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"Hey, Fushiguro," Yuuji calls, not at all tired or breathless after running twenty laps without any stops. He doesn't appear affected at all, a huge contrast to Megumi, who's still catching his breathe and sweating buckets from the extreme heat. 

"What?" he says, slumping down beside Yuuji on the bench. 

"Do you think Okkotsu-senpai is scary?"

"No," Megumi frowns. 

Megumi won't lie. Okkotsu would be a terrifying opponent, he'd never want to fight him in any given circumstances. Which is one of the reasons why Megumi understands Yuuji's rise of uneasiness every time Okkotsu is in any close proximity. "Are you saying that because he tried to kill you?" Megumi mentions. "Trust me, he's not all that bad. His curse energy may be intimidating, but he's a good senpai."

Okkotsu has changed a lot after his time overseas. Both in his looks and demeanour. Gone was the boy who carried himself too lowly and hunched down like he was actively trying not to be seen. Now, Okkotsu stands taller, confident in his ground. And marginally less awkward. He's still a little timid— that part of him hasn't changed. Blushing too easily, and stuttering once or twice when he becomes nervous.

When Megumi first saw him, he may or may not have blushed a little upon seeing Okkotsu again, his old crush blossoming from the cracks. 

"I don't mean this in a bad way," Yuuji says. "But I think he becomes extra scarier when it involves around Inumaki-senpai."

"Really?"

"Yeah, his face became dark. And his smile was all different." Yuuji makes an exaggerated shudder. "It was so sharp! Like a silent warning to back off."

"That doesn't sound like Okkotsu-senpai."

"It's true!" 

"What did you even do around Inumaki?" Megumi asks.

"Nothing," Yuuji answers, before he grabs his chin, a look of consideration in placed as he tries to recall. "Inumaki was teaching me sign language. I was struggling a bit, so Inumaki-senpai ended up touching my hands and making my signs more precise. I noticed Okkotsu walking in the room, and he looked at Inumaki's hands still on mine, and then stared at me with a scary expression."

Huh. Megumi considers what Yuuji said. It's obvious that Okkotsu and Inumaki are close. If you see Inumaki nearby, you would find Okkotsu hovering just behind. He's seen the way Okkotsu's focus shift heavily at Inumaki every time the silver-haired boy spoke or signed with his hands. Dark blue eyes that seem to fixate at Inumaki like glue, and Megumi never really thought twice about it— he knows Okkotsu never had friends before, so maybe this is just how he normally interacts with them. 

 

 


At morning, Megumi is staying at the kitchen, waiting for the microwave to finish heating his leftovers from last night. His eyes are solely on his phone, leaning against the counter before a tug on his jacket catches his attention. 

He looks to his right. "Inumaki-senpai?"

"Shake shake," the older boy points up at the container of coffee grounds on the highest top of the shelves, Megumi could only see a glimpse of it as it was barely peaking out of its hiding spot.

"You want me to grab it?" When Inumaki nods, Megumi shakes his head. "I don't think it's possible to do it by myself. The fact that it's high up there, someone had purposely placed it so no one can reach it."

"Mentaiko." Inumaki's eyes narrow, bemused. Then he raises his hands, signing, 'Maki did it'. 

"Oh. Did you make her mad again?"

Inumaki shrugs, appearing slightly mischievous. He signs, 'Maybe'. 

A hint of smile bares on Megumi's lips, amused at what prank Inumaki could've done that invoked Maki to do something so petty. "I can kneel down, and you can use my leg as a stepping stool."

Inumaki considers the suggestion, before nodding. Lowering himself to the floor, he presses one knee down as Inumaki stands up ans balances against his leg. 

Seconds later, Inumaki says, "Sujiko, okaka," 

"Still no good?"

"Okaka."

"Careful, I'll adjust our position," Megumi says, before wrapping around Inumaki's ankles, pressing them against his chest before steadily rising up with a newfound weight on his arms. Above him, Inumaki produces a quiet noise of surprise. "Watch your head!"

Inumaki is surprisingly heavier than what his small figure seems to elude, but that's only because Megumi has no clue what the older boy looks like underneath. His natural choice of clothing are all baggy shirts and oversized sweaters, completely obscuring his body shape. From what little Megumi knows, Inumaki might be ripped as hell like Yuuji is. 

