In which Azul asks (Y/n) to be his dance partner for a PE extra credit class. However, there are a few obstacles.
Firstly, he can't dance. Secondly, he might have a little crush on the prefect.
Requested by anon.
Despite the busy clanking of dishes and chattering of students outside of his office, Azul had been staring at the mirror on his desk for more than half an hour already. A look of desperation was etched onto his face, and his reflection mirrored that expression perfectly. His silence was broken by a wistful sigh that escaped his lips.
"(Y/n), oh dear (Y/n), please..." Azul muttered. "Will you be my partner for Vargas' dancing class?"
The remnants of his voice echoed out into a heavy silence again, only to be broken by uncontrollable laughter by none other than Floyd. His face was contorted into a giant grin as he shifted in his seat across from the desk. "Jade, look! The boss is preparing to propose marriage to Shrimpy," he teased and held his rumbling stomach.
The dormleader tensed in embarrassment when even the usually more composed Jade broke out into amused chuckles. "Well, Azul... I've never seen you so worked up before," Jade remarked and tilted his head to the side. "It's been about an hour you've had us sit here with you... You do know that chaos is happening outside right now?"
Azul jumped to his feet and slammed his fists onto the table. The act of desperation caught the twins off-guard. "That's because this is a dire emergency! I'm about to flunk PE— and the only way I can salvage my grades is by participating in this dancing class for extra credit."
"Oh— dancing is so much fun!" Floyd chimed in excitement. "Although... I can't imagine you dancing, boss. That would be a strange image in my head."
Exactly then, the desperation on Azul's face increases tenfold. "That's the issue: I can't dance at all! I'm as clumsy as Kalim in a porcelain shop in this human form. You don't want to see me dance, really. It's pure embarrassment."
Jade hummed in acknowledgement. "And you have heard of the prefect's dancing skills, so you wish to ask for—"
"Yes. That's the gist of it."
"But..." Floyd trailed off, "don't you have a crush on—"
"Shut your mouth, eel!" Azul shouted at the top of his lungs and shot Floyd the angriest glare he had ever mustered.
A knowing grin appeared on Jade's face. "Well, look at it more positively, Azul. That's two birds with one stone, eh? Just make sure to not embarrass yourself too much in front of the prefect."
To that, Azul opened his mouth, only to close it again without having uttered a word. His pale cheeks had warmed up considerably, leaving a soft redness on his face.
"Don't worry, boss. We'll cheer you on! Now go and catch your fish!"
And without being allowed to protest whatsoever, Azul was pushed out of his office by none other than the twins. With each eel holding his arm, he was — against his will, might I add — guided out of the Mostro Lounge and towards wherever they suspected to find you.
They struck gold when they found you alone in the library, hunched over a thick book with yellow pages. Without any warning, the eels pushed their leader out from behind the bookshelves.
The yelp that escaped Azul's lips caught your attention, and your eyes flitted up to meet his nervous ones. After having gulped down his anxiety, he stepped forward and shot you a small smile. "(Y/n)? C-Could I talk to you for a moment?" he asked carefully.
"Oh Azul, yes of course." You pushed the dusty book away from you and turned your whole attention to him. Once you had done so, you noticed the way his anxious eyes darted from one place to another. You furrowed your eyebrows in concern. "Hey, you look really pale... Are you alright? Did Floyd get you in trouble again?"
"No, no... That's not it," Azul said, chuckling softly. Then, he took a deep breath and summoned all his courage. "I'm sorry if this sounds like a strange request, but please hear me out. Perhaps you might have caught wind of my lesser prowess in flying classes—"
Your lips quirked up into a grin. "Yeah, I saw you dangling from your broom the other day. I was really concerned for a second."
His courage slipped down the drain as quickly as it had appeared. The smile on his lips wavered, but he caught himself just in time. "Well, then you get how dire my situation is," he continued with a twinge of desperation to his tone. "If I don't improve my grades through a bonus class, I'll fail PE... So, there's this dancing class next week that will give a boost to my grades. I wanted to ask if you'd like to be my dancing partner. I've seen you dance a few times when you worked at the Mostro Lounge— when you thought that nobody was looking."
"I've never seen you so nervous before, Azul." You quirked an eyebrow in surprise.
