Untouched Mussels: Chapter 02

Chapter 2.

With Asta purring away in his arms, Jay slept soundly. It was different from the magical sleep he’d been trapped in because he actually dreamed. It was a lazy blur of colorful images and glowing eels, and Jay woke up feeling refreshed. 

The bed was very comfortable and warm, and Asta…


Asta was not a cat. 

Jay was now snuggled against the bare back of Asta in his human form, and his arm was wrapped around Asta’s waist. His hand was thankfully in a mostly neutral location, resting on Asta’s chest. 

Asta seemed to be sleeping still, and Jay was afraid to move. He didn’t want to wake up Asta and ruin what was a pretty magical moment for him. 

He’d never woken up with anyone before, and holding Asta felt wonderful. 

It was quiet, peaceful, and he found if he shifted his hand ever so slightly, he could feel Asta’s heartbeat thumping beneath his palm. 

That moment was also when he became aware of another heavy thumping, namely his own pulse down in his hard cock currently pressed into Asta’s very naked ass.

Oh, fuck.

The rhythm sped up to a frantic thump as Jay tried to decide what to do. The early morning hour had cast him in the role of an apparent pervert, though he couldn’t have known that Asta was going to be a naked humanoid person when they woke up together. All Jay had wanted to do was cuddle, and he had to think fast before Asta woke up.

He decided that the best course of action was to casually turn over so his hard dick wouldn’t be poking Asta’s butt. 

There, that’s what he would do. 

Problem solved.

Jay slid his arm out from around Asta, and then he carefully turned over to face the opposite wall. He missed the physical contact, but it was better this way. He sighed in relief and closed his eyes, any immediate danger now resolved. 

Except Asta rolled over. 

And now Asta’s hard dicks were pressing into Jay’s butt. 

Problem not solved. 


Asta buried his face into Jay’s hair, and he hugged him close, his long fingers lightly kneading Jay’s stomach. 

The bulge of Asta’s cocks was undeniable, though it wasn’t the result of any lecherous intent considering he wasn’t even awake right now. Feeling them there only made Jay’s dick harder, and he had to fight the ridiculous urge to grind back on them.

He sort of regretted snuggling now.

Jay rolled back again so now he was facing Asta. 


Now the problem was solved. 

As long as he didn’t scoot too close, nothing would touch that didn’t need to be touching. Asta’s arm was still around him, and Jay allowed himself to duck his head against Asta’s chest. He smiled when Asta hugged him tighter, and he could have easily drifted back off.

Except Asta was waking up.

And Jay still had a very obvious problem he hadn’t thought to adjust.

As did Asta, but Jay was going to pretend those giant things just didn’t exist right now. 

Asta stirred, mumbling quietly, “Hey. Morning.”

“Good morning.” Jay smiled as Asta rubbed his side.

“Sleep good?”

“I did, thanks.” Jay lifted his head so he could peek up at Asta.

Asta’s eyes were half-closed, and he was smiling drowsily. “Wanna go back to sleep and snuggle for like twenty more hours?”

“No.” Jay giggled. By all the gods, he was giggling. “You’re not really a cat. We can’t sleep all day. We have to get up.”

“Excuse you, sir.” Asta snorted. “I am a prince, and I am in the habit of doing what I want.”

“Yeah? And what do you want?” Jay’s breath caught when he realized he’d left the door wide open for Asta to make a dirty comment. 

More sex jokes. Sexual innuendo. Definitely something about sex. 

Asta only smiled, and he said, “This. Just me and you.” 

“Really?” Jay tried not to sound so surprised.

“What?” Asta grinned, flashing his pointy teeth. “Did you have something else in mind? Was there… something else you wanted?”

Don’t look at his dicks, don’t look at his dicks, don’t look


Jay hadn’t meant to, but his traitorous eyeballs glanced down between them. While his gaze never went lower than Asta’s nipples, the glance was enough to draw Asta’s laughter.

“I mean, if you really want to,” Asta teased. “I figured I’d take you to dinner first—”

“No!” Jay flailed and rolled back over. 

