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Spellbound

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You love reading. After all, it is your only escape into a world that you can enjoy without the hassles of societal rules. If it wasn’t for that, you weren’t sure where you’d be at this point in your life. Of course, this led you to believe that things such as happy endings and the such were only something one could dream about. In fact, that was only one of the many things you believed didn’t exist since they only happened in books.

Magic—as expected—is something you’d find in a book.

You didn’t believe in it no matter what anyone said to you. You would hear rumors about the infamous Phantom Thieves of Heart and honestly, you could care less. After all, some things only appeared to be magical when things could be easily explained.

A sudden change in heart? Threaten and blackmail the poor guy enough and he’d give into the demands. Don’t know how they do what they do? Just catch one of them and make them spill. Impossible to catch? Simply make use of all resources one could get his hands on to track them down.

Of course, those were only a few generalized answers you thought up of. However, when push comes to shove, things could be easily worked out to be doable.

“This world is so stupid,” you whisper softly to yourself as you turned a page in your book, a bit surprised that you managed to properly read the previous page whilst distracted with your thoughts. What surprised you even more was the voice replying to yours seconds after.

“I agree. The world is pretty dumb sometimes.” You let out a yelp, eyes darting around in panic as you turn around to see who it was. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” You recognize the person to be Kurusu Akira, the infamous transfer student.

“Oh, it’s just you,” you mumble as you return to your book, hoping it was a clear enough indicator that you wanted to be alone.

“I was wondering what book you’re reading. You had a pretty proud face on while reading.” You feel a bit of blood rush to your cheeks as you realize that you were making faces as you thought about things.

“I wasn’t… thinking about the… book,” you shyly admit, wondering what exact face you were making earlier.

“That much was obvious, but something you read must’ve spurred your thoughts. So, I’m curious about it all the same,” Kurusu states, a spark of curiosity flashing in his eyes as he waits for a response patiently. You sigh, knowing that you would inevitably give into his questions. He is a persistent person after all.

“I was reading a fantasy book.” He raises an eyebrow and you realize that he’s requesting for more than just the genre. “A… romance fantasy.”

“Romance fantasy? And the title?” he wondered as if he knew that verbally voicing it would corner you to giving the answer that he wanted. You bite back a growl, frustrated that he wanted to continue a conversation that you wanted to drop. You are embarrassed to already have said what you liked to read as a hobby. You didn’t want to have to further reveal just what type of book you were reading. After all, it explored certain areas that would be deemed indecent for your age.

“I… I’d rather… not tell you,” you mumble, hoping that it’d get him to drop the subject. Kurusu seemed to get the hint and gave you a nod, acknowledging your statement. However, it didn’t seem like he wanted to stop there.

“Then, I can only assume that it’s something you’re too shy to share. I have an idea about what type of book it is, but I’m guessing that you won’t confirm it?” You feel the blood rush to your cheeks as you brought your head down, hoping your hair would cover a bit of the redness in your face. “I’m sorry. That was a bit too much teasing for you to handle, wasn’t it?”

You bite back a growl before saying, ”Yeah, glad you noticed.”

“Well then, as an apology, would you let me take you somewhere?” You slowly let your gaze trail back to him. You are hesitant to meet his eyes, but feeling it was impolite to avoid it, you decided to push back your embarrassment.

“Are you asking me out?” you ask hesitantly, unknowingly biting your lip in anticipation.

He smiles as he shoots you another question, “What do you think it is?” You click your tongue. He was in the position of power now with that question. “I don’t mind if you think I’m trying to go for an after school date. It is what I’m doing after all.” You hate how blunt he is sometimes. When you first met him, you didn’t expect him to be capable of acting that way. It almost felt as if he discovered something during his time at Shujin Academy.

Your concentration is broken with his chuckle.

“Sorry, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I think you’re cute when you’re flustered. Too bad, no one else really sees that since you don’t socialize with others all that often.” You notice a pause as he hums, wondering about something as his eyes close to maintain focus. “Actually, maybe it’s better that you don’t talk with others that often. It’d be a shame if they take up all of your time instead.”