"Please," he muttered and clasped his hands together. "I'm really in a pinch here, (Y/n)."
Much to his relief, your surprise soon morphed into a smile of delight. "Of course, I'd love to be your dancing partner! This will be so much fun." An excited sigh escaped your lips. "Do you know how to waltz? I think that will be the main focus of the dancing class."
A nervous chuckle escaped his lips at that. "Floyd tried to teach me, but he said I'm a hopeless case." He bashfully rubbed his neck. "I had to buy him new shoes after our lessons."
"I'm sure you can't be that bad, Azul..."
"That's kind of you to say, but don't underestimate my clumsiness with these legs."
And really, you had underestimated his inability to dance. The consequences would haunt you after weeks of dancing classes and the final examination. As you lounged in the Ramshackle living room after everything was said and done, you let out a heavenly sigh as you submerged your aching feet in a bucket of ice cubes.
Grim, who had dumped a fresh batch of ice into your bucket, shot you a questioning look. "Do you need more ice for your feet, henchhuman?"
"That should be enough, Grim... Thank you," you said gratefully and patted the empty couch space next to you.
Without wasting any time, he did as you asked and happily curled up beside you. "So, did you pass that dancing class?" he asked curiously while drifting off to sleep.
You hummed proudly. "We did! But... my feet paid the price." A sheepish chuckle escaped your lips as you moved your aching feet. Although the pain had already subsided, you winced when you noticed how swollen they looked. "Azul really stomped on my feet more than a dozen times."
"I don't get why you were so keen on helping him out," Grim scoffed and forced one eye open. "What has he ever done for you?"
"He was just so adorable when he asked me to be his dancing partner... I couldn't say no."
That was when the cat monster's eyes shot open in what looked like horror. At once, he bolted to his feet and launched himself at you. "No, don't tell me—" he wailed out and grabbed you by your collar to shake you back and forth.
An airy giggle escaped your lips, only reaffirming the cat's suspicions. "Hehe, yes... Azul is really adorable. What is there not to love about him?"
A Magical Homecoming | Leona Kingscholar
Word Count: ~5.6k
Summary: At NRC's first ever homecoming you ask Leona Kingscholar to dance, but he declines. Then something happens, and Leona comes to regret his decision...
Warnings/Notices: Spoilers go up to Book 3-4ish. The prefect is assumed to have attended public school in their world for the purpose of this fic.
Author's Notes: This video inspires the scene towards end of the fic. I personally recommend watching it after reading it to avoid spoilers (there are no words for how much I love this scene by the way, it gets me in my feels every time).
This fic has been in my drafts for awhile and it has an admittedly clunky start, but I really like the ending! Gotta love a little jealousy trope now and again, and Leona's just perfect for a prompt like this.
Much love, and I hope you enjoy ♡
During big events at NRC, students were usually required to wear those ceremonial robes without sash nor sleeve out of place.
Crowley must have felt different about this one, though, because you were given the ‘OK’ to dress however you wanted—an implicit cue for all the students and staff to dress as fancy as they could, then gather into the event hall for an evening of mingling, music and dancing.
According to rumors, Crowley had implemented the school dance to encourage the student body in their upcoming competitions against the rival school, RSA. What had actually happened, though, was that the headmaster overheard you telling Grim about the homecoming dances from your world and got a little too excited about the concept.
To make the matter more appropriate, the RSA staff had recently challenged NRC to a 'friendly game of Spelldrive', and the headmage was willing to do anything to keep the school morale up. He introduced the dance to the school in his 'benevolence', acting as some sort of cultural icon for bringing such an obnoxious tradition to Twisted Wonderland.
You were in an entirely new world and still couldn’t escape all that public school nonsense, huh? Woe is you.
Nevertheless, many of your friends were over the moon about the concept, Cater especially. You weren’t in a financial position to purchase something to wear for the evening, but the charismatic junior was itching for a chance to shop with you again, and he’d generously insisted on helping purchase your outfit plus a fancy collar for Grim. Now that, Crowley, was benevolence at his finest.
So here you were, dressed to the nines with the approval of Cater’s artistic eye. You’d never dressed so fancy in front of your peers before, so even as the dance was just beginning you got swarmed with compliments, and you gave just as many as you got.
