Translated by Mojo of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
As the year entered into June, preparations for the school festival held at the end of the month progressed at full speed. All of a sudden, the school was surrounded in an atmosphere which brimmed with excitement.
This was an annual event so Masazumi was somewhat used to it, although getting too immersed in his work and forgetting to take his medicine was one of his main concerns. Even if he forgot to take it, the majority of the student body were betas, who didn’t feel the effects of his pheromones. So there wasn’t a substantial problem. The exception was the alpha in his class who was two years his senior, Kase.
This year he was being cooperative with the school festival. Masazumi’s older brother Takanori might be attending as a visitor, and Takanori had said that he wanted to meet him if he did. Apparently, he didn’t mean it as a joke. The instant the preparations for the school festival had started, he began to show his face in the classroom every day.
Naturally, Masazumi tried to keep Kase at a distance, but Kase always called out to him sociably saying things like:
“Nirei, do you have a minute?”
“Nirei, what do you think?”
On the day of the festival Masazumi’s class were performing dances and songs taken from a musical which had been famous a few years ago. When he was requested to be on stage, as always he gave his weak condition as a reason and was reassigned backstage. If he performed, then he would be seen by a large number of people and that was the thing he wanted to avoid most of all. He was put in the group in charge of making the sets and props.
Masazumi’s role was to oversee the general progress of the group and to make costumes which he would manage on the day of the performance.
Three days before the festival, when the costume creation was entering its final stages, everyone was excessively busy. Since many people were talking to him about how the work would be finished, he had little time to worry needlessly about himself.
Suddenly remembering his medicine, he looked at his watch. Unfortunately, it was less than an hour before he was supposed to take it. He hurriedly put down the clothing that he had been sewing buttons onto, and left the workstation. Kase was… Masazumi looked around but luckily he was nowhere to be seen. Kase was part of the team in charge of large props, so he was probably hurrying to finish working in the room their class had borrowed for construction. Plagued by his anxious feelings, Masazumi decided to leave the classroom while he still could.
As soon as he opened the door and stepped out into the hallway, he came dangerously close to bumping into the man who was now right in front of him. A young man in work clothes– it was Miyake. They met again for the first time in a while, the first time since they had spoken briefly on the pathway. It looked as if he had some kind of errand in the classroom, and was trying to enter.
Miyake had also been surprised by this abrupt encounter and inhaled sharply, a muted noise escaping his mouth.
Having to stop so suddenly, Masazumi stumbled and fell forward. Miyake caught him on his chest without hesitation. He felt the man’s well built muscles and body which didn’t flinch as he caught him. After quickly helping him to stand, Miyake moved away.
They had never been this close before. Masazumi looked up at the face which was ten centimetres above his own, and apologised. Miyake looked down and for the first time, his face was clearly visible. He had better features than Masazumi had imagined, it was a refreshing appearance. Unconsciously his heart skipped a beat. Until now it had been hidden with his cap, and he had never thought he would be this close to his intellectual and masculine face.
“…Excuse me… Miyake-san.” He was so embarrassed, that although he didn’t intend to, he made a point of saying Miyake’s name out loud. He was so captivated having seen his face from up close, that his mind went black and his train of thought came to a halt.
A slightly sweet citrus smell floated through the air and tickled his nose. At first it was faint, but breathing in again, his sense of smell activated and it smelt so good that Masazumi felt a little drunk. Although Miyake didn’t look like the sort of person to wear perfume.
Miyake seemed considerably bewildered. Particularly at the point when Masazumi had called his name, since he had no idea he was recognised by him. Upon hearing his name, his eyes grew wide. He wondered if the fleeting second of embarrassment he saw in those cool, intelligent eyes was his imagination or not. He quickly put his hand to his cap, lowering it over his face so his expression wouldn’t be so visible.
“Did you have something to do in this classroom?” For some reason it felt as if it would be hard to leave like this, so Masazumi continued on with a conversation like an honor student would. He had to quickly go and drink his medicine, was what the warning bells in his head were saying. But he just didn’t feel like leaving this spot. He wanted to try talking to Miyake once, since his interest in him had grown.
In some faraway part of his body, there was an ache of numbness. His heartbeat grew faster. Though nothing like this had ever happened before, he thought that this strangeness must be some new symptom since he hadn’t taken his medicine at the usual time.
Miyake had no way of knowing about the circumstances he was in, Masazumi thought to himself camly. If Miyake was an alpha, he would be agitated, smelling those pheromones specially produced by omegas. This was no big deal, as he was certain Miyake was not an alpha.
“I’m going around all the rooms to check on the fire safety equipment.” His face still turned in order to hide his expression, Miyake made a pleasant sounding response. Graceful and calm, a slightly low tenor, which reverberated in Masazumi’s stomach. It had been the same when he heard it before. His hair stood on end as he relished the almost electrical sensation. To even the slightest stimulation, his body would react, and he was struggling to keep his cool.
“Is that so? Thank you for your hard work.” He was fine with just a single response from Miyake so he cut the conversation off quickly. If he persistently chatted with him and came off as annoying he would feel miserable. He remembered that he was just going to drink his medicine. Graciously letting Miyake pass, he tried to slip out one side. At that moment the air was stirred, and Miyake’s sweet scent stood out for a second. Masazumi felt dizzy as if he were drunk.
Thump, his heart began beating as thought he were having some kind of cardiac attack.
“…!” Without thinking about it he slouched forward as if to protect his chest from the sudden spasm, experiencing a pain and a difficulty of breathing worse than anything he had ever felt.
What was this excessive reaction?
Unmistakably, he had calculated his heat as being at the end of the week, so no matter how he looked at it this reaction was too early to be his heat.
