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There he was, the so called king walking around in a grocery store near his (parents') mansion together with his teammate N-Pacer to buy some chocolate so he can melt that and create self-made ones.

You might be asking 'why is Emperor even doing that?', well-

"Alright, wait please." N-Pacer stopped her team leader from walking any further by holding up a hand before bending down in front of a shelf to pick up some milk chocolate couverture. "Does he have a sweet tooth or is he more of a dark chocolate kind of person?" the yellow Inkling girl asked, standing up straight again, eyes focused on the flustered Emperor who just gave her a shrug.

She sighed and placed two packages of each into their shopping cart, hands on her hips afterwards. "I know it's hard for you to admit such a thing captain, but you called me to a 7/11 at almost 11pm one day before valentine's day because you did not have the guts to ask earlier just because you want to give Gloves some chocolates, so I'd be highly grateful if you'd be able to help me out as well." N-Pacer held a monologue whilst already walking to another shelf full of cute wrappers and bows etc to put the chocolate into once it's done.

Emperor knew she was right. Hell, he knew it before she even held her little speech, but god it really didn't sound like himself. First of all, calling somebody over for help, that's already tough, but then the actual reason for calling his female friend over being valentine's day chocolates for Gloves (who he's been obviously pining after for months, it was plain obvious) was literally humiliating for him. But honestly, only for him. N-Pacer gladly helped as long as it'd stop their teamleader's endless rambling during their serious meetings.

"Huuuu..." Suddenly could be heard behind them and both of the elite team slowly turned around, only to be pierced by a cyan gaze behind a gas mask belonging to the (as always) slouching Mask.

"About making you mind if I join in?" The fellow S+ rank Inkling asked, only receiving a batted brow from Emperor. "You too? Who are you intending to ask out with chocolate?"

"Skull. He likes sweet stuuuff..." Mask replied with a shrug, hands buried in the pockets of his sweatpants.

Emperor glanced over his shoulder to get a reaction from his chocolate-making-instructor, who just returned the shrug that was given to them not too long ago with a soft smile. After turning around again, the yellow male Inkling nodded. "Fine, I'll accept it, since I'm striving to be a better king!" he proudly stated, arms crossed.

N-Pacer actually found it quite amusing to have two people, who probably know nothing about cooking or baking at all, attempting to make some chocolates for their special someones. She went to go to the shelves with the couverture again to get some more since they're being accompanied by another person now, which she also told them. "You could already decide what you want to put the chocolates into until I'm back, that'd make it a lot easier." the pro sniper suggested, and the two guys saluted like they'd have their heads rolling if they wouldn't do it.

Now both guys turned towards the shelf with lots of cute plastic wrappers, small and colorful boxes and also lots of decorations for such packages, the air around them got a bit awkward, which was to be expected.

In an attempt to make it a bit less uncomfortable, Emperor cleared his throat and tried to spark up a conversation. "So, Skull, I assume?"


"That's nice, yes..."

Silence, yet again. Honestly, Emperor kind of expected that to happen as well. A king just kno-

"You like Gloves, riiiight?" the shorter Inkling, who was now inspecting one of the small purple boxes with a pretty ruffled bow on it, which was also purple, spoke up, and interrupted Emperor's thoughts, eyes not even looking at the other fellow (probably) miserable cook.

"Ah, uhm. Yes, I do, he really means a lot to me." Emperor exclaimed with a happy smile on his face. Just saying that out loud feels so nice, it's like a million butterflies in his stomach.

"And you? Goggles, am I right?" Mask asked, leaving Emperor utterly confused this time. Goggles?! As if he would have fallen for such an idiot! As if anybody would!

"Tch, yea..." Another male voice behind them spoke.

Well, of course there's this one 'anybody' who'd fall for Goggles.

When the sunflower yellow colored Inkling turned around, N-Pacer was back, her arms full of bags filled with more couverture and other kinds of chocolate to melt later on, and right next to her there was Rider with a much too obvious lime green blush plastered across his face and his arms crossed.

So that's what Emperor's life has come to now, carrying a paper bag full of chocolate stuff to melt, decorations for them which couldn't look gayer and a few boxes and cute, colorful bows to put their treats into once their task will be fulfilled.

Rider let out a huff through his nose, clearly annoyed. "I toldcha that I was just getting him some small box where I don't have to do anything but pay for it!! And now I'm seriously forced to carry a bag of chocolates to some house-"

"The king's castle."

"Shut it, dumbass!" Rider hissed a feisty reply at the tallest of them all, who just threw a smirk at the already annoyed lime eyed Inkling.

N-Pacer sighed at their childish behavior, knowing this was going to be a long night. Mask on the other hand was as relaxed as always, which somewhat interested Emperor. "Say, Mask, how are you so calm? I'm intrigued. Of course, I myself am also composed, I'm a king after all and-" "He called me stuttering and sounding like he was at the verge of tears. He's definitely calm and collected." His speech was brought to an intermission by his teammate's sarcastic remark, cheeks glowing a bright yellow all of a sudden. Yup, totally composed.

Mask tilted his head to the side, thinking for a few seconds, only to shrug yet again, like this all wouldn't interest him at all and like he wouldn't have asked if he could join in. "I dunno, I just think about that it's for Skull and that's it. He deserves to knoooow." the cyan boy calmly explained, now also catching Rider's attention with his method. "Wait so all you do is think about making it only to give it to him? Shouldn't that kinda cause the opposite of calming you?!" the still sceptical inkling complained, only being rewarded for his concerns by another 'huu?' which could practically mean anything.

After some more back and forth of methods to calm themselves and N-Pacer occasionally embarrassing her team leader, they finally arrived at the, well, 'king's castle'. Despite having barked out a snarky remark towards Emperor earlier, Rider was now silent about calling it an ordinary house. It wasn't quite a castle, but it definitely was very close to being called one.

Whilst Mask and Rider were admiring the huge building, Emperor got out his phone to call his little brother. "..Prince? Did I wake you up?...Alright, that's good then. Could you open the door? I've forgotten my keys on the counter this morning....Yes, thank you." the self proclaimed king ended the call after saying his thanks to his younger brother, putting his phone back into his pocket right afterwards. "Don't you have butlers for carrying your stuff after you, eh?"

Before anything bad would happen, Emperor just decided to ignore that comment. For now.

Right after Rider's unnecessary remark, the door opened up, yet nobody stood behind it. N-Pacer and Emperor walked in without hesitation, but Mask and Rider just looked at each other for a few seconds first. It was that kinda look that said 'I don't trust this but I gotta do it don't i?', which was exactly what they did then, Mask closing the front door behind himself since he was the last one to step inside.

Footsteps could be heard walking down the stairs fast, Prince probably being excited that his brother was back. It was understandable though, their parents were almost never at home, so Emperor was a very important person in his brother's life.

"Big brothaaAAA- why didn't you tell me you had guests coming with you!?" the now embarrassed younger one of the Enperry family tugged his shirt down to cover his...were those off the hook boxers?

Emperor, trying his best to stifle a laugh, gave his brother the best faked apologetic face he could. "My apologies Prince, but we're just men here anyway. And N-Pacer, but she's here often enough, correct?" the older one of the duo said with an amused look on his face, snickering now that Prince hurried upstairs again. Both Rider and mask scooted away some more from their -definitely, horribly- sadistic host.

"We could still run."
"And leave the poor kid alone? Hell nah, I ain't having that." the two not yellow colored guys discussed, being interrupted by N-Pacer grabbing the bags they were carrying with a chuckle. "I don't think Prince would be that happy to see him if he'd be a bad brother" the only girl in their round defended her leader for once. "Now, while I'll make myself some tea, you should get some aprons and decide what exactly you want to do." she instructed, Mask and Emperor saluting once again while Rider just gave them a creeped out look.

