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Corpse was, understandably, nervous for today. Rae had called it a date, but it was not a date, they were just taking pictures for their project together. Just the two of them. Without Sean or Felix. Yes, it was not a date. 

It was the first time in a long time where he had actually woken up excited to start the day. Of course, Rae and Mykie knew about him hanging out with Sykkuno because he couldn’t keep anything secret from those two. Through the course of his time at their new school, as he and Rae got closer, so did Mykie and Rae. And sitting there now, on his freshly made bed with two evil smiles were the devils themselves. They insisted on helping him pick an outfit and even after saying he was perfectly capable of doing it himself. He learned a long time ago not to argue with them. Although, he did have to admit they picked a good look. 

After trying on probably 100 different clothes, they settled on a deep purple sweater that was just the right size too big. Printed on it was a skeleton hand holding a black rose, his favorite type of flower. The sleeves had a hole in each one so it could hook around his thumbs, keeping half of his hand covered, though he still wore bracelets because had to stay fresh. He wore three silver rings on his left hand and two on his right, his necklace was a bulky silver chain. He wore black, ripped skinny jeans and a black studded belt. On his feet were black leather combat boots. 

Rae and Mykie were able to pick up on what he liked to wear and even though he didn’t wear purple often, they kept saying it was his color. Corpse didn’t think he looked all that good in it but hey, he was talking to two of the biggest fashionistas he knew so he took their word for it. Mykie, of course, styled his hair and by that, all she did was make it not look like a bird’s nest. Every so often, she would condition his hair so it wasn’t overly poufy or tangled. She took better care of his hair than he did. But half the time, he couldn’t bring himself to care. 

Somehow, and he really couldn’t tell you how he had gotten here, he was convinced by Rae to let her put eyeliner on him. He didn’t have anything against guys wearing makeup, he wore nail polish after all (which Mykie was reapplying even though he could, 100%, do it by himself). But Rae had asked what the odds were of him putting on eyeliner, and he initially said 1 out of 50, but she told him those were bitch odds, and goddammit he didn’t back down from challenges. So here he was, after lowering his odds to 10, trying not to squirm as she applied liquid liner around his eyes. Corpse absolutely hated when something was this close to his eye but every time he moved he earned a glare from Rae. It didn’t take long, after about 2 minutes she pulled back with a huge smile, closing the eyeliner. 

“Damn, my best friend is HOT!” She exclaimed, Mykie coming over to admire her work. She circled him like a vulture, before offering him a thumbs up which he only flipped her off in turn because he was being tortured by these two heathens right now. 

“You should let us dress you up more often.” The blonde teased, handing him his black face mask so he could put it on. When Rae came over that day, Corpse had completely forgotten to put it on. Initially, it had confused him why she had squealed upon entering his room but he suddenly remembered he was not covered. But she had immediately told him he had no reason to hide his face, that his scar was sexy if anything. He didn’t know how to take that but he felt safe enough to leave his mask off. 

“Good luck on your date!” Mykie cooed, earning another middle finger from the guy as he walked Rae back to her house. It was along the way to Sykkuno’s place since that’s where they agreed to meet up. She was rambling about something but he was too focused on how today was going to turn out. He wasn’t going to lie and say he wasn’t nervous, because he was so incredibly nervous. He felt like he was going to vomit but he was sure Rae didn’t want to see that. 

She teased him a bit more before she finally went into her own home, Corpse taking a few calming breaths as he stared at the house at the end of the street. A part of him wished they lived further away so he could stop his hands from shaking so he opted to walk slower than usual. The black bag hanging from his shoulders that carried his camera equipment felt so heavy. He had to remind himself that it was just Sykkuno and that he would be fine because the brunette was one of the nicest people he had ever met. For once, Corpse just wished he could be normal sometimes. 

He was at the door before he realized it, decided he might as well get his over with. So, he brought his knuckles to leave two knocks, waiting awkwardly with his hands in his pockets. It didn’t take very long for the piece of wood to swing open, revealing a bright-eyed Sykkuno. He was wearing light blue skinny jeans, a lime green hoodie with a matching green (that had darker green stripes) scarf around his neck. It was fall so the temperature had dropped considerably compared to last week. Corpse could help but think he looked absolutely adorable. 

“Hi, Corpse! Come in.” Sykkuno smiled, stepping aside to let the taller man in. It was just like he remembered, with his mom typing away at her computer at the kitchen counter. She looked up from her screen to offer him a wave, which he did back before Sykkuno was next to him again with his sky-blue backpack. 

“Alright, mom I’ll be back later. Bye!” 

