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give him a lonely heart like pagliacci, and lots of wavy hair like liberace

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August

There was a certain love hate relationship Corpse had with new places.

New places meant he could blend in better. New places meant however that he had to introduce himself to everyone. It came with the security of no one knowing anyone but it also came with the expectation of having to learn who everyone was, and everyone learning who he was.

“Mr-“

“Corpse, yes” said Corpse, nodding at the senior holding the notepad. Rachel Hofstetter read the nametag. She blinked up at him, startled by his voice and Corpse grimaced behind his mask. She crossed his name off the notepad and Corpse fiddled with the bracelets on his wrist as she checked his documents.

Corpse glanced around at the other people in the line. Laughing. Texting. Making friends already. Karl had moved in 2 days early and Corpse wished he had too, so that he didn’t have to stand in line, masked and uncomfortable.

“Right” she said, nodding finally. “You’re in 3C, you’re rooming with Jeremy Wang. The spare key is with him, he has been alerted that you’re coming today.”

“Alright” he said. A few more people in the line balked at his voice. “Thank you, Rachel” he mumbled, much more quietly.  

Something in her eyes softened and she leaned in. “Toa- I mean Jeremy is a nice guy” she said, ignoring the line behind him. “You don’t need to look so freaked.”

“Thanks” he said again. The line behind him felt more worrying than his unknown roommate but Rachel’s eyes were warm, sort of comforting.

“Also, call me Rae.”

He smiled a bit. “Rae. Yes. What way are the elevators?”

◍◍◍

Sykkuno liked Karl a lot.

“This is your first time rooming with someone too?” Karl asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet. It had been two days and Karl was still somehow bubbling with energy.

“I used to live with my parents” explained Sykkuno. “Commute was a bit tiring so I decided to move into the dorms and I got approval.”

“Cool” said Karl, beaming. He lowered his voice conspirationally. “We’re gonna be best friends. We’re gonna be the roomies, dude. Everyone else on our floor is gonna be so jealous.”

Amused, Sykkuno spun in his chair. Karl had the endless optimism of a puppy that had just been adopted and let out into an open field. “I’m sure you’ll have other friends in your yea-“

Best friends” insisted Karl. “Although, I will say, I already have a buddy coming in today, he’s rooming opposite us.”

“Oh he’s with Toast?”

“Toast!” said Karl excitedly. “Yes, I love that guy.”

Sykkuno blinked at him. “You do? When did you even meet Toast?”

“You were out setting up your mailbox” said Karl cheerfully. His fingers drummed against the side of his chair, peeking out from under his soft blue sweater. His phone dinged. “Oh, Corpse is here! I’ll catch you later, Sykkuno!”

Winded, Sykkuno slumped against his chair. Karl’s enthusiasm was mostly infectious but it exhausted Sykkuno’s social battery very fast. It was so easy to like Karl, he thought fondly, looking over at the wall covered in his multi-coloured timetable. Sykkuno’s own side of the room was towards the window, the ledge covered in plants that Karl had decided to name.

Karl barged back into the room and Sykkuno winced at the sound of the door slamming against the wall. “Sykkuno, can you call Toast for us?”

Sykkuno peered behind Karl. A taller guy stood behind him, his face obscured by a black mask. A silver ear cuff crawled up the lobe of his ear, partially obscured by a by his dark hair. Only one of his eyes was visible, the other one under a dark eyepatch and it glanced up to meet Sykkuno’s, wide and unblinking and Sykkuno pinked on being caught staring.

“Uh, yeah” said Sykkuno, reaching out for his phone. He lowered his voice slightly as Karl made himself comfortable on his bed. “That’s Toast’s new roommate?”

Karl didn’t seem to care about lowering his voice. “Yeah, that’s Corpse!”

Corpse thought Sykkuno, as the phone rang. He glanced at Karl in his pale blue sweater and back at Corpse in his jet black hoodie and wondered how they ever became friends.

“Why are you calling me?” drawled Toast from the doorway. He was leaning against the framework of the door and he nodded at Sykkuno.

Karl beamed at Toast. “This is Corpse! Remember, I told you about Corpse-?”

“Yes, your friend made a very good case for you” said Toast and he stuck his hand out to Corpse. “I’m Toast.”

Corpse looked at him dubiously. “Isn’t your name…Jeremy?”

“It sure is” said Toast. “But you can’t be the only one with a cool name in the room, yeah? What, you just get to be Corpse and I have to be Jeremy?”

Corpse laughed and Sykkuno smiled at the sound of it.  He seemed to be nervous and sort of shy and Sykkuno sympathised with him.

“They’re gonna be best friends” said Karl, patting Sykkuno on his hand. “Like us!”

Toast was talking to Corpse, still leaning on the doorway and Sykkuno couldn’t help but stare. He was the most interesting looking person Sykkuno had ever seen, inexplicably attractive even though Sykkuno couldn’t see his face. He pushed one of the sleeves of his hoodie up and Sykkuno watched the thin lines of ink crawl up his veiny forearm. His hands were covered in rings and bracelets and his jeans were covered in way too many impractical zippers.

“You guys wanna come in?” Karl called, hospitable as always. Sykkuno envied that about him, the casual ease he had with people. When he glanced away from Karl, he saw Corpse’s curious eye studying him and he felt his cheeks warm again.

“No, we’re gonna go back to our room now” said Toast. “See you around, kid. Bye Sykkuno, don’t call me like that again.”

“Bye Toast” called Sykkuno. Corpse was still staring at him as Toast unlocked the door. Impulsively, Sykkuno called out, “Bye, Mr. Corpse!” just as he walked thru the door and it shut. He swore he heard a tiny snort of laughter and he felt himself redden harder. It was difficult enough to interact with people, without them being impossibly cool on top of that.

“What did you think?”

Sykkuno forced himself to refocus on Karl. “Eh?”

“Corpse. What did you think?”

“Um” said Sykkuno. He wondered if Karl could tell he was horribly awkward or if somehow Karl was incredibly blessed to never be awkward and never sense how awkward someone else was. “He’s…he’s pretty cool. A cool dude.”

“I know right?” said Karl, puffing up. “I think you guys will get along great. He’s a bit like you.”

Sykkuno blinked. “He’s like me?” he asked incredulously. “Karl, I already know he’s the coolest person on the campus.”

“No, that’s you” said Karl, reaching out to ruffle his hair. Sykkuno laughed awkwardly, but something in his heart warmed over for the younger. “But he’s kinda shy. Keeps to himself mostly. He got in on a sports scholarship.”

Sykkuno made an impressed sound. “What does he do?”

“Parkour and free running” said Karl promptly. “I think he used to do weights too but he had an issue with fibro makes it harder for him to do upper body work.”

Sykkuno felt a pang of sympathy. “That’s awful.” He reached out and patted Karl’s hand. “I’m glad he has a friend like you.”

Karl’s smile was warm and big. “And you too!”

Sykkuno pressed his lips to suppress his smile at the thought of someone like Corpse and him being friends. Nevertheless, Karl’s optimism was infectious. “And me too.”

Karl was rambling about some game and Sykkuno glanced outside at Toast’s room which was shut. He wondered what Corpse was doing and shook his head. His bright, clever eyes lingered in Sykkuno’s head, curious and then amused as he spoke to Corpse and he exhaled, inexplicably curious but entirely unaware of what to do with this newfound hyperfixation.

◍◍◍

“What is your major, anyway?”

“I- it’s a mixed bag- I’m here on a sports scholarship” explained Corpse, unloading his medicines into the drawer next to his bed. “I’m doing English, Philosophy and Business Studies.”

“Are those steroids?” Toast asked incredulously, looking at the sheer volume of pills. Corpse laughed dryly.

“I wish” he replied. “I have a couple of health conditions.”

“You don’t say” said Toast. His face softened with concern and Corpse cleared his throat, uncomfortable. It didn’t feel like pity but Corpse didn’t know Toast well enough for Toast to warrant genuine concern for him. “Is there anything you need me to do as a roommate to make you more comfortable?”

“Um” said Corpse. “I- I don’t think so. I’m an insomniac so don’t get freaked out if you wake up in the middle of the night and see me awake.”

“If I didn’t get freaked out by the damn naked cat on your bag, I don’t think you staying up is going to bother me.”

“It’s Bingus” said Corpse disdainfully. “Our lord and saviour, Bingus.”

“What’s with you crazy kids and naming things weird” grumbled Toast, lying down on his bed, folding his arms underneath his head. His bed didn’t have a pillow. Corpse wondered if he was dealing with a psychopath. “Sykkuno named his dog Bimbus.”

“The guy next door?”

“Your friend Karl’s roommate” said Toast, twisting his head around. “Who the fuck names a dog Bimbus? The fuck is a Bimbus? The fuck is a Sykkuno, for that matter?”

“That’s not his real name too, huh” said Corpse, slamming the drawer shut.

“Nah, his name is Thomas, but you can’t swing a cat in the math department without hitting at least a dozen Thomases” said Toast lazily. “Sykkuno suits him- whatever the fuck it means.”

“He seems nice.” And he did, thought Corpse, thinking about the tiny little “bye Mr. Corpse!” squeaked at him from a closing door. No one had called him Mr. Corpse in his entire life and it was sort of hysterical coming from his senior’s pretty voice.

“Too nice, if you ask me” said Toast. “Bit of a troll- he’s definitely way smarter than people give him credit for, but he chooses to be that nice.” He yawned, stretching his arms above the headboard. “I’m gonna take a nap now, do you want anything?”

“You’re going to sleep? Without a pillow?” demanded Corpse impulsively.

Toast smiled, all teeth like a crocodile. “I don’t sleep with any pillows.”

“Not even a leg pillow? A boulder?”

“Nope” said Toast, his eyes shut. “Goodnight.”

Corpse wondered if this was the starting tell-tale signs that he was dealing with a psychopath. Psychopaths usually enjoyed STEM majors, he rationalised, looking at Toast’s eerily good posture in his sleep.

“Stop watching me sleep, you weirdo. Only pretty girls and Sykkuno are allowed to do that.”

Corpse snorted but wondered if he should start a list of psychotic things Toast did, just incase there ever was a murder with Toast as a suspect. Only pretty girls and Sykkuno he thought, with a dry snort. Sykkuno’s dark slanted eyes popped up in his memory, perched shyly on his own bed as if he was too scared of occupying too much space and he shook his head, reaching out to grab his bag full of clothes to unload into his cupboard.

◍◍◍

It was approximately two weeks into their college semester when Toast first knocked on their door. The sun was dimming in the sky, turning it shades of purple and navy, and Toast looked winded.

“Toast!” shouted Karl, delighted, letting him in. Toast was holding bagels, his laptop and a satchel and Sykkuno spun around in his chair, almost dropping his calculator in surprise.

“Surprise” said Toast as Karl hugged him, perching his chin on Toast’s head. Toast patted his elbow awkwardly but didn’t seem to mind Karl. No one minded Karl, thought Sykkuno fondly. “I brought dinner too.”

“What are you doing here?” asked Sykkuno, nodding at his bed as Toast threw his satchel on it.

“Wow Sykkuno, way to make a man feel unwelcome” sighed Toast, dramatically. “Can’t I come visit my mistress once in a while?”

I’m your mistress?” 

“Sure are” said Toast. He reached out to give Sykkuno a bagel and pressed a kiss to his cheek and Sykkuno squeaked again. Toast’s attractive face burst into a grin and Sykkuno felt the tiny pang of the almost crush he had on Toast when he first joined uni.

“No but seriously, what are you doing here?”

“I got kicked out” said Toast lightly. Karl’s eyes bulged out of his head.

“What?! Why would Corpse ever kick you out?!”

Toast hummed softly, resting heavily on Karl’s side of the bed. “Today was the try-outs for the college freerunning team. Corpse got in.”

Sykkuno clapped softly. He’d seen Corpse from the window, taking laps of the building premises and when he went to pick up Rae from the gymnasium, he watched as Corpse jumped over hurdles. His face warmed over again when he remembered Rae teasing him about eyeing up fresh meat.

“He texted me that, I knew he would get in” said Karl, looking pleased. His face fell again. “Why did he kick you out though? Is he planning on jumping over the beds?”

“Not over, but in the beds” said Toast delicately. “I think it’s he has a partner too.”

Sykkuno made an embarrassed knowing sound just as Karl obliviously went, “What?”

“He has a girl over, Karl” said Toast kindly, patting Karl on the kneecap. Karl chewed his bagel confusedly.

“What does that have to do with freerunning?”

“Girls like jocks” said Toast lightly. “The sports team went out after the tryouts and my boy texted me if he could come over.” He snorted. “He even put a please in the text. Should’ve made him come to the room and beg in front of the girl.”

“Don’t be mean, Toast” said Sykkuno, spinning back in his chair, eyeing his Excel sheet tiredly.

An amused snort escaped Toast. “Oh yeah, god forbid I ever insult Corpse in front of his guardian angel, Sykkuno.”

Sykkuno spun back around, his face flaming. “Toast!”

“Have you stopped calling him Mr. Corpse by the way?” teased Toast. His eyes were bright with mirth as he nudged Karl’s kneecap. “Everytime Sykkuno sees Corpse, he calls him Mr. Corpse, blushes, and then boots.”

“Sykkuno is so sweet” said Karl with his mouth full. Sykkuno shot him a grateful smile and turned back around, hoping Toast didn’t notice him still blushing.

“Anyway, I brought you kids bagels as a thank you for letting me stay the night, I have to return these books before the library closes” said Toast, standing up again. He brushed off the crumbs from his thighs, leaning in to ruffle Karl’s hair as he walked out. “See you later kid. Sykkuno, you look beautiful as always-“

“-Toast!” yelped Sykkuno as Toast grinned.

“Finish up your work” he said, leaning against the desk. “We’ll play video games after this is done- I’ll drop by the girl’s dorms and see if Rae wants to come by.” He glanced over his shoulder, looking at Karl. “You can join in too, Jacobs, don’t give me that puppy face.

Sykkuno smiled up at Toast as Karl shouted “yes!” in the back. Playing video games with Toast and Rae was his favourite thing to do and Karl was climbing up in the ranks of his favourite people to play with. “I’m almost done, just a few sums left.”

Toast clapped him on the back as he left. Sykkuno glanced back at his sums, dolefully eyeing up the bell curve. He managed about ten minutes of trying to figure out the power of his statistical test when Karl sat on the chair next to him.

“Hey” said Karl, and his voice was unexpectedly serious.

“Hey Karl, what’s going on?” He turned worriedly to look at his junior.

“I’m- um” said Karl nervously. “If you ever need me to get out- of the room- um. I’m sort of really bad with this stuff- I think I’m asexual- well I don’t know if I am, I definitely am on the spectrum, but I really don’t know-“

“Karl” said Sykkuno, cutting off his rambling train of thoughts. “It’s okay- um. You don’t have to worry- you’re good. Girls aren’t into me.”

Almost immediately, the sound of a girl moaning broke the silence and Sykkuno felt himself flushing at how loud it was and the direction it was coming from.

Karl looked relieved but then confused. “Wait, they aren’t?”

“Mmhm” said Sykkuno, turning back around to face his monitor. He thought about it for a quick second. “Or guys.”

He tried very hard not to think about veiny hands covered in rings, ink crawling up the tendons of forearms. He cursed Rae and Toast for putting ideas in his head in the first place and to rub salt in the wound, the muffled sound of a guy moaning broke the silence.

“That’s bullshit” said Karl honestly, as if his best friend wasn’t moaning in the silence of their room.

“It’s not” said Sykkuno staunchly. He waved his hand around the room. “Are you seeing anyone here?”

“I am a guy, right here.”

“You’re not into me though.”

Karl wiggled his eyebrows. “I could be.”

Sykkuno shoved him, giggling. Karl cocked his head thoughtfully at the silence.

“They seem to be done” said Karl, curiously. “Does sex get over that fast?”

“I wouldn’t know” muttered Sykkuno, face flushing. “Do you want them to be done? Toast isn’t a bad third roommate, you know.”

Almost on cue, Corpse started moaning again and Sykkuno sighed loudly.

Karl giggled, leaning over to rest his head on Sykkuno’s shoulder as Sykkuno wrapped an arm around his shoulders, patting his arm. “He’s not as good as you.”

“I heard that” said Toast from the doorway, and he smacked the back of Karl’s head as Karl laughed again, wheezy and bright. “Rae is on her way, she’s bringing Monopoly.”

The night passed by fast after Rae joined them- occasionally punctured by the sounds of breathy moans and Sykkuno tried his hardest to not pay attention to it. Toast eventually knocked himself out when he went destitute and stuck himself in jail. Karl had given up even before him and Sykkuno decided to walk Rae back to her dorms.

“So- Corpse, huh” said Rae, as Sykkuno slipped into his shoes. It was close to 2 am and the wind howled moodily as they left the boys dorm. Sykkuno wished he had more than a thin hoodie on. “You have something to tell me there, Sykkuno?”

“Nothing to say, Rae” replied Sykkuno. She elbowed him in the side and Sykkuno winced at her strength. “He’s just- very cool. I’m sort of nervous while talking to him, I guess.”

Rae softened, nudging his arm as they walked side by side.  “Did he say anything to you?”

“No, but everytime I talk to him, I somehow make it awkward” sighed Sykkuno. “He does laugh, though, that makes me glad.”

Rae cooed. “Oh, so you like him?”

Sykkuno stuck his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, hunching over. “I- um- no- I don’t- it’s been two weeks, Rae!”

Rae giggled. Her bright eyes peeked up at him and he elbowed her gently in the ribs.

“He’s a sweet kid” she said, after a brief pause. The autumn leaves crunched under their feet, their voices a smidge louder than the leaves. “I spoke to him a few times when our kickboxing trainer didn’t come on time. That got me a lot of attention in my dorms.”

“It did?”

“Mm. Girls like that- he’s a jock, he’s doing philosophy, he’s mysterious. He doesn’t talk a lot, he doesn’t take his mask off, ever. Not to mention that voice. It feels like it’s touching you.”

Sykkuno hummed sympathetically. “It really does.”

Rae shot him an incredulous look but didn’t comment on that, and Sykkuno thanked his stars. Unfortunately, his curiosity bubbled over.

“Why do you think he’s a sweet kid?”

“Asking a lot of questions about Corpse, I see” she teased and laughed when he went “Rae!”

“I’m just curious” he mumbled eventually. The wind howled quietly among them. “Have you ever seen anyone like him before? I feel like the dude belongs in some action movie.”

“He really is fascinating, huh” said Rae thoughtfully as they turned the corner towards the girl’s dorms. “No- I met him when he moved into your dorms. Cool dude but he looked like a lost little puppy. Melted my heart, even with all those tattoos and the voice- speak of the devil.”

Corpse was standing by the gate, recognisable even from far away by his mask. A pretty girl leaning over the other side, talking to him. He looked rumpled, his dark curly hair messy and Sykkuno was fairly sure his shirt was inside out. There was a bright hickey on the side of the girls neck, visible even in the dim streetlight as she hung on the gate dreamily, staring up at Corpse.

“Jesus” he muttered.

“I know right, do you think he’s a vampire?” said Rae, conspirationally. “Looks like they both had fun. Pretty cool of him to drop her off.”

“I’m dropping you off too” whined Sykkuno, kicking her foot lightly and she snickered.

“Jocks usually have a reputation for being jerks about stuff like this” she said finally. “You know. One night stands don’t usually end up with guys dropping the girls off. Especially sporty guys. Biiig toxic masculinity issue.”

“Corpse is a pretty cool guy” said Sykkuno.

“Sykkuno” said Rae sharply.

“What?”

Rae’s eyes softened again. “You should go out and have fun too, you know. Kick Karl out once in a while.”

“People aren’t into me, Rae, you know this” he said, as she walked past the girl, standing slightly away from the pair of lovers. Rae raised her hand to wave at Corpse and patted the girl lightly on her back as she giggled. Corpse’s eyes crinkled as he murmured a low “hey” at them.

