That should do it. Honestly, Ryouma was quite pleased with his Halloween costume. It wasn’t like he was going to be participating in the pretty boy contest himself, but it was fun to dress up when a large portion of the school was going to. It wasn’t actually Halloween, but since the 27th of October was so close to it, it had been decided to be a special Halloween edition of the pretty boy contest so participants would be dressed up in costume.
Even though he wasn’t participating, he had been given suggestions by his friends a couple of weeks ago when he’d voiced being unsure about his costume. But after a quick stop to a couple of cheap costume shops, he had found something he was happy with.
Ryouma wore a witch costume, a big black hat with orange trim, a black witches dress-like thing with a matching orange belt, and some pointy black shoes as he headed into the club room, Kyoutaro trailing right behind him.
Kyoutaro sat down in his normal chair with a yawn, and Ryouma eyed Kyoutaro’s “costume” once more. He’d just draped a sheet over his shoulders and called himself a ghost. It was very Kyoutaro.
Morning classes weren’t going to start quite yet, but Ryouma waited, wondering what the other members would come as - if they dressed up at all. He knew Ichiro would likely do so, and Taishi to go along with Ichiro, but he wasn’t sure about Nanao. Nanao was the most mysterious and didn’t typically participate in dress-up events, nor the pretty boy contest, despite how sure Ryouma was that Nanao would win.
Not that Ryouma didn’t think Ata deserved winning most of the time, it was a clear outcome, when he was both the student council president and was very good looking, but Ryouma was so, so curious about how Nanao would do. Honestly, Nanao was the prettiest boy he’d ever seen-
He cut off that train of thought immediately. Even his thoughts got a bit embarrassing.
But really, a few days ago, when he had asked Nanao why he never participated in the pretty boy contest all he got was Nanao teasing him, asking him if he thought he was pretty and really wanted him to participate. Ryouma could do nothing but sputter stupidly at the time, it being too embarrassing to admit that it was the truth. The truth being that he thought Nanao was beautiful and attractive, and he’d have his vote every single time.
“Ryouma-senpai, nice costume!” Ryouma turned to see Ichiro followed by Taishi burst into the room. Ryouma grinned at his juniors, waving.
“Thanks! Wow, you guys look great too!”
Ichiro was a werewolf, while Taishi appeared to be a mad scientist.
“Thank you, thank you!” Ichiro said. “Eh, Kyoutaro-senpai, why aren’t you dressed up?”
Kyoutaro lifted his head. “I’m a ghost.”
“Eh?” Ichiro blinked at him. “Where?”
Kyoutaro lifted the sheet from his shoulders and put it over his head. “Boo.”
Ryouma didn’t know if Kyoutaro meant for it to be scary or not, but it just made Ichiro laugh.
“Did Wakura-senpai get here yet?” Ryouma voiced aloud, unable to help his curiosity.
“We didn’t see him,” Taishi said.
Huh. Nanao usually made an appearance in the club room before classes… maybe he was busy.
Ryouma sighed, looking at the clock. “We should get to class, Kyoutaro.”
A snoring sound came from the table beside him, and Ryouma’s sigh just got bigger.
All day, Ryouma hadn’t seen Nanao anywhere, even at lunch. It was strange. Perhaps he was sick? A worried feeling weighed his stomach down. He didn’t even know where his senpai’s house was in order to pay him a visit later if that was the case…
Too distracted with his worry, Ryouma wasn’t looking where he was going so he bumped into Kyoutaro’s back on the way out of the classroom.
Kyoutaro didn’t respond to Ryouma, his gaze was focused forward as if something very interesting had caught his eye.
Following his gaze a bit down the hall, stood Ata, talking to the other student council members.
“Oh!” Ryouma exclaimed. “As usual, Ata-kun has a great costume! He’ll definitely win the contest again!”
“Yeah,” was all Kyoutaro said before heading down the hall in Ata’s direction. Ryouma had to actually be the one to quicken his pace to catch up this time.