“Bye sweetie, have fun!” Was the last thing he heard when the door closed, the pair falling into step as they walked down the street. They didn’t have a particular place in mind, just taking pictures of things that they liked. Whether it be any light decorations they came across or how the mountains in the distance look on the horizon. They weren’t talking much, which was okay with the both of them, and Corpse often caught himself staring at Sykkuno, smiling behind his mask every time the senior did just about anything. He accepted a long time ago he was completely whipped for this guy. 

But one of his favorite parts about that morning was when they were approached by a gray cat. It had meowed happily when it spotted Sykkuno, who in turn knelt down to pick it up. He then turned to Corpse with just about the biggest smile he had ever seen, holding this cat to his chest with the utmost care. 

“Corpse this is Smokey! He lives with the people down the street.” Smokey was currently rubbing its little head against the brunette’s chin, Corpse being able to hear the purring from where he was standing. Gently, he held a finger in front of the cat’s nose, letting him sniff it before giving him some scratches behind the ear. Sykkuno giggled and Corpse had to pretend it wasn’t the cutest sound he had ever heard. 

“He likes you.” Sykkuno had said, kissing the top of Smokey’s striped head. Corpse dropped his head, watching as his friend just talked to this cat in that voice people talked to their pets in. And while he was distracted, Corpse decided to take his perfect opportunity and snatch a photo because that memory had to be immortalized. It was an amazing shot, Smokey had its mouth open mid-meow, one of his paws coming to rest on Sykkuno’s cheek. The brunette was smiling with his eyes closed, holding the cat in his arms like it was fragile. 

Sykkuno hadn’t noticed his picture was being taken and eventually bent down to let Smokey jump from his arms. With a hearty meow, they watched the gray cat strutted back down the street to his owners. They continued on their way, heading a bit more into town to take pictures of the lights that it was decorated with 24/7. They stopped at a cafe for a quick snack, Sykkuno ordered for Corpse because the cashier lady didn’t know sign language. He got an apple cobbler with boba tea while Sykkuno got a peppermint chai with banana bread. They decided to take a little break at the table outside the shop. 

“So, I noticed you’re wearing eyeliner.” Corpse nearly choked on his cobbler, earning a laugh from the guy sitting across from him. He drank some of his boba tea to clear his throat, glaring at Sykkuno which earned yet another giggle fit, before finally signing back to him in a way he hoped would understand. 

‘I lost a bet to Rae’ Sykkuno seemed to understand it, nodding his head in fake sympathy. 

“Ah, yeah. Rae does like to do that.” A sip of his chai. “But it looks really nice on you.” Corpse thanked the universe that he wasn’t eating that time but he also wasn’t wearing his facemask so he was sure Sykkuno could see the blush. If he wasn’t so sure that Sykkuno didn’t like him, he’d almost think he was flirting. 

After finishing their order, they decided to head back to the woods because, at this time of day, the sun shone through the canopy in such a beautiful way. It was Corpse’s favorite place to take pictures, especially with the sun’s position as it is. He hadn’t been there since that night his parents showed up and despite how his anxiety typically flared in the past, all he felt was a small pull at his throat. He pulled off his facemask, no longer in the public eye so he didn’t need it.

Sykkuno went in first with Corpse trailing behind after him, the ladder stopping to take pictures of any bugs or animals he saw while Sykkuno was more interested in capturing the rays of sun lighting up the forest from between the leaves. They were distracted and it wasn’t until Corpse had taken a rare picture of two fox cubs playing in the distance did they notice where they were. It was a break in the trees, the small circular clearing where Corpse had gone to after his…breakdown. And even though he hated thinking about that night, he couldn’t help but feel this place was serene now.

“You’re amazing at taking pictures, Corpse.” Sykkuno’s voice broke through his stupor, drawing his attention to the brunette who was staring at the photo of the two fox pups on his camera screen. He hadn’t looked at it and upon actually examining the piece, he thought it to be one of his most impressive ones yet. Well, second to the one he took of Sykkuno for obvious reasons. Corpse didn’t sign anything, instead, handing the camera to his friend so he could scroll through the pictures.

Corpse’s mind went back to when Sykkuno found him that night. He had look and sounded genuinely worried about him and that feeling was hard for Corpse to understand. He had been so used to people his age demeaning him and leaving him yet here Sykkuno was, hugging him and telling him it would be okay. He wasn’t even mad that Corpse got blood on his hoodie. That got Corpse thinking.

