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By Your Side

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Throughout most of his life, Ritsu was able to sleep throughout the day comfortably. It didn’t matter the time of day it was; he was always capable of falling asleep anywhere if he put his mind to it. Not even Mao, his long time childhood friend, was capable of getting Ritsu to change his habits of spending his days sleeping. 

Of course, that all changed the day Tsukasa Suou joined Knights. At first, Ritsu found that incredibly bothersome. He was always sticking his nose in everyone’s business, trying to get them to all work and come and perform together. 

Knights was an absolute mess, their king ran away from the throne, and Izumi was barely keeping himself together as he tried to fill in for their missing leader. Even if Izumi never said it and would venomously deny it, he always believed that their king would return, but Ritsu couldn’t find himself to believe in Leo’s return. What good would that do? It’s not like Leo being around would change anything. 

In the end, everyone always left him. Mao was the one person who has never abandoned him, but there were times that Ritsu couldn’t help but wonder how much longer would it be until Maa~kun left him as well? 

To anyone on the outside, Ritsu was sure people wondered why a guy like Mao was friends with someone like him. He caused Mao nothing but trouble. Every morning Mao would come to his bedroom, dressed him, and then dragged him to school on his back. 

Most people would be tired of looking after someone to the extent Mao looked out for him. But Ritsu knew Mao better than anyone; how Mao couldn’t just ignore anyone if they needed help. If he saw someone left out from the group, Mao wouldn’t hesitate to find a way to include them. If someone was struggling in front of him, Mao would drop everything for them. That was the kind of guy Mao was. 

And so, it became easy to become listless and continue not to develop stronger ties with anyone else. If Ritsu kept everyone at arm’s length, if he didn’t allow anyone to become close then, he couldn’t be hurt. And if he made himself helpless, then Mao couldn’t possibly leave him because Mao wasn’t the type of guy to turn his back on someone in need. 

Ritsu’s helplessness was calculated on his part. People wouldn’t get close to him, and Mao would never leave his side. He had full intention of spending the rest of his days like that, and he was content with that. 

However, Tsukasa had other plans. 

He slowly was able to get everyone in Knights to open up to him, and he wouldn’t give up on them despite how many times they slammed the metaphorical door on his face. It was almost monstrous how relentless this first year was with having his way. He spoke in a manner befit of the gentleman he desires to be, but there was no hiding that greedy personality of his as he wormed his way into their hearts. 

By the time autumn had come around, the three of them followed along with Tsukasa’s pace. And once their king had returned, despite the protests Leo initially had, he too quickly found himself quelled by the persistence of the entity known as Tsukasa Suou. 

Tsukasa truly was a monster. 

And that’s probably one of the reasons why he fell in love with him in the first place. 

Up until Tsukasa, Ritsu was convinced the only person who would ever love him would be Mao. Despite knowing there was nothing romantic about their relationship, Ritsu found it hard to believe how anyone else would ever put up with him, so the only answer to being happy would be spending forever with Mao. 

So when Tsukasa offered up his hand to him and pulled him out of the darkness, it was hard not to fall in love with him. The hope Tsukasa has given Knights, to him , it was blinding. 

“Suu~chan,” Ritsu whined as he laid in the bed alone. Sleeping alone was never a problem in the past, but now that he has become accustomed to Tsukasa sleeping by his side, it’s become impossible for him to go to bed without him. 

Somewhere along the line of dating Tsukasa, it became more natural for him to stay awake during the day and sleep at night. 

Tsukasa’s pesky meddling with his sleep schedule aside, it was lonely to be awake on his own at night while Tsukasa slept. If he kept doing the same thing he had always done, then he would never spend any time with Tsukasa. If Tsukasa taught him anything, it was the value of being able to spend time with the ones you care about. And if it weren’t for Tsukasa, Ritsu probably wouldn’t have ever truly realized how much he was missing out on by never allowing people besides Mao to get close to him. 

Though, in situations like this, Ritsu couldn’t say he felt particularly grateful since he now faced the conundrum of being lonely and unable to sleep. 

How troublesome. He used to be capable of sleeping anytime and anywhere. He ought to make Tsukasa take responsibility for the trouble he’s caused him. 

After listlessly staring at the wall, unable to sleep for a few more minutes, Ritsu could hear the front door open. No doubt Tsukasa has finally returned home. 

Ritsu’s lips curved upwards, knowing that soon Tsukasa would be in bed with him. Though, Tsukasa would only silently enter the room before heading to the bathroom and turning on the light. It was apparent that Tsukasa was trying to be considerate of him and figured that Ritsu was asleep, but he could have come to check and give him a kiss or something at the very least. 

“Suu~chan, you’re so cruel. You won’t give your boyfriend a good morning kiss first?” Ritsu said as he rolled over and looked at his boyfriend. 

Startled by hearing his name, Tsukasa jumped before he quickly looked back to see Ritsu was awake and lethargically spread out across their bed.

“It’s hardly the morning, Ritsu-senpai,” Tsukasa replied with a disproving tone as he made his way over to Ritsu’s side. “I thought you were asleep.”