Ace, Grim and Deuce got to dance with you first—nothing like a fancy waltz, but instead the same overplayed pop tunes you’d expect to hear at a dance in your world. Both boys had grabbed your hand at one point and pulled you into a goofy version of a ballroom dance, and Grim had the honor of clinging to your back throughout it all, finding his height to be a bit problematic amidst the dancing crowd.
The songs got less silly though, and were eventually replaced with more formal and pretentious tunes that less people were ready to dance to. Thus came the mingling part of the evening—you talked with nearly all your friends in Heartslabyul before making your way to the snack bar. You weren't surprised to see Ruggie there, even less surprised to see him sneaking food into his pockets.
He grinned as he caught your eye, cheekily slipping some plastic-covered desserts into the inside of his jacket. “Fancy seeing you here, Prefect,” he remarked, then took in your outfit. “Cater?”
“It screams him, doesn’t it?” You laughed, spinning around to show off the outfit in full. “He took me shopping and—despite my insistence—purchased it. I was just planning on showing up in my uniform. I’m too broke to afford something like this.”
“You and me both. This is a loan from Leona,” Ruggie replied wryly. “Makes for plenty of pocket space. You want a snack while there’s anything left?”
You smiled and selected a snack and a glass of punch. Ruggie snuck some more food in his pocket before doing the same, except he kept his snack on one of the cheap plastic plates and didn't bite into it. You caught on to his actions and gave him a disapproving look.
“You’re still doing favors for Leona at a dance? Don’t you get a day off?”
“What’re you fussing over me for, you weirdo? Shyeheehee… you don’t need to worry about me. Everyone else is going to come out of this dance with cringy memories and sore feet, meanwhile I’ll come out of it with profit and snacks.” He gently patted his pockets for reference. “I’m not willing to share my wages, but I’ll share my company if you want. Sure it’s a good idea for you to hang around here alone?”
His ear twitched and head tilted as he glanced around the room. Ace, Deuce and Grim had found themselves in a circle with some of the other first years, and your other Heartslabyul friends seemed to have scattered back into the crowd. You look back at Ruggie, who had that look of mischievous amusement on his face.
“Don’t take this as me fussing over you or anything, but you do get into fights… a lot," He snickered. "Since we're friends, I won't even charge you for my protection. I'm off to deliver this snack to Leona, you coming?"
He walked off without waiting for an answer, and you trotted after him, making sure he saw the dramatic pout on your face.
"I don't go looking for trouble you know," you defend yourself.
"You don't," He agrees. "But you are a magicless student in a school full of mages, and you're not the best at laying low."
"Are you implying that I make myself a target?"
"You're a fun one for sure," He teased, and you playfully shove his shoulder.
Ruggie led you fairly far away from the dance floor--to the very corner of the hall, in fact, which was lined with chairs but had very few people occupying the seats. Draped across several of them was Leona, one arm behind his head as a pillow and the other draped tamely on his stomach.
He was beautiful.
Ruggie gives you a cheeky look out of the corner of his eye; it was only natural he’d be aware of your affinity for Leona, after all, you'd frequently offer to help him with tasks just to visit the sleepy housewarden.
The hyena muttered a joke about you giving Leona a 'true loves kiss' to wake him, which wasn’t well-received by you. Amused, Ruggie walked up and gave Leona a restrained whack on the shoulder.
"Food's here, Leona-San."
Leona groaned. Ruggie scowled and whacked him again.
"Why'd you even come to this thing if you're just gonna sleep here in the corner?"
"Grrr... because Crowley expects all the housewardens in attendance, and it's only a matter of time until he sends his minions after me..."
The prince finally peeked his eyes open, and immediately they landed on you. He smirked.
"Speaking of minions..." He remarked. "Good to see you, Prefect. Where's your pet?"
"Grim?" You asked dumbly, as if you had multiple. "Oh... with Ace, Deuce, Epel, all of them. I ditched the whole group, apparently."
"Atta prefect," He drawled. "You should do that more. This dumb party blows."
"This dumb party is my fault, so be nice," you crossed your arms in pretend offense. Leona raised his eyebrows.
"You mean you're the reason I got dragged out of bed to dress like this?"
