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Clickbait

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"Clickbait" by Vixenfur

Everything began on a causal stream one day. There seemed to be nothing unusual about it, at least, not at the start.

“Hi, everyone! Welcome to today’s stream, where you’ll get to ask questions for me, the great Sawamura Eijun, to answer!” 

The stream was now live. Eijun flashed a bright, broad smile to the camera and waved his hands around enthusiastically at his viewers. The camera was rolling, his mic was working, and Eijun’s heart felt light and bubbly with genuine excitement. He always thrived off the moment he went live and watched the chat react to seeing him appear on screen. The chat became flooded with sparkle emojis, rows of hearts, and of course, all sorts of cat emojis custom to Eijun’s chat. It was fitting, for Eijun was wearing his signature cat-ear headphones, complete with glowing, hot pink speakers embedded inside the pointed ears. 

The viewer count was still rising, but the number had mostly plateaued to his usual audience size. Due to that, he went ahead with the stream rather than waiting any longer. As he let out a laugh, he caught sight of the chat all enthusiastically spamming the ‘oshi’ emoji—it was a reference to Eijun’s trademark chant.

“Oshi, oshi! So, this is how I’m gonna do things!” Eijun announced while clapping his hands together. He did some of his chant to appease the viewers as well. “I’ll answer as much as I can in the next hour! I’ll be putting the chat on slow mode for a few minutes at a time so I have a higher chance of seeing your questions, but I will try to put most of my attention on donation questions, okay? So if you want to make sure I see your question, send in a donation of any size!”

With that, Eijun got settled and double-checked to make sure everything was recording correctly. No one in chat was complaining about lag or any sort of technical issue. Eijun checked with his moderator chat and saw that his head mod, Nobu, had just given a thumbs-up to indicate that all was running smoothly. The stream was being recorded, and one of his editors, Kenta, would fix up the footage. Then, they would upload the finished video to YouTube in a few days.

A sticker of a shiba inu getting his cheeks squished popped up on the frame every time Eijun earned a new subscriber. He noticed a couple more appear and he flashed a bright, friendly smile at the camera as he decided to verbally address his new subscribers. “Welcome to the stream, Makoto and Yayoi!”

It didn’t take long for questions to start coming in, especially from the donators. Eijun decided not to delay any longer and begin addressing some of the questions he had been seeing in the chat. He made a note to himself to answer the questions that popped up the most frequently, but he was going to try and focus on the most interesting questions he was asked amongst everything else.

“Let’s get started!” Eijun announced with a grin. “So, let’s see… this one is from starmie87! They asked, ‘How long would it take you to eat everything in an entire grocery store?’” Eijun huffed triumphantly. “Easy! Ten minutes tops!! Wahaha!” He took the moment to lift up a bag of Goldfish cheese crackers, which he was known for constantly snacking on during his streams. “Especially all the Goldfish. They’d be gone in an instant!”

The chat was momentarily flooded with nya ’s. They found it very amusing that Eijun wore cat-ear headphones and munched on fish-shaped crackers, further adding to his cat-like image. Eijun giggled before continuing onto the next question. He looked into the chat and saw a flood of similar questions.

Doggo8: PLEASE TELL AN OMEGLE STORY

madspwr: whats the weirdest thing u have seen on omegle

strawberrifields: i KNOW you’ve almost cried from ppl on omegle WHO WAS THE SCARIEST

Celeste9001: What Omegle moment was the craziest!! Tell us!!

“Oh, I see a lot of people in chat asking to share the scariest moment I’ve ever had on Omegle!” Eijun grinned as he leaned back in his chair and tried to decide on a story to tell. He wasn’t surprised that an Omegle question appeared so soon—after all, Eijun gained most of his fame and following for going on Omegle to say and do funny things with strangers. He had encountered a lot of very… interesting people, to say the least, so the question was actually quite challenging. A recent, hilarious moment came to mind that he decided to share.

“I think it was the shaving cream guy...” Eijun decided with a dramatic shudder. He rubbed at his arms as he shook his head from side to side. “For those of you who haven’t seen it, I clicked on ‘next’ and saw this guy rubbing his face like, really really fast! There were all these wet sounds sloshing around with his fingers… and I could do nothing but stare at him with confusion. I then realized that he was smearing shaving cream all over his face and hair! It was literally everywhere, making his hair stick up in all directions! I was so horrified that I just sat there and watched as he coated himself with shaving cream… and then, he threw his hands down, turned to the screen really fast, and screamed at me! He was like, rraaaaaaaah!” Eijun mimicked the guy’s face and posture by crouching down, then whipping his head dramatically to the camera. He then let out a small sob and covered his face with his hands. “It was awful! I was so scared that I just had to skip to the next person!”

Eijun’s story gained him a few more donations, some question-less and others simply sending a message of love. One of them was captioned ‘i hope this gives u some therapeutic support for that horrifying experience,’ which made Eijun laugh. 

“Thank you, thank you!” Eijun grinned as messages providing emotional comfort and ‘wholesome images’ to counter the cursed Omegle man flooded the chat. “Some of you are offering support for my shaving cream trauma, which I deeply appreciate! Oshi, onto the next question… ah, I see that you want me to tell a joke!! I’ve got this!”

Though Eijun couldn’t actually hear the voices of the chat, he saw their collective groaning and exasperation. It was well known that Eijun couldn’t tell a joke to save his life, and many had accused him of having the ‘worst kind’ of dad humor.

“Knock knock!” Eijun asked the chat, then paused for a moment to watch them ask who’s there? before he went on. His grin stretched so wide that everyone seemed to have an understanding that whatever was going to come, it was going to be cringey. Eijun barely suppressed a giggle as he said, “Joe!”

Right after he said ‘joe,’ the chat exploded with anticipatory remarks.

enoshima_don: EIJUN DON’T DO IT PLEASE

salalulu: NOOO EIJUN NOOOO WE’RE BEGGING YOU

rose_banks90: THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING OMFG… 

asherkr: if he says what i think he’s gonna say i stfg

Eijun couldn’t hold it back anymore. “Jomama!”  

Nothing could prevent the hysterical way he burst out laughing immediately following his outdated attempt at a joke. Naturally, the chat responded with infinite facepalming emojis and various similar cringing expressions. Despite how much they hated Eijun’s jokes, Eijun could always count on someone to ask him to tell a joke, for Eijun never failed to leap at the opportunity. After calming down from his laugh, Eijun glanced over at his donation questions and perked up at one in particular.

“Ah, akira05 asked me how Harucchi is doing and when the next part of Dark of the Night is coming out!” Eijun narrated with a chipper smile. He was always happy to see that his fans were fans of Eijun’s closest friends as well. Eijun’s best friend and roommate, Haruichi, collaborated with Eijun sometimes to play games together. Right now, they had an ongoing series of reacting to horror games together. They were often joined by their third roommate and Haruichi’s boyfriend, Furuya, and sometimes even Haruichi’s older brother, Ryousuke.

Their playthroughs were so entertaining because they always live-reacted on stream into late hours of the night. Their video series on the thriller game Dark of the Night was currently very popular for how many times Eijun absolutely lost his shit from the jumpscares. Because of how funny they were, the viewers were always eager to know when the friends would upload a new part to their series. 

“Soon, soon, I promise!” Eijun answered with a friendly grin. Even if people hounded him for information about new content all the time, Eijun never seemed irritated when he addressed these sorts of repetitive questions. “Kenta has been hard at work editing our stream from a few nights ago. But yes, Harucchi is doing well, don’t worry! Harucchi slept for an entire day after that stream! He said it always takes longer when we play together…” While the chat seemed to laugh over this and gush over their ‘adorable friendship,’ Eijun clapped his hands together apologetically. “Sorry, Harucchi! You’re the best for still playing with me!”

Eijun looked back to the chat, which was yet again slowed down so he could read some of the questions coming in. 

yoikat: eijun why don’t you like miyuki!!!!

macaroonies: what is ur opinion on miyuki kazuya??

polkadotted_dreams: u know that guy you called a jerk wasn’t miyuki kazuya on omegle right!! but you said his name so… i’m VERY curious

salalulu: THOUGHTS ON KAZUYA NOW PLS WE’RE DYING TO KNOW IF U HATE HIM OR NOT

madspwr: so ABOUT that miyuki kazuya...

“Wha—” Eijun furrowed his brows at the sight of a certain someone’s name constantly popping up in chat all of a sudden. 

Miyuki Kazuya? Why were they asking Eijun about that guy? 

Now that Eijun’s surprise and confusion was written all over his face, there was no way he could act like he never saw the questions at this point. There were way too many messages regarding that newly-popular YouTuber who was quickly taking over the platform.

Had Eijun just kept his mouth shut, the chaotic sequence of events to follow would never have happened. But of course, Eijun could never stay quiet about something like this.

“Why are you guys asking about Miyuki Kazuya? Uh…” Eijun squinted as he leaned in and read a few more messages for context. The chat was frantically trying to remind him of his last Omegle video that he posted about a week ago. Thanks to their prompting, Eijun was able to remember what they were talking about. 

In his latest video, there was a moment when Eijun cheerfully greeted some guy with glasses and a beanie on Omegle. The guy took one look at Eijun, scowled at him, and skipped Eijun before he even got a chance to say anything else. Appalled by how quickly he had been brushed off, Eijun had glared at the screen and yelled out, “Well, screw you too, Miyuki Kazuya! What a jerk!!”

He said that because… well, Eijun was familiar with Miyuki’s content. He hadn’t actually watched any of his videos, but he was frequently seeing his recommendations become flooded with his videos. It was getting really annoying because Eijun wasn’t subscribed to him, and he only clicked on his channel page to lurk like, one time, maybe two times at most! He noticed Miyuki constantly wearing a beanie in his thumbnails, so when the jerk on Omegle skipped him, Miyuki’s name was the first insult that came to mind. He looked kind of like Miyuki, anyhow!

“W-Well, I realize now that it wasn’t him,” Eijun answered apprehensively, and rather than letting it stop there, Eijun rambled on. “It was just a joke, I guess…! I mean, skipping me on Omegle the second he saw me seems like something a guy like him would do!” Eijun crossed his arms indignantly and nodded to himself. “Mmhm, that’s right! Miyuki Kazuya looks like the kind of guy who would scowl at perfectly nice strangers! He probably only cares about picking up women or whatever and wants nothing to do with friendships! Hmph, I don’t want to be associated with that kind of person, not now and not ever!”

Multiple comments popped up about Eijun looking like a peeved cat and the chat was briefly overrun with angry emojis. They weren’t mad at Eijun, but instead, they were simply reacting with him. 

Even as the subject faded away, Eijun’s head continued to buzz with endless knee-jerk reactions about this Miyuki guy. So many people had asked about him and it was hard for Eijun to forget about the topic. It’s not like the question was brought up because just one random person wanted to know—pretty much everyone in chat, including the regulars, acted like they were dying to hear Eijun’s thoughts about the YouTuber.

Was Miyuki really that popular that everyone wanted to know how Eijun felt about him? Why did they care so much?

Though these thoughts bothered Eijun, he couldn’t dwell on it forever. He could think about it later. For now, Eijun had to entertain the stream until the hour was up. He sucked in a deep breath and pushed on ahead with the Q&A session despite that strange interruption that diverted him from his usual array of questions. 

“Alright, so someone wants to know my controversial opinion on pineapple on pizza! Well, I’ll tell you…”

 

***

 

By the time Eijun emerged from his room after the stream, the controversy was just starting to take off online. Eijun wasn’t aware of the new hot topic surrounding his opinion on Miyuki, for only the audience on his stream heard his thoughts on the other YouTuber so far. For now, Eijun’s only concern was getting something in his stomach, and Furuya wasn’t home to cook for them yet, so he had to make do on his own in the meantime.

Eijun was fishing through the cabinets for instant mac-and-cheese when Haruichi finally spoke up from where he was perched on the couch.

“So, Eijun-kun,” he called out, peach-colored eyes gleaming between his strawberry-pink bangs, “on your stream… what did you say, exactly?”

“Huh?” Eijun didn’t quite connect the dots. He finally located and grabbed his mac-and-cheese cup. When he peeled back the lid, he asked, “What are you talking about?”

“Miyuki Kazuya,” Haruichi helpfully supplied, and the name made Eijun seize up with instant rage. He basically threw his mac-and-cheese into the microwave and slammed the door shut, but none of his loud sounds startled Haruichi in the slightest. Unbothered by the typical Eijun-like behavior, Haruichi looked back down at his laptop, which was perched atop a cushioned tray on his lap. “The Discord server is already talking about what you said about him, though I haven’t seen much on Twitter yet.”

“Erk, that guy…!” Eijun gnashed his teeth angrily as he pounded the proper numbers onto the microwave and clicked ‘start.’ Once the noodles were cooking, Eijun whirled around on his heels and threw his arms up in the air angrily. “Why is everyone talking about him all of a sudden!? It’s not like he’s a singer or an artist or a—a talented person, right? Am I crazy for thinking he’s just some asshole who’s only popular for his looks?”

“Ehhh…” Haruichi trailed off with a coy smile as he typed on his keyboard. “I thought you told me that you’ve never seen any of his videos before.”

“I haven’t!” Eijun agreed a little too proudly. “I have absolutely no interest in that sort of content!”

“Maybe you should watch some of his stuff before forming your opinion on him,” Haruichi lightly suggested. It sounded simple, but the mere thought caused a vein to throb irritably in Eijun’s temple. He roughly yanked open a drawer and grabbed a fork as Haruichi casually added, “Especially since you seem to not like him already.”

“I don’t want to give him more attention!” Eijun complained while waving his fork around in the air. He pointed the prongs decisively at Haruichi and announced, “His popularity will die out, I’m sure of it! Let’s not raise his viewer count more. That’ll just feed into his already massive ego!”

“You sure already have a lot of thoughts about someone you know next to nothing about,” Haruichi countered with an arch of his brow. Eijun’s lips parted with a response, but he hesitated a second too long. The microwave beeped and interrupted the moment, signaling to Eijun that his totally-five-star-gourmet-meal was ready. Eijun stubbornly waited for the beeping to stop before he rambled on, not willing to let the subject drop there.

“That’s because I can tell exactly what kind of person he is from his page alone!” Eijun insisted. “He’s just your average fuckboy or whatever, I guarantee it!” 

Eijun huffed decisively and pulled his cup of pasta from the microwave. Haruichi remained silent as Eijun poured additional cheese all over the macaroni noodles—after all, he needed the mound of cheese for extra flavor. The cheese instantly began to melt over his noodles, and after aggressively stirring it all up, he made his way into the living room and hopped over the back of the couch. Eijun landed heavily on the cushion next to Haruichi.

Haruichi just stared at him doubtfully and let out a small sigh from between his lips.

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Eijun asked incredulously, then shoved a mouthful of macaroni into his mouth. Haruichi simply continued to stare at him, which made Eijun feel a little uneasy. It was like he was disapproving of Eijun’s opinion or something, which Eijun absolutely could not ignore. Around his chewing, he prodded, “What, Harucchi? Wait—don’t tell me… you don’t believe me?”

Haruichi opened his mouth to say something, but Eijun didn’t give him a chance to answer for himself before he barged on ahead.

“Go on!” Eijun swallowed down his food and pointed at the TV screen with his fork. “Pull up one of his videos! You’ll see!”

Haruichi frowned thoughtfully. “But didn’t you just say—”

“Fine, I’ll do it!” Eijun declared dramatically, having clearly, totally forgotten about his earlier statement about not watching Miyuki’s videos and ‘feeding into’ his ego. He pulled his phone from his pocket, and once it was connected to the TV, he typed Miyuki’s name into the search bar. He hit the first video that appeared. It was titled ‘this movie SUCKED, watch it.’ Eijun muttered, “I bet it has like, no views and n— what the hell!?”

Eijun nearly dropped his phone. Was he seeing that right? Did this video have nine million views?

“What!?” Eijun shrieked and for once, Haruichi actually flinched from the sudden sound. Hold on, that so wasn’t fair! Eijun’s most popular video only reached about 765,000 views! He swore that when he glanced at Miyuki’s channel before that he didn’t have that much attention. It was more likely that he just forgot about Miyuki’s popularity entirely, but for some reason he hadn’t expected Miyuki to be that famous.

Still totally flabbergasted, Eijun pointed wildly at the screen. “That’s—that can’t be right! This thing has to be rigged! Didn’t he just start on YouTube recently!? How come his viewer count is so high?”

“Well, actually…” Haruichi turned his laptop screen so Eijun could see that he pulled up Miyuki’s account on his own browser. There, it clearly showed when Miyuki’s account was made and when he uploaded his first videos. Both dates preceded Eijun by at least a few years. Just in case Eijun was struggling to read, Haruichi helpfully narrated, “His account was made long before yours, and his first videos were out before yours, too."

Eijun went cat-eyed and stiffened up with realization. He truly thought Miyuki was an amateur, for he never heard of his name until recently. Eijun was on YouTube all the time, and he was always in touch with his viewers about what was trending. How could he have totally overlooked how popular Miyuki was?

Not having a smart enough comeback, Eijun blushed slightly with embarrassment and stubbornly looked back at the TV screen. “W-Well… nevermind that! I’m sure this whole video is nothing special! Let’s watch it and you’ll see that I’m right!”

Without stalling any longer, Eijun pressed ‘play.’ 

The video began right away. Miyuki was sitting at his desk, yet again wearing a black beanie over brown hair that stuck out from the bottom of the hat. His bangs fell loosely about his eyes, framing them along with the glasses perched on his nose. It was strikingly clear that Miyuki had an appealing facial structure, with defined cheekbones, thick, shapely eyebrows and a strong jawline. His shoulders looked broad and fit under the white baseball-style t-shirt he wore, red at the collar and down the elbow-length sleeves.

“Imagine going to the movie theater.” Miyuki started up immediately, shifting gleaming brown eyes right at the camera. He had no intro, instead favoring to simply dive right into the content he was there to provide. Eijun narrowed his eyes at the screen as he continued to shovel mac-and-cheese into his mouth, already noticing that Miyuki had a high-quality camera and a nice microphone positioned by his face. He could even see how thick and… sorta pretty Miyuki’s eyelashes were. “You arrive, you know, and then you buy your tickets, popcorn, snacks, drinks, et cetera. You take a seat, you sit back and relax… the lights go down… and the screen lights up with a bang!”

Accentuating his bang was a faint explosive effect followed by the title of the movie in big, obnoxious text as he said it out loud, “Killer Frogs.” Miyuki snickered as the effects on the screen faded away, and while looking directly at the camera, he nodded and elaborated. “That’s right. You just paid to come see a movie called Killer Frogs, because why not? It sounds exactly like what you’d expect, right? Frogs that kill people or something along those lines. Well, you’re not wrong, but you’re not totally right, either…”

Miyuki took that moment to flash a smile at the camera, wink, and greet, “Hey everyone, I’m Miyuki, and I’m about to guide you through the most insane, awful movie I’ve ever watched. Sit back and make yourself comfortable as I terrorize your imagination with the things I’m about to describe…”

“I can already tell you exactly why this guy is so popular!” Eijun interrupted, though he paused the video (perhaps as a subconscious gesture) so that he didn’t miss anything as he was talking. “It’s all because of his face!”

“... you think so?” Haruichi answered vaguely. His expression gave nothing away about agreeing or disagreeing with Eijun. He simply listened while Eijun spouted off his theories like some crazed scientist.

“I don’t think, I know!” Eijun corrected with a deep, dramatic nod. “Miyuki Kazuya is just another pretty face that has captured people’s attention. Pft, big deal! Everyone will get tired of him when someone more attractive comes along!” Eijun was on a roll. He vehemently continued on, “I bet the reason this video is popular isn’t due to Miyuki, not at all. In fact, it has all these views because of the funny idea of the Killer Frogs movie, and that has nothing to do with Miyuki himself! If anyone else with a pretty face made a video on the same topic before him, it’d be just as popular!”

“Alright, alright, just click play,” Haruichi chided lightly, clearly having heard enough for the time being. Eijun continued the video with a dramatic huff.

He sat there, stewing in angry silence as he finished off his mac-and-cheese, begrudgingly watching the video with a stubborn frown on his face. Eijun understood Miyuki’s formula—it was clear as day to him. Miyuki had a nice camera and setup that subtly showed off his wealth. He had the camera positioned from a flattering angle so that even when he was looking away, he appeared to be absolutely flawless. It was all a trick of the cameras! Surely, he wasn’t that perfect in real life. Miyuki even made sure to include a few seconds of genuine laughter and cocky smiles every so often, expertly cut off and edited down so that it kept the viewer smiling the entire time.

Only after Eijun accidentally let out a small snort of laughter did he tense up with realization. He started sweating nervously when Haruichi turned to look at him. On his lips was a slowly-growing smirk, as if he was silently saying, ‘I told you so.’ Eijun grimaced, for the last thing he wanted was to look like a total fool in front of Haruichi when he just ranted about how unfunny Miyuki was.

“Waahhh!” Eijun yelled and slapped a hand over his mouth, as if he had been scandalized. “Oh no! I’m falling into his trap! See, this is what he does! He edits all these funny effects and warps the audio to make his voice sound all wonky when he wants you to laugh! Then because people laugh at those effects, they end up liking the video, and then they continue to watch, and when it’s over, they spread the link around, share it with their friends and family with the hopes that they will also laugh and—”

“I mean, sorry to interrupt, but isn't that the whole point?” Haruichi asked with a small laugh. “I think that’s a pretty normal YouTuber thing to do, Eijun-kun.”

Eijun’s rambled words suddenly screeched to a halt. “Ah—uh… well, uh… I-I still think his fame is just because he’s attractive! Anyone can add those funny effects and get a laugh out of the viewer, even the most stoic of them all! People just like him because he looks good. Hmph! Well, all of them are foolish. They’re so easily tempted to click on a thumbnail showing off an attractive man!” 

Haruichi still didn’t look convinced. Still stubborn about his judgement, Eijun fidgeted slightly and looked down at his phone. He noticed they were near the end of the video, so he frowned and went back to his original search. “Here, whatever, let’s watch another one. Then you’ll see what I mean!! It’s all just the same formula over and over!”

“Okay,” Haruichi agreed with a shrug. Eijun picked out another video to watch, one called ‘unusual lingerie model.’ As it started, Eijun realized that Miyuki was streaming on Twitch just like Eijun did. Knowing that Miyuki was also someone who made use of the platform made him even more defensive than usual. Miyuki was including his chat’s comments in the video while they all watched something together. The subject of the video was a model who posed with the strangest props and backdrops. The whole setup in each photograph of this model was so hilariously obscure that naturally, it was hard not to make a face and laugh from the weirdness of it all.

Shit, he was holding back his laughter again!

“That was a bad example!” Eijun haughtily declared as he selected another video, voice wavering from an attempt not to laugh at Miyuki’s video. “I got it! This one will show you, Harucchi! This one for sure!”

Eijun frantically tried to find examples of why Miyuki’s videos were not all they were cracked up to be, and it went on all evening, apparently. Mid-way through yet another one of Miyuki’s videos, Furuya returned home from his job at the local zoo. He entered the house rather quietly, which was usual behavior for Furuya. When he padded into the living room, he simply stood behind the couch and stared at the TV silently.

“Welcome back, Satoru,” Haruichi greeted with a sweet smile. He tilted his head back over the edge of the couch to look at Furuya while upside-down. Furuya leaned down and pressed a kiss to his forehead, then stood back upright to watch the screen with a spark in his sapphire-blue eyes. Haruichi also brought his head back up to look at the TV.

“Oh, it’s Miyuki,” Furuya remarked softly. Eijun’s head spun so quickly to the side that it was a miracle his neck didn’t snap.

“You know him, too!?” Eijun shouted, evidently enraged from the mere possibility. Furuya simply nodded, but he had that look on his face, the one he had when he was watching cute animal videos or a beautiful documentary. His cheeks were rosy and he seemed to glow with a contented aura.

Eijun gasped. “Furuya, don’t tell me… you’re a fan of him!?” He turned around so that he gripped the back of the couch and sat up on his knees to look at Furuya with big, watering eyes. “No, that can’t be true! Please tell me it’s not true! Don’t you love me? Furuya!”

“He’s funny,” Furuya answered simply, totally shooting down Eijun’s attempt to beg for his agreement. Despite the lack of any obvious joy on his face, Eijun knew his friend well. He could tell that Furuya really liked the video that was playing on screen. Eijun sagged with defeat, draping his body over the couch with a theatrical cry.

“This can’t be happening to me!” Eijun wailed. “Both of my best friends have been brainwashed by Miyuki Kazuya…!”

Haruichi sighed and took control of the TV, clearly now done with entertaining Eijun’s anti-Miyuki brigade. “Eijun-kun, I think that’s enough Miyuki Kazuya for one day. Why don’t we watch Chris’s new video instead? Would that make you feel better?”

“Chris-senpai has a new video!?” Eijun bolted upright immediately, his bright golden eyes sparkling like Christmas lights. He had forgotten all about his emotional agony in an instant. “No way! Put it on, put it on!!”

“Yeah, I will,” Haruichi consoled while pulling up Chris’s channel. He muttered to himself, “After all, you really need it.”

“Huh? Why?” Eijun asked. He was blissfully unaware of how riled up he was over Miyuki, and watching him for hours on end while complaining about every little thing he did wasn’t helping. By contrast, ever since discovering Chris’s soothing baking channel, Eijun had a remedy to calm him down from absolutely anything. Haruichi learned to weaponize Chris’s videos whenever he needed Eijun to take a metaphorical chill-pill and lay down. It was like putting on Beethoven for babies when they need to take a nap.

Sure enough, once Chris was on the screen, Eijun was totally entranced with the video. He always lost himself in the way Chris talked, so calming and relaxed despite his rather large and muscular stature. He might look like a tough, strong guy, but he acted as gentle as a grandmother creating baked goods for her family. All the tension in Eijun’s body eased away as he watched Chris delicately crack eggs, mix his batter in a large bowl, and frost pastries with a careful, steady hand. 

Everyone should be like Chris-senpai, Eijun thought with a sleepy yawn. He didn’t need to show off a pretty face to get a following, or speak into the microphone like he was flirting with his viewers, or wear overly tight shirts to show off his muscles, or flaunt his appealing white teeth, or chuckle in a way that made Eijun feel a little warmth under his skin…

That’s right. Chris was nothing like Miyuki Kazuya.  

… damn, he was already spitting that name out even in his own head. Eijun shook his head to clear his mind of that infuriatingly charming smile and cleverly glinting eyes. Instead, he favored to put his full attention on watching Chris calmly bake his family’s traditional blueberry muffin recipe.

 

***

 

That was not the end of Eijun’s ‘anti-Miyuki’ brigade.

Oh, no. It was only the beginning.

Once the edited video of Eijun’s Q&A stream went up, Eijun’s criticism of Miyuki was the talk of Twitter. Eijun’s comment section was entirely regarding his thoughts about Miyuki, and though he got very few hateful comments from Miyuki’s fans, many people were genuinely wondering if Eijun had even seen any of Miyuki’s videos. He hadn’t specifically cited the contents of Miyuki’s channel, after all—he only shared a snap judgement with his viewers and nothing further.

On the third day of Eijun getting spammed with links to Miyuki’s videos paired with comments urging him to react to them on stream, Eijun finally caved and did just that. If that’s what his viewers wanted to see, then so be it. He ignored the advice from Haruichi warning him against getting too outspoken about his criticism. He feared that Eijun could get a lot of hate for it, but Eijun was fearless. He’d share his thoughts with everyone and if they didn’t like it, they could watch someone else!

“So you guys want me to tell you my thoughts about Miyuki Kazuya, is that right?” Eijun boldly asked the stream, then watched as the comments absolutely flew up the screen. They were all wildly demanding ‘the tea’ about Miyuki from Eijun. In fact, Eijun noticed that he had quite a few hundred more viewers than usual, and his subscriber count was rising with each passing moment. Eijun grinned devilishly and dramatically cracked his knuckles.

“Oshi, I’ve heard your cries!” Eijun let out a laugh as he pulled up Miyuki’s channel. He decided to pull up a video he had seen already, not that the chat knew that, but what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. “We’ll watch some of Miyuki’s videos together! I’ll show you all why he’s not deserving of all these views and subscribers!”

As Miyuki’s video played on, Eijun found more and more things he disliked about Miyuki and why he wasn’t worth all the attention he was suddenly getting. The viewers in chat confirmed his suspicions that Miyuki was only recently getting popular. They informed Eijun that just a few months ago, he was still relatively unknown to the YouTube community. Only after an out-of-context clip from one of his videos circulated as a meme on Twitter did he start getting so much attention.

“Well, enough of that!” Eijun declared after spending far too long nit-picking everything he could about Miyuki’s videos. That wasn’t how he expected to spend his stream, but it wouldn’t stop him from sharing some great news with his viewers like he originally planned. Eijun set aside his bag of Goldfish crackers and perked up with a smile. “I have a big announcement to share with you all today! Are you ready?”

The chat began bursting with energy.

strawberrifields: WHAT IS ITTTTT OMG

starmie87: is it that u hate miyuki? bc we been knew LMAO

rose_banks90: TELL USSSS

Juenscotty: Wow!! What is it?

darklingstar: I WANNA KNOW EIJUNNNNN

Eijun figured he had tortured them enough with his knowing grin and silence, so he finally raised his hands in the air and announced, “I’m going to be attending VidCon this year! Plus, I’ll even have my own spot at the creators meet and greet!” He beamed as he watched the chat erupt into excitable screams and spams of sunshine emojis. Feeling encouraged, Eijun went on and added, “I hope you guys can make it! I’d love to meet as many of you as I can!! Oh, I’ll be there with Harucchi and Furuya, so you can see all of us together!”

Naturally, the announcement that two other YouTubers in Eijun’s close circle were also attending was even better news. Eijun laughed along with the chat as they celebrated, and he was happy to see that some of his biggest fans would start making arrangements to travel as soon as possible. He felt honored that people would travel just for a chance to meet him in person.

With that, Eijun wrapped up the stream, left the footage for his editors to fix up, and went to join Haruichi and Furuya on the couch. He was just beginning to unwind after ranting about Miyuki for so long when Furuya suddenly made a small sound of excitement.

“Ah…”

Eijun and Haruichi both turned to look at their roommate. Furuya turned his phone around so that they could both see his screen.

He was watching a video Miyuki posted—a brand new video.

“Miyuki’s going to be at Vidcon as one of the featured entertainers,” Furuya announced, causing Eijun’s blood to run cold. “He’ll have his own panels, meet and greet session, and be on the stage for a spotlight presentation.”

“Give me that!” Eijun swiped Furuya’s phone out of his hand, which made Furuya frown at him irritably. Eijun stared at the screen and tapped on it so he could see the viewer count.

Eijun cussed under his breath when he saw the number of views on that damn Miyuki Kauzya’s new video—three million views already, and it just came out an hour ago? How was that even fair!?

And for what? Was it that cocky smile? Was it those impressive biceps that made the sleeves of his t-shirt strain around their shape? Was it that perfect jawline, those shapely brows, his—Eijun cut off his own mental rant as his face burned hot with rage. Just because he was so attractive didn’t mean he deserved all that attention, did it? What good was his content, anyway?

“I swear on my life,” Eijun shouted out loud suddenly, causing Furuya to startle, “that he’s nothing—absolutely nothing—but clickbait!”

Chapter Text

Eijun had to admit that he was pretty nervous watching the edited clips from his stream go up on YouTube. In the heat of the moment, the chat had all encouraged Eijun to rant about Miyuki and they thought his reactions to Miyuki’s content were funny. No one cautioned him against being too mean and no one had even suggested that Miyuki would even see the video. Eijun was a small-scale account and Miyuki had millions of followers—to put it bluntly, the likelihood of Miyuki just casually stumbling across Eijun’s video was extremely low.

Plus, because of Miyuki’s large following and notable online presence, Eijun was certain that Miyuki had already experienced actual, vicious hatred before—which was nothing like Eijun’s response to his content. Though Eijun was maybe a little overly peeved by Miyuki’s popularity, horrible things like serious, malicious death threats hadn’t crossed his mind, not even once. He wouldn’t wish that on some random guy just for being attractive and stupidly famous for no good reason. That was like, half of Hollywood anyway. One guy on YouTube wasn’t the root of the problem.

Regardless, Eijun was still nervous about the outcome of his petty complaining once shared with the general public. He went back and forth on telling Kenta to edit out the whole ‘anti-Miyuki’ portion of the stream for the YouTube upload, but ultimately, he decided that he had no choice but to keep it in. All of his devoted followers were chatting about Miyuki and the ones who couldn’t attend the stream would feel left out if he cut that portion out of the edited video entirely. 

And, well… not to pat his own back or anything, but that part of the stream was probably the funniest. He saw plenty of laughing reactions and emojis filling up the chat as he animatedly spouted off about Miyuki. Something like this, even if it was a bit risky, would give Eijun more views, and therefore more income. It was his job to entertain and so he needed to earn his clicks as well—if that meant keeping in a little rant about Miyuki, then he was certain it wouldn’t mean the end for either of their careers.

As soon as the video went up, Eijun put his phone away and laid down on his bed. He could never handle the rapid influx of notifications the moment he posted, so it was routine for him to take a short nap after each upload. Usually by the time he woke up, he could start clearing out the notifications and responding to a few stand-out comments here and there. By then, he wasn’t so shaky from nerves and he wasn’t disappointed if the hype didn’t start up instantly, either.

Eijun turned onto his side and drifted asleep, blissfully unaware of the chaos he had just unleashed online.

 

***

 

Looking back on it, chaos might have been too harsh of a word in the grand scheme of things. Especially at this point in the whole saga that was Eijun’s experience with Miyuki. Luckily, Eijun wasn’t getting cancelled on Twitter. It was honestly a relief that Eijun wasn’t even close to trending on any platform, YouTube or Twitch or otherwise. That being said, for a small account like Eijun, the sudden rise in followers and interactions with his latest video that he noticed was pretty shocking.

Eijun had heard before that “all publicity is good publicity,” but he never really believed it until now. He had to triple check his amount of subscribers and followers by refreshing his apps, though that didn’t help at all. Every time he reloaded his page, the numbers kept rising rather than falling or staying steady.

He went cat-eyed and felt his heart seize up as he stared at his phone screen. Was he really going to make it big now… only because he’d verbally slammed a larger YouTuber one time!?

Every YouTuber’s dream was to become as popular as Miyuki, if not more than that—it not only meant reaching a broader audience, but also more financial success and stability, which allowed creators to try new things they couldn’t afford before. 

Still, Eijun hadn’t really expected his shining moment to happen right now. He worriedly checked the ratio of likes to dislikes on his video, but he was shocked to see that it was the usual. There wasn’t a dramatic increase of dislikes, which was what he feared upon waking up from his nap. 

Best of all, as Eijun risked skimming his notifications and the feedback of his followers, no one seemed… truly angry with him. How did he get so lucky? Shouldn’t people be more offended by what he said? If this video was getting so much more attention than what was normal, surely that meant that Miyuki’s fanbase had caught wind of Eijun’s not-so-friendly critique of Miyuki’s content. Wouldn’t they be angrier at Eijun than they appeared?

That being said, most of the reactions he was seeing right away were from his usual followers who had been supporting him already, through the stream and otherwise. The video had only been up for a couple hours and it was possible that Miyuki’s fans actually hadn’t seen the video yet and all these views were from random people. 

Once Miyuki’s fans definitely and without a doubt saw this video… Eijun had to admit he was a bit fearful of what would happen. After all, Eijun really didn’t know what kind of fanbase he was messing with. If Miyuki had a bunch of crazy fangirls who would tear Eijun’s reputation to shreds for even doing so much as criticizing Miyuki, well… his career might have just been jeopardized.

Alright, calm down, Eijun! He papped his cheeks and took a few deep breaths in. You don’t know anything yet. Deep breaths, in and out, that’s right, calm down! I’m sure it’s nothing! Maybe they don’t really care about the Miyuki bit and they’re reacting to the content in the rest of the video! 

He knew that was unlikely, since the title of the video was literally ‘MIYUKI KAZUYA IS MY WORST NIGHTMARE’ but… Eijun tried not to get too worked up over it regardless. He knew he would have a better idea of everyone’s reactions in a few days.

For now, all Eijun could do was wait it out.

 

***

To Eijun’s amazement, the video continued to crest with popularity. The views steadily added up, the amount of comments increased, and with that came the consistent rise of his following.

The last thing Eijun expected, however, was for Miyuki’s fans to actually follow him and engage with the video in a positive way. They had been his biggest fear, but to his shock, they were far from angry at him. In fact, they seemed to really enjoy Eijun’s video. The nature of a majority of the comments totally baffled Eijun.

xxAHint: omg wait why am i not mad about eijun saying this stuff about miyuki?? He’s just so cute!!!!

absinthextabby: this is actually HILARIOUS… subscribed :)

Remmaaa5: I feel like we’re supposed to be mad at him but I can’t stop laughing? Why does he scream so much? LOL 

rrratrat: HAHHAHA bro wtf this is so iconic, he reminds me of that raging sonic kid… WHEN WILL U LEARN THAT UR ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCESSS

YRKcarson: tfw all the beanies just collectively agreed that eijun is not our enemy but instead our new angry son

Eijun realized after reading a few more comments that ‘the Beanies’ was a way of referring to Miyuki’s fanbase, since Miyuki wore beanies a lot or… something like that. The realization actually made him angrier than before because who the hell would allow their fanbase to name themselves something so damn cringey!? At least his followers were called ‘Nyamamuras,’ which was way cuter and more creative than just Beanies. What did they think they were, a new revamping of the original stuffed animal toy line?

“Stupid…” Eijun grumbled, though the anxiety in his chest that had been there for the past few days lessened with each friendly comment that he read. Miyuki’s fanbase was shockingly supportive and good-natured about the whole thing. He only saw the same amount of negative comments that he usually found on his videos (which was very little), and there weren’t any more than usual—at least, nothing close to what he had been somewhat expecting. He spotted a sour Miyuki fan or two, but most of them appeared to really like the video and they found Eijun’s anger to be genuinely funny.

Eijun supposed he should have felt pretty lucky. Miyuki’s fans were aware of his heated-but-not-quite-positive opinions regarding Miyuki and for some reason, they didn’t flame him for it. He had gotten a lot more exposure by reaching an audience he’d never tried to grab the attention of before, and thanks to that, his subscriber count had a higher increase than what he normally experienced after a new upload. 

A few more days passed before Eijun finally started to see the initial spike of attention begin to decrease. His engagement and the influx of new followers had plateaued to a new height, but it seemed that the excitement had died down and his fans were ready for new content again. 

Eijun had to admit that he was relieved, for that meant Miyuki likely hadn’t seen his video at all. No one went after Eijun or tried to shut him down, likely since he was a pretty small account anyway. There wasn’t much to shut down. Miyuki probably didn’t see Eijun as a threat if he even knew Eijun existed at all.

Or so Eijun thought.

He was right in assuming that no one saw him as a threat. It’s not like Eijun said anything truly nasty—all he did was nitpick Miyuki’s behavior, the way he chose to present himself before the camera, and the content that he offered. If anyone claimed Eijun as even remotely threatening, Eijun never saw such an accusation.

However, Eijun wondered why the hell there was suddenly now speculation that Kazuya had, in fact, actually seen the video that Eijun posted. After seeing a bunch of his own devoted followers spamming his mentions and the chat with a particular video link, urging Eijun to watch it, he stormed into the living room of his apartment with his hands balled into fists.

“I demand an explanation!” Eijun hollered as soon as he barged into the room. He fixed his fiery gaze on Haruichi and Furuya while a dramatic exhale left his nostrils like a raging bull. His friends were quite used to Eijun’s boisterous entrances, so they barely even flinched as they turned their attention towards Eijun. The couple was lounging on the couch watching TV prior to Eijun’s appearance, so Haruichi reacted quickly and paused whatever had been playing on the screen to listen.

“Oh, about your peach-scented shampoo?” Haruichi frowned a bit and glanced accusingly at Furuya, who quickly avoided eye contact and tensed up nervously. “Yeah, about that… I agreed to keep my mouth shut, but I told him you’d find out eventually. The truth is, I found out that all this time, Satoru has secretly been—”

“No, no, no, this has nothing to do with my shampoo!!” Eijun shrilly interrupted, but only after he cut Haruichi off did he realize he was actually kind of curious. He paused and quietly asked, “Wait, you know something about my shampoo?”

“Nevermind,” Haruichi dismissed with a strained smile, then gave a look at Furuya that silently said ‘you got away with it this time.’ The meaning of that look went right over Eijun’s head as Haruichi went on. “What did you come in here screaming about initially, Eijun?” 

Meanwhile, Furuya let out a little sigh of relief.

“This!” Eijun snapped as he stomped closer, then thrust his phone in Haruichi’s face. On the screen was a YouTube video, opened and paused. “It’s that damn Miyuki Kazuya’s most recent video!! Everyone’s spamming me and telling me to watch it but I don’t know why when it just looks like something random and totally unrelated to me!! Who cares about what he posted!? Do they want me to share another rant or something?”

“Ah—” Furuya spoke abruptly, but then cut himself off as he looked at Eijun’s screen. His eyes immediately betrayed him by flicking up to the TV and back down to the phone again. He even stopped squeezing onto his favorite stim toy—a polar bear squishy—as he gathered his thoughts. Calmly, Furuya explained, “We’re watching that.”

“You’re what!?” Eijun whirled around to look at the TV in disbelief. Sure enough, right there in high definition on their TV screen was Miyuki fucking Kazuya. He had that stupidly charming smirk on his face, paused in motion mid-video with a bag of cheetos held in the air beside his head. It was the same video on Eijun’s phone. The video was called ‘i might be cancelled for not liking oreos’ and was, as Miyuki explained in his intro, a snack tier list, in which Miyuki would rank a bunch of popular snacks from best to worst in his opinion.

“Betrayal!” Eijun cried out as he flopped onto the couch, as if he had just been shot in the chest and had fallen to his death. He draped his feet across Furuya’s lap, who simply readjusted to the presence of Eijun’s long legs suddenly pushed into his personal space. “I can’t believe you were just casually watching Miyuki Kazuya in our humble home, right under my nose! How could you!” He flung his phone aside theatrically and let out a deep groan. “Fine, play it! I don’t know why everyone’s telling me to watch a video about Miyuki Kazuya’s opinion on snacks, but I guess this Sawamura Eijun will find out now...”

Haruichi shrugged and clicked play. Eijun had insisted, after all. Clearly, he wasn’t bothered by Eijun’s reaction to finding them watching Miyuki’s newest video. Eijun slumped against the couch cushions and stubbornly tried to keep a straight face as he watched Miyuki taste-test a few other big brand snacks, trying types of cheese crackers and sometimes evening out his samples with sweets.

“Next up is… ah, classic cheddar Goldfish,” Miyuki announced as he picked up a bag of Eijun’s favorite snack. Eijun straightened up and stared intently at the screen, now ready to see what Miyuki had to say about the best snack in the entire universe. If the holy, perfect, and pristine Goldfish were placed anywhere beneath S-Tier, Eijun was undoubtedly going to post another ranting video and have no regrets this time.

“If he slanders Goldfish, that’s it!” Eijun huffed while Miyuki crunched on some of the fish-shaped crackers on screen. He pointed wildly and ranted, “He’s through! Done! Cancelled! I will find a way to cancel Miyuki Kazuya if he says anything wrong!”

“Goldfish aren’t the best,” Furuya quietly argued.

“Shut up, Furuya!!” Eijun snarled. “This is not the time!” 

Haruichi rolled his eyes but didn’t comment.

Eijun bristled angrily since Miyuki somehow managed to look appealing even when eating food, showing off the sharp angle of his jaw and the rather attractive way his throat bobbed when he swallowed. Plus, his tongue darted out to swipe away crumbs on his plump-looking lips, flashing a bit of pink between perfectly white teeth and— 

“Now, I know some of you say these are the best snacks ever,” Miyuki started off with a small, clever smile, “and I mean, they are pretty good. They’ve got the nostalgia factor so I might be kind of biased in that regard. Though really, tasting them right now, they’re not… revolutionary. In fact, I think they’re much better suited for the tastebuds of hissing, angry little kitty-cats, don’t you agree?” 

After that, Miyuki cocked a grin at the camera and winked before finishing up, “I mean, the fish shape sure makes me think of cats. That’s all. Cheez-its are better, so Goldfish are going in B-tier for me.”

Did he really just hear that correctly? 

Did Miyuki just shade Eijun, his favorite snack, and his cat-ear headphones!?

Even Haruichi’s eyebrows lifted higher from shock as Eijun rose like an enraged tyrant, nearly flipping the coffee table over in the process. He roared, “What the hell was that!?”

“He mentioned Eijun?” Furuya muttered, sounding mildly disappointed, like he wished Miyuki would notice him instead.

Eijun was too busy pacing around now, throwing his arms in the air with disbelief. He never thought Miyuki would even turn in his direction, but there was no doubt that his little snarky comment about kitty-cats and goldfish had to be about Eijun and his fans! It was a subtle-enough dig that it could easily be brushed off as a casual comment, and someone who was unaware of Eijun’s existence would likely have no clue that the statement actually held weight behind it. 

If Eijun’s fans were able to sense the double meaning of his words, however, then it must be true—Miyuki had just indirectly acknowledged Eijun’s furious rants in a video!

Miyuki had either seen Eijun’s video or had been told about it, yet rather than confronting Eijun directly, he shaded him in a snack-tier video like a total wily, slippery, slimy— 

“Jerk!” Eijun barked out, then started heading to his room, determined to act against him immediately. “He’s a jerk! I’m going to tear him apart! I’m gonna hop on stream right now and—”

“I wouldn’t go much farther than that, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi interrupted with that sweet tone he only ever used if he was hinting a threat. Eijun froze up, knowing well what happened if he dared to ignore Haruichi’s warning tone of voice. While nervously sweating, he looked over his shoulder as Haruichi added, “We’re going to the zoo in an hour, remember? Don’t you have to get ready? You have a bed-head so I think you need to shower.”

“R-Right!” Eijun flinched as he recalled their plan for the day. He let out a nervous laugh and rubbed the back of his head, where his fingers bumped against a few tell-tale cowlicks. “I’ll… uh, in that case, I’ll take a quick shower like you suggested!”

By the time Eijun was standing under the hot spray of the showerhead, he told himself to get a grip. The initial red-hot fury he felt upon realizing that Miyuki had shaded him over Goldfish, of all things, like some petty rival had now faded away and left Eijun with a small dose of logic. He realized that responding to Miyuki—especially while so riled up—would only give Miyuki the attention he wanted. Because of that, Eijun was determined to not react like he initially wanted to.

Eijun didn’t want his whole page to become a Miyuki-hate account anyway. The content he provided was more diverse than that, and ranting about Miyuki was just one thing he could do amongst many other options.

Still, the knowledge that Miyuki actually might have seen what he said filled Eijun with a weird, funny feeling. His skin felt hot and he squirmed around, interpreting the shudder that rolled down his spine as one of disgust and resentment. He pressed his forehead against the shower wall as the water cascaded down his slim back, a frustrated groan leaking past his teeth.

Why did Miyuki grind on his nerves so badly? What was it about that smirk that made his blood boil and his hands clench into angered fists? He told himself it had to do with the fact that he was so popular for doing nothing revolutionary. It was unfair—literally anyone could react to weird videos or movies and make funny commentary better than Miyuki could. Many people probably already did, but Miyuki got all the attention for it because he was conventionally attractive or whatever. 

Eijun shook his head to clear his thoughts for now. So what if Miyuki saw his video? Maybe it did something to dent his massive ego if he decided he had to make a sneaky comment directed towards Ejun in the middle of creating his snack-tier list. Eijun felt a little proud of himself—even though Eijun had a much tinier following, he managed to grab the attention of someone much more famous than he was and get under his skin, at least a little bit. He couldn’t resist smirking victoriously over it and feeling a little smug about the whole situation.

See? This Sawamura Eijun had won their battle! Eijun let out a short, triumphant laugh that echoed in the shower. He wasn’t going to give Miyuki the attention he wanted this time around. That’s right—he had better plans for the day! Eijun stood up straight and snatched his shampoo off the shelf with a proud, giddy smile. He was now determined to finish up and get on his way.

Today was the local zoo’s VIP day, which meant that zoo employees were allowed to bring up to two friends or family members to see parts of the zoo that were not open to the public for free. They could get close to certain animals, obviously with the assistance of professionals, and get a zoo experience unlike ever before.

Furuya worked at the zoo and he had quite the following on YouTube because of it. At least once a week, Furuya would record a day of work at the zoo with a Go-Pro camera attached to his head and upload the edited footage to YouTube. Usually, the videos were sped up during certain, less exciting moments, slowed down during the most intriguing experiences Furuya had with the animals, and made complete with calming music and commentary.

The difference with Furuya’s following was that people tended to watch his content for the animals and not necessarily Furuya himself. He rarely showed his face, not that it was a secret, but the camera was always on his head so he didn’t usually have a reason to turn the camera around and show himself. The focus was always on the animals. His channel showed how he got up close and personal with massive animals like polar bears (which were his favorite) without fear. Most educational of them all were videos that showed the ways Furuya helped treat sick animals, guiding them on the road to recovery with physical therapy, which was his specialty.

Since today was VIP day, Haruichi and Eijun were invited and given permission to vlog their experience together. The slice-of-life type content was more suited to Eijun’s channel, so Eijun had the responsibility of filming a video of the day. He was up for the job, since it sounded really fun to show people how Furuya acted behind the Go-Pro, how Haruichi behaved when he wasn’t a terrifyingly skilled gamer, and the dynamic of their trio that viewers usually had to watch multiple videos to get a sense of. The fact that they all lived together was not a secret, but it wasn’t necessarily a well-known fact outside of the bubble of their most devoted followers.

Regardless, they didn’t often get to see the trio in action unless they were playing a video game together, or if they walked in on each other’s streams. That sort of thing happened a lot more in the beginning when they all moved in together and weren’t used to each other’s schedules, but now that they were in a routine, it was pretty difficult to accidentally interrupt one another. 

Once in a while, Eijun barged into Haruichi’s stream on purpose because his followers really liked it when Eijun made a cameo, but he tried to leave Haruichi alone most of the time. He would never forget the times he almost died because he distracted Haruichi during a crucial fight in his game. The mere thought sent a shiver of horror down Eijun’s spine. Haruichi could be terrifying when he wanted to be—it was apparently a hereditary trait, for Haruichi’s older brother, Ryousuke, was arguably even more horrifying than his younger sibling.

Oshi! Eijun clapped his palms against his cheeks to snap out of his thoughts once he was out of the shower and dressed. He looked at himself in the mirror and nodded decisively at his own reflection. Today was a fun day that he was spending with his two best friends and he wasn’t going to waste it fuming over the stupid snack-tier video that Miyuki made. 

No more talk of Miyuki Kazuya! My focus will be the zoo, and only the zoo!

 

***

 

“Waaaaah!! Furuya!!!”

“Would you relax already?” Haruichi hissed, reaching up with a firm hand to steady Eijun’s trembling arms. Meanwhile, Eijun was screaming as he shook the camera around for the funny effect of it all, but some of his shock was totally genuine because holy shit, what was he seeing in front of his eyes!?

“Why are you telling me to relax!? How can you relax when your boyfriend is getting eaten alive right before your— Furuya, no!!” Eijun wailed out dramatically, reaching out with one hand extended towards his fallen roommate. “Oh my god, he’s dying! He’s a goner! Harucchi, we need to get out of here!”

Haruichi sighed and rubbed at his temples exhaustedly. “Right now, I’m just really relieved that polar bears don’t react angrily to loud noises.”

Furuya, despite being pinned underneath a nearly-1,000-pound polar bear with his head clasped in its toothy jaws, looked absolutely serene. His cheeks were blissfully rosy and his eyes were half-closed as he laid there, totally limp and at peace while the massive creature lightly gnawed on Furuya’s head like he was a chew-toy. At the same time, Eijun was panicking. One snap of those jaws and Furuya’s head could explode like a watermelon!

“He’s looking for the Go-Pro,” Furuya casually explained in the softest tone imaginable while laying on the rocky floor of the polar bear’s habitat. The polar bear shifted his jaw and pushed more of Furuya’s head into his mouth, the stretch of his gums at the sides of his snout now pressing against Furuya’s forehead. “His favorite thing to do is take it off my head and run around with it.” He reached up and lightly patted the bear’s cheek. “Okay, let go, Yume. Didn’t you hear me? No Go-Pro. No Go-Pro.”

The bear, apparently named Yume, let out a heavy grunt through his nostrils and released Furuya’s head. He listened to Furuya’s chiding, who had talked to Yume like he was a dog and not a bear, then tossed his head around and sat back on his haunches. The heavy shift of the bear’s weight earned a yelp of fright from Eijun, who was plastered up against the farthest wall away from the bear. His hand was hovering over the doorknob, ready to make his escape, but he couldn’t possibly ditch Haruichi when—

Eijun gawked as his blood ran cold. Haruichi was walking towards the pair instead of staying where it was safe with Eijun! “Harucchi!! No!!”

Completely unfazed, Haruichi didn’t even turn around to acknowledge Eijun’s blood-curdling screams. Instead, he helped Furuya get to his feet and reached up to fluff out his slightly-matted hair, flattened by Yume’s “affectionate” mouthing. Furuya then placed a hand on Haruichi’s lower back and guided him towards the polar bear. Yume bent his head down and allowed Haruichi to tentatively pet his nose with Furuya’s assistance and guidance.

“How on earth is he brave enough to do that!?” Eijun hissed to the camera, talking to the viewers who would soon be watching this video. “He’s petting a wild predator!! A bear! Plus, that bear just had Furuya’s head in his mouth! Did you see his teeth? They were huge! How is Harucchi not peeing himself from fear!? Harucchi...!”

Eijun’s pathetic wailing trailed off when Haruichi turned around and headed back towards Eijun. He perked up with a sigh of relief. “Oh, thank god! He’s returning to the safe side! Come on, Harruchi! Let’s escape before— wah!?”

“I wanna get a better shot of the bear,” Haruichi explained as he snatched the camera right from Eijun’s hands, then turned it around to show off Eijun’s hilarious posture. He was totally pressed up against the wall like a cartoon character who had been thrown against it, flat and sprawled out in a comical stance. Haruichi snickered to the camera, “I think Eijun-kun’s on the verge of tears already. What a baby.”

“H-Hey!” Eijun protested, though all he could do was watch with despair as his best friend carried off the camera. Haruichi went back up to the polar bear that weighed nearly ten times more than the tiny human before him with the same sort of calm, cool attitude he would have when approaching a vending machine. Eijun was bewildered—he had no idea how Haruichi was so relaxed about it all!

After Haruichi helped Furuya feed the bear, Furuya finally relented to Eijun’s complaining and allowed them to leave.

“Freedom!” Eijun cried out once they exited the exhibit, practically frolicking now that he no longer felt so threatened by the massive animal that had no business being so close and friendly with humans. “Now we can see the penguins! Woohoo!”

“Yume is my favorite in the whole zoo,” Furuya confessed softly to Haruichi, who already knew this, but flashed a friendly smile up at his boyfriend anyhow. Eijun knew the route to the penguins so he rushed through the corridors, eager to say hello to the cute, funky birds he had looked forward to seeing all day long.

What he forgot about was how bad the penguins reeked, so they didn’t last in the exhibit as long as Eijun had hoped. They needed fresh air after dealing with the smelly combination of saltwater, penguin poop and fish that stunk up the arctic exhibit. He gasped theatrically the moment they stepped outside, suddenly so much more grateful for clean air than he ever had been before.

The three then trailed around the zoo with Eijun leading the way. Since Furuya had gotten to introduce Yume to his partner and Haruichi got his moment in the aviary, with the largest parrots in the zoo perched on his shoulders, it was Eijun’s turn to find an animal to interact with. As long as Furuya was experienced enough with the animal in question, or at least accompanied with other members of the zoo’s staff, he could allow Eijun to get close with whatever creature he chose.

Eijun had no idea what animal to pick. He was excited about pretty much every animal he encountered, though he consistently turned down the possibility of getting close whenever Furuya offered since he knew his options were limited. He couldn’t go running through every exhibit, after all—they were restricted to getting close to only a few animals in order to not overwhelm them with the presence of so many strangers.

“Now, over here, we have some foxes! Ooooh!” Eijun zoomed in on the red foxes trotting around their exhibit, yipping and play-fighting with each other joyously. Their fluffy, white-tipped tails bobbed around, following the arches they formed in the air with their frolicking motions. He grinned and moved the camera onto the neighboring exhibit, where he zoomed in on some lemurs hanging out in an exhibit occupied by tall, twisted branches. They fixed their round, saucer-shaped eyes on Eijun, which caused Eijun to erupt into laughter.

“There are so many cute animals! Hehehe…” Eijun grinned and turned around to look at the exhibit of the animal behind him, one that he missed when zooming in on the lemurs. The moment his lens captured the face of the next animal, he gawked and nearly dropped his camera. Unthinkingly, Eijun yelled, “Wah! Everyone, look! It’s Miyuki Kazuya!”

“Here we go…” Haruichi murmured from behind. “Eijun-kun, why are you talking about Miyuki again?”

“I-I swear, it was a coincidence!” Eijun defended with a stammer, his face now burning hot with embarrassment. “The—the tanuki! It looks like Miyuki, doesn’t it!? You see it, right? Look, look, look! It has that same smirk on its face! The marks on its cheeks look like Miyuki’s glasses! His fur is the same color as Miyuki’s hair! Ahhhh! It’s all adding up! Someone explain how Miyuki Kazuya has been transformed into a tanuki!”

Furuya irritably stood off to the side as he flatly informed Eijun, “Her name is Mirai.”

“Her—!?” Eijun gasped as he broke out into a sweat. He stiffly turned towards the tanuki and offered her a formal bow. “P-Pardon me, ma’am, I-I shall offer my humble apology to your magnificence! I have insulted your beauty! I didst not cullionly to offendeth thee—how dare I compare your grace to the lowly Miyuki Kazuy— ahhh!” Eijun hollered with despair as Mirai, the tanuki, suddenly rolled onto her side with her back towards Eijun, as if ignoring Eijun’s rambling apologies. He seized up and turned the camera on Furuya accusingly. “Furuya! Help the mistress receiveth backeth to h’r feet!”

Furuya simply ignored him and turned around.

“Furuya!” Eijun cried out again, this time more pleadingly than before. He snatched a nearby stick and waved it around while passionately declaring, “Prepareth to square! I shall heave the gorge on thy livings, naughty mushrump—” 

“No one understands a word you’re saying, Eijun-kun…” Haruichi told him with a tired sigh.

“Let’s visit Mirai,” Furuya decided. “This is Eijun’s choice.”

“What!?” Eijun shrieked. “I didn’t pick the tanuki!”

“If you want to make it up to her,” Furuya bargained while peering at Eijun from the corner of his eye, “then maybe you can give her some scratches behind the ear as an apology, rather than… whatever you were trying to scream at her.”

Eijun relented with a grumble. He tossed his stick aside and shoved the camera into Haruichi’s hands. That was how Eijun ended up being filmed as he approached a tanuki for the first time. He even got to stroke her fur and scratch her behind the ears just like she enjoyed, according to Furuya.

Over and over, he stuttered on the tanuki’s name, nearly referring to her as ‘Miyuki’ throughout the entire experience.

 

***

 

Eijun had no idea that the ‘tanuki Miyuki’ mistake was a meme in the making. Their day at the zoo came to an end not long after that and once they were home, Eijun got to work on editing the footage they captured together. He agreed to do the preliminary cuts and choices for what got into the video and what didn’t—from there, one of his editors would do the rest.

By the time it was the middle of the night, Eijun saved his work in progress and pulled his bloodshot eyes away from the screen. He craned his neck back and sighed from the stretch, deciding to lean into it and arch his back from the chair at the same time. A satisfying feeling pulled at his muscles and loosened them, evoking an airy sigh of relief to spill from Eijun’s lips. He slumped back and peered back at the series of thumbnails spread across his screen from within his video editing program, showing every few seconds of footage he had captured all day long.

He peered at the frames of his encounter with the tanuki and felt a weird sensation worm its way into his heart. The tanuki wasn’t an ugly animal by any means—it was weirdly proportioned, sure, and kind of round and overly fluffy in places… but it was cute. Charming, even. The fact that something so random had reminded Eijun of Miyuki enough to blurt out his name suddenly was telling of his weird fixation on Miyuki.

Eijun claimed that he wasn’t going to think about Miyuki anymore after his first petty rant, but there he was anyway, shouting Miyuki’s name at the top of his lungs at the zoo, completely unannounced and out of nowhere. The other YouTuber hadn’t been a topic of conversation for hours, but he was still on Eijun’s mind, lingering there like a demonic presence or something.

“Damn tanuki bastard…” Eijun muttered under his breath as he ran his hands down his face, exhausted from the thought of Miyuki alone. He had been up for hours, staring at a computer screen as he edited their footage, and yet he hadn’t felt tired until he started thinking of Miyuki again.

Miyuki and his goddamn smirk, his annoyingly pretty eyes and thick lashes, his infuriating, neatly shaped eyebrows and perfectly trimmed sideburns that faded down the line of his jaw, not to mention his heartthrob smile—

“Argh…” Eijun dug his fingers into his hair and crouched over his desk. “Dammit! I hate him!”

He kicked his feet around like a little kid for a moment before he saw his phone screen light up with a text notification. Eijun peered at it briefly. 

Oops. He was too loud.

Harucchi: go to bed

Eijun let out a soft weeping sound and typed back a response to his saint of a roommate quickly.

Me: I’M SORRYYYYY!! MIYUKI KAZUYA HAUNTS MY SUBCONSCIOUS LIKE A GHOST!!!! 。・゚゚*(ᗒᗣᗕ)*゚゚・。

Harucchi: i know. also im pretty sure its your normal conscious

Harucchi: now go to bed…….. please

Eijun groaned and took his advice. He tossed his phone aside and then tipped towards his mattress, landing face-first into his pillow with a flop. 

His heart was still racing from thoughts of Miyuki. He told himself it was due to his pure and utter rage, because that was the only explanation that made any sort of sense to Eijun.

He loathed Miyuki. Right, of course, duh, what else would it be? Loathing was why his heart was beating out of control from the thought of Miyuki’s annoyingly charming grin. There was absolutely nothing else to it.

Nothing else.

Chapter Text

To Eijun’s simultaneous rage and relief, Miyuki didn’t address the sudden appearance of the tanuki meme in a video. The next video he released was a joint gameplay with his best friend and fellow comedian YouTuber, Kuramochi Youichi. The two of them chatted and cracked jokes together, but the topic never came up, or if it had, it was edited out—Eijun would know since he watched the whole thing.

Not because he wanted to watch Miyuki’s new video, of course. It just happened to be what Furuya and Haruichi were watching the day it came out. Eijun was getting a snack from the kitchen and decided to linger around to glance at the TV once he heard Miyuki’s voice. He figured he could wash dishes while he was there, but he often found himself frozen in place with a soapy sponge pressed to the plate long after it was cleaned, staring at the TV screen as Miyuki laughed with a strange, squirmy feeling in his chest.

Distaste. Eijun scrunched his nose and glanced stubbornly down at the stack of plates in the sink’s basin. That’s all that feeling in his chest meant—it was simply distaste and nothing else. 

However, Miyuki didn’t totally ignore the meme, either. Even though he didn’t talk about it in his latest video release, he definitely didn’t turn a blind eye to it. Eijun practically jolted himself awake a few mornings later when he saw his notifications more active than usual thanks to a certain someone’s tweet. He had gained an impressive number of new subscribers and followers seemingly out of the blue, but when Eijun went to investigate the cause, he realized it was due to Miyuki again.

Eijun immediately checked Miyuki’s Twitter page, heart pounding out of control from anxiety (it was totally not excitement that he was feeling to find his name there, it was anxiety). 

Sure enough, Miyuki had tweeted once not too long ago, hence the reason why Eijun’s notifications were busier than usual. He found the tweet quickly.

@miyukik: i guess i do kinda look like this… lmao

Attached were two photos meant to be a side-by-side comparison. One photo was of Miyuki with his usual smirk on and the second photo was a tanuki with a similar clever expression. They truly looked the same and the tweet was gathering thousands of likes and retweets. Eijun’s heart pounded loudly as he scrolled down into the replies to see if anyone mentioned his name or the origin of the meme. 

A part of him hoped that someone else had compared Miyuki to a tanuki before, so perhaps all the credit would go to them and keep Eijun out of the spotlight, but Eijun had no way of knowing that. Another part of him sort of wanted to be the one responsible.

The first reply had a lot of attention since it was the tweet that Miyuki had responded to.

@bibblekin: @miyukik where did this meme even come from??? i mean its accurate af but still, feels like it came out of nowhere?? lollll

Miyuki answered:

@miyukik: @bibblekin i have no clue!

Eijun’s heart clenched a little with disappointment. He hoped he could be noticed by Miyuki—erm, no, that was wrong, he meant that he wished he got under Miyuki’s skin yet again. Clearly, Miyuki knew of his existence thanks to that snarky comment he made about Goldfish (seriously, fuck him for rating them so low, Goldfish crackers deserved to be S-Tier and nothing less), so how come he didn’t realize it was Eijun who sparked the tanuki meme? He pouted a bit and decided, out of curiosity, to see the replies to Miyuki admitting that he didn’t know where the meme came from.

One reply stood out from the rest.

@xiontree8: @miyukik omg wait so that means you haven’t seen Eijun’s new video yet?? That’s where he called u a tanuki!!!

Attached was a link to Eijun’s video. Eijun’s heart was beating out of his chest as he looked down at the top reply to their tweet.

Miyuki had responded… 

… with nothing besides the eyes emoji. 

The eyes emoji, for fuck’s sake.

That’s really all the damn bastard had to say about it all!? Eijun grit his teeth and glared furiously down at the screen of his phone. Was Miyuki being serious!? He couldn’t even share any words, any thoughts about the video, or any indication that he’d seen it? He just had to send some cryptic emoji with no words to accompany what he meant by that!?

“Annoying…!” Eijun complained out loud to the surrounding silence of his own room, feeling the heat of rage beginning to pool in his cheeks and flush his face red. Eijun thrashed around on his bed as he ranted, “He’s so annoying…! I swear, if I see him at VidCon, I’m gonna—I’m gonna confront him! I’m gonna give him a piece of my mind!! This Sawamura Eijun—”

Right after the words left his mouth, the door to his bedroom door swung open without a knock. Startled, Eijun yelped and grabbed his blankets, yanking them up over his chest like he was a girl caught undressing. Haruichi stood there with a deathly smile on his face and a glimmer of a threat in those peach-colored eyes.

“Eijun-kun, how wonderful! I heard that you were finally awake!” Haruichi greeted him with a venomous tone. Eijun gulped and shrank back against his pillows, terrified by Haruichi’s threatening aura. He must have pissed Haruichi off somehow, and facing his roommate’s wrath was one of the most frightening things Eijun knew about. Haruichi tilted his head to the side and sweetly encouraged, “I think that means you can help us start packing now.”

“P-Packing! Right!” Eijun barked out as his shoulders stiffened with realization. 

Somehow, VidCon was already this weekend. It was Thursday morning and they had to get going later today. Eijun’s bag of clothes and personal items was ready, but he knew Haruichi and Furuya would need help safely packing all their camera equipment, charging cords and whatnot. This was to ensure they could vlog as much of the weekend as possible. All their viewers combined would want to know about their experience, especially those who couldn’t make it (which was the vast majority of their fans), so it was very important that they recorded plenty of content.

The three of them were lucky that they lived close to where VidCon was hosted annually. They didn’t have to fly or deal with lugging all of their equipment through the airport, only transferring everything in the trunk of Furuya’s car. Eijun got out of bed quickly and hurried to help his best friends prepare for the big weekend ahead.

All morning, Eijun was distracted. He loaded their bags in the car and made sure that he had all his things even though his mind was elsewhere. He was excited, but he couldn’t stop thinking about a certain someone who Eijun knew would be in the same place. After all, Haruichi, Furuya and Eijun all purchased tickets under the ‘Creator Track,’ meaning they would be allowed into spaces exclusive to other YouTube creators.

Those spaces included this year’s Featured Creators, such as Miyuki Kazuya.

Granted, there were over 20,000 attendees and possibly many, many more creators like Eijun who were not ‘featured’ and therefore not treated as such a big deal. There were likely even more exclusive places for Featured Creators to solely spend time and mingle together, places that even Eijun couldn’t get into. 

He wasn’t sure exactly how segregated the whole convention was—he just knew that there were only certain times that he would be admitted to the same places as people with ‘Community Track’ tickets, or in other words, fans. Otherwise, Eijun would be solely with other creators so that the whole weekend, they wouldn’t be hounded by fans.

Well, Eijun wasn’t famous enough to be hounded, per say, but he would likely be recognized pretty often. Having Haruichi and Furuya as company meant they’d all attract the attention of three pools of fans, not just one. It made sense for them to stay in the creator-only spaces so they could enjoy themselves without constantly being stopped for pictures and conversations.

That meant thousands of people would be barred from said creator-only spaces, narrowing down the amount of faces Eijun would be seeing, and therefore increasing the possibility that he’d bump into Miyuki himself. The thought sent a shiver down Eijun’s spine, one that he interpreted as disgust, and he childishly crossed his arms and slumped against the seat of the car as they pulled out onto the street.

They had a few hours before they arrived at the convention center, so until then, Eijun tried to relax. The chances he’d see Miyuki Kazuya were still very slim, even with the understanding that they’d be in the same place quite often. There would be thousands of people around them, not to mention how Featured Creators were given even more privacy than normal creators. Eijun doubted they’d ever cross paths, especially not by pure coincidence.

But there was still always a chance that they  could, and that meant Eijun had to keep a lookout for the tanuki bastard at all times.

Eijun’s grip on the crooks of his elbows tightened. He gulped and decided, with a firm conviction, that he needed to put his mind at ease. With that, he closed his eyes and drifted off into a light sleep as they drove towards the convention center.

 

***

 

“Eijun-kun, don’t forget the bags.”

Eijun turned around with a startled flinch. He seized the handles of their roller-bags and stiffened his posture, now finally tearing his eyes away from the rotating doors of the hotel lobby. The next person walking in was a woman, anyhow. Definitely not Miyuki Kazuya.

“R-Right!! I’ve got them, Harudanji!” Eijun responded loudly.

Haruichi narrowed his eyes at Eijun. He only ever used formal nicknames like that when he was truly on edge or, at the very least, feeling some type of way. Eijun was cat-eyed and a nervous bead of sweat rolled down his temple. His eyes darted back towards the doors when someone approached the hotel, his heart skipping a beat, only to sink with mild disappointment—no, relief, it was definitely relief he felt—upon noticing that yet again, the person who just walked in wasn’t Miyuki Kazuya.

Haruichi finished checking in at the front desk, received the keys to their room, and gathered up some of their bags while Furuya grabbed the rest. It was now time to head up. Eijun followed after the pair quickly, ensuring that he had everything in hand. They only waited for an elevator for a moment before one arrived with a ding. The doors slid open to reveal a few people. Eijun held his breath as a man with brown hair stepped out amongst the crowd, and holy shit, was he wearing a beanie!? Could it be—

The man glanced at Eijun for a brief second. His eyes were green and he didn’t wear any glasses. Eijun let out a shaky breath upon realizing that the man obviously wasn’t Miyuki. Eijun ducked his head down with embarrassment for gawking at a stranger like that, then followed Haruichi and Furuya into the elevator. No one else accompanied them as they selected their floor and the elevator began to lift.

“Are you okay?” Haruichi asked once they were on their way. “You’re acting really flighty today, Eijun-kun.”

“Me?” Eijun pointed at himself shakily. “I’m doing great, Harucchi! Just peachy! In fact, I’m super excited to be here with you guys! We’re gonna have a lot of fun this weekend, aren’t we!? Totally free from people like Miyuki Kazuya! We’ll have a great time, just the three of us! And maybe some other friends, not including anyone like Miyuki! Wahaha!”

Haruichi narrowed his eyes and exchanged a knowing glance with Furuya. Vaguely, Haruichi whispered to his boyfriend as if Eijun wasn’t even there. “Ah, I get it now. He’s got butterflies because he can’t stop thinking about Miyuki-san.”

“Butterflies!?” Eijun yelled, despite the fact that Haruichi had been talking about him in third-person. “No way! Those are for good feelings! What I’m experiencing in my gut is more like a bee’s hive or something!! I’m telling you, what I’m going through is not a pleasant feeling! What if he appears behind us like an apparition and insults me!? What if he makes fun of me in front of everyone!? What if—”

“We’re at our floor,” Furuya acknowledged with a little gleam of excitement in his eyes. Eijun’s jaw dropped with disbelief as Furuya trotted out of the elevator with a skip in his step.

“Are you seriously ignoring me again!?” Eijun hollered after him. He charged after Furuya while declaring, “Screw you! I’m gonna get to the door before you!”

In response, Furuya silently picked up his pace until the two idiots were basically sprinting down the hotel hallway, feet slamming against the floor and making the ground shake. Haruichi blushed with embarrassment when someone poked their head out of their door to glare at the two adults charging down the hall like little boys.

“Slow down, you two!” Haruichi scolded with a brief, apologetic nod towards the cranky mother standing in the doorway. She grunted and closed the door firmly once Haruichi passed. Eijun and Furuya didn’t seem to care or hear Haruichi’s warning, for they were now wrestling to get their room key in the door first. Furuya succeeded in holding him off and jamming his key in before Eijun had a chance, and Eijun let out a cry of dismay.

“No fair! I’ll win next time!” Eijun snapped as the two of them wriggled into the room, trying to get past each other at the same time. By the time Haruichi got inside, they were bickering over who got which bed.

“I like the bed by the window,” Furuya argued with a small frown. “It’s closer to the AC unit.”

“I want the view!!” Eijun yelled with his hands balled into indignant fists.

“Now, now,” Haruichi sighed as he set his bags down and closed the door behind him. “Eijun-kun, you’ll still be able to see outside the window whenever you like. I prefer to be next to that nightstand in between the beds and Furuya wants his back to the AC unit. Plus, Eijun, you will have that whole corner. Look, there’s lots of space for your things right there.”

“Oh, you’re right!” Eijun directed his attention to the space Haruichi pointed out with sparkling golden eyes. “You’re a genius, Harucchi! So it turns out I got the best bed in the room! Ha, take that, Furuya!”

Furuya looked unimpressed. He softly protested, “My bed is still the best.”

“Sure, keep telling yourself that,” Eijun shrugged him off with a snicker. Furuya opened his mouth to argue again, but Haruichi shook his head and gave him a look that silently said, ‘It’s not worth it. You got what you wanted so let him think that he won this time.’  

Furuya pouted and glanced aside, but he got quickly distracted by the towels on the bed that were shaped in the form of a swan. He lifted the hotel swan with his cheeks reddening from delight, a relaxed expression crossing his face.

Meanwhile, Eijun flopped tummy-first onto the bed and decided to put out a tweet announcing that they had arrived. He snapped a picture of Furuya staring at the towel-swan while Haruichi unpacked in the background. He tweeted the photo with a cute caption.

@eijunoshioshi: WE MADE IT!!! \(≧▽≦)/

It only took a few seconds for the tweet to start blowing up. Eijun watched the numbers skyrocket on his tweet, which gained an influx of likes and retweets rather quickly. He skimmed a bunch of replies that popped up, feet swaying in the air as he hummed happily to himself.

@Bakabun: @eijunoshioshi I’ll be at the meet and greet!! I’m so excited to meet you!! (´。• ω •。`)

@thestormconflict: @eijunoshioshi Have fun!!! Can’t wait to see your vlogs!!

@madspwr: @eijunoshioshi LMAO FURUYA LOOKS SO HAPPY

@salalulu: @eijunoshioshi this is so wholesome omg ♡( ◡‿◡ )

@darklingstar: @eijunoshioshi are u hype??? :D

@YRKcarson: @eijunoshioshi i might be a beanie but i wanna meet u hahaha don’t kill me pls 

Eijun stiffened. A Beanie—meaning a Miyuki fan? Why were they still following Eijun’s content? He held his breath as more replies rapidly loaded.

@bitch-hog: @eijunoshioshi i wish i was there to see the eijun vs miyuki showdown in person lmfao frrrr

@Dovanox: @eijunoshioshi WHEN ARE U GONNA SEE MIYUKI….???? |д・)

@micaglass6: @eijunoshioshi Oh, good that you made it safely!! As a side note, I hope you don’t lose your mind if you see Miyuki Kazuya… XD

@gnarlyharyu: @eijunoshioshi press f for miyuki when he gets scratched by nyamamura hehehe

Eijun felt his face heating with embarrassment. The replies were quickly becoming flooded with Miyuki’s name. He locked his phone and set it aside while his heart fluttered rapidly. Did people really think he was going to meet Miyuki this weekend? Even though Eijun was on edge, he already convinced himself that the chances of them running into each other were extremely slim. They might as well be across the world from each other.

Secretly, Eijun put Miyuki’s tweets on notifications just so he knew where Miyuki was at any given moment. That way, he could definitely know where not to go. He would absolutely avoid those places at all costs.

Luckily, after accidentally seeing those replies to his tweet, Eijun was able to put thoughts of Miyuki aside for the time being. Furuya and Haruichi started vlogging by giving a room tour and showing off the view that they had in the hotel room. Then, Haruichi suggested they head down to the convention center to pick up their badges and do a little exploring. With that, they left the hotel room and made their way to the designated building for their badges.

During the walk, Eijun couldn’t stop himself from glancing around at every passing person. Once again, he was wondering about Miyuki despite deciding he would try not to think about him. Even cars that drove by were not exempt from Eijun’s inspection—Eijun found himself gazing into their tinted windows, wondering if he’d catch a glimpse at Miyuki’s profile sitting inside one of them. 

“Eijun-kun, who are you most excited to see at VidCon?” Haruichi asked as they were crossing the street, successfully snapping Eijun out of his distracted daze.

“Definitely not Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun yelled defensively. He went cat-eyed again and flinched when a random person walking faster than their group passed him on his left. At least that person wasn’t Miyuki Kazuya.

“Okay…” Haruichi trailed off and laughed awkwardly. “But I asked who you’re most excited to see, not who you want to avoid.”

“R-Right!” Eijun squeaked out as his cheeks flushed red. He couldn’t believe he just blurted out what, or who, was on his mind like that. “Uhm, I hope I can meet Chris-senpai! I’m going to his panel tomorrow morning! Oh, and I want to see Spitz-senpai!” He flashed a grin and explained, “For those of you who don’t know, I’m talking about @thespitz, the infamous angry film critic! I love his content and totally agree with his opinions!”

“That’s exciting!” Haruichi responded with a smile. He then directed the camera towards Furuya. “Satoru, I know you’re excited to meet @mininoririsu, otherwise known as Nori-senpai, the viral miniature-food chef that feeds his creations to his pet squirrel. Satoru watches his content all the time. Right, Satoru?”

“Squirrel pancakes and eggs,” Furuya answered softly, with a pleasant, calm gleam in his eyes. “I want to ask where he purchases such tiny quail eggs and whisks.” Furuya paused thoughtfully. “I hope I can pet Risu.” 

“Risu is the name of Nori-senpai’s squirrel,” Haruichi helpfully supplied to the viewers. “He is apparently also a guest at VidCon this year.” He giggled and added, “Satoru might be more excited to meet Risu than Nori-senpai.”

After that, the group was finally approaching the line for badges. Haruichi stopped filming for a while so they saved footage space and battery power. Meanwhile, Eijun’s eyes were darting all over the place as he tried to ensure that Miyuki was nowhere to be found. He had no luck in spotting the more popular YouTuber, so he tried to relax as they inched closer to the front of the line. 

His heart felt like it was permanently racing and he was constantly on edge. Eijun kept wondering if he would suddenly hear Miyuki’s voice and spot him from across the room. He pondered if Miyuki would notice him as well, and if he did, he wanted to know if they’d speak and if Miyuki would say hello, or perhaps he would turn his eyes the other way instead. After all, Eijun didn’t know how Miyuki felt about his rants. His fans seemed to find Eijun adorable and amusing, but Eijun wasn’t sure of Miyuki’s personal feelings on the matter. For all he knew, Miyuki might hate him.

The possibility of Miyuki actually hating him made him frown. He should be wishing for that, since Eijun definitely couldn’t stand Miyuki, but… for some reason, the thought bothered him. Hate was such a strong word, and sure, Eijun had complained a ton about Miyuki, but he didn’t actually wish anything bad on Miyuki. He just thought Miyuki was a popular fuck-boy who had a much bigger platform than he deserved, one that he only had control over because he was attractive. He wasn’t talented or unique—just hot. That’s what bothered Eijun about Miyuki the most. 

Now feeling worried about how his actions have come off, Eijun grew silent and thoughtful. He trudged after Furuya and Haruichi after they got their badges, his eyes lowered down to his feet. He wished he didn’t spot Miyuki now, for he wasn’t sure how he felt. He was sort of ashamed that he spent so much of his time bitching over Miyuki and saying such petty things about him. How would Miyuki react if they met in person and he realized who Eijun was, and what things he said about Miyuki to his own audience? 

Maybe it was a little late to start worrying about that, but it felt different now that there was a chance they could meet face to face. It was one thing to talk about someone on the internet and another to actually be confronted by that person in the flesh. Eijun felt a lot more self conscious about his opinions regarding Miyuki when in front of the man himself versus being alone in his room. Plus, in the heat of the moment, Eijun might blurt out stronger words and feelings than he intended to reveal. He was pretty impulsive and hot-headed like that.

Suddenly, Eijun’s phone buzzed with a particular notification. He glanced down at it and felt his heart skip.

Miyuki just posted a new tweet.

Eijun hurried to open it up and see what it said.

@miyukik: featured creators squad! 
come to our panels tomorrow, you won’t regret it ;)
@mochiyouichi @thewisesage @tanbakouichrou
@gorillaboss @fairyman @fujiwara_takako @kukikookie…

Eijun’s eyes widened at the sight of the people surrounding Miyuki, all leaning in with various expressions as Miyuki snapped a selfie. He recognized quite a few of those creators, even though there were a couple that he’d never heard of from other corners of YouTube that he rarely ventured to himself. The group appeared to be in a party bus or a large limousine of some sort, for everyone was seated rather close together with fancy cocktails in hand. The lights around them were colored fuschia, giving everyone’s skin a purplish glow.

He hated to admit it, but Miyuki looked really good in that picture. He wore his signature smirk and Eijun found his eyes trailing down to Miyuki’s hand, where he held a martini glass containing a clear liquid and a sliced kiwi on its rim. The grip he had looked sturdy, each finger firm and lithe, nails perfectly filed without a chip in sight— 

“Eijun-kun, let’s take a picture!” Haruichi’s voice interrupted Eijun’s train of thought. His head snapped up immediately and he shoved his phone in his pocket hurriedly before anyone noticed what he was doing. Knowing Miyuki was with the Featured Creators had him sighing a breath of relief, all the tension now leaving his shoulders. At least he knew he wouldn’t be bumping into Miyuki right now.

Haruichi was waving at him excitedly in front of a giant VidCon sign. Eijun bounded over with his signature call. “Oshi oshi! It’s picture time!”

Furuya was the one who tweeted the photo with a stoic caption, which was quite typical of Furuya.

@s_furuya: We are at VidCon.
@luckyboyharu @eijunoshioshi

Eijun was quick to retweet. Only afterwards did he realize he gave his location away and Miyuki could possibly see where he was. His heart fluttered with brief excitement.

… not that he’d ever go out of his way to see Eijun. There was next to no chance of that ever happening. Plus, they were moving on from this location now. If Miyuki was in a party bus like the photo suggested, it’s not like he’d get there anytime soon even if he wanted to.

Still, Eijun left the sign behind with a funny feeling in his chest, one that made him slow his pace. It was if he truly wanted to hang around and see if Miyuki walked by. The only reason he wanted to stay there was because he was feeling a little curious, that was all.

Nothing happened that evening as they explored around. They returned to the room without any eventful encounters.

For some strange reason, Eijun felt a little disappointed by this, but he assured himself that they had the entire weekend ahead for crazy memories and new experiences. In the meantime, they all needed a good night’s sleep.

Impatient for tomorrow, Eijun was able to fall asleep quickly.

 

***

 

“Oshi! Rise and shine, everyone! Today, I see Chris-senpai in the flesh!”

Eijun bounded about their hotel room and threw the curtains open, allowing the morning sunlight to shine in and wake Haruichi and Furuya up. Eijun swiveled the camera to the couple, now stirring under the covers. He caught a quick shot of Haruichi’s deathly glare, which evoked a squawk of fear from Eijun’s lips.

“Whoa!” Eijun then scurried into the farthest corner of the room immediately. “Harucchi is super not pleased to see me! I’ll record later! Bye-bye for now!” He turned the camera off and set it down with a giggle. Haruichi groaned and buried his face into Furuya’s chest stubbornly, who had already fallen fast asleep again.

It took some time before the lazy couple rose for good and everyone started getting ready. Eijun was going to go off on his own to see Chris’s panel while Haruichi and Furuya went to a different event. As he was brushing his teeth, his phone dinged with a Twitter notification. He glanced over and nearly choked on his toothpaste upon seeing that it was a tweet from Miyuki Kazuya.