“Ata-kun, nice costume,” Ryouma said when they caught up to their friend.
“Thank you,” Ata said with a small smile. He was dressed as a vampire - the costume being very well made. He had a perfectly crafted black cape, a ruby-red shirt underneath which almost matched his eyes. He must have put on some makeup to make him appear paler, too, and he wore a set of fangs that looked pretty sharp. What else was impressive was that he had his hair completely down, falling onto his shoulders. No wonder Kyoutaro was staring.
“I think you don’t have any competition this month,” Ryouma said.
“Hey, I might just win this time!” Maasa proclaimed. “I’m the cutest one in the school.” Maasa was dressed as little red riding hood, and it was cute. Taiju was dressed as a devil, all red, having a mask tilted on the top of his head.
“It’s anyone’s game,” Taiju agreed.
“Well, not anyone,” Ata put out in a biting tone as he stared at Kyoutaro. “Shuzenji Kyoutaro, yet again I see you slide by with putting no effort into things.”
“Hey, that’s not tr-” Ryouma tried to object, but fell silent at Ata’s intense stare.
“It’s not like I’d get any votes anyway,” Kyoutaro said, “there’s no point putting in needless effort. Besides, that’s not my kind of thing.”
“On the contrary, if you actually tried, you might have a shot,” Ata retorted.
Then Ryouma watched with surprise as Ata realized what he said and turned a very deep shade of red.
“Eh?” Kyoutaro said, also seeming surprised.
“Just,” Ata seemed to trip over his words, “your eyes - your hair- ugh, nevermind, you’re so infuriating!”
Kyoutaro started to smile as Ata turned away.
“Ata,” he called.
Ata turned around, looking like he was going to regret doing so.
Kyoutaro took a few steps closer to Ata, picking up a piece of hair from his shoulder. “You look good with your hair down.”
Ryouma wasn’t sure what happened next, but it looked like Ata was going to explode. His face turned a whole new shade of red that he didn’t know existed, and he opened and closed his mouth repeatedly.
“Thank you,” he croaked out in the end before scurrying away. Taiju and Ryouma shared an amused glance before Taiju and Maasa followed their friend down the hall.
Kyoutaro kept staring after them, almost like he was in a daze.
Ryouma didn’t know if it was just him or if the crowd was bigger than usual. Perhaps more students were curious about the pretty boy contest since everyone would be wearing costumes… Ryouma knew his interest was bigger because of it, at least.
Kyoutaro and Taishi stood with him, Kyoutaro surprisingly not seeming as sleepy as he usually was.
“Ichiro isn’t coming?” Ryouma asked Taishi.
Taishi shook his head. “I think he’s participating on stage. Shirahone challenged him or something.”
Ichiro was pretty cute in his costume, perhaps he’d do well.
As the contest started, with boys coming out on stage one by one to show off their costumes and do a little bit of a show, Ryouma watched with interest. Some of the costumes were quite creative. One student in Ryouma’s class dressed up as a very realistic skeleton. And another was a sentai ranger… Ryouma didn’t know who he’d vote for when Ichiro and Ata were participating, but that ranger was pretty cool. He’d even done some common poses from a series that Ryouma had seen...
When it was Ichiro’s turn, he did a great job. The way he walked on stage, holding out his hands like claws and making a loud howling noise - which might have been a bit too much, but he got his point across. Ryouma’s claps increased in support of his junior.
“That guy…” Taishi said under his breath, looking half amused, half embarrassed.
“Ichiro has your vote, right, Taishi?” Ryouma asked with a smile.
“Huh? Well.” Taishi went a bit pink but didn’t deny it.
