your universe

01 Oct 2017

My humble contributions for Alikou Week 2017.

Day 1: Sweet | Friendship – Modern/University AU
Day 2: Fate | Reassurance – Soulmate AU (matching soul marks)
Day 3: Power Couple | Fairy Tale – Empress and Prime Minister feat. palace servants
Day 4: Blooming | Zepar – Empress and Prime Minister feat. a confused Koumei
Day 5: Family | Dragon & Phoenix – Spy/Field Agents AU
Day 6: Opposites | “We Are The Same” – fanart: Sun King and Moon Queen
Day 7: Alternate Universe | Intimacy – continuation of Day 1

Chapters: 7
Words: 38,049

your universe

Chapter 7
Day 7: AU / Intimacy


College AU. After two years, Aladdin and Judal are done with the obviously mutual pining going on between Alibaba and Kougyoku.
So they do what they have to do: form a truce and rally their friends to try and end this once and for all.

Or, Five Times Their Friends Tried to Get Alibaba and Kougyoku to Hook Up and One Time They Didn’t Have To.

Chapter Notes:

Oh my God. I think I wrote Magi crack.
Anyways, this is the sequel to that College AU from Day 1. I wanted to write more characters in and this actually ended up more about them than Alibaba and Kougyoku. But it’s them complaining about how much they ship the two so maybe that makes up for it? Also this is crack, and AU, please forgive if some of these kids might be OOC in some parts.

Anyways. Enjoy my final (and very late) contribution to this ship week. <3



People always called Aladdin a boy genius. He was used to this by now. He had skipped grades, won competitions, graduated years earlier than other kids his age and gotten a full scholarship in a prestigious university with a few other perks that included an apprenticeship under one of the university’s leading researchers.

Miss Yamu was brilliant. She always encouraged learning and once told Aladdin that anything can be achieved with the right attitude and mindset (and bravery, she added absently, mumbling about lab safety and such).

Aladdin knew he was a smart person and a hard worker. He was curious, and intuitive, and resourceful, and patient although his patience was running a little too thin as evidenced by his current need to meditate and remind himself that he had all the aforementioned qualities in spades and  this  problem  – this  thing

“It can be done.”

That’s right. He nodded to himself, and then more firmly-

“I can  make it happen .”

It felt great, saying it. He was feeling the determination seeping in slowly now. That familiar feeling of  ‘everything-is-laid-out-before-me-I-just-gotta-figure-out-a-way-to-make-it-work-and-I-WILL-MAKE-IT-WORK’  that he relied on and made him a good student in the first place-

“I  will  make it happen-”

“Uh, hey, buddy? You okay over there?”

Aladdin was snapped out of his determined musings by the familiar voice of his roommate, and was so surprised he fumbled with his phone in his hands until the gadget fell flat on his face.

He let out an undignified yelp as he sat up on his bed, nursing his nose and forehead.

“Okay, maybe you should take a break from… whatever it is you’re doing. Have you slept yet?”

This time it was his roommate’s boyfriend, voice sounding genuinely worried.

Aladdin looked towards the bed across the room where Sphintus and Titus were sitting together with a laptop, both looking at him in a mix of curiosity and concern. He smiled and waved sheepishly. “Ah, no, I’m fine! I’m okay, really.”

“You were staring at your phone and talking to yourself.” Titus pointed out.

Sphintus nodded. “Yeah, man. It sounded serious.”

“It’s nothing… Just kinda zoned out. Thinking ‘bout some stuff… Um. A new project…” Aladdin replied, laughing shakily as he pretended to be concerned over the mess of books, papers and other study paraphernalia in his bed. “What’re you guys up to?”

‘Ten bucks says they’re watching cat videos.’  he thought.

“Nah, just watching cats.” Sphintus shrugged.

Aladdin beamed. His new friends were very predictable.

Also, they’ve been giggling and he’s been hearing grainy meows and distant voices from the laptop for the past hour now. So what else could they be doing, really?

“So what’s your new project about?” Titus asked, eyes wide and shining at the prospect of a bright new idea. This earned him a snort and a mumbled “Nerd.” from his boyfriend.

That  made Aladdin pause. His  project  was barely starting. Heck, he just decided to do it a mere minute ago. Should he tell them?

Aladdin shrugged. Of course he should. Titus was like him (a nerd, according to Sphintus) and Titus would enjoy a good problem to solve. And Sphintus was a good guy. These two were his friends, and they were- Huh.

They were crazy about each other. Which was good. That should be useful.

“Okay. Well…” he took a deep breath. “You know Alibaba? Alibaba Saluja?”

“The blonde dude with the pointy hair?” Sphintus asked.

“Your best friend. The business major.” Titus answered much more kindly. “You used to be roommates before you transferred here with Sphintus, right?”

“Yup.” Aladdin nodded, hopping off his bed to move to Sphintus’s side of the room.

Aladdin became roommates with Sphintus in the beginning of his third year in University. He missed Alibaba’s company, specially now that they didn’t share classes anymore, but they always find time to hang out. It wasn’t too hard, considering Alibaba just happened to be a few doors down the hall.

“So what about him?” Sphintus asked as he and Titus made space for Aladdin to squeeze in between them.

“Can you open his Instagram?”

Sphintus raised an eyebrow but proceeded to do as the boy said. “Look at that username.  the_great_alibaba , huh.” he sniggered as they watched the profile load.

“Open the latest pic.” Aladdin instructed.

The photo was of a tall cup of overpriced takeout coffee with a sky blue post-it that said ‘Fight on!’ with flower doodles in bright pink ink, surrounded by piles of books, papers and reviewers on top of what was undoubtedly Alibaba’s study desk. Just behind it was a slightly off-focus view of Kougyoku who appeared to be sitting on his bed and doing some studying of her own.

The caption read:

feeling down from all the studying but ❤ the sweetest girl ❤ in the universe
brought surprise coffee ❤ !!! to soothe my tired and battered soul !!!! ❤
#blessed ❤  #lovehersomuch ❤ 

“Oh, that’s sweet.” Titus said, touched. “And so nice.”

“It’s cheesy.” Sphintus said, huffing. “And if you think it’s ~so nice~ why dontcha post a pic of me whenever I bring you lunch?”

“Do you want me to?”

“Dear god, no. Ma would print it out and hang it up in the house, framed and everything.”

As usual, Titus missed the point. He only smiled and said, “Your mother is wonderful.”

Sphintus rolled his eyes, not bothering to correct his boyfriend. Instead, he nudged Aladdin. “What’s this got to do with your new project thing?”

“That,” Aladdin said, “is my new project.”

The other two squinted at the photo for a moment. Then Titus said, “I don’t get it.”

“Those two. Alibaba and Kougyoku. They’re my problem. I mean.  Look  at it.”

“Look at  what ?” Sphintus whined. “The coffee? The mess? The heart emojis?”

“The people.” Aladdin said, rolling his eyes.

“The people are your problem?” Titus asked. “Why? They look fine. She looks fine, I mean. And he sounds okay. Aren’t they okay? Wait- Oh. Do  they  have a problem? School problems? Um… Relationship problems?”

Aladdin huffed out a breath. “See?”

“See  what ?”

“You thought they were together! Like, together  dating  and stuff!”

A pause.

Titus looked very confused. “They’re not?”

Aladdin shook his head. “They’re not.”

“You’re shitting me.” Sphintus said. “Those two hold hands  everywhere  and are all over each other, like, 24/7.”

Aladdin raised an eyebrow at Sphintus’s surprising knowledge, but didn’t question it. “They are, aren’t they.”

“And didn’t they go as Mickey and Minnie Mouse on that party last Halloween?”

“They did.”

Then Titus raised a hand. “We shouldn’t count Halloween. Aladdin and Judal went as… well, Aladdin and Jasmine. And they’re not dating.”

Sphintus had to stifle his laughter at the memory.

Aladdin pouted. “That doesn’t count. We did it for the cash prize. And we won. Alibaba and Kougyoku went in matching costumes because they wanna be cute together. And they were. But it’s also very couple-ish.”

“It is, man.” Sphintus had to agree. “Everyone said they were a cute couple.”

