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With all his work and clean presentation, Kiyotaka Ishimaru, The Ultimate Moral Compass, is considered an exceptional honor student with many academic approvals. He agreed with those views with humble pride. He even carries a medal from Kaiseidan High School and an armband of the Morals Committee since he arrived at Hope’s Peak Academy.

 

But even so, he still didn’t win the appreciation of all the school's bodies he attended and attends.

 

Back then, before Hope’s Peak, he knew near to nothing about friends. To get to where he stands now, he sacrificed any spare time for hobbies or friendships. Pretty much, he gave up on the expected teen social life. All in order to be more productive in school and save money. To make matters more difficult, his passion and ethics could not be easily reciprocated with someone else.

 

Kiyotaka doesn’t blame the students for avoiding him. Besides, he either got their bad side by giving those detentions and lectures or by his name alone. But these reasons seem to flatten by a more difficult, if not impossible, one to tackle: he appeared to be intimidating?

 

The Ishimaru family had carried members with either pale skin, long eyebrows, or striking red eyes. Kiyotaka? He got the entire package, just like his father. And those attributes happen to be material to justify jests and being called “intimidating”, “weird” or “ugly”…which are petty and empty arguments by the way!

 

For starters, the prefect took health quite seriously. He takes a strict exercise routine, including his Kendo classes, and a nutritious diet to keep his body in top condition. And also treats his skin with care. Every time he does exercise in the open, he always applies sunscreen. Because of that, and maybe because he lived with his father in an apartment without windows, he has a skin tone that was almost close to grey. It’s important to add that he always makes sure to do any activity with precaution, as to not injure himself, and hydrate his skin with skin cream every morning.

 

Many students in PE jokes about how he looked like a dead person for his color skin, or how his muscular body didn’t match with his head. They also point that his unscarred skin didn’t either fit with his built. Either way, his body is "comical" or "unnervingly freaky". Basically, they fail to see the importance to take good care of their bodies! Not to mention that his body came as a surprise only because he always used a not-so-adjusted gakuran! A normal reaction!

 

In regards to his eyebrows, they are a little bit thicker and longer than his father's. It could be something inherited by her mother. Granted, hers were thinner and rested in a more horizontal manner. In the case of the Moral Compass, they are tilted clockwise towards his brow. Sometime, later in his life, he noticed he always had his face frowning. Even when he rests his face, the knit is still there.

 

And, apparently, his eyebrows stretch out, even outside of his face frame, when he shows a lot of passion. His old classmates usually joked that if he kept being so positive, he probably would stab someone with those knives and durian head (possibly referring to his spiky crew-cut haircut). Kiyotaka couldn’t be more grateful that hair can’t harm people…except maybe Yasuhiro’s dreadlocks. One time he accidentally bumped into him and his dread poked his left eye. It hurt for an hour!

 

And finally, the one aspect everyone brought up about his image is his eyes. They are red dartboards. Literally, because his irises are big and formed by crimson disks on top of one another until they descend to small and black pupils. And metaphorically, since it was and is the target of many, if not every, joke or insult: “Did you run out of eye drops?”, “Fruit Fly”, “Taka has been crying all day!”, “Olive man”, “Hydrants”, “Lab rat”, “Is it me, or did your eyes suck all your blood?”, “Freak”, “Stop signs”, “Why did you took my stop lights?”, “You are an eyesore!”, etc.

 

Also, because he wore, and wears, a white uniform (which he like a lot since black does not go well for him), and not to mention his pale complexion, his eyes stand out more (like his red armband, golden medal, and black boots). That just gives the students more reasons to make fun of him and tell him he looks freaky and a serial killer! ...Well, he ended up knowing someone of that caliber…but he wasn’t like that, thereby negating such logic! He will surely show them in the future!

 

Of course, he also overheard many comments about his overall appearance: he is a madman, a vampire, or a villain from James Bond? The only “Bond” he knows more about is the paper for his homework, so he couldn’t pay even more attention to the insult than he needed. None of their comments affected him much since he heard them when he was little. He got accustomed to them. Besides, those only gave him more motivation to keep working and be friendlier, to support all their classmates in their endeavors. Some appreciated others didn’t. In the end, it doesn’t matter, as long as he could make a great environment for everyone to grow, exactly how he plans to do it for his society in the field of politics! Hey, maybe he becomes a great Prime Minister!

 

Since he joined Hope’s Peak Academy, the number of insults decreased little by little to just a couple in a week or a month. An improvement! To his surprise, he was even complimented or admired by his first new friends from Class 78th…in unorthodox ways.

 

Celeste informs him that he could be a perfect vampire butler for her future castle, but knowing him as a friend, and having a righteous lifestyle, it could make matters difficult. Yasuhiro usually intercepts in those comments to point out that the hall monitor shouldn’t even try to be a vampire, since there is no going back after getting bitten, but instead a medium! He read in an internet forum that red-eye people have a powerful connection with the spiritual world…So, pretty much, he was complimented as a mythic being! Not the same way as those other students!

 

In a semester, during class breaks, Toko made a lot but quick intense glances at Ishimaru before she laid them to her notebook and pen at hand. It really intrigued him, because it was at the same time she was writing another successful romance novel…and a cosmic horror story for Literature class. He even commented it to her, curious to know her answer, to which she only responded with:

 

“D-d-on’t you dare ask me that?!…H-how d-dare you?!” aaaand flew from the class.

 

From what he knew about the reclusive, aggressive, and shy personality of hers, he could say he at least enlightened her, to some degree, in her novel. Indeed, it was nice being a source of inspiration for such a talented classmate in those brilliant works!

 

In the case of Hifumi, he usually comments that he could “cosplay” a lot of characters, like an “angel”? or a powerful “saiyan”…whatever that means. Regardless, his remarks seem well intended, not only by judging his intrigued and fascinated voice, but because Makoto agrees with excitement with the second option (while he doesn't understand the first). And, well, Makoto is a good and caring student and friend of his, who cares for personality alone and make everyone happy. In any case, these observations are great if he ever wanted to be part of a convention! The keyword if, of course!

 

Another close friend of his is Chihiro, who told him one morning that he looked similar to a cool ex-police officer character from a “Pokemon” game he was playing, except the character had grey hair and was really serious. To his surprise, after seeing a screenshot given by the programmer, the character looked just like his dad. They even shared the same serious look! Later that day, he showed it to his father, who in response commented with a smirk: “I hope they got my personality right”. Of course, the hall monitor informed his friend about the likeness, who recover with enthusiasm and claimed that he then looked like his son (that is his new “canon”?) or that he would definitely train a “Gallade”…again, whatever that meant. But those were kind words! No doubt!

 

His sports-orientated friends, Aoi, Sakura, and Leon, told him that he looked like a challenging contender, and not to mention that his fit body could participate in many competitions. Asahina tells him excitedly that he could train to be a great triathlonist, runner, or, maybe, a swimmer. Oogami assures him that he had the built of a judo martial artist or an MMA fighter between Feather and Lightweight. Meanwhile, Kuwata argues he would make home runs with ease (well, not as easily like the Ultimate Baseball Star himself, though the hall monitor). They kept him really inspired to maintain his gym schedule!

