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Snowy Winter Dreams

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Small specks of snow fluttered in the gentle breeze, most disappearing into the frosty air before even touching the ground. I carefully adjusted my scarf to cover the parts of my neck that the cold air brushed against. Although the winter season was long here, the sun was still struggling to show itself through the clusters of clouds. The cool breeze was my biggest worry, but the warmth of my boyfriend's hand helped to warm up the rest of my shivering body.

We walked aimlessly through the streets that were familiar to us, taking our time as we immersed ourselves in the quiet surroundings. Since the sun was still up, the last thing he would want is to hastily rush to our destination in his tired state. Glancing over at the half-asleep expression he was wearing, I worried he might collapse if we stopped even for a moment.

"Ritsu-senpai, how are you faring? It is rather unusual for you to be awake at this hour, so I am quite impressed." His response was something between a grumble and a sigh.

"...I want to sleep..."

"If you are this tired, shall we turn back and continue this another time? I do not mean to drag you with me in such a state..."

"It's fine, it's fine~" he chimed, stifling a yawn with the palm of his hand. "You said the place closes early, right...? Besides, I had a cup of black tea earlier so I should be good to go~" I wanted to interject, but he was already one step ahead of me.

"If you're so worried about me falling asleep, do me a favor and let me drink some of your blood...♪" Before I could grant him my response, he leaned over and gently tugged on my scarf, telling me to move it out of the way for him. Although a little embarrassed to go through with it, his expectant gaze seemed unwavering. That sly smile of his didn't help the situation much, either, but I did as he asked and hesitantly unbuttoned part of my uniform so that he could reach my skin with his teeth. I flinched when he leaned in close and sank his teeth into my skin. I could tell he was trying to be careful, but I still shut my eyes and tightly clutched his hand. I think I'm getting used to this little by little, but it will still take some time before I can fully adjust to the feeling.

I felt myself relax a little when he drew back, and I cast an annoyed glance at the smug vampire licking his lips. Spotting my displeased expression, he gave me a quick kiss to the cheek to lighten my mood.

"Thank you for the meal~ I'll take that as compensation for barging into my house to rouse me awake so rudely."

"That is your own fault for oversleeping...My apologies if it seemed like an intrusion, but Sakuma-senpai seemed to be alright with letting me inside-" An unusually loud groan from the other cut off the end of my sentence.

"Ahh~...I thought I've told you before to stay away from 'that thing.' I don't like the idea of him latching onto my cute Su~chan, so try to be more careful, okay?" Although a rather odd request, I knew how much Ritsu-senpai detested his brother, so I nodded. It's a little childish of me to think, but I admittedly like the idea of Ritsu-senpai becoming a little jealous over me.

"Hm, what's this~?" Ritsu-senpai spoke, a suspecting tone in his voice as he looked over at my smiling expression. "Hiding something from me, Su~chan...?" I quickly glanced away, only affirming his point with my sudden aversion. I knew he was just teasing me, but I still felt embarrassed that he was able to detect something unusual in me right away. I have been trying to be more watchful of what I say as a result of several criticisms concerning my mannerisms, but even when I leave some things unsaid, it seems like Ritsu-senpai is able to read those as well.

"Good to see you are feeling more awake," I pointed out, attempting to change the subject.

"Mhm, Su~chan's blood always gives me energy~" We let the conversation fall and lost ourselves in the relaxing weather. While it was still chilly out, we were protected from the frigid air by our comfortable coats and scarves. It was immersing enough to simply gaze upon the snow-covered grass and road, feeling the soft crunch of fresh snow as our shoes cleared a path.

"Hey, Su~chan..." I was surprised to hear Ritsu-senpai's voice interrupt the silence. Since I am usually the one to carry the conversation, I eagerly responded to his sudden call. I asked if there was something on his mind, and his footsteps slowed as he spoke, his eyes staring aimlessly up at the snowy sky.

"You know...the holidays are coming up soon. You mentioned before that you usually spend part of it as a formal gathering with your family...but last year, you accepted Ousama's invitation to celebrate with the rest of Knights. Ousama isn't here anymore, and Nacchan said he was going to be busy...how about we spend it together this time?"

"I would be honored!" I enthusiastically replied, beaming at Ritsu-senpai's surprised expression.

"Fufu, were you waiting for me to ask...?" I felt my cheeks flush in response, and they only grew warmer when he leaned in to plant another kiss on my cheek. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m too eager for the holidays that I found it a challenge to stay quiet.

"You are not wrong," I answered, smiling at Ritsu-senpai as I spoke. "I have been meaning to ask as well. I am looking forward to spending the evening with my dear comrade♪"

Ritsu-senpai's expression became inscrutable for a moment, as if I had said something abnormal. The sound of our feet clashing against the icy ground was all that could be heard for a brief moment as he remained silent. I started to worry I had said something impertinent once again, but a devious smile tugged at his lips.

"'Comrade...?' That's not all you think of me, right~?" I felt a bit of discomfort as he cast me that indecipherable look. I wasn't sure how to correct my wording, but it seems he had his own way of rectifying my mistake. My feet came to a stop as he remained in place. All the muscles in my body tensed when he leaned close enough that I could feel his hot breath against my ear. My heart started pounding as the heat rushed to my face.

"Don't you mean 'lover'...?" My whole face was probably red at this point, but I couldn't cover it with just one hand. I tightly shut my eyes and pretended that I was elsewhere, anywhere else where I wouldn't feel like disappearing into thin air from sheer embarrassment. I flipped my head the other way around when Ritsu-senpai called my name, not wanting him to see me in such a state. To repeatedly tease me in such a manner is...!

"...I would rather refrain from using such an embarrassing term," I finally spoke, trying to maintain an assertive tone. However, that effort was rather ineffective as I continued to avert my gaze and attempted to cover part of my reddened face with my free hand.

"But it's true, isn't it~? Fufu, Su~chan's reactions are the best...♪" After getting in his fair share of teasing, the tired idol yawned and nearly made me stumble as he leaned against my shoulder. I felt the warmth from his resting body as his arms wrapped around mine. I was about to ask if he wanted to trade coats if he was feeling really cold, but he spoke up before I could. His breathing was so faint that I figured he had already fallen asleep.

"How much farther is it...?" he asked in a hushed, tired tone. "My legs aren't moving on their own anymore...You'll carry me, won't you...?"

"I will do no such thing. Keep it up for just a little further like a true and proud knight☆"

"Nn...Don't wanna..." Ritsu-senpai grumbled, continuing to latch onto my arm as I marched forward. I could feel him slowly sinking into the snow. His grip on my arm remained unyielding, even until there was an entire body clearing a trail in the snow right behind me. Such an undignified sight was surely to be scorned upon by onlookers, so I had to correct his behavior before he caused any trouble.

