“So this is the famous otaku district you’ve talked so much about,” Seiji said, trying to keep his expression neutral as he looked around.
“Yes, but call it Akihabara instead of the otaku district,” Yuuto said, not bothering to contain his happiness, clinging to his boyfriend’s arm with a huge smile. Can’t believe Seiji agreed to come here. “Or Akiba, if you prefer.”
“I prefer to keep any comment to myself.” The artist was discreet, but he still looked at everything and everyone as if he couldn’t believe what his eyes saw. His neutral expression broke whenever he saw something too different. “Are those guys carrying toy guns?”
Yuuto turned to where Seiji looked. There was a group composed of mostly men and a couple women holding guns wrapped with a black cloth and dressed in camouflage.
“Not toy guns. Those are airsoft guns. I’m guessing they’re survival game players,” the teacher answered before his boyfriend had the chance to ask.
“Okay… The camouflage had me for a second. I was like, wow, where are they?’” Seiji joked and smiled but it wasn’t enough to hide his ‘I give up’ look. Then he turned to Yuuto with an awkward smile. “To be honest, when you suggested a date, I was thinking something more…”
Yuuto knew what his boyfriend meant, but still pretended to be confused.
“More what?” he asked with a curious and innocent expression. Like I don’t know what you want, he thought, doing his best to suppress his smile.
“You know… less this…” Seiji gestured at the main street of Akiba, “and more romantic and with a strong possibility that it’d end in a love hotel or something.”
“Oh… you wanna be all romantic with me…” Yuuto showed a gentle smile.
The painter blushed and averted his eyes. “That’s obvious… you should know that,” he mumbled.
Yuuto walked closer to him, waiting until Seiji looked at him again. “And who says I haven’t planned a little detour to a hotel later?” he whispered, his smile turning sly.
Seiji widened his eyes and then pressed his lips to hide his excitement. “How about if we skip the date and go straight to the hotel then?”
“That sounds tempting,” Yuuto said, nodding his head as he pressed his lips. After a moment considering, he flashed a wide grin at his boyfriend. “I still want the date you promised.”
“Fine, fine,” Seiji said and dropped his shoulders, sighing in the defeat. But despite his attitude, he still smiled. “But can you at least tell me why you came dressed as a girl?”
Yuuto looked down at his clothes and opened his arms to show his outfit to Seiji.
“Don’t you think it’s cute? It’s just a few clothes from various cosplay that I put together. I spent so much time choosing something you’d like for our first date after so long…”
The teacher stopped smiling and lowered the arms and the eyes, looking all dejected. He knew Seiji realized it was fake, but the artist still hurried to console his boyfriend.
“You look cute,” he said, leaning in to kiss Yuuto. “Even if you’re not either Yuuto or Yuuno right now, you’re the cutest boyfriend I ever had.”
Yuuto smiled and blushed. “Correction. I’m the only boyfriend you ever had.”
Seiji laughed. “The best, the cutest and the one who drives me crazy and happy the most” He kissed Yuuto again, more passionately this time.
For a moment, the cosplayer thought his boyfriend would forget that they were outside. He tried to end the kiss, but his mind stopped working properly, losing itself on those lips he loved so much.
As fast as it started, Seiji parted their lips. “You haven’t answered why you’re dress like a girl, though,” he reminded.
Yuuto blinked and tried to stop smiling, barely noticing the stares they received. “Ah, well…” He cleared his throat and raised one finger. “There are a few reasons. First, if I was dressed as a Yuuto, we’d received more attention than I’d like.” Especially attention from people like my sister. “Second, I’m not dressed as Yuuno ‘cause people would recognize me—”
“Imagine the scandal. Yuuno-tan goes on a date with a mysterious boyfriend,” Seiji muttered with a smile.
“And today, I don’t want that. I just want to enjoy a date with my boyfriend,” Yuuto finished as if he wasn’t interrupted, though he too smiled.
“What do you think it’d shock the otakus more? Finding out that you’re a man or that you have a hot and cool boyfriend like me?”
“Hey, did you hear what that guy said?” A woman from a group passing by them spoke.