“I know. They’re adorable.” Aladdin nodded. “I love them. They’re both my friends. But I’m just… I’m  done . Go look at the rest of his feed.”

The three of them turned back to the laptop as Sphintus scrolled down to see the rest of the photos on Alibaba’s account.

Another photo of Kougyoku smiling at the camera as she ate ice cream, homework, selfie with Kougyoku, food, Kougyoku and Morgiana, food, a stack of business books, Kougyoku hugging a sloth, food, Kougyoku with a flower crown, selfie with Mariam, selfie with Aladdin, a view of campus from a dorm room window, Kougyoku blushing and pouting, flowers, gym selfie, food, Cassim with Hassan and Zaynab’s kid, Kougyoku and Mariam, a fat cat, homework, Kougyoku reading, food, a selfie, Kougyoku struggling to eat a burger, a calendar with a funny note on it, Judal scowling at his phone, an empty lecture hall, Kougyoku in his jacket, movie tickets, Kougyoku napping in a desk- alright, there was indeed a recurring theme here.

Also an alarming amount of heart and sparkle emojis in the captions.

“Does she know that she’s 50% of his IG?” Sphintus deadpanned. “And does he know that the heart emoji is not a valid punctuation mark?”

“Oh, you don’t wanna see Kougyoku’s, then.” Aladdin said. “That one’s got filters and stickers and the hearts come in all colors.”

Sphintus shuddered.

“That,” Aladdin pointed at the monitor. “That’s my project.”

Sphintus looked skeptic. “You want to play matchmaker?”

“Oh!” Titus nodded, finally getting it too. He was a bit slow with the cues sometimes, but he always followed through. “You think they like each other, so you want them to start dating!”

“Basically.” Aladdin said. “And I don’t just  think  they like each other I  know  they do.”

“Really. You do.” Sphintus remained unfazed.

“I do.” Aladdin said, firm this time.

Titus blinked. “Any facts to support that statement?”

“Oh my god. Nerds.” Sphintus groaned, scrolling further down on the feed only to see more random things and more Kougyoku.

“Look, I’ve known them since start of first year. We met when I spilled  Solomon’s Wisdom  on Miss Kougyoku-”

“Please don’t call it that. It’s weird yellow goo.”

“A  powerful  substance!”

“Still weird and yellow. Still goo.”

“Okay. I spilled some on her. By accident. Then Alibaba rescued her and after that they were friends. But like,  super  friends. They’re cool and they get along. Then they started being cuddly. Which was still nice. Then they were like…  this.

“Like constantly one extended eye contact away from making out?” Sphintus suggested.

“Like  pining  over each other!” Aladdin said. “Like spending holidays together! Like… one time Alibaba went away on vacation, Kougyoku sulked and said she missed him and they called each other like every five hours! And… and when Kougyoku wore this really pretty dress, Alibaba held on to me and told me to take him to the clinic because he’s maybe having a heart attack! Whenever he sees something cute, he takes a pic and sends it to her!”

“Oh.” was all Titus was able to say. “I see.”

“Alibaba sent me a text one time talking about her eyes. HER EYES.” Aladdin groaned, taking out his phone then immediately tapping and swiping. “…not in the medical sense like maybe she should get glasses or something. He said they…” – he referred to his phone for reference, then continued, “-they  glimmer in the afternoon light.  The word was ‘glimmer’. And that’s just one time. There are other texts too- Am I a flash poetry journal?”

Sphintus clicked his tongue. “Holy shit, he sounds really bad.”

“And I have to deal with them!” Aladdin exclaimed, this time throwing his hands up in exasperation. “I don’t even know how Mor does it. She just looks at them and then shakes her head.”

“Well, that Morgiana chick is metal.” Sphintus said.

“She may be, but I’m not. I’m just an ordinary human, who is tired of all the pining, specially if Alibaba texts me everyday about how cute his  ‘very special friend’  is.” Aladdin pouted, hands raised for the air quotes. “And then he tells me her future boyfriend would be so lucky, and I tell him that’s him, he’s the boyfriend, but he’s like  ‘No way, she’s out of my league’  and I’m-…? I am  done , I can’t.”

Titus reached out to pat the boy’s head to comfort him, then ruthlessly declared: “Your friend is a fool.”

“He’s my friend.” Aladdin said, full of regret. “I love him a lot, I really do, but he’s been like this for all of second year. I endured that. But I don’t wanna suffer this mutual pining for another year.”

This time Sphintus laid a hand on the boy’s shoulder, looked him dead in the eyes and said, “Unfriend him.”

“No, Sphintus, I’m not you.”

Sphintus shrugged. “Worth a try.”

“So how are you going to… execute this project of yours?” Titus asked.

“I’m thinking about it.” Aladdin answered, brows furrowed. “Also, I’m open for suggestions.”

They were all silent for a while.

Then Sphintus said, “How about you lock them up in a closet and don’t open it till they make out?”

Titus looked at him and only said, “Why.”

Aladdin rolled his eyes: “Again: No, Sphintus, I’m not you.”

The next day, Sphintus found Aladdin hanging out with Alibaba in one of the University courtyards under the shade of a tree. Both looked up to greet him when he plopped down beside them, then went back to studying.

Sphintus had a paper to finish, so he decided to take his laptop out and work on it until his next class. As he waited for the machine to boot, he looked around only to catch a familiar face looking towards them.

He reached out to nudge Alibaba. “Dude, I think your girlfriend’s tryina call you.”

Alibaba frowned as he looked up, “I don’t have a- Oh!” he suddenly broke into a smile so bright Sphintus wished he had sunglasses, then waved towards the girl who was already waving happily at him.

Kougyoku was with her girl friends, obviously just passing by. She pointed to the Starbucks cup she was holding, then mouthed,  ‘Thank you!’  and beamed.

Alibaba gave a thumbs up, then waved again. Kougyoku waved back again, and this time her friends joined her, giggling. Alibaba only chuckled sheepishly as the group of girls walked off, chatting with each other.

“What was that?” Aladdin asked.

“Uh, just returning the favor from yesterday, y’know… she brought me coffee.” Alibaba answered easily, going back to studying. “So I brought her favorite Shaken Peach Citrus White Tea Infusion Lemonade.”

“Oh…” Aladdin nodded, then exchanged a look with Sphintus before shrugging as if to say  ‘I don’t even know what that is.’

Sphintus, however, quickly recalled the conversation he and Titus had with the younger boy the day prior. The mutual pining and the obvious romantic tension and the flash poetry-

He thought about it again – it wasn’t his problem, per se… but Aladdin was his roommate. When Aladdin inevitably loses his close-to-infinite amount of chill because his best friend was being a hopeless idiot, Sphintus didn’t want to be there for the kid’s breakdown. Last time Aladdin lost his chill, everyone within ten feet of him got Solomon’s Wisdom to the face.

God, it’s a really weird name to call yellow goo.

So the conclusion here was that maybe Sphintus should give a shit about this Alibaba-Kougyoku-Mutual-Pining situation.

And well… if locking them up in a closet was out of the question (because apparently Morgiana already did that once when she lost her chill and it didn’t work) maybe he should try the route of finesse.

“So…” Sphintus started, scooting closer to Alibaba. “So, dude.”

Aladdin squinted at him, but Alibaba simply raised an eyebrow and blinked. “Um. Yeah? Dude?”

Sphintus inwardly pat himself on the back. This will be easy. Aladdin and Titus were both weirdos, but Sphintus was a ~social butterfly~ if he would say so himself. He was sure he’d be able to crack Alibaba right away. “So… girls, huh?”

Aladdin looked horrified, then started shaking his head frantically at him.

Alibaba didn’t notice and only blinked. “Girls? What… about girls?”

“C’mon, man. Girls.” Sphintus chuckled. “You like them, right?”

Alibaba blinked again. “Yeah, I like girls, fair enough.”

“Those girls were pretty hot. You know all of ‘em?”

“Yeah, but only because-” Alibaba paused, looking confused. “Wait… uh. Dude, I thought you were… gay?”

Sphintus snorted. “I’m not gay. My boyfriend is.”