Shit. He’d totally pushed Miyuki from his mind all morning, but there was no going back now. Hurriedly, Eijun opened the tweet with a pounding heart.

@miyukik: setting up! come see me @ panel room 6, 11 am! so excited to see you all and make you laugh :)

Attached was a picture of an empty panel room with the seats being aligned by various VidCon staff members. Eijun gulped—his panel was at the same time as Chris’s panel. He quickly checked the VidCon program guide on his phone to confirm that Chris was in Panel Room 23—a room that was totally on the opposite side of the convention center from Miyuki’s. He sighed out a breath of relief, knowing there was no way they’d run into each other when the panel rooms were so far apart.

Eijun continued to prepare, got dressed, and decided he had to head on over if he wanted a chance at a good seat. The nice thing was that people with Creator Track badges got into panels before the Community Track ticket-holders, since there tended to be way less of them. However, if someone showed up late, that was on them. They would just have to wait in line with everyone else. Eijun didn’t want to get into that situation. 

“I’m off!” Eijun announced as he started for the door. “I’ll meet up with you guys afterwards!”

“Have fun!” Haruichi called after him. Eijun flashed a smile and shut the door behind him, adjusted the baseball cap on his head (it would hopefully make him stand out a little less) and trotted down the hallway. Finally, he would get to see one of his favorite YouTubers in person! He felt so lucky! All he had to do was head to Panel Room 6. 

Right, because Miyuki was in Panel Room 23, so he had to avoid that room at all costs. He wanted nothing to do with Miyuki’s fans or worse, Miyuki himself. He drilled it into his head to go to Panel Room 6 and make zero detours.

On the way there, Eijun was stopped and recognized by a couple fans, but luckily their interactions were short and sweet. All they wanted were selfies and hugs, so Eijun was happy to oblige before heading off to the panel room. He had lots of time to kill so he wasn’t worried, but by the time he reached Panel Room 6, he was one of the last creators allowed inside before the Community Track badge holders were admitted.

Feeling giddy, Eijun practically pranced inside and chose a seat in the third row. He was too nervous to be in front, plus most of the seats up there were taken anyhow. He went on his phone while he waited for the panel to begin, mindlessly answering messages and liking some nice fan comments while he was at it.

He noticed that another verified user had tweeted at him, and not just anyone—it was from one of his favorite mutuals. Eijun perked up at the sight of the tweet.

@toujou_clover: So excited to see some old friends this weekend!! @eijunoshioshi are you free anytime today?? Hmu when you’re able to!!

Toujou! Eijun grinned at the tweet as he tapped the ‘like’ button. Toujou was a friend he met in college, but he was already a rather well-known creator at that point. He helped Eijun get a start on his platform and now, they had a similar amount of subscribers and followers, with Toujou still ahead by a small margin. Toujou’s videos were all very long and well edited, documenting all sorts of topics and interviewing different types of people. He was well-regarded for creating quality docu-series alongside his partner, Kanemaru.

Eijun decided to reply as the chatter of the crowd grew louder around him.

@eijunoshioshi: @toujou_clover TOUJOU!!!! YES I AM! o(*°▽°*)o LET’S HANG OUT LATER!! BRING KANEMAARU!! 

After that, Eijun put his phone away and began truly hearing what was being said around him. Maybe he was going crazy, but he suddenly realized that everyone was speaking about Miyuki Kazuya.

“I can’t wait!” A girl behind him gasped with a squeal. “He’s probably even more sexy in person!”

“What if we get to meet him afterwards!?” Someone else gasped with a little hitch in their breath. “I mean, I think they won’t let us until the official meet and greet, but wouldn’t it be so cool if we got up close now?”

Eijun tensed and tried to focus on a different conversation happening around him. He didn’t need to listen to a pair of fangirls gushing over Miyuki’s good looks. Everyone knew he was attractive, that was nothing new! Plus, why were they talking about Miyuki right now? This was Chris’s panel. Seriously, could they be any more inconsiderate? Eijun frowned a bit and shifted his attention elsewhere.

“Dude, I died laughing at the recent cringe-reaction video he did with Mochi,” someone else’s voice said from Eijun’s left. “When they screamed at her creepy doll room? Oh, man. It was golden!”

“I need to see their joint panel tomorrow,” responded their friend with a snicker. “You’re coming with, right?”

“Hell yeah!"

Eijun was growing irritated. Was everyone in this damn crowd talking about Miyuki? For what reason? This was a panel about Chris! The one and only Chris Yuu! Eijun was growing offended by the topic apparently overwhelming the room. They should take their hype about Miyuki elsewhere, for fuck’s sake. Eijun decided to look at the person next to him. He realized she was alone, so he decided to strike up a conversation about something besides Miyuki Kazuya.

“So, how long have you been watching Chris?” Eijun inquired with a friendly smile. The girl had been focused on her phone until she glanced up and noticed that Eijun was talking to her. She blinked at him shyly, so Eijun decided to go first. “I’ve been watching him for only a few years now, but I love everything he bakes! It looks delicious, don’t you think? My favorite thing he’s ever made was the strawberry shortcake! It’s a simple recipe, but it looked so tasty!”

“Oh, are you talking about Chris Yuu Bakes?” The girl asked with a small, warm smile. “I like his channel, too. He’s very talented. It’s too bad I’m missing his panel today, but I had to make a hard choice. I’m gonna try to make it to his meet and greet instead.”

Eijun tilted his head with confusion. “Huh? What do you mean, miss the panel? Do you have to leave now or something?”

The girl looked just as lost as Eijun. “Well, it’s happening in a minute, and I’m here, so…”

Here? But here is the panel! Eijun thought with a frown, but before he could ask a question, the lights began to dim. The crowd around them erupted into frantic squealing, so loud that even if Eijun spoke, anything he said would have been drowned out by the sound. His eyes widened and the girl beside him immediately looked towards the stage.

“It’s starting!!” She cried out with barely-contained excitement. Eijun felt a rush of joy as well, all his confusion briefly forgotten. Who cared if the girl was making no sense? It was time for Chris’s panel!

However, despite all the obvious signs pointing to the truth of the situation, Eijun realized that he wasn’t prepared at all for what—or rather, who —he saw strut out on stage.

From the back emerged Miyuki fucking Kazuya, in the flesh, less than a hundred feet away from where Eijun was sitting. He had a microphone attached to a tight-fitting white baseball tee, blue sleeves reaching down to his elbows, the fabric stretching around those impressive biceps. He wore dark-wash jeans and clean sneakers—a casual ensemble that still managed to make Eijun feel nauseous from overwhelming shock.

Perched on the bridge of his nose were his familiar pair of rectangular black glasses, lenses glinting right in front of a pair of stunning caramel-brown eyes. He flashed a pearly-white smile at the crowd and lifted a hand in greeting, waving as the squealing and cheering of the crowd grew louder and louder. There was not a hair out of place on his head, each lock framing his beautifully angled face and sharp jawline like a goddamn model.

“Whoa, surprise, surprise. What a big crowd we have here. Thanks for coming!” Miyuki spoke for the first time, earning a chorus of laughs and more cheers from his fans. Eijun was frozen solid, his heart lurching from shock and confusion at the sound of Miyuki’s voice. It was just as charming as it was in his videos, except he had the addition of an echo from the microphone.

Only then did Eijun piece together some crucial information.

He had swapped the panel room numbers in his head somewhere on the way over. Eijun had willingly decided to attend Miyuki’s panel under the assumption that this was Chris’s panel room.

To make matters worse, Eijun felt far too paralzyed to move. If he stood up now, everyone would see him. There was no doubt he’d be spotted, possibly by even Miyuki himself. He wasn’t in the back row where he could run off without anyone noticing.

Shit. Eijun realized that no matter what, he couldn’t leave. He absolutely couldn’t risk being seen here.

This Sawamura Eijun is totally screwed!!

Chapter Text

Eijun had never felt more out of place in his life. There he was, glued to his seat with his stomach tying into nervous knots as he tried his best to sink back and hide his face from view. Thank god he decided to wear a baseball cap, for he tugged it down to hopefully conceal some of his most defining features. He was also grateful that he hadn’t, in the end, decided to sit in the front row even if there were some seats available. He could cope with random people spotting him, but not Miyuki himself.

The squeals of fangirls overwhelmed the room as they greeted Miyuki to the stage enthusiastically. Excitable chatter from the audience surrounded Eijun as his heart beat faster from his growing anxiety and dread.

“Oh my gosh, he’s so much hotter in person!” One girl gushed to her friend while fanning her flushing face rapidly.

“I think my mouth is watering!!”

“Can you believe that we thought a filter made him look that fine!?”

“His tiddies be popping…”

Eijun scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. Old news, it’s all old news! Miyuki was worthy of being voted the nation’s sexiest man or whatever, Eijun obviously knew that already! If all Miyuki was good for was standing around to be eye-candy for these people, then Eijun was even angrier that he was chosen as a Featured Creator for this year’s VidCon. Assholes that just used their good looks for fame deserved criticism, in Eijun’s book. They certainly didn’t do jack shit to warrant their own grand panel like this.

People like Chris were the kinds of creators who deserved the spotlight. Chris was good looking, but that wasn’t the reason he was a successful YouTuber. He actually did things! He baked amazing pastries, shared his recipes with the world, and provided calmly spoken positive messages as he baked, like the Bob Ross of cooking or something equally as iconic! He was incredible and Eijun had many good reasons to admire him. Meanwhile, this stupid Miyuki guy was probably just full of himself because he knew he was hot shit while he didn’t do a damn thing.

Ugh. Eijun was already fed up with this situation. He started fuming upon realizing that he had no choice but to sit through this shitshow of a panel. If the squealing and fangirling around him didn’t die down soon, he wondered if his hearing would be damaged. He was already tempted to cup his hands over his ears just to save himself some of the agony.

Only then did Eijun notice the girl next to him in the corner of his eye. She had been peeking at him confusedly, likely wondering why he looked so disgruntled. Eijun frowned and pretended not to notice her glances, but he did feel a little guilty by looking so visibly upset. He’d been seated next to grumps at events he attended before, and it always felt like their negative energy tainted the whole experience. Eijun couldn’t explain how, but he swore that “vibes” and “auras” were definitely legit.

With that in mind, Eijun figured he should really try to be more respectful—as much as Eijun couldn’t stand Miyuki Kazuya or the fact that he even had a following, his fans had always treated Eijun with kindness, even from day one. It was obvious that the girl next to him had no idea who he was, but Eijun did have a pretty good opinion of “the Beanies” or whatever they were called.

He didn’t want to rain on their parade with his sour situation. It was his own fault for ending up here, after all. He was the idiot who mixed up the panel numbers in his head. Because of that, Eijun took in a deep breath and exhaled decisively through his nostrils. Right. It was time to relax and accept the inevitable: that there was nothing he could do but try and “enjoy” the time he had here.    

Even so, Eijun stubbornly insisted to himself he would not enjoy the panel at all. He would simply tolerate it for the sake of not ruining anyone else’s experience. With a final nod to himself, Eijun sat himself up a little better to pretend that he was invested in whatever was happening now. Miyuki was standing in the center of the stage holding a microphone. A tall stool was beside him and he started to settle down on top of it.

“So… airplane food, am I right?” Miyuki snickered. He paused and watched as the audience collectively rolled their eyes and groaned. He then waved his hand around in the air dismissively. “Oi, relax. I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’m not here to be a corny stand-up comedian. Or maybe I am and I just want to keep you guessing~”

Eijun fought down the urge to scoff. At least stand-up comedians had to have some sort of talent or skill to be famous. He begrudgingly gazed at Miyuki as he glanced over the audience and adjusted the microphone in his grip. For some reason, Eijun noticed that minute gesture, the way the tendons in the back of his hand visibly flexed as he moved. The observation made Eijun’s throat suddenly feel a little dry.

“Nah, I know I’m here to entertain you, which means I won’t attempt to do forced comedy about relatable experiences like traffic and bad weather,” Miyuki clarified with that smooth, silky voice that made Eijun’s skin— crawl. It was definitely crawling and this was not a soothing sensation. Eijun gulped as Miyuki continued on. His expression softened, eyes glimmering behind glasses lenses with an affection Eijun hadn’t expected to see on his face. “But before I start talking, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you, because… wow. Ten million subscribers is… a lot.”

The crowd aww’d softly in response to Miyuki’s gratitude, to which he flashed a smile with perfectly white teeth that made Eijun’s heart throb because he was surprised by the expression, that’s all. Miyuki lifted his arm and scratched at the back of his neck a little bashfully and Ejun’s eyes closely followed the movement, taking in the sight of his arm muscles flexing. The perfectly proportioned slope that ran down his back from his broad shoulders to his narrow hips should be illegal— 

“I’m not trying to brag,” Miyuki expressed. “I mean, it’s a number that barely any YouTubers have reached worldwide, but… again, I’m not trying to brag.” 

To show that he was joking, Miyuki flashed a cheeky smile at the crowd and winked. He winked, for fucks’ sake and Eijun felt his body flush from head to toe with heat not because it had any effect on him, not at all. It was just because he totally felt the excitement of the people around him. Eijun wouldn’t be surprised if some of the people were at risk of fainting from how wildly they reacted to a simple blink of Miyuki Kazuya’s frustratingly perfect eye.  

“Look, I know most YouTubers, when they give this speech, are all sappy and corny…” Miyuki explained, then paused to rub his lips together before continuing. “They say things like, ‘if you would have told me five years ago that you’d have 10 million subscribers on YouTube, I wouldn’t have believed you,’ and well… there is some truth to that. I sure as hell started off as a nobody with a twisted, unlikeable personality with too much snark to be liked by anyone. Then someone gave me a camera and I started speaking to the web instead.”

Eijun hadn’t realized when he stopped stewing in his anger to actually listen to what Miyuki was saying, but suddenly his boiling rage felt like it faded away. He found himself actually gazing at Miyuki’s face with a spark of interest in his heart, a feeling that made Eijun want to say , ‘I understand what you mean.’ Not the part about being unlikeable or twisted, but… he certainly related to being a nobody until he began talking to the world through the internet.

“Now I pair up with Kuramochi all the time because we’re both jerks with unlikeable traits,” Miyuki admitted with a laugh. “Apparently, us laughing at some of the most genuine assholes out there gained some attention and then everything spiraled from there. It wouldn’t have been possible without you guys. Knowing I have an audience out there who watches my videos to keep them company, to laugh when times are hard, to share my passion and become inspired to do their own crafts or songs as well… it’s why I keep sitting in front of the camera and filming every day. It’s all for you.”

As the words left his mouth, Miyuki raised his eyes to the crowd and smiled. It was a genuine smile, one that stretched across his face and made the dimples by the corners of his mouth show clearly. His eyes appeared to flash a golden-honey color under the lights of the stage, shining with earnest appreciation and love for the people filling the rows of the panel room.

The crowd slowly began clapping and cheering—Miyuki’s fans were touched by his words. Eijun even distantly heard sniffles and happy weeping all around.

However, he was mostly busy listening to the pounding of his own heart, feeling the heat on his cheeks, and noticing the tightness in his chest that made it hard to breathe. A realization dawned upon him that made the entire world feel like it froze for a moment, just long enough for Eijun to process the truth that had been staring him in the face this entire time.

Eijun didn’t hate Miyuki Kazuya—in fact, what he felt was the polar opposite.

This entire time, Eijun had been falling for him.

The racing of his heart wasn’t anger, it was excitement. The urge he felt to watch Miyuki’s videos wasn’t because he had the desire to tear each one apart, but it was simply because he wanted to see his face and hear what Miyuki had to say. 

The heat burning his face bright red wasn’t rage, it was attraction—it was lust.

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Eijun’s head was spinning and he couldn’t keep up with the way his heart started to pound wildly in his chest. Miyuki was speaking again and every word coiled around Eijun like a viper, seductive and velvety, pushing him deeper and deeper into the grave he had dug for himself. He couldn’t decide if he wanted to stare at Miyuki or at his own lap as his face burned up hotter, coloring his skin the deepest shade of pink it could be. He wanted to curl up and hide from sheer embarrassment and mortification over his own realization.

He was falling for Miyuki fucking Kazuya!!

Eijun suppressed the urge to cuss out and scream out his emotions as he curled his arms around his waist. He wanted to turn away from the people sitting next to him, to hide the horrifically embarrassing expression that was surely all over his face. He wanted to melt into a puddle and never solidify again. 

This whole time he had been so convinced that he hated Miyuki Kazuya, but in reality he was hopelessly attracted to the damn guy!!

“The craziest thing about the whole experience was that he was actually really cool,” Miyuki was saying, now mid-story about one of his most beloved videos as the audience laughed along. The fans were on the edges of their seats, watching with stars in their eyes and smiles stretched across their faces as they listened to him speak. “We definitely had a feeling that the original video was staged, but who would have thought that the staged version of him was so different from the real guy? I mean, hell. He owned a rabbit, not an owl like some crazy Game of Thrones villain as we thought before.”

Eijun felt breathless as he looked between the audience members and Miyuki. The fact that he captivated everyone in that room—no, that was an understatement, it was more like ten million people worldwide—was no easy feat. He wasn’t some talentless asshole who slid by easily, who made a fortune off of nothing besides a pretty face. There were millions of pretty faces out there, but the fact that Miyuki was able to stand out amongst them all by radiating natural charisma and charm was nothing to be scoffed at.

Miyuki was someone to be admired for what he could do, not scorned. Eijun had been so terribly wrong. His irritation had maybe stemmed from envy, but the more he watched Miyuki and the more he understood, the more he admired the older YouTuber. To become an internationally beloved internet star was not easy and Miyuki had accomplished so much just by being himself. His reaction and commentary videos were some of his most successful and all he had to do was talk to the camera like his viewers were in the room with him.

However, there had to be more to Miyuki than that. Even though Eijun had only begrudgingly glanced at Miyuki’s page a few times, he knew there were all sorts of videos he totally looked over or ignored. Haruichi and Furuya seemed most interested in his more relatable commentary videos, but Eijun was sure that Miyuki did more than just talk.

As embarrassing as it was to think about, Eijun was suddenly curious about what other content Miyuki put out on a regular basis. He began looking at Miyuki in a new light; since he was a little less flustered than a few moments ago (though his face was definitely still burning up and his heart was fluttering like crazy), he was able to watch Miyuki with a new perspective. The anger he thought he felt upon seeing that charming grin and flawless profile melted into adoration and yearning.

Unfortunately, he was way too tied up in his own feelings to listen to whatever Miyuki was saying. He was in the middle of something, but all Eijun could focus on was the way his stomach twisted and turned whenever Miyuki chuckled or flashed a grin at the audience. Eijun began to marvel at the way he appeared to be so comfortable on stage, as if he were just in his own living room chatting with an old friend. The reality was that he was talking to a room packed with hundreds of people while being streamed online for millions more to see.

Though Eijun had hundreds of thousands of people subscribed to his channel with rising numbers every day, it suddenly felt like nothing compared to what Miyuki must experience—and yet, the thought of hosting his own panel frightened him. Eijun believed that seeing the number on the screen was much different than actually feeling all of those eyes on him. He had no choice but to feel amazed at Miyuki’s confidence and relaxed demeanor while he was seated on the stage, as if he simply belonged up there. He wasn’t doing anything particularly spectacular, like performing a song or dance, and yet he was expected to make the audience feel like they weren’t wasting their time by seeing him talk.

He was succeeding. Eijun hadn’t noticed a single person who got up and left. Everyone was engrossed with Miyuki’s stories, with his laughing and remarks, and they seemed to be genuinely having a good time doing so. To keep everyone’s interest, Miyuki showed a video up on the projected screen behind him that hinted at some of his upcoming content to get the fans excited. Then, he began taking questions from the audience. Eijun had been too frazzled to really pay attention to the video, but he definitely caught that Miyuki would be collaborating more with his best friend, Kuramochi, and that he was going to try out different types of YouTube content to expand his horizons.

As the panel went on, Eijun became lost in thought. He chewed on his bottom lip and squeezed his hands together while anxiety twisted in his chest. The weight of his phone pressed against his thigh, tempting him to scream out his new understanding of his feelings for the world. Even if he wanted to tell everyone he was falling in love, that euphoric rush was quickly squashed by a burst of anxiety.

Finally, Eijun had his second major revelation of the day: he couldn’t tell anyone about his true budding feelings about Miyuki.

He’d spent so much time getting worked up and vocal over Miyuki that suddenly doing a 180 in public made absolutely no sense. He couldn’t just show up in his next video and say, ‘Nevermind! I was totally wrong about Miyuki and now would give anything to have his eyes and hands all over me, I hope you’re not shocked! By the way, my ability to judge people’s character is good, I swear!’

It was just too shameful! Eijun felt like crawling under a rock from the thought of admitting something so embarrassing to the world. He had to keep up his anti-Miyuki act for the foreseeable future—plus, what good would it do for Eijun to publicly change himself from a “hater” to a fan? If Eijun wanted Miyuki’s attention (which, he was quickly realizing that he did) , then simply turning into yet another one of his admirers would shoot down any chances he might’ve had before.

Clearly, Miyuki had some idea about his existence judging by his sly comments in his videos about “kitty-cats” and his notice of the tanuki meme that Eijun had inadvertently sparked. Not to mention that Eijun was hardly able to accept his feelings in private, let alone admit to Miyuki and everyone else who watched him that he had a crush on him. Because of this, it had to remain a secret. Eijun couldn’t let the truth of his emotions come out, not now, and probably not ever.

The panel was over before Eijun knew it. Everyone clapped and cheered as Miyuki thanked his fans for coming, then exited the stage to head to the Meet & Greet area. As soon as they were able to leave, his biggest fans sprang out of their seats and rushed to the exit with hopes of being some of the first in line to meet Miyuki up close and personal. 

Dazed, Eijun stood and watched as the room cleared out around him. He followed the crowd until he was safely in the hallway with no one around that knew who he was. He managed to attend the panel without being spotted or called out, and that realization was enough for Eijun to breathe a deep sigh of relief. It could have gone much, much worse.

Despite the fact that it was over and Miyuki was out of Eijun’s sight, his heart hadn’t slowed down in the slightest. He felt as if butterflies were filling him up from the inside, beating their wings wildly and making him loosely wrap his arms around his midsection. Heat burned at his cheeks and he swallowed gradually, trying to get a hold of himself now that he was truly given the space to think. Figuring out he had a killer crush on a celebrity YouTuber that the public believed he despised wasn’t exactly the most peaceful moment of his day.

Eijun barely made it down the hallway before his eyes caught sight of a familiar face. Eijun wasn’t sure how to react at first, since he probably looked like he was running a high fever with how miserably he’d been blushing. Now at a loss of how to act, he stood there like a deer in the headlights until his friend turned and recognized him. 

“Ah, Eijun!” Toujou called out with a smile and waved his arm up high. “Over here!”

Beside him, Kanemaru paused and turned at the sound of Eijun’s name. He practically dragged his feet over to the pair with a nervous smile. Shit, he was totally not prepared for social interaction right now. He could already tell that this was going to be a trainwreck.

“Toujou! Kanemaaru!” Eijun called out, drawing out the second ‘a’ in Kanemaru’s name to vocalize his online handle, @kanemaaru. He flashed an unsteady grin as he approached the popular pair. “Wow! You’re both here, in the flesh!”

“We sure are,” Toujou responded with a light laugh. “It’s great to see you again. It feels like ages since the last time we hung out together.”

“Yeah, my hearing has almost finally healed,” Kanemaru remarked with a deep sigh. The jab at how loud Eijun spoke went right over his head.

“Yes, yes!” Eijun nodded enthusiastically. “You two have worked hard all this time! I’m a big fan of your docu-series on the indie music world! It’s very informative and it’s clear you both worked hard! Good job, Toujou and Kanemaaaaru!”

“Thanks,” Toujou said, eyes gleaming with appreciation for the compliment. Kanemaru had a light dusting of pink over his cheeks, but he didn’t say anything as he scratched the back of his neck bashfully. Toujou continued, “And your content is as funny and entertaining as ever. Your recent stuff on Miyuki Kazuya is hysterical. Still, I’m glad to see there’s no actual bad blood between you two.”

“M-M-Miyuki Kazuya!?” Eijun blurted out as his face colored bright red. His sudden outburst caused the pair to flinch. Eijun went stiff with apprehension as he belted out a laugh. “W-W-Why did his name come to your mind all of a sudden, Toujou!? How random!! Wahahaha!”

“Because he’s come up in all your latest videos?” Kanemaru prompted with an odd raise of his brow. “Like Toujou just said?”

“R-Right!” Eijun squeaked, still reeling from the blood rush to his face upon hearing Miyuki’s name out of the blue. “That would m-make sense! Plenty of p-perfectly coherent and reasonable sense! Ahaha… haha…”

Toujou and Kanemaru exchanged a speculative glance upon hearing Eijun randomly use such formal speech. That was always an indicator for Eijun’s behavior being off. They seemed to communicate with each other without words, for Toujou simply brought his attention back to Eijun without another word on the subject of Miyuki Kazuya—or so he thought. 

“So, where did you come from just now?” Toujou innocently asked, completely unaware that it would send Eijun into another spiral of panic.

Don’t freak out just yet, Sawamura Eijun! He gulped and tried to get a grip as a bead of sweat rolled slowly down his temple. He was seized with the urge to fan himself and cool down, but a small part of him understood that no matter what he did, he’d still feel overheated with thoughts of that damn sexy smirk and the sharp cut of Miyuki’s jawline, that trim waist and those broad shoulders, the way his— 

“I-I… I got lost!” Eijun answered as he cut his thoughts off, his tone a little more hysterical than what was deemed normal. The corner of his mouth twitched nervously as he struggled to find his words. “I was trying to see Chris-senpai’s panel, and I… g-got the panel rooms mixed up…”

“Ah…” Toujou’s smile fell slightly as he felt Eijun’s disappointment. “I’m sorry, that sucks. It happens to everyone. So… where did you end up going instead?”

“None of your business!” Eijun shrieked against his better judgement. Toujou and Kanemaru flinched, so Eijun froze up and realized that his answer was way more defensive than what was considered normal. He gulped and felt his blush burn all the way down to his neck, coloring his skin a comical shade of red.

This Sawamura Eijun is a walking, talking disaster!! Eijun rubbed his lips together and decided that he had to change the subject. Eijun began nervously chuckling as he scrambled for something to say. 

“U-Uh… so, why aren’t you two at the Meet and Greet?” Eijun asked instead. “You have a huge following!! Aren’t your fans dying to meet you?”

“Ah, our slot isn’t until tomorrow,” Toujou explained after a moment to let Eijun calm down (at least a little). They seemed to relax slightly after all of Eijun’s yelling and blushing. “We decided to walk around the fan spaces today to give people a chance to say hello in case they can’t make it tomorrow. A lot of people only attend VidCon for a single day, and it’s not fair to them if we just stay hidden until our scheduled time.”

“Oh, that’s so thoughtful, Toujou!” Eijun remarked with a trace of awe in his tone. His eyes sparkled as he nodded approvingly. “You must really care about your relationship with your fans! I see, I see! I will learn from your excellent example…!”

“R-Really, it’s not a big deal,” Toujou laughed humbly. Kanemaru was asked for a selfie from a fan that approached behind him, so he turned to chat with them. Meanwhile, Toujou’s expression softened with concern as he studied Eijun’s face. “More importantly, didn’t you miss Chris’s panel? I bet you were looking forward to that. Shouldn’t you get to the Meet and Greet area now if you want to see him? I thought it was starting now…”

Eijun gaped. He was right—Eijun hadn’t even realized what his plans were after the panel! He had hoped to just chat with Chris right after the panel if he was able to, but since he missed it, he didn’t get to see Chris at all. The Meet and Greet was the perfect solution and like Toujou said, it was happening now!

“Toujou, you genius!” Eijun yelped as his spine went ramrod straight. “You absolute genius! I must get there immediately! My chance to meet the great Chris-senpai has not passed! Toujou, thank you! Thank you, Toujou!”

“Don’t mind it,” Toujou laughed with a bashful blush in response to Eijun’s reverent repeated expressions of gratitude. A few fans were lingering, clearly waiting for Eijun to run off to avoid interrupting Toujou’s conversation. They had been waiting for a little while now and Toujou clearly felt bad about making them wait. He glanced at them, then back towards Eijun with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, I’ve got some people to take care of. You might wanna go before the line gets too long.”

“Off I go!!” Eijun bellowed out, no complaints to be said about being shooed away. He was in a hurry anyhow so Toujou’s encouragement for him to leave didn’t hurt his feelings in the slightest. “Goodbye for now!”

Without further ado, Eijun took off down the hallway in the direction of the Meet and Greets. At least he definitely knew where to go for those, so he pranced off with a little skip in his step as he drew nearer to the large room where they were held. All his embarrassment and dread were forgotten for a few blissful moments as he located Chris’s line and jumped in. He inched to the back of the room where all the Featured Creators were standing with a fluttering heart and a grin on his face. He could finally express how much he admired Chris to his face after all this time!

It was almost as if the whole fiasco with the panel mixup never happened, like his head was finally free from thoughts of—  

“Miyuki, I love you!”

Eijun’s neck nearly snapped from how quickly he turned his head, mouth dropping with astonishment. He thought his mind was playing tricks on him for a split second, but it was true—that voice definitely belonged to someone else in the room. 

Eijun went cat-eyed. Excuse me!?

His gut began to twist into knots as soon as he realized just who had their Meet and Greet booth stationed right next to Chris’s.

No way… no way!! Eijun’s heart began to pound wildly as his eyes landed upon the damn tanuki bastard standing casually to Chris’s left, a charming smile spread across his terribly perfect face. His eyes were twinkling like fucking stars for god’s sake as he accepted a hug from a fan, who was blushing probably as much as Eijun was as she was embraced by his strong arms for one blissful second. She wobbled around giddily as they took pictures together. To top it off, he signed a photo of himself for her to keep.

Eijun found himself distantly thinking that the girl was a very lucky person. She got to hug Miyuki, to be pressed up against that mouthwateringly firm chest and feel his embrace, even if just for once in her life. She knew how Miyuki smelled, what cologne he might use, and just how much he squeezed when he— 

“Um, can you move up, please?” The person behind Eijun said as they hesitantly tapped on his shoulder. Eijun squeaked and sprang into the air like a jack-in-the-box before realizing he had been staring at Miyuki and not paying attention to the movement of the line he was in.

“I-I’m so sorry!” Eijun yelped, then scrambled forward so that the massive gap between himself and the person in front of him was finally closed. Unfortunately, scurrying up meant that he was brought even closer to Miyuki, who was already way too close to Eijun to begin with—and this time, there was far more of a chance that Eijun would be spotted than at the panel. Here, there was no dark shadow shielding him from view or bright spotlights that made it hard for Miyuki to see the faces of his fans.

There was nothing but perfect clarity and absolutely nothing obstructing Miyuki’s line of sight. Eijun’s nerves kicked up and he found that he couldn’t focus on the line he was in, not even to get glimpses of Chris as he became more visible between the many heads and shoulders layered between them. Instead, he found himself blatantly staring over at Miyuki, completely shocked and in disbelief that fate was cruel enough to place him right next to Chris. He could have been next to any other creator or down at the other end of the room, but no, he was next to Chris as if he did it on purpose just to spite Eijun!!

When he eventually reached Chris would be the riskiest moment. Miyuki would be right next to him, just a few steps away. Miyuki could glance to the side one time and see Eijun there, and if he even thought about calling Eijun out… Eijun wasn’t sure what he’d do. He had never been directly addressed by Miyuki online, let alone in person. He wanted at least a little experience talking to Miyuki online before they were face to face, if that day ever came.

Oh no, what would he do if Miyuki spotted him and talked to him? He had no time to prepare his speech! What would he even say to someone like Miyuki if they had the chance to interact!? Eijun had been convinced that bumping into each other was impossible, yet here they were now, the distance between them becoming so slim that they might as well have gotten on the same elevator!!

“You’re up next,” a voice said from off to the side. Startled, Eijun tore his focus away from Miyuki, who was so insufferably close that Eijun almost forgot how to breathe. He realized that a member of VidCon staff was speaking to him, and as he brought his eyes to look straight ahead, he realized with a jolt of his heart that it was true—he was next in line to meet Chris!

There he was in all his heavenly glory, hair slicked back with a couple curly brown strands brushing against his forehead. He wore a tight white button-down shirt that strained at the seams just enough to make anyone’s mouth water from the gorgeous sight. Eijun felt a rush of admiration and excitement as a smile crossed over his face. Thoughts of Miyuki dissipated yet again as the fan in front of Eijun stepped away and Chris waved goodbye to them. Chris then turned his focus to the next person in line—Eijun—and gave him a smile as warm as freshly baked cookies.

“Ah, it’s Sawamura,” Chris spoke in his low chocolatey-smooth voice, his rich honey-colored eyes gleaming with recognition. “I didn’t expect to see you here. It’s an honor to meet you today.”

Eijun had been so overwhelmed by the sight of Chris that it took him a couple seconds of processing to realize that Chris knew who he was.

“Whaaaaaat!?”

The sudden yell exploding from Eijun’s mouth had caused most people in a nearby radius to pipe down and stare, surprised by the impressive volume of Eijun’s voice. Within a second the murmuring began again, but the shock caused by Eijun remained tangible in the air surrounding them. Eijun couldn’t help himself—he was smiling ear-to-ear now as he basically ran up to Chris, his eyes wide and sparkling with pure excitement.

“You know me!?” Eijun balked as he pointed to himself wildly. “You know my name!? You said it’s—did you say it’s an honor to m-m-meet me? Me!? As in, Sawamura Eijun!? You’re sure you’re not mistaken, Chris-senpai!?”

Chris chuckled, a sound so low and soothing that Eijun was willing to bet it could put babies to sleep. Eijun swore that Chris was a legitimate angel sent down from heaven, because there was no other explanation for how perfect and wholesome one human being could be. The guy was practically a walking cinnamon roll, one with a lot of muscle and good looks, but Eijun’s allegory still made total sense in his mind.

“I’m not mistaken,” Chris confirmed with an earnest smile. Eijun’s heart instantly turned into putty. “I deeply enjoy your videos. I actually discovered you thanks to your roommate, Furuya.”

Furuya!? That damn polar bear loving fiend…! Eijun clenched his fists and gnashed his teeth upon realizing that Chris only knew who he was thanks to Furuya. Now that he thought about it, Furuya might have even mentioned that Chris subscribed to him, but Eijun was likely yelling too much to notice. Furuya had a habit of telling him important things like that at all the wrong times.

Now was not the time to stew in envy over Furuya’s success—he’d be sure to give his roommate an earful later. For now, he had to savor every moment he had talking with Chris. 

“W-Wahaha! Well, then I guess I have to thank him for the exposure! It got my favorite YouTuber to notice me, after all!” Eijun boasted with a proud grin. At that, Chris’s thick eyebrows raised in pleasant surprise.

“I’m your favorite YouTuber?” Chris echoed. He quickly smiled again as he placed a hand on Eijun’s upper arm. Eijun tried not to scream and fly out of his skin from joy as Chris gave him a gentle squeeze. “That is a huge compliment. Thank you.”

“B-But of course!” Eijun answered, a giddy blush spreading across his cheeks. “It’s the least I can say about your greatness! I could go on forever, but I know I have a line waiting behind me, so I won’t take up any more of your time!”

“Thank you for being so considerate,” Chris said with a humble nod. “Would you like a photo before you go?”

“Oh, hold on, please count me in!”

Eijun froze at the sound of another voice, one that was familiar yet shocking all at once. His stomach dropped and his heart felt as if it stopped beating as he stiffened up.

There was no way. No way, absolutely no way that this was happening right now. Eijun’s heart began hammering out of control as he turned his wide eyes to the source of that infuriatingly perfect voice spoken from perfect lips on a perfect man.

“You want to join?” Chris asked with a hint of surprise in his voice. “If that’s the case, I won’t stop you.”

“But of course,” Miyuki snickered as his eyes landed upon Eijun, a cocky smirk pulling at his lips. “I thought I could take this chance to finally say hello to the hissing kitten that’s been all over my feed lately.”

Eijun was pretty sure his soul left his body on the spot.

It was true—Miyuki Kazuya knew who he was.

The only noise Eijun could make in response was a barely-audible, broken whine of despair.

Chapter Text

“So, what do you say?” Miyuki took a step closer as he grinned down at Eijun, gazing at him with his chin raised and his eyelids lowered flirtatiously. Was Eijun seeing that right? Was Miyuki looking at him in a flirtatious manner!? No way, he had to be imagining things—his racing thoughts cut off as Miyuki continued to speak. “A picture with your two favorite YouTubers must be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You know, a lot of people would kill to be in your place right now, Sawamura.~”

Eijun couldn’t believe his ears. He could do little besides stand there and sputter helplessly as his heart began to pound wildly in his chest. His face was burning a hysterical shade of red knowing that Miyuki Kazuya himself was standing right in front of him, looking at him, and speaking to him with all his obnoxiously pretty flair. That voice that had grated on his nerves all this time was now the cause of his downfall, making his stomach twist in nervous, flustered knots. His hands trembled in a frail attempt to keep a hold of his sanity.

“Oh, Sawamura, you’re a fan of Miyuki as well?” Chris spoke up with that calm, deep voice, completely unaware of the mental breakdown Eijun was having right beside him. Eijun flinched and looked at him with a dreadful sinking in his gut. 

No, don’t get this wrong, Chris-senpai! Eijun had to swallow down a pitiful whine. I’m a fan of you! Not— 

“I saw your commentary on Miyuki’s content before, and though I found it to be quite amusing, I’m glad to know there’s no real bad blood between the two of you,” Chris continued, unknowingly rubbing salt right into Eijun’s open wound. Even worse, Toujou said the exact same thing to Eijun just moments before!! This sweet man truly believed that Eijun’s words were all in jest, part of an act for his channel and nothing more… when in reality, Eijun’s vehement words about Miyuki were his true opinions—or at least, they used to be! He shrank back slightly with defeat as Chris relentlessly went on to hammer the final nail in Eijun’s coffin. “In that case, I’d be happy to take a photo together.”

Hang on, hang on, hang on!! Eijun despairingly looked between the two men, vision spinning as he sank further into his panic. He couldn’t get the words out that he so desperately needed to say. This is not at all what’s supposed to be happening!!

“W-Well, I wouldn’t say I’m a fan—” Eijun shakily tried to refute what Chris had said without shattering the vision that his idol had for his personality, but whatever words he stammered out were either ignored, went unheard, or a mixture of both. His sentence died in his throat since Miyuki had the audacity to slide right up next to Eijun, press flush against his side and wind his arm around Eijun’s shoulders. He almost didn’t notice when Chris rested his arm around Eijun’s waist since his senses were so overloaded by Miyuki to begin with.

Holyshitohmygodsaveme— Eijun let out a strangled whimper as his body flushed hot from embarrassment and overstimulation. The two hottest men he knew were both plastered against his sides, both extremely attractive in their own, distinctive ways. Chris was completely unattainable, happily married and sort of like a holy saint in Eijun’s eyes, but Miyuki, on the other hand… Miyuki was like the devil, ridden with a temptation that Eijun absolutely could not cave in to. 

Both of them were completely overwhelming Eijun with their masculine scents and firm muscle against his body. Their warm hands gripped him for a sweet moment that Eijun might have enjoyed much more if one of them wasn’t Miyuki Kazuya.

For some reason, the universe decided he needed to suffer right there and then by surrounding him with his actual idol and his arch-nemesis-turned-crush at the exact same time. Eijun probably looked completely constipated as the photo was taken, for he could feel just how intensely his face was burning red. 

A few fans were murmuring with realization and excitement, and though the chances of any of Miyuki’s most devoted followers being there at that moment to see the exchange was low, Eijun began to wonder if any of them knew who he was. Miyuki had around ten million subscribers, and a very small amount of them were actually involved with the fandom itself on major social media platforms like Twitter, where most of the conversation happened. To narrow that number down even further, even less were active enough in the fandom to know a thing about Eijun and the “drama” that was transpiring between the two YouTubers.

So, in short, the chances of anyone standing close enough to see what was happening figuring out who Eijun was were very low. It was most likely that they were simply too excited to see their favorite YouTuber up close to really care about whatever he was chatting about with some random guy. That being said, Eijun was more than aware of the phone cameras that could be pointed at them, and his heart raced from the possibility of this photo getting out and being noticed by his subscribers who absolutely did know about the tension they had.

While Eijun baked in his misery over the outcome of this photo, the picture itself was taken very quickly. The moment came and went in the blink of an eye despite how much Eijun was planning on digging his own grave that evening. Suddenly Chris had dropped his arm and was giving him a warm, friendly smile while wishing for Eijun to have fun at the rest of the convention. He then stepped aside to greet the next fan while Eijun was all-but-dragged to the side by Miyuki’s constrictive grasp.

The damn tanuki to his left was still touching him for some godforsaken reason and Eijun was about ready to melt into a puddle if it lasted any longer. He squirmed in an attempt to push Miyuki’s arm off, but Miyuki simply laughed and tightened his grip. Eijun’s face felt hotter than ever and he let out a small sound, then shot a fiesty glare at Miyuki. 

“I-If you know who I am, then why are you doing this to me, huh!?” Eijun challenged with a bite in his tone. “Shouldn’t you be mad at me for everything I’ve said about you?”

“Mad?” Miyuki echoed as he arched his brow. Eijun tried not to stare at his eyebrows with amazement, because jeez, their perfect, full shape really wasn’t edited for the camera. He tilted his head to the side and let out a laugh that really shouldn’t have made Eijun’s heart flutter like it did. “Haha! You really must underestimate my thick skin!”

“W-Whatever, just… leave me alone,” Eijun muttered and turned his face away, praying to whatever higher power there was that Miyuki didn’t notice how brilliantly he was blushing. Miyuki could interpret it as rage or irritation—just anything besides the truth. His heart was beating so hard that he feared Miyuki would be able to hear it as well. Eijun begrudgingly added, “I don’t want to fight, really…”

“Miyuki!!” A different voice interrupted and pulled Miyuki’s eyes away from Eijun at last. They both looked at the source of the sound—Eijun didn’t recognize the guy, but he had a lanyard on and spoke with authority. Eijun assumed he was a manager of some sort. The manager frowned and pointed to the side of the room. “When you said you needed a bathroom break, I expected you to use the bathroom, not mess around with the guests at Chris’s meet and greet!”

“Aw, c’mon, Nabe-kun, you’re no fun,” Miyuki complained and sighed, then reluctantly slipped his arm off Eijun’s shoulders. Eijun immediately experienced the conflicting relief he felt from his freedom while simultaneously wanting to be snuggled up against his side again. “Well, it can’t be helped. I’ll see you around later, Sawamura.”

Wait, what!? Did he expect to be a frequent presence in Eijun’s life all of a sudden? There was no way Eijun could allow that!

“Why are you so sure that we’ll see each other again!?” Eijun hollered as Miyuki started to drift away. He had shouted after him for reasons he couldn’t understand. The words simply tumbled out of his mouth before he could think twice about it. Miyuki paused in his tracks and looked over his shoulder with a mildly surprised expression. Feeling flustered and put on the spot, Eijun continued on.  “I’ll… I’ll never be at your level, but I’m fine with that! I’m happy with where I’m at! Are you trying to be competitive with me or something!? I’m not taking the bait, Miyuki Kazuya!”

Rather than confirming or denying what Eijun suggested, Miyuki simply grinned cheekily at him and cryptically said, “It’s a small world. We never know what could happen next.”

Eijun could do nothing besides stand there, dumbfounded and speechless while Miyuki gave him a look that seemed to pierce right through him. It was like the bastard knew everything there was to know, as if Eijun’s secrets were already exposed and Miyuki could detail every thought that ran through his mind. That couldn’t be true, and yet Eijun felt so vulnerable for a moment, hot in the face while his lips parted and closed again wordlessly.

Then, Miyuki vanished into the bathroom and Eijun’s shoulders sagged as a breath of relief escaped his chest. 

What the hell was that!? His head felt clouded from everything that just went down and his heart was still beating wildly fast. He felt rooted in place and stunned, like he couldn’t budge his feet no matter how hard he tried. Eijun had been so zoned out that he nearly screamed when a hand pressed onto his shoulder. He felt like he jumped a foot in the air from the simple pat.

“Sorry for startling you.” Eijun whipped his head around with his eyes stretched wide, because shit, it was Chris who was talking to him. The fan he was meeting with just left and Chris was talking to him again!? Eijun stammered out an incomprehensible sound, but since Chris was such a perfect gentleman, he didn’t comment on the blabbering or the idiotic expression on Eijun’s face. “I forgot to ask—I wanted to know if you were interested in coming to the party tonight with us Featured Creators?”

“P-P-Party?” Eijun managed to stutter around his amazement. It was likely the positioning of a hanging light behind them, but in Eijun’s eyes, it appeared like a halo of light was emitting from behind Chris’s head. It only brightened, shining like the sun itself as Chris gave him a warm smile.

“Yes,” Chris confirmed with a small laugh. “My partner and two old friends already have my guest passes, but I’m positive that Miyuki’s not using his guest passes at all. The only people he could invite are already going. He’s much more of an introvert than he seems and he would let them all go to waste, so why don’t you just use all of his up?” Before Eijun could ask how they would even accomplish retrieving Miyuki’s guest passes, Chris was placing a few passes into his hand. Eijun stared down at the laminated cards disbelievingly. “I got them from Nabe, his manager, just now. Bring your friends. We’ll be waiting for you there.”

Eijun almost didn’t catch up to the situation in time. He was so starstruck and overjoyed that he couldn't find the right words to say for a few heart-stopping moments. Finally, his gratitude rushed out from his quivering lips. “Oshi!! I’ll be there, Chris-senpai, you can count on it! Thanketh thee f-for bestowing thy generosity onto me, O Most Wondrous Lord!”

Chris laughed, a little flustered by Eijun’s excessively outdated formality. “No need to be so nervous. Just have fun.” 

After that, Chris turned away with a wave and jogged back to his meet and greet area. Eijun lingered there for a moment, giddy and grinning ear to ear while staring down at the party tickets. He couldn’t believe he just got invited by Chris himself for them to go to a party together! He was so overwhelmed with joy that he almost completely forgot about the person who had been the bane of his existence during this entire experience.

Eijun was so distracted by the sudden presence of guest tickets in his hand that he wasn’t even thinking about leaving the area. He was too busy basking in the moment and staring dreamily over at Chris as he gave another fan a friendly hug. 

Movement in the corner of his eye caused him to look over to the side of the room, which was the worst thing he could have done, for the person who had been causing said movement was Miyuki Kazuya. Again. He had just pushed the door to the bathroom open and happened to look in Eijun’s direction, because of course he had to glance casually to the spot where Eijun was still lingering behind and smiling over his excellent luck.

The second their eyes met, Eijun felt his heart slam his chest wildly. He seized up like a bristling cat and whipped around to turn his back on the unfairly attractive man. Miyuki had invaded Eijun’s day enough with his annoying presence and Eijun was determined to narrow down his interactions with Miyuki from rare to never happening again!

Even though Eijun thought he heard Miyuki’s snickering as he raced towards the hallway, he didn’t dare turn around to see that smirk and confirm his suspicions for himself.

 

***

 

“You’re joking,” Haruichi flatly said as soon as Eijun had finished his animated, extremely dramatic retelling of all the events that had transpired over the few hours they were apart. His brows were tense with disbelief. “Eijun-kun, you’ve never been a good liar, so I’m inclined to believe this is all true, but there’s just no way in hell you met Miyuki Kazuya and got guest passes to a Featured Creators party from Chris himself.”

“If I’m lying about my day, Harucchi, then explain this!!” Eijun practically shrieked as he thrust the tickets in Haruichi’s face again. He had been waving them around too wildly for Haruichi to see them properly, but this time he held his hand still so that Haruichi could pluck the tickets from his grasp. As Haruichi and Furuya inspected the validity of the tickets, Eijun continued ranting. “Chris-senpai approached me like a true angel, like Jesus Christ had descended upon the earth again just to grace me with his presence! His head was glowing! Glowing golden with a heavenly aura!! There was a halo there, I saw it with my own eyes!”

“Now that part is definitely an exaggeration,” Haruichi snarked, “but… I must say, these do look like legitimate guest passes! Wow…!”

“I can hang out with Nori,” Furuya murmured with a contented rosy blush on his cheeks. Eijun didn’t get the chance to hear about Furuya’s experience meeting @mininoririsu quite yet; he barged into their hotel room and was unable to contain himself before blurting out all the details of his own afternoon. From the looks of it, the meeting between the two popular animal-loving YouTubers went well. Furuya was not a party person, so knowing that Nori would be there to keep him company was promising for his quieter roommate.

Haruichi wasn’t big into parties either—none of them were, hence why they got along so well and always had fun doing their own thing. That being said, Haruichi was always more outgoing when it came to rare events like a VidCon Featured Creators party. He refused to let opportunities slip through his fingers and would usually be the first one to quietly suggest that they do something special. From there, Eijun generally liked the idea and took initiative in making that plan become reality. Furuya would tag along for the sake of being part of the group and, of course, to accompany his boyfriend as often as he could.

This time, however, things were a little turned around. Eijun was waging an internal war against himself over going to the party or not, since he knew for a fact that Miyuki would be there. At least, that seemed the most likely, but Chris did tell him that Miyuki was quite introverted. That had truly surprised Eijun, since Miyuki seemed like a natural, charismatic charmer—the thought of him hanging out alone somewhat clashed with Eijun’s idea of who he was. It was possible that Miyuki wouldn’t show up to the party at all. 

“We have to go!” Haruichi exclaimed, his excitable voice interrupting Eijun’s train of thought suddenly. “Zono-senpai is gonna be there, you know, @gorillaboss! I’ve been dying to talk to someone about the guy who purposefully stings himself with the deadliest insects! Zono-senpai’s commentary on that video was the best!” Haruichi was practically bouncing around like a rabbit at this point, cheeks flushed with excitement. He grinned as he spun on his heel to face Eijun again. “Eijun-kun, you should accidentally be harassed by Miyuki more often!”

“What!?” Eijun cried out. He dramatically slumped over and watered his eyes to look as pitiful as possible. “I thought you were supposed to be on my side, Harucchi!”

“I am,” Haruichi responded sweetly, though Eijun didn’t miss the way his eyes glinted mischievously, “especially if it means you getting us VIP passes like this! Oh man, I’m so nervous, my heart is fluttering…!”

Eijun groaned with defeat. Haruichi was too distracted over thoughts of the party to really listen to Eijun’s sorrows any longer. Though the more Eijun thought about it, that was probably for the better, since Eijun couldn’t talk about his true feelings for Miyuki and how they blossomed into attraction all of a sudden. The mere memory of the way his stomach twisted in knots from the sight of Miyuki at that panel had his cheeks heating up again, so he flopped onto his bed with a groan and stuffed his face into his pillow. 

It’s not that he couldn’t trust Furuya and Haruichi with those emotions of his—hell, he told the two of them nearly every single thought that passed through his mind. “Too much information” was something that probably should be said but almost never was anymore since the pair were just far too used to Eijun’s antics. 

That being said, he just couldn’t admit it out loud yet. It might just possibly be true that Eijun had a massive raging crush on Miyuki Kazuya, but there was no way he was about to speak the damned facts into existence. It was bad enough that he had to think about it; the last thing he wanted was for other people to know and remind him of his extremely unfortunate predicament. 

Could Eijun’s life be worse? Sure, he could be broke, or he could accidentally stub his toe right now, or he could easily break out into a rash that spread all over his body, and then he would have to leave VidCon and be rushed to the hospital. There were a thousand things that would make Eijun even more miserable than he felt. He knew that he was overreacting about his emotions, but just because he knew he was being a drama queen about it didn’t mean he’d stop being one.

So, with that in mind, Eijun vehemently decided that his life was in absolute shambles and he would rather go to sleep for the next ten years if he could than attempt to step foot in a party where Miyuki would most certainly be. Anything to avoid facing Miyuki again.

A little voice reminded Eijun that he didn’t actually have to go to the party. No one was forcing him against his will to go; it’s not like his life was at risk or anything drastic. He could just lie, say he didn’t feel good, and stay in bed while Haruichi and Furuya went to enjoy the night out.

… but what kind of asshole would he be if he just let those guest passes go to waste!? Most of all, Chris had personally invited him! Not going to the party would be like turning Chris down on a date! Chris! Eijun would have to be the devil incarnate to do such an awful thing to the holiest man on the face of the earth! Chris deserved better than a feigned excuse of illness for Eijun avoid seeing the stupid tanuki again!

That was the story of how Eijun ended up at the party that night flanked by a very excited, sparkly-eyed Haruichi and a slightly-lethargic-but-still-content-to-be-here Furuya. Eijun was fidgeting and red-faced, completely unable to keep his eyes anywhere for more than a split second or two. He couldn’t stop searching for Miyuki the minute he could see the crowds inside no matter how hard he tried. Look, if he just could find Miyuki, then he would know exactly how to avoid him. He would just never glance in that direction again and everything would be peachy!

The bouncer (or whoever was guarding the front door, they didn’t really give off tough bodyguard ‘bouncer’ vibes to Eijun, but he didn’t have a better word to describe them) accepted their passes and the three of them passed through without conflict. Eijun was in a mild state of disbelief that it wasn’t a scam and Chris gave him true tickets. Of course Chris would never lie to him, for Chris was too kind to do something so deceptive, but the guest passes were associated with Miyuki. Eijun would be crazy to not be suspicious of their validity because of that alone.

“Whoa, look at everyone!” Haruichi exclaimed, his voice barely audible above the loud pulsing of the music beating out from the speakers. Eijun turned to hear him better and followed Haruichi’s line of sight. 

Sure enough, as he glanced around, it wasn’t hard to spot the Featured Creators all scattered about the party. The space had a relatively small dance floor and most people were standing along the edges of the dance floor, talking and laughing together. There was a crowd in the center truly dancing, mostly pressed close together thanks to the lack of space to move round. To their right was a large bar where plenty of people were sitting and talking together. 

Behind the dancefloor was a lounge area in front of the restrooms, consisting of couches and a few tables. Between the dancefloor and that lounge area was a glassy staircase that appeared to be glowing all sorts of colors as it reflected the flashing lights in the club. A few people were going upstairs and Eijun felt a little curious about what was up there.

The party was taking place on the rooftop of the hotel. There were large floor-to-ceiling windows along the back wall with a door leading out to a glass balcony. People were grouped out there as well, and Eijun assumed it was easier to talk away from the loudness of the music within. He could see some clouds of smoke and vapor drifting into the nighttime sky and immediately understood the purpose for the balcony.

“Hey, quit staring off into the distance,” Haruichi suddenly scolded, tugging Eijun’s attention away from his surroundings. He turned to look down at his friend with a startled expression. Haruichi’s lips curled into a clever smile as he nodded towards the bar. “You’re acting like Satoru now. C’mon, let's get a drink and have some fun!”

Eijun took in a deep breath and forced himself to stop looking around for the time being. Though he had been glancing over the entire party under the guise of simply understanding where they were, it was true that he had secretly been investigating every corner he could get his eyes on to try and spot Miyuki. With a sigh, Eijun relented his search for the time being. He was here to have fun, not be paranoid over Miyuki, so he told himself that he should really take advantage of the night and stop worrying so much.

“Oshi! The first round is on me!” Eijun declared with his hands balled into eager fists. He charged his way up to the bar and shouldered past some people so he could get their orders in.

For a while, everything was going fine. Once they had their drinks, Eijun, Haruichi and Furuya decided to explore the entire venue of the rooftop party, so they climbed the flight of stairs to take a look around. Up there was another dance floor that was much larger and wider—it encompassed most of that level. Besides the dance floor, there was a second bar in the same place as the one beneath it. Eijun couldn’t help but to be fascinated with the luxurious setup, knowing that this was where the fancy people partied and for once, he was actually there with them.

“Oh!!” Eijun blurted out once he turned and noticed a familiar, tall figure in the crowd. “It’s Chris-senpai! I must thank him for his generosity again!”

Haruichi and Furuya followed Eijun’s lead. They wove through the crowds until Eijun was standing behind someone else who was talking to Chris. It must not have been a very lively conversation, for as soon as Chris noticed Eijun, he took advantage of the next lapse of silence to greet him.

“I’m glad you could make it,” Chris said, having to lean in a little closer so that Eijun could hear him. He felt giddy being so close to Chris like this—it felt as if they were actually friends! A happy blush spread across his cheeks when he got a whiff of Chris’s cologne, the scent reminding Eijun instantly of smooth, dark chocolate truffles filled with brandy (though the alcoholic part might have been due to the glass Chris held).

“I’m so happy to be here!!” Eijun blurted out with a grin stretched wide across his face. “Thank you again for helping us get in! Ah, and these are my friends, Harucchi and Furuya!” Eijun stepped aside to gesture towards his companions. Haruichi waved at Chris with a light flush on his cheeks while Furuya’s deep blue eyes gleamed excitedly.

“It’s wonderful to finally meet you all.” Chris raised his glass and added, “Let’s enjoy the night together.”

“Cheers!” Eijun cried out and bounced on his heels. He nudged all of their glasses together and took a large swig of his drink. A shiver ran down his spine from the strong taste of the alcohol, but luckily the sweetness of the mixers mostly wasted down the bitter rum in the drink. 

At that moment, Eijun caught sight of the man beside Chris, who had been busy chatting to someone else during their greetings. The person he had been talking to walked away, so at last, the man turned to look directly at the group.

“Oh—the legendary Zaizen!” Eijun barked out as he reverted to a state of stiff formality. “I-I am pleased to maketh thy acquaintance, oh belov’d, respectable husband!”

“Everytime he does that, a part of me dies inside,” Haruichi said to Chris, who let out a good-natured laugh. Meanwhile, Zaizen simply stared at Eijun, totally lost before he decided to stop focusing on interpreting whatever Eijun just said.

“Oh, you’re that little spitfire Sawamura, aren’t you?” Zaizen responded with a light of recognition in his eyes. “Ahh, I’ve seen your stuff before! It’s hilarious!”

Eijun beamed widely from the compliment. Zaizen wasn’t a YouTuber like Chris. They met since Zaizen worked at the animal shelter where Chris adopted a kitten; apparently, Zaizen was planning on taking the kitten home that day and was almost sad to give it up. Chris offered for Zaizen to come over and see the kitten as often as he liked, and the two of them started to go out on dates. 

It was probably the most wholesome love story Eijun ever heard. He was obsessed with the couple—every time Zaizen made an appearance in Chris’s videos, whether to nab a sample of whatever he was baking or just because he was grabbing something out of the fridge in the background, Eijun was always sent into a fit of cooing and gushing over the pair.

‘They are the peak of domestic bliss!’ Eijun would declare through his sobs as he rolled around on the couch of their apartment. ‘Imagine meeting your soulmate because you both loved the same adorable kitten at the shelter! It couldn’t be any purer! Gaahhhh, I want the happiness they have!’

“Thank you very much!!” Eijun shouted in response to Zaizen’s compliment. He went stiff and might have even grown teary-eyed, for he always wanted the chance to speak to Zaizen directly, and now he could finally make his dreams come true. With a deep, dramatic exhale through his nostrils, Eijun slapped one of his hands on Zaizen’s bicep to keep his attention. Zaizen stared at him with surprise and intrigue as Eijun sucked in a deep breath.

“Oh god,” Haruichi muttered, likely already knowing what was going to happen.

“Zaizen, I implore you to treat Chris-senpai with the utmost respect and love for the rest of your days!!” Eijun said with the ferocity of a father giving a pep talk to his daughter’s new finacé. “Chris-senpai is an amazing man, as I’m sure you know! He’s the perfect man, actually, and so he deserves nothing short of the most perfect husband! You’re doing great already since Chris-senpai always seems so happy when he talks about you… so I can tell that what you two share is true love!!” He squeezed Zaizen’s arm tighter and leaned forward, intensity blazing in his golden-brown eyes. “Please, continue to love him with all your heart for all of us who will never have a chance with someone as ethereal as the one and only Chris-senpai!”

Zaizen was speechless for a moment, simply blinking in amazement in response to the impassioned speech that Eijun just gave him. Chris was burning red from embarrassment while also trying to hold back a laugh, and Haruichi’s skin was as pink as his hair for an entirely different reason. He stammered before reaching out and yanking Eijun’s arm off of Zaizen.

“I am so sorry! He’s had way too much to drink already, it seems!” Haruichi profusely apologized with a deep bow of his head.

“Wha?” Eijun trailed off. “But Harucchi, I’m not even drunk yet—!”

“I really appreciate it, Sawamura,” Chris said after wiping away a tear of laughter from the corner of his eye. He had rather skillfully hid the fact that he was shaking from amusement from Eijun to avoid hurting his feelings. “Zaizen is the best partner I could ask for. I guarantee I am overjoyed to spend every single day with him.”

“Oi…” Zaizen muttered as his cheeks dusted pink. At the same time, Chris had grabbed his hand to interlace their fingers together. Eijun caught a glimpse of their wedding rings glinting in the light. The sight of the matching golden bands caused emotion to well up inside his chest. They were clearly so happy together that Eijun could break down in tears over how sweet it was!

As Eijun began to sniffle and dab at his eyes, Haruichi groaned and leaned up to hiss into Eijun’s ear. “Eijun-kun, you need to stop embarrassing yourself before you—” 

“Oooh, where’s my adorable thank-you?”

Eijun practically flew out of his skin, jerking so hard that he almost elbowed Haruichi right in the face. Haruichi was fast, so he managed to duck out of the way in time and avoid spilling his drink despite Eijun’s visceral reaction to the sudden new voice now impeding on their conversation. Plus, the reason he had freaked out so violently was that the voice was paired with a far too friendly arm winding around his waist from the other side.

“M-M-M-Miyuki Kazuya!?” Eijun shrieked and recoiled, now trembling in the face of the man he swore he would avoid all night. His squirming had caused Miyuki’s hand to fall from his waist, but that didn’t stop Miyuki from folding his arm and leaning up against Eijun’s shoulder instead, as if he were a pedestal to support his weight.

“Miyuki, you came after all,” Chris regarded with a friendly smile. “I hope you don’t mind that I granted your guest passes to Sawamura and his friends.”

“I don’t mind at all,” Miyuki answered as a wily grin stretched across his lips. His eyes twinkled playfully as he brought his attention back to Eijun, who was still trembling and reddening as he stared at Miyuki in disbelief. How did no one see him coming!? Did he just manifest out of thin air!? Where was he before this, and just how much of Eijun’s hero-worship for Chris did he overhear!?

“Miyuki-senpai.” Eijun whipped his head to the side as Furuya suddenly stepped forward, speaking just loudly enough to be heard over the thumping of the music. “I’m a big fan of your videos. Thank you for posting so often.”

“Eh? Ah, it’s nothing, really,” Miyuki politely responded with a large grin. “Thanks for watching!”

“Furuya!” Eijun snapped. “Stop supporting the enemy in front of me!”

Of course, Furuya totally ignored him in favor of conversing with Miyuki. “Please do more commentary on animal videos.”

“Ahaha, so you liked the animal vine reactions?” Miyuki stood up straighter as he rubbed at the back of his neck. Despite doing this, he still managed to keep one arm around Eijun for some horrific reason. “There’s lots of animal content out there. I’ll be sure to watch more going forward.”

“Wha—” Eijun gaped as Miyuki seemed to genuinely take his request into consideration. 

“Perhaps you can watch my channel,” Furuya went on to shamelessly promote himself with a little sparkle in his eye. “I post Go-Pro videos of the animals at my zoo. My handle is ‘s-underscore-furuya.’”

“Now you’re networking!?” Eijun couldn’t believe his ears. “Quit talking over me like I’m not even here!”

“Aww, does the little kitten want attention now?” Miyuki suddenly reared his focus down towards Eijun with a mocking smirk. Eijun’s heart skipped a beat from the pet-name, and all he could do was gape at Miyuki in disbelief. “I thought you told me to leave you alone earlier. You’re sending me mixed signals.”

“Ngh—!!” Eijun went stiff with the realization of how hypocritical he was being. His skin burned hot from embarrassment as he shoved Miyuki’s arm off of him once and for all. “W-Whatever, alright? Why don’t you go hang out with your own friends or something else?”

Miyuki grinned awkwardly and glanced to the side, which was the perfect moment for Chris to step in and politely inform him, “Miyuki’s on his own. I’m assuming Kuramochi is preoccupied?”

“‘Preoccupied,’ is putting it lightly,” Miyuki muttered with a mild scoff.

“Wait, so you don’t have any friends!?” Eijun blurted out with a wicked grin. “Wahaha! The heartthrob Miyuki Kazuya is revealed to be a total loner!”

“‘Heartthrob?’” Haruichi echoed from off to the side. He was likely whispering to Furuya about it.

“Wow! Amazing! You’re onto something! What an acute observation, Sawamura!” Miyuki loudly and obnoxiously agreed, the smile on his face anything but genuine as he sneered at Eijun. Realizing his mistake by mocking Miyuki like that in front of everyone, Eijun shrank back slightly with a nervous laugh. “Perhaps someone as friendly and kind-hearted as you could keep such a poor, lonely ‘tanuki’ with no friends company at the bar!”

“E-Eh?” Eijun stammered, for suddenly his wrist was grabbed and he was being dragged away from the group. Eijun cried out loudly and reached dramatically for Haruichi, who had totally let Eijun go without a fight. “W-Wait! Chris-senpai! Furuya! Harucchi! Don’t abandon me!!”

With no sympathy to be found on their faces, they all simply waved with bemused smiles as Eijun stumbled through the crowd. He let out a pitiful whine after realizing none of them would help him. Defeatedly, Eijun turned to face ahead, a flush staining his cheeks. 

Why the hell did he get stuck with Miyuki Kazuya of all people at this party? He was having such a good time with Chris and everyone else until Miyuki had to show up and shatter the pleasant atmosphere! This was just no fair!

Eijun was grumbling and pouting as they approached the bar. Miyuki leaned up against the counter and grinned over his shoulder at Eijun. “So what do you want to drink?”

“Huh?” Eijun snapped out of his daze and looked up, totally flabbergasted. “W-What?”

After rolling his eyes and snickering, Miyuki leaned in much closer, likely because he thought Eijun couldn’t hear him over the music and not because he was spacing out. He tilted his head to speak more directly into Eijun’s ear, and the feeling of Miyuki’s warm breath against his skin sent a shiver down Eijun’s spine. He froze up and held his breath as Miyuki’s voice practically purred into his ear.

“I asked you what you want to drink, Bakamura,” Miyuki repeated, this time with a playful-yet-insulting nickname tacked on to the end. Eijun’s brain short-circuited when Miyuki placed a firm hand on the small of his back that urged him to stand closer to the bar. “It’s on me, so don’t worry about it.”

Hold on. Eijun’s heart pounded wildly against his chest as he stood there, flushed red to his ears as he slowly processed the situation. 

Miyuki was whispering into his ear and offering to pay for a drink. That meant that Miyuki was buying him a drink. When someone bought someone else a drink, that generally meant they were interested in that person… romantically.

No way. This isn’t—this can’t be—there’s not a chance— Eijun quickly began to spiral as he pieced it all together.

Is Miyuki Kazuya… flirting with me!?

Chapter Text

Eijun was trying not to overthink about every single thing that was happening right now between the two of them—the key word being trying. He felt yet another bead of sweat roll down his temple as he stared down at the ice cubes floating in his drink, watching as they shifted and seemed to glisten all sorts of colors from reflecting the flashing lights of the party. His throat felt parched and he craved the drink, but a stubborn part of him didn’t want to try it quite yet. Instead, he favored searching for his reflection in the surface of his alcohol with his lips pressed in a tight line. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the lyrics of Reflection from Mulan started to distantly play—it was like the soundtrack to his impending doom and the crumbling remnants of his self confidence.

Okay, maybe Eijun was being a little dramatic, but could anyone blame him? His plan before arriving at VidCon in the strange, super unlikely event that he would run into Miyuki Kazuya was, well, like… he didn’t really know what his plan was. He just figured if it happened, which it most certainly wouldn’t, he would just simply flick Miyuki off or something and run in the opposite direction before he had to face the consequences. In reality, he’d probably interacted with Miyuki more than any other YouTuber so far, and well, what could he say? He really never planned this far ahead!

To top it all off, he realized in the middle of the day for the very first time that he was desperately attracted to Miyuki, and now to make things worse, he was beginning to suspect that Miyuki was hitting on him. Fuck, he didn’t know what to do with his own feelings let alone the potential interest of another person. He could barely think about Miyuki without letting his skin burn a telling shade of red; these feelings were so new that Eijun didn’t know how to hide them. His crush had to be written all over his face, making his cheeks feel constantly warm as if he had a bad sunburn.

So how was he supposed to sit here, drink, and converse with the guy if the mere fact that he was right next to Eijun was making his heart beat wildly!? He was squeezing the sides of his drink so tightly, suddenly grateful that it was served in a glass and not a plastic cup, or else his drink would have gone flying everywhere and everything would have gotten much worse than it already was. He could just imagine it now—alcohol splattering everywhere, splashing both Miyuki and Eijun in the face, ruining their clothes, slipping all over the counter…

“Have you attended VidCon before?” The question that Miyuki suddenly asked in the midst of the silence between them was so mundane that Eijun was almost insulted by it—he tensed up and glanced at Miyuki fiercely.

“Wouldn’t you like to know, huh!?” Eijun shrilly answered. Miyuki simply arched an eyebrow at him, stunned by his defensive nature. Eijun felt the blush on his cheeks worsen as he realized that his reaction was totally out of left field. He seriously needed to calm down before he ruined… whatever was building between them. He wasn’t sure when he started worrying about ruining their so-called bond, but there he was anyway, fretting over everything he said and did.

Eijun dramatically turned away and sucked in three deep breaths, making a show of expanding his chest and breathing out noisily from his mouth. Miyuki watched him, bemused as he tilted his glass against his lips and took a small sip. As that happened, Eijun definitely didn’t look at his lips from the corner of his eye, not at all.

“I-It’s my first time attending as a creator,” Eijun announced once he got a grip on himself and turned back towards Miyuki. He tried to look anywhere besides Miyuki’s eyes, knowing damn well that if he gazed into them, he might liquify on the spot. “Um, but I came a few years ago when I was still in college as a fan and it’s what made me want to start YouTubing for real. My friends were already into it so they helped me get started!”

“Oooh.” Miyuki’s lips curved up in a fox-like grin. “So you’re a noob.”

“A n—” Eijun choked on his own breath. Miyuki’s answer totally threw him for a loop. “What the hell!? No one says noob anymore, Miyuki Kazuya!! That’s like, what ten-year-olds said a decade ago! It’s outdated, and besides, I’m totally not a noob!”

“Okay, noob,” Miyuki answered with a shit-eating grin. Eijun’s eye twitched as he glared daggers into Miyuki’s stupidly handsome profile. He had half a mind to toss his drink in Miyuki’s pretty face right now and storm off, but instead he chugged down a few large gulps and shuddered from the bitter taste. Maybe if he got drunk faster, he’d stop feeling so worked up over their interactions.

“No wonder you have no friends if you talk to people like this!” Eijun remarked, deeply offended as he turned away with a huff. 

“Says the one insulting me out of nowhere the moment we met,” Miyuki fired back with a challenging snicker. Eijun stiffened and muttered to himself, silently mocking Miyuki under his breath. He almost didn’t hear what else Miyuki had to say. “But that’s why I like you already.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s not news to me, the feeling’s mutual!! I hate you t—wait, you what!?” Eijun choked on his rebuttal as he whirled back to face Miyuki, eyes bulging with disbelief. Did he just hear that right!? Did Miyuki just say he—that he li— 

“Calm down, I’m not confessing to you or anything,” Miyuki snorted with a shake of his head. Eijun deflated slightly, totally not because he was disappointed, but because he was relieved to hear that, duh. Miyuki rubbed his thumb along the side of the glass, smearing the condensation there as he glanced at Eijun with his eyes gleaming an enchanting shade of copper-brown. “I’m just saying that as a YouTuber, you intrigue me. Most other creators are either supportive of me or they’re jealous, but they try not to show it. You, on the other hand… I can’t quite figure you out, and it’s fun. It makes me want to know you better.”

For a moment, Eijun was caught off guard. His heart was beating wildly against his chest as he gazed at Miyuki and he was struggling to remain calm (or whatever state he was in right now, which certainly wasn’t ‘calm,’ but he wasn’t quite panicking anymore, either). He put himself in Miyuki’s shoes, which was hard to do since he wasn’t a YouTuber with millions upon millions of subscribers, but still—he tried to imagine having haters of all different types. He mentioned the creators who were jealous of his success, but despite the truth that Eijun was indeed envious of his popularity, Miyuki didn’t immediately mark him off as “just another hater.”

He clearly saw Eijun as someone unique; otherwise, he wouldn’t be taking the time out of his day (or the money from his wallet) to treat Eijun to a drink and a private chat. As he sat there, staring dumbfoundedly at Miyuki, he quickly tried to run his mind over everything he’d ever said in a video about Miyuki and scrambled to find what he said or did that stuck out to Miyuki. He came up with nothing and was left speechless.

“What, don’t tell me you actually hate my guts after I just admitted that?” Miyuki said after the silence stretched on, his laugh edged with what sounded like genuine nervousness. Eijun’s heart squeezed and he instantly panicked.

“N-No, I don’t a-actually—it’s really like—the way I feel is—nnh… it’s not, uh…” Eijun floundered and found himself blushing furiously instead. He wanted to tell Miyuki that he didn’t hate him, but he also didn’t want to admit to his brand new crush, either. Stating it out loud was absolutely not an option, not anytime soon, and so Eijun sat there, burning to the tips of his ears with embarrassment. Only then did he realize he’d grabbed onto Miyuki’s wrist in an attempt to comfort him, and he suddenly drew his hand back with a yelp as if he’d touched a hot stove.

“L-Look, I doth not wisheth harmethupon thee!!” Eijun expressed with his usual cringe-worthy formality. “I-It’s not that I actually hate you or anything… but don’t get the wrong idea, okay!? It’s not the o-o-opposite, either!”

Miyuki’s lips immediately stretched in a cheshire-clever grin as he leaned in closer, his proximity making Eijun’s breath hitch from the way his heart slammed his chest. This close, he could see the way that Miyuki’s lashes were naturally thick, like his brows, and slightly curled. “Ehhh… the opposite? Could it be that you’re secretly head over heels for—”

“I’m leaving now!” Eijun announced and jerked back, but he couldn’t even get off his barstool before Miyuki slung his arm around Eijun’s shoulder and dragged him back in.

“Ah-ah, don’t go running off now or you might get lost and become a stray kitten,” Miyuki chided, breath tickling the shell of Eijun’s ear. Yet again, that pet name sent shivers down Eijun’s spine and he bit down the urge to mewl for Miyuki. Curse this man’s seductive voice—he’d never had the urge to mewl for anyone in his life…! What had he become, a rabid fan or something? 

Unbeknownst of Eijun’s internal panic, Miyuki continued to nag, “Besides, don’t you know it’s rude to leave before we both finish our drinks?” Before Eijun could point out that their drinks were almost gone, Miyuki craned his neck towards the bartender passing by and asked for another round. “On the same card, please!”

“You didn’t even ask what I wanted!” Eijun whined and squirmed against his grasp, puffing out his cheeks in a slight pout. “What if I didn’t want another one, huh?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Miyuki dismissed and rolled his eyes. “What, do you have somewhere better to be?”

Eijun trembled a little as arousal pooled low in his gut. Not at all! The best possible place is snuggled under your arm like this, and oh my god, I can feel how firm your muscles are against the back of my neck, and my face is sort of squished against the side of your chest and it smells so good and feels so warm and— 

“T-The dance floor, obviously!” Eijun stammered out to put a halt to his racing thoughts that were quickly spiraling into the gutter. He didn’t really care to dance yet, but that was where most people were mingling and chatting, so it would be an excuse to get away from the pressure of interacting with Miyuki. He wondered if Miyuki could feel the hammering of his pulse against his arm where he was slightly pressing against the side of Eijun’s neck.

“You need a few more drinks for that,” Miyuki argued and loosened his hold now that the drinks were set down in front of them. “Dancing’s no fun when sober.”

“Says you,” Eijun muttered as he straightened up, pretending not to be disappointed by the newfound space between their bodies. “It can be lots of fun without being under the influence.”

Either Miyuki didn’t hear that comment murmured under the thrumming of the music or he simply ignored Eijun’s protest. He took a sip and set his glass back down while regarding Eijun curiously. “You’re from around here, aren’t you?”

“Geh— h-how did you know that?” Eijun asked nervously, going cat-eyed as he stared Miyuki down. “This con isn’t a local one, you know! People come from all over the world! I could be from across the country for all you know, can’t I?”

“Well, that’s true, but when you pulled out your ID, I saw what looked like an old college ID card underneath,” Miyuki admitted with a sideways grin. “I’d recognize those colors anywhere. I went to UOS, too.”

“You—wait, seriously!?” Eijun gaped from the realization. “But we’re—you’re not much older than me, are you?”

“I don’t know, am I?” Miyuki rested his chin in his hand and fixed a cocky grin at Eijun. Of course, at that moment, Eijun just had to notice the way a little dimple formed at the corner of his mouth, making Miyuki look infuriatingly sexy and cute at the same time—something that Eijun never really believed was possible until he saw it with his own eyes. He aggressively chugged more of his alcohol to cope with his out-of-control attraction and ignored the woozy feeling that coursed through his veins as he set his glass down.  

“I’m 25, for your information!” Eijun barked out and exhaled loudly through his nose.

“Ohhh, so we went to school at the same time, then,” Miyuki commented with a raise of his brows. “We’re the same age.”

“We are?” Eijun nearly slammed his palms against the counter. “We went to school together and we never met? But how!?”

“Jee, I dunno, maybe because the university had hundreds upon thousands of students,” Miyuki snickered sarcastically. “We probably never even passed each other.”

“Lies!” Eijun snapped and pointed his finger at Miyuki, not quite sure where his bold accusation even came from. “I bet you were my secret admirer or something! All of this YouTube fame was just a ploy to get my attention in the future!! I’ve cracked the code, Miyuki Kazuya!”

Miyuki’s grin widened and trembled before he burst out into laughter, shoulders shaking as he lowered his head disbelievingly. “That would be a hilarious story, wouldn’t it? Hahaha! You’re too funny!”

For a moment, Eijun stared at him, feeling warm and fuzzy upon realizing that he just made Miyuki genuinely laugh. Eijun had to nearly slap his own cheeks to get himself to stop smiling before he was caught making such a soft face at the man he declared was his internet archnemesis. Even if their relationship wasn’t as dramatic as truly being enemies, Eijun didn’t want to go so quickly from bad-mouthing the YouTube star to being a little too chummy with him.

“W-Well, it could be possible,” Eijun insisted with a nod and a huff. “I have cracked the secret code, I know it!”

“Sure, sure,” Miyuki agreed with a sideways grin.

What followed was a brief, very normal conversation about their college experience. Eijun found out that though they were currently the same age, Miyuki was technically in the year above Eijun because his birthday was in November, so he graduated before Eijun. He majored in statistics while Eijun majored in classical literature; though they both earned impressive passing grades, neither of them pursued higher education in either field and found themselves doing YouTube full-time instead.

It probably should have been more shocking to learn that Miyuki lived not too far from Eijun—he was only about a two-hour drive from Eijun’s town—but it wasn’t too much of a surprise. Most “online influencers,” as they were called, tended to gather in the same places, oddly enough. Even if Miyuki lived alone in a condo, his complex housed a few other notable influencers who moved in at the same time so that they could collaborate more frequently. Eijun shared with Miyuki that he lived in a moderately sized apartment with Furuya and Haruichi. 

The more they talked, the more Eijun began to think of Miyuki as someone more down-to-earth than he initially seemed. It wasn’t that he presented himself as some ritzy, luxurious YouTuber to begin with, but the sheer number of his following was enough to intimidate anyone who faced him. Not to mention how Eijun had said less than flattering things about him—Miyuki really had no reason to chat him up unless…

… Eijun stiffened. What if he was getting all buttered up only to get sabotaged by Miyuki later!? Miyuki could be setting him up so that he trusted Miyuki only to pull the rug out from under his feet and squash Eijun under his thumb like he was a bug! The possibility had Eijun’s heart-rate skyrocketing; it was also perfectly possible that he was just too drunk and now his mind was crafting obscure theories out of nothing. Still, he couldn’t be too cautious!

Eijun finished his drink and noticed that Miyuki was taking his last sip as well. At least this time, he wouldn’t be accused of rude behavior for getting up and turning promptly towards the rest of the party.

“Well, I appreciate the drinks, but I think we should get back to the group now before they think we ran off or— wah!” Eijun was mid-sentence as he slid off the barstool, but he hadn’t realized just how drunk he truly was until he tried to stand. It felt like the floor tilted beneath his feet and he staggered to the side, only to be caught by a firm arm as his face was pressed against a warm chest. His eyes widened as his vision spun, then settled, forcing him to realize that the steady thumping he felt against his ear wasn’t the pulsing of the music, but rather the beat of Miyuki’s heart.

“Careful, now,” Miyuki chuckled, his strong arms holding Eijun steady as he tilted his head to speak so close to Eijun’s ear, “or you might end up tripping into someone’s arms like a pretty damsel in distress.”

Eijun felt his entire body flush hot from frenzied arousal. His lips trembled as his heart raced out of control, for he knew the natural reaction was to stand up and push Miyuki back, but all he wanted to do was to cling to him harder. So suddenly being wrapped in the embrace of his newfound crush was overwhelming, to say the least, and his brain put a halt on any logical thoughts he may have. He managed to shift his head to look up at Miyuki, which was definitely the wrong decision because now their noses were close enough to touch and Eijun could hardly breathe.

The way Miyuki was looking at him made Eijun’s knees weak as well—there was a shadow cast over those eyes, yet they still gleamed with interest, giving Eijun a glimpse of their luminous honey-brown color. His cheeks had a flush across them, no doubt from drinking, and the presence of his rectangular-framed glasses only seemed to make his eyes appear sharper, more defined, and more intense than ever.

God, Miyuki was perfect. He looked like he’d been brought to life after being chiseled out of marble by a classical artist. He looked like one of those flawless men on the front cover of some steamy romance novel. He looked like he belonged on the front cover of a men’s modeling magazine and the only reason that he wasn’t there already was simply because he would blow everyone else out of the water. The challenge was unfair, for Miyuki would not give other men even a glimpse of a chance.

Shit, Eijun really was drunk as all hell to be absolutely salivating over Miyuki’s stunningly good looks in such extremely close proximity to his face right now—no joke, he felt drool on his lower lip and he hurried to lap it up before Miyuki noticed. Even so, Eijun knew that it was probably too late. He definitely looked like a slobbering mess.

Only after he shifted his focus away from Miyuki’s downright hypnotic gaze did he notice that someone else was staring at them. He peered over Miyuki’s shoulder and tensed, gaze locking with a pair of sharp, icy-blue eyes. He didn’t recognize the blonde-haired person, who looked to be part of a group judging by the way his body was facing a circle of party-goers. He had one hand clasped around his phone, showing off finely painted acrylic nails that matched with the colors of his fashionable outfit.

One finely shaped eyebrow raised slowly, and even as the mysterious blonde man turned his face away, his eyes lingered on Eijun for just a moment longer to make it clear what he was communicating: ‘yes, I was looking right at you, and I’m not embarrassed to be caught.’ The blonde titled his head to say something to the group gathered with him, and that was enough for Eijun to panic and stumbled away from Miyuki’s grasp.

They’d been seen together. 

He knew others were at the party and had seen them chatting at the bar, of course, but no one had looked at them so pointedly, like they could read Eijun’s mind and decipher the situation without lifting a finger. Eijun’s face was probably as red as it could get at that point, hands shaking as he pressed them firmly against Miyuki’s shoulders to put a little distance between them. Miyuki was just staring back at him, that irritatingly perfect smirk resting on his lips, like he was the damn cat who got the cream.

Fuck, what was he doing, letting himself stay snuggled up to Miyuki’s chest like that? He didn’t even know if Miyuki was gay to start with. He could be getting all worked up for nothing and at the rate he was going, he was just asking to get himself hurt. On the other hand, it was perfectly possible that Miyuki just wanted a one-night stand, and Eijun was entirely against that idea. As appealing as the thought of getting railed by the man in front of him was, he had barely come to terms with his feelings that day—he was in no way ready for things to escalate further.

“N-N-Now, if you’ll excuse me—” Eijun started to stammer as he turned away, desperately looking for someone he recognized to save him from staying with Miyuki any longer. His eyes reflexively darted behind Miyuki again and he noticed the blonde man was gone—shit, where did he go, and how much did Eijun have to pay him to keep his mouth shut!? He went cat-eyed and felt sweat roll down his temples as he looked around frantically for a head of blonde hair. His objective rapidly changed from “get away from Miyuki” to “find that guy and beg for him not to spread any rumors about what he just saw.”

“Sawamura?” Miyuki asked, appearing to be genuinely confused by whatever was happening, but Eijun paid him no mind. His eyes locked on the back of the head belonging to the man he was looking for; he spotted him, finally. The blonde was heading down the stairs to the first level of the party. Eijun didn’t even give Miyuki an explanation as he took off towards him.