“That tall hot guy. He said that cute girl’s a man and is her boyfriend.”
“No way.” The four women turned their heads, smiling excitedly at Yuuto and Seiji.
They pretended not to hear, but it was hard to hide their embarrassed smiles.
“A real BL couple?”
“We don’t need to ask who’s the Seme and who’s the Uke,” the first one said and the other three laughed. “The Seme is so hot… I bet they have sex every day and sometimes the Uke can barely keep standing.”
“Yeah. He’s left breathless and all sweaty and…” Their voices faded as they walked away. But not before looking back at them a few times.
Seiji looked at Yuuto with a huge smile. “They weren’t wrong.”
“Shut up.” The teacher looked away, his cheeks red, trying to suppress his smile. He was afraid of people treating Seiji different for being gay, but even so, he liked the idea of people recognizing them as a couple.
“Is that the weird attention you were afraid?”
“Yeah,” Yuuto answered. “Half of it, anyway.”
“Why are you embarrassed?” Seiji tilted his head. “They only got the ‘sometimes’ part, ‘cause I leave you all breathless and sweaty and barely keep standing all the time.”
Even though he loved it, Yuuto reached out to cover Seiji’s cute and cocky smile with a hand. “You’re just smiling ‘cause they called you hot.”
“Oh, they said that?” Seiji pretended to be surprised, looking at the direction where the women went. “Well, they weren’t wrong, were they?”
“No…” Yuuto mumbled and averted his eyes, blushing even more.
Seiji chuckled and leaned to kiss Yuuto again.
“I don’t mind going out with you dressed as a girl or a boy. I just like kissing my boyfriend without you getting worried about getting caught or what people might say if they see two guys dating.”
Yuuto lowered his eyes. I knew this bothered Seiji…
“Hey, how about if we finally start our date?”
The cosplayer raised his eyes with a bright smile. “Come, there’s a lot I wanna show you,” he said, pulling his boyfriend by the hand.
Yuuto took Seiji everywhere, showing the man he loved his favorite places in the district that gave him many joys.
“Could you stop pouting?” Seiji begged in a tired voice.
“I’m not pouting… is just that… it wasn’t what I expected, that’s all,” Yuuto complained as he walked a few steps ahead of the artist.
“Will you please just let it go?” Seiji picked up the pace to walk by his boyfriend’s side. “You know my family.”
“I just imagined you’d look embarrassed in a maid café, that’s all,” Yuuto said, shaking his head. “Instead, my boyfriend looked so comfortable that he didn’t blush once. Not even when the maids put the ‘get delicious’ spell on his food.”
“Are you really upset ‘cause you didn’t get to see me embarrassed?” Seiji asked and then sighed. “Why didn’t you think I was used to maids? In my family house, there’s a lot… though not like those girls.”
“Now that you say, I should’ve realized…”
Yuuto sighed again and shook his head to dismiss the feeling. I wanted to take a photo of him all red… I know it’s something stupid to be upset… We were having so much fun until now.
“You’re right. I’m sorry for behaving like this,” Yuuto said, grabbing Seiji’s hand. “Come, let’s go to the last stop. Since it’s the best, I saved it for last.”
“What is it?” Seiji asked, but still let himself be pulled by Yuuto, who didn’t realize the other was smiling too.
Without answering, the cosplayer led the artist through the familiar streets until they stopped before a ramen shop. “Here.”
Seiji stared at the store and then to Yuuto. “Ramen? Are you already hungry after the maid cafe?”
“It’s not that shop. Look again. Look closer.”
Seiji squinted his eyes and looked at the store again, but still saw nothing beyond the ramen restaurant.
Yuuto pulled him one step to the side, making his boyfriend stare into the little alley right next to the ramen shop.
“Stairs…? Is there a store above the restaurant?”
“Yes. One of my favorite shops in Akiba, no, in the world,” Yuuto could barely contain his excitement as he dragged Seiji. After they climbed the stairs, he bit his lips to hide his excitement before opening the door. “What do you think?”