“Oh. Okay.” Alibaba nodded. “Well, there’s Kougyoku. The others, I just know them because they’re her friends.”

“Cool.” Sphintus said, nodding back. “Any of them your type?”

If he was drinking, Alibaba would have spit out his drink. “W-What? Type? W-What do you mean, man???”

“Y’know, wanna go out with one of ‘em?”

“G-Go out- No! I mean- They’re all nice girls of course- and-” he coughed. “-they’re pretty, sure, a-and smart and- but- err. I already- Um, yeah, no-”

“Really?” Sphintus teased. “Not even Kougyoku? She seems pretty great. You guys seem tight.”

This time when Sphintus saw Aladdin behind Alibaba, the boy was not only shaking his head, but also making an ‘X’ with his arms, mouthing ‘NO STOP NOOOOO’.

Meanwhile Alibaba’s awkward expression had morphed into fear as he laughed nervously. When he spoke, his voice was an octave higher than usual. “Y-Yeaaaaah? Whaaaaaat? Kougyoku? Nooooo-”

“You don’t think she’s great?” Sphintus teased.

“SHE IS!” Alibaba quickly corrected. “But! Hahaha- She’s- She’s my friend, y’know, and she’s- She’s wonderful, actually! Okay? She’s the best! But- hahaha- I can’t- I just- Haha-”

Oh, man. Sphintus got what Aladdin was worried about now. The guy was having a mental breakdown. “You like her, don’t you?”

“Nooooo- Yeah- Maybe a bit but like a lot- NO I DON’T MEAN THAT- YES- No- PLEASE DON’T TELL HER-”

“Why not?”

“I’m sure she doesn’t like me back-”

“There it is.”


“I won’t, okay, go on-”

“-it’s not like I’m anyone special, she’s just really nice and kind and smart and sweet, man!”

“Alright. You really think that.”

“She’s too good, I won’t- She doesn’t see me that way, I’m her  friend -”

“Friend. Yes, sure. Friends are good. You’re a good friend.”

“Exactly, we’re friends! It’s not like she should be  obligated  to like me back-”

“Sure, sure. I get it-”

“Th-There you go!”

“Have you even considered it, though.”

“W-What? Consider what?”

“Dude.” Sphintus said, this time grounding the other guy by gripping him by his shoulders. “Dude, look at me.”

Alibaba shut up and did as he was told for once.

“What is the problem here, again? Why haven’t you asked her out?”

Alibaba shrugged helplessly. “What if she says no?”

“But,” Sphintus enunciated, slowly but surely, like he was explaining something delicate to a small child – “what if… she says  yes ?”

Alibaba stared.

His companions were pretty sure they could see steam come out of the guy’s ears as he visibly slumped back into the tree trunk behind him, even reaching back to hold on to it, probably for additional support.

Sphintus gaped, because holy  snakes  the guy actually hasn’t considered that sheer possibility like-  Okay , Titus was right. He was a fool.

Aladdin just watched it all unfold in quiet terror and curiosity, hands on either side of his face.

Sphintus blinked. “Um. Dude, are you okay-”

“No.” Alibaba squeaked out, then looked around, probably looking for an exit despite the fact that they were already outdoors. “I- Um. I… have to… go water my bonsai.”

Then he was gone.

Sphintus was impressed – he didn’t know it was possible for someone to disappear so fast.

“Oh my God. Look what you did.” Aladdin said, exasperated. “YOU BROKE HIM.”

“What?” Sphintus raised his arms, pleading innocence. “He went to water his plant!”

Aladdin sighed. “That bonsai is  plastic , Sphintus.”

Sphintus’s pleased smirk fell flat. “Oh, man. I broke him.”




When Aladdin arrived in his dorm room that afternoon happily clutching a science journal Miss Yamu had lent to him, Sphintus and Titus were in the middle of a video chat with Marga.

As soon as the girl saw him walk in, she smiled and said, “Oh, it’s Aladdin! Hi, Aladdin!”

“Hi, Marga.” Aladdin greeted back with a smile. “How are you?”

“I’m fine, thank you!” she cheerfully replied. Aladdin had only met Titus’s little sister twice, but Titus and Sphintus Skyped her regularly so he was used to the girl. She was sweet and adorable. No wonder Titus loved her so much and Sphintus doted on her. The girl continued talking to her brother and his boyfriend about her day, something about a group project at school that involved arts and crafts.

Aladdin discarded his jacket, bag and shoes, then laid on the bed to start reading his science journal.

He was one paragraph in when the door was abruptly slammed open.

It only took him a second to take in the long black hair, the eyeshadow and eyeliner, the choker, crop top and low-waist jeans to identify who the invader was.

Aladdin quickly bolted up in alarm. He threw away his reading material, grabbed the giant inflatable toy hammer beside his bed and yelled “USURPER!!!”

Judal let the hammer harmlessly hit his head once before yanking it from the younger student’s grip and then carelessly tossing it behind him. “Oh, shut up, shrimp.”

“What are you doing here?” Aladdin asked, tone suspicious, grabbing for his pillow. The Great Prank War may have been over but he still kept his guard up because Judal incited a rematch every so often.

Before Judal could answer, they heard a tiny voice from the laptop. “Ooooh! Who’s the pretty lady?! Is she your friend too, Titus?”

Judal frowned and whirled around to look at the source of the voice, only to see Marga’s curious face in the computer screen.

Titus laughed nervously. “Oh, um, Marga, actually-”

“Who’s that?” Judal asked, walking over to squint at the monitor.

“Titus’s sister.” Sphintus answered, wary. “Man, she’s a kid, don’t-”

Judal cut him off, nodding at the girl. “Hey, short stuff, what’s your name?”

“My name is Marga.” came the perfectly polite, sheepish answer.

“You think I’m pretty?”

“Yes! Your hair looks so nice. And your necklace!”

“Heh.” Judal smirked, then he pointed a finger at Marga. “When you come here, you go look for me, I’ll give you a necklace like this. We’ll look badass together.”

“Really?! Can I touch your hair too?”

“I’ll let ‘ya braid it if you’re good.”

“Okay! Thank you, lady!”

Judal shrugged, then looked at Titus as he jabbed a thumb towards the screen. “I like this kid.”

Then he went back to Aladdin, and Titus and Sphintus only shared a helpless look before shrugging and continuing their call.

Judal nudged Aladdin with a foot. “Scoot.”

“What?” Aladdin asked, but did as he was told, backing up against the wall and leaving space for their unexpected guest.

Judal dropped like a dead man on the bed. “Fuck, I’m so tired.”

Aladdin looked unimpressed. “Your room’s just a few doors down the hall, you know.”

“Are you shitting me?” Judal scoffed. “No way am I staying there, my stupid roommate and that ugly hag not-girlfriend of his are being disgusting.”

Aladdin snorted. “What’re they doing this time?”

“Homework, I think.” Judal shrugged. “Studying. Whatever. I dunno what is up with your best friend today, but he’s acting like an idiot… more than usual. Blushing like 50% more than usual. And I dunno how Kougyoku doesn’t notice it when she’s staring at him the whole time. Or maybe she does and she thinks it’s cute.”

“Oh.” Aladdin nodded. “Sphintus kinda broke Alibaba today.”

“I said sorry already!” came Sphintus’s quick retort before returning back to his Skype call.

Judal raised an eyebrow at the guy before asking Aladdin, “What’d he do?”

“He told Alibaba there’s a possibility Kougyoku might like him back and I guess that was too much for Alibaba and he short-circuited.”

“Possibility?!” Judal exclaimed, scandalized. “SHE ALREADY LIKES HIM BACK, WHAT THE FUCK.”

Aladdin did a most impressive eye-roll. “You don’t say.”

“No, she  told  me.” Judal said.

“She- She did?”

“Well, she didn’t really, but she like… asked me if I know his type, or if I could find out if he likes someone so I said  ‘nah he probably likes you, he’s got shit taste like that’ , and she didn’t believe me. She didn’t even get angry, she just. Straight up. Denied the truth.” Judal said, sounding tired and exasperated. “I told her I’ll tell him she likes him but then she threatened me with prime blackmail material. That hag.”

