‘Don’t worry Yuno, I’ll keep you safe!’
‘I’ll make all of your other wishes come true!’
‘It’s a little spell to make you feel better!’
Every one of those thoughts repeat themselves in his mind like a broken record, and Yuno is tired of it. The student sighs, eye twitching as Asta’s smiling face appears in his mind for what feels like the hundredth time that day.
Speaking of that idiot, it’s been nearly a months since they’ve met and Yuno just feels like things get worse and worse. First he gets cursed, then he’s bound to a demon, then his best friend is kidnapped by some weird ghost that turns people into dolls. Well at least he got to save her in the end, and Leo and Asta are nice enough.
Yuno nearly jumps out of his seat as he hears the teacher call his name, he looks up and meets Vangeance’s eyes, who thankfully seems more concerned than angry. Yuno can guess that he’s been calling his name for a while, if the way the rest of the classroom is staring at him is any indication.
“Y-Yes, forgive me professor.” Yuno straightens in his chair.
“Can you read the next passage? Paragraph 54.” Vangeance says, and Yuno looks down at his textbook to see he’s two pages behind. Just how spaced out was he?
Thankfully he finds the passage soon enough, reading in a loud and clear voice to the rest of the students. Vangeance keeps him reading for a good while, probably trying to help distract him, which Yuno is thankful for.
“Alright, next up Mimosa.”
“Yes sir!” Yuno hears Mimosa speak up behind him, her sweet voice reading with as much fluidity as you’d expect from such a high class family like the Vermillions.
Wait, Vermillion, he’s sure he knows someone else by that family name. Who is it?
A small whisper catches his attention, and Yuno turns to look at Mimosa, who has finished reading and is now leaning forward to whisper to him.
“Are you ok?” She asks, voice full of concern.
Yuno nods, “I’m fine, just a little tired I guess.” He whispers back.
Mimosa’s eyes narrow, like she doesn’t buy it, but thankfully she leans back into her chair and drops the subject. Yuno knows she’ll bring it back up later, so he’ll have to come up with something to tell her in the meantime.
The rest of the class goes by without incident, and Yuno is glad he managed to pay attention through most of it. Asta already affects his life enough, he doesn’t need him distracting him from his studies too.
When Vangeance finally dismisses them Mimosa is quick to grab him before he can leave the classroom, pulling him back into his chair and standing in front of him with her arms crossed. Yuno sighs, knowing there’s no escaping Mimosa when she’s like this.
“Something’s bothering you Yuno, what is it?” She asks, and even though her posture is serious her tone is still gentle.
Yuno looks away from her, gazing out towards the window and watching as the people outside stood under the cool shade of the beautiful trees. One in particular stands out, a beautiful cherry blossom who’s petals are being blown away in the wind to form a movie like scene. It’s like a romance movie, and Yuno swallows when his heart stutters at the image of Asta that flashes through his mind.
“Yuno?” Mimosa speaks up, slowly.
”There’s actually... something that’s been on my mind recently.” He says, unsure. He debates telling her, but decides he can afford to say how he feels if he takes away all the supernatural elements.
Mimosa sits on the desk in front of him, “What is it?”
Yuno opens his mouth to speak, but his heart starts hammering in his chest at the thought of saying something to open and embarrassing. He bites his lip, huffing as he takes a deep breath.
“There’s this guy that I think... might like me...”
His words come out slow, as if saying them pained him physically. Yuno looks at Mimosa, watching her eyes widen for a second before she smiles.
“What?! Who is it?! What happened?!”
And so Yuno tells her everything, both of them having to pick up to head to their next class as they talked. Mimosa hung onto Yuno’s every word, about how Yuno said Asta “wanted to make his dreams come true” about how he defended him and especially about the kiss. Once he finished Mimosa’s eyes were practically sparkling, her hand clutching the hose that she was supposed to be using to clean the gardening materials.
“Yuno he totally likes you! There’s no doubt!” She grabbed his arm and shook him lightly.
The thought made Yuno’s cheeks warm, “You think so?” He turns his head away.
“I know so!” She grinned, “Now tell me, what’s he like?”
Yuno thought about how to answer, knowing he definitely couldn’t say that Asta was a ghost. Still there was a lot to say about him, the spirit sure had a lot of personality after all.
“Well he‘s loud for one, though ironically he doesn’t have much of a presence,” he starts, “he’s shorter than both of us, and even if he has this childish look he’s surprisingly good in a fight.”
Mimosa hummed, like she knows some big secret. Yuno raises a brow at her, wondering what it is she wants to say, when suddenly.
“He’s definitely your type!”
“Yeah! He’s your total opposite! Just hear me out!” Mimosa holds her hands out in front of her in a placating manner, “You’re super tall and quiet, very mature, and always catch people’s attention. You’re not very confrontational, but you’re intimidating enough to warn others not to pick a fight! You’re total opposites!”
Yuno blinked, realizing she really does have a point. He coughs, crossing his arms and gazing at the nearby tree he’d been looking at earlier.
“Well whatever, it’s not like I...”