“Stop that!” you exclaim, feeling the heat of your embarrassment caused by his words. His gray eyes flicker open to meet your panicking ones. “The things that you say are a bit too much. It’s not like you like me, so don’t give me any reason to believe that you do. After all, we don’t know each other that well.”

“Does it matter how much we know about each other? I can like someone even if I haven’t been with them for a long time,” Kurusu reasons. The way he said it almost convinced you that it was possible, but you couldn’t give in that easily.

“Things like that don’t exist. You’re only saying that because you like to tease me. You can’t say you like someone without even truly getting to know them. Love at first sight or whatever else… that’s only something that happens in books!” you counter, frustrated with the way he kept challenging your beliefs. You see him smirk, feeling even more annoyed at the fact he wouldn’t accept your argument.

“I can understand why you think that, but that’s being a little too close-minded. Are you going to tell me that the interest I have in you is just a whim? I don’t think it is, but it’d hurt to hear that you think it’s all a joke,” Kurusu states.

You realize that he’s trying to take advantage of your kindness. You could tell that he knew that you weren’t cruel enough to disrespect someone’s feelings and stomp on them even if you thought they went against your beliefs. You close your book, feeling even irritated at how trapped you felt because of him.

“Do whatever you want. I can’t stop you, but I’ll believe what I want,” you say as you got up to leave the library.

You pause as you hear him behind you, “If you’ll allow me, I can bring a bit of magic into your life. A little fairy dust can help open the eyes to something magical.” You look over your shoulder, narrowing your eyes into a glare as a frown mars your features.

“I don’t believe in things like that.”

You sigh as you throw your phone onto your bed in frustration. You were quick to realize what a jerk you were to Kurusu earlier today. In fact, you didn’t need to even realize it yourself when you knew from the moment you he started to talk to you. Granted, you never told yourself that you were a great person, but at least you made an effort not to be a bad one.

Saddened, you crawled onto your bed, arms reaching out to hug the closest pillow in an attempt to comfort yourself. You need to apologize to him as possible. That way, you could at least avoid any awkwardness and it’d solve things pretty quickly. After all, you couldn’t let yourself bear with the burden of knowing you tore apart what could’ve been a good friendship. No, you refused to let yourself have to deal with that.

A knock on glass catches your attention, causing curiosity to rise up within you. You glance over in the direction you heard it from—which was obviously your balcony. It was pretty dark out, allowing you to only make out a shadowing blur from where you lay in your bed.

In order to see better, you moved to push yourself away from the comfort of your bed and made your way to your balcony. Your eyes peer out cautiously, darting around to check for a suspicious figure. Much to your surprise, nothing is there.

“I’m afraid you’re looking in the wrong direction. I’m over here,” a voice says, startling you begin to look for the voice above your head. Indeed, the owner was there. You recognize his clothing to consist of a dark cloak cover the rest of his suit. His messy black hair framed a face hidden by a white mask. You nearly gasp as your brain begins to register who he was.

“You’re—” A gloved hand is then placed on over your mouth before you could say anything more.

“You’re being a bit loud. I prefer not getting caught by the authorities, so your cooperation would be helpful,” he states, a mischievous smile plastered on his lips as he cautiously removes his hand over your mouth, his touch ghosting delicately away from your skin. He doesn’t pull it back very far in case you decided to make more noise. Of course, that’s exactly what you decided to do. There was an infamous thief parked outside your room and weren’t going to let him go.

“He—” Before anything else slips past your lips, his hand goes right back to covering over your mouth. Your response to this is a growl.

“It seems like I wasn’t very clear earlier,” the thief states, a sigh following soon after. “I understand your logical reaction is to go call for help, but today I’m here for more personal reasons.” You smack his hand away, irate at the fact that he was in such close proximity to you.