Once everything was settled, meaning the three of them knowing exactly what they wanted to do, N-Pacer having her black tea with a tad bit of sugar plus lots of milk and all of them wearing pastel pink aprons with hearts on them since that were literally the only ones left, it was time to start with the serious part of the night.

N-Pacer took a sip of her tea, seated on a chair from a safe distance, Prince sitting on a chair next to her, watching the three just. Stand there. With utterly confused faces. "...Well? What are we supposed to do?" Rider asked, not amused by his adorable pink apron. The yellow female Inkling threw one leg over the other, setting her teacup down on the dining table behind her. "Well, what do you all want to do? It'd be smart to know that beforehand."

Without even feeling the need to think, Mask immediately blurted out "Chocolate cake."

"A whole cake..?"

"Skull likes chocolate cakes."

"I mean...we should have enough to make one, yes, but how about we make a somewhat small cake, you take a neatly cut piece, decorate that nicely and give him that instead of a whole cake? I'd say it looks prettier that way." N-Pacer suggested, Prince just giggling next to her. Emperor had to snort as well when Mask tried his luck once more by saying "Yea, truuuue...or I give him the whole cake."

Skipping Mask for now, also laughing softly, N-Pacer now laid her eyes on Rider, who was still being as tense as he was when she found him at the grocery store comparing prices and amount of chocolate pieces in already gift-ready heart shaped boxes. Honestly, men..!

Rider sighed, knowing there was no turning back now, so he might as well cooperate. "Since I've got no idea how this stuff works, I searched the internet for recipes and found one that were, like, peanuts and marshmallows inside chocolates that were formed like squares." lime colored hues then focused on Emperor, who actually looked somewhat amused at this point. Genuinely amused that is, not sadistically amused like before. "Do you have marshmallows and peanuts? I'll give you the mone-" "There's no need to, really. I don't think that will leave me and Prince to starve, we've got enough money after all." Emperor interrupted him, a small smile decorating his lips. If that last part wouldn't have been added, it would've actually sounded sympathetic in Rider's ears despite it being Emperor.

"Aha. Yea, thanks. So you got that here or do we gotta walk back to buy some?" Rider asked, arms crossed, eyes holding a kind of menacing twinkle in them. Yea, they'll probably never be best friends. "I'll go check in our pantry, I'll be right back!" Prince suggested, not taking a 'no' as an answer since he was already on his way downstairs. Honestly, Rider probably didn't want to see how big that 'pantry' is. Probably bigger than some store.

Now it was Emperor's turn, who gave the other teens a victorious glare like it was a competition of who'd make the best chocolate to get laid or something like that. "Two words: chocolate caramels." the golden eyed male triumphantly said, though he wasn't earning the reactions he was expecting. "Really? That's kiiiinda lame Emperor." Mask said, followed by a "Tch, and I thought I was uncreative!" from Rider and a "That even looks like a last minute idea...maybe something else?" from N-Pacer. "Not even my dear teammate supports me, wow! I'm sure Prince will agree though!"

"Weeell..." Prince started as he walked back into the kitchen slash dining room, carrying two bags. "They're probably easy to make and taste nice, but it's nothing fancy big brother." Emperor, wiping away a fake tear, got out his phone to search the web for any better ideas. "Fine, you win. A true king accepts being defeated."

And while his older brother was searching for something more creative, Prince placed the two bags on the counter in front of Rider. "Sorry, I couldn't find peanuts, are walnuts alright?" he asked with an apologetic voice. Rider still couldn't believe that Prince was the little brother of fucking Emperor. Asides from their extremely similar looks and skill in battle, there's nothing similar about them, but oh well.

Just when the lime green Inkling wanted to reply, Mask said something that was just. Just no. "If Aloha would be here he'd ask if 'nut' would be alright." And that made Emperor stop scrolling through some recipe website, N-Pacer nearly choke on her tea, Rider looking creeped out once again and Prince being extremely confused.

The younger Enperry brother tilted his head to the side as he looked up at Mask, batting an eyebrow. "Well, walnuts are nuts right?" "Just forget what he said Prince." Emperor shook his head, rubbing the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb. Mask didn't get what all the fuss was about, since it was most definitely the truth that Aloha would say such a thing.

Prince was sure that it probably was some vulgar joke, and while he got what sex was and how it worked etc, he's fourteen after all, he had no idea what that with the nut just now meant, but he decided that it was probably best to indeed forget it like Emperor suggested.

To make everything a bit less awkward again, Emperor now told the others his second idea of what he could make for Gloves. "Alright, then how about this!" the yellow teen held his phone towards the group so everybody could read what stood there.

"Coconut cream chocolates, huh." N-Pacer repeated what was shown to them, actually liking the idea. "Indeed! And it definitely will look all fancy and-" "Gloves is allergic to coconut." Rider stopped his host's euphoria by telling him that fact, actually feeling a little bad for Emperor (yea, he also doesn't know how that could happen).

Emperor, a bit crushed though still fully motivated, kept on searching for something spectacular and coconut free. Rider decided to join in and help finding something, just as the rest of the group. "How about this, you'll go in a tub full of melted chocolate and-" "Already a no Mask, don't even finish. Seriously, please don't." Rider said, shaking his head. At least Prince was having fun, laughing already from just hearing that his brother was supposed to bathe in melted chocolate.

"Oh! This is cool! Little round chocolates that look like planets!" Prince said after a while, handing his squidphone to their main operator N-Pacer for her to inspect it. "They do look very amazing, but I don't know if we could make those, I'm not a professional after all, just a bit experienced." she muttered to herself, now giving the phone to the guy that has to decide if he'd want those in the first place. "They're stunningly beautiful, fitting for Gloves, yet I doubt that we could create the look they have."

After that also being determined, Emperor began to look a little frustrated, which was understandable. Maybe they should've just let him make those boring caramel chocolates.

"Oi, Emperor." Rider suddenly spoke up, letting his phone slide over the kitchen counter towards Emperor so he could see what his fellow S+ rank Inkling found. Burgers, but they were made out of chocolate. The patty being dark chocolate and the buns caramel while the sauce was melted milk chocolate and the cheese, salad etc were all decorations, just as the sesame on top of the 'buns'.

"There you have your caramel chocolates!" Rider said with a grin, Emperor joining in with that. "They do look cool, and that's what Gloves likes after all. N-Pacer, what do you think?" the elite team leader asked and gave the pro sniper the device, feeling relief rush throughout his whole body when she also smiled after a few seconds. "They really do look nice! Let's do that then!" she confirmed, earning a 'yay' from everybody, though some were more or less motivated than others.

The three lover boys were doing everything exactly how N-Pacer explained it to them, and even though it felt like a kindergarten where everybody called her over every five minutes, it was worth it. First of all, seeing Emperor being interested in something that's not a turf war and doing it with such passion was a really nice sight, kind of adorable even. Second were the other two, who also never seemed to ever even have the motivation to do such a thing, but they're also trying their hardest, which was visible. But sometimes, just sometimes, their questions were inkredibly dumb.

"Wait so- first the peanuts or the marshmallows into the chocolate?" Rider asked, obviously having no idea how to make sweets whatsoever. Luckily, Prince was able to help here and there as well since he's been baking cookies with N-Pacer every year for squidmas, so he was the one who went to the lime green squid to offer his help. "I mean, you'll mix it anyway, right? So it doesn't matter!" the youngest one of their group explained, earning himself a small thanks from Rider, who obviously felt a bit stupid now. Goggles is a horrible influence on him, a good horrible influence.

