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Devil on Your Shoulder

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Mizael had never been to a high-class party before. Mizael had never really been to a party at all, really, unless you count the ones Yuma decided that Nasch was going to host on occasion, which to Mizael didn’t seem much different than how the lot of them would spend time together anyways, simply with the addition of… well, Mizael himself, considering he tended to avoid Yuma and his friends out of guilt and a lack of interest in spending time with people so incredibly young. So all things considered, this occasion could really be called the first party he’s ever attended.

The decor was beautiful, the room awash with blue and gold, low-lit and romantic. Slow music played from somewhere. Hidden speakers probably. It seemed appropriate, considering the occasion was intended for the elites of Heartland, hosted by some dating service or something like that. Maybe it was a candle company. Mizael couldn’t remember, as he hadn’t really been listening at the time.

It was just as overwhelming as he’d expected it to be. But Kaito had asked him to come, so he had, wearing the dress he’d bought like armor, as though it could keep the stares of strangers away. It’d been fine at first, as Kaito had been at his side, deflecting the brunt of the attention. Now Kaito was across the room, alongside Chris as they spoke to a man who’d they were trying to secure as an investor for their research. Which was why they were here in the first place, really.

Mizael, for his part, had found a nice spot on the edge of the room to hide away in. Leaning back against a pillar, he watched the crowd of people as the tone of the party shifted moods and people began to clear from the middle of the room, making way for the few who stayed to dance.

“I can’t say I’ve seen you at these events before. Surprising, considering you’re kind of hard to miss.” The voice came from Mizael’s right, starting him. A man stood nearby, probably about Christopher’s age if Mizael had to guess. He offered his hand for a shake, flashing what he likely thought was a charming smile. “I’m Sousuke.”

“Mizael,” he responded, nodding in favor of taking his hand. He knew it was rude, but considering how out of place he felt and that he didn’t want to talk to a stranger, considering that he didn’t even want to be here, that he'd much rather be at home binging that one sci-fi space show again with Haruto, he didn’t really care.

Sousuke took it in stride, letting his hand drop to smoothly tuck it in his pocket. “So what brings you here?”

Mizael opened his mouth, but couldn’t formulate a proper response. Why was he here? Kaito didn’t seem to need him, at least not at the moment. But Kaito asked him, so he had come. None of this was anything he’d tell a stranger, though.

He was saved from answering by someone smoothly sliding up next to him, placing a hand on his lower back, holding a drink in front of him for him to take. Mizael startled at the touch, turning to see— Thomas, of all people.

“There you are, I was looking for you. Here’s that drink I promised.” He sent Sousuke a particularly unfriendly look that had the man quickly excusing himself. The moment he was gone, Thomas stepped back, dropping his hand and giving Mizael space. The drink, however, remained held out. “Thought you might like some help there. And a drink.” he said with a grin. He paused, as though considering, before adding; “You look nice tonight.”

Mizael did look nice - he knew he looked nice, hair pinned up and made up with Merag’s help. A small part of him swelled with pride at the acknowledgment, no that he let it show.

“You’re not very subtle,” Mizael commented flatly, but took the offered drink regardless.

“Not bothering to be,” Thomas said with a shrug. He looked out over the dancers. “So they’re back together?”

“Hm?”

“Kaito and Chris,” he clarified.

“Ah, yes, they are. I told Christopher that if he didn’t talk to Kaito about what hung between them I would haunt him until the day he died.” Mizael laughed lowly, shaking his head. “For such a smart man, he really can be remarkably stupid.”

Thomas chuckled as well, taking a sip from his own flute. “Yeah, well, can’t really say that emotional intelligence was the sort that was valued in our house growing up.”

Mizael hummed, taking a sip. He hadn’t had champagne before; it tingled on his tongue, and he decided that he liked it.

“What about you?” Thomas asked. Mizael looked at him, confused.

“Me?”

“Yeah, with…” Thomas waved his hand in the general direction of Chris and Kaito in favor of finishing his sentence.

Mizael lifted the flute to his lips once more, using the lull in conversation it offered as a moment to sort out his own thoughts.

“I’m happy for them,” he said after a moment, watching as Chris coaxed Kaito into a dance, swaying to the slow music. “They still love one another, but were going to let that wound lie open between them. It’s better this way. They’re happy.”

Thomas didn’t respond. Glancing over at him, Mizael found himself met with an intense look. Thomas frowned, looking away again.

“You know, Ryouga… er, Nasch, doesn’t talk about you guys much, but from what he’s told me, and what Chris has, you’re always putting others before yourself. You should try asking yourself what you want for once.”

With that, Thomas slipped away, leaving behind a stumped Mizael. Leaning back against the pillar once more, he watched the dancers as they drifted around the floor. It took only moments for him to unconsciously pick out Chris and Kaito among the other couples once again. He watched them as they swayed, close and intimate. He could see Kaito smiling as he said something. They turned, and Christopher looked up to lock gazes with Mizael. He held it for a moment, smiled, then leaned down to speak into Kaito’s ear. Then, Kaito turned to look as well, with that soft expression Mizael saw him wear only for Haruto or Christopher.

What you want for once.

Suddenly feeling overwhelmed, by the party, by what Thomas said, by Chris and Kaito and their smiles and their everything, Mizael downed the rest of the champagne Thomas had filched for him and made his quick exit, ignoring the sudden tightness in his chest.