 

But after those remarks, Leon would always add that he matches perfectly in a rock or punk band.

 

“Perhaps bleaching your hair white and putting a bit of mascara could do the trick…yeah…It would!” explained enthusiastically, like he was talking to a new recruit for his band, even though Ishimaru already told him that breaking stuff and screaming lyrics are not his things!

 

The couple will always shrug it off as another “Leon moment”. He had to agree with the girls. The praise is nice, but it could not make him change his goals!

 

Close to those regards of fighting spirit, Mukuro detailed that he had a warrior’s gaze and physic: “I know you wouldn’t go to the army, but with proper training, you could be a general. Even your eyes could discourage the bravest of squadrons if you trained them”. Junko would give him a thumbs up from behind her sister. While her observations felt chilling, as she usually is, it sure made him feel strong as well! And not to mention that he wasn’t as intimidating as others put it!

 

Meanwhile, Byakuya complimented his looks as fitting for his dreams…in his own way:

 

“The Ishimaru family has a remarkable genetic pool. It has the characteristics of unwavering and strong leaders. After all, all their members are from a linage of destined rulers. Obviously, its fate is not even closely great as the Togami...” chuckled to himself, but made a serious pause “I expect you to bring your family their honor back. Don’t you dare make me regret what I just said!” Ended in an angry tone.

 

Perfect! More motivation for his dreams!

 

And in correlation to the fashion world, Sayaka and Junko find him as a usual topic of interest. They theorize and suggested different clothes to make different contrast of colors to his skin and eyes. The duo also shares their thoughts with him once in a while too. They are interested in finding him a look it was genuine with his persona and is comfortable for him.

 

He always thanks their suggestions, which he recently took when he decided he needed more than ten white uniforms, but added that he didn’t want to make an "extreme make-over" at the time being. The Idol always gave him an understanding and joyful reply, and always adds to ask her expertise for any question at any time; while the model snorted and claimed that if he needed help in the future, he has to tell her on time to get access to an exclusive clothes boutique. She always adds that they could even go to a salon with electrodes, by which Mukuro always nods…

 

Maybe he would pass on for whatever that electric treatment was referring to, even if that made Enoshima make a small tantrum for the missed opportunity to “torture” him. Still, both their advice and encouragement show that he is worth it!

 

Now, with Kyoko…she doesn’t talk much. Actually, she always came late and leave early in all their meetings! But, regardless of her lack of punctuality, she is not intimidated by his appearance or gets uncomfortable around him. Kirigiri has told him one occasion he carried a lot of the strong qualities like his father, who she had worked with a couple of times. It just goes to show that there is nothing to worry about him or his family!

 

Oh! And Genocide Jack is completely unfazed by his looks, or anyone’s really, except for Byakuya. She had told him on one occasion he wasn’t cute because she isn’t into “ripped people” since she is the only one that can “rip”. Of course, she howls after that terrible pun. Wonderful! Not only he is out of her list, even if she already quit those harmful hobbies, but she doesn’t call him ugly and complimented his built!

 

In truth, he is really happy with himself. No matter what. Like it was said before, he doesn’t even care much for the other student’s comments and found comfort and acceptance in the observations of his friends. 

 

 

 

Regardless…

 

 

 

There is another classmate, which he has a completely different story and, perhaps, worries?

 

You see, a few days had passed since he started dating Mondo Owada, The Ultimate Biker Gang Leader.

 

Sounds like a mouthful, isn’t it? How the honor student of honor students is in a romantic relationship with the delinquent of delinquents? The same question goes to the rule breaker! Well, it’s somewhat a long story.

 

They started off as common enemies. They bickered, complained, and, mostly, screamed constantly ("daily" would be the correct word) about anything they did:

 

"You should report yourself for being fucking annoying!",

 

"Did you know that stomping all the time is disturbing the peace of the halls?!",

 

"Hey, Mr. Perfect, should I make a fan out of these slips?",

 

"I suggest you embroider these doodles in your coat since you draw them all the time!",

 

"You are the most fucking boring Hall Monitor I have seen in my life!",

 

"You are the worst delinquent I ever had the displeasure to meet!",

 

"You are stupid!",

 

"No, YOU are stupid!",

 

"YOU ARE DENSE!",

 

"YOU ARE GULLIBLE!",

 

"FUCK YOU!!!",

 

"LANGUAGE, OWADA!!!".

 

Everyone would end their discussions with complaints about how loud they were (Kyoko, Byakuya, and Toko being the more open to express it) or how their attack would lead them to throw down in the middle of the class, worries brought up by the majority of the class (like Chihiro, Leon, Yasuhiro, and Makoto). Others just found it as the best entertainment that the school could offer, like Celeste and Junko. Ishimaru would always assure that he would never lead something like that to happen and to put control over his voice, by which Owada would always add "Good Luck, Walking Megaphone", rekindling the rivalry.

 

But, in one night, those fights ended. They got enough of them and competed in a “manly” endurance match: the one to stay the longest in the sauna is the one with the toughest will and passion. And the prize: never to bother the other again!

 

They both shared equally strong attributes and personalities that the challenge, for everyone's prediction, would force them to appreciate or accept those terms. Both of them are pretty strong and so reckless that the loser wouldn’t be the one standing up and getting out of the sauna but the one passing out and send off to the hospital.

 

Except for the hospital part, that is exactly what happened. They learned the value of the other...But, what really took everyone's best guess is that they became the best of friends…or bros according to them. And in a span of one night! They supported each other and passed time in every waking moment. By the looks of it, their bound made them more relaxed for the class to notice. If there was a main reason, Kiyotaka and Mondo were the ones that precisely knew which one.

 

As “bros”, ever since Makoto, the one and only witness, left them to their own devices in the competition, they share all their laughs, shouts, and tears. By far, they are the only ones who know the most about their personal problems, insecurities, struggles, daily pressures, and darkest secrets.

 

Taka was happy he could confine to him, a man with a big heart and strong will, about the shame and weight of his family. With their brotherhood, Mondo helps him to relax from his studies when he overworked too much. Mondo also made him understand the value of friendship and the small things in life, like why going to the park with others is so great than just staying at home to study for the fourth time? If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't have made so many friends as today! He is still difficult to crack, but he could argue that he has improved and still keeping his high scores!

 

He also was glad he could eventually help Mondo to recover from the trauma of his brother’s death. Even if he managed to pull himself out of the whirlpool of guilt, he still tends to dive in or be self-deprecating by many mishaps (like accidentally cutting wrong a piece of wood for his art project or bumping him in the halls). Kiyotaka made sure to comfort him, always holding his hand in their private hours, that he shouldn’t be so harsh with himself. He also suggested him to take therapies. The biker surely took his advice but admitted that talking to him helped a lot more. After all, this privacy allowed them to be themselves, to be the real and true side that the world would likely never see…and, of course, also serve as the ground for their love to start growing.