“No dinner?” 

“No! J-Just no!” Jay pulled one of the pillows on top of his head.

“Are you okay? Hey, come on! I’ll put pants on!” Asta laughed. 

Jay sat up suddenly, and he glared at Asta. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you?” 


“You never accidentally turned back into a human when we used to snuggle!” 

“Ah. Hmm.” Asta scratched his chin. “That is true.” 

“So?” Jay prompted. 


“That wasn’t an accident, was it?” 

“What wasn’t?” 

Jay made strangling motions with his hands. “Asta!”

“I love how you say my name.” Asta batted his eyes. 

Jay groaned and then flopped back down into bed with his pillow. “You’re impossible.” 

“Impossibly attractive? Impossibly charming?” 

Jay put his back to Asta and hugged the pillow, ignoring him. 

“Aw, no. Don’t do that.” Asta snuggled up to Jay, sliding his arm around him. “Look, the monsters aren’t here now. I put them away, okay?”

Jay glanced back, and he saw Asta was now wearing some kind of pajama onesie with little paw prints all over it. Jay didn’t feel anything poking him now at least, and he smiled when Asta took his hand. “Well, you still didn’t answer the question.”

“I’m an Asra. Answering questions is not really our thing.” Asta winked. “But because I like you so much, maybe… yes.” 

“Yes, what?” 

“Yes, I maybe changed into a human for human type snuggles. There, happy?” 


“Why what?” 

Jay tried to pull away with a huff. 

“Okay, okay!” Asta laughed and he squeezed Jay’s waist tight, dragging him back into his arms. “Because I just wanted to snuggle with you, okay? No funny stuff, I swear. “

Jay wasn’t sure if he completely believed Asta, though his sweet smile was making Jay’s heart flutter. “Well, thank you. That was… It was nice.” 

“You’re welcome.” Asta started to open his mouth to say something else, but he stopped. Instead, he kept on smiling. 

Gods, Asta was so handsome. 

His sharp cheekbones, his bright eyes, his soft lips…

Not that Jay actually knew if they were soft or anything, but they definitely looked like they would be. 

Precious moments of silence stretched on for an eternity, and Jay didn’t want to spoil them yet. Asta’s arm felt so strong, his hand was really warm, and Jay stayed as he was even though he had a damn cramp in his neck. He liked how Asta was looking at him right now, as if he was something wonderful to behold, and yet, the quiet was growing tense.

Were they going to kiss?

Was Asta going to kiss him?

He swore Asta was looking at his lips, and he wished he had the courage to act on the wild urge he had to tip forward and…

“What, what were you gonna say?” Jay stammered.


“Were you gonna say something?” 

“No.” Asta’s eyes flashed with mischief, and he grinned. “But now that you mention it, I was thinking about suggesting that next time we could both be naked.”

“Ah. Yes. There it is.” Jay chuckled and he sat up, brushing Asta’s arm off.


“The inevitable moment when you remind me why there isn’t gonna be a next time for cuddling.” Jay slid out of bed, reaching for his glasses.

“Oh, ow, right in my honey nut feelios.” Asta grabbed his chest. 

Jay smirked as he slid his glasses on. “Maybe apologize for getting naked and sneaking cuddles, and I will think about changing my mind.”

“You do realize that I was technically naked when you cuddled me as a cat?”

“But you were a cat.”

“A naked one.” Asta wagged his brows.

Jay groaned dramatically. “I haven’t even had breakfast yet!”

“Fine.” Asta hopped up to his feet. “I promise to only have naked chats after meals.”

“Or, you know, never.” 

“Hey.” Asta approached Jay, and he reached for his hips, drawing him into a gentle hug.

“Wh-what?” Jay held his hands up awkwardly before letting them settle on Asta’s shoulders. He hugged back, and he got that warm, fluttery feeling again in his chest. 

“I am really glad you’re here.” Asta sounded like he was smiling. “And I’m really, really glad you’re okay.” 

“M-Me too.” Jay laughed anxiously. “I mean, being turned into a vessel for a god sounds kinda, heh, weird.”

