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Courting the Moon

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Every time Ryuji spoke of Yuuki Mishima, the fondness was clear in his voice and expression.

It didn’t take long for Yusuke to understand that his boyfriend also had feelings for another person. He expected that realization to make him feel uneasy or jealous, but instead, he understood it: Yuuki was a sweet person, dedicated to their cause, and also a good friend. Yusuke himself came to admire him with time, so it wasn’t surprising that Ryuji—who had been his friend since middle school—had grown feelings beyond friendship for him.

“Why don’t you confess to him?” asked Yusuke, after Ryuji told him about the conversation he had with Yuuki during lunch, and how cute he looked when Ryuji made him laugh.

That suggestion made Ryuji freeze in place, staring wide-eyed at Yusuke.

“What?” He raised both hands in front of him, shaking his head. “No… That’s not what I meant!”

Yusuke already expected a reaction like that. He offered Ryuji a reassuring smile, caressing his hairline.

“Ryuji, there is no problem with it,” he said in a calm voice. “You cannot control who you love.”

“But…” Ryuji shifted in the same place, seeming uncomfortable. “I love you, Yusu.”

“Yes, and I love you.” Yusuke lowered his hand, caressing Ryuji’s cheek before gently holding his chin. “That’s why I want you to be happy. And, from what I see, seeking a relationship with Mishima would make you happy. For that reason, I am not against it.”

Ryuji averted his gaze, slightly furrowing his brow as he thought about it.

“I don’t know about that…” he muttered.

“Ryuji…”

Yusuke’s voice made Ryuji look at him again, and Yusuke kissed his lips before continuing.

“You are free to make your own choice,” he said. “But I want you to know that, from my part, everything is fine. As long as you are happy, I am happy as well.”

A small chuckle left Ryuji’s throat.

“You’re such a cheesy guy,” he said.

“No,” answered Yusuke with a smile. “I am simply enamored with you. And I know Mishima would never do anything to cause you any harm, so I have no reason to be against it.”

“Are you… really okay with this, though?” asked Ryuji, still hesitant. “I mean… It’s not just ‘cause somethin’ would make me happy that you gotta go along with it.”

“I told you already, have I not? I am not one for lying, so, if I was upset by the idea, I would make it clear to you.”

Ryuji looked away, placing a hand on the side of his neck.

“Man… I don’t even know what to say to that.”

“That you love me, perhaps?” suggested Yusuke.

Ryuji giggled, placing his arms around Yusuke’s neck.

“Yeah…” he whispered. “More every day.”

“And you say I am the cheesy one,” observed Yusuke in a humorous tone.

“Got it from you.”

They closed that short distance, kissing.

“Thanks, Yusu,” said Ryuji, as soon as he moved away.

As a response, Yusuke pulled Ryuji close again, until he was sitting between his legs, facing him with one leg on each side of his body. Ryuji placed a soft kiss on the crook of Yusuke’s neck, then rested his chin on his shoulder.

“But… How should I even talk to Yuuki about this?” he asked. “I can’t just… go ahead and tell him, right?”

“Why not?”

“C’mon, Yusu…” Ryuji moved away, so he could look at Yusuke’s face. “I’ve got a boyfriend already. If I asked Yuuki out, he’d probably think I’m a freak.

Yusuke considered the situation for a moment.

“I could explain it to him, if it would make things easier,” he suggested.

Those words were enough to make Ryuji’s face become slightly flushed.

“Ah, no…” he said. “I mean… I just need some time to think.”

“Very well,” answered Yusuke. “If you ever feel like discussing this subject again, don’t be afraid of letting me know.”

Ryuji looked at him for a while, then a fond smile took his lips. He leaned in Yusuke’s direction, kissing his cheek, then softly rubbing his forehead and nose against it.

“You’re the most beautiful, amazing, and fuckin’ talented guy in this entire world…” he whispered.

Yusuke turned his face, briefly kissing him again on the lips.