 

In regards to school, they share as many class projects and study sessions as possible. With this, Mondo improved a lot in his grades and Kiyotaka expanded his social and communicative skills! This friendship also extended to their recreational activities, like going to museums and attraction parks.

 

Other than sharing issues no one knows about, the fact that they went to places that the other wouldn’t go by their own made pretty much predictable the impeding declaration: a lot of nervous trembles, surges of panic, fat tears, shouts, bear hugs and soft kisses.

 

Their friendship started seven months ago and now they just decided to extend it to a romantic relationship, which his friends accepted without problems, thank you very much!

 

Only problem: the couple kind of jumped the boat in a pretty stormy week. Their schedules are really tight with school homework, not to mention the impending exams for next week, and their own activities: Ishimaru needs to organize meetings with the committees and public presentations for various clubs by the end of Friday; while Mondo organizes meetings with his gang and deal with a relatively small and new gang rival that is “asking for trouble” in the Crazy Diamonds territory. Kiyotaka knows Mondo would be fine, but asked him to exercise caution. The leader promises him that and the problem would be solved before the weekend. This came as a delight since they could have time to study on the weekend for the upcoming exams and share some time together, even if it’s only half an hour. Of course, during any possible small gap between classes, they shared it with some chit-chats and kisses.

 

In retrospect, they could have waited out for the two troublesome weeks to dissipate and reach the winter break to get an easier and lighter start, but Mondo grew impatient as Kiyotaka. They just couldn’t keep their feelings for too long, not after it became evident their “friend acting” was cracking a couple of months ago: the brushes in their arms lingered more, the stares to the other were more frequent, the hand holding became much much personal…

 

All in all, their relationship opened a new road of happiness that they didn’t believe it was possible. Kiyotaka is overjoyed that he found someone so amazing. He is so strong, brave, expressive, and selfless, attributes that showed outside and inside the academy. Behind the tough exterior he gives out to the strangers, the biker is filled with raw emotions that Kiyotaka also loves to bits. He lives with passion, someone with a fiery spirit, just like him! And not to mention, he is a sweetheart with a heart of gold and diamonds, painfully sometimes, especially with Ishimaru.

 

Even if the delinquent sometimes denies all of the above, Ishimaru knows that's not true. That he is so bright!

 

Mondo is so beautiful and precious to Kiyotaka. Someone that loves him for who he is and hears everything he wants to say. He doesn’t need to be someone else, as to how his old self sadly imagined doing with his future lover or partner in life. But now, is different. If things go well, they could be together forever! As such, Ishimaru strives and hopes for that resolution!

 

 

 

Nevertheless…

 

Stones and boulders of self-doubt are started to show in Ishimaru’s mind. He remembers quite clearly that those thoughts appeared after two days he became Mondo’s boyfriend. The hall monitor, marching to his meeting, saw two students vandalizing lockers in the halls. Accordingly, he quickly apprehended them. They didn’t took the penalty well and left with their backs against Kiyotaka so they could hide their furious faces. What they didn’t know is that he heard their comments, in the form of whispers:

 

I don’t even know how Mondo can stand that eyesore!

 

He is not pleasing to see...

 

Honestly, he is a weird freak…

 

Wouldn’t like to kiss him…

 

He hated those insults, like any other, but those ones stroke as particularly painful…but those needed to wait, he had an appointment!

 

In the evening, he took some time to reflect on those comments to see why: he wasn’t precisely attractive for a romantic relationship. Of course, appearances are the last thing to judge or care about in a healthy and endearing relationship! Especially if those physical observations are told too early that it could suggest that the bond only happened because a lover objectified the other! Leon is a living testament that a couple breaks easily when looks count as the only valid boyfriend points! (Granted, he has become wiser after so many breakups.)

 

Although, to be perfectly honest, Kiyotaka does find Mondo’s appearance as countable points. He is strong and tall, even if it's just slightly to him, with pretty tanned skin, hair locks of pretty brown and black…and a beautiful face. Oh, the beautiful face! There is so much he likes about it! Like his eyes! Those sparkling pure lilac eyes! Like gemstones of a big treasure! He swears he has seen them change colors! Truly, windows of his equally beautiful soul! He would kiss them every day if it wasn’t anatomically painful to do so! His parents made one of the most dazzling temples in the world! He is the Eigh-No! The First Wonder of the World!

 

His boyfriend is beautiful, and he noticed that when he saw him for the first time! He swears he must have blushed a bit in that orientation day…but, of course, his blush disappeared quickly since his beauty didn’t distract him more than the biker’s interest in painting his desk with a pen, a school property mind you, to draw a dark smiley dog! That scene made him cringe and get disappointed at the start. When they became friends, it transformed into a funny story that made him think about his beauty from time to time. But…

 

What a wonderful moment it is now! Oh gosh! How he sculpted that funny pup with his tongue out! The way his muscles flexed into that comfortable position in the small desk! The smudges of ink combined with his bronze skin! He had those thrilled amethyst eyes too…

 

 

 

So there was no questioning: Mondo is attractive. Always has been. As such, it would be everyone’s guess he would date someone of said level…but he is now dating him.

 

An eyesore.

 

Not pleasing to see.

 

Weird.

 

Freak.

 

Wouldn’t like to…

 

To know that he could be giving a hard time to Mondo, in the school or in their private time, is beyond dreadful!

 

But his appearance seems to not matter since he loves him for who he was. He even was the first one to suggest a relationship...

 

But, then again, it doesn’t mean that Mondo is okay with how he looks, Kiyotaka has considered his beauty even if it was his personality that actually captured him…

 

But, “then again”, Mondo never commented something like that. When they were rivals, he called him “Goody goody two shoes too shorty”, just to make a big comparison between the two…He never made bad remarks about his features….he had told him how strong he is...

 

But not in the lines of “nice looking”...or “pretty”…In fact…he has never said anything in particular about his looks as “pleasant” or “beautiful”…

 

But they are too occupied these weeks with their jobs and school exams, not to mention it might be too soon in their relationship to receive such compliments…or observations…

 

or criticisms…Mondo wouldn’t do mean jokes at my expenses…right…right? NO! NO, HE WOULDN’T! HE IS NOT LIKE THAT! NOT LIKE THOSE ID-IGNORANTS!...

...

...

At the very least...h e would make neutral observations…

 

Those thoughts trouble him for the rest of the week, although the workload makes him semi forget them, as well as the praises of his friends…Still, it really bothers him to put that much attention towards banal aspects of life…even more if those are unavoidable and has accepted them from a young age! Regardless, he puts a lot of attention to anything it was important to him…and Mondo was important to him. So it wouldn’t be a surprise he started to wander his thoughts during class (but not that frequent of course!); lost a little bit of his positive energy in the meetings (but just a little so no one notices it, which works!); even standing in front of the mirror to try lowering down his eyebrows, to see how he would look like, but only manage awkward and maniac expressions (just as experiments, of course!).