“Look here, you stupid thief,” you begin, your words laced with poison, “I don’t like you or your thief gang, so don’t drag me into your lives. Don’t think I won’t sell you off to the authorities. In fact, that’s what I’m tempted to do as soon as I can.” Your eyes narrow as you focus your attention on him, attentive to any movement concerning him in case he did something. Much to your surprise, he begins to chuckle. You could curse yourself for taking joy in listening to his voice.

“My, you’re a feisty one, but I guess that’s why I like you so much.” He seems to relish in the fact that you weren’t fawning over him like some fangirl. You click your tongue in distaste as you venture back into the comfort of your room, away from the balcony doors. “Should I take it as an invitation in?”

“You’re a thief,” you remind him, “you don’t need an invitation. You make it yourself.” His lips tug into a smirk, hinting at his enjoyment from your reactions. Staying true to your words, he slips into your room himself, not needing any sort of greeting to welcome him in. “What do you want?”

“I don’t want much.”

“But you won’t leave until you get it.”

“Right you are, so let’s get down to business. Shall we?” he suggests. After a while of staying quiet, he takes your silence as a ‘yes’—just like you intended. “You seem distressed.”

“That much is obvious with your presence in my room. You’re lucky my room is on one of the higher floors,” you state, knowing full well that it didn’t matter to him anyway. “Why do you care so much about how I feel? I’m just your average civilian.”

“Yes, I know, and yet, I don’t really mind.”

“Go after someone else for your damsel in distress. I can take care of my own problems,” you spat, hoping it was enough to shoo him away. Sadly, you know he doesn’t mind your rough words. It was almost as if he interpreted them differently than what you intended them to be.

“I can’t go stealing someone else’s damsel in distress when I have my own. Allow me to be your prince in shining armor,” he offers, holding his hand out for you to take.

You growl before saying, “I don’t need a prince.”

“You’re right, you don’t need one. You want a thief instead—someone to steal your heart,” he goes along with your words. “Although I like to think I’m a gentleman,” he starts as he leans close to you, his voice getting huskier as he gets close to your ear, “I’m afraid thieves have to be a little rough to get what they have their eye on sometimes.”

You feel your cheeks heat up as you raise a hand to push yourself away from him as the other shoots up to cover the ear he whispered into. The noiret chuckles softly as he draws great enjoyment from your actions.

“It’s good to know I can make you swoon for me. I’m not usually very aggressive in terms of physical contact with someone of the opposite sex, so you can rest assured I won’t try much unless it’s called for,” he explains, a mischievous and playful undertone tucked nicely behind the sweetness of his voice. You stare at him with great doubt, unsure of whether or not you could trust that. After all, you already made the mistake of allowing him into your room. You just absolutely couldn’t allow something else to happen to you while he was there.

“Just exactly what do you want from me?” you ask your question from earlier.

The thief shakes his head, “My answer won’t be any different. You seemed a bit upset and I decided that I’d be willing to listen to your problems.”

“You can’t solve anything just by listening to me. You’re not involved in anything. In fact, it would only make things more complicated,” you reason. You look up, wondering what face he had on at the moment.

“True, I might not be the source of all of your problems, but I think I can offer you solutions or—at the very least—suggestions to help you,” the thief offers, his voice sounding confident that you’d take him up on it. “It never hurts to vent out your feelings.”

“No, it doesn’t,” you agree. For the first time that night, you could actually agree with something he said. “You’re not going to leave until you hear about my problems, are you?” He gives you a nod. “Fine.” You motion towards a chair, offering him a seat as you move to your bed. You glance over at him, eyeing his actions as he sits down. You stay quiet and he raises an eyebrow.

“You can start.”

“...There’s a guy I like. I blew up in his face earlier today.”

He smiles as he says, “I see. What did you do? It can’t have been that bad. Did he argue back?” You shake your head. “That’s good. Then all you have to do is talk to him tomorrow. I’m sure he won’t mind what you said to him.”

“No! I got mad over a stupid reason. What if he doesn’t like me anymore because I overreacted?” you mumble, your voice getting softer as you let the words spill out of your mouth. Your head shyly lowers, hoping to find cover in your knees as you pulled them to your chest. Your eyes widen when something touches your head. You look up and see the thief smiling softly down at you. “I don’t want your sympathy.”