Aladdin blinked. He didn’t think Kougyoku was capable of being that cruel. But then… there was indeed that one saying about women and fury and hell.

Judal’s face then looked solemn and… resigned?  Wow . He must really be tired. “Take my advice, kid – never get a childhood friend. They always have dirt on you.”

“Actually, I’m trying to think of a way to get those two together.” Aladdin said, after some hesitation. “You know… before they kill us all with second-hand embarrassment at how obvious they’re mooning over each other?”

For the first time since he arrived, Judal looked straight at Aladdin and for once, he looked like he didn’t want to toss the teen on a dumpster. “Yeah?”

Aladdin nodded. “Yeah.”

“Right. I’m in. What’s the plan?”

Aladdin had to lean backwards in surprise. “W-What? You’re- You want to help?”

Judal sat up and nodded. “For the greater good.” Then he must have thought that sitting was still too much work so he grabbed Aladdin’s pillows and laid back on them. He crossed his arms behind his head. “I mean, screw it, y’know. I live on the same room as that idiot, and on vacations I’m at the Rens’ place more than half the time. It’s either they hook up with each other and get some chill, or I murder them both.”

“Okay… well,” Aladdin considered it, then finally decided to just roll with it. “There’s no plan yet. But we know this: they both actually like each other, they just can’t say it because… reasons. We’ve also got a list of Don’ts. Number one, don’t tell them outright – because Alibaba short-circuits, like earlier and Kougyoku denies it, like you said. Number two, no shoving them in a closet – it doesn’t work. Mor already tried and nothing happened, because they thought it was a prank and they just sat there. They thumb-wrestled until someone let them out.”

“What, so we can’t tell ‘em and we can’t push ‘em because they can’t grasp the fucking concept and they’ll think we’re kidding. What else do we do when we’ve tried the most freakin’ blatant shit already?”

Aladdin stared at him. “Blatant.”

“Yeah, I know how to use that word, smartass-”

“No, no, no – that’s it. We need to  not  be blatant.” Aladdin said, grinning.

“Be subtle then?” Judal scoffed. “Like… whisper in their ear? Whatcha want to do, put them on a boat in a lake while we get fish and birds to sing around them?”

“Are you talking about Little Mermaid?”

“Yeah, duh.”

“No, I’m just thinking… maybe we could still push them together, but make it look like we didn’t mean to do it-”

“Stage an accident? What, you want me to push them both on the bed and go  ‘Oopsies!’  and then leave them there to have a moment?”

“Yes! Exactly!”

Judal stared, face spelling out –  ‘Are you serious right now?’

Aladdin shrugged, expression replying –  ‘Do you have a better idea?’

Judal threw his hands up. “Fine, let’s go with that.”

The following week witnessed what Aladdin was tempted to call a disaster but for the sake of um, camaraderie, he would call it… err… effort?

Well, Judal was having the time of his life, that’s for certain.

So far Aladdin had witnessed:

  • Judal ‘accidentally’ stepping sideways, shoving Kougyoku against Alibaba as the three of them were walking together. “I thought I saw a roach.” he had claimed. “T’was just dirt on the floor. I think.” He considered it a win as he saw Alibaba trying not to have a meltdown because Kougyoku was rubbing his arm on the spot where she crashed against him.
  • Judal ‘tripping’ over a bunch of magazines and subsequently pushing Alibaba to land on his bed, where Kougyoku was studying. They spluttered their apologies and it was a mess as they tried to reorganize the papers that went everywhere.
  • Judal shouting a loud “Out of my way!” while waving around a life-sized anatomical skeleton model – “I’m carrying science!” – he added as justification, as he was about to pass by Alibaba and Kougyoku, who were chatting in the hallway. Alibaba was quick to pull Kougyoku against him to save her from getting slapped by a skeleton hand. Cue the two of them exchanging sheepish ‘Thanks’ and ‘You’re welcome’ and ‘No really, thanks!’ and ‘Really don’t mention it!’ afterwards.
  • Judal convincing Morgiana, of all people, to help him. Aladdin didn’t even know what Judal said to her, but apparently Morgiana agreed. Next thing he knew, Morgiana, who was sitting on a nearby bench, expertly rolled a soccer ball towards Alibaba’s path while he was walking, causing him to almost trip and to drop his books. Of course, Kougyoku helped him pick them up. Their hands grabbed the same book and they looked at each other in surprise, teen romcom style. Judal and Morgiana high-fived.
  • Hakuryuu shakily and awkwardly yelping “Spider!” causing Alibaba to scream and hold on to Kougyoku while Kougyoku wrapped an arm around him protectively, grabbed a book and said, “Where?!” ready to kill the offending creature. “U-Umm, it’s gone now.” her cousin had replied, sweating nervously. (Later, Aladdin saw Judal pat the poor guy on the back and whisper “You did good, Ryuu. Really good.”)
  • Judal actually saying “Oops, ah, I feel nauseous. Must be vertigo!” accompanied by a noble attempt at acting, flailing and causing an innocent Kougyoku to fall on top of a napping Alibaba. They almost kissed – Aladdin was prepared to cheer (he had his official Best Friend Congratulatory Statement ready for close to two years, dammit) except Judal actually tripped for real and ended up on top of the two on the couch and ruining the moment.

Aladdin breathed deeply. Why on Earth did he enable this?



“B-B-But why would he ask me out? Why would  anyone  ask me out? I’m  dreadful . I’m not even that pretty, and I’m boring, I can’t talk to people, I can’t go to parties alone, all I do is study and-”

How dare you.

Three pairs of eyes looked up from their tasks to see their companions staring at each other in tense silence.

Kougyoku blinked at Alibaba, mouth open as if she was about to say something but couldn’t find her voice.

Alibaba stared back at her, brows furrowed, frowning deeply.

Kougyoku then narrowed her eyes, putting down her phone on her lap and slowly asking, “Excuse me?” – demanding,  offended .

“How dare you.” Alibaba repeated, no remorse in his tone.

“How dare I  what ?”

“How dare you call yourself- what-  dreadful ?” Alibaba sounded incredulous now. “I am  not  going to let you say that, lady.”

Kouyoku gaped.

“And you’re plenty pretty- You’re  beautiful!  And you’re not boring, or any of that- YOU’RE PERFECT.”

“W-Wha-” she pouted then. “You’re just saying that, and this guy asking me is probably just pranking me-”

“No, maybe he saw how amazing you are!”

“I’m not-!” she spluttered, visibly fighting through her blushing face. “A-And you can’t say that to  me  when  you  turned down a girl just last week because, according to you, you’re not even that cool! You’re cool! Why can’t you see that you’re cool?!”

“Well, why can’t you see that you’re also cool?!”

Right beside them, unnoticed, Aladdin, Judal and Morgiana stared.

“Oh my God.” Aladdin whispered, bringing his face in his hands, groaning. “They can’t even  fight  like normal people.”

Judal shook his head before grabbing the book that was in Morgiana’s lap and burying his face in the pages. “Why.” he said under his breath. “WHY. Why are they like this.”

Morgiana looked down at her now-empty lap.

Then the three of them looked up when they heard Kougyoku squeal, only to see Alibaba now trying to  tickle  her, both of them laughing, still arguing which of them was more date-able and  “I won’t let you call the Cutest Girl In The World ‘boring’, how dare you!”  and  “Why do you always think you’re lame?! You’re not lame, any girl would be lucky to date you!”

When Aladdin groaned again, Morgiana raised a hand and rubbed his back comfortingly. Aladdin gave in and latched on to her, dramatically tucking his head on her shoulder. She stroked his hair softly.

On her other side, Judal buried his face in the book again, mumbling a heartfelt wish for the cold clutches of death to claim him. Morgiana moved to rub his back too, but stopped herself when she realized it was  Judal , who she wasn’t even  that  close to-

“Go on.” Judal said. “Do it.”

Morgiana only blinked once before patting the guy’s back and whispering an awkward but sincere, “There, there.”

“Thank you.”

Man, Judal  thanked  her. The situation must be really  bad .