“Go to some parties, you little bitch” grumbled Rae, as he passed her the Monopoly set. He could feel the mystery girl and Corpse staring at Rae and he and he felt strangely self-conscious. “Text me when you reach your dorms.”

“Will do” said Sykkuno softly. From his peripheral vision, he could feel Corpse’s stare on him as his girlfriend (was it right to call her his girlfriend? wondered Sykkuno) limped after Rae and he tried not to think about why she was limping. “Goodnight, Rae.”

“Night, Sykkuno.”

He spun on his heel and tried not to feel the weight of Corpse’s eyes on his back. It didn’t last very long.

“Sykkuno.”

“Hey M- Corpse. Hey Corpse.” He winced as a voice that sounded suspiciously like Toast cackled with laughter in his head at his slip up.

Corpse snorted, jogging to catch up to him. His shirt was inside out, noted Sykkuno

“Your shirt is inside out.”

“It is?” Corpse asked, glancing down at himself. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

Sykkuno cleared his throat. “Yeah. I imagine you were…um…preoccupied.”

“Sure was” drawled Corpse and he seemed to be grinning at Sykkuno’s obvious discomfort. He wasn’t wearing an eyepatch today, noted Sykkuno absentmindedly. “Toast is with you, yeah?”

“Yeah” said Sykkuno. “I- I think he’s asleep though, so I think you have the room to yourself.”

“Thanks for having him.”

“Um, sure. Anytime. Uh- grats on the selection.”

“Thanks.”

Sykkuno bit his lip as the conversation lapsed into awkward silence and he tried to subtly walk faster than Corpse, just to avoid how discomfiting it was. The road back seemed suddenly much, much longer than when he was with Rae. 

Unfortunately his strategy of walking fast didn’t work and Sykkuno lamentably remembered that Corpse was on the freerunning team and could probably take an entire lap of the campus and come back before Sykkuno even reached his room. Nevertheless, Corpse seemed to finally snap at having to jog to catch up to Sykkuno.

“In a hurry?” Corpse asked casually.

“No- um, just kinda cold” said Sykkuno, slowing down. He laughed at the absurdity of it. “What would I be in a hurry for, it’s two am.”

“Yeah” said Corpse lightly. “You just dropped Rae off too.”

Sykkuno glanced up at him quizzically. He was just a few inches taller than Sykkuno, just enough that Sykkuno had to lift his chin while talking to him. The edge of a snake’s head tattoo peeked from over his inside out shirt, inked on his clavicle and Sykkuno wondered if it was just the head or if he had a whole snake tattooed on his chest.

“I mean- must be boring now to go back without your girlfriend, yeah? I didn’t know you guys were dating-“

“Oh!” squeaked Sykkuno. “No- oh Jesus no, Rae is not my girlfriend. We’re childhood friends- we grew up together.”

“Oh” said Corpse. “She’s pretty cool.”

“She’s like my sister” said Sykkuno, honestly. Corpse hummed quietly, nodding.

“Do you have any sisters?” Corpse asked curiously.

“Yeah- two” said Sykkuno, shuddering. Corpse laughed at that, nudging him with his elbow. “I’m sandwiched between both of them. Do you?”

“One. Younger sister. I miss her.”

“Oh” said Sykkuno softly. The wind howled miserably, and Sykkuno looked up at Corpse’s gloomy eyes. “I’m sure she misses you too.”

Corpse glanced down at him with his quicksilver eyes. “Yeah?”

I’d miss you. “Yeah” said Sykkuno and he felt his lips curl up in a slight smile. Corpse’s eyes were like lasers but then he barked a laugh at it, gravelly and soft and Sykkuno felt the warmth of it warm his entire body.

“You’re cute” he said conversationally, as they turned towards their dorms. “Karl was right about you.”

“Oh Jesus what did he say?”

Corpse laughed again. “He said you were pretty cute and that you were a good guy. Also said you’re cracked at video games.”

“We play sometimes” said Sykkuno, smiling at the compliment. “He’s a sweet kid.”

“He is” said Corpse, as the elevator dinged open. He leaned against the door, slapping Sykkuno’s hand away from the button. “Hey, I’m younger, I get to press the buttons in the elevator.”

Sykkuno giggled at that, his hand reflexively reaching up to cover his face. Corpse’s hair looked even messier in the neon light of the elevator, his skin almost bluish with how pale it was. He raised an eyebrow at Sykkuno.

“What?”

“Nothing” said Sykkuno, blushing. Corpse’s eyes glittered with amusement and Sykkuno racked his brain to justify why he was staring. “You’re um- not wearing your eyepatch.”

Corpse hummed, leaning against the door as their elevator sluggishly dragged up. “Light sensitivity issue. I’m mostly okay at night- although maybe I’d have worn it if I knew I was going to see you.”

He winked and Sykkuno felt himself flush harder, staring down at his shoes. He rocked nervously on his feet as the doors opened and Corpse laughed again, clearly pleased by the effect it had on Sykkuno.

“So you’re not dating Rae, huh” said Corpse conversationally. The elevator dinged open and he nodded, waiting for Sykkuno to get out first.

Sykkuno glanced up at him, startled. “I- um, yeah.”

“What about Toast?”

Toast?!”

Corpse’s voice was amused. “He told me only pretty girls and you were allowed to watch him sleep, it’s not a farfetched guess.”

“Jesus Corpse, he’s just messing with you” said Sykkuno, suddenly deciding he was going to wake up Toast with a pillow thrown at his face. “I’m single.”

Corpse hummed. “You don’t have to be” he said, watching Sykkuno fumble with his keys. He was flipping a knife in his hands- where did he get a knife from-

“Um” said Sykkuno. “What?”

“I could set you up if you ever left your room” teased Corpse lightly. “Not that you need my help, I’m sure you have lines of girls waiting to date you. Or guys. People lining up to date you.”

Sykkuno snorted loudly.

“Whaaat” drawled Corpse, and Sykkuno could hear the smile in his attractive voice. It sounds like it’s touching you he remembered. It really did. “You’re cute, you’re smart, I’m sure you sleep with a pillow under your head-”

“-I do” said Sykkuno twisting the doorknob. He felt a strange sense of déjà vu at having the same conversation with three different people in the same day. “Unfortunately people aren’t into me.”

Corpse eyed him amusedly. Sykkuno toed his shoes off at the door, watching as Corpse’s large hands fiddled with his own keys. “Alright, Sykkuno.”

“Yeah” said Sykkuno. He felt oddly self-conscious under Corpse’s knowing stare. “Um, goodnight Corpse.”

“Goodnight, Sykkuno” said Corpse lazily, yawning. His mask slipped slightly, exposing the bridge of his nose and Sykkuno looked away quickly. He shut the door quickly behind himself and looked straight at Toast’s grinning face.

“Were you awake for all of that?” asked Sykkuno, defeated.

Toast wheezed. “People aren’t into me, Corps!” he mimicked and Sykkuno picked up the pillow nearest to him, throwing it at his face. Toast caught it, laughing.

“The room feels so quiet” said Sykkuno, connecting his phone to his charger as he texted Rae that he reached. Toast snickered.

“What, you miss Corpse moaning already?”

“I hate you so much, Toast.”

◍◍◍

SEPTEMBER

“I got a C” said Corpse incredulously, when Karl opened the door to his dorm. Karl yawned, blinking blearily at him before leaning heavily onto his side, letting Corpse inside. Corpse collapsed on the couch, looking balefully at a vine crawling over the window ledge. “What the fuck, I thought I would ace this class. What did you get?”

“I got an A-“ said Karl sleepily, pushing his own paper towards Corpse. Corpse scanned it incredulously, resentfully eyeing the bright red A- circled above his paper. “Apparently she really liked my choice in prose study and she said I interpreted it well.”

“She told me to meet her after my class!” whined Corpse, kicking his feet back. “What the fuck, I thought English was going to be my backup major.”

“Your backup major? I thought you were doing Philosophy?”

“I’m doing even worse in Phil- I got a C-“ said Corpse, his voice rising anxiously. “My professor makes me think I’ve never had a single thought in my entire life.”

“Shush, keep your voice down, Sykkuno is sleeping for the first time in two days” whispered Karl. Corpse raised his head and looked at the pile of blankets on the windowed side of the bed. One socked foot dangled off the side of the bed.

“What’s even worse is I’m taking effort” grumbled Corpse, staring up at the blades of the ceiling fan. “I’m studying all this wack ass prose from the 17th century and from ancient fucking Greece and it’s so stupid and I’m getting a C. Meanwhile I’ve literally never seen Toast touch a book and he just came back and said he got an A+ and an internship offer to make an app for Mercedes-Benz.”

Karl eyed him worriedly. “Dude you need to pass your classes if you want to keep your sports scholarship though.”

“You know what’s saving my fucking year? Business studies” said Corpse, disbelievingly. “I fucking got an A in my test. What the fuck- I will literally switch myself off if I ever have to become an accountant.”

“You could do an MBA?”

“That’s even worse!” wailed Corpse, burying his head in the couch. The mountain of blankets shifted and Corpse lifted his head up to look at Sykkuno, sitting up bleary eyed.

“Wha- Corpse!?”

Karl rushed over, pushing Sykkuno back into a horizontal position. “Shh, go back to sleep Sykkuno, it’s just Corpse being dramatic.”

“What happened to him?” Sykkuno wrangled himself back out from under Karl’s insistent hands and was now sitting back up with his legs dangling off the bed. His socks were mismatched and Corpse found that strangely cute.

“He got a few bad grades. Hold on, I’ll go make us some tea.”

Corpse made another miserable sound, just as Sykkuno encouragingly went. “Oh that’s okay Corpse, it’s your first few tests into the school year- even I got terrible grades when I first joined uni.”

“You did?”

“Mm” said Sykkuno and Corpse vaguely noted his voice sounded rather nice even when he was half asleep. “I think I got an A- or a B+ on a few of my classes.”

“Stop flexing on me, Sykkuno” grumbled Corpse. “Jesus, can I catch a break here. Fucking nerds, all of you.”

Sykkuno giggled and Corpse felt himself smile despite his ethical dilemma of having to consider being a commerce major.

“Oh it’s alright Corpse” said Sykkuno kindly, and Corpse looked back up at his sleepy face. He looked rumpled and tired and Corpse felt slightly guilty at how sweet he was being even though Corpse essentially ruined his nap. From inside the little kitchenette, he could hear the kettle Karl had set whistling. “Maybe you should try solving some question papers from the previous years? Also it’s alright if your grades dip slightly- you’re doing so well on the team! I’m sure they’ll consider it and grade you less harshly if you talk to them.”

Corpse sighed. “My philosophy teacher doesn’t even think I have potential. I told her I had some interesting ideas for my epistemology and metaphysics project and she said it was cliché and that she’d seen it five other times in the last year alone. Well, she doesn’t know what I would’ve done with the concept!”

Sykkuno made an amused sound. “Statistically, she would know.”

“No she wouldn’t- Sykkuno, back me up here!”

“I am, I am!” said Sykkuno and he was smiling. Corpse hadn’t really seen him smile without his hand covering it and he stared at it and the way it made Sykkuno’s eyes turn into pretty crescents. “You would’ve- you’d have shown her Corpse! I’d have given you an A+- I’d have given you enough credits to graduate into the next year already for your epidemiology and metaphysics project!”

“Epistemology” corrected Corpse, but he was smiling too. “Thanks Sykkuno, you’re a real one.”

Sykkuno smiled again but this time his hand came up to cover it. Strangely, Corpse missed seeing it but he took the cup of tea offered to him. Karl settled back down on Sykkuno’s side and wrapped an arm around him. Sykkuno seemed less physically uncomfortable and leaned into it, resting his head on Karl’s shoulder.

“Sykkuno is the best” said Karl, and Corpse resented the easy dynamic he had with Sykkuno. Somehow, he didn’t think Toast would be as gentle with him if he whined to him about getting poor grades.

Sykkuno snuffled sleepily in response. His eyes were shut, and Karl was essentially holding up his entire body weight against his own as he told Corpse about how he was going to help him choose better prose for their shared English class. Corpse couldn’t help but zone back to staring at Sykkuno, the softest parts of his hollow cheeks squished up against Karl’s green sweater, the pink smudge of his lips relaxed in the limbo between sleep and waking.

And my English teacher gave me a C he thought grumpily, lifting his mug to his lips. I could just look at Sykkuno and come up with better poetry than Shelley.

◍◍◍

Sykkuno really didn’t like parties.

“You alright, Sykkuno?” shouted Brooke over the din. He shook his head frantically, trying his hardest to flatten himself against the wall. Brooke’s blond hair glowed like a halo around her and she eyed him sympathetically. “Do you want another drink?”

Sykkuno nodded, watching some people from the sports team playing beer pong. It was a party in one of the girl’s dorms and Rae essentially bullied him into going. Corpse was not there, but Sykkuno could recognise some of Toast’s friends- there was a Ludwig, shouting in clear, overtly pronounced words how much everyone else sucked at the game. There was Jack- Sykkuno just knew he was Irish and kind, he’d helped Sykkuno with his satchel when his zipper broke. He sort of wished Corpse was there but snorted quietly when he remembered Corpse grumbling about how he was going to try and write a philosophy assignment that at least got him a B.

“Here you go” said Brooke loudly. “I brought a friend too- say hi to Minx.”

Sykkuno immediately blushed and whispered a hi into his red solo cup and Minx’s clever, huge eyes studied him amusedly. Right off the bat he knew she was too gorgeous to be anywhere near him and he tried even harder to flatten himself against the wall. Brooke was talking to her- he couldn’t hear what she was saying but he decided that he had enough of partying. It was early- Karl said he was going out ghosthunting with his friend Tina and so Sykkuno had the room to himself-

A slender hand shot out to grab his. Minx’s sultry eyes gazed up at him as he gulped nervously. “Where are you going?” she asked. Her voice dripped with her Irish accent and promise.

“Um” said Sykkuno. He couldn’t look at her without turning bright pink. “Uh- I’m going to- I’m going back to my room.”

She was still holding his wrist, eyes trained on him like a hyena out to get prey. It made Sykkuno feel strangely good, his heart was hammering frantically under her bony fingers. Tattoos crawled over her pale skin and Sykkuno briefly had a vivid flashback of dark curly hair, the flat planes of a man’s body covered in tattoos-

“Mm” said Minx and it jarringly broke him out of his sudden spiral. Minx sounded nothing like Corpse and Sykkuno wasn’t sure if he liked that about her or not. Brooke seemed to have drifted away from them but she was glancing over at them amusedly. “Bit rude of you to just leave like that, right after we met.”

Sykkuno shrugged weakly.

“Anything very interesting in your room?”

“Nothing” said Sykkuno. She leaned in ever closer. If Sykkuno’s eyes went even half a degree lower, he’d be looking right at her cleavage but he wasn’t entirely sure if he was supposed to or not. “Um.” He swallowed, closing his eyes, preparing to get decked. “A-anything interesting in yours? Your room?”

He didn’t get decked and he cracked on eye open fearfully. Minx was smiling at him, her clever blue eyes glittering with amusement. “Stick around and find out, Sykkuno.”

The sort of predatory spark didn’t escape her eyes and Sykkuno decided that he kind of liked being looked at like he was a piece of meat about to be thrown into a big cat enclosure. The adrenaline of it made him stop his strange craving for Corpse. No one really ever looked at him like that. He swallowed and let his eyes drift a whole degree downwards and back up at her sparkling eyes.

“I’d like that” he managed in his most stable voice.

He hoped she didn’t notice how much his hand was shaking as he lifted his cup up to his mouth. Minx’s eyes glowed with promise as she blatantly checked him out and Sykkuno hoped he got out of this experience alive to tell the tale.

◍◍◍

Corpse was walking up to Emma’s room, humming quietly. Emma said she would pre-grade his English paper and Corpse sort of wanted to get away from Toast and his casual overwhelming brilliance. Karl was out ghost hunting with Tina and he wasn’t really sure where Sykkuno was.

Turning into the carpeted hallway, he saw a couple stumbling in from the other side, making out frantically. He huffed, amused when the girl shoved the guy against the wall with a dull thud and the guy moaned, soft and breathy-

-and it sounded like Sykkuno?

Corpse blinked frantically wondering if he heard that right. Surely there were several other people who sounded like Sykkuno- well I’ve never heard them, but-

He walked towards Emma’s room, which was unfortunately in the same direction as the mystery couple and the guy moaned again, a little hitching sound and the girl- he recognised her as Minx from his Philosophy class- laughed quietly. Her hands were pressed up against the wall behind him and she ground up against him with purpose-

“Sykkuno?” he asked incredulously. It burst out of him shocked and almost slightly jilted.

Sykkuno looked up at him with glazed eyes, and fuck he was insanely gorgeous, flushed pink and dazed. His eyes were dark and hazy, almost liquid with how dark they’d gone and Corpse had never seen Sykkuno like this and he felt strangely possessive and protective.

“Corpse” he breathed and oh fuck, that was the hottest thing Corpse had heard in a while, his name slipping out of Sykkuno’s kiss bruised lips and he almost took a step further but Minx had finally wrangled her door open and was smirking at Corpse.

“Y’all gonna kiss or sumn?” she teased as she draped herself over Sykkuno’s side, pressing kisses to his neck. Corpse rolled his eyes but Sykkuno whimpered, his eyes squeezed shut as he looked away and the crockpot of confusing emotions he was feeling (jealousy, lust?, confusion, more lust??, possessiveness, fuck Sykkuno was so hot-) bubbled over.

“Nah” he said. Sykkuno’s expressive face shifted from embarrassed to confused and…disappointed? He wasn’t sure exactly why he was feeling upset and protective- he knew he wanted to feel glad that his cute dorky friend was finally getting some action but it felt strangely personal and upsetting. He tried not to think about the sudden urge to push him against the wall and make him say his name in that breathless warm tone again and again- “Just surprised. Have a nice night.”

Minx laughed but Sykkuno’s lust blown eyes were still focused on Corpse, deep and gorgeous. He was still breathless from kissing, his chest heavily lightly and Corpse wanted to drag his hands under his shirt just to feel his heart jackrabbitting under his skin. There were smudges of Minx’s dark lipstick against the cut of his sharp jaw, fading away as they reached his neck. The neckline of his yellow jumper (that looked suspiciously like Karl’s- and that made Corpse irrationally jealous too now) was pushed aside, revealing the slender tendons of his neck connected to his clavicles.

“You too, Corpse” he murmured and his voice was just slightly breathless and Corpse felt a sudden, insane urge to yank him away from Minx and press his own lips against the slender column of his neck-

Shaking his head, he turned around to knock at Emma’s door. Peripherally, he could tell that Minx yanked Sykkuno into her room but the walls were thin and Corpse heard another whining little sound, pretty and needy as he stumbled into the room.

“Sorry about Minx” said Emma. Her lazy drawl was a welcome relief from Minx’s accent and Sykkuno’s voice- “-what the fuck are you so frustrated for?”

“Minx does this a lot?” he asked. He didn’t know why he was suddenly protective again, but Sykkuno deserved to be happy in a relationship, he didn’t want him to be sad and disappointed and something physically ached in his heart at the thought of his senior being sad, those pretty eyes downcast and-

“Yeah, although she did tell me that she was looking to settle down for once” said Emma lightly. “What’s it to you?”

“She’s boning Karl’s roommate.”

“Oh the math guy?” asked Emma, surprised. “You got a crush on him or something?”

Corpse groaned. “Emma- just go through my paper, won’t you.”

“I still don’t see why you’re so pressed about your English grade, dude” said Emma, slumping on her chair. The babies on her earrings wobbled and ordinarily it’d crack Corpse up but Sykkuno was moaning so fucking prettily and it wasn’t Corpse’s name and that somehow personally offended him. “I’m telling ya, you can go ahead with that business studies major and fuck English and Philosophy.”