“And yet, you aren’t rejecting it. Talk to him. I’m sure he’ll forgive you if you do. Whatever it is, it’s not like the end of the world if you don’t see eye to eye. Some things just aren’t meant to be agreed upon by people. There’s a reason why I exist after all,” the noiret explains, quietly moving to sit next to you on the bed. He feel his arm move so that his hand rests upon the shoulder furthest from him.

You smack his hand away. “I may be single, but that doesn’t mean you can start getting physical with me.”

“Fair enough.” You see him glance over at the clock on your wall. “It’s getting late. I’m afraid, I’ll have to say my goodbyes for today.”

Your eyes trail after him as he swiftly gets up, a hand lingering close to you before finally pulling your hand up. You glare at him, wanting him to let go of your hand. You tug, hoping to pull back, but he keeps a firm grip. He makes sure he doesn’t put enough strength to hurt you. He guides your hand to his lips in order for him to place a kiss on the back of it.

“Good night, princess. Your thief will come back tomorrow to listen to your troubles again,” he purrs.

“I’m not a princess,” you insisted.

“You’re right. You’re my princess,” is all he says before slipping out your room. You get up to chase after him, but he quickly disappears into the night by the time you looked out.

“Are you ever going to go in?” a voice asks you as you stand outside the school’s library. You turn to face the owner’s voice and found Kurusu standing behind you.

“Oh, it’s you.” Kurusu smiles as he gives you a quick wave of his hands before he maneuvers around you to head into the library with you trailing quietly after him. You notice he immediately goes to one of the shelves to look for a book. Not wanting to disturb him, you wait patiently at a table, nervously looking at the clock from time to time.

“Sorry to keep you waiting.” You didn’t have to look up to know who it was and instead, just nodding as you listen to the sounds of him pulling out a chair to sit across from you. However, being your curious self, you look up to find out what book he got. Your feel a bit of blood rush to your cheeks as you recognize the title of the book. Yes, it was one you were very familiar with; the title belonged to the book that you read yesterday.

“Um—” You pause, the words you were planning to say seemingly getting stuck in your throat. You see him look at you after he opened the cover of the book and flipped to the first page.

“Yes?” You swear you can hear some sort of familiar sound in his voice. Pushing the feeling aside, you point towards the book, hoping that it would give him a clue to figure out what your question is. “Oh, it’s about the book? I saw what the title was yesterday as you left, so I decided to check it out. Luckily, our library has a copy.”

Our library? This is a school library,” you state and he nods as a reply.

“Just because it’s a school, doesn’t mean that they don’t have books of a certain kind. It’s alright to indulge in a bit of… fantasizing,” Kurusu explains. The pause at the end causes concern to well up in you, making you realize that he had knowledge of what you like to read.

“...Don’t tell anyone.” He gives you a gentle smile.

“Of course not.” A few moments of silence pass as you sat across from him, your brain working hard to analyze Kurusu’s actions as he turns each page. Surprisingly, he keeps a pretty stoic expression, barely showing any sort of emotion except for the occasional sparkle of interest that flashes in his eyes. “You like this book?”

“Huh?”

He repeats, “You like this book? You were staring pretty intensely at me reading. Are hoping to find someone who likes it too?” You shake your head, mumbling out the word ‘no’. “I can see why you like it though. I find it a pretty romantic story about a princess and a thief falling in love after a fated meeting. Is it because you don’t think things like this will ever happen in real life?”

You sigh before saying, “Sorry about yesterday. Things like ‘fate’ and ‘destiny—they just don’t happen. I’m not saying that romantic things don’t ever happen. I mean, coincidences do happen that may seem similar to a book, but that’s kind of rare. You fall in love when you get to a person enough and understand who they are. And even then, that doesn’t always work out since there’s a chance they don’t like you back.”