But then, maybe it  was  indeed bad. After all, their latest plan:  Operation Green-Eyed Epiphany , just failed spectacularly before their very eyes.

“What’s happening here?” said a new voice as someone else joined their little group, making Aladdin, Morgiana and Judal look up while Alibaba and Kougyoku were still in their own little bubble being embarrassing.

Kouha had finished his mysterious world tour a year ago and finally went to University like his sister, only to become the campus cryptid. That meant everyone knew him for some weird reason even though he was rarely sighted by anyone outside of his classes, and he would randomly turn up at parties and bring the place down. No one knew what his major was, everyone had their own theories. Ren Kouha was a legend.

This was one of his rare sightings.

“Look at them.” Judal said glumly, gesturing towards Alibaba and Kougyoku, who had switched positions. Alibaba was now pleading for mercy while Kougyoku poked him relentlessly.

Kouha looked… and looked, and looked.

Then, because apparently Ren Kouha has no time for this foolishness, he huffed and said, loudly:

“Hook up with each other already, you  cowards .”

Alibaba and Kougyoku paused, stunned.

Then they broke apart and stammered, “W-W-what? Us?! No way, haha-”

“I got asked by someone else, not by him!”

“Yes, I- I am h-helping her respond-”

“I’m going to turn him down, though-”

“Exactly! W-Wait, really?”

“Not because I like someone else, per se-”

“Really? Y-You don’t like… anyone?”

“W-Well, yes, I- um- I am just not ready to date anyone right now, I think…?”

“O-Oh… but… but someday, though, maybe-?”


Kouha looked at them before also shaking his head. “Okay.” he said, turning to Judal. “So, there’s this group of assholes earlier who hit on me until they realized I’m a guy and then they accused me of tricking them and called me… lots of things.” He stood up, dusting his shorts and picking up his bag, which looked bulky and too full – “I’ve got five cartons of eggs, six rolls of toilet paper and ten rolls of duct tape in here.”

Judal took a second to process his friend’s words before gathering his things and standing up. “Let’s do it.”

Aladdin also determinedly scrambled for his bag and stood up. “I’m going with you!”

Alibaba and Kougyoku watched as the three began to leave, then gaped when they realized that Morgiana was standing up as well.

“Morgiana, you too?!” Alibaba exclaimed, surprised.

Morgiana nodded as she adjusted the straps of her backpack.

“You  know  what they’re up to, right?” Kougyoku asked.

Morgiana paused, looking back at Alibaba and Kougyoku who were both wearing concerned looks for her.

It was touching, really. They were both really sweet, loving people. Morgiana was grateful for their presence in her life.

But they were also idiots, sometimes. Besides, egging, duct taping and whatever it was Judal, Kouha and Aladdin were up to sounds fun.

She shrugged, said “You only live once.” then turned to follow the others.



Titus sighed. “I can’t believe I’m harboring criminals now.”

Judal tilted his head from his position on the expensive plush couch, munching on some potato chips, while Aladdin looked up from his perch on the counter, spoon on mouth and a cup of frozen fruit yogurt in his hand.

Judal spoke with his mouth full. “Not crime! T’was justice!”

Aladdin nodded fervently.

Titus sighed again, and for a while, only the sound of the running shower from the bathroom was heard in his apartment.

Kouha had gone straight to take a shower as soon as the trio barged in pleading for sanctuary after the number they did on some students… and those students’ respective dorm rooms… and cars… and perhaps more but Titus was afraid to ask the specifics. Aladdin and Judal raided his fridge and kitchen shortly after, starving from their run. Apparently Morgiana contributed too, but instead of imposing on Titus’s place, she decided to hide out at her big brother Masrur’s flat nearby.

It was impressive, Titus had to admit. And from what little context they gave him, those guys deserved what they got.

Then Judal groaned in a way that could only be described as irritation. They turned to see him swiping away at his phone. “GOD. I was feeling alive there for a sec. I want to die again.”

“Not on my couch.” Titus said, eyebrow raised. “What happened?”

“Alibaba updated his Instagram.” Judal answered, then looked at his companions. “Three guesses.”

Aladdin was quick to answer. “Books or notes. Food. Kougyoku.”

Judal scoffed. “You little monster.” then he tossed his phone towards Aladdin, who hastily dropped his cup of yogurt down on his lap to catch the item in his hands.

The yogurt stayed miraculously in the cup as Aladdin looked at the phone’s screen with Titus hovering curiously behind him.

The photo was of Kougyoku eating a cake while reading a book.

“Hah!” Aladdin laughed, then giddily tapped the phone to ‘like’ the photo. Maybe Alibaba and Kougyoku will do a double take when they see Judal’s username in the ‘Likes’ list.

“So what happened to your latest scheme?” Titus asked, opening his own cup of yogurt.

Aladdin frowned. “It didn’t work.”

“Don’t ask. It was traumatizing.” Judal added.

Aladdin shook his head as he put the phone down and picked up his snack to resume eating. “I think we’re out of ideas.”

Titus ate a spoonful of yogurt and hummed in thought. “I’ve been thinking… you just need one of them to confess, right? You’re sure the other one will definitely reciprocate?”

Aladdin nodded.

“It’s kind of old-fashioned, but if they’re too nervous to say it out loud to each other, maybe you can convince one of them to… maybe, write a letter or something?” Titus said thoughtfully. “You can volunteer to deliver it if they’re to shy to do it themselves, too. Maybe assure them that you can be a mediator of sorts, like, let them think you’ll be there to  ‘soften the blow’  if they really believe they’ll get rejected. Maybe they’ll take the risk then.”

Titus looked up from his snack to see the other two staring at him slack-jawed.

Aladdin looked down at his lap, thinking hard. Yes, Titus missed cues more often than not, but he’s also really logical and eager to come up with good solutions. This one was very sensible.

“A letter.” Judal said, then to his companions’ surprise, he got up and joined them on the counter. “Fuck, why didn’t we think of that? They’re both  saps , of course they’ve tried writing a letter once or twice. An email. Text. Whatever. We just gotta get ‘em to give it.”

Titus shrugged awkwardly. “Yes, I mean… that’s how Sphintus asked me out.”

Aladdin nodded. “I remember. You were passing notes in class. I was literally between you guys.”

“He said writing it down and letting me read it was less embarrassing than saying it to my face.”

Judal considered it, then nudged Aladdin with his bag of potato chips. “You up for it, brat?”

Aladdin scooped another spoonful of yogurt. “I take Alibaba, you take Kougyoku?”

A nod. “It’s on.”

Titus smiled. He was glad to be of help. Maybe. Aladdin was a good friend. And Judal-… well. Titus considered it a work in progress. His mother did tell him to make many good friends in University.

They heard the bathroom door open, followed by Kouha’s voice. “Hey, can I borrow some clothes?”

When Aladdin suggested the idea to Alibaba  (“Write it down and I’ll give it to her! You don’t have to hear what she says, I’m gonna get her reply for you.”)  the blond turned an amazing shade of red, then purple, before running to his bed, diving under the covers and oh. Aladdin didn’t know anyone could make a blanket burrito that fast.

But Aladdin was determined. So he sent a text requesting for backup, then straddled the rolled-up blanket containing his friend and loudly said, “YOU WON’T KNOW IF YOU DON’T TRY, ALIBABA.”

In less than five minutes, Morgiana was in the room. She took one look at the two before joining Aladdin, straddling the cocoon and making Alibaba groan under his friends’ combined weight.

“What are we doing?” she asked. Classic Morgiana – move first, ask questions later.

“Mor, tell him! If he can’t bring himself to tell Kougyoku, maybe he can put his feelings in a letter and we can bring it to her! Maybe get her answer too, if she’s too shy to dump him.” Aladdin answered.

Alibaba let out a miserable cry. “OH GOD SHE MIGHT DUMP ME. Tell him, Morgiana!”

Morgiana took a deep breath. “Aladdin has a point.”


It didn’t faze her, because Morgiana was badass like that. She only said, “You’re welcome.”

That was when Aladdin’s phone chimed with a message. He checked it quickly, paused, then passed the item to Morgiana so she can read it as well.