Yuuto kept the eyes at Seiji, waiting to see what kind of reaction his boyfriend would make. From the entrance to the back, rows and rows of racks with a huge variety of clothes, ranging from school uniforms to clothes that barely covered anything, shelves with sewing material and on the back behind the counter, a huge selection of wigs.
“A cosplay shop?” Seiji asked without hiding his surprise, turning his head in every direction.
“Correction, the best cosplay shop in all Akiba,” a voice said from somewhere inside the shop. Out of the many rows and rows of clothes, appeared a young woman with blue hair and wearing a school uniform.
“Welcome to my humble store. Hey, Yuu-chan.” she greeted them and then smiled at the teacher.
“Master!” Yuuto’s face lit when he saw the woman. He walked towards her, beaming. “It’s been a while.”
“It has. Last time I saw you, you were nothing but a cute little boy who wanted to dig deeper into the art of cosplay. Now, look at you. Crossdressing outside cosplay. Things have changed,” she said, touching her chest as if moved by her disciple evolution.
“It hasn’t been that long. We saw each other on New Year,” Yuuto said, chuckling. Then he waved his hand at his clothes. “And there’s a reason for this.”
“I can see this reason.” The woman poked Yuuto on the cheek as she checked Seiji. “With a boyfriend like that, I can totally understand you forgetting about your old master.”
Yuuto laughed and then walked back to the entrance to pulled Seiji. “Let me introduce you two. Seiji, this is my master, Kunisaki Haruno. She was the one who taught me everything I know about cosplays. Master, this is Akaishi Seiji, my boyfriend.” The cosplayer blushed and grabbed the painter’s arm, his smile growing with those words.
“So I finally meet the boyfriend I’ve been hearing about lately.” The woman said, suddenly serious. “I hope you’ve been treating my cute disciple well.”
“I have.” Despite his initial surprise by the shop and the owner, Seiji recovered and bowed to the woman. Then he flashed his sly smile while glancing at Yuuto. “I make sure he goes to sleep happy every night.”
Yuuto’s face went a wild shade of red. He tugged Seiji’s arm. “Why do you have to embarrass me whenever you can?”
“I’m just saying the truth,” Seiji said, laughing.
The woman laughed too. “Glad to see that you’re happy, Yuu-chan. And it’s a pleasure to meet you, Seiji-kun. Hope my skills can bring you justice.”
“What? Skills…?” Seiji looked between the woman and his boyfriend. “What’s she talking?”
Yuuto averted his eyes, making sure he looked everywhere but at the man on his side.
The woman turned to Yuuto at once, trying to suppress her smile. “You didn’t say anything to him.”
Yuuto flashed a yellow smile and scratched his cheek. “Because I knew he might have refused if I told him.”
“What a sneaky boyfriend you have, Seiji-kun. And to imagine I raised a disciple who’d do this,” she said shaking her head.
“What are you two talking?” Seiji kept looking between the woman and Yuuto.
“The reason Yuu-chan brought you today was for your cosplay.”
Yuuto still did everything he could to not meet the artist’s eyes. But he still felt the gaze on the top of his head.
“Yuuto. Look at me.”
“Don’t wanna.” Yuuto did his best to hide his smile, but he was about to laugh.
Seiji poked him on both cheeks, twisting the finger. “You never said anything about my cosplay today.”
“That’s because you’d say no if I told you. So I keep that little part of our date hidden. I never lied to you.”
Seiji walked around to look at Yuuto’s face, but the teacher averted his eyes. He sighed and let go.
“Fine, fine. I did promise I’d cosplay with you anyway.” Seiji turned to the store, looking at everything he could. “I don’t mind buying a cosplay, but I thought you’d make mine too.”
Yuuto beamed and hugged Seiji. “And I am gonna. We’re here to buy your wig and accessories.”
“Wig…? Accessories…?” Seiji pressed his lips as he looked around the store once again. “Is that all really necessary?”
“Yeah! So, please, master, show us what we need.”
“Then come this way, please.”
The woman led them to one corner of the store. The shelves in that area where filled with a variety of toy weapons made for cosplay, ranging from spears to laser blades, from crossbows to futuristic firearms, sorted by size. Yuuto raced to the part with swords, picking up a few curved and short blades.
