caught like this. He didn’t expect Ryouma would be able to tell he’d been eating the same candies.
“When it comes to sweets, yeah,” Ryouma said, beaming brightly, so brightly it almost melted Nanao on the spot.
Nanao still wanted to flee. He hadn’t wanted to confess, he wasn't ready for this at all. He was caught so off guard, and the way Ryouma was staring at him was making his face grow warmer.
“... Nice going, Ryouma-kun,” Nanao said. “You’re right… it was me.”
There was no hiding it now. And any denials would just make things more complicated at this point.
Ryouma stared at Nanao with wide eyes, clearly not expecting Nanao to admit it either.
“Does…” he bit down on his lip, his face turning red as he opened and closed his mouth a few times.
It was cool out, but the sun was bright, making Ryouma’s orange hair and red face blend together, beautiful like a sunset or the autumn leaves falling around them.
“Does that mean-”
Nanao wasn’t quite good at being vocally honest about his feelings. It caused something to catch in his throat, his stomach to twist with nerves.
So he answered the way he’d fantasized about doing for ages now.
Nanao took a step closer to Ryouma and kissed him.
Ryouma pressed into him, kissing him back. Nanao’s arms wrapped around Ryouma, pulling him closer as Ryouma’s hands travelled up Nanao’s sides until they landed on his shoulder. The kiss was just as good, just as sweet as he always imagined. The kiss tasted like honey, so much honey, but also it tasted just like he always imagined Ryouma would naturally taste. Sweet. Delicious. Like everything good in the world.
After they both pulled away, Ryouma was staring at Nanao in awe.
Now, he was sure his own face mirrored Ryouma’s with how flushed and out of breath he was.
“... Wow,” Ryouma said.
“Yeah,” Nanao agreed, still catching his breath. He smiled as he reached over to pluck another leaf out of Ryouma’s hair.
“... That was… even better.”
“Better than the candies,” Ryouma said. “Better than cakes and sweets. Can… we do that again?” his gaze filled with wonderment as he stared at Nanao, and Nanao was sure his heart just burst into flames, feeling the same thing that Ryouma was.
“Of course… my honey,” Nanao murmured. Ryouma looked startled by the endearment, but before he could say another word, Nanao was kissing him again.
Ryouma… his own sweet honey.