I let out a sigh as I kneeled beside the body on the ground, his clothes and hair already coated in a thin veil of snow. He was grumbling from the pain resounding in his head, but his eyes remained closed like he was quickly falling back asleep. His grip on my arm loosened as he made a lackadaisical attempt to roll over into a more comfortable position, revealing a person-shaped figure in the snow as he moved out of the way. After much demanding and tugging at him to get up, I found all my efforts were in vain. Ritsu-senpai is truly a formidable beast when he falls asleep.

I began to exhaust myself from trying to move around a motionless lump of an idol, so I eventually came to the conclusion that I will have no success in making him budge. Even though I should have enough practice by now to be able to figure out a solution, it seems I am still but a novice.

Although thankful that there are not many people around at the moment, I would much rather be seen in a more elegant state than this. More layers of snow were starting to pile up on Ritsu-senpai, and now a new fear was starting to creep up on me. I wondered if I could use this opportunity to teach him a lesson, but the thought of him becoming buried under the snow was not something I wished to risk.

"Ritsu-senpai, I am not going on a date with a man who cannot even carry his own weight," I sternly warned, receiving a stir from the other. However, I was starting to feel annoyed at his lazy behavior and began walking off without him. I did not intend to leave him out in the snow of course; I planned on calling someone to come pick him up, but I did not have the patience to drag someone with me who was clearly reluctant to move.

Although I did not turn back to look, I could hear movement in the background. There was a pause in my step when a startled voice called out for me. I convinced myself that it was best he learned his lesson and continued onwards, but I did not feel very eager to do so. I know how difficult it is for Ritsu-senpai to stay awake at such a time, so it felt cruel to leave him behind like this, even if I wish that he learn to be less spoiled.

Out of both curiosity and worry, I glanced back to see him struggling to lift himself from the ground, barely able to keep in a straight line as he stumbled over to me, still covered in snow. I instinctively ran towards him before he could fall over as his eyes still struggled to stay open. I immediately regretted my haughty actions when I felt his tired body shaking in my arms.

"...Don't ever do that," his quiet voice managed, his tone indistinguishable between threatening and pleading. Since his face was buried in my chest, I could not see his expression, but I did not need to in order to know that he was displeased with my actions. I thought I could feel the quickened pulse of his heart, but that may as well have been my own. Before he could collapse again, I brought him over to the side of the road, where I sat back against a tree with Ritsu-senpai still leaning into me, allowing him to rest for a little while to regain his energy.

"...Ritsu-senpai, you need to learn to be less spoiled," I explained, trying to maintain a stern tone despite the guilt I was feeling. "I am not your personal servant who will carry you everywhere you need to go."

"Even if you say that, you still came to get me, right...?" I knew I was fooled the instant I spotted a smirk forming at the corner of his lips. I wanted to retort saying that I would have called someone else to get him instead, but even I knew that was a lie. I couldn't in good conscious leave him there, and he was well aware of that.

"What you are saying is," I spoke, slowly starting to realize his deceptive plan. "You intended to fall asleep knowing that I will come get you and will allow you to rest?"

"Yep, good job, Su~chan. A gold star for you...♪" He displayed a childish grin as he chimed the words 'I win~' while adjusting himself so that his arms wrapped around me, hugging me tightly so I couldn't move. I let out an annoyed yell that made him furrow his brows into a pained expression while keeping his eyes closed like he was trying to sleep. Even as I started to lecture him, something about his words from earlier seemed so much more serious; I still couldn't help but feel a little concerned that I may have really upset him. Ritsu-senpai can be so difficult to read at times that I can only wonder what he is thinking, but I have a feeling that he did not expect me to walk off like I did.

Although he would normally fall asleep in the midst of my lectures, I was surprised to hear a response from him.

"There's nothing wrong with being a little spoiled, right~?" he added. "After all, you're just as spoiled as me, aren't you~...?"

"I do not know where you might have acquired that idea, but if there is anything that suggests such a thing, I shall put in my best effort to change it. However, your laziness is completely unacceptable. I can only push you so far..." I was aware what I was saying was rather harsh, but as much as Ritsu-senpai enjoys goading me, he knows when to be more serious. I had hoped to have a refreshing time out after all the work I have been performing in classes along with unit activities, especially now that there are underclassmen I have the responsibility of guiding. Ritsu-senpai must have sensed my tone because he remained silent. Either he had nothing to say, or he had fallen back asleep after all. I was quite tired myself, so I decided to close my eyes as well and rest for a bit before I said something I would regret.

Perhaps it is merely due to the dreary season that I am in such a haggard state, but I was careless enough to let my exhaustion show. I committed myself to the idea that rest will help cure my feeble state of mind and allowed my consciousness to drift for a moment. I could faintly feel something moving from atop me until cold air was the only thing brushing against my body. I brought my legs in closer to me as I crossed my arms. The frigid air pierced through my clothes, and I shivered from the unwelcome feeling. The movement near me stopped, and I heard Ritsu-senpai let out a quiet sigh as he settled down next to me. I could barely feel the heat from his body nearby, but he had moved farther away so that we were no longer touching. I couldn't focus on what he was doing anyone and felt my vision start fading to black.


 

I wearily opened my eyes to a darkened sky, the moon completely invisible from the clouds. The only way I could see anything around me was due to the streetlamp illuminating the snowy landscape. The weather had cooled even more now that it was nighttime, but the snow had let up for the time being. I let my gaze adjust on the monochromatic scenery I was in, my eyes riveted on the faintly glowing light. The only color that provided contrast to the dreary picture were the red and green tinsels carefully wrapped around the top of the lamppost, just below the light bulb so the color still showed vibrantly even so late into the day.

I let out a surprised 'Ah!' and rose to my feet when I realized I was still sitting in the snow and leaning back against the same tree I had found hours ago. For a moment, it felt like I was gazing through my window, but the frigid cold suggested otherwise. I silently cursed myself for being so careless, especially knowing that I have too much on my plate to afford to catch a cold. I wanted to leave home right away, but glancing back at where I stood up from, I realized that Ritsu-senpai was also still here. Just to make sure there was nothing wrong, I kneeled back down to find that he was still sound asleep. Not having the energy to try to wake him, I slowly leaned back against the tree like I had been resting earlier. I hope that he will wake up soon, but he may as well sleep for even longer than usual after being up so early. The sweets parlor was surely closed by now, but my growling stomach still wished to check.

I had almost forgotten my phone in my left pocket, so I turned on the frozen device but had little energy to use it. I am not the most knowledgeable about these types of contraptions, so I am surprised I even carried it with me. The only purpose I needed it for was to call or message people when necessary to report a change in schedule or to call my driver, but seeing as I had not yet received any missing calls, I placed my phone back into my pocket and let my hands warm up once more.

The stirring from beside me averted my attention. I didn't say anything as he woke up from his slumber, stretching his arms out above his head like usual. Unsure of what to say or do after our uncomfortable exchange from earlier, I turned my gaze back to the snow before me. Even though he knew I was awake and that I was still here as well, he didn't have anything to say, either. It felt even more unsettling knowing that we were both awake but unmoving in this kind of weather. I could not allow myself to catch a cold, so I felt inclined to speak as soon as I could so that I may return to my warm household. However, the words that came out were not what I had intended.

