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Shadowed Faith

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Well, this isn't what I thought was going to come of coming to this apartment, MC thought as he watched the chat on his phone.

And then the misgendering. But he just played along, he didn't know these people and they couldn't even see him, so it was fine. They weren't doing it on purpose, he could deal.

Of course, when the phone rang, displaying Seven - Luciel's display name, he hesitated before answering, voice wary as he did so.


Silence came from Luciel's end before a hiss came through. "Oh. Oh man, I'm so sorry. You could have said something,, I suppose you probably didn't want to just tell a group of strangers, huh?"

MC kept silent, swallowing as he listened to Luciel go on, whatever reason he had called long forgotten.

In the end, MC just settled for sprawling on the couch, listening to Luciel talk with a small, amused smile.

" cool keeping the act up? Or do you want to tell everyone else?"

MC made a startled noise in the back of his throat before he replied. "You can keep talking as if I'm female in the chat, if you want."

Luciel made a noise that sounded like a soft cheer - like he'd just been handed the permission he needed to play an amazing joke on mutual friends. It was probably one of the happiest noises MC had heard in a long while, and it made the fact that he was going to be dealing with a lot of misgendering in days to come completely worth it.

"Alright, cool! This is going to be a blast! But...I hope you don't mind me telling V?  He is the leader here, so it'd be a good idea for him to know. But! If you aren't comfortable with that, that's fine too? Your call, MC!"

MC laughed softly in response. "That's fine, Seven," he offered. "Can I ask why you originally called?"

Luciel gasped slightly before he started speaking again. "Just called to confirm your number! I'll pass it along to the other members!"

Oh, great, I'm going to have to start avoiding calls if I want to keep the act up, MC thought, but agreed and hung up.

MC woke the next morning to his phone going off.

He groaned, but reached over to grab it an answer the call.

"Hello, MC."

MC blinked at the pleasant, lilting voice on the other end of the call, pulling the phone from his ear to check the contact name - something he had neglected to do before answering.

Once he put the phone back to his ear, he spoke, his own voice still slightly deep with sleep. "Good morning, V," he offered. "How can I help you?"

"I was hoping to meet with you and discuss everything? Luciel informed me of your...circumstances?"

MC almost winced at that, but just got up as he agreed, asking where he was to meet V at.

Once he had the location, he promised to see V soon and hung up, going through the motions of getting ready before leaving the apartment.

As soon as MC entered the cafe, overlarge sweater covering up what his binder failed to hide correctly after years of use, V offered a smile as he stood.

"Good morning, MC. I wasn't sure what you'd want, so I hope hot cocoa is fine with you?"

MC gave him a strange look, but smiled faintly anyway. "That's wonderful, though I could have ordered my own drink when I got here."

V laughed faintly as they settled down at the table. "My treat for dragging you out to meet with me so suddenly."

The next hour was spent talking quietly about the situation, barely bringing up the fact that MC was trans until they'd discussed MC's job as coordinator for the RFA and what it entailed.

V was the one to finally bring it up. "Luciel and me are the only ones who know the location of the apartment, so if you need anything, let one of us know. Are you on...?"

"T? Yes, I am," MC offered softly - he may not have had surgery, but he had been on T for a few months now.

V nodded in understanding, seeming to file the information away in his mind.

"'re strangely calm about all of this," MC remarked after a long moment of quiet.

V hummed softly, curious, before chuckling. "Ah, I see Luciel left this to me then..." he mused, shaking his head with a fond smile. "The reason I called you out like this is because I thought you would like to know you have a kindred spirit in a way within the RFA."

It took longer than it should have for MC to understand what he was saying.

"You're...trans, too?"

V tilted his head in a nod. "I am,"

MC wound up giving the passcode for the door lock to the apartment to V, stating that he would rather V know it just in case something happened.

V seemed hesitant, but accepted it calmly when MC explained that it would make him feel safer to know at least one of the other RFA members could get into the apartment just in case.