Aladdin took a long sigh. It might be too much, but Alibaba probably couldn’t tell, wrapped in a blanket as he was – “Oh, well. Fine, don’t do it. We just wanted to help. Let’s go, Mor.”

Morgiana only handed him his phone back and said, “Okay.”

The next day, Judal handed Alibaba a flowery pink envelope.



“But what-”

“Open it, then read.”

“Dude, I’m studying-”

“For the love of- It’s from Kougyoku, just read it. Then- I dunno, she wants me to tell her what you… have to say… about… it.”

Alibaba only looked at his roommate strangely before setting aside his notes and opening the envelope. He started to unfold the paper but noticed that Judal was staring hard at him.

“Are you going to watch me read?”

Judal rolled his eyes before walking off and sitting on his bed on the other side of the room. It took all he had not to stare at Alibaba as the guy read the contents of the letter. He glanced from time to time, and Alibaba had gone very quiet, brows furrowed as he took in the confession.

A few minutes later, he heard Alibaba’s awed, whispered. “Wow, that was-… Wow.”

‘Fucking  finally .’ Judal thought, already savoring the taste of victory on his tongue. He eagerly leaned forward, grinning. “Yeah? What d’you say?”


“I-I-I’M SORRY!!!”

Judal took in the sight of Ren Kougyoku grossly sobbing into a tissue paper, protectively cradled by none other than Ren Kouha, both of them sitting on the latter’s bed.

Kouha looked at him with a pointed expression as he stroked his sister’s hair.

“I-It’s just- Y-Y-You were making me nervous!” Kougyoku sniffed. “I wanted to give him my letter, I swear, but you were telling me to h-hurry up, so I did and I- I gave you the wrong one!”

Judal narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, you made me deliver your Feminist Philosophy paper.”

“I told you! I didn’t mean to!”

He took a deep breath – what would Aladdin do? – Oh. “We can fix this. Where’s the letter?”

Kougyoku looked away from him and whimpered, “I put it through the paper shredder.”

“WHAT? WHY???”

“Because I read it again and it was so embarrassing!”

Judal looked at Kouha, at a loss, and Kouha only shrugged at him as if to tell him to accept his losses before grabbing another handful of tissue and handing it to his sister.

“It’s gonna be fine. The letter’s gone now.” Kouha told Kougyoku sweetly. “I’m hungry. Should we get pizza? Ice cream?”

Kougyoku sniffed, cuddling closer. “Pizza sounds nice.”

“Great. Pizza party! Judal’s buying!” Kouha said brightly. He didn’t give Judal a chance to complain as he threw his wallet towards the guy.

Judal rolled his eyes but caught the item anyway, took a few bills, and thew it back before leaving the room.

“J-Judal, wait!” Kougyoku called.


“What did Alibaba think of the essay?”

Judal groaned as he ran a hand down his face because  of course  Kougyoku would be concerned about that too.

And  of course , Alibaba  did  have something to say about the godforsaken essay.

“It was really interesting and well-written. He spotted a minor typo somewhere. And he really liked your conclusion.”



Sphintus had seen his fair share of weird stuff, but he had to admit this was one of the weirder ones.

Leaning forward on the counter was Titus, while Judal stood across him on the other side and worked on his face. Aladdin was sitting on top of the counter, make-up kit on his lap.

This was not the sight Sphintus expected upon arriving at his boyfriend’s flat.

“Uh, what’s up?” he asked in greeting.

“Sphintus! Judal is doing my make-up!” Titus said cheerfully.

“No talking.” Judal scolded, then snapped a finger at Aladdin’s direction. “Gimme that brush.”

Aladdin dutifully handed the brush that the guy was pointing at, then smiled at Sphintus. “I’m learning new things.”

Sphintus simply dismissed this as one fever dream and rolled with it. “So you guys are going to the party too?”

“Hell yeah, why d’you think I look this good?” Judal snorted, and he had a point, his pants were tighter and shinier than usual. “Your boyfriend dresses like a nun, by the way. I did you a favor and raided Kouha’s closet to give him nicer clothes.”

“My clothes were perfectly fine!” Titus said, indignant.

“Yeah, for presenting your latest scientific breakthrough in a panel of snobby old people.” Judal countered. “You wanna go back in them?”

“I-” Titus started, but paused, self-consciously adjusting the off-shoulder sweater Judal put him in. “No. Fine, I actually like these clothes. I should… go shopping soon.”

Now curious, Sphintus walked around the counter to see the rest of the blond’s ensemble. He took in the cute shorts and thigh-high boots, then let out an appreciative whistle.

“Ew.” Aladdin said.

“You’re welcome.” Judal smirked, then grabbed Titus before he could move to probably teach his boyfriend some manners. “Hey, keep still! I’m not done with you.”

“So who else is coming?” Sphintus asked, settling on the counter with them.

“Hakuryuu’s picking Mor up.” Aladdin said. “Also, I think Alibaba is trying to get Kougyoku to go.”

“She doesn’t like loud parties.” Judal said. “But Kouha’s coming too, so I’m pretty sure she’ll go.”

Sphintus took an eyeliner from the kit in Aladdin’s lap and squinted at it. Then he put it back, a grin on his face. “I think I have an idea.”

Titus raised an eyebrow, causing Judal to hiss in warning.

“Your matchmaking project thing is still on, right?”

“Please don’t remind us.” Aladdin frowned. “I’m going to this party to drown my problems in alcohol.”

“You’re just saying that, you’re probably drinking orange juice tonight.” Judal said. “And yeah, the stupid project is on, though we’re this close to giving up.”

Sphintus chuckled. “It’s simple, isn’t it? They’re going to a party, they gotta do what everyone else is doing. Why don’t you start a round of Truth or Dare and make them play?”

Judal pointed his brush at him. “Yes.”

In the end, Judal had been to worst parties. It wasn’t the wildest or the liveliest. After all, Kouha didn’t seem like he was in the mood for mayhem (or maybe it was just too early in the evening) – but it will do. It was still crowded and loud and Aladdin was drinking orange juice.

It wasn’t too difficult to find a spot for their little group. When Sphintus suggested the Truth or Dare game (they had decided back in the flat that he’ll be the one to bring it up in the party), the others didn’t mind much and agreed. Kougyoku didn’t want to join them at first, but a little mocking and teasing from Judal had done the trick.

So they sat in a little circle on the ground beside the pool: Aladdin, Judal, Titus, Sphintus, Alibaba, Kougyoku, and Kouha. They didn’t have time to get Morgiana and Hakuryuu from where they were stuck talking with some of their varsity friends.

Sphintus emptied his bottle of beer before setting it down in the middle of their circle. Then the games began.

It was supposed to be simple, Aladdin thought as the night wore on.

They just had to make the bottle point at either Alibaba or Kougyoku and if they choose Truth, they’ll be asked to confess, and if they say Dare, they’ll be  made  to confess. Or kiss someone. It will depend heavily on who was asking, but there were four of them in on the plan and it should go smoothly.

They should have taken the alcohol into consideration.

God, Aladdin should have taken the alcohol  and the people  into consideration.

It was hard enough to make the bottle stop at a specific person, for crying out loud. It was fun at first, really. The bottle’s first victim was Aladdin himself.

Aladdin chose truth and Sphintus asked him if he watched porn and Aladdin very pointedly said, “Yes, for  science .” He spun the bottle and it stopped at Judal.

Judal chose dare and Aladdin dared him to apologize for pranking him back in first year. Aladdin really should have used that opportunity better, dammit.

Then it was Titus. Titus chose dare and Judal dared him to chug his drink, which he did. He looked very dizzy afterwards, but held up admirably.

When the bottle ended up pointing at Kouha, Kouha chose dare and Titus dared him to knot a cherry stem with his tongue because apparently Titus was very curious as he didn’t believe that such a feat was possible.

Sphintus chose truth because he was scared of whatever Kouha’s dare for him was. Instead Kouha smirked and asked, “How far have you gone with blondie?”

Sphintus almost dropped his (new) bottle of beer, face red, but Titus beside him answered, “Oh… We haven’t gone very far.”

“Really?” Kouha grinned, obviously enjoying Sphintus’s shocked and flustered face.

