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“You all good in there? You tryin’ to drown yourself?”

“What?” Akira yells back over the sound of Ryuji’s delicious, delicious shower. She’s finally gotten the water pressure just right to start loosening the tense muscles of her shoulders and thighs, aching after an all-day Metaverse run. “I can’t hear you, the shower is on!”

“I know the shower is on, I can hear you! I said—”

What?!”

“ARE YOU TRYING TO DROWN YOURSELF OR—” The door cracks open and the shower curtain moves just a bit. “You shit, you’re yanking my chain, aren’t you?!”

“I can’t hear you,” Akira says in a perfectly normal tone of voice, grinning so hard her mouth feels like it’s about to crack off, “the shower’s on.” 

“Jerk,” Ryuji says affectionately. The shower curtain swings in sharply, like she’s just smacked it. “Are you gonna stay in there forever? The hot water’s gonna run out eventually.”

This is true; it’s already more lukewarm than not, and Akira’s mostly done as it is, but there’s a very specific lethargy that comes about in the shower after a long day of hard work, and it’s hitting her like the sack of coffee beans that fell off the top shelf onto her head last week. “Cold is fine.”

“No it ain’t, Aki! You’re gonna catch a cold!” Ryuji sticks her hand in through the shower curtain, bare to the shoulder and waving furiously like she’s trying to grab a handful of hair. At the level she’s at, she’s more likely to grab a handful of tit. 

As funny as that would be, Akira would really rather be watching Ryuji’s face the first time Ryuji touches her boobs. (Hopefully a when instead of an if, but her best friend is either dense as a box of dick-shaped rocks or strai— hahaha, no, there’s literally no way she’s straight, even if she doesn’t she herself doesn’t know it yet. That’s okay. Akira’s patient. She can wait. She’s over the pining— mostly— to the point where her hopeless crush is more funny than tragic.)

Instead of stepping forward so Ryuji’s hand hits her in the chest, she gives her a wet high-five, full of shower gel. “Son of a— Akira!” 

“That’s what you get, dummy!” Akira crows, just in time for Ryuji to yank the shower curtain back far enough to smack said gelled hand square onto her ass. “What the hell!!!” 

“Take your shitty shower gel back—” 

“It’s your shitty shower gel, if you don’t like it buy a different brand—” 

“ —and get outta the damn shower! ” 

“I’d get out of the shower faster if you weren’t yelling at me!”

“I’m not yelling—”

“You’re yelling!”

“You’re impossible!!!” Akira catches the shadow of arms flung upwards in supplication to the heavens and guffaws, full-bodied and unstoppable. “Yeah yeah, laugh it off, just hurry up and get outta there so you can dry off!” The bathroom door closes harder than necessary; Akira works her way through the last of her giggles and finishes rinsing her hands and hair in water noticeably cooler than it was when she started.

They spent hours in the Metaverse today, a longer stretch than they’ve ever done before, and Akira’s definitely paying for it. She’s the wildcard, she’s the leader, the ace in the hole, the joker in the deck. She needs to be at the forefront of the infiltration team every time, so she can cover whatever hole needs to be covered, fulfill any role that needs to be fulfilled. But she also has to drive in and out, be the one to distribute curry and coffee and bandaids like an overworked mother hen, and cut Shadows to ribbons with her dagger. 

At the end of any normal Mementos or palace run her muscles are locked up tense as iron, something only an hours-long soak in the bathhouse or a good deep tissue massage from Kawakami can handle. But Ryuji had invited her over for the evening (and maybe the night, depending), to decompress and hang out for a while, just two gals bein’ pals, and as much as she likes to pretend she’s not a slave to the parts of her that want Ryuji to nail her like a railgun and then cuddle her all night long, she kinda is.

Ryuji’s a hugger, and she’ll take what she can get.

As she steps out of the shower, stumbling a bit until her feet find the shaggy bath mat, she resigns herself to the thought of waking up stiff as a board tomorrow morning. There’s no way she’ll be leaving Ryuji’s place in time to call Kawakami to come over, and if Ryuji won’t let her steam herself to death in the shower then she’s just going to have to bite her tongue and deal with it.