"...Are you cold?" It was a foolish question I immediately felt embarrassed to ask. Of course he was cold, and I was in no better of a state. I felt the color rush to my cheeks as I hastily made an attempt to make myself sound more sensible, but my tired mind was too slow to think through a reasonable correction on time.

"...I'm fine," he replied, clearly shivering. I nearly smiled at the equally ridiculous response.

"It has gotten quite late, so it is best we head home," I explained. "Shall I ask my driver to bring you home as well, or do you have someone you can call?"

"...I think I'll stay here for a little longer," he quietly replied, his eyes not even glancing in my direction. I couldn't see his expression very clearly in the dark, but he seemed rather sullen.

"And how do you plan on returning home?"

"I'll walk." His response caught me off guard, and I immediately scolded him for suggesting something so foolish in this kind of weather. He was already freezing and tired; if I left him out in such conditions, I could never forgive myself if something happened to him.

He continued to remain quiet, and I couldn't help but notice that he was still visibly shaking. I had at least huddled up in a position that helped keep me somewhat warm, but he had been completely sprawled out in the snow. I hesitantly edged a little closer to him, looking at him to see if he was retracting. My heart sped up for a moment as my shoulder brushed up against his, worried that he might react poorly if I came too close. I was surprised when he adjusted himself so that there was little if any room left between us.

There was clearly something unsettling about the atmosphere between us, and as much as I wished to amend matters right away, I could not find the right words to say and remained silent. This high tension was becoming unbearable to the point where every second felt as long as a minute, but a slight movement made that feeling swiftly disappear.

Ritsu-senpai's arm gently bumped into mine for a moment as he removed his hand from his pocket and placed it atop his leg, nearly touching my own. I did not understand why he would allow his hand to freeze and figured that perhaps he had started to feel uncomfortable. However, as he tentatively started to retract it, I abruptly reached for his wrist. My heart started pounding again for doing something so bold, but I steadily slid my hand over his. I felt a wave of relief wash over me when he kept it there, so I proudly noted that I had done what he was hoping for.

"Next time," I spoke up, finally gathering the courage to break the silence, "I shall find a shop that closes at a later hour."

"...The last one we went to was pretty good~" he added, "Or we could just feast on the sweets I make instead. They're the best, wouldn't you agree?"

"As grotesque as they appear, I must admit that their taste is rather impeccable." A smile returned to my lips as soon as the tension was lifted. However, Ritsu-senpai's expression remained unchanged. His gaze was still elsewhere but at me, and it started to make me uneasy again.

"...But it'll be a while before we'll have a chance to go on another date, right...?" His words made my heart sink, but I didn't wish to show him any feeling of uncertainty and replied in my usual, confident manner.

"We are spending the holidays together, are we not? Christmas is only a few weeks away, so please patiently wait just a bit longer. Plus, we have our unit activities together so do not forget that as well." He seemed to think about my suggestion for a bit but didn't seem too pleased about it.

"...Ritsu-senpai, I do not wish to be apart from you this much, either..." I continued, the energy disappearing from my voice, "But I cannot shirk the work I have to attend to. It's important to take that into consideration as well..."

My voice trailed off when I saw the tired look on Ritsu-senpai's face becoming more apparent. It pains me to see him like this, but as much as all the responsibilities kept piling on and tempting me with the choice of running away and leaving it all behind, I know I cannot afford to be so cowardly.

"Ritsu-senpai," I called out, trying on a smile in hope that he will do the same. "Perhaps if you have some time to spare, would you mind accompanying me for a bit longer? My behavior from earlier was rather shameful, I must admit, so please allow me to make up for that. I can prepare for you some hot tea at my manor, and we can have some sweets as well♪"

A small grin tugged at the corners of Ritsu-senpai's lips. I wondered if I had said something thoughtless once again, and my face burned with embarrassment at his response.

"...Are you suggesting I spend the night? Fufu, not that I would mind~" I tried to hide my face in my scarf but to no avail. Mrrrgh, don't get so greedy all of a sudden...!

I noticed that Ritsu-senpai's smirk continued to grow in size, and I wanted to do something before he started teasing me again. Since I was already numb to the cold at this rate, I let go of Ritsu-senpai's hand and reached for the snow next to me. His eyes quickly widened when I stood up with a snowball cupped between my hands. He managed to duck just as I threw it, but some ice still landed on his neck. I quickly crafted another one, and Ritsu-senpai had the same idea. Soon we were both frantically dodging each other left and right, snowballs flying at each other on the dimly lit battleground. My heart started racing from the excitement as I lost myself in the heat of battle. I was determined to win, but Ritsu-senpai was terrifyingly fast at night. It was as if I was facing a completely different person. He dodged nearly every snowball I sent flying his way with perfect precision, and his aim was relentless.

I jumped up at the same time he did, and I dove forward so that my aim would be more precise. He had the same idea and dashed in with his arm raised, a determined grin sprawled across his face. Before I could release the snowball from my hand, he grabbed a hold of my wrist, making the snowball fall and splatter onto the ground. My eyes widened as I witnessed something cold and white being smashed into my face. I recoiled at the cold sting of icy snow against my face and immediately shut my eyes upon impact.

"Ahh?!" I yelled out as I blindly crashed to the ground. A loud groan escaped my lips as my back hit the snow. I heard laughing in the background, and I kicked in the direction of the sound. I let out another gasp when I opened my eyes just in time to see Ritsu-senpai stumble over me, nearly collapsing on top of me. His hands pressed mine into the snow as I stared up at his stern expression. White puffs of air appeared in the chilly air as we stopped for breath. His previously devious smile was replaced with something gentler as he lowered his head closer to mine. I closed my eyes when he leaned in for a kiss. I was tempted by the warmth of his lips and kissed him back, and I could feel my body start to relax. I wanted to prolong the moment for longer, but Ritsu-senpai pulled away before either of us could get carried away. His kind smile was enough for me to smile back.

"Are you ready to head home now?" Ritsu-senpai asked, keeping his voice lower than usual. That question brought me back to the present, and I realized that I should have called for my driver a while ago by now. I'm a little disappointed that this should end, but I suppose it is best to head home before either of us end up with a cold.

"Why are you looking at me like that...?" Ritsu-senpai spoke, his face back to being unreadable. "Don't you think it would be best to continue this in a warmer environment...?"

"Continue...?" My face immediately grew warm when I realized what he was hinting at. W-Was he really serious about before...?

As if to confirm my suspicion, Ritsu-senpai showed me another sly grin. He leaned back down to gently nibble on my ear, making the heat rise to my face even more. I tried to keep quiet, but the action caught me by surprise, and a small sound escaped my lips. This seemed to encourage him some more because he ran the tip of his teeth over the skin of my neck, pressing into it slightly but not biting down, exhaling hot breaths that made me shudder from the touch.