“Mm-hm.” Titus nodded, eyes closed, smiling while he leaned against Sphintus’s shoulder. “We don’t really go anywhere else besides campus together. But I took him home with me last Christmas to meet my family. We plan to stay with his family this year. That’s far. Egypt is far. Sphin, we should go on a vacation, don’t you think? Paris. I wanna go to Paris with you. But Egypt first.”

Finally Alibaba stated the obvious. “I think he’s drunk.”

“He’s definitely drunk.” Aladdin said, reaching over to wave in front of Titus’s face. “Titus? Are you okay?”

Titus blinked slowly before giggling. “Hi, Aladdin.” he said, waving back, then trying to high-five Aladdin’s hand. “I’m so glad you’re my friend.”

“Lightweight.” Judal snorted, then tilted his chin at Sphintus. “Are you gonna spin the bottle or d’you want us to do it for you?”

Sphintus scoffed and leaned forward to reach for the bottle, but Titus frowned and tugged at his shirt. “Sphin. Sphintus.  Baby .”

Sphintus paused, hand on the bottle. “Yes?”

Titus pat his arm lovingly. “Do your best. I believe in you.”

Sphintus looked at his boyfriend with an expression that said  ‘You are so adorable but also so embarrassing right now’ . He sighed and said, “Thanks, babe.”

It went on for few more frustrating rounds, the bottle never stopping to point at either Alibaba and Kougyoku.

Aladdin swore it was mocking them.

Until it finally cooperated.

The problem was, Titus was the one who spun it.

Titus was drunk.

Aladdin and Judal exchanged alarmed looks.

“Miss Ren!” Titus said, too excited to be sober. “Truth or Dare?”

Kougyoku, who was also feeling a bit tipsy by then, stammered out, “D-Dare…?”

Hah. Maybe Judal’s  ‘I bet you’re too chicken to do anything!’  teasing earlier had an effect on her.

“Okay! Hmmm… Let me think…” Titus said, considering.

Aladdin groaned. Oh no, Titus must have forgotten that this whole game was part of a plan – it had a  goal . He saw Judal shoot Sphintus a  look , and Sphintus quickly nodded, wrapping an arm around Titus.

“Babe, you want me to give the dare?” he asked sweetly. “I have a really fun one.”

Titus sniffed. “Go away, Sphin, you’re drunk.”

“Oh, come on-”

“I got it!” Titus said, raising a finger. He was just missing a lightbulb over his head. “I dare you to kiss the person you like most in this circle!”

Aladdin let out a relieved breath. Judal looked at the heavens and mouthed a ‘Thank you’. Sphintus smiled at his drunk boyfriend in pride. Kouha eyed them in suspicion, but he was nodding slightly, as if figuring out what was happening.

Alibaba had tensed, and he suddenly looked most interested in the drink on his hand.

Meanwhile, Kougyoku’s cheeks were starting to acquire the same shade as her hair as she fiddled with the sleeves of her jacket ( Alibaba’s jacket , actually- when did that even happen?) She snuck a glance at Alibaba, before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath.

“Okay.” she whispered, eyes open again, doing one last sweep of her companions’ faces. “Here I go.”

They all watched as she got on her knees, then leaned sideways towards Alibaba-

-only to lean right past him so she could press a quick peck on Kouha’s cheek.

The consensus was “Nooooooo!”

“What? He’s my brother! I like him the most!” Kougyoku squeaked.

Alibaba being the great friend that he was, told Kougyoku that  yes , of course, that makes perfect sense.

Aladdin was ready to call it quits. After all, across him, Judal was mumbling a string of colorful words in his hands. Sphintus was the one looking to the heavens now – “WHY”, he was whispering.

At least Titus seemed to have accepted Kougyoku’s justification as he nodded and said, “Oh, I see. I like my brother too.”

Sphintus snapped out of questioning God to tell him he didn’t have a brother.

Maybe they should call it a night.

It was then that their peaceful little gathering was disrupted.

“FAMILY!” a vaguely familiar voice shouted.

“Oh, no.” Alibaba said.

“MY FAMILY!” The voice was closer now.

“Ow! What the fuck?!” Judal cursed as he almost spilled his beer when someone collapsed on him.

Hakuryuu leaned heavily on the raven-head’s side. “Hello, family.” he slurred, smiling at his new companions. “I’m so happy I found you…”

“Hi!” Titus greeted back.

“Not you.”

Titus pouted.

Morgiana sat with them, bearing no signs of having to drag Hakuryuu over from wherever the hell they came from. “It’s not me.” she said. “I was with Toto. I just found him like this.”

Judal shifted because Hakuryuu was trying to cuddle him. He froze when he felt wetness on his shoulder. “Dude, are you drooling on me?!”

“Nooooo.” Hakuryuu replied.

“It’s worse.” Kouha said. “He’s crying.”

Aladdin shook his head. “Oh, boy.”

“Maybe we should get him home.” Kougyoku suggested, bless her heart.

Hakuryuu was a lightweight and an emotional drunk. It was most fearsome combination.

“NO! I have- I have things to say!” Hakuryuu said petulantly. “I-I’m fine! I’ll go home tomorrow!”

“Okay, okay. Let’s calm down.” Alibaba soothed, ever the negotiator. “What do you want to say, Hakuryuu?”

“I just… I hate this.”

“Um, what…?”

What happened next was legendary.

Suffice to say, Hakuryuu went  off .

“This. You. I hate… y-you. I hate you all! I hate this stupid party! The music! The music is terrible! I haven’t heard any Beyonce! PLAY SOME BEYONCE!” the last one he directed towards the general direction of the nearest speaker.

Aladdin watched as Kouha grinned giddily and raised his phone to capture the moment.

”I- I just wanted to be alone tonight and watch MasterChef Junior but noooo, you guys all had to go here to this stupid party where my stupid classmates are. They’re stupid. I hate them. They talk about my face. And my sister. They all have a crush on my sister??? NO ONE’S GOOD ENOUGH FOR HAKUEI! No one!”

Alibaba reached out again. “Alright, buddy-”

Hakuryuu weakly swat his hand away. “No! I’m not done- You! I see you!” he cried, pointing at Kouha and his phone. “You’re taking a video aren’t you?! You’re so- so-… mean! YOU ARE MEAN. I don’t know how someone so- so small??? Can be so mean? I hate you too. And you- You’re so… tiny.” this one he directed at Aladdin. “Why are you here? You should be in kindergarten??? Children should be playing and enjoying their- their childhood- STOP LAUGHING, EGYPTIAN. You-”, he gestured vaguely towards Sphintus and Titus, “I don’t know who you guys are. I keep forgetting your names ‘cause they sound the same? Which one is Brutus?”

At this, Titus looked at Sphintus and asked  “ Am I Brutus?”

“Why are you here? Why are any of us here? Life is meaningless and- Kougyoku! Kougyoku, you’re here! Do you know. You’re my favorite cousin. Do you know that? YOU ARE. You’re so nice and you don’t make fun of me.”

“T-Thank you?” Kougyoku said, mustering up a smile for her cousin.

“That’s why I- I want you to be happy, you know?” he continued, sniffling into Judal’s sleeve, who looked horrified and started mouthing  ‘TISSUES!!!’  at everyone else. “I want you to be happy ‘cause… ‘cause one day you’re gonna be president, right?”

Kougyoku blinked. “Um… not really-”

“You will! You will be president someday!” Hakuryuu insisted. “That’s why your major is politics!”

“He has a point.” Kouha said.

Kougyoku shrugged. “I was thinking more like… Kouen’s advisor or campaign manager…?”

But Hakuryuu was very drunk and he believed he was right. “No, no, no you will be president. The point is… the point is… Alibaba.”

Alibaba raised both eyebrows as everyone looked at him. “Uh. Me?”

“Yes, you. Alibaba, I love you, bro.” Hakuryuu said, accepting the tissues Judal shoved at his face. “You’re my best friend. C’mere-”

Alibaba awkwardly took the outstretched hand and shook it. “Yeah, uh, I love you too, bro.”

