Work Header

dear mayoi-san

Chapter Text

Lunchtime with Alkaloid was always lively. 

Today the four of them had a table all to themselves in the cafeteria, with Hiiro at Aira’s side and Mayoi at Tatsumi’s. Tatsumi couldn’t help but think that Hiiro and Aira were sweet kids; they always seemed excited about something. 

Today was no exception, and the hot topic at the lunch table was how Aira just could not believe that Hiiro didn’t know what crepes were.

“Tattsun-senpai is old fashioned, but even he’s had a crepe before, right?” Aira asked, throwing Tatsumi into a discussion that he had previously only been spectating. He was a bit surprised to be dragged into it; it seemed like Hiiro and Aira had forgotten that he and Mayoi were even there.

“Fufu,” Tatsumi smiled, “I have indeed, I’m quite partial to the ones with fresh fruits.” Of course he didn't want Mayoi to be left out, so he asked, “Mayoi-san, what about you? Do you like crepes?”

Mayoi averted his eyes, suddenly incredibly interested in the cup of grape jelly he was holding. He offered a quiet, “I-I like them, sweet ones are my favorite…” Once he thought Tatsumi would be satisfied with his answer he put the cup down and fidgeted with his fingers in his lap; Aira and Hiiro picked up the discussion once more. Tatsumi watched Mayoi’s chest rise and fall with every breath, as if he had just run a marathon rather than contributed one line to a leisurely group discussion.

“That settles it!” Aira proclaimed, and Tatsumi let his attention wander from Mayoi, “Hiro-kun, we’re getting crepes! Next thing you know you’re gonna tell me you’ve never had bubble tea before either!”

“Aira, what’s—“

“Oh my gosh, Hiro-kun let’s go! Tattsun-senpai, Mayo-san, we’ve gotta go , you understand right?”

Tatsumi nodded, covering his mouth to hide a smile; those two kids were adorable. Empty trays in one hand, they held each other’s hands with the other as Aira led Hiiro to the tray return, then out toward the city. 

That must be nice. 

The last time he tried to hold Mayoi’s hand (well, last time was the first time ) Mayoi declined, saying Tatsumi was so pure that he would probably start burning if they touched.

If anything, Tatsumi thought he should be the one to start burning.

“Mayoi-san,” Tatsumi broke the silence that appeared as Hiiro and Aira left, “Would you like to get crepes as well? Just the two of us.” Perhaps if it was the two of them it would be fine — he knew Mayoi didn’t like to be around too many people. Mayoi also liked crepes! It was perfect. 

Mayoi tapped his fingers against the table anxiously, and Tatsumi felt a sinking sensation growing in his stomach the longer he took to reply. “U-Umm,” Mayoi started, “I don’t think… I mean— I’m sorry…” he apologized, his restless hands now twirling the end of his braid around a finger, “You’d probably enjoy yourself more with someone else anyway... not someone like me.”

There it was. Tatsumi forced a smile, though he was sure it looked genuine. “I don’t think that at all Mayoi-san, but I don’t want to trouble you if it’s something you aren’t interested in.” He wanted to add a ‘maybe some other time’ , but decided against it. Mayoi seemed to waste no time getting up, hitting his knee against the table in the process, before apologizing to Tatsumi and disappearing to goodness knows where. Tatsumi swore he looked away for only a second, but Mayoi and his tray were both gone in an instant.

It wasn’t the first time this happened and it probably wouldn’t be the last either, though Tatsumi couldn’t help but feel a bit rejected. He just wanted to spend some time with Mayoi, but perhaps that would be harder than it seemed, and it already seemed pretty hard to begin with. He was sure Mayoi didn’t hate him. He definitely had his own thoughtful gestures, like designing choreography that didn’t overexert Tatsumi’s troublesome knee. Mayoi certainly wouldn’t do something like that if he disliked him.