"...Shouldn't you call your driver already~? Before either of us start to get cold..." He kept his voice low and seductive, making me feel even more flustered at his suggestive tone. I told him I needed to reach into my coat to get my phone, and he seemed to think about something for a bit before gradually climbing off me. My hand shakily reached for my phone as I tried to turn my attention to calling my driver, my face still burning with embarrassment. As the rings from the phone filled the silent air, my eyes cautiously darted over at Ritsu-senpai, who looked just as flushed. It could have easily been from the cold alone, but his cunning smile suggested otherwise.

I picked up the phone in a surprise, quickly correcting my tone when I gave my driver directions to where we were. I paused for a bit before asking if it was alright for Ritsu-senpai to stay the night. I didn’t have to look to tell that he was grinning from ear-to-ear in the background. A startled sound escaped me as I felt arms wrap around me from behind as soon as I was done with the call.

"So it's settled then~" he spoke, his chin resting against my shoulder. I could see the hot puffs of air form white clouds in the chilling air. My heart was still beating against my chest, attempting to slow down from earlier. I can't believe how quickly I got carried away...And to invite him over like this, it’s basically asking for him to...! Just what have I gotten myself into...?

"Well yes, I did mention that it would be best to warm up with some tea..." I managed, struggling to put together a reason for why I'm letting him get his way, knowing very well that drinking tea won't be the only way we'll be warming up.

I gently shook him from my shoulders, warning him to keep his distance in case someone from my family sees. He languidly slid from behind me and did like I said, but he was still huddled close to me. I didn't want to push him away even further, so I figured I could just use the excuse that we would be warmer at a closer distance in case anyone questioned it. Since my family is rather strict, I have to be incredibly careful with making sure to hide my relationship with Ritsu-senpai for both our sakes. I would be able to handle a scolding or a lecture, but I know how much disappointment and shock I would bring to them if I revealed that I was in a relationship with another man. Not to mention the horrible treatment they might give Ritsu-senpai...I cannot allow for that to happen.

I wanted to reach out for his hand again and squeeze it tight, but I was worried of being seen and kept my hands furled inside my coat. Realizing I was still carelessly sitting in the cold snow, I steadily rose to my feet and brushed off the snow from my clothes. I scolded Ritsu-senpai, who had lain back down in the snow. I helped him up by reaching out my hand, but as soon as I heard the car approaching, my hand quickly retracted from his as I approached the slowing vehicle.

I graciously greeted my driver, offering him my thanks for driving all the way out here in such hazardous conditions. Ritsu-senpai thanked him as well, addressing him politely as he normally would with people working for my family. I took my seat in the back with Ritsu-senpai, who remained at the far end of his seat, staring vacantly through the window at the passing scenery without saying a word.


 

As we arrived at my manor and stepped inside, I was relieved to be greeted with such a warm and comfortable environment. My servants bowed to Ritsu-senpai and I, welcoming us and quickly hanging up our snowy coats. When I asked for some hot tea, we were escorted to an elegantly decorated table in the dining room. They pulled out two chairs across from each other, where we waited as our drinks were being prepared.

"Even having been here several times by now, I still can't get used to this...Su~chan's such a spoiled child~" Ritsu-senpai spoke as he traced his finger along the embroidered tablecloth.

"I do not think you are one to be calling others 'spoiled,'" I retorted. He glanced towards the servants, who were preparing some complementary sweets in the kitchen.

"Su~chan, you'll let me borrow one of them, right? I think I could put them to good use~"

"I am afraid I must refuse. You are already lazy enough as it is, Ritsu-senpai. I am not about to encourage that behavior."

He gave me a pout in his already-sprawled out state with his head leaned into his arm and completely hunched over the table. I snapped at him to sit upright in a more dignified position, and he grumbled for a bit but did as he was told when my servants came back with tea and sweets. He glanced at them as they walked back, following their movement for a bit until they were out of sight.

Meanwhile, I had already started biting down onto the confections, crumbs flying this way and that. I was confused when I looked up to see Ritsu-senpai hiding his smile behind his hand, as if he was trying not to laugh.

"Su~chan, your face is..." he managed between chuckles. I grabbed a napkin and brushed away some of the crumbs.

"Is this better?" I asked.

"Ah, actually...Mm, never mind," he said, giving me a rather confused expression, like he was contemplating telling me something. He shook his head with a slight smile still plastered on his face.

I munched down onto more sweets, my face lighting up at the delicious taste of the pastries before me. I let out a small sound when a finger gently poked into my cheek.

"If you keep eating like that, Nacchan will scold you again~" Ritsu-senpai teased. I grumbled at him to stop when he started tugging on my cheek, smiling in a carefree manner as he continued to mock me.

"For the final time, I am not getting fat...! Please excuse me for my insistence, but I can manage my weight just fine on my own," I said as I scarfed down some more sweets until there was nothing left. I glanced from my empty plate to Ritsu-senpai's, who was still on his first bite. My face grew red when he smirked upon catching my gaze.

"I am not fat!!!" I reiterated, growing even more flustered when Ritsu-senpai's grin grew wider.

"I didn't say anything~"

"Nngh...!" I grit my teeth and stared at the plate, starting to feel regretful for so carelessly devouring my food. That was anything but elegant...!

I shut my eyes and felt my whole body tense as Ritsu-senpai leaned over to lick the crumbs off my face. A small cry escaped from between my closed lips as he slowly ran his tongue around the sides of my mouth. My whole face felt like it was on fire by the time he pulled away, licking his lips and acting like that was normal for him.

"These pastries are tasty and all, but I think Su~chan is more delicious..." I covered my face with my palms as I emitted an annoyed groan.

"Please do not say such embarrassing things," I spoke, attempting to keep a stern tone despite my flustered expression. I knew that if I looked at him, he would just tease me some more, so I glanced back down at my plate. Even though there was nothing left, a greedy part of me still wanted more. I took a peek at the kitchen, but knowing how strict my family can be after finding out of my stress eating, I am almost certain they will not have any desserts placed in the open. I was tempted to get up and look around, but I knew Ritsu-senpai would not let me hear the end of it if I came back with more sweets.

As if understanding what I was searching for, Ritsu-senpai pushed his plate closer to me. It was difficult to distinguish whether he had even eaten anything at all.

"The tea is enough for me, so you can have some more if you want~ I can't eat all this anyway."

"Ah, is that alright? Marvelous!" I shouted, my hands already reaching for the plate and pulling it towards me. "Then if you do not object, this Tsukasa Suou shall gladly accept...☆"

I tried to eat more slowly this time, consciously aware that Ritsu-senpai was probably watching me. I felt a bit of disappointment when I heard him quickly take back his offer.

"Ahh, that's..." he spoke, appearing to contemplate something as he spoke. "Maybe you should slow down...? Eating that much is bad for anyone, not just an idol."