His outfit wasn't out of the ordinary, honestly--he had on neither jacket nor necktie, and his pants were obviously the ones from the NRC uniform. He had on a simple black dress shirt, though, and a black vest adorned with heavy gold patterns. He had his usual jewelry--at least, the jewelry he wore with the Savanaclaw uniform--on his wrists and neck.
You nodded. He rolled his eyes.
"Whatever. I'm sure Crowley's the real one to blame for this."
"There ya go, being all soft on the Prefect again," Ruggie teased. Leona shot him a look. "I'm gonna go back to the snack table incase they set more stuff out. Good luck with things, Prefect."
He saluted and walked off. You recalled him offering his company and protection just a few minutes ago and snorted.
"You're really lucky to have him, you know," you murmured fondly as you watched Ruggie engage with the snack table once more. Leona shot you a look.
"He's a sweetheart."
You snorted at his grumpy expression. "He is! He's such a sweet guy. He does a lot of good for you."
"He..." Leona pointed at Ruggie. "...is about as sweet as acid. He does ‘good’ because it's mutually beneficial—you’re the only one I know who'd coddle someone with gifts and favors just because."
"I wouldn't coddle just anyone," you defended as you took the seat next to him. "Only Ace, Deuce, Grim, and my favorite people from your dorm... Oh! And Kalim and Jamil. Well, I guess I would do it for Epel too, and Ortho and Idia..."
You laughed again. "I'm not a pushover at least! I'm aware of the resources I have, it’s not like I overexert myself—I just like to share with people I like, be it time, gifts, effort or compliments. They're love languages."
He gave you a dry look—one that called into question your decision to talk to him about love languages of all things—but rather than mock you he just sighed and ruffled your hair.
"You're a special one, I'll give you that," he remarked. "Hey, move over or else I'm going to use your lap as a pillow."
"My lap is always available for my favorite prince, my liege," you giggled, and he waited until his head was comfortably settled in your lap to give you a look. His hands folded over his stomach and he closed his eyes, and after a feeble attempt to resist you ended up running your fingers through his hair. His ears twitched at first, but the only sound that left his lips was a relaxed sigh.
After a few minutes you were sure he'd fallen asleep. You'd much rather sit here with him than partake in the awkward dancing, you decided. Here, the music was at its quietest--it gave you a chance to recover from the headache it gave you earlier, and the lack of glittering and glowing decor was also a pleasant change. The party was fun, but Leona was better.
Besides, here he was entirely available for you to admire. His outfit looked amazing on him, and his relaxed expression was incredibly endearing, not to mention his hair... He was attractive, no doubt about it, and with him in the middle of his nap you could look at him for more than two seconds without him teasing you about it. Dreamy.
You found out he was awake when you stopped playing with his hair to wave at your friend across the room. His eyebrow twitched. "What do you think you're doing, herbivore?"
"Huh? You're not asleep?"
"How could I be, with you petting me like that?" He had the audacity to make a face at you. "You're really brave to be doing that, aren't you?"
"Oh..." You held your hands awkwardly in the air, looking for a place to put them that wasn't entirely bizarre. "Sorry."
"I didn't tell you to stop," He added, closing his eyes again. That gave you the courage to tease him.
"But what about your nap?"
"I was enjoying myself. Make your decision now though, herbivore, because if I do fall asleep I'm not fond of being woken."
You laughed. "Don't I know that. You scary, scary lion."
His eyes closed again, but this time the conversation continued--he asked you lazy questions and hummed as you gave long answers, him knowing exactly where to pry in order for you to reveal your best stories. You told him about your recent adventures and shenanigans, plus silly stories about you and the other first years.
As the night continued on you were still enjoying yourself, and the music matched up to your mood. By now it had morphed entirely from pop tunes into extravagant waltzes, fanciful music with highs and lows that cast bursts of magic and energy into the air. It was as close to a 'slow dance' moment you'd expected from the night, and since Leona was clearly still awake, it got you thinking.
"Hey, on a scale of willing to do something with me to entirely exhausted, how sleepy are you?" You ask. Leona hums.
"Depends on what we're doing."
"Want to dance with me?"