The two wound up sitting in the cafe for a while longer, and eventually MC logs into the chat to see what the others are up to, careful to keep the app hidden from prying eyes.

He only looks back up after he hears the sound of a camera shutter, frowning when he saw V with a camera in hand, tilted so he could see the picture he'd just taken.

"Did you just - ?"

V smiled up at MC, soothing, before turning the camera so he could see the picture - a cup to his lips and his whole focus on the phone in his hand. "I apologize, but you looked quite peaceful like that."

"...I think this is the first picture I've ever seen of myself that I didn't Hate," MC murmured softly, glancing up at V - it definitely wasn't a lie, it was a good picture, and for a change, it didn't look like he was female. "Is this what you do as a job? Photography?"

V nodded in agreement.

MC smiled faintly. "I hope to see more of your work someday,"

"Perhaps," V muse with a soft laugh. "How do you plan to tell the others?"

MC bit his lip before shrugging. "I'm letting...Luciel, you said his name was?"

V nodded, so MC continued.

"I'm letting Luciel keep on with a joke about me being female at the moment to give me time to figure that out, actually. I might let them just find out when they meet me."

V hummed in understanding, smiling lightly. "You won't have to worry, you know, about them accepting you." he offered. "But whatever you decide on the front of coming out to them, I'll support you in it."

MC gave him a surprised look before tilting his head in a nod. "Thank you,"

The next few days went over well - V shared the date for the party with everyone in the chat once he'd decided on it, and things settled into a nice rhythm.

Of course, he hadn't expected for V and Luciel to show up at the apartment, but he did step aside to let them inside. "What brings the two of you over?"

Luciel just waved and went to work, so V spoke up. "We may have forgotten about something," he admitted. "There's a...special security system here to protect the information of previous party guests. Luciel is disarming it and we'll be getting rid of it. Would you care to help me gather all the old information to get rid of it from the apartment?"

MC shrugged, nodding in agreement.

And so, the three worked quietly - most of V and MC's work was hindered a bit by Luciel, but it wasn't too bad.

By the time they were all finished, it was late and MC smiled before speaking. "How about the two of you stay for dinner?"

"We couldn't..." V started, but MC waved this off with a small smile.

"I'd prefer you did, considering,"

Luciel grinned at him before nodding in agreement. "Sounds great, MC,"

Nothing else too exciting happened before the day of the party, thankfully.

But when that day arrived, he had to admit he was nervous - he was tugging the the cuffs of his shirt sleeves as he approached the door, RFA lanyard resting about his neck.

Jaehee barely spared him a glance as she spoke, asking his name.

As soon as he said it, though, she paused and gave him a long look.

It takes a while before she offers a soft smile. "It's nice to finally meet you, MC." she commented, holding a hand out for him to shake.

He stared at it for a moment before looking up at Jaehee and offering a smile of his own - lopsided, but free in a way he hadn't felt in a long time. He ignored the offered handshake, moving to hug her. "It's nice to meet you too, Jaehee." he offered as he let her go.

Jaehee just shakes her head, amused, before shooing him off into the actual party so she can continue checking guests off the list.

The next to find him was Yoosung, and he had to admit it surprised him a bit when the blond approached him only to pause and start firing questions off.

But he just smiled in amusement and answered as many as he could.

This was only interrupted by Zen coming up - Jaehee had informed him that MC was there, as well as what he was wearing.

MC fell silent in the middle of something he was saying to Yoosung, giving a slightly nervous smile to Zen - it was understandable to be nervous, honestly.

But Zen just patted him on the shoulder with a quiet apology for the nicknames he'd used in the chat - effectively drawing a laugh out of MC.

"It's fine, really, I didn't mind too terribly!"

The next few minutes were full of absent chatter - now that they knew, MC was glad that the conversation was as easy as it always had been in the chat. He was glad nothing had changed.