I guiltily put down my fork, my eyes still riveted on the unfinished slice of cake. As much as I wanted to retort and say that I would be fine because I can simply exercise to make up for it, I knew I had to be careful with what I ate. Although it pains me to admit it, I have been gaining weight the moment the winter season started. I suppose I will have to go on an even stricter diet...

"...It seems like I shall be receiving diet goods this year as well," I spoke aloud, staring dejectedly at the tantalizing sweets right before me.

"Fufu, seems so~" Ritsu-senpai noticed my distracted gaze and he spoke up again, a playful tone rising to his voice.

"How about I help you finish? I guess I am feeling kind of hungry, after all~..." He opened his mouth with an 'Ah~,' closing his eyes as he leaned forward. I thought about scolding him again for his spoiled behavior, but I gave in with a sigh and fed him the cake from my fork. The heat rushed to my face when he curled his hand around the utensil, his hand brushing against mine as he thoroughly licked the cake off the fork. He slowly ran his tongue around the silverware, letting out a breathy ‘Mm…’ by the time he drew back. His unreadable eyes met with mine as he licked his lips. My hand was shaking by the time he let go. I let my hand slowly fall to the table, but Ritsu-senpai said he wanted more, so I wordlessly took another slice of cake onto my fork and lifted it to his mouth. I wasn't sure why I was still going through with this, but I clearly wasn’t thinking things over.

I pushed the fork a little further into his mouth this time, and I could feel the hot breaths of air escaping from between his parted lips. He did the same thing this time as well, but I accidentally let go of the fork and heard it fall to the table—a sharp, metallic clang resounded from the object as it bounced across the wooden surface. I instinctively reached for it, but Ritsu-senpai abruptly grabbed a hold of my hand instead and carefully placed my index finger inside his mouth. The tip of his teeth bit into my skin and drew blood. Before it could trickle down the rest of my hand, he ran his tongue along the side and pulled the finger closer inside. I felt his warm tongue wrap around my finger, and by the time he was finished with licking it, I was too flustered to know what to do or say and let my hand slowly lower itself onto the table.

The only sounds audible aside from the intense beating of my heart were that of our breathing. Ritsu-senpai quietly interrupted the silence, the low and suggestive tone sending a shiver down my spine.

"You know, when I said earlier that I think Su~chan is more delicious..." he spoke, leaning in closer until I could just about feel his breath on my ear. "What did you think I meant~?"

"My...blood...?" I hesitantly responded, not sure what to say in this kind of situation.

"Mhm, that too, but...Not exactly what I meant." He reclined back into his chair and discreetly moved his foot closer to mine, bumping against it gently as if to provide me with some sort of clue. When I didn't say anything, he readjusted his foot until it was pressing against my crotch. A rugged sigh escaped my lips, and I shuddered in response to his foot tenderly rubbing against the elevated area.

"Hey, Su~chan..." Ritsu-senpai spoke, wearing an enticing smile as he continued pressing his foot against me. "You'll let me eat you, won't you...?"

Without even realizing it, I had inadvertently opened up my legs. I leaned over the table, tightly clutching onto my cup of tea with both hands, trying to focus on keeping my breathing in tact. No matter what I said in this situation, I knew there was no escape. Kuaaa, to think that I would fall to Ritsu-senpai's plans so easily...!

"Fufu, how lewd~" he continued to tease, not pausing his actions for a second. His face was slightly flushed as well, and that mischievous expression told me that I wasn't getting out of this. "You were hard before I even touched you."

"...That's...all your fault, isn't it?" I managed, my tone more hushed than usual.

"If that's the case, you'll let me take responsibility for it, right~...?"

Against what my brain was telling me, I shyly nodded. Before he could advance any further, I had to say something. It annoyed me that he was getting his way, so I had to warn him before he could get too ahead of himself.

"Ritsu-senpai, this is not...! Not..." My voice trailed off in the middle, like I was forgetting where I was going with this. The words that followed were not what I had intended.

"...Not here," I uttered, "But perhaps the bedroom...?"

I buried my face in my hands, unable to cover up my true intentions. I let out an annoyed sound like I had lost. Wh-Why did I say that?! Nngh, how embarrassing...

I didn't need to look to know that Ritsu-senpai's grin grew ever the wider. No matter how much I wanted to hide it, he knew more than anyone that I wanted this just as much as he did. It felt so shameful to allow him to do such a thing, but such a euphoric sensation is hard to resist.

It took some amount of willpower to get out of my seat and lead him to my room, mostly because I was too comfortable staying in place. I was tempted to finish things off where they started, and even though my parents were out for the evening, it was a risk I did not wish to take. Without looking back, I tugged on Ritsu-senpai's sleeve and guided him in the right direction, my hand slowly slipping into his own.


 

I stared expectantly at Ritsu-senpai as he knelt before me, quickly undoing my pants to reveal what was underneath. My legs dangled off the edge of my bed, completely stiff and motionless. My hands stayed by my side, desperately clutching at the covers of my bed. The confident vampire's complexion remained completely unwavering as he ran his fingers across the length of my erection. I shuddered from sudden feeling of his tongue trailing along where his finger had just been.

"Nn..." Although I kept my mouth shut, a sound still came out. It's much too cruel for me to subject him to doing something so unsanitary, but I could not find the words to tell him to stop. Everything was starting to become hazy and uncertain, and my mind was quickly clouded over with the feeling of pleasure. Ahh, what a dangerous situation I've put myself in...

Knowing too well what he was going to do next, I buried my face in my hands to keep from being even more flustered at the sight of what he was doing. The heated feeling that was coming from below was becoming too much to resist, and I let out a heavy sigh when his mouth completely enveloped that part of me. He moved all of it into his mouth so smoothly and without any hesitation that I had no time to prepare, and ragged moans were already pouring out of me.

My hands slipped for a moment, and my face grew all the more heated when I saw Ritsu-senpai in front of me. He must have caught me staring because he started to bob his head in a rhythm as he rubbed the base of my crotch. His expression told me that he was in as much of a trance as I was. The rubbing of his tongue across my hardened member as it brushed against the wetness of his mouth was becoming too much to bear.

"Ritsu...senp...ai..." I managed, trying to keep from moaning. "Nn, I'm...p-please let go...! A-Ah, I'm at my limit...! Nn, ahh...Ritsu...senpai, hahh…!" The numbing, exhilarating sensation rushed to the lower end of my body. I couldn't hold it in any longer and let out a series of muffled moans despite my attempt to cover my mouth with my hands. I felt my vision go white as my body shuddered at the irresistible feeling. My heart continued to pound as my breathing continued to be erratic, but the muddled clouds in my brain were finally starting to clear.

A sense of panic struck me when I realized that Ritsu-senpai hadn't moved when I told him to, and I immediately managed to utter a flustered mess that was both to scold him and ask him if he was alright. His response was to lick his lips and clean off any remaining cum he found on his fingers.

"Mm, Su~chan really does taste the best...♪" I felt my entire face heat up again upon seeing him do something so bold.

"E-Eh...? Ah, what are you...t-that's not...!" was all that I could manage.