“You’d still be super hot, but I like you better like this.”

“Heh. Right.” Jay coughed. “Having god powers would have been kinda cool though. Being Silenced kinda sucks, you know.”

Asta pulled back to smile down at Jay. “Hey, you’re pretty damn magical to me.”

Jay’s face ignited promptly at the compliment, and he was thankful that moment was when Asta chose to portal them away to breakfast because he had no clue how to respond. 

This, whatever this was, was getting complicated much faster than Jay could have anticipated.

In twenty-four hours, he had developed quite a crush on his cat.

Asta brought Jay to an elaborate dining room where Ted was sitting by himself at a large table. There was an impressive spread of food covering the table, though Jay only recognized about half of it. Along with the typical scrambled eggs and bacon and sausage, there were big puffs that looked like blue cotton candy, some kind of rib roast that was a striking shade of purple, and a bowl of green slime that appeared to be moving. 

There was also a small dry erase board and a few markers. 

“Jay!” Ted grinned as he stood up to greet him. “Hey! Good morning!”

“Morning!” Jay hastily scooted away from Asta, well aware of how intimately they’d been holding one another. “H-How are you?”

“Good, good! Sleep all right?”

“Fine. So fine.” Jay gave Ted a big hug.

Ted hugged back, and he eyed Asta suspiciously. “Huh. You’re wearing clothes. Again.” 

“Don’t get used to it, Cat Kicker.” Asta rolled his eyes.

Jay went to sit down next to Ted’s spot, and he was surprised when Asta was suddenly right there to pull out the chair for him. “Oh, thank you.”

“Sure.” Asta leaned in close, his mouth hovering by Jay’s ear as he said, “Remember, just call me if you need me.” He winked. “I’ll come rescue you.”

“Th-thanks.” Jay smiled back. “Not sure what exactly I’d need rescuing from…?”

“You never know.” Asta stood up and gave Ted a firm salute. “See you later, Cat Kicker.” 

“Later, Asta.” Ted waved.

Asta glanced back at Jay with a little smile, and then he vanished through a portal.

The pop of it closing made Jay jump, and he quickly reached for a piece of bacon to cram into his mouth. 

“So! How was your first night in Xenon?” Ted asked. 

Jay waited until he was done eating to reply, “Mm, pretty good. Slept great. Still trying to take it all in, you know?”

“I get it.” Ted smiled warmly. “It’s a lot. You haven’t even seen the weird shit yet.”

“I haven’t?” Jay cringed.

“The other everlasting guys. The Eldress, the Vulgora? All those fucks are here too. This became their home after the gods went into the dreaming thing.”

“Wow.” Jay went for another piece of bacon. “Seriously? So, they’re really here? All of them?”

“Totally.” Ted handed Jay a plate. “Here, go for it. Everything’s fucking delicious, even the screwy looking stuff. Just watch out for the slime. It’ll move around in your stomach even after you swallow it. It’s fucking weird.”

“Is it… alive?” Jay decided against sampling it, and he stuck to the foods he knew were safe.

“Nah. Pretty sure it’s not.” Ted hesitated. “Mostly sure.”

“Right.” Jay picked up his fork to try some eggs. “And the Absola? The Faedra? They’re all here too?”

“Yup.” Ted nodded. “Just wait until you go out into the city. It’s a fuckin’ trip, man. They’re cool though, so don’t worry. Oh, but keep your eyes peeled when the little Deverach dudes are around. They have this whole community property thing where everything belongs to everybody, so they just take shit.”

“They steal it?”

“Well, it’s not stealing to them. Just, you know, maybe check your pockets.” 

“Oh. Okay. Got it.” Jay glanced up at Ted. “Uh, where’s your future husband at?”

“I told him to make himself scarce for a bit.” Ted smiled gently. “I know he can be a lot, and I thought it would be kinda cool just for us to hang out, you know? Catch up on everything.”

“Yeah? Thanks.” Jay smiled back. “I, I appreciate that. It’s been, whew, pretty intense.”