“I can only deal with one crisis at a time, Emma, give me a break” grumbled Corpse. “I’m not going to sell my soul to a commerce degree, especially not right now when Sy-”

He trailed off, and Emma raised an eyebrow.

“Down bad, huh” said Emma amusedly. Corpse groaned, reaching out to flick one of the babies on her earrings. She snickered.

“Girls aren’t into me” he mimicked, and he immediately felt bad about mocking Sykkuno. “I knew I didn’t trust that nonsense from day one. I bet he pulls all the time.”

“I’ve never seen him with any girl from the dorms or otherwise. Can’t say the same about you though. He said girls aren’t into him?”

“Yeah” grumbled Corpse. “Have you seen him- he’s so handsome. Does he practise that?”

Emma shot him an incredulous, disdainful look. “How the fuck do you practise being handsome?”

“I don’t fucking know!” snapped Corpse and he jumped to his feet. Sykkuno’s pretty, sotto moans were driving him insane, it felt like a physical itch under his skin. He’d never looked at Sykkuno and felt anything like this before- but then again he’d never heard Sykkuno whisper “Corpse” like that. “I bet he does it somehow though.”

This is Sykkuno’s fault he thought angrily and then immediately felt bad about being angry at Sykkuno. The memory of Sykkuno smiling sleepily at him floated to the forefront of his mind and he almost smiled before it was broken by another little moan.

“Dude- it’s okay, you have a crush on him” said Emma soothingly. “How many girls have you boned since you got to college? Let the poor guy breathe.”

“I don’t have a crush on him” said Corpse, frustrated. “I’m happy for him!”

Emma raised an eyebrow. “You’re happy for him” she said flatly. “Nothing about this is offending you.”

“No!” said Corpse. He yanked his mask down and smiled. It felt slightly insane. “See, I’m smiling too.”

Sykkuno’s voice was still hitching on soft moans, rhythmic and repetitive and god- Sykkuno was so loud and reciprocal to whatever Minx was doing to him and Corpse wanted to claw his eardrums out so that he never had to hear it again and also barge into the other room and make Sykkuno produce that litany of sounds for him and him alone-

“You’re fucking unhinged is what you are” informed Emma tonelessly and Corpse couldn’t help but privately agree.

◍◍◍

Sykkuno had never felt so boneless in his entire life.

“How do you feel, pretty boy?” teased Minx. His vision was still blurry with tears but he could still see that her pretty blue eyes were tinged with slight affection. Sykkuno made a tiny sound, reaching out for her. She willingly straddled him and he made a soft, overstimulated sound and she giggled, moving away from his dick. He pressed his thumbs against the soft dips of her hips.

“Sore” he said honestly. The tendrils of her rose coloured hair framed her face and she laughed, throaty and warm.

“Of course you’re sore, kitty, it was your first time bottoming wasn’t it?”

“It was my first time doing anything!”

Minx’s face softened. “Wait, really? Even kissing?”

Sykkuno bit his lip. It felt sore in an exciting new way that it had never felt like before. His entire body felt sore in an exciting new way. “Yeah- is that a problem?”

Her eyes went wicked. “Nah, you’re a natural.” She shoved his chest gently. “Lucky Corpse.”

“Minx!”

She leaned over, her eyes sparkling. “What? Don’t think I didn’t notice that outside.”

“Notice what?”

“Your lil eye sex moment” she drawled, tracing slow patterns over his chest. He shivered as the tip of her sharp nail grazed his nipple. “Cute.”

“I- um- thank you?”

“So why haven’t you made any moves yet?” she asked, curiously. “You both seem pretty into each other, fuck, he seemed to be pretty upset at me.”

“He did?”

Minx smirked. “Looked like he was going to break my arm for putting it on you, kitty.” She leaned in and kissed him, filthy and slow and Sykkuno moaned as her teeth grazed his lip. He moved his hands up against the curves of smooth, pale skin, trying not to think of flat, muscular lines covered in ink and scars- “Looked like he was going to eat you up.”

“I- oh Jesus” he moaned as her hand travelled up to his neck, her thumb cruelly pressing against one of the hickeys as she pressed her lips against his jaw. Corpse’s hands would have rings he thought drunkenly and Minx seemed to realise as she grinned at him. “N-no- he didn’t- people aren’t into me.”

“God you’re so fucking dense” crooned Minx. He almost laughed but then her lips pressed right behind his ear, over the sensitive skin of his neck and he felt his dick twitch weakly. Her fingers dragged down, slow and heady and the sharp bite of her nails felt like it would leave little welts. With an impressive amount of strength, she pushed his leg up onto her narrow shoulder and raised her eyebrow. Her nails felt like claws against his ass.

He swallowed heavily, pushing his legs just slightly more open. He didn’t have the first clue about how to look sexy but he did feel desperate. Corpse was in the other room, probably with another girl but this time it was different, this time, so was Sykkuno. He looked up at her sharp features, shivering as her fingers kneaded against the flesh of his ass lazily. “Please?”

“Lucky, lucky Corpse” she teased, reaching over for her strap and Sykkuno tried not to think about how his dick twitched at the thought of Corpse in the same position before his mind went beautifully blank with pleasure.

◍◍◍

Toast’s wolf whistle didn’t help Corpse’s mood in the slightest.

Minx rolled her eyes. “Shut up, Jeremy.”

“Ooooh, pulled out the J word” snarked Toast. “Glad you came by to drop my boy.”

“Oh he’s yours too?” asked Minx. Sykkuno made a protesting sound next to her, his cheeks red. “Also no, he wanted to come back- something to do with it being easier to get to lectures from this room “

“It’s true” yawned Sykkuno. He looked rumpled and sleepy but he was glowing- post coital glow looked good on him and Corpse wanted to slap himself. The edge of his jumper was over the underside of his collared shirt and Corpse sort of itched to straighten it out and then smooth the wrinkles of his shirt and then maybe lean it to kiss Sykku- what the fuck is wrong with me-

Minx leaned in to kiss him on the cheek and smirked at Corpse knowingly before turning on her heel and walking. For a split second Corpse wondered what she knew but then Sykkuno yawned again, stretching like a cat. He smiled sheepishly at Corpse before limping towards his door again.

“Sykkuno” called Toast, smirking. “Why are you limping?”

The back of Sykkuno’s neck and the tips of his ears turned red. He bit his lip, it looked puffy and swollen and Corpse almost leaned in to pull it out from under his shockingly cute bunny teeth-

“It’s because he got pegged” called Minx casually from the elevators. She winked right at Corpse and stepped into the elevator.

“Minx!” squeaked Sykkuno and Toast whirled to stare at him, cackling. Sykkuno rubbed the back of his neck, face scrunched up in embarrassment but he was smiling slightly- a sort of pleased, self-satisfied look. Minx’s laugh cut off abruptly as the elevator shut.

Toast sniggered before turning back to go inside his room. Sykkuno was still standing by the door, smiling at his feet.

“So” said Corpse awkwardly.

“I’m sorry you had to see that” said Sykkuno, just as awkward. His dark eyes were soft and apologetic. “Um. About earlier, that is.”

Corpse waved his hand. “It’s no bother. So I guess people are into you, huh.”

He didn’t know why it came out so sharply accusatory but Sykkuno looked wounded. It tugged on Corpse’s heartstrings in a painful way.

“They usually aren’t” he said in a small voice. Corpse laughed but it came out sounding bitter and Sykkuno frowned. He shook his head, looking drained all of a sudden, and the bright glow of his happiness dimmed significantly. He twisted the handle of his door, eyes downcast. “Goodnight Corpse.”

“Wait” said Corpse, miserable. Sykkuno turned around, glancing up at him. Corpse leaned in to fix his collar, straightening it out. Sykkuno’s breath hitched, soft eyes peeking up at Corpse. Helpless, Corpse smoothed the wrinkles of his sweater too. Sykkuno’s body was lithe and solid under his palms. This close, he could see the faint smudges of Minx’s lipstick that had lingered on the crevices of his jaw. The texture of the wool over Sykkuno’s body was addictive- Corpse wanted to spend the rest of his life stroking it like a lazy cat.

“Thank you?” said Sykkuno questioningly. His voice was still small, confused. Minx’s hickey glowed on the edge of his collarbone.

“You shouldn’t go to bed mad” mumbled Corpse and he felt very, very stupid for saying it. They weren’t exactly close- he was Karl’s roommate and he sometimes laughed with his hand covering his mouth and Corpse wanted to pull it away and maybe unwrap the enigma that made him up.

Sykkuno smiled up at him. It was uncovered, small and Corpse wanted to bask in it. “I wasn’t mad” he said soothingly. His eyes studied Corpse’s face. They were standing closer than they’d ever stood, Corpse felt slightly uneasy on his feet.

“So” he said, his voice light. “Are you going to ask her out?”

“Minx?” asked Sykkuno, surprised. “Um. No. I don’t think- I don’t think either of us want that.”

“Mm” teased Corpse gently, ruffling his hair. He tried not to focus on how relieved he felt that Minx and Sykkuno weren’t going to date and tried to focus on how wonderfully soft Sykkuno’s hair was and how he giggled when Corpse messed with it. “You’re such a heartbreaker, Sykkuno.”

Sykkuno laughed. It was such an infectiously happy sound that Corpse laughed too. They were so close together, he could see the little beauty spots on Sykkuno’s cheeks. Freckles. Old acne scars. He was the most beautiful person Corpse had ever seen.

“Both of you are being too fucking happy at 3 am” shouted Toast from inside the room. “Go inside the room if you want to be giggly little children, I’m trying to sleep.”

Corpse groaned and leaned down to press his forehead to Sykkuno’s shoulder. It was strangely easy to be physically affectionate with Sykkuno suddenly. He didn’t want to think about it.

“Um” said Sykkuno softly. A small hand came up to pat him on the back. They were almost hugging, thought Corpse dreamily. “Do you want to come in?”

“Nah, I’ll let you get some sleep” he said lightly. Sykkuno’s hand slipped further ahead on his back, his arm almost wrapped around Corpse and Corpse gave in and hugged him.

“Oh!” said Sykkuno but then he melted, warm and catlike, nestling into his arms. Corpse exhaled shakily, holding him close, trying desperately to commit it to memory. Underneath Minx’s cloying perfume, Sykkuno smelled like cinnamon and the ocean and Corpse willed his olfactory lobes to commit it to memory. “This is nice.”

“It is” agreed Corpse. Sykkuno’s cheeks were pink when he pulled away.

“Karl is the only person who hugs me” informed Sykkuno shyly. He was so impossibly cute, Corpse ruffled his hair again, the soft strands slipping through his fingers.

“He doesn’t have to be” said Corpse stepping away, before he did something stupid like hug him again and take him up on the offer of going back to his wonderfully empty room, where they could do things like hug more- “Goodnight Sykkuno, get some rest.”

“Goodnight Corpse.”

“Fucking finally” muttered Toast and Corpse made sure to slam the door extra hard on his way in.

◍◍◍

Karl’s concerned face swam in front of his eyes.

“You missed your 7am” he said worriedly. “Also what happened to your neck?”

Sykkuno sat up bolt upright and immediately fell back when his abdomen clenched painfully.

“Ouch” he whined, leaning back. “What time is it?”

“8:43” said Karl worriedly. “Corpse told me that you came back late last night. Did you have fun?”

Sykkuno grinned up at him. Karl blinked, confused.

“You know Minx?” Sykkuno asked. “She’s in Corpse’s philosophy class.”

She was in Corpse’s Philosophy class and she was doing much better than Corpse there apparently because once she let Sykkuno out of his restraints, she spent the rest of the night making Sykkuno giggle about the antics Corpse pulled in class.

“I took English and media based subjects” said Karl, furrowing his brow. He passed Sykkuno a mug of tea and Sykkuno smiled up at him gratefully. The fact that his body hurt like he’d been run over by a battering ram didn’t seem to matter just because he knew why his body hurt. He sat back against the headboard dreamily, thoughts of exactly why his body hurt filtering back into his head. “Did you ask her out?”

Sykkuno shook his head. Karl tilted his head like a curious puppy.

“Did she ask you out?

“No- Karl we had sex!”

“Oh what?!” Karl shouted, beaming. “Congratulations! I thought girls aren’t into you?”

“Rude” huffed Sykkuno. “She was very into me- she was literally in me at a few points.”

“Too much information” said Karl. “I love it. Are you going to ask her out?”

Sykkuno sighed. It would be so easy to just be with Minx and her sharp glittery eyes and the way her accent slurred “pretty boy” and “kitty’ at him. Unfortunately for him, the little stunt he had with Corpse with his huge palms smoothing the wrinkles of his sweater, the way his body felt pressed up against his own when he wrapped him up in a hug felt way more intimate than anything Minx had done to him last night.

“Nah” said Sykkuno, sitting up. His lower half ached with pain, and he grinned again when he remembered exactly why it hurt. “It was a lot of fun though” he admitted. His face still felt pink and he could feel welts from her sharp nails on his thighs. Awesome.

“Look at you” cooed Karl. His dark floppy hair brushed over his forehead and Sykkuno reached up to push it back lightly. Karl leaned into the touch like Bimbus and Sykkuno ruffled his hair fondly.

“Did you have fun last night?”

Karl’s voice was excited as he babbled about how cool the forest was at night and how they saw more bats than expected and Sykkuno hummed whenever it felt appropriate. Minx was fun, Minx was a fresh breath of intimacy- Sykkuno suddenly understood why Corpse had as much sex as he did. It felt good to touch and even better to be touched.

He also potently understood why Corpse got as many girls as he did, he thought moodily, considering that all Corpse did was straighten his collar and maybe smooth over some wrinkles on his sweater and Sykkuno held it at the same level of intimacy as the girl who blindfolded him and fucked him til he cried- but maybe that was just him.

“You shouldn’t go to bed mad”

It definitely wasn’t just him, he decided, not if Corpse was running around being that sweet. Especially in that voice, soft and murmured right by his ear, mercurial eyes staring down at him from above the edge of his mask-

“-apparently there’s more than 35 different species of bats in the US alone!” said Karl. He deflated when he saw the faraway look in Sykkuno’s eyes. “You’re not listening.”

“I am!” said Sykkuno hastily. He cleared his throat. “Also most of those bats you’re talking about are endangered. Bat conservation is very poorly maintained in America. Do you know why you don’t have any mosquito bites? It’s because bats eat their body weight in insects and they keep insect populations in check.”

Karl leaned over and hugged him. It felt warm and familiar, unlike Minx’s slender arms wrapped around him like a vice or Corpse’s strong ones folding Sykkuno into his body like Sykkuno was made of cotton candy. Sykkuno leaned into the warmth greedily. “Thank you. I still know you weren’t listening, but I’m always down for some cool bat facts.”

◍◍◍

Sykkuno was still limping when Corpse got out of his Philosophy class. Minx snickered quietly, cutting through the crowd and moving towards him, shaking her head.

“Sorry about that” she said, watching Sykkuno wobble carefully around. Sykkuno pinked but grinned at her.

“No need to apologise” he said magnanimously and Corpse raised an eyebrow- were they flirting-

“Corpse!” he said excitedly as Corpse cleared his throat behind Minx. He wrapped his arm around Sykkuno’s shoulders and Sykkuno beamed at him. Minx was smirking as she adjusted her snapback.

“I’ll let you two lovebirds be” she said, backing away. She winked at Sykkuno, who was still smiling fondly at her. “See you around, kitty.”

Kitty thought Corpse, as Sykkuno glanced up at him, still blushing. He did look like a cat, thought Corpse, acted like one too. The crowd around them bustled, grumbling at their obstruction and Sykkuno tugged his hand gently, pulling him towards the side. Corpse was taller than Sykkuno and also better built to cut through crowds and he held Sykkuno close, making sure the math major was able to waddle comfortably towards the lunch hall.

“You sure you’re not going to ask her out?” Corpse asked, finally pulling Sykkuno to his side. The air outside was crisp and cold and it turned Sykkuno’s nose pink. Corpse tried not to stare at it. Kitty he thought, resentfully.

“Sure” said Sykkuno and he seemed content, limping peacefully by Corpse’s side. “Where are we going?”

“It’s 1pm- don’t you want to get lunch?”

“Oh- I usually sit with Toast” said Sykkuno shyly. He peeked up at Corpse. “Don’t you sit with the other sports people?”

“Sports people” snorted Corpse. So fucking cute. “Yeah I usually sit with the other athletes. Rae is also there, sometimes.” The sunlight filtering from the trees turned his skin golden. Corpse held him closer to his side.

I don’t have a crush he decided firmly. I’m just comfortable admitting when another man is attractive. And Sykkuno was so attractive and his voice sounded so pretty when he said “corps!” in that pretty, lilting way and the way and oh, wouldn’t he sound so lovely if Corpse leaned in to press his lips right where Minx’s hickey taunted him-

“-oh look I can see Toast!” said Sykkuno, and he waved at Toast from across the lunch hall. Jack and Ludwig were already arm wrestling while Rae banged the table excitedly. Karl was anchoring the entire event like it was a wrestling match. Corpse loved his friends but he suddenly didn’t want to let go of Sykkuno.

“Maybe you and Toast can come over this side?” he asked hopefully. Too hopefully. “No pressure though.”

Five minutes later, Sykkuno slid into the seat beside him and Corpse’s heart beat funny. He winced slightly while getting into the seat and Karl patted his back soothingly and Corpse felt sort of stupid for not doing it first.

“Why are we all sitting facing on the same side of the table?” asked Toast, tilting his head. He was sitting between Rae and Jack. Apparently he knew Jack and Ludwig from some online leagues. Corpse sincerely hoped it now meant that he and Sykkuno would sit with them at lunch from now on. “And why is it facing the wall?”

“Oh- it’s so that Corpse can eat without worrying about his face” said Rae, slurping on her noodles. She patted Toast on the back lightly. “You’d know this if you fucking sat with us like I asked you to.”

“Fuck off, I like sitting with Sykkuno” said Toast, elbowing her. She scoffed, reaching over to steal a mushroom from his noodles. “We don’t talk, we vibe at our 13910 IQ. You negative IQ sports plebs would never understand.”

Sykkuno giggled quietly by his side. “Corpse is pretty smart, Toast.”

“He’s not, he’s literally failing Philosophy” informed Karl. “Man, how fucking dumb do you have to be to fail Philosophy.”

“Nah, nah, I think Sykkuno has a point” said Jack. “Corpse got an A in his business studies class, didn’t he.”

Corpse dropped his fork into his empty bowl and buried his head in his hands. Sykkuno patted his back but Corpse could tell he was smiling too.

“Of course Sykkuno has a point” said Ludwig. “He’s so beautiful, everything he says must be right.”

“Lud?!”

Corpse smiled into his hands. The shock made Sykkuno’s voice squeaky in an absolutely adorable way while also directing the topic away from his business aptitude.

“Corpse is going to be a business major” sing-songed Rae, clearly uninterested in discussing how beautiful and clever Sykkuno was. “He’s gonna trade in stocks and he’s gonna talk to us about Bitcoin-“

“-shut up, please, please make it stop” begged Corpse. Sykkuno was giggling cutely by his side, before leaning over to take their empty food trays. Karl tried to get up with him but Sykkuno patted his head lightly before slipping out of the seats to keep it in the collection bin. “I wanted to be a Philosophy major- literally all I do with my life is be depressed and have big brained thoughts. They say if you have a higher IQ, you’re more likely to be depressed.”

“You can be dumb and depressed too, Corpse” said Toast, unimpressed. Corpse made a whining sound as he adjusted his mask again. Jack was frowning concernedly at Sykkuno.

“Is Sykkuno okay, why is he limping?” asked Jack worriedly. “I saw him last night at the party, he seemed fine?”

Rae snickered quietly. “Yeah he was fine. He left that party last night with Minx.”

Jack made a knowing sound, leaning back in his chair. “Oh that makes sense. Honestly, good for him- I’ve never seen that guy unwind. I’ve probably seen him in 3 parties my whole life. One time I helped him when his bag split open and I felt like I saw a unicorn or something. Unreal.”