Of course, once they disappeared off to talk to a few guests, MC relaxed a little to take a breather. Now the only one left to find out and meet was -

"Ah, you must be MC,"


MC gave a wry smile as he turned his attention to the other male, who examined him for a moment before nodding in greeting.

"It's nice to finally get to meet you, though I must admit, this isn't what I expected,"

MC looked down for a moment before he shrugged. "I apologize for keeping it from all of you,"

"It's understandable. Make yourself comfortable, you'll be in for a lot of socialization once the party officially begins," Jumin told him.

MC nodded in understanding, watching as Jumin made his way through the crowds easily.

The party was overwhelming to say the least - the RFA members were slightly surprised he'd managed to get so many people to agree to come, but they were all very pleased with the outcome.

But honestly, MC could've done with a few less guests when it came to socializing with them.

As soon as he got through with the conversation he was having, he moved to take a seat with V and Luciel at one of the tables off in the corner to take a break.

Once he's seated, V handed his camera over to MC, who blinked at him before looking at the screen to see a picture of himself talking with one of the guests.

He looks like he's in his element, eyes bright and a soft smile showing as he spoke. He stared at it before handing the camera back and giving V a look. "I'd thank you to stop taking pictures of me,"

"I can't help it that you're extremely photogenic, MC," V commented with a wry grin. "Besides, I've taken pictures of all the other RFA members today, too,"

MC sighed, but nodded in understanding and let it drop.

Once the party ends and the guests leave, MC lets out a sigh, pulls at his tie - the dark green material coming undone easily and just resting against his shirt - and leans against the table closest to him, palms supporting his weight carefully against the table's surface.

When the others looked over at him, he looks exhausted - eyes closed, head hanging slightly, shoulders slumped.

 But he didn't stay that way long, just long enough to catch a good breath and relax again before he was moving about the room, getting started cleaning up.

Jaehee reacted first to start helping once the surprise at seeing him so tired wore off. In all the time he'd spent with the RFA, they'd never seen MC be anything but kind and energetic.

Once clean-up was done - all of them pitched in to get it done - they all settled down at one of the tables to just discuss and spend time together now that the party was done.

Unfortunately, that meant questions, and MC had to admit he was sort of tired of those at the moment.

But with everyone talking around him, close enough to keep an eye on him, they noticed when he started giving shorter answers and curling forward a bit, one arm closer to him on the table than the other as if bracing himself against something.

It took a minute for it to register in anyone's mind what was going on, and once it had, V stood and disappeared, coming back with a neatly folded stack of clothing that he handed to MC - just a pair of jeans and a sweater.

MC gave him a wary, confused look as the clothes were pressed into his arms.

"I know you aren't that comfortable with us, I'm sorry," V started as he sat back down. "But I believe it'd be best if you go get your binder off before it does damage to your ribs, I can tell you're in pain right now,"

MC went to argue, then just gave a small, almost shy smile and stood to disappear to change.

Jumin gave V an amused look. "You thought to bring a change of clothes for him despite how busy it was this morning."

V shrugged in response. "It may have been a few years, but I remember how painful binders can be," he pointed out, giving his best friend a look. "Especially if they're new,"

"Oh yeah, he had to get a new one recently, didn't he?" Luciel asked, seeming as if he were annoyed that he'd forgotten. "His ribs probably ache right now,"

When MC came back, his own clothes folded neatly and immediately placed out of the way, Jaehee bit her lip to keep from grinning.

MC ignored that, looking at V as he sat back down. "I'll assume these are your clothes, seeing as they're huge on me, V." he remarked. "You could have told me to bring a change of clothes just in case, you know."

"I went to, but it was a hectic morning, so I sort of forgot," V admitted, giving a small, sheepish smile in response.

"Well, at least you look cozy," Luciel said cheerfully, grinning at MC when he eyed him warily. "Not to mention absolutely adorable,"

MC groaned, dropping his head down against the table in response. "...what higher being did I piss off to be subject to this torture?" he grumbled into his arms.