While the younger Enperry son was helping out the wannabe gangster, N-Pacer was observing both Emperor and Mask, which luckily wasn't that hard since they stood right next to each other due to still not having melted the chocolate completely. "Stir from time to time, burnt things don't taste good." she instructed, her cooking-newbies chanting a "Yes ma'am!" in perfect unison, once again earning themselves a weird glance from Rider and a chuckle from Prince.

Now that both of them had melted the chocolate and Rider wasn't having a peanut and marshmallow dilemma anymore, Prince was able to help out one of the other two as well, which was very convenient due to their decision of treats being very different asides from having chocolate as an ingredient.

N-Pacer helped out Mask, telling him how much milk, flour and other sorts of things he'd need for the cake. Prince on the other hand was a bit confused. "It's caramel, I get that. But the bun form is probably hard to make..." the short inkling muttered to himself, scratching the back of his neck thoughtfully.

N-Pacer joined them not too long after that, trying to instruct Emperor exactly how the recipe on the internet told them to, though it seemed a bit tricky.

After a few attempts of getting a burnt...paste, the self proclaimed king was able to finish a bun without burning it at all.

And so on, Prince and N-Pacer ran back and forth between the two remaining ones who still needed to finish their desserts. In the meantime, Rider's chocolates were already in the fridge. It was easier than he expected, and also just as boring as those choco caramels sounded, but of course he wouldn't say that! Not if Emperor could somehow hear it.

At last, after the two main cooks burning their fingers at least three times, Emperor complaining about the shape of the chocolate patty (which he described as too round. Nobody understood him and they all assumed he was just tired) and some more debating on how Mask should give Skull the cake. Of course he still insisted on giving him the whole thing, and finally won in the end.

"Wow." Emperor said, staring at the huge mess in literally the whole kitchen. "Well," he started, shrugging. "For that, we've got butlers, Rider. But they're on vacation so we gotta clean up...sometime next week or something along the lines." For a King, his ability of being able to ignore the possibility of ants crawling their way into the monarch's bed was pretty good.

"Now, we'll just have to wait til everything has hardened or cooled down, which will take a few hours. Meaning I call dibs on the guest room upstairs!" N-Pacer stated, her knowledge of the building being an unfair advantage.

Mask stared at her, then Emperor. "Huu? So we'll stay here tonight?" he asked, frowning, since he'd have to sleep with his mask. Well, he wouldn't have to, but of course he'd insist on doing that, he couldn't let the others have a triumph of knowing what his face looked like!

"Fine, I'll take the sofa." Rider exclaimed, too tired to fight back and say that he'd go home. He contemplated that, yet it was too stressful to do that at almost three in the morning. Mask looked after N-Pacer and Rider leaving, though he was pretty sure Rider had no idea where exactly he was going, but oh well, he'll find it. "And where can I sleep?" the cyan colored male asked, obviously at his limit as well. No slurs at all in a sentence with five words only happened when he was pissed or tired, but the last one must be the case.

"We actually have more than one guest room. Rider could have chosen to slumber in one as well, but I assumed that I might let him wander around a bit, he probably needs some alone time." If that was Emperor's code for 'he'll be lost forever' was unclear for Mask, yet it didn't bother him that much, Rider hopefully won't die.

Emperor went upstairs together with Prince and their remaining guest to show him a free guest room. "The one N-Pacer claimed has a balcony, so sorry you don't have one and- oh he's asleep already." Prince suddenly noticed, feeling the need to snort at that. It was tempting to remove the gas mask, but as one of the S4, Mask would probably just wake up and do kung-fu or something like that. He knew how top players could be in their sleep and it was his personal hell. Remembering that time where Emperor nearly broke his brothers nose just because he wanted to wake him up could never be forgotten. Fun times.

With a last chuckle, the sun yellow teen turned off the light and walked out to go into his own room, already excited for the receivers reactions to self made chocolate in the morning.

Chapter Text

Emperor woke up from the sound of a distant sizzling, chattering and what was probably the clanking of a pan. The tall squid stretched his body whilst still comfortably laying on his back, popping a few joints. Oh how he wished Gloves would be laying next to him in his king sized bed, snuggled up into his chest with a tender smile on his face as he slept soundly. Cod, he'd kill for that.

Deciding that this dream would hopefully soon become reality if he'd get his ass up, the sunflower yellow inkling moved his blanket aside to stand up and put some fresh clothes on, the best he had since he'd want Gloves to swoon extra much today! Although he never specifically saw that sight, but what counts is the thought of him doing so.

After he got dressed, his hair done and brushed his pointy teeth, the older one of the monarch brothers made his way downstairs and into their kitchen to be greeted by freshly made waffles, knowing very well that N-Pacer was only making those to rub team waffles' victory that occurred a while ago into his face, Cod it was so close!

Getting over his 'pancakes are superior to waffles in his opinion' dilemma for the probably thousandth time, Emperor finally entered the large kitchen fully, watching his brother and N-Pacer making enough breakfast for the five of them while having a chilled conversation. It always brought a smile to his face to see his close friend acting as a big sister slash mom for Prince.

"Oh, good morning big brother! We're almost done, just gimme a sec. Do you want waffles too or eggs and bacon?" Prince gleefully chimed when he finally noticed his older sibling already sitting at the dining table, head leaned onto his hand, elbow placed on the table to hold it up. If their parents were at home, an elbow on the table would be unacceptable, yet even Emperor sometimes just gave a big fuck on their wealthy-family-manner stuff.

After snapping back into reality from zoning out for a second, he looked at a waiting Prince who was still demanding a reply to his question. "I'll have some of the bacon and eggs please. I am refusing to eat waffles that N-Pacer made to clearly put me in a sour mood!" the king replied, arms crossed, earning himself an amused snort from his team's sniper. "I made them because they taste good, now stop whining and eat some as well." she insisted, placing some jam and butter on the table as well as fresh fruits and whipped cream to put on top of their waffles.

Discarding that topic of pancakes vs waffles for now, Emperor was interested in something else a bit more. "Say, where are Rider and Mask? I'd like their attendance to this breakfast as well if they already stayed overnight." he curiously asked as he leaned back in his chair.

Prince waited with his reply until he turned of the stove and was sitting as well, shrugging. "I dunno. I went to wake them up, but when I knocked and peeked in, Mask wasn't in the guest room anymore. Neither was Rider on the sofa. And before you ask: yea, he definitely was on it last night. I checked on him after bringing Mask to his room to make sure that he found it." the young boy explained, knowing fairly well how confusing their residence can be for people who have never been there before.

Emperor sighed. He was hungry, but he definitely had the manners to wait until the other two pro turfers would arrive. And after some more comfortable morning conversations between the three, footsteps could be heard echoing through the halls.

"Are you sure that's where the voices came from? I'm preeeetty sure we should've taken a turn right into that one hall aaaaall the waaaaay back there." Mask slurred in his usual droopy voice, glancing around the hall which literally looked like every single one they've walked through so far, trying to find their destination, the kitchen. "Yea, I'm sure. Emperor's stupid way of speaking is haunting me, so I could make it out even if it was five damn miles away." Rider reassured the slightly shorter guy, groaning at the sad truth he just spoke out aloud.

Lucky for Rider, their voices were too distorted with the echoes thanks to the huge white and partly golden halls for the three, specifically Emperor, who were already sitting at the table to fully understand, they only heard unintelligible talking.

It didn't take them much longer to find the kitchen, much to their relief. "Oh finally-! Hell it took us at least thirty minutes to find this!" the lime green inkling complained, plopping down on a chair at the table as well, returning the 'good morning!' chants the others were giving him and Mask.

Speaking of Mask, everybody was focused on him moments later when they all had food on their plates. Of course they would, who would be able to just not care about seeing a face that probably only his family and perhaps Skull maybe saw once in a while?