“Sykkuno isn’t a unicorn, Sykkuno is a little demon” said Toast affectionately. He beckoned Sykkuno over, and Sykkuno waddled like a small penguin towards him. “Here, Sykkuno, sit on my lap.”

Sykkuno made an affronted sound. “What?!! Toast!”

Toast yanked him down and Sykkuno squeaked, perched awkwardly on Toast’s leg. Corpse felt a mixture of amusement and jealousy at how easy it was for them to dote on Sykkuno without feeling a hundred different things that definitely didn’t challenge his opinion on his own sexuality. Sykkuno was giggling at something Ludwig was saying, small hand covering his face and Corpse longingly stared at the bright green Bulbasaur on his hand.

“-so you watch Pokémon, you are doing a graduation in maths, you’re into anime, you can play a guitar” said Ludwig ticking off his fingers. His eyes were shining. “And you’re single?”

“He also drives stick” said Toast lazily. He leaned over to perch his chin on Sykkuno’s shoulder. “I mean you can’t call what he does on the road as driving but he is licensed to drive stick.”

“Sykkuno probably smiled at the examiner during his driving test and he got his license” said Jack, clapping Ludwig on the back.

“He’s also super cracked at video games” said Karl brightly from behind Corpse. “Fucking sucks at Monopoly though.”

“Monopoly is a game of luck” grumbled Sykkuno. Toast shoved him gently sniggering, and he staggered onto his feet but he almost immediately got yanked into Jack’s lap with a quick little “oh Jesus, Jack- anyway that’s not the point- the point is, you can’t be good at monopoly.”

“You can be” said Corpse. “It’s probability and capitalism.”

“Of course our business major would know about that” crooned Rae, reaching over to pinch his masked cheek. “Accountant Corpse- I see it already.”

“I actually thought Corpse was in media or something” said Sykkuno shyly. His pretty eyes stared up at Corpse earnestly and Corpse felt himself smiling. “Like he would read stories or voice act or something. My friend Lily voice acts and she has a really pretty voice.”

“You have the prettiest voice” said Ludwig dreamily.

“Like an anime dub” said Jack. Sykkuno was stammering awkwardly, his cheeks glowing with a blush.

“No no, guys, this isn’t about me- I think Corpse would sound totally cool reading some horror stories” said Sykkuno insistently. “Can’t you imagine him voice acting in some anime?”

All of their friends turned to stare at him. Corpse sat back in his seat, nervous.

“I wouldn’t want to voice an entire anime” said Corpse awkwardly.

“Sorry man, Sykkuno asks, Sykkuno gets” said Ludwig firmly, reaching over for his phone. “I’m looking up voice acting gigs right now.”

“Shut up Ludwig” said Corpse without heat, smacking the phone out of his hand. “I’d not voice act an entire anime, that’s fucking nuts. Maybe just a few scenes, like, an absolute background character. I just show up once, spook everyone, and never show up again.”

Sykkuno’s eyes were big and soft. “I’d watch the whole anime for you, Corpse.”

Corpse felt his own cheeks flush. This was bad, this was so bad- Sykkuno was just being his usual sweet self and Corpse was panicking like a virgin on her honeymoon.

“Smoothkkuno” drawled Toast and Sykkuno giggled and Corpse wondered if his fried brain was making it out to be way more nervous than it was. Sykkuno was not looking at him, but instead looking at his shoes shyly but he glanced up and met Corpse’s eyes and the flush on his cheeks darkened.

“All this smoothness and Minx still doesn’t want to go out with him?” cried out Karl. “Insane!”

“People really aren’t into me, guys” said Sykkuno lightly. He leaned back slightly into Jack’s arms and Jack shifted himself, letting him get comfortable on his lap.

Rae leaned in to press a kiss to his cheek. “It’s okay Sykkuno, we got you.”

“Yeah, Sykkuno, we got you” said Jack, leaning in to kiss his cheek. Toast snickered, standing up to press a kiss to his forehead. Ludwig grabbed his face and pressed a kiss right on his lips like a mafia boss. Sykkuno was bright red but giggling. Karl scooted his chair loudly over to kiss Sykkuno’s cheek and Sykkuno beamed up at Karl, willingly standing up from Jack’s lap to snuggle into Karl’s side. Karl dropped a few more loud kisses on his face, much to Sykkuno and Rae’s amusement.

“What- Corpse, aren’t you going to kiss Sykkuno?” demanded Rae. Her bright eyes were glittering with amusement and challenge.

“Oh- I, um” said Corpse nervously. Rae raised an eyebrow.

“Oh it’s okay” said Sykkuno bashfully. His eyes suddenly gleamed with mischief as he shrugged daintily. “I guess Corpse agrees that people aren’t really into me.”

Scowling, Corpse leaned over, grabbed his pretty chin and kissed his nose. Sykkuno burst out laughing, and Karl made a grumbling sound, clutching Sykkuno closer. Their faces were so close together, just the thin fabric and filter of the mask keeping them apart and Corpse had an insane urge to lean forward again and catch those smiling lips in a kiss. Toast called Sykkuno a little demon and he was absolutely right thought Corpse, fond and annoyed at how easy it was for Sykkuno to play him like a fiddle.

“What do you think Sykkuno sees in Minx?” he asked, later in the day. The blades of the fan spun, slow and hypnotic, circulating the midnight autumn breeze.

Toast twisted in his bed, turning to face Corpse incredulously. “Have you seen Minx?”

“I mean” said Corpse vaguely. He rolled onto his side to face Toast. “Is that his type? I have piercings, I have tattoos. I once had blond hair…is it the accent maybe? You think Sykkuno would like Jack?”

“Holy shit you have a crush on Sykkuno” said Toast, incredulous.

Corpse sat up bolt upright in his bed. Somehow, coming from Toast’s rational, flat tone, it felt much more real. He closed his eyes and buried his head in his hands. Sykkuno peeking up at him even though they were barely an inch apart in height, Sykkuno’s shy compliments juxtaposed with how he basically baited Corpse to kiss him, the flare of jealousy he had when Sykkuno sat on Toast and Jack’s laps- even when he sat on Karl’s lap. Sykkuno looking windswept and rumpled, inky eyes dark and depthless with lust and Minx making him moan, loud and whiny and so, so, so prettily-

 Exhilaration and fear coursed through him. It was midnight and he had an epiphany.

“Oh fuck, you’re right” said Corpse. “I have a crush on Sykkuno.”

◍◍◍

 “You have a crush on Corpse” said Rae flatly, as she climbed up the small ladder to sit with Tina on the top bunk. “I’m so incredibly surprised, Sykkuno. No one saw this coming at all, Sykkuno. This is breaking news to all of us Sy-“

“Stop saying my name like that, Rachel.”

Tina and Rae shared a room together- which was nice for when Sykkuno didn’t have a stressful crush on his best friend’s roommate. The soothing blue clouds Rae had stuck on the underside of the bunk weren’t helping Sykkuno but he appreciated them nonetheless.

Tina sniggered quietly, and Sykkuno heard a soft hifi in the background. Frustrated, he ran his fingers through his hair again, fixing it. Tina’s bed smelled of the same fabric softener as Minx’s bed did and Sykkuno miserably wished he was in Minx’s bed instead or even Corpse’s bed, and Corpse’s bed would probably smell like Corpse did- woody and sexy and-

“Aww, Sykkuno, I’m sure he feels the same way” said Tina kindly. Sykkuno scowled at the wood panelling of the bed above Tina’s bottom bunk, annoyed but relieved that her accented voice broke his reverie. “Rae told me he couldn’t keep his eyes off you today.”

“Or ever” said Rae dryly.

“How- how is that a valid point” demanded Sykkuno, sitting up. He was tall enough that his head brushed the cloud stickers above him. “He’s literally just eyes- that’s literally all anyone can see of him. He has a mask on at all times. How does him having eyes help you know if he has a crush on me or not?”

“Girls know” said Rae wisely.

Sykkuno groaned. “Great, another reason I wish I was a girl.”

“What was the other reason?” asked Tina curiously. “You think Corpse would’ve liked you more if you were a girl?”

“Jesus Tina, you’re unhinged” grumbled Sykkuno. “You’re crazy! Of course I think Corpse would like me more if I was a girl.”

“I thought we just established that he likes you a lot?”

“Listen Tina, I’m not going to believe Corpse has a crush on me just because he has eyes” said Sykkuno. Rae scoffed in the back.

“It’s true though?” Rae said. She hung from the side of her bed like a possessed bat, her long hair almost brushing the ground. “There’s having eyes and then there’s making eyes.” Her eyes gleamed. “You also look at him like you can’t keep your eyes off him, and you definitely aren’t just a pair of eyes.”

Sykkuno squirmed. “What the heck are you talking about, Rae?”

“You know how you say “Corps!” squealed Rae, and Sykkuno blushed, affronted. There was no way he sounded like that when he said Corpse. “You do that with your eyes too.”

“My eyes cannot speak Rae, I know you’ve not done biology in a while but I physically don’t think I can do that” said Sykkuno sullenly.

“No, no, I see it” said Tina, climbing off the ladder. She peeked at Sykkuno from the wooden slats of the ladder and giggled. “Yeah, I can totally see it.”

“See?” said Rae smugly. She turned to Tina who was still giggling. “All the damn time.”

“You’re insane” informed Sykkuno, trying his hardest to not turn red. “You’re actually insane, you’re a madwoman.”

“Sure thing, Sykkuno” said Rae. She schooled her features into a faux moue, which looked ridiculous on her when she was upside down. “O-oh, I guess- I guess it’s okay if Corpse thinks people aren’t actually into me-“

“Rae!”

“You knew what you were doing” drawled Rae as Tina cackled in the back. “I’ve seen you troll our kindergarten teachers into giving you extra cookies during lunchtime. Your eyes go all evil.”

Sykkuno blushed but didn’t deny it. There was something that flared up in him when he saw the dark look cross over Corpse’s eyes when Ludwig grabbed him and gave him the kiss of death. The additional bonus of Rae calling him out on not kissing him made the very tops of his cheeks that were visible above the mask pink too. And then Corpse leaned ahead and Sykkuno almost thought he was going to actually kiss him but his lips pressed tenderly to tip of Sykkuno’s nose and Sykkuno’s chest burst with warmth.

And he stayed there for a solid ten seconds as Sykkuno giggled, and his eyes were bright and so unendingly fond, the crows feet by his eyes crinkling as he laughed quietly behind his mask. Sykkuno could see the faintest smattering of freckles on his face and he wanted to lean ahead and kiss all of them. He wondered if Corpse had dimples. He wondered if he wanted to kiss Corpse’s lips or his dimples more.

He shrugged lightly. “I wanted him to kiss me- Rae, I literally have a crush on him- what do you want me to do? Pass up opportunities for when he kisses me?”

“No, dumbass, I want you to go tell him!”

Tina shuddered. “Oh, bad idea, bad idea, what if that backfires?”

“Thank you Tina” said Sykkuno, sitting up straighter. “Yeah Rae, what if it backfires, what then? He lives with Toast, I can’t give up on Toast and make things awkward with his roommate.” He ran his fingers through his hair again. “Besides, I barely know Corpse- I literally don’t know anything about him. We just know each other because I’m best friends with his roommate and he’s best friends with my roommate.”

“Wait, Karl said Corpse is his best friend?” demanded Tina. “What the fuck, I thought I was his best friend?”

“Tina this is about me, not you.”

“You’re overthinking it, Sykkuno” said Rae soothingly. “He’s a mature adult, it’s not high school anymore where people unnecessarily get mocked for having crushes. I’m sure if he doesn’t reciprocate- which by the way, by the way, I’m absolutely sure he does- but in the off chance he doesn’t- I’m sure he won’t chew you up over it.”

“I think Sykkuno wants to get chewed up” said Tina, narrowing her eyes. Sykkuno scowled at her and she stuck her tongue out at him.

He was still thinking about what Tina and Rae said well after he got out of their room, and he was still thinking about it as he checked out his books at the library. His satchel was 3 books heavier but his head was swimming with both Tina’s and Rae’s voices, encouraging and cautious at the same time.

The air smelled of chlorine as he turned the corner of the aerodynamics department. The outdoor swimming pool was walled with narrow, limestone white walls. Sykkuno glanced over it when he heard splashing and stared.

Corpse was floating lazily on the water, his eyes closed. The swim cap pulled away most of the hair on his face but all it did was accentuate the fine boning of his temples and jawline. Sykkuno stared longingly at the firm sculpted muscles of his thighs, the lean cords of his arms and-

“It’s a lot more fun if you come down here and look, Sykkuno.”

Corpse’s voice was playful and it made Sykkuno blush furiously. “How did you know I was here?”

“You gasped so loudly, you scared two birds” said Corpse lightly. “Get down here.”

Face still burning, Sykkuno skipped down the stairs. The smell of chlorine and pool cleaner was overwhelming. Corpse swam up to the edge of pool, as Sykkuno crouched down to face him. He leaned on his arm, blinking cutely at Sykkuno and Sykkuno smiled, stepping closer.

“Careful, the edges are slippery” warned Corpse.

“Don’t worry, I can swim” said Sykkuno. “I use the indoor pool with the diving decks though”

Corpse made an impressed sound. “You dive?

“Sometimes” said Sykkuno. “I used to swim competitively in high school, though. What are you doing here, though? I thought you were on the freerunning team?”

Corpse shrugged. “Hydrotherapy” he said finally. “Water helps with my joint pain. Lower gravity and all.”

Sykkuno nodded. Without thinking, he blurted, “You’re like that arthritic dog.”

Corpse’s laugh was loud and wheezy and it almost made Sykkuno slip into the water with how off kilter it made him. “Pretty sure someone was holding that dog up, though.”

He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. Sykkuno felt dizzy with how much blood was in his face.

“I- oh- um” he replied eloquently. He blinked frantically as Corpse gave him an amused once over.

“Cute” said Corpse lightly. With some effort, he grabbed onto the stainless steel ladder, and Sykkuno tried not to stare at his mostly naked friend’s roommate, water droplets clinging to his neck-

“I’ve gotta go” said Sykkuno, standing up quickly. He dragged his satchel to his front to cover up his sudden positive reaction to Corpse’s broad back covered in scars, tattoos and water droplets. Corpse turned around confusedly, slowly dragging rings over his long fingered hands and wow Sykkuno’s blood was suddenly much, much more south than he wanted it to be. He almost fell over into the pool for real but he turned away and ran, stumbling over his feet. He could almost hear Corpse’s confusion but he couldn’t turn back and look at all.

He ran past Karl, who made a confused wounded sound at being ignored and ran straight into the bathroom and set the temperature to the hottest. His fingers were fast and trembling as he stripped off, the steam swirling around him as he leaned back against the wall.

Corpse’s hands. The stupid way he drawled Sykkuno off his tongue, each syllable dragged out indecently. Sykkuno moaned as his fingers accidentally pressed up against a hickey Minx had left on his inner thigh and he thought of Corpse between his legs, his huge hands holding Sykkuno’s legs apart for him, biting and pinching. Corpse in the shower with him, kissing him sweetly, Sykkuno’s hands dragging across those deltoids. Him on his knees, blinking up at Corpse while water poured down as Corpse growled his name, his fingers gripping Sykkuno’s hair, tugging and manoeuvring Sykkuno as he liked it.

He wondered feverishly if Corpse would be like Minx, taunting little laughs as Sykkuno gasped and whimpered at his touch. Corpse was pretty loud himself, low, breathless sounds that sounded like they were ripped out of him and Sykkuno wanted to feel it, wrap himself so closely around Corpse that he could hear the sound rumble in his chest before it erupted from him. He wondered if Corpse would be gentle, reverent- sweet kisses brushed on his skin, so fleeting and fast that Sykkuno would ache for more. A different kind of torture but torture nonetheless, as Corpse would laugh warmly at his desperate, squirmy reactions.

Corpse gripping his hips, the rings on his fingers leaving indents on Sykkuno’s hips. His lips on Sykkuno’s neck as he thrust into Sykkuno and he was so much more powerful than a 5’5 tall Irish woman. He could easily push Sykkuno into a wall and fuck him 9 ways to Sunday-

-or Sykkuno could take charge, push him down and take him in his mouth. Corpse would grip at his hair helplessly as Sykkuno wrapped his lips around his cock, inexperienced but eager and Corpse’s fingers would spasm on his hips as Sykkuno straddled him and fucked himself on Corpse’s cock-

His orgasm was fast and jerky and Sykkuno slumped back against the wall. The water drizzled from hot to freezing cold and Sykkuno shivered but stayed there, letting reality crash on him the same way as the icy water. Corpse was straight and no amount of pining Sykkuno did was going to change that.

Corpse’s hands. The soft way he murmured Sykkuno, as if Sykkuno’s name was prayer on his lips, whispered quietly when they were alone-

Stop it thought Sykkuno to himself sternly.

◍◍◍

OCTOBER:

“Sykkuno- just who I was looking for.”

Sykkuno glanced at Corpse with his pretty eyes narrowed in confused suspicion. “I am?”

Corpse grinned. The library was mostly quiet, most people slacking off before Halloween. Sykkuno looked adorable, lit between the afternoon sun and his laptop screen his dark blue hoodie contrasting prettily with his skin. “Always. Nice glasses.”

Sykkuno touched his face almost self-consciously. “My contacts dried out.”

“They look cute” reassured Corpse. They really did, Sykkuno looked every inch the absolute nerd he was and Corpse cleared his throat before he did something stupid like kiss him on the forehead. He slid into the seat next to him. “You busy?”

“Just finishing off some assignments before Thanksgiving break” said Sykkuno, stretching slightly in his chair. He cracked his knuckles, and Corpse tried not to stare at them and do something like hold his hand and maybe massage it- “What did you want?”

“Your hands must hurt a lot” said Corpse absentmindedly, looking at his wrists. They were so delicate, Corpse wanted to press fleeting kisses to the bone jutting out from the edge of his skin.

Sykkuno blinked at him. “You were looking for me to tell me that my hands must hurt a lot?”

“Yes- no” said Corpse. “Maybe. No.” Sykkuno blinked at him, tilting his head and Corpse closed his eyes, trying to think. “I- Toast said you wanted to do a masters in stats?”

“I do” confirmed Sykkuno. His eyes flashed with amusement and concern behind his round glasses. “Are you changing majors?”

“I wish” said Corpse gloomily. “Nah, I’ve decided to lean into the fact that I can’t do philosophy or English.”

Sykkuno patted his knee comfortingly. “A business major isn’t that bad, Corpse.”

“You’re very sweet Sykkuno, but you really have no idea” said Corpse. “Ethically, it’s so bad but apparently I have potential. I just need to scrape by English for 2 more semesters but I can drop Philosophy after this year.”

Sykkuno clapped quietly, smiling. “It’s a good thing you know it’s ethically bad though?” he asked. “That would just make you a better, ethical businessperson?”

“Please don’t call me that.”

Sykkuno giggled behind his hand. “Sorry. But why were you looking for me?”

“I- there’s a lot of statistics in finance” said Corpse sheepishly. “I’m shit at math. Can you help me out?”

He watched as the cogs behind Sykkuno’s pretty eyes turned, contemplative. Deciding that he would throw the final card he had, he leaned forward suggestively. Sykkuno immediately blushed, tiny giggle escaping him.

“I could cook for you on the days you teach me” he murmured softly, watching the slow rise of blood onto Sykkuno’s face.

◍◍◍

 “I want to learn statistics too” declared Karl.

“Karl, you don’t even have statistics” said Sykkuno as Corpse trudged into their room, looking for an outlet to connect his laptop to. He had brought pizza, and it smelled delicious and Sykkuno decided to keep the weirdly erotic thought of Corpse kneading dough to the side for now. “You’re a communications major.”

Karl pouted. “And?”