“I’m flattered to hear that from the love of my life,” he answered.

 


 

When Ryuji went to Yusuke’s room on the following afternoon, he had a distressed expression on his face.

“Yusu…” He hesitated, keeping his lips pressed together for a moment. “I think I need help.”

Yusuke carefully guided him to his bed, making Ryuji sit between his legs and hugging him from behind, giving him a minute to calm down.

“What’s the matter, love?” he asked.

Ryuji looked at him over his shoulder.

“It’s Yuuki…” he admitted. “I could deal with it before, but now that I know that you’d be fine with it, I…” He let out a long sigh. “I don’t know, I just get all flustered whenever I look at him!”

Ryuji lowered his head, covering his face with both hands.

“He’s just so adorable, and small…” he mumbled. “I don’t know what to do!”

Yes… He truly made Yuuki seem quite cute whenever he talked about him. A low giggle escaped from Yusuke’s lips.

“What are you laughin’ for?” asked Ryuji, frustrated.

“Pardon me…” said Yusuke. “But you are quite adorable when you are flustered.”

That comment made Ryuji twist his lips.

“Don’t make fun of me…” he muttered.

“My apologies,” said Yusuke, kissing his shoulder. “So, what should we do?”

Ryuji turned his eyes to the ceiling, staying silent for a moment.

“I don’t know…” he admitted in a low voice. “I don’t want him to think that I’m a weirdo, but I kinda like him a lot.”

“If your fear is to be rejected because you have a boyfriend, why don’t you try to ask him how he would feel about a relationship between more than two people?”

Ryuji shook his head.

“There’s no way I could ask him that…”

“What if I asked him, instead?” suggested Yusuke, thinking for a moment. “Perhaps if I include a few other questions on the topic of romance, and say that I want a fresh perspective on it for a future project…”

“Hey…” Ryuji turned to him, a wide smile appearing on his face. “That could actually work!”

Yusuke returned the smile, glad to be of help.

“It’s settled, then,” he said. “I will invite Yuuki for a walk after our next meeting.”

 


 

He did as planned, asking Yuuki to accompany him to a small tea shop in Shibuya after they discussed the next targets of the Phantom Thieves—which also meant spending part of his savings for a new set of watercolors, but it was worth the price. Yuuki seemed surprised by the invitation, but promptly agreed with a friendly smile. They both ordered a cup of tea and a slice of cake, then took a seat by the window.

“So…” said Yuuki, looking at him with a curious expression. “What did you want to talk about?”

“In fact…”

Yusuke told him that he wanted some opinions for a future project, then proceeded to ask him a few simple questions, from where he would like to go on a date—anywhere he and his partner could have fun together—, to what he would value in a romantic partner—honesty and loyalty. Yusuke smiled to himself: the situation was looking promising.

“While on the topic of romance…” he continued. “What are your thoughts on more than two people being in a romantic relationship?”

The question seemed to get Yuuki by surprise. He considered it for a while before finally answering.

“That would be unusual, for sure…” he admitted. “But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. As long as they’re all happy, and no one is feeling hurt, then… why would it be wrong?”

Yusuke had to control himself not to rejoice. Yuuki observed him for a while, hesitating before finally speaking again.

“But… why are you asking me this?” He furrowed his brow, seeming concerned. “Is there a problem between you and Ryuji?”

Yusuke shook his head.

“No, quite the contrary,” he said with a smile. “I was simply curious to hear your answer.”

“I see…” Yuuki looked at his own half-empty cup for a moment. “And you? How would you feel about it?

“I pretty much agree with everything you said.”

To his surprise, his answer made Yuuki smile.

“I see…” he said. “You’re quite an understanding guy, aren’t you?”

“Do you think so?” asked Yusuke.