 

And, obviously, he is completely sure he hasn’t raised any suspicion from Mondo! Always giving him a bright smile, hugs, and kisses in their restrictive time. It was evident that Mondo needed them when he has been looking tired for the busy week, sometimes even losing his usual sparks in his eyes! If anything, he is and will make sure to love him as always, and trying his best to ignore the possibility that he is giving him a bad time…

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Now is a calmer Saturday. All their obligations are complete. The only thing left is the exams he wants to be sure Mondo and he passes.

 

They are in Ishimaru’s dorm room to have their evening study sessions. To be precise, it's been six days since they became a couple.

 

Kiyotaka guides his left finger in the lines of his textbook while his right-hand writes notes in his notebook. Meanwhile, Mondo is in his bed, laid down while reading a chapter of his Philosophy book. It was an entertaining sight to see his confused and annoyed look, his fine waved eyebrows scrunching, always tracking back to the first paragraph. The hall monitor made a quick pick at that scene. Not only did he found it funny, but so endearing to see him work hard…and…see another angle of his attractiveness. The rambles of his mind come back and he put them at the back of his mind, but still giving him a sour feeling.

 

“Okay, time for a break! My brains have to rest from...that” said Mondo, dragging his hand over his face while the other put the book in the nightstand.

 

Kiyotaka arches his body in the chair and leaves a grunt in the air: “You are right! Philosophy is a draining subject for the mind. We deserve a couple of minutes!”

 

“Be it 10” said Mondo, tired, completely laying his body in the comfy mattress.

 

“I give in...” replied Kiyotaka, equally tired, gaining a small chuckle from the biker.

 

Mondo is resting with both of his arms crossed behind his head. Moments ago he was mentally exhausted, but now he is looking at the ceiling intently and seriously, like searching for a dent or a pattern in the rough ceiling. His pompadour seems to be pointing at them too. That brought fluffy feelings to Kiyotaka's heart before the pointy ones came to pierce it. Those hurt him, feeling how his eyes dulled to the wall in front of him. Realizing what he is doing, he shakes the big dilemmas out of his head. He was a little bit careless to lay his defenses so low. Before he can organize and subdue better his thoughts, Mondo breaks the silence once again:

 

“Taka...What has been bothering you?” said Mondo, still looking at the ceiling.

 

That took the Moral Compass by surprise but quickly answered with the best care-free demeanor he could muster.

 

“It’s nothing, really!”

 

“Well, not to me when you have been down for the entire week…”

 

Kiyotaka is astonished by how he noticed his attitude change. He would call it minuscule, not noticeable!

 

He doesn’t know what to say. And before he can think anything, the biker persists:

 

“So, what is it?” He has a serious, but calm, tone.

 

Kiyotaka still doesn’t know what to say. He wasn’t going to say it!

 

Gosh forbid! It will be like whining…for something important…but it’s pretty much banal…maybe I should say that…

 

“Well is just like I said: It’s unimportant…it’s really banal!”

 

“Then, if it’s so unimportant, I bet it wouldn’t be a problem to share it”

 

Sardines, he got me.

 

He got him, and with the oldest argument in the book! Always saw it in the movies he watched with Mondo. He was, once again, too careless with his counter-argument! His brain is panicking, but quickly recovers composure…

 

Wait…maybe I could solve this never-ending cycle of conjectures with a…indirect, but close question…

 

To be more precise, with the one that started it all…

 

He moves his chair to now face it and him to his bed, where Mondo was still waiting for his answer. Still looking at the ceiling. A dead serious look forms on his face.

 

Is he mad? No! There is no time to avoid his questions!

 

Shrugging the tension off his body, he answers in a calm tone (or as best as he could gather).

 

“Well, I had just been questioning something ridiculous. That’s all…”

 

“Shoot it”

 

“…Do I look intimidating?”

 

He could see Mondo’s eyes shot up. He turned his eyes to see his own. This gesture alone asks for further explanations.

 

I thought he was going to answer me…Come on! Think! I got it! Maybe I use what Celeste calls a “white lie”…I hate to do this, but as for right now…

 

Kiyotaka makes a little giggle, to ease the tension. “Well, it has come to my attention that students find my unp-unwavering presentation - Pppfffuuu! I almost dropped the word! – quite challenging for the everyday activ-”

 

“What were you going to say?”

 

The phrase came up with a small edge of tension. Now Mondo’s face was all the way turned to Ishimaru. An angry expression is plastered in his features.

 

Oh no…

 

“What you mean? Activities?” already showing more signs of wavering.

 

What an unwavering Ishimaru I am…

 

“What do I- - I mean- I-I mean before “presentation!” In desperation, he abruptly sits down on the edge of the bed. Both his hands are resting on his knees with his body hunch forward. His eyes painted in that pale and crystal purple.

 

He is so worried…I can’t indirectly lie to him…Here it goes…

 

“Unpleasant?” manages to say, without being capable to avoid a sad tone and a pained expression.

 

There is a pause. Kiyotaka could see how his eyes starting to flame up in anger but quickly were firmly shut close. His fists so tightly clenched that his veins and bones threaten to burst out from his skin. Ishimaru was going to add something else to defuse the situation, perhaps to even stop from learning any terrible revelation, but Mondo mumbled something, like a low grumble.

 

“Sorry…What did you say?” A tear is prickling in Ishimaru’s eye.

 

“Name them?” Mondo said with repress fury.

 

“Uh?”

 

He opens his eyes slowly, now searing and seeping with blazing rage. He rose one of his arms, still holding a tight fist. He spoke like he was containing a shout, not that it worked for long.

 

“Give me the names of thOSE RATS WHO FUCKING TOLD YOU THAT!!!! I WILL GIVE THEM AN UNPLEASANT TIME!!!!”

 

The words give Ishimaru some encouragement, hope perhaps, but…

 

This is getting out of the rails! Violence is not an option!

 

“Look. You heard me, right? The matter is pretty banal!” tries to pull a forced smile.

 

“NO! They are SH-STUPID! It’s clear it makes you upset! I AM UPSET! THIS IS IMPORTANT!”

 

“NO! No...That’s not really it...” Kiyotaka, looks down, as in shame

 

Mondo is stupefied that it put him in a stutter trance, like trying to make sense of all, looking at different directions to find an answer, until he only formulates desperate questions while giving nervous gazes at Kiyotaka.

 

“WHAT? Taka, w-wh-why it does and doesn’t bother you?” With a pause, he takes a deep breath and unclenches his hands from his now wrinkled pants. He looks at his boyfriend and gives another question “Please?”

 

Ishimaru said it to himself before: He is so worried…I can’t indirectly lie to him. If there is something that he learned in life, is to give proper explanations to avoid any doubt. Not to mention he is with Mondo, the one he couldn’t pretend with! The one that loves him for who he is! He collects some strength, thanking Mondo’s patience, and responds with a hurt look but with his best-collected voice:

 

“Mondo, you are right…it makes me upset…but there is more to it!” said the last part firmly.