"No offense, senpai, but my arms are kind of shaking now," Megumi says, and hears something sliding across a smooth surface. There's a small tap on his head, a signal that it was okay to put him down. 

"Okay, give me a minu—" As Megumi lowers the older boy, Inumaki's leg shifts and kicks him in the stomach, a shy inch away from aiming on his crotch. 

Megumi bites the urge to groan, his grip on Inumaki's legs is halfway from slipping. 

"Takana!" 

"I'm fine," Megumi says, and he's not lying. He's faced enough evil curses that this kind of pain is laughable compared to the worst of his experiences. 

When Inumaki is back safely on the ground, the older boy looks at him, concerned, and softly touches the spot where he thought Megumi was hurt. 

"I'm fine, really. You don't have to—"

Megumi clumps his mouth. 

Hovering at the doorway, Okkotsu is staring at them. His gaze locking at Inumaki's hand where it's still planted on Megumi's stomach. Now that he's noticing it, Inumaki is standing way too closely at Megumi that he could see the worry creases of his brows and how his lashes are the exact shade of silver as his hair.

He's kind of pretty, Megumi thinks before he shuts down that line of thought because this is perhaps the worst time to be noticing Inumaki's appearance. 

Inumaki doesn't notice it, but Okkotsu's curse energy is gradually mixing with the air. It could easily be overlooked, and Inumaki has no idea that Okkotsu is right at the doorway.

"Senpai," Megumi starts, grabbing his shoulders and pushing the older boy until there's a foot of distance between them. His action may appear rude, but its better than inciting whetever Okkotsu's mood is in. "I'm really fine, I promise." 

"Shake?"

"Yeah, thanks for worrying," he says, then nods at Okkotsu's direction. Inumaki frowns, confused at his behavior before finally realizing Okkotsu's presence in the room. 

"Hey, Toge," he smiles, waving. Then looks towards Megumi. "Hello, Fushiguro, did something happen?"

"Nothing, Okkotsu-senpai," he answers. "I was just helping Inumaki with grabbing his coffee grounds on the shelf."

'He did,' Inumaki signs. 'I'm sorry for kicking you'.

He shrugs. "Like I said, it's no big deal."

"How did that happen?"

'He carried me,' Inumaki signs. 'I'm not that heavy, am I?'

"You are a little."

"He's not wrong," Okkotsu snickers good-heartedly, earning a scoff from the silver-haired boy. 

Megumi turns to Okkotsu's expression, who's attention is occupied by Inumaki's moving hands as he signs something over. He remembers what Yuuji said and doesn't find anything remotely odd about Okkotsu, other than the radiation of curse energy from earlier, it could've easily been done as an unconscious mistake considering Okkotsu is known to always be filled to the brim with them. 

"Next time, you should call me when you want to grab something up that high," Okkotsu says. "You could seriously hurt yourself."

"Okaka," is said with a level of annoyance. 

"I know, I know. You're capable of doing things on your own."

Okkotsu walks over until he could snake an arm around Inumaki's waist, the action and the way Okkotsu planted himself so firmly at the shorter boy's side are oddly intimate that it brings out an embarassesd blush from Megumi's cheeks. All of a sudden, he feels out of placed and begins the process of grabbing his breakfast which is still in the microwave. However, Megumi tenses similarly to how his body reacts to an upcoming battle upon noticing deep blue eyes bestowed entirely on him. 

He doesn't appear mad, or displeased in the slightest. His face stays neutral, and the trails of cursed energy from earlier are all gone, not even residuals remain— Then, Okkotsu flashes him a smile, and oh, now Megumi wholly understands what Yuuji meant. 

He leaves them with a muttered goobye, the plate of chicken on his hands as he exited.

Yuuji isn't kidding. Okkotsu is scary. 

 

 

 

 

"Yuuta did that?" Maki says, in the verge of laughter. "Figures. He does that when people touch his precious Toge."

"He does?" Megumi questions. "I never imagined him to be so protective."

"He's always been like that. He's so antsy someone might take Toge's attention away from him, I used to be annoyed with it but that's just how he shows his affection, I guess."

"Huh."

"Don't worry about it," Maki says with a wave. "Yuuta may appear terrifying, but it's just his way to ward off potential competition. He'd never actually hurt anyone—" she pauses. "Except for that one time."

Dread piles over Megumi like stones. "What happened?"

"Nothing." She smirks. "Just know Toge is strictly off the market as long as Yuuta has a say on it."