"I told you I was going to eat you, didn't I...? Slow as always, aren't you~" I continued to gawk at him as he steadily climbed on top of me, pressing my hands into the bed. I was still trying to process what he had just done earlier to catch up with what he was up to now, but my attention was brought back to the present as soon as I felt teeth sinking into skin. I grit my teeth as he bit in the same place as earlier, but this time not bothering to be nearly as gentle. Tears threatened the corner of my eyes as I endured the stinging pain, letting out a sigh of relief when it was over. He ran his tongue over the injured area, making me shudder in return. He continued unbuttoning the rest of my shirt as he placed more bite marks down my body.

"Ritsu-senpai...?" I tentatively asked. My anxious reply was returned with a quick kiss to the lips.

"There's no point to markings if you can't see them, right~?"

"Markings...?" I slowly repeated, despite knowing what he was talking about. He lowered his tone and showed me a seductive smile, making a shiver run down my spine.

"Fufu, what a lovely face you have on~...It's making it hard for me to hold back." Before he could go back to planting bite marks over my body, I reached for the end of his collar and pulled him in front of me, our noses practically touching. I could feel his breath on my skin.

"...Then don't," I quietly spoke. I closed my eyes and brought him in for a kiss as I wrapped my arms around his neck. I was barely aware that small moans were coming from me while his tongue wrestled with my own. I shifted about from below, my body yearning for something more. Both of us were out of breath by the time he pulled away.

"Su~chan..." His voice was barely audible, and his face was completely flushed from the heat. "I'm going to put it in now."

"Ah..." I let out a small sound in surprise. Even though I was the one who told him not to hold back, I'm clearly not ready for something so sudden like that!

"Ritsu-senpai, please wait!" I quickly uttered as he started to pull down his pants, an unyielding look on his face that showed he's not slowing down anytime soon. "It would be impossible if you do not prepare...! Did you bring any condoms at least?"

"Nope."

"Eh? Then how-Nngh, Ritsu-senpai!!!" I quickly closed my legs together before he could do anything, but I still winced at the pain of his finger impatiently prodding at my entrance. He slowed down and tried to be gentler when he heard that it was hurting me, but I needed him to pause altogether.

"Ritsu-senpai, please wait..." I pleaded, and this time he seemed to stop moving. I couldn't tell what he was doing because I was shutting my eyes, but I cautiously opened them when I felt someone peering over me. His surprised expression quickly turned into one of worry.

"What is it...?" he asked, planting a quick kiss on my forehead. "You're especially nervous today. If it's too much, just tell me to stop and I'll stop, okay...?"

I felt myself relax from his reassuring tone. I already knew that he would stop if I asked; Ritsu-senpai is kind, after all. Even though I did not entirely believe it at first, he proved to me before that he can be more considerate if I asked him to be. Since we've become much closer after we started dating, having the privilege of witnessing these sides of him has made me treasure him even more.

"...My apologies, it's just that it's been a while..." I finally spoke, my body still feeling very tense. He showed me a sweet smile and kissed me a couple times on the lips. He held his head against mine and allowed a couple of seconds to pass for me to rest.

"...Um, in my drawers, there is..." I said, too embarrassed to look him in the eyes while I turned my head to the side. "The top drawer...there is some..." I mumbled the latter part of the sentence, completely distorting the words.

"Hm~? If you have something to say, don't be shy...It's a little late to be hiding your shameful side, don't you think~?" He leaned closer to gently bite down onto my ear, earning another annoyed and embarrassed sound from me. Since I didn't have the courage to say the words, he opened the top drawer next to my bed. I could hear him shuffling around through the contents for a bit before coming to a pause. I knew he had acquired the item of question when I heard the words 'Foound it' sung in a cheerful manner.

"Fufu, is this what I was supposed to find~?" he asked, grinning triumphantly at me as he dangled the bottle of lube in front of me. I glowered back at him, gritting my teeth out of frustration and embarrassment.

"Yes, that is the one...If you already know, then must you show it off?" My words seemed to pass through him as he fiddled with the bottle, placing some on his hand as he pressed his fingers inside me. I grimaced and let out a small sound, but the pain was easier to endure this time, and I was able to relax. I could tell there was still something he had to say, and it bothered me even more that he waited until I had gone complaisant to bring up such a topic.

"...Hey, Su~chan," he spoke, pushing his fingers even further in and twirling them around. My breathing had quickly become erratic, and small moans took place of an answer. My legs had completely relaxed and opened up for him without me noticing. I let out a loud gasp when he swiftly thrust his fingers in, clearly teasing me with the way he was moving them.

"This bottle was already open," he continued, not pausing for a second.

"W-We probably used...Nn!...It last...time..." I breathed, trying to hold back my voice as he kept up the pace.

"Nope, I don't think so~ The only one we used was mine, remember? I had to keep bringing mine every time I came over because you were too proper to buy one for yourself. Tell me, Su~chan..." He leaned in to kiss me again, playing around with my tongue before pulling away and going back to what he was doing. My flustered gaze fell upon his crimson eyes, their color becoming more apparent from the moonlight shining in through the windows. "...Did you use this on yourself when I wasn't around?"

"T-That's...!" I quickly managed in a raised voice. Thrown off guard by his question, I let out a loud moan when he thrust his fingers back in. I shuddered from his low voice breathing hot air into my ear.

"Care to demonstrate...?"

"...E-Eh?" My eyes widened as I watched him back off of me and stare at me expectantly.

"You told me to wait, right~? I'm getting a little tired of doing all the work, so I'll be waiting right here until you're ready," he explained, lying back into a sitting position. I almost couldn't believe what I was hearing. W-Was he really just going to sit there? It's true that I asked for him to wait but...! Mrrgh, how vexing!!!

I steadily sat back up, still feeling the prodding sensation of his fingers from earlier. It took a couple seconds for me to readjust and allow my body to calm down. I felt like my every movement was being watched, and I nervously glanced in front of me to see Ritsu-senpai sitting with his legs folded in front of him to make more room on the bed. My face turned the color of his eyes as the realization slowly sank in.

"Kuaaaa!!!" I yelled, wishing I could cover my entire body with the blanket and disappear. "You do not intend for me t-to do that kind of indecent thing right in front of you?!"

"Su~chan, I'm going to get cold by the time you start..." he pouted. He had wrapping his arms around his legs while resting his chin against his knees. I stared at the surface of the bed as I sat upright with my legs folded over. My hands clenched atop my legs, the rest of my body going stiff as I reluctantly swallowed my pride and reached my hand behind me. I shut my eyes and pretended to be on my own, but it was difficult to do even then. Doing something like this is embarrassing no matter the situation...Even when by myself, it takes a lot out of me to get started.

Since my eyes were shut, I didn't see Ritsu-senpai approach me. He started to say something, but I surprised him when I fell into his chest, my breathing already starting to come out ragged as I carefully pressed my fingers inside. My free hand tightly clutched Ritsu-senpai's shirt and tugged on it slightly.