Tatsumi picked up his tray, intent on returning to the dorm to relax. Somewhere along the way his phone buzzed, the small device startling him from within his pants pocket. He still wasn’t completely used to using his phone yet, and found himself squinting at the tiny screen as messages popped up one after another:

Aira-san: omg I’m so sorry 

Aira-san: do u and mayonnaise wanna get crepes too??

Aira-san: OMG MAYO-SAN**

Aira-san: pls don’t tell him his name autocorrected to mayonnaise lol

Tatsumi unlocked his phone and navigated to his messages.

Aira-san: i should have asked u before we left

Aira-san: I’m sorry!

Aira-san: we can come back and meet u guys

How on earth did he send these messages so fast? Was it because Aira had small hands? Tatsumi could see how that might be an advantage with such a tiny keyboard. 

He found himself struggling to reply, simply typing out ‘ it’s ok ’ before hitting send.

Aira-san: what’s ok? U want us to come back?

Aira misunderstood.

Tatsumi navigated to his contacts, pressing the tiny phone icon beside Aira’s name to give him a call. Aira had taught him how to do that.

“Hi Tattsun-senpai!” Aira cheerfully answered the phone, “I’m super sorry, we totally should have invited you two. Also you didn’t tell Mayo-san about the name thing, right?”

Tatsumi continued walking to the dorms, the glass screen of the phone warm against his ear as he spoke, “It’s perfectly fine Aira-san, please enjoy your crepes without us. I also haven’t told Mayoi-san about your typing error.” He heard Aira sigh with relief on the other end, “Do have fun with your crepes and tea, I’ll see you and Hiiro-san this evening.”

“Okay, bye bye! Hiro-kun says bye too!” 

“Goodbye,” Tatsumi added, taking a peek at the phone to figure out how to end the call. Aira must have done something, because he was back on his contact screen. It was so difficult to get used to this thing.

Unsurprisingly, the dorm was empty when Tatsumi returned. Hiiro and Aira were off getting crepes of course, and Mayoi was off doing whatever he usually did with his free time. Tatsumi climbed into his bed, and the soft mattress and blankets felt like they were cradling his exhausted legs. 

It probably wasn’t a fantastic idea for someone with his injury to be using the top bunk, but Mayoi had seemed so partial to being on the bottom… of course he gracefully let him have it.

Tatsumi picked up the notebook kept at his headboard, it was generally used for song lyric ideas, gardening notes, ideas for herb tea blends, or other such memos. Flipping to the next blank page, Tatsumi wondered what to write. He started with the date at the top, letting his pen wander down a few lines to an appropriate starting point.

It would be nice if he could come up with some new lyrics, or even anything else they could incorporate into their next live, but nothing was coming to him.

All he could think about was Mayoi. 

Tatsumi had no idea when it first started, maybe it was when he first saw the other boy, but he always felt… something . Mayoi was certainly eccentric at times, but Tatsumi truly believed he had a kind heart. He was selfless and thoughtful, and honestly the more Tatsumi thought about it, the more inspired he felt to become a better person.

—But it also felt wrong to have such deep feelings like this, feelings for someone who trusts and relies on you but clearly doesn’t feel the same. Mayoi obviously didn’t think of him that way, he kept rejecting all of his invitations to spend time together for goodness sake, but Tatsumi couldn’t help the fluttering in his chest whenever they so much as made eye contact. 

His hand acted faster than his mind and he ended up with Mayoi’s name written on the paper. 

Perhaps writing about him could help shake off the thoughts? He could treat it as if he were in a confessional. He never had to show Mayoi what he wrote, goodness no , but the more he thought about it the more cathartic it seemed.

Mayoi Ayase

Tatsumi felt his cheeks flush just from writing his full name. How should he even start? Bullet points? Paragraphs? He thought back to Mayoi in the cafeteria earlier, his fingers tapping against the table.

Your hands look so soft. I do hope you’ll let me hold them someday.

Was that too much? It felt a bit much. Tatsumi rested his hand against his face, his cheek warm against his palm. He would love to hold Mayoi’s hand as often as Aira held Hiiro’s.

Onto the next line.