 This was enough to get laughter from everyone else, and MC decisively ignored the sound of a camera shutter when he heard it moments later.

No matter what he said, he enjoyed every second of being with the RFA. Even if it meant jokes at his expense.

In the days following, there were a lot of small meetings where they discussed about where MC was going to stay.

V was quick to say that MC was more than welcome to stay at the apartment if he wanted, but it was his choice as to if he wanted to stay there or go home. Either way, he still had a place in the RFA.

MC, for his part, pretended not to be overwhelmed by the sudden choice he was presented with. 

In the end, after nearly a week of debating, MC just decided to move into the apartment.

"It's what I'm used to by now, I guess," he offered when he got a surprised look from a couple of the others - Zen and Yoosung especially. 

V just smiled and nodded in acceptance of the choice. 

And just like that, life carried on as normal.

Or...well, as normal as is possible when everything has been shaken up by sudden choices.

But MC didn't mind at all. In fact, he had never been more content in his life.

No one really expected it when MC shut everyone out suddenly. 

He answered their calls, but his responses were short and clipped. 

He avoided their text messages and the chat. 

He didn't show up to their meetings or even to just hang out with all of them outside of things for the RFA.

"Perhaps he just isn't feeling well today?" V offered weakly when he arrived at the park to see everyone else there besides MC.

Luciel shook his head. "He sounded alright when he answered my call earlier, but he hasn't responded to any of our messages about if he's going to come,"

Jumin sighed, standing up and pulling his phone out before walking away from the  group. None of them tried to stop him. 

Once he was a good distance away, he called MC, listening carefully as he answered. 

"Jumin? Why are you calling me?"

He sounded confused and frightened, Jumin mused as he answered. "Because you're avoiding all of us and we're worried sick. Why don't you come down to the park across from that cafe you're so fond of so we can talk this, whatever this is, out?"

It was silent for a long moment, then MC sighed. 

"yeah, alright. Bye."

Jumin gave a small smile when he rejoined the others. "He'll be here soon,"

When MC showed up, he was hunched over on himself, hands shoved in his pockets and the material of his too-large sweater swallowing his form. 

"There, I'm here. Are you guys happy now?" He asked, tone far from happy. 

Luciel pointed to a space across from himself. "Far from it. Take a seat and tell us what's going on, will ya?"

MC hesitated, looking up to meet Luciel's gaze before he rolled his eyes and plopped down - he immediately curled into himself again, like he was trying to take up the smallest amount of space possible.

V made a strange face for a moment when he watched this happen before he spoke. "Dysphoric?"

"....a little?" MC responded, but shrugged immediately after. "Not too bad, just the normal amount."

V understood - Luciel and him had gotten calls when MC felt really dysphoric before, so he knew that wasn't it if it was being brushed off. 

It was quiet for a moment before Luciel finally sighed and spoke. "Okay aren't dysphoric, you're not sick. Why have you been avoiding us?"

MC narrowed his eyes at Luciel in response. "That's my personal business you're asking after, Luciel," he warned, tone cold. 

Jaehee smiled faintly in amusement. "Would you feel better talking about it one on one with one of us?"

MC went to argue with that before he sighed and looked down. A short moment later, he nodded in agreement with her question. 

"Would you like to go talk, then?"

Another beat of hesitation before MC looked up at Jaehee and nodded again.

Once the two of them were away from the rest of the group, V spoke. "Think we can help in any way?"

"Depends on what's wrong," Zen commented quietly, frowning slightly. 

"So, what's going on, MC?" 

" can't tell any of the others, okay? It's just...."

Jaehee nodded in agreement without bothering to question it - if MC wanted this to stay secret, she could do that. 

MC was quiet, staring off in front of them. "I....might have a small crush on someone. You know how everyone else gets about any sort of romance, they'd torture me trying to help,"

Jaehee smiled fondly at those words - they weren't lies, and she knew it. 

"'ll go away eventually. I just need to be alone for a while so it can."