Then Hakuryuu raised their hands and, with tears and snot and  feeling , said, “Kougyoku, you marry him, okay? Because he loves you! HE DOES! He’s a good person!”

Well. There it is.

Alibaba paled. “Wha- Dude-”

“I know he’s lame but sometimes he’s not! He can be stupid, and tries to help everyone, but you’ve got a thing for that, so whatever??? You two are so good for each other. I just- When you become president? When you become president, you marry this man, okay, because he… like… cares for the people or something. ‘Cause… like… you’re perfect, right, and he adores you and you love him too, like??? That’s so beautiful? Love is so beautiful…”

Aladdin looked around to tally his friends’ faces and upon observation, if this was an Instagram post, he’ll just caption it ‘#shook’.

Kouha was trying so hard not to laugh out loud because he was still trying to take a video. Judal was  trembling , hand covering his mouth. Morgiana was shaking her head, looking blankly at their drunk friend. Sphintus was busy comforting Titus who apparently saw it fit to cry too because love is indeed beautiful Sphin it’s the most beautiful thing.

Kougyoku and Alibaba were both blushing, and very pointedly trying to avoid looking at each other.

Finally, Hakuryuu seemed to notice that everyone had gone quiet. His response to this was to actually  continue  – “We should go on a double date. Alibaba, you ask Kougyoku, okay? It’s crazy you haven’t asked her. She’ll say yes, you know. Morgiana told me that Aladdin told him that Judal said Kouha said she likes you. Or maybe Kougyoku you can ask him, you know? He’s too chicken to ask you. Judal said.”

At this, Kougyoku gaped and look at the rest of her friends, gaping in disbelief.

“W-Whaaaaaaat?” Alibaba squeaked, laughing nervously. “Hakuryuu, man, I think you’re drunk-”

“I  know !” Hakuryuu sniffed. “Imma throw up soon, but not now. We should. We should set the double date, okay. With you, my bro, and Kougyoku, and me, and- and someone, like…” then he turned to Morgiana beside him. He raised a hand to stroke her hair. It would have looked much more sweet and dignified if he were sober. “Morgiana, you are  so pretty , and  I like you so much . Do you have a boyfriend?”

Morgiana, because she was an actual goddess, only blinked once before saying, “I’m married.”

“Nooooo!” Hakuryuu despaired. “Ju! Judal, go out with me!”

Judal spluttered for a split second before answering. “I’m sorry, buddy. I’m dating Kouha.”

“You are?!”

“He is.” Kouha nodded, smiling apologetically. “And we’re both dating Aladdin.”


Aladdin threw his hands up and decided to hell with it, this has gone down the path of chaos anyway. “They swept me off my feet.”

Hakuryuu, bless his drunk heart, looked like he was earnestly trying to process the information. “How does it work? And you’re like eight? Is this… legal?”

Then he started coughing. Kougyoku, proving why she was Hakuryuu’s favorite cousin once and for all, grabbed her bottled water and offered it to him. “I think you should go home. Right? Do you want to go home?”

Hakuryuu drank the water and nodded. “Yeah… I’ll just… watch MasterChef Junior because no one loves me.”

Morgiana rolled her eyes before taking his arm and swinging it over her shoulders. “Let’s go get you home.” Before standing up, she said, “We came in his car. I don’t drive.”

Judal groaned before taking Hakuryuu’s other arm. “Fine, I’ll do it.”

The others watched them go.

“Okay, that was… something. I’m staying away from that guy at parties from now on.” Sphintus declared. “Also, I think the two of us should head back now.”

He was right. Titus was already sleeping on his lap.

“You guys need a ride?” he asked the others. “You’re gonna have to squeeze into my backseat, though.”

Alibaba and Kougyoku were still very quiet, Aladdin was already yawning, and Kouha had just concluded that nothing else could probably top Hakuryuu that night, so they all gladly accepted the offer.

It failed, ultimately. Alibaba and Kougyoku were both silent and awkward on the ride home, but they were back to normal the day after.

Titus swore off alcohol.

As for Hakuryuu, no one had the heart to tell him about his little outburst. He confessed to feeling like he should apologize to a lot of people but not knowing exactly why. They all told him that he did nothing wrong and they still love him.

Kouha was probably saving the real story for a boring family dinner down the line.



A week later, Aladdin came jogging up to Judal while the raven-head was walking towards the dorm building. He tugged at the taller student’s sleeve as soon as he caught up.

Judal yanked his headphones down to rest on his neck. “What? I don’t have candy.”

“You’re going to your room, right?” Aladdin asked.

“Yeah, what’s it to you?”

“I forgot one of my books in there. I texted Alibaba but he’s not replying, so can I go with you instead?”

Judal shrugged. “Do what you want.”

When they got there, Judal turned the knob only to find the door locked. He grumbled as he tried to retrieve his keys from his pocket but paused when Aladdin spoke.

“Why is there a sock on your doorknob?”

Judal stared. There was indeed a sock tied to the doorknob.

“Is it some kind of prank? A message? An inside joke? A-”

He scoffed. “I know you’re a kid but you’ve been here three years and you don’t know what this means? It means ‘STAY OUT’ because your roommate’s inside making out with someone. Or doin’ more than making out-”

He stopped when Aladdin looked at him with wide eyes. “Wait, so… if there’s a sock in your doorknob… and you’re here… does that mean…?”

“Oh, hell no.” Judal said, tone dark. “That bastard!”

Aladdin took a step back as Judal snapped, jammed his key inside the doorknob and slammed the door open.


Both Aladdin and Judal paused by the doorway as they were greeted by a girlish squeal and a surprised yelp.

“…-Kougyoku?” Judal finished, trying to comprehend the sight of his childhood friend and his roommate on his roommate’s bed, clothes and hair disheveled, both flushed and glaring disbelievingly at him.

“Dude!” Alibaba scolded, withdrawing from where he was hovering over Kougyoku. “There was a sock on the knob and everything!”

Kougyoku pulled a pillow to cover her unbuttoned shirt. “You could have at least knocked.”

“No.” Judal said. “No. Nope, I am not talking to either of you right now.” He grabbed Aladdin who had hidden behind him, then shoved the teen inside the room. “You got five seconds to get your shit. Five. Four-”

“Excuse me!” Aladdin squeaked, making a beeline for Alibaba’s study table and grabbing his book. “Sorry! I swear I didn’t want him to barge in! Please don’t mind us! Congratulations! Bye!”

“-One.” Judal nodded as Aladdin went back to hiding behind him. He made a stiff salute to the two inside the room. “Right. Uh. Carry on.”

Finally, he stepped back and closed the door again.

“My eyes! I didn’t want to see that! My poor innocent eyes!” Aladdin said despairingly, hugging his book to himself. Then he looked up at the taller student. “Wait, why were you angry back there? Did you think he was with someone else?”

Judal huffed. “Yeah, ’cause- Shit. We’ve been working on  them  for months and we keep failing, I’ve started to think it was impossible.”

Aladdin grinned. “Aww, you were worried about them!”

“Shut up or I’m stuffing you in your locker.”

“We don’t have lockers here.” Aladdin pointed out haughtily.

“Whatever. Tell your roommate to sleep over at his boyfriend’s flat. I’m crashing at your room tonight.”

“That was so embarrassing.” Kougyoku whispered hiding her face with the pillow she was holding against her chest.

Alibaba chuckled, gently prying the pillow off and smiling down at his new girlfriend. “It could’ve been worse, though. At least they left right away.”

Kougyoku giggled. “You’re right, I guess.” She wrapped her arms around his neck to pull him down towards her again, picking up where they left off-

Then the door opened again and Judal peered inside.

“By the way, if you need protection, just look in my drawer-”

This time, both Alibaba and Kougyoku groaned and shouted, “GET OUT!”


Chapter Notes:

I FINALLY FINISHED. HOLY COW. I AM DONE. I gotta say, though. I really enjoyed writing all the prompts for this ship week. And I am ever so grateful that my fics received this much love both here and over at Tumblr.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment and scream with me! <3

Story End Notes:

Fic title is a reference to Your Universe because it’s the purest very wholesome most Alikou song in existence.

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