Whenever his friends would compliment him, Sykkuno would only smile and say thank you. Never once has he seen the senior blush at something some told him. But that wasn’t the case for him. Whenever he said something nice about Sykkuno, it would earn him a blush, nervous stuttering, and shy smiles. Part of him knew that he wouldn’t have that type of reaction to just anyone and part of him really really wanted that to be true. And there was really only one way to find out. So, ignoring the pounding in his chest, he tapped on Sykkuno’s shoulder to get his attention.

‘Can I talk to you?’ He signed with shaking hands, gently taking his camera back from Sykkuno and placing it back in his bag. They walked a few paces into the clearing, Sykkuno taking a seat against the trunk of a tree while Corpse decided to sit in front of him. He didn’t move for a while, unsure about how to go about this conversation before sighing and ultimately deciding to get to the point.

‘I like you’ But it seemed that was too vague because Sykkuno only smiled back with such innocence.

“I like you too Corpse!” If he wasn’t mute, he was sure he would have groaned because damn this guy is so pure and cute.

‘No, I like you more than friends’

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The last thing Sykkuno expected that day was for Corpse to tell him he felt the same way.

When he woke up that morning, he was a ball of excitement, getting ready in record time. He remembered not waiting long for Corpse showing up at his door, nearly fainting at the eyeliner framing his eyes. He was barely listening, his mind supplying too many thoughts about how hot he looked in eyeliner. And he thought about that the entire time. When they went to that café, he couldn’t help but bring it up, causing the poor guy to nearly choke (though it was funny). But he attributed the blush on his cheeks to the cold. He set a mental reminder to thank Rae later.

And he remembered watching Corpse take pictures of the animals in the forest, they were so good that Sykkuno felt inadequate compared to the talent this guy possessed. And even as Corpse sat them down in that clearing where they first really bonded, he felt like the last thing he deserves was someone as amazing as Corpse. So, imagine his surprise when he all but signed that he reciprocated Sykkuno’s feelings. He froze, and he was ashamed of it, but he couldn’t help it.

His mind stopped working, processing those hand motions slowly. Sykkuno didn’t quite know what to say or do. He was never good with words and when he was nervous it was always so much worse. He stuttered over everything he said, his brain not keeping up with his mouth really. And it was even worse when it came to his actions! He was clumsy, uncoordinated, and most of the time, he just made a fool of himself. But he realized his mistake now was that he showed no reaction to those words. And it showed on Corpse’s face.

The junior looked a mixture of self-consciousness, hurt, and sadness. Almost too quick for him to interpret, he signed that he was sorry and had to go. At that, Sykkuno actually cursed at himself. Not only did he freeze when Corpse confessed his feelings but it was the first time he even hinted at him being gay. And all Sykkuno did was freeze.

Sykkuno knew he had to act now. If he didn’t, he was going to ruin things completely. If he let Corpse leave right now without ever telling him he felt the same, he could never forgive himself. And so, as he watched the younger man being standing, he did the next best thing he could think. He grabbed his wrist, pulling him back down which also caused Corpse to look at him, tugging at his arm so he leaned forward to slam their lips together. It was sloppy in every sense of the word but it was Sykkuno’s first kiss so he let it slide. However, just as it started, his mind suddenly came back to him and let go of the other guy, pulling back with wide eyes.

“O-Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry Corpse! Y-You probably didn’t want that and, oh gosh, I totally messed this up, didn’t I?” Corpse placed a hand on his knee, drawing his attention. He had a smile, and actually smile with teeth and Sykkuno felt himself swoon. He just kissed the most handsome man on the face of this planet who didn’t seem to hate him for his terrible skills.

‘I thought you were about to… me so this is…’ Sykkuno could only shrug embarrassedly and Corpse got the hint that he didn’t understand all of it so, like many times before, he typed it out on his phone. I thought you were about to reject me so this is definitely better he supplied and Sykkuno felt the all too familiar blush heat his cheeks. He covered his mouth nervously.

“O-Oh gosh, no. I-I’ve, uhm, had a crush on you for the l-longest time. I-I was just, uhm, surprised you felt the same is all! This is so embarrassing.” Sykkuno whispered the last part but he knew Corpse heard it. But the next thing he felt was those ringed fingers gently grasping his wrist, pulling his hand away from his mouth. He was greeted by warm chocolate brown eyes that held so much affection, it made Sykkuno believe he’d been holding it back forever.

‘I love your smile’ Sykkuno snort laughed at that, Corpse’s hands coming to rest on his own again that prevented him from covering his face. He was embarrassed but the way Corpse was looking at him made him not care. Eventually, they fell silent, their hands resting in each other. A thumb was gently running over his knuckles, a small but content smile permanently on his lips. Corpse removed his hands one more time to sign something.