He went quiet--not just a pause, but long enough that you think he might have fallen asleep. After a moment, you tried your luck again. "Leona-"
The disappointment in your voice was obvious, but you didn't pester him about it. You continued to play with his hair and listen to the music, and right after the next song began you were approached by two figures, one with a bubbly bounce in his step.
"Prefect! Look at you!" Kalim gushed as he ran over, Jamil slowly behind. The housewarden reached over Leona's head to grab your hands, holding them in the air and stepping back a bit to look you up and down. "You look amazing!"
"Hey, screech owl," said Leona, peeking an eye open. "Care to take it down a few hundred decibels?"
"Oh, were you asleep? Sorry Leona-San," Kalim laughed, and then continued to fawn over you, not deterred one bit. "This color suits you so well--I have some stuff in this color that I'd be happy to give you! You need to come back to Scarabia sometime, it's been forever since you stayed with us, and we always have a free room for you and Gri-"
Jamil cut him off with a hand on his shoulder. "Kalim, back up. You're being a disturbance."
Anyone else might have found Jamil's words to be hurtful, crushing even, but Kalim was hardly affected. He did, however, release his grasp on your hands. “Oops, sorry."
"You look amazing, Kalim. You too, Jamil," You added, giving them both a grin that matched Kalim’s enthusiasm. Kalim was decked out in white with tasteful gold decor, and Jamil donned a dark red suit over a black shirt, his sleek hair threaded with gold as usual. Truly, that duo always looked amazing.
"Thanks," Kalim grinned. He sat at the free space next to you, causing Jamil to roll his eyes and sigh. Unlike the housewarden, he stood stiffly, arms crossed as he analyzed the situation and recognized the futility of getting Kalim to tone things down.
It was, after all, a party. That was where Kalim shone brightest.
"Hey you," you waved at Jamil, who gave you a reserved look. "Stop being responsible and go enjoy yourself. You look too nice to not be dancing or relaxing or doing whatever it is Jamil Viper wants to do. I’ll steal Kalim in the meantime.”
"You know I can’t let you do that."
"Relax friend," you reply to him, gently patting Kalim's shoulder for emphasis. "I've got your housewarden all safe and sound right here. He'll be in my TLC until you return. I deal with Ace, Grim and Deuce all day--I'm more than capable."
"TLC?" Kalim asked obliviously.
"Tender loving care," Jamil clarified, giving you a stern look. Kalim let out a little ‘awe’ and joined you in your nagging.
"You heard the Prefect! Go have fun!"
Jamil's eye twitched. "Right. Then I can return to you in a coma and this one... who knows what trouble you'll get into, Prefect," he sighed, but eventually gave in. "I'll be back soon, Kalim, so don't leave. Thank you for your unnecessary concern, Prefect." He added, before turning and walking away. You didn't miss the calm smile that graced his lips before he was completely out of sight.
"You look great tonight too, Leona-San!" Kalim said pleasantly as you watched Jamil go. He eyed your fingers in the prince's hair in fascination—impressed that Leona was letting you near him at all, probably.
"Can't you tell I'm napping?" Leona replied, eyes still closed. His tone was completely different from when he was talking with you--he spoke grumpily and tiredly, that same tone he used when he spoke about Cheka.
"Oops. Sorry." Kalim hushed, but it didn't last long. In a matter of seconds he was bubbly and chatty again. "You guys really do look good, though. Cater posted your outfit on magicam, Prefect, but it doesn't hold a candle to seeing you in person. Did you dance yet? I bet you shone on the dance floor."
You laughed at his rapid-fire compliments. "I danced a little with Ace and Deuce, but I’m not so sure you could call that dancing. I’ve been a bit awkward on my feet today..."
Leona smirked at that. "That wasn't the impression you gave when you invited me," he commented smugly, eyes still closed.
"Awe, you guys danced?" asked Kalim. "That's great! I bet everyone's been fighting for the chance to dance with you guys. Since you're not taken for now, Prefect, would you like to dance with me next?"
The question caught you off guard. You had wanted to dance with Leona... but he rejected your offer, and even if it wasn't with him, a part of you still really wanted to dance, at least to one song.
"You know I have limited dancing skills, right?" You said hesitantly. "With your skill level I'd slow you down."