“Yes!” Yuuki lowered his gaze to his cake, seeming slightly embarrassed. “When I first saw you, I had this impression that you lived in your own world… That if someone like me tried to talk to you, you’d just look away.” He raised his eyes, looking at Yusuke again. “But after talking more to you during the meetings, I realized that you’re actually an incredible guy… I mean, you’re not only a Phantom Thief, but also an artist, and… Now that we finally had the chance to talk to each other alone, I can see that you’re not hard to talk to, as I thought.” He let out a small chuckle. “To tell the truth, it’s been pretty fun.”

Yusuke stared at him for a while, speechless. His silence made Yuuki look away, nervous.

“Sorry,” he said, “I didn’t want to sound rude, or anything.”

“You didn’t,” answered Yusuke. “To be honest, it made me happy to hear those words.”

Yuuki sighed, relieved. He took a bite of his cake before proceeding.

“I can see why Ryuji fell for you,” he said. “He’s my best friend, so… I’m happy for him.” He offered Yusuke a gentle smile. “For the two of you, actually.”

And, once again, Yusuke didn’t know how to respond.

 


 

After parting ways from Yuuki in Shibuya, Yusuke went straight to Ryuji’s house. He greeted Aoi Sakamoto—who was like a mother to him by that point—and followed Ryuji to his bedroom. Then, he placed both hands on his boyfriend’s shoulders, staring at him with a somber gaze.

“Ryuji…” he said. “I believe we have a problem.”

Panic immediately covered Ryuji’s face.

“Was he weirded out by it?” he asked. “No, wait… did he suspect somethin’?”

Yusuke shook his head.

“No,” he answered. “He didn’t suspect anything, and said he wouldn’t see a problem in such a relationship, as long as everyone involved is happy.”

“Really?” Ryuji raised his eyebrow. “Wait… what’s the problem, then? Is he in love with someone else?”

“Not that I am aware of…” Yusuke sighed, averting his gaze. “But now that I had the chance to spend an afternoon with him, I have realized that…” he lowered his voice. “He is quite adorable.”

Ryuji blinked, then stared at Yusuke for a long while, without any reaction. Then he snorted, stumbling back to the bed, rolling over the mattress while laughing out loud.

“Holy shit... “ he said, looking at Yusuke. “You have a crush on Yuuki!”

Yusuke groaned, covering his eyes with a hand.

“Please, don’t laugh,” he asked, sitting at the border of the mattress. “This is a tragedy.”

“It ain’t no tragedy!” answered Ryuji, moving closer to him and looking at his face with a bright smile. “That’s great! I mean…” he made a brief pause, continuing in a lower tone. “Even after we talked about it, I was still kinda worried to ask Yuuki out and end up hurtin’ you in any way, but… If you like him too, then it makes everythin’ easier.”

His words surprised Yusuke.

“Were you worried about it?” he asked.

“‘Course I was, Yusu,” answered Ryuji. “I know you told me everythin’ was fine, but… You’re too damn important to me.” He placed a hand on the back of Yusuke’s head, his fingers slowly caressing his hair. “I didn’t want you to do anythin’ for my sake, and then get hurt ‘cause of it.”

“I told you that I am fine with it,” reminded Yusuke.

“I know…” Ryuji sighed. “Guess I just worry a lot.”

“You do,” Yusuke leaned forward, placing a brief kiss on his lips. “That’s why I have to make sure you’re not denying your feelings for my sake as well.”

Ryuji let out an awkward laugh. Yusuke carefully placed a hand under his chin, lifting his face until Ryuji was looking into his eyes.

“Promise me that, from now own, you won’t try to hide anything from me, even if you think it might hurt me,” he said in a serious tone. “As long as we talk about it, we can find a solution.”

“You think so?” asked Ryuji.

“I am sure of it.”

Ryuji thought about it for a moment.

“Alright, then,” he said. “As long as you do the same.”

“Of course, my love.”

Yusuke liked how that term of endearment always made Ryuji smile.

“I love you so much…” said Ryuji.

“And I assure you the feeling is mutual.”

They smiled at each other for a moment, until Ryuji let out a small, amused sigh.