 

Mondo is left in silence but quickly changes to a calmer demeanor. He stands up and grabs a spare chair from the room to set face to face with Ishimaru. The hall monitor can feel his offering hand in his knee. Kiyotaka places his hand on his. Both of them clasp, like reassuring each other they are there. The couple had done this before, many times to keep an exact count, but the practice didn’t wear off its meaning and effect.

 

With that, Kiyotaka proceeds to speak:

 

“By all means, I am pretty happy and proud of myself.”

 

“I don’t doubt it”. Mondo said with a smirk and caring eyes.

 

Ishimaru smiled, but proceeded with his previous demeanor and with his other hand clenching and placed over his heart, as trying to command control over his emotions.

 

“I never put attention to any comments about me…They are not worth my time or attention…There is no reason to dwell on them…”

 

Tears were now starting to emerge, possibly predicting what he was about to say. He could feel Mondo’s callused thumb circling over his backhand. It was a comforting sensation the honor student could not get enough of, but gave him the extra push to tell him his worries.

 

“But it has come to my attention that my intimidating and unpleasant presentation can hinder your image to the public eye and, possibly, our relationship in general.”

 

He closes his eyes and bit his lip, regretting his words. His hand stopped caressing him. Still, it felt somewhat nice to let it be known. All he needs to do is wait for his response.

 

“What?” Confusion set in his eyes. “Emm No-no! How that would affect my- Wait! Are you saying that you think are ugly or not pretty because of those comments?”

 

It pained to say it so directly, finally striking the other sensible foundation of his troubles, but…no longer caring for his words, not that he wanted to give the impression that he cared about this banality, he answered miserably while sniffing.

 

“Isn’t that what you think? Those carry some truth. I am difficult to look at, I look weird or frea…”

 

“NO!” screamed enraged, disapproving his boyfriend from continuing. “IMPOSSIBLE!”

 

Ishimaru is now more than confuse…lost.

 

“How?!” questioned immediately Kiyotaka, hungry to know his opinion.

 

“BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS TAKE AWAY MY BREATH!” Frustration already showing in his facial features.

 

“What?” whispered Taka, almost in disbelief.

 

“YES! F-FUCK YEAH! I DON’T LIE! NOT IN THIS SHIT!!! YOU ARE GOD DAMN BEAUTIFUL!!!”

 

Mondo is starting to blush wildly. And Ishimaru? His mouth hangs open, and his face was definitely red, perhaps making his eyes less noticeable. Did he found him attractive? Him? Still didn’t know how, but a small glint of hope rises in him. By that point, Mondo calmed down, but now his face was cast down, like hiding his face behind his hair. He let a low chuckle, then followed by another stunning revelation:

 

“I don’t see how you lower yourself…I am not that good, welcoming even, or whatever, anyway…”

 

WHAT?!

 

“WHAT?!”

 

“Wha? What?!” said Mondo annoyed but mostly hurt.

 

“YOU- I OBJECT! YOU ARE INCREDIBLY HANDSOME!!!” replies with determination and passion-filled tears.

 

“WHat!? NO! NO! YOU ARE THE HANDSOME DEVIL ONE!” shouted a counter-attacked with anger panic.

 

“I DIGRESS! YOU ARE GORGEOUS!” pointed out with frustration and more passion.

 

"FUCK, NOO!!!" shouted with equal or more frustration.

 

...

 

This exchange lasted for a hot minute until both of them gave up. Both of them are red as tomatoes and gasping for air like they just run a mile or hold their breath underwater. The only difference is that Kiyotaka is streaming tears and Mondo is clenching his teeth. Their minds are processing their new discoveries: they love the other physical, but somehow they couldn’t believe in their own separated cases as inviting or as a nice-looking guy.

 

“I don’t get it.” Kiyotaka broke the silence in a mumble.

 

His words suddenly relaxed the young Owada, now looking down in sadness “Me neither…fuck…”

 

Ishimaru wanted to say “language” since he has passed the limit of profanities, but that will only ruin the mood they need.

 

Mondo started to chuckle, bitterly.

 

“I…always fear that I would manage to screw our time together…I am new with all this thing about couples, b-but…I am a nervous wreck that can destroy anything with bad timing…” Kiyotaka offers his hand, knowing where his mind is going, which Mondo complies with since their previous one was detached by the big news. “I-I really wanted to tell you how beautiful you are, but decided to save it for a special day, one where I didn’t mess things up…where I couldn’t yuck things out…but I waited too much and now…I ruined your week..” he tightly grips his pants with his free nervous hand.

 

“I understand. I am sorry to tell you, but I take the blame too for ruining our week, our first week, or even all those days since we meet…”

 

The biker lifted his head, looking directly at Kiyotaka with surprise. As the Moral Compass, he knew what Mondo was referring to: making an inappropriate choice, according to their expansive comprehension in friendship and small knowledge in romance.

 

“I also wanted to tell you how lovely you were...not only on the inside but on the outside” Kiyotaka could tell Mondo was blushing by the mere mention of “lovely”, which he made sure to make a mental note of. “…but I thought the same: it would feel incorrect and awkward to say it as friends, or even make my declared love for you appear to be superficial...But I fell to realized that these decisions would twist your perception of our relationship and yourself…Because of that, you suffered too, and for a long while…”

 

Mondo was left with his mouth hanging open, but quickly came back to reality.

 

“I-I thought the same…Took the words out of my mouth…I don’t want to be the new Leon” lightly chuckle.

 

Kiyotaka chokes his quiet laughter with his hand.

 

The mood is more welcoming, now filled with giggles and small warm smiles, but there was still more to do. It was the moment to clarified things…the right way.

 

“Because of that, let me change that…” Kiyotaka said it decidedly, tightening a bit the hand that hasn’t left from Mondo’s.

 

“Huuh?” questioned the biker with surprise.

 

“L-let me tell you how beautiful you are!” finally exclaim it with a bright smile

 

Mondo's calmness was disrupted with panic and wild blushes.

 

“Uhhmm, yeah YEAH sure! B-BUT don’t you dare think you are out of this one too!” looked at the hall monitor, demanding, and with a cocky smile.

 

Now it is the turn of Kiyotaka to turn red, but he returns with a smile. Like accepting a challenge!

 

“Deal!”

 

If we are in the same boat, we will find out the truth…together.

 

Both keep smiling at each other, but Ishimaru is still nervous about what he could learn. It wouldn’t be horrible…right?

 

It’s no moment to falter, Kiyotaka Ishimaru.

 

“Would it be okay if I start?” asked Kiyotaka shyly.