You often act as though you’re a burden, but nothing would bring me greater joy than seeing you happy and healthy with a smile on your face.

Tatsumi wordlessly set his pen down, closing his notebook and letting it rest against his chest as he stared at the ceiling. His mind did feel a bit clearer; it was as if he got something off his chest without actually getting it off his chest. After a moment he flipped back to the page, rereading what he wrote and letting the words marinate in his mind.

What would it be like when— no, if— he held hands with Mayoi? The other boy would probably be a bit hesitant, his grip weak. Tatsumi would lace their fingers together and give him a comforting squeeze. Mayoi seemed like he would be quite innocent when it came to things like this...

Back to reality, it was not a very good idea to have this kind of memo sitting in his notebook, so Tatsumi carefully removed the page. He contemplated crumpling it up and tossing it in the garbage, but it didn’t feel right to throw it away. These were his feelings, after all. He carefully climbed down from his bunk and placed the page in an opaque plastic folder, then hid the folder in his wardrobe. 

The rest of his evening was spent working out some song lyrics, which were kept in the notebook for safekeeping. He showed Aira and Hiiro his progress once they returned, and in return they told him about Hiiro’s first experience with crepes and bubble tea.

As per usual, Tatsumi awoke for prayer first thing in the morning. The curtains surrounding everyone else’s beds were drawn, and they were no doubt still asleep. He quietly showered and dressed himself, tucking his notebook and pen in his bag next to a Biblebefore leaving.

The hanging gardens at ES were always quiet at this hour, and not a single soul was around as Tatsumi took a seat by the pond to begin his prayer. The natural environment was so relaxing; he could easily forget he was in the middle of a city when the only noises around him were the rustling of leaves and the occasional splashing of fish in the pond.

“Amen…” Tatsumi murmured, closing the Bible and letting the heavy book rest in his lap. The book once belonged to his father, and even the feeling of the pages reminded him of home. It was placed in his bag for safekeeping, and then Tatsumi took out his notebook.

He had gotten all of his Mayoi-related emotions off his chest the previous day, but some part of him felt compelled to write more. He looked to either side before opening his notebook, as if what he was doing had to remain a secret between him and God.

Dear Mayoi-san,

That made it feel more like a letter, as if he was confessing all of his thoughts and feelings via mail to the Mayoi within his mind.

You aren’t awake yet, so I hope you’re having sweet dreams.

Today I felt compelled to bring my notebook and pen with me as I left to do my morning prayer. I truly can’t stop thinking about you, and I’m so thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to have met in this lifetime. 

I hope I can share many more wonderful experiences with you.

Tatsumi removed the page in preparation to add it to the folder with the last one, folding it and sandwiching it between the cover and first page of the notebook for safekeeping. He added it to the folder first thing when he returned, and he was surprised to see Mayoi awake, though he was still sitting in bed. Hiiro and Aira had left to get breakfast as well, so Tatsumi must have taken more time than he thought.

“I’m going to get some breakfast,” Tatsumi announced. The intended recipient was obvious — they were the only two people in the room. He added a, “would you like to come too?” once Mayoi offered a mhm of acknowledgement to his first statement.

“S-Sorry, I’m not hungry,” Mayoi murmured, still laying in bed.

Tatsumi decided to bring his notebook and pen with him to breakfast as well.

Chapter Text

It was so much easier to clean up around the dorm room when no one else was around. Mayoi found it uncomfortable to be under the watchful eye of anyone, even his unitmates. He wasn’t particularly close to any of them, and he was pretty sure that they were just tolerating him anyway. He would only get in the way if he tried to tidy up when others were home.

He started with the laundry, and then he vacuumed the floor. The room wasn’t particularly dirty, but it would probably be his fault if it was. Mayoi knew he was filthy, not to mention the fact he probably tracked all kinds of dust in from his ceiling escapades. 