But Mask still wasn't planning on letting them see, so he used that one technique Skull taught him to eat without taking off his Mask. Rider just huffed at that, knowing that way of eating from that one time they were in a café in Inkopolis Square and some multiple other occasions when he had to join the S4 temporarily since Army kinda broke half of his body.

After breakfast, -and Emperor telling his guests to just put their dishes in the sink since he'd do 'em later. Or one day. Hopefully-, It was time for the three lover boys to get their sweets out of the fridge.

N-Pacer opened it to give everyone the treats they created, that being Mask's (undecorated) chocolate cake, Rider's marshmallow-peanut choco (not yet) squares and lastly Emperor's chocolate burgers (which had yet to be put together to actual burgers).

So nothing was finished yet. N-Pacer sat down at the dining table again, watching the three stand around without a plan once again, Prince seated next to here. What a déjà vu.

The sniper sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose, deciding to just give them instructions so this wouldn't take a whole damn day. "Alright Mask, just dec-"

Just when the only girl in their little round started talking, 'regret' by deadf1sh suddenly played from Mask's phone, who quickly grabbed it to answer the call, turning around and lifting his mask just a bit so the other would understand him. "Mhm....yea, later on I'll be there...dunnoooo...uh huh, got iiit. Yea, I won't be late. Byyye." the cyan inkling sounded like somebody just threw his cake out of the window, but it didn't fit his expression Prince thought since the youngest of them caught a glimpse of Mask smiling right before the gas mask was put on properly again.

"What are you smiling for?" the tinier yellow boy asked, curiosity obvious in his voice. "Was it one of your teammates?"

Mask shook his head, stating the obvious. "Skull." he replied, focused on N-Pacer again. "Good taste in music by the way. Anyway, Mask, just decorate the cake however you'd like, but please don't put too much of a certain thing or all together on it. It's supposed to taste like chocolate, not like rainbow sprinkles or sugar coating." Pacer commanded, and Mask did as she told, grabbing a few things out of the bag with the deco in it, starting off slow with writing on the cake with some sugar paste.

She turned her head to Rider to tell him what to do this time. It really was a massive déjà vu. "In your case, you can still taste if it's too sweet or not, the other two have to hope. Cut the block of chocolate into mouth sized pieces, they don't have to look exactly the same, if they don't it gives them a sort of homemade charm. Once your done with that, try them. If they're much too sweet, we could still melt some more dark chocolate to pour over it. Not only does it cause them to taste less sweet, but it also looks really nice!" she also briefly explained, snorting at Rider salutating as well now. Wow he hated this. Yet started to cut the big square of chocolate into smaller ones, thanking Emperor for the knife he handed him.

Now it was the king's turn to get instructions. "Emp, I know you don't like fast food, but I hope you know how to build a burger. Just place everything on top of each other, then search some white sprinkles out of the box with the colorful ones and put them on top as sesame. The caramel is soft so it should work out just fine. But not with force! It'll look ugly if there's dents from your fingers. Maybe use a tweezer or something like that?"

Of course, the king received the hardest challenge, which was fitting!

But the anxiety wasn't. What if he'd fuck it up? What if it really would look ugly afterwards?? Gloves deserves a perfectly made treat as a valentine's gift! But what if he won't want it in the first place?!

Apparently his slight fear was visible in his eyes, because Rider put a hand on his shoulder to calm him. Again, he couldn't believe it either. "Relax, we're all in the same situation, aight? We're also unsure what they'll think." the wannabe gangster said, Mask just nodding in agreement before adding hi own thoughts as well. "He's right. I don't know what I'll do if Skull says no, but I still want him to know, you knooow?" the second smallest of their group added, then went back to concentrating on making the cake look decent.

Emperor couldn't help but slightly smile at the reassurements. Even if these two didn't know him at all asides from battles, posters, advertisements or other things he's been featured in in the past, they still tried to make him feel better. "You're right. Thank you." the monarch replied, also beginning with working on his gift that'll help him confess his love.

Prince was literally beaming as he saw his brother trying so hard for somebody who wasn't himself. Yea, he wasn't trying his best just to satisfy himself anymore, he's really changing to be a better king. A better person. They're all really good people in Prince's opinion.

The decorating took at least another hour and a half and it was now almost 12pm. The three squids looked down at their works, all of them being proud of what they created. And even though N-Pacer tried once again, Mask just wouldn't get the idea of giving Skull the whole cake out of his head, it was impossible.

Her and Prince suddenly started applauding. "It all looks great! I'm proud of you all!"

"If we are not going to get laid this evening I don't know who will..!" Emperor muttered under his breath. So it was a competition for that after all...

Now they just had to put their sweets into packages. Mask opted for one of the boxes, obviously being the savest to transport a cake in. He placed a cardboard plate inside the box, then carefully heaved up the cake together with Rider's help to place it on top of it.

The box was the small purple box with a frilly purple bow on it that he had looked at when they were shopping for their confession plans the day before, just a bigger version of it so his cake would fit in. They definitely had enough boxes, ribbons, bands and plastic bags with cute patterns on them to assist them for birthdays and squidmas for a few more years now.

Mask closed the box and then tied a light blue band around it, finishing it by tying a ribbon. Didn't only secure the cake some more, it also made it look even nicer! Luckily the top of the box was far enough up to not smudge the writing on the cake if Mask would just be careful enough.

Next up was Rider, rather putting his small chocolates in one of the plastic bags. It was patterned with hearts on it, but at least not unicorns like the other option he had. The lime green colored squid's wasn't that hard to do, he just put the small treats into it, which now indeed had a bit of dark chocolate on top of them thanks to N-Pacer's tip, then securing it with a rubber band and then tying a pretty pink one around it, to match the color of the hearts, so it wouldn't look that ugly.

Emperor was unsure. Both options would probably make his gifts fall over completely, but Prince Being the smart boy he was had an idea. "Brother, how about you just get a small box and hold it vertically? By the looks of it they should fit really well."

Emperor looked at his choco burgers, then at one of the smaller boxes, grinning at Prince. "You know little brother, you really are a genius! You'll be a splendid leader one day!" the older boy praised his brother, doing as he suggested, and they indeed did fit perfectly!

After also securing his gift and cooking some peppermint tea, he sat down at the table with an exhausted groan. "Finally finished! Though I have to admit, it was quite fun to do this." he said with a smirk, looking at the other two guys who still stood at the kitchen counter, Rider putting on his leather jacket. "Thanks for helping me, I'll go now." as cold as always, he grabbed his in plastic wrapped gift and began to walk, stopping in his tracks and turning around again. "...So, where's the exit in this white hell again??" the lime green squid asked, the insult being meant jokingly.

Prince giggled softly and got up to show him. "You know, I could drive you later on when I'll meet up with Gloves. I let him pick the place where we meet, so knowing him, I'll have to drive to some random unknown place anyway. I don't mind driving you two to yours." Emperor offered, being the only one who was even remotely old enough to even have a car, asides from N-Pacer who's already taking driving lessons.

Rider shook his head, declining the offer. "Thanks, but Goggles is waiting at the train station already, so I gotta go."

"Eh, already?? He's fast.." Prince said in surprise. Rider just chuckled. "First of all, it's Goggles. He's unpredictable. And second, he doesn't live very far from here as far as I know. He once sent me his address at three in the morning and to this day I don't know why the fuck he did that." he explained, giving his final wave. "Thanks again, bye!" Rider said, waiting for Prince to show him the way out.

Mask sat down at the table with the remaining two, now playing a game on his phone. There was an awkward silence, since neither Emperor nor N-Pacer wanted to talk like Mask wouldn't be there, that'd be rude.

"So...Mask, when are you going to meet up with Skull?" the so called female knight asked.