Something that’s easy to do when she’s finally horizontal, curled up on Ryuji’s bed with her head tucked into Ryuji’s lap while her best friend teases the tangles out of her wavy hair. She’s still just in her towel, and Ryuji’s down to her bra and panties; neither of them want to be in anything more restrictive after almost ten hours in their respective full-body Metaverse wear.

She could fall asleep like this, Akira thinks, the gentle comb-through and warm post-shower lassitude lulling her into security, except that Ryuji keeps scraping the blunt nubs of her fingernails against her hairline. It’s a platonic gesture, yeah, her brain knows that, but her body won’t stop reminding her that they’re both almost naked.

In Ryuji’s bedroom.

In Ryuji’s bed.

With nobody else around for the night.

“Y’alright?” Ryuji asks, lifting the comb from Akira’s hair. “Too cold? You keep squirmin’ and I’m gonna pull something.”

“Nah, ‘m good.” Akira stretches again, tries to shift into a more comfortable position. “Even if I was, it’d be fine; I haven’t gotten to hang out in a towel like this since before I came to Tokyo. It feels nice. ”

“Mmm, yeah,” Ryuji says sympathetically. “That’s rough.”

“And also Morgana is there.”

Ryuji barks out a laugh at that, winding the lock of hair up and tucking it to the side to grab another. The soft tugging along her scalp makes Akira twitch in a different way. “Yeah! You don’t get any sorta privacy up there, do you?”

“None.”

“That sucks, man. ‘S not like you can ask him to leave if you want some girl time either—” 

Now Akira’s the one laughing, slapping the side of Ryuji’s knee. “Can you imagine! No, no, I refuse to imagine trying to explain that. ‘Hey Mona, buddy, can you leave for an hour so I can get off?’ God, I’d never be able to look him in the face again!?” 

She wishes she could, though. It’s been… a while. At least a month, and only then because the bathhouse was completely empty and she managed to rub a quick ‘n dirty one out in her shower stall that didn’t really sate anything. She hasn’t had a solid orgasm since before she left home. It’s probably not the best thing to think about while she’s laying mostly-nude with her head in her best friend-slash-oblivious crush’s lap, because Ryuji hasn’t stopped tugging on her hair and it’s making things flutter in the pit of her stomach.

Okay. Time to move.

“Here, let me sit up,” Akira says, and then very much doesn’t sit up. The second she tries the muscles in her back and thighs cramp up so ferociously it feels like she got punched. The noise that comes out of her mouth is somewhere along the lines of “Aauuouuauaoaough.” 

Very smooth.

Ryuji bends over her, giving Akira a nice show that doesn’t do anything to help either of her current situations. “That’s not sitting up.”

“I’m sore,” Akira admits. “I soak a lot longer, usually.”

“Well shit, want a massage? I used to be the best on the track team, all the girls’d line up for me to rub ‘em down.”

Akira very much wants to be rubbed down. She also very much doesn’t want to move. “I dunno,” she hedges. Maybe she can just stay here forever with her head in Ryuji’s lap? Maybe all her muscles will seize up and she can just lie here in Ryuji’s bed and have Ryuji feed her chilled grapes like an old-timey roman emperor. That’d be nice.

“Don’t be a baby! C’mon, c’mon, I’ll get you done and you’ll feel so much better,” Ryuji wheedles, bouncing her knees and jostling Akira’s head up and down and up and down. “Then we can go get gyudon or somethin’, so come onnnn!” 

Ugh, she’s getting whiplash. “Okay! Fine, fine, augh,” she grumbles, flinging her hands out with a pathetic noise as she levers herself up again.

Her left hand, landing among the wadded-up tangle of Ryuji’s blankets, hits something hard as she finally manages to get upright. She grabs it reflexively, pulling it out.

It’s incongruously pink and silver, tapered to a point with a—why is she analyzing it?? It’s a dildo. It’s Ryuji’s dildo in Ryuji’s bed where she probably puts it after she finishes putting it in side her— 

 Oh god .

She immediately puts it back. 

It’s too late, though. She saw it, and Ryuji saw her see it, and now she can’t stop seeing Ryuji in her mind, in this bed; late at night with the lights all low,rocking herself along to a heart pounding gut-wrenching toe-curling— 

Ffffff uck. 