The vacuum was small, but rather noisy. It would definitely be an annoyance if any of his roommates were trying to study. Thankfully they were in the old dorm building, so he didn’t have anyone in surrounding dorm rooms to worry about as well. Mayoi slid the vacuum along the floor, watching the dust and dirt build up inside of it. The sucked up mess was whirling around in circles inside of the plastic vacuum canister. It was almost mesmerizing, and Mayoi was so focused on it that he bumped into the slightly ajar door of Tatsumi’s wardrobe and sent various articles of clothing tumbling to the floor as it opened. 

Mayoi immediately shut off the vacuum. It would be disastrous if he were to suck up any of Tatsumi’s clothing or accessories. Surely something like a shirt wouldn’t fit into the vacuum, but he would feel terribly guilty if any accessories got caught in the suction. He quickly glanced to the door, looking for some reassurance that no one came home to witness him in front of Tatsumi’s open wardrobe. He was untrustworthy, even creepy , and surely any onlooker would think he was intentionally snooping around.

Some of Tatsumi’s practice clothes had fallen, and thankfully Mayoi was able to fold those up and put them back in their proper places with ease. Tatsumi should be none the wiser. 

A folder had also fallen, and its contents were scattered along the floor. Mayoi got down on his hands and knees, intent on cleaning that mess up and setting it beside the practice clothes — at least he did until he read his own name on one of the papers.

Mayoi Ayase

He wasn’t snooping or anything, he couldn’t help but notice! It was his own name, and his eyes felt drawn to it. The proper thing to do would be to put the papers back in the folder and stop looking, but he found himself unable to follow through on what he knew would be the wiser course of action.

Your hands look so soft. I hope you’ll let me hold them someday.

Mayoi looked to the door once more, his nervous grip on the paper causing it to wrinkle. This was so private, he couldn’t possibly continue. That wouldn’t be right.

But he did anyway.

You act as though you’re a burden, but nothing would bring me greater joy than seeing you happy and healthy with a smile on your face.

Mayoi’s hands were shaking and his heart was racing. It felt as if his brain disconnected itself, and he was unable to process the text in front of him. He surely had to be reading about some other Mayoi, since there was no way these things could be about him

But they had to be, didn’t they? Tatsumi didn’t know any other Mayoi Ayase.

He scanned the words over and over, and it just didn’t make sense to him. Why would Tatsumi care so much? He was just a lowly creature, barely even human, there was no reason to care about him. For a brief moment he wondered if Tatsumi wrote about everyone this way, but after pulling out a few more papers from the folder he became more and more certain that these notes were only about him.

The plastic folder rested in his lap as he sat on the floor and continued reading. 

Dear Mayoi-san,

You diligently teach us dance steps day after day, I hope you’re getting enough rest. I can only dream of a world where I have a perfect knee, and you’re free to choreograph without any limitations. 

I wish I didn’t hold us — hold you — back.

Was this what was going through Tatsumi’s head? He never said anything like this.

Dear Mayoi-san,

I fear I’m absolutely smitten with you. 

Today I caught myself gazing into one of your dioramas, admiring the dedication you have to your art. I must admit I also stole glances at you as you were painting some of the tiny pieces within it. Your smile was adorable, and I felt a pain within my chest as I willed myself to look away. 

A sound of a very faint tapping noise startled him, and he looked to the door like a frightened animal. He could never forgive himself if someone (God forbid, possibly even Tatsumi) caught him like this. He couldn’t even move, it was as if time had stopped and he was waiting for the door handle to rotate.

The door never opened, and Mayoi was startled by another tap tap as a tear slid down his jaw, landing on the plastic folder in his lap. It was followed by another, then another, and Mayoi had to wipe the folder against his shirt to dry it off.

Dear Mayoi-san,

Your laughter is a gift from God himself, every time I hear it I feel my day get brighter.

Before he knew it he had read every letter within the folder, and he had no idea what to do with himself. His head hurt, his heart hurt, and he felt utterly nauseous. Part of it was certainly guilt, the guilt that came with consciously snooping through the belongings of another, but the rest…

The letters returned to their home, Tatsumi’s wardrobe, and Mayoi crawled into his bunk. He shut the curtains to cloak himself in darkness, sitting with his knees to his chest as he took deep breaths. 