Yuno trails off, wondering what it is he really feels about Asta. There’s no denying the ghost is definitely special, and has changed his life in more ways than one, but can he really call those feelings love?
“You don’t have to come up with an answer right now, though at the pace you’re going he’s probably going to confess soon.”
Those words make Yuno stiffen, and he turns back to Mimosa with what he hopes is a calm expression.
“Yeah, it’s the big thing these days after all!”
Mimosa nods, pointing behind him, “Isn’t that why you were looking at the confession tree earlier?”
Yuno turns to look, seeing Mimosa gesturing to the cherry blossom tree he had been staring at before.
“No, I didn’t know it was called that.”
“Well they say that that tree was blessed by the god of romance, and that the couples that confess their love underneath it are bound forever.”
Yuno frowns, wondering when they had gotten a tree like that. He certainly doesn’t remember there being a cherry blossom before, which is why it caught his eye, and he doubts he would’ve missed knowing its title for so long.
“Just look, haven’t you noticed all the couples in our class?”
It’s true, wherever Yuno gazes there seems to be a couple or two either chatting or working, most of them holding hands. The image of Asta holding him like that and vice versa made his cheeks flare up, and he truly hoped it wasn’t noticeable.
“I’m sure that certain someone will work up the courage and confess to you under that tree soon enough!” Mimosa smiles so brightly at him, and Yuno finds himself holding back his own smile at the thought.
“No, I don’t think he will...” or would he?
“Hey Yuno. After school tomorrow, can you meet me in the tree in the practice garden?”
Yuno’s mind comes screeching to a halt the moment Asta speaks those words. His eyes widen, and he grips the broom in his hands tight to keep himself composed.
He had been casually cleaning the bathroom with Asta that afternoon with no interruption, and after the long day he’s had he had nearly forgotten about his romantic predicament, until now.
“You mean the confession tree?” He asks, feigning indifference.
Asta perks up, “Oh so you know about it? That’s good! I guess I don’t have to explain myself then huh?” He grins.
Then he walks closer and hovers so he’s leaning close to Yuno’s ear. “I’ll see you tomorrow then. Remember to come alone.”
And he disappears. Yuno stands stock still, staring out the window with wide eyes as Asta’s words ring in his ears. There’s no way right? But there’s no other explanation! This is-!
His hand comes up to rest over his beating heart, covering his mouth to force down the smile that threatens to creep into his face.
The next day goes by torturously slow, his mind drifting back towards Asta every few minutes. He didn’t concentrate in class at all, and any other day he would’ve been mad, but since his talk with Mimosa that morning he’s been nothing but excited for what the afternoon would bring. He wouldn’t admit it of course, it wasn’t in his character, but he’d still like to think things could go well.
He thought about Asta, about the boy who was kind, headstrong and actually kind of attractive. He couldn’t see many flaws in him, aside from being very loud and occasionally pushy, but those things can be worked around. There’s no denying he’s interested, but he’s not sure what dating a ghost would even be like.
Yuno shakes his head, sighing and pinching the bridge of his nose as he tries to calm himself. He should just let Asta confess, and then he’ll make his choice. It might be difficult, but not bad considering all the time they already spend together. Besides they’re eternally bound already right? What’s the difference?
A stray petal suddenly grazes past his cheek, and Yuno looks up to see he’s already along his way towards the Confession Tree. He swallows, realizing the time has already come, there’s no turning back.
Yuno walks closer, seeing Asta standing under the cool shade of the tree and gazing out at the clouds. Yuno’s steps falter, wondering how he’s never noticed how beautiful Asta is.
The afternoon sun is bathing him in a golden glow, his tan skin looking like delicate bronze. His green eyes are wide and bright, holding so much hope and energy in them. His hair blows in the gentle breeze with a rhythm that draws him in, and Yuno suddenly feels like saying yes wouldn’t be a bad option after all.
“Asta.” He says as he approaches, trying his best to keep a straight face as Asta turns to him and grins.
“You made it!” The spirit says, bouncing his way.
Yuno nods, but his calm facade cracks a little as Asta floats up to set his hands on his shoulders, leaning in dangerously close.
“Well I’ll just get right to it then!”
Yuno blinks, “Wait, this is-!”
“I love you Yuno! Go out with me!”
Even though Yuno had been expecting those words hearing them sent his heart beating a mile an hour. His cheeks burst with color, his mind still trying to catch up with the fact that this is happening.
Asta, the Tenth School Mystery, who held unimaginable power, who tied their destinies together to save Yuno from his curse and who still continues to protect him at every turn, is confessing to him. He opens his mouth, ready to accept, when suddenly:
“What’s taking so long Yuno? Hurry and reject me.” Asta whispers, looking nervous.
“Say “Im sorry” ok?” Asta prompts.
“Come on hurry!” He looks worried.
Before Yuno can wonder what’s happening he suddenly feels the ground shift, and he looks up to see the branches of the tree twisting and turning his way.
“Oh my, we can’t have that. If someone confesses their love to you it’s only logical to accept.”