Mask paused his game and looked up at her. "Well, I was originally going to meet him at 12:15 at his apartment, but I missed my train so-"

"What?! Why didn't you say anything?" N-Pacer asked. Cod this guy could be frustrating! How was Skull putting up with him?

Emperor sighed and downed the rest of his tea before he got up. "Stand up, I shall drive you to his residence Mask." the sunny yellow squid offered once again and Mask stood up, nodding. N-Pacer just sighed and took a sip of her tea as well.

Emperor grabbed his jacket from a chair and checked if his keys were in one of the pockets, which they luckily were.

When Prince came back, he gave his brother a confused look. "Is everything alright?"

"Yes, don't worry. N-Pacer will explain it, we got to go." Emperor reassured his younger sibling and ruffled his tentacles, earning himself a little chuckle. "Now come on Mask." the monarch huffed out and grabbed the smaller teen's wrist to quickly walk outside.

"What's going on?" he asked Pacer, who just shook her head at Mask obviously not having his life together at all. "Mask missed the train he had to take to be there on time but didn't say anything." Prince just laughed at that. "Yea, he seemed a bit uncoordinated. I hope he makes it though."

"Yea, me too."

Chapter Text

Rider basically ran down the stairs into the subway station, all his cool completely lost thanks to it being the damn fourteenth February and thus valentine's day.

Year after year it was just a completely normal day for him, but this was different, this was making his heart beat at double time, this was all Goggles' fault and oh how he hated yet loved it.

Of course, Goggles was nowhere to be found yet, as if that blue idiot would be somewhere on time! He just said so since he wanted to escape the awkward atmosphere at Emperor's that would definitely have happened soon enough, even though he actually somewhat enjoyed making these treats with the other two. And now that they were done, it was definitely better than some cheap ass ones he would've just bought instead if N-Pacer wouldn't have found him like a lost puppy.

Rider got his phone out to text Goggles, but then he heard quick footsteps speeding down the stairs and that way too high pipsqueak voice for a sixteen year old. "RIDEEER!!" the blue inkling yelled, charging at Rider, who already held his pants in both hands to secure them. "Don't you fucking dare!" the taller male warned, but Goggles just laughed and gave his friend a quick hug, which was returned. But afterwards there was a bright lime green blush that he needed to hide.

"'re fucking late again! You and your dumb luck made the train arrive later.." Rider scolded his crush, who just scratched the back of his head whilst wearing a careless grin on his lips. "Heheh! I did!!" Of course he'd believe it. Cod, Rider still didn't know how he fell for such a dumbass, but damn he fell so hard that he passed out on the floor and can't get up anymore.

After a small conversation and Rider constantly checking if the chocolate was still in his pocket, their train finally arrived and both stepped inside.

As always, the train was completely packed with people, so the two of them were standing rather close, a bit too close to Rider's liking. Goggles was so tiny, his head was literally pushed into the other's chest despite him standing up straight.

Big blue eyes were glancing up at Rider, filled with excitement to spend the day together with his friend. And Rider knew that Goggles only saw him as a friend, even though it was as a close one, the thought about being friend-zoned only got him even more anxious.

Goggles' eyes wandered around to look at all the other inklings and octolings holding hands, hugging somebody by the waist, kissing and all those other couply things. And Rider noticed too.

Which brought his nervousness to an all time high, holy shit this was horrible.

Lucky for them, many people left the train once it reached Inkopolis square, so the two of them could finally sit down. Their destination, Inkopolis plaza, was only four more stops away.

Rider sat down with a groan, opening his leather jacket since he was sweating from all the people being around him for some time. And while his jacket slid off his shoulders, to his immense luck, the package with the chocolate fell out. Oh, amazing, it was also partially melted. How could this get any worse?!

"Ooh! Chocolate!" Oh, that's how.

Rider's blush immediately crawled back on his cheeks, but Goggles only had eyes for the sweets on the seat next to the other squid. "Did you make those?"

"PFF- w-what?! Of course not! What the fuck Goggles!" Rider practically yelled through the train, earning himself a few weird glances and couples whispering to each other. Great, two reasons to be embarrassed now. Why was Emperor scared that he'd fuck up again?

Goggles just shrugged, still smiling gleefully. "Will you give them to somebody?"

"...yea." "Oh!! That's so cool Rider! To who?"

"Well- m..myu..." Rider mumbled, turning his head away from the tiny inkling. But that only added up onto Goggles being adorable. Prince was already small, but he looked tall standing next to Goggles, and Emperor was a fucking giant.

Goggles cocked his head to the side in contusion. "Hm? What? I didn't understandcha! Could you—"

"For you dumbass! Take them already and fucking date me!" Rider yelled again, now getting a few 'oooh~'s' from the other people in the train who recognized him as the S+ ranker he was. People could just really be straight up annoying sometimes.

But that wasn't important right now. What was is how Goggles would react. Would he reject him? Would their friendship be awkward now? Would he maybe even hate him??

"Oh!! Okay!"


Goggles beamed with happiness, grabbing the chocolate, undoing both the ribbon and the rubber band to eat some of it. "Wow! Those are amazing!! I didn't know you could make chocolate Rider, you're so cool!" the blue inkling chimed with literal sparkles in his eyes.

Rider was just baffled. Did Goggles even get what it meant to date somebody?! "Goggles- did you even understand me? I asked if you'd date me, as in being in a relationship!" he confirmed what he meant, receiving a nod. "Of course I do! We're boyfriends now, right?"

Honestly, what else did Rider expect? He was worrying over nothing, because it's fucking Goggles. Even if he would've gotten turned down, they still would've been friends, the same ones as before. Goggles wouldn't even have told anybody about it.

But he didn't get turned down. In fact his feelings were reciprocated. Rider relaxed back into his seat, crossing his arms, smiling at the scene of a happy Goggles- of his happy boyfriend shoving chocolate into his mouth.

"Yea, we are."


"Rideeer my tummy hurts!"

"Idiot! I told you not to eat them all!"

୨୧━━━━━━━♡🌸♡━━━━━━━ ୨୧

Mask was on his phone while Emperor's navigation system was instructing him on where to go. While both of the two in the car lived closer to the square, Skull was much closer to the plaza, meaning that it was at least a 20 minutes drive.

While he played a game on his phone, and almost cleared a pretty hard level, a notification from their S4 group chat popped up, startling him which ended up in him losing.

With an annoyed huff, he decided to look at who destroyed his life just now.

Of course, Aloha. Who else. But the message itself was quite interesting.

yours_truly: OMG guys!! Rider and Goggles are dating! :O

Aloha_how_do_I_change_my_name? : Really? I'm pretty certain it's probably just people talking about things they don't know.

yours_truly: Shut it shorty. Look!!

yours_truly sent a post by Instagram user itzzz_metry123

Aloha_how_do_I_change_my_name? : I watched the video on the second slide and Aloha is right. Also, I am not short, I'm average height!!

Mask watched them argue for a bit longer, smiling to himself. He also opened the post and watched the video, which was Rider yelling at Goggles that he wants him to go out with him and the blue inkling calmly replying with a simple yet cheery 'okay!'.

The caption read 'OMG I CAN'T KZKSKSKSKS this just happened in the train and I'm sh00k y'all! Team idiot's Goggles dating S+ Rider gives me life and that's the tea.', and now he knew again why he wasn't following Metry. Though it was impressive how he kept up that basic white girl attitude all the time.

"What's that video?" Emperor suddenly asked, interrupting Mask watching Army and Aloha arguing some more. "Ah..Rider and Goggles apparently are dating nooow. Rider yelled at Goggles in a train and that's it." the younger boy replied.