Once the initial shock had worn off, he found himself wondering so many things. For one, how old were those notes? Not all of them were dated, though he could think of a vague date range for a few of them, given their content.

Did Tatsumi really feel that way about him? Mayoi honestly expected the last one to say “April fools!”, but it was nowhere near April, and Tatsumi wasn’t that type of person either! He always took Tatsumi’s kindness as pity. He was certain Tatsumi tried to include him in conversations and outings because he felt bad for him, he had never even considered the idea that Tatsumi may genuinely want him there. Mayoi sniffled, wiping his nose on a gloved hand. He certainly knew about friendships, he had read enough books where the plot centered around a group of friends, but as far as he was concerned, those were just works of fiction.

He never considered that such kindness could be directed at him.

Mayoi sat with his back against the wall after a difficult practice session. It was one thing to learn a dance, but it was another to be responsible for instructing others. He had to fit so much into whatever block of time they could book a practice room for. The time flew by today; Hiiro and Aira were already straightening out the room for the next people to use it.

“Mayoi-san, how are you feeling?” Tatsumi asked, both his and Mayoi’s bags slung over a shoulder, “I’ve gathered our things, shall we go?... Or would you like to rest first?”

“S-Sorry...” Mayoi apologized, “I’ll be fine, I just—”

Tatsumi had extended his hand to help him up, and it was so close to Mayoi’s own.

Should he take it?... He certainly wanted to.

Mayoi bridged the gap between them, and his own hand was on top of Tatsumi’s. He watched Tatsumi’s violet eyes widen in surprise, and he felt him squeeze his hand as he helped him up. His grip was strong, surprisingly so, but warmth was radiating from his body.

Warmth was radiating from his smile.

It was too much! Mayoi looked at his feet, now all too aware that he was standing by now. Pulse racing, he made no attempt to separate from Tatsumi. If Tatsumi didn’t like this, he would surely let go of him. 


“Y-Yes!?” Mayoi blurted out, jerking his head back up and meeting Tatsumi’s eyes. Tatsumi was looking at him so affectionately— he’d never been looked at like this before, but somehow he just knew that that was the correct word to describe this.

“Hiiro-san and Aira-san have left already,” Mayoi looked around, Tatsumi was right. “Would you care to sit in the courtyard with me for a bit? I think I could use some fresh air, but please don’t push yourself if—”

“Yes!” Mayoi repeated, his hand still in Tatsumi’s, “I-I mean, I would— I would like to do that… If you don’t mind...”

Tatsumi hesitantly laced their fingers together, continuing when he was sure Mayoi wasn’t about to pull away. “Why, I don’t mind at all. We can have a nice leisurely time together.”

Mayoi didn’t want this to end… it was like Tatsumi read his mind. He certainly felt anxious, but not the usual kind of anxious he felt when he declined Tatsumi. This type of anxiousness had his heart racing, and his body felt almost weightless as he took his first step.

It was a new, but not unwelcome, feeling.

A week later, Mayoi found the number of papers in Tatsumi’s Mayoi folder had increased. He couldn’t help himself… everyone was out and he was so so curious. Checking it again was a victimless crime.

Dear Mayoi-san,

I fear I’ll wake up in but a moment. Surely today was all a dream.

It became a routine to take a tiny peek in this folder when his unitmates were out getting breakfast. Breakfast always took some time, surely they were chatting amongst themselves as they ate, and that gave Mayoi enough time to get caught up on his reading.

Dear Mayoi-san,

I believe I can finally put pen to paper to say it: I’m in love with you.

My mind must be quite clouded by it, as occasionally I’m deluded into thinking you may like me too.

Mayoi took a deep breath. He felt the same, but… how could he ever say something like that back? Was that what this feeling was?

Love .

Could it truly be love if they hadn’t even communicated, if all of this was realized via some voyeuristic mistake? Sweat dripped down Mayoi’s neck as he remembered his predicament.