Jaehee frowned before she spoke. "Why don't you act on it instead of ignoring it in hopes it goes away?" 

MC bit his lip for a moment before looking down. "....because what's the point of trying when I already know I'm never going to be good enough for it to mean anything but rejection?"

Jaehee gave MC a startled look before sighing. "I don't like people talking about my best friend like that, MC. I won't push you, but I really think you should try to pursue this."

There were faint tear tracks on MC's cheeks when the two of them rejoined everyone else. 

The guys didn't react well to that.

"Why were you crying?! Do you need a hug?" Yoosung asked immediately, setting to worrying over MC. 

MC just have a soft chuckle in response and shook his head. "I'm fine, Yoosung."

It wasn't really convincing, but nobody pressed about it as MC scrubbed at his face with his sweater sleeves again. 

After that, their day went relatively well - MC was still distant but he did joke around and talk with them, which was an improvement. 

MC left early, and once he was gone, Luciel turned to her. 

"Is it something we can help with?"

Jaehee shrugged. "I hope it's about to fix itself, actually." She offered, shrugging. "I can't go into detail because I promised not to but....he said something about not being good enough,"

This got a frown from the guys. 

V looked down before he sighed and stood up. "I'll be in touch soon,"

He didn't give anyone time to argue before he was gone. 

Yoosung stared after him. "Do you think he's going to talk to MC?"

Nobody had an answer for him. 

"MC, open the door, please? We need to talk. I brought supplies for dinner," V said after he knocked on the door to the apartment. 

The door opened, and V out the bags of supplies in the kitchen before moving to sit next to MC. "Jaehee wouldn't tell us what was wrong, but she mentioned you saying you didn't think you were good enough." He murmured, frowning worriedly. "What's going on with you to make you think that way?"

MC didn't meet his eyes, just looked away and shrugged. Words were escaping him. 

The last person he'd wanted to worry was V, and now here they were. 

oh my god, I'm such a horrible person, MC thought. 

V started a bit when MC let out a low, quiet sob, but simply pulled him to his chest to try to offer some form of comfort. 

", let go of me..." MC responded through the cries, pushing himself from V's grip. 

V ignored this, tightening his arms around MC stubbornly. "You're upset," he murmured. "So no, I'm not going to let go."

V never got MC to tell him what was wrong. 

Just that it was a personal issue and he wanted time alone to sort it out. 

And so, V nodded and told him to let someone know if he needed something, and left it at that. 

Dinner was quiet between them, small talk losing itself in the small sniffles MC gave from time to time. 

"Whatever it is," V said as he stood with the door open, ready to leave and let MC rest, "it'll be okay. And don't ever think you aren't good enough. Because you are and anyone who can't see that is missing out on a wonderful person."

MC stared at the door long after V left, surprised. 

"Well, it got worse." Jumin remarked when V joined the rest of them for lunch two weeks later. "He won't answer the phone. Luciel went to visit him yesterday, said he was alright but..."

"Jumin, MC just needs some time, okay? He seems to need to sort his feelings on something out and he can't if we're always in his business about it trying to help when we don't understand." V commented calmly.

Jaehee got a call during the meal, answering it in surprise, though everyone said for her to stay during it. 

Of course, everyone was surprised when Jaehee spoke into the phone. "MC? You sound horrible, what's wrong?"

Silence fell at the table, everyone watching Jaehee. 

It took a moment, but she smiled faintly. "Don't be silly, you're always welcome with us, no matter what. Now breathe and tell me why you're asking such a thing?"

Luciel traded worried looks with V at that, but stayed quiet, pulling his phone out to prepare a funny text to send to MC to try to cheer him up a little.

Jaehee didn't speak again to where they could understand, just sort of gasped before smiling. "That....oh, don't worry one bit!"

She hung up not long after that, and Luciel sent his message immediately following. 

"What did he say?" Yoosung asked, leaning forward eagerly. 