“Sorry!! I gotta do something right now, alone!!” Eijun shouted, though he wouldn’t be surprised if he was too far away to be heard. Luckily, as Eijun raced towards the stairs, he unintentionally shoved past Kuramochi Youichi himself—the YouTuber most famous for being Miyuki’s best friend and number one collaboration partner—who was heading right for Miyuki. The timing was perfect because now, Miyuki had someone to prevent him from chasing after Eijun.

“Watch it, punk-ass!” Kuramochi snarled after him, sounding just like the true delinquent that he acted like on screen. Eijun swallowed down his fear and scampered off before Kuramochi could tear him a new one, trying his best to keep track of the blonde who had seen them pressed up together. He absolutely couldn’t let that guy get the wrong idea about what he saw!

If anything, this isn’t for my reputation, but for Miyuki’s! Maybe it was a little heroic of Eijun to be going to such lengths to protect Miyuki’s image, but Eijun wasn’t vindictive enough to want to see Miyuki’s career get picked apart by rumors and gossip, especially if it was due to his own newly-budding feelings. Surely Eijun’s desires were written all over his face, but what that blonde guy saw was not the full story. Plus, what if Miyuki wasn’t gay? Rumors about his sexuality could be really harmful—it would be even worse if Miyuki was closeted and was exposed because of Eijun’s one-sided lust. Fuck, this could go so badly if Eijun didn’t intervene.

Eijun clenched his teeth together tightly as he nearly threw himself down the stairs—not a great idea when he was deeply intoxicated, but hey, he felt lucky that nothing bad happened when he stumbled on the final step. He charged after the blonde who was almost around the corner, and just as he turned, Eijun sped up his pace to finally catch him.

He yelped and nearly fell on his ass when he turned the corner only to find the blonde standing there, facing him with his arms crossed over his chest, like he was purposefully baiting Eijun to this location. A short distance behind him stood the two men he’d been walking around with, except only now did Eijun really see them clearly. He realized that they were both muscular, dressed in black, and wore belts with various… dangerous-looking items attached.

Bodyguards!? Eijun grimaced and took a shaky step back to put some distance between himself and the apparent celebrity standing in front of him. If he was famous enough to require bodyguards, then why didn’t Eijun recognize him!? Well, Eijun supposed there were a lot of celebrities around that he wasn’t aware of, but Eijun’s heart fluttered from the adrenaline and confusion of the chase. 

They were standing in the corridor for the restrooms, with doors for either gender on each side of the hallway. A group of girls stumbled out from one of the restrooms and pranced back to the party. Once they disappeared, the hallway was silent spare for the muffled thudding of the music blaring over the dancefloor.

The man narrowed his eyes, looked Eijun up and down, and then firmly demanded, “Why did you follow me?”

“Nh—!! I swear, I don’t have bad intentions, I just—” Eijun fumbled as he tried to explain himself without getting tazed by the terrifying bodyguards looming behind the frankly very pretty man standing in front of Eijun. The blonde raised one eyebrow suspiciously as he studied Eijun’s shaky movements with a calculating gaze. “I-I was… I wanted to make sure you didn’t have bad intentions, actually!”

“What made you think I would have bad intentions?” The man cocked his hip to one side.

“T-The way you—” Eijun’s palms felt sweaty. He was no good at this confrontation stuff. He balled his hands into fists briefly as he ground his teeth together from frustration. He was too drunk to word himself coherently! Surely the man could tell by the way his cheeks were red and how his eyes were a little shiny, and yet he still felt like toying with Eijun like this? He wanted to whimper and beg for him to have some sympathy. “You stared at me like you were gonna expose my secrets to the world or something…!”

The blonde beamed at Eijun, bright blue eyes glittering with amusement. “Ehh? Really? I like how you think! Hahaha! Go on, girl, read me for filth!” 

“Read you for—wha… huh?” Eijun’s brain felt muddled. He was openly gay, but he certainly wasn’t in on the lingo constantly used by his community. Whatever that meant, Eijun was just going to brush it aside. He groaned and stepped a little closer, briefly forgetting about the two terrifying bodyguards standing behind the blonde, but luckily they didn’t say or do anything as Eijun narrowed the distance between them. “Look, u-uhm, I don’t know if you know who I am or—” 

“No idea,” the blonde interjected flatly and Eijun winced. Eijun knew he was a nobody, but jeez, he could be a little kinder, couldn’t he!?

“W-Well, it doesn’t matter!” Eijun sighed. “What you saw—uh, I swear, M-Miyuki Kazuya and I only just met, and… and I’m not sure how I… or how he… I don’t want you to go out and… um, what’s the word, uh…”

The man seemed just as confused as Eijun was over his words. His eyes searched Eijun’s face before he supplied, “Talk about it? Tell someone else? Spill the tea?”

“That’s it! I don’t want you to spill the—” Eijun cut himself off just as the phrase was mid-way off his tongue. It suddenly struck a chord inside him and in a heartbeat, he connected the dots as to why he panicked so much. Upon seeing this particular creator gazing at them with such a knowing look on his face, anyone would freak out! He pointed ferociously at the popular creator and leapt back like a frightened cat, imaginary tail bristling and sticking straight out with alarm. “Wait, you’re Narumiya Mei!!”

The creator—no, Narumiya Mei— gazed at Eijun with mild offense. “Seriously? You didn’t know who I was this entire time?”

“I-I’m drunk and it took me a minute!!” Eijun defended himself with a whine. The idea of ‘tea spilling’ finally jogged his memory, reminding Eijun of the recommended videos that sometimes popped up when he hopped onto YouTube. Eijun wasn’t someone who followed internet drama, but YouTube still tried to goat him into clicking those types of videos every now and then. He had flashbacks of seeing Mei’s thumbnails, which almost always showed his face with wide-eyed shock accompanied by bright, eye-catching text that said something intentionally vague like, ‘THEY’VE GONE TOO FAR…!’

Those types of videos generally would never garner Eijun’s attention, but he did always notice the insanely high view count on Mei’s videos and wonder if they were of substance and not just tacky clickbait. He’d nearly given in to temptation and watched one, but luckily something else always caught his attention before he could get sucked in. No wonder he had a strange feeling of recognition upon seeing Mei, but it was nothing he could figure out quickly—and only after speaking his name out loud did he recall seeing the celebrity’s name trending once or twice with a caption like ‘Gossiping YouTube Star Releases New Eyeshadow Palette’ to indicate that he did more than just talk about other people. 

“Wow, so my drama addiction is written all over my face, even to total strangers!” Mei remarked with amazement, eyes sparkling with glee.

“I’m just begging you to have mercy on us!!” Eijun begged, now clasping his hands together to indicate his plea for Mei’s understanding. “I’m not ready to be in the drama spotlight or at all involved with—with that guy!!”

“Oh, you’re worried about whatever I just saw? Trust me, that’s nothing for me to work with,” Mei said as he waved his hand around dismissively. “I don’t have pictures or any sort of exciting screenshots to make a whole video out of it, anyway. Besides, I’m not one to start rumors, you know.” Mei gave Eijun a scheming grin, eyes sharply staring Eijun down and making him feel like he was staring into his mind as he smugly corrected himself. “I only spread them like wildfire.”

Eijun gulped. That was a warning if he’d ever heard one.

“So if you’re gonna worry your pretty little head about what people might think of your relationship with Kazuya, then I’d watch what you say about him closely, sweetie,” Mei suggested with a sadistic grin. “Because as soon as any receipts show up, you can guarantee we’ll be talking all about them.”

“Y-Yes, sir!” Eijun squeaked out and nodded frantically.

Mei cringed. “Ew, I would have preferred ma’am. It sounds more regal.”

“U-Uhm, yes, ma’am?” Eijun offered hesitantly. He held his breath and chewed on his bottom lip as he gazed at Mei awkwardly for a moment. “Wait, uh, what are your pronouns…?”

“Aw, you’re asking me? You’re so cute!” Mei squealed and whipped out his—her? Their? Fuck. Mei pulled out a cell phone. There—Eijun could work with this. “My pronouns are whatever you want them to be as long as you know I’m a total queen.” Eijun thought that was easy enough, and he nearly yelped as a phone was thrust into his hands, unlocked with an empty contact page on the screen. “Here, put in your number.”

“Mei—” One of the bodyguards spoke hesitantly, as if to warn him against giving out his personal number so carelessly.

“Relax, Harada!” Mei said as he craned his head to look over his shoulder. “What harm can he do? He’s not trying to get into my pants.” He paused and suddenly turned back to face Eijun with round, skeptical eyes. “Wait, are you?”

“What gave you that idea!?” Eijun snapped back, then continued to begrudgingly type in his name and contact info.

“See?” Mei shrugged. “It’s fine.” As soon as Eijun completed filling out the empty boxes, Mei snatched his phone back and pocketed it with a wink. “You’re funny and I like you. I’m keeping tabs on you now. Maybe chasing me down was a bad idea!”

Eijun groaned and let his shoulders sag with defeat. He would have let his anxiety eat him alive if he didn’t corner Mei and figure out what was going on, so it’s not like he necessarily regretted talking with Mei, but it was true that he complicated things more by doing so.

“Oh, there you are, Eijun!”

A third voice spoke from behind him, causing Eijun to whirl around rapidly. Thank god that the two standing there were exactly who Eijun wanted to see right now. Haruichi was gazing at the pair with wide, startled eyes. A humble flush spread across his cheeks as he went tense and took an instant step back. Furuya was with him, as usual, and he was pulled along by Haruichi when the smaller of the pair retreated.

“I’m so sorry if we interrupted something!” Haruichi yelped apologetically.

“No no, we’re done chit-chatting, aren’t we, Eijun?” Mei purred with far too much amusement dancing in his eyes. Eijun nodded nervously and plastered on a tense grin as he faced his roommates.

“Wahaha! R-Right!” Eijun stammered. “I was just on my way out of here to find you both!” He quickly scurried over to Haruichi and Furuya with a look of panic. He hissed as quietly as he could manage, “Get me out of here!”

Regardless of how perplexed he was to find Eijun alone in an empty hallway with the famous makeup artists behind a popular gossip channel, Haruichi didn’t miss a beat. “Well, good, because we were just coming to get you to head back to the room. We have a panel to attend early tomorrow morning, remember?”

Eijun didn’t remember at all. He nodded frantically. “Right, right! The panel! The panel happening super early in the morning, the panel we absolutely cannot miss, the panel of utmost importance! I remember, Harucchi! I thank you for your courteous reminder!”

“Stop it, you’re going overboard,” Haruichi grunted from between clenched teeth as he harshly elbowed Eijun right in the side to shut him up. As Eijun cringed from the pain, Haruichi looped their arms together, clasped Furuya’s hand tighter, and spun them both around to face the opposite direction. It was such a swift, smooth move that anyone watching would know that Haruichi was used to wrangling the two idiots way too often.

“I’ll text you later!” Mei called out and waved as Eijun was dragged away.

Only after the trio were completely out of the party and in the hotel lobby did Eijun let out a dramatic sigh of relief. “I just barely made it out alive!!”

“You have a lot of explaining to do,” Haruichi reminded him with an exhausted sigh. “Seriously, first you sat with Miyuki at the bar for ages, and then the next thing we know, both of you are missing and we find you with Narumiya Mei, of all people.” 

Haruichi pressed the buttons on the elevator for them; Eijun glanced over and noticed that Furuya was totally zoned out. Yup, his social battery had been drained. Eijun felt sympathetic for the poor guy. He looked like a total zombie. Haruichi shuffled them both into the elevator like a true caretaker. 

“Satoru and I split from the group to dance for a bit, but by the time we wanted to take a break, we lost sight of you,” Haruichi supplied as the doors to the elevator slid shut and locked them inside.

“Aww, you were worried about me?” Eijun cooed as he leaned in and snuggled Haruichi’s head close to his chest. “You’re the best, Harucchi! The absolute sweetest!”

“I’m just glad we didn’t find you covered in your own puke in a corner somewhere,” Haruichi answered. His cheeks reddened from Eijun’s affectionate gesture and he let out a short sigh of exasperation—one undeniably laced with a fondness he had reserved especially for Eijun and his usual antics. The elevator dinged and opened to let them off on their floor.

Haruichi ushered them into the hallway and guided them to their room. “Come on, we can talk tomorrow, it’s been a wild night. Let’s get you both to bed.”

Eijun had to agree that ‘wild’ was one way to put what happened to him that day. Part of him wanted to ramble on about what happened, but the other part of him simply wanted to crash and let sleep fix his emotions. 

It was to no one’s surprise that the minute his head hit the pillow, he was out like a light.

Chapter Text

When Eijun blinked his eyes open, he noticed that the curtains of the hotel room were slightly opened, only allowing a sliver of light to come through and paint the room in a dim, pale glow. The other bed was empty and the room was quiet, meaning Eijun was alone and both Furuya and Haruichi were already out somewhere else. Too comfortable to get up quite yet, Eijun closed his eyes and nuzzled back into his pillow. He continued to drift in and out of a faint sleep.

His mind was clinging to a dream that depicted something fuzzy and hard to decipher. He teetered between the world of unconsciousness and consciousness, but his desire to remain inside the dream kept him dozing off. He couldn’t make out what was happening or what he was doing, but he smiled dopily and squeezed his pillow, gradually recalling the feeling of something similarly soft that he hugged not too long ago. He could almost hear that steady heartbeat underneath his shirt, could smell the scent of that rich cologne he wore, with its leathery elements and a spicy cinnamon touch, and could feel the way his blood ran hot from being snuggled up against him…

By the time Eijun was truly awake again, he was aware that he was grinding his half-hard cock on the pillow tucked between his thighs. He was too sleepy and aroused to think twice about what he was doing, so he simply continued to rub against the soft material, lost in a haze of dream-like bliss. He gripped tightly onto the sheets and bit back a needy whine, imagining the way those strong arms could pin him up against the wall, how his thick thigh would feel between Eijun’s legs as it rubbed on Eijun’s weeping cock, how his breath would tickle the shell of Eijun’s ear as he whispered teasing, dirty words.

“Imagine the looks on everyone’s faces as you sucked my cock in front of the world,” his irritably seductive voice would purr, further driving Eijun into his lust-ridden state. “They think you hate me, kitten, but then they’d see the way you fall to your knees for me, mouth watering, desperate and ready to be—”

“Eijun.”

The sound of his name spoken out loud by someone that wasn’t he-who-shall-not-be-named of his fantasy world caused Eijun to practically screech and roll off the bed. He caught himself in time and clung onto the edge, heart racing while the hairs on his body stood on end like a frightened cat. He stared wildly at the foot of the bed, all sleepy and confused, his hair clumped up in irregular tufts that stuck out on one side more than the other.

Furuya looked barely affected by the alarming sight of Eijun’s state. He just blinked and said, “Haruichi and I are having breakfast downstairs. You weren’t answering your phone so I came up to make sure you were still breathing. We can save you a spot if you want to come down or we can bring something up for you.”

“F-F-Furuya!” Eijun stammered out with a nervous laugh, not-so-subtly ensuring that there were pillows and blankets covering his tented groin. His face was burning hot and he prayed to god that Furuya didn’t walk in on him moaning or whining to himself over his stupid early-morning fantasies. Luckily, Furuya looked as stoic as ever, so it seemed that he didn’t notice that anything was different about Eijun’s behavior. Eijun acted strange more times than not, so it was no surprise that Furuya didn’t care about whatever Eijun was flustered over.

“There’s fruits and bagels downstairs we can bring up here easily,” Furuya continued nonchalantly. “We can grab cereal too. They have the usual brands. Oh, and some different kinds of pastries and flavored yogurt.”

“I-If you can bring stuff up for me, that would be great!” Eijun finally responded, still disoriented from being jerked out of his little daydream. He clapped his hands together and barked out, “Thank you, Furuya! I’ll text Harucchi with what I want, but I’m sure he already knows what I like!”

“Mhm, okay, we’ll be back soon,” Furuya finished with a nod. He turned and left the room, leaving Eijun in solitude again, much to his relief. He let out a ragged sigh and flopped back down onto the bed, heart still pounding and blood stirring hotly from the remnants of his sexual excitement. It was far too risky now to try and touch himself, so he ignored the feeling until it began to fade away and his erection waned.

More importantly… what was he doing, fantasizing about Miyuki Kazuya first thing in the morning!? Was he insane? Did he trip and hit his head last night!? What the hell has gotten into him, making him think he had feelings for Miyuki of all people? He had to laugh. All of that was a total mistake on Eijun’s end, surely. 

Eijun was just swept up in the excitement of the day, that was all! Meeting a famous person would get Eijun feeling worked up no matter who they were—he was thrilled over meeting Chris and of course he wouldn’t pursue anything with Chris, seeing as the man was already happily taken. Eijun decided he most definitely did not have feelings for Miyuki like he previously thought. No way in hell.

Grinning smugly to himself now that he successfully sorted out his emotions, Eijun rolled onto his side and unplugged his phone from the nightstand. With a yawn, he began to sort through his stacks of notifications.

He was momentarily frightened by a text from an unknown number, but once he read its contents, he wasn’t sure if he was relieved now that he knew who it was or more terrified than before. Eijun quickly added the number to his contacts and opened the text.

Narumiya Mei: Do you have any experience with makeup? Lmk girl ;) xxx

It was a tame enough question, which actually kind of surprised Eijun. He wasn’t sure what to expect from the viral beauty guru, but this message was pretty… on-brand, he supposed. The text was sent about two hours after Eijun left the party, long after he had fallen asleep.

Me: To be honest, not really! ( ˙꒳˙ ) if I need to wear any for some reason, harucchi usually does it for me!!

He lingered on their messages for a few moments, but when there was no indicator that Mei saw the message or began typing back, Eijun closed their correspondence. It seemed Mei was still asleep or he was busy. 

Eijun moved onto a different app and chewed at his bottom lip as he glanced at his pages, thinking about what to say or tweet, if anything at all. He was having trouble focusing, for he was still sort of pent-up from… well, how he woke up that morning. He had been imagining a scenario, but it was almost like he could still smell Miyuki’s scent on him and still hear the words he’d been whispering into Eijun’s ear. He couldn’t remember whatever the hell he’d been imagining before Furuya interrupted his daydream, but their interactions from the night before were apparently living in Eijun’s mind rent-free.

“Careful, now, or you might end up tripping into someone’s arms like a pretty damsel in distress.”

A heavy, hot blush settled onto his cheeks and he curled up against his pillow as his stomach began to tighten. His heart fluttered and he let out a yearning sigh as he closed his eyes, biting down on his lip while he rubbed his feet together anxiously. Maybe hiding under the covers would help him run from his gay thoughts.

… Dammit, this is useless. I do have a crush on him!! Eijun whined to himself and ran an aggravated hand through his hair. He couldn’t stand this anymore. He perked up slightly and glanced around the room, as if someone were spying on him, but then realized he was being a little too paranoid for no reason. It was obviously empty and he felt dumb for thinking otherwise.

With a sigh of resignation, Eijun flopped back down and searched up Miyuki’s profile. He pulled up his account as his pulse pounded loudly in his ears, wondering if Miyuki posted anything last night. He could have posted a status update or a picture or—

Eijun nearly dropped his phone at what he saw. He stared—no, he gawked at the two selfies posted side by side, both taken in the hotel bathroom’s full-body mirror. 

You’ve gotta be kidding me. His mouth went dry and man was he glad to be alone right now, because he was pretty sure his dick was already taking interest in the downright sinful image displayed before his eyes.

Miyuki stood beside Kuramochi Youichi, another creator that he often collaborated with. They were both wearing… hoodies, if Eijun could even call them that. The “hoodies” were literally made of nothing besides the hood part, sleeves, and the upper chest portion of the hoodie—besides that, their torsos were entirely exposed. Eijun’s eyes were glued to the bare skin displayed for the camera, and though Kuramochi was also sporting some impressive abs, he found himself drawn to Miyuki’s body (damn his crush). 

What a sight it was—he was perfectly shaped and sculpted like a goddamn Ancient Greek sculpture. The bumps of his muscular stomach, the prominent jut of his hips forming a v-line down to his jeans, the subtle ridges of his ribs along his sides, that plushy chest— god dammit, fuck this guy for being so flawless and stunning!! Eijun nearly threw his phone because was gonna get hard again at this rate! For what purpose did these two bastards have for posting themselves posing nearly shirtless in a mirror like this!? He looked to the caption, furiously blushing and horrifyingly horny.

@miyukik: 5 mil likes and we wear these to the con tomorrow and nothing else ahaha ;)) @mochiyouichi 

Eijun groaned at that number—of course the tanuki bastard would choose something impossibly high to reach even with his impressive following. Miyuki clearly had no intention of wearing something that skimpy and ridiculous out in public, and yet he still  posted these pictures with Kuramochi for the world to see just to be a teasing little shit.

His thumb hovered over the photo and he almost held it down to get the option to save it to his phone, but he hesitated. Touching anything on Miyuki’s profile like this was too risky—there was always a chance he would accidentally double-tap the photo and like it. To Eijun, liking one of Miyuki’s posts—especially a sleazy photo like this—would be the same as metaphorically cutting his own head off. He would rather not even get close to doing something so foolish. Plus, the numbers on that photo were still skyrocketing, and there was no doubt in Eijun’s mind that the replies were packed with thirsty comments, sweating emojis and even some sensual selfies in return from some bolder fans.

… but dammit, he wanted to use this photo for jerk-off material later so badly! Even if he did manage to safely download the photo without liking it, there was a very high chance Haruichi or Furuya would see it saved in his phone eventually. Of course he trusted his best friends, and it wasn’t like they went through his phone without Eijun knowing or anything like that. Still, Eijun would rather curl up and die than be caught with Miyuki’s thirst-trap selfies in his photos gallery when trying to show them something on his phone. Explaining that would be tricky without exposing his intense desire to be bent over and fucked breathless by the man.

Even if he trusted Furuya and Haruichi with his life, he wasn’t ready to vocalize his feelings for Miyuki yet—not even to himself. All of it stayed in his head, unspoken, where his feelings might actually all vanish if he ignored them long enough. As badly as Eijun wanted that to happen, he wasn’t completely stupid (contrary to popular belief) and he knew he couldn’t just will them away that easily, so he understood he had to cope with his feelings somehow.

An idea of how to cope popped into his mind at last. There was a way to keep all his photos, thoughts and fantasies about Miyuki in one place completely disassociated from Eijun himself: a throwaway side account. On that account, he could retweet all of Miyuki’s posts, tweet about how horny he was over the good-looking bastard, and even speak his feelings directly to Miyuki… and no one would know it was him. 

It was the perfect idea. 

Eijun pulled up Twitter and got to work immediately with a clever smile on his lips. Creating a new account was simple, and he decided to make his handle @ei_chanx, which to him seemed somewhat feminine. He’d make himself appear like a girl on this account so that it was even further removed from Eijun himself.

The first person he followed was Miyuki. Then, he followed a few of Miyuki’s closest friends and colleagues—Kuramochi and Maezono, for instance—and finally went on to follow the biggest Miyuki fan accounts he could find. Soon, he was following enough to keep his timeline somewhat interesting, and so he went on to do what he created the account for and retweeted the selfie Miyuki posted last night.

At first, he hovered over the blank tweet window and wondered what to say as a comment in response to the selfie. God, he had so many thoughts. Should he filter himself? Should he hesitate on what horny things he had to say? Then again, why bother holding back? Eijun had absolutely nothing to lose. No one knew this account belonged to him, and if he had to abandon it, he lost… nothing. There was no reason for him to worry.

Fuck it. Eijun bit down on his bottom lip as he typed out his first tweet without thinking.

@ei_chanx: wHY ARE HIS BOOBS SO FAT AND SEXY I JUST WANT TO SHOVE MY FACE INTO THEM AND SUFFOCATE TO DEATH!!! SEND TWEET!!!!!!!!!!!

“Wahaha! It’s true!” Eijun laughed to himself over his own absurd behavior. There it was, his very first thirst tweet about Miyuki Kazuya, posted on his account with absolutely 0 followers. No harm, no foul. He was in the middle of typing another one when the sound of the door opening snapped him out of his little fantasy world.

Yikes! It’s time to be Sawamura Eijun again! He went cat-eyed as he switched accounts to hop back on his normal timeline. He would just have to indulge himself and be Ei-chan later on. He sat up quickly and stared at Haruichi and Furuya as they walked inside, praying he didn’t look overly suspicious or flushed. There was a basket of fruit and rolls of bread balanced on Haruichi’s arm while he carried a cup of coffee with the other.

“You haven’t moved at all,” Furuya pointed out once he was inside.

“I don’t wanna hear anything about lazing about in bed from you!” Eijun hissed defensively, immediately funneling his wrath towards Furuya. “You’d sleep all day if you could get away with it, polar bear!”

“He has a point, Satoru,” Haruichi chimed in. Furuya stood in the doorway looking all disgruntled with his brows furrowed, but he couldn’t come up with a rebuttal in the end. He had to know Eijun was right. Feeling satisfied with himself, Eijun stuck out the tip of his tongue at Furuya like a child mocking another. Furuya glared back at him, but that was when Haruichi came to sit down on the edge of his bed. He set down the foods on their shared nightstand. “Here you go. Now eat up before we go downstairs.”

“Yes, sir!” Eijun responded with a salute, then finally pushed the covers off his lap so he could adjust to the temperature of the room. He wanted to whine at first from the coolness on his bare legs, but he would survive. 

He was only midway through munching on a croissant when Haruichi’s interrogation began.

“So,” Haruichi said, now peering up at Eijun from between his strawberry-pink fringe. An inquisitive smile curled on his lips as he asked, “How did it go last night with Miyuki?”

“I-It was fine,” Eijun answered stiffly, trying not to let his nervousness show by chewing his food a bit more aggressively than before. “We, uh, we had a couple drinks and talked about VidCon, that was all!”

“That was all, huh?” Haruichi pressed, one brow raising slowly. He crossed one leg over the other and Eijun tensed anxiously. That was Haruichi’s business pose. At this rate, Eijun was fucking doomed.

“Yup!” Eijun barked out, still trying to slip through this conversation unscathed. “That was it! Absolutely nothing of interest was said between us! To me, it seems that Miyuki Kazuya is just some normal, arrogant celebrity YouTuber. No surprise to be found there, right? Hmph!” He stuffed his mouth with a large bite of the croissant and chewed on the flaky bread noisily.

“Alright then,” Haruichi said with a shrug, allowing Eijun to change the subject and move past the topic just this once. At least he made it past that part of the questioning, but Eijun could tell by the way Haruichi pursed his lips that this wasn’t quite over. Sure enough, Haruichi continued on, “Though how did you end up with Mei, the famous beauty guru? That was really unexpected, Eijun-kun. We didn’t think we’d find you with an actual celebrity.”

“T-That, uh…” Eijun quickly tried to think of an excuse. He couldn’t just admit he chased Mei down in order to beg him not to spread rumors that he and Miyuki were flirting because that would be admitting that they had been flirting and Eijun had reasons to worry about being seen. He stammered as he tried to get out his explanation. “W-Well, you see… I… ran out of toilet paper in the bathroom, and he was in the stall next to me, so… he lended me some… and then we ended up talking because… he left his phone behind in the stall and I noticed it, so I gave it back to him!”

Eijun’s way of explaining their chance meeting wasn’t very convincing, but Haruichi seemed to give him a pass this time. He always had a sixth sense for Eijun’s internal suffering and allowed Eijun a little leeway before eventually hammering the truth out of him. Because of this, Eijun knew this was his first victorious escape, but he wouldn’t get away with half-assed excuses for much longer. Haruichi would get to the bottom of the situation whether Eijun liked it or not.

With that in mind, it might have made more sense for Eijun to be honest with him right off the bat, but… the thought of acknowledging his emotions out loud, let alone to another pair of ears, was a little too daunting to handle. He’d just keep those feelings restricted to his side account for as long as he could. Hopefully his infatuation with Miyuki was just some passing fancy that he’d get over in a month or two (he refused to admit that he rarely became attracted to other people like this and that having such strong emotions was actually quite a big deal).

“Lucky him that it was you who found his phone,” Haruichi said casually, deciding to go along with the story to ease Eijun’s mind. “If it were anyone else, they might have refused to return it for free, knowing how much money Mei has to offer.”

Bless your kindhearted soul, Harucchi! Eijun silently wept his thanks. His tiny roommate could truly be demonic sometimes, but right now, Haruichi was the definition of an angel in Eijun’s eyes. He wanted to cry from gratitude for Haruichi’s tactful behavior and he barely managed to hold back his sniffles as he peeled a banana.

Haruichi smiled as he leaned back on the bed and started to change the subject, a coy twinkle in his peach-colored eyes. “Well, while you were busy doing god-knows-what in the bathroom, Satoru and I got to meet some awesome creators for the first time! First, we all went out to the balcony…” 

 

***

 

The rest of the morning went peacefully. Eijun finished his breakfast and got ready in a flash so that the three of them could wander around and actually enjoy the vendors, events, and of course, the fans. Today Eijun left behind his baseball cap and face-mask so he could be recognized and Haruichi and Furuya did the same. He wore a backpack with little cat-ears and a tail dangling off the bottom as an extra indicator of who he was.

After all, today was Saturday—the busiest day of the con. Attendance was highest on Saturdays, all the best guests had their biggest events, and everyone was eager to make the most of their experience at VidCon before their limited time was up. Eijun was no exception, for he wanted to go out there and see everyone. He wanted to give his fans a chance to meet him, too. Naturally, he had a pretty small following in the grand scheme of things, so he didn’t really expect much to happen. 

Yet despite all odds, he found himself surprised by a cluster of people recognizing him almost immediately.

“N-No way, is that Eijun?” 

“That has to be Sawamura Eijun…!”

“Look, he’s with Haruichi and Furuya!”

Furuya was the first to pause in his steps and turn to look at the fans whispering their names. Haruichi stopped by proxy since their hands were joined together, and he reached out to grab at the hem of Eijun’s shirt before he could wander too far. The tug grabbed Eijun’s attention and he paused, peering over at Haruichi with a curious hum.

“Eijun-kun,” Haruichi said with a soft tone and a nod behind Eijun. “Look. There’s some of our fans.”

“Fans!?” Eijun blurted out and spun on his heel. The sight of his eager smile had a group of girls grinning widely and giggling amongst each other. They pushed each other around until one girl in the crowd stumbled forward, her cheeks flushed with excitement and perhaps shyness.

“H-Hi, um, I’m Haruno!” The girl spoke shakily, glancing up at Eijun, then to Furuya and Haruichi with a nervous smile. “I-I’ve been a fan of all your channels for a l-long time now! You all inspired me to become a YouTuber as well, s-so thank you very much!” 

“Whoa, you’re a YouTuber, too?” Eijun remarked with genuine surprise and excitement. He pointed at himself and gushed, “Me too! I mean—wait, you knew that already—”

Her friends giggled behind her and Eijun felt himself blush from how silly he sounded. Well, there went all his hopes and dreams of appearing to be cool and collected. He muttered under his breath while Haruichi joined his side to interact with Haruno as well.

“What kind of content do you post?” Haruichi asked with warm kindness in his tone, the same sort of voice one would use when talking to a small animal. Haruno immediately beamed, as if she couldn’t believe one of her idols was asking her about what she did.

“A-Ah, it’s like, uh, a type of ASMR! Which… might be kind of weird, right?” Haruno answered with a bubbly laugh. “But I don’t talk! I cut sand in geometrical shapes and cubes with various tools, and I have a microphone to catch all the sounds.”

“Oh, I know about those, since Satoru loves those types of videos,” Haruichi remarked as he turned to look at his boyfriend. “Are you familiar with her channel? It’s—what is it called?” He faced Haruno again.

“My handle is @aprilshxwers, like ‘April showers’ but with an ‘x’ where the ‘o’ goes!” As she told them her handle, Furuya was quick to pull up his phone and type her channel name into the search bar. His brows raised with surprise. 

“Oh, I’ve already seen some of these,” Furuya admitted with a gleam of interest in his deep, blue eyes. “I really liked them. I just forgot to subscribe. Doing it now.” He tapped the screen and Haruno lifted a hand to her mouth, stifling her gasp of shock.

“T-Thank you, Furuya-kun!” Haruno burst out with a flush of elation on her cheeks.

“Hey, that’s not fair!!” Eijun argued with a pout on his lips now that Furuya was hogging all the attention from their sweet fan. “I like sand-chopping videos too, for your information! They calm me down! I was gonna subscribe to her too!”

“Well, you’re too slow,” Furuya retorted flatly and turned his screen so that Eijun could see that he had subscribed. “I was first. I did it already.”

“Eijun-kun, I don’t think you know what being ‘calm’ means,” Haruichi interjected with a defeated sigh. 

They continued to bicker amongst each other, unknowingly providing great entertainment for their fans, who got to watch the interactions between the online influencers they so deeply enjoyed right before their eyes. What was usually reserved to edited videos and streams was now happening in the flesh—it was truly the VidCon experience that fans like Haruno and her friends came to see. Their viewers were invested in their relationships, their hobbies and their daily lives. They found enjoyment in simply watching Eijun, Haruichi and Furuya exist. To be in the same physical space as them was something they would never forget.

After taking selfies together, Haruno and her friends went their separate ways from Eijun, Haruichi and Furuya. Eijun found himself pausing in his steps to watch her leave, showing her selfie with Eijun to the other girls with a rosy complexion and a smile so wide it made Eijun’s cheeks ache just by looking at her. The fact that simply meeting him could make someone else so happy had Eijun’s heart feeling warm with pride and comfort. 

Moments like these were why he continued to film videos, stream, and spend hours editing content for YouTube. There were so many people out there who watched him and depended on him for whatever reason—whether that be comedic entertainment, relaxation, or some form of comfort on a lonely night. People went on YouTube for an impossibly wide array of reasons, and Eijun knew just how much his videos meant to his fans and subscribers when they left behind comments of their indefinite support.

Practically every day, Eijun got a nonstop stream of comments like, ‘You’re so funny!’ ‘I always laugh out loud when I watch your videos!’ ‘These are so well edited!’ ‘Can’t wait for the next video!’ Of course, he appreciated those courtesy comments, and each one helped motivate him to create over and over again. He loved the little positive pushes from his casual fans and of course, he would never forget the silent viewers who simply left behind a like if they felt generous enough to click the button. 

But what really stuck with Eijun more than anything else were the comments he never expected to receive when he started this career—comments that he swore he would never forget until the day he died.

‘I watch your videos when I eat my meals so I have something to enjoy! I used to have an eating disorder, so associating eating with something fun and positive has helped me build healthier habits. Thank you so much, you have no idea how much you have changed my life.’

‘I was never close to my brother growing up and we almost stopped talking to each other entirely, but then I sent him this video and he thought it was the funniest thing. He sent me another video of yours back to me, and thanks to us bonding over your videos, we’ve become closer than we’ve ever been!’

‘There’s days where I can’t get out of bed because I’m so depressed and the thought of moving makes me feel miserable… but then I think of your ‘oshi oshi oshi!’ and I find the energy to sit up again. Eijun, you motivate me every morning!’

Most impactful of them all are the comments that say, ‘Eijun, your videos have saved my life.’

The fact that the silly things Eijun said and did could actually stop someone from committing suicide was… a powerful thing to process, to say the least. Eijun didn’t doubt their assertions, but the thought was touching beyond comprehension. He would never forget the first time he received a comment like that—tears were slipping down his cheeks before he could process them, and both Haruichi and Furuya refrained from teasing Eijun as they held him in a comforting hug of mutual understanding.

Of course Eijun had gotten criticism from people who often assumed Eijun couldn’t make a living off of this job. His parents had always been supportive, but he saw the flicker of doubt in his mother’s eyes when he claimed he didn’t need another job like Furuya or Haruichi had. He didn’t know how else to convince her besides earning an income to prove it, but when he first received a comment telling him that someone refrained from suicide because of Eijun, he called her up that evening to tell her. She had been just as emotional as he was and finally began to understand how her son was really helping the world in his own special way.

No, he wasn’t a doctor, performing surgery to extend the lifespan of a person on the edge of survival. No, he wasn’t an emergency vehicle driver racing through traffic to reach a suffering person. Haruichi worked part-time at the local flower shop when he wasn’t streaming and Furuya worked at the zoo, which was where he got his content to begin with, and meanwhile, Eijun was a full-time streamer. 

Even so, just by being themselves and putting out their videos, they are told more often than one might expect that they literally saved lives. In a way, they were heroes in their own right.

“Eijun-kun?” Haruichi’s voice suddenly cut through Eijun’s mind. He blinked and cleared the thoughts away as well as what might have been emotional tears beginning to build in his vision. He smiled widely and turned back to Haruichi and Furuya to catch up with the pair.

“Sorry, I spaced out back there!” Eijun giggled and joined them, settling in right beside Haruichi where he belonged. He looped his arm with Haruichi’s and marched on ahead, full of energy and abounding joy. “Let’s go!”

 

***

 

The three of them mutually agreed that night that they would not be attending another party. There were countless parties around the convention center and surrounding hotels since it was Saturday night, but Friday night had been plenty of excitement already. 

The trio spent all day socializing with a ton of strangers. As exhilarating as it was to meet their fans, it had really drained Furuya out to the point where he had to return to the room to nap and re-charge his social battery. Though Eijun was Furuya’s total opposite and was energized by the company of others, even he was overwhelmed after a while and understood the desire to take cover. By the time the sky was dark, the three retired to their room and decided to relax for a bit. 

Part of Eijun was relieved that there had been zero talk of or interaction with Miyuki Kazuya, though another part of him was admittedly disappointed. He was on high alert at times when he thought he heard Miyuki’s name murmured amongst the crowds, cat-like eyes darting around the convention floor with little beads of sweat rolling down his temples, but then something would distract him and he would forget about the tanuki bastard for a while longer.

It was for the better this way, Eijun reminded himself. He needed time to breathe away from that guy, before he did something truly mortifying like pop a boner in Miyuki’s presence because he failed to relieve himself that morning. The mere thought had Eijun wanting to bury himself six feet under, so he took it as a victory that they managed to avoid Miyuki for an entire day.

Mei texted him back in the middle of the afternoon as well, resulting in a short back-and-forth following up on what Mei had asked him earlier about his makeup experience.

Narumiya Mei: Cuuuuuute. he’s like ur girlfriend <3

Me: Um… I guess??? But Harucchi is a guy, you know!! (°ロ°) And we’re not dating!! I wouldn’t call him my girlfriend even if we were!!

Narumiya Mei: i knowww lmao relax it’s a term of endearment between us bottoms

Me: B-BETWEEN US WHAT?????? ∑(O_O;)

Narumiya Mei: ;) lololol anyway text me ur mailing address sometime boo!! i’ll send you a sample box sometime if youre interested?? 

Me: A sample box? Of makeup??? Wait, isn’t your makeup super high quality?? Why me?

Narumiya Mei: yup its the best in the industry if I say so myself ;) but duh, isn’t it obvious? its free advertising for me and more content for ur channel if you do a makeup tutorial!! 

Me: Whoa! I’ve never done a makeup tutorial!! (°o°) That sounds fun!

Narumiya Mei: omg it is!! you would be SOOO cute pursing those lips at the camera… mmmm yup I can see it now, the view count would go flying (★ω★) more money in your pockets!

Me: Whoooaaa! That’s very smart of you!! You are a wise man—erm, person!! You’re like the Ruler of Makeup!! And so generous too… I couldn’t take that from you for free!! This Sawamura Eijun makes an income and I can pay for it, wahahaha! (≧▽≦)

Narumiya Mei: pfft please girl you don’t wanna pass up this opportunity once u see how much it costs ok??? Accept my gracious offer (o˘◡˘o) !! have fun todayyyy gtg xxx

Eijun told Haruichi about the idea and asked for his help since Haruichi liked to dabble in makeup from time to time. Haruichi was very excited about the idea and couldn’t believe Mei had personally offered to send a box of extremely pricy makeup to Eijun for no cost.

“He must be really grateful for you returning his phone,” Haruichi remarked with sarcasm absolutely dripping from his voice. Eijun had tensed and gulped as he averted his eyes—Haruichi was clearly dying to know what really happened between them and was growing impatient to know the truth. Eijun didn’t know how to tell him that even knowing what really happened between them didn’t explain Mei’s random generosity in the slightest.

Once the three of them grew bored in their room, Eijun invited Kanemaru and Toujou to come join them for some casual drinking games. They ordered a few boxes of pizza and put on some music, making a casual party of their own. Kanemaru brought games and the required wiring needed to hook up his console to the TV, which resulted in Eijun and Kanemaru very passionately racing each other in Mario Kart. During every race, they were so distracted by trying to throw shit in each other’s way that they failed to stop Haruichi from snatching first place over and over again.

To everyone’s surprise and delight, Kawakami Norifumi—or Nori for short—decided to join the party after Furuya had invited him (and Risu the squirrel) over for the fun. Nori had to unfortunately leave Risu in his room, for squirrels were not nocturnal and the little star had been petted and photographed by countless people that day. Furuya was the most understanding of them all and was more than happy to see Nori even without his precious squirrel pet.

Eijun wasn’t sure exactly how late they stayed up, but by the time the others left, it was definitely well past midnight. He felt comfortably tipsy from the drinks they made in their room and he was nice and full from a few too many slices of pizza. Furuya was the first to go to sleep as usual, and Haruichi by proxy laid in bed beside him, opting to play some games on his Nintendo Switch while Furuya cuddled into his side and dozed off. Eijun decided to go on his phone for a while before he would try to sleep.

Only after he heard Haruichi put his Switch away did Eijun open up Twitter and hop onto Ei-chan’s account. Feeling safe underneath his blankets while swaddled in the darkness of their hotel room, he eagerly scrolled through a search of Miyuki’s name to find any updates about what he did at VidCon today.

Sure enough, he found some pictures of lucky fans grabbing selfies with Miyuki and some other photos taken from a distance. The numbers on each tweet were flying as fellow fans congratulated them on meeting Miyuki and gushed about wanting to meet him one day as well. While scrolling, Eijun paused on a video of Miyuki, but since his settings allowed it, the video began to play on its own.

@_shukixkeriza: omfg i cant deal w this why does he DO THIS

The video was taken from a short distance away from Miyuki and it was only a few seconds long. Eijun stared at it, eyes glued to the moving image of Miyuki stretching his arms over his head. The movement caused his sweatshirt to ride up and show the way his abs flexed, briefly exposing them before he lowered his arms again.

Eijun’s throat felt dry and he had to stifle a whine of pure want. He responded to the tweet rapidly.

@ei_chanx: @_shukixkeriza DID YOU SEE THIS IN PERSON…!?? OMFG I CANT IM PARCHED ////

@_shukixkeriza: @ei_chanx NO ASDSFD IM NOT AT VIDCON SOMEONE ELSE POSTED THIS BUT I CANT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.. THE WAY HIS MUSCLES TENSED OMFG I feel FILTHY AHSDFDK /)///(\ !!!!

@ei_chanx: @_shukixkeriza AAAAAAAAAAA im at vidcon and i barely saw him todayyy (>﹏<) whoever saw this… THEY ARE TOO LUCKY!!

After that, the Shuki person liked his tweet and… 

… oh. They followed him. Eijun perked up and followed Shuki back, heart fluttering from pleasant surprise. His account was so bare and new, but from one simple interaction, he made his first mutual. 

He smiled to himself, but when he felt the urge to yawn, he realized it was time for bed. Eijun set his phone aside, plugged it in, and closed his eyes. He prayed that he would drift off with dreams of a certain handsome someone for the second night in a row.

Chapter Text

“Oshi, oshi, oshi! It’s morning, you two! Morning!!”

Eijun was the first one up the next day on Sunday, so naturally, he decided to be the biggest menace imaginable. He unforgivingly yanked the curtains open to let the brilliant morning light stream inside their previously dark and cozy hotel room. Unsurprisingly, Furuya and Haruichi curled in on themselves, groaning out their protests in response to Eijun’s aggressive cheer first thing in the morning. They pretty much always managed to forget that Eijun was a morning person—the wild events of Friday night were the only reason he slept like a log throughout Saturday morning.

“Come on, come on, get up! We can’t sleep in today or else we’ll miss the last precious moments of VidCon!” Eijun shouted with his whole chest, having absolutely no sympathy for the peacefully snoozing couple snuggled up together. There was no such thing as an indoor voice with Eijun and he didn’t take his time warming up to his boisterous volume, either. Eijun loomed over the covered figures of his friends with a wide grin and his hands on his hips, unflinching even as Haruichi peeked a single irritable eye at Eijun. “It’s already 7:30! We need to get a move on!”

“It’s only 7:30?” Furuya murmured dejectedly, his voice muffled by the many pillows and blankets around his sleeping form. Haruichi sighed and cuddled back up to him.

“We can sleep for another hour at least,” Haruichi murmured to him. Eijun could see the movement of Haruichi’s small hand delicately rubbing Furuya’s back from underneath the blankets. “Don’t worry.”

“Wahaha! Well, if you want to keep lazing about all morning like a pair of sloths, then I guess that’s up to you!” Eijun declared with his chest puffed out confidently. He pushed a fist against his sternum as he rambled on, “That being said, don’t expect this Sawamura Eijun to pack up silently! This room’s a mess and we need to have everything out of here by noon, you know! Noon, Harucchi!”

“We get it,” Haruichi hissed as he shot another glare at Eijun, “so could you stop narrating everything that you’re doing? We’re not your Twitch stream, Eijun-kun.”

“Right!” Eijun chirped and turned around, failing to feel offended by Haruichi’s prickly tone. He couldn’t blame him for being grouchy, after all—it was early by most people’s standards. Eijun was used to being up at the crack of dawn simply because he loved to go on morning runs before the rest of the neighborhood was awake. Furuya used to join him for the sake of their competitive relationship, but eventually he decided to do his runs at night instead (and sometimes, Eijun joined him then as well).

Eijun continued to hum to himself as he darted around the hotel room, ensuring all his things were packed and that he wasn’t leaving anything important behind. Furuya and Haruichi were orderly people and didn’t leave their things strewn about at home, but hotel rooms were a whole different ballpark. Especially after last night—everyone’s things were scattered about the place. He ended up bagging countless empty cups and candy wrappers that were left abandoned atop the table, dresser and nightstand.

This time, it was Eijun who went down to the breakfast buffet and decided he would bring back some food for Haruichi and Furuya. He couldn’t get over himself since he thought of the idea. Breakfast in bed—what a thoughtful plan! Eijun was such a great friend!

While Eijun prided himself for his good samaritan behavior as he collected a bowl of Lucky Charms for Furuya, he overhead a few excitable whispers to his left. He couldn’t resist turning to peek down the length of the breakfast bar, where he noticed a few girls with VidCon lanyards around their necks clustered by the bread basket. They flinched and gasped when Eijun looked at them, faces quickly going pink with embarrassment.

“S-Sorry to stare so openly at you, Eijun!” One girl spoke up amongst the group with a nervous tremor to her voice. Now that they were speaking, she stepped forward so that the distance between them was not so awkwardly large. She fidgeted as she glanced back at her friends, clearly asking with her eyes if this was a good idea or not. Finally, she turned back around and asked, “Um, we were just wondering if we’ll get a chance to meet Furuya and Haruichi today!! Usually we see you three together, but right now, um… we don’t see them.”

“Ohh, I’m sure you will get to meet them later!” Eijun chirped with a bright, friendly smile, but then he huffed as he glanced off to the side indignantly. “Those two lazy bums are still asleep and all cuddled up together in bed right now, can you believe it? I tried to wake them up but they just ignored me and went back to sleep. VidCon is only three days long, they shouldn’t take today of all days to sleep in!”

“I-In the same bed!?” A girl with pigtails gasped, exchanging a glance with her friend. “Like… right now!?”

“They cuddled with Eijun in the room?” Someone else theorized breathlessly.

“Ohmygod, can you imagine how cute that must be?” Another person gushed with a dewy-eyed smile.

Eijun blinked at the girls as they all chattered together, a little confused by their extremely excitable reaction to that fairly mundane information. They were all grinning wildly and barely maintaining their squeals as they fawned over the things Eijun just said. They were a couple and that wasn’t a secret—plus, they slept together in the same bed every night. What was the big deal about that?

While the girls whispered amongst themselves, Eijun was at a loss of what to say. He looked down at the food he had gathered on his tray and gestured at the things there to carry on the conversation.

“Yup, so that’s why I came down here. I thought I’d live up to my title as their best friend and bring them a wholesome breakfast in bed!” Eijun boasted, golden eyes sparkling with warmth. “Furuya has a sweet tooth and he likes cute things, like the shapes of the colorful marshmallows in this cereal, so Lucky Charms it is! And Harucchi loves soup and stew, so I’m getting him this oatmeal since it’s the closest thing they have right now to his favorite.”

“That’s so sweet of you, Eijun!” One of the fans, who was wearing a pink shirt, responded with a kind smile. “I’m sure they’ll appreciate it!”

“I must not bring anything easily spillable, however!” Eijun huffed as he placed a sealed cup of strawberry yogurt on his tray. “Furuya would be upset if we got anything on Shiro’s white fur…”

“Shiro?” The girl with pigtails amongst the group gasped. “As in, his stuffed animal? He brought Shiro with him to VidCon?”

“Furuya never sleeps anywhere without Shiro,” Eijun affirmed with a serious nod. “The feeling of his fur helps ease his anxiety when in unfamiliar places, so getting anything spilled on Shiro would be very stressful for him.” 

Eijun didn't mind repeating this information about Shiro the stuffed polar bear to their fans, since Furuya had disclosed the same information on a video before when discussing his autism to his viewers. Eijun would never reveal something so personal to strangers without knowing it was okay to do so, first. It was possible these fans had already seen that video, but Eijun thought he should explain regardless.

“Make sure you bring plenty of napkins just in case,” the fan in the pink shirt advised, then handed Eijun a stack she grabbed from the nearest dispenser. Eijun grinned and took the napkins from her grasp.

“Will do! Thank you, everyone!” Eijun called out as he gathered up the breakfast for Furuya and Haruichi and turned to head back to the elevators. “We’ll be walking around the confloor by noon! Well, unless Harucchi has a really bad bedhead this morning…”

That little tidbit of personal information that Eijun casually dropped had the group fawning and giggling together all over again.

“Waaaa, he has a bedhead?” Pigtails-girl cooed.

“How cute…!” Exclaimed the tallest girl in the crowd with a barely-contained smile.

“Tell Furuya-kun to help him comb his hair!” Added the pink-shirt girl.

“Don’t worry, Furuya already does that!” Eijun shouted back, accidentally stirring up another squealing storm just as he turned the corner. The sound made Eijun raise a speculative brow, but he shrugged and continued on.

Eijun’s heart buzzed with warmth as he got into the elevators and headed back up to their room. In most circumstances, people didn’t recognize Eijun on the streets, but VidCon was unique by creating an environment specifically for YouTubers to shine. The biggest fans of YouTube were swarming all over the place, meaning people who were much more likely to know who Eijun was were all gathered in one concentrated area for a few special days. He was filled with a certain type of pride and excitement knowing that he had some sort of status around here, even if just for one weekend. People knew his name, his content and his friend’s content—but most of all, they were the people who admired everything that the three of them created.

Eijun couldn’t help but to feel giddy over that fact. This morning’s interaction was slightly different than most of the ones from yesterday, however—they were quite focused on Haruichi and Furuya’s habits. Eijun found himself wondering what that was all about, though he momentarily forgot about his questioning as he reached the door.

“Rise and shine, you two!!” Eijun called out as he barged inside, but he was glad to see that Haruichi was up on his phone at the very least. It came as no surprise that Furuya remained dead asleep beside him. He presented the tray of breakfast foods to Haruichi with a wide grin. “I brought some sustenance to start off your day!”

“Does that sustenance you brought include coffee?” Haruichi asked while giving the tray a speculative glance. Eijun smirked and let out a smug little laugh, for he knew Haruichi’s morning habits too well and had already predicted what Haruichi would be looking for upon waking up.

“But of course, Harudanji!” Eijun announced. “Loaded with cream and two teaspoons of sugar, just like you like it!”

“In that case, I can forgive you for this morning,” Haruichi agreed and sat further upright from where he had been slumped over in bed. He held out his arms and accepted the tray with a smile curling on his lips, then perched it on his lap gently. Furuya stirred beside him in response to the movement. Once Haruichi had a free hand, he gently carded his fingers through Furuya’s silky black hair. “Satoru, wake up…”

“Mmh,” came Furuya’s guttural response.

“There’s Lucky Charms,” Haruichi tried, trying to tempt him much like a parent would convince a child to eat their vegetables. After a moment of thoughtful silence, Furuya slowly began to move, like a hibernating bear awakening from his slumber. His eyes could hardly count as open when he turned to look at Haruichi and Eijun, brows scrunched as he winced against the light.

“Morning!” Eijun cheered and snapped a picture of them on his phone, in which Furuya was squinty and grouchy while Haruichi smiled around the rim of his coffee mug, cupping it with both hands to savor its warmth. Then, Eijun flopped down upon his own bed and decided to upload the photo to Twitter. He thought of the excitable girls he met downstairs by the breakfast buffet and how they would react to the new picture of Haruichi and Furuya together.

@eijunoshioshi: GOOD MORNING VIDCON!! (〃^▽^〃) I brought breakfast in bed to the room for @luckyboyharu and @s_furuya bc I’m a VERY GOOD FRIEND!!! WAHAHAA!! LET’S ENJOY THIS FINAL DAY TOGETHER! ♡

After posting the tweet, Eijun laid there and scrolled through his feed while his feet swayed in the open space by the edge of the bed. Haruichi and Furuya feasted on the foods Eijun selected for them, mostly silent as they woke up and became energized.

“I met some fans downstairs,” Eijun reported after a while. “They were really interested in meeting you two! Oh, and they seemed really excited when I mentioned off-hand that you two were cuddling. Our fanbase didn’t forget you’re in a relationship, did they?”

“Mm? No, they didn’t forget. They were probably just shippers.” Haruichi casually shrugged and stuck a spoonful of yogurt in his mouth.

“Shippers?” Eijun echoed with a frown. “I… I mean, they weren’t wearing any sort of postal service uniforms, so I don’t know why you’d guess their occupations like that, or—”

“No, not that kind of shipping, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi dismissed him with a laugh once he swallowed down his yogurt. He waved his spoon around in the air briefly as he tried to explain himself. “Shipping as in… wait, you’ve been online this whole time and didn’t know about shipping?”

“There’s a lot of things I have yet to learn, Harucchi!” Eijun defended with a dramatic huff. “I haven’t been streaming for that long! At least, not as long as you have.” Haruichi started forming his online presence when he was still in high school—meanwhile, Eijun only started posting to YouTube near the end of his college career. 

“That’s true,” Haruichi amended. “Well, anyway, shipping is the term used when someone is a fan of the idea of two people together in a relationship. They call themselves ‘shippers’ of that relationship. Get it? Relation ship? They just turn the ship part into a verb.”

“Oooh!” As he sat upright, Eijun bobbed his head up and down knowingly. “I completely get it! This applies to characters too, right?”

“More often than real people, yes,” Haruichi confirmed. “You tend to fixate on shoujo manga a lot, so think of it that way. The urge to see the two characters you like get together and kiss is called shipping. Think of Norito and Shigure, for example. You ship them.”

“Don’t get him started,” Furuya murmured from his side as a frail attempt of a warning, but it was too late.

“The way his jokes break her stoic exterior!!” Eijun wailed, already lost in his feelings over one of his favorite manga, titled First Love at Sixteen, as he lowered his head into his hands. “The way his perseverance eventually paid off, the way her heart kept leading her back to him… he never gave up even as the years passed by and they grew into adulthood! Their love—it flourished so naturally, so beautifully!! Argh, you guys, she was always the one for him! They’re meant to be!!”

“And that is shipping,” Haruichi helpfully narrated while Eijun coped with the surge of emotions that got stirred up in his chest from the mere mention of some of his favorite shoujo protagonists. Only after Eijun wept a bit more did he finally get a hold of himself again to continue their conversation.

“So they—your fans—they ship you two together?” Eijun asked speculatively. “I mean, I totally get it! Romance is so beautiful! But… are you guys okay with that?” Eijun frowned a bit as he perched on the edge of the bed and fixed them with a curious gaze. “It’s one thing when they’re nonexistent characters, but this is different because you both are real, isn’t it?”

“It doesn’t bother me,” Furuya answered calmly in between bites of his Lucky Charms. “It’s true that some people are a little intense, so I just ignore them or block them if I have to. Otherwise, they can have fun imagining if they want to.”

“Shipping is really common amongst YouTube fans,” Haruichi added on. “For us, it’s not a big deal since we are actually dating, but a lot of fans ship people who are really just friends and that can be, well… a little more troublesome.”

“Nori-senpai and I talked about it yesterday,” Furuya chipped in with a glance towards Eijun. “He had some bad experiences if you are wondering about shippers. I feel bad for him.” He then focused back down on his food, setting his spoon aside to pick up a cinnamon roll. “But not all of them are bad people. It’s like hating all the toucans because one pecked you really hard on the forehead once.”

Furuya’s analogy might not have made sense to anyone else, but both Haruichi and Eijun recalled the way Furuya got bludgeoned by some tropical birds in his zoo’s aviary and came out with a temporary fear of birds. Despite his experience, he didn’t harbor any sort of permanent hatred for the feathered animals.

“Yeah, Nori-senpai sadly hasn’t been so lucky,” Haruichi added with a frown, but then turned back towards Eijun. “Generally speaking, if shipping makes you uncomfortable, you need to make that clear right away. Unless you communicate that feeling with your fans, they will probably ship you with others openly and shamelessly. I mean… even after you tell them to stop, some of them might continue behind your back, but most people are pretty private about it out of respect. It’s just sort of an inevitable part of YouTubing, I guess.”

Eijun nodded and hummed to himself in response as he lost himself in thought. When Eijun had nothing more to say, Haruichi decided to look through their “ship tag” as he called it on various platforms with Furuya to see what the fans had been saying about their relationship. He must have figured out that it was quite a lot of information for Eijun to take in, so he gave Eijun some time to think about it while they occupied themselves. 

Shipping, huh… Eijun tried to think back on prior experiences he had with the term, but he really couldn’t think of anything. Throughout his YouTube career, Eijun hadn’t been romantically involved with anyone. The last time he had a relationship was early on in his college years, and that guy had been way too much of a grouch for Eijun. The sex was intense in a good way, don’t get him wrong, but the two of them didn’t really get along outside of the bedroom.

Since then, Eijun had been too busy getting his life and future together to really think about pursuing a relationship. There was that and the simple and obvious fact that no one had caught his eye. His standards ended up being way too high once he learned of Chris’s existence and now he was unwilling to settle for anyone less perfect than that.

All jokes regarding Chris’s perfection aside, Eijun was serious about raising his standards. He stopped bothering with popular dating apps and denied invitations to go to mixers. Because of Eijun’s lack of a love life, no wonder his fanbase hadn’t started shipping him with anyone. Otherwise, Eijun was pretty sure he would have caught wind of it. 

He tried to think about how he would feel if his fans started talking about his compatibility with someone else. The thought didn’t make him react strongly—it was true that if they were his friends who knew him and his tastes well, it would be different than total strangers guessing at who he would look good with. 

Would that sort of conversation in his fan circles bother him? Eijun could see why some people reacted badly to the concept of shipping, but Eijun wasn’t a very reserved person, so it didn’t really matter to him. Besides, in what scenario, besides something obviously morally reprehensible, would Eijun be upset to see himself shipped with someone else?

Instantly, the image of a far-too-perfect smirk and glinting amber eyes crossed his mind, and Eijun’s skin burned with embarrassment and fury. Oh, like hell he’d allow himself to be shipped with that four-eyed tanuki bastard. If he ever caught wind of such a blasphemous pairing, he would block every person in sight who even so much as muttered the thought from under their breath!!

“He’s thinking too hard,” Furuya helpfully pointed out, now seeming to notice the way Eijun was starting to redden and steam like a kettle of boiling water.

“Alright, it looks like it’s finally time to get a move on!” Haruichi announced loudly and clapped his hands to snap Eijun out of whatever mental hole he dug himself into this time. “Let’s make sure we check out of the hotel in time!”

With a huff, Eijun sat himself up and forced himself to forget about Miyuki Kazuya for just a little bit longer.

 

***

 

“I don’t want to go!” Eijun wailed as they meandered towards the doors of the convention center, thick crocodile tears spilling down his cheeks. “No, no, no! It’s been too much fun! It can’t already be over!” 

“Eijun-kun, don’t throw a tantrum like a child,” Haruichi scolded as they paused near the doors. A few attendees that lingered behind grinned with amusement as they overheard Eijun’s complaints, some of them no doubt able to relate to Eijun’s unwillingness to leave. “Everyone’s leaving now. It’s time to go.”

“Ugh…!” Eijun sniffled dramatically as he turned around to scan his eyes over the convention center lobby. A few people were still roaming about, but it was far less packed than the height of the con, which had been on Saturday afternoon. He stared at their surroundings in an attempt to burn the image into his memory—somehow, he had concluded his very first VidCon. 

Eijun, Haruichi, and Furuya had already loaded their suitcases up in the car after checking out of the hotel room. They spent the afternoon attending a few more panels and walking around to meet more fans, but now it was obvious that most people decided to go home. There wasn’t much left to do and the sun was sinking lower on the horizon as the day came to a close.

Goodbye, VidCon, Eijun thought to himself as he memorized the image of the convention center spread out before him, with its hideously patterned navy-blue-and-purple carpeting and creamy marble walls. Even with terrible interior design choices, Eijun felt overwhelming love at the sight of the convention center, for it was those very same ugly walls and carpets that absorbed the laughter and memories they made in this special place. He took in a deep, determined breath and settled on a goal for returning in the future. We will be back next year!!

Now that he was willing to say goodbye, Eijun turned his back on the convention center and followed Furuya and Haruichi out the doors to the street. They would have to cross the street to get back to the hotel’s parking lot, where Haruichi’s car was parked and loaded with their suitcases. They joined a small group of VidCon attendees also heading in the same direction, and together they waited for the light to change.

It was the most mundane moment imaginable. They were just standing on the corner of a busy street, so of course Eijun expected nothing interesting to happen. He was so bored that he was staring across the street at the tulips planted in front of a high-end restaurant, spacing out and unfocused.

Then, against all odds, he heard a murmur that resulted in the name he least wanted to hear.

“Oh my god, is that—!?” A young woman gasped as she pointed with a shaking hand and elbowed her friend in the side.

“Holy shit, it’s a fuckin’ Ducati,” one guy muttered to his buddy, totally awestruck.

“It’s Miyuki!!”

The speed at which Eijun snapped his head to look once he heard that name was probably alarming—the movement nearly strained a tendon in his neck. It felt like his stomach bottomed out as his heart came to a screeching halt, his breath lodged in his throat from unmistakable excitement. Memories from Friday night returned to the front of his mind full-force, making Eijun believe he could smell that leather and cinnamon cologne again, regardless of where he stood across an intersection from the distracting man himself.

Honestly, Eijun wondered how he managed to keep it together once his eyes landed on the image before him.

There, waiting for the light to change as he pulled up to the edge of the intersection, was Miyuki Kazuya. He came to a slow stop and balanced himself on one leg, straddling a stunning motorcycle between his jean-clad thighs. It wasn’t just any motorcycle, no—that thing was a fucking beast, all matte black and low-slung without a scratch to be seen on its luxurious metal body. It purred like a panther beneath Miyuki’s body, the subtle rumbling audible from where Eijun and the others were standing on the corner.

Eijun knew nothing about cars beyond what he needed to know in order to purchase and take care of his own, but he could tell from one look at that bike that it wasn’t someone’s ratty old hand-me-down. There was no doubt the motorcycle was brand new, the metallic features of the livery clean and crossed on the motorcycle’s flanks.

The machine was attractive in itself, but its effect was only amplified by the presence of the man stationed upon its smooth leather seat. Miyuki was charming already, but like this, he was practically oozing sex appeal, with one gloved hand gripping the handlebar while the other scratched at his wind-tousseled caramel-brown hair. He wore a leather jacket that fit him in all the right places, squeezing around the shape of his biceps and tucked tightly along his trim waist. 

The jacket was unzipped just far enough to reveal that he wore a low-cut v-neck tee underneath, which exposed the defined shape of his clavicle and the swell of his pectorals. He braced his weight on one sturdy boot that was flat on the ground as he waited for the light to change, letting out a deep sigh while his eyes lazily scanned the crowd gathered across the street. Eijun could see that amber-brown sparkle from behind the clear shine of a pair of sports-style glasses and realized that he had stored his usual rectangular frames somewhere else for the sake of riding. 

Why is that so hot? Make it make sense!! Eijun thought to himself frantically as a bead of sweat began to roll down his temple. Eijun’s heart had been pounding wildly already at the sight of Miyuki, but when that model of a man decided to look over at the crowd and flash a cocky smile at them, Eijun almost couldn’t swallow down the needy whine that threatened to rise in the back of his throat. 

Fuck, he just wanted to drop to his knees and feel the sole of that heavy boot press against his forehead, keeping him down near the ground like the mutt he was—

Whoa, slow down, we’re in public, Sawamura Eijun!! Taking in a breath, Eijun had to shake his head wildly to clear the suddenly filthy thoughts now coursing through his mind. His fingers itched to open his secret Twitter account and vent his feelings out right on the spot, but he couldn’t risk something like that in the presence of so many people.

He swore that Miyuki’s arrogant grin only widened when he noticed Eijun was there with the others. The feeling of those sharp eyes landing on him caused heat to flare up in Eijun’s core and he hesitated, unsure if he should abruptly look away or continue to stare at Miyuki like the rest of the crowd was. Miyuki lifted a hand to wave at the crowd—or perhaps Eijun —and the gesture pulled a chorus of fangirlish squeals from the people surrounding them. Eijun went tense and cat-eyed as his skin reached a boiling temperature, making him gnash his teeth together in an attempt to keep himself under control.

“T-That idiot!!” Eijun hissed sharply, hoping that the wavering of his voice went undetected by his friends as he glared ferociously at Miyuki. The man was practically sparkling under the sunlight, looking like the cover of a magazine with the featured article titled, ‘How to Look Like Pure Sex when Riding a Bike.’ Look, the bastard was driving Eijun crazy all over again, so he had to find something to complain about. He fumed as he sputtered, “I-I mean, who rides a motorcycle without wearing a helmet!? Isn’t that illegal!?”

“I think so,” Furuya acknowledged from his side, clearly not as worked up about the situation as Eijun was. He decided to add, “But a lot of people drive without a helmet. I’m sure it gets hot when you wear one for a long time, too…”

“Who cares!?” Eijun snapped. “It’s about safety!! Wouldn’t you rather be a little warm than at risk of breaking your skull at any given moment!? He’s probably one of those prissy types who frets over messing up his hair! Well, who cares if you look perfect or not when it comes to being safe!? He seriously needs to think twice before—” 

“We're crossing now,” Haruichi informed them since the crowd was moving, very pointedly interrupting Eijun’s tirade before it went on eternally. For a moment, Eijun almost couldn’t budge because he felt that if he tried to walk now, his legs would collapse underneath him. He finally bit down his words and stumbled along, eyes lingering on Miyuki as he crossed the road. 

The light changed, obviously demanding Miyuki’s attention now that it was time for him to go. The engine of the motorcycle let out a purr beneath him. After lifting his leg back up to its proper position, Miyuki maneuvered the machine with confidence and gracefully turned to join the main road. Just like that, he sped off and was out of sight in minutes.

Eijun had to snap his jaw shut to realize he’d been gaping and practically drooling all over himself. He forced his attention back to the road in front of them and scampered the remaining distance to land safely on the sidewalk beside Haruichi and Furuya. His heart was pounding wildly now that he saw Miyuki again—and worse, he now knew that Miyuki rode a sleek, sexy black motorcycle, of all things. Why couldn’t he drive an ugly, dented and rusty car to lessen his appeal to Eijun!?

… oh, who was he kidding. Eijun knew deep down inside he would be salivating over Miyuki even if the man drove a dinky little tricycle, but still.

“What a show off!” Eijun complained as soon as the crowd went their separate ways and he was left alone with Haruichi and Furuya. He threw his arms up in exasperation while they approached Haruichi’s car. “I mean, seriously? What did that guy say the motorcycle was, a Doo-bah-tae? Like, what kind of snobby vehicle is that!?”

“It was a Duvati, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi kindly corrected. “Besides, what’s the big deal about him owning a luxury motorcycle?”

“He probably has like, a hundred of them stored in a twenty story garage,” Eijun grumbled as he slipped into the back seat of the car. He hadn’t been paying attention when Furuya picked up his pace to dart to shotgun before Eijun could fight him on it, so he accepted his defeat and simply got into the back without protest. “I bet he hogs all the nice ones to himself and never rides them because they cost too much money. I bet he just shows them off to people who come to his five-zillion-square-foot mansion.”

“He’s a YouTuber, not the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar corporation,” Haruichi countered. “I think you’re just finding things to get mad about at this rate. Most YouTubers post flex videos that are much worse than whatever Miyuki has uploaded and they own houses and a collection of sports cars that are much closer to your exaggerations.”

“Stop being reasonable while I’m whining, Harucchi!” Eijun complained, then pressed his chin up against the seat to pout in the rearview mirror. When Haruichi glanced at him, he let out a sigh of defeat.

“Fine, fine,” Haruichi relented with a shrug. “It’s not a very far drive, anyway. You have until we’re home to rant your daily-Miyuki-rage out of your system.”

Needless to say, Eijun used up every last second of that drive to complain— anything to stop his mind from wandering towards the gutter before he could do anything about the desires rapidly stirring up in his chest.

 

***

 

By the time a week had passed since the end of VidCon, Eijun was back in the routine of his normal life, which included returning to the privacy of his own bedroom. He found himself sneaking onto his second Twitter account practically every night to see what Miyuki was doing, what interactions other fans had with Miyuki, and to keep up on backlogged content that was still being uploaded from VidCon.

Thank god he found someone else’s photo of Miyuki on his motorcycle, which depicted him waiting at another intersection with his bangs mostly swept back. After all, Eijun wasn’t able to capture his own picture at that serene moment and could only soak in the sensual image of Miyuki on his bike with his eyes alone. Now he had something to actually look at. He wasted no time in quote-retweeting the image with a caption fawning over Miyuki.

@ei_chanx: god what is it about miyuki on a bike thats so sexy???? listen im just saying i’d let him run me over nd i wouldnt even be mad ////

It only took a few moments for other fans to start interacting with his tweet. Ei-chan’s following had grown surprisingly quickly after he posted a few thirst-tweets; the comments he made were funny enough to grab the attention of fellow fans who also found Miyuki to be unfairly attractive. Despite Ei-chan being a newcomer on the platform (as far as they could tell), he was accepted quickly into a few circles of fans who posted similarly horny thoughts about Miyuki on their pages.

Distantly, Eijun realized he needed a better profile picture at some point. Currently, his profile picture was an old picture of his hand with sparkling acrylic nails displayed under the light, colored in a gradient from orange to yellow like a warm sunset. He never posted the photo anywhere and the only reason he wore the nails in the first place was because he ended up as a test subject in college, when his female friends decided they wanted to watch him try to function with acrylic nails for a week. He didn’t know what else his profile picture should be, so it would have to do for now.

Eijun sighed as he reclined on his bed. So far, the things that happened at VidCon between Eijun and Miyuki seemed to be on the down-low. He did plenty of lurking on Mei’s social media to make sure the beauty-guru wasn’t whispering his name in relation to Miyuki, even going so far as to watch Mei’s VidCon vlog and the following “weekly tea” video that covered all the latest drama in the community. He had no idea who any of those people even were, but he was relieved that he never heard his own name or Miyuki’s spoken from Mei’s lips throughout the duration of both videos.

He nearly panicked when Miyuki put out his own VidCon recap, but he wasted no time in watching it in the safety of his blanket cocoon. His headphones were in for the sake of focusing, of course, not because he wanted to hear Miyuki’s smooth voice speaking directly into his ears. 

The video included snippets of recordings from his panels, one of which was the panel Eijun accidentally attended. The sight of Miyuki up on that stage again had Eijun blushing from the memory of realizing the truth of his burning emotions over Miyuki while sitting in that audience.

He almost zoned out and allowed himself to get carried away with the memory, but then the words “Friday night party” came out of Miyuki’s mouth. Suddenly, Eijun was wide awake again, breath hitched in his throat as he kept his eyes glued to his phone screen.

“It was fun,” Miyuki said with an honest smile, then shrugged as he glanced aside, “though I wish I danced more, I guess.” He paused as he thought about that statement, then admitted with a snicker, “Actually, I take that back. Unless I’m dancing with someone, I think I just look like a barbeque dad having a good time flipping burgers, except that by being in a club I’m just… horribly misplaced.”

The comment was followed by a laugh and Miyuki’s half-smile, which exposed the dimple by the corner of his mouth that only seemed to appear when Miyuki was being genuine. Eijun couldn’t suppress his own smile in response at the sight of that grin. Dammit, it was too cute!!

Plus, who wouldn’t laugh at the mental image of Miyuki attempting to dance, only to end up looking like someone’s embarrassing middle-aged father cooking out in the backyard? He felt his heart flutter with an unexpected softness while a small part of him regretted running off to chase Mei down. If he had stayed behind longer to speak with Miyuki more, would they have danced? Would Eijun get to see Miyuki attempt to pull off some cringey disco moves? The implication that he wasn’t a great dancer on his own made Eijun wonder how he was with a partner, however. Perhaps if they were both dancing, Miyuki would move differently.

His hips might sway close to Eijun’s body as his hands settled on Eijun’s waist, the heat of his palms burning through the thin layer of his shirt. Miyuki might guide the movement of his body, pulling him closer, drawing him in like a moth to the flame… 

Before Eijun could lose himself entirely while imagining that sort of potentially-sensual scenario, he was distracted by what Miyuki said next.

“That party was probably the most fun I’ve had in a while,” Miyuki confessed with a grin, “even though parties aren’t really my thing, usually. I’m glad I went in the end. It was way more entertaining than I was anticipating thanks to some new faces who I hope to see lots more in the future.” 

Eijun’s heart stopped, because after that, Miyuki had the audacity to wink at the camera and then carry on with the rest of his experience, as if he said nothing suggestive whatsoever.

A wink. A fucking wink. Eijun rewound the video just to watch that smug grin over and over, letting the confirmation that Miyuki enjoyed messing with him and wanted to see him again sink into his skin. 

There were just around 356 days left before VidCon was back for another year of celebration. Just a couple weeks ago, Eijun had been dreading the possibility that he might run into Miyuki face-to-face at VidCon.

Now, Eijun was starting to wonder if he could actually wait that long to see him again.

Chapter Text

Eijun yelped from shock when another player appeared on screen. He lurched back from the computer until he registered the brown fur of the wolf character and relaxed, then scooted his chair back towards his desk. He turned his yellow wolf so that their characters faced each other, then let out a boisterous laugh.

“Wahaha! You scared me there, Nori-senpai!” Eijun said into his microphone. “I haven’t seen you most of the game! What are you doing on this side of the map? Do you have quests to fulfill over here, too?”

“Yeah, you could say that,” Nori’s voice ominously answered from his wolf character, the tone of his voice immediately putting Eijun on edge. Eijun paused and blinked a few times at the screen. The chat of his stream was blowing up on the side of his screen, but he didn’t want to risk taking a glance at it. What if he looked away and then he was killed during that crucial moment of distraction!?

“I-Is that so?” Eijun stammered. His heart fluttered anxiously as he turned his character around to face the quest he was about to complete before Nori showed up. “Well then, uh, I should be safe with you as I finish my quest over here, right…?”

“Yeah, don’t worry, I’ll watch to make sure the werewolf doesn’t come get you while you’re busy,” Nori said, sounding a little too nonchalant to be normal. Eijun clenched his teeth, then muted himself in the game so he could speak to his stream and not be heard by Nori.

“Aaaaargh, I don’t know why, but I’m so nervous!!” Eijun wailed to his viewers. He placed his hands on the side of his head, pressing on the ridge of his cat-ear headphones. “We’re all alone!! If Nori-senpai is the werewolf, then… then it could be the end! I’m screwed!! No one is gonna find my body out here, on the edge of the map like this!”

Finally, Eijun looked at his chat and caught sight of a few messages flying by in the flurry created by his very-invested viewers.

yoikat: EIJUN DO UR FUCKING QUEST!!!!

Ange16: oh my god my anxiety is through the fucking roof rn

wwallforwall: QUEST!! EIJUN!! QUEST!! THE QUEST!! U LOOK SO SUS JUST STANDING THERE AKSDKS

gatoazulynegro: Oh my god what is he doing rn XD

beepbloopbot: HELP sDSDFSGKF EIJUN MOOOOOVE

“Oh, you guys are right!” Eijun gasped and moved his controls quickly, making his yellow wolf trot over to the rosebush where he was meant to complete his quest. “I’ve just been standing here uncomfortably still and quiet! I should speak to Nori-senpai again before he thinks I’m the werewolf…”

Eijun cleared his throat once he unmuted himself in-game.

“Do you have any idea who it could be, Nori-senpai?” Eijun asked, trying to hide the fearful tremor in his voice. It was true that the game they played was, well, just a game… but Eijun always got so invested in it. The adrenaline that came with the uncertainty of who the werewolf could be was always exciting to Eijun.

The game they were playing was called Full Moon and it appeared pretty basic on its surface—it wasn’t anything fancy in terms of graphics or design, simplified enough that it could be enjoyed on a phone or the computer. The premise reminded Eijun somewhat of Clue; essentially, it was a murder mystery turned into a multi-player game. A group of wolf characters were in a pack together, and one member was randomly assigned to be the “werewolf.” While the normal wolves carried out quests assigned to them around the virtual forest, the werewolf’s only quest was to kill his packmates and not get caught.

If a body was discovered, the wolf discovering it could “howl” and alert the pack to summon a meeting. During that meeting, all the surviving members, including the werewolf, would have a specific amount of time to discuss what they knew and raise any concerns. Together they could vote to chase out a member who they believed was the werewolf, but if they were wrong, they would simply chase out an innocent packmate. In that scenario, the game would continue so that everyone knew the packmate was innocent, and the werewolf would still have a chance of winning the game. If the pack guessed correctly and chased the werewolf out, the game would end there, leaving the surviving pack members as the victors.

The game was easy to follow, repetitive, and simple. Eijun wasn’t a huge gamer, so it was fun and addictive for him and his friends to play—plus, they could toggle this “speech” mode to allow the players to talk when their wolf characters were within close proximity to each other in-game. That feature usually made everyone’s game harder, since the werewolf would have to verbally blend in with the pack and not appear suspicious. Most of them were streamers so they had to juggle between talking with their stream and talking to their fellow players.

Though the game was simple, it had a lot of potential to become complicated with clever plays and sometimes, additional mods could be downloaded to add layers of complexity to the game. Eijun and his friends played often enough to where they had to think creatively in order to win against each other, especially when they were all learning each other’s habits very quickly. Though it seemed on a surface level that they could get bored of the game quickly, Eijun was pleased to know that wasn’t the case in the end, especially whenever they added a new friend into the pack. The dynamics between the group could change drastically.

“I think I know who it is, actually,” Nori spoke up, responding to Eijun’s question about who the werewolf could be. Eijun’s eyes rounded as he leaned in close to the screen.

“Really?” Eijun hissed, now intrigued by the possibility that he knew something juicy. “Who is it? Who? Who? Who? Tell me!”

“Come closer,” Nori whispered, “so no one else hears us.”

Eijun was oblivious to the rapid warnings fired off by the chat telling Eijun to run away. He unthinkingly scooted closer to Nori and focused on their little wolf characters, but before he could run, the animation popped up on screen of Nori’s character morphing into a massive werewolf creature. Eijun could do nothing but watch and wail in distress—surely the cut-off of his scream in-game was hysterical—as he was brutally murdered by the werewolf, which turned out to be Nori.

“It’s me,” Nori said to the game while standing over Eijun’s dead body, victoriously having killed his character. He then darted towards the nearest “burrow,” which was a hole in the ground that he could hide in and other players would not be able to see him. Eijun cradled his head in his hands and let out a dramatic sob.

“This game isn’t meant for gullible people like me!” Eijun cried. “I mean, it’s wolves anyway! Wolves!! A cat like me has no place here…” Eijun sniffled and slumped over on his desk, drawing attention to the electronic cat ears attached to his headphones. “What do they say? Curiosity killed the cat? Why is it so true!?”

Eijun sighed as he looked up at his chat with the most pathetic watering eyes he could muster.

luxycatt: There there. Eating some goldfish will make you feel better

starmie87: poor eijun wwww

oshix3gang: FEAR NOT… NEXT ROUND U GET REVENGE!!

Iceclaw: ay dont think u cant be as fierce as a wolf in the woods… ever heard of warriors :)

seijunbby: WHO NEEDS WOLVES ANYWAY

With a sigh, Eijun sat up on his desk and grabbed a handful of Goldfish crackers as was suggested by a few members in chat. “I guess you guys are right… oshi! Revenge will be served next round! Even someone as kind as Nori-senpai will not be safe from my wrath!”

Eijun tossed the handful of the cheese crackers into his mouth and munched them while humming irritably in the back of his throat. Even though his character was dead, Eijun was still able to wander the map as a “spirit” which was just a slightly transparent and sparkly version of his character. He could speak with other spirits but no one alive could hear him or the spirits conversing at all. He could even continue to do his quests and help out his living packmates with their progress—after all, the pack could win by simply completing their quests before the werewolf was able to kill enough times. That was usually the most boring way to win, so no one really fretted on finishing all their quests at lightning speed.

No one was coming up to Eijun’s body yet so he figured it would be a while before he was found. He looked over to his stream and spotted the familiar virtual sticker on his screen of a shiba inu dog getting his cheeks squished, which was the symbol of a new subscriber. If they donated to Eijun as well, they could add a little message underneath the sticker, giving their message priority above those in the chat. It seemed that Eijun’s new subscriber did just that.

“Ooh, thank you for the sub, moworan!” Eijun flashed a giddy smile at the camera, then read out the message they added to their subscription. “‘You seem to like both, but if you had to pick, cats or dogs?’ Why would you ask me that!? So cruel! They’re both great! Most of my fans are divided between if I’m more catlike or doglike though, aren’t they…?” Eijun tapped his chin thoughtfully. “I guess I do have a Pavlovian response to some foods that cats like! Tuna, for example! Wahaha!”

Immediately, Eijun’s chat was active with responses.

salalulu: u know what pavlolvian is from right??? gfdfhgfjhg

those_damn_palm_trees: WHY WOULD U BRING PAVLOV UP RIGHT NOW LMAOO

kurissu88: XDDDD EJUN!

Miichan: PAVLOV’S DOGS?? HELP

When he realized why they were all laughing, Eijun felt his face grow hot. “Eh!? Wait, you’re right, the term ‘Pavlovian’ comes from an experiment with dogs! Crap, I totally forgot!!” 

By this point in the game, a meeting between the surviving packmates had begun, but Eijun was hardly paying attention. He was too invested in the interaction with his stream to notice, and plus, he couldn’t do many exciting things while dead, so he took these opportunities to chat with his viewers instead. 

After all, Eijun was enjoying the banter with his viewers until he was brought up.

rose_banks90: i vote dog bc eijun starts barking like a pomeranian whenever miyuki kazuya is mentioned lolol

xxAHint: OMFG YOU’RE SO RIGHT DKFDGKFDK

perfectXmachine: days since mentioning miyuki: 0

gnarlyharyu: BEANIES EXPOSE YOURSELVES IN CHAT

1994v: none of them are here right… right?

bibblekin: GUILTY AS CHARGED …!!! 

miyvkies: PRESENT

micaglass6: WAIT, WHAT!? Miyuki fans are here with us!? (・ д・) SHOCK!!

absinthextabby: we’ve been here the whole time… joining forces with you nyamamuras ;)

xxAHint: PERIODT

Even though nothing particularly racey was said, Eijun felt his skin burning impossibly hot at the mention of Miyuki. It was obviously unreasonable to fear that any of them knew what he had been saying and doing in secret, sneaking onto his side account to thirst over the much more popular YouTube star, but he somehow felt so exposed. It was like his brain stopped working and his tongue felt heavy in his mouth, making him unable to form words around the wild pounding of his heart.

He couldn’t remain silent on a livestream, though—that was the worst course of action. He would look extremely suspicious if he just continued to blush and bake in his emotions, so he would just have to stumble through his embarrassment and pray that his real emotions were not glaringly obvious.

“The enemy is among us!?” Eijun shouted dramatically, going cat-eyed as he looked at his chat with alarm. “Begone!! This is not a Beanie-friendly zone! This is a—wait, what is that thing in the chat!?” Eijun leaned in close to glare at his chat when he noticed a new emoji suddenly getting spammed. In no time it was filling up his screen. The more he looked at it, the more he understood that it was… 

“Is that a Miyuki Kazuya tanuki emoji!?” Eijun shouted and pointed at his screen accusingly as more of the tanuki emojis popped up. The emoji was admittedly quite cute, for it was a tanuki with a pair of rectangular glasses perched on his fuzzy little nose. No matter how cute it was, Eijun had the urge to deck the cartoon in the face if it ever somehow materialized in front of him. “What is this!? Which of my mods is responsible for this emoji!? We’re going to have a talk!”

Amongst all the comments about Eijun sounding like a disapproving mother, Eijun caught sight of Seiichi, one of his mods, sending a smiley-face emoji that was anything but innocent.