“Yeah, yeah, no, I get it. This place is fuckin’ bonkers. I got charged with murder when I first came here.”


“Long story.”

“Good thing we got some time, right?” Jay laughed. 

“All week, yeah? Let me know if you need anything. Clothes, toothbrush, whatever. My magic sucks ass, but Grell is a damn wizard.”

“So’s Asta.” Jay gestured to his outfit. “These are from him. It’s crazy how powerful he is. He’s incredible.” 

“Yeah, he is.” Ted smirked. “So…”

“What?” Jay frowned. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“You and Asta? You think that he’s, and I quote, incredible?”

“What? Huh? No!” Jay dropped his fork. “He’s just, uh, an incredible, uh, magical cat. Person. Thing. Friend! A friend. A very friendly friend.” 

“He acts fuckin’ different when you’re around.” 

“Different?” Jay scrambled to pick up his lost utensil. “What do you mean?”

“He’s actually kinda nice.” Ted paused to take a bite of a biscuit. “Mm, which is real fuckin’ weird. Oh, and he’s wearing clothes. Voluntarily. Also fuckin’ weird.” 

“Well, you know, he’s just, uh, being polite.” Jay fidgeted. “I just sorta asked him to, and he did, and he was just, uh, doing what he could to make me comfortable.”

Ted studied Jay’s face carefully. 

Jay wished he could disappear. “What?”

“You like him!” Ted accused. 

“What? No!” Jay argued. “He’s just my cat! I mean, he was my cat! That’s all!”

“A cat you totally wanna fuck.” Ted cackled triumphantly. He paused. “Wait, do you know about the two dicks—”

“Yes! Oh, by the gods! Yes, I know!” Jay groaned and put his head down on the table. “Kinda hard to miss!”

The chair on the other side of Jay suddenly pushed back on its own. 

“The fuck?” Jay leapt to his feet, staring at an empty chair. 

“Oh, that’s just Graham,” Ted said. 

“Who the hell is Graham?” 

“Right. So.” Ted put his fork down. “Uh, we’ve been friends for a while.” He frowned. “I guess maybe I haven’t been totally honest with you…”

“Huh?” Jay sat back down, and his stomach churned. “Fuck. Now what?”

Ted cringed. “So, I know that you’re already really overloaded with a ton of fuckin’ shit right now, but I maybe have one more teeny tiny thing to add to it.” 

Jay gestured helplessly. “What is it?”

“I have starsight. I can see and talk to dead people. Also, uh, at some point I died, was resurrected, and little Graham here, is a young boy I tried to save from drowning. We died together and somehow his soul got bound to mine, so I got myself a little hitchhiker when I was brought back to life.” 

Jay struggled for something to say as he watched the dry erase marker remove its own cap and then start to move across the whiteboard. 

Hello! 🙂 

“Uh… hi.” Jay gulped. 

Well, now he knew why those items were sitting there. 

“He’s gotten really strong.” Ted beamed. “Bein’ close to the bridge or something, I dunno, but he can do all kinds of cool stuff. We were hopin’ to get him a ball like Kunst, but—”

“Like who?” 

“Professor Emil Kunst!” a very proper voice declared. “Royal Occult Advisor and Official Royal Historian at your service, Mr. Tintenfisch.” 

Jay stared helplessly as a blue glowing ball floated over to the table, and he laughed. He couldn’t help it. 

There was a ghost on one side of him and a talking ball on the other, and his roommate could talk to dead people. 

“Are you okay?” Ted looked concerned. 

“I might throw up. I haven’t decided yet,” Jay replied honestly. 

“I suppose it may be a lot to absorb,” Kunst said, his glow dimming a bit, “but rest assured that we’re here to make your visit with us as comfortable and happy as possible! You’re the guest of our beloved prince consort—”

“Future prince consort,” Ted corrected with a sly smile. “And hey, I think Asta’s got him covered.” 