“I see. It makes sense that you think that way. It’s not a wrong way of thinking after all since there’s nothing that disproves it,” Kurusu explains, making you feel a bit better about your outburst. “But with that being said, the same can be said for the opposite as well.” You nod, knowing that he was also quite right with his opinion.

“Sorry,” you apologize again and this time, he also voices his forgiveness.

You hum softly to yourself as you flip a page in your book, happily taking in the words printed on the pages. A knock then catches your attention, causing you to scan your room for where the sound came from before your eyes fixate on your glass balcony doors. You have a hunch it was going to be last night’s visitor once again and heaved out a sigh before going to open them.

“Hello, princess,” a smooth voices greets you as he waits patiently on your balcony. He gives you an elegant bow as if playing the part of the commoner in front of royalty. “As promised, your thief is back for his princess.”

“If I’m a princess, then what I want is a prince, not a thief. I don’t like your kind,” you reiterate, ignoring his flare and fanatics. “I’m surprised at myself mainly for not already having the police stationed in my home to catch you.”

“Silly princess. If they can’t catch me when I give them a heads up, then clearly, they aren’t very good at their jobs. Besides, you wouldn’t turn me in. After all, you’d be questioned for not turning me in earlier and that would lead to some troublesome issues.” You couldn’t deny what he said and it seemed to make logical sense in your mind.

“Well, don’t consider that out just yet. If you do something shady, then I won’t hesitate. After all, your notoriety will have you locked up anyway. I’m sure they would believe what a civilian says more than your words and there’s not really anyone else they could rely on anyway,” you argue back, happy with how you were able to fight back against his words. You refuse to let him have an advantage over you anyway. You hear him chuckle.

“Being a thief doesn’t exactly leave me many options when I get caught, but if that’s the case, then I’ll just have to slip out and come after you,” the thief warns you, excitement clear in his eyes as he comes closer to you, forcing you to make a retreat into your room. “Relax. Even, I have things I won’t do. I’d rather not stay on the balcony and have myself be discovered is all.” You let out a sigh you didn’t realize you were holding.

“Right,” you say nervously as you made your way over to a chair to sit down, afraid that your legs would give out. Your gaze trails after him cautiously as he makes himself comfortable on your bed.

“Well, princess, did you apologize to your crush yet?”

“I have a name.”

“And that is?” he prompts, resulting in you giving it to him. He repeats it, as if testing out how it sounded as it rolled off his tongue. “I like it.” You felt butterflies fluttering in your stomach as you hear him repeat it once more as if to emphasize how much he loves saying it.

“And what about you? Do I just call you ‘Phantom’ or something?” you ask, wanting to be able to finally call him something rather than just avoiding to verbally address him. He gives you a nod.

“That’s fine. I’m surprised that you didn’t go straight to asking for my real name.”

“It’s not like you’d give it to me anyway,” you say as he gives a single nod for agreement. “How long are you planning to stay? I don’t have anything else to complain and vent about now.” Phantom hums softly as he thinks. You watch as he rises up from your bed, approaching you soon after.

“Princess,” the thief calls out. Despite telling him your name, you notice that he’s chosen to stick to the nickname he gave you instead. Knowing how stubborn he could be, you doubt that he’d actually listen to your request to use your name instead of a nickname.

“What is it now?” He smiles.

“How about we play a game?”

“A game?” you repeat, wondering exactly what he defines as a ‘game’. You can feel your eyebrows furrow as you try to search for clues on his face as to what he was planning. A sigh escapes his lips.

“Now, don’t look so serious. I don’t plan on doing anything you don’t like. It’s a game to get to know each other better. I’m sure you’ve played it before. 21 questions?” You give him a look and he takes it as a confirmation that you knew the game. “I’ll start then. Why do you like him?”

“Excuse me?” you stutter out in disbelief. Phantom’s lips curve into a smirk and it is clear the he knows exactly what he’s aiming for.

“Why do you like him? You know who it is,” he repeats his question. You catch him staring hard into your eyes, waiting patiently for an answer. “Should I choose another question to ask instead?” You shake your head.