 

“Ahhh ye-YES! I mean, go for it?!” Mondo makes an awkward smile, cringing at his own response and question? That only made Kiyotaka more than happy to start. He readjusts himself in the chair and looks at Mondo, intensely, so he could catch every detail he loved about him. And he found so many, so many to tell…even his movements…like right now, shifting his body and eyes at different directions, looking for something to occupy himself, a miserable attempt, resisting the urge to twist upwards the corners of his lips…

 

“There are so many things I love, but if I tell you everything not only it will take a lot of time but then I will miss other opportunities to tell you those…” Kiyotaka did say it in dismay, but he is also imagining all those scenarios. He couldn’t help but form a dreamy smile on his lips.

 

“W-Well, that is the same for me!” stated Mondo nervously and flustered “S-so, w-what about a few things? THE ONES Y-YOU THINK AT THE MOMENT! I-if you wan-want t-to…”

 

“Amazing idea! I will follow it!” Stated it with a big grin, which only made Mondo redder.

 

With that, he pauses for a moment to think for the first idea…he, excitedly, thought of one.

 

“I love how strong and tall you are!”

 

“Uhh am thank you…you had told me that before…but, going to ask what you told me a few minutes…isn’t it intimidating? You know, not as “prince charming” pretty?”

 

Ishimaru puts his free hand on his chin “Mmmmm. Why wouldn’t it be?” asked Kiyotaka, truly curious to know how it couldn’t be attractive...or prince worthy! No! King material!

 

“I-isn’t it more like scary than good?! It’s kind of weird…a seventeen years old CAN NOT have this body of a 28 year old bag...” said dejected and looking down.

 

Kiyotaka, caressing his boyfriend’s hand, thought sadly how he had arrived at that conclusion. Maybe someone told him that, or even treat him roughly because of his looks…Although, now he can guess how years in a street gang allow him to think such way.

 

“What a terrible thing to hear! A broad body is nothing to be scare off! If not, admire! Skittish people let their imagination lead them. And I am sure that the ones trembling at you for nothing fail or failed to see how good you are!" His words kind of sounded like he was reprimanding, but he knows that Mondo could catch on that he was giving it to those ignorant and that his words also to tell him that his body wasn't scary. By all means, Kyotaka could come to such a conclusion when Mondo was looking at him in astonishment, his cheeks painted in pink.

 

"Besides that point," Ishimaru accommodates his voice to be calmer, reminding himself to tell him why he brought up his built "having you at my side makes me feel that nothing can stop us! A-And, I must admit now, that I find your muscles very enticing as well! So defined!” He brought his free hand to Mondo’s shoulder and drag it to his bicep, so firm…Mondo is definitely tense, so he withdraws his hand to give him the needed space. “You could say I am happy you use the same type of shirts every day!” Kiyotaka could feel his cheeks reddening, just the same as his boyfriend “Also, the fact that you still young, shows that you can get even stronger, therefore more beautiful!”

 

“I-I see." trying to digest his words, he stays dumbfounded for a hot few seconds. "Y-you like fit bodies?" Ishimaru hears him mumble I should have known, but he doesn't comment about it other than muffle a small chuckle "I-I guess we are into that. I know is your turn, but I would like to say tha-that I ALSO LOVE HOW YOUR MUSCLES ARE DEFINED! I-it always reminds me those classy Greek statues from art class that Fukawa doesn’t shut up about!”

 

“Really?” he hears that, but, just like Mondo, he questions. “Even if it doesn’t look like my head fits with it?”

 

“Doesn’t fit? It does! Tsk. Those losers, whoever told you that, don’t know what good bodies look like, besides they probably say it because they are jealous or don’t get how your clothes hide it!” trumping by his words, he used his hand to feel all the muscles hidden under Kiyotaka’s ironed gakura, making Kiyotaka blush from the contact and his honest opinion. Mondo realizes the effect of his touches and hastily retrieves his hand with a nervous smile.

 

“Ohhh, thank you!" his words fill with gratitude, feeling already flabbergasted. "By the way, I thought the same about the uniform too, but it’s so nice to hear it from someone else!” He sees how Mondo smiles victorious, probably content for making a good observation. He wanted to flutter with the declaration, but he needs to continue so he cleared his voice.

 

“Another thing I love is your hair!”

 

“MY HAIR?! I-I didn’t know you like it that much?! I-I mean, I know why people don’t…” from his perspective he sees Mondo looking at the distance, squinting menacingly. Kiyotaka did remember his hairdo getting so many jokes as well...of course, those were short-lived in the public environment, even before he could put penalties for harassing three times in a row. Why? Anyone that did that got a “knuckle sandwich”, which in exchange made Mondo won a lot of slips. Back then, the biker even mocked him by making a belt out of them...Now? He certainly has improved! Now he just glares, like right now, and works wonders for him...Now, Kiyotaka also notices that Mondo relates his hair with his hairstyle…two different things!

 

I better clarify both of his assumptions…

 

“I imagine people are not used to seeing the hairstyle that frequently, I was one of those too, since I related it with outlaws that care about nothing. Now, you change my mind! Not only I ended up appreciated the work done to make it possible, but I also like how pointy and characteristic is with you! SO DEFIANT!”

 

“O-oh! T-thank you! Didn’t expect that to be honest!” chuckles happily.

 

“By the way, I also was referring to your hair! I love the contrast between your brown locks and the black ones! Also, it’s always pleasing to see how intertwined are your bleached strands of hair, especially when they are down; and how soft are the black ones in the back of your head! Another great thing about you pompadour since I can feel them more frequently!” Kiyotaka could only give credit to this discovery to Mondo, who gave him the privilege to touch his hair and see it down in all its splendor.

 

“You like my hair down?! A-And you also like those ones?!” Like corroborating, he put his hand back to feel his untouched hair. “I guess it was a good idea to leave them untouched” He starts to chortle.

 

Kiyotaka giggle with him, a frame of time that Mondo gladly takes to look at Kiyotaka intently, losing the anxiety he had before. Kiyotaka wouldn’t lie that he feels nervous, now taking the weight Mondo was wearing. By this point, it became clear that they would take turns for these confessions, so he could do nothing more than wait patiently.

 

It’s going great, so nothing is going to go wrong…no way…it can’t be…

 

His thoughts quickly came to an end when Mondo put his free hand in Kiyotaka’s hair. 

 

“About softness, yours is the winner!” He started to kindly ruffle his spiky hair.

 

“Really!?" It's true that his hair was soft, but..."Doesn’t it look like it will prickle?”

 

He keeps intently looking at his hair “Mmmmmm...maybe but that’s what I like about your hair too.” He now properly looks at him with a smirk.

 

“Ohh?” Indeed, Kiyotaka was curious.

 

“I do see it sharp. NOT IN A BAD WAY, BUT IN A GOOD WAY! IT-It just matches so perfectly with you! J-Just like your eyebrows and knit! Always determined and eager to do anything you want!...It reminds me of fire! L-like you! I-It really makes me think I can do many thighs at your side too!” he said all that with a smile, while his cheeks lightly heated up. His voice lowers. “Aaand not to mention that the black color of your hair is so intense, but in the right angle its like purple and…damn” Mondo says it in an endearing way, almost nostalgic...as if it was the first thing it came to his mind when they first meet.

