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Even as a person who loved – breathed – literature, words were never Onodera Ritsu's strong point. Idle mentions of 'I love you' passed through his lips; never at the right time. Always, a little too early; sometimes, not even said. Most often, overpowered by half-hearted protests. His feelings were clear, he knew. But it was confusing, even to himself, how his heart kept resisting.

Sparing a glance over his book, his gaze lingered on the man a few feet from him. Tall and statuesque, ever a domineering presence. Takano moved with calculated elegance, even when doing something as inane as reaching for the top shelf. Onodera felt his face heat up suddenly, and quickly hid his face. There are so many things he wanted to say to him – but couldn't quite trust his mouth to do so. Fear of saying the all wrong things. Fear of not saying anything at all. And simply fear of hurting Takano again.

"Ah… um… T-Takano-san…"

Pointedly avoiding the look sent his way, Onodera sidled closer. Bumping against his shoulder, he took the other's hand in his – interlacing their fingers together. Onodera felt like dying a little inside. It felt nice, though, the warmth seeping through his palms. Trying his best to force down the blush on his cheeks, he gripped tighter and looked away. He knew this could never compensate for what he truly felt, but he hoped Takano would understand. He wasn't ready – rather, he doesn't know if he'll ever be ready. There're just some things words can't accomplish.

"Thank you…" for loving me.