"Ritsu...senpai...Nn-!" Completely unaware of my surroundings, my voice slipped out as my hand seemed to move on its own. I continued to rub my fingers against my insides, unable to resist the addictive feeling of pleasure and kept pressing myself further against the warm body in front of me. I could faintly hear my name being called in the background, and I continued to call out Ritsu-senpai's name as I sped up the pace.

My eyes slowly opened at the feeling of someone's hand brushing through my hair and holding my head to his chest. The heat rushed to my face when I slowly became aware of what I was doing and who I was doing it in front of. I abruptly pulled away and stared at his chest for a good few seconds, too embarrassed to admit that this was really happening. I...What did I just...? Surely, this must be a dream? There is no way I could be doing something so improper, in front of Ritsu-senpai of all people...!

Ritsu-senpai's breathing brought me back to reality. He's usually so quiet that it's hard to tell if he's even alive, but I could hear his every breath, exhaling heavily. I felt my face heat up more when I looked at his unusually flustered expression. His eyebrows were knit together like he upset, but his reddened face said otherwise. Seeing such a rare expression from Ritsu-senpai somehow gave me a sudden boost of confidence.

I leaned in closer to his face until our noses were practically touching. He quickly averted his gaze, appearing even more annoyed and flustered by my bold action. That's right—Ritsu-senpai doesn't take kindly to people who stare at him. However, since he had his fun, I shall enact my own form of revenge♪

"Fufu, what an interesting look you have on♪" I chimed, leaning into him closer and making him retract when I got too close. I heard some muffled grumbling from the other, but this shy side of him was something I yearned to see more of. My hand made its way downward, making him jolt in surprise when I started rubbing the shaft of his fully awoken erection. He let out a soft sigh as the tip became wet, small amounts of cum leaking from the top. Surprised to receive such a reaction, a quiet sound escaped me; I did not expect him to be this close already. Did watching me do that to myself really affect him this much...? The very thought of it made my face turn red-hot.

"Su~chan, if you touch it like that..." his voice was barely audible, and a shaky sigh interrupted his sentence. I moved my hand along the base and sped up my movements, but my wrist was pulled back by Ritsu-senpai. The same, flustered face from earlier glared back at me.

"That's enough," he warned. Since he was the one who said he'll wait until I was ready...Was he really holding back until I decided to move? In that case, playing around with him like this must be unbearable for him. I gave him a quick kiss to the lips as an apology before positioning myself over him. I could feel his heated gaze on me, eyeing me carefully and not moving an inch. His arms were loosely wrapped around my waist, but he wasn't pushing me into him.

My eyes met with his, but he still didn't move. A warm smile rose to his lips, and I returned the gesture. Even though I was hovering over him and just barely touching him, he remained waiting patiently just as he had said. Ritsu-senpai...you really are kind.

I leaned in for another kiss as I carefully slid down his crotch. I gasped at the feeling of his shaft entering me and grit my teeth as I slowly lowered myself onto the rest of him. The warmth of his hardened member made me shiver as it filled up my body. I could feel it trembling inside of me, rubbing against the walls of my insides. Even though I've done it before, riding Ritsu-senpai makes me feel like I'm about to melt, so I have to hold onto him so that my body doesn't give out.

"Ahhh..." I breathed, letting out a long sigh as I managed to fit all of him into me. It went in much more smoothly after all the preparation, so I could barely feel any pain at all. I realized that Ritsu-senpai's grip around me tightened, but he still didn't move. His ragged breathing told me that his self-restraint was steadily crumbling. I cast him an expectant look, which he returned with a confused expression.

"...Ritsu-senpai, you can move now," I spoke, feeling a little embarrassed to be saying these words. I tried to reassure him with a smile and started to move to show him that I was alright. I blushed when I heard something between a sigh and moan from the other. The impassive look from earlier was plastered over his face as he leaned in to whisper in my ear.

"In that case, there's no more backing out from here~..." I was able to utter a surprised 'Ah...' as he lifted me above him, his red eyes piercing through me. I let out a loud gasp when he abruptly slammed me downwards, making my whole body shake and lean forward as he ruthlessly penetrated my insides.

"Nn-! Hahh, ah...!" I shivered at the feeling as he sped up the pace, not pausing for a moment as he plunged into me. The loud sounds that came from my mouth and the wet sounds from below were too embarrassing to bear, so I buried my burning face into his shoulder. My grip around his neck tightened as I grit my teeth to keep from moaning so loudly. I had forgotten how dangerous Ritsu-senpai was at night, and I could feel all my senses going numb as he repeatedly struck the spot that made me fall short of breath.

I let out a loud gasp for air as my back hit the bed, and I saw Ritsu-senpai was hovering over me. His hands pushed mine into the mattress, fastening me to the bed. My sense of shame had been tossed out the door. My mouth hung open, struggling for air as my legs wrapped around him, inviting him in for more. I didn't bother looking away as Ritsu-senpai showed me a dangerous grin, warning me that he was only just getting started.

My back arched at his onslaught of impacts as I cried out his name. A mess of moans spilled from my mouth as he struck my prostate, and my whole body shook in response to the feeling of something warm wrapping around my erection.

"A-Ahhh?! Nn-! R-Ritsu-senpai...?!" I squirmed from the sudden action and called for him to let go.

"Nope~" he chimed, slamming into me again while holding onto my tip to keep me from ejaculating. He leaned his face close to mine, not pausing for a second with what he was doing. "You kept me waiting for a while, so don't expect me to stop now...♪"

Seeing as I was already panting for air, Ritsu-senpai stuck his tongue into my open mouth and muffled any complaints. He slowed down only for a moment, allowing me a chance to breathe. I felt my body relax again when he began moving more carefully, but that was only for a split moment to get me to think he was letting me go easy. I let out another loud moan at the sudden thrust that shook my whole body. My toes curled open impact, and my arms reached around his back, digging my nails into his skin.

The creaking of the bed resounded in my head. The massaging of my crotch and the relentless thrusting from below was making my mind go blank. Every time I opened my mouth, a series of moans came spilling out as I struggled for air. I squirmed about in hope that I can somehow shake him from his grip on my trembling cock. The urge to climax was taking over my every instinct, and my hips thrust into his hand. His hand refused to budge, and what I meant to be an annoyed sigh turned into a shaky moan. I received another rough thrust in response, but I could barely even call his name anymore from how fast he was moving. Everything I tried to say became a garbled mess of moans. Ritsu-senpai, please, I can't take this anymore...!

"Nn, Su~chan..." his voice came out in between grunts. "I'm...getting close...!"

Although I wanted to reply, I'm not sure he understood when I half-spoke, half-moaned my response. I could tell by his heavily entranced expression that I was squeezing him rather tightly. Even if his stamina was incredible at night, he was bound to have a limit. I had forgotten how intense he became when aroused to such a degree, and I was afraid I might not be able to remain conscious until the end.