"Dances like these are meant to be slow," Kalim replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "It's really easy, you can follow my lead. Besides, it's much more fun dancing with someone than dancing alone."
You hesitate again. In any other context you'd jump at the offer--Kalim was just too friendly to pass up--but now you had a lion on your lap. Instead of immediately addressing Kalim, you affectionately combed through Leona's hair and spoke to him in your sweetest voice.
"Leonaaa? I know I've been your pillow for a bit, but would you mind letting me up?"
The sweetness didn't work. If the bitter expression on his face wasn't enough of an indication, his voice certainly gave away his distaste.
"Don't feel like it."
"Please? I can be back soon if you want."
“Who says you’re not taken anyways?” He continued. “You can’t be my so-called pillow and go dancing with the little herbivore friend you invited over here. Haven’t you thought this through at all?” He complained.
“I just want to dance for at least one song…”
“You could’ve done that earlier. You said you did.”
“Well, I want a partner dance, I mean,” you clarify. “Like… like what everyone else has started doing, waltzes and all that. You were the only one I had asked for that…” You admitted, combing distractedly though his hair with your fingers.
He was silent for another moment, and then finally, "I told you, once I fall asleep, I don't like to be woken up. If you're planning on getting up then don't plan to come back."
His words were cold, and it felt like a rejection all over again. You glance at Kalim who—thankfully—paid no mind to the conversation, and instead was watching the dancing crowd with a wondrous look.
"Sorry," you mumbled to Leona. The sweetness in your tone involuntarily disappeared. "Would you please sit up a little?"
He did, but it was the only thing he did outside of ignoring you completely. Instead of bidding you goodbye as you got up, he curled to face the wall and used his arm as a pillow instead.
You didn’t get to dwell on it before Kalim had pulled you closer to the music, grinning excitedly at you and giving you a little bow before holding his hand out. “Are you ready?”
“Um, I'm really not sure how to dance to songs like these..."
"No worries, I can show you!"
"Are you sure? I might accidentally trip you or something."
"You won't," he promised, and then extended his hand to you again. "Do you trust me?"
Do you trust me?
You still really wanted to dance with Leona--it was only natural to want to dance with the guy you liked--but if he wouldn't, Kalim wasn't a bad alternative. Whereas Leona might have been impatient with your clumsy dancing, you knew for a fact Kalim was an excellent dancer and also extremely sweet. At least this way you wouldn’t have to feel ashamed about your amateur-hour moves.
Not that ashamed, anyways.
"...I do," you decide, putting your hand in his. Kalim grinned and showed you where to place your hands, holding one in his own and lightly placing his free hand on your back. The next song started at just the right moment, and slowly he began to guide your shy feet into a simple, engaging dance.
For the first song you kept your your gaze on the floor, watching your feet move along with his. He complimented your concentration and asked if you were interested in dancing more, and by that point you were feeling confident enough to look him in the eye and chat as you danced around the room.
It was silly, really—the two of you together were full of laughter and lighthearted stories. Your conversation carried into another dance, then another, until eventually you and he joined some of your other friends.
At the end of the party, when everyone started to head back to their dorms, you noticed Leona still laying in that corner of the gym and felt a little bad for leaving him there—then again, he’d pretty much told you not to come back to him, right? You at least decided to go wake him, but Ruggie beat you to it and Grim was demanding your attention anyways.
That concluded the night. You found out later Crowley had crowned himself homecoming king (which wasn't really how that worked, but you guess no one else would've known anyways) and even after, you got filled in on the stories from your friends' evening that you'd missed.
It had been a wonderful night, both the time spent with Leona and the time without. For the first time ever, you were looking forward to another homecoming.
Leona had liked you for a long time.
He wasn't sure when it started, but he wasn't dumb enough to ignore it either. He knew he wanted to confess to you, and he was pretty sure you had some sort of feelings for him as well, but waiting for the right moment was something he did best. Even if he wasn't the most patient by nature, when it came to strategizing for what he wanted suddenly he could wait years without taking another step forward. It was all about making the right move at the right time.
Not just laziness, though perhaps that also played a part.