“So… We both like Yuuki,” he said.

“That’s quite an unexpected turn of events…”

“Tell me about it…” He looked at Yusuke, his smile slowly giving place to a concerned expression. “What should we do?”

“Right now, we have two options,” Yusuke raised his hand, showing him two fingers. “Tell him, or give up.”

Ryuji twisted his lips.

“I don’t wanna give up, but… How do we tell him?”

“Perhaps it would be a good idea to take things slowly,” suggested Yusuke. “As we did with our own relationship.”

“You mean, like… Goin’ out, and doin’ stuff together, until we get the courage to confess?”

“It worked when you did it last time,” observed Yusuke. “Why wouldn’t it now?”

“You sure are an optimist…”

Ryuji considered it for a moment, probably concluding that there was no easier option. He gave a small shrug.

“Guess it’s worth a try.”

“I agree,” said Yusuke.

They spent the rest of the night making plans on how to talk to Yuuki on the following day, and ended up falling asleep in the middle of it, only waking up when the sun was already rising outside.

 


 

When Ryuji asked Yuuki to go out with them after school, he quickly agreed.

“Sure!” he said with an excited smile. “Who else is going?”

The question made Ryuji avert his gaze. Was it going to sound weird?

“Just the three of us,” he said. “You, me, and Yusu.”

Yuuki stared at him, unmoving and speechless, as if frozen mid-motion. Yes, it did sound weird.

“Is that bad?” Asked Ryuji with a forced laugh. “If it is, we could invite Aki, or—”

“No!” answered Yuuki quickly, only to get embarrassed by his own loud tone. He looked away, lowering his voice. “It isn’t bad, but… Are you sure?” He hesitated a little. “Won’t I just be in the way?”

“‘Course you won’t!”

Without thinking, Ryuji placed an arm around Yuuki’s shoulders, only to regret that old habit when his heart raced. He moved away again, forcing a cheerful smile while he screamed inside. Thankfully, the bell indicating the end of lunch break saved his hide.

“Ah, we gotta go now!” he said, stepping away from Yuuki. “I’ll see you after class!”

Yuuki said something in response, but Ryuji was already too far to fully comprehend it. He took his seat, feeling his heart pounding and his face burning up. He was a complete disaster… How did Yusuke even fall for a loser like him?

As he slowly calmed down, his self-loathing also backed off. He didn’t pay any attention to class for the rest of the day—which wasn’t really that uncommon—waiting impatiently for the final bell to ring. When it finally did, his anxiety came back with full power, and he had to take a few deep breaths to clear his mind.

He met Yuuki at the entrance, and somehow managed not to make a fool of himself a second time. Yusuke was already waiting for them at Shibuya, and first they went together to eat at the ramen restaurant—a favorite of the three—then made their way to the movie theater, choosing the next screening, getting inside just as the trailers started. Yuuki chose his seat, then Ryuji and Yusuke took their places on each side of him. It was enough to make Yuuki look from one to the other, clearly confused.

“Uh… guys?” he said. “I think we should change seats.”

Oh boy… He had acted without thinking. Ryuji made an effort to keep a natural smile on his face.

“Why?”

“Is this unpleasant to you?” asked Yusuke.

“No, but…” Yuuki hesitated a little. “I mean, you two are…”

Oh, shit… Oh, fuck… He was starting to get nervous.

“Ah, don’t worry about it!” said Ryuji, slightly louder than he intended. “Besides, this way we can protect you!”

What a dumb response… Yuuki furrowed his brow.

“Protect me from what?” he asked.

“I… don’t know,” Ryuji tried to think of an answer. “From anythin’ scary that appears on the screen?”

His answer only seemed to confuse Yuuki even more.

“It’s a family movie…” he said, then narrowed his eyes. “And aren’t you the one who’s scared of the dark?”

Ryuji averted his gaze, asking himself why, out of everything else, Yuuki had to remember such an embarrassing thing about him.