Sykkuno paused, sheepish. He was hoping for their little tutoring sessions to be with Corpse alone, maybe get to know Corpse a bit better over them but he had genuinely forgotten about Karl in the equation. But maybe Karl was a blessing- maybe Karl would diffuse the awkwardness that Sykkuno naturally brought to any conversation. Karl would help Corpse open up easier and it would be much harder for Sykkuno’s thoughts to wander when confronted with Karl and his jarringly optimistic presence.

“And nothing” said Sykkuno warmly. “You can stay.”

He wondered if it was his own overactive imagination that saw Corpse’s face fall.

The class went much slower and faster than Sykkuno expected. Corpse seemed to be bright but then he would unexpectedly ask something alarmingly obvious and his gold flecked eyes would stare at Sykkuno, unblinking and laser focused as Sykkuno typed commands into SPSS.

“Sykkuno is so good at this” sighed Karl fondly and Sykkuno smiled at him. He had hooked him up to some high school level Excel problems and he was having fun making graphs.

“SPSS is a good tool for marketing” said Sykkuno, turning his attention back to Corpse. “It’s a little less powerful than some of the other tools used in stats- I use Python and MATLAB personally but I have a lot more modelling problems…”

Corpse’s eyes were glazed over and dark. Sykkuno blushed under his piercing stare.

“Um- sorry, that must be boring” said Sykkuno sheepishly.

Corpse made a low rumbling noise. It sounded like thunder, anticipatory of a storm and Sykkuno foolishly wanted to hear it again. “Not at all. Keep talking.”

Sykkuno blushed harder, staring down at his lap. Keep talking. Corpse sounded like he liked when Sykkuno nerded out about softwares. He cleared his throat. “Um- I’m still not very good with Python. I’m studying it though, I can do basic stuff like objects and loop conditionals.”

“Mm” purred Corpse, leaning ahead. His eyes flickered with something bright and hot and Sykkuno felt it glow in his abdomen potently. “I love a man who knows his loop conditionals.”

Their faces were so close that Sykkuno felt light headed. He could see the imprint of Corpse’s lips through the thin cloth mask he was wearing and he bit his own lip. Corpse’s eyes were beautiful, bright and flecked with gold and Sykkuno wanted to stare at the pattern of it forever, imprint it into his brain so that maybe he could chart the coordinates of every single fleck on graph-

“I love a man who loves his loop conditionals too!”

Moment broken, thought Sykkuno, relieved and annoyed at Karl’s presence. Karl grinned brightly as Corpse backed away into his chair.  

“This was really helpful, Sykkuno” said Corpse. His voice was much more…family friendly now. Sykkuno didn’t know if he was grateful or disappointed. “You think you can teach me more often?”

“That pizza was really good” said Sykkuno contemplatively. Corpse laughed and something different glowed in Sykkuno’s chest, warm and fluttery. “Alright. I think I can teach you twice a week? Thursdays and Saturdays, this time?”

“Wait I go out ghost hunting with Tina on Saturdays” whined Karl. “That’s unfair.”

“Can you manage any other day?” Sykkuno asked. Corpse shook his head.

“I have to train on other days” said Corpse regretfully. “I need the two days if I need to pass, buddy.”

“Fine” grumped Karl. “Fine. My two best friends having fun without me.”

“You’re literally going ghost hunting” pointed out Sykkuno.

“Yeah, I’m just getting tutored” said Corpse lightly. “You’re not missing out on anything, Karl, trust me.”

Sykkuno wondered if Corpse was also secretly glad for Karl not being there for a session, but then he glumly realised that Corpse was just probably grateful that he would get 100% of Sykkuno’s attention and therefore pass his classes.

“But no seriously, thank you so much for this” said Corpse glancing back down at Sykkuno. The dark black of his jacket contrasted beautifully with his white shirt. “I owe you one.”

“It’s nothing” said Sykkuno weakly. “Just- helping a friend.

“Yeah” said Corpse and Sykkuno’s insanity convinced him that he saw those bright eyes dim slightly. “Friends.”

◍◍◍

 “Are you having fun?”

Karl mouthed something that Corpse could barely see over the flashing lights and Tina shouted something back at him. The neon colours made Corpse grateful that he was wearing an eyepatch. It was his first time being invited to a Halloween party- so far it just seemed to be the same as a regular party but with a few more costumes. Toast and Ludwig were playing a game of drunk chess in the background while Jack nursed his whisky.

“I miss Sykkuno” shouted Karl, and Corpse nodded, sliding the straw under his mask.

Tutoring with Sykkuno was much more fun and torturous than he had expected. Behind those shy smiles and tiny giggles, Sykkuno was an insane task master who genuinely made Corpse use his brain and it was sort of hard when Corpse was confronted with his slanted eyes, those long fingers clacking away at the keyboard, his soft voice patient and pretty as he said “Corps no, that’s how you end up with errors”.

The one on one sessions were somehow better and worse. Sykkuno sitting cross legged in his chair, giggling at everything Corpse said. Sometimes they didn’t even study, they sat on Sykkuno’s bed and played Valheim. Sometimes he left Corpse sums while he quietly strummed his guitar in the background. One time he yawned and sleepily leaned against Corpse and Corpse couldn’t breathe right, the sleepy weight of Sykkuno on his side slurring about data science causing him to borderline hyperventilate.

“You always miss Sykkuno” shouted Tina back. Karl grabbed her arm and dragged her towards the makeshift bar. Corpse followed absently, looking over at the crowd. He sat on one of the barstools, looking over at Poki who was manning the bar with Brooke. Corpse raised his glass to them.

“This is good!” he said to Poki. Poki grinned at him and shot him a double thumbs up before going back to flipping bottles.

“Nice costume” she shouted back at him. “Bunny?”

“The audacity” grumbled Corpse. “I’m not some bunny, I’m Frank the Rabbit. From Donnie Darko?”

“Oh, I’ve seen that” said Tina brightly. The carrot on her head was a fluorescent orange and it helped Corpse keep track of where her tiny body was in the sea of the crowd.

“Taste, Tina, you have taste” said Corpse approvingly. She beamed at him before sneaking under the bar to join Poki and Brooke. Corpse watched as she tried to flip a beer bottle and succeeded and Karl screamed so loudly it rang in Corpse’s ears.

“Did you see Sykkuno?” laughed Brooke as Corpse rubbed his ear. “He looks so cute!”

Corpse almost dropped his drink. “Sykkuno? He’s here?!”

“Of course he’s here, he is here so that he can drop off Rae when she gets shitfaced and starts threatening people” said Poki brightly. “I’m gonna be stuck behind here for a while and she trusts Sykkuno.”

“What is he wearing?” asked Karl excitedly.

“Cat ears” cooed Brooke affectionately and Corpse’s blood ran hot and cold at the same time. “Catboy Sykkuno is so cute. He borrowed them from Scarra but he looks so cute with them on.”

“I need to find him” said Corpse, jumping off his seat.

He distinctly hear Tina shout “but for what?!” as he tried cutting through the crowd. There were so many people, Corpse felt his agoraphobia threaten his urge to look for his crush. Catboy he thought, blood pounding in his head.

Minx was leaning against a wall and she smirked at him as she cut the crowd easily to stand by him. “Looking for Sykkuno?”

“Did you see him?” Corpse asked.

“Sure did” said Minx grinning. “A little heartthrob. I knew I was right when I called him kitty.”

Are you trying to make me jealous? thought Corpse grumpily as Minx got called over by Brooke and Poki. He couldn’t focus, the alcohol fucking with his cognizance and he tried glancing turning around and maybe getting Karl to call Sykkuno-

“-Corpse!”

Corpse blinked as a warm body collided into him with purpose and he staggered, holding onto him as he lost balance and then he looked down and almost lost balance again.

He couldn’t hear what Sykkuno was saying over the crowd and the music, but Sykkuno looked gorgeous, dark windswept hair and little cat ears perched on his head. He was dressed like Sykkuno always dressed- a dark blue shirt and jeans but that was hot too. It made Corpse’s drunk brain even thirstier, it just looked like regular Sykkuno but as a catboy and oh didn’t that idea have endless potential-

“-Rae! Corpse, have you seen Rae!”

“-no” slurred Corpse as Sykkuno twisted between his hands, trying to stand on his tiptoes. That just brought the tempting curve of his neck closer to Corpse’s mouth and Corpse almost leaned in before he remembered that it wasn’t what he was supposed to be doing. He grabbed Sykkuno’s skinny wrist and dragged him towards one of the corners of the room, pushing him towards where the footstools stood at some elevation.

“Can you see her?”

Sykkuno narrowed his eyes, arms crossed over his chest and Corpse almost swooned at how pretty he looked with the pink and blue lights flashing off his cheekbones. His ears blended almost seamlessly with his hair, slightly lopsided.

“Nice costume” said Corpse dreamily.

Sykkuno startled and smiled at him, covering it with his pretty hand. “O-oh thank you! These are Scarra’s ears, I borrowed them because they wouldn’t let me in without a costume.” He glanced at Corpse approvingly and Corpse felt blood crawl up to his face. “Nice costume to you too! I love bunnies.”

Corpse exhaled. The urge to correct Sykkuno was missing- if anything, the opposite urge was rising. If Sykkuno thought he was a bunny then he was a bunny now. He was entirely beyond shame at this point.

“You look good” said Corpse. “Is it because of Minx?”

“What?!”

“Are you a catboy because Minx called you kitty?”

“Wha- Corpse no” laughed Sykkuno breathlessly. “Jesus Corpse, I just needed to look for Rae.”

“Good” said Corpse, leaning against the wall. He pressed his arm against it, trapping Sykkuno between the corner and his own body. Sykkuno shot him a confused, quizzical look, trying to look over his shoulder. Corpse had a sudden, intense panic that Sykkuno would leave the little corner to go look for Rae and Corpse would not be able to see the way his pretty eyes lit up between the neon lights.

“What is your favourite bird?” he asked desperately.

“What?” shouted Sykkuno, as the song changed. The bass thundered with the alcohol in his head, all swirling into what felt would be a killer headache. “I can’t hear you!”

Corpse shifted closer, kabedoning him against the wall. Sykkuno seemed to suddenly realise their proximity and blushed, his pretty cheeks puffing up slightly as he glanced away shyly. “What is your favourite bird?”

“Uh” said Sykkuno nervously. “Favourite bird?”

“Yeah” said Corpse. “You have to choose a bird.”

Sykkuno thought about it, confused but willing to go along with Corpse’s stupid question. He’d stopped looking over Corpse’s shoulder and he leaned against the wall Corpse had trapped him against. Corpse watched as he contemplated it and he shifted slightly closer and hoped Sykkuno didn’t know any birds at all.

“Oh! I really like bluejays.”

Fuck I don’t have anything else to ask him.

“No” he said slowly. “You’re a fake bluejays fan. What else?”

Sykkuno’s face went incredulous. “What?!”

“Yeah” said Corpse. “Fake bluejays fan. You have to pick another.”

Sykkuno giggled, leaning against the wall. “I don’t know that many birds, Corpse” he whined cutely, and he leaned against the arm Corpse had pressed to the wall. The feeling of his soft hair brushing against Corpse’s skin sent shockwaves through his entire body and Corpse almost fell over.

Sykkuno glanced up at him, flashing him a tiny smile. Corpse’s blood pressure skyrocketed.

“What’s your favourite bird?” asked Sykkuno sweetly. His dark eyes glowed, reflecting the lights from the rave around them. Corpse could barely remember what birds were.

“Uh” he said, straightening. “I don’t--let’s- go look for Rae.”

Sykkuno moved away from the wall, quick and graceful and Corpse almost whined at the loss of him leaning against his arm. “Oh I already found Rae” said Sykkuno brightly. He patted Corpse’s arm lightly. “See you!”

Corpse stared dreamily at his pert ass as he slipped through the crowd effortlessly. His daydreaming was cut short by Tina who poked him sharply in the abdomen.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

Corpse waffled some answer to get out of the situation and left. The dull tube lights of the hallways cast shadows on both the sides of the walls. He leaned against one of them moodily, thinking about pink cat ears and dark eyes glittering with promise.

He didn’t know how he left, he didn’t know when he reached his room again. Toast wasn’t there yet, still enjoying the party with their friends. He twisted the lock to his door and exhaled shaking, leaning against the door.

Two doors away was Sykkuno’s door. He pushed his pants down, tipping his head back. His head spun with visions of clever eyes squeezed with pleasure, the crows feet by his eyes crinkling. Sykkuno wearing those cat ears and Corpse’s lips would press against his jaw and he’d moan, loud and needy. He wondered what it would be like to be Minx, pressing Sykkuno’s narrow body into a wall, kissing his pretty lips til he was breathless with pleasure. Sykkuno’s soft voice cracking over his name, his long fingered hands trembling on Corpse’s shoulders, blunt nails digging into his shoulders as Corpse bit at that infuriating neck.

He knew he could probably go to his bed and wank much more leisurely but this was the closest he could get to Sykkuno. Two doors away was Sykkuno, and Sykkuno would laugh as he straddled Corpse, those pretty eyes blinking up at him coquettishly. He’d say something like “be good, Corpse” in that stupidly lovely, lilting way and drive Corpse insane and Corpse would let himself go insane, wanting nothing more than to be good for Sykkuno. Those clever, wicked eyes glittering as his pretty lips wrapped themselves around Corpse’s cock, fluttering innocently but he would know exactly how he drove Corpse insane- and then that wicked look would melt into one of those heartstoppingly earnest smiles Sykkuno would subconsciously shoot Corpse-

He came hard, spurting over his hand and he groaned as he straightened himself against the wall. Their little fridge was clacking loudly. Toast’s side of the room stared at him almost judgementally.

“Shut up” he told Toast’s pillowless bed moodily, wiping his hand on his pants as he stripped it off and threw it into his laundry hamper. “I have it under control. You’re the one who wants Sykkuno to watch you sleep.”

He regretted saying it immediately because Sykkuno’s sleepy face swam before his eyes, big drowsy doe eyes staring at Corpse sleepily as they played Valheim, catlike yawns escaping him. He imagined Sykkuno’s sleep warm body pressed up against his own, tucked away carefully in his arms like he was made of blown glass, his pillow creased face smiling at Corpse without his hand-

Fuck, I don’t have it under control thought Corpse and the pillowless bed seemed to cackle in agreement.

◍◍◍

NOVEMBER:

The first few hours Sykkuno spent without Karl in the room almost felt like solitary confinement.

Karl had gone back to visit his family for Thanksgiving and Sykkuno missed him more than he liked to admit. The room was suddenly less noisy and affectionate and Sykkuno had to sit there, unhugged and forced to be alone with his own thoughts. It was now late at night and Sykkuno was zoning out while programming when footsteps stopped at his ajar door.

“Sykkuno?”

Sykkuno spun around in his chair startled. “Corpse! I thought you went home for Thanksgiving?”

Corpse shrugged lightly. “I went and met my sister” he said. “Mom and I- well. Less I say about it the better. You?”

“Oh- I live much farther away” said Sykkuno, rubbing the back of his neck. “I don’t want to travel like that, I usually only go home once a year and I probably won’t even go for Christmas this year.”

“Yeah” said Corpse. “Toast isn’t here too.”

Sykkuno watched as Corpse ambled in lazily. He reminded Sykkuno of a big cat, graceful and predatory. Casually intimidating. Unexpectedly affectionate.

He rubbed the back of his head nervously. Karl wasn’t here, Karl wasn’t going to be here for a few days and Corpse looked every inch like the dorm cat about to make itself comfortable on an unsuspecting bed. “You wanna- study stats?”

“Nah” said Corpse lightly, toeing off his shoes before settling onto Karl’s unoccupied bed. He picked up a book next to Karl’s bed, thumbing through the pages. Sykkuno stared at his decorated hands for a second too long before glancing back up at Corpse. “Just wanted to…I dunno. Not be alone.”

Sykkuno smiled knowingly. “You miss Toast.”

“Hey, I could just want to spend time with you” pointed out Corpse. A light flush overtook his face. “You know, get some reading done while having some eye candy to look at.”

Sykkuno opened his mouth confusedly before he realised he was the eye candy. He blushed and buried his head in his hands and Corpse laughed.

“Get back to your work, don’t let me keep you” he drawled lazily and Sykkuno stared at him, languid and comfortable on Karl’s bed. He turned back around, still pink but three sums later he realised he was smiling. Corpse was humming quietly and Sykkuno basked in the casual domesticity of it- Corpse in his socks, resting against the headboard. His grey sweatpants looked soft and Sykkuno wanted to drag his fingers up over them, slide his hands under his hoodie as they kissed slowly and then Corpse would roll them over-

Sykkuno willed himself to not get horny or emotional.

“What are you doing?”

Sykkuno spun in his chair, sheepish. “Uh. Discrete mathematics.”

“Suits you. Sneaky math.”

His voice dripped with indolence and Sykkuno wanted to slam his laptop shut and snuggle into his side. It was late November, the air was cold and crisp. Corpse looked so, so warm to lean into. He yawned lazily and his eyes crinkled behind his mask when he caught Sykkuno staring.

“Do you want something?” Sykkuno asked, feeling suddenly like a bad host. Karl was so good at this, asking and caring about their room guests. “Um- I have some coffee, tea bags, I think Karl left some hot chocolate.”

“You sit there and work” yawned Corpse again, swinging his legs off the bed. His hoodie rose as he stretched, the V line of his abdomen exposed and Sykkuno quickly turned back to his laptop. He smiled again when he heard silverware clattering in the background. For a brief second it felt like Karl was back but then he glanced up and saw Corpse’s large hand holding up a carton of milk and averted his gaze, face warm.

“Here” said Corpse, settling into the chair next to his. Sykkuno folded his legs up under himself as he accepted the mug between both his hands. The warmth of the mug felt good between his fingers.

Corpse laughed quietly, looking at him. “That’s cute. I’d have made you hot chocolate much earlier if I’d known you wanted something hot. Do you have a straw?”

“Oh!” said Sykkuno, sitting up. Corpse was holding his own mug expectantly. “Oh- I don’t think so. But I can look away while you drink or you can sit on the bed or something, I promise I won’t look.”

Corpse’s eyes studied him and Sykkuno nodded earnestly, insisting on his point. “No, I think- I think I’m okay if you saw.”

His fingers were trembling as he tugged the mask off his face and Sykkuno blinked. Corpse looked at him expectantly, tilting his head slightly.

“It’s a face” said Sykkuno stupidly.

That made Corpse laugh and Sykkuno’s heart stuttered off beat when he saw the dimple denting Corpse’s cheek. “It sure is.”

Sykkuno lifted his own mug so as to avoid saying anything stupid again. He really didn’t know what he expected under the mask but it really was a face. An attractive face at that, his nose had a slight bump on the bridge and oddly precise, thin scars ran across his cheeks. Sykkuno didn’t want to think about what they were, and he quietly turned back to face his laptop; thinking instead of Corpse’s full lips pressed against his old blue mug, the dimple denting his cheek-

Sykkuno jumped as a loud echoey whoosh seemed to boom and the room got plunged into darkness.

“Fuck” said Corpse, standing up. “You okay?”

Sykkuno’s heart warmed at the concern in his voice. “I am. You? What happened?”

“I’m okay” said Corpse reassuringly. He jogged over to the window. “I think there was a power failure.”

Sykkuno shivered as the cold of November started biting at his skin without the thermostat whirring. The mug of hot chocolate wasn’t warm enough to maintain homoeostasis. He saved his files before shutting the laptop screen down. The room was dark, and Sykkuno’s skin prickled with nervousness and the biting chill.

“Well” he joked weakly. “At least I can’t see your face now.”

“I don’t mind you seeing my face, Sykkuno” came the warm reply. Sykkuno blinked as Corpse switched on the flashlight of his phone.

“Careful” said Sykkuno. “Don’t waste your battery, we might need it later.”

“I’m getting some candles” said Corpse lightly. “You just sit there and don’t worry your pretty head.”

The room was suddenly much less cold as Sykkuno felt warmth suffocate his body at Corpse’s words. Shaking his head, he stared up at the vines that crawled up his curtain rod, big drooping leaves with their dentate edges now much spookier in the dim lights from the vicinity. He exhaled, shaky and relived as yellow light flooded the room.