 

“It’s so nice of you to say that” also sharing his delight. He feels like a tear is forming but decides to keep it in…he needs to concentrate now! He started to rub his thumb over his skin. He knew what else was necessary to tell.

 

“Mondo?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I also love your skin. It has a beautiful tone and is rough. Your skin also reminds me of your strength and determination!”

 

“You mean it? I-I MEAN, YEAHH! I AM HAPPY YOU LIKE IT …I-I expected you not liking it since you take so much good care with yours…” reply sheepishly the biker while looking at the other side and scratching the back of his head. That only brings in Kiyotaka's heart mild frustration.

 

“Well, I find it soothing, almost therapeutic, as I always feel it.” His hand was caressing the back of Mondos. “Especially how you always trace your thumb over my backhand” Like an order, Mondo did that while he formed a smile, still lightly blushed. “Now, it is true that I am always careful with my skin…” he couldn't help but feel dispirited. As if sensing the sorrow, Mondo quickly interjects.

 

“Bu-BUT THAT’S ONE OF THE GREAT THINGS ABOUT YOUR SKIN!! IS SO SOFT IT’S COMFORTING TOUCHING YOUR HAND TOO!” Kiyotaka notices that Mondo kept passing his fingers over his backhand.

 

“That’s great to hear!” the hall monitor exclaimed joyfully, but pause, suddenly remembering the comments he was given a long time ago. As such, he adds timidly “But, wouldn’t it be more appealing if it wasn’t too pale?”

 

“WHAT?! NO WAY, YOUR SKIN COLOR IS PERFECT AS IT IS!” argued passionately.

 

Kiyotaka was taken back. He doesn’t complain about his point or says anything really. He just watches him, hopefully waiting for his reasons.

 

“I-It is sO BEAUTIFUL. It shades to a-a light grey…I-it reminds me to those grey pearls I have seen one time in a shop with my brother, or those pretty white roses that sell nearby the academy, o-or like those smooth white rock pebbles that are i-in IN THAT LAKE OF ODAIBA WE WENT TO, o-or like that stone for scul-MARBLE! I-I mean, it’s like the marble that made THOSE STATUES I TALKED ABOUT!”

 

During all the explanation, Taka didn’t breathe. He was captivated by how Mondo expressed his words: flustered, turning from an animated voice to panic screams, his gaze traveling to the distance and to him, his left hand going all places, his right hand pressuring his left hand with confidence each time he made a new comparison. As trying to catch his breath, he pauses and stares at nothing but his eyes tell something else.

 

“Now that I think about it…” He turns his head to properly look at Kiyotaka, his eyes exuding something like dream bliss. “It also reminds me of the snow.” His hand caresses Ishimaru’s face, like a precious treasure.

 

“Why is that?” questions the honor student with quiet words but full of anticipation and need. Somehow, this matter of looks is important to him, integral to him, not as meaningless and banal as he thought hours –no, years ago.

 

“Because snow always makes anything stand out. It makes brighter your hair.” His hand rests in his short hair. “Your blushes.” He unclasps his hand from Kiyotaka’s to have his fingertips brush to his cheeks, calling for his boyfriend’s skin to flourish with red “Aaahhhh” He exhales in delight and delicately traces crescent moon lines under his eyes to finally have his hands resting closely to either side of his head. While this is happening, the biker lightly reclines to get closer to Kiyotaka’s face, looking with a dreamy daze that could only make his eyes more beautiful.

 

“Your eyes. Your beautiful red eyes.” Those words stopped Ishimaru’s heart for an instant. “Reminds me of rubies and red roses. So bright. So full of life and passion…I can see every emotion in them. They are so lively I can see more than just red.” His thumbs featherly grazes his temples, like trying to do the same to his eyes. “Between the crimson rings, there is one of a lighter shade. It makes your eyes deeper…more entrancing than they already are.”

 

Kiyotaka is completely silent, with his lips parted lightly, watching in amazement, hearing such beautiful words without any stutter or yell, like looking at his eyes calmed him, like these didn’t provoke any unpleasant feeling at all, not even a gram! It seemed impossible to Ishimaru to provoke such feelings, but here he had someone telling him otherwise. Tears started to weld up in the corner of his eyes, just in time when Mondo speaks again.

 

“They had always taken my attention. Your skin, your eyebrows, your hair…beautiful as always, brings my eyes back to yours…That’s why I gladly enjoy any opportunity to look and think about them...” Ishimaru could feel his tears starting to flow “That’s why I think I find no problem to say how pretty they are with so many fancy words”. Releases a light chuckle, so light it is only meant for Kiyotaka to hear.

 

“Mondo…” A whimper almost escapes from his mouth.

 

The hall monitor is in shock. So full of joy, his heart fluttering like a butterfly dancing in the summer. He sees beauties no one did, not even himself. There was in his spirit so much happiness, so much to say, and right now he would do it with words that can indulge Mondo too.

 

He raises both of his hands, which he limply rested in his knees moments ago. A sign of confusion emerges from Mondo’s expression, but it is quickly thrown away and replaced with comfort when Ishimaru’s hands made contact to his sharp jaw. His fingertips slowly reach each side of his head. Just like the biker, he lightly goes closer. Right now, they are a couple of centimeters away from touching their noses. He stares directly into his eyes, his pupils static from the attention. The image is beautiful, and Kiyotaka smiles softly. He can sense his eyelids falling slightly, maybe now looking as traced as Mondo.

 

“Your eyes had always brought my attention as well.” Mondo opens his eyes a little more, his pupils slightly contracted, not quite losing his trance look “The shape of your eyes is sharp, and even sharper with your mascara.” He gives a tender look to the black lines painted in his lids. “It’s so proper since it seems to frame and encase something of great value…and, indeed, it’s your eyes.”

 

Ishimaru hears a quiet and drowned gasp. Ishimaru realizes that he doesn’t think the same, so he gently proceeds, still swimming in his gaze.

 

“They are two round and well polish amethyst stones.” Kiyotaka looks intently to his eyes, slightly squinting to focus on his dilatated pupils. “They always flash in so different lights and shades…sometimes, I swear, it changes to purple as fresh grapes, gentle lilac as lilies, rosy as pink quartz, and grey as steel” As appreciating his features, he caressed his temples and felt Mondo lightly trembling under his touch, including his hands that had not moved an inch from his face. “Regardless, no matter what, they are always shining. Shining like stars…Shining like spotless mirrors…Shining like diamonds.”

 

Mondo's pupils seem to be slightly trembling with strong emotions, such as shock and delight. Ishimaru couldn’t see his mouth, but he knows Mondo enough to sense he is biting his lower lip. Kiyotaka feels breathless, as if he doesn’t know if he could continue, but gives one last effort “They are so beautiful and precious, like you…all of you.”