The voice is coming from the tree, and Yuno is only half surprised when he sees a face has appeared on the bark of it, its elderly face scowling at him in disappointment.
“It is love that brings people happiness. And you would refuse it? Preposterous!” The tree scorns him, but Yuno is too shocked to even internalize what it’s saying. “Do not worry. I will assist you in your quest for true happiness.”
“A supernatural?” Yuno asks, but then one of the branches is shooting towards him at high speed, and Yuno can barely bring his arms up to defend himself before it reaches him.
“No you don’t!”
Yuno gasps as Asta’s sword cuts through the offending branch, his hand settled around Yuno’s waist as he holds the blade up defensively.
“Man I’m so glad I have a human assistant, I don’t think I would’ve gotten you to come out otherwise.” Asta says, smiling.
“A school mystery?!” The tree exclaims, “What have I done to warrant such chastisement?! I’m merely trying to make people happy!”
Asta huffs, “And that’s exactly what you call meddling! You can’t make people fall in love like that! It’s crazy!”
Yuno watches Asta, wondering how the other can go from acting so cool and composed to shouting like a five year old in a mere second. He sighs, blinking when Asta let’s go to rush at the tree.
The spirit slices through the bark cleanly, cutting the wood in half with more ease than Yuno expected. The tree cries out and withers, the towering figure shrinking until there’s nothing left but a sprout.
Both Yuno and Asta lean over it, watching the little tree shout at them indignantly in a squeaky voice that Yuno can barely understand.
“I hope that teaches you a lesson! Messing with people’s feelings ain’t right!” Asta points accusingly at the tree, pouting childishly.
“Asta...” Yuno starts, “What just happened?”
Asta turns to him, blinking like he has no idea what Yuno means. “It’s another supernatural, he’s not one of the ten mysteries but it looks like he was meddling enough to almost be recognized as one. Thanks to you we managed to stop him though, it wouldn’t do to have more than ten mysteries am I right?”
“Oh.” Is all he says, because of course that’s what it was. There’s no way something so romantic could actually happen to him.
“Why do you ask? That’s why you were helping me right?” Asta tilts his head.
Yuno nods. It comes out a little stiff but it’s a nod nonetheless.
“Well then can you stay tomorrow after school? I think I might need help tending to the Fairies again, and Gordon says he wants to hang out so-“
Yuno nods along to everything Asta says, cuz he really can’t be bothered. He’s not sure why it hurts so much that it was fake, he should have seen it coming right? Asta wouldn’t really like him that way, they’re only hanging out because he’s Asta’s assistant after all.
Asta’s voice breaks him out of his thoughts, and the raven looks up to see the spirit floating up to him with a confused expression.
But then Asta grins, “Oh I get it! Are you upset cuz it wasn’t a real confession?” Asta laughs. “I didn’t take you for a romantic Yuno!”
The words sting. Realizing this is all a joke to Asta hurts more than everything else. Yuno bites his lip and pulls his hand back, striking it across the spirit’s face with all his might before stepping back.
“So much talk about not playing with people’s feelings and look at you... you’re such a hypocrite...” Yuno whispers, pretending his vision doesn’t blur as he turns away from Asta and leaves.
“W-Wha-?! Yuno I- I didn’t-“
“Leave me alone.” Yuno bites back, “I’m going home.”
For some reason Yuno stops, and maybe it’s because of the urgency in Asta’s voice. That last call was a plea, and it sounds so unlike Asta’s usually cheerful voice.
“What?” Yuno asks, only turning back towards Asta when he’s blinked back his tears.
“I um...” Asta reaches for him, his eyes glancing downwards to his hand.
He reaches for it, intertwining their fingers and pressing the back of Yuno’s hands to his lips.
“I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
Yuno’s eyes widen at the gesture, his pulse picking up speed again as he looks into Asta’s earnest expression. He looks so vulnerable, so heartbroken, Yuno almost feels like apologizing, anything to make him smile again.
He can’t help but notice how vulnerable he looks like this. His shoulders are hunched, making him look small, and his confident expression is replaced with one of genuine regret. Yuno swallows, realizing that, for the first time since they’ve met, Asta finally looks like a normal boy.
Yuno chides himself for forgetting that the other is just as emotional and vulnerable as he is, and he strives to correct that. He wants to know more about Asta, to understand him, because as much as he’s talked about them being close and being friends, he really doesn’t know much about him.
“Please don’t go until you’ve stopped crying ok?”
Asta’s next whisper comes as a surprise, and Yuno turns away.
“I’m not crying.”
Yuno had expected Asta to argue with him, to tease him and say that he was going to cry, but he doesn’t. Instead he holds Yuno’s hand in both of his and waits for the student’s answer.
His words seem to help Asta relax. The spirit grabs his free hand and guides him to one of the benches nearby. They sit in silence for a while, with Yuno’s head leaning atop Asta’s as the spirit rests his own against Yuno’s shoulder. Their hands are still linked, and despite the complicated feelings welling up inside him he can’t bring himself to pull away.