“Well” said Corpse, setting the candle on the dresser between his and Karl’s beds. “I don’t think you can continue doing your sneaky math now, can you?”

“No” said Sykkuno meekly. He downed his hot chocolate as quickly as he could. “Probably should turn ourselves in. You- can you stay here?”

Corpse hummed quietly in agreement, moving around silently in the room. It should’ve been terrifying, a dark figure moving in Sykkuno’s living quarters like a ghost but Sykkuno quite liked watching the shadows of Corpse’s silhouette stretch across the floor and walls. It was oddly hypnotic and Sykkuno caught himself yawning as he watched it. Corpse settled back down on the bed just as Sykkuno crossed the room to sit on the edge of his own bed. The sheets were cold and Sykkuno wondered if they’d be enough.

“It’s really cold” said Sykkuno softly.

“Insulation in these dorms suck” agreed Corpse. He was leaning against the headboard again, and his mask was still down. The light from the candle made his skin glow, luminescent and Sykkuno didn’t want to stop staring. He knew he was probably being rude, but he couldn’t help himself. The dark of Corpse’s hair contrasted with his skin and Sykkuno felt like he was the little match girl from the old Christmas story, staring at something unachievable right as he died slowly.

“Do you think you’ll be okay?” Sykkuno asked. “I mean. I know that um…joints and old wounds hurt more in the cold.”

Corpse glanced at him and Sykkuno thanked the stars for the dim lighting. He shifted slightly and patted the space near him. “Cmere, keep me warm then.”

Sykkuno blushed. “Corpse!”

“What” said Corpse but Sykkuno saw that his cheeks were pink too. That made him feel somewhat better. “Skinny guy like yourself, you’ll put out heat like a little space heater. Besides, it’s what Karl would’ve wanted.”

Sykkuno contemplated it. It really was cold and if they slept on different beds, they’d each get one thin bedsheet. He knew it wasn’t bad enough to warrant hypothermia but it would still be rather cold, not to mention Corpse’s joints…

“Well?” said Corpse, expectantly.

Sykkuno shyly got up from his own side of the bed and perched on the edge of Corpse’s. Corpse yawned, lazy and slow and slid down from the headboard. His eyes stared up at Sykkuno, wide and soft. “Put out the candle, we don’t want to wake up to a fire.”

“Good point” said Sykkuno weakly. The room was plunged back in darkness.

Sykkuno sat on the edge of the bed, fearful and nervous. Corpse was right there, warm and he had calmly invited Sykkuno to share the bed because Sykkuno and he were just friends and Corpse’s heart was probably not racing a mile a minute. Sykkuno closed his eyes, trying to control his fear, disappointment and excitement when a strong hand grabbed his wrist and yanked him. Sykkuno shrieked as he fell over onto the bed.

“What the hell- Corpse!”

“Ooh, we got the rare hell” said Corpse and his voice sounded so much deeper, so much more intimate in the dark, centimetres away from Sykkuno’s ear. Sykkuno blindly smacked around til he found Corpse’s bicep and he straightened himself, resting his head on the pillow. He could makeout Corpse’s features, his eyes adjusting to the dark and he stared up at the spot of light that was Corpse’s eyes.

“Hey” said Sykkuno softly.

“Hi” said Corpse and Sykkuno saw the quick flash of teeth. Corpse’s hand let go of his wrist gently but before Sykkuno could miss the loss, Corpse pushed at him gently. Confused, Sykkuno rolled over and Corpse wrapped an arm around his waist and Sykkuno almost burst into tears as he tugged him closer.

“This okay?”

“Yeah” said Sykkuno. His voice sounded tiny even to him. He leaned back against Corpse’s firm chest and shuddered when most of his body pressed up against the lines of Corpse’s body.

“Wow, you’re like, shivering” said Corpse. He held him closer, dragging the thin bedsheets over their bodies. “Why do you only have two bedsheets?”

“Thermostat, remember?” mumbled Sykkuno, snuggling back shamelessly. Now that Corpse thought he was cold, he probably wouldn’t get judged for wanting to maximise contact with him. Vaguely he wondered if he should go mess with the circuit breaker for their dorm so that he could do this all winter with Corpse.

“You’re lowkey jacked” said Corpse lightly. “Swimming, huh?”

“I- I mostly try and get some calisthenics done” said Sykkuno. “Pushups, pullups. Plus, lugging 5 different books around the campus is a workout in itself.”

Corpse was smiling and Sykkuno could feel it against his neck. He had never felt so comfortable and yet so nervous in his entire life. “Damn, lucky Karl.”

“What, why?”

“Nothing” laughed Corpse. “Just thought about how Toast would’ve reacted if I proposed cuddling with him to avoid being cold.”

“He probably would’ve told us to get naked because skin to skin contact is the fastest way to avoid hypothermia” said Sykkuno sleepily. Corpse was so warm and so comfortable, the arms around his body were so secure and Sykkuno didn’t want to sleep so that he could remember this moment forever.

“He’s right, take off your clothes.”

“What!?”

Corpse’s laugh was bright and warm and he pressed his face to Sykkuno’s neck. “I can literally feel you blushing, your neck just became so hot. That’s cute.”

“It’s not” mumbled Sykkuno, squirming away from him. Corpse laughed harder, tugging him close. He threw one leg over Sykkuno’s and Sykkuno froze, enveloped between Corpse’s limbs. “Oh Jesus” he whispered.

“Comfortable?” asked Corpse. He sounded sleepy but also…nervous? Sykkuno shook his head slightly, trying not to think too hard about it.

“Very” said Sykkuno, swallowing. He leaned into Corpse’s chest and Corpse hummed quietly. The sound vibrated through his chest and Sykkuno felt it deep in his bones, the waves of sleep crashing over him again.

The campus clock rang, slow and ominous. Corpse’s fingers tapped on Sykkuno’s hip in tandem with it and Sykkuno felt his eyes drift shut with sleep at the repetitive motion.

“It’s Thanksgiving” whispered Sykkuno, half asleep. He wasn’t even sure if Corpse was awake. “Happy thanksgiving Corpse.”

He wasn’t sure if he was pre-emptively dreaming but he felt the phantom press of lips to his neck, and a soft “Happy thanksgiving, Sykkuno” murmured right against his ear as he drifted off to sleep.

◍◍◍

DECEMBER:

Winter looked beautiful on Sykkuno.

Karl had made it his personal mission to make sure Sykkuno didn’t dress as an NPC and what that meant was that Sykkuno floated around the campus looking comfortable and cosy and it fucked with Corpse’s heartstrings more than he liked to admit. Everytime they met for tutoring, Sykkuno’s pretty hands (veiny, yet so dainty) peeked out from under his oversized sweaters, the urge to lift it up and press it to his lips was increasing.

It felt nice to hang out between Karl and Sykkuno. Toast joined them too sometimes, and they played video games with Rae and Corpse felt his affection for all of them grow. Group activities also meant he could be clingier with Sykkuno, an arm wrapped around his shoulders, a quick hand squeeze- it went by unnoticed by everyone except Rae.

Karl was back with his parents for Christmas although he was coming back later in the week. Corpse was confining himself to his room for the holidays just to avoid the mistletoe hanging ominously in random corners.

“You good, kid?” asked Toast, looking over at him as he clacked away at the homework problem Sykkuno had set him. It still made him laugh but warmed something in his hollow heart at Sykkuno going over his problems, drawing little doodles right above where he made mistakes. He did make more mistakes than he wanted to admit, just so that he could spend more time with Sykkuno but he was pretty sure at this point Sykkuno thought he was a brainless cretin.

“Yeah I’m good” said Corpse lightly. He felt comfortable without his mask around Toast too now. “Why, what’s up?”

“Haven’t been kicked out of the room in a while” said Toast. “Have you lost your edge? Have the ladies finally decided that freerunning isn’t an actual sport?”

“Fuck you, I’m also in the 100m running team” said Corpse blithely. “And no, I’ve not. I’m just. Preoccupied.”

“Sykkuno keeping you busy?”

Corpse laughed awkwardly, trying not to think of the amount of time he spent in the shower, thinking about pressing Sykkuno against the glass- “Something like that.”

“That crush is really eating at you, huh” said Toast.

Corpse sighed. “Is it obvious?”

“To everyone except Sykkuno, yes” said Toast. “You’re honestly making a fool of yourself.”

“Hey” grumbled Corpse petulantly. “Also, that’s hypocritical of you- I thought you said Sykkuno was way smarter than people gave him credit for?”

Toast thought about it contemplatively. “He is. Unfortunately, he’s blinded by his own embarrassing crush on you.”

“What the fuck?” laughed Corpse. “No way.”

Toast snorted. “That’s what he said too. Without the swearing though.”

Corpse shut his laptop. “I literally cannot see Sykkuno having a crush on me. He’s nice to me.”

“Again, verbatim what Sykkuno said” said Toast. “Look, both of you are being obvious at this point. Just- do something about it. I’m tired of watching my best friend moon about a guy who’s face he sees once a blue moon.”

“Untrue, I see Sykkuno’s face everyday” said Corpse childishly.

“Yeah, no, I was talking about Sykkuno” said Toast.

“Rude!”

Toast ruffled his hair affectionately. “Don’t worry, I told Sykkuno that you’re my best friend. It’s neither of you fools, it’s Rae.”

“As it should be” said Corpse. He pushed himself away from his desk, standing up. “I need to go for a run.”

“Great” said Toast, flopping onto his bed. “Better you do that than run from those pesky feelings.”

“I’m not running from my feelings” said Corpse, tying his laces together. The shoes made him feel good, like he was in control. “I’m fully aware that I have a crush on Sykkuno.”

“I didn’t say you’re running from your feelings, I’m saying you’re running from Sykkuno’s feelings” said Toast. He sat himself up on one elbow lazily. “How much more obvious do you want him to make it for you?”

Corpse glared at him as he left the room.

The wind whipped through his hair as he ran, his body resisting the movement and resenting the cold. A thin hoodie and his trackpants wasn’t enough to warm him but the exercise would soon overheat him. His feet slapped against the cold asphalt, the parkour training keeping him from slipping and falling face first. One figure 8 path became two, became three and eventually all Corpse could focus on was the thundering of his blood in his hands and head and not soft hands gripping his nervously as they played Phasmophobia. Sweat dripping down his neck made him not think about thin fingers fiddling a red pen and a soft voice gently correcting mistakes Corpse may have made just so that Sykkuno would spend more time with him.

He stopped eventually, pressing his hands to his knees. Panting heavily, he jogged up to the water fountain and lifted his mask just enough so that he could drink from it. The handle was frozen and he frowned at it.

“You want some water?”

Corpse exhaled, turning around.

“You carry around water with you?” asked Corpse as Sykkuno’s face lit up with a grin. He was wearing a jumper that didn’t look borrowed and a soft green scarf. He reached into his backpack and offered Corpse a bottle. It was dark green and had a puffy dog sticker on it. Corpse was convinced he was in love.

“Always do” said Sykkuno and their shoulders brushed as they walked together. Sykkuno’s bag looked heavy but he tucked his chin into his scarf, peeking up at Corpse like a cat. “Aren’t you cold?”

“Nah” said Corpse. “Adrenaline keeping me warm. Besides, the dorms are close by, I’ll take a shower and then get into something warm and take the hardest fucking nap ever taken.”

“Metabolism is keeping you warm” corrected Sykkuno, nudging his arm gently. “Adrenaline doesn’t have much to do with exercise actually. You exercising a lot actually increases the catecholamine concentrations in your body which would likely spike your epinephrine and noradrenaline actually.” He furrowed his brow. “I think. I’ve not studied this in a while.”

“Nerd” teased Corpse as they turned the corner. They skipped up the steps and suddenly, Sykkuno’s tiny hand grabbed his, stopping them right by the entryway.

Corpse turned, confused. Sykkuno was looking up, biting his lip.

“Mistletoe” he said softly. Corpse froze, confused.

“Oh” he said, just as soft. “There wasn’t any when I left though…”

Sykkuno rubbed the back of his neck.

“I mean…it’s just a tradition, right?” he said. “What was the consequence? Bad luck?”

Corpse stepped closer. Sykkuno’s dark eyes peered up at him. His face was pink from the cold but it was spreading to his ears and his lips looked soft.

“I have a race in the first week of January” murmured Corpse. They were so close together, Corpse could see the clusters of freckles by his eyes.

“Right” said Sykkuno softly and Corpse could see he was biting back a laugh. “I also have uh…um…I think my assignment is getting graded.”

“So neither of us can afford bad luck” said Corpse hopefully.

Sykkuno laughed behind his hand. His fingers looked cold and Corpse reached up with morbid fascination to hold it. The campus was deserted, just the dim yellow lights from the lobby lighting up Sykkuno’s sculpted jaw and high cheekbones. Fairy lights from the inflatable Christmas tree in the lobby twinkled dimly. Corpse twined their fingers and with his other hand reached out to pull his mask down.

Sykkuno swallowed shakily and leaned up slightly.

“Good luck for that race” he whispered just as Corpse leaned down to kiss his pretty lips.

It was a simple kiss but Corpse melted at the first clumsy press of their lips. Sykkuno sighed into it and his free hand reached up to cup Corpse’s face in his soft palm. His lips tasted like mulled wine and Corpse wanted to kiss him forever, keep kissing him, wake up everyday and see if he tasted like mulled wine or if it was just for Christmas. His hand was cold but his lips were warm. Corpse sucked his bottom lip into his mouth and he gasped. The inside of his mouth was soft and hot and Corpse felt it warm his entire body. He wrapped his arm around Sykkuno’s waist just as Sykkuno’s fingers spanned over his cheekbone and jaw, kissing him deeper. Sykkuno’s body swayed slightly, almost stumbling and Corpse tightened his arm around his waist, holding him close.

Sykkuno was smiling when Corpse pulled back and Corpse stared at his beautiful face, peaceful and serene with kiss bitten lips and leaned back in to kiss him. Sykkuno made a pleased sound, kissing him back just as intently. His lips felt like a balm against the cold and the ache in his joints and-

“You guys are blocking the door” said Toast dryly. He was leaning against the empty reception desk, looking amused. “I need to go collect my UPS parcel from the gate but instead I’m watching a shitty Hallmark movie.”

Sykkuno laughed and he looked stunning, his lips pink and soft and Corpse wanted to grab his skinny wrist and yank him to his room and kiss him all day long. “Don’t be ridiculous, Toast, Hallmark isn’t progressive enough.”

Toast scoffed. “Go be disgusting elsewhere”

Sykkuno rubbed the back of his neck as Toast left. They stood there for a good minute or two, watching Toast approach the gate. Corpse couldn’t stop staring at his lips and the blush on his cheeks and how he glowed with self-satisfaction.

“Uh” said Corpse quietly. Sykkuno glanced up at him, still smiling. The chartreuse of his scarf looked really pretty on him, thought Corpse stupidly. “Good luck for that assignment.”

Something like resignation flitted across Sykkuno’s face momentarily but he laughed. “Yeah- I think I have enough luck for two assignments.”

“That’s good” said Corpse weakly as they walked towards their dorms. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas” said Sykkuno softly. He glanced up at Corpse and pressed a lingering kiss to his cheek before shutting his door.

Corpse lay down on his bed and grinned. The pillowless bed looked disdainfully at him.

“I kissed Sykkuno” he told the bed smugly. “Bet that’s something you’ll never do.”

“What the fuck- are you talking to my bed?” demanded Toast. “And where's Sykkuno?”

“In his room” said Corpse confusedly. “Why?”

“What the fuck- you’re telling me I set up that mistletoe for nothing!?” asked Toast incredulously. “I had to jump three times with BluTac for that stupid thing to be hanging there.”

Realisation dawned on Corpse. ”You put the mistletoe there! I knew there wasn’t any when I walked out!”

“I knew you both would somehow ruin my genius plan” said Toast exasperatedly. “I got you both to literally stick your tongues down each other’s throats-“

“-there was no tongue, it was very dignified-“

“-and you still somehow managed to fuck it up” said Toast. “How?!”

“Toast” said Corpse kindly. “I’m glad you think that Sykkuno has a crush on me- but trust me, he doesn’t. He really doesn’t. We kissed because- you know. Mistletoe tradition.”

“Oh really?” said Toast disdainfully. “If I called up Rae, right now, she would send me screenshots of Sykkuno gushing about you kissing him and then moping about how you didn’t follow it up.”

Corpse exhaled. The taste of mulled wine and chapstick was still on his lips. Sykkuno’s eyes glittering with reflected fairy lights and affection as Corpse leaned down to kiss him. The press of his fingers on Corpse’s cheekbones, the curious way he nipped at Corpse’s lips and sighed against Corpse’s insistent lips. His lips tasted like mulled wine today but Corpse wanted to kiss him through the seasons, taste his lips changing with season and festivals. The way his lips moved around the word catecholamine-

“Fuck” he said tiredly.

“I’m not even going to bother helping you” said Toast, shaking his head.

◍◍◍

“Did anything interesting happen when I was away?” asked Karl excitably. He was sitting on his bed, fiddling with the switch of their Christmas tree, making it flash pink and gold exclusively. It had been 3 days since Sykkuno kissed Corpse outside their dorms and conversation with him was alarmingly polite. Sykkuno wondered if he had overstepped some boundary but he wasn’t sure if he liked the new influx of alarmingly polite Corpse.

Just as Sykkuno opened his mouth to answer, someone rapped the door loudly. Confused, Sykkuno stood up to answer it.

“Hey” said Corpse. He looked intent and windswept, like he ran all the way to tell Sykkuno something. Something like fear and excitement fluttered in Sykkuno’s ribcage. “I really like you.”

“Oh” said Sykkuno. You can never be too careful, he decided. Corpse looked incredibly good too, long lines of his body covered in his tracksuit. “I really like you too, Corpse-“

“-more than friends” said Corpse. The gold flecks in his eyes seemed to glow with intensity.

Sykkuno blushed. “Oh. Me too?”

He felt stupid and small but also like he could jump for joy and maybe even jump Corpse. Karl was making incredulous noises in the back.

“What?!” he shouted. “I never saw this coming! When the fuck did all this happen?!”

“Karl” said Toast calmly. Sykkuno blushed when he realised Toast was also there. Toast pushed past him, shoving him out. “I’ll explain it to you. Good work you two.”

He clapped Corpse on the back and dragged Karl back into the room as he sputtered confusedly. Corpse leaned against the wall, staring at him. The room of his door shut with a loud bang and Karl’s confused sounds died out abruptly.

“Um” said Sykkuno. “Hey. You were saying?”

Corpse smiled. Sykkuno could tell when he smiled by the way his eyes crinkled behind his mask, and he reached up to press his thumb into where he knew a dimple was denting his cheek. Corpse leaned into his hand, long lashes fluttering and Sykkuno laughed, thumbing his cheek.

“Maybe we should discuss this inside?” said Corpse and his voice was soft.

Sykkuno blushed and nodded. He never spent a lot of time in Corpse’s room- it was usually Toast visiting them and Corpse spending time with him when he came over to study stats. He glanced over at the laptop, and he laughed when he saw SPSS running on the screen.

“You were studying!”

Corpse flipped a knife and Sykkuno laughed again, watching him nervously fiddle with the Balisong. “Yeah. Couldn’t stop thinking about you.”

Sykkuno’s laugh died. Corpse’s eyes were intent, beautiful. His fingers reached out to pull at Corpse’s mask- a bold move that shocked him too. His face was pink under the mask, there was a new thin scar extending from one edge of his cheekbone to his jaw. Sykkuno touched it and Corpse made a soft broken sound, leaning into his hand.

“I can’t stop thinking about you too” said Sykkuno softly. He stared at Corpse’s face trying to commit it to memory. The patchwork of scars and moles, the thin, uneven tanline from his mask, the way his eyebrows made perfect arches. His eyeliner was slightly smudged and Sykkuno reached up to thumb the smudge of it gently, and Corpse exhaled, stepping closer. Their chests were almost touching.