“Now I am gonna definitely throw up.” Jay shook his head. “Look, there’s something I wanna tell you too, but there is nothing going on between me and Asta—”

The very second Asta’s name left Jay’s lips, Asta himself popped through a portal and then snatched Jay right out of his chair. “Yoink!”

“Asta!” Jay cried as Asta pulled him into the portal. He closed his eyes as wind rushed around him, and he grabbed Asta’s arms to hang on. 

When the movement stopped and his feet were on solid ground again, he peeked open one eye. 

He was ready for anything. 

A forest full of talking trees. 

A unicorn that pooped gold. 

A sex dungeon. 


Jay was surprised to find himself in a library. 

The only thing unusual about it was its massive size, seemingly infinite number of books, and the large portrait of a very regal Asra staring down at them. It was warm, cozy, and there were two extremely large chairs right in the middle of the room.

“You okay?” Asta was holding Jay close and rubbing his back soothingly. He was wearing tiny black shorts and a crop top Backstreet Boys T-shirt, but at least it was something. 

“Why, why did you grab me?” Jay demanded.

“I told you to say my name if you needed rescuing.” Asta frowned. “I heard you, so I came.” 

“Where were you? Under the table?”

Asta chuckled. “It’s a spell. I maybe sort of enchanted you. Just a teeny tiny bit. Whenever you say my name, I’ll hear you. Even across worlds.” 

“O-Oh.” Jay blinked. “Maybe we should pick a different word or something?”

“Why?” Asta grinned. “Planning on talking about me more, huh?” 

“Well, especially here with your family or whatever, it might be a little inconvenient.” 

“So, you’re planning to talk about me more.” 

Jay tried not to laugh. “Can we please just change it?”

“Okay.” Asta smirked. “To what?” 

“Uh.” Jay shook his head. “I don’t know! Pumpernickel?”

“The fuck is that?” Asta wrinkled his nose. 

“It’s a type of bread.” Jay smiled. 

“Fine. Done.” 

“That’s it?” 

“I’m just that good, babycakes.” Asta winked. “So. If you weren’t calling me for a rescue, why were you talking about me, huh?”

Jay blushed immediately. “N-No reason, but you know, I’m glad you did come actually.” 

“Yeah? Something happened?”

“Ted sees dead people, and there’s this little ghost, and there’s also this glowing ball thing too!” Jay dug his fingers into his hair. “I really think I am losing my mind. Just when I think we’ve hit peak craziness, there is just… there’s more!”

“Hey, hey, relax your rack—”

“Relax my what?”

“Calm your tits? Soothe the boobs?” Asta grinned. “Calm the calamity that is your mammaries?”

Jay snorted out a laugh. 

“There you go.” Asta beamed, and he tenderly swiped his thumb over Jay’s cheek. “There’s that fuckin’ awesome smile. You’re okay, babycakes. It’s gonna be okay.” 

“Is it?” Jay shook his head. “I… I don’t know.” He pulled away from Asta, and his hands were a bit shaky. “Look, I think, I think I might need to go home.”

“Why?” Asta was alarmed.

Jay’s anxiety rose to a boil, and he hated how easily his eyes stung when he got upset. He took a deep breath before replying, “Because I don’t think I can handle this.”

“Hey! Yes, you can!” Asta reached for Jay’s hand. “Come on, babycakes. Remember when you and your guild were raiding the Dane Tower in Crusaders of the Dark Savant?”

“Wait, huh?” 

Crusaders of the Dark Savant was a popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game that Jay played obsessively. He’d spent hours with Asta—Mr. Twigs at the time—curled up in his lap while he and his guild mates explored dungeons and fought mystical wizards and monsters. 

The Dane Tower had been a particularly difficult part of the game, and it had taken Jay and his guildies weeks to finally beat the final boss.

“The big baddy’s son was whooping you guys because you couldn’t get out of the lava spots fast enough?” Asta pressed. “But then you finally figured out the pattern so everybody knew where to go before they bubble up, right?”

“Y-Yeah, I guess I did.” Jay frowned. 