“It’s not something I’m embarrassed of. I just didn´t expect you of all people to ask that,” you explain. "You still want to know, right?" He nods. "I like him because he´s the one that makes me smile." He gives you a look, as if questioning your choice for a reason. "What? Were you expecting me to gush over how hot he is or something? Even I have standards, you know."

Phantom chuckles before saying. "Hey, that´s a bit rude. Those types of girls also have standards too—just different than yours."

"True."

"But, is your crush handsome?"

"Excuse me, but it's my turn now. You already asked your question," you playfully state, causing a laughter to erupt from his throat. "Let´s see… Do you have someone you like? Seeing as you know who my crush is, then I have the right to know yours too, Phantom."

"I do have someone I like," he replies, little hesitation present in his voice as he did so. This piques your interest and you lean towards him from your chair a bit, hoping it would prompt him to continue. "Would you like to know more?"

You pause for a bit before answering, "I do actually, but what about our game?"

"That can be saved for a different night. You seem to find more interest in this topic anyway," Phantom notes aloud, clearly taking delight from the fact that you were so interested in something like this. "She´s a girl your age," he starts.

“And what´s she like?” He smiles as he stares hard into your eyes as if searching for something. “Well?” you prompt. Just then, you hear your mom call out your name, interrupting your conversation. You sigh and opened your mouth to tell her that you were busy at the moment. However, Phantom’s gloved hand reaches out to cover your mouth as a finger from his other hand lays perpendicular to his lips.

“It’s a shame,” he starts whispering, “but we’ll have to save this for another day as well. Prioritize your family over a thief like me. This is where I bid you goodnight, princess.” As soon as he finished saying that, he immediately goes to your balcony, disappearing into the night like last time.

Your mom calls for you again, and with a groan, you reluctantly leave your room.

You ponder quietly to yourself as you sat in your usual place in the library. Thoughts swirl around in your head about your encounter last night with the thief. It seemed like the surprise of the century to discover the fact that he also had someone that he likes, but now that you think it over carefully, it might’ve been not all that surprising to be begin with. After all, he is simply just another human being… albeit gifted with something you couldn’t quite define as natural. You let out a sigh as you lean back in your chair, wanting to simply let it all go and ease the tension present in your mind.

“If you sigh too much, others will catch on that you’re bothered by something,” a voice states, causing your eyes to open, widening in surprise. You find yourself staring up into cold, metallic eyes. How ironic that such a cold color held such warmth…

“You,” you breathe out, almost feeling like your breath was stolen away by his gaze. Kurusu smiles as he cups the sides of your face with his hands.

“Let’s sit back up normally. I may not be a doctor, but staying like this can cause harm to your body,” he reasons as he guides you back to sitting up straight. You feel your cheeks heat up a bit as his fingertips glide away from you, leaving only the memories of his feathery touch. Something about the way it felt reminds you of another’s touch. You couldn’t quite remember it, but you were sure that it was recent.

“You’re here again?”

“To be your book buddy,” he replies as he finds a place next to you, taking out a familiar book. It would be a lie to say that you didn’t recognize it. “I finished reading it last night. It was… spicy.” Your hands reach to cover your face on instinct. You didn’t expect him to honestly delve into such things. “I don’t mind it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind experiencing certain things with you.”

“I...” The words you want to say escape your mind and all that comes after are soft puffs of air that drag on as the seconds pass while the beats of your heart intensifies. “How annoying...” you breathe out, irritated at the soft, steady drumming of your heart. You realize your thoughts were voiced and glance over to your side to find Kurusu’s gaze on you.

“Let’s not be too excited now. As a am now, I wouldn’t dare to do much to you. Of course, should the right situation arise… It’s not in the list of things I would hesitate on. I’m sure it’s on the near the top of the list of things I wouldn’t pass up on.” You recognize the seductive huskiness of his voice, almost shuddering at how familiar to felt to you. Is he always this aggressive in flirting with you in the past or is it something else? You couldn’t tell and you aren’t sure if you wanted to.