“Seiichi!” Eijun barked, the flush on his cheeks only worsening as he shook his fist at the screen. “Adding a Miyuki Kazuya emoji right under my nose!! What were you thinking!? How dare you!”

It was all in good fun, of course. He ended up laughing and greeting the self-proclaimed ‘Beanies’ into his stream anyway, though he carefully avoided touching the subject of his actual feelings for Miyuki himself. Even if his relationship with Miyuki was rocky, he had nothing against the fans themselves, after all. 

Yet even as the stream carried on, Eijun couldn’t help but to notice some unusual comments that stuck out in the midst of all the chaos.

cassa_joeca: speaking of Pavlovian responses, doesnt eijun kind of have one with miyuki? but like w anger? IF its even anger… looool

madspwr: you have a point there sir…

Krissiixoxo: he is awfully red rn :3

rrrratrat: yall are unhinged but u could be onto something HAHAH

The mention of Eijun potentially having something like a Pavlovian response to Miyuki was… interesting, to say the least. It implied that every time Miyuki was brought up, Eijun reacted in a particular, conditioned way no matter the context. Eijun immediately thought of the popular mouth-watering example, which was where the term originated from—Pavlov, the scientist, trained dogs to salivate when they heard the ringing of a bell, because they associated the sound with food that was served whenever the bell rang.

In a way, every time Eijun heard Miyuki’s name spoken, he would have a similar reaction. He felt his heart rate start to pick up, felt his skin begin to blush, and perhaps even felt his mouth water, too. The thought made Eijun tense and briefly become lost in his thoughts. 

Was he seriously trained like a dog to drool over Miyuki whenever the bastard was so much as mentioned in passing? It certainly felt that way—after all, his mind was already spinning, forcing Eijun to remember those powerful thighs bordering the smooth, luxurious leather seats of his Ducati motorcycle and the unmistakable bulge in his jeans placed right in between. He had to swallow the lump in his throat as heat began to collect low in his core, making him fidget uncomfortably on his chair.

It was only a few seconds in passing and truly nothing to cause a stir, but to Eijun, he felt like he’d been zoning out for an eternity. Finally, he spared a glance at his chat. 

Dradam2010: OMG IF YOU’RE WATCHING HARUICHIS STREAM YOU’LL SEE THAT NORI IS TRYING TO CONVINCE HIM THAT HES INNOCENT KASFD SOMEONE TELL EIJUN TO MOVE HIS SPIRIT AROUND

1994v: WAIT WHAT i need to see this rn

Lumiro: Maybe Eijun can complete some quests as a spirit now?

aoryuucchi: I SAW THAT TOO HSHSHSS

Eijun blinked, snapping out of his daze now that the chat was focusing on the game again. His pulse pounded entirely too loud in his ears and he felt his hands shaking slightly, though they were currently out of the frame and could not be seen by his viewers. He forced a smile back on and agreed that he was standing around too much, then had his little spirit character float around to find something to do.

To Eijun’s internal relief, it was the last round of Full Moon that he and his friends decided to play that evening. Eijun vowed to carry out his revenge against Nori next time, finished thanking his new subscribers and donors, and wrapped up the stream with a sigh of exhaustion. He hung out on the Discord server for a bit to humor his fans, but most of all, it was to assure them that he just got a little tired at the end of the stream and that there was nothing wrong. They had already begun to analyze what Eijun was thinking about when he went quiet for a moment, after all.

Sometimes it was a bit difficult to have a group of people so attuned to his every move, having memorized his expressions and nervous ticks in a way that usually only his friends unintentionally did as a result of being around him often. It could be strange to know that a bunch of faceless and oftentimes nameless people knew really personal things about his behaviors—for instance, many of them picked up on the fact that Eijun formed sweater-paws on his long-sleeved shirts to rub at the fabric between his fingers when he grew anxious. 

Viewers of Eijun’s streams usually couldn’t see Eijun’s body below the waist, so they didn’t know that Eijun just did the same motion with the hem of his shirt in the event that he didn’t have long sleeves. Still, the fact that they picked up on something so miniscule was enough for Eijun to be self-conscious about pretty much everything he did on camera. He supposed that was part of the job, but it never stopped feeling strange when he thought about it from time to time.

Now that his computer was turned off and Eijun was alone at last, he leaned back in his chair and stretched out his limbs before slumping back limply. His skin still felt hot and prickly from when he got flustered during the stream thinking about Miyuki and the extremely inconvenient timing of the memory of Miyuki straddling his super-sexy-rich-guy motorcycle. It was like an itch under his skin that he couldn’t ignore no matter how hard he tried, and now that he was alone…

… Eijun felt his face heat at the thought of letting his hand slip beneath the hem of his sweatpants. 

Was it wrong for him to actually touch himself while thinking of Miyuki? For a second, he hesitated, but then he dismissed the concerns immediately. He already made plenty of tweets about his attraction, so it wasn’t like he was grappling with anything new here. He supposed the reason he froze up was because he never actually got off while thinking about Miyuki before. He never let himself get that far. He sure started to drift in that direction Saturday morning of VidCon before Furuya walked in the room, but since then, he hadn’t found a good chance to relieve himself.

If he actually did masturbate to thoughts of Miyuki, however… he felt like it would be just the beginning, like he was going right into the deep end. There would be no turning back after that—the next time he saw Miyuki, he’d remember in alarming clarity exactly what dirty things he thought of while touching himself. Would he even be able to look Miyuki in the eye after doing something like that?

A few moments ticked by, but Eijun’s internal bickering turned into faint static as the heat buzzing under his skin only grew more intense, urging him to forget about his worries and just cave in to his carnal urges. He was having a difficult time focusing on his moral dilemma while his groin became hot and started to twitch with interest, so he set aside his grievances for the time being and decided to clear his mind of all the concerns he had. A heavy blush settled on Eijun’s cheeks as he pulled his length out from the flap in his pants, which was already beginning to swell with just a few strokes.

Fuck it. Eijun pulled open one of his drawers to find a familiar bottle. Once he found it, he got his hand wet with lube and tugged his tissue box close enough to reach when it mattered. Eijun let out a sigh of relief knowing he was about to deal with his pent-up uges. He tilted his head back to rest it against the cushions embedded into his streaming chair and allowed his eyes to flutter shut. He was able to forget the reality of his surroundings—that he was alone in his room—and pretend that a certain someone was there with him.

The sudden idea to have his computer turned on flashed by his mind, and imagining that he was streaming while touching himself was what got Eijun to swell into full hardness at last. 

“Oh? Look at how shameless you are,” Miyuki’s imaginary voice purred into his ear, making Eijun gasp as he envisioned being pressed back into his chair by the taller, broader man. He could almost picture Miyuki’s muscular arms grabbing onto the sides of the chair as he cornered Eijun in his spot, mostly shielding his body from the camera, though not enough to totally hide what dirty things he was doing to his body. 

In this fantasy, Miyuki smirked down at him, those amber-brown eyes gleaming with intrigue and excitement. He looked so hot like that, perfectly-trimmed bangs brushing around his eyes, one thick brow rising as he practically mocked Eijun for being so turned on over this fantasy. He imagined those full lips pulling back in a sly smile, just enough to expose the white of his teeth, tempting Eijun to arch forward and kiss him needily.

“Touching yourself on stream… my, what do your followers think of you now? You’ve always been their sunshine, their innocent little baby boy…” Eijun’s breath hitched as he gave his shaft a tighter squeeze, a shudder of delight rolling down his spine at the thought of Miyuki calling him by another endearment—especially one that pointed out just how raunchy Eijun was behaving in comparison to his sweet public image. “And now you’re petting your prick for them like a slutty, cock-hungry camboy. Do you get off knowing all eyes are on you, sweetheart?”

A whine leaked through Eijun’s clenched teeth, heat rushing through his veins like a drug that had been mixed in with his blood. He lifted his hips to chase the friction created by his hand, the slippery texture from the lube making lewd, wet sounds in the privacy of his bedroom. He imagined Miyuki placing one of those strong thighs on the lip of Eijun’s chair, nudging his knees farther apart to make room for his big, bulky body. 

Fuck, he wasn’t sure if he would feel that small when pinned down by Miyuki in real life, but the actualities of Miyuki’s height and body mass didn’t matter at that moment. All he knew was that Miyuki was broader and taller than him, and those muscles were impossible to ignore, so of course Eijun was going to exaggerate the differences in their physique and get hot and bothered. Besides, was he really exaggerating that much? As if he could ever forget the feeling of those firm pecs on his face and those big hands steadying his shoulders. 

Even if Miyuki was in reality just slightly larger than Eijun, he behaved in such a confident, masculine way that made Eijun feel dainty in comparison. He had the ability to make his aura feel gigantic, casting an illusion on everyone who interacted with him that he was taller than he actually was. Though Eijun acted like those gestures made him angry on the outside, deep down, he definitely wasn’t complaining about Miyuki’s confidence. 

Eijun worried at his bottom lip as he slowed down the pace of his strokes, instead making his grip on himself tighter as he rubbed at the most tender spots of his cock. He gave special focus to the places that made his body jolt with surprise, each spark of delight only stirring the pot of Eijun’s lust.

“Everyone can see us,” fantasy-Miyuki cooed against his ear while he took over touching Eijun, shooing his hand away to grab Eijun in his palm. Eijun’s breaths quickened from anticipation as he felt a pang of heat shoot through his gut and make his toes curl against the floor. “Your friends, your family, your colleagues… they’re all watching as you fall apart for me, Eijun. In fact, it’s not just them—the entire world is watching you. How many of them would kill to be in your position, hm? There’s thousands, perhaps even millions of girls out there that want me to touch them, to kiss them, to fuck them… and yet, here I am, playing with your little cock on camera.”

The mere thought of that man’s lips touching his skin in such a sensitive area had the hairs on the back of his neck rising, the thrill rippling down his arms and making his skin erupt into gooseflesh. The bout of shivers only spurred Eijun on to set a tedious, yet delicious pace on his cock, which was now leaking copious precum as he worked his way towards orgasm. Of course he would never actually want to do anything dirty on camera in front of his following, but the fantasy of indulging in something so taboo—especially for YouTubers like Eijun and Miyuki—had him squirming delightedly in his chair.

He blissfully pictured the way Miyuki would shift his weight to one side, letting the thousands of viewers get a peek of the way his hand curled around Eijun’s dripping cock. Eijun bet he would look like a camboy just as Miyuki implied, all debauched and splayed out for the world to see, toying with his cock to earn their approval and money. To make the fantasy feel even more tangible, he pushed his shirt up to expose his torso and bit down on the hem of the fabric, both to silence himself and to keep his shirt out of the way. He could see the faint reflection of his body displayed on the black computer screen, now able to pick out details such as his stomach quivering and the way his rosy nipples hardened, begging for attention.

He wanted Miyuki to touch him there, to grab at his chest and whisper that the soft flesh there reminded him of a pair of perky, cute little boobs. Eijun didn’t have anything close to breasts, but it didn’t matter—in his mind, Miyuki thought his body was extremely appealing. With a muffled whimper, Eijun shakily moved his hand up to play with his nipple, hips shaking from the pleasant tingles that sparked from the pinch of his fingertips. He bit down harder on the fabric and rolled his hips up into his palm, desperately pretending that it was Miyuki who fondled him with his big, warm, firm hand.

“Why don’t you give these people a show?” Miyuki would encourage him and cast a smug glance over his shoulder at the viewers, eyes sparkling with mischief. “You know what they came for… they all want to see you fall apart. They want to hear what sounds you make when you cum on my hand. That’s it, baby boy… be good for me and let yourself cum.”

Imagining those words spoken by Miyuki’s velvety-smooth voice had arousal shooting through Eijun’s cock like a bolt of lightning. His balls felt hot, drawing up against the root of his cock in preparation for release. The tension in his core began to tighten, coiling and squeezing, as if he were ready to burst. It had been so long since he got off and now his breaths were rapid with excitement as the pleasure started to collect, his blood rushing faster and faster as he raced towards the verge of climax. His thoughts were a muddled mess of scattered desires he had for Miyuki, passionate phrases spinning around his mind like a storm.

Fuck yes I want to be your good boy, wanna be good for you, please let me cum, please touch me, please look at me and me only, be proud of me and touch me and fuck me— 

“Mmnh… ngh!” Eijun bit down hard onto his shirt and arched his back as he crested over the peak of his pleasure at last. Cum spurted from his cock, dribbling onto his torso and onto his fingers, making him a lewd mess covered in his own release. He groaned lowly as he rode out the waves of bliss, stroking himself gratuitously until his cock began to ache and soften from oversensitivity. Eijun let out a shuddering breath from his nose and the corners of his mouth, around where he bit down on his shirt. He grabbed for the tissues, which he used to clean himself up, then tossed the soiled tissues into the trash.

Dazed and sated, Eijun tucked himself back into his sweats and finally released his shirt, allowing it to fall back down over his body now that he had wiped himself clean. He sat there, flushed pink to the tips of his ears, processing the fact that he just masturbated and came to a fantasy about Miyuki Kazuya.

Eijun groaned and ran his hands through his hair. Great, Eijun, now you’ve really done it—you jumped off that diving board right into the deep end, just like you thought!

Despite how long he wanted to sit there and stew in his regret and embarrassment over what he just did, he knew there was no taking it back now. What was done was done, and Eijun could only move forward from there.

Thankfully, he had an account from which he could pour out all his fantasies without a care in the world. As soon as it felt like the world was no longer tilting off its axis, he reached for his phone and hopped onto his side account to make a few posts. It was just to let off some steam, really.

@ei_chanx: what i would do to lay my head on ur big luscious tiddies miyuki kazuya… what i would do…

@ei_chanx: imagine how firm they must feel… or maybe theyre suuuuuper soft?? I NEED TO KNOW!!!

Eijun grinned to himself. He did sort of know and he had a little experience, but he definitely needed more experience. He wanted to grab that chest and squish it to do a thorough examination. The thought of getting his hands on Miyuki made his mouth water. He spun in circles on his chair, feet kicking out occasionally as he imagined snuggling up to Miyuki when wrapped up in his strong embrace.

He browsed a few pictures of Miyuki, found quite a few handsome ones reposted by fans, and decided to go out on a whim by quote-retweeting some of the pictures with his thirsty comments. One of his favorites amongst the pictures he found had to be from the last time Miyuki went on a tour with Kuramochi. Miyuki was sitting on a stool up on stage, holding a microphone in his grasp and smiling widely at something Kuramochi must have said beside him. The picture was cropped just to show Miyuki and draw attention to his mouth-watering physique.

That damn tanuki bastard was just sitting there and yet he looked so fucking delicious. He wore a white baseball t-shirt two sizes too small—either that or it was a shirt he continued to wear since high school, Eijun didn’t know. All he could tell was that it was basically a second skin on him, outlining the shape of his chest and abs, its red sleeves stretching around his bulky arms. 

Feeling a tad bit impulsive, Eijun captioned the image and typed out his horny thoughts.

@ei_chanx: CAN SOMEONE P L E A S E BUY MIYUKI SOME LOOSER CLOTHES BC THIS SHIT IS ILLEGAL IM ABOUT TO BOOK A TRIP TO HIS FRONT DOOR AND BEG TO HAVE HIS BABIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not that he could even physically do that, but whatever! He bet he’d feel pregnant if Miyuki thrust deep enough inside him and filled him up with his— 

Okay, maybe it’s time to take a walk outside or something, Eijun thought as his skin began to reach a boiling temperature. He quickly logged out of his side account and got to his feet, jittery and in urgent need of something to let out his energy.

Eijun nodded to himself as he tied on his sneakers and headed out the door. A quick run will do the trick!

 

***

 

One week later, Eijun woke up to a massive stack of notifications on his phone. He was used to a lot of activity on his various social media accounts, considering his occupation, but there were ways for him to sort through the notification settings so that he wasn’t constantly overwhelmed. It was very strange for him to see this many on his screen and he wondered if a fellow creator tagged him in something that was popping off.

As he cleared the sleep from his eyes, he realized that the massive stack was from his side account—the one for thirsting over Miyuki—and not his main account. Confused by the activity, Eijun opened up his page to see what the big deal was and holy shit, why did he have over three thousand followers?

Eijun shot upright in bed, his heart hammering wildly against his chest. His hands were shaking as he tried to process what he was seeing. Okay, yeah, that was right, the number was definitely 3,789— fuck, it refreshed, now it’s 3,796 —and he wasn’t just seeing things. Still, it didn’t make sense to him. Why were a bunch of people suddenly following his thirst account!? Something must have happened for this influx of people to find him.

Fear filled Eijun’s chest at the sight of his inbox, but he had to know what happened. With a shaking hand, he ignored all the message requests and instead opened his primary group chat. The group consisted of the circle of fans that he’d been accepted into right after he made his account. He had to scroll up throughout what felt like endless screaming and keyboard-smashing, but once he reached the beginning of the conversation, he saw what started it all.

ariyaxmiyu: EICHAN HOLY SHIT MIYUKI SAW UR FUCKING TWEETS IM SHAKING

kazvyam: GIRL WHERE THE FUCK ARE U THDJFKSNDGFMHLDG

Baenie_wifeu: What. wHAT. WHAT IS THIS OH MY GOD 

kayliegirl: @eichan_x WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP

kmiyuculture: @ei_chanx YOU’VE MADE IT BIG LOOK AT HIS NEW VIDEO OMFGKFDKG

Eijun couldn’t even find it in himself to answer the group chat right off the bat. He could barely handle the influx of notifications dropping down informing him of new followers every few seconds, so he just closed Twitter and went right to YouTube with shaking hands. He would have to go back and yell with them after the fact since clearly, he wasn’t able to expose his secret to anyone he knew in real life.

Once the YouTube app loaded, Eijun bit down on his lip and realized that what they said… was true. There was an upload notification from Miyuki’s account.

The video was called ‘Damn Miyuki ur Bobbies’ and Eijun felt his blood run cold. He gulped, then clicked on it, knowing there was nothing he could do until he simply caved in and watched the video.

Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. The reminder to keep himself in check repeated like a mantra in his head as he watched the little circular pattern of bubbles dance on the screen, signifying that the video was buffering. Then, it began to play, and Eijun practically held his breath for the entire 15 minute duration of the video.

“Wah—!!” Eijun yelped, for the first thing that popped up in the frame was Miyuki’s sculpted chest, center-frame with each pectoral squeezed deliciously by the same fucking shirt he wore in the picture that Eijun had quote-retweeted last week. 

Oh my god. I’m dead. I’m not going to live to see the end of this, am I? Eijun felt like the world was crumbling underneath his feet.

Then, the camera shook slightly as Miyuki reached out, grabbed the camera and said, “Hey, my face is up here, you know~” 

The camera shifted to pan up to Miyuki’s face, which then instantly transitioned into this ridiculous montage of Miyuki grinning and posing with various sparkling filters added over the footage. The music that played in the background reminded Eijun of some reality TV-show opening where everyone was ridiculously attractive and standing on a tropical beach, or whatever setting they were supposed to be filming on. 

It was corny, it was hilarious, and it was so very Miyuki . Various cuts of the footage showed Miyuki across an array of quick, snappy shots meant to mimic a model’s photoshoot. In one moment he was standing in the corner of his room like an utter dork (as if to juxtapose the image of him as sex-on-legs), then in the next he was sprawled out on his couch in a typical ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ pose, and finally, he finished off by pointing finger-guns at the camera. Once he was back at his desk, he flashed a bright, obnoxious grin.

“So I was politely informed recently that my… chest, of all things, is apparently very distracting to some of you,” Miyuki said once the music abruptly came to an end and he was back to his normal setup. Eijun recalled what the video was about again and reality came crashing down upon him. The smile that had crept onto his face fell in favor of an anxious stare. “I mean, hey, that’s not something I ever expected, but I guess all that lifting pays off for something.” 

Miyuki indicated that he was teasing by winking at the camera, and it really shouldn’t have gotten under Eijun’s skin like it did, but dammit, everything Miyuki did lately stirred him up in a frenzy.

“Anyway, as I was thinking about what sort of video to make this week, I got a DM from a friend, who sent me a particular tweet,” Miyuki went on to explain, every word making Eijun’s heart pound harder and louder against his chest. “I thought it was pretty funny on its own, but then I realized that there was so much more to be found from this one person’s account alone.”

Miyuki grinned, clearly deeply amused as he looked at the camera and said, “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally time. I’m going to read the wildest thirst tweets I could find about me.”

At that, Eijun had to pause the video so that he could turn his face into his pillow. For a moment, he pretended that he had the physical ability to melt into its soft, secure texture.

Then, he took advantage of his position to let out a muffled scream.  

This is it… my life is over!!

Chapter Text

Stage one of Eijun’s reaction to Miyuki’s video was panic. Even though Eijun very deliberately and repeatedly told himself not to panic, he was doing it anyway within seconds of his own personal warnings not to. Eijun had to run in circles around his room, yelling and running his hands through his hair as he exhausted his energy. Thankfully, Haruichi and Furuya were not home, since they were both over at the Kominato residence to visit Haruichi’s parents and older brother; Eijun opted to stay behind this time. Because they were gone, he could scream and yell without any worries about bothering his friends (which he usually didn’t consider or think much about anyhow, not to mention the ears of their poor neighbors, but the neighbors were mostly used to Eijun’s standard speaking volume by now).

Stage two was denial. Eijun started pinching his arms in hope that he’d wake up in his bed, drenched in a cold sweat with one arm extended to the sky just like he was awakening from a nightmare in some corny movie. This had to be a wild dream. Eijun must have eaten too many rainbow Goldfish crackers the night before and was somehow tripping out on the snack’s ingredients. Was it possible to hallucinate due to an excessive amount of food dye, cheddar cheese or salt? Eijun debated googling it before he realized he’d need to look at his phone, which meant looking at the video that was currently loaded up on its screen.

Stage three was… well, Eijun didn’t know what to call it, but he burst out into a fit of manic laughter. He talked to himself out loud in his room, as if he could justify his actions to literally no one, since he was alone. He was clearly just trying to talk himself down from his panic.

“Wahaha! This isn’t a big deal to the great Sawamura Eijun, not at all!” Eijun barked out with his hands on his hips as he paced about. “That four-eyed bastard Miyuki Kazuya was just teasing! He’s not going to actually go through my account and read everything out loud! Besides, how many people would be interested in watching something like that? Surely there’s more intriguing things on the vast platform of YouTube to spend time viewing! No one cares about some random girl named Ei-chan who doesn’t even truly exist! He’s not going to think she’s crazy, and somehow find out it’s me and…” Eijun trailed off nervously. “...and hate me…”  

Once Eijun caught his breath and stopped rambling to himself, he gulped and looked at his phone as the anxiety crept back in. He hadn’t woken up from a deep sleep in which he got tangled up in a strangely vivid and realistic dream, nor had he snapped awake in a hospital bed after hitting his head so hard that his brain caused him to hallucinate. He was still standing in his room, alive and breathing, uninjured and certainly not unconscious. The only explanation to that was that Eijun’s existence remained solely in reality.

Alright, Sawamura Eijun, this is not the end of the world, Eijun told himself, this time speaking within his own mind rather than screaming his thoughts out for the entire floor of their condominium to hear. Though the edges of his vision were fuzzy and black from the beginnings of some sort of bad anxiety attack, he managed to steady his breathing and keep the feeling at bay. Calm down. No one knows who is behind the account. They probably think Ei-chan is just some random girl and he won’t figure out the truth from this alone.

With a gulp, Eijun faced his bed again, where his phone lay abandoned atop the sheets from when Eijun flung it from panic. The video was paused on his phone’s screen, showing Miyuki’s far-too-perfect smile and playfully gleaming eyes. The sight of his expression had Eijun’s heart fluttering and he tentatively stepped closer until he crawled onto his bed again. He crossed his legs and looked down at his phone, reaching out to touch it with a hesitant hand before he held it properly. A nervous tremor made him shiver, but then he gathered himself enough to press play again.

“So, what started this whole investigation, you might ask?” Miyuki’s voice came from Eijun’s phone speaker again now that the video continued. His heart was pounding wildly as he focused on the video, cheeks red and palms sweaty. He couldn’t stop himself from continuing that thought. Knees weak, arms spaghetti. Mom’s spaghetti? Memories of old memes resurfaced to his scrambled brain before he suppressed them back down to focus on what Miyuki was saying. Jesus, he really was a mess.

“I was sent this tweet,” Miyuki announced, then finally showed the dreaded screenshot that started it all—a screenshot from Ei-chan’s account. 

@ei_chanx: wHY ARE HIS BOOBS SO FAT AND SEXY I JUST WANT TO SHOVE MY FACE INTO THEM AND SUFFOCATE TO DEATH!!! SEND TWEET!!!!!!!!!!!

To Eijun’s mortification, Miyuki actually sat down and read the whole thing out loud. “‘Why are his boobs so fat and sexy, I just want to shove my face into them and suffocate to death, send… tweet.’ Um, wow, okay, so when I saw it the first time, I burst out laughing. I mean, there’s a lot to say here, so where do I even begin—” He snickered and seemed to reconsider something before saying, “Wait, before we go on, I think I need more energy, more gusto when reading this sort of tweet out loud. There’s a lot of exclamation points and caps lock, so… it’s time for a re-do. Should I scream it?” He barely seemed to hesitate before deciding, “Fuck it, I’ll scream.”

As if hearing him read the tweet aloud the first time with his normal voice wasn’t cringe-worthy enough, Miyuki went right on ahead to yell the contents of the tweet at a volume that reminded Eijun of his own panic-stricken voice. His skin baked hot with embarrassment, but he couldn’t hide the smile that broke across his face at the same time. Hearing Miyuki yell so crazily was a treat, for it was something that Miyuki clearly didn’t do often.

Up until now, Eijun sort of assumed that all of Miyuki’s content portrayed him as suave, collected, and charming. He thought Miyuki’s audience consisted solely of young girls who would throw their panties on the ground if he gave them one skeezy glance. However, the more he watched Miyuki’s videos, the more he realized just how wrong he was about this assumption. There were plenty of good-looking guys who acted like total assholes and used their physical charm to persuade women into adoring everything they said and did. Miyuki, on the other hand, chose to show some of his dorkier side willingly.

Eijun knew well that part of being a YouTuber was creating a persona that would be liked by a target audience. Even if a particular YouTuber is a painfully honest person, someone who really didn’t make up a different personality for their channel (like Eijun, for example), they still only showed selective sides of themselves to the internet. Of course Eijun’s interactions with his fans were genuine and bubbly as Eijun himself, but his audience didn’t know the other sides of him like his true friends and family did. 

He had assumed that Miyuki, in order to grow his popularity, only showed his cool side—he thought Miyuki flaunted the sexy part of him that rode a motorcycle and winked and had flawless hair. That was what made him appeal to such a wide audience, right? 

Wrong. Eijun realized this as he watched Miyuki’s expressions, the video’s edits, the goofy memes and the silly sound effects that helped make special moments even more humorous. In fact, Miyuki didn’t often deliberately show that attractive side of himself off, and when he did, his words were laden with sarcasm, irony and a tongue-in-cheek sort of attitude. He used his physical appeal as a tool for his jokes and playful remarks, but he wasn’t genuinely showing himself off in the way that other men might have—like Eijun had so quickly assumed he did in the beginning. 

Instead, when acting truly like himself, Miyuki was embarrassing and awkward more than anything else. However, he wasn’t so awkward that he failed to gain a cult following like the one he had. He showed just enough of his more playful side in order to catch the hearts of many people, to show them that he was just a naturally endearing guy. He was someone that was easily loved while also simultaneously looking like a swimsuit model.

Clearly, Miyuki’s physical appearance could only be altered so much—Eijun was convinced he worked out regularly if those damned shirtless selfies were anything to go by—but most of his good looks were out of his control. He was simply born that way and damn, what a lucky person Miyuki was to have such a flawless face. Eijun wanted to punch it and mess it all up so he felt like Miyuki was more on his level on the attractiveness scale when he decided to selfishly make out with him.

If only, if only.

Eijun shook his head and realized he needed to rewind the video a little bit. He had gotten so distracted and carried away with his reflective thoughts that he missed Miyuki’s reaction to the Ei-chan tweet after reading out loud.

“So… something tells me that this person has a lot of pent-up feelings,” Miyuki commented with a raise of his brows. “I mean, all caps and a thousand exclamation marks? That means serious business.” The video cut close to his face when he stressed the word ‘serious,’ and the little edit made Eijun giggle stupidly. “Maximum enthusiasm, pure unadulterated desire… yeah, this one startled me. In a good way, I guess? Just as a side note, this sort of tweet doesn’t offend me at all. I mean, if it made me that uncomfortable, I wouldn’t be making a video joking about it.”

Hearing that Miyuki was unbothered by the thirst tweets admittedly surprised Eijun, but that same confession also made him feel relieved. He honestly really hadn’t considered Miyuki’s feelings when making his thirsty tweets. He assumed there was no harm done since he was convinced (until now) that Miyuki would never see them—as they said, what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him. Plus, everyone else was doing it, so why should he feel guilty? Of course, that wasn’t a valid excuse for every sort of somewhat questionable action, but Eijun used that to justify his behavior and continue tweeting like the horniest, most deprived person on the planet.

Hell, he might have been exactly that. Eijun felt the nape of his neck heat with embarrassment at that realization. Ugh, whatever, he’d think about getting laid in the future by a Miyuki doppelganger if it got to that point. Eijun focused back on the video.

“It obviously is a different story if someone tries to cross a line by showing up at my house or doing something illegal. In that case, then, yeah… please don’t do that,” Miyuki went on with a scoff. “But these sorts of harmless tweets don’t bother me. Especially not when they’re funny like this one.” He nodded to the screen and he might have said more after that, but instead, there was a brief cut to speed things along. Miyuki was shifting in his chair as he said, “Okay, let’s look at more things from cute little Ei-chan’s page.”

Those words rang in Eijun’s ears and Eijun let out a mortified partial squeak. Blood rushed up his face until he was burning and his lips were trembling.

Cute little Ei-chan…? Eijun felt his heart start to race in his chest as he processed what Miyuki just said. Did he just call me… cute?

Logically, Eijun knew that Miyuki was just playing around like he usually did. He didn’t know who Ei-chan was or what she looked like, let alone the truth behind her identity of her actually being a man named Sawamura Eijun, the very same guy he talked to at the bar during VidCon’s Featured Creators party. Yet still, with just those few casually spoken words, Eijun’s mind went spiraling into the deep end. 

Faster than he could help himself, Eijun was imagining himself in a very vulnerable position. He wore a skimpy schoolgirl uniform with his wrists restrained. He was trembling from what looked like fear but what was actually desire, as indicated by the sight of his hard cock pushing against a tiny pair of paties. He was soaked, eager, and craving more—Miyuki stood before him, licking his lips like he was about to devour a feast. He looked down upon Eijun, snickered, and called him cute.

Argh, not right now, dick, not now! Eijun bit down on his bottom lip and pushed the heel of his hand down on his crotch, which was already starting to stir with interest. He’d have to store that fantasy for later. He might have been home alone, but he wanted to watch the video and address everyone yelling at him to react to Miyuki’s response before having fun with himself in the shower.

Another tweet was pulled up for Miyuki to react to.

@ei_chanx: what i would do to lay my head on ur big luscious tiddies miyuki kazuya… what i would do…

Miyuki read it out loud with a somewhat wistful tone, which made Eijun grin a bit despite his embarrassment. That was the exact voice he was trying to convey through his tweet. He had to admit it was pleasing to see how well Miyuki understood the intended mood behind his chaotic horny tweets.

“What would you do, hm?” Miyuki asked, clearly being rhetorical despite the way he looked directly at the camera. “Tell me. What would you do?” Miyuki began to grin, as if he couldn't hold back a bad joke before it finally spilled from his lips. “What would you do… for a Klondike bar?”

Thank goddess Miyuki’s editor, whoever they were, added a booing crowd sound effect alongside Miyuki’s shameless giggling. “Sorry, sorry. Couldn’t resist the reference. However, I’m genuinely curious, Ei-chan. Here’s a prompt for you: make a thread of all the things you’d do to lay your head on my ‘big, luscious tiddies.’” Miyuki briefly scratched at his head as the video cut to show him muttering, “God, I can’t believe I just said that willingly. Twice.”

Will do, Miyuki Kazuya! Eijun decided with an eager nod and a grin. It would be pretty funny to craft such a thread. 

From that point on, Miyuki reacted to a couple more tweets from Ei-chan and even went so far as to crown her as the ‘thirstiest Beanie he’s ever seen’ on Twitter. Eijun wore the metaphorical crown proudly and decided that as soon as he was done, he’d make that title his display name beside a little tiara emoji. A smug grin stretched across his face, and he giggled to himself until Miyuki moved on to react to a few other tweets from random accounts.

Kindly enough, Miyuki added a note to his viewers not to be cruel to the accounts he discussed in the video. He made it clear that he didn’t endorse online harassment, especially not against people harmlessly expressing their desires in a space where they thought Miyuki would never see them. Though he specified earlier that such comments didn’t make him uncomfortable unless they crossed a line into alarming types of behavior, he spoke again on the topic.

“No, seriously, don’t say anything mean to Ei-chan or anyone else in the video, alright?” Miyuki said with a bit more of a serious tone as he wrapped up his jokes and jabs. “It’s flattering, really, to have someone think I’m super hot. Because look at me, I am super hot!” 

Miyuki gestured to himself with a joking, wide grin as the video was edited with an obnoxious electric guitar solo in the background. He was clearly mocking the types of guys who said those things unironically thanks to the arrogant vibe of the edit and the tone of voice he used. Then, the video went back to its standard presentation. 

“But anyway, as I was saying,” Miyuki continued, “I know they say those things with only good intentions. Everyone has ‘celebrity crushes’ and whatnot, it’s normal. Of course, if someone else says they’re not comfortable with this type of tweet, then you should always listen to them and respect their wishes. But when it comes to me, don’t sweat it. I’m cool with it, just don’t try to stalk me, that’s all I ask. Besides, these are all funny tweets. C’mon, I know you all laughed at least once.”

A comforted smile pulled on Eijun’s lips. It was almost like Miyuki was defending him, in a weird, subtle way. He clearly didn’t want to sick his followers onto Ei-chan and have them rip her to shreds. He supported sexual humor and the expression of his fan’s crushes with a shrug and a laugh, which Eijun had to admit he really appreciated. 

After a few more disclaimers, the video wrapped up and came to a close. When the screen was flooded with recommendations for similar videos, signaling the end, Eijun let out a shaky breath and tipped onto his side. He decided to take a moment of peaceful silence as he processed everything that just happened.

Miyuki discovered his Ei-chan account.

Miyuki read the tweets he made as Ei-chan.

Miyuki wasn’t angry about the tweets. In fact, he thought they were funny enough to make a whole video about them.

Miyuki then advocated against any sort of bullying or harassment against Ei-chan and the others in the video.

Most importantly, Miyuki didn’t indicate that he wanted “Ei-chan” to tone it down or stop what she was doing.

Eijun began to smile. Admittedly, he was on the fence before about stopping this whole double-life or continuing on with his fun. He saw no harm in it since it was so small-scale and contained within a tiny, niche friend group on Twitter, but when he saw the way his account exploded since the video’s upload, he was momentarily frightened. He panicked because he wondered if he really had gone too far. After all, at this stage, he could still stop himself—it was not too late to close the account and scatter all the evidence of his existence.

Or… he could keep going. 

He could shrug, say fuck it, and fully embrace this secret identity that he crafted for himself. Now that he had Miyuki’s attention—and best of all, as revealed by the video, it wasn’t negative attention—why the hell would he stop what he was doing now?

All Eijun wanted was Miyuki’s attention, even though he’d rather eat soap than admit that out loud. He was absolutely glowing after watching the video, as if Miyuki had praised him and flirted with him rather than his goofy, over-the-top, horny feminine persona. In that moment, the difference hardly mattered; Eijun was Ei-chan and Ei-chan was Eijun. The line between them was as blurry as could be.

And he called me cute… Eijun felt giddy as warmth welled up in his chest. He rolled around on his bed in a fit of giggles, truly embracing that girlish side of him as he cradled the phone to his chest. He called me cute…!

He basked in the warm, fluttery feeling he experienced and decided it felt too good to be true. There was no way in hell Eijun was going to stop now.

 

***

 

After the upload date of Miyuki’s video, where he reacted to Ei-chan and a couple other thirsty tweets, Eijun’s account experienced a steady increase of followers. The first few days were almost suffocating, with notifications flying in so rapidly that Eijun was almost more flooded with Ei-chan’s account than his main, which was much bigger and much more famous overall. The rate at which he gained followers, retweets and likes was staggering. He almost regretted not being a horny disaster on main if it meant he’d get this many new followers, but he knew logically that it was for the better that no one knew the truth behind Ei-chan.

A week passed before the flood died down, but ever since then, Ei-chan’s page continued to gain quite a bit of popularity. Now that Ei-chan had been recognized by Miyuki himself, the Beanies were a mixture of jealous and excited for “her.” Some of the tweets had become “copypastas,” otherwise known as memes that people would copy and paste while replacing only a few key words to make their own joke from the original tweet. 

Eijun was always alarmed when he was on his main account and would see a parody of his own Ei-chan tweet show up on his timeline, but he was careful not to like them or connect himself in any way to the trend.

Now that Ei-chan had a captive audience, Eijun knew he had to be crafty with his tweets. Each one had to be funny, unhinged, and unique enough to possibly get attention from Miyuki. Of course, none of that would be possible if Eijun had to make everything up, so each tweet had truthful feelings behind them. 

One evening, Eijun posted a picture of Miyuki from behind, cropped mid-way down his thighs, from one of Miyuki’s stand-up shows on his last national tour. He wore a tight short-sleeved shirt, which Eijun learned he actually did quite sparingly, as he preferred to wear baggy shirts and hoodies. It was as if he knew the danger of frequently wearing something tight enough to reveal his mouth-watering physique. Multiple men and women would end up in the hospital from blood-loss if he walked around like that too often.

With the picture came Ei-chan’s caption.

@ei_chanx: his shoulder-to-waist ratio is unreal. uNREAL i tell you.. MIYUKI KAZUYA REVEAL YOUR SECRETS NOW!!!! WHAT DO YOU DO TO CINCH YOUR WAIST LIKE THT ANSWER QUICKLY

Though Eijun sent the tweet as it was, sloppy typos and all, part of him wondered if he should get bolder and start tagging Miyuki directly at the same time. No one did that normally, but since Miyuki already knew he existed and found Ei-chan’s page to be entertaining, maybe it wouldn’t be harmful to try. Not to mention that a lot of people tagged Miyuki in the replies of his new tweets already, but Eijun knew the chances of him seeing a notification from some random small account in the replies of his own tweet were unlikely. Eijun might have to tag Miyuki himself in order to ensure he’d see the tag.

Though he debated, he eventually decided against it for the time being and simply allowed the tweets to run their course. He could only hope, with bated breath, that Miyuki was noticing his feral behavior. The chances that he’d make another video about Ei-chan was slim, especially since it wasn’t like anything new happened. People would only watch more of the same content if there was some sort of variation to keep them intrigued, and so far, Eijun hadn’t come up with anything to change Ei-chan’s persona enough to inspire a new video out of Miyuki.

It was funny how not too long ago, the thought of Miyuki finding Ei-chan’s account was enough to send him into metaphorical cardiac arrest, but now he was desperate for the attention. He craved Miyuki’s response like he desired air. Even just a like from the man might get him hard and eager for another casually flirtatious line, something like Miyuki calling him cute again. 

He squirmed on his bed and set his phone aside, allowing one hand to slip underneath the hem of his sweatpants as his skin continued to burn with his uncontrollable lust.

Eijun was addicted to Miyuki’s attention and something told him it would only get worse from there. At the very least, his secret remained a secret. It wasn’t like Miyuki had any reason to interact with Eijun ever again, so there was no chance that the truth would slip out.

 

***

 

they_fzjp: OMEGLE DAY BARKBARKBAKRA RF ARF ARF BAKR BARK

Dovanox: oMEGLE DAY!!!

Ange16: OMEGLE DAY!!!!!

Starmie87: prayers for eijun not to see anyone’s dicks today

Celeste9001: I will pray but… we all know there WILL be dicks. unfortunately :/

“Now now, everyone, do not fret!” Eijun perked up and chatted to his Twitch stream, which was now full of excited viewers since it was finally time for a new Omegle video. “I will be skipping any and every manhood we come across as fast as my fingers can move, I promise! I am the speediest Sawamura Eijun, after all! Your holy eyes will be spared from the genitals of random nasty people! Wahaha!”

yoikat: im crying did he really just say genitals that loudly

Lumerio: poor Haruichi… poor Furuya… I hope they have some sanity remaining.

oshix3gang: i would die for you eijun.

moworan: thank you for your service…!! /salutes

Eijun flashed a broad smile to his viewers and held a thumbs-up within the camera’s frame. His fanbase really enjoyed Eijun’s Omegle pranks and helped him figure out what stuff to wear, do, or say when he encountered the array of people that lurked on the chaotic, unmonitored video-chatting website. No matter what random thing he decided to do, the people he encountered always responded in various ways that amused his viewers. 

Without fail, recordings of his Omegle-themed Twitch streams could be edited down for funny, 15 minute videos that always garnered plenty of views on YouTube. That was why Eijun pretty consistently kept up with his Omegle-themed uploads; they were fun, unpredictable, and they continued to perform well on his page.

Of course, the biggest struggle was encountering perverts who liked to use the site to fulfill exhibitionist fantasies without anyone else’s consent. Omegle was notorious for showing its users surprise pornographic content, so Eijun was always vigilant in skipping anything that looked suspicious. Sometimes, he kept those moments in his compilation videos (with the image censored, of course) if he let out a particularly funny scream at the sight of whatever graphic thing appeared in front of him, but such occurrences rarely happened anymore. After all, Eijun was too used to the platform to be surprised by it anymore and he rarely screamed from the shock.

… well, except for the one time he made a comment about someone’s junk being like ‘a horse’ which became a quote that circled around his fanbase for weeks to come, but Eijun liked to pretend it never happened.

Today, Eijun was a little embarrassed to be in the position he was in, but this option on his weekly poll had won by a landslide… so much so that he couldn’t ignore the option that won. In fact, the idea was actually one that he’d thrown on mostly as a joke.

Like, yes, it was true that there was a maid dress with cheap kitten ears and a tail in his closet, but it was totally a gag idea for Halloween last year, okay!? He didn’t wear that thing daily! He couldn’t think of another option for a prank besides wearing the cat-maid outfit, and of course that was the prank option that his fanbase fixated on. He knew they fawned over his cat-ear headphones, but he really didn’t expect this idea to be so popular. Eijun nearly started grumbling to himself as he tossed another handful of Goldfish crackers into his mouth, looking much like a peeved cat chewing on cutesy kitty treats.

So there Eijun was, wearing a stupid frilly maid dress with a strip of his thighs exposed above the black stockings that covered his legs. The prank was that he would stand in front of the camera, only keeping his body from the waist down within the frame so that whoever saw him might assume he was an “e-girl” or “thirst trap” or something similar. His followers insisted with enthusiasm that each time, the reveal of his actual face and voice would garner some hilarious responses. Eijun believed them and went along with their plan.

“Oshi, oshi, oshi, let’s do this!” Eijun called out energetically, extending his fists in the air before standing up to position himself properly. He still had one hand close enough to the mouse so he could skip any alarming encounters. The frilly maid skirt brushed against his thighs as he straightened himself up, and the bell that was attached to a bow tied on the base of the tail chimed softly. The chat suddenly got very energetic and Eijun noticed a few donations, which made him raise a brow from mild suspicion, but hey, donations were donations.

Of course, the very first match-up on Omegle was a room of what looked like college-age dudes. A few of them were distracted by something, but when the first guy noticed Eijun standing there, coyly shifting his stance from one foot to the other, he nudged his buddy in the side and told him to look. Before Eijun knew it, there were about five guys all staring at the screen, dumbfounded and no doubt curious about the “girl” that was waiting to chat with them. One of the guys started to smile with excitement.

“Dude, she could be underage,” someone else’s voice cut through. He turned to look at the screen and asked, “How old are you?”

Eijun could have kept the “trap” going on for even longer, but that’s when he bent down, put his face in the frame and yelled with the most obnoxious voice he could muster, “Twenty-five, for your information! Wahahaha!”

Naturally, it took the guys about half a second to skip him. The chat was filled with laughing emojis and stickers customized to Eijun’s stream. He giggled with them, snacked on a handful of Goldfish crackers, and then straightened up again to continue fooling people.

Some interactions were actually quite sweet. Whenever he got women on the other end, they would compliment his dress somewhat nervously, as if they weren’t certain if Eijun was a real person or if they were seeing a recording to the beginning of a porno. He had some fun conversations with them, in which EIjun earned plenty of moments that he knew could be edited for maximum humor with just a few sound effects and skillful cuts.

One guy, though clearly very disgruntled with whatever he just saw, clearly had a hard time moving on from Eijun when he was chosen next. When Eijun fidgeted with his frilly black-and-white skirt shyly and bent one knee to cock his hip out to the side, the kid glared at the camera and muttered, “What the hell is this?”

Eijun smirked cleverly and turned around to show the tail and how it swayed. The little bell chimed and the blond-haired guy on the other end just stared at him, looking gradually more and more disgruntled.

Finally, Eijun swiveled back around to face the camera and bent over enough so his face was in view. “Hi there! Do you like my dress? Betcha didn’t expect to see a guy like me wearing something like this! Wahahaha!”

To everyone’s shock, the blond guy actually growled—like a fucking wolf —and snapped, “I knew there was something weird about this whole setup.”

“What’s so weird, huh?” Eijun egged on with a playful smile. “Were you expecting a pretty lady, Wolf Boy? Too bad, so sad for you!”

“How did you know…” the guy that Eijun dubbed as ‘Wolf Boy’ trailed off, appearing to be stunned for a moment as Eijun cackled and winked at his screen for his viewers. However, the Wolf Boy’s comment caused Eijun to look back at him with a curious tilt of his head. Only then did the Wolf Boy suddenly go red (interestingly enough), growl again, and then snap, “Fuck off.”

No one was surprised to see that he hung up on Eijun right after cussing him out. As expected, Eijun’s chat was having a field day with this blond kid’s appearance.

Juenscotty: wAS HE A KINNIE?

Yuunlan: in all ways except physical, he was a wolf

they_fzjp: BARK

asherkr: HIS FAAAACE HELP

Yayoi_05: I’m dying rn XDDDD

“Now, now, let’s not be too harsh on the Wolf Boy!” Eijun tutted. A few people skipped by him as he talked to his stream, clearly not interested in whatever gimmick he was pulling. “I might have just accidentally awakened something in him, after all! Hehehe…”

Following the iconic Wolf Boy incident were a few more interesting reactions Eijun could use for his video. He even ran into a few fans who were not watching the stream and didn’t know he was on Omegle at the moment; their surprise at seeing Eijun was genuine and exciting for both them and Eijun himself. Eijun indulged them for a little longer than he would stick around with anyone else before moving on, making sure to linger long enough for them to take selfies and screenshots of them on screen together.

Really, things were going quite well. He’d only encountered a handful of grainy penises and otherwise, he was getting by relatively unscathed by avoiding multiple unsolicited dick pics.

“This will be the last one!” Eijun told his stream as he stood up and prepared to pose for the camera. “Then maybe I’ll just stay on the stream for a while, you know, with my face in the frame this time. Does that sound good?”

After getting enough positive reactions from his chat, Eijun nodded and stood up. He pressed the button to pair him up with a random person on Omegle and turned around. He figured that turning his back to the screen would be fun, since he was feeling a little more playful with this last prank, and wiggled his butt just enough to cause the fuzzy black tail to sway about. The bell jingled flirtatiously, and after a moment of doing that, Eijun turned around to smile and gawk at the person caught on the other end. He hoped he would get lucky by seeing someone respond to the prank with a funny reaction!

“Wahaha! Surprise, surprise, you fool! I’m not a girl, after all! Instead, I’m—”

When Eijun saw who was on the screen, he nearly twisted his ankle from how rapidly he lost his footing. He fell square onto his ass, the movement causing his cat-ears to go askew. He stared at the screen with wide, disbelieving eyes and probably shook the foundations of his building with the force of his yell.

“Miyuki Kazuya!?”

No way. 

No way, no way, no way!! It was a doppelganger, just like last time! The guy was going to scowl at him and skip, because that was what the Miyuki Kazuya lookalike from last time did! There was no other explanation for what he was seeing right now!

Eijun was waiting for the skip with a racing heart, shaking hands and bated breath. He could do nothing besides gawk at the screen and wonder who had hexed him to encounter Miyuki on Omegle. Still too shocked and in denial, Eijun waited for the rose-tinted glasses to come off and reveal to him the truth—that the man staring at him in disbelief wasn’t Miyuki Kazuya but simply some random guy who happened to resemble him enough.

“Well, I’m not sure what I was expecting to see, but it wasn’t you,” Miyuki commented with that voice and that smirk and those eyes and shit, Eijun knew it was actually him this time. He almost couldn’t move, so mortified that he thought the ground would swallow him whole. The bastard himself leaned back in his chair with a sleazy grin and said, “What’s wrong? Don’t let my presence stop you with… whatever you were doing over there when Omegle played matchmaker for us.”

“I-It’s a prank, for your information!” Eijun shouted, finally gaining enough feeling in his legs to shoot up from the ground and plop down in his streaming chair instead. The chat was flying by at an incomprehensible speed, though Eijun didn’t dare to try and read whatever they were screaming about. It was likely mostly keyboard smashes anyhow. Instead, Eijun watched as the amount of viewers steadily started to climb. People must have already gotten word that Miyuki was there and now, the Beanies were collecting en masse to witness the exchange between their new favorite pair of YouTube “enemies.”

“A prank?” Miyuki echoed with a raise of his brow.

“Yes, y-you idiot, a prank!” Eijun spat defensively, cat-eyed and bright red in the cheeks as his attention snapped back to the man he would refer to as the bane of his existence. “You know, those thirst trap sorts of pranks where they think they’re watching a cute kitty maid or something and instead it’s just me? That sort of prank! Haven’t you heard of them? Are you behind with the times, old man?”

“Relax, I’m not much older than you, remember? And I do know about them,” Miyuki answered with a snort. He reclined in his chair and tilted his chin back, eyeing the screen with far too much bravado than what was acceptable or necessary in this context. Eijun’s blood was boiling from all-consuming fury and lust all at once, damn this man. “Though how is what you’re doing meant to be a prank?”

“What’s that supposed to mean!?” Eijun snapped, not understanding the lilt to his tone.

“The point of the prank is to trick viewers into thinking they’re seeing something they’re actually not seeing, correct?” Miyuki asked, brows raised as he paused. He didn’t need Eijun to answer before he continued on, a grin stretching across that perfect face with each word that he spoke. “So how is it a prank to trick people into thinking they're watching a ‘cute kitty maid,’ as you put it, when it’s simply what you’re actually dressed as right now?”

Thank goodness Eijun was not getting up from his chair until his stream was over. Surely they’d all somehow be able to tell that he was rock hard and trying not to freak out at the sound of Miyuki indirectly calling him cute.

And this time, Miyuki wasn’t talking about Ei-chan—it was Eijun he was referring to.

“I-I-It was pretty implicit in my statement, you tanuki bastard, that I meant to trick people into thinking I was a cute girl!” Eijun shouted shrilly. “A girl! Not a boy!! Got that!? So stop nitpicking my words like this in front of my viewers! Now if you’re going to make fun of my brilliant prank, I’ll just skip you, jerkface!!”

“Aww, you don’t want to stick around and chat?” Miyuki pretended to pout as he rested his chin in his palm. He was eating this up for all it was worth as he tilted his head at the screen playfully. “I was gonna compliment the outfit, you know. It kind of fits you, somehow—”

“Good day!” Eijun shrieked, like a scandalized old woman, and proceeded to shut Omegle down instantly. His heart was doing somersaults in his chest, his hands were shaking, and he could hardly deal with the burn of embarrassment that was no doubt turning his face red all the way up to the tips of his ears.

He did not want to look at his chat, let alone Twitter, ever again. In fact, he would rather die than continue existing in the reality that he was in, one where he just shook his ass in a short little maid skirt and cat tail in front of Miyuki Kazuya and was then told that the outfit suited him well.

He could imagine the obituaries already.

Rest in peace, Sawamura Eijun, who died from cardiac arrest one afternoon in his own bedroom while wearing a cat-themed maid outfit, and it was all thanks to one unfairly attractive tanuki bastard… 

Chapter Text

Eijun wasn’t aware of what happened immediately after the stream ended. He was too busy throwing the stupid costume to the floor, grabbing his pajamas, and storming into the bathroom quickly before he traumitized poor Haruichi or Furuya with the sight of his tented underwear. Once in the safety of the shower, he jerked off, came as hard as ever when he thought about Miyuki fucking Kazuya, and finished his exstitential crisis before deciding to emerge from the bathroom again.

Now a bit calmer than before, he hung out in the living room for a bit, simply sitting beside Furuya as his lethargic roommate streamed himself playing some internet games. Eijun glanced over at his screen and saw that Furuya was locked in with his eyes glued to his game, which looked like one where he controlled an orb of some sort that consumed any other orbs it ran into. Eijun raised a brow since he didn’t really get how that could be entertaining, especially when Furuya barely made any comments to his stream besides soft-spoken reactions and occasionally addressing new subscribers or donations, but his fans were clearly eating it up.

Furuya didn’t stream nearly as often as Eijun, and not even as much as Haruichi, either. Streaming, and then editing down clips from his streams into “the best moments” types of videos, wasn’t exactly his style of YouTubing. Furuya definitely worked at his own pace, compiling and editing his Go-Pro footage from his shifts at the zoo and eventually adding a voice-over commentary filled with remarks about the animals and accompanying facts. Streaming and the social interaction generally required with it exhausted him quickly, but when he did stream and got focused on something, he was totally invested. He could go for hours like that as long as nothing broke his focus and his viewers weren’t too demanding of his attention.

Knowing that interrupting Furuya could be jarring and unwelcome when he was in his hyper-focused state, Eijun took the opportunity to try and relax next to Furuya. He was usually a loud and chaotic person (and his roommates knew that more than anyone else), but after getting himself off in the shower, Eijun was definitely more chilled out than he would have been otherwise. 

With a deep sigh, Eijun settled down on the couch next to Furuya, who didn’t even acknowledge Eijun as he got comfortable. Eijun had learned by now not to get offended by Furuya’s uninterrupted concentration, and besides, he knew Furuya appreciated the silent companionship. It was a rare treat from Eijun, after all, to be in his presence and not be yapping away like a particularly noisy pet dog. The ambient sounds of Furuya’s keyboard and his softly-spoken comments quickly turned into background noise as Eijun scrolled on his phone.

What he saw on social media and his Discord server was no surprise, really—the memes were flooding in, there were cropped clips from the stream circulating all over the place, and Miyuki was being tagged by everyone imaginable. Both Eijun’s fans and Miyuki’s fans were laughing together, finding the chance encounter between their favorite creators to be extremely endearing and entertaining. Eijun was surprised to see some people suggesting a collaboration between the two of them, but he carefully avoided responding to anything that hinted at anything like a partnership. He wasn’t quite ready to consider the idea, not that a huge creator like Miyuki would even consider it, either.

Just when things felt like they were finally winding down, Eijun’s own anxiety included, he saw a notification drop down from the top of his screen that he thought he was imagining. He stared at it for a second and was convinced it was fake. Oftentimes, as he learned through his Ei-chan account, impersonation accounts that pretended to be a celebrity on a “finsta” or some other similar sort of private friends-and-family-only account would message huge fans to try and scam them. 

So, his knee-jerk reaction to seeing a message request from @miyukik was nothing besides a roll of the eyes. It had a convincing handle and Eijun was sure that his eyes deceived him, that one of the i’s was a lowercase L or something along those lines. He opened the message request solely to laugh at it, screenshot the message, and share the image with his group-chat of Miyuki fangirls so they could mock it together.

Only after he tapped the notification did he realize the DM was sent to his main account, not Ei-chan, so there was absolutely no reason that it would be a scammer targeting a fan like he thought on impulse. His heart felt like it stopped out of pure shock and he opened up his DM requests, expecting the notification to have somehow randomly disappeared. His eyes were playing tricks on him, that was all! He’d open his inbox, check that the account was indeed not verified and…

… Eijun was wrong. The account was verified. Eijun had to slap a hand over his mouth to prevent himself from letting out a scream.

“Thank you, yuki_kitsune_97, for the gift subs,” Furuya murmured into his microphone, clearly undisturbed by Eijun’s fidgeting and silent panic. He had his headset on as well with the noise-cancelling earphones, so Eijun was a little more at peace knowing he didn’t mess up Furuya’s stream.

Okay, calm down, calm down! Eijun told himself vehemently as he stared down at the unread message notification. He didn’t even bear to peek at the message preview at first, too overwhelmed by the fact that Miyuki was messaging him in private for seemingly no known reason. There’s nothing that unusual about this! Don’t overthink it! It’s not a big deal!

Eijun knew he was lying to himself about that, but regardless, he relaxed enough to remove the hand from his mouth and finally open the message request. At the very least, it wouldn’t show that he’d seen the message until he accepted the request so he could take his time staring at it and freaking out without the pressure of responding instantly.

The message, or more accurately a series of messages, were shocking in that they were so… simple. They were casual, even, as if this wasn’t the first time they were messaging each other even though Eijun knew they’d never talked alone like this besides when they were face-to-face at VidCon.

miyukik: i can’t believe we ran into each other on omegle lmao what are the odds

miyukik: it was funny as hell though, my stream was blowing up, so i’m guessing yours was too??

miyukik: i mean, getting you riled up is very entertaining, i gotta admit (¬‿¬ )

Eijun felt a vein throb in his temple upon seeing that smug emoji in the last message he sent. Was he insinuating that teasing Eijun was fun for him!? 

Well, maybe that fact wasn’t news to Eijun, but to say this to him in private had Eijun wanting to swing his fists at the unfairly pretty asshole instantly. It was one thing to act a certain way in front of an audience in order to entertain them and pull out a reaction, but there was no one to see this attitude besides Eijun. With a huff, he accepted the message request and started typing away.

eijunoshioshi: MIYUKI KAZUYA!!!!! THIS IS NO WAY TO GREET SOMEONE IN MESSAGING!!!! HAVE SOME RESPECT!!!

eijunoshioshi: i AM NOT HERE FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT!!!!!! ╰(°益°)╯

Eijun sat there with his feet tucked close to his body up on the couch cushion as he stared down at their virtual exchange. His heart fluttered when he was notified that his text went through, though he felt a spike of excitement, a rush of anticipation, a squeezing in his chest, when he saw that Miyuki was typing back to him.

miyukik: wow, such rage! you really are easy! hahahhaha ~

miyukik: what did you want me to send instead??? this isnt an email you know… 

Eijun mumbled mumumumu under his breath as he debated on responding to Miyuki’s snide remark, but Miyuki was still typing, so he waited for the man to finish first. He was typing for an awfully long time, and Eijun wondered what would take so long to say in a message format. Finally, the message popped up, all spaced out and properly formatted like a true business email.

miyukik: Dear the Esteemed Twitch Streamer Sawamura Eijun,

 

I humbly request your attention in the form of a Twitter direct messaging conversation this evening. Please RSVP by sunset.

 

Very cordially yours,

The incredibly successful and honorable Youtuber Miyuki Kazuya

Argh… dammit. Eijun had to bite on his bottom lip to try and suppress a laugh. Against his will, a smile began to creep on Eijun’s face and he curled up atop the couch a little tighter, secretly amused by all the effort Miyuki just put into crafting his joke. It was cute, in a way, and almost embarrassing that he really decided to sit there and think of the message for the sake of carrying through with his previous jab. 

In fact, Miyuki’s behavior actually mimicked the way he tended to do videos. Sometimes, if Miyuki dropped a quick comparison or metaphor, he would then proceed to actually enact that metaphor on the spot to make the experience even funnier. Editing and sound effects would emphasize those funny moments even further.

Even after seeing his silly joke, Eijun felt the urge to bicker with him more. He especially wanted to poke fun at Miyuki’s self-proclaimed success and honor.

eijunoshioshi: WAHAHA! A VALIANT EFFORT, MIYUKI KAZUYA! I SUPPOSE I CAN GRANT YOU SOME OF MY PRECIOUS TIME! except…. WHAT’S SO HONORABLE ABOUT YOU, HUH!? ARROGANCE AT ITS FINEST! I EXPECTED NO LESS FROM YOU! ヽ( `д´*)ノ

This time, Miyuki didn’t spend ages crafting up another joke and instead responded swiftly.

miyukik: wdym? i’m the most honorable man around ;) coulda asked you to lift your skirt today on camera, you know… but i didnt

Eijun went still as his mouth dropped open. Wait, what? Did he read what Miyuki said just now correctly? 

Did… did he just insinuate that he considered asking Eijun to—to lift his— 

Eijun couldn’t even finish the thought. So much blood had rushed to his head that he was blushing as red as a cherry in an instant, and he could do nothing besides stare at the phone, flustered and appalled at the gaul of Miyuki to say such a thing. In front of the whole world, he actually considered saying something that openly perverted and shamelessly horny!?

Before Eijun could think of something to answer with or even gather the ability to acknowledge his blatantly flirtatious joke, Miyuki sent him another message, saving him the struggle of finding a coherent way to respond.

miyukik: jeez, im KIDDING, i can feel you tensing up all the way from over here! i’m not the creep you think i am  ┐(︶▽︶)┌

miyukik: anyway, i messaged u to ask about the part where we crossed over in our streams. like how are u going to edit it, how much of that segment will take up your video, etc…

A breath escaped Eijun’s chest like he was a rapidly deflating balloon. He felt relief upon seeing the truth behind Miyuki’s decision to reach out—after all, if it had solely been to mess with Eijun, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to rest for weeks with that haunting his mind. And well, Miyuki had just unknowingly provided Eijun with a new masturbation fantasy in which he asked Eijun to lift his skirt up in front of everyone, just to get a peek of the panties he wore underneath… but Miyuki definitely didn’t need to know that.

They spent some time discussing the logistics of their videos, which Eijun surprisingly found to be an easy and comfortable conversation to have. Their interaction was only a brief segment at the end of Eijun’s stream and towards the end of Miyuki’s, but Miyuki reached out precisely because his video was going to be monetized. He also knew that having Eijun’s appearance in his video would give Eijun a boost of subscribers and followers. This crossover wasn’t planned from the start, so they didn’t have any details or plans beforehand regarding promotions and sponsors.

It was nice of Miyuki to reach out and talk so openly about his earnings and how Eijun might factor into the bigger picture. Super famous creators like Miyuki could easily exploit and use the smaller creators to their sole advantage, but Miyuki never once gave off that impression during their exchange. He was open and honest with Eijun about everything he said, and Eijun suddenly got the impression that Miyuki really knew what he was doing. To Eijun, it was obvious that he was experienced with being a YouTuber for his full-time job and he knew well how to most effectively make his earnings.

Of course, Eijun’s good impression was soured the minute their professional conversation ended and Miyuki went right back into acting like a slimy bastard.

miyukik: anyway, looking forward to editing the footage, especially the part where you were dancing

miyukik: because it’ll be funny, of course. Not hoping for a panty shot or anything, course not ( ̄▽ ̄)

Eijun’s mind spun from the flirty implication and he gawked at his screen, silently fuming and gnashing his teeth. He was also secretly proud of himself for becoming the world’s most talented and expressive mime on the spot in an effort to avoid disturbing Furuya. With his face colored scarlet, Eijun rapidly typed his answer. He knew he was feeding into Miyuki’s jokes by reacting like he did, but he never thought about that until he was finished sending his message. Hindsight, as they say, was always clearer. 

eijunoshioshi: YOU’RE NOT CONVINCING ME THAT YOURE NOT A CREEP YOU KNOW!!!! I’LL BLOCK YOU IF YOU GET OUT OF LINE YOU BASTARD!! ୧((#Φ益Φ#))୨

miyukik: hahaha~ looking forward to it! ;)

eijunoshioshi: THATS NOT SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO YOU—!!!!

miyukik: hehehe >:)

With that, Eijun huffed and closed the conversation with a fluster. Part of him wanted to keep talking, but he knew that since the details were sorted out, there was no reason to keep chatting. Ultimately, Eijun commended himself for not throwing his phone across the room and giving the ever-focused and relaxed Furuya the shock of his life. He truly was the best roommate Furuya could ever ask for!

At that moment, Furuya let out a small sneeze and furrowed his brow, as if a part of him knew that Eijun just thought about him.

 

***

 

“Oshi oshi oshi! Welcome to today’s stream, everyone!” 

Eijun greeted his lively chat with a sunny smile and an enthusiastic wave. Today, his set-up was a little different, as he had moved his equipment to the living room where he had more space to do what he had planned for this stream. His eyebrows raised in surprise at the sight of more viewers than he was accustomed to seeing on his streams, but this was what Miyuki had told him about before the upload of his Omegle video.

He had been right—there was a shocking burst of activity that followed in the days after Miyuki’s upload. Eijun’s edit of his Omegle prank video was performing well, but only after Miyuki’s version went up did Eijun’s video finally shoot up in popularity and finally reach well over a million views. Now that he was streaming again for the first time since the Omegle prank session, his audience was much larger this early on than Eijun had expected. Usually, it took more time before he reached the number he started with that day.

Sitting beside Eijun were his two roommates, Haruichi and Furuya, much to the chat’s increased excitement. Their presence could also be part of why Eijun’s audience was larger than usual, since it was no secret that the three of them would be streaming together that afternoon. Fans of the trio were eager to be there for the stream and see all of their unedited interactions.

“Say hello to my best friends and roommates, Harucchi and Furuya!” Eijun exclaimed as he extended his arm across the screen, showing them both off like they were something to be marveled at. “I’m sure many of you already know them, but if not, you absolutely must stop what you’re doing and subscribe to both of them immediately, okay!?”

With reddened cheeks and a shy smile, Haruichi lifted his hands and tried to calm Eijun down. “Eijun-kun, I think the promo can wait until later in the—”

“His handle is @luckyboyharu, because he is indeed one very lucky boy!” Eijun declared without regarding Haruichi’s interruption, nodding sagely as he huffed from his nostrils. Haruichi gave up on stopping him and turned a bashful smile to the stream instead. Satisfied with that, Eijun then gestured to Furuya. “And this is @s_furuya! His handle is pretty boring, but he’s got lots of good content about so many cute animals!”

“Boring…” Furuya muttered while shooting a sharp glare towards Eijun. “It’s not boring, it’s straightforward and honest.”

“Nope, it’s boring!” Eijun bickered with conviction. “Mine has my catchphrase, and Harucchi at least has a cute nickname in his handle! Yours is just an underscore between your initial and last name! What’s the deal with that, huh!?”

“It looks nice,” Furuya argued, which only puzzled Eijun more.

“How can a handle look nice?” Eijun wondered disbelievingly. “Isn’t the point of it to be unique? It should just—”

“Alright, alright, what are we here to do today?” Haruichi interrupted with a sharp tone, much to the amusement of the chat that had been witnessing the rising tension during the back-and-forth between Eijun and Furuya. Eijun didn’t have the opportunity to stop and read what they were saying since he was focused on answering Haruichi’s leading question.

“I’m glad you asked, Lucky Boy Haru!” Eijun boasted with a wide, goofy smile. He reached down to the box that was previously hidden out of frame on the floor and lifted it so that the viewers could see. “Behold! We have received a generous gift from our one and only beauty queen, Narumiya Mei!”

The chat was full of energy as previous speculations and rumors were finally being addressed for the first time by Eijun himself. 

tklein: i KNEW there was a reason mei followed eijun out of the blue, that was insane

too_simple_minded: OMG SO THERE IS A CONNECTION

perfectXmachine: MEI??? LIKE THE BEAUTY GURU?

Ayoade99: who is that lmao

barda_L: HOW do you not know who Mei is? xD

Jumbah: not everyone here knows about the makeup world dklfdkgfdhlgf

Ppurrdisco: MEI SENT HIM MAKEUP?? THATS SO SWEET

“Oh, you met at VidCon, isn’t that right, Eijun-kun?” Haruichi helpfully supplied in order to give the viewers a little context to the situation. Though Eijun and Mei hadn’t interacted publicly yet, some people noticed that the makeup-industry celebrity had followed Eijun shortly after VidCon and speculated that the two of them somehow crossed paths. It wasn’t a huge rumor or anything that gained a lot of attention, so Eijun didn’t address their connection until the time was necessary.

“That’s right!” Eijun confirmed with a grin. He wasn’t about to explain what really happened though, especially when Haruichi didn’t even have the true story, so he skipped the why and how they met. He glossed over those details to avoid getting himself in any sort of trouble. “We became friends right away! He was kind enough to send us a box with his latest collection, which is called the Ice Queen Collection, all for free!” Eijun turned his rounded eyes towards Haruichi. “Hold on, Harucchi! Isn’t makeup expensive…?”

“Very expensive, especially if it’s high quality,” Haruichi confirmed with an amused smile. He tapped the box’s lid. “You better be grateful, Eijun-kun. Mei-san’s makeup is exceptional from what I know. His palettes and collections sell out in minutes when they first launch!”

“Whoa, in minutes!? That’s amazing!” Eijun gaped and turned to Furuya. “Did you know about this, Furuya?” When Furuya answered with a shake of his head, Eijun grew sparkly eyed and gazed down at the box in his lap with reverence and awe. “Incredible! Thank you so much, Mei!! We will do your amazing products justice with today’s streaming activity, which is: doing each other’s makeup despite having little to no experience with it whatsoever! Wahahaha!”

Eijun let out a laugh when the chat expressed their excitement through a series of stickers and emojis, especially the ones custom made for Eijun’s stream. He suddenly saw nothing besides shiba inu dogs wagging their tails in the chat. He knew that his viewers loved it when Eijun tried new and unusual things, especially when they involved his roommates.

“However, the most experienced one here is probably Harucchi!” Eijun boasted, slapping a heavy hand on Haruichi’s back as if they were two chummy old pals. Haruichi likely would have given him a weird look if he weren’t so used to Eijun’s antics by that point. Eijun gestured towards himself with a proud glimmer in his eyes and a thumb jutted towards his chest. “Then, I’d say I’m second best, and Furuya would be the one with the least makeup practice!”

Furuya’s aura was immediately aflame as he silently defended his honor. Haruichi giggled a bit and insisted that they look up a tutorial to help them rather than just floundering about like fools with makeup tools they knew next to nothing about. As always, he had the best ideas, so together they searched for a tutorial that they could all try—something that was probably very simple to experienced makeup artists, but would be a challenge for the three amateaur friends.

Their little experiment started off with good intentions; Furuya was entranced with the shades of blue that were in Mei’s eyeshadow palette and was very pleased with the overall aesthetic. His favorite season was winter, after all, and he loved the cooler colors that came along with it. The palette was in the shape of a crown and the mirror that came with it was shaped like a snowflake; each of the items in the collection were modeled after symbols of royalty and winter combined. Eijun commended Mei’s creativity and Haruichi marveled at the quality of the merchandise.

The actual tutorial, however, was quickly forgotten in favor of them trying to take things into their own hands. Needless to say, it was… a little bit of a trainwreck, but in the best way possible. The result was endlessly hilarious and the chat was full of laughing emojis and desperate attempts to grab their attention before they made it worse, but each time, the fan’s begging ended in failure. Even the very beginning of their makeup application was a disaster.

“Furuya!!” Eijun shouted as Furuya purposefully started applying foundation to Eijun’s face with far too much force. For some reason, by some twist of fate, Eijun had ended up as the first victim and Furuya was responsible for the first few layers of his face. Rock-paper-scissors had never betrayed him this terribly! He resisted the urge to squirm even more as he snapped, “Why are you ramming the brush onto me!? I’ll have wrinkles at this rate from how much you’re pushing my skin around!! Wrinkles, Furuya!”

“You will not get wrinkles,” Furuya muttered and continued to jam the brush onto Eijun’s cheeks. “Stop talking, the foundation isn’t even.”

“I have enough on!!” Eijun hollered with despair. “Enough, enough!”

Noticing the stream’s comments about missing Eijun’s cat-ear headphones, Haruichi was quick to act on it. He ambushed Eijun with a pair of clip-on ears, much to the chat’s excitement and gratitude for the thoughtful pink-haired streamer. Eijun simply allowed it to happen and sighed—he was pretty used to having cat ears of some form on his head, anyhow. 

Later on in the stream, Haruichi was the next victim to get his face decimated with makeup by the hands of fools who had no clue what they were doing. Eijun was a lot better at applying foundation and the first layers that were necessary, but then Furuya was assigned to do his eyes. Haruichi sighed with defeat as Furuya attempted to coat Haruichi’s lashes with a normal amount of mascara, except he put on way too much.

After a pause, Furuya lowered the brush, frowned and admitted, “They’re all clumping together…”

“You need to sort of move the brush back and forth to prevent that, Satoru,” Haruichi gently told him while Eijun struggled to pick a shade of eyeshadow he wanted to use in the meantime. Thankfully, Haruichi was next up to try putting eyeshadow on Eijun, but for now he needed to assist Furuya. Haruichi took the brush from Furuya’s hand and tried to show him the proper motion to use. “See? Like this, you sort of shift it from side to side…”

Unfortunately, Haruichi just ended up with an excessive amount of mascara on his eyes rather than achieving the goal of de-clumping the lashes. 

To everyone’s collective amazement, Furuya was surprisingly good at applying eyeliner, having a very steady hand and a good grasp on the pencil to get a pretty wing-like point in the corners of each of Eijun’s eyes. He spared Haruichi the suffering of having Eijun try his eyeliner by doing Haruichi’s eyes as well, but sadly for Furuya, Eijun was the one who was picked to do Furuya’s eyeliner.

No explanation was needed for why “goth Furuya” became a new meme amongst their collective fanbases that evening.

By the time they finished making fools of themselves with Mei’s very high quality makeup, Eijun had an excessive amount of lip gloss on his mouth, Furuya already had one fake eyelash hanging off his eyelid, and Haruichi was grateful that he was wearing enough horribly applied foundation and concealer combined to hide the blush of shame on his face. They ended the torture before they could do any real damage to the lovely products that had been gifted to Eijun, thanked the stream for tuning in, and finally went to the bathroom to wash off all the stuff smeared across their faces.

“I’d say that went well, don’t you think?” Eijun chirped as Furuya scrubbed at his cheeks. Haruichi was wiping away whatever had been rubbed onto his eyebrows to fill them in. 

At the sound of that, Haruichi and Furuya spoke in unison. “Never again.”

“But you two look very pretty with makeup on!” Eijun goaded with a cheeky smile. “Seriously! You’d fit right in at a haunted house! Wahahaha!”

“Eijun-kun, I suggest you look in the mirror,” Haruichi insisted with a threat dripping from his tone. Eijun’s laughter abruptly ceased as he worked at quickly washing his face as well, not wanting to anger Haruichi any further by continuing to mock him. Still, a secret smile remained on his lips—he did have a lot of fun with that stream.

Though it was all for laughs and for his fans to make fun of how little they really knew about makeup, Eijun was interested in refining his skills and getting better at doing himself up with pretty colors and fine, black swoops of eyeliner. He considered makeup to be a form of art, with tools and materials that could be combined to make endless creations, as well as something that only improved with patience and practice. Besides, it would be rude to let all that expensive makeup gifted to him directly from Mei go to waste. Eijun would do his best to use it up and improve in the meantime!

At the end of the day, when Eijun was watching the footage from the stream recording, he couldn’t help but to wonder something he wouldn’t dare admit out loud. His cheeks felt hot as he slumped over his desk, eyes begrudgingly fixed on the screen, heart fluttering in his chest. 

Deep down, a part of him wondered if a certain someone had watched his stream. He wondered if he got that person to smile, to laugh, to find joy in his content like he always aimed to do.

Stupid tanuki, Eijun thought to himself as he groaned and buried his face in his arms. Why can’t I stop thinking about you for even a minute?

 

***

 

Eijun spent a stupidly long time staring at their text exchange, even though it had been a couple weeks since it occurred. Over and over, he debated reaching out to Miyuki again, just to ask some silly question about YouTube or editing or anything like that. He was sure he could talk to Haruichi or Furuya about any of those things, so there was no purpose to ask Miyuki, and yet he still felt the urge in spite of his logic. 

He hated to admit it, but he just wanted an excuse to talk to Miyuki about anything at all. He knew that he was probably overthinking everything, that he didn’t need a practical reason to start texting Miyuki, but every time he started to type something, he panicked and deleted it all instead. He wondered if he was crossing a line, being too friendly with someone who wasn’t actually his friend but instead, just another creator he ran into at VidCon a few times and now once over Omegle.

Feeling a bit more sentimental than usual, he ended up venting through Ei-chan instead.

@ei_chanx: imagine holding hands with miyuki and feeling his big, firm fingers lace between your own.. they look big and strong and like they would make me feel safe

He attached a picture of Miyuki’s hands, a still from one of his recent videos, and let out a longing sigh. The tweet didn’t blow up like his funnier and more chaotic ones, but he still received some attention quickly and a few replies popped up as well.

@kazvyam: @ei_chanx stop this is so cute i was expecting something about shoving his fingers in your mouth but u chose softness today ;; 

@kayliegirl: @ei_chanx personally i think about him rubbing my back a lot and i bet it would be very comforting… but this is unusual for u, ei…  are you feeling ok? we’re here to talk if you need it girlie xx

Eijun felt some heat settle on his cheeks at the sight of his friend’s responses. He was indeed being a bit ‘softer’ than usual and he really appreciated how sweet the other fangirls were behaving towards him. 

He loved his friends in real life more than anyone else, of course, don’t get him wrong—but it had been a long time since he decided to try and meet new people. It was hard to connect with non-creators and he always had a doubt in his mind that those who were too kind to him were just trying to use him. Eijun was a naive person, but he wasn’t as idiotic as some people assumed, and he could sniff out those with bad intentions quicker than others realized.

Embracing a different identity and befriending people who truly didn’t care about who he was in real life, but rather, solely bonded with him over a shared love for something (or someone) else was a refreshing feeling. He understood the reason why people were so attached to their fandoms, why they stuck together as a community throughout endless months and even years.

After answering his fangirl friends and assuring them he was okay, Eijun decided to stop lounging around and emerge from his room. He heard some activity in the kitchen and could tell that Haruichi had returned from his lunch out with his older brother, Ryousuke. Eijun hadn’t seen Ryousuke in a while and was a little bummed out when Haruichi told him they were meeting up at the restaurant rather than having Ryousuke come to their apartment, but Haruichi assured Eijun that they would come by afterwards together.

“Onii-san!” Eijun called out as he bounded down the hallway like a dog greeting his owner. He was all sparkly-eyed and bushy-tailed as he came to a halt in front of Ryousuke, like he couldn’t contain his excitement. “How doest the master of Discord sleuthing fare on this fine present day!?”

Ryousuke smiled up at him and even reached up to pat Eijun on the head. It was evident that if Eijun had a tail, it would be wagging wildly from side to side. 

By calling Ryousuke the ‘master of Discord sleuthing,’ Eijun was referring to Ryousuke’s YouTubing style. Ryousue was known to be somewhat of a hero, though others might call him a troll, but regardless of how anyone felt, Eijun knew he could deceive anyone he tried. Ryousuke’s content was focused around going undercover into Discord servers and weeding out bad people—he particularly targeted servers that were hate groups, and sometimes he went investigating into sexual spaces that, for some horrible reason, involved kids. 

Most of the time, he just made fun of whoever he discovered and ruined their online reputation if they had one, but there were actually times that Ryousuke had predators arrested due to his discoveries. He was extremely skilled at hacking and had a knack for finding files that simply should not exist, and so when appropriate, he’d forward that information to authorities and let them do their job. Eijun thought it was the coolest thing ever and he wasn’t alone—YouTube loved his cleverly-worded insults and the sneaky ways Ryousuke ratted these bad people out.

“Fine, thank you,” Ryousuke answered Eijun with a nod. He ruffled Eijun’s hair for a moment before dropping his hand back down to his side. “I actually have some news I wanted to share with Haruichi today, hence why we went out to lunch alone, but now I can share with you.”

“News!?” Eijun’s eyes rounded with anticipation. “Did you get someone else arrested!?”

“Not this time,” Ryousuke chuckled. He folded his hands behind his back and his smile broadened as he announced, “I’m moving in with my partner of 6 months.”

“Partner!!” Eijun gasped and turned to stare at Haruichi, astonished at the sound of the news. “Harucchi, are you telling me that Onii-san has been dating someone this whole time and you didn’t tell me!?”

“Sorry, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi apologized with a small laugh. “You know Aniki is a private person when it comes to personal details. Our parents and I didn’t even know about You-san until they’d already been talking for a year and dating for three months.”

“You-san?” Eijun echoed with curiosity. He turned towards Ryousuke and leaned up against the kitchen counter, where they were all gathered, as Haruichi put their leftovers from lunch in the fridge and fetched Ryousuke something to drink. “Well, tell me about this oh-so-mysterious You-san!”

“I’m sure you know about him already,” Ryousuke hinted with a clever smile. “Ever heard the name @mochiyouichi?”

Holy shit, there was no way—Eijun nearly collapsed onto the ground from shock. He gaped and looked wildly between the Kominato brothers as if he didn’t hear him correctly. In the meantime, Ryousuke casually accepted the glass of iced tea that Haruichi handed him. 

“You-san is Kuramochi Youichi!?” Eijun shouted in disbelief. “The best friend of and frequent collaborator with Miyuki Kazuya!?”

“Why are you announcing this like we’re in a movie and you’re required to introduce the character to the audience…?” Haruichi wondered out loud, muttering mostly to himself as he shut the fridge.

“Yes, that’s the one,” Ryousuke confirmed amusedly. “You know, Miyuki is actually quite a loser in real life.”

“A loser!? He’s—w-well, of course he is!” Eijun covered up his instinctive defensive reaction in favor of obnoxiously agreeing with Ryousuke, which totally wasn’t suspicious at all. “That bastard has the corniest jokes and no friends! Even with all those subscribers, he seems to only hang out with Mochi! Wahahaha!”

“Harsh,” Ryousuke remarked with a bit of surprise in his tone, though he looked intrigued by Eijun’s animated answer. Regardless of Eijun’s bizarre behavior, he tilted his head to the side and said, “But did you know? Even despite his antisocial behavior, he has all sorts of sponsors lined up, begging to fund his videos. He’s loaded because of it. Maybe you could learn a thing or two about his charisma, Eijun.”

Eek… Eijun gulped at the dig and nodded ferociously, feeling his cheeks burn with mild humiliation. Ryousuke always had a way of putting others in their place as he pleased. Once he saw that he had Eijun under control and no longer barking out his insults, Ryousuke turned his focus back towards Haruichi.

“We’re moving into our new place in the middle of October,” Ryousuke said. “I’ll need help moving out of my current apartment. Rather than paying movers for the job, Haruichi offered to help and said he would ask if you and Satoru would be free to assist as well.”

“Of course, Onii-san!” Eijun stood upright in a stiff posture so that his legs were pressed together, and he lifted his hand in a mock-salute. “The ever-dependable Sawamura Eijun will help you get settled into your new abode! Just name the time and place and I will be there!”

“Splendid,” Ryousuke answered with a nod towards Haruichi. “And you’ll talk to Satoru when he’s back from work?”

Haruichi nodded, and the conversation naturally carried on from there. Though Eijun hung out for a bit longer, his mind was distracted with the new information about Ryousuke’s partner and the connection that formed between him and Miyuki. 

In the future when Ryousuke and Kuramochi lived together, that meant that going over to their place with Haruichi could mean that Miyuki would be there, too. Getting to see Miyuki in such a private setting had Eijun’s heart racing with a mixture of nervousness and a secret hope that such an encounter could actually occur.

He wasn’t sure what the odds of their run-ins would be, but Eijun was already starting to think of excuses for going to Ryousuke’s place as often as possible, just to get a chance to see the man that had quickly taken over his thoughts.

If I could only see him sometimes… Eijun suppressed a sigh as he felt a squeezing in his chest. At this rate, his crush was going to keep spiraling out of control.

Chapter Text

Only bad things could come out of keeping his DM’s with a certain someone open and staring at the screen with his thumbs hovering tentatively over the keys. Eijun seemed determined to slip up and accidentally alert Miyuki that yes, he was obsessively re-reading their conversation over and over like some sort of pathetic fangirl, even though there was nothing to it besides business with a little back-and-forth. If he lost control for a split second and decided to move his fingers the wrong way, he ran the risk of sending Miyuki something out of the blue.

Which was exactly what ended up happening.

The weird, jarring squawking sound that Eijun made went either unnoticed or unquestioned by his housemates in the other room, for no one came to hover in his doorway and ask what he did this time. Eijun remained curled up on his bed, shaking from the adrenaline rush of having accidentally (or not?) sent Miyuki a GIF of a cat meowing excitedly, something that the godforsaken app had placed right in the spot where his thumb had been anxiously hovering over the screen.

Curse my butter fingers!! Eijun whined to himself, then debated texting Miyuki again just to cover it up and say it was an accident that he texted him the cat GIF. That wasn’t entirely a lie, since it was an accident that he sent the GIF, but he did want to talk to Miyuki at the same time, as embarrassing as it was to admit that. Eijun then started overthinking about that and how it might seem if he claimed to butt-dial Miyuki in a sense, so he decided against covering up and tried to think about what to do next.