“You just needed some time, and that big beautiful brain of yours sorted it all out.” Asta squeezed Jay’s hand and kissed it. “This place, everything you’re going through… It’s like you’re back at the start of the Tower, yeah? You gotta take some deep breaths, hit it one floor at a time, and watch out for lava.”

“I know you’re trying to be very sweet right now, but I’m still super confused.”

“Give yourself more time before you call it quits, okay?” Asta urged. “You’re in a new dungeon with brand new rules and classes and creatures, and you need to figure out a strategy. I know you pretty well, and I know you get super fried when there’s too much thrown at you. So, why don’t we just chill out here for a while, huh? Just me and you.” He winked. “I’ll even behave, just for you.”

Jay was touched by Asta’s kindness, not to mention a little startled by his sharp perception. He let his fingers lace with Asta’s, and he nodded. “I… I think I can do that. We’ll just stay here? No more weird crazy stuff?”

“Nope. Pinkie promise.”

Jay’s stomach was still twisting, but the cramping eased when Asta smiled. “It is, uh… a very beautiful library.”

“Yeah.” Asta’s smile grew. “It was my mom’s favorite spot in the whole world.”


“He died a long time ago.” Asta pointed to the portrait. “That’s him. Vael.”

“I’m so sorry. I… Him?” Jay blinked. “Uh…”

“Right.” Asta chuckled. “Yes, my mom was a dude. But he’s still my mom ‘cause he popped me out. For Asra, it still takes two to make a thing go right, but it doesn’t matter who’s making what go outta sight. You follow?”

“Yeah, I think so?” Jay paused. “No, wait, I don’t.” 

“We’re dual-class.” Asta winked. 

“R-right.” Jay blushed at the implication of the gaming reference. “I follow now.”

“If you’re wondering if I would respec for you, I would. I’m trying to say that I’d be happy if you wanted to equip my weapon or if you wanted me to equip yours—”

Jay quickly looked back up at the portrait. “Is that what you look like then? As an Asra?”

“Oh, you just hold on right there. I’m sexy as fuck.” Asra flashed a sly grin before transforming into a giant cat beast.

Jay backpedaled, stunned by the sheer size of Asta’s new form. 

He was huge, he was giant, he was…


Asta was a monstrous panther, sleek and black, and there were thick tentacles sprouting from the end of his tail and a full mane around the top of his head and dangling behind his big pointed ears. Several of the tentacles by his ears had shining bands clamped onto them, and they were different colored and marked with strange symbols. 

Jay could have ridden him like a horse, and he had the most insane urge to ask if he could—no!

“Wow,” he breathed, trying to keep his awe restrained. “You’re… awesome.”

“I know.” Asta beamed, sitting back on his haunches. “Pretty fuckin’ cool, huh?”

“Can I…” Jay hesitated. “Can I pet you?”

“Duh. You can pet any part of me you want, babycakes.”

Jay reached out shyly to touch Asta’s neck, scratching under his chin. He loved how soft Asta was, and the desire to grab him in a giant bear hug and snuggle his face into that velvety fur was strong. 

Asta purred quietly. “Good stuff right there. Mmm.”

Jay touched the tips of the beaded tentacles by Asta’s ear. “What are these?” 

“It’s how Asra communicate with each other. Think of them like Grindr profiles.” Asta chuckled. “They share all kinds of stuff. Our family line, marital status, jobs, pronouns, favorite sexual position…”

Jay snorted.

“Okay, maybe not sex positions, but yeah, all our personal stuff is on here.” 

“What do yours say?”

“Asta desu Crem Dianah Kane Bavar Nico Lucet, he and him pronouns, very single, I’m a prince, and I like candlelit dinners, gory horror movies, and cute guys with glasses.”

Jay blushed at the flirting, but he ignored it. He continued to pet Asta’s neck and around his ears, drawling, “Anything on there about you being a huge pervert?”

“Oh, totally.” Asta turned his head. “That purple one there? That’s the one you get for being a dirty sex fiend.”

Jay laughed.

“The turquoise and gold one is for getting a server first kill on Ra-Sep-Re-Tep.”