Emperor had to smile. It was nice to know that Rider could do it, even though he yelled in a train and now everybody already knows about them.

Skull turned his phone off and undid his seat belt, then leaned over the passenger seat to grab his cake from the back seat once they had arrived. "Thanks again, you really helped me out. Good luck." Mask murmured and stepped out of the way too expensive car, waving.

"Also good luck to you!" Emperor replied before the door was shut. Mask then walked towards the building and ringed at a certain doorbell, the door immediately opening. Skull was probably already sitting next to that button to open the front door from afar in his apartment, waiting for the cyan inkling to arrive.

Emperor sighed and began to drive back home, he had to get ready after all and still have a debate with Jr. to watch over Prince for the evening since N-Pacer would be going on a date with Headphones.

Mask stepped into the building's elevator, pushing the button which had a four on it. He took a deep breath as he watched the doors sliding shut, a thousand things running through his head.

Skull wasn't as easy to impress as Goggles was. Sure, he loved sweets, yet it wasn't like you could put some candy in his mouth and think that he'd instantly be all over you. Especially because he always keeps some candy in his pockets, that dork.

Mask chuckled thinking about it, just now noticing that the elevator doors were already opened again since he had arrived at the fourth floor.

An inkling girl that was currently walking down the stairs gave him a creeped out look and walked faster. Did the mask really make him look that intimidating?

The cyan inkling shrugged it off and stepped out of the hell for claustrophobic people to make his way to Skull's door, knocking. It was immediately opened, and Mask had to torture his neck once again by looking up at the tall inkling. It's not as bad as it was with Emperor the day before, but still bad, cod why were people around him so tall?! Being 5'6" is average so why were so many people so high above it? Just unfair.

"Hey. You're a bit late, that's unusual."

"Yea, sorryyy...I, uh, bought cake." Mask looked down at his creation, stretching his arms out to give it to Skull, who thankfully took it. And Mask was even able to see the gratefulness, since Skull wasn't wearing his signature bandana.

The purple squid stepped aside for Mask to step in, which he then did, walking into the small living room. It was a pantry compared to the Enperry family's mansion, but it had everything Mask liked. Skull's clothes, Skull's weapons, Skull's games. Skull.

He kneeled down at the kotatsu, scooting under it some more for warmth, it was only February after all. Skull did the same after he made some tea for himself and handed Mask one of the energy drinks the roller main stored at his place. He sat across from Mask, even though the cyan boy would've preferred it a lot more if the other would've settled down right next to him.

They sat there in silence, both occasionally sipping from their beverages. And while it usually always started off like that when they hung out, this time Mask wasn't as relaxed as he normally was, which Skull seemed to notice immediately.

"...Are you alright?" the usually silent squid asked and placed his cup on the table in front of him.

Mask just nodded, lifting his gas mask a bit more to gulp down more than just a sip pf his caffeine bomb, which his brain greatly appreciated. He just hoped it'd function correctly again. "I aaaam, don't worryyy Skull." the smaller inkling slurred, but he knew that Skull definitely wasn't satisfied with that answer.

"You didn't sleep again, did you?" the pro sniper asked with concern in his voice, yet again only getting a head shake and a half-assed answer. "I diiiid."

"You only ate potato chips again."


"You should take better care of yourself."

"Skull, it's-"

"If you ever need someth-"

"I love you."

And with that, Skull fell silent, just what Mask wanted to achieve. It was the truth, and a quite obvious one actually, nut this was also to 1) just get it off of his chest and 2) to stop Skull going on about how worried he was despite his worry actually being reasonable, he knew how horrible his eating habits and sleep pattern were.

But now that he thought about it, he probably should've waited for the right moment to confess, because Skull looked a bit...shocked? Disgusted? Excited?? Even if the S4 could basically communicate just by throwing looks at one another thanks to being a team, Skull's were always the hardest to read due to his lack of eyebrows, and in battle it was even worse because of his bandana.

Though Mask wasn't allowed to complain, since his face was practically hidden all the time as well, Skull at least took off his cloth here and there and walked around completely without it when he was at home.

None of the S4 had ever seen him without his gas mask, his team only once when he had fallen asleep while they were at his place. And of course they took that opportunity to snatch the mask away, who wouldn't.

Skull still didn't say anything and Mask began to worry if he fucked up completely now. Should he say something? Should he wait? Or should he just go and throw himself off a cliff?

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, Skull said something, but only after he scooted over to Mask's side of the table.

"Take off your Mask."

Wow, so straightforward.

Mask nearly choked. First, Skull is letting him struggle and worry and now he wants him to show his damn face?

A massive debate on if he should do it or not was going on in the smaller inkling's head, what the pros and contras would be. And while all of that was going on, he barely even understood what was happened when his mask was suddenly discarded onto the floor and two hands were placed on his cheeks.

"...eeeeh? Skull??" the teen asked in a surprised manner, cheeks flushed without him even knowing it, heartbeat increasing, eyes wide and hands a little shaky. He didn't know how to process any of this. Mask knew that he liked Skull, Aloha had helped him figure that one out, so why was he so overwhelmed all of a sudden?!

If this is what love is, why the hell is it so powerful?!

"Calm down..." Skull muttered, of course noticing how tense the other was, who then snapped out of his trance.

Mask stared at the purple boy, waiting for him to continue talking. Which he didn't. "Soooo...??" the roller main asked, only to get a confused look from Skull. "What?"

"My confessioooon you dumbass! What do you saaay?" Mask replied, a bit irritated at Skull's airhead-nes even in a situation like that!

But his irritation, worry, anxiety, just everything bad had been abandoned from his mind once he felt lips meeting his own.

And even though it held for just two, maybe three seconds, it left Mask completely dumbfounded.

"Reply enough?" Skull asked. Truly, a man of many words, as always.

Mask blinked twice, trying to process what had just occurred literally only a few moments ago. The cyan inkling slowly nodded, being blessed by a rare smile of the taller teen.

"...Can I eat the cake now?" Skull asked, hungrily glancing at what Mask 'bought'.

Mask reached for his gas mask, but stopped when he was asked that. Maybe he could walk around without it just a bit longer. "Suureee." he murmured, crawling back under the kotatsu as he watched Skull opening the box.

I like butter
I fucking baked this whole thing
Do you know da wae my brudda
Emperor is the dumbest king
I like you

"...Mask what the actual-"

"Huhuuu, happy valentine's daaaayy."

୨୧━━━━━━━♡🌸♡━━━━━━━ ୨୧

Emperor checked his hair for the sixth time now, flashing himself a handsome smile in the mirror to boost his confidence.

"You look great Princess!! Stop checking if the pink unicorn glitter is still there!" Eging teased, lazing around on Emperor's bed since the lover boy convinced him to watch over Prince for the evening.

Sure, he could've gotten someone professional to look after his little brother, but 1) Prince is really iffy about being alone with a stranger in their house, which was understandable, and 2) Eging and Prince are very close, they enjoy spending time together, so why not choose that? Clearly the better option.

"Ha. Ha. Very funny. I'm glad my preparations seem amusing in your eyes Eging, but if I'm getting laid tonight you won't laugh anymore because you. Will. Hear." Emperor warned with a smug smirk, much to his teammates concern. "Alright alright ya win, no need for threats dude!" Eging replied with a soft laugh."

Emperor chuckled and threw finger guns at his friend, which were returned of course. "Say, what do you think? Tie or bow tie? And if tie, green or black?" the slightly older boy asked his childhood friend, holding up his options.

Said squid held his chin in a thinking manner. ", I dunno, you know I never wear that stuff."

"I'd say red!" Prince suddenly said as he walked into his older brother's room and threw a red tie at him. "It was in my closet." the short teen briefly explained, waving at Eging to say hi, which was returned together with a smile.