“Ha!” Ryuji pats her on the shoulder and then—reaches under the blankets to grab the dildo and toss it onto the bedside table. “Sorry ‘bout that, I forgot that was there.”

“It’s fine.” Must be nice to casually leave your sex toys tucked away amongst your bed, safe in the knowledge that no one else is going to be padding through your bedding on nosy little white-socked toe beans. Must be nice to have the security to get off in our own bed every night. Every night? Maybe twice sometimes—fuck, Akira, get your shit together!

“Alright, now just lie down— yeah, on your back is fine for now, I’ll start with your calves and work up from there, ‘k?”

Does she use it every time, or does she start with her fingers, dip down beneath the band of her underpants and stroke across herself? Does she tease? Does she start off slow? Does she use one finger or two, soft little circles or bigger, firmer ones?

“Goddamn, Aki, you gotta start stretchin’ before we do Metaverse shit if you’re this bad all the time! Tell me if it hurts, alright?—Ooh, yeah, there goes a knot. Bet that shit feels good, huh?”

Maybe she sticks a hand up her own shirt, or maybe she’s already shirtless; it’s her bed in her room with her own door that locks, isn’t it? She could be naked. She looks good naked, all long legs and muscled forearms and the hint of abs and round breasts with dark areolas and sometimes if the air in the bathhouse is too cold her nipples go all cute and hard and peaky— 

“Wow, you’re still pretty flexible, huh! How’s that feel? Good? Good. Alright, I’m gonna start workin’ on your thighs, let me know if I need to go harder or softer or anythin’.”

So naked, and brushing a thumb across one of her own nipples, and there’s no way Ryuji’s quiet when she gets off, no way at all, Akira knows her, so she’s probably sighing, the way she does when she eats a perfect bite of gyudon, or that obscene noise she makes when she stretches and cracks her back just right, and when she’s finally warmed up enough she splays her thighs out wide and maybe she curves her fingers down to slick around her own wetness, maybe she tucks them inside herself, just a bit, just in anticipation— 

“Yeah, there we go! — Oh, wow, Aki, your shave job is so clean! How the hell d’you manage to get everythin’ without nicking yourself?”

Oh god that’s Ryuji’s thumb brushing against the side of her labia as she digs her fingers into the top of her thigh, centimeters away from where she could be digging her fingers into Akira herself, on top of where she digs her fingers into her own self, twisted and half propped up until she decides she’s ready, wet-sticky fingers closing around the dildo, lubing it up and— 

“Alright, roll over for me and I’ll get your glutes, and then we’ll move up to your back, sound good?”

It doesn’t, because now she’s all but presenting herself straight into Ryuji’s face, full ass out and everything, and Ryuji’s fingers dig into the meat of her butt so hard she groans, and does Ryuji groan? Does she moan? Does she warble sweetly as she fucks herself with the dildo? Does she have more? Does she watch anything while she gets off? Does she think about anyone?

Does she think about Akira— 

“Holy shit,” Ryuji breathes, laughter in her voice, “guess it has been a while for you, huh?”

Fuck. 

“Kill me,” Akira mumbles into the mattress. Ryuji hasn’t stopped kneading up the back of her thighs and into her butt, and every long, hard press feels like it lights a beacon between her legs that screams LOOK HOW FUCKING WET I AM!, a beacon that even Ryuji’s obliviousness can’t pass over. “Sorry.”

“Hey, dude, no reason to apologize.” She hasn’t stopped touching her. Akira’s actually going to combust. “You said yourself it’s been ages! I dunno how you do it, I start gettin’ irritable after like three days.” She hesitates, her hands stilling on the curve of Akira’s ass. “Hey, if you wanna… I’m not gonna complain, y’know?”

“If I wanna...?” Akira asks, gravel-rough.

“Get off!” There’s a sharp pat on the back of her thigh that startles a noise out of her. “Hey, you can use my vibe if you want, too! I’ve got condoms ‘n shit for it, Ma brings ‘em home from the clinic, they’re super convenient.” 

“Oh,”Akira says, pulling on every single drama class she took in middle school to keep her voice and breathing even, “thanks.” She swallows and rolls carefully over onto her side—and she does feel much better, even more so than post-Kawakami massages, but the post-Kawakami massages also don’t usually end up with her fantasizing about the way her masseuse gets off— fuck, ew, no, Jesus, yuck, if she was any less turned on that would have stuck a big old knife into her mood and twisted it.