“Bullshit,” Jay said immediately. “You did not!”

“How do you know?” Asta batted his lashes. It wasn’t quite as effective as it was when he was human, but it was still pretty cute.

“You don’t play Crusaders!” Jay frowned. “Do… Do you?”

“Strong maybe.” Asta stood up, swishing his tail playfully. “Wanna see somethin’ cool?”

“What is it?”

“Do you trust me?”


“Come on!” Asta laughed, and he trotted over to the wall beneath the portrait. Instead of stopping, he continued to walk forward and vanished into the wall.

“What the…?” Jay stopped in his tracks. “Uh, Asta? I thought we said no more surprises?”

Asta poked his head out from the wall, and he grinned. “Come on, babycakes. It’s just a little surprise. I promise, nothing weird. I really think you’re gonna like this.”

Jay touched the wall, and he blinked as his hand went right through it like it was made of air. He grabbed Asta’s shoulder so he had something solid to hold onto, and he let Asta slowly guide him into the wall. 

On the other side was a room with a large desk, a beanbag chair, and an incredible computer array. There were three massive screens, a big glowing CPU, and every inch of wall space was covered in gaming posters. 

Jay couldn’t believe it—they were all for Crusaders of the Dark Savant, his favorite game.

“You really play Crusaders?” Jay asked.

“Yup.” Asta turned into a thankfully clothed human as he approached the desk, and he sat in a plush gaming chair. He pushed himself off the edge of the desk to go for a spin. “You know, like, on and off for a few years.”

“That poster is for Bane of the Cosmic Forge,” Jay said excitedly. “That was the first game in the series! Like, before Crusaders even existed, before there was ever an MMO! That was, like…” He stopped to think. “That was almost twenty years ago!”

“Yeah, so, maybe I have been playing a teeny tiny bit longer than you.” Asta spun around again.

Jay walked up to stand beside Asta at the desk. “Can… Can I see your character stats?”

“We haven’t even had dinner yet.”

“You’ve already seen mine!” Jay argued. “Fair is fair.”

“Mmm.” Asta stopped himself, dropping both hands on his keyboard. “I suppose I can show you what I got.” 

Jay gasped as a matching gaming chair appeared behind him. He eagerly sat back, his eyes fixed on the screens as the computer whirred to life. 

The middle screen was the largest, and there the login screen for the game appeared. Jay hummed along with the music, and he grinned when he realized Asta was too. 

After Asta logged in, all the in-game character profiles came up. He had over a dozen characters, many at the maximum level of one hundred, and he clicked the very top one. 

It was named “Bob”. 

“That’s your main?” Jay laughed as he read. “A fairy monk named Bob?” 

“Bob is wicked awesome, shush.” Asta clicked a few more times and then leaned back with a smirk. “Enjoy.”

Asta’s character was a lithe blue fairy dressed in thick black robes and toting a gold staff covered in runes. He knew immediately they were legendary items, the best in the game, and the character’s stats like strength and stamina were all maxed out. 

“Holy crap.” Jay gawked, his eyes darting over the screen in shock. “I’ve never seen anyone with perfect stats before. That staff! That’s Balcanzor’s Ruin!” 


“And the robes, they’re Vi Domina’s Vestments!” 


“I had no idea you played.” Jay grinned. “No wonder you always sat with me when I was raiding.” 

“Yeah, well, sometimes it was fun to see how amateurs play.” Asta winked. 

“Hey, screw you! I’m really good!” Jay argued. 

“You could be better.” Asta clicked into an inventory screen. “Say, like, with a T’rang’s War Chest?”

Jay stared. 

A T’rang War Chest was another legendary item made specifically for fighter classes like the character Jay played. It gave incredible bonuses to strength and the chance to land a critical blow. 

It was rare. 

Very rare. 

“Don’t joke around with stuff like that,” Jay said sullenly. “I’ve never even seen one drop.” 

“Well, I’ve seen a bunch,” Asta declared. “No big deal when you’re rolling in the leet guilds. That’s how I got one. All our fighters already had it, so I took it as a joke. Not like I can use it being a monk, but maybe… you’d like it?” 