Maasa was next, making a very cute show of it, definitely going to get a large number of votes, followed by Taiju. He seemed like he tried to be scary but it failed, because he was just cool. It pained Ryouma a bit, knowing that Nanao had someone so cool as a friend. It had been hard for him to admit that he felt a bit envious of it, even. He clapped again, trying to push the feeling out, instead worrying about Nanao again. It wasn’t like his senpai to miss something like this…
A few more contestants later, it was Ata’s turn. He stood at the center of the stage, pulling his cloak up to his mouth, drawing it down before baring his teeth.
“Ah…” Kyoutaro mumbled from beside him. “I’d let Ata bite me.”
“Yeah, wait- eh?” Ryouma stared at his friend in shock. Had he heard Kyoutaro right? No way, right?
He turned back to the front, a bit baffled. It wasn’t like he didn’t pick up on the different vibe between his two childhood friends, but to be witness to it more blatantly like this was a whole different story. He’d have to ask Kyoutaro about it later...
Soon, the teacher hosting said they had one more contestant before the voting was to begin.
Ryouma still didn’t know who he was voting for between Ichiro and Ata… it seemed Ata would be getting a lot of votes, so perhaps he should give one to Ichiro.
He was still on that line of thought when a very familiar face stepped onto the stage.
Ryouma almost choked on his own tongue.
There, on the stage, clad in a white with red trim nurse costume, hat, short skirt and all, was Nanao.
Ryouma’s legs grew weak and there was a pounding in his ears.
Nanao strolled to the center of the stage, posing with a hand on his hip. As a prop, he held a large needle in his hand, pointing it towards the audience with a wink. There was a surprised murmur throughout the crowd and a few excited shrieks. Wow.
The noise of the crowd faded into a background hum, like a faraway sound, the sound of his heartbeat right in his ears drowning everything else out. Everything else faded in his peripheral, everything else, anyone else except Nanao might as well not have even existed at this moment.
Ryouma vaguely thought he must have a really stupid look on his face, he could at least tell at some point his mouth had popped all the way open, but he couldn’t find the self awareness to care - he only thought of Nanao.
Nanao turned around and walked towards the back of the stage, purposely showing off his backside as he bent over to retrieve the needle which he had dropped earlier. And then he spun around again, giving the crowd a wave.
“If you feel sick, be sure to come to me~” he sang into the microphone to another chorus of cheers.
Ryouma felt like his heart was going to pop out of his chest. No, it already had.
He hadn’t expected this of all. Sure, Nanao could be showy when he wanted to be, but he’d thought this kind of thing wasn’t Nanao’s style. Oh, how wrong he’d been. How wrong. He wasn’t sure if it was the surprise of it all or just Nanao’s entire being that was making Ryouma feel like his lungs had collapsed.
Both, it was probably both.
Ryouma was surprised he hadn’t already fallen to the ground, his legs had gone so shaky like they couldn’t hold his weight.
“Ryo-chin?” a far-away voice called. “Earth to Ryo-chin?”
“Yes-” Ryouma squeaked out loud.
His gaze unblurred and in front of him stood a concerned looking Kyoutaro and Taishi.
“Huh?” Ryouma said dumbly.
“I guess we know who you’re voting for too,” Taishi said, a bit smugly, but Ryouma was too distracted to care or even feel embarrassed. The daze hadn’t quite worn off yet.
Had what he’d just seen been real?
The crowd started to disperse as the show was over and people had time to vote. Ryouma stood there for a moment longer.
“Do you need help walking, Ryo-chin?” Kyoutaro asked.
And that, Kyoutaro of all people saying that, snapped Ryouma out of it, at least for now. He breathed out a shaky sigh.
“No, no, I’m fine!” he exclaimed, and he was grateful neither of his friends pointed out how obviously squeaky his voice still was.
“Okay,” Kyoutaro said. “I’m going to go put my vote in and then find Ata.”
Ryouma blinked after his friend. This was the most awake he’d ever seen him, at least for a long time.
Taishi gave Ryouma another amused look before heading off himself.
Ryouma exhaled one more time, moving his wobbly legs towards the voting area. Once he put in his vote, yes, for Nanao, he wasn’t sure what to do with himself.