As the power from his knees gave out and he was collapsing to the ground, Miyake supported him with his strong arms and clutched him to his chest. Despite the situation, Masazumi had a faint realisation that Miyake knew his name. He seemed intelligent so maybe he remembered all the names and faces of the students. If that was the case, it would be incredible.
He was thankful for being helped to stand, but sticking together with someone like this his palpitations were becoming more severe, his body temperature felt high and his breathing was laboured. If he could just go somewhere without prying eyes and take his medicine, although that usually tended to worsen his symptoms.
He pressed the back of his palm to his forehead which was now dripping with sweat. Strength returned to his legs and he stood up by himself, “I’m sorry, I just felt a little dizzy.”
“You look pale, let me take you to the nurse’s office.”
“No, I’m fine.” Though he was happy it was an unwelcome favor. He wanted to be alone as quickly as possible, he had used up his remaining time. After he bluntly refused Miyake, the grasp around him weakened and he slipped away from the embrace, stumbling slightly.
With unstable steps, he walked down the hallway with the support of the wall. He could feel eyes on him but he didn’t turn around. Construction work had been banned in the hallways, and every class was finishing up their preparations. Nobody was gathered in the hallway so he wouldn’t be spoken to. For that, he was thankful.
His abnormal symptoms which made him feel like he was having a heart attack, luckily calmed a little bit after he separated from Miyake.
It seemed like there was no need for him to be taken to the nurse’s office. At the drinking fountain, he took a packet of pills out of his pocket, broke the seal and placed one on his hand.
“Hey! What kind of medicine is that?”
A voice called out to Masazumi from behind, frightening him. He once again stiffened into his usual demeanor. If he was caught it would be bad so rather than replying he went to take the medicine, he scooped water up in the palm of his hand and swallowed the tablet.
“Oi oi, are you going to ignore me again, Nirei Masazumi?”
From when had he been watching? Nashiba had walked up to Masazumi and closed their distance. Unusually, he was alone; the usual two that followed him were not around. A cynical smile came to his face and he stared at Masazumi with his customary cruel gaze, an expression that looked as if Nashiba had just found some fatal flaw in his opponent.
When he calmed down a fraction, Masazumi began searching for a scalding phrase. He put his hand in his pocket to take his handkerchief out, and spoke without hesitation, “This is a vitamin tablet I take daily. Because I have a weaker disposition than most people.”
That was what the school nurse had told him to say if any ever questioned him about the medicine. They had met a few days previous so the response came fluently.
After answering uninterestedly, he wiped the palm of his wet hand conscientiously. As he was doing that he was still caught in Nashiba’s relentless gaze, but he realized that this kind of conversation was better for his mental state than if he made no response.
“Hmm. You have to take that thing every day? I guess even you have to do annoying things.”
“It’s not a big enough issue for me to call it annoying.”
Nashiba made a sarcastic sounding noise, breathing air from his nose.
“Pretentious as always…” Trying to provoke him, Nashiba spoke bitterly and gazed around at the area near the water fountain. It felt as if he were just simply looking for something to do but he made a sudden expression as if he had realized something. His eyes looked somewhere below the water fountain.
“I’m keeping those guys waiting in the clubroom…”
By ‘those guys,’ he mostly likely meant those two tennis club members who were constantly around him. Nashiba was in his tennis uniform as well, come to think of it. For the school festival the powerful team had prioritised their training. They were always top four in the district, and usually would not assist with the preparations. Masazumi had heard that the reason Nashiba had chosen the tennis club was because he wouldn’t have to bother with something annoying like setting up for the school festival. The person himself seemed to brag about this, and Masazumi thought it did really sound like something he would do.
Nashiba, unusually, left Masazumi after a short conversation, seemingly disappointed. As the representative of the tennis club, he seemed to be completely preoccupied with his enthusiasm for that. Maybe he had come to his senses after talking, realising that he didn’t have time for that sort of thing.
As long as he left Masazumi alone, there was no need to think about it.
Masazumi spent a little while watching Nashiba’s retreating back and then headed back to his classroom. Meeting Nashiba had demoralised him a bit, but happily, since he had been left alone it meant that his pheromones hadn’t been sensed. It was fortunate that his heats were regular, so this hadn’t been his heat. He had been told that forgetting to take it once or twice would not cause any problems but this had been the first time he was so late. Not knowing exactly what would happen to him filled him with anxiety.
Now the medicine was taking effect, the side effects of fever and fatigue were making his body feel heavy and the desire to sleep became evident. It was excusable for him to go to the nurse’s office and lie down, but since this was the final school festival, he would have to help with the preparations or he would feel ashamed. For today and tomorrow, all he could do was to persevere. He braced himself.
Masazumi had completely left the water fountain– seeing this, Nashiba made his appearance there a second time. Quickly running his eyes over his surroundings he made sure nobody was nearby, and stuck his arm into the cylindrical garbage bin placed beneath the fountain. He fished through the trash, “Here it is. This thing.”
The thing Nashiba had managed to draw out of the bin, with his unchangingly stubborn tactics, was an empty pill packet. No doubt this was the medicine Masazumi had taken earlier.
“If this is not really a vitamin… if this is something that proves that idea I’ve been having…” He had unconsciously spoken aloud, so he stopped. His mouth warped into a smile.
When he heard that this was something Masazumi took every day, his suspicions had immediately grown. He had not been mistaken when he thought to look in the bin, and he was incredibly pleased with himself. On the back of the package, the name of the medicine was printed in very small letters. If he looked it up, he could find exactly what kind of effect it had.
“Fufufu. This could turn into something fun.” Without suppressing the laugh that rose, in high spirits, Nashiba headed towards the club house for real this time.