"Can I...inside...?" Even though he wasn't able to finish his sentence, I understood what he meant and fervently nodded. My vision was slowly starting to fade as the impacts left me incapable of catching my breath, but I closed my eyes and kissed him back when he leaned in, feebly wrestling his tongue with what little energy I had left.

"Nn, haahh...! Ri...Ahh...! R-Rits...Ah-! ...su-Nn...Ha, Ahhh!!" I struggled to say his name as his grip on my crotch loosened and I felt the lower end of my body being lifted slightly as he delivered a couple more powerful thrusts that made my entire body shake and shiver from the impact. I shut my eyes and gave in with a final moan, feeling my knees go numb as Ritsu-senpai came inside of me. My entire body had become listless, and my hearing seemed to disappear. I shut my eyes for a moment as my chest struggled to catch up with my erratic breathing. Everything in my surroundings was quickly dyed black, and I could faintly make out sudden movements and shaking that brought me back to where I was for a second but no longer.

Everything around me started to disappear into a pitch-black world of unconsciousness.


 

"Nn...?" My eyes struggled to open as I began to wake up. The chilly air from below reminded me that I wasn't wearing any clothes, which would have alarmed me more had I been more awake. I shifted about under the blanket tucked over me and gasped in alarm when my foot hit something next to me. Only then did I realize that I was right next to someone else, who was holding me into his chest. I could feel his light breathing down my bare neck. All the heat rushed to my face when it struck me that I had not been dreaming earlier.

Too embarrassed to believe it, I tried to squirm out of Ritsu-senpai's grip but with little luck. He seemed set on keeping me there, and no matter how much I moved, he didn't budge once. Although normally I wouldn't mind sleeping beside him like this, I was still in a bit of a shock and needed some space to figure out what just happened. With enough force, I managed to roll out of his grip. I sat up and leaned against the headboard of the bed, holding my face in my hands.

"Kuaaa...!" I seethed through my teeth, more angry at myself than at Ritsu-senpai. To think that I would pass out during that kind of thing...! I felt chagrined to such a degree that I yearned to erase this shameful part of me, one that I wish to deny ever existed.

"Nn..." I heard a small sound from beside me, and Ritsu-senpai's peaceful expression was quickly turned to annoyance from being woken up. Now that I realize, isn't it still nighttime...? Judging from the moonlight shining down into the dark room, it appeared to be the middle of the night, but certainly nowhere near morning. In that case, why was Ritsu-senpai sleeping...?

He rubbed his eyes for a bit before realizing that he wasn't holding me anymore. I was startled by his sudden jolt upwards, searching frantically beside him before I called to him.

"Ritsu-senpai, I'm right here," I quietly spoke, carefully tapping on his shoulder to make him turn my way. His widened eyes met mine, and he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw me. I was about to apologize for passing out like that, but his abrupt action knocked the wind out of me.

I sat still as Ritsu-senpai hugged me, squeezing me tightly and making it difficult for me to breathe. Although a little embarrassed by his sudden behavior, I hugged him back. When he pulled away and showed me that playful grin, I knew everything was fine.

"Su~chan, how awful~ Passing out while I'm still inside you." I felt my face go red again, and I scolded him for saying something like that. When his face went back to being expressionless, I knew he was about to say something serious. I stared back, perplexed when he held his hand to my forehead.

"Are you alright...?" he quietly asked, his hand steadily falling down my face and finding its way to my hand. He intertwined his fingers with mine and clutched it tightly like he was afraid I was going to disappear if he wasn't holding me.

"Yes, of course," I answered with a smile.

"Mhm, that's good...You were burning up earlier when you passed out, so I was worried, you know?"

"Eh? You mean, with a fever?"

"Don't know. But your body was completely hot..."

"Well, that's because-" I paused, cutting myself short. His smirk didn't make the situation any better.

"Because?" he repeated, clearly teasing me. I didn't have the energy to deal with this right now, and he must have noticed because he reverted to his inexpressive state and kept his voice at a serious tone.

"...Sorry I overdid it..." he spoke, his voice and expression ridden with guilt. I didn't expect him to be this apologetic, and if anything, I figured I should be the one apologizing. I couldn't help but smile and kiss him on the cheek, reassuring him that there is nothing to worry about.

"It's alright, so let us get some rest. Please pardon me, but I am rather exhausted, so I shall be excusing myself to sleep..." I spoke, already starting to climb back under the covers. I patted the spot next to me while smiling, but I realized that it was probably still early for him and my smile vanished.

"Ah...That's right. Since you sleep at a later time, perhaps you would prefer to-Eh?" I blinked in surprise as Ritsu-senpai climbed in next to me, his hand reaching out for mine as he smiled. I couldn't help but think how fitting it was to see his silhouette being illuminated by the moonlight shining through the windows.

"I'm tired, too, so I wouldn't mind sleeping for a bit," he explained, huddling up closer to me until our foreheads were practically touching. I could make out the gentle rise and fall of his chest in the silent room, not a sound outside that of our breathing. I wondered why he was being so close to me, like he was scared of losing me if he leaves for even a moment...Ah.

A wave of guilt quickly washed over me, and even in the dark of my room, Ritsu-senpai could still detect the change in my expression.

"Is something wrong...?"

"Ritsu-senpai..." I hesitantly began, tightening my grip on his hand. "Earlier in the day, when you fell asleep in the snow...Ahh, how careless of me...I must apologize for leaving you, even if it was for a little while."

That same, darkened expression from before became etched into his face as I spoke. Even though it might pain him to hear it, I need him to allow me to repent. Since we've been dating for a while now, I've seen this kind of pattern before. I never honestly understood it and figured he just wanted to be spoiled like always, but the frightened sound in his voice still resonated in my head, telling me that there is more to it than what I think.

"I know I must have upset you...But I want you to know I do not wish to leave you and would never abandon you. So...Um, Ritsu-senpai?" I couldn't stand to see that distraught look of his and paused to give him a short kiss on the lips. That seemed to soften his expression a little, and I smiled.

"You are very dear to me, so please get some rest, alright? I'll be right here." I moved in even closer to him and waited for him to wrap his arms around me again, allowing me to rest against his warm chest. My eyes steadily closed as I felt tempted by the warmth and comfort of being beside him.

"Goodnight, Ritsu-senpai," I quietly managed, already starting to feel myself drifting off to sleep. I felt him hold me even tighter and wondered if he was even able to fall asleep at this time, but as much as I wished to keep him company, my vision was already beginning to fade to black.

"...Goodnight, Su~chan," he replied, resting his chin against my head. I smiled when I felt him kiss the top of my head. Spending the night like this and being able to fall asleep together is something I cherish. I've always admired the cool and collected Knights from before I even met them, and I pledged that I would put in my best effort to become a noble knight who would be capable of protecting those I love.

I, Tsukasa Suou, have sworn loyalty to the person I love. Feeling the warmth of that very person beside me, I wanted nothing more than to protect him as his valiant knight.