As long as he could remember, Mayoi had never thought someone like himself was capable, or deserving , of love. Love was reserved for others. Pure people like Shinobu could feel love, could give love, but someone like himself wasn’t made for that type of thing

Yet somehow his face had become bright red from staring at Tatsumi’s letter, from reading those words over and over again.

I’m in love with you.

He didn’t want to take his eyes off it; only the rattling of the doorknob was able to pull him back to reality.

The door opened without even a knock, and Mayoi felt his heart sink as Tatsumi came in. He only spared Mayoi a glance at first, mumbling something about how he carelessly forgot his wallet, only realizing after he made it to the cafeteria, but stopped when he noticed Mayoi on the floor, in front of his wardrobe.

Holding his note.

Tatsumi’s mouth opened and closed, his gaze darting between Mayoi and the paper he was holding. “I… I… You...” he started, and Mayoi instantly felt the guilt rushing through him. He had never seen Tatsumi flustered before. If anything, Tatsumi was always calm and composed, never flustered in the slightest.

Mayoi desperately willed himself to say something, anything, but his throat went dry and he found himself unable to even utter an apology.  

“I’m so sorry,” Tatsumi began, pausing as he couldn’t decide whether he should step toward or away from Mayoi. “I apologize for leaving something so unsightly out where you could find it.” He swallowed, but the feeling of a lump in his throat remained. “It was never my intent for you to read such a thing. We’ve been getting along so well lately, I wouldn’t dream of ruining it with something so… selfish.”

Mayoi clutched the paper in his hand, absolutely certain he was going to vomit. He hadn’t even eaten anything yet today, but lord knows his body would find a way. He didn’t deserve someone like Tatsumi, and he never would. It felt even worse that Tatsumi blamed himself ; he assumed he left the papers in some compromising position, because surely there was no way that Mayoi would find them otherwise.

Mayoi wanted to laugh at himself; he truly deluded himself into thinking that he could possibly deserve someone who had a heart as pure as Tatsumi’s. Such a wretched creature could only belong in the darkness, as far from others as could be. 

It was all so overwhelming, he had to get out of here, he had to leave before he ruined anything else. He wiped his tears with his sleeve, holding in a sob as he took off down the hallway. It was a terrible plan, to run away and never come back, but he felt like he was suffocating alone in the dorm room with Tatsumi.  

Mayoi struggled to keep going, his run slowing to a walk once he reached the stairwell. Every step was difficult. His throat tensed up and eyes threatened to water as he stumbled down the stairs, eventually settling down about two floors from where he started. 

Back against the wall and knees to his chest, just as he had been sitting on the day Tatsumi held his hand for the first time, Mayoi cried into his sleeve. The fabric was already wet and sticking to his skin after only a few moments, and he could only rest his forehead against his knees as he sobbed.

Chapter Text

“Mayoi-san, please wait—!” Tatsumi called down the dorm hallway. His throat felt tight, and he quickly swallowed down all of the emotions bubbling up within him. 

Mayoi was already gone, and at first Tatsumi wasn’t sure if he should give chase —Mayoi clearly wanted to be alone— but his concern tempted him to go against the other boy’s wishes. He was fairly sure of the general direction Mayoi took, he was able to hear his footsteps up to a certain point, and he could only pray that he hadn’t taken to the ceiling to make a stealthy get-away.

Once his notes were safely tucked in his wardrobe, Tatsumi locked the door behind him and started down the hallway. He didn’t expect Mayoi to be in any of the unoccupied dorm rooms, but he tried each door handle anyway. Playing out the scenario in his head, he wasn’t too sure what he wanted to say to Mayoi — though he was sure that whatever he said would be better than the anxious thoughts filling Mayoi’s head.

Tatsumi sighed; as far as he was concerned, it was fine if Mayoi wanted to think of him as a creep, or be disgusted by him, just so long as he wasn’t blaming himself for any of it— it wasn’t his fault that Tatsumi had feelings for him.