“You should know by now how I can’t sleep without you by my side anymore,” Ritsu frowned. “But I thought we agreed when it was just the two of us at home you wouldn’t be so formal anymore.” 

“Ah, yes. Sorry, you’re right, Ritsu-sen- I mean, Ritsu,” Tsukasa replied. “I’m afraid it’s a habit at this point, so it will take a little getting used to.”

“You were able to switch to calling Tsukippi to ‘Leo-san’ without any trouble,” Ritsu pouted. Not that it bothered him, but it was fun to tease Tsukasa a little bit like this. This could be his punishment for forgetting.

“I only called him Leader for a year compared to your four,” Tsukasa replied as if he was defending his highest honor. Despite how Tsukasa was on the cusp of becoming a fully-fledged adult, certain aspects of him were still rather childish. Not that, that mattered to Ritsu. He found it rather endearing, just as much as it was back during Tsukasa’s first year in high school. 

“No~pe, that’s just an excuse, Suu~chan,” Ritsu replied. “But you can make it up to me with a kiss.” 

Tsukasa’s face relaxed the moment he heard Ritsu asking for a kiss. And now that it was utterly evident how Ritsu was just teasing him, Tsukasa couldn’t hide the small smile on his face before he kneeled eye level to Ritsu and giving him a chaste kiss. 

“Ritsu, if you want me to kiss you, all you just have to ask. There’s no need to attempt me to guilt me into it.” 

“I wasn’t guilting; I was teasing,” Ritsu replied with a coy smile. 

“If you keep teasing me like that, I’ll leave you.” 

Immediately upon hearing Tsukasa’s reply, Ritsu grabbed Tsukasa by the waist tightly and refused to let go. 

“Ritsu, what are yo-”

“Suu~chan is not allowed to leave me,” Ritsu said as he buried his face deeper into Tsukasa’s side. 

Despite knowing Tsukasa wasn’t serious about actually leaving him, the phrase still struck a chord. For many years Ritsu believed he wasn’t capable of having friends. It was a miracle that Mao stuck by his side after all these years. And after Rei left him in his greatest time of need after being the one person Ritsu was sure would never abandon him, it was hard not to get apprehensive whenever the word “leave” was said or brought up. 

“I won’t be able to sleep anymore if you’re gone.” 

“What are you talking about? I’m fairly certain I see you asleep all the time,” Tsukasa replied. “Earlier this afternoon, I saw you sleeping while we were waiting in the green room.” 

“That’s because Suu~chan was there,” Ritsu smirked. “So you will just have to take my word that I can’t sleep with your presence~” 

“That just sounds like a convenient excuse,” Tsukasa said. By the tone of his voice, he was attempting to sound at least vaguely bothered by Ritsu’s statement, but there was no denying the small grin forming on his lips. “Perhaps I shall test this theory and arrange it that we don’t have any work together during the day for a short period of time.” 

“Eh? That’s not fair. How will I get to relax if you avoid me all day?” 

“The king’s order is absolute. That’s the rule within Knights, is it not?” 

“That’s the excuse of a tyrant,” Ritsu grumbled, clearly unhappy with the proposal.  

Tsukasa couldn’t stop himself from laughing as he placed a soft kiss on top of Ritsu’s head, “Then I suppose you have the Producer Association to thank since they are the ones who present job offers to us and controls our schedule for the most part.” 

“Ah, Anzu is my savior once again. I’ll bake her something delicious for next time I see her.”

“Please give Onee-sama something with a normal appearance to consume. Just because she has grown used to seeing your concoctions, that doesn’t mean you should subject her to them.” 

“If it tastes good, then why should it matter how it looks?” 

“You know exactly why,” Tsukasa retorted. “That aside, I said nothing about it until now, but I’ll need you to unhand me now. I have to go take a shower and get ready to retire for the night.”

“Eh, Suu~chan, I already told you how I can’t sleep with you, so if you go to take a shower, I won’t sleep for another two hours,” Ritsu complained. 

“And I’m sorry about that, but I must clean up for bed.”

“It’s not like you did anything physically intensive. You were at a summit meeting for the first half of the day, after your meeting, we were guests on a talk show with the rest of us Knights, then you went to your photoshoot before coming home.”

“I’m still dirty from simply being outside, not to mention I need to get what’s left of the makeup from today’s shoot off my face.”

“Nothing is going to happen to your skin if you skip one day.”

“Sena-senpai would have your head if he ever heard you say such a thing in front of him.”

“And that’s why I said it when Secchan isn’t around.”

“You’re impossible,” Tsukasa complained, to which Ritsu laughed in response before clinging onto Tsukasa even tighter. “Are you really not going to let go?” 

“Yu~p,” Ritsu grinned. “So Suu~chan should just get comfortable.”

Tsukasa sighed as he accepted his fate, knowing he wasn’t going to escape from Ritsu’s grasp any time soon, “I suppose I don’t have much of a choice.” 

“No~pe, so be a good boyfriend and stay with me all night. I’m real~ly tired from all the work I did today.” 

“Just this once, I’ll spoil you like this,” Tsukasa smiled as he kissed Ritsu once more. “Good night Ritsu.” 

“Good night Suu~chan.”