“You can’t?” asked Corpse. Even with his deep voice, his piercing eyes and the freshly scabbed over scar, he sounded like a child asking for something they knew they couldn’t have. It made Sykkuno’s heart ache with fondness.

“I can’t” whispered Sykkuno and he reached up to press a kiss to Corpse’s lips.

Corpse’s arm snaked around him to hold him by the waist as he kissed Sykkuno. His body was warm and solid against Sykkuno’s, his hand snaking under the jumper to touch Sykkuno’s skin. Sykkuno gasped when he felt cold fingers touching his wool warmed back but Corpse took that as an opportunity, kissing him deeper. His lips felt full and soft and Sykkuno felt drunk off them, his fingers reaching up to curl into Corpse’s dark hair and Corpse growled, pushing him into the wall. Encouraged, Sykkuno nipped his lip softly and Corpse hummed encouragingly. Sykkuno broke off first, but Corpse didn’t relent, his lips pressing against Sykkuno’s jaw almost immediately, pressing kisses up the line of it as Sykkuno shivered. His fingers tightened in Corpse’s pretty hair and Corpse looked up at him with dark eyes. Most of the gold flecks in them were swallowed up by his pupils.

Sykkuno swallowed as Corpse’s lips pressed to his neck. He gripped Corpse’s head close to his neck and Corpse nipped at the skin there, sharp teeth pressing against the thin skin and Sykkuno moaned loudly and Corpse hummed when he looked up at Sykkuno. His eyes were dark but so impossibly fond.

And then his hand patted Sykkuno’s hip and he pushed away from the wall.

“What?” asked Sykkuno dizzily.

Corpse was breathing heavily too. “Too fast” he said apologetically.

Sykkuno stared at him. “What?”

Corpse exhaled. “We’re going too fast. I- you don’t deserve that.”

“But I want that?” asked Sykkuno incredulously. “What the heck, Corpse?”

Corpse’s eyes glazed over even more with fondness. Sykkuno didn’t even want to think how he looked, kissed and pressed up against a wall and Corpse thumbed his chin fondly.

“I- this- I don’t want this to be a one off” said Corpse gently. He took Sykkuno’s hand in his and kissed the green Bulbasaur bandaid on it. “I…I see this happening for a long time. You and me.”

“Me too” said Sykkuno, appalled. “What does that have to do with this?”

“It means, we have a lot of time to do this” said Corpse. His lips were still pressed to Sykkuno’s hand and Sykkuno wanted to slap him. “Maybe even forever- I don’t know. I just really like you.”

“Prove it then?” said Sykkuno, leaning in to kiss him. Corpse sighed shakily, and Sykkuno smiled, tugging him closer but Corpse broke it off too quickly, pressing their foreheads together.

What” said Sykkuno, exasperated.

“I- this is hard for me too” said Corpse apologetically and Sykkuno pushed himself against him purposefully. Corpse felt hard and promising against his hip and Sykkuno shivered at the thought of it, in his hand, in his mouth, in him-

“I’ll say” said Sykkuno, and he leaned in to kiss Corpse’s neck, and Corpse groaned, pulling him closer. His large hands spanned across Sykkuno’s body and Sykkuno moaned, kissing the soft skin behind his ear. He felt so good pressed up against Sykkuno, and when he ground his hips up against Sykkuno, Sykkuno whimpered at the feeling of his cock straining against his sweatpants. Corpse made a shaky sound, pushing him back again.

“You deserve more” he said, and he sounded gorgeous, breathless and aroused and Sykkuno wanted to smack him.

Sykkuno narrowed his eyes at him. “I deserve someone who’d respect what I want” he said calmly and he pushed away from the wall. He didn’t know where this confidence was coming from, he wasn’t even sure if Corpse would follow or if he’d have to go back to his room and pity wank himself til he decided to get wooed. “But if that’s not gonna be you-”

Corpse made a dark sound and Sykkuno let himself grin in victory for only a split second before his wrist was yanked back. Corpse’s hands grabbed his ass with purpose, squeezing it and Sykkuno moaned at the feeling of it, hard rings pressing against his flesh. His lips were so soft and addictive as he yanked Sykkuno back and stumbled onto his bed, Sykkuno landing clumsily on his lap. His fingers slid under Sykkuno’s jumper, intent and clever and Sykkuno shuddered at the purposeful way they slid up his sides, making him shiver. His lips felt like fire on Sykkuno’s throat.

“Well played” muttered Corpse, pushing him down into the bed. His eyes were dark and fond. “You know I can’t say no to you.”

Sykkuno squirmed as his lips pressed against the vulnerable stretch of his neck. Corpse’s bed was soft and smelled like him and Sykkuno felt like his cognitive capacity was diminishing with the minute. “You didn’t want to say no yourself. I think?” he added nervously.

Corpse looked up. His eyes were molten. “You think anyone can say no to you, Sykkuno?”

“Many people have” said Sykkuno and he stared up shamelessly as Corpse unzipped his tracksuit jacket. His arms were lean and toned and Sykkuno swallowed heavily, biting his lip. His hair was messy from where Sykkuno had buried his hands in it and his lips were swollen.

“Good” said Corpse and Sykkuno shivered. “More for me, then. Fucking stupid of them though, look at you.”

His hands were purposeful under Sykkuno’s jumper and Sykkuno wrapped his arms and legs around him, caging Corpse against himself. Corpse hummed against his lips and Sykkuno didn’t want to ever stop kissing him, feeling the sensual way Corpse’s fingers skated around his nipples, the bite of his teeth against his lips before he soothed it over with his tongue.

“Off?” asked Corpse softly.

“Yes” said Sykkuno, nervously. “Please?”

Corpse closed his eyes as if Sykkuno saying please physically affected him. Sykkuno liked that, he liked knowing that for some insane reason, he had the same effect on Corpse that Corpse did on him. His palms pushed on Sykkuno’s skin as he dragged the jumper off his body and Sykkuno squirmed, trying to get his arms out.

“Nah” said Corpse and he smirked when Sykkuno made a shocked sound. “Keep your arms there.”

“Corpse” whined Sykkuno. The casual command in his voice made Sykkuno ache with something desperate and he clenched his fingers in the soft wool of the sweater.

Even his smirk dimpled his cheek and Sykkuno scowled at his inability to reach up and poke it. “Just for a little bit, baby” he said, and he reached down to put his chin on Sykkuno’s sternum. Sykkuno shivered at the feeling of his breath against his chest but he felt something flutter in his heart at the casual baby.

Corpse pressed soft, ardent kisses to his torso, and Sykkuno couldn’t help but tense up before each of them, and Corpse laughed as his fingers gripped the wool of his sweater.

“Not so cocky anymore, hm” said Corpse playfully and Sykkuno moaned when his lips pressed against his nipples, hot and wet as he sucked it. His other hand came up to pinch at his nipples and Sykkuno squirmed, trying to arch into it and get away from it simultaneously. The sensation of it all was so much and he arched into it, trying to avoid Corpse’s bright almond eyes staring up at him as he played with his overstrung body.

“Wasn’t cocky” he said and he felt himself blush at the word. He felt wrong saying it. “Just- want you.”

“Mm” said Corpse and he loomed over him. “Hot as fuck though” he admitted and his fingers slid up Sykkuno’s sensitive, neglected arms as he leaned down to kiss Sykkuno. “You should tell me what to do more often.”

“That’s literally what I do twice a week” said Sykkuno as Corpse’s hands pinned his own above his head. Corpse dimpled at him and Sykkuno smiled up at it, helpless.

“And it’s hot as fuck” said Corpse and his fingers travelled down to grip Sykkuno’s prominent hipbones. Sykkuno felt a shudder run through him as Corpse thumbed the bone of it. “You have no fuckin idea…you’re just sitting there talking about fucking…performance statistics and all I can think about is kissing your pretty face and bending you over the fucking table.”

“You should have” said Sykkuno, hopefully.

Corpse’s laugh was bright and wheezy and Sykkuno’s heart warmed even as he squirmed under Corpse’s giant hands. “Nah, I’d still want to take my time with you.”

“You’re the worst type of person” grumbled Sykkuno as his hands sneaked down Sykkuno’s pants. His fingers squeezed Sykkuno’s ass and Sykkuno squirmed, leaning into the warmth of his palms. “You’d make a great businessman.”

“That’s extremely mean” said Corpse. “And extremely hot. Do it more.”

Sykkuno laughed again and Corpse’s eyes warmed with affection. His fingers gripped the edge of his pants, tugging them down and Sykkuno felt his skin burst into gooseflesh at the contrast between the cold air and his hot palms.

“So pretty” he murmured nuzzling his hip. Sykkuno’s cock jerked against his abdomen at the praise and Corpse bit the skin over the bone gently. “So desperate. What do you want from me?”

Sykkuno melted against the sheets, closing his eyes. “Anything you want to do.”

Corpse liked a hot wet stripe up his cock and Sykkuno shivered, trying not to thrust into his mouth. The cold air stung harder against his skin in the absence of Corpse’s mouth and he bucked his hips up, trying to get Corpse to take him back in. Corpse’s laugh wafted against his skin and his full lips pressed against his cock. Sykkuno’s fingers twisted in the wool as Corpse pressed soft wet kisses against his cock. He could hear himself panting, long shaky moans escaping him as Corpse’s mouth enveloped his cock.

“So loud” murmured Corpse, and he sounded pleased. Sykkuno felt his cheeks heat up.

“Sorry” he said apologetically. Corpse’s incandescent eyes glanced up at him.

“Don’t you dare” he said and Sykkuno let out an embarrassed squeak as Corpse swallowed him down again, his tongue tracing the dorsal vein of his cock. His lips were shiny and Sykkuno moaned. His cock brushed against Corpse’s gaunt cheek and Corpse smirked up at him. He pushed Sykkuno further up the bed and Sykkuno’s arms slipped out of the wool and Sykkuno sat up, burying his fingers in Corpse’s soft hair. Corpse sighed, pleased and he pressed his lips to Sykkuno’s thigh.

He whined as the kisses became more of pointed bites. Corpse ran his tongue over each little biting kiss on his thighs and Sykkuno squirmed, his toes curling as he tried not to yank Corpse’s hair out of his scalp. Before Corpse could even say anything, Sykkuno felt his legs twitch apart hopefully. Corpse smirked up at him.

“So fucking needy” he murmured and his huge hands pushed Sykkuno’s legs apart and Sykkuno flopped his forearm over his eyes just so that he could escape the hunger in Corpse’s eyes. He arched into Corpse’s mouth as he took him back down deep, sucking hard. Sparks flew behind his eyes as he tried not to scream. “I love it. So fucking easy to make you all desperate.”

Sykkuno didn’t even bother replying. He lifted his arm and sat up on his elbows as Corpse pushed his thighs up, bending him in half and he moaned at how exposed he felt. Corpse glanced up at him.

“This okay with you?”

“Yes- Corpse, please” he begged. He didn’t know what he was begging for, but the indecent spark in Corpse’s eyes glowed brighter. Blushing furiously, he lifted his hips even higher, desperate. His cock was aching against his abdomen and he wanted to cry and scream and hopefully get fucked. “Please, please.

“Fuck” hissed Corpse and he leaned down and Sykkuno nearly shrieked as he Corpse nip at the sensitive underside of his thighs. He squirmed, but Corpse made a sound that sounded genuinely like a growl and Sykkuno whimpered, his toes curling pathetically in the air as Corpse sucked and bit at the skin of his thighs. He held Sykkuno there, and Sykkuno tried not to move but Corpse’s kisses felt like fire on his cold skin. His huge hands spread Sykkuno apart easily and Sykkuno could feel himself blushing at the casual manhandling of his body.

“You sure you want me to go for anything I want?”

“I- yes?” said Sykkuno and he whined as Corpse licked a stripe up his perineum. He felt himself convulse under Corpse’s strong hands. Corpse glanced up.

“All good?”

“More” demanded Sykkuno, fisting his hands in the sheets. “More, please, Corpse-”

“You’re real demanding for someone who keeps begging” said Corpse amusedly but his tongue pressed, hot and nimble against his hole and Sykkuno jerked, trying to lean into the sensation and away from it. Corpse’s hands pushed down on his thighs, pushing them up as he enthusiastically buried his face between Sykkuno’s thighs. Sykkuno felt himself moaning desperately, his fingers reaching down to bury his fingers in Corpse’s soft curls. Corpse moaned and it quivered against his hole and Sykkuno made a choked out sound, reaching out to stroke himself desperately, holding Corpse against himself. Corpse’s hand let go of Sykkuno’s leg and it hovered obediently in the air, his toes flexing against nothing but judging by the uptick in Corpse’s moans, Sykkuno realised he was touching himself.

The fact that Corpse was touching himself to the sound of Sykkuno moaning made Sykkuno’s body run hot with pleasure. He stuttered out a broken sob as he came, and Corpse let out an equally devastated sound. Sykkuno reached out for him.

Corpse flopped on his back, the veins of his wrist standing out tensed as he stroked himself. He looked gorgeous, the tendons of his neck arched and damp with beads of sweat. Helpless, Sykkuno leaned down to kiss it and Corpse made a shocked, high pitched sound. His hand snuck down to grab Corpse’s cock. It felt warm and hard and Sykkuno felt himself flushing as he wrapped his hand around it tentatively. Corpse’s eyes were wild with want as he stared up at Sykkuno.

“Are you close?” Sykkuno asked. His own voice sounded breathless and desperate to his ears.

Corpse gave a quick jerky nod and Sykkuno leaned in to press another kiss to the beautiful definition of his pectoral. He was making the best noises, thought Sykkuno, low and yet desperate, vibrating against Sykkuno’s diaphragm. The definition of his chest and arms made a lot of things flutter ambitiously in Sykkuno’s stomach and he slid down off the bed, onto his knees.

Corpse’s eyes went wide with shock. “Sykkuno- what-

“Shh” said Sykkuno, still jerking his cock. His wrist ached with the unfamiliar angle but Corpse looked gorgeous, bright eyes frantic. His dark hair was wild from where Sykkuno had haphazardly reached down and grabbed. Corpse’s fingers slid into Sykkuno’s hair, soft and cautious and Sykkuno arched into it hopefully. Corpse’s fingers tightened just the slightest bit and he moaned, leaning against Corpse’s knee.

He sat back up on his knees and pressed his lips around the tip of his cock, blushing slightly at how ridiculous it might’ve look. He felt inexperienced but ambitious, kissing the shaft softly. Corpse made a sound like glass punctured his airways as came. Sykkuno flushed as most of it landed on his face, and he leaned into Corpse’s hand, still tenderly cradling his skull.

“Sykkuno” said Corpse, reverently. Sykkuno blinked up at him. His face felt wet and he felt debauched in the best way possible. Forcing himself to maintain eyecontact, he licked his lower lip ambitiously. It tasted like brine and it strangely reminded Sykkuno of the swimming pool but the way Corpse’s eyes darkened made it worth it.

“Come back here” mumbled Corpse. He slapped his arm around to grab Sykkuno’s discarded sweater and he wiped at his face gently. Sykkuno giggled, squirming away.

“That was Karl’s!”

“We’ll get it dry cleaned” said Corpse. Sykkuno’s chest fluttered when he said we and he smiled up at Corpse. Corpse kissed his forehead.

“When the hell did you become” said Corpse helplessly. “That- I just- how the fuck was I supposed to ever prepare for that-

Sykkuno giggled and Corpse grabbed his hand that reached up to cover it. He pressed it to his lips and warmth flooded Sykkuno’s body. “Did you like that?”

“Fuckin loved it, baby” replied Corpse. He stood up on his knees and tilted Sykkuno’s chin up, kissing him deeply. Sykkuno sat back on his heels, kissing him back just as deeply. He felt his axis tilting and he landed on his back, kissing him deeply. Corpse felt so good on top of him, all around him and he let his hands cup Corpse’s face as they kissed. It felt so good to finally hold Corpse and be held by him. Corpse’s eyes were soft with affection as they broke apart.

“What are you thinking about?” Corpse asked.

“How much I like you” said Sykkuno honestly. Corpse leaned down and kissed his nose.

“So, what I think about everyday” he murmured softly. Their lips were so close together. Sykkuno shut his eyes, thumbing his cheeks.

“You think about how much I like you everyday?”

“Yes” said Corpse. He was smiling as he stroked Sykkuno stroked his thumb over Corpse’s scars. “I hope you like me the most.”

“Nah” said Sykkuno with the straightest face he could keep. “You’re a strong 2nd or 3rd place.”

Corpse laughed, smushing his face against Sykkuno’s neck. Sykkuno laughed as his weight trapped him against the bed, 70+ odd kilos of Corpse pressed up against him, pinning him to the bed.

“That’s good” he murmured. “Keeps me on my toes.”

Sykkuno held his face in his hands. “And when you become the most liked person in my life? Then what?”

“Don’t worry, my spot is always at risk” said Corpse seriously but his eyes sparkled. “It’s a very coveted position.”

“You’re honestly only fighting Bimbus and Karl” said Sykkuno affectionately. Corpse pressed earnest kisses to his neck, soft and fleeting. Sykkuno relaxed back into his pillows, eyelashes fluttering shut. “But something tells me you’ll get there.”

◍◍◍

“Are you sure you’re not screwing up these on purpose?” asked Sykkuno. Light from their table lamp glinted off his round glasses and he was twiddling the pen in his hands. “I mean- this is just basic addition at this point isn’t it?”

Corpse rubbed the back of his neck and tried not to smile. The habit he’d developed of secretly messing up sums was proving in handy even now that he was dating Sykkuno. He leaned in to kiss Sykkuno, and Sykkuno dodged it easily. The kiss smushed itself somewhere on his cheek.

“Sykkuno” grumbled Corpse. Sykkuno sighed and Corpse tugged his arm. Sykkuno willingly got up and perched himself on Corpse’s lap, still frowning at the sheet of paper and Corpse buried his face in his warm neck.

“You look so good” mumbled Corpse. He pressed a soft kiss to Sykkuno’s warm skin and Sykkuno shivered. The sheet of paper almost slipped from his hands and Corpse smiled wider, brushing kisses behind Sykkuno’s ear.

“I need to go shower” said Sykkuno and he twisted slightly in Corpse’s arms. His dark eyes narrowed behind his glasses and Corpse leaned in to kiss him again. “Corpse- you’re gonna fail your midsems if this is actually what you know.”

“I know how to solve the sums” admitted Corpse. “I just- like spending time with you.”

Sykkuno turned his head to look at him. Corpse kissed him gently under his glasses, right over his favourite sequence of three moles. Sykkuno was trying hard to look petulant but he was smiling too.

“I- you should focus on these balance sheet sums” said Sykkuno sternly. Corpse pressed another kiss to the top of his head, closing his eyes.

“The test is in two weeks” whined Corpse. “I have so much time. It’s literally just addition.”

“It is, till your numbers don’t add up” said Sykkuno, wiggling from his arms. Corpse let him go petulantly, crossing his arms. Sykkuno’s face softened and Corpse reached up to pull his glasses off his nose.

“Hey” he said softly and he leaned in to kiss Corpse. Unable to resist him, Corpse kissed him back, his fingers reaching up to grip Sykkuno’s neck. Sykkuno pulled back and kissed his forehead. “I’m gonna go for a shower. You think you can manage these sums?”

“You think you can manage that shower all alone?” Corpse asked hopefully, sitting up in that chair. “You want someone to come wash your back? Or like-”

Corpse” said Sykkuno but he was smiling. “Balance sheet.”