“I don’t have a problem with movie theaters…” he muttered. “And also, I’m not that scared anymore…”

“Yes, he is.”

“Yusu!”

Ryuji frowned at Yusuke, who didn’t seem to understand the reason for his embarrassment. That brief exchange was enough to make Yuuki laugh, and the way he squeezed his eyes shut and wrinkled his nose was too cute for him to deal with.

“Alright, then…” said Yuuki. “I’ll let you two protect me.”

“You can count on me,” answered Yusuke.

Ryuji stared at them, twisting his lips.

“Now I just feel like you’re makin’ fun of me,” he grumbled.

“We’re not!” answered Yuuki.

They didn’t continue that discussion since soon the movie started. More than once, Ryuji wondered if he should do something… Like reaching for Yuuki’s hand, or just leaning in his direction a little more. At some point, he glanced at Yusuke, who had a similar expression of defeat. Of course something like that would be easier in their plans…

The credits rolled, and they walked back to the station, parting ways. When Ryuji and Yusuke saw themselves alone, they shared a groan of frustration that attracted more than a few curious gazes to them.

 


 

They decided to try again the next week, this time during a trip to Akihabara. The choice of place was perfect, given how much of a nerd Yuuki was. He could spend the whole day sharing all the specific details of his many interests, and Ryuji would never get tired of hearing him—and, judging by Yusuke’s expression, he wasn’t the only one.

When they got inside the arcade, Yusuke discreetly approached Ryuji, whispering close to his ear.

“I’ll try to get a stuffed animal for him.”

Ryuji furrowed his brow at the idea.

“Wait… are you any good with that machine?” he asked.

“There is a first time for everything.”

He followed Yusuke with his gaze. After three failed attempts, he faced Ryuji with a devastated look.

“I spent all my money on it,” he said.

Ryuji narrowed his eyes at that information.

“Was that all your money?” he asked in a low, paused manner.

Noticing his mistake, Yusuke averted his gaze. Ryuji crossed his arms, slightly annoyed.

“What was it this time?” he asked.

“I bought a few new alcohol-based markers this week,” admitted Yusuke.

“Yusu!” Ryuji scolded him. “What did I tell you about not wastin’ your food money on art supplies?”

Yusuke lowered his head, embarrassed.

“I apologize…”

Yuuki approached them, looking from one to the other.

“Did you want that plushie so much?” he asked.

“Ah, no…” tried to explain Yusuke. “That is…”

But before he could find an excuse, Yuuki offered him an understanding smile.

“Don’t be shy about it,” he said. “Just a moment.”

He approached the claw machine, and after exchanging a brief look, Ryuji and Yusuke followed him, watching as he inserted a coin, then got a plushie on his first try. Then another. And another.

“Here,” he said with a proud smile, holding the trio of plushies in his arms. “I got one for each of us.”

Ryuji and Yusuke stared at him, speechless.

“That was amazing,” muttered Yusuke.

“Dude…” Ryuji shook his head, “not even Aki is this good.”

Yuuki giggled with a small shrug.

“It’s not a big deal…” he said. “Just choose the ones you want.”

In the end, Yusuke chose the fox—the obvious choice—while Ryuji got a bat, and Yuuki a sloth. A weird trio, sure, but still cute.

“Thanks…” said Ryuji, looking at his round, grinning bat with a smile on his face.

“Yes…” agreed Yusuke. “Thank you very much.”

Yuuki seemed pleased by their reactions.

“No problem,” he said. “Consider it a ‘thank you for inviting me out.’”

When they came back to Ryuji’s house, both him and Yusuke had mixed feelings about that day: on the bright side, it felt nice to receive a gift from their crush… However, the plan was to make Yuuki fall for them, and, at the end of the day, they were the ones who ended up falling even harder for him.

 


 

After at least half a dozen failed attempts to get Yuuki’s affection, Ryuji was about to give up. Even Yusuke, who was much more optimistic than himself, was starting to lose faith by that point, and with reason.