Jaehee just smiled softly at him. "MC is just fine, he just needed to vent and hear what he was feeling out loud. I dare say it'll clear up soon," she offered. "V, Luciel, would the two of you be so kind as to take him some food?"

"Of course, Jaehee," V responded.

"Sorry we let ourselves in, Jaehee sent us with some food," V offered as Luciel put the food down in the kitchen, humming excitedly. 

MC stared at the two before he sighed and curled further in on himself in his position on the couch. 

V only offered a small, soothing smile, but Luciel immediately moved to wrap his arms around MC's shoulders from behind the couch. 

"Cheer up, MC ~ !" He commented, tone lilting and far too happy in this situation. "How about you tell us why Jaehee had to pull you from a panic attack, hmm? We're worried,"

"You shouldn't be," MC grumbled, but didn't say anything else. 

V sighed, though, understanding what he'd left unsaid. "We've already had a talk about you feeling like you aren't good enough. You know that's not true. So why were you panicking and asking if we'd kick you out of RFA?" 

MC blinked at him before his cheeks went red and he looked away. "None of either of your business," he deadpanned. 

 Luciel chuckled. "Fine, you don't have to tell us." he said, letting go of MC and plopping down as V calmly took a seat in the chair at the computer desk. "But you can't go around thinking that we'd ever just tell you to leave! You're one of us,"

MC gave him an unamused look, though he did offer a thankful smile as well.

V went to say something, but just made a startled hum when his phone alerted him to a message.

He was quick to pull the offending device out to check it before he glanced up at MC in surprise. "Jaehee just text,"

MC tensed up, narrowing his eyes at V - he knew exactly what she'd told him, and he almost regretted talking to her about it.

"Luciel, would you give us a moment? It's a bit of a private issue, so...?"

Luciel raised an eyebrow, but agreed. "Sure, I'll go get drinks and snacks and a few movies and stuff, we can have a bit of a movie night to cheer MC up!" he remarked, throwing a hand up as he left.

"He is never normal in anything he does, is he?" MC commented, laughing quietly.

V hummed in agreement, a small smile playing on his lips before it faded and he shifted to sit next to MC instead of across from him.

" this why you said you weren't good enough? Why you've locked yourself away from the rest of us and doubted your worth to us as not only an RFA member, but a friend?" V asked, holding his phone out so MC could see the words he figured would be there.

'I know sending you and Luciel to MC was sudden, V.'

'Thank you for going anyway.'

'I believe it's best if you hear it all from MC, but he has mentioned being quite fond of you, if you understand me?'

'Whatever your response is, just know that all of us will support the both of you in whatever decision you make.'

'And tell MC I'm sorry for telling you, but it was the only way I could help him.'

MC wasn't sure if he should feel annoyed or thankful, but he managed a small smile.

"Since you aren't arguing her words, I'll assume she was right in telling me that you're....fond of me, as she put it?" V asked, his tone soft, but not unkind.

Just doubtful, like MC's own words had been in the past weeks whenever he spoke to anyone.

Doubtful, almost afraid of everything being just a cruel joke.

MC met his gaze before he tilted his head in a nod to his question, looking pointedly away from the photographer.

A soft chuckle met his ears, though, surprising him.

"Then you could have told me before now,"

MC's gaze fell back to V, slightly stunned at this.

V shrugged. "I don't have the best experiences with relationships, sure, but you still should have told me. Even if I were worried about it, I still would have talked to you about it at least,"

MC gave a small smile. "Sorry, I guess..."

"You're just used to rejection," V finished for him. "I can't say that it'll be anything amazing, but....I'd like to try if you want to?"

Silence lasted for a moment before MC nodded in agreement. "I...think I'd like that,"

"Alright," V said, tone decisive. "How about we work out details and stuff over the phone, when Luciel can't barge in and make both of our lives difficult?"

This got a laugh out of MC, and it effectively chased away the last of the gloomy feeling in the air. "That sounds wonderful,"

The three did wind up doing their impromptu movie night - MC was quick to make sweets to balance out the popcorn and chips that Luciel bought, and V was content in making warm drinks for the three of them.