“Ugh, spoilsport” grumbled Corpse, watching his pert ass cross the room. He stared longingly as Sykkuno tugged his hoodie off his body. Hickeys littered his shoulders and Corpse leaned back on his chair til it creaked dangerously, watching as Sykkuno stripped down and dumped his clothes in the laundry basket, the thin fabric of his boxers stretching over his cute ass-

“Offer to wash your back is still on” shouted Corpse and Sykkuno went “Corpse!” before shutting the door to the bathroom. Corpse exhaled and sat back straight in his chair, frowning at the sums. He reached out for the calculator, staring at the income statement in irritation. The numbers swam in front of him, and his frown deepened as he realised Sykkuno might’ve been right- the numbers weren’t adding up.

He tossed his pen aside and kicked his feet up onto the table, glaring at the laptop screen and his worksheet.

Sykkuno’s soft hands pressed against his shoulders, squeezing gently. He perched his chin on Corpse’s head. “How is it going?”

“I want to go run” said Corpse petulantly. “Find a nice road full of some benches and go jump over them.”

Sykkuno laughed and he wrapped his arms around Corpse’s neck, cuddling him from the back. Corpse smiled when he saw the sleeves of the hoodie.

“You’re wearing my track hoodie” he pointed out.

“It’s very big” said Sykkuno bashfully. “Smells like you too.”

Corpse twisted in the chair, tugging Sykkuno close to him watching Sykkuno hopped onto the desk, swinging his legs.

“C’mon. Break time.”

Sykkuno made an incredulous face. His face was flushed from the shower and his legs were soft and bare. Corpse traced patterns on the smooth skin of his thighs before sliding his hands up the oversized hoodie. Sykkuno’s skin felt damp and warm and he leaned into Corpse’s palms. “You haven’t even gotten through one sum.”

“I’m distracted” admitted Corpse. He squeezed Sykkuno’s ass almost for comfort but Sykkuno smacked his forehead gently, giggling. “I know most of this but I can’t focus.”

“What are you thinking about?”

Corpse skated his fingers against his ribs, cupping his waist. “You.”

Sykkuno hummed, thoughtful. “Alright.”

Corpse blinked, wondering what that meant, but Sykkuno dropped onto his knees, eyes big and pretty. He scooted under the desk, and he giggled when he looked up at Corpse’s incredulous expression.

“What” he said, but his lips were quirked in a grin. “Get back to work, I’m right here.”

“I-“ breathed Corpse. His cock was already half hard as he ran his fingers through Sykkuno’s soft hair. He arched into his palm like a small cat, nuzzling his leg briefly before sitting up on his knees to unzip Corpse’s jeans.

“Careful” said Corpse breathlessly, gently guiding his head away from the top of the desk so that he wouldn’t hit it. He was rewarded with a soft kiss pressed to his cock over his boxers. He shuddered, almost dropping his pen from his hands. He leaned back in his chair but Sykkuno bit his thigh sharply for that.

“What?!” demanded Corpse.

Sykkuno smiled at him innocently. “Get back to work!”

“I- what-“ gasped Corpse and Sykkuno nuzzled his cock, pressing his face against it. His long fingers tugged his boxers down, and he let out a pleased gasp himself when he saw Corpse’s cock. His lips were soft and barely touched his cock as he pressed fleeting butterfly kisses to the shaft. When Corpse whined, trying to press his cock against his lips, he got a very pointed stare in return.

Shaking, Corpse tried to stare at the worksheet, trying to gather his thoughts. The income statement didn’t add up but now Sykkuno had the head of his cock in his mouth, suckling softly. His soft hair tickled the inside of Corpse’s palm and thighs and the little minx started moaning sweetly too, obscene little pop sounds escaping him as he sucked Corpse’s cock into his mouth.

“Fuck- I can’t focus” said Corpse. His brain felt like congealed soup.

“You can” said Sykkuno simply. His dark eyes peered up at him from under the desk and Corpse tightened his fingers in his hair. It was a bad idea because Sykkuno moaned prettily and it vibrated on his cock, making him shudder.

He tried to focus again, staring desperately at the sheet. He scrolled up to look at the practise question Sykkuno had solved a while back but the numbers swam in front of his eyes, bizarre and cryptic. Nothing in the world made sense except Sykkuno’s hot tongue tracing up his cock. The inside of Sykkuno’s mouth was like velvet, molten and soft and Corpse ached to grip his hair and thrust into his mouth but a part of him liked how Sykkuno had wrapped him around his pretty little fingers, knowing that Corpse would take it.

I need to be good for Sykkuno he thought and he tried desperately to make sense of the numbers and the statements. Sykkuno seemed to realise because he stopped frantically trying to drive Corpse out of his mind and docilely leaned into Corpse’s knee. When Corpse accidentally glanced down, he almost accidentally came at the sight of Sykkuno serenely leaning against him, his soft lips wrapped around his cock, eyes shut. He seemed to realise Corpse was zoning out, trying desperately to commit the sight to memory and he raised an eyebrow and sucked.

“Fuck- I got the point” grumbled Corpse, turning back to the sheet. Somehow he managed to finish 3 sums and he stared frantically at the remaining sums. “You’re a fucking lunatic- who sets 12 sums in a homework assignment?”

Sykkuno pulled off with another obscene pop and blew softly on his dick. Corpse shivered, clenching his thighs together. “I didn’t actually- I set three sums. You didn’t do them right for the past 4 times.”

Corpse pouted at Sykkuno. “Alright so I got one set done- do I get to fuck you now?”

“No” said Sykkuno sweetly. Corpse whined and Sykkuno pushed the chair a bit. Corpse moved, and Sykkuno stuck his legs out and stood up like an awkward baby deer. Corpse reached out, palms smoothing against the soft skin of his thighs with concern.

“You okay?” Corpse asked worriedly.

“Yeah” said Sykkuno. His dark eyes went soft with concern and Corpse felt his heart skip a beat with affection. “You were worried?”

“Always” said Corpse. “Even when you’re being a fucking tease.”

“Just trying to help you get that A” murmured Sykkuno. His lips looked swollen and wet and Corpse wanted to scream and push him against the table “But- since you were so sweet…”

He bit his lip as he sat on Corpse’s lap to kiss him deeply. Corpse kissed him back, desperate and slightly punishing, trying to express his lust and frustration and affection in the kiss. Sykkuno whined at the rough nip at his lip and arched into Corpse’s palms as he squeezed Sykkuno’s ass.

“Be good, Corpse” breathed Sykkuno, as Corpse bit his neck sharply. Sykkuno smelled like everything good in the world and him, drowning in Corpse’s hoodie that was so big on him. He reached back to feel the raised font of 03, CORPSE on the back of his hoodie.

“You look so fucking good” he hissed. He could feel himself acting feral but Sykkuno bit his lip, smiling shyly at him. The grey black contrasted prettily with his pale, flushed skin and he squeezed his ass again. “Can we please-“

Sykkuno hummed amusedly, shaking his head. He stood up and Corpse felt a sudden bolt of fear, wondering if Sykkuno was going to take him into his mouth and somehow expect him to focus. Sykkuno reached over, opening the drawer and pulled out some lube. Corpse stared, obscenely fascinated as to how it glistened on his pretty anime hands, but he couldn’t tell what his pretty little hellspawn was about to pull next. He hissed at the feeling of barely warmed lube touching his cock but Sykkuno’s eyes had gone mischievous again as he stood up and Corpse’s mind blanked-

“-oh fuck- fuck-”

Sykkuno whined in response, his head flopping back onto Corpse’s shoulder as he slid slowly down on Corpse’s cock. His mouth dropped open as he panted, squirming in Corpse’s lap and Corpse whined, holding his hips down. He felt hot and tight and slick-

“The fucking shower was an excuse” he said. His voice came somewhere from his chest, dark and inhuman and Sykkuno laughed in complete contrast, the sound bright and sparkly. There was a hint of a whine in it as he adjusted himself on Corpse’s lap, biting his lip.

“I’m right here now” he murmured. His body was so tight and snug around Corpse, it felt like Corpse had carved himself a space inside Sykkuno’s body and the thought of that made him more feral. His hand was shaking when he grabbed the pencil in a deathgrip, trying to make sense of the numbers.

“Sykkuno- fuck baby, please- please- I’ll do all the fucking sums in the world, just let me-”

“I don’t want you to do all the sums in the world” said Sykkuno softly. His face was flushed pink, his lips swollen and he squirmed on Corpse’s lap, tightening and Corpse whimpered, pressing his forehead against Sykkuno’s neck. “I just want you to do another” he glanced at the laptop “9 sums.”

Corpse bit him on the neck again. “You’re so fucking evil.”

“And you’re so hard” sighed Sykkuno, his face blissed out as he squirmed, rocking himself slightly. Corpse moaned again, trying to thrust into him. “9 sums and you get to fuck me.”

“Fuck” hissed Corpse. “Fuck- I can’t think-”

Sykkuno tightened cruelly around him in response. His fingers slid under his own stolen hoodie, reaching up to play with his nipples and he twisted his head to moan breathily right into Corpse’s ear. “Think. I literally just changed the numbers from the practise problem, it’s the same solutions- ah-“

Corpse forced himself to breathe. Sykkuno continued writhing ever so slightly on his cock, hot and slick as he whined needily right against Corpse’s ear. It was the hottest, most cruel punishment Corpse had never expected and he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to be done. On one hand, he was so hard he was pretty sure he was going to explode but on the other hand, the innate satisfaction of Sykkuno’s body pressed up against his, warm and soft made something in his heart flutter.

“You’re so good for me” breathed Sykkuno. He brushed a fleeting kiss to Corpse’s jugular, his soft hair brushing against his neck. Everything felt like an overstimulation and Corpse groaned, his fingers shaking.

“I am” he moaned. “Fuck- I’m trying so hard-“

“I know” said Sykkuno and his eyes were drunk and beautiful, fluttering up at him. “You’re being so good, I love it so much. Always want you like this.”

“I’m always good for you” he choked out. The sixth problem glowed in front of him and the colours of the rainbow whirred behind his eyes as Sykkuno called him a good boy.

Sykkuno hummed thoughtfully. “That’s not true is it? We wouldn’t have to do this if you were good.”

“I just- wanted to spend more time with you” said Corpse desperately. The pencil he was holding snapped under the pressure and Sykkuno moaned, biting his lip as he glanced up at him.

“You’re so strong” he crooned, glancing up at him. “So strong, you can just. Pick me up and have your way with me.”

Corpse glanced at the table. Apart from his laptop, there was nothing of value on the table. He could very well ruck Sykkuno onto it, pin him down against it and grab his pretty neck and make him take it, make him whine and scream with pleasure, make him cum so hard that every single evil genius idea vanished from that oversized brain, only to be replaced with Corpse’s name and what Corpse felt like. Sykkuno would love it too, Corpse had seen the way he shivered with pleasure when Corpse manhandled his small, birdboned body. But-

“But you won’t” said Sykkuno. His delicate fingers grabbed another pencil from the penstand, and he looked self satisfied, sighing with pleasure as Corpse’s cock jerked weakly in him. His beautiful eyes glowed, wicked and knowing. “And why is that, hm Corpse?”

“Because I want to be good for you” moaned Corpse. “Fuck- you’re so fucking evil-”

Sykkuno’s tinkling laughter didn’t help. Neither did him moaning sweetly right into Corpse’s ear help. The numbers spun before his eyes like a pinwheel but he tried to pay attention, he tried to form his hypotheses right, tried to answer everything the best his overcooked brain could come up with. The urge to cheat on it tempted him but he almost cried at the thought of Sykkuno checking it and continuing this hellish charade or god forbid, being disappointed in him.

Sykkuno’s body felt like a furnace, and everytime Corpse saw the grey fabric of his hoodie peek up from his hands, he felt slightly more insane with lust and obedience, wanting nothing more than to sit right there and let Sykkuno do whatever he pleased with him or toss Sykkuno at a wall and make sure he never thought of something as evil as this ever again.

“Please hurry” moaned Sykkuno. His face was beaded with sweat, his eyes desperate but so playful.

“This was your idea” hissed Corpse, trying his hardest to figure out what the degree of freedom was for the chi square test and if he could accidentally die of having his dick too hard. Neither answer made sense to him.

Sykkuno was pressing soft kisses to the skin of his neck as he frantically studied the chart to make sense of the numbers. “It was. But you want to cum too.” He squeezed, quick and cruel and Corpse sobbed, agreeing. “Please, Corpse?”

“Stop saying please” begged Corpse. “Fuck baby, I feel like I’m going insane.”

“Then give me what I want, right?” cooed Sykkuno. “I’m begging you to finish your sums so that we both can cum and you can tell me what to do, hm?”

Corpse exhaled, swallowing deeply. The different charts and reports flashed before his eyes, as did Sykkuno’s soft, tight ass, the soft pink lips. He lifted the hoodie slightly to hold the hem of it between his teeth and Corpse almost screamed as he watched him gently pluck at his own nipples, tightening with each jolt.

“Fuck” he hissed. He had no idea why a T test was more statistically significant than any other test, he had no idea if his tests were one tailed or two tailed. All he could focus on was Sykkuno making breathy muffled sounds right by his ear as he played with his nipples.

“It’s over” he snarled as he stood up. All his joints cracked ominously but he didn’t care. Sykkuno cried out in surprise as he got bent over. The jersey number and his name stamped on Sykkuno’s back made the thin thread of sanity holding Corpse together snap.

“You didn’t write the result statement!” squeaked Sykkuno, clearly disoriented.

Corpse growled, pinning him down and Sykkuno moaned, leaning into his hands as Corpse snapped his hips inside that tempting, hellish ass. Sykkuno whimpered prettily, suddenly more than delighted to be a pile of putty under Corpse’s shaky hands but Corpse couldn’t think straight. The sight of Sykkuno sprawled on his desk, wearing his hoodie with his name and moaning his name as Corpse fucked his own brains out made him feral. He reached down to jerk Sykkuno off, hard and fast and Sykkuno screamed as he came, melting into the desk. Corpse felt something possessive settle comfortably in his chest as he tethered over the edge.

Sykkuno tilted his head. His eyes were teary and proud, the barest hint of a fucked out smile on his face as he glanced up at Corpse. “So good for me, Corpse” he mumbled reverently, and Corpse felt his throat hurt with the sound he made as he came.

Sykkuno was panting, his body heaving under the oversized fabric. He made a painfully cute sound as Corpse pulled out, and Corpse bit his ass, staring longingly at the mess he made.

“What the genuine fuck was that?”

Sykkuno giggled softly. Corpse reached out under his arms to pull his hoodie off and Sykkuno shivered, snuggling against his clothed body. He folded up his arms and legs and snuggled compactly into Corpse’s body. Naked, he was so small in Corpse’s arms, so sweet and pliant and Corpse kissed his forehead, suddenly overprotective. “Just me being a good tutor.”

“Please never tutor anyone again” said Corpse. He pressed their foreheads together. “Also I don’t know if that was a good tutoring method because I don’t fucking know what I wrote. Good luck figuring out if what I wrote was right or not. I think you somehow made my handwriting worse”

Sykkuno’s eyes sparkled. “I could do this all over again and make you write it in better handwriting.”

Corpse growled, grabbing his ass. Sykkuno fluttered his lashes prettily but he didn’t back down.

“You’re absolutely right” he admitted reluctantly. “Minx.”

“Oh no, I’m Sykkuno.”

Corpse snorted weakly, standing up with him. Sykkuno almost stumbled but he steadied him, pushing him towards the shower.

Sykkuno was gorgeous under the stream and he pressed himself, erotic and intimate against Corpse’s body. The lines of their bodies fit beautifully together. His fingers pressed against the knots in his shoulders, gently guiding him through the motions of his nerve glides. His arms wrapped around Corpse's body, burying his face in his chest as the water drizzled, weak and lukewarm. It was okay, because Sykkuno was there.

“I love you” mumbled Corpse. It almost came out by accident but he didn't back down.

Sykkuno shook his head smiling, his eyes big and soft as he picked up the washcloth, twirling one long finger for Corpse to turn around. Corpse smiled as it rubbed gently against his back, the suds sliding off into the tiled floors as Sykkuno washed his back gently. He understood.

◍◍◍

EPILOGUE

“This is such a terrible idea” said Sykkuno nervously. “Ghosts aren’t even real.”

Corpse’s hand was firm in his, the rings pressing reassuringly in the dips of his fingers. “Don’t worry I got you.”

The forest behind their university was up a hillock, and apparently Karl and Tina liked exploring the area for ghosts along side an abandoned mine. Tina's headlight made Corpse's eye hurt so they were walking up the path with just their weak cellphone flashes. Corpse seemed to be having fun jumping over oversized exposed roots and felled tree trunks but he saw Sykkuno stumble gracelessly and reached out to hold his hand. If Sykkuno accidentally fell a few more times only to have Corpse yank him back up into his warmth, it was only an accident.

“Oh god it’s such a bad idea to get Corpse along” complained Tina fretfully. Her neon orange hairclip made Sykkuno smile despite the tense situation. “He sounds like a creature of the night.”

“I’m sure we’ll not find any ghosts” said Sykkuno, patting her on the back. 

“What’s the point then?!”

“We’re gonna be fine” said Karl, for the fiftieth time. He was excited, trudging up the little hill delightedly. “Plus, we have Sykkuno! Sykkuno knows all about animals and he can tell us if we are safe.”

“That’s not helpful” said Sykkuno. “That just means I know the statistical probability of us getting eaten by a coyote out here.”

Corpse scoffed. If the dim light of Karl’s flashlight went off kilter for even a second, Sykkuno wouldn’t be able to see him. He gripped his hand even more tightly, tracing a prominent vein on his hand. “It’s not even that high.”

“Why do you know that?” Tina asked suspiciously.

“Because it was a question Sykkuno set…” mumbled Corpse, suddenly distracted. Sykkuno blinked and grinned, looking away. His cheeks flushed with the memory, and suddenly the dark haunting forest was not so dark or haunting.

Quite like Corpse he thought affectionately. He leaned against his warmth for a second.

“No it wasn’t?” said Karl alarmed. “What the fuck- are you dreaming up stats questions that Sykkuno sets us?”

Corpse cleared his throat. “Let’s just keep looking for ghosts.”

Sykkuno hid his laugh behind his hand. Corpse shook his head, but in the dim light, Sykkuno almost saw his eyes crinkle with a smile. The forest cleared into an opening with a lake. Sykkuno stared at it.

“You guys can stay here if Sykkuno is scared” said Karl sympathetically. “Tina and I are used to this- we’ll go see if we can find anything.”

Corpse squeezed his hand before he could answer. “Thanks Karl. Keep your phones on.”

The leaves crunched as Karl and Tina wandered away. Sykkuno bit back a smile at how loud they were being. It was unlikely they’d even see an animal this late at night with the amount of noise they were making.

“They won’t get eaten by a coyote” he said affectionately. Corpse’s arms wrapped around his body as they stared at the serene lake, the moon glinting over the calm surface.

“I know” said Corpse. “Although- cases of coyote attacks have increased over the past 30 years in California.”

Sykkuno twisted in his arms, incredulous. “They have?”

“Yes they have- you set me that question on Thursday! Calculate the probability of coyote attacks in 60 years based on the data given below.”

Sykkuno bit his lip guiltily.

“Have you not been paying attention to the questions you set?” asked Corpse amusedly. Their new…system of solving problems was far too fun for Sykkuno to stop and he twisted in Corpse’s arms tugging his mask down. The dim glow of the moon made his lovely, scarred face glow.

“No” said Sykkuno bashfully, playing with his chains. “I’ve just been setting sums from random question papers.” He glanced up at Corpse’s fond, exasperated face. “I guess I also really like spending time with you.”

Corpse laughed into the kiss, his fingers soft and as they cupped Sykkuno’s face. His lips were soft and familiar and Sykkuno wrapped his arms around his neck.

“I’m glad” murmured Corpse, breaking off to press a kiss to his nose. Joy fluttered in Sykkuno’s heart, warm and comfortable as he looked up at Corpse’s quicksilver eyes. The lake felt as serene as the moment between them and Sykkuno sighed happily, leaning forward to press his cheek onto Corpse's shoulder, content. “I hope both of us keep doing stupid things to spend time with each other for a long time.”

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