The two of them agreed on a final attempt that Saturday, when they invited Yuuki to spend the night playing games with them at Ryuji’s house. It had started raining as soon as they arrived at the station, so Ryuji had to lend some of his clothes to the other two—who, he had to admit, looked really cute on them.

“C’mon, you’re cheatin’!” complained Ryuji after Yuuki defeated him for the third time in a row.

“I’m not!” answered Yuuki. “Akira is the one who does that.”

“Did you learn it from him?”

“I just said that I didn’t cheat!”

Their argument made Yusuke, who was drawing in his sketchbook, chuckle.

“Just admit that you’re not skilled at games, love,” he said.

Ryuji pouted at him.

“Not you too, babe…”

Aoi called them for dinner a few minutes later. They ate together, then spent some time chatting with her in the kitchen. Ryuji didn’t say it out loud, but he was glad to see that both Yusuke and Yuuki got along well with his mother. They went back to his room a while later, playing while Yusuke sketched close to them. When Ryuji glanced at his phone, he was surprised to see it was already past one in the morning. They decided that would be their last match before going to sleep. For a second, Ryuji thought he had a chance to beat Yuuki, but a sudden thunder outside made him jump, breaking his concentration and causing his defeat.

“Cheater…” he muttered to Yuuki as he turned out the console.

“Stop calling me that!” protested Yuuki with a half-smile.

Ryuji walked to his wardrobe, getting a futon, a blanket, and two extra pillows. Yuuki approached the window, looking outside.

“The rain got worse out of nowhere…” he commented.

“Yeah…” grunted Ryuji.

Yuuki looked at him over his shoulder.

“You don’t like thunder, right?” he asked.

Again, Ryuji wished he wouldn’t remember those embarrassing things.

“He doesn’t,” confirmed Yusuke.

“I see…” said Yuuki. “That’s a little strange for someone with electric powers.”

“True enough.” agreed Yusuke. “It’s quite interesting how it doesn’t seem to bother him when we are in the Metaverse.”

Ryuji looked away from them.

“It’s not the thunder…” he said. “It’s the noise it makes.”

“The noise?” asked Yuuki.

“Yeah…” confirmed Ryuji. “Loud noise, outta nowhere… Makes me jump every time.”

Yuuki thought about it for a while.

“Would you get scared of fireworks, then?” he asked.

“Not if I know they’re comin’…” Ryuji stopped talking, frowning. “Why are we even talkin’ about this shit?”

“We simply want to understand you better,” said Yusuke.

Ryuji narrowed his eyes: if anything, those two seemed to be enjoying themselves by talking about his stupid fears.

“Yeah, yeah…” Ryuji sighed. “You two are so—”

There was another loud noise, and suddenly the lights went out, leaving them in the dark. A surprised yelp left Ryuji’s lips, and he instinctively hugged his own arms, bending his knees against his chest and curling into a ball.

“Are you okay?” he heard Yuuki’s voice next to him.

No, he wasn’t. He could somewhat deal with either darkness or sudden loud noises, but the two of them at the same time was a totally different story. They made it hard for him to think properly, trapping him back in a part of his life that he hated to remember.

“Yeah… I’m fine,” he said.

His voice sounded weaker than he hoped. Another thunder made Ryuji flinch, and suddenly there were two pairs of arms embracing him. Yuuki seemed surprised by his own reaction, given how his body tensed up close to Ryuji.

“I… sorry.”

Before he could move away, however, Yusuke placed his hands on Yuuki’s arms.

“No,” he said. “It’s fine.”

Yuuki nodded, then reached for his phone, turning on the flashlight, slightly illuminating the room. Yusuke reached for the blanket on the bed, and, with Yuuki’s help, placed it over their backs. They moved closer to Ryuji, and their familiar warmth helped him calm down a little. No loud voices. No things breaking. No being trapped in dark places… Just those two. Right beside him. Keeping him safe.