He wandered around the area, feeling light headed and dazed, the shock of before having seemingly obliviated his mind.
Ryouma’s mind whirred, whirred with so many different thoughts, many of them having to do with Nanao, all of them being very, very naughty, not quite what he should be thinking in high school - oh god, he was so screwed. How was he going to look Nanao in the face ever again?
Just as he had that thought, he realized he’d have to figure it out quick, because not too far away, staring at him, was Nanao.
Ryouma was sure his face immediately turned a bright red with how hot he felt all over. Oh, God. Part of him wanted to run away, it would be easier to process his feelings and calm his heart down before he could interact with him normally again. But his feet stood in place. Nanao too, stood in place, watching him.
They just stared at each other, Ryouma not knowing how much time passed, nor what kind of expression Nanao was wearing. He was sure his blush spread from his cheeks down his neck to his toes. He’d never felt so… so… on fire before.
Before Ryouma knew it, Nanao was coming closer, heading in his direction. Ryouma felt terrified, suddenly, like how he was feeling was written all over his face - he’d felt like that often with Nanao, but never this strongly, never this certain that Nanao would be able to tell just how he’d reacted to seeing him in the costume. The costume that he was still wearing.
Ryouma swallowed over a large lump.
With a very Nanao-esque glint in his senpai’s eye, Nanao took Ryouma’s wrist and tugged him away. Ryouma meant to find his voice, to ask Nanao where they were going, but instead, he opened his mouth and a high pitched squeaking sound came out again. Great.
When they stopped moving, Ryouma blinked his eyes open again to see that Nanao had taken him off towards a secluded area, away from the stage, away from the crowd, towards the other side of the school building. They were the only ones there.
Ryouma swallowed again.
Nanao was giving Ryouma an amused smile and Ryouma had no idea what to expect from his senpai right now. Nanao’s whole atmosphere gave an aura of wanting to tease Ryouma mercilessly. Ryouma felt like he wanted to disappear into the dirt. He’d be perfectly fine if a monster appeared and dragged him away too, at this rate.
“So, Ryouma-kun…” Nanao said with a slight husk in his tone. “Do you like what you see?”
Ryouma’s answer was a resounded meeeep noise.
“I guess the answer must be a yes?”
Ryouma bit down on his tongue. “Um… it’s-”
Words, thoughts, composure, come back to him!
“It’s… surprising,” he finally managed to get out. Thank God, words came back to him at least. Even if his breath didn’t. “To see you participate…”
He knew it wasn’t quite an answer, but he was too wound up to think straight still.
“Really? You know, you were the one who said I should join the contest,” Nanao said with a raised eyebrow.
“Eh?” Ryouma responded, his mind whirring. “That’s why you joined the contest? Because I said that?”
A flicker of surprise passed over Nanao’s face before he settled back into a teasing smile. “You didn’t answer the question I asked first.”
What question? Was there a question? Was there anything but Nanao’s outfit, and how close he was standing to Ryouma, and how he could feel his heartbeat through his own witches robe? Was there anything else to life right now, because he could hardly even fathom what else there could be.
But perhaps his heart was in control of his body because he found himself nodding before his brain could catch up.
“What was that?” Nanao asked, clearly because he liked to see Ryouma flustered. And Nanao teasing him like this, despite how it made him want to explode, also filled him with a thrill, an adrenaline, a joy, because Nanao was looking at him like this, and knowing that, his heart pounded faster and faster.
“Yes,” Ryouma breathed out.
Nanao smiled, leaning in closer to Ryouma, whose back was already pressed against the school building. He leaned in closer, and Ryouma sharply inhaled with anticipation.
But Nanao leaned back, having only plucked the hat off of Ryouma’s head. Ryouma let out the breath, shaky and frustrated at the same time. He’d really expected Nanao to kiss him just now…
Unless he didn’t want to, unless this was just for fun, just to rile Ryouma up?