So much time had passed since he started panicking about what to do that it was worthless in the end, for Miyuki texted him back with a GIF of his own before Eijun could decide on his next move. Eijun’s heart nearly leapt out of his chest as he rapidly opened the notification and saw what Miyuki sent in response.

The GIF was of a raccoon peeking its eyes out of a trash can with a big question mark over its head. Not a tanuki, but the reference was close enough, and Eijun felt a strange bubbly sensation rise in his chest. He wanted to giggle, but he swallowed it down with an embarrassed heat settling in his cheeks and typed out an actual message.

eijunoshioshi: ARE YOU NOT GOING TO ASK WHY I MESSAGED YOU MIYUKI KAZUYA???

miyukik: hahaha

miyukik: idk, i saw a gif so i responded with a gif, i didn’t think much of it. whats up? 

Eijun sat up on his bed and looked down at his phone pointedly. As giddy as he felt to have Miyuki’s virtual attention again, he actually had a reason to initiate a conversation despite his cat-GIF slip-up. Yes, he had been longingly staring at their previous exchange, but something of substance had been weighing on his mind that compelled him to open his DM’s with Miyuki in the first place. 

Ever since Ryousuke told Eijun that Miyuki was loaded with sponsorships, Eijun had the urge to ask Miyuki about brand deals. He’d been approached a few times before for deals, but he rarely accepted them either because he took too long to respond, or he didn’t personally use the product, so he didn’t feel like his ad reads would be genuine enough. At the same time, he wanted sponsorship so he could actually make more of an income beyond just the basic monetization of his videos.

He had to gather his thoughts before he typed out his question to Miyuki. He didn’t know where to start, and he felt sort of embarrassed coming to a huge creator like Miyuki right off the bat, but he didn’t know who else to talk to when Ryousuke had hinted at how many brand deals Miyuki had. Some of his other friends who had slightly bigger audiences might have some good advice, but… in the end, Eijun had to admit that he was just searching for an excuse to talk with Miyuki.

eijunoshioshi: I heard… from someone—dON’T ASK WHO—that you get a lot of brand deals… 

Throughout their conversation, Miyuki was rather quick to respond, as if he wasn’t doing anything besides messing around on his phone, just like Eijun. The thought made Eijun feel a little softer inside, picturing that Miyuki was also lounging around in his home, focused entirely on his conversation with Eijun and nothing else. Call him self-centered, but the possibility that this was the cast had Eijun grinning from ear to ear.

miyukik: so suspicious loooool

miyukik: yea i do, what, are you jealous? (¬‿¬ )

A vein throbbed on Eijun’s temple. Jealous!? Who did he think he was!? What an asshole! There went his big happy smile—Eijun scowled at the screen and went cat-eyed immediately. 

eijunoshioshi: CAN YOU NOT BE A DICK FOR ONCE!? I CAME TO ASK FOR YOUR ADVICE !!! NOT FOR YOU TO LOOK DOWN UPON ME AS A SMALLER CREATOR YOU JERK!! (҂` ロ ´)

miyukik: my baaaad~ ur just fun to tease

miyukik: [GIF of a cartoon racoon character snickering]

miyukik: what sort of advice were you looking for? like general stuff about brand deals or?

Eijun paused for a moment now that the heat of his fury started to ebb away and he released a sigh. He supposed he didn’t know where to start. He wasn’t a total newbie to sponsorships, but he’d only ever done a few in the past, and they weren’t anything major. Eijun made a couple hundred and went on his way. He took a moment to decide what he wanted to say before answering Miyuki, this time with a lot less rage in his tone.

eijunoshioshi: I guess, kind of… I don’t really know what products to advertise!! Now that I’m getting more views, brands are approaching me but I’ve left a lot of the emails unanswered… I don’t know what’s a good deal and what could scam me! (>﹏<)

Now that their conversation was something of substance, Miyuki took a bit more time to answer. Eijun’s heart fluttered as he leaned back onto his pillows and gazed at the typing bubble from Miyuki’s icon. He really looked so attractive in his icon, flashing a charming smile at the camera while winking, and a little sparkle effect was placed by the corner of his winking eye just for the fun of it. He thought before that Miyuki looked stupid with his sideways cap in that photo, but the more he looked at it, the more endearing the image became. It was clearly an old photo and Eijun wondered if Miyuki would ever change it or if he cared at all.

He had gotten so wrapped up in staring at Miyuki’s icon that he almost didn’t process the message that appeared once he finished typing. Eijun blinked and looked away from the image to read what Miyuki said to him.

miyukik: i think the #1 thing you need to do is figure out what products would appeal to your audience. its going to sound basic but its all crucial: is your audience mostly men or women? what’s the age range? for example, you shouldn’t accept a brand deal from someone who’s trying to sell golf clubs or something when your audience is primarily women in their 20s. you’d be better off accepting a deal from a company that offers tutoring for college students, coupons for online shopping, a music streaming service, etc. things that most 20 year olds regardless of gender would benefit from. even though you dont focus on any of those things on your channel, they are things your audience would be likely to consider

Miyuki was typing a second message, so Eijun took the time to think about what Miyuki said already. He hadn’t really thought about what his audience would be interested in buying, only having thought about what he himself would use or endorse if given the chance. Eijun’s dream was to get a brand deal from Goldfish or something that he could enthusiastically support, but he doubted such a big corporation would benefit from striking a deal with some random YouTuber.

However, Miyuki had a good point. Agreeing to take on some brand deals was less about what Eijun personally felt and more about what would appeal to his audience. He thought back to Miyuki’s ad reads, which he realized he didn’t remember in too much clarity at that moment, and decided he’d have to do some research and take after Miyuki’s example if he could. Then, another message popped up and Eijun read through it.

miyukik: always go for a sponsorship that extends over more than one video bc its most beneficial for both u and the brand. you only negotiate once and you get paid once, then you decide which videos to do their ad reads for. the best thing is when u have multiple long term sponsorships and you get to switch up when you read each ad—and its really the best method of advertising to do a live plug for the brand for 30 secs or a min per video.. Its cheaper for the brand than buying a few TV ads that only show once each time for example. Just remember that by putting the ad in the video, ad blockers dont suppress the ad, and its there forever. viewers two or three years from now will still be hearing the ad and the company gets even more exposure than any other version of advertisement; its a smart investment on their part. push that narrative onto them when negotiating a price if theyre trying to underpay you

miyukik: thats a lot but did it help at all? i can get into specifics if you need

miyukik: you can depend on your senpai~ ( ̄▽ ̄)ノ

As annoying as Miyuki’s patronizing last few messages were, Eijun couldn’t find it in himself to get riled up as he read over Miyuki’s thoughtful advice. He felt like he was already thinking about sponsorships with an entirely new mindset, now recalling a few recent emails in his inbox that might actually work with his audience. His fingers itched to pull up his email and get to work, but most of all, he felt… happy. Touched, even, by the detailed nature of Miyuki’s response.

Why was Miyuki going to such lengths to give heartfelt advice to Eijun like this? He could have easily just teased Eijun, told him to Google it and sent him on his way. He really had no reason to share this information with Eijun personally, yet it was clear that he thought about Eijun’s struggle and did his best to answer him as thoroughly as he could manage.

Eijun came to ask for advice, but he wasn’t expecting such a genuine response. Now he felt stuck in between a rock and a hard place. His cheeks felt warm as he typed out a tender thank you message, but then deleted it all rapidly in a fit of nervousness. Instead, he sent something hopefully a little more casual.

eijunoshioshi: I think that answers my questions!! OSHI!! I WILL GET BACK TO THESE BRANDS ASAP! ( ̄^ ̄)ゞ

Ugh, who was he kidding. He should at least say something to express his gratitude. Eijun typed quickly before he could reconsider, though he was still too shy to type out the full words themselves.

eijunoshioshi: TY FOR ANSWERING!!

There was a brief pause before Miyuki’s swift response came through, bringing the conversation to a close.

miyukik: np ;)

For some reason, that winky face made Eijun want to squirm, and he closed their messages before he could embarrass himself further. Instead, he hopped on over to Ei-chan’s account to vent a bit of his feelings out. No one would know the context behind his emotions, but that didn’t matter. He didn’t need to give them a reason for the way he was feeling.

@ei_chanx: im so soft right now,, MIYUKI IS SO KIND AND FOR WHAT!!! AND HE HAS TO BE KIND WHILE LOOKING LIKE A JUICY HUNK OF MEAT!! ITS MAKING MY HEART FEEL SO WEAK (╥﹏╥)

A few responses came in from his friends and mutuals who were agreeing, citing different times that Miyuki showed his kind nature seemingly for no reward. Some people explained how he’d answer random fan DM’s on occasion, and others told Eijun how he always treated people with respect when they recognized him in public, such as the way he asked for consent to put his arm around them for a photo or anything else. Eijun felt his heart turn into warm, syrupy goo with every new fact that came in as he recalled Miyuki’s willingness to give him free advice about brand deals.

Someone like that didn’t deserve to be called a jerk by some random YouTuber like Eijun who got the wrong idea about his personality. Even worse, Miyuki’s fans didn’t even get mad at Eijun for the things he said, instead mostly taking his criticisms with laughter and even fondness. They gave Eijun the benefit of the doubt despite the possibility that he could be acting out of malicious intent. 

Eijun frowned and closed his apps, then gazed confusedly at his own reflection in his black phone screen. What was he even doing, acting like he hated Miyuki in front of the world when in private, he felt so differently? Was it time to stop, even though everyone seemed to enjoy the playful rivalry between them? Should Eijun start to think about the way he behaved about Miyuki when in front of the camera?

Before he could get into his head any more about the conflicting feelings in his heart, he ended up rolling onto his back and dozing off, effectively putting that topic aside for another time.

 

***

 

“Hey, have you guys noticed how good I look today?” 

Eijun nearly choked on the juice he was sipping when Miyuki seemed to jump from one subject to the next, heat rising in his cheeks at the sound of the arrogant comment. He looked in disbelief at the image of Miyuki’s latest video on his screen, almost as if Miyuki could see his incredulous expression despite them not actually being on any sort of two-way call.

He’s got to be joking, Eijun thought to himself with a flutter in his chest. He’s a smug bastard but he’s not that full of himself. On one hand, of course Eijun noticed how good he looked, how could he not notice Miyuki’s flawless appearance and end up nearly squirming atop his bed because of how sexually frustrated he was. On the other hand, Miyuki’s sexiness and confidence came from the way he carried himself—verbally pointing out his own appeal just made him look stupid. That was why Eijun knew he had to be messing around.

“I mean, you can’t get as many subscribers as I have if you don’t look as clean and cut as I do,” Miyuki went on with a snicker, eyeing the camera suggestively. 

Admittedly, Eijun felt his skin warm up with a mixture of arousal and secondhand embarrassment. Please tell me he’s joking, Eijun thought as he teetered on the edge of cringing, but he really was the last person who had a right to feel this way—he’d been told time and time again that the second hand embarrassment that his jokes evoked was almost too much. Eijun pouted a bit as he remembered this fact, but then quickly shook off the comments that haunted him. After all, right now he was focusing on Miyuki, not his own hypocrisy!

“It wouldn’t be possible without the sponsor of today’s video,” Miyuki went on, revealing the true intentions behind his egotistical jokes, “Clean-Cut Razors.” 

A sigh of relief brushed past Eijun’s lips. At least it was for a sponsor and he didn’t actually mean what he was saying. Right? … Right? 

Eijun doubted himself briefly, but then remembered to pay attention to Miyuki’s ad read this time. He’d been rewatching old videos to get an idea of how Miyuki segues into his ad reads, for they were usually so smooth and hard to catch until the word ‘sponsor’ actually left his mouth. Sometimes he didn’t bother to be smooth about it, but usually Miyuki found a clever way to sneak the ad in and even did some sketches to lower the chances of viewers skipping the ad read.

And, this one, well… 

… Eijun wasn’t about to skip it.

He had avoided Twitter before watching the new video, and now he was grateful for that because there was no way this man was actually doing a demonstration of how well the razor worked while shirtless in his bathroom mirror.

At the sight of him, Eijun felt heat plummet to his gut and he immediately bolted onto his feet and left the living room before Furuya or Haruichi decided to come join him. The last thing he wanted was to be sitting there, half-hard and flustered while his roommates tried to strike up casual conversation. He could take this one in his room, alone.

He quickly got comfortable on his bed once his door was closed behind him and pressed play on the video again, clutching his phone tightly as he soaked in every detail of the glorious image Miyuki displayed on his screen. 

God, Eijun would never doubt the common phrase “sex sells” ever again. He could care less that Miyuki was advertising a razor to him at that moment, too distracted by the way his muscles moved under flawless skin as Miyuki tilted his head to the side and trailed the razor down his skin. Of course it was funny to see the shaving cream covering half of his face like a fluffy white beard, but somehow it made him even more attractive, and the reveal of that strong jawline as the cream was pulled away had Eijun’s cock twitching with interest.

How long had it been since he got off again? He didn’t know—it could have been an hour ago and it wouldn’t matter, for he was all riled up thanks to Miyuki’s shameless display of that mouth-watering body. Eijun ended up palming himself through his pants, cheeks flushed and eyes hazy while he watched Miyuki shave, who paused to run his hand through his hair and push his bangs back to show the neat trim of his sideburn on one side of his face.

“The razor is sharper than anything I can grab at the store and its for a lower price,” Miyuki said, eyes glinting at the camera fetchingly, making Eijun’s heart flutter at the sight. Why the hell did he want to buy these razors when his own worked just fine? The power this man had was illegal. Miyuki somehow even made the way he held the razor a sexual experience, for Eijun couldn’t help but to stare at the way his fingers caressed the rubber handle and dragged along its side when he talked about the grip and shape.

This wasn’t the first time Eijun had seen Miyuki with his torso exposed, thanks to a certain selfie posted during VidCon that would forever haunt his subconscious, but he felt like he needed a cold shower by the time the ad read was up. He didn’t need to be reminded of the happy trail that dipped into the low waistline of Miyuki’s sweatpants, or the abs that had no business being so defined on his body, nor the unfairly delicious size of his pecs that made Eijun remember the time he had his head pressed up against them.

Only after the ad was over did Eijun remember he was supposed to be taking notes about it.

Fuck… Eijun caved in as he shoved his hand down underneath his underwear and took hold of his interested cock. He’d just have to do his research later. 



***

 

“Sawamura Eijun, the capable moving man, at your service!”

Ryousuke smiled wider when he saw his little brother, his boyfriend, and their loud-mouthed roommate all at his front door, bright and early on a crisp October morning. The air was sharp with the chill of autumn, reddened leaves brushed across the pavement, and the sky seemed gray with the possibility of rain later on. The scene was set for the season ahead of them, and Ryousuke fit the surroundings well with his usual ominous smile. Even so, Eijun could tell he was itching to put up Halloween decorations, a favorite tradition of his that was delayed this year thanks to the moving process.

“Good thing that you’re all on time,” Ryousuke said with a nod towards the inside of his apartment. “There’s a lot we need to do. Satoru, wake up.”

Furuya blinked his eyes open with a mild flinch, startled that his boyfriend’s brother had addressed his sleepiness so suddenly. Furuya clearly wished to be curled up in bed for a few hours longer, but he was a good friend and partner to Haruichi so of course he was there to help. After all, the more hands they had to move things, the quicker the whole process would go. Eijun, on the other hand, was energetic as always—he had no problem rising at the crack of dawn and leaving the house after a quick breakfast.

“Where do we start, Onii-san!?” Eijun bellowed out once they stepped inside the messy apartment, his eyes immediately darting around to take in the stacks of boxes lined up all along the hallway. He started heading towards some of the nearest boxes. “Should I grab these and take them to the car? I can start stacking—”

“We’ll do this in the order I say,” Ryousuke interrupted with a sharp tone, lifting a finger to pause Eijun in his tracks. “I have disassembled furniture parts that we should take first and set up in the new place. Otherwise we will be tripping over boxes all day long with nowhere to put anything that’s packed in the boxes.”

“As always, he’s got everything planned!” Eijun remarked towards Haruichi, who smiled and nodded along with his comment, clearly agreeing with Eijun’s observation. Not daring to disobey Ryousuke’s orders, Eijun leaned away from the boxes he was hovering over and saluted again. “Right! I’ll strictly follow your commands, Onii-san!”

“Good boy,” Ryousuke amusedly responded. For some reason, the two words didn’t quite strike up the same level of internal heat that they did when Eijun thought about the tanuki bastard saying them out loud. Luckily, no one questioned Eijun’s strange expression after hearing those words and went about their business.

Like Ryousuke instructed, furniture was the first thing that they lugged over to the new house, piece by piece so that it could be assembled as they went along. It was tedious, but luckily Ryousuke’s apartment wasn’t terribly far away from the new property. Eijun was in awe over the upgrade, for Ryousuke went to a small apartment with just enough rooms to comfortably fit one person (and perhaps a guest) to a full house. It was a nice house, too—one that most people their age couldn’t easily afford.

Eijun must have really underestimated the power that big YouTubers had. He could tell that Ryousuke alone wasn’t able to afford something so high-end, and it had to be thanks to Kuramochi’s raging success that they could buy a house rather than a condo or larger apartment. That being said, Ryousuke wasn’t just dead weight to Kuramochi either—Eijun had seen Ryousuke’s popularity rising with each video, giving him more views, more interested sponsors, and more subscribers on his Twitch channel.

He thought about the emails he had going with a few different brands as they discussed sponsorship deals. Even though he got slightly sidetracked the other day when trying to take pointers from Miyuki’s advertising methods, he managed to actually learn a bit beyond how unfairly sexy Miyuki was when shaving. He started to think about little sketches or clever segues he could use in his own videos for ads, and as they came to his mind, he would answer the brand’s emails and push the negotiations further.

It was going well, and Eijun hoped that one day, he’d be making enough to afford luxuries like a house and a fancy bed, too. His motivation helped him gather the strength to keep hauling the heavy mattress up the stairs, pushing from the bottom as Furuya walked backwards, checking his footsteps as they scaled the steep set of stairs one at a time.

Almost as soon as they put down the mattress onto the bed frame, Eijun failed to check that everyone left to grab the next thing; the next time he went into the bedroom, Furuya was found face-down on the new bed taking a snooze. Eijun took the opportunity to flop heavily on the bed next to him in hopes that the mattress would spring up and fling Furuya off like a ragdoll—instead, he just sank into the squishy material and had a delayed realization that the mattress was memory foam. No wonder it was so heavy when they lugged it up the stairs.

In the end, Haruichi was the one to jostle them both awake after the two of them took a light cat-nap on the new, fancy mattress. What Ryousuke didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, right? Eijun stretched like a cat and yawned widely while Haruichi placed his hands on his hips, reminding Eijun of a disapproving mother.

“No sleeping on the job, you two,” Haruichi scolded as Furuya rubbed at his eyes groggily, looking peeved that he’d been awoken so soon. “There’s lots of work we still have to do.”

“The mattress was heavy,” Furuya complained softly.

“I expected better from you, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi huffed at his friend with a frown—it went unsaid that finding Furuya asleep was no surprise to anyone.

“Have you tried it? It’s memory foam!” Eijun stressed with a whine. “Don’t be mad at me!”

Haruichi just rolled his eyes and beckoned for the two idiots to follow him now that they were awake again. Reluctantly, Eijun hoisted himself up from the squishy mattress, and Furuya had to be physically dragged off by Eijun until he was on his own two feet. He reminded Eijun of a bear being woken from hibernation despite the fact that Furuya only snoozed for a little while.

“You-san is coming over soon with his things, or at least, the start of his things,” Haruichi told Eijun and Furuya over his shoulder as they trotted down the stairs. “Aniki wants the last of his boxes to be brought over before they arrive so he can set them aside and out of the way.”

“Got it!” Eijun chirped. “We’ll finish up at lightning speed now that we’ve been re-energized! Wahaha!”

The final trip to and from Ryousuke’s old apartment went by quickly—as Eijun finished pushing the last box into the trunk of Haruichi’s car, Ryousuke handed off his keys to his previous landlord and completed the move-out process. 

Even though it wasn’t Eijun’s home, he felt oddly nostalgic watching Ryousuke stand in the doorway of his apartment, gazing inside at the empty space before shutting the door for the final time. Maybe Eijun was overly sentimental, but he couldn’t help but feel a little ache in his heart when they drove away from Ryousuke’s apartment complex. 

He thought about the day he would move out from his place with Haruichi and Furuya and how he might feel leaving all of those memories behind. Of course they would always be friends and they would make many new memories together no matter where they all lived, but Eijun felt sentimental when he thought about their house and all the times they laughed while seated on the couch or crowded over the dining room table. Special moments like those would always be tied to the place where they occurred. 

On the flip side, Eijun was filled with excitement for Ryousuke as they pulled up to the house and started to unload the last of his boxes from the trunk. This place was a brand new start to Ryousuke’s life—it was his new home that would be shared with the person he loved. Perhaps they’d live there for a decade or longer, making their memories as a couple living together in their first home. Eijun’s romantic heart throbbed at the thought, and he let out a dreamy sigh as he swiveled around the side of the car to march the last stack of boxes inside.

Except, thanks to the stacked-up boxes obscuring his vision, he totally didn’t notice the other person walking in front of him and ran straight into them. Thank goodness the boxes only contained clothes and were taped up securely, otherwise Eijun might have started digging his own grave for breaking Ryousuke’s valuables. He still felt a spike of alarm when the boxes toppled over onto the driveway and Eijun fell right onto his ass with a startled yelp.

“Pardon this Sawamura Eijun’s clumsiness!” Eijun shouted, flustered since he absolutely didn’t just run into Furuya or Haruichi. He looked up quickly, worried that he’d accidentally injured whoever he just collided with. “Are you al— Miyuki Kazuya!?”

Eijun briefly believed that he’d smacked his head on the pavement and was hallucinating. The one standing in front of him with a few boxes of his own dropped onto the ground was indeed the man that had sent Eijun into a heated mess after demonstrating how he shaved in a video for the sake of a sponsorship and dammit, why did Eijun have to think about that right now!?

“Fancy meeting you here,” Miyuki commented with that blood-boiling smirk of his, gazing down at Eijun confidently like he hadn’t just lost his footing at all. He wore a white baseball tee with red half-sleeves and a pair of black sweats, nothing remarkable, and yet somehow, Eijun felt parched at the sight of him. Miyuki glanced at the boxes Eijun dropped and offered, “Need a hand?”

“I’ve got this under control, thank you very much!” Eijun declared haughtily, now slightly shaking from the shock of quite literally running into Miyuki of all people. “I don’t need a big strong man to help me with this simple task!”

“Big strong man, huh?” Miyuki echoed, but Eijun opted not to answer as his skin burned redder under his gaze. He should have known that Kuramochi wasn’t coming alone and that he also had friends to help him move, he just didn’t think one of them was Miyuki fucking Kazuya. 

Even though it made a lot of sense. 

Dammit, maybe Eijun really was just stupid. He felt feverish now that he gathered the boxes back up knowing that Miyuki was in the same space as him, also helping the couple move in. There weren’t fans around, this wasn’t a public setting, and there was no pressure to behave a certain way, since they were only in the company of their closest friends. Yeah, this was a situation Eijun had been aware could happen eventually, but he didn’t think it would be so soon. Somehow, Eijun wished he had actually considered the possibility that Miyuki would be there beforehand so he had at least an idea of how to act around his crush.

After their brief run-in, Eijun didn’t see him for a little while longer, which gave Eijun a chance to breathe and collect himself. His heart was pounding loudly in his ears by the time he finished unloading Haruichi’s trunk, meaning that all of Ryousuke’s things were inside at last, and the rushing of his blood wasn’t due to the physical exertion this time. 

All he could think about was that Miyuki was here, helping out, lifting heavy objects and getting a little sweaty, causing that white baseball tee to cling to his body in a sinful way. Eijun watched heatedly from behind the car as Miyuki effortlessly hauled a filled duffel bag over his shoulder with one arm and balanced it onto his shoulder, then walked into the house without looking tired by the action at all. 

Big and strong is right, Eijun thought as he nibbled on his bottom lip. That duffel bag was huge, and it looked heavy, too—heavier than Eijun. Did that mean Miyuki could toss Eijun over his shoulder like that and carry him around wherever he pleased? Eijun might protest out loud but he squeezed his thighs together at the thought, feeling a rush of heat down south. The fact that he could lift Eijun up if he wanted to was a tidbit of knowledge that could send Eijun straight into his grave if he wasn’t careful.

He didn’t realize he was still staring at the doorway until Miyuki came back out and looked in his direction, chest rising and falling with deep breaths, causing his shirt to strain around his bulky chest. Shit, Eijun had to learn to control himself in the presence of others. His skin burned self-consciously as he looked away, stomach twisting in knots from the possibility that Miyuki caught him checking him out so hungrily.

Right, I should find Onii-san and ask what to do next! Eijun thought as he closed the trunk of the car. He clapped his hands onto his cheeks to try and snap himself out of his daze, then left his hiding spot behind Haruichi’s car to locate Ryousuke. 

It was pretty easy to find them since Ryosuke, Haruichi and Furuya were all sitting around in the living room, unpacking boxes of books to load onto the shelves and other decorative items to place around. When Eijun came inside, his heart jumped from the possibility of finding refuge with familiar faces.

“Oh, there you are,” Ryousuke commented once he saw Eijun’s approach. Just as Eijun opened his mouth to offer his assistance, Ryousuke continued to speak, not giving Eijun a chance to ask. “We’ve got enough hands here, so why not go give Youichi and Miyuki a hand? Tell Youichi the pieces of the dresser are upstairs in the bedroom, it just needs to be assembled.”

“G-G-Go with Kuramochi Youichi and Miyu—are you sure I can’t help out here!?” Eijun whined after briefly clamming up. He collapsed onto his knees and clung onto the back of the couch, craning his neck up over the edge to give Ryousuke his pathetic, watery puppy eyes. “Onii-san, I’m really good at interior decoration!! I can tell you where to hang paintings and how to place the pillows and—”

“I’ll be helping Aniki with that,” Haruichi cut in, turning his no-nonsense smile of doom towards Eijun to interrupt him instantly. Both the Kominatos wore a similar strained smile as they stared Eijun down, making it clear that he was meant to listen to them and obey without complaint. He shrank back so that only his pitiful eyes were visible above the edge of the couch. “Please go help You-san and Miyuki-san.”

“Yes, sir…” Eijun mumbled like a defeated child whose tantrum wasn’t successful. Eijun reluctantly hoisted himself up onto his feet and dragged them the entire walk out from the living room to the front of the house. 

Once he was outside, he saw Miyuki with his arms crossed as he said something to the person bent over in the back seat of his truck. It must have been Kuramochi. Eijun paused once he was within eyesight of the two and hesitated, feeling the butterflies rise in his gut again, and they only got worse when Miyuki noticed him and looked up with a raised brow.

“Aww, was someone sent to time-out?” Miyuki cooed, and Eijun’s fluttery shyness vanished instantly in favor of boiling rage. Why did Miyuki open his mouth again? Where was that kindness that he showed Eijun when giving him advice over messages? Eijun wanted to throttle the man by the collar of his shirt.

“I’m not a child!!” Eijun shouted as he balled his hands into fists. “This isn’t kindergarten, Miyuki Kazuya!! I was told to help you both with the dresser, you know! Onii-san says all the pieces are upstairs already so let’s get a move on already!”

“Jeez, he really is as loud as he seems in his videos,” another voice remarked, and the figure previously bent over in the car pulled upright to reveal himself at last. Kuramochi hauled a toolbox out from the truck and slammed the door shut, then turned his focus onto Eijun with a threatening scowl. 

Eijun felt frozen in place, like he was being sized up by a delinquent bully in high school even though he graduated college years ago. Kuramochi even looked the part, wearing an old faded t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off to show his muscular, ink-coated arms in their full glory. Was that a cheetah on his bicep? Eijun’s eyes lingered on the ferocious tattoo for a moment, a mixture of intrigued and frightened by the man’s tough exterior.

“Ohh, this is your first time meeting the spitfire, isn’t it?” Miyuki said, eyeing Kuramochi with a bemused grin on his stupid perfect lips.

“The punk nearly ran me over on his way out of that VidCon party, but yeah, formally speaking, I guess this is the first time,” Kuramochi answered, looking pissed as he glared down at Eijun like he were just a little twerp made to be stepped on. Eijun stood his ground, but he couldn’t deny how intimidated he felt, especially when Kuramochi was holding a heavy as hell toolbox with one tightly gripping arm that caused his muscles to flex under the rippling patterns of ink. 

“I-I had important matters to attend to!” Eijun defended with a pout on his lips, but he still bowed his head a bit in defeat. “Sorry for shoving you aside, but I was in a life-or-death situation chasing after someone that I absolutely needed to speak to! I can’t explain further, but take my word for it!”

There was a pause as Kuramochi snorted out his nose, as if exasperated by Eijun’s answer, but then he took a few strides forward and did the unexpected. Eijun yelped as Kuramochi brought a heavy hand down onto his head, then ruffled his hair so roughly that it ended up sticking out all over the place.

“Kyahaha! Life or death, huh?” Kuramochi remarked with a shrill laugh and a cocky smile. “Sounds pretty dramatic! I’ll let it slide this time.”

This time? Eijun thought with a spike of panic in his chest. What would happen if he stepped on Kuramochi’s toes a second time!?

“Anyway, both of you, come on,” Kuramochi commanded with a nod of his head towards the door of the house. His hand slipped from Eijun’s head, allowing him to fiddle with his messy hair and fix it up. “This dresser’s about to be a pain in the ass, but I could use some help to make it a little less annoying to deal with.” He grinned a little wider as he added, “Oh, and it’s nice to meet ya at last, Sawamura!”

Eijun almost forgot to move until he noticed Miyuki had joined his side. Just as he saw Miyuki in the corner of his vision, a hand was placed on his back that lightly pushed him along. The touch was warm and firm, making Eijun flinch slightly in response to the way his heart leapt into his throat, and this time he thankfully held back the embarrassing noise that threatened to break free from his lips. He stumbled after Kuramochi, trying desperately not to focus on the way he could feel Miyuki’s eyes on him from behind, even after his hand fell back down to his side.

“P-Pleased to make your acquaintance, Kuramochi-senpai!”

Chapter Text

Eijun concluded, within ten minutes of being left alone with Miyuki and Kuramochi, that Kominato Ryousuke was the most evil being to exist.

He wasn’t attracted to Kuramochi or even remotely close to crushing on him like he was with Miyuki—besides, he knew well that Kuramochi was in a committed relationship with Ryousuke, and he would never even dream of trying to get in between the relationship of his best friend’s brother (not to mention how getting in Ryousuke’s way in general, no matter Eijun’s relation to him, was practically the same as asking for a death sentence). That being said, he knew an attractive man when he saw one, and Kuramochi’s presence right alongside Miyuki was eye-candy for any pent-up gay man, to say the least.

Seriously, how on earth was Eijun expected to concentrate when the two of them were lifting up heavy pieces of furniture, showing off their strength and flexing their mouth-watering muscles at every given opportunity? Eijun was single, sexually frustrated, and a bottom who desired to get bent in half and railed into next week, so putting him alone with these two men that could easily pass as underwear models was downright torturous. Ryousuke had to know what he was doing to poor Eijun’s libido and slowly-failing sense of self-control.

Just watching Kuramochi and Miyuki work together, passing tools between each other and holding up parts of the dresser while the other screwed in nails or positioned the next shelf, was a struggle for Eijun. Too many times he’d been spoken to, completely didn’t process the words, and had to snap out of his daze to answer a question while trying to act as normal as possible. His eyes couldn’t stop wandering, catching the sight of Miyuki’s midriff or briefly admiring the way Kuramochi could raise something that looked way too heavy over his head as if it were as easy as moving a pillow.

Before he knew it, the dresser was finished, but next on the list was nailing a few shelves to the walls that Ryousuke wanted for displaying books, pictures and other decor. For that, Eijun helped out a bit more than he had with the dresser, seeing how distracted and unhelpful he was during the construction.

“You’re just gonna hammer in the nail right over this marking, alright?” Kuramochi said, balancing the shelf with one hand as he pointed at the little ‘x’ drawn with a pencil on the wall. He glared at Eijun from the corner of his eye and added, “It’s not hard, but whatever you do, don’t nail the shelf into the wall on a crooked angle or I’ll rip it out and smash the shelf over your thick skull, got it?”  

A chill ran down Eijun’s spine and he swiftly lifted his hand in a mock-salute. There was no way in hell he was going to mess up this man’s bedroom wall unless he wanted to get thrown out the window and fall to his untimely death. “Yes, sir!”

“Good,” Kuramochi muttered with a click of his tongue, then left the shelf in Eijun’s shaking hands. “I’ll be back, I gotta grab some stuff from downstairs again.”

After Kuramochi left, Eijun took a deep breath and looked up at the markings on the wall that indicated where he had to hammer in the nails. It wasn’t too high up on the wall, but both Kuramochi and Miyuki were taller than him, if only by a few inches. Eijun didn’t need a step stool or anything, but it was going to be a bit of a struggle to hold the heavy shelf up and try to hammer the bracket in at the same time.

Eijun was far too proud to ask for help however, so he grit his teeth and did his best to focus on the task. His arms were shaking a bit as he positioned the nail and started to hammer it in, eyes narrowed so that he didn’t get distracted by anything. He just had to push the nail a little farther in and— 

“You know, you can put the shelf down while you nail in the brackets,” a far too condescending voice said from behind him, causing Eijun to flinch and neary drop the shelf from his surprise. He paused and whirled around, brows furrowed and cheeks rounded with offense as he glared stubbornly at Miyuki. The asshole had paused in what he was doing just to comment on Eijun’s method, and he fixed Eijun with a look that had Eijun’s skin burning hot with embarrassment.

“I knew that!!” Eijun snapped, even though he didn’t realize that just setting the wooden shelf down would be infinitely easier and make mounting the bracket on the wall a lot simpler. Regardless, he was too stubborn to thank Miyuki for his advice, so he defensively added, “I didn’t need you to tell me that, Miyuki Kazuya! I’m not an idiot!”

“Coulda fooled me,” Miyuki said with a hum, eyes lingering on Eijun even as Eijun adamantly went back to accomplishing his task.

“What’s that supposed to mean, huh?” Eijun muttered under his breath, trying to ignore the way his heart was racing now that Miyuki’s attention was on him. 

He should have felt more insulted by Miyuki’s subtle jab, but he found himself more giddy than anything knowing that Miyuki was watching him. At the same time, it didn’t help to know that he was being watched, for now his hands shook a lot more and each task was infinitely more difficult to focus on. Seriously, why was everything so much harder to do when he knew someone was watching him, especially when that someone was his crush? He could mess up something as simple as brushing his teeth if told to do it in front of Miyuki Kazuya. It just wasn’t fair.

Regardless of Miyuki’s lingering gaze, Eijun managed to nail in both brackets without making the shelf crooked, thank god, or else he would’ve had to worry about living another day. He released a heavy breath and reached down to pick up the shelf itself in order to place it atop the brackets, but just as he started to straighten his back, he felt the shelf beginning to slip from his fingers. He hadn’t realized how sweaty his palms had grown knowing Miyuki was watching him, and now a gasp lodged itself in his throat. He didn’t want to drop the shelf and potentially damage it or the floor below!

Before any loud bang could be made, however, a pair of hands caught the shelf paired with the brush of a laugh against Eijun’s ear. 

“Whoa there,” Miyuki said, his voice velvety-smooth and unfairly provocative (at least in Eijun’s mind), “don’t go dropping the shelves or else you might hurt yourself.”

Eijun practically froze, his eyes widening from the unexpected proximity between himself and Miyuki. Suddenly he found himself within Miyuki’s arms as the man lifted the shelf in front of him, chest brushing against Eijun’s back, breath tickling the back of Eijun’s burning-red ear. He only stayed still for a moment before squirming around and darting out from Miyuki’s space, heart slamming his chest so rapidly that he gripped the front of his shirt as if to convince his heart with physical force to calm down.

“W-W-What are you doing right behind me like that!?” Eijun pretty much shrieked, but Miyuki finished positioning the shelf before turning to grin at Eijun snarkily. He brushed his hands off on his thighs, apparently unbothered by the way he set Eijun off like a hissing cat sprayed with water.

“What?” Miyuki extended his arms to either side in a shrug-like gesture. “If I hadn’t been there to catch the shelf, you might’ve gotten your head chewed off by Youichi. You should be thanking me for my heroic deed.”

“That—” Eijun clenched the fabric of his shirt before letting go and dropping his hands to either side of his body, curling his fingers into indignant fists. “That doesn’t explain why you had to…”

“Hm?” Miyuki leaned his shoulder up against the wall, arms crossed over his chest, bringing attention to the way his muscular forearms shifted in the position. He cocked his head to the side and raised a brow, clearly waiting for Eijun to finish that sentence, but now Eijun felt cornered. 

It was true that Miyuki was being a bit of a tease, but Eijun could be reading too far into what just happened out of his own hopeful desire that Miyuki would flirt with him. Obviously such a thing was impossible, as Miyuki was light-years beyond his league, so he figured he should save himself further humiliation by making assumptions about Miyuki’s behavior. So, rather than taking the bait, Eijun huffed and stuck his nose in the air as he turned away from Miyuki. 

“It’s nothing!!” Eijun dismissed him with a tight-lipped frown. “Now that I’ve nailed up the shelf, I’m going to go find out what else needs to get done!”

Unfortunately, Miyuki was right in the way of the door, so Eijun would have to walk past him in order to leave. He fixed the man with a heated glare as he stormed on ahead, and he swore that glare was meant to be like a brief glance, but he ended up staring at Miyuki as he walked on by. He couldn’t tear his eyes away when he saw the way Miyuki’s gaze flickered down, as if checking out Eijun’s body, causing Eijun's heart to slam against his chest with a hopeful thu-dump. He was surely just seeing things, but it really felt like Miyuki was looking at him more than what was normal between acquaintances.  

“Hey, watch out for the—” 

Miyuki tried to warn Eijun, but it was too late. By the time he spoke and the words reached Eijun’s ears, Eijun completely tripped over the toolbox on the ground and started to fall forward with a gasp tearing from his throat. 

“Wah—!” Eijun’s startled cry was interrupted, for suddenly he was yanked back and standing upright, not face-down on the ground like he had expected to be. No, instead, he found himself in Miyuki’s arms again, like the universe had turned into a practical jokester and Eijun was its newest victim. Except this time, Miyuki’s hands were on his waist and it set Eijun’s blood on fire at a rate that briefly stole his breath away.

The feeling that shot through Eijun’s veins made him jump out of Miyuki’s grasp like he’d been scorched by fire. At his abrupt reaction, Miyuki raised his hands palm-up in a gesture of surrender. He wasn’t even grinning that stupid shit-eating smile of his, instead looking just as stupefied as Eijun when their widened eyes met.

“Who grabs someone’s waist when they’re falling!?” Eijun accused him with a scarlet blush spreading down to his neck. “Don’t people usually go for the wrist or something less intimate!?”

“U-Uh, I didn’t exactly think about it, I just didn’t want you to hurt yours—” Miyuki started to defend, his own face turning redder by the moment, but when he looked over Eijun’s shoulder, he cut himself off. Following his gaze, Eijun whirled around and found himself face-to-face with Kuramochi, who was standing there with a scowl on his face and his nose crinkled, looking completely disgusted by whatever he was seeing.

“T-This Sawamura Eijun has to go find out what Onii-san wants me to do next!” Eijun stammered, then barreled past Kuramochi in order to avoid any further teasing. “Good day!!”

As Eijun practically raced down the stairs, he heard Kuramochi ask, “Care to explain why I walked in on somethin’ that reminded me of a creep feeling up some chick on the subway?”

“I wasn’t feeling him up,” Miyuki hissed, and that was all Eijun heard before he reached the bottom of the stairs with his heart pounding in his ears. Despite what he told Kuramochi, instead he locked himself into the downstairs restroom and took a moment to collect himself. He sat on top of the toilet with the lid down and cradled his head in his hands, feeling with his own shaking palms just how red in the face he was.

He wasn’t sure he’d ever forget how Miyuki’s hands felt on his waist. It was only for a few passing seconds, but fuck, Eijun’s skin still tingled where those fingers had gripped onto his body. He coiled his arms around his middle, listening to the thumping of his own heart as he tried to steady his breathing. Miyuki’s hands felt so big during that moment, warm palms pressing on that sensitive dip of his torso, holding him so protectively as if he was something breakable, something precious, something delicate.

Eijun knew he was thinking too deeply into it, but he couldn’t stop smiling. That swooping feeling in his chest made him feel like he could sprout wings and fly from how giddy he felt. Miyuki’s touch on his waist was something so minimal, yet it made him feel like he’d just sprinted a lap around the house while laughing and hollering. He was shaken and excited all at once, instantly craving the man’s hands on his body, making him want to do something totally unreasonable like march up the stairs, grab Miyuki’s hands and place them around his waist just so he could feel that tingly sensation down his spine again.

Eventually Eijun calmed himself down and left the bathroom, though his cheeks remained rosy-pink from how much he had smiled and muffled his giggles with his hands. Despite the way he snapped at Miyuki like a scandalized lady, he was extremely excited over the brief moment they shared, not that he’d tell anyone about it. Like hell he’d let Miyuki see how happy it actually made him feel. The bastard needed to earn that right!

Eijun must have been in the bathroom for longer than he realized, since by the time he left, everyone had scattered to various places around the house. He wandered to where he heard the most commotion in the garage, but of course it was his rotten luck to have chosen Miyuki and Kuramochi to run into right after his animated exit. He paused once he was standing in the doorway, having just opened the door into the garage, and tried to stay mostly hidden for as long as he could.

He chose the worst (or best?) possible moment to come see what they were doing, for what he saw had him frozen in place as arousal pulsed through his veins.

Yeah, for some terrible reason, Kuramochi decided to remove his own shirt and Miyuki looked like he was about to do the same thing, judging by the way he wiped his sweaty forehead on his sleeve and released a deep breath. Eijun was greeted by the sight of Kuramochi’s bare torso, showcasing the most chiseled abs Eijun had ever seen, paired with the image of Miyuki’s white shirt clinging to his body and outlining every line and curve in obscene detail. 

Miyuki was passing bins up to Kuramochi, who was balanced on a step-ladder as he loaded the bins up onto the overhead rack in their garage. Quite an impressive amount of storage was up there already, indicating that they’d been at it for a while now, which might explain why they were so sweaty and out of breath. They didn’t notice Eijun in the doorway, too focused on their job to pause and look around, not to mention that they had music blaring on a speaker from within the garage.

Eijun gulped as he gazed at them, feeling parched, closely watching the way the sweat-damp fabric stretched over Miyuki’s shoulder blades and pulled taut against his back. He had a narrow waist too, but somehow it was appealing in a different way than it might be on Eijun’s body when compared to his broad shoulders and slim hips. He had such a distinctly masculine figure that Eijun almost felt girly in comparison, but hell, that wasn’t a bad thing at all in his mind. If being held by his waist by Miyuki’s strong hands was what feeling girly was like, he unashamedly wanted more of that feeling.

“Here you go,” a voice said from beside him, “since you look so thirsty, I made one for you. Enjoying the view, I presume?”

“Yeah, I am, and… and I—” Eijun reached out to his side blindly before snapping his focus towards who just spoke to him, eyes wide and face burning red. Standing there with an all-knowing smile was Ryousuke, extending a glass of what looked like strawberry lemonade with chopped strawberries floating in the beverage to Eijun. The drink was complete with a lemon wedge pushed onto the rim of the glass, and a bright plastic yellow swirly-straw topped it all off.

Shit. Eijun felt a bead of sweat roll down his temple at the sight of Ryousuke’s sly grin. He’d just been caught red-handed ogling Miyuki (and Kuramochi to an extent, but not quite in the same way that he gazed longingly at Miyuki), and until just now, no one knew about his feelings except for his mutuals on his Ei-chan Twitter account. Eijun took the drink offered to him and tore his eyes away from Miyuki and Kuramochi, embarrassed and a tad bit frightened now that someone in his social circle might have discovered his crush.

Ryousuke didn’t seem to react at all to the news, however. He just dropped a pair of pink-framed sunglasses down onto the bridge of his nose that had previously been pushed up in his hair and sipped at his drink, the dark lenses hiding his eyes as he undoubtedly checked out his shirtless boyfriend.

“It’s October, but you’d think it’s the dog days of summer with all that they’ve got going on,” Ryousuke commented, referring to Kuramochi’s shirtless appearance and Miyuki’s sweat-soaked torso. Eijun gave him a strange look, only now realizing how out-of-place Ryousuke looked with his sunglasses and vibrantly colored drink that looked fit for a tropical island bar. 

He knew better than to tease Ryousuke about it or even question him, so he just took his own drink graciously and shyly looked back over at the two muscular men practically putting on a show for them to watch. Eijun pulled the straw between his lips and started gulping it down, but after just a few sips he reeled back with shock and looked down at the drink, as if offended by its unexpected bitter flavor. Ryousuke just lifted a brow and glanced at him, a smile tugging on his lips.

“What, you didn’t think I’d bring over something non-alcoholic, did you?” Ryousuke commented with a bemused laugh edging his tone. Yeah, he should have known. Eijun laughed nervously as he looked down at the cocktail, knowing well that he might be a little tipsy by the time they were headed home that evening. 

“O-Of course not, Onii-san!” Eijun covered up his reaction with a laugh. “It’s no surprise to taste a very generous amount of vodka in any drink you make! Wahaha!”

“That’s right,” Ryousuke answered simply. Eijun couldn’t tell exactly where he was looking with those sunglasses on, but then again, it usually was quite difficult to decipher where Ryousuke was looking in general. He curled his lips around the straw again and sipped practically nonstop, making Eijun stare at him with a mixture of amazement and horror, considering the way Ryousuke didn’t flinch at all despite all the large gulps he was swallowing down without pause. It was especially frightening considering the fact that Ryousuke made his own drinks much stronger than whatever he served to his guests.

Feeling anxious by the silence, Eijun fiddled with his straw and looked down at the pinkish-red drink, stomach twisting in knots. The ice cubes inside shifted together, Miyuki stepped out into the driveway which put him far out of earshot from the two of them, and no one else was around to hear him except for Ryousuke. He sucked in a sharp breath and spoke softly.

“You won’t tell him, will you?” Eijun asked, voice hardly above a whisper. Ryousuke didn’t even look at Eijun, still drinking until his straw made a crackling sound, which was when he pulled back and released a short sigh.

“I prefer to watch interesting relationships like this unfold at their own pace, so don’t expect me to meddle with anything,” Ryousuke commented simply, putting relief into Eijun’s chest immediately. “However.” At that interjection, Eijun went frozen with fear, and Ryousuke turned so that he appeared to be looking at him again. “Be careful with those bedroom eyes, Eijun. You’re around some famous content creators. Who knows what rumors might spread if you’re caught looking at him like that in front of those who like to gossip.”

Immediately, Eijun thought of a certain blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty guru that made his blood pressure spike. He gulped and nodded frantically, understanding the weight behind Ryousuke’s warning, probably more than Ryousuke realized.

“Thank you, Onii-san!” Eijun stiffly answered. Ryousuke hummed, then turned to go back inside the house, likely to make another drink. Just like that, the subject was dropped, and Eijun left his spot as well to go locate Furuya and Haruichi. It looked like it was time for them to leave anyway, so they might as well think about heading home after such a long day of helping the move-in process.

He didn’t properly say goodbye to Miyuki, but it looked like Miyuki was avoiding his gaze for the remainder of their time there as well. The last thing he saw of Miyuki that day was how a peculiar tint of red seemed to stain his ears and the nape of his neck, and for the entire journey home, Eijun couldn’t stop thinking about what it all meant.

 

***

 

The following weeks were mostly peaceful for Eijun, at least when it came to his feelings for a certain tanuki bastard. To commemorate the spooky month of October, Eijun and Haruichi played Dark of the Night for hours, once again picking up their ongoing video series of their reactions to the popular horror game. It was one of the most well-performing series on both Eijun’s and Haruichi’s channels, for fans of the game itself as well as anyone who liked funny reactions to horror games enjoyed the way they edited their streams.

The videos were always particularly entertaining when Eijun was given the controls, which he seemed to completely forget how to use when he was trembling with fear. As Eijun attempted to direct their character down a dark hallway, he nervously checked with the flashlight that his character was equipped with to see if anything was in front of him.

Sure enough, there was the hulking figure of a horrifying beast, and Eijun let out a shriek as he turned the character around to run.

“It’s after me!!” Eijun wailed as rapidly clicked the keys that allowed him to run, but since the character was in an abandoned mental hospital, of course there were all sorts of obstacles in his way stopping him from running as fast as he could. He had to jump over sideways hospital beds, push through doors and dart up and down stairwells to try and put space between himself and the creature that chased him. As a result, Eijun was mashing the keys frantically while hyperventilating over the game. “I’m gonna die!! I’mgonnadieI’mgonnadieI’mgonnadie!!!”

“Just don’t turn around,” Haruichi reminded him, far too calm for the situation with a small, somewhat sinister smile on his lips as he watched Eijun’s panic grow worse and worse. There were definitely more than a few comments in the chat about how sadistic Haruichi was for just watching Eijun scream and scramble to avoid the monsters chasing him without offering much help.

The thundering, horrifying music booming over the game didn’t help Eijun’s sense of fear whatsoever, only making his hands shake violently as he tried to get away. The footsteps of his pursuer seemed to get louder and louder and the stream’s chat was blowing up with people screaming, keyboard smashing, and sending variations of panicked emojis. Eijun leapt over another overturned piece of furniture and, against Haruichi’s advice, turned around just to see if the creature was still after him.

“Holy shit it’s right behind me!!” Eijun screeched when the figure of the beast was shown throwing the furniture that Eijun had just jumped over against the wall, causing it to splinter into wooden planks. Eijun bolted and ran into the nearest room, where an elevator-like contraption—likely meant to send food down through a chute—lowered in front of Eijun, as if giving him a chance to escape. It was small, but just barely big enough for his character to cram inside. As he clambered inside, the screen reddened at the edges and the beast's arms coiled around him.

“Wiggle the mouse, Eijun-kun!” Haruichi urged from beside him, trying to remind Eijun of the controls as his friend lost his sanity. Eijun shook the mouse so viciously that he almost flung the mouse against the wall, but it was enough to shove the beast off of him. The beast reached for him again, but the gate closed between them just in time.

“Oshi, oshi, oshi!!” Eijun cheered as he twisted around and watched the angry face of the beast, blocked from killing him thanks to the chute he found himself in. As he was lifted up, he continued to cheer, relief rushing through his veins along with the adrenaline that came with escaping. “We made it! We really made it out alive! Now we’re—”

A blood-curdling scream ripped from Eijun’s throat as the chute rose up to the next level, where a different, infinitely more terrifying beast was literally waiting for him at the door. He could do nothing as the gate peeled back, taking away the last thing keeping Eijun alive. The beast lunged at him, violently attacking his character and ripping him to bloody shreds of bone and flesh.

“Oh my god!!” Eijun cried out as he fell against the back of his chair, hands coming up to clasp over his head in dismay. “Are you serious right now!? I thought I made it out!! How come another one of those monsters was on the floor above me!? What rotten luck!! Harucchi!!! This game is rigged!”

Haruichi was struggling to breathe, having gotten himself into such a hysterical laughing fit that he couldn’t even speak. He wiped some tears from his eyes and sat upright, grinning ear-to-ear despite Eijun’s angered pout and flushed cheeks. Eijun knew he’d been screaming, but he never knew just how wild he sounded until he heard the playback of his stream.

“Someone, please take this clip out of context and make it go viral,” Haruichi begged at the chat, still attempting to catch his breath from the way he laughed during Eijun’s breakdown. When Eijun looked to see what people were saying, he couldn’t help but to grin at the sight of everyone laughing and enjoying themselves.

micaglass7: I AM FUCKING DEAD RN AJSDSFDGNSF

Yayoi_05: EIJUN PLSSSSS LMFAO WHY WERE U SCREAMING SO MUCH

Mattk0701: dude, eijun, srsly…? my ears are bleeding

Purpleneutrino: Sending prayers for Eijun in the chat right now (and Furuya’s ears, is he even home??? Poor guy LOL)

yoikat: AKSDNSAFKDGSFDGLMF,DLGL,FH HEEEEEELPPP THE WAY HE SCREAMED WAS SO FUNNY I CANT BREATHE

“I need therapy after that round,” Eijun admitted, now slumping over the desk from exhaustion. He pushed the keyboard over towards Haruichi with a groan of defeat. “Harucchi, you take control! I feel like I might pee myself if we keep going with me in charge!!”

“Yes, yes, I’ll obliterate the scary monsters for you now,” Haruichi promised with a devious little grin, taking center stage much to the excitement of their viewers. 

There were benefits to watching both of them play—Eijun was usually the loud one, screaming and having incredibly animated reactions to everything that happened, whereas Haruichi was more tactical and tended to impress his viewers with his skills. On top of that, Haruichi’s comments were funny and snarky in their own way, but they were usually softly-spoken in contrast to Eijun’s hollering and shouting.

At least the night seemed to be a success. Multiple times, the familiar sticker of the shiba inu getting his cheeks squished by a pair of hands popped up in the corner of the screen, indicating a flood of new subscribers and donations for Eijun by viewers who were thoroughly entertained by watching the two of them play. The next time they streamed a playthrough of Dark of the Night , they would do it on Haruichi’s channel so each of them benefited from the income of new watchers and donations.

This time, when Eijun noticed a few familiar usernames and handles in the chat that were clever variations and different spellings of Miyuki’s name, he didn’t grow defensive or angry. Instead, he smiled to himself, and wondered if Miyuki himself was amongst them on the down-low.

It was unlikely, but hey, Eijun could dream. He slipped an arm around his waist, which wasn’t viewable to the webcam, as he recalled the feeling of being held by Miyuki just a few weeks before that day. Even though it had been for just a split moment of time, he couldn’t forget the sensation no matter how many days passed by.

 

***

 

“Trick-or-treat!!”

Eijun grinned widely, holding up his gloved hands, which had little pink paw-pads embedded in the palms and tiny claws poking out from the tips of his fingers. His smile flashed a pair of little canines that looked quite realistic, giving his teeth a feline sharpness to fit with his costume. At the door, Kuramochi gave him a once-over look, glancing at the fluffy brown cat ears on his head and then down at the collar around his neck, which had a big golden bell perched right at the front. After glancing at the brown cat tail swaying between Eijun’s legs, Kuramochi grinned widely, showing off a pair of fake fangs of his own. 

“Kyaha! So we both went with the cat costumes, eh?” Kuramochi remarked, and Eijun couldn’t help but to notice the details of Kuramochi’s costume as well. He wore a cheetah-print tuxedo jacket with matching pants, something that Eijun had no clue how he found, a pair of spotted ears, and a tail to make the outfit complete. His makeup mimicked the facial markings of a cheetah, with black streaks from the inner corners of his eyes down to the edges of his lips, while black spots speckled his cheeks.

“Great minds think alike!” Eijun proclaimed and puffed his chest out proudly. He wore a skin-tight leotard type of outfit that reached down to his mid-thighs, but he wore a pair of cute black shorts over the bottom part of the leotard so he had something to attach the tail to. To add the Halloween flair to his costume, he had brown-and-orange striped thigh-high stockings that matched with the elbow-length gloves he wore underneath his cat paws.

“Well, don’t spend all night standing around outside, come on in!” Kuramochi gestured inside and stepped aside so that Eijun, Haruichi and Furuya could enter. 

Haruichi wore a pair of devil horns and carried a pitchfork—it was a cute and eerily fitting outfit for him, and to match with his boyfriend, Furuya dressed as an angel. He had a headband with a halo attached to it and a pair of little fluffy white wings to contrast to Haruichi’s bat-like demon wings. They were going to try and match with Eijun like they had the year before, but Eijun insisted on getting a new cat costume no matter how cliche it was, so Furuya and Haruichi decided to do matching couple costumes instead.

Maybe his determination to get a new costume was a little strange, but Eijun had his reasons for dressing like he did that night. As soon as they were invited to Kuramochi and Ryousuke’s Halloween party, the gears in Eijun’s brain were turning with ideas of how to make himself look as cute and tempting as possible.

Was there a chance Miyuki wouldn’t be there? Absolutely, but at least Eijun would have some pictures to post online and tease him from a distance. There was also a chance Miyuki would be there, and Eijun was determined to look his best to try and impress the man he desired. Hell, there was no proof that Miyuki even liked guys, but Eijun made sure he looked as pretty as he could manage to hopefully thwart any hesitations he might have.

Eijun didn’t actually expect anything to happen, but he was a little buzzed from pregaming at their house and feeling slightly more confident than usual. What was the harm in dressing in something skin-tight and cutesy to try and catch Miyuki’s eye? Eijun wondered if he would attract unwanted attention in the process, but he knew that Kuramochi and Ryousuke were only inviting friends and other creators they knew on a personal level, so he probably had nothing to worry about.

Once they made it past the entryway, Eijun was greeted with the sight of the house completely decked out in Halloween decorations, ranging from faux spiderwebs stretched in the corners to flickering jack-o-lanterns perched on various surfaces in the living room and kitchen. People congregated everywhere, chatting and drinking while some danced to the music on the makeshift dance-floor. The couches had been pushed against the walls to make room for dancing and mingling, and in the kitchen there were all sorts of Halloween-themed snacks and appetizers lined up on the table.

Eijun was quick to find Ryousuke by the bar, dressed in what Eijun would call the twink version of the classic Playboy Bunny. There was no doubt that he was rocking the look, and when Kuramochi joined his side, he wound an arm around Ryousuke’s exposed waist and leaned down to press a kiss to his temple.

“This party is amazing, Onii-san!” Eijun complimented as soon as they approached, a bright grin stretching across his face. “The decorations and the snacks are awesome!” He spun around, pointing out things he started to notice around them while he aimed to praise Ryousuke’s hard work. “Are those marshmallow ghosts!? And bloody handprint decals on the windows!? It’s truly Halloween in the Kominato-Kuramochi residence! Wahaha!”

“Thank you,” Ryousuke answered with a wide grin, swaying to the side so he could lean against Kuramochi. One of his bunny ears was bent halfway down, giving him an even more cutesy, coy appearance. “Halloween is my favorite holiday, after all. I’d be doing it wrong if I didn’t cover this place in plastic spiders and eyeballs.”

“That’s right!” Eijun bellowed out proudly. He whirled around and expanded his arms out to bring attention to Ryousuke, catching the eyes of some nearby party-goers. “Everyone, take after Onii-san’s example here! I know we do!” He turned back around to address Ryousuke again, all smiles to show off his little feline fangs. “Furuya, Harucchi and I carved pumpkins yesterday, and we left candy by our front door for trick-or-treaters even though we’re not home!”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” added a new voice, to which Eijun jumped up in excitement. Shouldering his way into the kitchen was none other than Isashiki Jun, also known as @thespitz, who Eijun was a huge fan of. He was dressed up as a zombie, wearing tattered clothes with fake bloody gashes on his face and arms. Eijun met him at VidCon briefly during his panel, but this was the first time they were meeting outside of a fan-creator setting.

“Spitz-senpai!!” Eijun called out with sparkling eyes. “I didn’t know you would be here!”

“Ah? Yeah, Ryou and I have known each other since college,” Jun explained as he joined their side and clapped a hand on Eijun’s back. “Happy Halloween, kid! Do you wanna go scare people and see if we make them spill their drinks?”

“If you scare anyone who’s standing over our carpets, I think we’ll see those fake wounds become even more realistic,” Ryousuke added with a sharp, threatening smile, and Jun immediately stood down from that idea. Eijun pouted a bit, since it did sound fun, but he got over it once he was in a conversation with Jun about the latest animated film, which was an adaptation of the Addams Family.

“I swear, when will these damn studios stop with the cash grabs!?” Jun raged as he threw his arms up in exasperation just a few minutes into their discussion. Eijun nodded along with his passionate rant, feeling thrilled to be getting into the crux of Jun’s YouTube content—animated film reviews and discussion—with him in person. His fury wasn’t all for the cameras, after all. “Average film after average film, that’s all we see from some of these people! No one has the spirit anymore, the passion, the drive!”

“You’re right, Spitz-senpai!” Eijun agreed when he was about finished with his first drink. His eyes watered as he leaned up against Jun and whined, “We need another Coco before it’s too late for the industry!”

“Don’t say that here,” Jun muttered as he looked aside, a sheen of tears unmistakably clouding over his eyes. “I can’t think about that ending without breaking down.”

“Oh, I understand,” Eijun whispered, keeping his tone hushed with empathy. When he glanced to the side for a moment, Eijun flinched with surprise at the sight of Tetsuya Yuuki. He was otherwise known as the voice behind @thewisesage, the account responsible for the latest craze of YouTube true crime documentaries. Yuuki was coming right towards them, but when he paused in his tracks, all he did was smile and nod at Eijun before beckoning for Jun to come over to him. 

“I’ll catch you in a bit,” Jun said and set his empty glass down on the counter. As he walked away, he waved over his shoulder at Eijun. “Let’s talk more about films soon, Sawamura!”

“I’d love to!” Eijun answered cheerfully. When he turned back around to see what else was going on, he noticed that Haruichi and Furuya were taking pictures together in another room. Ryousuke was their photographer, but Kuramochi was nowhere to be seen. He twisted around and scanned the crowds for a pair of spotted ears, heart rising with hope at the possibility that he’d spot Kuramochi standing beside a certain someone.

When the people between them moved out of the way, parting like the sea to give Eijun an unobscured view of Miyuki Kazuya, Eijun felt his heart drop to his feet.

Miyuki wore nothing besides a pair of jeans that fit far too well and a detached dress-shirt collar with a tie descending from it.

Suddenly, Ryousuke’s warning about keeping his bedroom eyes to himself was entirely forgotten, because this—this was downright criminal. This was unfair. This was cruelty!!

Eijun blamed the alcohol for his confidence and decision to approach him. He steeled himself, took a deep breath, and started to walk towards Miyuki with his heart lodged in his throat. More than anything, he just wanted to see the look on Miyuki’s face when he saw Eijun’s costume. Maybe, just maybe, he would be able to decipher a little bit of what was going on in Miyuki’s mind whenever they met each other’s eyes.

Chapter Text

“Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun stood his ground, paw-clad hands balled into fists as he spoke loudly over the thumping beat of the music. “What sorry excuse for a costume is that!?”

Upon hearing his voice, Miyuki turned to face him, resulting in him standing before Eijun in all his half-naked glory. In retrospect, yelling out for his attention was probably a bad decision on Eijun’s part, for now he had to try and look like he wasn’t ogling the absolute feast for the eyes right in front of him. When approaching Miyuki from behind, he got an eyeful of those powerful shoulders, the slope of his back, the sculpted muscles of his obliques and trapezius. Now that Miyuki faced him, it was impossible for Eijun not to take notice of his full chest, his firm abs that had shape even when he wasn’t flexing, and that tempting v-shape leading down into his jeans.

Eijun’s knees already felt weak. He was supposed to be the one teasing and seducing tonight, dammit, not the other way around! Miyuki didn’t have to show up to the party in partial nudity in order to have Eijun swooning, yet there he was, doing the most in order to make Eijun a brainless, horny mess in seconds. Then again, he was simultaneously doing the least by wearing a dress-shirt collar that wasn’t attached to any shirt at all, only serving the purpose of holding the long black tie up around his neck.

“Ever seen Magic Mike?” Miyuki asked. The question made Eijun pinch his brows, for he didn’t understand how that had anything to do with Miyuki’s costume. At the sight of his confused stare and frown, Miyuki grinned widely and stepped closer, narrowing the distance between them so he was right in front of Eijun. “It’s a movie about male strippers, you know, so that’s why I’m dressed like this.”

“Seems like a flimsy excuse to walk around naked,” Eijun tutted, glaring at him fiercely despite the way his cheeks warmed at their close proximity. He could smell Miyuki’s cologne, landing on the back of Eijun’s tongue like the spicy-sweetness of cinnamon. Eijun tried not to glance down at Miyuki’s body as he crossed his arms over his chest defensively, his shift causing the bell on his collar to jingle. “If they’re male strippers, then why are you still wearing the pants, huh?”

Miyuki raised a brow, as if surprised by Eijun’s forwardness. Only after he made that expression did Eijun realize the implication behind what he just blurted out, and his skin burned scarlet as his words caught up to him. He jerked back, trying to put a little space between them as his heart started racing in his chest.

“I-I mean—!!”

“The pants could come off, too, but I thought that might be a little too indecent,” Miyuki answered, stepping forward to keep the gap between them as narrow as it had been before, and Eijun couldn’t help but to notice how low and husky his tone was. Alarm bells were going off in his mind as he stammered and stared back at Miyuki, mortified by the words that he just spoke, and even more stunned by Miyuki’s response. “Besides, my ‘costume’ is basic enough as it is, isn’t it?”

Eijun blinked a few times, dazed by whatever weird energy was building between them, and snapped his gaping mouth shut in order to stop making a fool of himself. His plan didn’t quite work, however, for all he did was blurt out, “Huh?”

“Oh, c’mon, you didn’t think I wore this because I wanted to get some attention, did you?” Miyuki went on, straightening his posture so he wasn’t quite looming over Eijun like he had been before. The slight increase of space between them allowed Eijun to release a shaky breath that had been knotted up in his chest. “It’s clearly because I had nothing else to wear. I just found an old dress shirt from high school that doesn’t fit me anymore, removed the collar, grabbed one of my ties and called it a day. Easiest costume ever.”

“That’s pure laziness!” Eijun argued with a pout, no matter how secretly grateful he was for Miyuki’s pathetic, yet utterly delectable choice in a Halloween costume, if he could even call it a costume. “Halloween should be a time for creativity, you know!”

“Oh yeah?” Miyuki was creeping closer again, not giving Eijun a chance to back up this time as he reached out and slipped a finger between Eijun’s neck and his collar. The sudden constriction around his throat caused by the collar when he was tugged closer, making his lips part with a soft gasp, had the hairs at the back of his neck rising from shock. His heart stopped and raced all at once, he couldn’t breathe and yet he was gasping for air, he felt a chill even while heat boiled inside him. Nothing made sense about his physiological reaction, but he supposed nothing made sense about his attraction to Miyuki, either.

And then the jerk had the audacity to give Eijun a once-over from his distance (or lack thereof) and smirk when he said, “So why is it that you dressed as a cute little kitten when that’s how you dress every day, hm?”

Eijun’s blood simmered. He was going to kill him, then crash their lips together, then punch him in the face while sitting down on that gigantic fucking dick he had to be carryng in those snugly-fitting jeans. He trembled with a mixture of arousal and rage, glaring so heatedly at Miyuki that he wondered if, to Miyuki, he looked more infuriated or more turned on.

“Is that a dig on my headphones!?” Eijun snapped after he practically choked on the tension rising between them. “They’re stylish, you know, and there’s nothing wrong with being a cat lover!”

“Never said there was anything wrong with that,” Miyuki countered smoothly, looking as if he was deeply enjoying the way he was toying with Eijun’s emotions. Those amber-brown eyes gleamed behind his glasses lenses, though the flashing of the lights made it hard for Eijun to tell if he just glanced down at Eijun’s mouth or not. He slid his finger along the underside of the collar, tugging at it briefly before releasing him in order to flick the bell and make it chime. A big, goofy grin spread across his face as he said, “Though I have to say, I like the whole ensemble put together! Maybe you should wear a collar while on stream, too. It suits you~”

“I-I’m not some pet!” Eijun complained, then roughly turned away to give Miyuki the cold shoulder. He had enough of the bastard’s teasing to last him a lifetime and at least five new memories to supply him with jerk-off fantasies for the next few weeks. He got what he came here to do, so now he’d make his sassy exit. “Even if I like to wear cat-ear headphones, I at least tried harder than you to dress up today! Hmph!”

With a bratty cock of his hips that made his fluffy tail sway from the movement, Eijun started to saunter off, planning to leave Miyuki in the dust. To his surprise, he felt a tug on his tail that dragged him back, and he stumbled briefly before turning to look over his shoulder in disbelief. Miyuki stood there, eyeing him up like he was dessert served on a platter—that look sent a shiver of excitement down Eijun’s spine. If the tail were real, it would have bristled in response to the touch, fur standing on end from the sensation that shot across his skin like lightning.

“Hang on now,” Miyuki said, stroking his thumb along the faux fur tail as if Eijun could feel the caress. Eijun almost believed that he could, judging by the way he felt so feverish when he looked at the way Miyuki’s fingers petted the tail. He went still as Miyuki stepped closer, toying with the tail until he dropped it and slung his arm over Eijun’s shoulders without warning. Eijun yelped a bit as Miyuki pulled their bodies flush together, side by side, and peered at Eijun’s face with a clever grin. “You didn’t even give me a chance to prove that I could at least act the part of a Magic Mike character.”

“Y-You’re gonna strip!?” Eijun practically shrieked, skin flushing as red as the fake bloody handprints stuck onto the windows.

“Not for free,” Miyuki answered, not missing a beat and barely giving Eijun a chance to register that it was a joke before he carried on. “No, I’m talking about the dancing that the characters do in the film, not that you’ve ever seen it, but c’mon, they did a lot more than simply strip. Besides…” 

Miyuki turned them around so that they faced the makeshift dance floor, then started to walk towards it as he dragged Eijun along with him. Eijun had no choice but to stumble along with Miyuki’s big brawny arm around his neck, but he couldn’t say he was mad about the firm, warm heat of Miyuki’s bare body against his side.

“... you owe me from VidCon, you know,” Miyuki finished as they made it to the dance floor. He pulled back slightly to flash a smile at Eijun while the steady, rhythmic beat of the EDM-style music pulsed all around them. As if to jog Eijun’s memory, Miyuki added, “We never danced before you ran off in a hurry.”

Did he really remember that? Eijun swallowed down his shock as he gazed at Miyuki with pleasant surprise, eyes glimmering with affection. He felt special knowing that Miyuki remembered such a minor detail of their interaction that night. Still, he cleared his throat and tried to dismiss the softened edge of his gaze as he pouted at Miyuki instead. He crossed his arms again even as a few people danced around them, making them the only two people standing still in the middle of a moving crowd.

“You said dancing’s no fun when sober,” Eijun pointed out, eyeing Miyuki pointedly. “And you don’t look very drunk to me, Miyuki Kazuya.”

“Oh, c’mon, that was just an excuse to get you to drink more and loosen up,” Miyuki said with a roll of his eyes, causing Eijun’s mouth to drop. Seriously!? He almost snapped back at him, but he was cut off by Miyuki’s devious smile and laugh as he remarked, “Hahaha… but I’m starting to wonder if that’s what you need to stop being so defensive around me.”

“Defensive? I’m not being defensi—” Eijun started, but then he snapped his mouth shut, embarrassed that he literally just walked right into that one. A slightly awkward expression crossed Miyuki’s face, like he couldn’t decipher what Eijun was thinking, but it disappeared as soon as Eijun caught a glimpse. Instead, Miyuki smiled wider and reached out to playfully swat at the bell on Eijun’s collar.

“Yeah, yeah, sure you’re not, now relax already and have some fun!” Miyuki dismissed him with a grin. 

Then, Miyuki started to dance to the music, stepping from side to side as he moved a little closer to Eijun. Honestly, if it weren’t for the way that Eijun was so desperately attracted to him and also the fact that he was shirtless, Eijun might have laughed at how silly Miyuki looked. Miyuki had natural charisma and confidence that made him attractive in pretty much anything he did, but he clearly wasn’t the most experienced dancer, and that somehow made him even more endearing in Eijun’s eyes. In the end, he couldn’t resist smiling at Miyuki and dancing alongside him, trying not to think too hard about the way his heart was soaring with joy and how laughter seemed to start flowing from his chest nonstop.

He was actually having fun while dancing with Miyuki at a party. Just that fact alone was enough to make Eijun’s mind spin. He wondered if he actually somehow chugged all of the spiked punch and gobbled down each of Ryousuke’s green slime-style jello shots, meaning he was so drunk that he passed out and was dreaming of an alternate reality where he could behave normally with Miyuki in public. 

Yet rather than having Miyuki pull him close and shove his tongue down his throat, which was what would happen in his dream, Miyuki started trying to do a robot dance of all things like some sort of middle-aged dad. Eijun burst out into laughter at the sight of his painfully dorky expressions, then tried to match his dance moves so the two of them were hobbling around like robots in the midst of a normally dancing crowd.

Yeah, this was real life, not a dream—and somehow, Eijun was grateful for that fact. He managed to stop thinking so much for just a few blissful moments, lost in the songs that played around them, wiggling his hips and letting his cat-tail sway as if it were real. Confidence pulsed through his veins out of nowhere, allowing him to roll his body towards Miyuki, and before he knew it, he was boldly sliding his arms over Miyuki’s shoulders to hold onto him as they danced together.

The moment felt somewhat magical. Eijun always laughed at the meme “no thoughts, head empty,” especially when Haruichi used it when describing Furuya (and sometimes, Eijun as well, just in a different way). Even though it was a meme, he couldn’t help but to think that it described him at that moment. Everything else faded to the background—Eijun’s attitude about Miyuki, how he should be behaving, and how he imagined Miyuki should be acting in response. For a few blissful moments, it was just them alone, dancing and swaying, smiling as they enjoyed the time they shared together.

Amongst all the flashing lights, Eijun blinked and peered up at Miyuki, meeting his eyes directly as his fingers absentmindedly started to play with the hairs at the nape of Miyuki’s neck. He held his breath for a moment, stunned at the realization that Miyuki had already been looking at him, as if he was waiting for Eijun to look up and see the tender warmth in his eyes. The sounds of the music, other people’s laughter, and everything else in the world seemed to blur together. Eijun’s breath hitched when their noses brushed together and everything felt so warm, so intimate, so… right.

Eijun reeled backwards, eyes wide and heart racing wildly in his chest. He flinched as if he’d been shocked, for he hadn’t realized just how close he had been to Miyuki, dancing like they were in love or something like that. He flustered immediately and backpedaled, trying to put the space between them that had been there before. The sensual, dark tones of the EDM behind them shifted to a goofy Halloween song one often heard at children’s parties, and it seemed that in an instant, the suffocatingly romantic atmosphere faded into thin air.

“W-Well, we danced, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun announced, his voice possibly cracking a bit as he started to inch off the dance floor. He couldn’t meet Miyuki’s eyes as he tried to get a hold of himself and stop shaking from the adrenaline of how closely they’d danced together. “It wasn’t bad, but I think you need more practice before you try to claim you’re as good as a male stripper! Wahaha! With that, this Sawamura Eijun is headed off the dance floor and—”

“Wait—” 

Eijun’s rapid retreat was halted by the hand that suddenly latched onto his wrist. Eijun turned around again, fixing startled eyes on Miyuki, who was clutching onto Eijun’s wrist like if he let go, it would be the end of something. Eijun rubbed his lips together and glanced down at his hand, noticing the way Miyuki’s fingers curved around his arm, holding on firmly, yet not squeezing tight enough to hurt Eijun. 

“What is it…?” Eijun asked after a moment, tentatively looking between Miyuki’s hand and his face. He was shocked to see Miyuki’s expression—Miyuki was slack-jawed and frozen, like he didn’t know what he even wanted to say. His lips parted and closed, and Eijun wasn’t sure if the pinkish hue on his face was due to the spooky red lighting coming from the LED party lights, or if it was Miyuki’s natural complexion darkening with a blush.

“I… can we—” Miyuki gripped Eijun’s wrist a little harder, then looked down hesitantly before bringing his eyes right back up. The words came out in a nervous rush. “Can I have your number?”

Eijun blinked at him and scrunched his brows, confused by the request. “Why?”

“So I can reach you,” Miyuki answered, as if that explained anything. Eijun frowned deeper at him and turned around more fully so he could face Miyuki directly.

“You have my Twitter,” Eijun pointed out. “And my Instagram, and Twitch, and YouTube, and probably more. There’s a lot of ways to reach me that you have access to, Miyuki Kazuya.”

“R-Right. You’re right. That makes sense. I don’t know why I asked when you’re right.” Miyuki laughed awkwardly, and when he looked aside, Eijun was able to confirm that the redness he noticed earlier was definitely Miyuki’s skin. He looked even more flushed than before and Eijun couldn’t resist chewing on his bottom lip, trying to hold back the smile that threatened to form on his face. He had no clue why Miyuki was behaving so shyly, but it was cute and Eijun started to feel his heart flutter in his chest. 

He watched as Miyuki let go of his wrist and pulled out his phone regardless, but rather than pulling up a new contact, he opened up Twitter. Miyuki kept his screen angled in a way so that Eijun could see what he was doing, and Eijun grew slightly anxious when he saw Miyuki pull up Eijun’s Twitter account (thank goodness it was not Ei-chan, or else Eijun would actually die on the spot and he didn’t mean that in a good way).

“Then, I guess I’ll just do this instead.” Miyuki tapped a button on the screen, and it took Eijun a moment to register what had just happened. He looked down, wondering what Miyuki meant, before seeing that the ‘follow’ button had changed to ‘following.’ 

Wait—Miyuki Kazuya just followed me!?

“Now, Instagram…” Miyuki hummed as he swiftly tapped out of Twitter and shifted to the other app. Right in front of Eijun, he did it a second time. He followed Eijun with his public account, the one with the verification checkmark, the one with millions of followers who would surely notice that Miyuki had just followed Eijun out of the blue. Somehow that had Eijun’s anxiety shooting through the roof, and so when Miyuki finished following him everywhere and tucked his phone away, Eijun could do nothing but laugh maniacally as if his ego had just been boosted.

“Wahaha! So you’ve humbled yourself and followed Sawamura Eijun, who must be like a peasant in the eyes of your social media kingdom, Miyuki Kazuya!!” Eijun placed his hands on his hips and puffed out his chest, chin raised high with his burst of pride. “Well, how does it feel now to be at the bottom of the social totem pole!? Now, beg on your knees for my follow back! I might consider it if you’re convincing enough! Ahahahaha!”

“Jeez, what’s all the ruckus over here?” Another voice interrupted as Eijun tossed his head back and cackled hysterically. Kuramochi had pushed his way through the crowd to join their sides and give Eijun a scowling look. “I can hear your damn shouting over the music.”

“You see, Mr. Full-of-Himself Four-Eyed Tanuki Bastard over here has just followed me first!” Eijun boasted, turning towards Kuramochi with a wide, victorious smile. “Now he has to earn the honor of having me follow him back! How shall I make him grovel at my feet before I take pity on his wallowing, Kuramochi-senpai?”

“Four-eyed?” Miyuki echoed as he looked back at Eijun with a wry smile. “You couldn’t settle with just one title, huh?”

“I won’t be taking any criticism!” Eijun thrust out a hand towards Miyuki palm-first, as if to stop him in his tracks. “Until you’ve earned the right, I won’t be following you back so easily, you know! Just because you’re super popular and have way more followers than me doesn’t mean anything to this humble Sawamura Eijun, alright? You have to earn it, you see! Earn it!”

Miyuki’s brow twitched with irritation, but he begrudgingly played along with Eijun’s antics. “So how do I ‘earn’ the right to—”

“Good evening!!” Eijun shouted, then turned around to dart off and make his escape before he had to explain himself further. After all, he didn’t think that far and didn’t actually know what he wanted from Miyuki before he decided to follow him back, and the words rushed out from his mouth before he could even think about what he was asking. Yup, this was a problem for future Eijun.

Miyuki and Kuramochi simply watched him leave, equally as confused as the other, though Kuramochi looked more disgusted than anything else. He shifted his glare towards Miyuki, took in the sight of his warm, gooey expression, and cringed even more.

“Pathetic,” Kuramochi grumbled with exasperation. Miyuki didn’t even notice that he spoke, too distracted as he watched Eijun leave.

 

***

 

@Remmaaa5: did ANYONE else notice that miyuki followed @eijunoshioshi recently?? out of the blue??? 

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 i noticed too!!!! It didnt feel too random to me tho? miyuki showed up on eijun’s omgele stream remember

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 truu. they probably talked behind the scenes abt it ┐( ̄ヮ ̄)┌ it was surprising to me either way

@gnarlyharyu: @Remmaaa5 @xiontree8 its kinda big news for eijun because miyuki has such a bigger following than he does! I’m so excited I hope eijun blows up soon (´꒳`)♡

@xiontree8: @gnarlyharyu @Remmaaa5 i have to say im a little surprised myself bc didnt eijun like,,, say some really nasty things about miyuki?? I mean no one really was MAD about it per se but i wouldnt expect miyuki to follow someone who called him a fuckboy unironically ( ̄  ̄|||)

@gnarlyharyu: @xiontree8 @Remmaaa5 I don’t think eijun had malicious intent!! He uses a lot of hyperbole, its part of his style! So i doubt he REALLY ever hated Miyuki that much (。•́︿•̀。)

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu Yeah I figured he wasn’t being 100% serious otherwise Miyuki wouldnt give him the time of day probs lol but its sort of a plot twist that Miyuki would follow him. did anyone check that Eijun follows miyuki too?

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu hold on i just checked myself EIJUN ISNT FOLLOWING BACK???

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 @gnarlyharyu WHAT SKDFDGKFDK NO WAY

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu I MEAN LETS NOT GET TOO AHEAD OF OURSELVES MAYBE IT JUST HAPPENED BUT… DAMNNN

@gnarlyharyu: @xiontree8 @Remmaaa5   maybe he just forgot guys!!! Don’t jump to conclusions ( ; ω ; ) eijun is too soft to be so cruel to anyone even if its miyuki!!! 

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 @gnarlyharyu are u sure about that LMAOOO

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu  idk it seems to me that there’s more going on between them that we don’t know about…!!! Σ(°△°|||)︴

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 @gnarlyharyu i guess we just have to wait and see ┐(シ)┌ i hope this doesnt cause a fandom war or anythng though cuz that would suck

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu what would suck more: a fandom war or people treating this like enemies to lovers fanfiction (ʘ^ʘ)

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 @gnarlyharyu OMFG. don’t even say that you’ll jinx it |д・) not the crazy fangirls…

@gnarlyharyu: @xiontree8 @Remmaaa5 i can’t imagine them together, are you kidding?? If Eijun could be with anyone it’d be Chris, but u know… that’s not an option for our catboy unfortunately (。T ω T。)

@xiontree8: @Remmaaa5 @gnarlyharyu trueeeee poor eijun pining after a married man lololol

@Remmaaa5: @xiontree8 @gnarlyharyu he’ll find his person one day & i mean this in the nicest way possible, but we all know that person isn’t miyuki kazuya ( ̄▽ ̄)

 

***

 

“Oshi, oshi, oshi!” Eijun cheered into his microphone as his yellow-pelted wolf character popped into the forest clearing, which acted as a waiting lobby while all the other players came online. “I’m so excited to be playing Full Moon again! This game is so addictive, even if it gives me a lot of anxiety! But I swear, I have a lot of fun in every stream!”

“Could have fooled me,” Haruichi chimed in with a soft laugh. His pink wolf character stood off to the side, still and calm while Eijun’s wolf ran around him in circles, absolutely bursting with energy. It was almost eerie how well their little pixel wolves mimicked their real life personalities so well. “You scream like you’re actually being murdered whenever the werewolf kills you, Eijun-kun.”

“That’s because I get really into it, Harucchi!” Eijun pointed out. “I can’t help it! I feel really, truly shocked when someone deceives me and kills me mid-game! Doesn’t your heart jump when you get murdered?”

“Maybe it did in the beginning,” Haruichi admitted after a thoughtful pause. “Now, I just feel immediate rage and a desire to get revenge during the next round. I’d like to catch them right when they’re at the end of a difficult quest so that it can be even more painful to die… or something like that!”

Off to the side, Eijun’s stream chat was filled with comments that reacted to Haruichi’s threatening words.

oshix3gang: HARUICHI??? (º □ º l|l)

UrdYahz: i bet he isnt kidding 

Anuj_huey: AKLSDSDFS EIJUN DONT PISS HIM OFF BEWARE

TomJR1018: eijun if you’re werewolf do NOT kill haruichi

“I know better than to mess with Harucchi!” Eijun assured his chat with a laugh. Furuya entered the lobby next as a pastel-blue wolf and lingered there, unmoving, just like he did every time he entered the game. He didn’t ever bother to move his character until it was time to play. Regardless, Eijun controlled his character to go dart in circles around Furuya to greet him. “Furuya! Are you ready to lose every single round if you’re not on my side? Hehehe!”

“I won’t lose,” Furuya responded quickly.

“We’ll see about that!” Eijun challenged with a playful grin. He turned around to Haruichi’s wolf and ran around him again. “Who else is joining us today? Nori-senpai? Toujou? Kanemaaaaru?”

“Kawakami, Kanemaru and Toujou will all be here, yes, but Aniki is also going to play with us,” Haruichi said with a pleasant warmth to his tone. “So will You-san. It’ll be our first time playing with him.”

“Kuramochi-senpai?” Eijun echoed with a jolt in his chest. His wolf character went still as he processed his shock, but it couldn’t be possible that… anyone else related to Kuramochi would be joining, right? There were a maximum of ten players per game in Full Moon, and so that left two more spots open for others to join. The game was no fun unless they had a full lobby, so Eijun grew nervous at the thought of who else could join. “Besides him, will there be anyone else new…?”