“Um...”

“Was I a bit too forward this time? I apologize. I’ll tone it down in the future,” Kurusu notes. You notice that a cloudy look passes through his eyes for a moment. Meanwhile, his smile doesn’t falter and takes on a more mischievous front. It almost seems like he’s another person.

You hum softly as you pace around your room slowly, passing the time as you ruffle your hair in a towel to dry it. You find it awfully peaceful tonight and something about that causes an eeriness to seep into the atmosphere. For a moment, you close your eyes and feel the silence intensify. You open them once more when you feel something glide gently across your skin and find your vision is just as dark as when your eyes were closed. Panic strikes as you begin to thrash backwards, hoping to hit the person obstructing your vision. A strong arms reaches around and holds you still, caging you against someone’s chest.

“Careful now, princess. I’d prefer it if you don’t give me any bruises to attend to tonight. I’ve already got enough scratches from a cat who insists I sleep early,” a silky familiar voice whispers close to your ear. Despite your being flustered, you recognized it almost immediately, but you find it weird how the first name that emerges in your mind is different from the person present.

“I know it’s you now, so you can let go,” you notify him, hoping to recover your vision and freedom of movement. The noiret doesn’t budge, barely shifting forward to rest his head against your shoulder. Heat rushes against your skin and you realize that he’s letting out a sigh.

“If I let you you go without telling you this, there’s no telling what I might do afterwards. Please give me a moment to compose myself before I explain,” he murmurs softly. It almost feels like there’s a tremble in his voice. Deciding it is best not to do anything until he calms down. It doesn’t take long for him to start again, “Your clothes are revealing and it’s pretty obvious from your body heat that you finished taking a shower. As a man, it’ll take a lot to not get enticed when you move away from me and you come into my vision.”

“Then you close your eyes instead,” you suggest, hoping your voice didn’t sound too high from the rush that you felt as he said those words. It was a miracle that you managed to form a decent sentence at all. “Phantom, my heart isn’t going to slow down either if I’m this close to you, so—” The growling of your name that slips out causes you to pause. It feels like a predator is breathing down your neck, almost ready to devour you whole.

“You’re testing my patience a bit too much tonight. I don’t think it’s safe if continue to visit,” the phantom concludes and you silently agree. It wasn’t much safer for your heart either. “A question for you, princess.”

“What is it?” you dare to ask as a million thoughts scurry to organize themselves inside your brain. What could he possibly want to ask at a moment like this?

“Would you like me to steal more than your heart?” he asks, his lips kissing a trail down your neck. “I would love to take so much more, but I’m sure you’d like it slower than my desired pace, right?”

“Who are you, phantom? You seem to know me, but I don’t know you. You aren’t supposed to exist, and here you are. Whose identity is behind your mask?” you ask, your heart thumping wildly as you anticipate an answer.

A chuckle rumbles from his throat before asking you this: “Do you believe in magic, princess?”

“Excuse me? Magic doesn’t exist!” you insist. You can feel the irritation in you surface at the mention of something so unrealistic.

“Oh? But it does, my dear. You see, I’ve already put a spell on you,” he counters.

“Are you toying with me?” you hiss,attempting to move around to escape his grasp out of frustration. “This is stupid! I can’t believe I let you roam around spouting nonsense like this…!”

“How you wound me so, princess. But, as much as I’d love to chat a bit more with you in my arms, I’m afraid my self restraint is thinning out. I would’ve liked to trigger the spell tonight, but with how lightly you chose to dress yourself, stopping after triggering it might prove to be too difficult for me,” the thief explains as you hear the shuffling of his feet below you.

You gasp in surprise as you feel his arms give you a soft squeeze before releasing you. The gloved hand covering your eyes is then replaced with your towel. You assume he used his feet to move maneuver it up.

“Make sure to dry your hair completely now. We wouldn’t want you to get sick, now would we? I’ll coming searching for you tomorrow to work a bit of magic on you. A thief and his princess… I plan on making that come true.”