Emperor let out a sigh of relief and stuffed the other two options back into a drawer full of accessories before tying the red tie around his neck, adjusting it a bit whilst looking in the mirror again. "Perfect." the monarch stated, turning to Prince to ruffle his tentacles. "Thank you Prince, you've been a big help during this. Once you shall want to confess your love to somebody, just tell me whatever you need and I'll make all the preparations! Even a helicopter if you-"

"T-that...sounds more like a proposal, big brother. But thanks." Prince cut him off, chuckling.

Eging pointed at the clock on the wall. "Almost time eh? Ya should get going. Where are you taking him again?" he asked, now sitting up on the bed.

Emperor took a quick glance at his watch -which of course was way too damn expensive as well because he just needed all that fancy bling bling, what a show off- and gave the other tall man a nod

He then proceeded to grab his black jacket, which was the one that belonged to the tuxedo he was wearing and not his signature milky white one. "You're right. Also, I don't know where we're going, he said I should just pick him up and he'll guide me. Well then, I'll be off. If the kitchen is burning when I'm back you're both in trouble!" he warned as he walked out of his room, earning himself a few laughs.

This was...

Not what he was expecting. And it was visible, because nobody else was going ice skating in a damn fancy black suit with a red tie.

Now Emperor understood why Gloves was uncontrollably laughing when he saw him in the tux once he got into the car. The taller inkling was constantly checking if he had anything between his teeth or if there was a leaf in his hair or something like that, but nope.

It was because Gloves wanted to go ice skating.

And why did he want that? Because there was a special offer for couples since it was valentine's day. But nothing special, it was just free food and cheaper to get in.

But what was the worst thing was that out of all the stuff his parents made him learn or taught him in over nineteen years, neither ice skating nor rollerblading were in that repertoire.

So there he stood on the ice, with wobbly legs, hands constantly clenching onto the side of the rink so hard that his knuckles turned white and all the people that recognized him, staring. Gloves was lucky that he was so damn cute and thus had permission to drag his date into such a dilemma.

Said cutie slithered around for a few laps, then after a while stopped next to Emperor, snickering. "Does the King need some help~?" the green inked boy asked teasingly as he held out a hand, which was grabbed by the older monarch brother with a thankful and kinda helpless smile. "Ah...I'm fine, but I still appreciate it, thank you." Emperor said, trying to stay calm while doing so to mask his nervousness of not knowing how to do something for once.

The tall inkling took his shorter companion's hand, his nervous smile softening when he felt Gloves squeezing it. "I gotcha, don't worry about them staring. If you fall you'll drag me down into hell as well now!" the other team leader joked, starting to move one foot backwards over the ice again to move forward, snorting when he saw Emperor's attempt on mimicking him.

Gloves sighed and got in front of Emperor, pretty sure that this way of learning would spark up his motivation a lot more. "Alright, let's do it like this Emp! When I move my feet backwards, you do it too, got it?" the green teen explained, glancing up over his shoulder since he awaited some sort of approval from the king, who gave a determined nod.

Gloves reached behind himself to grab Emperor's hands, interlacing their fingers. It wasn't like he wasn't enjoying that date after all!

They started off slow so Emperor could get used to it, but after a while Gloves sped up a bit.

A surprised gasp left his lips when two arms were suddenly tightly wrapped around his waist, a faint green sneaking its way up upon the boy's cheeks. "Eeeh...Emp? You alright?" he asked with concern. Maybe ice skating wasn't the best idea after all.

But Emperor just smiled down at the worried green squid once he tilted his head back to look up at the monarch once more. "Of course it is, I'm just demanding some closeness with you, you see? But if you'd want me to let go, tell me, I shall respect your boundaries Gloves." he explained. Though it was also to be a bit more steady on the ice, falling would just ruin his suit, hair and reputation.

Gloves nodded understanding and cleared his throat to get the surprised tone out of it, aka his voice cracking, stupid puberty. God Emperor was such a lucky bastard to be an adult man and done with it already...or a child in a man's body at least, because how he clung to Gloves hips so he wouldn't fall looked... amusing, he must admit.

After Gloves tried to make Emperor let go for at least half an hour, it was time to eat because repeating the phrase 'don't worry, I'll stay here' at least three hundred times was worth of a snack.

They walked into a diner next to the rink, and Emperor had never felt so free before in his damn life than he did now due to discarding the skates on the ground, he hadn't even noticed how much his feet hurt up until now that he was sitting down on some red fake leather seat.

Apparently, this was what 'American' diners had looked like when humans were still alive. As much as Emperor was actually interested in their history, he never understood why they had so many languages. Countries, sure, but languages? It must've been horrible to find your soul mate and not understanding a word from each other.

"...peror! Ooi, Emperor!" Gloves waved a hand in front of his face, chuckling. "Did that seriously make you this tired? Damn, might as well go roller skating next time!" he joked, but that joke meant much more to Emperor than Gloves probably thought it would.

Next time? So Gloves was enjoying himself? Despite Emperor literally having refused to learn ice skating for half an hour straight?

"So, what do you wanna order? I know fast food isn't your thing but- yea, you still gotta be hungry!" Gloves asked with an apologetic voice, scratching his cheek with an index finger whilst chuckling.

Emperor told him it'd be fine, and while the taller male scanned the menu, Gloves looked around the little restaurant. It had a really cool flare about it, and the waitresses looked kinda cool as well in those red and yellow dresses and serving food on...were those roller skates? Damn, it really was cool!

The only thing that wasn't cool about that place were the glares, stares and whispers which were all apparently directed towards Gloves. Not Emperor, definitely Gloves.

What the hell did he do?! Sure, he sat at the same table as the turf war's king and the Enperry companies model for any new gear plus underwear and such which Prince wouldn't do, but still, they usually never got such hateful and nosy glances like that when they were hanging out together.

The green inkling just shook his head and tried his best to ignore it when a waitress came to take their orders.

"Yes, hello. I'll have the, uhm...B-L-T? And a cappuccino, please." Emperor ordered, confused on if he pronounced that correctly or if there was anything to add to it.

"Bacon lettuce tomato sandwich, eyep! Noted! And you?" the inkling girl turned to Gloves with a very exaggerated smile, but that's probably how they acted in human times in those diners as well.

Gloves took a quick look at the menu, then placed it on the table again once he had decided what he'd want. "I'd like one of those shrimp 'single burgers' and a cola please!" he said, earning himself a giggle from the girl and a weird comment. "Single doesn't really fit though, teehee..!" the waitress muttered before sliding away on her blades, leaving the two dumbfounded.

They both were clearly interested in each other, yea, okay, but they weren't dating!! Well, not yet, that is...

While waiting for their food and drinks, the two of them had a comfortable conversation about the latest gear releases, the new off the hook single, the apparent news that Rider and Goggles got together and other random stuff.

Finally, their drinks arrived first, and while Gloves took a few sips from his cola, he just had to notice the glares once more. Seriously, what was their problem?! Emperor seemed to notice as well, the annoyed look on his face and his eyebrows being knitted together in a frown made it plain obvious.

A girl even walked past them, eyes focused on Gloves as she let a pissed little 'tch!' escape her lips, which made the dualie user turn away from the crowd a bit more and take his phone out to rather focus on that.

[4 new messages from 'best team ever ٩(๑´3`๑)۶']

Fuck_you: Gloves, you might want to see this.
Fuck_you sent a link https://www.squidnet-topics/Emperor/
Fuck_off: Oh damn- I'm sure it's just a random post though Rimzy
Fuck_it: it isn't Clip, I've seen some posts of it on inkstagram and squitter too, they're spreading like a fire in a forest!

Gloves stared at the link, scared of what the article would say, though it was quite obvious what it'd be.