“Well, You-san is bringing two friends so we can have a full game,” Haruichi answered cryptically, but before he could give more details, Nori joined the lobby and everyone paused to greet him. While Eijun grew more anxious, Kanemaru and Toujou popped on, quickly followed by Ryousuke and Kuramochi. Now they were just waiting for the last two players to join, so Eijun chatted to his stream in the meantime to try and keep his nerves under control.

But, of course, the universe was not kind to Sawamura Eijun. A user by the name of miyukik joined the lobby, giving Eijun a fright when he saw the dreaded username appear. Eijun controlled his wolf character to run to the farthest corner of the waiting lobby as possible, as if he could give them actual space by virtually running away.

It had only been a few days since Halloween, and Eijun had basically done nothing besides replay every interaction they had on repeat in his mind. He didn't follow Miyuki back, not yet, still upholding his demand that Miyuki had to earn his approval. He didn't think he'd be interacting with Miyuki again so soon, and especially not in front of their audiences. Yet there they were, yet again brought together, because someone out there was determined to make Eijun suffer at the hands of his out-of-control crush.

“Miyuki Kazuya!?” Eijun practically yelled into the microphone, and just like that, it was as if a bomb had been dropped in his stream chat. “What’s he doing in our game lobby!? It’s a virus! A hacker! Get him out!”

Mashiroshao: AJKSDSFNDNGSDFKMMDS NO FUCKING WAY

inumarble20: WAIT NO ONE SAID MIYUKI WAS GONNA BE HERE

Karkadary: nothing has even happened yet but im donating RIGHT now. this is going to be golden

Riaxcinna: MAKING POPCORN FOR THIS BRB HAHAHA

alice_and_ren: NOT MIYUKI IN TONIGHTS STREAM WTFFF ASDSFDGFH

“A virus? Harsh~” Miyuki’s voice came through as his wolf trotted down to where Eijun was hiding. He was colored purple and Eijun wondered if that was the randomly selected color that the game ascribed to Miyuki or if he willingly decided to be a purple wolf. Either way, it was funny to Eijun and he struggled not to smile at the sight of a cute little animated wolf with an impossible color for its pelt talking with Miyuki’s sexy, smooth voice.

“I refuse to believe you’re in my lobby!” Eijun retorted defensively. “Full Moon is a game I enjoy very much and play often, you know! I’ve never seen you playing it before!”

“That’s because I haven’t,” Miyuki answered simply. “I’m a newbie wild-card in your array of seasoned players.”

“Place your bets now to decide if Miyuki is going to be really good at this game or is going to suck at lying and expose himself as the werewolf right away,” Nori said with a light-hearted laugh. “I personally think he’s going to be really good at it.”

“I’ll be able to sus him out, so he better watch out,” Kuramochi threatened, his fittingly-colored dark green wolf somehow looking angry from where he stood near the spawning point. Furuya still remained in the same spot, watching everyone indifferently, just as quiet as always. “I can tell when that slimy bastard is acting up.”

“So scary,” Miyuki said with a sigh. “I’ve only just arrived and I’m already getting targeted. Masuko will be on my side, won’t you, Masuko?”

“Depends,” answered a voice that must belong to a man named Masuko, someone who Eijun didn’t recognize. A lot of people must have also not known who he was, for Kuramochi suddenly decided to introduce him.

“Guys, this is my good friend Masuko!” Kuramochi announced. “Check him out on YouTube if you like mukbang, you won’t find anything better than his content! Sometimes I even join him to eat, so you can watch us together. His channel is @fairyman.”

“Oh, wait, I’ve seen his videos,” Kanemaru remarked with surprise. “It’s great to meet you, Masuko, even if you’re a little wolf character right now.”

Masuko simply grunted in acknowledgement, and the conversations carried on until the start of the game. Eijun kept a watchful eye on Miyuki until they all split up to do their quests, during which Eijun started to gossip to his stream about his suspicions. He wasn’t the werewolf this round, but he decided he was going to stick the blame on Miyuki every time without fail, even if he had no actual reason to do so.

“I mean, would any of you trust him if you were playing this game, huh?” Eijun hissed into his mic, looking the perfect image of a perturbed cat with his signature headphones atop his head. When he saw a few reactions in the chat, he huffed and continued clicking around to complete his quest of picking berries off a bush. “That’s what I thought! He’s slimy, you see! Slimy and suspicious and— wha!!”

“Who’s suspicious?” None other than Miyuki Kazuya was standing right behind him, apparently having approached while Eijun was busy completing his quest and couldn’t see another player’s entrance into the area.

“None of your concern, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun snapped heatedly, already starting to blush with the realization that Miyuki could have overhead everything he told to his stream. Eijun fidgeted nervously while the chat started to race faster, messages flying up the screen at a speed too quick for Eijun to read. He gained a few new subscribers and donations the moment Miyuki appeared and started to talk to him, an occurrence that Eijun didn’t think was a coincidence.

“Well, that makes me suspicious now,” Miyuki countered, sounding amused as he blocked Eijun’s path out of the area they found themselves in. “We’re packmates, aren’t we? We need to work together if we want to get the werewolf out before he kills us all.”

“But of course I’m a packmate!” Eijun asserted with a huff from his nose. “I just finished the berry-picking quest! What are you doing over here, huh?” He narrowed his eyes at the screen and leaned in close, as if interrogating a criminal across the table. “Don’t tell me you’re looking for someone to kill?”

“Sounds an awful lot like you might be self-projecting, Sawamura,” Miyuki countered, causing Eijun to seize up with alarm. Right—if he came at anyone too aggressively, people might believe he was trying to put the blame on others to get away with being the werewolf himself! Sensing that Eijun froze and sputtered with this realization, Miyuki released a laugh and turned away. “Anyway, I’ll be completing a quest by the riverside so you know where I am. I’m telling you so that you won’t leave any bodies around that area. Aren’t I so helpful and kind?”

“I’m not the werewolf!” Eijun yelled, a petulant frown on his face. Miyuki’s character ran off, carrying his fading laugh with him, and Eijun let out an aggravated sigh. He moved his character to head towards his next quest, muttering to himself and the stream at the same time. “Stupid tanuki bastard… why isn’t there an option to make him a tanuki rather than a wolf, huh? It would be much more fitting…!”

A few rounds of the game went by in which Kanemaru, Kuramochi, and Furuya got killed off by a mysterious werewolf. In fact, there were two werewolves, which was why having ten players was so much fun—there was an even higher chance of the werewolves winning if they managed to kill fast enough or convince the pack to vote off someone innocent. When they voted off Toujou, the game continued on, meaning that they managed to successfully catch one of the werewolves. 

That still meant one werewolf was left behind. Eijun was on high alert as they went back to playing, going straight to the location of his next quest. He only had a couple quests left, and then he would be able to start patrolling the forest in order to catch the last werewolf. He had his character sneak through the undergrowth, intending to complete the quest of hunting a rabbit, when he encountered two players alone in the forest.

Those players were Miyuki and Nori. Eijun walked over to them, curious to see what quest they were up to. He started to speak once he was within close proximity of the two of them. 

“Hey, I haven’t seen you around much, Nori-senpai!” Eijun called out cheerfully. “What are you— waahhhhh!!”

A scream erupted from Eijun as he saw, with his own two eyes, as Miyuki’s wolf morphed into a beast and brutally slaughtered Nori’s character. He was shaking, his eyes were wide with disbelief, and Eijun started sputtering immediately. The chat was in a similar state of excitement, all reacting with various levels of shock and amusement from the revelation and Eijun’s animated response.

asherkr: YOOOOOOOOOOO NO WAY

Juenscotty: i KNEW IT!!!!! 

seijunbby: HOWL EIJUN!! HOWL!!!\(º □ º l|l)/ BEFORE HE GETS YOU!!

swmra_ei_stan: of COURSE MIYUKI WOULD BE THE WEREWOLF

“Y-Y-You are the werewolf!!” Eijun shouted, pointing at the screen as if Miyuki could see him. “I knew it!! I knew it the whole time! I’m going to tell everyone before you—”

Eijun went still with confusion, for before he could press the howl button and summon a meeting amongst the living players, Miyuki howled instead. The moment they were all gathered, Eijun geared up to expose him, but Miyuki spoke first.

“Aaahhh, Sawamura killed Nori right in front of me!” Miyuki yelled into the mic, causing Eijun to reel back with alarm and offense. “I saw him do it! He turned into a werewolf and murdered him!”

“I did no such thing!!” Eijun hollered. “He’s framing me! Framing me, you see! Because it was Miyuki Kazuya who just killed right in front of me!”

“Please help, I’m so scared~” Miyuki fake-whined, which only had Eijun growing more enraged than before. “I think I’m next since I saw him do it!”

“We have to decide who we believe,” Haruichi said, as level-headed as always even as the two idiots screamed at each other. “Now, I have a bit of an advantage since I live in the same house as Eijun-kun and I just heard him scream before the meeting was called—”

“Harucchi!” Eijun wept with gratitude, but Haruichi relentlessly carried on.

“—then again, he screams all the time over everything so I don’t know if that actually means anything,” Haruichi finished. Eijun paled when he processed the fact that Haruichi was still suspicious of him, too. He cleared his throat and added, “Eijun-kun has been subtly accusing Miyuki-san every round of being the werewolf for no reason, so it makes me inclined to believe that he’s trying to hide something.”

“This is possible,” Ryousuke chimed in with a hum of wisdom. “Besides, this is Miyuki’s first game, is it not? Most of the time, new players are very clumsy werewolves and it’s easy to figure them out. Would he really have the guts to pull off this sort of move during his first time as werewolf?”

“He would pull that move, because he just did!! ” Eijun snapped. “Come on!! He’s probably smirking right now like the bastard he is, watching you all play into his deceiving hands! You have to believe me!”

“Hm… what do you think, Masuko?” Ryousuke asked after a beat. “Is it Eijun?”

“Mhm,” Masuko answered with a grunt of affirmation.

“Alright, I’ll lock my vote in,” Ryousuke said far too quickly, and a visual marker indicating that Ryousuke made his vote popped up by his wolf. Eijun’s jaw dropped as he watched Masuko, Miyuki, and Haruichi rapidly follow his lead and vote immediately after Ryousuke.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Eijun cried out and voted for Miyuki in vain. Yet when the results appeared, it was clear that Eijun had been chased out of the pack and was now converted into a spirit form.   

Needless to say, when the game ended and Miyuki somehow won against them all, Eijun swore up and down about getting his revenge on Miyuki for his evil trick. In order to follow through with his threat, another game began. The stream continued on as both Eijun’s and Miyuki’s streaming audiences grew by the dozens.

queeniex1994: this is the best stream ive ever seen 

Bangerroyy: why wasn’t I following eijun sooner??? This guy is a RIOT!!

iamcontratochi: i will pay to see more miyuki and eijun interaction at this rate. PLS, WE WANT MORE!!

Taho868670: YES I AGREE!! MORE MIYUKI AND EIJUN CONTENT !!  (⌒ω⌒)

shadowxsight: soon, we might have to coin a ship name… lol

Chapter Text

Three million views.

Eijun decided to roll back over in bed, convinced that whatever ridiculous number he was seeing on his phone screen was just part of a dream. There was no way he just checked his channel and saw that the most recent Full Moon compilation of best moments that he uploaded from the stream got over triple the amount of Eijun’s most popular videos in a single night. It was a delusion, nothing more, and soon he’d wake up for real and see that it had the usual amount of 500,000 views or so.

A few seconds ticked by before reality set in. The moment it did, Eijun shot out of bed with a scream. 

“Three million!?”

There was a muffled voice that Eijun heard outside his door that undoubtedly belonged to Haruichi. “Oh, there we go, he’s finally up.”

It took Eijun approximately three or four more seconds to fling the covers off of him, leap out of bed, and throw his bedroom door open to stumble out into the hallway. Haruichi and Furuya were at the other end of the hallway in the kitchen, enjoying their breakfast with Haruichi’s laptop opened on the counter in front of them. 

“Three million!?” Eijun repeated, staring at them with wild, rounded eyes. His hair was likely sticking up everywhere from how he just got out of bed, but he didn’t even care about how he might look when it was just his two best friends who saw him every single day. “I didn’t count wrong, did I? That was really three million views under yesterday’s upload!?”

“It sure is, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi laughed as he sipped his morning coffee. Clearly, he’d been awake for a while longer than Eijun and had the time to process the big news. “It looks like this is your break into the next level of YouTube fame. Congratulations!”

“Congratulations,” echoed Furuya with a glimmer in his eyes, fingers routinely squeezing around one of his favorite squishy animal-themed stim toys. Still, he was excited enough to look away from them and at Eijun instead to express his happiness for Eijun’s success.

“I… I can’t believe this!” Eijun breathed, the joyous news finally starting to catch up to him. He stepped out of his room entirely to join them in the kitchen with a few bouts of laughter. “Are you serious!? Millions of people are watching my video and spreading it around? It’s only going to get more popular from here! Wahaha! This Sawamura Eijun is unstoppable!”

He looked over Haruichi’s shoulder once he realized that Haruichi was watching over the Discord server made specifically for fans of the three of them. The general channels were flooded with congratulations for Eijun and happy messages to express how thrilled the fans were over his success. People were reacting to the video, saying it was one of the funniest things he’d ever posted, and new members were rushing in to join the fan community.

“It looks like we have an excuse to buy a cake and have a party tonight,” Haruichi suggested, earning immediate approval and a whoop of excitement from Eijun.

“Oshi!” Eijun spun around on his heels and headed back towards his room. “This is no day to lounge around in my pajamas! I need to get ready!”

With that, Eijun prepared for a day of celebrations over the milestone he’d just accomplished.

 

***

 

Of course, the raging success of the first video meant that more had to be on the way, and quickly. People were begging for more content like the Full Moon gameplay, though specifically, they demanded the same group who played the last round. Eijun’s Full Moon videos had always done pretty well, but they didn’t explode in popularity until Ryousuke, Kuramochi, Masuko and Miyuki were in the mix.

Right… Miyuki.  

Eijun found himself peering stubbornly at the purple wolf in their lobby as everyone gathered up for that evening’s stream. Their Full Moon gameplays performed well because the game was popular and anyone who uploaded a well-edited compilation that had funny clips, impressive moves, and a cast of entertaining people was bound to be a hit.

However, even Eijun couldn’t deny that the reason his video got so popular was thanks to Miyuki—and not only Miyuki being there, but because of his chemistry with the rest of the group, including and especially in regards to Eijun. Having his snarky comments, clever moves and devious interactions with the others made the gameplay that much more entertaining, not to mention how it was obvious that none of Eijun’s reactions in particular were staged. Miyuki just made him act out, as his viewers had seen before, and now they were seeing Miyuki and Eijun’s banter for the first time outside of a random chance Omegle encounter.

Eijun would have to be stupid—like, truly stupid—to not notice that the comments were packed with both of their names. There were plenty of people who enjoyed the humor that Kuramochi and Ryousuke brought to the table as well, not to mention their excitement at seeing the Kominato brothers together in action. Even Furuya’s fans enjoyed the video, seeing how content Furuya was playing the game until someone killed him and he didn’t even flinch. Almost each time, Furuya would simply mutter, “Oh… I’m dead,” much to the amusement of the viewers who were used to Eijun’s horror-movie-grade screams. 

Yet even though everyone earned praises, it seemed that the success of the video could be attributed mostly to the interactions Miyuki and Eijun had. They badly wanted to see Eijun enact his revenge on Miyuki for his trick, and they wanted to see what other moves Miyuki had hidden up his sleeve. 

Their group playing Full Moon was like the perfect storm for viral opportunity, and it would be foolish to turn away from something that was clearly working in everyone’s favor. Even though Eijun got the views on that video, the others experienced a boost of subscribers and views on their own videos as the audience grew curious about every person involved.

This time as the screen loaded to begin the game, Eijun gasped and placed a hand over his mouth. He was the werewolf and Furuya was his accomplice! Eijun grinned once the realization set in, and as soon as he was far enough away from the rest of the pack, he giggled cunningly into his mic.

“Heehee, I’ll show that tanuki what revenge looks like!” Eijun told his audience, a daring gleam in his eyes as he sniffed around the map and pretended to fulfill some quests. “He won’t even know what’s coming before it hits him! I’ll be like a ninja, smooth and fast, like wacha! And then he’ll be dead, and I’ll finally know peace! It’s genius!”

kurissu88: XDDD You sound so evil

xx_gaymess_xx: you’ll finally know peace, huh? interesting choice of words eijun lol

enoshima_don: eijun has NEVER been happier when talking about miyuki and sure enough it has to do with ending his life ( ̄▽ ̄)

Mivkie_kazva: GET HIS ASS HE DESERVES IT FOR FRAMING U LAST TIME AHHAH

shibabear11_1: FURUSAWA WEREWOLF DUO YESSSSS

kimberlowrise: top 10 anime betrayals was miyuki killing in front of eijun and blaming him lmfao

After taking a glance at his chat, Eijun laughed again and wandered over to another area of the map. Miyuki would be an easy first kill. Last time they streamed, Miyuki managed to tick off pretty much everyone, so it was a given that he’d be the first to die next time he was a pack member. Luckily for Eijun, Miyuki was easily located after Eijun did a basic loop around one corner of the forest. It couldn’t be better—Miyuki was all alone.

“Tonight, you meet your end, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun announced colorfully as he barged through the bushes and lunged at Miyuki. 

Just like he thought, Miyuki didn’t see it coming, and Eijun got his kill with no problem at all. As soon as the purple wolf’s body fell onto the ground, Eijun darted towards one of the holes in the ground that allowed him to sneak around the map undetected. Only werewolves could make use of the holes to escape from the scene of a murder before anyone else discovered them alone with the body.

“Wahaha! Was that smooth or what!?” Eijun boasted to the chat, then brushed off his hands as if he’d actually done some sort of work in real life. “Easy-peasy! Now I can mass-murder in peace! I wonder if Furuya killed anyone yet? Believe it or not, he’s really good at playing werewolf! He’s always so quiet, so most of the time the group forgets to interrogate him. When they do, he just has the same tone, whether he’s lying or not… so he gets away with everything!”

xSakuraKissesx: you’re mostly right but what about when Haruichi is there? He can always tell when Furuya is lying (.❛ ᴗ ❛.)

furuharulifestyle: boyfriends power

macaroonies: thats why he should kill haruichi first so he’s not discovered right away heheh

TomJR1018: Furuya and Haruichi are dating? This just gets better and better

rrratrat: yeah so are kuramochi and ryousuke, and kanemaru and toujou

UrdYahz: jeez is anyone single in this stream?? 

Lumerio: To our knowledge? Idk much about Nori or Masuko but unless Eijun or Miyuki are hiding something from us, they’re single too

It was a little hard not to get distracted by the conversation in the chat as Eijun searched for his next murder victim. He knew he had quite a lot of new viewers who were getting filled in by older fans, but he felt somewhat nervous seeing the subject of relationships brought up. In fact, he didn’t know for certain if Miyuki was single. Obviously being a huge fan of him in secret meant that he watched Miyuki’s every move ever since following him, but some people were more private about their dating lives than others. It was entirely possible that Miyuki just kept his relationship out of the spotlight, if he was in one.

Part of him felt a little dumb for even considering he was taken when he’d seen Miyuki multiple times and not once was he with a partner, but hey, he didn’t know everything about Miyuki! What if his girlfriend liked staying at home and avoided the party scene? He didn’t know! Eijun frowned a bit since Miyuki had been awfully touchy with him, so it wasn’t likely that he was dating anyone, but— 

“Aha, another chance!” Eijun cut his train of thought off when he snuck into another corner of the forest and saw Masuko by himself, innocently completing a task. Mulling over Miyuki’s relationship status wasn’t a good thing to do while a camera was trained on his face and thousands were watching his every move. He popped out of hiding, killed Masuko off, and ran back into the hole in the ground. At the same time, Eijun clapped his hands together and yelled, “I’m sorry for taking your life, Masuko-senpai! You seem like a really cool guy!”

Almost as soon as he finished speaking, a gathering was summoned between the living wolves. Someone must have discovered one of the dead bodies. Eijun prepared to put on his best act and make it seem like his hands were completely clean.

“Well, I found none other than Kazuya’s dumb fucking ass dead next to that big log on the upper right,” Kuramochi announced as the gathering began. “I gotta admit, it was pretty funny seeing him dead so fast, but someone did it and it wasn’t me this time. Unfortunately.”

“How do we know it isn’t you!?” Eijun accused immediately, but he wasn’t worried about being seen as suspicious. He acted this way all the time, after all. “You just said it was funny that he was found dead! What makes you innocent here?”

“Cause I’d brag about it if I did it, dumbass!” Kuramochi snarled. “Besides, who doesn’t find it funny that Miyuki’s dead in the first round, huh? Raise your hands!”

“It’s funny,” Nori admitted.

“Really funny,” Kanemaru added.

“He deserved it,” Toujou said. “But poor Masuko is dead! And so is Haruichi! What about them? Do we have any information about their deaths?”

“I was in the woods the entire time and I saw Kanemaru pass me by,” Ryousuke told the group, “but that’s all I have. The bodies weren’t over there.”

“Nori was down by the river last time I saw him,” Kanemaru said. “I didn’t see anyone else the whole round except for Furuya, I saw him headed to the left of the map near the end.”

“Wahaha! Now with that scheming tanuki gone, we can figure out who’s the real culprit without having our minds messed with!” Eijun declared. “I’ve got no clue who it is yet!”

“Very helpful contribution, Eijun-kun, thanks so much for that contribution,” Haruichi answered flatly, making his sarcasm evident. 

Eijun snickered a little, and after a few more comments, everyone agreed to skip on voting since it was a bad idea to vote when only seven players were left. Eijun went back into werewolf mode to seek out his next kill, but comments from the chat were catching his attention, and one in particular made him react out loud.

Mashiroshao: GO EIJUN GO OSHI OSHI OSHI

Miichan: who’s the next victim of this fiesty catboy? WE SHALL SEE….

bibblekin: i just came from miyuki’s stream and he’s following eijun around as a ghost HAHAHAHA

“What!?” Eijun glared at the chat as his skin grew hot. “I’ve just been told that Miyuki Kazuya is haunting me as a spirit! Begone, you unwanted demon! Stop following me!! It’s creepy! Go do your quests! You do know you can do them even when you’re dead, don’t you!?”

People who were watching both streams were desperately trying to communicate what Miyuki was saying to Eijun, and Eijun had to admit that the whole situation was funny. Most of what Miyuki was saying were just his smart-ass remarks for how Eijun should play, to which Eijun snapped back to try and have the final word. Miyuki could hear Eijun, but since Miyuki was a spirit, Eijun wasn’t able to hear his verbal responses. He wouldn’t know exactly what Miyuki had been saying until their editors finished fixing up the recordings of all their streams for a compilation video.

It was a rule amongst all the players of the Full Moon games that though they made use of proximity chat, they encouraged viewers not to spoil who the werewolf was for the players that were pack members. They all knew that viewers were often watching more than one stream at a time to get the full experience, or at least popping in and out of multiple streams, so it would ruin the whole point of the game if too many people revealed the secret in chat and the players happened to see it.

This situation was fine, however, since Eijun was the one who killed Miyuki and they were only telling Eijun about what Miyuki was saying as a spirit. He found it kind of cute that Miyuki opted to follow him around rather than do something more productive, but he wasn’t going to admit that out loud.

Eijun and Furuya won the round shortly after, having gotten away with multiple sneaky kills in enough time to avoid getting chased out. A few more rounds ensued, though one moment when Eijun was a pack member stuck out in particular to the fans and later became something that was widely circulated, especially out of context.

Even in context, it was… well. Eijun would rather not dwell on it too much.

While minding his own business and trying to focus on a quest, Eijun had the scare of his life when Miyuki’s character emerged from the hole in the ground. He yelped and whirled around to face him, heart racing from the shock and discovery that Miyuki was one of the werewolves this time.

“You—!!” Eijun clenched his teeth and glared accusingly at Miyuki’s character. “Are you crazy, or just plain stupid!? I just saw you come out of that hole!!”

“Hm?” Miyuki hummed, as if he had just strolled in normally. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. What hole?”

“Don’t play dumb with me, you bastard, this one!” Eijun snapped, darting over to the gaping hole in the ground in the corner by a cluster of bushes. “This hole right here! The hole in my screen! I saw you come out of my hole!”

“Your hole?” Miyuki echoed, and Eijun could hear the way his brow raised from the question, even though hearing such a thing was impossible. He could picture Miyuki’s expression with vivid clarity just by the tone of his voice.

“Yes, my hole!! You just—” Eijun paused after that, going cat-eyed the moment he realized his verbal slip-up. Unfortunately for him, it was too late. He accidentally just said something so stupid and now he was cornered as Miyuki burst out into hysterical laughter. At the sound, Eijun’s cheeks started to bake, and he looked at his chat speechlessly only to see messages flying by at a rate that was too fast for him to comprehend.

“Sorry for using your hole without permission, Bakamura~” Miyuki taunted, pulling out the nickname he’d only ever called Eijun in person. Eijun felt his hackles rise with defensiveness as his mouth fell open.

“Don’t call me dumb!!” Eijun hollered. “I’m gonna report you, you damn weasel! You’re not getting away with this! You’re—”

Right. Miyuki was the werewolf, so why did Eijun look so flabbergasted when Miyuki just took a few steps towards him and killed him to shut him up? He forgot to run away as he was spewing off his threats, and now he was dead. Miyuki stood over his body for a moment, snickering and grinning, before trotting back over to the hole in the ground.

“Don’t mind me entering your hole again,” Miyuki said as he stood over his escape route. “I promise to be gentle with it!”

With that, Miyuki hopped inside and went out of view, leaving Eijun steaming like a kettle. His character was now a spirit and he didn’t even bother to move quite yet, still so flustered and irritated with Miyuki’s crude humor and his own idiotic blunder.

“What a jerk!!” Eijun snapped, balling his hands into fists as he raged at the screen. “And he made so many perverted jokes on top of that!! Listen, it was technically my hole because it was in my corner of the forest, okay!? That’s what I was thinking of when I said that! I was always talking about a hole in the ground and nothing else!! He was the one who made it all… all… all dirty!!”

Eijun groaned as he saw his subscriber count jump and his donations double in frequency. Everyone was eating it up—great, just great. Glaring begrudgingly at his chat, Eijun felt his cheeks warm when he saw what was being said.

iamcontratochi: BAKAMURA? PLS THATS SO CUTE HAHAHA

Dova-nox: WE NEED A SHIP NAME FOR MIYUKI AND EIJUN STAT HAHAH

aoryuucchi: YESSSS I NEED THIS SJJSSJDKKS

xxAHint: A SHIP NAME? LMAODKDFSDKGSDS PLEASE DO IT

stanchunji_forever: I Am On It !!!! XDD >:3

There was that term again—shipping. Eijun remembered when Haruichi explained it to him at VidCon and a funny feeling wormed itself in his stomach. He couldn’t dwell on the thought when on stream like this, but this was officially the first time that Eijun was experiencing people shipping him with someone else.

Little did they know that the person they started to ship Eijun with was someone he’d die to be in the same bed with. 

Ugh… Eijun lowered his forehead to his desk and thunked it against the wood a few times, much to the amusement of his stream, who didn’t know the real reason why he was so exasperated.

 

***

 

Eijun was going to lose his mind.

It was one thing to be on Ei-chan’s account, living a separate life, indulging in his feelings for Miyuki in a safe space amongst other fans. It was another thing to see his own name popping up on every mutual’s page as his circle started shipping them together.

Seriously, how was he supposed to play dumb when everyone around him was jumping on board with this whole shipping idea when it involved his true identity!? Eijun scrolled down his timeline, but he kept seeing everyone share the tweet that started the whole ship movement. The person behind the account was quick to jump onto using Miyuki’s nickname for Eijun to their advantage, too. 

@bakamvra: MISAWA SUPREMACY!!!!! 

Attached to the tweet was a video that was a compilation of the best moments Miyuki and Eijun shared, including the famous suggestive exchange about the hole. The tweet quickly gathered hundreds of likes and retweets, and the number was still climbing. All of Eijun’s mutuals on Ei-chan’s account were talking about it and growing very excited at the prospect that they’d see Miyuki flirting with someone, and not just anyone—in their eyes, he was making a move on another streamer, so that was even more thrilling than any off-screen romance.

In their group chat, Eijun tried to prod his close mutuals for information and opinions on this newly-growing ship.

ei_chanx: so…. whats the ship all about?? They’re calling it Misawa?? o///o

ariyaxmiyu: YES OMG ITS SO CUTE LOL

kayliegirl: its cause of all the latest full moon streams :) have you been watching ei?

ei_chanx: ive been busy (。T ω T。) so i’m a little out of the loop~!

ariyaxmiyu:  YOUVE SEEN THE VIDEOS RIGHT PLS 

ariyaxmiyu: THE TENSIONNNN 

kazvyam: ARIYA PLS HAHHA BREATHE GIRL

ariyaxmiyu: LMAOOO SORRY IM JUST RLY HOPEFUL THAT MIYUKI MIGHT FINALLY FIND LOVE AND NOT BE ALONE FOREVER

ei_chanx: do we really know that he’s single though??? (メ﹏メ)

kazyvam: i meannnn yeah he hasnt said anything and we’ve never seen any sign that he lives with anyone else so idk i’d guess he is!

Baenie_wifeu: Have you watched Eijun’s videos?? He’s soooooo cute (。>ω<。) such a tsun too !!

Eijun felt his face warm with embarrassment. He never thought he’d get to this point, where he’d have to pretend that he wasn’t himself in a conversation that involved his true identity. Still, this was a good opportunity for him to gauge what others thought about him in private. He rubbed his ankles together where they were crossed over under the blankets and gazed at the screen hesitantly.

It seemed that most people knew that Eijun’s “hatred” for Miyuki was all exaggerated, but he was surprised that people were actually imagining them in a relationship when Eijun had only said negative things about Miyuki in public. In private, sure, he’d admitted to Miyuki’s impressive success, had thanked him for his advice, and even had his feelings of attraction discovered by Ryousuke… but no one else saw that, especially not the fans online. Eijun wondered how they could support the budding relationship when Eijun had been nothing but cruel.

ei_chanx: i’ve seen a few!! I guess I’m surprised people ship them though… doesn’t Eijun really not like Miyuki?? (ಥ﹏ಥ)

Baenie_wifeu: Well, that’s why no one shipped it before the stuff on the Full Moon streams!! Plus they barely interacted, we just knew about Eijun’s comments about Miyuki (´ ∀ ` ) the jokes they made were so funny though~ i think everyone’s just fooling around though!

ariyaxmiyu: the hole comments haunt me at night….. WHAT DOES IT MEAN

Tell me about it, Eijun thought with a blush settling on his cheeks.

kmiyuculture : SORRY IM LATE HAHAA I WAS WALKING THE DOGGO

kmiyuculture: omg we talkin about MISAWA?? („ಡωಡ„)

ariyaxmiyu: JESS UR BACK YES WE ARE !!! EI ISNT INDOCTRINATED YET

kmiyuculture: we must get her in on ittt

Eijun had to admit, his heart felt warm by how excited everyone was at the prospect of Miyuki and Eijun being an item. It wasn’t just because he was directly involved, but he really could see the appeal of wishing for two people to fall in love, and how expressing that desire with other fans could bring them closer together. Ariya’s excitement alone had Eijun feeling… special, in some odd way.

He could definitely understand where things could go wrong. In fact, he was worried about seeing something uncomfortably personal put on blast for everyone to see, but he had a lot of time to think about what he’d do if that happened. Eijun twiddled his thumbs for a moment before deciding on what he was going to say next.

ei_chanx: Mimi, you said you think theyre just fooling around?? What do you mean? Does no one actually ship them yet?? ( ´ д ` )

ei_chanx: sorryyyyy i’m kind of new to this shipping thing, so I am trying to get it!! (´・ᴗ・ ` )

kmiyuculture: omg ei you’re so cute HAHA

ariyaxmiyu: too good too pure for this world

kmiyuculture: ok i wouldnt say PURE. youve seen her tweets about miyuki’s chest right HSADFSGJFN

ei_chanx: miyuki’s tatas…. ♡( ◡‿◡ )

ariyaxmiyu: hELP SDKSFDGFM OK POINT PROVEN

Baenie_wifeu: Oh sorry if my comment confused you Ei!! (´,,•ω•,,) What i mean by that is,, well, Miyuki and Eijun haven’t interacted much! Just mostly from a distance! Like the tanuki meme was started by Eijun, and there was the omegle encounter, and now the Full Moon gameplays! But thats it, and we don’t really know much about them, so people might just be “shipping” it as a joke or something fun!

Baenie_wifeu: but I think some of us are hoping it turns into something more, like Ariya and Jess and I ( 〃▽〃)

Eijun hummed to himself and rolled onto his back. Mimi’s explanation helped him understand a lot more. He supposed he was getting ahead of himself thinking that everyone was seriously expecting them to get together so soon, and that it might just be a fun fandom craze unless they gave the fans more reasons to ship them with more enthusiasm. 

Was it a good idea to let things keep going this way?

After finishing up the conversation, Eijun put his phone aside and gazed at the ceiling, brows pinched together with troubled thoughts. At the very least, it seemed like most people didn’t take Eijun’s rage against Miyuki seriously, which helped to an extent… but even if the fans didn’t take his words seriously, that didn’t tell Eijun anything about how Miyuki himself actually felt. He’d been worried about going too far before, and now he was conflicted all over again.

Now that fans were even starting to hope that there could be something romantic between them, should Eijun actually allow them to become… friends? Or did the fans like that they seemed to butt heads a lot and bicker when on stream? They could probably still maintain that dynamic while being on friendlier terms with each other, but Eijun wondered if there was an opportunity to change his ways coming up anytime soon.

Argh… what am I doing with myself? Eijun groaned and pressed the heels of his palms into his eyes. He never wanted to get to the point where he was lying to his fans, and now he felt like he was doing just that. Eijun was no phony—his words and actions should always be genuine. Maybe they were exaggerated for the sake of humor, but Eijun always intended for his YouTube persona to be a genuine part of himself. 

To continue and pretend that he hated Miyuki was just simply not true. He’d been embarrassed before to admit that his assumptions about Miyuki were wrong, and he was still really nervous about his true feelings (meaning, the romantic ones) getting exposed. Still, the least he could do was make it clear that he actually was grateful for Miyuki’s advice and the ways he helped grow Eijun’s audience so far, even if it had all been indirect. 

When Eijun dropped his hands from his eyes, he glanced over at his desk and for some reason fixated on the calendar amongst everything else. It was flipped to November and next week was… 

… what was next week? There was something about a particular date that was sticking out to Eijun. He squinted at the number, as if it would magically reveal the secrets he was trying to unveil—and somehow, staring at that number actually worked. Eijun gasped and sat upright as the truth hit him.

November 17th—that was Miyuki’s birthday! It was the perfect opportunity for Eiun to reform his ways and change the way he talked about Miyuki on his channel! 

A surge of motivation rushed through his chest as he got to his feet, determined to figure out his plan of action. He could start fresh with Miyuki by getting him a gift and maybe doing something special. He only had a few days, so he would have to act fast. He wouldn’t do anything extravagant, but a nice gesture could go a long way, and Eijun was aiming to do the right thing.

Alright! Eijun nodded to himself and sat down at his desk. Time to lean on the good old reliable internet for some gift ideas!

 

***

 

Eijun could not, in fact, figure anything out on his own. He had a dozen Pinterest tabs open, his Amazon cart had multiple items inside, and he definitely had clicked through enough random things he found on Google Images. Yet in spite of all his searching, he was hitting dead ends and second-guessing himself on what Miyuki would even like.

Getting him something practical like recording equipment could come off negatively. Miyuki’s videos were already such high quality, and if Eijun even tried to give him a new mic or lights to set up around his room, it could come off as a subtle dig, as if saying his videos weren’t good enough. He quickly threw that idea out—besides, the nice products were a little too expensive for a gift that Eijun was giving to someone he’d previously trash-talked for views.

There was always the safe option, like a basic gift card or something that anyone could use. He could get some nice soap or anything that he could use around the house, but Eijun felt like those options were cheating his way out of something more creative. That all being said, Eijun had limited time, and it’s not like they were close friends to begin with. He didn’t need to go out of his way, either.

Even though Eijun had watched a bunch of Miyuki’s videos, he quickly learned that he didn’t really know much about Miyuki at all. Miyuki was charismatic, charming and entertaining, but most of what he talked about was what he was watching or reacting to in his videos. He would share little facts about himself as he commented, as it was impossible not to do that, but it wasn’t like he revealed anything remarkable about himself.

He came to realize that Miyuki was more reserved than Eijun first assumed. Miyuki was a confident person and carried himself well, which was why he was so successful, but Eijun knew the other side of him too. He didn’t have many friends, he could be awkward when interacting on a more personal level with people, and he actually kept his feelings well-guarded and closed off from others. How was he supposed to know what to get for a person like that? 

Eijun was tempted to ask Furuya and Haruichi for help, but both of them were out of the house and Eijun was too impatient to await their return. He paced around his room a bit to try and think of something on his own, but after searching around with no luck, he was getting frustrated over his own inability to think of something clever.

He ended up reaching out to the person he thought would offer the best advice in this sort of situation.

“Eijun, it’s so nice to get a call from you all of a sudden! How are you?” Eijun felt his heart warm and relief immediately washed over him at the sound of his mother’s voice. It had been a little too long since he last called her and he was starting to miss his family again—he made sure to visit them regularly, but things had been so busy lately that he hadn’t really had the chance.

“I’m good, Mom!” Eijun reported with a grin and a burst of happiness. “Nothing to report here, really!”

“Oh, don’t be so humble,” she dismissed with a laugh. “We all saw your recent videos, playing that wolf game with your friends! Congratulations on your success!”

“You watched those videos?” Eijun asked, his skin heating up with the realization. He always knew that his family watched his YouTube channel and supported his pursuit of this dream, but it was different to be reminded of that. Oh god, and not to mention the last stream, with Miyuki’s comment about the hole—he was suddenly blushing a lot more. He didn’t want to tell his mom not to watch, but at the same time…

Urgh, Miyuki Kazuya is too inappropriate to be family friendly…! Eijun grit his teeth for a moment as he reddened further. His mom simply laughed over the phone, likely able to tell why he was having this reaction. After all, no one knew him better than his parents and Gramps (though Furuya and Haruichi were definitely giving them a run for their money).

“Of course we did!” His mother gushed, and Eijun had to resist groaning at the implication behind ‘we.’ Somehow, knowing that his Dad and Gramps also saw the video made it even more embarrassing. “We always do. We’re your biggest fans! And that Miyuki Kazuya? Eijun, he is just too funny!” Eijun tensed and felt his heart start to race at the sound of his name. Somehow, it really hit different when his mom was breaching the subject of the four-eyed bastard first. “He knows how to rile you up, doesn’t he? It’s so entertaining! I can see why everyone seems to like it when you two play together.”

“Y-Yeah, about that…” Eijun was flustered about his mom bringing Miyuki up, but at least that provided the perfect segue into the reason for his call. Eijun slouched back against his chair and sighed a bit as he gazed at his computer screen. “I’m trying to give him something, you know, to… uh, you see, it’s his birthday! But I don’t have a clue on what to get! I feel, um… how do I say this…” Eijun scratched at his head while he tried to figure out what he wanted to tell her, and his mom waited patiently on the line for him to word his feelings. Finally, he settled on saying, “I want to give him something special, but not too special! I don’t even know if that makes sense.”

“I know exactly what you mean,” his mother answered, immediately giving Eijun some hope. He perked up at the sound of her understanding and grabbed a pen and paper just in case he forgot what she suggested. What she said surprised him a bit, however. He had expected her to list some practical items, but instead she followed up with a different idea. “Why not give him something that you would appreciate from a new friend?”

“Huh?” Eijun paused, setting the pen down as he furrowed his brows. “But we’re such different people…” He trailed off before correcting himself. “At least, I think we are. I mean, really, what could I have in common with that guy?”

“You want to give him something special, don’t you?” His mom countered, bringing up the point he said earlier. “What’s more special than sharing a part of yourself?” She let out a small laugh. “I don’t mean that it needs to be anything super serious, Eijun. Just think of a little gift you would buy for yourself but give it to him instead. It would be unlike anything else he already has, right? Besides, it would always remind him of you.”

Eijun’s eyes widened with understanding. He guessed he really could count on his mother to help out when he needed her most. He grinned widely as he started to think of all sorts of things he could try and search for as soon as they hung up.

“I think I’ve got it!” Eijun affirmed with a giggle. “Thanks, Mom!”

Even as they continued to chat and catch up, Eijun was casually searching for gifts in the meantime with a determined shine in his eyes. He found exactly what he wanted in no time and put the order through, feeling a sense of accomplishment swell in his heart once he got the email confirmation for the gift.

That’s right! Eijun nodded to himself and huffed, proud that he was already changing his ways. Sawamura Eijun’s reformation begins today!

Chapter Text

On the day of Miyuki’s birthday, the man in question decided to throw himself a virtual party through a Full Moon stream. Not only was this a smart idea on his part to hype up the stream and attract as many viewers as possible, but it would ensure that everyone involved had plenty of content to record, divide into clips, and post to their various channels. Of course, above all, it was what Miyuki wanted to do on his birthday. He proposed the idea and insisted that it would be the best birthday gift to waste the day playing a fun game like Full Moon with his friends.

They had different people cycling through the group throughout the day to keep viewers interested. Besides, not everyone was available to stream all day long, so they had to expand their group beyond the 10-person limit the game inflicted on them. It was easy to find players as their videos increased in popularity and other big creators from different corners of YouTube expressed interest in collaborating. That was how, for instance, they got Jun, Eijun’s favorite animated film critic, to join them.

The entrance of new faces helped to keep the comedy of the stream going strong, for everyone had their own unpredictable moves and tricks up their sleeves. Wanting to help someone smaller get a boost, Eijun invited Haruno to join them, recalling the moment he met her at VidCon. Besides, there were way too many guys in these streams and Eijun wanted to change it up. Haruno was welcomed with open arms and she ended up enjoying herself, even recruiting a few friends of hers to join alongside her.

It was the middle of the day when Eijun’s perfect opportunity arose. The next round of Full Moon began, and for the first time in all their times streaming, Eijun and Miyuki were the werewolves together. The chat exploded with overwhelming excitement at the reveal of Eijun’s screen when the game began, showing everyone watching that it was finally time for the “enemies” to be the villains together.

tklein: OMFG MISAWA WEREWOLF DUO!?!?

kazvyam: AJKSDFKDGLDHLG MISAWA MOMENT MISAWA MOMENT MISAWA MOMENT

rose_banks90: OHOHOHO WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT!!! I’m so EXCITED

moworan: here comes trouble and make it double ;)

“Whoa, so me and the sneaky Miyuki Kazuya are the werewolves, huh?” Eijun said to his stream, keeping himself muted from the game so he could make that comment and not be discovered by the others. “This should be interesting! That damn tanuki is almost too good at being a werewolf, and he seems to get the role all the time, too! But if we’re working together, then…”

Eijun noticed that everyone else had scattered from the spawning point except for Miyuki. He unmuted himself and peered closely at Miyuki, eyeing the screen with curiosity and a little confusion.

“Well?” Eijun spoke to Miyuki. “Don’t just stand there! Go somewhere else! It’ll look suspicious if we stick together, you know!”

“I guess you’re right,” Miyuki relented. “But we should try and get some double-kills in. You know, no one would expect it if I were to be alone with two others for us to kill if you came in. It would help us win faster.”

“Geh… though I hate to admit it, you make a good point,” Eijun said with a huff. “It’s kind of scary how good you are at plotting murder! Should I be worried?”

“That’s up to you, Bakamura,” Miyuki responded with a sing-song tone. “Should you be worried?” 

Eijun just rolled his eyes. “Alright, fine, I’ll follow your lead just this once, so you better not mess this up for us!”

“C’mon, have some faith in your senpai,” Miyuki teased, and Eijun could just imagine the smirk on his face as he said those words. He hoped the blush he felt tingling under his skin didn’t show too brightly on his face as he followed Miyuki’s character towards one corner of the map. 

Around a certain point, Eijun split off to make it look like they weren’t traveling together. He couldn’t explain why he knew to split off without them saying anything to each other, but he just got the sense that Miyuki wanted him to go somewhere else for the time being. Eijun would pretend to complete a few quests and maybe marinate someone in the meantime, meaning that he would try to give them a reason to trust that he was innocent so he had someone on his side when it came to voting off anyone suspicious. 

It turned out Eijun was lucky as their plan fell right into place. He ended up finding Haruno all by herself completing a task near the edge of the map. Haruno’s wolf was colored a russet red, much like her hair color in real life. He trotted up to her, pretending that he had to do the same task. 

“Wahaha, what a coincidence!” Eijun burst out as soon as he joined her side. “Looks like we’ve both been assigned to pick flowers! How are you enjoying the game, Haruno?”

“It’s been fun!” Haruno answered with a giggle. She paused in what she was doing to interact with Eijun. “Even though I managed to mess up the river-crossing quest because my fingers slipped… I swear, I’m so clumsy sometimes!”

“That happens to me a lot, it’s alright!” Eijun assured her as he pretended to do the quest, which only took a few seconds, so he made sure to linger for just long enough so that his actions were believable. “That quest is one of the hardest ones so don’t sweat it! In fact, I think I have that one next, so I’ll be off soon!” Eijun paused when he turned away to leave that area of the map, a mischievous grin on his face. “Also, be careful when you’re traveling alone! You don’t want the werewolf to get you… hehe!”

“I’ll keep an eye out!” Haruno responded with equal enthusiasm. Good—Eijun didn’t think she suspected a thing. It was a good chance to kill her, but that was exactly why Eijun left her alive. She would vouch for him if anyone turned on him since he had a perfectly good opportunity to strike and get away with it. Besides, he gave her information about where he was going, so when he reported he was on his way down to the river, she would be able to confirm his intentions as well.

Perfect! Eijun grinned to himself as he maneuvered his character to the right side of the map. Something told him that Miyuki went in that direction even though there was no way for him to know this. His intuition just guided him a certain way, and sure enough, it seemed that all the pieces of their plan fell right into place. When Eijun trotted into a specific portion of the map, Miyuki was there with Ryousuke and Furuya, and there was a lull in the conversation as if he had been waiting. It was exactly the type of situation they wanted.

An evil little grin spread across Eijun’s face. As soon as he was close enough to Furuya, he hit the kill button—and as if they were on the same wavelength, Miyuki killed Ryousuke at the same exact moment.

“Nice kill,” Miyuki praised, sending a little shiver down Eijun’s spine that he tried not to think about too deeply. Instead, he giggled and leaned back in his chair to hold a victory sign up to the camera.

“It looks like we make a pretty good team after all, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun suggested with a cheeky smile. “Maybe this means you’re worthy of my follow-back.”

“Ohh?” Miyuki hummed amusedly. Meanwhile, the chat was lively with responses to what they were seeing on screen.

YRKcarson: here to report that miyuki had the exact same grin on his face when he killed on stream, literally misawa are so in sync its scary

lilykupto: IS EIJUN FINALLY GONNA FOLLOW HIM BACK!?!?!? \(★ω★)/

SketchbookCockatoo: LADIES AND GENTS.. THE MOMENT WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITIGN FOR…

tsu_draws: *drum rolls*

“Tada!” Eijun lifted his phone up to the camera, turning it so that the stream could see what he had done. Since he knew Miyuki was playing the game and not watching, he explained verbally at the same time. “I’ve followed you back, Miyuki-senpai! This means you’ve officially earned this Sawamura Eijun’s stamp of approval! Wahaha!”

There was a beat of silence before Miyuki repeated, “Senpai?”

Eijun went tense and felt the heat rush to his face, but he had to defend himself and his decision! He wouldn’t let Miyuki’s teasing get under his skin, not this time! He lowered his phone from the screen, heart fluttering in his chest, and he tried not to think about how visible the blush might be on his cheeks. The shippers could go wild for all he cared—at least, that’s what he told himself to remain calm. 

“W-Well, yes, I called you that because you’re older than me!” Eijun explained. “And you’re more experienced with YouTubing, so I might… look up to you… just a little bit! It only felt fitting as a title, alright!? Anyway!” Eijun shrilly cut himself off before Miyuki found the opportunity to worsen his embarrassment. “We shouldn’t stand over these bodies or else we’ll be found out! Come on, let’s get a move on! If we win, I might even give you a birthday present!”

Before he could hear Miyuki’s response, Eijun took cover in one of the holes in the ground and maneuvered around the map to try and find someone else to kill. If they moved fast enough, they could win this round in no time and show everyone what an unstoppable duo they were. Eijun’s heart continued to race from what he just said and did—he swore calling Miyuki by the senpai title was a slip of the tongue—but he tried to focus on the game above all else, even as the chat was filled with all sorts of excitable reactions.

carpenoctem666: DID EIJUN REALLY JUST ACCEPT MIYUKI AS A FRIEND FOR THE FIRST TIME!??!!?!?/!? WWE8R983495OEWIR9T

Bakabun: Wow! They’ve finally made some progress! They’re officially mutuals now!! \(⁀▽⁀ )/

shiny_sour_brain: OMFG DON’T LOOK AT MIYUKI’S STREAM RIGHT NOW IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE CARDIAC ARREST,, THE MAN IS SPEECHLESS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE

coffieclair: WELL NOW I WANT TO LOOK!? IF EIJUN IS BLUSHING THIS MUCH THEN…

Eijun was dying of curiosity to know what they meant, but he refused to give in and ask about Miyuki’s reaction. Instead, he popped out of the holes in the ground when he found the right opportunities and killed off whoever he came across. To his shock, after a particular kill, the screen went dim to signal the end of the game. Eijun and Miyuki just won!

“What the hell happened!?” Kuramochi shouted as soon as the results were announced. “We didn’t have a single meeting! It was a massacre caused by… hold on, it was those two!?”

“Of all people to be the deadliest werewolf duo, I would never guess it would be them,” said Tanba—a well-known singer on YouTube famous for his rock covers of popular songs—who joined them for the day’s streaming. He sounded perplexed. “I feel like I blinked and the game was over. How did they get away with it so fast?”

“I must admit, I’m impressed that there’s a duo that might measure up to the effectiveness of Aniki and I,” Haruichi added, referring to the infamous times that he was a werewolf with Ryousuke and they absolutely slaughtered everyone in mere minutes.

“Wahaha! That’s right, that’s right! Don’t mess with us or else you’ll all meet your untimely demise!” Eijun boasted as soon as everyone’s various remarks of shock and irritation for losing came in through their mics. “Clearly, the werewolf skills of Miyuki Kazuya and I are not to be questioned!”

“Right, and I had a prize to earn, so I was extra motivated,” Miyuki stressed, reminding Eijun of his promise to give Miyuki a present. Remembering the things he said, Eijun felt his cheeks heat up as he glanced over at the present on his desk. When it arrived just two days ago, he decided to keep it and show Miyuki, then mail it to him afterwards. “Why not share with the class what you said to me, Sawamura~?”

“Eugh, I’d hate to have you as a teacher,” Kuramochi grumbled. “Fuckin’ creepy…”

Yuuki, the true crime YouTuber, had joined them for this round as well. He chimed in, “I was under the impression you two didn’t get along. This is a great development!”

“Don’t get along?” Jun fired back. “Did you not see those two actin’ all snuggly on the dance floor at—”

“Aaaaah, fine, I’ll reveal my secrets now!!” Eijun yelled into the mic, cutting Jun off abruptly to avoid hearing him go any further with that. Oh god, he really didn’t want to know what was going on in the chat right then, and he refused to do more than glance even though he noticed the sudden flood of screaming emojis. His hands trembled a bit as he reached for his gift.

“Now, now, let’s treat his fragile emotions with understanding and empathy,” Ryousuke said as Eijun pulled the gift into his hands. He opted to ignore Ryousuke’s subtle jabs as he pulled it free from the little box it sat in and hooked his finger through the keyring. “It’s taking Eijun quite a lot of courage to openly admit he was wrong about Miyuki in front of thousands of viewers, now isn’t it?”

“Huh?” Miyuki responded with a laugh. “Don’t be silly, Ryou-san. He’s never going to—”

“I was wrong about you, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun snapped, turning his focus to the camera as his cheeks colored bright red. The hot pink of his cat-ear headphones suddenly complimented the shade of his face at that moment, and everyone else in the call was silent with awe as Eijun went on. “I said some really mean things about you before, and I know it was for entertainment, but… you just looked so sure of yourself! That was my first impression of you, and… and you can be so twisted and self-centered! I have no idea what you’re thinking sometimes, and I hate it!”

“Harsh, but true,” Ryousuke added softly, earning a muffled snicker from Kuramochi.

“I hate it, but…” Eijun felt his face heat as he looked down at the gift in his palm. It was stupid, he felt silly, but at the same time, it felt like the right thing for this moment. “I… my channel is growing because of your help and acknowledgement so… I have to say thank you, and offer a token of friendship… b-because I want to be your friend from now on!” Eijun bowed his head a bit and thrust the keychain up to the camera. “I hope you can accept this and forgive my crude behavior!”

For a moment, there was a pause as everyone waited for Miyuki’s response. Eijun was holding up what might be the world’s cutest cat keychain, one that looked suspiciously like Eijun himself, colored brown with little yellow eyes and an orange fish in its mouth that resembled a Goldfish cheese cracker. Eijun didn’t dare to even glance at his chat, and after a moment, he peered up at the camera hesitantly.

“You know, none of us can see what you’re holding up because we’re only on voice call,” Furuya pointed out, being the first one to break the silence. What followed was a stream of laughter from a few of the others in the game’s waiting lobby, and Eijun stuttered as he pulled the keychain back with a scarlet-red complexion.

“I-I might have forgotten that small detail!” Eijun stammered. “Um, Miyuki Kazuya!! Open up my stream and—”

“Well, would you look at that,” Miyuki interrupted, sounding far too amused for the delicacy of the situation. “I knew you had it in you to admit that we’re friends. I feel like this is a love confession~”

“It’s not like that!!” Eijun defended, but he was trying to hold back the smile that was threatening to spread across his face. It sounded like Miyuki was going to accept his apology and the gift—the swooping feeling Eijun had in his chest was hard to ignore. He ducked his head in the meantime and tried to get the urge of smiling out away from the prying eyes of his thousands of streamers. He was probably failing, but an attempt was made. “I-I just wanted to make up for the things I’ve said!”

“And you insulted him even more along the way…” Haruno murmured, feeling obliged to point out the obvious.

“Eijun-kun isn’t usually the tough-love type, but he can be that way towards certain people,” Haruichi supplied with a small laugh.

“I’ll take the keychain,” Miyuki said, causing Eijun to look up abruptly. He knew about the gift being a keychain, meaning that he was watching the stream!? Eijun looked around, as if he’d somehow magically detect Miyuki’s presence as a viewer, feeling almost somewhat scandalized that Miyuki was seeing his expressions while Eijun wasn’t seeing Miyuki’s. Well, damn, if he knew Miyuki was watching then he would have watched Miyuki’s stream as well! This just wasn’t fair! He tried not to pout or, on the other hand, look too excited at the sound of Miyuki’s acceptance. “My keys have nothing on them. It’s quite sad, I could mistake them for anyone else’s keys. But now with a familiar, cute little kitten there… I’ll always know what belongs to me.”

Okay, there had to be a logical reason why Eijun just felt a throb of heat low in his core at the sound of those words. He knew objectively that Miyuki was talking about the keychain, but he did buy it for the somewhat selfish realization that the colors of the cat resembled Eijun’s own appearance. For Miyuki to say something so… possessive about it had Eijun reacting in a way that made him glad that his viewers couldn’t see anything beneath his waist. He was pretty sure the blush on his face was down to his neck by that point and for a moment, he could only stare wide-eyed at the camera. He finally snapped out of it and remembered that he was live , forcing him to finally acknowledge the chat for the first time in a while.

polkadotted_dreams: MIYUKIS IN THE STREAM OFKDGFDH HI MIYUKI I LOVE YOU SO MCH

FeatherPyre: FUCKING LOSING MY MARBLES RIGHT NOW AT WTF WE’RE WITNESSING !?!??

inthecedarwoods: eijun is awfully red (.❛ ᴗ ❛.)

valpez59: ARE U KIDDING?? ? DID YOU SEE MIYUKI DURING THAT LITTLE SPEECH OF HIS?? BOY WAS RED AF

FizzyB: ahhh… they seem to be Very good friends

“Alright, now that this gross as fuck PDA is finally over with, can we start the next round?” Kuramochi grouched after a moment, commanding the attention back towards the whole point of why they were on stream to begin with. Eijun snapped his attention back to them and set the keychain aside, treating it with a lot more tender love and care than what was necessary. He wondered if the softness in his gaze was noticed by his viewers.

“I’m ready,” Furuya said, sounding soft-spoken to anyone else, but Eijun could tell how eager he was to play another round.

“Right!” Eijun clapped his hands onto his cheeks to snap himself out of it. “Enough dilly-dallying! If I’m the werewolf again, you better watch out, everyone! Hehehe!”

“We’ll keep an eye on you now that we know better,” Yuuki answered. “This time, we won’t lose!”

 

***

 

“You’re pathetic,” Youichi hissed.

“I know.”

“You’re a mess,” he added, then paused to correct himself. “A really fuckin’ gay mess.”

“Hahaha, I’m very aware.”

“You have shit taste,” Youichi went on.

“Hey now, I don’t think I can agree with that one,” Kazuya finally fought back. “Have you seen him?”

“Yes, for fuck’s sake, I know he’s cute, I have eyes too, you dimwit, but you—” Youichi scowled, not that Kazuya could see it, but he knew his best friend well enough to envision his expressions without struggle. He paused to let out an aggravated sigh. “Look, what he did today was good and all, but took a bit more time to get there than it should have. I like the kid, but if he’s going to keep playing hard to get, you should look elsewhere, Kazuya. It’s not fair to you. You hear me?”

“Yes, yes,” Kazuya dismissed, still too high off the bliss of what happened on stream to really be taking Youichi’s advice seriously. Still, he leaned his cheek onto his hand and teased, “Thank you, my ever-faithful companion~”

“Gross, that makes it sound like we’re friends or something,” Youichi retorted, much to Kazuya’s amusement. He let out a laugh before Youichi sighed and continued on. “Anyway, I’m exhausted, and I can’t believe I managed to stay on all day. Ryou and I need to eat and so do you, probably. Don’t just throw some instant noodles in the microwave for once. I know from firsthand experience how well you can cook, so it’s honestly insulting how often I see you eating cup ramen or ordering pizza instead.”

“But it’s such a waste of time when there’s no one to cook for,” Kazuya whined. “Remember when I’d have dinner on the table for you when you came home from work? At least I was motivated to feed you. Awww, those days were so much fun. We were like a domestic married couple!”

“My worst nightmare,” Youichi said with a shudder down his spine. “Thank fuck for Ryou for saving me…”

“Ouch, living with me wasn’t that bad, was it?” Kazuya prodded with a shit-eating grin. “We had fun!”

“Yeah, yeah, now let me hang up so you can go jack off to fantasies about Sawamura in that skimpy little Halloween costume,” Youichi dismissed with a roll of his eyes that Kazuya could hear through his tone. Damn, he really didn’t need to evoke that image in Kazuya’s mind again, for now his groin might actually be heating with interest at the idea. Before he could get too enraptured with the image, Youichi gruffly muttered, “Happy Birthday again.”

“Thank you, Mochi -kun!” Kazuya cooed with his terrible fake-sweet tone and hideous nickname—a deadly combo that he always used when he wanted to get on Youichi’s nerves instantly. “I love you sooooo very mu—”

Kazuya couldn’t resist laughing to himself when he saw that Youchi had harshly hung up on him just to get him to shut up. He sent an emoji making a kissy face in their chat, and appropriately, Youichi responded with the middle finger. He wouldn’t want his birthday to end any other way. After the last game ended and everyone left one at a time, Youichi and Kazuya shifted to a private call because Youichi declared that he wanted to have a word with Kazuya alone.

Now, finally for the first time alone with his thoughts since that morning, Kazuya released a heavy sigh and leaned back against his chair.

He was able to hear the steady thumping of his own heart, pulsing loud in his ears, as the unmistakable sensation of bliss continued to thrum in his chest. He was pretty sure he hadn’t stopped smiling since being the werewolf with Sawamura, and his happiness only increased the more Sawamura decided to surprise him. The follow-back was good enough, for Kazuya felt like he finally made some sort of progress with someone deserving of the title ‘The World’s Densest Person,’ but then Sawamura just had to go and pull out that little keychain and say, out loud to everyone, that he wanted to be Kazuya’s friend.

It was true. Kazuya never let himself look so emotionally exposed on stream before, but looking back on some tweets that were starting to make some numbers… well. Miyuki felt a little startled to see screenshots of himself looking so whipped, for lack of a better word. Plus, that was the word everyone was using as they spread clips and pictures of Miyuki and Eijun’s streams side-by-side during that moment in the game.

Who was he kidding, anyway—Miyuki Kazuya was whipped, and he was a damn fool for it, just like Youichi had said the first time his best friend found out about his worsening crush. 

Kazuya got up from his chair and stretched his arms high above his head, letting out a small sigh of relief at the feeling of all that tension leaving his body. He hadn’t moved for a long time, and now that the rush of streaming and gaming was starting to subside, he was noticing his physical state. He had to use the bathroom, he was starving, and he was in need of some good sleep. He trudged to the bathroom to at least start working down that list of needs, a yawn stretching wide on his face.

By the time Kazuya was stirring a pot of curry (Youichi’s nagging got to him in the end and he figured he shouldn’t cheat with something instant that night), he started to zone out and think about Sawamura Eijun, something he was doing a lot more frequently as the days went by. 

The funny thing is, Kazuya had entirely forgotten about him for so many years.

 

***

 

“No way, that’s way too mean!”

Kazuya laughed and elbowed his buddy Hideaki in the side. They were all standing together by the campus center, just about to head to their next class, when Hideaki dangled his newest prank invention in front of Kazuya’s eyes. It was a sneaky trick, though Kazuya admitted it was a funny idea. 

All of the freshman literature classes were assigned to read a specific list of books—Kazuya had done it for his general requirements and so had Hideaki and the rest of the guys, so they already knew what was on the list thanks to their own experience. On top of that, it was hard not to notice which book the freshmen were reading that week, for every single awkward kid on the campus that had a lanyard around their neck, jingling their dorm room keys with each step they took, had their noses buried in the same damn book as they obsessively smacked sticky notes onto the pages. 

What Hideaki had done was evil. He made a fake copy of that week’s book, one that he crafted on his own for the sake of ruining some kid’s day.

“C’mon, it’s hilarious!” Tsubasa added, slinging an arm over Kazuya’s shoulders as they tried to convince him to help them carry out the prank. He opened the book to a random page and started to narrate a fantasy situation. “Imagine: the professor calls on you to discuss a symbolic paragraph on page 182. You think you’re so prepared to answer the question because you did all your reading, so you open up with a nod, look down, and start to read. Except, all you have in front of your eyes is, ‘the way her breasts raised into the air with her deep, labored breaths reminded Thomas of mountain peaks, with her hard, perky nipples reaching towards the heavens—’”

“Pft, alright, I get it, it would be pretty good,” Kazuya admitted with a mischievous laugh of his own. Hideaki’s idea was clever—he bought some porn novel about the same size and thickness of the novel, covered it with a replicated dust-jacket of the original book, and placed some sticky notes in random areas to make the fake even more convincing. They were just bickering with each other about who was going to ‘accidentally’ bump into a freshman rushing to class and swap their books out.

“We’re running out of time, we should act soon,” Riku reminded them while taking a look at the clock. The freshman who had the class that started in the next five minutes would start picking up their pace to make it to the lecture hall on time, as noted by the increasing walking speeds of many people now zipping by. Kazuya rolled his eyes and plucked the book from Tsubasa’s hand, deciding he was the only one who could pull it off smoothly enough and convince whoever he ran into that it was a pure mistake. 

“Fine, fine, I’ll do it,” Kazuya said as he strolled towards the main sidewalk where all the students tended to walk to get to class. He cast a snarky smile over his shoulder. “But you better pay for my lunch tomorrow, Hideaki.”

“Hell yeah, fine by me!” Hideaki let out a laugh. Kazuya snickered and shook his head, then tried to single out his target. 

The prank was a little mean like Kazuya said, but it was also really damn funny. Besides, he would find a way to return the original book to whichever kid he ambushed. Most of the time, freshmen wrote their names on the inner covers of the book, or had some sort of identifying mark on them. He couldn't blame them—most freshmen didn’t know about the hand-me-down services that existed so they foolishly bought all their books brand new. The prices added up fast and shit wasn’t cheap, but that was something they usually didn’t realize until their second year.

One kid caught Kazuya’s eye. He looked a bit frazzled—in fact, he kind of reminded Kazuya of a hissing cat, with feline-like eyes and a clenched jaw as he darted around. He actually already bumped into someone and apologized profusely, even going so far as to bow his body so far down that he was perpendicular with the ground, which had Kazuya’s brow raising with intrigue.

It was almost too perfect. Kazuya pretended to be looking at something else as he steered his path directly towards the nervous kid. With the most ideal timing imaginable, the kid turned around with the intention to run, but instead barreled right into Kazuya and sent both their books sprawling. Of course, Kazuya dropped his books on purpose, just to make even more of a mess.

“Waaah!!” The kid screamed as everything scattered, looking as if his life was spiraling out of control. At least everyone felt that way on campus most of the time, so the majority of those passing by just muttered things like ‘same’ and ‘what a mood’ under their breaths. The freshman bowed his head repeatedly as he frantically tried to gather up his materials. “I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you there! Can this day get any crazier!? Jeez! I can’t catch a break!”

“Hey, it’s alright,” Kazuya smoothly covered up as he picked up the real book, then left the prank copy in its place. After that, Kazuya was fast to pick the few notebooks he carried and tuck them against his chest so he could offer a hand to the kid he ambushed for his prank. “Need help?”

“I’ve got this!” The kid assured, grabbing the fake book without a second thought as he stacked everything up in his arms. Kazuya didn’t have his bookbag with him, so he had an excuse to be holding his things, but he wondered why this kid didn’t have a bookbag either. It made his life and the prank easier, but it was a little weird. When he finally grabbed everything except for his last folder, Kazuya picked it up for him and handed it towards him. The kid took the folder, then looked up with a smile and said, “Thanks for not just walking away!! I’m sorry for bumping into you again!”

Kazuya went still for a moment as their eyes met. Damn, he was… cute. Like, really cute. Those eyes were so big and round, sparkling almost golden under the sunlight, and his adorable face was framed by soft tufts of brown hair. Kazuya would have probably even tried to shoot his shot were it not for the weird circumstances, but after they both got to his feet, the kid waved goodbye and took off like a bullet, not having learned at all about the consequences of running on a crowded sidewalk. 

This time, it was Kazuya who was bumped into by someone as they brushed by, clearly irritated by the way Kazuya stood in the middle of the busy sidewalk. He snapped out of it and stepped out of the way after that, just a little haunted by how pretty the guy was. Kazuya looked down at the book he stole and flipped it open, catching sight of the kid’s handwriting on the inside of the front cover.

Property of Sawamura Eijun! (≧▽≦)b

Kazuya let out a little snort. He even doodled a little smiley face with sparkles and a thumbs-up next to his name, like it wasn’t enough just to put his name down. This Sawamura Eijun kid was lucky enough to have written down the location of his dorm next to a message that begged its return if found abandoned somewhere, so Kazuya could drop it off without being noticed later on that day. After that, Kazuya joined the guys again, and together they all laughed and imagined what sort of hilarious events would occur in that poor kid’s lecture hall that day. 

He made sure to remember to swing by Sawamura’s dorm room before the evening—luckily his roommate was home, so when Kazuya knocked and a small guy with bright pink hair shielding his eyes answered, he was able to just make up a lie saying he found the book left behind and wanted to return it. The roommate took the book with a word of thanks and apology for his ‘irresponsible friend,’ which Kazuya thought was pretty cute. 

Kazuya walked away that day, admittedly feeling a little disappointed that Sawamura himself wasn’t there, even if it was better that his roommate answered instead. The incident was more or less forgotten by the end of the week anyway.

 

***

 

Kazuya snapped out of his flashback when he realized he needed to turn down the temperature on the stove. He just saved himself from burning his dinner, thankfully. Once the situation was under control again, Kazuya sighed and pulled out a clean plate to serve his food on. 

He thought it was funny that the two of them actually met so many years ago, even if just for a split second. Clearly, Sawamura had no recollection of the day, or if he did, he sure as hell didn’t connect the dots that Kazuya was the one who pulled such a devious prank on him. To be fair, it wasn’t Kazuya’s idea alone—the guys he hung around with in college, at least before he met Youichi, were a bunch of idiots who liked to do childish stuff like that. They weren’t bad guys though, just a bit immature back then. He still kept in touch with some of them, which was how he discovered Sawamura again in the first place.

Of course he saw some comments floating around about a smaller streamer bashing Kazuya and saying some pretty hilarious thoughts about him, but that wasn’t anything super unusual. Haters were common, and even more common were people trying to use his name to earn views and clout of their own. Kazuya was used to it, so he looked right past all of that until he got a text from Hideaki. It was a link to the very same video that those comments referred to, along with the caption, “remember this guy??? we pranked him in college with the porn book remember?? what if he secretly remembers and thats why he hates you lmfao”

Kazuya was surprised, to say the least, that Hideaki managed to recognize him at all. That day was years ago, and though Sawamura had a pretty face, Kazuya had seen many pretty faces between that day and the day he received that text. 

However, Hideaki’s recollection of the event didn’t surprise him anymore once he watched the video himself. There was something so distinctive about Sawamura’s voice, his expressions, and attitude that was unforgettable, even though they had only interacted for less than a minute back in college. Even Kazuya suddenly recalled the time they bumped into each other with vivid clarity, and the situation became even funnier when Kazuya started to watch his other videos. He had uploaded a Q&A session from his stream a few weeks ago that Kazuya decided to watch out of pure curiosity.

“My most embarrassing moment?” Sawamura repeated the question asked of him, then immediately grimaced as the memory hit him. “That one is… well, you see… this is really embarrassing, so don’t laugh too hard, alright!? This happened during my first year at college. Ugh, the day was already so wild for me! I spilled coffee all over my bookbag, but thankfully everything inside it was fine, so I had to carry my books with me everywhere until I could get a new one! And that day, everyone was outside, all aiming to run into me apparently, but one encounter was the worst one! I ran into some pervert who was carrying around a… a… a dirty novel disguised as our required reading, and well—the pervert must have taken my book, because I took his!” Eijun groaned as he tried to hide his reddening face in his hands. “Of course that was the day that the professor wanted me to interpret a passage in front of the class, and all I had was a sex scene! It was terrible!”

Kazuya had almost choked on his food when he was watching the video originally. Sawamura didn’t realize it was a prank and instead assumed that Kazuya was a pervert who read porn books during class as a hobby? Thank god he didn’t remember that said “pervert” was Kazuya or else that could have backfired terribly onto Kazuya now. 

The situation was pretty hilarious to hear about from Sawamura’s perspective regardless, and Kazuya was bemused that their evil little prank actually worked out perfectly in their favor. Kazuya and the guys never found out exactly how it went, but they did hear by word of mouth that some freshman brought a porn book to class and got in trouble because of it, so they knew it had been a success. Ah, good times. 

Kazuya gathered up his dinner and took a seat on his couch, lost in thought, a permanent smile on his face. Who would have thought that so much would happen between them ever since that seemingly random day?

He cast a look at his keys, which currently sat on the coffee table in front of him, barren of any personalization. There was nothing besides the key to his front door, the key for his motorcycle, and a key to his old man’s place. It could do well with a little kitten to remind him of the real thing.

Now, Kazuya couldn’t wait to receive his present.

Chapter Text

It happened faster than Eijun realized. During one week, the number of subscribers he had was about the same as it had been for a while now—and in the next, Eijun was staring back at his own reflection as shown in the shiny golden plaque sent to him by YouTube, proclaiming that he had surpassed the impressive milestone of 1 million subscribers.

The realization hit him much harder than it did when their first Full Moon video surpassed 3 million views. While seeing the view count skyrocket was a good sign and something to celebrate, it felt even more special to receive something physical, not to mention pretty and plated in gold. He could hang up his accomplishment on the wall next to the silver one he received when he passed his first 100,000 subscribers.

More importantly, this was more than just a single video with many views. Three million people could watch his video, laugh, and move on with their lives, but for a whole million of them to actually decide to subscribe to Eijun and follow him was a commitment. Maybe not a huge one, but it made an impact on Eijun deeper than they probably realized.

Haruichi found him first, curled over the torn-open packaging with happy tears dripping down his cheeks. He quickly fetched Furuya so they could both pat Eijun on the back and tell him how proud they were of him for making such a notable milestone.

“It was all because of your hard work, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi told him with a warm tone, petting his back in comforting up-and-down strokes. “You’ve devoted yourself to this job and it’s paying off. People love you and your content, and now you’re getting the support you deserve!”

“Congratulations,” Furuya added with a milder tone and a more awkward style of patting, but it was genuine nonetheless. He pushed a box of tissues closer to Eijun with his free hand. “This is so you don’t get snot on the golden plaque.”

“I won’t get snot on it!” Eijun defended, though his voice trembled a bit as he reached for a tissue regardless. “All you care about is the plaque? Stupid Furuya…”

“It’s really shiny,” Furuya pointed out adamantly, even though he had one of his own—Furuya reached the million-subscriber milestone himself earlier that year. Eijun supposed it was exciting to see a brand new one fresh out the packaging, but still!

Even as Eijun huffed over Furuya’s apparent fascination with the plaque rather than his joy over Eijun’s achievement, Eijun was so happy he could die. His cheeks ached from smiling and he felt stupid with his face all sticky with tears, but he couldn’t resist crying some more, overwhelmed with the love that a million people had given him. 

The more he thought about it, the more the impact of that moment hit him deeper. Who else on this planet was lucky enough to receive the support of that many people? Eijun knew there were much more popular creators out there, but he really felt the depth of a number as huge as 1 million. It was nothing to sweep under the rug and Eijun wasn’t one to hold back his emotions when they came on strongly.

“What should we do to celebrate?” Haruichi asked after a moment, a kind smile spreading across his lips. His peach-colored eyes twinkled with excitement as he tilted his head to look more directly at Eijun. “Maybe we can bake your favorite type of cake. If you wanted to kill two birds with one stone, we could film it for a vlog, too.”

“Harudanji, always showing up with the best ideas!” Eijun burst out with a grin, turning his tear-stained face towards his friend with an eager nod. “A vlog of this momentous occasion would be perfect! Then, we can—” Only after turning to look at Haruichi did Eijun notice the video camera in Haruichi’s hand, with the little red light indicating its active recording status. When Haruichi left before to get Furuya, he must have grabbed the camera as well. That sneaky little—!! Eijun stammered as he pointed at the camera. “Wait, are you already filming my tender, emotional moment!?”

“I couldn’t resist catching your raw reaction on film,” Haruichi admitted with a bashful smile. “It’s too sweet. Your followers will see how genuine your reaction was. None of your love for them is staged and I think that’s always so hard to show on video, so I took advantage of the moment for you and filmed secretly. Sorry for invading your privacy, Eijun-kun.”

“No, no, no, I was just kidding!” Eijun clapped his hands together and bowed his head towards the camera lens. “Thank you for looking out for me, Harucchi! But also, thank you to everyone who’s watching!” Eijun sniffled a bit and rubbed at the happy tears on his cheeks, hoping that he didn’t look too goofy with his flushed nose and shiny eyes. “I’ll probably have a better speech for when I’m less shocked about this, but right away, I want to thank you all for making this possible!” He lifted up the golden plaque with an earnest chuckle. “I always dreamed of this moment, and to see the fruits of my labor is really something else!”

“Congraaaaats,” Furuya added again, craning his neck so that his eyes were just visible to the camera as he peered over Eijun’s shoulder. He lifted a ‘v’ sign, but that was when Eijun swatted him away, whining about Furuya stealing the spotlight of his special moment without any true anger behind his complaints.

After Eijun washed off his face, they filmed the process of them nailing the plaque up on the wall and took some photos of Eijun posing with his plaques for Twitter. Then, they brought the camera along as they went to the grocery store to pick up all the ingredients they’d need for the cake.

“This is embarrassing,” Haruichi mumbled to the camera, trying his best to appear non-discreet as he lingered at the front of the grocery store by the shopping carts. “I’m tempted to grow out my bangs again so I can avoid looking anyone in the eyes. Do you see this?”

Haruichi then switched the camera around, turning it away from his own disappointed-but-not-surprised expression to show Furuya and Eijun, shoving each other like little boys as they tried to fit their far-too-large adult bodies into a plastic car intended for children that was attached to the front of a shopping cart. Those carts were made for little kids to sit in and pretend to drive while their parents shopped at their leisure—not for fully-grown adults like Furuya and Eijun to try and sit in.

“Your legs are too long!” Eijun snapped, half-shoved in the driver’s seat with his shoulders still sticking out the window while he tried to fend Furuya off with flailing hands. “Stop trying to force your way inside! It’s my big day, you know!! And this car is golden, like my plaque!!”

“You’ll drive too fast,” Furuya argued, stubbornly still attempting to kick Eijun out of the cart. “Besides, there’s two steering wheels inside.”

“I’ll use both!” Eijun growled and pushed Furuya’s foot out the window again. “Now, if I could just squeeze in and— wahhh!” Still determined to try and get his way, Furuya had stepped around to the other side and was now shoving his head into the passenger side of the car’s open door. Eijun was not having it and he squirmed around dramatically. “Stop trying to get in with me, Furuya!! I can barely fit as it is! Harucchi, come get your damn polar bear! Help me!”

Just as Haruichi was debating leaving the idiots there alone to fight, the cart lost its balance and tipped over, crashing to the ground with a deafeningly loud clang!! that alerted all nearby workers. They turned to glare at the ruckus by the front entrance, and Haruichi only had time to tuck his video camera away before they got in trouble for filming as well. He was pretty sure it was allowed, but he wasn’t about to take any chances.

The video resumed with the three of them in the parking lot, doing the walk of shame back to Furuya’s truck. Haruichi turned the camera back on and focused the lens on Eijun and Furuya, who had their heads lowered as their pouting faces blushed a light shade of embarrassed pink.

“So, you two, what did we learn?” Haruichi pressed. Eijun looked over at him briefly, then tensed and nearly jumped out of his skin—he was smiling the Kominato smile! That wasn’t good news at all—it meant Haruichi was ready to commit a crime and it wouldn’t be pretty! Eijun paled and gulped, going cat-eyed at the sight of Haruichi’s wrath.

“U-Uhm… that we can’t fit into the fun car-carts!” Eijun answered pitifully.

“We got yelled at by the store manager for making too much noise…” Furuya added on reluctantly.

“And then we were asked to leave,” Haruichi finished. He zoomed in on Eijun’s face for dramatic effect. “Do you know what that translates to, Eijun-kun?”

“It means that we got kicked out of the store,” Eijun mumbled, averting his eyes from the camera.

“Now, what will we do next time, since we’re going to a different store?” Haruichi turned the camera to Furuya instead, expecting an answer from his boyfriend.

“No car-carts,” Furuya said.

“No car-carts,” Haruichi agreed as they approached Furuya’s truck, which lit up as Furuya unlocked the doors. Haruichi huffed, no doubt in disbelief over how stupidly his boyfriend and best friend had just acted in public. “Glad we’re all on the same page. Now, let’s go.”

At least the second attempt at getting baking ingredients did not end in disaster. The worst that happened was Furuya and Eijun smacking each other with bags of marshmallows, but Haruichi intervened with a threat before they could do any real damage. They managed to get back to their apartment in one piece and started baking, which produced almost more content than Eijun knew what to do with.

By the end of the day, as he sat back from his computer and stretched his arms above his head, Eijun was feeling satisfied. It had been a long time since he’d edited one of his own videos without the help of any of his editors, but once in a while, Eijun felt inspired enough to do it all by himself. It was well past midnight and the video was looking great—the baking portion was hilarious, with many moments and expressions that both Furuya and Haruichi made behind Eijun’s back that he didn’t notice in real time.

All he needed after their celebratory feasting on the cake was a final speech like the one he promised at the beginning of the video. After chewing down another mouthful of Goldfish crackers, Eijun turned on the lights in his room, splashed some water on his face to look more awake, and tried to script what he was going to say. He gave up after a few minutes and opted to just turn on the camera instead. He always felt like important segments like this should come right from the heart.

“It’s been a wild day for me, as you all just saw!” Eijun started off with his usual sunny smile, and his cat-ear headphones helped add to the general brightness of the frame as he began. “It’s past midnight, I’ve been editing for hours, and I’m almost out of Goldfish—but fear not, this Sawamura Eijun is far from exhausted! No, instead, it’s quite the opposite for me. I have never felt more excited and alive in my life!”

It was during this portion of the video that under his voice-over, Eijun included clips from his earliest videos, moments that he remembered having the most fun in the first stages of his YouTube career. 

“Being a YouTuber was always something I thought would fit someone like me best,” Eijun said, feeling a warmth in his chest as he mentally went back to the time when he first picked up his old video camera. “I’ve always reached out to people who looked lonely to me and tried to become their friend, not out of pity, but because I want everyone to feel seen, heard, and loved. I can’t help every person in the world, but I thought to myself that maybe I could touch even more hearts if I shared parts of my life with the internet! And, well, here I am now, talking to a million people at once. I guess I’ve been doing it pretty well if a whole million of you decided you liked me enough to follow my creations!”

Eijun scratched at the back of his head and instinctively glanced over to the part of his screen that would usually show his Twitch chat. He was so used to live-streaming that it felt funny to be talking to the camera and no one else at that moment. He almost missed the constant stream of messages, which he would always look at to garner reactions from the crowd, but also to soak in a little validation and love whenever he was feeling nervous in front of such a large audience. He knew that the comments section and his social media feed would be filled with those same positive affirmations once he uploaded, which was uplifting to think about.

“YouTubing has become so much more than just me sharing parts of my life,” Eijun continued. “It used to just be me recording some of my everyday experiences, the usual craziness I experience with my friends and family whenever I remembered to pick up a camera. Now, YouTube has become the reason why I do so many new things! I’m even more motivated to talk to new people and impulsively jump into unfamiliar experiences when I think about how great it would be to have that memory preserved in a YouTube video. It’s like a moving virtual scrapbook of sorts, and in the process it can not only be my job, but my ongoing connection to so many people as well!”

Feeling a burst of pride, Eijun sat up straighter and placed a hand over his chest.

“I promise to keep being myself,” Eijun said, leveling his eyes with the camera to show how deeply he meant his words. “I promise to keep doing what I love and not lose myself in the fame or the money. I need to eat, so yeah, you might start seeing some more ad reads, but I’ll always be thinking about what kinds of products I advertise! Most of all, I want my content to be stuff that I enjoy watching, or else what’s the point of putting it out there? If watching me helps you feel less lonely, that’s all I want to accomplish, and that’s not possible with a fake Sawamura Eijun. So, you can depend on me to always do my best, just like I always have!”

After a little more reminiscing, Eijun decided to thank some notable people in his life for his success.

“Of course, I have to give Harucchi and Furuya credit for how much they’ve done for me,” Eijun said with a smile, and during that part he ensured to edit a few special moments they all shared on camera together throughout the years. “If it weren’t for them, I don’t know if I’d be making this video right now! They helped me get on my feet as a YouTuber, and I’ll always owe that to them—my two best friends.” The video shifted to show some older footage of Eijun with his family members. “My family has always been so supportive of me, too. I know you are watching, Mom, Dad and Gramps! Thank you for letting me chase my dreams, even though you had many questions to ask me about what YouTube was in the beginning! Wahaha!”

It was when Eijun got to the point of thanking other YouTubers that Eijun finally stumbled. He had just finished professing his admiration for Chris when he inevitably started to think about his recent growth and exactly who played a big role in his success. It would feel wrong to leave Miyuki out when he’d done so much for Eijun, even though Eijun was nervous about letting his true emotions show, especially so soon after changing his opinion on the notorious YouTuber in public.

Eijun gulped as he fell silent. The camera rolled and Eijun watched the seconds tick by. He’d be editing the footage of course, so the silence would not be there to make anyone watching feel awkward, but Eijun had to think carefully about how he proceeded. He pursed his lips and took in a deep breath, hoping there was a way to edit the flush on his cheeks to make it a bit less apparent (evidently, Eijun was too tired by the time he got to editing that point in his video that he didn’t bother to check).

“Finally, I… uh, I think I owe some of this recent success of mine to Miyuki Kazuya,” Eijun admitted with a small, somewhat shy frown. He snapped out of it pretty quickly to glare up at the camera. “I mean, not all of it, of course! If you’re watching, you tanuki bastard, don’t even think about taking more credit than I’ve already so graciously given you, you hear me!?” He huffed for good measure and sat back against his chair, arms crossed over his chest. “This Sawamura Eijun has already admitted that my judgement on you was wrong in the beginning, but if I know anything about Miyuki-senpai, it’s that his ego doesn’t need to be inflated any more than it already is, so Miyuki-senpai: take a slice of humble pie before listening to this, okay?”