He blinked at Nanao, stunned, confused, flustered beyond belief.
“Your costume looks really good on you too,” Nanao said in a softer voice, now. “You make an adorable witch. You already cast a spell on me.”
With that expression, those words, everything about this, Ryouma couldn’t take it anymore.
He leaned forward and kissed Nanao. He wasn’t sure what to do with his hands, so he ended up putting them on Nanao’s chest. He felt Nanao let go of his hat, it falling to the floor between them. Nanao wrapped an arm around Ryouma’s lower back and kissed him back. Ryouma gasped into the kiss, Nanao bringing an intensity he hadn’t expected, but definitely welcomed. One of Ryouma’s hands wound around Nanao’s neck, gently playing with some of the hair as they tasted each other, breathed in each other, the passion making it clear they’d both wanted this so much. Ryouma lost himself in the moment, deciding that he didn’t need to breathe if this was the alternative. His hands kept playing with his hair, as a distraction from the craving to reach down to touch Nanao’s skirt, this was way too public for such a thing, so he’d have to control himself.
Ryouma wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, lips, tongues and breaths tangled into each other, but Nanao was pulling away first, leaving them both panting, breathless. Nanao’s hat had tilted off his head, and his lips were wet as he licked them, and Ryouma really was on fire, despite the autumn air around them.
He was unsure what kind of expression he was wearing, but he definitely liked the expression in Nanao’s eyes as he looked at him, full of hunger and satisfaction. After a moment longer, the grin on Nanao’s face grew.
“Wow,” he said. “I didn’t expect that at all.”
“Me neither,” Ryouma admitted. He hadn’t expected to kiss Nanao, he hadn’t expected Nanao to kiss him back, not like that.
Amazing, perfect, mind blowing.
“I thought I’d have to use my needle to inject you with some of my love juice before anything like that happened~” Nanao said in a teasing voice.
Ryouma’s brain short-circuited. That meant…
Nanao wanted this to happen too.
He was so happy that his next words were blurted out, saying aloud just what he was thinking.
“I don’t need it because I’m already there.”
Upon Nanao’s stunned expression, Ryouma realized just what he’d admitted, and he felt this face start to burn again. Oh geez, why didn’t he have some self control? Well, not having self control led to that amazing kiss, but still, he should… wait…
Nanao was turning red himself.
Ryouma’s eyes went wide as he stared at his stunned, red-faced senpai. He opened his mouth.
“The results are ready to be announced!” the voice from the loud speaker called out. Nanao stared at Ryouma with a dazed expression, and Ryouma felt a lot more confident, confident enough to take Nanao’s hand as they walked back to the stage, ready to hear who the winner was.
Nanao gave Ryouma another surprised glance, but he smiled and squeezed Ryouma’s hand, and Ryouma had never felt so warm before.
“I bet you’ll win,” Ryouma said quietly, giving Nanao a matching smile.
Nanao laughed. “We’ll see. It’s a tough competition out there.”
As they headed back, Ryouma was surprised to run into Kyoutaro and Ata, standing side by side, watching the stage. Both of them looked ruffled too, their hair a bit messy, Ata’s cape hanging awkwardly by his side.
Don’t tell me… Ryouma thought. Well, who was he to comment? He just hoped that they would talk to Ryouma about it when they were ready. Ryouma too, was ready to shout his feelings for Nanao from the rooftops.
“With an overwhelming sixty percent of the votes…” the announcer was saying, “Wakura Nanao.”
Ryouma didn’t wait for a beat, he threw himself into Nanao’s arms. Nanao was clearly startled but hugged Ryouma back.
“You did it, Wakura-senpai!”
Nanao laughed breathily into Ryouma’s ear. “I didn’t expect to win, nor did I expect to ever participate, but I’d say it was worth it. Maybe I’ll compete every month from now on if I get to see you react to me that way.”
Ryouma laughed in response despite the flush that shot down his neck. “And you’ll have my vote every time.”