Once they were settled together on the couch watching the movies, though, Luciel was quick to make a mess of things - MC complained through the entire first movie about the fact that he was going to have to clean the couch after all the times Luciel dropped food or spilled his drink on it.

V laughed himself to tears during this, and Luciel seemed perfectly content sprawled across the two of them, enjoying the happy atmosphere.

MC rolled his eyes, prodding Luciel harshly in the side before settling down to pay attention to what was left of the movie.

The two left after the next movie, promising to return to watch the others that Luciel had bought - MC had no idea why he'd gotten so many, but he wasn't complaining about it.

V gave him a calm smile as he left, and once they were gone, MC grabbed his phone to call Jaehee, setting the phone to speaker and laying it against his chest once he was settled back on the couch.

"Are you mad at me for telling him?"

MC laughed softly before he spoke. "No, I called to thank you,"

A soft sigh of relief sounded through from Jaehee, followed by an amused tone. "So everything went okay?"

MC just hummed softly. "We didn't really talk much - we're going to work it out via phone later that way Luciel can't be annoying,"

"Does this mean you'll come back to the chat? I need someone else there who's sane, MC, they're all mental."

MC just grinned. "You love them as they are and you know it," he pointed out, tone amused. "But yes, I will return to the chat. Just...give me some time to get everything worked out first, okay?"

Nobody else found out, which MC was thankful for.

He wasn't sure he could handle it if things didn't work out and everyone knew. At least this way, he could pretend it had never happened and move on with his life.

Jaehee sent him a supportive message just before he left to meet V at the park, causing him to smile and send back his thanks as he walked.

When he got there, he shoved his phone into his pocket and approached V, fingers tangling together nervously. "Hi,"

V gave him a calm smile and patted the space beside him - a picnic was nice, especially with the cool autumn breeze.

Plus, it gave them the chance to spend time outside so V could take pictures of their surroundings while giving MC some fresh air and making him feel calm instead of cooped up.

It was probably the best of the ideas they had discussed for a first date.

Not to mention, as far as first date ideas go, a picnic is cute.

They sat quietly for a few moments, then V smiled faintly and spoke. "I...actually thought you wouldn't show up, you know? I got here early to set up and I suppose I started thinking too much," he remarked. "I'm glad you came,"

MC shrugged, but grinned at him. "I wouldn't miss this for the world, V,"

MC had to admit, his favorite thing was getting to watch V when he was in his zone and taking photographs. 

It was nice to see him so passionate and lively, and the pictures themselves were amazing. 

So he didn't complain when their date evolved into an impromptu photo shoot. 

He didn't even complain at the pictures that V took of him. 

But V apologized numerous times as he walked MC home at sunset. 

"Dont apologize," he finally said, smiling amusedly at the photographer. "I had fun, and i really enjoyed seeing you in your zone like that."

It took a few more dates for the two to move into being boyfriends. 

And once they had, the rest of the RFA found out. 

A few days later, Luciel came out to them all as genderfluid. 

MC smiled fondly, and laughed along with everyone else at the formality of it all. 

But he was glad that Luciel felt safe enough with them to say it out loud. 

V hadn't lied - He was really bad at romance sometimes. 

But it was cute. 

Their fights were small and never lasted long. 

But MC still had doubts.

He still feared rejection. 

And it was so obvious now. 

But V had learned how to deal with it after MC moved in with him.

Cuddles soothed his fears, and V liked hearing his breathing even out as he matched it to V's own. 

It was on one of these days that V took another step forward into their relationship with no regrets. 

As soon as MC's breathing was settled to match his own, he tilted MC's head up and moved to steal a kiss. 

It didn't last long, just a few seconds, but it set MC's world spinning off kilter with surprise. 

Even more so when paired with the quiet sentence that followed. 

"I'm not going anywhere, love. Rest,"