Maybe it was risky to share such an embarrassing photo, but Eijun wasn’t sure what else to show during this portion of the video besides some of the Full Moon gameplays. So, for a lack of anything better to show, Eijun publicly shared the image that was taken of Eijun, Chris, and Miyuki at VidCon during the Meet and Greet, which had not been posted online before. He knew that the photo was bound to garner some reactions, but Eijun was already accepting the consequences of his actions by the time he edited the photo into his video.

“Ever since talking about Miyuki Kazuya in my videos and catching the attention of his fans, my view count and subscriber count both went up,” Eijun explained, deciding to be transparent about at least some of the situation. “Even though I said some things about Miyuki-senpai that could be seen as offensive, his fans always assumed I had good intentions and laughed along with me! I mean, who does that? I got almost no hate for it! You guys, the fans— you are the reason why I started to change my mind about Miyuki-senpai, along with other things, but that’s beside the point! It’s all thanks to you that we’re playing Full Moon together now and having a lot of fun as… f-friends.”

Eijun didn’t want to go on about Miyuki for too long, lest his crush became obvious, so he cleared his throat and wrapped it up after a few more remarks.

“I have Miyuki-senpai and his fans to thank for why my audience has grown, and I hope we can continue to get along in the future!” Eijun grinned at the camera as he leaned forward to end the recording. “I have a lot planned and so many ideas for future videos, so please, stick around to see what else I can do! I promise to keep your days bright and full of joy! Until next time! Oshi, oshi, oshi!”

The video came to an end, and Eijun wasn’t in bed until the upload had completed and the sun was starting to peek over the horizon. Despite his exhaustion, he had a smile on his face as he drifted to sleep, already looking forward to seeing the responses of his fans about his milestone the following day.

 

***

 

Kazuya let out a sigh as he placed his heavy leather boot on the pavement while securely parking his motorcycle. He turned the engine off and ran a hand through his bangs, shaking off some of the sweat that might have accumulated, then swung his leg over the seat to dismount the bike. As he pulled the key from the ignition, he noticed the sound of hushed, yet undoubtedly excited voices a short distance away from him. He turned to look in their direction, and like he expected, a man and a woman he didn’t recognize were standing and staring at him with obvious recognition in their eyes.

“S-Sorry for bothering you!” The man called out as they approached him. “We couldn’t help but to notice that, uh… you’re Miyuki Kazuya, aren’t you?”

“I am,” Kazuya answered with a friendly smile, hoping that he didn’t look too awkward. Sometimes he just lied and said he was a lookalike to shake people off his back, but truthfully, random encounters with fans in public wasn’t as common as it would be if he were a true celebrity. Ten million subscribers was no joke, but it’s not like Kazuya was chased down by a paparazzi or like he absolutely needed a disguise before setting foot outdoors. He figured the least he could do was be friendly to the people who actually decided to talk to him.

“We’re both really big fans!” The woman spoke up next, staring at Miyuki with sparkles of admiration in her eyes. “We watch your videos all the time together and laugh so much! P-Please keep up the good work!”

“Thanks,” Kazuya said with a nod, still trying to smile, though he secretly hoped he wasn’t coming off strangely. God, he always put his own foot in his mouth during situations like these—this time, he was caught off-guard in front of the gas station on his way in to grab a quick snack. He didn’t want to appear standoffish, so he added, “It means a lot to hear that, really.”

“We won’t keep you any longer,” the man added with a glance at who Kazuya presumed was his girlfriend, considering the way they stood close together, sharing each other’s space in a way friends usually didn’t. “We just didn’t expect to see you here. We’re looking forward to the next video!”

“W-Wait, is that…” the woman stammered as she looked down at Kazuya’s hand. He followed her gaze, confused about what she could be seeing, and looked at the keys in his hand. He then realized she was looking at the little charm hanging from the keyring. A soft gasp escaped her lips. “Oh my gosh, is that the keychain that Eijun gave you on stream? He actually mailed it to you?”

“Huh? Uh… yeah, he did,” Kazuya confirmed with an awkward pause, his face starting to heat up. Shit, was it actually a bad idea to flaunt it like this? Was he being too forward about his feelings? He was tempted to hide it in the pocket of his leather jacket, but that sort of gesture would be too suspicious. Instead, he just held the keys awkwardly, allowing the cat charm to dangle amongst the more professional-looking, minimalist combination of his house key, a key to his father's place, and the key to the Ducati.

“That’s adorable!” She squealed, but then slapped her hands over her mouth quickly, as if to silence herself from saying anything else. “Anyway, have a good evening!! We love you! Bye!”

Kazuya was left standing there, a little dumbfounded as the pair got into their own vehicle and left the station’s parking lot. He turned away before they noticed him staring and headed into the gas station, mindlessly walking down the aisles to find something he was craving at that moment. The whole time, he fiddled with his keys and ran his thumb over the spine of the cat charm—a habit he’d quickly fallen into since receiving the charm from Sawamura in the mail.

He was too embarrassed to admit it, but he kept the little hand-written note Sawamura left in the package and tucked it into his drawer. It was a simple sticky note that said, ‘A peace offering to you, Miyuki Kazuya!!’ with a little smiley face doodled in the corner, but Kazuya couldn’t bring himself to throw it out. Ever since attaching the cat to his keys, he found himself petting the charm whenever he was out somewhere, almost like a nervous habit.

Kazuya left the gas station with his snacks and had no further encounters with any fans. He was going to go straight home, but now he was itching for a longer, more scenic ride. He found himself taking a different exit off the highway as the sun slipped lower in the sky towards the horizon.

He felt lucky to live somewhere that was so effortlessly gorgeous, with rocky cliff sides formed and weathered down by nature. The ocean stretched out alongside him, the vast expanse of deep blue glittering under the rays of the late-autumn sun. The air was cool during this time of year but Kazuya wasn’t bothered by it, feeling comfortable enough under his layer of denim and leather, not to mention the warmth generated by the constant purring of his Ducati beneath his legs.

He used to like driving with the radio blasting, but ever since investing in his motorcycle, he preferred the rumbling sound of the engine over music. Kazuya’s thoughts weren’t swayed one way or another by a sad tune and like this, he could think about whatever he pleased without any distractions. When driving on winding mountainous roads like these, he had to keep his eyes on the road, but he knew them well enough by now to risk a glance now and then out at the ocean.

Besides, he had a destination. It was a little overlook, a place he liked to go whenever he wanted to truly be alone. It wasn’t a spot marked off by a sign for tourists and it wasn’t big enough for an average-sized car to park; only a motorcycle like Kazuya’s could fit between the trees. Beyond them, there was a clearing before the edge of the cliff just spacious enough to park his motorcycle safely.

Kazuya lived alone ever since Youichi moved out, but he almost always failed to resist his computer and phone when he was at home. At least up here, in his private little hideout, he didn’t have any cell signal. Maybe it was dangerous for him to lack signal on a remote cliffside that most people didn’t know about, but Kazuya didn’t worry about it too much. 

Once turning off the engine, he took a seat on the rock jutting out from the ground and looked out at the sunset, finally peaceful and alone with his thoughts. He had his keys dangling from one hand and he toyed with the kitten there, of course thinking about the cat-like boy who had gifted him the keychain in the first place.

It already felt like it had been too long since Kazuya saw Sawamura last. He remembered their first real meeting—not including the time they briefly met during college, a moment Sawamura didn’t even connect to Kazuya, as he found out at the bar that night at VidCon—with a fondness in his heart. He couldn’t resist barging in to interrupt Sawamura's moment with Chris, fueled by his own excitement to see Sawamura again for the first time in years and perhaps even a little jealousy at Sawamura's blatant fawning over another man. Even though Chris wasn’t available or anything like that, jealousy didn’t listen to logic.

Kazuya woke up that morning and saw Sawamura's million-subscriber celebration video, but he found out about it thanks to the picture of them with Chris circulating on his feed. The fans were going berserk with the knowledge that the pair of their favorite budding friendship had met before any of them were aware of it. 

Speculations were all over the place and Kazuya even saw some that were alarmingly close to what really happened at VidCon. Of course, they had been in a public location, so many people had seen them together, but this was before Sawamura was more well-known by their peers. Surely those who had seen had already forgotten about it, or even knew better than to start rumors.

Unfortunately, Kazuya was seeing some negative comments amongst all the celebration for Sawamura's milestone. He reported as many negative tweets as he could find and had them taken down, but he feared Sawamura had seen some of them already. Their cold words continued to linger in Kazuya’s mind as he sat on the cliffside and watched the sun sink behind the ocean.

@tsukumoon: Eijun’s just using Miyuki for clout, isn’t he? He said so in his video that Miyuki helped him get popular..

@straight_outta_here: @tsukumoon Looks like he’s just another one riding off the coattails of a bigger creator, I guess… smh

@kure_10: @straight_outta_here @tsukumoon What’s so special about Eijun anyway? If talking shit about a perfectly good YouTuber is how you get successful now, I don’t think I want to support YouTubers anymore :/ like fr what effort did he put into any of that? What a shitty way to grow your audience

@tsukumoon: @straight_outta_here @kure_10 Here’s another thought.. was his whole rivalry with Miyuki just clickbait? I bet they were friends behind the scenes this whole time and thought they could trick us all into getting more money. How shallow of them both tbh.

Kazuya frowned thinking about those tweets. He couldn’t report tweets that weren’t actively breaking the rules, so some things would linger that were out of Kazuya’s control; all he could do was hope that Sawamura managed to avoid seeing them. Sawamura seemed so genuinely happy in his video that the last thing Kazuya wanted to see was Sawamura's light extinguished by a bunch of assholes online who had nothing better to do than start shit for no good reason.

He didn’t realize when he grew so fiercely protective over Sawamura, but now there he was, clenching his jaw at the mere thought that someone could make him cry. Kazuya had faced hateful comments before, heard truly venomous things and had even been threatened. He knew the ugly side of becoming “famous” online and though he knew some things were inevitable, he wished he could shield Sawamura from that stuff. Sawamura really was a diamond in the rough, a gleaming star in the night, a bright flower sprouting amongst the snow. He was a rare case of raw talent, a person with such wholehearted passion not yet dulled by the scum of their society.

Don’t get him wrong, Kazuya wasn’t the edgy type who lost all hope either. He was still inspired and happy to make his own content, but he’d been through enough unwarranted harassment and pointless internet drama to let the glamour of it all fade away at times. It took special moments for him to be able to appreciate what he so often took for granted, and Sawamura was a great example of someone who made him look at the bright side during times when he forgot to do just that.

Kazuya liked feeling like a mentor to Sawamura. He liked that Sawamura called him senpai, liked that Sawamura asked him for advice about sponsors, and liked that Sawamura really seemed to look up to him even though he pretended not to. It was endearing; it made Kazuya want to do his best, to show off and prove that he was worthy of Sawamura's admiration (and maybe he was still a teensy bit jealous of the way he looked when he talked about Chris, but that's besides the point).

Not to mention Kazuya’s quickly-worsening attraction to Sawamura which undoubtedly had something to do with his protectiveness. Addressing his feelings was both a pleasant feeling and a dreadful one, but mostly dreadful—Kazuya was not just worried about letting himself get into a relationship again. More than ever now, his personal life was brought into the public and known by an audience of millions. He wasn’t at the scale of a celebrity, sure, but he was still famous enough that a romantic partner would be recognized and worst of all, scrutinized by all sorts of people.

They were only friends and Sawamura was already getting criticized because of Kazuya. What would happen if they happened to become something more? Was Kazuya ready to handle that responsibility? Could he deal with the inevitable backlash on the emotional level and carry the guilt of seeing Sawamura get hurt because of his association with Kazuya? Those questions were tough to think about on top of the usual anxiety he had when considering a committed relationship after the last one wasn’t all he’d dreamed it would have been.

At the very least, Kazuya was relieved to know that Sawamura had very loving, devoted friends by his side to protect him from hateful words and comments. He hoped they could handle it and keep Sawamura safe from all the shit that would start getting thrown his way in due time.

Even so, by the time it was dark and Kazuya got home, he couldn’t resist sending Sawamura a message to hopefully keep his mind off anything negative he might have seen.

miyukik: a slice of humble pie, huh? thanks, it sure tasted good ;)

Sawamura, as always, was pretty bad at pretending to wait to respond to a message he clearly opened right away. Besides, his ‘read’ receipts were on and Kazuya saw how quickly he opened them up—it made his heart flutter whenever Sawamura seemed to drop everything in order to check what Kazuya said. Sometimes he took a few minutes to pretend he hadn’t seen the message yet and act casual, as if there was anything casual about Sawamura Eijun. 

eijunoshioshi:  THAT’S RIGHT MIYUKI KAZUYA! HUMBLE PIE! DID YOU HAVE ENOUGH!? (╬ Ò﹏Ó)

miyukik hahaha 

miyukik:  i didn’t expect a shoutout at all, you’re so sweet, sa~wa~muraaa~ ♡

He expected Sawamura to react violently as always, screaming insults at him, but Kazuya was a bit startled—in a good way—when he received Sawamura's response.

eijunoshioshi:  well, I mean… I do owe a lot of it to you, so… (⁄ ⁄•⁄ω⁄•⁄ ⁄) ACCEPT MY GRATITUDE!

Though, of course, Kazuya spent just a second too long staring at the message with the cute blushing emoji, listening to the pounding of his heart. By the time he was trying to think of something to say, Sawamura had snapped right back to his usual self.

eijunoshioshi: JUST BECAUSE I’M GRATEFUL FOR YOU DOESNT MEAN YOU’LL BE GETTING ANY SPECIAL FAVORS ALRIGHT!??! DONT GET HOTHEADED!!! FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES, YOU AND I ARE STILL RIVALS ୧((#Φ益Φ#))୨

Kazuya felt relieved. Sawamura was behaving like himself—either he didn’t see those negative responses to his success, or he did and he let them roll off his back. If that was the case, Kazuya was truly impressed by his emotional strength, but he hoped that he just hadn’t seen them at all. Regardless of how Sawamura handled it, if at all, Kazuya was alway fond of teasing him if he got the opportunity. He was also pretty terrible at expressing himself in a straightforward fashion and preferred to sneak glimpses of his true feelings through jokes and jabs, and so that was just the way he decided to carry on the conversation.

miyukik: Rivals, huh?? how exciting, i wonder what i’m in for (¬‿¬ )

miyukik: so are we competing? what does the winner get? go on, tell me~ i’m DYING to know what i’d receive from you ♡

Oh, Sawamura was just too easy to rile up. Kazuya snickered to himself as he watched Sawamura's frantic messages fly up the length of his screen in rapid succession.

eijunoshioshi:  SJKDFJKDGSNDFDFKDGKSF

eijunoshioshi:  SHUT UP!!!!!!! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING YOU WEIRDO ILL FIGHT YOU RIGHT NOW

eijunoshioshi:  A COMPETITION IS WHAT YOU WANT? I’LL GIVE YOU A COMPETITION TANUKI BASTARD

eijunoshioshi:  iF I CATCH UP TO YOU IN SUBSCRIBER COUNT, YOU OWE ME

miyukik:  i owe you what?

eijunoshioshi:  SHHH I’M THINKING…. 

After a minute or two, Sawamura's anticlimactic answer came through.

eijunoshioshi:  it’s a surprise… you’ll find out wHEN I WIN!!!! THERE! ( ̄ω ̄)

Kazuya rolled his eyes, even as his heart started to pound louder in his chest. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he could hear the distant sound of Youichi gagging and pretending to throw up at the sight of his smitten expression.

miyukik: alright then, im looking forward to finding out what that is ☆

Sawamura failed to notice that Kazuya never offered up what he wanted his prize to be if he won—after all, Kazuya had all the faith that Sawamura would succeed in catching up to him. Hell, Sawamura might even be able to surpass him, and it was something Kazuya secretly wanted to see happen one day.

Sawamura had a gift, and Kazuya was slowly realizing just how far he was willing to go to protect that gift.

Chapter Text

“Thanks for giving me a ride again!!” Eijun repeated for what might have been the fifteenth time that afternoon, clapping his hands together in a gesture of gratitude. Haruichi laughed and shook his head, yet again effortlessly brushing Eijun’s praises off.

“I told you, it’s fine by me,” Haruichi assured him, hands on the wheel while they made their way north. The road curved around the mountainous landscape, but Haruichi casually followed along the winding path, having done this journey more times than he could count. “Your family is right on the way to my parent’s. It would be silly to make you rent a car or try to take a train during this time of year. Besides…” Haruichi turned to cast a smile at Eijun from over his shoulder. “I like spending long car rides with you!”

“Harucchi…!” Eijun sniffled dramatically and gave his friend big, round puppy eyes from the back seat. He was so lucky to have such amazing friends who were always there for each other. “I like spending time with you, too! My only regret is that Furuya isn’t here to be with us.”

“He’d probably sleep the entire way,” Ryousuke pointed out from the passenger seat, though his focus remained trained on the book in his lap.

“He’ll be coming up to my parent’s place after seeing his grandpa,” Haruichi reminded Eijun as he brushed some hair from his eyes, “but first, it’ll just be a Kominato family reunion.”

Eijun smiled at the thought of everyone spending the holidays with their loved ones. Haruichi, Furuya and Eijun already had their own celebrations, and Eijun glanced down at his phone to check on Twitter and see how many likes their photos had. They live-streamed and recorded the whole process of building a gingerbread house and decorating a Christmas tree in their living room while wearing festive outfits, per Eijun’s request. Furuya had very fittingly chosen to be a polar bear, Haruichi wore a Santa-themed sweater and hat, and Eijun dressed like a reindeer donned in jingle-bells.

The photos posted up on Twitter included a selfie with all three of them in their outfits, the gingerbread house partially destroyed due to the way they started eating it, and the bedazzled tree with Eijun and Furuya posing dramatically on either side of it. Eijun took a moment to scroll through the replies on the tweet, feeling his heart warm at the sight of so many people from around the world wishing them a pleasant holiday season, complimenting their outfits, and laughing at the demolished state of their gingerbread house.

Now that they had their fun, Eijun proposed the idea of going home to their families for Christmas. Eijun hadn’t seen his family since before VidCon, somehow allowing so many months to go by without paying a visit. His parents weren’t upset with him and were supportive of Eijun being off on his own, establishing himself in his career and making a life for himself. They never complained about how far away he was now, or acted like they resented him for taking off. Eijun was grateful for that, and he knew they missed him, but they didn’t say it too often in order to avoid making Eijun feel guilty.

The least he could do was break away from his friends for a while and enjoy time with his family. Haruichi and Furuya felt the same way about their families, and so it worked out that everyone wanted to take time away from the city and at their respective hometowns. Haruichi offered to drive Eijun up to his parent’s place after picking up Ryousuke, insisting it was right on the way despite Eijun knowing that Haruichi had to make a bit of a trek to take him there. Haruichi never complained however, and now they were in the midst of their miniature road trip.

“I have an idea!” Eijun burst out once they were about twenty minutes into their travels. Eijun placed one hand on the back of each seat and leaned forward so that his face was right over the compartment between the front seats. “How about we play a game!?” He rushed on ahead with his idea before either Kominato had a chance to respond. “I have one in mind! I say something we see starting with the letter A, and then the next person has to pick something they see that starts with the letter B, and then—”

“Boring,” Ryousuke interrupted, just as cutthroat as always. “A game of ‘would you rather’ is more exciting than that. Or perhaps we can try 21 questions.”

“Fine,” Eijun muttered with a huff. He wasn’t hurt about his idea getting shut down, no, not at all! He tried to hide his sore expression, but Eijun failed miserably by pouting like a child. His momentary hurt was gone in an instant at the thought of starting a game, so he perked up in no time. “Then in that case, you should start, Onii-san!”

Ryousuke’s lips curved into a devilish smirk. “Alright. Eijun, would you rather have explosive diarrhea or kiss Miyuki Kazuya?”

“I’d— what kind of question is that!?” Eijun shrieked with panicked cat-like eyes, his face burning scarlet. “This is targeted harassment!”

“Answer the question,” Ryousuke warned with a dangerous smile.

“Explosive diarrhea, obviously!” Eijun hollered. “For the rest of my life! Every single day, three times each day if I must!! Anything to avoid that—” Eijun cut himself off, realizing that he’d publicly made amends for how harshly he’d treated Miyuki. He couldn’t keep acting like they were actual enemies! Eijun shrank back slightly as he tried to calm down from his heated reaction. “Mumumu… I-I mean, he’s… my friend, I guess… but I don’t wanna k-k-kiss him! That’s weird for friends to do, so yeah, having diarrhea is better than doing something that weird!”

“Hmmm, intriguing,” Ryousuke said, mostly to himself, but Eijun glanced nervously at Haruichi. He wondered if Haruichi was picking up on Ryousuke’s hinting tone and felt his stomach tie in knots. Feeling wild and impulsive, Eijun directed his gaze back at Ryousuke. Didn’t he say he was going to keep Eijun’s crush between them!? Eijun supposed he couldn’t come between the bond of the Kominato brothers, but still!

“Anyway!” Eijun snapped. “Would you rather—” Eijun was going to ask something basic, but he wanted to get back at Ryousuke, and the fire of revenge burning under his skin fueled him to be reckless. Eijun narrowed his eyes challengingly and snapped, “Would you rather watch Harucchi have sex with Furuya, or have him watch you have sex with Kuramochi!?”

“Eijun-kun, with all due respect,” Haruichi hissed, “what the fuck?” 

“It’s just a hypothetical question!!” Eijun defended hysterically, not really considering the implications behind that type of question until it was already out of his mouth. All he was thinking of was how to get on Ryousuke’s nerves, which was nearly impossible unless targeting his protective love over his little brother. Unfortunately, Eijun’s risky and ingenious trump card didn’t do shit.

“Easy, he can watch us,” Ryousuke answered calmly. Haruichi’s face was bright red and the car jerked slightly as he whipped his face towards his brother. 

“Aniki!?” Haruichi questioned, clearly mortified by the fact that he called answering such a taboo question ‘easy.’ Eijun frowned and let out a sigh of defeat. Ryousuke really would stop at nothing to pretend that his baby brother wasn’t getting soiled by another man.

“Haruichi, would you rather have no fingers or no eyes?” Ryousuke turned towards him with an eerie smile, causing Haruichi to gulp at the sudden turn of theme in the questions that went from sexual to gruesome.

“E-Eyes, I guess,” Haruichi admitted softly. Silence stretched between them all after that, and Haruichi ended up trying to change the subject. “Hey, um, maybe we can listen to Christmas music or something instead of going on?”

“But this is fun,” Ryousuke argued, shifting to look back at Eijun with deadly intent in his expression. “I already have lots of questions in mind for sweet little Eijun back there, who wants to play road trip games with us so badly.”

Eijun shrank back against the seat and offered a nervous smile. His trump card must have actually worked, for Ryousuke wouldn’t have such a threatening aura if Eijun’s words hadn’t gotten on his nerves at least a little bit. Maybe offering to play a game with Ryousuke Kominato wasn’t the smartest idea he’d thought of lately.

“I-I’m starting to like the sound of Harucchi’s suggestion!” Eijun said, averting his eyes with an anxious laugh. “Christmas caroling together could be a fun way to get in the swing of the holidays!”

Ryousuke let out a sigh and looked away, turning his focus back down to the open book in his lap. When the silence trickled on, Haruichi turned the volume of the radio up louder. No one started singing, at least not yet. 

Eijun would have commenced the caroling, but he was distracted and actively trying not to think about kissing Miyuki. He feared that if he did picture that particular fantasy too much, Ryousuke would notice and say something about the dreamy look in his eyes. Letting out a forlorn sigh, Eijun looked out the window at the passing scenery with a pitiful expression.

Harucchi, why do you have to have such a sadist as an older brother!?

 

***

 

“It’s so good to have you home!”

Eijun let out a laugh as his mother’s arms constricted around him, squeezing him tight in a loving hug. He hadn’t even gotten through the doorway before she was on him, giving him the embrace he hadn’t realized he’d been missing for months. Eijun was happy to drop his bag and hug her back, joy swelling in his heart from her familiar warmth and scent.

“I’m back,” Eijun told her. The serenity of their reunion was interrupted by Eijun’s dad joining in, and as soon as Eijun felt his father’s heavy hand clapping upon Eijun’s back, he had to laugh and return his father’s energy. It took him quite a bit to break from their hugs to wave at Haruichi, who had waited in the driveway until Eijun was greeted inside. After that, Haruichi pulled his car away, and Eijun remembered to report his friend’s message to the Sawamura family. “Harucchi said he’s sorry they can’t come inside this time since they’re in a bit of a hurry, but both him and Onii-san wish you a Merry Christmas!”

“We’ll catch up with them next time,” his mother assured, making sure to wave at the Kominato brothers before they drove off. Once they were out of sight, she dropped her arm and held the door open for her son. “Come in!”

“Is Gramps not home?” Eijun asked, craning his neck to look around the entryway. Usually Gramps was right there to greet Eijun as well, so Eijun questioned his absence.

“No, he’s home,” his dad said, a somewhat strained smile on his lips. “He just decided to wait until you were inside to say hello.”

Eijun was immediately a little suspicious by the look in his father’s eyes, but he didn’t linger on the thought as he removed his shoes. While his dad took his bags in, Eijun darted into the living room in search of Gramps. Sure enough, Gramps was reclining in his favorite chair, watching the TV with very little concentration.

“There you are, you brat!” Gramps called out once he saw Eijun enter the room, his usual snarky smile on his lips. Like always, he wore a flowery Hawaiian-print shirt and khaki shorts, as if it were summer rather than the middle of December. “I feel like I haven’t seen you since you were shittin’ in diapers!”

“Wahaha! I’m back now!” Eijun declared, stepping forward before pausing. He expected Gramps to get up once Eijun was close enough to him, but Gramps made no move to stand, and Eijun’s confusion was written all over his face. He frowned as Gramps leaned forward a bit, but judging by the way Gramps winced a bit, he seemed to be sore. Eijun’s brows furrowed and he asked, “Are you alright?”

“Ah, you know what gettin’ old does to you,” Gramps muttered with a hand-wavey tone. “Aches and pains all the damn time nowadays. The real question is what doesn’t hurt?”

That didn’t seem right. Eijun was troubled by his attitude; Gramps had alway been very lively and energetic, even despite his old age. Eijun’s temple still throbbed from the memory of Gramps whacking him over the head whenever he was acting stupid as a teenager, and that really wasn’t that long ago, was it? Eijun supposed it had been a whole decade since he was a rebellious fifteen-year-old, but he didn’t think Gramps would have aged so drastically during those ten years.

“We gotta catch you up on everything, son,” Eijun’s father said once he entered the room, just having returned from putting Eijun’s bags in his room. He placed a hand on Eijun’s back and gave him a tight-lipped smile. “There’s been a few more hospital visits than we’d like.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Eijun nearly whispered, the joy of returning home now suddenly dampened by the realization that his grandpa wasn’t in great health. He looked up at his father with sorrowful eyes, feeling a bit betrayed that he’d been kept out of the loop. His father sighed and slid his hand over to Eijun’s shoulder instead, giving him a reassuring squeeze.

“We didn’t want to worry you too much,” his father said with an honest tone. “But don’t worry, Eijun. Nothing life-threatening has happened, otherwise you would know about that.”

Eijun supposed he could accept that answer. He didn’t need to be informed of every little thing that happened with his grandpa, but he still felt concerned over Gramps’s wellbeing. Seeing that he was too tired even to stand and greet Eijun was alarming, but Eijun still didn’t have the whole story about what happened during the summer.

Sure enough, once they were sitting down and talking about Gramps’s health, it turned out that he had only recently returned from the hospital from a minor procedure. Even though they phrased it to Eijun that way, everyone seemed pretty shocked by how it knocked Gramps off his feet, metaphorically and literally to a certain degree. He could still walk, but only for short periods of time, and he was now working hard to build up his strength again. 

Thankfully, Gramps’s attitude remained the same once all the bleak news was out of the way. He still made as much noise as ever, which seemed to run in the Sawamura blood, and in no time they were all back to shouting over each other like always. Eijun just hoped that everything really was alright and his parents weren’t brushing anything under the rug to ease his concerns. Regardless, he vowed to himself that he would help around the house as much as he could during his visit, no matter how much his mother insisted she could handle the work on her own.

Now that he was home, Eijun was glad he made the decision to come. He was looking forward to spending some quality time with the people who raised him and made him into the man he was today. They could start by reviving a favorite family tradition, one that Eijun refused to let die, much to his Gramps’s enjoyment.

“Gramps!” Eijun called out as he plopped down in front of Gramps, a particular board and all its pieces in hand. “I challenge you to a death-match of shogi! This Sawamura Eijun will not go easy on you!”

“Ahaha! A death match, huh?” Gramps grinned at him and rubbed his palms together, eager to fight his grandson head-to-head on their favorite board game. “Now that’s the spirit!” 

 

***

 

Rambunctious laughter filled the kitchen, but the sounds echoed in the bathroom as Kazuya closed the door behind him. Now that Youichi’s grandfather was finished in there, he had the bath to himself. He released a sigh as he stepped inside and started to undress. Just as he reached down to his pants, his hand bumped the outline of his phone in his pocket, so he paused to pull it out. He thought he felt a notification earlier, but didn’t bother to check what it was until then.

Dad: Have a good time with the Mochi’s

Kazuya felt a smile tug on his lips. He called his father before he left for Youichi’s family residence, but that was a few days before Christmas. Now that it was Christmas Eve, he felt happy that his dad was thinking about him. Kazuya made sure to respond before he forgot.

Me: And you have fun in the sun :)

With that, Kazuya finished getting undressed and slipped into the bath. He took a deep breath as the hot water soaked into his skin, soothing any nervousness he might have had pent up in his tight muscles all day long. He felt comfortable at the Kuramochi house, but he couldn’t avoid feeling a little anxious over the possibility that he was intruding on their family time together. 

Kazuya’s father had gone on vacation during Christmas every year since Kazuya graduated college, and while Kazuya never objected to his father using his vacation days to enjoy himself, he secretly wished they could spend the holiday together again sometime. He was too embarrassed to admit it to him, and plus, he didn’t even know what they’d do together. Kazuya guessed he just wanted to spend some quality time with his dad and he was always too emotionally constipated to admit it outright. Each time he worked up the courage to bring it up, his dad had already booked his flights and was rambling excitedly on the phone about his next tropical getaway.

Always hiding his disappointment, Kazuya truly felt happy for him. His father was a hard worker and he deserved some time to himself. Kazuya hoped he would find someone, a new partner to keep him company, since his mother had passed away when Kazuya was too young to remember her. It had been over twenty years and Miyuki Toku remained single. Every time Kazuya tried to tease him about it, his father just brushed him off or changed the subject entirely. He guessed his father would just move at his own pace, or maybe he was happier being single.

It was evident that Kazuya couldn’t relate to his father’s solitary lifestyle. Kazuya was a romantic at heart even if others wouldn’t guess that about Kazuya, and after things fell through with this last relationship, Youichi had taken pity on the thought of Kazuya spending the holidays alone. Not to mention how sentimental Kazuya could get around this time of year, and he was easily depressed if left alone when everyone else was enjoying time with their loved ones. Ever since then, Kazuya had gone to spend Christmas with the Kuramochi’s, who welcomed him with open arms as if he were a son of their own.

Kazuya enjoyed his time with them and he felt grateful not to be left behind to spend Christmas alone. Sayu, Youichi’s mother, was rambunctious just like her son, and she kept both young men on their feet doing chores around the house the whole time they were home. She was good-natured about it however, always laughing and making a racket alongside Youichi’s grandfather, Daisuke. Like Kazuya, Youichi lost a parent at a young age, so they complimented each other in a sense, with Youichi having his mother in his life and Kazuya having his father.

As much as Kazuya loved to be with the Kuramochi family on Christmas, he yearned for the day he would have his own family and home to spend time in. He imagined his partner, bright-eyed and innocent, full of excitement for the festivities they’d experience together. His golden eyes would glimmer, his smile would make Kazuya’s heart thump, and he might even have some snowflakes dusted in his chocolate-brown hair. Sawamura would be eager to decorate the tree together, holding up an array of sparkling ornaments as he called out, “Where should I put these ones, Miyuki Kazuya? Look, this one is a tanuki just like you! Wahaha!”

Kazuya’s face heated as he sat upright in the bath. His hypothetical partner had transformed into Sawamura yet again; it was far from the first time it had happened. Anytime Kazuya tried to think of some distant idea of a partner, Sawamura came to mind without fail.

Kazuya pulled himself from the bath, ending his soak with a stretch of his arms in front of his chest. The hot water trickled down his muscular body in rivulets, and he emerged from the steaming tub to go stand under the shower instead. When he turned the overhead shower on, the spray was at a cooler temperature, and its mist provided a little relief for Kazuya’s warm skin.

Except the heat starting to collect in his core wasn’t going away so easily. Kazuya swallowed and looked down at his body, slicking back his wet bangs with one hand. A ragged sigh escaped his lips when his cock twitched with interest, compelling him to touch and lose himself in a brief fantasy.

He’d make it quick and quiet. He wasn’t home, after all, but at least Youichi and his family were busy in the kitchen, yelling over the loud sound of the TV. Kazuya couldn’t do this in the bedroom after all, since he was sharing that space with Youichi, and he wasn’t about to do anything weird by his best friend’s side. Kazuya resigned himself to a swift orgasm and took a deep breath, then took his hardening cock in hand.

At first, his mind went back to the memory of Halloween, with Sawamura in those thigh-high stockings, tiny shorts and that skin-tight thin shirt he wore on top. His fantasy usually started with himself crowding Sawamura up against the wall, sliding his hands along that narrow waist, and slipping his fingers underneath his shirt to play with his nipples. He imagined that Sawamura had a sensitive chest, and that he would immediately start squirming and gasping at the feeling of Kazuya’s rough fingers on such a tender part of his body.

“You’re so pretty,” Kazuya would praise, knowing that Sawamura loved to be complimented. Sawamura would get that hazy look in his eyes, a pretty pink flush on his cheeks, and start to come undone under Kazuya’s touch. He never thought deeply about where Sawamura’s clothes went or how they disappeared, but it was only at this point in the fantasy that Kazuya realized the cat-ears and tail were gone. Instead, somewhere along the way, Sawamura instead wore a red velvet outfit with white, fluffy trim. It was a tight little dress, with a skirt far too short to cover anything much farther beneath the swell of his plump cheeks.

“Unwrap me,” Sawamura whispered sweetly, batting his lashes as he turned around and invitingly pushed his ass out towards Kazuya. The skirt strained around his cheeks, and it was cut short enough for Kazuya to see a peek of the panties he wore underneath. 

Kazuya’s mouth watered and he braced his arm against the shower wall while the other hand moved faster, stroking his length with rapid pumps, biceps flexing with the strain of the movement. The fantasy was corny and unrealistic, sure, but Kazuya didn’t give a damn about reality at that moment—all he wanted was to get off. Picturing Sawamura in a skeezy Santa outfit seemed to be doing the trick, and Kazuya clenched his jaw tight as he lost himself in his imagination once again. 

In his imagination, Kazuya pushed Sawamura’s skirt up, bunching it around his slim waist. He groped Sawamura’s plump cheeks with greedy, rough squeezes, imagining the way Sawamura would protest and whine at how perverted Kazuya was being. Sawamura bent into his touch so willingly, head tilted back in a graceful, feline-like position. The panties he wore were thin and didn’t cover up much—they were white and sparkly, decorating his smooth skin with a pattern that resembled snowflakes on their edges, and Kazuya pushed them out of the way to see the prize that was previously hidden underneath.

Shit. Kazuya felt a shiver of pleasure roll down his spine and he stroked his cock with a tighter grip, rubbing at the spots that gave him the most stimulation. He was leaking precum now, his hard length swollen to its full, impressive size as he chased the pleasure that his imagination provided to him. He wondered what Sawamura’s ass must look like, but in his mind it was so round and gorgeous, with a pretty pink hole already wet and stretched for the taking. Of course Sawamura would have prepared for him, so eager to be fucked in the slutty outfit he wore for the holidays.

Kazuya’s fantasy skipped to the part where he was fucking Sawamura, pushing his cock inside that sweet, tight heat and pulling cries from Sawamura’s lips. He bet Sawamura would squeeze around him, would suck him in like he needed to feel full, and would roll his hips back to meet Kazuya halfway. He pictured Sawamura being soft and pliant, not to mention noisy with how many needy whimpers and cries he’d let out. In Kazuya’s mind, Sawamura was so perfectly sweet and submissive, completely overstimulated by every little touch on his flushed body.

It was no surprise that Kazuya’s vision wavered, the fantasy turning hazy as he reached his climax. He shifted his arm so he could bite onto the back of his wrist, muffling his groan while cum spurted from his cock onto the tiled wall in front of him. Relief washed through his body as he stroked himself through it, milking out every last drop until his hand was shaking. Once the heat in his cock began to ebb away, he stood upright and turned the temperature of the water down to cool off, then thoroughly rinsed his release from the wall and his hand.

By the time Kazuya dried off and redressed himself, he looked at the bite-mark on the back of his arm and hoped that the long sleeves of his cheesy holiday sweater would cover it up. The last thing he needed was for Youichi to make some comment about the mysterious mark on his arm and put two and two together.

Satisfied and sleepy, Kazuya emerged from the steam-clouded bathroom and walked into their empty kitchen. It seemed that everyone was headed to bed and Kazuya wondered just how long he’d been showering for. When he checked the time, he realized he wasn’t in the bath for too long, but it had gotten late quickly. He grabbed a drink from the kitchen and went down the hall, where he saw light shining from between the crack of Youichi’s door and the floor below.

Youichi didn’t look away from his game as Kazuya entered the room and closed the door behind him. He joined his side and took a seat, then took a moment to open his drink. Youichi was very focused and Kazuya knew better than to screw that up unless he wanted to get thrown into a headlock or some other uncomfortable wrestling position, so instead he sipped his drink and watched as Youichi aggressively mashed on the buttons of his controller.

When Kazuya looked more directly at Youichi, he noticed that Youichi had his headphones on and the mic positioned on the table next to him. Youichi was streaming and the chat was suddenly speeding up with excitement at the sight of Kazuya in the frame. Kazuya leaned in closer to the webcam and started making victory-signs and goofy faces at the viewers, hovering just behind Youichi’s shoulder like an annoying bug.

“Stop distracting them from my gameplay!” Youichi snapped after a moment, glaring heatedly at Kazuya’s stupidly grinning face. “This isn’t your stream!”

“Aw, but they love me,” Kazuya pointed out, shifting his focus back to the chat. “Tell him that you love me!”

Kazuya didn’t need to see what everyone said; the flood of heart emojis communicated their agreement clearly enough. Kazuya gave a smug grin at Youichi, who scowled more and started slashing through his enemies in the game with more ferocity than before. In the meantime, Kazuya did nothing in particular on his phone as he waited patiently for Youichi to finish up.

“Alright, enough of this shit,” Youichi grumbled once his character died. He saved his progress and shut down the game, then turned to talk to the chat. “We can either end the stream here, or I can make Kazuya watch some cringe videos on YouTube. Which will it be?”

The answer was overwhelmingly in favor of watching cringe content, so Youichi got that mischievous grin on his face as he started to type something in the search bar. Kazuya tried to see what he was searching for, but Youichi reached over with one hand, shoving his palm onto Kazuya’s face and roughly pushing it away so that he couldn’t read what Youichi was pulling up.

“What’s that for? I thought we were both watching a video,” Kazuya complained, trying to avoid having Youichi’s big hand in his face. When Youichi pulled his hand away, Kazuya re-adjusted his glasses irritably. “What’s the point of hiding it from me?”

“For the pure shock value,” Youichi responded with a widening smile. “Otherwise, you’ll get spoiled and anticipate what horrific shit I’m about to show you! Kyahaha!”

“Ohhhh?” Kazuya hummed as Youichi made the video go full-screen, which obscured the title of the video from Kazuya’s view. Kazuya then turned his attention to his phone as he pulled up Twitter. “Hold on, I’m letting everyone know to join your stream right now if they want to be part of this. We haven’t filmed a cringe reaction video in a while and I know everyone’s been missing those.”

“Go for it!” Youichi voiced his approval. After typing a quick tweet and attaching the link to Youichi’s stream, Kazuya tucked his phone away and watched as the number of viewers began to skyrocket. Pleased to see his audience growing bigger, Youichi waved at them and flashed a big smile. “‘Sup, everyone! Welcome and Happy Holidays! I have a certain four-eyed jerk freeloading at my place this Christmas, can you believe it? The audacity…”

“You invite me every year,” Kazuya corrected with a small frown, playing into their back-and-forth seamlessly. Kazuya turned his attention towards the chat to see what they were saying.

dragonwarrior: I’m so excited to be here!!

they_fzjp: HAPPY HOLIDAAAAYS!

miyvkies: I LOVE U MIYUKI KAZUYA

kayliegirl: JKASDSDFKFGDGMS BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT EVER

AkiRokuKin: Omg this will be so funny XD

606shOoOoz: CRINGE TIME CRINGE TIEM

ei_chanx: HNGNNH MIYUKI LOOKS SO HANDSOME AS ALWAYS <3

Kazuya’s eyes caught on a familiar name amongst the crowd. His brow raised not only due to its linguistic similarity to a certain someone’s name, but from the hilarious memories that handle evoked. He remembered Ei-chan well and her wild thirst tweets that he read out loud for a video. Her account had been full of outlandish posts about Kazuya’s physique and how his personality, confidence, and success only made him even more attractive than he already was. 

Though of course, Kazuya wasn’t dense, and he had his suspicions about the “girl” behind the account. He had many fangirls and the possibility of Ei-chan being another one of them was not a slim chance at all, but the name was a little too similar to Eijun for Kazuya not to notice. Perhaps it was his wishful thinking that Sawamura had some secret thirst account for the sole purpose of gushing over Kazuya, because really, that was too good to be true.

At the same time… Kazuya wondered about it. He would be lying if he didn’t admit he kept tabs on the account, lurking on it from time to time to see if he detected any similarities in tone and typing style to Sawamura. The two of them were similar, but not a perfect match, which could be due to the fact that they were actually different people or because Sawamura was changing his typing style on purpose to throw off any suspicion.

He didn’t know, but the truth wasn’t so important at that moment. What mattered was that one of his biggest fans was watching, and he couldn’t resist the urge to try and flaunt for them, whoever they were.

“This shirt’s a little too hot, so I’m gonna change into a different one,” Kazuya said, to which Youichi simply grunted an affirmation that he heard him. Then, right there and then, Kazuya pulled his shirt off over his head. Kazuya even flashed a cocky grin towards the camera as he reached into his bag, which was right next to him, and winked at his viewers.

kayliegirl: DKOFDGOFSOMDGOSFBMODMODGSFMODGNO BYE

moonpersonified: did… did he just… strip for us

BadgerMajority: *grabs an umbrella to shield myself from the nosebleeds and fluids now flying my way*

MYKLOOKS: DONT WORRY EVERYONE I WAS RECORDING WE HAVE IT ON FILM I REPEAT WE HAVE IT ON FI;M

missingoliver: CANT BREAHTENFKSDGM

hunniepls: miyuki that was so cringe LMFAO

96treatham: HAHAH WAS THAT THE CRINGE WE’RE REACTING TODAY?? U ACTING LIKE A FUCKBOY? Who’s part of the roast miyuki squad :’)

ei_chanx: i.. i need a moment.. x/////x

kayliegirl: EI ANSWER MY DM ASDOSDOMODGOAMO ARE U ALIVE AFTER THAGT

Kazuya couldn’t resist smirking proudly. Good—the one he wanted to see had been paying attention, after all. He tugged on a thinner, tighter t-shirt, one that left little to the imagination when it came to his muscular torso.  

The stream, though impulsive, went well in Kazuya’s opinion. The audience was engaged, Youichi got a lot of gift-subs and donations, and most importantly, Kazuya and Youichi had a blast. In fact, they were laughing so hard at one point that Youichi’s grandpa had to come knock on the door and tell them to quiet down. It was a moment the chat found to be very hilarious, for they got to see two grown men get yelled at like they were misbehaving little boys again.

Once the stream was over and the lights were turned off, Kazuya relaxed against his futon, gazing up tiredly at the ceiling. Youichi was laying silently in bed beside him, but Kazuya could tell he was still awake, and Kazuya was getting deeper in his head by the minute. Thinking about his father earlier that day and how he wished he was able to be more open with him had Kazuya itching to say something sentimental to Youichi. Surely Youichi was well-aware of how important he was to Kazuya, but sometimes, Kazuya felt the need to remind him out of the blue.

“Hey,” Kazuya said, breaking the comfortable silence of the room. Youichi shifted in bed, turning his head slightly so he could look at Kazuya. It was dark and Kazuya couldn’t see him as clearly as he would if the light was still on, but the moonlight provided enough illumination for him to make out Youichi’s expression. He offered Youichi a smile and went for it, too tired to overthink about what he was saying or to worry if he sounded stupid. “That stream was really fun. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while.”

“Right?” Youichi reflected his joy with a sly grin of his own. “There’s nothing better than watching people eat gross shit and act like nothing’s weird about it! It’s endless entertainment!”

“I’m not really talking about that part,” Kazuya corrected with a gentle laugh. “I mean that I enjoyed watching things with you. It was really fun laughing together and even getting yelled at. I always…” Kazuya felt a bit embarrassed to proceed, but he knew he wanted to say more. To avoid feeling more flustered, he glanced aside before going on. “I always feel comfortable with you and we always have fun. I feel like you’re my brother or something, and that bond we have is really special to me. So… thank you for having me over. Again.”

For a moment, Youichi was quiet, and Kazuya wondered if he’d been rambling long enough to put his best friend to sleep. When Kazuya turned to look at him and see for himself, he saw Youichi’s genuinely shocked expression, softened in a way that Kazuya rarely saw when Youichi looked at anyone besides Ryousuke. He almost didn’t know what to do when Youichi was staring at him like that, and he felt his face heat up with a flustered blush.

“Are you sick or something?” Youichi asked after a beat, clearly making a joke about Kazuya’s unusual show of platonic affection. Now wildly embarrassed about what he said, Kazuya abruptly turned over, roughly removed his glasses, and pulled out his sleep mask. The sudden movements and lack of a response evoked a small laugh from Youichi. “Sorry, I’m just not used to you saying stuff like that outright. It kinda creeped me out!”

“I’ll try not to be creepy again,” Kazuya grumbled while trying to hide the fact that he was smiling from Youichi.

“No, do it more often, it’s a treat to experience that rare soft side of you no one else ever sees!” Youichi teased. “What, is this time of year making you feel sentimental? Kyaha!”

“Shut up already!” Kazuya retorted, but laughter snuck its way into his response. After they laughed together again, Kazuya heard Youichi’s blankets rustling as he got into a more comfortable position, and the embarrassment Kazuya felt earlier began to go away. 

Finally, after a few beats of silence, Youichi spoke up.

“Thanks for saying that,” Youichi said, his voice unusually gentle and earnest. “I always have a lot of fun with you, too.”

Kazuya pretended to be asleep after hearing that. The truth was that he remained awake grinning like an idiot until he detected the steady, soft sound of Youichi’s unconscious breathing.

Chapter Text

eijunoshioshi: what’s your favorite christmas song? (◕‿◕。)

Now that Eijun had some downtime on the night of Christmas Eve, he decided on a whim to initiate a conversation with Miyuki. It was a conversation without any ulterior motives, and it had nothing to do with their careers. Eijun was simply bored and he wanted to talk to Miyuki. That’s what friends did, right? They just talked to each other for the sake of talking, didn’t they? Eijun couldn’t justify why he felt so nervous over the act of starting a casual conversation with Miyuki, but he felt like he had butterflies in his gut as he sank back into the comfortable array of pillows on his bed.

Playing softly from Eijun’s speaker was I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and placed on his nightstand was steaming hot chocolate in a red-and-green festive mug. He curled up tighter, toes wiggling in his snowflake-covered fuzzy socks, and felt a jolt in his heart when he saw the speech-bubble pop up that indicated that Miyuki was typing. 

Eijun knew Miyuki was with Kuramochi since he had attended Kuramochi’s stream in secret under Ei-chan’s name, so he wouldn’t have been surprised if Miyuki was too busy to respond. Instead, Miyuki had answered him quickly. Then again, it was late; maybe they were done celebrating for the day and settling down for bed like Eijun was.

miyukik: christmas tree by lady gaga ;) it’s not super well known, look it up if you haven’t heard it before

Eijun furrowed his brow. He didn’t know Lady Gaga had recorded a Christmas song. He was curious about it, so he decided to look it up per Miyuki’s suggestion. With a content smile, Eijun found the link and began to play the song. He was looking forward to learning a little more about Miyuki, since a person’s music taste always revealed so much about them. Eijun cupped his warm mug in hands and took a little sip of the chocolatey drink.

The song was catchy with a steady pop beat, and Eijun wasn’t really paying attention to the lyrics at first, but then the meaning of getting “underneath my Christmas tree” suddenly became apparent to Eijun.

“Ho, ho, ho, under the mistletoe, yes everybody knows, we will take off our clothes…”

With a burning hot face, Eijun nearly spat out his drink. Before anyone had a chance to overhear it, Eijun put on his playlist of choice again and rapidly started chewing Miyuki out for sending him such a dirty Christmas song.

eijunoshioshi: mIYUKI KAZUYA!!!!!!! (╬ Ò﹏Ó) I HAVE RESPECT FOR LADY GAGA’S MUSIC BUT DID YOU REALLY HAVE TO SEND ME SUCH A PERVERTED SONG!!!!

miyukik: lololol you listened to it?? did you play it loud? Wonder what ur family thought of that one ( ̄▽ ̄)

eijunoshioshi: SHUT UP I DID NOT!! STOP BEING A JERK AND TELL ME YOUR ACTUAL FAVORITE SONG!!! I ASKED YOU A REAL QUESTION AND THIS IS THE TREATMENT I GET???

miyukik: fine fine fineeee lol i guess I’d say its I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Receiving Miyuki’s genuine answer was a treat, but then Eijun realized with a throb in his chest that it was the song Eijun had just been listening to. The song was almost over by that point, so he restarted the song, feeling both a bit comforted and a little spooked at the perfect timing. He settled back and actually listened to the lyrics this time, taking a deep breath while he allowed each note to settle in his heart.

“I’ll be home for Christmas, darling… I’ll be coming home to you, and there’s nothing in the world gonna get in my way…”

The song was so… romantic. Eijun felt himself blushing and curling his arms around his waist, squeezing himself tight as he pretended that Miyuki was the one holding him instead. The yearning in the singer’s tone conveyed the desire he felt to be with the one he loved, even though they were far, far apart. Eijun was able to pretend, just for a few fleeting moments, that this song might be about him and Miyuki.

He peered down at his phone when it lit up from a new notification.

miyukik: what about your fav?

As I’ll Be Home For Christmas ended, Eijun grinned and typed his response quickly.

eijunoshioshi: FROSTY THE SNOWMAN!!!!!

miyukik: why am i not surprised that you like a kid’s song lol

eijunoshioshi: whats that SUPPOSED TO MEAN?? (`ヘ´) IT’S A CUTE STORY! AND IT’S CATCHY! FROOOSTY THE SNOWMANNN WAS A JOLLY HAPPY SOUL!!! WITH A CORN COB PIPE AND A BUTTON NOSE

miyukik: you dont need to type the lyrics to me, i know the song ( ̄ω ̄;)

eijunoshioshi: AND TWO EYES MADE OUT OF COALLLL!!!! ( ` ∇ ´ )

“Eijun!” When he heard his mom calling his name, Eijun turned down his music. “Can you come down and help me with Gramps?”

“Sure!” Eijun turned back to his phone, lingered on their conversation with a smile, and decided to step aside without saying anything to Miyuki. He didn’t want to stop talking yet or tell Miyuki he had to go for the night; plus, he was pretty sure his mom just wanted him to help Gramps up the stairs so he could get to bed. It wouldn’t take long.

Feeling a happy flutter in his chest, Eijun hummed I’ll Be Home For Christmas under his breath as he made his way down to the living room.

 

***

 

“You’re sure everything will be fine?” Eijun asked again, pouting at his parents as they practically ushered him out the door. “You promise?”

“We’ve got this under control,” his father told him, looking much more confident and at ease than he did when Eijun arrived at the house for Christmas. After helping out as much as he could while he was home, Eijun got a better grasp on how Gramps was feeling, and it really seemed like he was stable for now. He was getting better slowly but surely, and already during the two weeks Eijun spent at home, Gramps had regained a lot of his strength.

“Oshi! I’ll trust that you’re telling the truth!” Eijun declared with a salute towards his mother. “But please tell me if you need me to come home to help out again! I’ll be here in a flash!”

“We will,” his mother said, a grateful smile on her face as she watched Eijun step down from the front steps towards Haruichi’s car, which was waiting in the driveway for him. Ryousuke was in the passenger seat again, and Furuya had gone on ahead of them to drive home on his own. “Let us know if you need anything, too, Eijun. We’re still your parents, after all.”

“Got it!” Eijun agreed with a broad smile, then turned to load his bags into the car.

As Haruichi’s car pulled away, Eijun waved from the window until he couldn’t see his house anymore. Yet again, Eijun found himself in the back seat, which was also occupied by multiple presents that the Kominato brothers received from their parents. Eijun grinned at the sight of a big, fluffy pink bunny plushie and wondered if it belonged to Haruichi or Ryousuke.

“Thanks for giving this Sawamura Eijun a ride back home!” Eijun said to Haruichi. Even though they lived together, their schedules didn’t always line up perfectly, so he felt lucky that he was able to make his way to and from his parent’s without much of a hassle. “Plus, I don’t get to see Onii-san much, so it’s great to spend time with both of you!”

“You’ll be seeing me again in a few days, if you want to,” Ryousuke said, a promise which piqued Eijun’s interest. At the sight of Eijun’s confused puppy-like head-tilt, Ryousuke turned around enough so that Eijun could see his scheming smile. “I told Youichi I want to host a New Year’s party, but it’ll be pretty small scale. Nothing like our Halloween party, which was sort of to show off our new house at the same time. This will be something more casual. I wanted to invite you, and both Haruichi and Satoru said they were available, so I figured you would be too.”

“New Year’s is already around the corner!” Eijun exclaimed with a sudden realization. “You’re right, O Wise Onii-san! Well, you can count on this Sawamura Eijun to be there for the big event!” He grinned widely, already excited to enjoy the turn of the new year with his closest friends. However, it didn’t take long for Eijun to remember the last time he was at Ryousuke’s house, in particular, the other person who had been there with them. Gulping, Eijun hoped the eager blush on his face wasn’t too bright. He tried to casually extend the conversation to find out more. “You said it would be small, right? So… you, me, Harucchi, Furuya, Kuramochi-senpai, and… uh, is that everyone who will be there?”

“Perhaps,” Ryousuke shrugged. “I was thinking of asking a few others if they were available. Jun and Tetsuya probably, and Youichi will want to invite his own friends, too, like Touru, Kenta…” Ryousuke tapped his finger on his chin, like he was deep in thought. “ Hmm, who else am I missing…”

Eijun’s heart was pounding with anticipation. He listened closely, nearly holding his breath as he waited for Ryousuke to finish listing names, but his impatience got the best of him.

“M… Miyuki-senpai?” Eijun suggested meekly, praying that he didn’t come off as eager. Regardless, Ryousuke’s smile widened devilishly and he lifted his pointer-finger, as if just remembering the name of the man Eijun was secretly the most excited to see again.

“Oh, so you do really want to see Kazuya again,” Ryousuke assumed. “It’s an awfully far drive for him, but if I tell him you’re soooo excited to spend time with him, then maybe he’ll consider coming.”

“I-I didn’t—” Eijun felt his blush start to inch down his neck, coloring him red. “I never said I was—I mean, I would like to see him, b-because we’re friends and all, but it’s not like I’m any more excited to see him than I am to see anyone else, because otherwise that would— wah!” Eijun’s eyes widened as Ryousuke suddenly lifted his phone and snapped a quick selfie of Eijun, stuttering and blushing in the back seat, with Ryousuke’s forehead and top half of his face just making it into the frame. “What was that for!?”

Eijun clambered forward, craning his neck over the seat to see what Ryousuke was doing with that embarrassing photo. His mouth fell open as he saw Ryousuke send it off to someone through a text message, and when he looked up to see the name of the contact, he saw Miyuki’s name paired up with a raccoon emoji. Along with the photo was a caption that read: Eijun just told me he *really* wants to see you on New Year’s Eve :)

“T-That’s not what I…!” Eijun whined, growing even more embarrassed by the second. He turned his pout towards Haruichi, who had been silent as he concentrated on driving. “Harucchi! Why is he bullying me? I just got in the car!”

“I think this is still payback for what you asked during ‘Would You Rather’ on the way up here,” Haruichi suggested, to which Eijun groaned with defeat. He should have known better than to try and fight Ryousuke, even in the format of a harmless road-trip-friendly game.

“He responded,” Ryousuke announced, and Eijun whipped his head so fast in the other direction that he felt a sting of pain in his neck. Before Eijun could read his answer, Ryousuke swiftly angled his phone screen away, a devious grin on his face. “What, do you wanna know what he said? Does it matter to you that much, Eijun? I wonder why you want to see what Kazuya had to say about seeing you so soon.”

“Does it matter!? Let me see it!” Eijun demanded, banging his fists on the back of both the seats in front of him to emphasize his desire. The impact of his fists on the chair jostled Haruichi around and he gripped the steering wheel tighter, then turned a sharp look at his older brother.

“Please show him before my car falls apart,” Haruichi hissed. Ryousuke snickered and decided to reveal the text to Eijun.

hmmm guess I can’t say no to a face like that ;) i’ll be there

Eijun’s heart thumped his chest and his eyes widened at what Miyuki said. What the hell did that mean? He decided he was going to go simply because Eijun was making a flustered expression? And why the mysterious winky-face!?

Now that he had plenty to think about, Eijun sat back quietly, a blush still bright and prominent on his face. Of course he’d been wondering about when he would see Miyuki next, but he didn’t know it would be so soon. New Year’s Eve was only four days away. What was he going to wear? Did this mean they would finally get to talk and spend a lot of time together without the pressure of thousands of viewers watching them?

Now that he knew he’d be seeing Miyuki by the end of that week, Eijun wasn’t sure how he’d manage to endure the entire car ride smiling like he was. At this rate, his cheeks were going to ache by the time they were home.

 

***

 

“Real quick, before we get into the video, I have an announcement to make.” Miyuki grinned at the camera as colorful text popped up in the frame, perfectly timed with his spoken words. “I’m going on tour next month with @mochiyouichi! After the success of our last tour, which was short as hell and not nearly enough to satisfy anyone, we realized we needed to do something bigger and better this time. Check out all the dates and places we’ll be hitting up.” A flyer of all the cities they would perform in popped up on the screen as Miyuki’s voice continued to speak. “Tickets go on sale tomorrow, so get ‘em before they’re gone.”

Eijun’s soul was practically flying out of his body as he rapidly pulled up Ei-chan’s account and started hollering in the group chat. Luckily, everyone was already in full-swing, going crazy with excitement at the news of a tour in Miyuki’s latest video, 

kazvyam: I’M GOING IDC IDC IM GOING 

Baenie_wifeu: I wish he was coming to my country!!! Have fun, girls!! 。゜゜(´O`) ゜゜。

kmiyuculture: IM SORRY MIMI!! I HOPE WE COULD ALL GO ONE DAY ;;;

ariyaxmiyu: i cant believe that tanuki mf did NOT tell us the time these tickets go on sale. I am NOT GOING TO SLEEP

ei_chanx: a chance to see miyuki IN PERSON… o/////o

kazvyam: ARE U GONNA GO, EI?

ei_chanx: only if they’ll have an ambulance nearby to take me away when i pass out from heat stroke

kmiyuculture: its winter???

ei_chanx: exactly… miyuki’s sexiness prevails in all temperatures (・∀・*)

After they shared a laugh together, Eijun was once again asked if he was going to attend one of Miyuki’s live stand-up style shows, but this time as a more serious question. The funny thing about their group chat was that two of the girls—Ariya and Jess—actually lived pretty close to Eijun. They were all within the same city. If they went to see Miyuki live, Eijun would be attending the same show that they would be at. 

Both girls knew that “Ei-chan” lived nearby, but Eijun had used excuses about being too shy to meet up in person to avoid it. As for Miyuki’s show, it would be easy to say he couldn’t afford the ticket or was unfortunately not going to be in town that day, but part of Eijun wanted to actually meet the girls in person. He liked them a lot; they spent a surprising amount of time talking to each other outside of their mutual fawning over Miyuki. He considered them his friends, but he also felt bad about deceiving them about his identity this whole time.

Eijun was nowhere near ready to tell them the truth, but maybe Ei-chan could still go to Miyuki’s show with them. That way, Miyuki would also not be aware of Eijun’s presence—not to mention that he’d be one face amongst a sea of hundreds in the performance venue, so the possibility of Miyuki spotting him would be low in general, but still not impossible. However, if a shy girl named Ei-chan attended and blended into the crowd of fans, then Miyuki definitely wouldn’t know who she was.

An idea sparked in Eijun’s mind and it filled his chest with hope. Maybe it was an outlandish idea, and a very risky move to make, but Eijun felt like it could actually work if he executed his plan correctly. 

There was one issue with his plan: if he wanted it to work, then Haruichi and Furuya had to be in on it. He’d have to start by admitting the truth about his secret account, and in turn, his infatuation with Miyuki.

He’d have to admit everything out loud to his best friends.

Eijun knew that Haruichi and Furuya would always love him and support him no matter what, so it was almost silly how anxious he felt whenever he pondered the thought of telling them. Still, if he wanted this plan of his to work, he needed to come clean and stop hiding secrets from the two closest people in his life.

You can do this, Eijun told himself, heart hammering in his chest. Eijun stood from his bed and decided to just do it, hands balled into fists as he left his bedroom. Just rip the bandaid off and get it over with!!

 

***

 

Haruichi looked over to Furuya and grinned as soon as Eijun finished his long-winded explanation. He held out his fist knuckles-first to Furuya, who met him in the middle to form a proper fist-bump. Eijun stared at them confusedly, brows tense, head tilted to the side inquisitively. 

“Sorry to monetize your secrets, Eijun-kun, but Satoru and I are now a little richer,” Haruichi admitted with a sly smile. Furuya looked pleased as all hell, cheeks rosy and aura glowing in his very distinctive show of subdued exuberance. “We had money on this and I’ll have to break it to Aniki and You-san that we won.”

“You placed a bet on when I’d tell you about my feelings for Miyuki Kazuya!?” Eijun shrieked, cat-eyed and red-faced as he lurched forward from his kneeling position on the floor. He slapped his hands down on the ground from the force of his shock. “Was it really that obvious this entire time!?”

“Extremely so,” Haruichi admitted.

“We all could tell,” Furuya added with a triumphant nod.

“I can’t believe this!!” Eijun cried, but really, who was he kidding. Eijun was terrible at hiding secrets, and it made him wonder if his grand plan was going to work out at all. He had yet to explain it to his friends and earn their support, but he hoped that with Haruichi’s make-up skills and Furuya’s sense of fashion, they could create a convincing-enough disguise for Eijun to wear.

Once Eijun was over the general shock of finding out that his secrets were really not secrets at all, Eijun decided to propose his big idea.

“So, this brings me to the second part of my confession!” Eijun grinned as he glanced between their faces. “Are you ready to hear it?”

Haruichi shared a glance with Furuya before responding. “Um, that depends, but let’s hear it, Eijun-kun.”

“Do you remember when Miyuki-senpai made that video about the funniest thirst tweets he could find?” Eijun prompted.

“Vaguely,” Furuya admitted, and Haruichi nodded along.

“Well, I was one of the main accounts featured in that video!” Eijun boasted, finally able to express some of his suppressed pride out loud. “Wahaha! That’s right, this Sawamura Eijun’s humor found its way onto Miyuki Kazuya’s video! I am secretly the puppeteer behind an account owned by a girl named Ei-chan!”

“You really couldn’t go with a totally different name, could you?” Haruichi murmured with a sigh. It was pretty obvious that neither Haruichi nor Furuya were hardcore fans of Miyuki like Eijun was, and though they had watched Miyuki’s video about the thirst tweets, that particular video was posted quite some time ago. They didn’t remember anything about the names of the accounts that made the tweets, just like most people who only watched the video once or twice before.

“The thing is, I’ve learned a lot about fandom culture and having fans as friends through Ei-chan’s account,” Eijun confessed, his tone softening into something more genuine. “I really like the friends I made through Ei-chan, and I don’t want them to go away once they realize I’m not who they think I am. Now that Miyuki-senpai is going on tour, they want to attend one of his shows, and it would be the perfect opportunity for all of us to go. Except…”

“Except rather than just secretly being a guy, you’re not just any random guy,” Haruichi continued for him, starting to understand where Eijun was going with this, “you’re Sawamura Eijun, another YouTuber and more importantly, now one of Miyuki-san’s friends. They’d recognize you instantly.” Haruichi frowned a bit. “But Eijun-kun, you’d rather lie to them than tell them the truth? You said you considered them your friends.”

“I do,” Eijun agreed, “but I still don’t know them well enough to trust them with a secret as big as my true identity. Plus, it’s a bad situation because they ship Miyuki-senpai and I!!” Eijun added stressfully. “So it’s not like they don’t know anything about who I really am. If that was the case, I could probably tell them, but they’re starting to become my fans too, all without knowing that Ei-chan is really Sawamura Eijun! But…”

Furuya frowned a bit and prompted, “But?”

“But I still want to meet them!” Eijun exclaimed. “I really like these girls, you know! I feel a true connection to them, and I think it would be fun to go to Miyuki-senpai’s show together!” He paused as he took a deep breath, then continued on, just as determined as before. “Either way, I can’t show up as myself. I need to become Ei-chan in the flesh. I need to embrace my feminine side and dress like her, and to do that, I need to transform into a woman!”

“Wow,” Furuya breathed, clapping his hands together in a gentle applause. “Eijun—erm, Ei-chan, I never realized you were trans. Congratulations. Are we using different pronouns now?” 

“No, no, no, it’s not a permanent transition, Furuya!” Eijun cleared up with a nervous laugh, his face heating up from the misunderstanding. Haruichi let out a small laugh, clearly amused by his boyfriend’s interpretation of Eijun’s dramatic speech. “I’m only asking you to help me dress up as a girl for when I meet Ei-chan’s friends!”

“Ohhh,” Furuya said with a nod. He lowered his hands back down to his lap, where one of his stim toys had been resting on his thigh, and continued to fidget with it like he had been before. “I get it now. But the main problem has to be your voice. You don’t sound like a girl. Plus, if they watch your videos, they’ll recognize your voice right away.”

“You’re right!” Eijun realized with a jolt. It only took Eijun a moment of thinking about that very real issue before he began to sulk, defeated by the truth that could so easily be exposed by his own voice, no matter how visually convincing he might look. “Is my whole plan a bust?”

“Not exactly,” Haruichi weighed in, his peach-pink eyes alight with an idea, but he took on a more cautious approach to begin. “I’m not sure how this will all turn out; you know your friends could be very mad at you for lying to them once they find out the truth one day, don’t you?”

“I do,” Eijun admitted with a small sigh. “I really hope they won’t be, but I know it’s a possibility…”

“Alright,” Haruichi said with an understanding smile. “I see that it’s a risk you’re willing to take. Well, I do have some thoughts about how to make this work. How long do we have before the date of the show?”

“About a month, Harudanji!” Eijun answered quickly, his posture stiff as he sat upright again.

“Got it.” Haruichi reached over to his laptop, which had been sitting on the couch beside him. As he opened the laptop, he gave Eijun a reassuring grin. “Leave it to us to order your outfit. We’re set for make-up, thanks to Narumiya-san’s generous donation to you after VidCon. In the meantime, let’s start practicing with it so you don’t look like you did in our makeup trial video.”

Joy and excitement swelled up in Eijun’s chest. He was so grateful that his friends were not disgusted by his behavior, but in fact willing to jump on board and help him make his dream come true. Eijun had desired this whole time to attend Miyuki’s events and signings, and he wanted to be a fan without anyone knowing it was Eijun himself. Now that he was friends with Miyuki, it would be strange to behave in a fannish way, wouldn’t it? But as Ei-chan, Eijun could do both at once. He was so lucky!

“Let me see what you’re looking at!” Eijun declared as he got up on the couch next to Haruichi, craning his head forward to check out Haruichi’s search results. An array of cute skirts, blouses and accessories were lined up on the screen, and Eijun felt himself grow even more excited over his disguise.

At this rate, Eijun’s plan really might work!

 

***

 

Although Eijun was in the process of getting his Ei-chan outfit together, they only just began ordering clothes and accessories and nothing had arrived before the new year. Plus, there were other things on Eijun’s mind besides preparing his outfit, like the party they were attending that night.

The party where he would be spending most of his time with Miyuki. 

Now that he admitted the truth to Haruichi and Furuya, the two of them had to endure Eijun’s anxious rambling the whole ride to Kuramochi and Ryousuke’s house. Luckily for their ears, the drive was not a long one and once they arrived, Eijun shut up instantly. He didn’t want to chance Miyuki overhearing anything or finding out why Eijun was so unbearably excited and nervous at the same time.

Eijun tried not to make it obvious that he was eager to see Miyuki the moment they walked into the door. Yet still, against his best efforts, the first words out of his mouth once he didn’t see Miyuki immediately were, “Where’s that tanuki bastard hiding!?”

“Someone’s excited,” Ryousuke pointed out with a pleased grin.

“He’s shitting or something, go get a drink and sit down,” Kuramochi told him with a snicker and closed the door behind Eijun and his friends. Eijun was ushered inside and he followed them into the house despite the way he glanced around, as if Miyuki would pop out of hiding like a ghost. Being in the bathroom was a very reasonable possibility that Eijun didn’t consider when the door opened in front of him.

Eijun had been sipping on his cocktail when Kuramochi let out a laugh. Eijun knew immediately that Miyuki had re-joined the party, for Kuramochi made sure to call out to him as soon as he walked into the room.

“Kyaha! Your pet’s excited to see you again, you know! Show some consideration and say hello!” Kuramochi teased with a broad grin. Eijun blushed and glared at him for referring to him as Miyuki’s “pet,” but he prioritized turning around to see Miyuki over snapping back at Kuramochi.

“Nature calls,” Miyuki answered with a laugh of his own, but his eyes were on Eijun, as if he were just as excited as Eijun to spend time together. Unable to entirely hold back his true feelings, Eijun beamed at Miyuki and rushed up to him with a drink in hand. He thrust the cup forward with a hearty laugh, causing the drink inside to slosh dangerously close to the rim.

“Wahaha! Try this, Miyuki Kazuya!” Eijun said as Miyuki took the cup from his grasp. “A deadly drink mixed by Onii-san himself!”

“Good to know,” Miyuki said as he looked down at the sparkling contents of the colorful drink. “I’ll only be having a couple of these, then. I don’t have plans to die tonight of alcohol poisoning.”

Despite all the anxiety and anticipation making it hard for Eijun to breathe at first, he managed to relax and enjoy the early evening once Miyuki was in their presence. It wasn’t like Miyuki was at his side the whole time, either—more often than not, he was engaged in a conversation with someone else or silently observing while helping himself to more appetizers. Even so, the more time Eijun spent gazing at Miyuki during quiet moments, the worse Eijun’s yearning became.

Dammit, why did he have to be so handsome!? Eijun felt his cheeks heating up as he checked Miyuki out whenever he found the opportunity. He’d admired Miyuki many times before, but he would never get over how hot Miyuki was, especially when Miyuki wasn’t even trying to be. Beyond that perfect physique, his attractiveness was all in the way he carried himself, how he seemed confident and charismatic even when he had reasons to feel anxious, like being on a stage in front of hundreds or more. Miyuki never let those emotions show as clearly as others did, not with that constant smug face and proud stature he stood tall with.

Everything about Miyuki drew Eijun closer to him, like a moth fluttering closer to the flame. By the time the party migrated to sit on the long, L-shaped couch and the other chairs stationed around the spacious living room, Eijun realized that he had managed to secure a spot right next to Miyuki. The TV was turned on to see the worldwide celebrations for New Year’s, giving them a backdrop of the past year’s greatest hits and the sounds of celebrations. Some people remained in the kitchen as they munched on snacks while everyone else gathered in the center of the house to drink and chat.

One drink led to another, more partygoers joined the living room cluster to watch the partying on TV, and that meant everyone was squeezing a little tighter. Before Eijun knew it, he was practically flush against Miyuki’s side despite there being no reason to sit that close, and Miyuki notably adjusted his position to slide his arm around Eijun’s shoulders and pull him in further.

It wasn’t like they suddenly changed positions; instead, Eijun gradually noticed how close they’d gotten as his vision got a little hazy, tipsy from his drink and the rush of being so close to the man he wanted to call his own.

“Did you see that idiot in the background just now?” Miyuki pointed out with a nod towards the screen, angling his head so that he was speaking more directly into Eijun’s ear. “He was so drunk he tripped on his own untied shoelaces. Good thing his buddies were there to catch him or else that would’ve hurt.”

“Ooh, yeah, I see him!” Eijun slurred a bit as he lied through a smile, for he actually failed to spot the man Miyuki talked about on the TV. He was too distracted by the heat of Miyuki’s body on his side and the heavy, yet not unwelcome feeling of his arm slung on Eijun’s shoulders. Miyuki’s sexy, masculine scent was starting to overwhelm him and make him fidget with desire. Seriously, what cologne did he wear?

“Smoked plum and leather,” Miyuki answered smoothly, his deep amber eyes alight with interest. Shit, Eijun had asked that out loud? If he was already blurting out his thoughts for Miyuki to hear, then maybe he needed to slow down on the drinks. Even though that was clearly the better choice, Eijun decided to take another sip instead. He needed it, especially when Miyuki’s hold around Eijun’s body tightened a bit and pulled him closer. He asked with a low tone of voice, “Why did you ask? Do you like it, kitten?”

“Why d’you call me that…?” Eijun countered his question with a lilt to his voice, skin heating a bit from the mixture of alcohol and Miyuki’s incredibly close proximity. Somewhere behind him, he was aware of Jun taking a selfie, and he heard Kuramochi’s distinctive laughter burst out amongst the murmur of conversational noise. All Eijun could really concentrate on was Miyuki, so close to him, close enough to kiss. “It’s kinda flirty, y’know? I mean, calling me kitten all th’ time… makes me wonder about it…” 

“What kind of question is that?” Miyuki teased with a chuckle. Eijun shivered, unable to suppress the sensation running down his spine at the sound of Miyuki’s laugh, and he was sure Miyuki had noticed it, too. “You wear cat headphones, have a cat-themed backpack, and even gave me a cat keychain accessory. Not to mention Halloween.” Miyuki’s eyes gleamed suggestively. “You were the very definition of a naughty kitten back then, Sawamura.”

At this rate, Eijun was going to get hard. Eijun gulped as he looked down self-consciously, afraid it was already happening, but luckily there was no major bulge in his pants. He became distracted when he looked down at his lap, staring at the seam between his thigh and Miyuki’s, pressed against each other side by side. Their thighs were almost the same size, but Eijun realized that Miyuki’s thighs felt much harder and firmer against his body. While Eijun’s legs were soft, Miyuki’s were made of pure muscle. 

Great, there was another thing for Eijun to salivate over. Add that to the laundry-list of reasons why he was insufferably attracted to Miyuki Kazuya. 

“Calling me ‘kitten’ so much like that, it’s… it’s kinda gay, Miyuki -senpaaaaai,” Eijun teased with a giggle. He tilted his head to the side as he brought his eyes back up to Miyuki’s, inadvertently aligning himself for a kiss if he wanted one. And boy, did he fucking want one. “It’s too bad you’re not gay… if you were, it would be somethin’ else we have in common!”

“A shame, huh?” Miyuki raised a brow, and Eijun saw the way he looked down at Eijun’s mouth. “It sure is a shame.” After a beat, he added, “A shame that you think I’m not gay.”

“You’re not?” Eijun mumbled, suddenly concentrating very hard on Miyuki’s face. “I mean—wait, lemme… lemme reword that. You’re not straight?”

“I’m a bit offended you’d think otherwise,” Miyuki admitted. “Is there a single straight man in this room with us?” Eijun took that moment to glance behind him briefly, where he saw practically all of the guests paired up with their same-sex partners. Well, there were a few straight people there, and Eijun was inclined to point them out.

“Wait, but Maezono isn’t ‘cause his girlfriend is here with him, and neither is, um, what’s his name over there…” Eijun murmured, then turned to focus on Miyuki again before getting an answer on the other guy’s name, an overly dramatic pout on his lips. “So you can’t blame me for assuming that you might only like girls!” Before Miyuki could respond to that comment in particular, Eijun paused with a gasp as the countdown to midnight caught the corner of his vision. He looked frantically at the TV. “Oh no, look, Miyuki-senpai! We’re thirty seconds away from the New Year, and I’m gonna be the only one here not getting a New Year’s kiss! This is an outrage!”

Miyuki was silent as he stared at Eijun, dazed and tight-lipped. Eijun brought his focus back to Miyuki when he didn’t immediately answer and felt his heart start to pound in his chest. What was that look for? Why wasn’t Miyuki saying anything? The countdown hit twenty before Miyuki looked like he was going to speak, a wry smile suddenly forming on his face.

“Sawamura, are you drunk right now?” Miyuki asked, seemingly out of the blue. Completely dazed and indeed incredibly drunk, Eijun just blinked at him for a few passing seconds, entirely distracted by how gorgeous and thick Miyuki’s lips were. Was there a single flaw on the man’s face? He doubted it. Eijun hummed under his breath as he tried to think of an answer, but Miyuki beat him to it. “Why did I even ask… clearly, you are.”

“Is that a bad thing?” Eijun asked softly. The countdown was growing louder as others in the room joined in with the people on the TV. Eijun would usually be part of the cheering squad, but he was too busy looking up at Miyuki from beneath his lashes. He tried batting them prettily to tempt Miyuki into leaning in closer. “Does that mean I won’t get a New Year’s kiss from you?”

“Five… four… three…!”

Miyuki reached up and Eijun’s breath hitched when he felt the man’s fingers touch his chin. He went lax, completely trusting Miyuki, his skin burning hot all the way to the tips of his ears. His vision spun a little and he wondered if he’d throw up and ruin the whole thing, but he chalked up the nausea to the anticipation building inside him. Not to mention that Eijun was so drunk, he feared forgetting this moment. The last thing he wanted was for his special first kiss with Miyuki, if he ever got one, to become lost in a haze of drunken, blurry memories.

When the countdown hit zero, Eijun held his breath as he wondered what Miyuki would do. He didn’t think he had the strength, emotionally speaking, to push Miyuki away if he went in for a full kiss, even if he wished he could communicate that he wanted to wait until he was sober for something like this.

Eijun was lucky that Miyuki seemed to be a mind-reader. He felt his heart jump in his throat when Miyuki’s lips met the soft, warm skin of Eijun’s lower cheek, just shy of his lips and right over where his dimple might be. It was tender, sensual, and courteous—Eijun swore he could hear nothing but his pulse pounding wildly in his ears. 

Fuck, Miyuki was so close. Just one turn of Eijun’s head would make their mouths meet. Yet he stayed still, blushing brightly as his heart raced out of control, until Miyuki pulled back with a longing expression in his eyes. They stared at each other for a moment, breathless and hesitant, like they were waiting each other out to see who would address the elephant in the room first. 

Before either of them could speak, Eijun’s stomach dropped. Eijun gagged, eyes widening with the realization of what was happening, and shot to his feet immediately. 

Thankfully, he made it to the bathroom in time. Miyuki was the one beside him, hand on his back while he faced the rancid toilet water and regretted his entire life’s choices.

Well, most of them. Eijun would reflect on it more during his hangover, he was sure of that.

Chapter Text

@bakamvra: UM???? WHATS GOING ON IN THE BACKGROUND OF THIS WAJKSDJKAJAKSASAA?? [Photo attached]

@AHintxx: @bakamvra No way. NO WAY NO FUCKING WAY IS MIYUKIS ARM AROUND EIJUN??? AKSALDSFMLXKCSKXKMAS

@Ange16: @bakamvra IS THIS A MISAWA MOMENT HAPPENING OFF CAMERA!?

@Karkadary: @bakamvra [Photo of the ‘they look like very good friends’ meme]

@kinkydents: @bakamvra yo i dont go here but damn eijun's ass tight fr

@ADoge800: @bakamvra ok from what I can tell it looks like they are sitting close together on the couch and it might just be the angle but there looks like there’s NO space between them. Especially with Miyuki’s arm on his shoulders like that… o///o

@Mashiroshao: @bakamvra GOD BLESS JUN FOR TAKING THIS SELFIE WITH MISAWA IN THE BACKGROUND… CAUGHT FLIRTING IN 4K

@goblinchompers: @bakamvra getting confirmation that misawa flirts off camera made this the best day of my life

 

***

 

“My New Year’s Resolution?” Eijun hummed after reading the question out loud that his latest donor asked. He tilted his head to the side, the triangular inner portions of his cat-ear headphones gleaming as the light hit them from a new angle. “I didn’t think of one! Honestly, why does anyone do those things? By the time March rolls around, everyone’s forgotten what resolutions they made! So I didn’t make any and usually never do! Wahaha!”

While his chat remarked that they weren’t too surprised that Eijun was the type to forget about his resolution, Eijun caught sight of another donation pop up on the side of his screen, and along with it came a different question. He recognized the handle, okamahisa, as a frequent donator and tried to keep any strange expression hidden, for the guy had been a little aggressive and persistent when it came to getting Eijun’s attention. Still, Eijun didn’t want to offend him by looking off-put by the sight of his handle. Amahisa probably meant to harm.

“Amahisa, hello again! Or should I say, OK Amahisa?” Eijun greeted, pointing out Amahisa’s handle like he usually did, then flashed a quick smile at the camera before he read the question. “What did I do on New Year’s Eve? Ahaha, well, about that…” 

Eijun quickly grew nervous while the speed of the messages in his chat went wild. Excited and screaming emojis were littered amongst rows of keyboard smashes and other comments that Eijun couldn’t read in time. He had been trying his best to stick to what Haruichi told him the morning after they got home from their night out; while Eijun was nursing a hangover, Haruichi was unfortunately the bearer of bad news. 

“Eijun-kun, I know you just recently worked up the courage to tell Satoru and I about your crush on Miyuki-san and all, but it looks like everyone’s finding out already,” Haruichi said, concern in his gaze as he walked over to Eijun with his phone extended towards him. Eijun’s heart pounded as he took Haruichi’s phone, looking down at the screen with a nervous gulp. Pulled up on the screen was a tweet that was blowing up, one that questioned what Eijun was doing with Miyuki in the background of a selfie that Jun took at the New Year’s party.

The comments made it clear that those who had seen the photo sensed the romantic tension between the two. It sure didn’t look like they were just friends casually hanging out, not with the way they were gazing at each other and smiling like newlyweds. Eijun was completely hammered by that point, in his defense, and Miyuki’s expression was mostly concealed thanks to the way he was looking away from the camera. It helped that since they were in the background, they were somewhat out of focus, but it was still easy to tell what was happening.

“This is terrible!” Eijun cried out, looking up at Haruichi with panic in his eyes. “Everyone’s speculations are right!! I do look lovesick!! How am I supposed to address this!?”

“You don’t,” Haruichi answered sternly, taking his phone back from Eijun’s grasp. “The best way to kill a rumor like this is to ignore it. People will get bored if you don’t say anything about it and denying it will only fan the flames. So whatever you do, don’t talk about it on tomorrow’s stream. Just be as vague as possible if you are asked about it too many times.”

Like Haruichi said, Eijun would just have to be vague. Everyone knew he was at a party on New Year’s Eve since he’d posted his own selfie with Furuya and Haruichi, and he was spotted in the background of Jun’s selfie as well. There was no point to lie about the party, but he’d have to avoid addressing anything about exactly why he was so snuggled up to Miyuki.

“I was really drunk, actually!” Eijun admitted, which would be a good crutch to excuse his flushed face and dopey expression in Jun’s photo. Sure, that was due to his feelings for Miyuki as well as the alcohol, but this time he would blame it all on the drinks he had. “It’s embarrassing since I had too much, and I don’t remember a lot of what happened.” A total lie—how could he forget the feeling of Miyuki’s lips on his cheek, so tender and loaded with yearning? He covered up his hesitation with a laugh. “I’m still feeling the effects of the hangover, but don’t worry! This Sawamura Eijun is stronger than he looks!”

Though Eijun thought that would be enough to whet the curiosity of his audience, apparently he was wrong. He was pleased to see another donation since that meant he got more money and indicated his viewers were enjoying the stream, but he felt a little twinge of anxiety when he realized it was also from Amahisa. It wasn’t a silent donation, because a second question was attached to the notification that popped up on screen.

This question was even worse than the first one Amahisa asked. Eijun flustered at the sight of it, but he had to read it out loud. His entire stream could see the question on the screen as well, and ignoring it would make the situation worse. The chat was still flying by at a rapid pace, reflecting the collective excitement of his viewers. 

After a brief pause, Eijun managed a deep breath. He felt a little silly getting so afraid of what was going on when his viewers were having fun. Wasn’t that all that really mattered? Maybe he could loosen up and be a little honest with them. What harm could it really do? He needed to loosen up a little and just go with the flow.