“So I’m really cosplaying a pirate,” Seiji said after both cosplayers handed him the accessories.
On one hand, he held a thin, plastic curved sword with a protection around the handle. On the other hand, he had around a blue pirate hat. Seiji looked at the accessories and then to his boyfriend. Under Yuuto’s eager expression, he sighed and put on the hat.
“Do I look as ridiculous as I feel?” he asked with an empty face.
“Without the rest of cosplay, a little,” Yuuto admitted, trying his best to suppress his smile. “But we’re not done yet. You’re still missing the eye patch.”
“But of course. What was I thinking?” Seiji slapped himself on the forehead, making Yuuto chuckle. “Without the eye path, no one would realize I’m a pirate. And that won’t make any less embarrassing.”
“A cosplayer doesn’t get embarrassed while preparing their art,” Yuuto said, shaking his head.
“Yeah, you’re forgetting that out of the two of us, I’m not the cosplayer. And you got embarrassed all the time when we were painting.”
“That was ‘cause you kept saying and looking at me in a weird way.” Yuuto blushed as he placed the eye patch over his boyfriend’s right eye. “There. Better than I thought.”
“Cosplayers don’t get embarrassed?” Haruno was back with a with a dark blue almost black wig. “But I remember when you started, you got embarrassed all the time, Yuu-chan. It was so cute seeing you all red.”
Yuuto grabbed the wig and Haruno’s hand. “Master, please don’t tell him.”
“So you’re trying to hide something from me, Yuuto.” Seiji shook his head and turned to the woman. “Please, tell me, master!”
“When a such cute younger asks me so earnestly, there’s no way I can refuse,” she said, her smile broadening. “Then let me tell you the beginning of the cosplayer known as Yuuno.”
“Wait, master, that’s—”
“When Yuuto decided to embrace the art of cosplaying, Yuuka brought her to me,” Haruno started, completely ignoring her disciple. “The moment he stepped in here, he was all red. Still, he mustered the courage to ask many things like makeup, sewing and how to make some accessories.”
“Master…” Yuuto begged, but his plea remained ignored.
“At the time, Yuuka didn’t tell me young Yuuto wanted to do female cosplays. You can imagine my surprise when we got to the topic of underwear. He almost fainted out of embarrassment and Yuuka laughed all the time.”
“Don’t remind me…” Yuuto mumbled, his face red.
“He got so embarrassed he became stubborn and said that he didn’t need girl’s underwear since he wasn’t going to show it to anyone. It took some time, but he seemed satisfied when I explained that the cosplayer’s art doesn’t stop where people can’t see. After that, I said if he were to wear female undergarments, he should be a man and go all the way, including garter belts.”
“What?” Seiji turned to Yuuto, who covered his face, beaming. “You never said that. You never wore a garter belt to me. Do you have one?”
Yuuto pressed his lips and looked away, blushing even more.
“Ara, did I say something I shouldn’t?” Haruno asked, putting a hand on her cheek with an innocent expression.
“Seiji! Put this so I can have an image of how you’ll look!” Yuuto the wig on Seiji’s hand, not giving his boyfriend a chance to continue the topic.
“Wait. I still wanna know about that garter belt.”
“I’m not listening.” Yuuto put the fingers in his ears and hummed.
Still beaming, Seiji took the hat for a moment to put the wig. After he adjusted the blue hair, he turned to the pair of cosplayers.
“You can laugh if you want,” he said with an empty expression, taking the blue hair out of his eyes. “I can tell I look ridiculous without the clothes.”
Yuuto tried to hold it, but it was too much. He covered his face, but couldn’t suppress his laughter anymore.
“Thanks for that. I’m doing this for you, and you laugh.”
“I’m sorry, Seiji. But… it’s as you said. Without the rest of the cosplay…” Yuuto laughed too much to keep talking.
“I’m going back home.”
“No, don’t. I’m sorry.” Yuuto stopped laughing and hugged Seiji. With a huge smile, he looked up at the artist. “Thanks for putting up with this for me.”