Then there came competition, and suddenly, Leona wasn't so patient anymore. His confession had a deadline, and he had no way of knowing when that deadline was, only that his choice to not dance with you had sped it forward. He was almost in a panic when he saw you walking with Kalim in the hall that Monday, and his day got even worse when Ruggie offhandedly reported seeing you and the Scarabia housewarden eating together at lunch.
He needed a plan. Well-crafted, yes, but fast.
"Another sleepover in Savanaclaw?" You asked, brows knit together as you processed Leona's offer the following day. "I thought you hated it when I was there."
"Well sure, it was a huge inconvenience when you were there because of that cephalo-punk," Leona confessed, rubbing his temple as he recalled that particular catastrophe. "And the yowling you and Grim did... you're very lucky I had other reasons for helping you out, I was ready to feed you to the wolves."
You grinned at that. "And that reason was because you adore me, don't you? I mean, I can't blame you. There's no way you didn't fall for me after my performance on the Spelldrive field."
He laughed. "You mean when you got knocked out?"
"They say people look peaceful in their sleep, I bet you saw me in the nurse's office and thought I looked like an angel."
You were right about that... but you didn't need to know that.
"Anyways, about your offer," you said, getting back to the point. "I do love spending time with you and the others... but Savanaclaw is sooo hot. Do you want to camp at Ramshackle instead? There's less people there, so you could nap without interruption, plus there's tons of space and, most importantly, it's not hot enough to make me evaporate."
The offer was tempting. A chance to sleep at Ramshackle? Gosh, he hoped this plan worked--hoped this wouldn't be the last time you extended the offer--but for the moment, he couldn't stray from his plan. "I'm sure. I'm hot myself and you seem to handle me just fine, so come over. I'll be waiting."
The smile that grew on your face was breathtaking. Literally--the way it slowly grew as you processed his flirting, followed by the subtle lip bite as you tried to hide your amusement--everything you did, it made his breath catch in his throat.
"Cute." You said. "I guess that convinced me. Does the offer extend to Grim?"
"I'll head over once he's settled for the night then," you said. "I'm looking forward to it, Leona, I'll see you tonight."
That concluded that part of the plan. Leona's next step was much more exhausting.
At least he wasn't doing it alone. No, he was way too clever to subject himself to all that work.
"Why on earth do I have to help you get a date?" Ruggie complained, stringing fairy lights through the lounge while Leona lazily tidied up. "You should've just danced with the Prefect during that weird party-"
Leona growled. "You're welcome to call it quits then, runt. You know you're not helping me out of the goodness of your heart."
"I might‘ve for the Prefect, but you still owe me for bringing them over to you during the dance,” Ruggie snickered. “I’ve done my part, financial compensation is more than an expectation as this point.”
“Yeah yeah, whatever. Move those chairs, would you? I’m going to make sure no one’s gonna interrupt us tonight,” Leona decided, only to be met with an ‘oooooh’ from Ruggie. That bratty hyena…
Leona had messaged you a little while ago telling you to meet him in the Savanaclaw lounge, as opposed to his dorm room like you expected. When you arrived, the sky was already beginning to grow dark—the lounge’s pool was lit up, and fairy lights were strung around the tents and tables. A huge space was cleared at the center of the lounge, and there Leona stood in the same attire from homecoming night, except his hair was now pulled back all neat and tidy. In layman's terms, he was stunning.
He grinned at your reaction, looking all too pleased with himself.
“You like it?”
“I feel like I’m walking into a dream…” you murmured as you approached him, even pinching yourself to confirm. “This is… wow, what is this? Did you like the homecoming party that much that you wanted to throw another one?”
“I didn’t like the party so much, no,” Leona replied candidly. “What I did like, however, was you.”
The way you reacted was all the proof he needed to know his plan had worked. This was perfect. That'll show that stupid screech owl--no one is going to take you away from him, that was for sure. After taking a moment to soak in your adorable reaction, he got closer to you and offered a hand.
"I made the mistake of rejecting a dance with you a few nights ago," he said. "I'm fixing that mistake now. Do you accept?"
You shake yourself out of your flustered state, and shoot him one of your more coy looks. "Do you have music?"
He laughed. "I suppose you're expecting me to say something like, 'the only music we'll need is the music in my heart', right?"