Tatsumi approached the stairwell at the end of the hallway and, before he could even wonder if he should take the stairs up or down, he heard a faint sniffling from somewhere below him. Ever so thankful for his wonderful sense of hearing, Tatsumi quietly started down the stairs. ‘ Down makes more sense, it’s less strenuous for the body to climb down stairs than to go up them—’ he thought, his mind lagging far behind his body. His heart was racing, begging him to go faster, but frenzied footsteps would only startle Mayoi.

“Mayoi-san...” Tatsumi called out from an appropriate distance, and Mayoi briefly moved his head from his knees to look up at him. Tatsumi felt his heart clench as he met Mayoi’s eyes, red and puffy from crying. “Please don’t run away again, I can explain everything… explain why...” Tatsumi started, and goodness, it was far easier to put his feelings into words in theory rather than in practice. He kneeled down on the floor, stumbling a bit in the process, but he was finally eye level with Mayoi. The clumsy drop wasn’t easy on his knee, but he could hardly feel the pain as he continued. “I wrote those… things… to get them off my chest, and they were never intended to be read by you. I had been hiding them amongst my clothing, but I— Well, I certainly don’t blame you if you’re disgusted by my actions, and I’ll gladly leave if you all but say the word; however, I felt I had to properly explain myself, lest you think i’m some perverse—”

Mayoi was silent, sharp teeth worrying his lower lip. He looked like he was about to speak, his gaze shifting between Tatsumi and his own shoes. “That’s not it… I knew, Tatsumi-san.”

Tatsumi went silent.

“I’ve been checking that folder almost every day,” Mayoi mumbled, his voice quivering, “I… I accidentally saw it one day, and I read everything. I just couldn’t stop myself, I should be the one apologizing— I’m the perverse one— f-filthy and… undeserving of… y-y...”


“Mayoi-san,” Tatsumi calmly said his name, to ground him, but it didn’t seem to have any effect. 

Mayoi sniffled. “It became the best part of my day, seeing what Tatsumi-san wrote… At first I thought it was a mistake, n-no one has ever thought anything like this about me before… But that’s not true, is it?” His palm hit his forehead in frustration, “N-Nevermind, it can’t be, if you said what you said and...”

Tatsumi gently rested his hand above Mayoi’s, and Mayoi went quiet. He rubbed soothing circles into the other boy’s gloved fingers. A smile began to grace his lips as he slowly pieced everything together; Mayoi didn’t hate him at all, and he actively sought out the letters. 

They stayed like this for a few moments, though it felt like it could have been hours. They were silent, save for Mayoi catching his breath. When he no longer looked like he was on the verge of tears, Tatsumi spoke up, “I was indeed writing about you.” Mayoi whimpered, and Tatsumi squeezed his hand, “You would understand if you could see yourself through my eyes, I promise.” 

Mayoi was silent, eyes puffy and tears dried on his cheeks as he finally looked up at Tatsumi, and Tatsumi could only look back at him as if he was still the most beautiful thing in the world. He tucked a bit of Mayoi’s hair behind his ear, and Mayoi weakly smiled back at him.

“Mayoi-san, your smile looks wonderful again today,” Tatsumi smiled.

Mayoi looked away in embarrassment, but he didn’t shy away from Tatsumi’s touch. “Y-Your notes mentioned holding hands, and kissing… Do you really want to do that with someone like me?”

“Fufu,” Tatsumi laughed, “Would you like to do something like that?” 

“Eep… W-well… maybe someday,” Mayoi sheepishly replied. He laced his fingers through Tatsumi’s, and Tatsumi moved to sit at his side. Their shoulders touched, and Mayoi didn’t shy away from that either. 

“Shall we stay here a bit longer?” Tatsumi asked, “In that case, you may have to help me text Hiiro-san and Aira-san that I won’t be meeting them for breakfast.”

“S-Sorry...” Mayoi apologized, though he squeezed Tatsumi’s hand as if to say ‘Don’t go’ .

“It’s quite alright, we can get something later,” Tatsumi let his back relax against the cold wall of the stairwell, fishing his phone out of his pocket to contact the others, “Just the two of us.”