You growl as you spin around to look at him in the face, hoping to declare that such things don’t exist. Much to your disappointment, you find only air in his place. The doors to your balcony hung open, allowing wind to creep into your room and mixing in with the temperature.

“He’s gone…?” The silence he gifted you as he left helps you to form thoughts. A thief and a princess… that sounded oddly familiar to the book Kurusu and you discussed earlier that day.

You let out a long sigh as you place your belongings down, seating yourself as you did. During the entire day, your thoughts swirled around a certain masked individual. It consumed your mind as you went through the actions at school. If you were to be honest, it would’ve been safe to say that you didn’t even remember your walk to the school’s library.

The thief never really plagued your mind like this. You can’t help but ponder over just what he said last night. Just what did he mean when he promised to come find you today? And what about that magic he mentioned too? However your beliefs were implanted in you, you begin to question them as you try to make sense of his parting words. His existence and purpose in and of itself is pretty surreal already, so it felt near impossible to rule out this so-called magic…

Irritation wells up inside of you as you growl, “This is stupid. He’s probably just planning on kidnapping me or something. That’s it, isn’t it?” You let out a yelp as a pair of hands cover your eyes. Their size and roughness clues you in on them belonging to a male hand. Your thoughts begin to kick into overdrive as you recall memories from last. It was strange how these hands remind you of the phantom thief himself.

“Please, princess, I’d like to believe I have more class than the thief from your book. Though, if it’s something you want, I would consider doing it,” a voice replies, modulated to sound clear and distinct whilst still keeping it soft enough for only you to hear.

You move your hands up to touch his, attempting to remove his hands, so you could find out who it was. If he could find you here, then you are pretty sure that you’d recognize his identity immediately. You feel it was only normal that you figure it out while you still had the chance.

“Hands off, princess. You’ll find out soon enough,” he assures you as his hands guide your head to lean back a bit, escaping the touch of your hands.

“How did you know I was here?”

“It would be strange if I didn’t when I left you my message last night,” he answers close to your ear, his breath barely tickling your skin, but this was enough to light your cheeks ablaze.

“Stop doing that!” you protest, a hand reaching up to cover your ear. “Just do what you want to do, so I can get on with my life!” He chuckles softly, his tone melodic to your ears despite your hand covering one of them.

“It is a pleasure both you and I enjoy, but enough of that. As you wished, I’ll get onto my plans. It’s time to put a spell on you, though I don’t know if I’d need to anymore at this point,” the thief comments, amusement clear in his voice as he does so. “Your thoughts are already filled with me no matter which identity I take up whether it’s the phantom thief at night or your crush during the daytime.”

...Crush?

“You’re—” Before anymore sound escapes your mouth, a pair of lips comes crashing down on you. With your senses amplified because one was obstructed, your mind focuses more on his passionate movements against yours. Was this really the boy you came to like from your after school library visits?

His lips departed from yours reluctantly, but you can feel they didn’t stray more than an inch away. “Spell complete. You taste delicious, princess. If we weren’t at school, I would’ve love to have taken a deeper bite of you.”

Kurusu’s hands over your eyes slowly separate, allowing light to reach your eyes as his hands smoothly shifts to resting on your cheeks. His smoky eyes gleam lustily as he gazes down into yours. You hate how it takes so long for it to click in your mind just who this person was.

“Kurusu...” He smiles lovingly as his name slips out from your lips. His warmth mixes in with that of your cheeks as they warm up from the adrenaline rush caused by his inescapable gaze.

“Absolutely lovely, princess. Would you like another spell cast to trap you in my love?”

“As if I needed one in the first place.” You barely find yourself capable from keeping your words from becoming drawn out breaths as the pounding of your heart makes it difficult to string together a coherent thought. Just how did this man work his magic on you?

“Then I’ll do it to smother you with love instead.”

The noiret’s lips curl into smirk as he leans down over your form to capture you in a kiss once more, making sure to control himself this time to give a more loving chaste experience.