"From you? I was actually expecting you to either insult my hearing or my intelligence," you tease, slipping your hand into his. "But that very princely line of yours will do nicely too."
"No. My heart has many things to say to you--later--but it doesn't sing."
You don't know if it was the halfhearted scowl on his face or just your joy in the moment, but you laughed. Leona pulled one hand away to signal across the room (it seemed Ruggie was also in attendance, well hidden on one of the chairs across the lounge), and suddenly music started to pour from a set of speakers. It wasn't too loud--you assumed that was to avoid disturbing the rest of the dorm, but it was loud enough to coax your feet into dancing.
"Hey," you said as Leona pulled you into a waltz. After dancing with Kalim, you matched his steps easily. "Where is everyone else? Only Jack should be in bed at an hour like this, right? Well, Jack and you."
"Perks of being a housewarden," he replied simply. "I don't mind an audience, but I'd rather have you all to myself for now."
"Got paid to be here, so I'm sure he's counting bills rather than watching us," Leona grinned.
He pulled you around the lounge, dancing and twirling. You supposed it should come as no surprise that he was light on his feet--he may be effort averse, but he was still good at everything he did.
You didn't expect him to dance with you for more than one song. He was 'fixing his mistake', right? By the time the second song started to play, though, he hadn't let you go, and that didn't change for the third, forth, or fifth song either... and you weren't sure how it happened, but at some point, he'd gotten close enough to you that he could whisper the song lyrics in your ear, close enough that you could rest your head on his chest, close enough that your dancing feet faded out of focus, until the only thing you could focus on was you and him and how close his lips were, which went way beyond his intention of 'fixing his mistake'.
You'd figured out by this point that this was no platonic gesture. The mere thought had your heart pounding in your ears from the second he took your hand in his. He seemed just as lost in the moment as you, and had it not been for Ruggie, you were sure that neither of you would have called the moment to an end.
"Sorry guys," the hyena said in an unapologetic tone. "Lots of Savanaclaw members have sensitive hearing, and it's getting to be pretty late. I'm sure you guys have naps to take and conversations to have anyways, so..." He offered a dismissive wave, turning off the speakers and heading to his room. "G'night."
Leona scowled, still holding your hand in his as if he were unconsciously waiting for the music to start up again. When he didn't, he slowly released you, taking a small step back.
The sound of a door closing signaled Ruggie had left the room, and Leona took another long moment to speak up. "...if this wasn't clear, this isn't just about that night. The dance. You won't need a dancing partner again... the only person you'll need is me. Just me. I'll be your partner from here on out, alright?"
You couldn't tell if he was being grumpy out of flusteredness or if he was just being blunt, but you did want to tease him either way. "My partner?"
"Not just for dancing."
You grinned. "So like, an in-love-with-me partner."
He must have just been being blunt. Rather than acting embarrassed, he just returned your grin. "That would be correct, Prefect."
He held your hand, pulling you closer, whispering in your ear just as he had with the lyrics of the song.
"I'm in love with you."
...couldn't be more blunt than that, could it?
You throw your arms around him, braving a kiss to his cheek followed by a whisper of your own. "I'm happy to hear that, because I'm in love with you too!"
"I would hope so. I put in a lot of work making Ruggie do all this."
"Oh, did you?"
"I did. It was exhasting... to watch."
You laughed. "You really don't deserve him. He's more than just a sweetheart at this point--he's a saint."
"Like I said, I paid him," Leona replied. "And anyways, give me some credit. I was the brains behind the operation--there's no way I was going to fall short after you chose to dance with the screech owl."
"Is that your name for Kalim? How sweet of you to give him his own nickname!" You teased. He rolled his eyes, groaning under his breath.
"Not the point, Prefect."
"Maybe not. Doesn't matter--you were the one I asked to dance that night. You would still have been the only person I'd want to ask. Kalim's a great friend, but you're much more--I think you knew that, given I let you sleep in my lap."
"Mm... yeah," Leona yawned. "Can we do that again now? All this dancing made me tired."
"Sleep in my lap?" You pretended to mull it over.
"Meh. Just nap with me. C'mon." He threaded his fingers through yours, pulling you in the direction of his room. You smiled and followed after him.
"Sounds like a plan, my liege."