Despite already knowing what the post would say, he still opened the link, his face getting even more pale than it already was anyway.

It was a picture of him and Emperor around thirty minutes ago, just minding their own business with Emperor's arms tightly wrapped around Gloves' waist while the green boy's head was tilted backwards to look up at the tall monarch, who was lightly bending down.

Yea, didn't look all that straight, but Half-rimz used to carry him around in bridal style and when they hug, it looks like they'd never see each other again after this, Gloves is just a really touchy and affectionate person, that's all, so it could still look like they're just bros.

But no, not from the angle the picture was taken from. Because it looked like they were kissing. Like Emperor leaned down and Gloves up so they could kiss.

He had to be honest, his heart skipped a beat at the sight. Kissing Emperor has been one of his dreams over and over again and this picture looked like it happened despite it actually being a moment of them just staring at each other

What made his stomach turn were the comments.

He was called a whore, theft, bitch. Some people said that Emperor is way out of his league, that Gloves would only use him for his money and fame, that Emperor definitely deserved somebody much hotter like himself, that—


A familiar, sweet voice ripped him out of his shocked state, a hand placed on top of his on the table.

Emperor had a concerned look on his face, unsure of what was going on since he decided to not take out his phone for the evening if it wasn't necessary, meaning that he hasn't seen any of the news or posts yet.

Gloves swallowed hard, handing Emperor his phone without a word. The taller inkling just took it with a raised eyebrow, but read the article anyway, his breath hitching as soon as he saw the picture, while the comments made his eyes go wide.

The yellow inked squid returned the device, watching how Gloves turned it off and dropped it into his backpack which was placed right next to him. "Let's just...wait for the food and ignore this all." Gloves suggested, obviously, and understandably, a bit frightened of the media and just people around him in general right now.

Emperor looked at the other for a few more seconds before getting up, slamming his hands on the table in front of him, startling everyone, heads turning towards him. It was completely silent, until the monarch spat out a "Your behavior highly disgusts me!" while throwing the whole crowd a menacing glare.

More attention really wasn't what Gloves wanted right now, but that wasn't even Emperor's goal, which was clear once the tall inkling grabbed his own and Gloves' bags, then the younger boy's hand and walked out of the diner with him.

"WOAH- Emp!! It's alright! I swear!" Gloves stopped him, struggling free of his date's grip, putting on a way too obviously faked smile. "That's society right? It'll be forgotten in a bit, so it's okay." the fresh squid tried to calm Emperor, but he really wasn't buying it.

"It's really not. Now, let's go." Emperor insisted, grabbing Gloves hand again and dragging him into the locker room to get their normal shoes back.

Gloves knew Emperor for long enough now to know that protesting would be useless, so he slipped into his yellow shoes and waited for Emperor to tie his black ones that looked like he'd belong to a mafia.

They walked out of the building, or more so Emperor did while dragging Gloves along, leading him to his car.

"Emp- I swear, I'm fine!" Gloves tried to reassure him yet again, but Emperor ignored it and got into the car, signaling him to get in as well. And of course, even though it was with a reluctant sigh, the shorter boy did as wanted. He'd need Emperor to get home anyway, so he didn't really have a choice either.

Gloves was about to put on his seat belt, but was interrupted by a colorful box with hearts being placed on his lap.

Gloves gave his companion a confused look, but mentioned companion just placed an elbow on the steering wheel to let his hand hold up his head, lips carrying a handsome smile.

"Happy valentine's day Gloves. I made these myself yesterday just for you." the monarch explained, of course not mentioning that N-Pacer and Prince were a huge help.

Gloves just stared at the gift, then back at Emperor again, his sour mood gradually vanishing the more he looked at his date's gentle smile, which put a soft grin on his own lips as well. "Emp you...really didn't have to make anything for me." Gloves said with a chuckle.

He opened the gift, seeing the realistic (well, more or less-) burgers neatly sitting in the cute pastel box. Gloves stared at them for a while, and then began to snicker, then giggle and then to laugh.

And that, Rider, is why Emperor was scared of fucking up.

"PFFT hahah!! They're fucking adorable man! I love them!" Gloves said, still chuckling over the cute treats. He took one of the burgers and bit into it, his eyes holding a happy shimmer in them. "They taste amazing! Probably better than any of the stupid burgers they would've sold there!" the green inkling chimed, not about to stop the compliments any time soon.

Despite being relieved that Gloves liked his gift, Emperor was still confused about the former reaction. "Say...if you like them, then why did you start laughing?"

"Because I thought you would've just bought some expensive chocolate and that's it. But how different and unprofessional they look...It really just, yknow, has something that screams that you made it!" the younger dualie main explained with a bright grin, earning himself another happy yet calm smile from Emperor.

"I see..."

They decided to call it a day and that they should just get home for the night. The drive itself was relatively quiet asides from a playlist playing on Gloves' phone that Emperor allowed him to quietly play through his car's speakers via aux and Gloves' munching his gift. It was a comfortable silence though.

Once they arrived at the place Gloves and his team shared, both of the two got out of the car. Emperor walked the other boy to the front door, where Gloves scratched the back of his head and glanced away, awkwardly chuckling. "Eheh...well, sorry that I kinda ruined th-" he started, but didn't get to finish his sentence due to suddenly being pinned to a wall, back pressed up against it, chin being held up by Emperor's index finger, his thumb being placed on his lower lip. "This'll be a better apology."

A silent gasp, a blink and a moment to get what was going on later, Emperor, who was looming above Gloves, pressed a tender kiss onto his green colored date's slightly agape lips, his second hand put flat against the front door to keep said date in place.

The oldest Enperry son soon broke their kiss, but didn't pull away just yet. Foresty hues stared into sunny ones, holding a twinkle of pure joy in this very moment.

Gloves responded to Emperor's sudden kiss by slinging his arms around the taller boy's neck and return the favor, but this time in a sloppy, more heated way. He had longed for this for so long and could now finally have it.

Their sloppy pecks turned into longer, gradually messier kisses and soon into letting their tongues fight for dominance, Emperor easily winning due to having more experience in such things.

Emperor's hands traveled their way down Gloves slim body, over his cheeks, then shoulders, down his chest and going to his sides, stopping at his waist to firmly grip the smaller boy's hips.

With every small noise or little whine Gloves let out, Emperor got a bit more rough in both holding Gloves and kissing him while the younger guy was still pressed against the door.

This went on for a while, until-

"eeEEWAAAH—" Gloves yelled when he fell backwards on the ground thanks to Half-rimz opening the door. Emperor didn't fall with him since he reflexively let go.

"R-Rimzy!!" Gloves squeaked in surprise, sitting up to look at his best friend standing there with an unimpressed face. "You cockblock..." the team leader mumbled, crossing his arms and turning his head away to hide his bright green cheeks from Half-rimz.

"That was enough for today, don't you think? Especially after what's happening online..." the boy with horrible eyesight asked his close friend, that last part in a worried voice. But Gloves didn't respond and only jumped back up on his feet again, pouting.

Emperor had to chuckle at the sight, reminding him very much of N-Pacer and Eging. Who was who should be obvious.

"Well, I shall be off then. But before that..." Emperor left his sentence unfinished and just invited himself inside, pressing a last, quick kiss onto Gloves lips. "Do you want this to last as well?" the monarch asked, earning himself an eager nod from the blushing Gloves.

Another kiss was placed onto Gloves' forehead before Emperor turned around to leave again. "I'm glad," he started, then glanced over his shoulder with a genuinely happy smile. Nothing fuckboy or player like, just a honest, happy smile.

"My love."

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"Guys my boyfriend has a car, he can drive us to McDonald's whenever I ask!!!"