“Me?” Jay squeaked. “Are you serious? Because I will switch servers right now.” 

“Well, come on over.” Asta winked as a second computer setup appeared in front of Jay as the desk expanded to make room for him. “The water here on the Guardia server is mighty fine.” 

Jay quickly started typing to bring up the login screen on his new computer, glancing at Asta. “You, uh, wanna maybe do some quests too? I’ve got some stuff I could use help with. Say, like, the help of a really powerful monk?”

“You’re lucky I’m feeling charitable today.” Asta leaned over to elbow Jay. “Let’s go kick some virtual ass.” 

Once Jay was logged into the game, he joined Asta’s server so they could form a group together. Jay’s main character was a lizard-man fighter, a big hulking reptile warrior. It was sort of funny how he towered over Asta’s little fairy character, and he made sure to pat Asta’s head often. 

In the game anyway. 

There were several emotive actions available including a friendly pat, several dances, curious shrugs, waves, and more. As Jay dove into the game with Asta at his side, he was delighted to watch Asta’s character utterly destroy enemy monsters while dancing. 

Asta was good. He was really good. 

They headed into the dungeon that Jay had been having trouble with, and Jay pretty much stood back and let Asta demolish everything in his path. Asta had already given Jay the T’rang War Chest plus a few thousand gold, and he insisted on taking the lead so Jay’s character wouldn’t get hurt. 

They played for hours, and Jay couldn’t remember the last time he’d had so much fun. He’d never played like this with someone right next to him, and it was a blast to share something he loved with…

Well, with the very handsome cat monster he was crushing on more than a little bit. 

Asta was very patient as he waited for Jay to loot the defeated enemies and explore new sections of the dungeon, and he offered Jay a lot of good advice for his character. Jay usually hated when people told him how to play, but Asta really knew the game well and his advice for changing up attack rotations was actually quite helpful. 

Jay was enjoying himself immensely, and he and Asta chatted about different raids they’d both liked, the ones they hated, and what they were looking forward to in the game’s next update. Jay was so much more relaxed now, and he was having an absolute blast hanging out with Asta. 

Once they defeated the final boss, Asta’s character came over to blow kisses to Jay’s as Asta said, “That’ll be one kiss please.” 

“What?” Jay laughed. “One kiss for what?”

Asta spammed the kiss emotive as he purred, “Why, for helping you out, babycakes. That’s my price.” 

“You didn’t tell me that!” Jay scowled.

“Yes. I tricked you. All part of my master plan!” Asta cackled maniacally. 

“You’re so gross.” Jay groaned in protest even as the mere suggestion created swarms of butterflies in his stomach. He glanced over at Asta, admiring how the glow of the screen lit up his pretty cheekbones and the mischievous curl of his lips. 

Maybe just one…

“I’m joking! You know, mostly.” Asta chuckled. “This was really cool. I actually had a good time—”

“One kiss,” Jay blurted out. 

“Huh?” Asta blinked. 

“One kiss,” Jay repeated. “I would have been in there for another week trying to beat that boss, and you basically one-shotted him. You may have one kiss as a thank you for helping me clear the dungeon and giving me that legendary item.” 

“Just one, huh?” Asta was suddenly right in Jay’s space, his hands on the armrest of Jay’s chair and turning it so they were facing each other. 

Jay gulped, his heart thumping so hard that he just knew Asta could hear it. “Y-Yeah, one.”

“Well.” Asta leaned in close, his bright eyes flicking over Jay’s lips. “I better make it count.” 

“You, you probably should.” Jay squirmed, and he didn’t know what else to do but wait for Asta to kiss him. He was nervous, but he hadn’t wanted anything so much in a very long time. Asta had been wonderful today, and Jay’s crush was blossoming into something much more dangerous. 

As Asta crept closer, Jay suspected that Asta probably wouldn’t want to stop at just one kiss. 

That was okay. 

Jay was pretty sure he wasn’t going to want to stop at one either. 

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