 

He hears a quiet pull of air between his teeth, probably showing a glimpse of his strong canines. Kiyotaka could only guess-No, “see” his eyes reciprocating the same feeling as his: joy, astonishment, relief, and the prickling of tears. The last phrase came as a declaration of complete love towards him. He meant them with every pump of his heart. He never planned to sound so sappy but he could not help it. It was so proper. Just like he did it minutes ago.

 

“I- I want to steal a kiss from you, just like how you took those last words…” whispered Mondo.

 

So I am not the only one being sappy here…

 

“I am waiting…” responded Ishimaru in a daze.

 

Mondo slowly, but steadily, closes the distance between them with a chaste kiss. They had their eyes open but, just as their movements so far, they close slowly and tenderly. It was like putting a seal of approval over a delicate love letter, accepting everything they had said.

 

Lightly, they separate and bright smiles and tears fill them. Both simultaneously open their arms to give a strong hug to the other. By this point, they stood up to deepen their hug: Mondo, hunched forward, has one arm wrapping Kiyotaka’s torso the best he could, while his other arm was angled comfortably to cup his short hair; the other student had an arm reaching Mondo’s back as far as he could, grasping the crest printed in the leather, and the other one moved upwards to reach his nape and tangle his fingers in the fine long black hair locks.  

 

“I love you so much” expressed kindly the biker.

 

“Now, you are the one taking my words” replied Kiyotaka with a soft grin.

 

“Taking?” chuckled the biker, moving his angled arm to wrap Ishimaru’s torso from the right flank, and lowly whispers to his ear “What if I take you?”

 

“What do yo…” a yelp escaped from Ishimaru when Mondo lifts him up. Instantly, he locks his arms over Mondo’s head and his legs to his hips so both of them wouldn’t fall by the bad distribution of weight. With his legs, Mondo moves the chair to the side. He takes a few heavy steps to finally reach the bed. In a fluid motion, he turns his heel and falls backwards to the bed with Kiyotaka over him. His arms unraveled once he hit the mattress. Kiyotaka had his hands over his chest and his knees resting at each side of his boyfriend’s hips.

 

They look at each other, submerged in blushes and smiles. The hall monitor gives quick pecks to Mondo’s face to finally slump to his side, now looking to his tough flustered boyfriend.

 

“I am so happy” Placing his hand over his chest, right above his heart.

 

“F-FANTASTIC! It was a great idea to talk this out…” explained a little nervous, but with a big grin.

 

“I agree…” followed with the same gesture, which suddenly makes him question. “That makes me wonder…”

 

“What is it?”

 

“In what circumstances did you plan to compliment me?” said teasingly, since he wasn’t asking it as a demand but as a curiosity that shouldn’t break their content mood. Also, he loves making him blush at appropriate times…just like right now...

 

Mondo is redder than before and starting to form stutters. “Umm well, I-I th-thought about telling you on a really really special day!”

 

“Like?” questioned Kiyotaka with a content smile, loving how worked up his partner was getting.

 

“W-well I-I imagine many situations…” Mondo is looking at the ceiling, making him blush too, until he suddenly speaks with some form of relief. “But one I kind of planned is a night date, walking in the p-park, j-just when there is a full moon to see you under it and get i-in-inspired and sh-shut…”

 

Kiyotaka giggle but blushed more with the idea of seeing him under the moon. “Maybe we should do it one of these days.”

 

“FUCK YEAH!!” Pumps a fist in the air.

 

“I think I let you curse long enough, so…language…” His demand was soft, showing he wasn’t mad at all.

 

“I actually was wondering when you would step in” he started to chuckle “I should complement you more often! HAHAHAHA” his howls ringed in the room.

 

“So you were aware! I will not let it slide next time!” he retorted, but jokingly, since he wouldn’t stop his curses forever.

 

“Ohh sh- I mean...” Mondo suddenly sits up, leaving Kiyotaka’s arm to rest in his waist “We passed our break time! We should keep mov-uh?” Kiyotaka pushes him back with one arm before he could stand up, making them stay in the same position as before and paralyzing Mondo.

 

“Taka?” questioned Mondo, almost worried.

 

It really is out of my usual activities but…maybe...I think....we are overdoing it…

 

“What if we make this day special? Le-” He couldn’t believe he is going to say this, but it is what he needed, what they needed “Let’s take the day off from studying! W-We finished our homework and all there is left to do is study for next week's exams, which we have already done plenty of! S-SO we actually have some time to spare!” he said nervously, if not trembling a little from giving such a sudden off schedule idea to his boyfriend; and, to all honesty, he can’t picture a normal day after such great revelations declared today.

 

“Taka…” replied in a low voice. It sounded like it came from a touched heart. Kiyotaka looked at the distance and tries to recompose. He will explain to Mondo and himself that the invitation didn’t weaken his study code or his future studies, neither his determination to succeed in life…only if Mondo could approve of it…

 

“Of-of course, that doesn’t mean we stop studying. In fact, in the morning, I can review the chapter you were reading and help you to understand it better!! If I am not wrong, I had read it two months ago and not to men…” his rambling stopped when he feels Mondo’s hand squeezing his. It gives him comfort and made him raise his vision to Mondo’s, his smile and eyes still bright as always.

 

“I love that amazing idea...” said it firmly, but with a grace of love he punctuated in every word. He was telling him it is okay to have a day for themselves…that they have time to relax…that it didn’t weaken his code...that he is still strong…that they could work it out together…

 

“Pe-Perfect!” Ishimaru returns him a toothy grin. “Do you have something in mind to do, after we cuddle for a while, of course? I can’t get enough of your lovely warm skin” Teasingly replied, while sensing the comforting heat in Mondo's chest…maybe warmer after his comment…

 

“Wh-WHAT ABOUT A MOVIE?! B-But give me time to t-think which one…” stutter while looking somewhere else to distract himself. He was blushing, but his face contorted with a teasing smile and stare. “And, please, let’s not stop cuddling while watching the movie, maybe I get the chance to kiss those pretty soft lips of yours.” Kiyotaka could feel his cheeks heating. He loves when Mondo is so confident, but now he is the one flushing crazy in his game!

 

Oh my goooosssh. Mondooo…

 

“Don’t make me blush so easily!” give him a soft pat in his chest that is echoing with laughs.

 

“You started it!” pouted Mondo.

 

That gained a giggle from Ishimaru, who decides to give him a proper side hug “You are right.” He pecked his jaw, gaining a hum from Mondo. “Now, in regards to…”

 

And so, their conversation revolves into planning their evening with movies, popcorn, tea, possibly a sleepover, etc. Their eyes meet during the whole conversation, now with a new understanding of each other: their appearances were loved by the other with great delight, and those were so connected to their strong passions and character (the same things they fell for in the first place). Those aspects also included their insecurities and fears about themselves, but now they had each other to elevated and wipe the worries away.

 

There is no doubt they are not intimidated by each other because they are pleasant to see in the other’s eyes.

 

It no longer matters if people or the entire world have a different opinion…

 

The only ones that matters are from this happy couple…

 

And that is the most important take for them…