‘So, want to kiss again?’ Sykkuno once again found himself laughing, nodding his head between giggles. He felt a hand snake it's way to the back of his head and the thing he knew, Corpse’s lips were on his again. The kiss was much more coordinated his time and Sykkuno all but melted into the arms of his new boyfriend.

That night, Sykkuno got home a lot later than he intended. His parents were sitting on the couch and his mom took note almost immediately of his much happier demeanor. He already knew he wasn’t getting out of this conversation but he felt incredibly anxious about his dad being there. He wasn’t so accepting of his sexuality at first and eventually he…sort of came around to it. He knows that Sykkuno is gay and that won’t change. But they just never really talk about it. And as he sat there on the coffee table in front of his parents, it was hard for him to hide how uncomfortable he was about the situation.

“Sykkuno,” His dad sighed after a while, setting down his tablet so he could look at his son. “It hurts that you feel this uncomfortable to talk to me. And I know that’s my own fault. I’m sorry, I love you no matter what you identify as.” And just like that, the pressure was gone and he felt like he could actually breathe. All he wanted was for his dad to accept who he was and even if he wasn’t as comfortable with it yet, he was making the effort to be and that was more than he could ask for.

“It’s okay dad. I love you too.” His father wasn’t much for emotion so the most he got was one of those dad smirks but he’s learned to tell if they were real over the years and this one was. Progress was being made and he was hoping that he’d at least like Corpse when they met. Maybe he can introduce them as his friend first to get him to be more open to getting to know the guy.

“So, how’d your little date go?” But of course, his mom wouldn’t let him slide around that because, in her opinion, Sykkuno shouldn’t have to hide who he is. Which was an ideal he appreciated. And he didn’t necessarily want to hide it because this was such a big moment for him. It was his first relationship with the first person who was actually interested in him. He didn’t have good luck when it came to crushes. Until now anyway.

“It wasn’t a date, mom. It was for school.” Sykkuno mumbled, hiding his face in his hands as a way to brace himself for the next part. “But I may or may not have a boyfriend now.” There was silence, the brunette peeking through his fingers to meet his mom’s eyes who was smiling. She looked excited which was enough to calm his nerves somewhat.

“I’m happy for you, sweetie. He is such a nice kid.” She kissed his cheek, running her hands through his hair as he slowly made his way over to the empty spot on the couch. He was definitely blushing but couldn’t find it in himself to cover his face. He promised Corpse he would try to stop that habit.

“As the only one who hasn’t met him,” His dad started, really trying to get to know his son better. It warmed Sykkuno’s heart. “Tell me about him.” Sykkuno felt his face heat up all over again, unsure of where to start. But he supposed he should just warn his dad about the fact his boyfriend can’t talk because that would throw anyone off.

“Well, he’s mute. He said it was from, Uhm, GERD? Mykie, his sister, said basically stomach acid degraded his vocal cords to the point where he couldn’t talk.” His mom had taken to the bathroom to shower, leaving her two favorite boys to bond on their own. She had lectured her husband many times on how Sykkuno didn’t decide this and that he better accept him or face her wrath.

“So, he knew how to talk at one point.” It was more of a statement than a question but Sykkuno answered anyway.

“Yeah, I guess his voice was on and off for a couple of months but it disappeared over a year ago.” Sykkuno spent the next 30 minutes telling his dad about Corpse. He left out his past or that nice his parents showed up because that wasn’t his story to tell. It was one of the longest conversations he’s had in a while with his dad and he texted Corpse all excitedly in his bed that night.

That’s great Sykkuno! I’m glad you can talk to your dad now :) was the snap he got not even a minute later yet. It was a picture of the top half of Corpse’s head, his hair falling to the side because he was laying down. The eyeliner he once wore was gone. He still remembered how soft his hair felt, how his fingers ran through the stands so easily (which was thanks to Mykie conditioning it according to Corpse). He smiled, taking a picture of it because he knew his boyfriend, gosh he couldn’t believe he could call him that, liked it.

He took a screenshot which Sykkuno found he didn’t mind as much as he thought he would. Most of the time talking that night was them going over basic rules. Corpse said he wanted to keep them a secret for a little bit, he wasn’t quite ready with everyone knowing he was gay yet. Sykkuno understood and honestly, he was glad that’s what Corpse wanted because who knows what his friends would do. But something told him this little secret wouldn’t last the entire week, there was no way Rae or Mykie wouldn’t find out about this.

But as he thought about the way Corpse smiled, how happy he seemed to be there with Sykkuno, he found he couldn’t care how anyone reacted. This had been the best thing to happen to him in a long time and he wouldn’t let anything ruin that.