“Everything is fine, love…” whispered Yusuke, holding his hand.

“Yes…” agreed Yuuki, gently rubbing his back. “It’ll be over soon.”

They stayed like that for a long while, gently comforting him, until that sudden storm became a calm rain, and the room lightened up again. However, even after it was over, neither of them let go of each other. They stayed in silence for a whole minute, until Yuuki finally gathered the courage to break it.

“Are you fine with this?” he asked in a low voice.

The tone of his voice made the meaning behind his words clear.

“Of course we are,” answered Yusuke, and Ryuji nodded in agreement.

Yuuki looked at them, still seeming unsure.

“I know I should have asked before, but…” He made a pause, lowering his gaze. “When the three of us go out together, is there… something else?” he hesitated. “Something more than friends having fun?”

Ryuji and Yusuke exchanged a look: that was their chance—probably the only one.

“Sorry…” added Yuuki quickly. “That was a strange question. Please, forget about it.”

Ryuji took a deep breath.

“Actually… there is,” he said.

“Or at least we hoped there could be,” added Yusuke.

Their answers made Yuuki widen his eyes.

“So… when you asked me about more than three people being together…?”

“I meant us,” confirmed Yusuke.

He seemed in shock… and who could blame him for that?

“Thing is,” started to explain Ryuji, “I realized I had a crush on you, and Yusu… he said he was fine with it. He even offered to ask how you’d feel about a relationship like this.”

“But then, when I spent more time talking to you, my feelings changed as well,” said Yusuke. “In short, both Ryuji and I have romantic feelings towards you.”

Yuuki blinked, still astonished by those sudden confessions.

“You’re not kidding, are you?” he asked in a weak voice.

“We wouldn’t joke about somethin’ like this,” answered Ryuji.

“I guess you wouldn’t…”

Yuuki lowered his gaze, thinking for a long while. It only made Ryuji feel even more anxious, and he was sure that, beside him, Yusuke wasn’t feeling any better. His heart seemed about to jump out of his chest when Yuuki finally spoke again.

“I kind of suspected it when you two started to invite me to go out,” he admitted. “But part of me thought I was just being delusional, and I was too scared to ask you about it.”

“And how do you feel about this?” asked Ryuji.

Yuuki looked at him.

“Honestly?” he said. “I’m really happy.”

“Are you…?”

As much as Ryuji and Yusuke hoped for that outcome, it was difficult to believe it was actually happening. Their surprised faces made Yuuki giggle.

“You didn’t know,” he started to say, looking at Ryuji, “but I kind of had a crush on you since last year. And,” he turned his gaze to Yusuke, “after I started to talk more to Yusuke, I… I guess I started to hope that my suspicions were right.”

Yuuki showed them a slightly shy smile.

“Are you really fine with this, though?” he asked.

“With you?” Ryuji raised his eyebrow in disbelief. “We’re more than fine!”

“Precisely,” agreed Yusuke.

Yuuki’s smile widened.

“So…” he said, “that means I…?”

Ryuji faced him, straightening his back with a huge grin on his face.

“Hey, Yuuki…” he said. “Would you like to be our boyfriend?”

Before Yuuki could answer, Yusuke lightly pinched Ryuji’s cheek.

“You didn’t give me a chance to ask,” he complained.

“Ah… right,” Ryuji showed an embarrassed smile. “Okay, Yusu… On three.”

They counted to three, then asked that question at the same time. Yuuki covered his face with both hands, his face acquiring a bright pink tone.

“You can’t do something like this…” he muttered. “It’s too much for my heart…”

But his moment of embarrassment didn’t last long. Soon he looked at them again, with a wide smile on his lips.

“Yes,” he said. “I want to.”

Ryuji was taken by a feeling of euphoria. He pulled Yuuki into an embrace, and soon Yusuke did the same to them both. The three of them stayed close like that for a long while, without any word—comfy, warm, and safe from the rain.