“Was I at the party with Miyuki Kazuya?” Eijun read the question out loud with a small smile, warmth collecting in his cheeks. Damn, he hoped the color wasn’t visible on stream; he realized he couldn’t hide his true feelings for Miyuki entirely. “Yeah, he was there! Since this party was at Kuramochi-senpai’s house, and Miyuki-senpai is his best friend, it’s only natural that he would come! We all had fun together, and Miyuki-senpai even took care of me when I was drunk!” Whoops, that slipped out. Eijun covered it up with a giggle and tried to switch subjects. “Well, anyhow, I wonder if there’s anything I should react to during this stream! Can someone send suggestions in the chat? I’ll pick out a link or two and—”

A third donation question came through, yet again from Amahisa. Eijun had to pause, for he read the amount of the donation twice to clarify that it was as high as he thought. That was a big donation.

“Whoa, Amahisa, you’re too kind!” Eijun exclaimed, hands clapping together at the number. Remembering his promise to his viewers that he always read the questions attached to such high donations in a very dramatic voice, Eijun took a deep breath and read it in the goofy way just like he always did. “Amahisa must know… drum roll, everyone… am I involved romantically with Miyuki Kazuya—wait, what!?”

Thrown off-guard, Eijun simply sat there agape, with cat-like eyes as his face burned hot. At the same time, he felt annoyed and even offended that Amahisa would ask something so personal without a shred of self-awareness. There was no way to tell Amahisa’s intended tone from the way he typed the donation question, but Eijun was instantly on the defensive due to his pent-up feelings.

Worst of all, the longer he sat there like a deer in the headlights, the worse the rumors would spiral. Eijun had to address it now that he read the question out loud, and he swallowed down the urge to groan with exasperation upon realizing that he was doing everything Haruichi warned him not to do. It wasn’t his fault, though! It’s not like Eijun brought the subject up on his own—it was all thanks to his damned fan, Amahisa!

Calm down, Eijun, he reminded himself with a deep-set frown on his face. Don’t blame your fans. That’s not like you. Eijun never turned his anger onto his fans, but there was just something about Amahisa that had bothered him at that moment. He swore he never reacted that way under usual circumstances. While Eijun stalled on answering, the chat was commenting on how funny Eijun’s expression looked. He spotted a few words like ‘constipated’ and phrases such as ‘like when I step in water while wearing socks.’  

“We’re not involved!” Eijun snapped while crossing his arms over his chest defensively. “We’re just friends! Besides, where would you even get that idea from all of a sudden? Jeez, learn your boundaries, Amahisa!” Eijun stuck his nose up and huffed dramatically. “If I am ever involved with anyone, I’ll share that with my fans when I decide the time is right! Remember that!” Wanting to put an end to this topic, Eijun started to scroll through the chat, hoping to find links to videos he could watch. “Let’s get back to the stream. Keep your suggestions coming! I want a variety of options for things I can react to tonight!”

Just when he thought the coast was clear, Amahisa commented in the chat, his message highlighted thanks to the donation fee required to activate the feature. He guessed by the number of donations Amahisa tended to give that the man was well off, but damn, he needed to slow down. Eijun peered at the message, which said nothing, but contained a link to a YouTube video. 

Eijun hesitated. He hoped Amahisa was just moving on like Eijun requested by giving him something funny to react to, but something about his lack of an additional comment made Eijun feel reluctant to click the link. Everyone could see his screen, so he would have to have a good excuse for clicking right out if the link was somehow related to Miyuki.

Luckily, hovering over the link long enough pulled up a little preview caption of the title. Eijun froze up when he read what it said. 

‘Miyuki Kazuya’s new boyfriend? SPILL THE TEA WITH MEI #45’

Oh no. This was bad.

This was so bad and Eijun was trapped on stream. He couldn’t even let the panic show on his face. He had to pretend, to laugh it off, to deny Amahisa’s request to react to the video despite his donation.

“Very funny, very funny!” Eijun sarcastically responded, moving the cursor of his mouse away from the video link, therefore dismissing the caption that had popped up. “A clever trick, Amahisa, but I’m no dummy and I won’t fall for this sort of clickbait! Try again, and this time make it something completely unrelated to gossip!!”

Thank goodness someone else pulled through with something else. It was a compilation of obscure tattoos, ranging from funny ones to ugly ones. Eijun could get behind that and make some exaggerated faces and comments about the strange designs people had put permanently onto their bodies. He accepted the suggestion and carried on with his stream, but he was grateful that his hands could be hidden beneath his desk, for they were shaking almost uncontrollably as his stomach did flips from within.

In the back of his mind, he couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that Mei made a video about Miyuki’s love life. Eijun had no doubt the video had to do with him if Amahisa sent it to him after being so persistent to find out about Eijun’s relationship status.

Eijun hadn’t seen the video yet, but he knew it was going to stir up a storm.

 

***

 

“So, I’m sure you already know who Miyuki Kazuya is, don’t you?” Mei eyed the camera, holding a mascara brush with one hand. He dipped it back into its container to get the brush coated in makeup again, then leaned in close his mirror to apply the layer to his lashes. His bubblegum-pink lips were curved into a devious smile. “I wonder how many of you are old fans of mine. Who’s been here since the beginning? Remember when I used to wear that awful cyan-blue eyeshadow every time I got dressed up? Hah!” Mei laughed and waved the mascara brush around after curling it along his lashes. He turned a scheming expression to the camera. “If you’ve been here long enough to remember those hideous looks of mine, then you might know a little secret about Miyuki Kazuya and I.”

Fucking hell. 

The video’s existence was already a terrible enough situation to begin with, but Kazuya couldn’t believe that Mei was really doing this right now. This whole time, Kazuya was so glad that no one seemed to know about their past. All images of Kazuya and Mei together were gone from social media and Mei’s marketing team made sure to find a way to take down the gossipy articles that had popped up when they were an item. The only things that remained were old comments and tweets that Kazuya hadn’t seen anyone point out in years, and for the last few years, the most Kazuya and Mei did in terms of public interaction was like each other’s posts. No one seemed to put two and two together, but now, all their hard work was for nothing. As soon as Mei started to talk, he exposed some skeletons that Kazuya wished had remained in the closet.

“Yup,” Mei said, popping the ‘p’ at the end, “it’s exactly what it sounds like. He’s my ex! Can you believe that? Someone like me with someone like him? What the hell did we have in common?” Mei snickered. “Next to nothing is your answer! There were other reasons why we were an item years ago, but I digress.” Mei winked at the camera as he twisted the cap back onto his mascara and set it aside. “For those who maybe don’t recognize my handsome ex, let me give you a little run-down—”

Kazuya sighed, brows tense and jaw clamped as Mei gave a simple explanation for who Kazuya was and what his YouTube channel was about. He was touching up his eyebrows now, turning his face this way and that to make sure the angles were perfect, and once his brief description of Kazuya was over, he got into the reason why everyone clicked on his video to begin with.

“Now, obviously him and I split up ages ago for reasons I’m not gonna get deep into, ‘cause it’s none of your business, loves,” Mei went on casually, taking occasional breaks to give looks at the camera and keep his viewers engaged, “but don’t worry, this isn’t my attempt to cancel him or whatever. No, what I want to talk about is what I’m seeing of Kazuya online lately, and who he’s interacting with. Most of you likely didn’t need an explanation on who Kazuya is, but you may not be familiar with the name Sawamura Eijun.”

Kazuya braced himself and debated whether or not he wanted to pause the video to take a few deep breaths. He ended up letting it play, just wanting to get it all over with. As they say, Kazuya was ripping the bandaid off. Mei explained who Sawamura was much like he explained who Kazuya was, even posting a pop-up link to Sawamura’s channel while he spoke. Judging by the increased number of subscribers, Mei’s gossip was actually getting him more attention, which may not be so bad, but Kazuya wasn’t exactly thinking positively at that moment.

“I actually met Eijun at VidCon last year!” Mei exclaimed, all make-up set aside as he worked on combing and styling his hair. “He’s adorable. Like, super cute, the kind of cute that you just want to spoil! I even gave him a box of my latest collection for free just because he reminded me of a little kitten! So, y’know, I’m not too surprised about Kazuya going after him… if Kazuya is going after him, of course. I don’t actually know anything. I’m just theorizing.” Mei grinned smugly at the camera, as if he knew Kazuya was watching, like he was trying to get under Kazuya’s skin. “Let’s go over the situation together, from the beginning~”

Presented in detail were all the reasons that people were “shipping” Kazuya and Sawamura together, sprinkled in with a few completely random rumors that Mei must have found from unreliable sources. Regardless, he included them for the excitement of the gossip, and wrapped up with a promise that he’d keep his viewers updated with anything else he found out. The moment the video ended, Kazuya had his phone up to his ear with a number he rarely dialed ringing repeatedly. Luckily, the diva in question picked up just before the final ring timed out.

“You’re very, very lucky, you know! I only answered during my mani-pedi since it’s rare for you to call me, Kazuya,” Mei drawled into the phone. “What’s the occasion? Awww, wait, don’t tell me—did you miss my voice? Kazuya~ I thought you were over me ages ago!”

“What the hell was that video for?” Kazuya snapped, ignoring all of Mei’s statements that tried to provoke him. “Mei, we ended what we had on neutral terms and I really want to keep it that way. Why are you trying to mess with me again?”

“Relax, honey, this isn’t all about you,” Mei insisted, and Kazuya could picture the way he was rolling his eyes. Even though they didn’t see each other face-to-face very often, he still remembered all of Mei’s mannerisms and habits, including the ones that Mei didn’t show on camera. “All I did was talk about what literally everyone can see. That crush of yours is written all over your face.”

“You’re stirring the pot and you know it,” Kazuya said with a frown, then released a short, aggravated sigh. “Mei, when you and I were together, you weren’t as big as you are now. Neither was I, remember? It was different, people weren’t recognizing us on the streets and we weren’t trending on Twitter. This is all new to Sawamura. Sawmaura’s following has only just started exploding thanks to collaborating with me.”

“And that’s a bad thing?” Mei hummed, causing Kazuya to pause. Mei took advantage of that pause and went on. “Maybe you should be thanking me instead of complaining. I didn’t have to drop a link in my video so that my millions of subscribers were invited to check out his page. I didn’t have to give him free exposure. I didn’t have to get everyone invested in your growing relationship so that they would be more supportive when you two inevitably get together—”

“There’s no…” Kazuya trailed off awkwardly, glancing aside. Surprisingly, Mei went silent, waiting to hear him continue. Kazuya knew it wasn’t due to politeness, but because Mei expected him to say something juicy or interesting. Really, Kazuya didn’t know why he was talking to his ex about this situation, but to be fair, Mei started it. He sighed. “There’s no plans between us to get together or anything. Sawamura will get over his hero-worship complex for me eventually.”

“Whaaaaat!?” Mei practically screamed into the phone, causing Kazuya to pull it away from his head to spare his poor ear from the shrill sound. “Miyuki Kazuya not doing what he wants? Miyuki Kazuya not strutting around with all the confidence in the world? Miyuki Kazuya not fooling around with the cute little twink that’s clearly thirsting over him? Pray tell me who I’m talking to on the phone right now! This isn’t what I expected! What happened to the fuckboy who asked me for nudes before taking me on a date, huh? Where’s that arrogant, conceited asshole who knew how hot he was?”

“It’s been years, Mei, I’m not some narcissistic kid anymore,” Kazuya grumbled, face burning hot at the embarrassing reminder of how he used to behave when he was dating Mei. God, they were both annoying and obnoxious as hell. Even though Mei was still dramatic and “extra,” as he described himself, he had grown up since those days, too. Seeing that Mei was in a committed relationship that he openly talked and bragged about, something that Mei hadn’t done with Kazuya, was proof of that maturity.

“Okay, whatever, sure, you’re not thinking with your dick now that you’re a ‘Real Man,’ I get it,” Mei continued on, “but since when did you hold yourself back from getting what you want? I told you how annoyed I was that you wanted to waste so much money on that motorcycle but you went and got your license and the bike anyway, remember? Nothing I said could have stopped you from chasing your dream. My point is that you want him, don’t you?”

Kazuya didn’t see the point in lying to Mei when Mei knew how to read him like a book, so he just sighed deeply. “Yeah, I do.”

“Well then, stop being a little bitch and make a move on the kid already!” Mei nearly shouted into the phone. “You had your ‘cool and single’ edgy phase for a while, and now that’s getting old, so let yourself fall in love for once!” Surprisingly, Mei calmed down slightly and spoke to Kazuya with a more empathetic tone. “Look, I know it’s scary, Kazuya, but holding yourself back is pointless. That fear goes away once you just accept the feelings you have. That fear, though… I know what it’s like, and that’s why I could never say it back. I could never admit that I loved you, too.” 

Hearing it now evoked a strange throb in Kazuya’s heart; he had long moved on from being in what he thought was an unrequited love for Mei, but it was odd to confirm that actually, Mei did return his romantic feelings back then. There was no spectacular heartbreak or falling out between them, but the way their relationship fizzled out had messed with Kazuya’s head for years, making him wonder if he just wasn’t cut out for any sort of passionate relationship outside of the bedroom. Their sex was fiery, all-consuming and incredible—but that was all they had. Mei treated Kazuya coldly, keeping his deeper emotions shut behind closed doors that he wouldn’t open even for Kazuya. Hearing that the reason for Mei’s behavior was fear made a lot of sense in hindsight.

“But I got over it!” Mei snapped, bringing Kazuya out of his thoughtful state. “I faced my fears and overcame them! Now I’m spoiled rotten by the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. No offense, Kazuya. Your pretty face is attractive and all, but Itsuki is just ideal for me.” Kazuya deadpanned, looking irritably at his phone despite the fact that Mei couldn’t see his face, wondering why the backhanded insult was necessary. Whatever—that was typical of Mei’s attitude, so Kazuya let it slide without comment. “I can see all the way from over here how good of a match you two would be. You need someone like him, so listen to me and take a damn chance! And don’t whine and get mad when I talk about it! Everyone’s dying to know secrets about you and this budding romance is perfect content for my channel. You keep yourself surprisingly closed off despite recording and uploading half your life on YouTube every week, so cut me some slack.”

“What, is all of this for more content?” Kazuya sneered, unable to resist striking back at Mei. It was an impulsive urge, to try and diminish all the things Mei said into one selfish motive. “You just want to use Sawamura and I for your entertainment, is that it?”

“Oi, oi, oi, did all of my kind words go in one ear and out the other, you conceited asshole!?” Mei hollered. “I didn’t just admit to being in love with you years ago only to get slandered like this! Ugh, then just deal with it by yourself then! My heartfelt advice is rare and hard to come by and you just threw it out like a used condom! By the way, speaking of condoms, please practice your aim before you sleep with him. It was embarrassing how many times you missed the trashcan and had to clean your mess off the floor once it spilled out. Talk about a huge turn-off, not to mention super fucking gross. Maybe just go raw this time, it’ll be less awkward. Anyway, my mani-pedi is almost done so I gotta go. Bye!”

Kazuya stared at the phone for a while as he tried to process what Mei just rambled out at record speed at the end of their conversation. Well, to be honest, Kazuya guessed he was asking for it—it had been too long since Kazuya talked back at Mei and remembered the way he’d get an earful every time he pulled the stunt. How Itsuki was surviving out there, Kazuya had no clue.

As aggravated as he’d gotten over Mei posting that gossip video, he had to admit that Mei made a few good points. Kazuya had gotten himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, believing he wasn’t good enough for a relationship due to his large following. He overthought and overanalyzed what might happen if he made a bolder move on Sawamura. He even worried about how Sawamura might react to the influx of judgement from strangers online. 

Kazuya still felt like Sawamura deserved better, someone who wouldn’t warrant the attention of millions. On top of that, he wondered if Sawamura’s attraction to him was temporary. Say he did decide to ask Sawamura out on a date—would he be abusing his position as a popular, attractive YouTube star? Would Sawamura feel like he even had a choice to reject him if he wasn’t sure due to Kazuya’s status?

Thoughts like that had been clouding Kazuya’s mind for too long, but Mei was right—where had his confidence gone? He had no problem teasing Sawamura and getting him all riled up, but as soon as it came to something serious, he backed down every time. The only thing he allowed to happen was the New Year’s kiss, which was self-indulgent and something he couldn’t resist. 

But why resist at all? Really, what was the worst that could happen? 

Kazuya pursed his lips and checked the time. It was late, and he was anxious to do something to get his restless energy out. Now would be a good time to script his next video if he felt so alert at this hour and wanted to stop himself from spiraling into a bad mental place.

Kazuya sat at his desk and took a deep breath. Time to focus.

 

***

 

Today was finally the day. Eijun stood in front of his full-body mirror, took a long, deep breath, and then looked down to the clothes in his hands. He held a pale cream-colored cardigan to wear over a white blouse, a pastel pink bow for his neck with matching stockings, and a pleated gray skirt. He gulped, feeling his skin burn at the realization that he was really doing this. He was dressing as Ei-chan and going to meet his Twitter friends at Miyuki’s show.

The plan was going accordingly so far. Eijun had messaged his friends that morning saying he lost his voice and it was deeper than usual, but he was going to try and avoid talking and apologized for sounding raspy. He insisted he didn’t feel sick but that he’d wear a face mask, just to be sure, and also to protect his friends from catching anything. They expressed their sympathy for Eijun’s fake predicament and communicated their understanding, which was a huge relief for Eijun. He would just have to remember to keep it down and stay soft-spoken when he did talk.

As for Miyuki… well, they’d texted briefly since New Year’s. Miyuki asked how bad his hangover was with a laughing emoji, Eijun told him to shut up and have some sympathy, and that was about all. Miyuki hadn’t been streaming much either, too busy promoting the tour coming up and posting videos he must have recorded before the New Year to keep his audience entertained. Eijun didn’t take the silence personally, also deciding to keep his distance while a busy two weeks flew by.

Today, Eijun broke that silence at last. Before getting dressed, Eijun caved in and sent Miyuki a quick message, unable to resist saying something about the show tonight.

eijunoshioshi: Oshi oshi! Good luck at tonight’s show in my city, Miyuki Kazuya!! (`◇´)○ Break a leg!! But don’t actually do that! It would hurt!!!

He sort of regretted the decision once he received Miyuki’s response, however.

miyukik: you remembered?? aww ♡ are you coming tonight?

eijunoshioshi: HOW COULD I NOT REMEMBER? YOU WERE ADVERTISING IT EVERY 5 MINUTES !!! 

miyukik: hahaha what can i say? Aggressive marketing strategies work ~

Eijun sighed as he typed out his next message. He hated to lie to Miyuki, but it was necessary. He couldn’t exactly tell Miyuki that he’d be there in secret, dressed as a girl for the sake of meeting his friends in person, who he initially met through his Miyuki Kazuya thirst account. Yeah, no way, not a chance in hell was he going to take that risk. Possibly letting Miyuki down was a better alternative than telling the truth.

eijunoshioshi: as for coming… !!! i cant make it (。•́︿•̀。) this sawamura eijun formally apologizes for his absence…

miyukik: i wont lie, i’m disappointed i wont get to see you laugh tonight, but i understand. So when will i see you next?

The question caught Eijun off guard. The entire message made his heart flutter, for the implication was that Miyuki wanted to make him laugh, to specifically make jokes in order to see Eijun’s face light up with a smile. That aside, Miyuki almost never talked about ‘next time.’ They seemed to keep running into each other by chance or in group settings, but Miyuki was pressing for information now about when they would spend time together.

At least Eijun could answer that truthfully; after he saw Miyuki’s show tonight in secret, he really didn’t know when he would see Miyuki next.

eijunoshioshi: …. Actually, I don’t know!! (º □ º ) aren’t you on tour until sometime in February??

miyukik: yeah it ends on feb 15. well, after that maybe we can meet up again, if you want to. just us?

Eijun’s breath lodged itself in his throat. Just them? Hearing that after their drunken cuddling on New Year’s made Eijun assume the most romantic meaning possible to that question.

Was Miyuki asking him on a date? Eijun’s heart pounded and he sat back down onto his bed, hands clenched around the girly clothes he had to change into. He couldn’t believe his luck and he kept re-reading the message, trying to find out some other meaning behind those words. Before Miyuki told him about his sexuality, he might have doubted the romantic intentions behind the idea since Eijun was not a girl. Now that he knew Miyuki was gay, that changed… well, just about everything.

If they went on a date together, then maybe it meant Miyuki was interested in something more. Maybe he wanted to be with Eijun, more than just a fellow YouTuber or even a friend, more than— 

A knock on the door interrupted Eijun’s daydreaming. He nearly tossed his phone into the air and a yelp burst from his lips, heart skipping a beat from surprise at the sound. 

“Eijun-kun, have you changed yet?” Haruichi asked from the other side of the closed door. “I should get started on your makeup soon if you want to get there on time.”

“S-Sorry, I got distracted!” Eijun said as he stood up quickly. “I’ll get dressed now!”

He couldn’t leave Miyuki on read with a question like that, so before he forgot to text back, Eijun swallowed his nervousness and sent his response.

eijunoshioshi: ok!! (//ω//) let’s talk about it more once you’re done with your tour!

 

***

 

Eijun couldn’t believe his eyes. Every time he saw his reflection, he had to do a double-take just to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

He truly looked like a whole different person. He looked like a girl, though perhaps more like the sister that he never had. Eijun pressed his fingers onto his cheeks, squishing them with fascination, unused to the feeling of the short, but cute acrylic nails on his fingertips. His eyeliner was stylish, with cute little wings at the outer corners of his eyes. False lashes made his eyes even more alluring and feminine, and the carefully applied eyeshadow and blush on his skin gave him a pinkish complexion.

He felt like the bottom half of his face was a bit too empty, like he needed some lip gloss or something, but he remembered that tonight, he was wearing a face mask because his voice was gone and he was worried about being sick even if he didn’t feel sick. That was his story, thought of by Haruichi’s genius brain, and he was going to stick to it. The face mask would help to further conceal his identity, but Haruichi’s makeup skills had helped tremendously.

The wig was extremely realistic, too. Eijun turned his head this way and that, fascinated by the realistic sway of the brown ponytail and how it blended in with his real hair. The wig covered his whole head, but parts of his bangs were visible since the wig was the same shade as his real hair.

Finally, there was the magic of Eijun’s outfit to further convince whoever saw him that he was Ei-chan. Eijun already had a pretty lithe figure, but the clothes he wore brought out his subtle feminine assets, like the dip of his waist and swell of his hips. Besides, he wore a push-up bra stuffed with two fleshy fillers to simulate breasts underneath his blouse, and if he jumped or moved too quickly, they jiggled as if they were real. Eijun was fascinated, but still annoyed by the feeling of the bra’s straps digging into his shoulders. It wasn’t like they were too tight, but he wasn’t used to wearing something on his torso underneath his clothes.

The stockings reached up to his mid-thighs, covering his legs in soft pink fabric that made his legs look more slender and pretty than they really were. Or maybe they were already like that, but Eijun felt that the stockings emphasized their shape well. Pristine white ankle-boots with laces running up the front gave Eijun a bit of a lift with the platform base and the additional height of the heels in the back. He turned around, surprised at how perky his ass looked underneath the pleated skirt thanks to the boots.

“I can’t believe this!” Eijun blurted out at last, turning around to stare at Haruichi and Furuya in shock. “I really look like a girl named Ei-chan!! Harucchi, you’re a magician! And you too, Furuya! This outfit is amazing!! You have a great fashion sense!”

“You look very cute,” Furuya complimented while squishing the cheeks of his polar bear plush, Shiro, with both hands. “But are you sure you’re not really a girl all the time?” Furuya paused thoughtfully. “Or sometimes. I have a friend who says they are ‘fluid.’”

“I’m sure I’m not a girl, but thanks, Furuya!” Eijun confirmed with a grin. “I guess I just like to wear feminine things sometimes! I mean, this is for a disguise, but it’s kind of fun! Hehehe!”

“Just remember to keep your voice down, Eijun-kun,” Haruichi reminded him as he handed Eijun a cute little purse that matched his outfit. The chain-strap of the purse was thin and golden, but the purse itself was mostly gray to match with the skirt. Pink accents on the purse complimented the pink bow and stockings Eijun wore. He peeked inside the purse as Haruichi explained what he put in there. “You have some makeup removing wipes just in case you want to take it off before coming home. There’s not enough room for pants, but I was able to fit a hoodie inside since you might feel cold on your way back.”

“I feel like a kid going to school for the first time!” Eijun said with a cheeky smile. He leaned in to give Haruichi a hug, not realizing that he stuffed Haruichi’s face right into his fake chest. Haruichi squirmed as Eijun patted his back enthusiastically. “Thank you so much, Harudanji!”

Furuya gave Haruichi a look when he pulled back, pink in the face and appearing as if he were gasping for air. He clearly wasn’t used to getting hugged by girls, so even the simulation of that experience had flustered him. It was probably even more convincing of an experience thanks to the way Eijun left behind traces of his sugar-sweet perfume clinging to Haruichi’s clothes. Now that he had everything he needed, including his mask, his phone, and the ticket for the event, he was ready to go.

“I’m sorry I can’t give you a ride,” Haruichi apologized. It was too risky for him to be seen near the venue, after all. People would recognize Haruichi’s distinctive pink hair in the car and probably figure out Eijun’s secret identity quickly if he drove Eijun there. “Just be careful on the train. People can be weird.”

“I will stay alert!” Eijun promised, giving his friends a salute before securing his face-mask and opening the door. “Oshi, oshi, oshi! I’m off!”

“Your voice is gone, remember?” Haruichi called out, and Eijun gave him an apologetic smile before closing the door behind him. Right, he’d have to not chant his signature chant super loudly if he wanted this to work.

After taking a deep breath, Eijun switched Twitter accounts and pulled up their group chat.

Here goes nothing, he thought to himself, then sent the message with a pounding heart. 

ei_chanx: i am on my way!!! o(≧▽≦)o

Chapter Text

Up on stage, the lights were incredibly powerful. Kazuya wouldn’t describe them as blinding, but it took some getting used to every time he did a show before a live audience. Eventually his eyes would adjust and he could see some of the faces in front of him, in particular those up close to the stage, but it was difficult to discern any finer details. He didn’t want to stare at anyone either, for he ran the risk of singling a fan out or making others feel jealous that he was looking at someone else. For that reason, Kazuya’s eyes brushed over the audience at random intervals, in a way that appeared natural when addressing a large crowd.

Besides, he was focused on his routine as he gripped the microphone and cracked jokes, went with the flow, and matched Youichi’s energy. With the two of them as the main act, it was so natural for Kazuya to banter with him and entertain a crowd. They acted just like they did in private, but with exaggerated reactions and with less exposing their secrets to get back at each other, of course. He felt so relieved that of all the people he could have gotten big with, it was Youichi—the only friend he knew would never leave his side no matter what they went through together.

While Youichi was the center of attention, speaking to the crowd and evoking laughs from their audience, Kazuya stepped aside to grab a sip of water. As he did, he happened to spot a cluster of fans near the left-hand side of the stage, compelled to look at them for no real reason. He noticed a startlingly familiar face, his gaze meeting a pair of eyes that made Kazuya’s heart lurch with shock.

Bright, sparkling golden eyes were peering right at him, surrounded by choppy locks of brown hair. Sawamura came to his mind in a second, and Kazuya would have believed without a doubt that those eyes were his were it not for the fact that the person looking at him was a girl. Besides, half of her face was covered with a mask, and she was bordered by two girls that Kazuya had never seen in his life. They were jostling the brown-haired girl around and squealing, laughing and pointing eagerly at Kazuya. That was when he realized that they caught him looking.

Feeling bashful but knowing he was on stage, Kazuya offered the girls a smile and winked at the one that resembled Sawamura. He swore he saw her cheeks color bright red before he looked away from her, but then, he put the girl out of his mind for the remainder of the show. 

Kazuya just had to admit that she sort of… reminded him of someone else. It was a little hard to ignore her as he carried on, for his curiosity kept getting the better of him and he wanted to look at her longer. He wasn’t even into girls, but seriously, did Sawamura have a sister that Kazuya never heard about or something? The two were eerily similar, and Kazuya could tell that even from all the way up on stage.

A strange, old suspicion crept up in the back of his mind. It was a ridiculous stretch, but he recalled the fangirl account, Ei-chan, and her similarity to Sawamura. Now that he saw a girl attending his show that looked like Sawamura’s female doppelganger, he wondered if there really was a female Sawamura out there, or if all of this was some sort of elaborate prank. Kazuya didn’t know what the reason behind a prank like that would be, but questions floated around his head the more he lingered on the possibility.

Sure, that was a totally ludicrous idea, but Kazuya couldn’t shake off the lingering feeling that he was onto something.

Regardless of his feelings, the show went on and eventually wrapped up to a thunderous applause. In what felt like seconds, Youichi and Kazuya were ushered backstage to do their meet-and-greets. It was a blur like always, with Kazuya taking more selfies with strangers that he could count, and having to soak in all their compliments and adoration was overwhelming—in a good way, of course. Not everyone was so lucky to be showered with endless praise both verbally and virtually on a routine basis. Kazuya just would never get used to it.

At one point, as he leaned in and grinned at some girl’s cell-phone camera for a photo, he had a strange urge to look over to the door that led to the hallway backstage. He saw someone hide behind the wall who had previously been peering at him from around the door’s frame, and though Kazuya brushed it off out of necessity for the sake of keeping his interaction with the fans natural, he itched to go investigate. It was probably just some shy fan waiting for her friends to return to her side, but Kazuya couldn’t shake the feeling that achingly familiar golden eyes had been burning into the side of his head.

Shut the fuck up, you’re just yearning like the pathetic idiot in love that you are, Kazuya thought to himself, though he narrated his consciousness with Youichi’s voice. By this point in their friendship, Youichi didn’t even need to speak in order to make his feelings known to Kazuya, for he unknowingly converted Kazuya’s consciousness into his own. Kazuya guessed that was bound to happen when he spent all his time with Youichi. He ended up listening to his inner Youichi and focusing on the fans in front of him, not the mystery person hiding just out of view.

All in all, the show and the meet-and-greet that followed went without a hitch. Most importantly, Kazuya had a blast with Youichi, and once the final VIP visitor was guided out, they finally had a moment to enjoy their success together. Likely feeling the same, buzzing sort of high that Kazuya felt, Youichi let out a laugh and pulled Kazuya into a hug. It was brief and tight with a few hearty slaps to his upper back, pulling out a bashful chuckle from Kazuya.

“Kyaha! Another success, don’t you think?” Youichi said once he pulled back from their impulsive embrace, eyes sparkling with mirth. “Everyone looked like they had so much fun—almost as much fun as we had!”

“It feels great,” Kazuya agreed, a genuine smile on his face as he shared his best friend’s joy. “That impulsive bit about dumpster diving was phenomenal. How did you think of all of that on the spot?”

“Maybe I’ll let you in on my secrets on our drive back to the hotel,” Youichi promised, giving Kazuya a sly grin. He looked like he remembered something as he pulled out his phone. “Speaking of which, I need to call them and make sure those issues from the morning were sorted out. They’ve had all day to get their act together.”

Kazuya left him to it as he looked at his own phone, a strange fluttering in his heart as he checked his messages. He hoped he’d see something sent to him from Sawamura, but he swallowed mild disappointment when there was nothing new to highlight their direct messages. At the very least, remembering their last conversation and Sawamura’s agreement to talk about seeing each other once Kazuya was done with the tour made him feel strangely giddy. He had gone out on a limb there by following Mei’s advice and suggesting something like a date, and to see Sawamura respond positively gave him another boost of confidence.

Surely the next time he saw Sawamura, given that they were both sober and willing, Kazuya was going to try and kiss him. God, he yearned for it already. He couldn’t count on two hands how many times he’d dreamt about it, allowing himself to stare off into space and imagine the thrill of how he’d feel when Sawamura’s lips pressed up against his own. Then he’d think about the warmth of Sawamura’s mouth, his tongue, the sounds he’d make, the way he’d probably lean back and blush all sweetly as Kazuya took control… 

Kazuya snapped out of it when his phone screen dimmed. He tapped on the screen to keep it from locking, then moved away from his messages with Sawamura and instead curiously searched up a different profile. He still had a funny feeling about the girl he spotted in the audience, and he just wanted to confirm it for himself.

Sure enough, the golden-eyed girl that Kazuya saw that night was a perfect match to the girl in a photo posted by Ei-chan herself. Kazuya’s breath hitched in his chest at the sight of the selfies on Ei-chan’s page, with two of her friends tagged as the girls that Kazuya had seen with her. Filters were applied, changing her face shape quite a bit and obscuring some of her features with additional makeup and lashes, so Kazuya couldn’t really tell if she looked as similar to Sawamura as he believed when he saw her from on stage.

It could just be his wishful thinking that Sawamura would be at his show, even if in disguise. Either way, Kazuya’s lips quirked up with amusement at the thought that Sawamura got done-up in drag just to see him without Kazuya knowing. If that were truly the case, then Sawamura would be sorry to have his trick busted so soon.

“Are you fucking serious?” Youichi snapped, causing Kazuya to look up from his phone with his brows furrowed together. Youichi sounded aggravated. Until now, Kazuya hadn’t noticed the escalation of the phone call from a normal tone to something like this. Youichi’s jaw was clenched as he shook his head from disbelief. “You’re joking. And there’s nothing you can do? There’s not a single goddamn room for us?”

Oh no, that sounded bad. Kazuya tucked his phone away and walked over to Youichi’s side, wanting to know what was happening without interrupting the call. Youichi glanced over at him, pulled the phone away from his ear, and hissed softly enough so that the person on the other end couldn’t hear what he was saying.

“They lost our reservation.” Youichi looked furious, a vein popping from his temple as he ignored the rambling of the hotel employee on the line. Kazuya couldn’t hear their words, but he could pick up on the anxious, apologetic tone they used to try and calm Youichi down. By the looks of it, the hotel had no solution for their problem, either. When they tried to check in to the hotel that afternoon, Kazuya and Youichi had been informed that there was a massive technological issue in their system, not to mention how the hotel was physically under construction, meaning their capacity was cut to less than half.

It was only their luck that this would happen. By the time Youichi hung up, his sour face indicated that nothing had gone well. 

“We’re out of a room,” Youichi said with a deep, irritated sigh. “And there’s no way there’s space in any goddamn hotel in the area this weekend, either.” Kazuya’s confused expression was enough for Youichi to continue unprompted. “You know, that huge winter concert festival that has all the streets fucked up from traffic? It’s here tonight, along with apparently like, three-gazillion other major events that have the hotels booked the fuck up.”

“Right,” Kazuya responded dryly, recalling the difficulty they had just getting to the venue for their show that night. He was at a loss for what to do. They were in a huge city and there was bound to be someplace to stay, even if they had to pay a high price, right? Or perhaps even a price that was too low? He didn’t really want to stay in some skeezy motel, but they appeared to be out of options. “What about the cheap motels? Or even a love hotel?”

“A love hotel? Yeah, right,” Youichi scoffed with a roll of his eyes. “I’d rather be shot dead than be seen with you going inside one of those. Talk about rumors.”

“Well, yeah, but…” Kazuya trailed off, trying to think of another option besides literally sleeping on the streets. He opened his mouth to say something else, but he paused when he saw Youichi lift his phone up to his ear, now calling someone else.

It only took Kazuya a second to realize he was calling Ryousuke. Driving to his place would be a bit of a hassle, but at least they weren’t terribly far from Youichi’s home. He figured they would be going there for the night, judging by the conversation, until Youichi started to bicker with Ryousuke.

“As hard as it’ll be, I just won’t kiss you then, alright!?” Youichi sounded desperate at that point. Kazuya’s eyes widened with alarm. “Look, babe, I know you’re worried, but where else are we gonna go?”

No way—Ryousuke didn’t want them to come? Kazuya couldn’t rationalize why that was the case, and he began to fear that there was trouble in paradise for his best friend and his partner. Luckily, he could tell by Youichi’s expression that it was a bit more complicated than that and they weren’t having any serious problems, but rather, this had to be something situational. Finally, after listening to Ryousuke talk for a bit, Youichi seemed to settle down. Once he hung up, he looked over to see Kazuya’s lost expression.

“Sorry,” Youichi said with a sigh. “Ryou’s super sick with something and he swears it’s like, extremely contagious. He fears if we go home, even if we keep our distance, that he’ll spread it to us and fuck up the whole tour by making one of us sick or making someone lose their voice, et cetera. That’s why he’s adamant on us staying apart until he’s better.” 

“The timing couldn’t be worse,” Kazuya remarked wryly.

“Right?” Youichi scratched at the side of his head with a click of his tongue. “Anyway, to make up for it, he got an idea and now he’s calling his brother. Haruichi lives just a five minute walk from the subway so we could take that to avoid traffic in order to get there. Ryou said there’s enough space there for us to crash just for the night if Haruichi says it’s okay, but I doubt he’d turn us away for any—oh, good timing. I just got a text from Ryou.” After reading it, Youichi nodded and tucked his phone into his pocket. “Looks like he got the OK from Haruichi. C’mon, we’re going there to stay the night.”

It took Kazuya a few moments to process everything, but they were almost to the subway when Kazuya belatedly blurted out a realization.

“Doesn’t Sawamura live with him?” Kazuya asked, his heart suddenly soaring with excitement. Judging by Youichi’s disgusted expression, he was correct.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake, I forgot about that! Now I’d prefer to sleep in the goddamn bushes!!”

 

***

 

“Promise you’ll let us know when you’re home safe, Ei-chan!” Ariya insisted, her soft hands clamped around Eijun’s wrists as she beamed at him. “It was so great to see you! I’m so glad you could come tonight even if you’re not feeling so good!”

“We need to hang out together sometime,” Jess added eagerly. “Get better quickly so we can plan a date, okay? Just us girls!”

Without saying a word, Eijun nodded up and down enthusiastically, evoking giggles from both the girls. They pulled him in close for a group hug one more time before finally departing, waving goodbye as Eijun saw them off. The moment they were out of sight, Eijun turned to find the nearest bathroom so he could take off the wig that was making his scalp crawl with itchiness.

Eijun couldn’t believe he’d pulled this whole thing off. The whole night went with only a few bumps, but in the end, Ariya and Jess were completely convinced that he was Ei-chan. 

When they met up, the first thing they remarked was how pretty Eijun’s eyes were and how much they resembled the real Sawamura Eijun. He had panicked a bit and wondered if he should invest in contacts the next time he did this, but then he scolded himself for two reasons: the first being that Ariya and Jess would immediately notice an obvious change in eye color, and the second being that he thought there would even be a next time for his disguise! He couldn’t pretend to be sick and wear a face-mask every time! He had to accept pretty early on that he could probably not see the girls again in person unless he had a good excuse to cover his face and not talk much.

Later on, when Eijun actually had to talk from time to time, he softened his voice enough to go undetected—except until the performance began and Eijun sort of lost his shit, caving in to that feral fangirl alter-ego he’d formed for himself. He unthinkingly let out a wild cheer at the sight of Miyuki on stage, but then faltered off into a fit of fake coughing so that the girls beside him didn’t think much of it. They only laughed at the funny way Eijun sounded, but it was easy to lose track of one voice amongst a crowd of screaming fans, so Eijun had been lucky that each time he messed up, it was covered by someone around them.

The worst moment had been when Miyuki looked directly at him and winked. Eijun nearly passed out from his increasing anxiety and excitement at the same time, unable to prevent himself from blushing furiously at the direct flirting he’d just received, even when disguised like this. He wondered if Miyuki recognized him hence his decision to wink, but Eijun wouldn’t be able to find out for sure without bringing it up, which he absolutely would not do.

The other close call had been during the meet-and-greet, in which at the last minute, Eijun pretended that he lost his pass. He acted like it was no big deal since he was sick anyway and would rather meet Miyuki “for the first time” when he was feeling better. Ariya and Jess had argued about giving up their pass for Eijun, but luckily, Eijun had convinced them—with very few words, out of necessity—to go meet Miyuki in his place. Naturally, Eijun lingered out in the hall and gazed longingly at Miyuki in the meantime, but he nearly died from cardiac arrest when the man decided to look in his direction again , almost catching him in the act.

Eijun had pressed his back against the wall and clutched his shaking hands in the fabric of his skirt after Miyuki nearly spotted him. No longer shielded by the crowd and the darkness of the venue, Eijun would surely be recognized by Miyuki in this close proximity. He couldn’t risk it. Eijun even made sure to express no disappointment when Ariya and Jess came back to him, squealing and jumping about as they showed him their selfies with Miyuki.

The night had passed in a whirlwind. When Eijun finally made it inside a bathroom, which was thankfully a single-stall that he could have total privacy in, he ripped his wig off with a sigh of relief. He would forever be in awe of girls who dressed up like this all day long; granted, they didn’t usually wear wigs as far as he knew, but still. Eijun’s feet were killing him from the girly shoes, his nails felt weird thanks to the nails, and the makeup felt caked into his skin. He was so grateful for Haruichi’s thoughtfulness as he removed the makeup with the wipes Haruichi packed in his purse, then put on the hoodie, which helped conceal his fake bosom and girly top from sight.

If only he could take off the bottom half of the outfit as well, but unless he wanted to be arrested from public indecency or freeze his nuts off—whichever came first—he would have to keep the skirt, stockings, and boots on. In the meantime, Eijun had removed his fake nails and jewelry and put them in the purse, which he now had room in since he was wearing the hoodie. Eijun checked his phone and saw a missed call from Haruichi, but he decided it could wait until he was on the train-ride back. He sent Haruichi a quick text to let him know he was coming home, then put his phone away without waiting for a response.

Before heading out, Eijun glanced in the mirror and sighed. He either had to put the wig back on to avoid looking like a dude in a skirt, or put his hood up and make it harder for other people to tell. He opted with putting his hood up, and once he gently tucked the wig back inside his purse, he exited the bathroom and made his way to the subway.

No one even bat an eye in Eijun’s direction and nothing eventful happened… at least, not until the last second. The beeping of the subway train became rapid as it warned the passengers that the doors were closing, but despite that warning, two people rushed onto the train with their bags as the doors whirred shut apparently right behind their heels. The two lucky guys nearly collapsed against the walls of the train, laughing and panting to catch their breaths, relieved that they’d made it.

“That was close,” one of the guys said, causing Eijun to stiffen with the foreboding sense of familiarity.

“Kyahaha!” Fuck—that distinctive laugh was something that Eijun would recognize anywhere. “We almost didn’t make it! Besides, isn’t this one of the last trains?” 

“Looks like it is actually the last one, according to the schedule here,” a voice that Eijun knew far too well responded, making his heart instinctively swoon with adoration. “Finding a ride at this time of night would have been brutal, too.”

Oh no. No, no, no, no, no! Eijun paled and went stiff as he turned his back on the last two people he wanted to see. 

Miyuki and Kuramochi were on this train with him. To make matters worse, they were in the type of subway train that didn’t allow passengers to change cars once they’d boarded; he was trapped in this tiny space with Kuramochi and Miyuki just a few feet away from him!! Why the hell they were on this line at this hour was beyond Eijun, but he had no way out now. He couldn’t escape the perilous journey ahead. Eijun gripped tightly onto the handle sticking out from the wall and kept himself facing firmly away, praying that neither of them walked in a direction that would reveal Eijun’s face.

“What stop were we supposed to get off at again?” Kuramochi said doubtfully. “Shit, I forgot what Ryou told me…” There was a brief, frustrated pause. “And of course, it’s my luck that I don’t have any signal down here to call and ask again. The last thing we need is to end up stranded at some stop we don’t even recognize.”

“Well, we know the name of the neighborhood that we’re going to, right?” Miyuki countered. “Why don’t we just ask someone where the stop is for that area?”

Eijun’s heart was pounding so deafeningly loud in his ears as he gripped onto the handle. He begged every deity in existence, even those he didn’t believe in, to grant him mercy. There was no way, out of everyone in the subway—shit, actually, there really weren’t that many people in their car now that Eijun was thinking about it—that Miyuki would approach him of all people. He tried to convince himself of this fact, but when he felt a hand fall onto his shoulder, making his worst fears come true, Eijun reacted purely on impulse. 

As a result of his internal panicking, Eijun whirled around with a shout, cat-eyed and clammy, as he came face-to-face with Miyuki himself.

“Hey, do you know where—” Miyuki stopped mid-sentence, eyes going wide at the sight of a face he knew. “Sawamura?”

“I-I can explain—I mean, who is that!?” Eijun shouted, immediately reaching up to yank his hood back up over his head. “N-Never heard of Sawamura Eijun before in my life! No clue, no idea at all! Sorry, you have the wrong person!”

“Oi, I can tell it’s you, idiot,” Miyuki flatly responded, though to Eijun’s mortification, he looked down at Eijun’s outfit with a raised brow. “But I have to admit, I had no clue you dressed like this sometimes. Is it a secret hobby of yours or…?”

“I—no, I don’t dress like this at all, ever!” Eijun snapped, giving up his flimsy excuse that Miyuki had the wrong guy now that they were talking directly. “Listen, it’s a long story, alright?”

“What the hell— kyahaha!” Kuramochi burst out laughing, pointing a finger at Eijun as he doubled over at the sight of him. “Oh man, this is golden! Why are you in drag at this hour, idiot!? You got some shady side-hustle or something? Are you a host? A maid? Kyahahaha!”

“It’s not like that!” Eijun defended heatedly, face burning with embarrassment the more he felt Miyuki’s eyes on him. The few others on the train were staring, likely annoyed by the ruckus the trio were making on what would otherwise be a quiet ride home late at night. Out of respect for the other passengers, Eijun lowered his voice as he tried to think of an excuse on the spot. “I-I was at the Winter Festival and I got a drink spilled on my pants, so I had to change!”

“And so in order to solve the problem, you just happened to have a skirt, stockings, and girl’s shoes with you that you could change into?” Miyuki asked, a scheming smile on his lips now that he and Kuramochi were ganging up on him together. Eijun floundered, turning a deeper shade of red. He had to think, and fast!

“The drink, w-when it spilled, it got on a girl’s… shirt at the same time!” Eijun explained unsteadily, his mind spinning. Was this reality? Was Eijun’s luck just this god-awful? This couldn’t be happening to him right now! Crisis aside, Eijun had to keep his story going in some sort of semi-convincing direction. “S-So I felt terrible, and so did she since i-it was technically her fault too, we bumped into each other—so we traded… i-in exchange for her skirt, I gave her my shirt!”

“So if that's true, that means you’re shirtless under that hoodie,” Kuramochi concluded, eyebrow raising speculatively. “And a girl was really that eager to give up her perfectly fine skirt and stockings in exchange for your stained pants? Why would you trade ruined clothes? That story makes no sense, you know.”

“Argh, I know, but it’s—it’s difficult! Don’t ask me more questions, alright!?” Eijun snapped, knowing damn well he was cornered—literally and metaphorically—and that he couldn’t find a way out. How embarrassing that his story didn’t even add up now that he spoke it into existence! Eijun suppressed the urge to groan. He felt so small and humiliated in front of the two of them, and somehow Miyuki’s silent, calculating stare was even worse than Kuramochi’s verbal interrogation. Eijun gulped and felt himself blush up to his ears, leaning his weight up against the wall of the train as it came to a brief stop.

“Well, excuse me for being curious to know why you’re all dolled up like this,” Miyuki purred, bracing one hand up against the glass beside Eijun’s head as he crowded into his space. “You don’t look half bad, you know, Ei-chan.”

Eijun’s breath lodged itself in his throat. He snapped his focus back up, face going pale as he met Miyuki’s gaze, and tried to think of how to react in this situation.

“W-What did you just call me?” Eijun stammered weakly, dreading his answer already. Did Miyuki just casually admit that he knew the truth? If that was the case, Eijun’s entire life might as well end right on the spot. There would be no need for him to exist anywhere besides six feet under from that moment on.

Miyuki looked like he was about to say something else, but then Eijun saw the reflection of a flash against his glasses lenses. Startled, Miyuki looked up just as the doors closed again and the train started to move away from the platform. He looked irritated and he sighed, dropping his arm from where it had been braced beside Eijun’s head, and glanced over at Kuramochi.

“Someone just took a picture of us,” Miyuki said flatly. Eijun’s blood ran cold.

“I-Is my face—” Eijun started, mortified at the thought, but Miyuki shook his head.

“No, only mine can be seen from that angle,” Miyuki clarified. “Besides, in that outfit from behind, you look like a girl. I might have to deal with people thinking I was hitting on a girl in the train right next to my best friend for the next few weeks, but it’s not a big deal.”

Eijun frowned, the flustered heat in his chest ebbing away in order to be replaced by guilt. All because of him, now Miyuki was likely to be roped up in some rumor or scandal that wasn’t even remotely true. Kuramochi looked annoyed as well, his eyes still on the train doors despite the fact that they were far from the platform by that point.

“Sorry…” Eijun mumbled, eyes downcast. Both Miyuki and Kuramochi looked over at him, surprised by his solemn attitude. “This is my fault.”

“Don’t worry so much,” Miyuki dismissed, a small, apologetic smile on his lips. “I was the one acting out-of-line in public by getting close to you like that. I need to be more careful.” He shrugged as he slipped his hands into the pockets of his hoodie. “It's not a terrible rumor, either. Who cares if they think I was hitting on a cute girl? I just won’t say anything about it and it’ll die out by the time the tour’s over.”

Eijun fiddled with the hems of his sleeves for a moment. Miyuki was right, and the guilt in Eijun’s chest lessened. He was able to release a small sigh and relax. At least his hood had been pulled up when the photo was taken so there was really no way for anyone to tell who Miyuki was flirting with. The situation could have been much worse—had it been clear that it was Eijun in the photo, then all hell would have broken loose.

The image of a certain blond and blue-eyed demon flashed in his mind, with that clever smile and impeccable eyeliner wings by the corners of his eyes. Mei had warned him all the way back at VidCon what he’d do to spread any rumors that cropped up, and yet Eijun had still been clumsy ever since that day. He really needed to get his act together unless he wanted the whole world to know about his ridiculous feelings for Miyuki.

“Anyway!” Eijun decided to change the subject, turning his narrowed eyes towards the last two faces he expected to see on this branch of the subway after their big show. “Enough about my outfit! More importantly, what are you two doing here? Don’t you have some hotel to get to? We’re going out of the city, you know, to the suburban area around it! There’s not many hotels out this way!”

“Huh? Haruichi didn’t tell you?” Kuramochi said, giving Eijun an incredulous look. 

“D-Didn’t tell me what?” Eijun stammered uneasily, shifting his focus from Kuramochi to Miyuki and back again. Kuramochi sighed and rubbed his temples, like an exhausted father fed up with trying to calm his screaming toddler. Kuramochi seemed to know the chaos that he was about to stir up with the next words he was going to say, and he also seemed to understand that there was no way to avoid it, either.

“There’s too much to get into, but long story short, our hotel fucked us over,” Kuramochi explained, as straight-to-the-point as he could be given the situation, “and now we’re crashing at your place for the night.”

Eijun stared at him as he tried to process that information. We —as in Kuramochi and Miyuki, which includes Miyuki— are crashing at your place —meaning they are staying in Eijun’s home with Eijun at the same time that Eijun is there— for the night. Miyuki and Kuramochi would be there overnight, sleeping in the same place that Eijun lived.

Miyuki was staying at his place for the night. With Eijun.

Eijun’s jaw dropped as the facts caught up with him. All consideration for keeping his voice down for other passengers was quickly forgotten.

“Whaaaaat!?”

 

***

 

“Sorry for the intrusion…” Youichi’s sentence was interrupted by a stifled yawn as he stepped through the threshold into Haruichi’s apartment. “Jeez, it’s late. We won’t be a bother, I swear.”

“It’s no problem!” Haruichi said, face red with embarrassment likely for Sawamura’s sake. Kazuya wished he knew what the hell was going on with Sawamura’s outfit, since clearly his drink-spilling story didn’t add up in the slightest, but he wouldn’t press the issue right now. Not yet, at least. He had a feeling that if he looked at Ei-chan’s page, he’d find that she was wearing the same skirt, stockings and shoes, but Kazuya would have to mess around with his search later.

For now, he was honestly too exhausted to bother. He removed his shoes as he stepped inside and Sawamura rushed past him. At an impressive speed, Sawamura grabbed Furuya by the arm and dragged him away as he ran around the corner. Then, Kazuya heard the slam of a door and muffled voices. Kazuya didn’t know what that was all about, but he didn’t go after the pair right away, instead lingering in his place as Youichi finished pulling his own shoes off.

“I’ll just crash on your couch,” Youichi informed Haruichi. “It’s good enough for a single night.”

“Sure, that’s not an issue,” Haruichi agreed with an easygoing smile, but then he turned towards Kazuya with a frown. “I'm sorry, Miyuki-san. I wish we had a futon or something to offer for you. We have extra pillows that can make the floor more comfortable?”

Kazuya was about to answer, but around that point was when Furuya returned surprisingly quickly. He must have shrugged Sawamura off right away, and he gazed curiously at Kazuya from around the corner.

“Why should he sleep on the floor?" Furuya asked. "Eijun’s bed is big enough.”

“Satoru, you can’t just—!” Haruichi hissed, but then fell silent upon remembering that Kazuya was right there and could hear them clearly. He looked stuck for a moment, mouth opening and closing before finally releasing a sigh. “I guess he's not wrong. I’m sure it’s fine, since it’s just for tonight and all.”

“His room is the last door on the left,” Furuya said, stepping aside as Kazuya made his way down the hall. The door was shut, so when Kazuya got there, he paused for a moment before knocking tentatively.

“Furuya, I told you to get back here and— hya!!” Sawamura answered the door mid-shout before he broke off into a girlish squeal at the sight of Kazuya. The door was shut on his face again and Kazuya simply stood there, repressing the urge to make some sort of sarcastic remark about Sawamura’s flustered response. From behind the door, his muffled voice said, “J-Just a second!”

Eventually, Sawamura opened the door again, his body mostly concealed behind the door. Kazuya had to resist the urge to check him out for too long, feeling a throb of heat in his chest at the sight of Sawamura in nothing but a baggy t-shirt and boxer shorts that hugged his thighs closely. He looked so damn cute, blushing and shy like this, wondering why Kazuya was standing outside his room.

“What is it, Miyuki Kazuya…?” Sawamura mumbled.

“I was told to stay here for the night,” Kazuya explained, trying not to melt on the spot from the heat burning in his face. “For a lack of a better place to sleep. Furuya said your bed is big enough.”

“M-My… bed…” Sawamura sounded like it took a lot of effort for him to speak. He looked just as embarrassed as Kazuya, if not worse, before shakily opening the door further. “Right… w-where else would you go, after all? Haha… so um, come on in, I guess.”

When Sawamura turned around, showing his cute, round butt covered by nothing besides his underwear, Kazuya took a deep breath and said a silent prayer.

God, please give me the strength I need to resist temptation tonight.

Chapter Text

Eijun tucked himself under the blankets and stared at Miyuki Kazuya, who was sitting on the edge of his bed while rummaging through his bag. At that moment, Eijun was reminded of a classic movie trope, in which near the beginning of the film, the scene would freeze at a wild moment and the main character would narrate, ‘Yeah, you’re probably wondering how I got to this point.’

If only Eijun could show himself from a little under a year ago what was happening now. Last summer, he sat in that very chair across from Miyuki, ranting on and on about Miyuki’s content being nothing but clickbait aimed towards a thirsty female viewership. Now, Miyuki himself was in his room, getting comfortable as he prepared himself for bed.

Right—the bed. 

Eijun’s heart hadn’t stopped hammering wildly against his chest since he realized what was going on. He was worried that Miyuki could hear the pounding of his heart from where he sat, for in Eijun’s ears, the sound was as loud as thunder. He had the blankets pulled up to just under his eyes so he could hide how red he was, and he clutched the material of his blankets in a vice-tight grip. He watched Miyuki like a hawk, holding his breath, as if Miyuki would suddenly develop x-ray vision and be able to see the women’s clothing that was hidden behind the doors of Eijun’s closet.

Thankfully, Miyuki did not spontaneously gain any sort of superpower. Instead, Eijun let out a soft, mortified sound as Miyuki removed his shirt without warning. He was frozen in place, panicked as he debated whether or not he should stare, but Miyuki glancing over his shoulder was enough of a push for Eijun to make a rapid decision. He flipped onto his side, back facing Miyuki, as he curled in on himself self-consciously. Who could blame him—Miyuki was made of muscle and confidence and… and sex itself! How was Eijun supposed to handle seeing a man of Miyuki’s caliber strip his shirt off right in front of him?

“What’s wrong? We’re both guys,” Miyuki said with a mocking tone, clearly not apologetic at all for how he just embarrassed Eijun. He could hear the smug grin on Miyuki’s face.

“Don’t get naked in front of me!!” Eijun snapped, the tips of his ears now burning hot. They were peeking out from over the edge of the blankets, and he could feel Miyuki’s gaze settling on his ears, noticing their bright red color. “Stupid tanuki bastard…!”

“Who said anything about being naked?” Miyuki snickered, the dip in the mattress where he’d been sitting now disappearing as he stood up. “I’m just changing shirts, you know. What, did you want me to sleep naked?”

“D-Don’t just ask me that!” Eijun was so scandalized that he decided to turn back over, cat-eyed and scarlet, but his words died on his tongue as he watched Miyuki put on a new shirt. Briefly, he was able to stare without being noticed. He soaked in a glorious view of Miyuki’s abs flexing and the trail of dark hairs leading down from his navel before a shirt fell over it all, leaving only a small peek still available by the hem of his new shirt. As soon as he realized Miyuki could see his expression again, he turned his back towards Miyuki and huffed. “You wouldn’t sleep naked in someone else’s bed, would you? That’s just inconsiderate!”

“It’s not inconsiderate if there’s a reason for being naked, you know,” Miyuki countered. “Usually that’s what ‘sleeping together’ means.”

Eijun gulped when he heard Miyuki’s belt buckle clink together as it was loosened and removed. He wanted to watch Miyuki undress so badly.

“B-But that’s not the situation here, so… keep something on,” Eijun mumbled, fighting against the urge to soak in the sight of Miyuki dropping his jeans to the floor with every last bit of resistance he had left. He failed pretty quickly, but he at least had the clever idea to cover up his intentions. He decided to reach back and pretend to adjust his pillow, which would be the fake reason why he was twisting around so much. As he messed with his pillow, Eijun peeked over at Miyuki and—  

Shit, he really shouldn’t have done that.

Eijun was supposed to know the detrimental effect seeing Miyuki in his underwear would do to him, but like a clueless fool, he was like a deer caught in the headlights. He thanked every higher being that could possibly exist for the fact that Miyuki was looking down as he stepped into a pair of sweatpants, since Eijun was staring directly at him and he did not want to be spotted in the act.

He always knew Miyuki was big judging by the confidence Miyuki carried himself with. He knew that it had to be huge, but seeing just how large the bulge between his thighs was—when soft, might he add—had Eijun’s entire body flushing hot with arousal. The briefs he wore extended down to the mid-thigh, tight and snug on that mouth-watering swell of muscle on each leg, and they were definitely designed to cup his manhood and emphasize its impressive size.

Fuck. Eijun felt his neck burn red when Miyuki tugged his sweatpants up and noticed the pair of eyes staring him down like a starved animal. Frozen in place, Eijun held his breath as they locked eyes for one mortifying second. Miyuki didn’t even look mad. Instead, his pupils appeared to widen, like he was giving Eijun the same hungry look that Eijun was just giving him. 

Unable to bear the feeling, Eijun looked away again. He couldn’t find any words to say to excuse himself for staring, but judging by Miyuki’s reaction, he wouldn’t need to explain himself. Not when Miyuki was equally as guilty.

Only after Miyuki slid under the covers on his side of the bed did Eijun wonder what that meant for them. If Miyuki had just been looking at Eijun with that same level of carnal craving that Eijun felt, then… 

… then what came next?

 

***

 

Sawamura was curled up so tightly that Kazuya could sense just how tense his muscles had to be, even from his short distance. The kid was solid as a rock, like a rolly-polly prodded too many times, slightly trembling as he didn’t dare to breathe too deeply or make a sound that could interrupt the thick silence that was stewing between them. Besides, Kazuya felt like he’d just slipped under a heated blanket as soon as he got into bed, with Sawamura burning up right next to him.

At least Kazuya was under the blankets before his dick decided to give a twitch of interest. He released a shaky sigh and subtly pressed the heel of his palm down between his legs, as if telling himself to relax.  

He was tired. He had a long day, he performed in front of an audience for hours, he met fans, and he unexpectedly lost his hotel room at the end of it all. Tomorrow he was on the move, transporting to the next city with Youichi by his side as they prepared to perform yet again. This was just the beginning of the tour and Kazuya would need all the rest he could get in order to avoid burning out or giving the next crowd a lackluster show. By all means, he should have been passed out the moment his head hit the pillow.

Instead, Kazuya was genuinely unsure if he would be able to sleep without at least touching Sawamura first. He couldn’t just reach over and start greedily feeling Sawamura up like he desperately wanted to. He couldn’t just throw himself onto Sawamura, force himself on him, or do anything that would make Sawamura genuinely upset and uncomfortable in his own bed. None of those were options, but Kazuya was just… a little afraid.

The last time he tried romance, it backfired on him. All Mei ever wanted was the physical. He hated it when Kazuya would try to woo him with sweet words or corny gestures, like bringing a bouquet of roses in a vase. When the roses quickly died from Mei’s neglect, Kazuya learned that things like roses didn’t carry the meaning Kazuya wanted them to, not without Mei returning the same emotions Kazuya felt for him. He realized all Mei wanted was for Kazuya to fuck him and carry on—he pushed Kazuya away when he tried to give him a gentle kiss rather than a filthy one, decided to get out of bed when Kazuya tried to cuddle him instead of initiate a second round.

When Kazuya tried romance, he got hurt. Of course he was nervous to try it again. It was easy to think about putting on the act he did before by lowering himself back down to the level of that shallow guy that Mei found sexy. If Kazuya embodied that ‘fuckboy’ style again, he could easily just start pushing himself onto Sawamura. Maybe it would hurt less when Sawamura told him off and kicked him out of the room than if he tried to be sweet and got the same sour reaction.

Except Sawamura wasn’t Mei, Kazuya was by no means traumatized by heartbreak, and most importantly, if Kazuya was going to do this, then he wanted to do this the right way. He had to grow a pair and make the first move before the chance passed them by. He had to do something before Sawamura assumed Kazuya was not seriously interested and went on with his life, leaving Kazuya behind him.

Kazuya took a deep breath and allowed the tension to release from his body. He set his arousal aside, forced himself to calm down, and collected his thoughts before deciding to speak.

“Sawamura… are you awake?” Kazuya tentatively asked, even though it was obvious he was. Sawamura still didn’t turn off his bedside lamp, after all.

“Of course I am, I don’t fall asleep that fast,” Sawamura tutted in response, still facing away from Kazuya. “Why? Do you need something?”

“Yeah, I…” Kazuya grew nervous, but he swallowed down the feeling as he tried to decide the best way to go about the subject. They had to start somewhere. Something important to Kazuya when it came to a romantic relationship, especially after failing to hold onto a committed one with Mei, was to establish their expectations from the get-go. That way, he could avoid getting his hopes up only to be crushed later by something he hadn’t communicated clearly enough. “I wanted to ask… where do you see yourself in the future? A few years from now, five years from now, and beyond that, even. What do you want to do?”

Seemingly taken aback by the genuine question, Sawamura turned a bit so he could lay on his back next to Kazuya rather than facing away from him. His brows were furrowed as he looked at Kazuya’s expression, as if to clarify that he was being serious. After a beat, Sawamura must have decided that Kazuya really wasn’t just fooling around, so he directed his focus up at the ceiling and hummed.

“I haven’t really decided,” Sawamura began, “but I know I want to be with the people I love. I want to be happy, and be the best at whatever it is that I am doing. Being a YouTuber has been more and more rewarding for me every single day! I really enjoy it, I do, so that means I’ll stick with it. Years from now, I want to still be making content on YouTube, and I want to hang up a Diamond Creator Award next to my silver and gold ones!” Sawamura smiled brightly as he tilted his face towards Kazuya a little more directly. “In fact, my goal is to become equal to big creators like you. In fact, I want to surpass you and all the others, so watch out, Miyuki Kazuya!”

Kazuya really had it bad. He wondered how whipped he looked as he felt his heart slam against his chest at the sight of Sawamura’s exuberance. Knowing that Sawamura wanted to continue pursuing YouTube as his main career was reassuring, for Sawamura had no reason to move far away or even be tied down to one particular place. He wanted to be close to his loved ones, and Kazuya personally had no qualms about moving from his current residence. Ever since Youichi moved out, Kazuya knew that he should start thinking about finding a new place. He just hadn’t made it a priority yet.

“What about you?” Sawamura asked after a moment, now turned over onto his side so he was facing Kazuya directly. His eyes glittered in the dim, warm light of his bedroom, and he cuddled a squishy cat plushie up against his chest as he got comfortable. Kazuya wanted to curl his arms around Sawamura and snuggle into him just like Sawamura did with the plush cat.

“I’m going for a Ruby Award,” Kazuya said with a smug grin, referring to the highest possible award that can be given to a YouTube channel, earned only after they reach 50 million subscribers. Very few channels had accomplished such a milestone, but as YouTube’s platform grew, more channels began to receive the award than ever before. Kazuya believed he stood a chance one day if he kept trying. “But hell, by the time I get there, I bet there will be a new award for 100 million subscribers that I’ll have to strive for. I don’t know if I can keep the attention of that many people. But then again, I never thought I’d keep the attention of more than ten viewers, and yet here I am.”

Sawamura was listening closely, eyes gleaming with fascination at the sound of Kazuya’s long-term goals. As fun as it was to talk about their professional lives, Kazuya wanted to get to more intimate matters, and so he cleared his throat and carried on.

“As for everything else, I don’t really have a place I’m tied down to,” Kazuya explained, one arm folded behind his pillow while the other rested beside him, fingers drumming idly against his chest. “You know how it is; with a job like ours, we can move anywhere and keep working as long as we have a place to record and some sort of internet connection to upload with. But I…” Kazuya glanced aside, anxious to be admitting something so heartfelt. “... I’d like that. To be tied down to someone, somewhere. To have someone to come home to and a place to call home that actually feels like one.”

Sawamura was uncharacteristically quiet, cheeks reddening as he gazed at Kazuya’s profile. He could tell that Sawamura’s feet were fidgeting against the blankets due to the way they subtly moved, and he could almost hear Sawamura’s thoughts, even while he kept his mouth shut.

“I’d like that, too,” Sawamura admitted after a pause, voice wavering slightly. He was clearly just as uncertain as Kazuya was, like a baby fawn wobbling on its legs for the very first time. Just catching onto that hint that Sawamura was feeling the same way was enough for Kazuya to feel that burst of confidence he’d been waiting for. 

Kazuya turned onto his side to face Sawamura, bringing them much closer together than they had been before. Rather than reeling back, Sawamura remained in place, eyes widening and breath hitching at the change in position. Suddenly, now things were so much more intimate. The understanding that they were just barely apart, sharing each other’s body heat under the warmth of Sawamura’s covers, dawned upon them both.

Kazuya wanted to kiss him so badly he could hardly stand it, all consequences be damned. 

“Do you remember what happened on New Year’s Eve?” Kazuya asked, daringly reaching one hand up to cup the side of Sawamura’s face. His cheek burned hot under Kazuya’s palm, the bright red color of his skin matching the temperature Kazuya’s fingers detected.

“H-How could I forget nearly throwing up all over Onii-san’s new couch and still puking my guts out in the toilet in front of you?” Sawamura said, face scrunching at the gross and embarrassing memory. Kazuya couldn’t resist grinning at that, a small laugh escaping from his lips. At that, Sawamura glared at him sharply. “Don’t laugh!!”

“Sorry, but it’s funny for me,” Kazuya pointed out. As his laugh faded, he took advantage of the natural silence to inch a little closer. The movement pulled Sawamura’s eyes back up to Kazuya’s, locking their gazes at the opportune moment. “Do you remember what happened before you got sick?”

Sawamura’s attention then briefly, but unmistakably, glanced down at Kazuya’s lips. Bingo. Even if his shy little kitten tried to play dumb from this point onwards, Kazuya knew the truth and he already started to smirk because of it. Compelled by his partner’s telling reaction, Kazuya stroked his thumb along the curve of Sawamura’s cheek, petting the soft, rosy skin with gentle movements.

“I do,” Sawamura whispered, blush staining up to his ears yet again. He hesitated, then seemed to take the same leap of faith that Kazuya had by looking into his eyes as he continued. “But it wasn’t even a real New Year’s Kiss, you know.”

“Oh?” Kazuya quirked one brow up while nudging closer, so close that the tip of his nose brushed along Sawamura’s. “What’s a real New Year’s Kiss to you then, Sawamura? Care to show me?”

Sawamura curled his fingers in the fabric of Kazuya’s shirt right over his chest, twisting it in his hands with the intention of pulling Kazuya in close.

“Just call me Eijun already, dammit…!”

Kazuya didn’t wait for him to tug and close the miniscule gap left between them. Instead, Kazuya leaned in on his own, and when their mouths met, Kazuya was met with no resistance whatsoever.

 

***

 

Miyuki Kazuya was the world’s most evil, cunning, and self-centered tease that Eijun had ever met. 

Yet Eijun was so hopelessly attracted to those traits no matter how much he proclaimed to hate them, and that was how he ended up getting pinned down to the mattress of his own bed, gasping into the mouth of that very same man.

The kiss was both relieving and thrilling—all Eijun could think was finally as their lips molded together, earning a shared sigh of satisfaction from both of them. He went tense, he relaxed, and then went tense again. Eijun’s hands trembled as he clutched onto Miyuki’s shirt, at last able to press his palms against the meaty pecs he admired so much and let out a shameless groan in the process.

Underneath his palm, Eijun detected the pounding of Miyuki’s heart. The sensation caused blood to rush to his face and groin, making him shiver while Miyuki fervently deepened their kiss. They parted briefly for air, but each inhale was followed by another kiss more passionate than the last, over and over until Eijun was pushed down and Miyuki was all around him. He settled between Eijun’s legs, brawny arms on either side of his head, and totally caged Eijun within his embrace.

“M-Miyu—nhh…!” Eijun tried to call out his name between hungry kisses, dizzy from the rush of adrenaline, but Miyuki shushed him with a smile curling against his lips. 

“If I’m calling you Eijun now, then you’ll call me Kazuya, okay?” Miyuki corrected, peering down at Eijun with passion burning in his amber-brown eyes. His pupils were blown wide and his skin was flushed, frenzied with the feeling of kissing Eijun. How was Eijun supposed to say no to that face?

“Then, in that case… Kazuya,” Eijun tried, saying his first name on its own for the first time through a sigh, and it spurred Kazuya on into kissing him more aggressively than before. 

Eijun wasn’t complaining, not when he got to feel Kazuya’s tongue slip into his mouth for the first time, and oh —oh god, why had they waited so long to experience this pleasure again? Eijun’s mind was spiraling into a mess of desire now that their tongues slid together, and unthinkingly, he hoisted his legs tightly around Kazuya’s hips to keep him close. His arms curled around Kazuya’s neck, fingers sliding into his hair as Kazuya’s tongue explored his mouth with hungry, deep strokes.

Kazuya’s kiss was all-consuming, passionate, and better than anything Eijun had ever fantasized about. It felt like he was getting devoured, making Eijun believe that he tasted more delicious than honey and sugar. Kazuya was savoring him, shamelessly groaning low and deep, which turned Eijun on even more. Rather than trying to stay stoic to please some stupid standard of masculinity, Kazuya didn’t hold back his excitement to be kissing Eijun in the slightest. As someone with one hell of a praise kink, Kazuya’s vocal expression of how much he enjoyed what they were doing was all getting to Eijun’s head really quickly.

“Mmh—!” Eijun yelped against Kazuya’s mouth when he felt the man rock forward, hips driving down purposefully against Eijun’s slim, shaking body. He felt it—he felt the hardness Kazuya was packing, now nudging right against his own growing erection, making it clear just how much they were melting into each other. Kazuya’s hands roamed, moving down to slide underneath the hem of Eijun’s shirt and feel up his front. Eijun let out another soft cry, one that was swallowed up by Kazuya’s demanding mouth as his nipples were fondled and rubbed by Kazuya’s large hands.

Every touch wound Eijun up tighter, making his cock swell and twitch and start to leak in his underwear. He was lost in a haze, unable to focus on anything besides the pressure of Kazuya’s body against his own, how they rocked together and how good it all felt. Eijun hopelessly humping on his pillow didn’t even hold a flame to what it felt like to have Kazuya grinding onto him, showcasing that breathtaking strength and dominance with body language alone.

“Hnn— Kazuya, hah—!” Eijun couldn’t hold back the sounds that bubbled up in his throat as the friction between them burned. Not all of his sounds could be silenced by Kazuya’s mouth, and Kazuya appeared to like that, for he grinned a bit even as his tongue remained out, still toying obscenely with Eijun’s floundering tongue. He then closed his eyes and dove down again, dragging Eijun back beneath the surface of pleasure, dulling his thoughts with another impassioned kiss.

Eijun felt feverishly hot as he clutched onto Kazuya, so shocked by the intensity of their kiss that he didn’t know what to do next. Did they stop? Did they keep going? Was it too much too fast? Were they idiots if they didn’t take advantage of their uninterrupted solitude and— 

Eijun gasped when Kazuya then abruptly pulled back, gulping down breaths of air to try and steady himself. His heart was racing, his head was spinning, and he felt like he was somewhere high above the clouds. Feeling the heat down between his legs, he wasn’t sure if he came in his pants or what was going on. All he knew was that he was overstimulated and lost in a sea of bliss as he stared up at Kazuya, lips parted, glassy-eyed and burning with arousal.

It took a moment for them to come back down to earth and process what they were hurdling into. Eijun was throbbing in his underwear and he whined, feeling so exposed with his shirt pushed up under his chin and nothing to conceal the shape of his erection underneath his underwear. Eijun didn’t know if he should reach down and cover himself or what, but now that he had a moment to think clearly, he grew anxious. He wasn’t ready to go so fast into the next step when that had only been their first kiss, and it looked like Kazuya was having the same realization now that they managed to split apart.

“I think we got carried away,” Kazuya admitted softly, somewhat shy despite how disheveled and drop-dead delectable he looked. His hair was tousled, bangs pushed back on one side thanks to Eijun repeatedly combing through it, and his lips were full and slick with saliva. When Eijun glanced down, he saw how Kazuya’s chest heaved and how with each deep breath, the thin material of his shirt strained around his muscles and emphasized his stature.

Thanks to that maddeningly sexy sight, Eijun started to doubt the assertion that he wasn’t ready. Every cell in his body urged him to pounce and just sink onto the man’s cock, but his conscience reminded him to calm down and not act so foolishly. Eijun released a sigh and relaxed against the bed, trying to ignore the pangs of protest coming from his groin that wanted him to cave into instinct.

“Maybe just a little,” Eijun agreed, blushing so deeply he thought he could melt into a puddle right then and there. Despite how embarrassed he felt, he couldn’t stop smiling, and he didn’t have the energy or care to try and hide his dopey grin. Kazuya gazed at him for a moment before leaning down again, just to press a gentle, lingering kiss on Eijun’s lips that made his toes curl from joy. Eijun leaned up into his mouth, silently demanding more, but Kazuya pulled back with a knowing chuckle.

“Stop that,” Kazuya scolded with a playful tone. “I only snapped out of it because of my phone, you know.”

“Your phone?” Eijun echoed, watching with confusion as Kazuya reached over to the nightstand on his side and picked up his phone. Sure enough, right on the screen was a text from Kuramochi.

angry ogre wife: alright listen i am all for you two FINALLY figuring it out but i swear to fucking god if i hear sawamura moan in there ONE MORE TIME i will take your place in that bed and YOU are taking the couch, you understand???? PUT IT AWAY FOR ONE NIGHT OR SO HELP ME, KAZUYA

Eijun was only able to figure out it was Kuramochi thanks to the context clues. He wondered about the weird contact name, but truthfully, he’d be a little more surprised if Kazuya had Kuramochi saved under a normal name considering how close they were. Contact name aside, the contents of the message caused Eijun to blush for an entirely new reason, and he groaned with embarrassment as he grabbed the nearest cat plush and hid his face behind it.

“Alright, that settles it, we’re going to bed!” Eijun declared, voice muffled by the plush. Kazuya laughed as he set his phone aside, and begrudgingly, Eijun set the plush down elsewhere before re-adjusting his shirt. Kazuya then started to lean to his side, intending to get off of Eijun. Rather than letting them become detangled, Eijun continued to cling to him so that they were still cuddled up together even while laying down. As he wriggled about, he realized that he did not cum in his pants like an overexcited teenager, but it had been difficult to tell the difference in the heat of the moment.

“Was that too much?” Kazuya asked as they got comfortable, arm sliding around the dip of Eijun’s waist to pull him close. Eijun nearly purred from the feeling, the possessive touch making him feel small and protected—exactly what he desired.

“Hm? No,” Eijun answered drowsily, still high off the serotonin or dopamine or whatever the name of the happy-and-horny chemicals were. He didn’t know, he didn’t care—all that mattered was that he just made out with Miyuki Kazuya and he could probably die happy now. Well, scratch that, Eijun wanted them to make it to the next step before he accepted a peaceful death, but at that moment, he was very satisfied. “Why? Do you think we went too far tonight…?”

“No, it was great, but I want to do this right,” Kazuya admitted. “I’ve been wanting this for so long that if I screwed up here and did whatever I wanted to you without talking to you first, I’d feel like a total idiot.”

… did whatever I wanted to you— Eijun had to suppress a shiver of excitement at the sound of that. What things did Kazuya want to do to him? He was dying to know, but something else in Kazuya’s response had piqued his interest.

“You’ve wanted this for a long time?” Eijun repeated, trying to peer up at Kazuya despite how heavy his eyelids felt. Before responding, Kazuya tilted his head so he could press a kiss to Eijun’s forehead. It was a tender movement, so delicate that Eijun felt cherished from that gesture alone. He closed his eyes, soaking in the feeling of that warm contact against his forehead before Kazuya pulled back.

“Like you wouldn’t believe,” Kazuya said, his voice barely above a whisper. Eijun let the weight of those words sink in, a far-too-giddy smile on his lips. He could keep asking and pushing the subject, but when he noticed Kazuya failing to suppress a yawn, he decided he should let them both get some rest. Kazuya especially needed to sleep before his next show tomorrow.

Eijun pulled away from Kazuya only for a moment to turn off the light, plunging them into darkness a second later. It was easy to find Kazuya’s embrace again thanks to his body heat. In no time he was snuggled up against Kazuya, cheek pressed against Kazuya’s chest and all limbs coiled around Kazuya like a baby animal. 

Like that, he settled into Kazuya’s arms with a gentle, contented sigh. He just hoped that when he woke up the next morning that he wouldn’t be hit with the cold realization that it had all just been a hopeful dream.

 

***

 

Kazuya woke up to the sound of knocking on Eijun’s bedroom door. He couldn’t see anything for a moment, and it took his groggy mind a moment to remember that he put on his eye-mask before passing out. After tugging the eye-mask up onto his forehead, Kazuya sat up as much as he could with Eijun’s limbs curled around him, keeping him in a somewhat horizontal position with his weight alone.

“Who’s there?” Kazuya asked, voice raspy with sleep.

“Me,” responded Youichi’s voice from the other side. “Get up. We gotta leave in like, 15 minutes and I already let you sleep as long as I could, so be grateful!”

“A’right,” Kazuya slurred, an exhausted sigh escaping from his lips before he flopped back down. Youichi’s footsteps disappeared down the hall and though he hadn’t gotten out of bed yet, Kazuya was already mourning the loss of his comfort now that they had to get moving. He decided to savor the fact that he could cuddle Eijun for a few more minutes, and he released a heavy, reluctant sigh while squeezing the smaller man close to his chest.

It took Kazuya some time to truly wake up, but once he was more alert, he got to admire the way Eijun’s cheek was all squished up against Kazuya’s chest. His mouth was parted slightly and he left behind some drool on Kazuya’s shirt, something that might have disgusted anyone else, but Kazuya was endeared by that little wet spot on the corner of Eijun’s mouth. It was such an innocent and sweet image, and Kazuya couldn’t resist lifting a hand to wipe at the saliva with his finger.

“Nmh…” Eijun inhaled sharply and mumbled from the feeling of the touch, which seemed to pull him out of his deep sleep in just a few seconds. Kazuya almost felt sorry to wake him, but he was relieved that Eijun was stirring before Kazuya had to go. He would hate to fulfill some movie cliche by making Eijun wake up alone in a cold bed with only a note left behind on the nightstand.

“Eijun,” Kazuya whispered, reaching up to brush Eijun’s bangs back and plant another kiss on his forehead. “Eijun, get up. I have to leave.”

“Noooo…” Eijun groaned, his limbs tightening around Kazuya with a shocking amount of strength. Kazuya wheezed a bit, surprised by how tightly he could coil around Kazuya. He was reminded of a rattlesnake squeezing its prey. “Don’t go… ever. Don’t ever go.”

“Haha… I wish,” Kazuya answered, heart throbbing at the sincerity in Eijun’s sleepy tone. After hearing nothing but how much Eijun supposedly hated him for months on end, it was a nice change of pace to see Eijun behave honestly. He made a mental note that Eijun was a morning cuddler for future daydreams, then tried to figure out how to best escape the tangle of limbs they found themselves in. When Kazuya made another move to escape, Eijun clung on tighter and made a sound akin to a hiss. He really was a cat-boy, Kazuya realized.

Finally, an idea came to Kazuya’s mind. Instead of trying to pull away, he leaned forward, grabbing onto Eijun’s chin to guide his head up for a kiss. Eijun moaned sweetly once their lips met, the resistance gradually easing from his body as Kazuya pressed their mouths together with slow, deep movements. Kazuya rolled Eijun onto his back and teased him with a brief flick of tongue, just to hear the subtle, flustered noise he made at the feeling, and then broke their kiss with a victorious smirk.

Right after that, Kazuya got off the bed before Eijun had a chance to latch back onto him. Eijun immediately whined like a child. “No fair! That was so mean!”

“I know, I know, I’m sorry that I can’t stay,” Kazuya said as he turned towards his bag and stripped off his night-time shirt. He felt Eijun’s eyes boring into his back and knew that he was ogling Kazuya’s back muscles, a fact that only boosted Kazuya’s already-inflated ego. He made sure to flex unnecessarily as he fetched clean clothes. “I don’t even know how much time I have left to get ready. Youichi came by and knocked a while ago to wake me up since I clearly forgot to set an alarm.” 

Despite knowing that Eijun was enjoying the show, Kazuya made quick work of changing shirts, then grabbed a fresh pair of underwear and pants. When he turned for the door with the intention of finishing up in the bathroom, he caught sight of Eijun out of the corner of his eye. Eijun sat with his legs crossed, a pillow hugged snugly to his chest as he watched Kazuya move around with a blush on his cheeks.

So cute… Kazuya suppressed the urge to turn right back around and mess Eijun up all over again.  Instead, he forced himself into the hallway and closed the door behind him. Youichi was standing at the other end of the hallway, one hand in his pocket, the other holding a half-eaten banana. He chewed and narrowed his eyes at Kazuya while giving him a once-over.

“Surprised you didn’t come out of there with your dick hanging out,” Youichi grunted. Kazuya couldn’t think of a clever comeback, so he just flashed a stupid grin at Youichi before ducking inside the bathroom. 

 

***

 

“We really appreciate you letting us stay for the night,” Kuramochi said as he stood in the open doorway, hoisting his bag over his shoulder to readjust the position of the strap. “Hopefully shit like this won’t happen again.”

“It’s no problem, really,” Haruichi answered with a smile, cupping a mug of steaming coffee between his hands. Furuya was in the kitchen preparing breakfast for the three of them, having already given a small, to-go style portion to both Kuramochi and Kazuya. “I’m glad we were here to help. Good luck with the rest of the tour!”

“Thanks.” Kuramochi turned his focus towards Kazuya, who was kneeling on the ground as he finished tying up his boots. “Time to go.”

“Alright.” It was adorable, in Eijun’s opinion, how pouty Kazuya looked at that moment as he stood upright. He clearly didn’t want to leave, and that fact tugged right on Eijun’s heartstrings. 

Eijun didn’t know what to do to say goodbye, so he offered a smile, cheeks rosy with contentment as he recalled their drowsy morning kiss. Though as soon as Kazuya caught sight of his expression, he took a step closer and wrapped an arm around Eijun’s waist, using that grip to tug him flush against Kazuya’s body. He was clad in denim and leather, a stark contrast to Eijun’s bare, soft-skinned legs and the rumpled cotton of the t-shirt he slept in.

“Kazu— nh!” Eijun’s eyes widened, his name cutting off as Kazuya leaned in and stole a kiss from his lips right in front of everyone. Eijun flushed red down to his neck, frozen in place as Kazuya parted from him and grinned smugly.

“I’ll text you later,” Kazuya promised Eijun with a warm, low tone, and with that, he followed a disgruntled, gagging Kuramochi out the door.

Eijun was still burning red by the time he turned and saw Haruichi’s intrigued expression. Furuya had paused after sliding a pile of pancakes onto a clean plate, gazing at Eijun with a gleam of interest in his deep blue eyes. The two of them were staring him down with so much pressure that Eijun cracked before either Haruichi or Furuya even said a word.

“I can explain!!”