Seiji blushed and averted his eyes.
“Master!” a high pitch voice spoke. “What are you doing here, master?”
When the couple turned around, they saw a girl with light pink hair tied in a side ponytail and a short boy with brown and messy hair and a shy look on his face.
“Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun!” Yuuto beamed and walked towards them. “It’s been a while.”
“Too long.” The girl smiled back to the cosplayer. “If you’re here, then it means Master Yuuno is creating art, isn’t it?” she asked, eager.
“Yes, but not for me.” Yuuto turned to Seiji with a huge smile. “It’s for my boyfriend.”
The girl stared at the tall painter for a while. “Is he gonna cosplay from My Guardian Persona…?”
Yuuto nodded. “Yes. But keep it a secret for now, okay? I don’t want anyone knowing what I’m cosplaying until the end.”
“Yes, master. Of course. My lips are sealed. But to think Yuuto would be making a cosplay couple… It’s gonna be awesome. It’s for the summer comic market, right? Can’t wait to see. We’ll see each other there.”
“You’re going too?”
“Yes.” Tsukiko-chan turned to the boy with a proud expression. “My boyfriend is also gonna cosplay a My Guardian Persona character.”
Seiji turned to the boy next to her and lowered his head. “Looks like they have us under their control, Taiyou.”
“I’m used to this, senpai,” the boy answered in a polite voice, bowing his head to the man with a tiny smile.
“Wait, you two know each other?” Both Yuuto and Tsukiko-chan asked at the same time.
They exchanged looks for a second.
“Yes, we’ve met last summer,” Taiyou-kun answered.
“Yeah. We suffered, I mean, trained at the same time under a tyrannical tiny devil who calls herself our master,” Seiji said, shaking his head to dismiss the memories. Taiyou-kun nodded with a serious expression.
“How can you say that about Anna-chan?” Yuuto said in disbelief. “She’s such a good and energetic girl.”
“Yuuto, Yuuto, Yuuto. You can say that ‘cause you haven’t met the real monster. She’s a tiny and tyrannical devil who, believe me.”
Again, all Taiyou-kun did was to nod.
“He always says that.” Yuuto sighed and turned back to the girl.
“Taiyou-kun always refuses to tell me what kind of training he went through,” Tsukiko-chan said, eying her boyfriend. “But he never says anything bad about Anna-chan. Almost like he’s afraid she’ll know he badmouthed her.”
Both cosplayers laughed.
“Well, leaving that aside, it looks like we’ll be participating in the same event. Call me if you need any help.”
“Yes, I will, Master. Now that I know that you’re also participating in a couple’s contest, I’ll work extra hard. Maybe we can even combine our cosplays!”
“Who’s that girl?” Seiji asked after Tsukiko-chan and Taiyou-kun left.
“She’s one of my students, a first year. She found the truth about Yuuno last year during a My Guardian Persona event… Ever since then we’ve been friends. I was surprised when she showed up at the school ceremony. She never said anything about applying to Hyouzan.”
“So that’s why, huh,” Seiji mumbled.
“What?” Yuuto tiled his head.
“Nothing, it’s just… Normally you don’t say anything about us… being a couple and all… But then you said I was your boyfriend to the girl without hesitating… I made me happy…”
Seiji showed a tiny smile and Yuuto blushed.
“She… already knew about us… and she won’t say anything, so I trust her.”
“I know, I know. But still makes me happy hearing you say I’m your boyfriend aloud.”
“Shut up…” Yuuto averted his eyes to hide his embarrassment. “Let’s finish this and pay for everything.”
“You wanna go home already?” Seiji pulled the cellphone from the pocket. “It’s still early.”
“I can’t believe you forgot,” Yuuto said, looking at the artist in disbelief.
“A-about what?” The cosplayer’s expression changed so fast it took the painter aback.
Despite them being alone, Yuuto leaned closer so only Seiji could hear. “The love hotel,” he murmured, his cheeks a wild shade of red.
Seiji widened his eyes and smiled. “Master, we liked to buy all this now!”
Yuuto blushed more and laughed.