“Of course!” Ryuji beams and reaches over to grab said dildo. The sight of her holding it so cavalier and free makes Akira swallow, puts thoughts in her mind and fire in her loins. Yeah, definitely nicer than a Becky massage.

There’s an option here, a slippery slope down to the pits of hell that starts with Akira making the lie of her life and ends with the possibility of Ryuji railing her brains out. It’s—there’s a chance, okay? There’s a chance, and there’ll never, ever be a better opening than the two of them already nearly-naked in her bed.

She breathes in.

She breathes out.

“So,” she says faux-tentatively, “I’ve never— used one of those before—”

“Huh??” Ryuji leans over her, looking outraged on her behalf. “Not ever?”

“Country girl, remember?” She shrugs deliberate and casual. “We just used our fingers. And—” she makes an aborted motion and grunts, laying herself flat again and sighing out through her nose, “I’m too stiff to do that.” 

Is she laying it on too thick? Is it too pathetic? She peeks out from beneath the curve of her lashes to see Ryuji’s brow furrow, her expression going determined. 

“Then I’ll do it for you,” Ryuji says with the solemnity of a soldier about to go off to war. “Ain’t no way I’m gonna let my best girl go without, right?” Her thumb strokes along the inside of Akira’s thigh before she reaches up and untucks the towel from around her breasts, tugging it down a bit further until it rests firmly beneath the curve of Akira’s ass. “Oh man Akira, it’ll blow your mind! I never come harder than I do usin’ this bad boy.”

Oh, holy shit, this is beyond anything Akira could’ve hoped for. 

Ryuji takes a second to look at her, really look at her, and it’s not like they’ve never seen each other naked before but not like this. Never like this. “You’re cute as hell,” she says with an air of dawning realization, “y’know that, Aki?”

She desperately tries to suppress the flush that spreads across her face as Ryuji shifts her legs apart, propping her feet flat on the mattress with her knees spread wide enough for Ryuji to fit between. Oh, god, shit, she hasn’t been touched by anyone else in so long that if Ryuji goes for it it’s gonna be over way too fast— 

“How do you like it?” Ryuji asks, like she’s taking Akira’s big bang burger order and not petting circles across her pubic bone like a dog getting a belly rub. “Start slow? Quick ‘n fast? Or, hey! We got time, ‘f you wanna take this bad boy for a ride.” She waggles the dildo between two fingers. “I’ll work it for you if you wanna just take care of yourself.” 

If Akira gets any wetter she’s going to— oh, that’s probably why the towel is down, and what that says about Ryuji’s own masturbatory habits makes her stifle a squeak. “Ah,” she says, “that sounds—yeah, good, okay.”

“Cool!” Ryuji beams at her, her hand moving a little farther up the curve of her abdomen to her waist and then back down. She leans over to the bedside table again, snagging a packet of lube and— yep, cheap clinic condom out from the drawer. “Y’wanna get started while I get this prepped?”

“To be brutally honest, I’m worried that if I do I’ll pop like a champagne bottle.”

Ryuji laughs again, and Akira can’t even bring herself to care, because she’s positioned herself back between Akira’s thighs at the same time, tilting her legs open even more, and everything is on full display. “Yeah, okay, I can see that.”

“Don’t make fun of meeeeee—” 

“Sorry, sorry!” She’s quick to apologize, but she’s still laughing. If she wasn’t so horny, Akira would get up and crawl under a rock to die right now, but— 

Oh, but Ryuji puts a hand under her thigh and nudges at her with the tip of the dildo, and Akira cocks her hips towards it so fast it sinks a centimeter or so into her without warning. “Oh my god,” she mutters, both arms over her face, “oh god don’t tease, please, I will beg—”

“Sounds like a good look for you,” Ryuji says thoughtfully, and puts a hand on her pubic bone, forcing her hips back down to the bed. She whines at the loss. “Don’t bitch! This’ll be better if you let me do the work, okay?” 

Akira doesn’t answer, but that’s answer enough for Ryuji, who nudges it against her again. This time she doesn’t let up on the pressure; it slides into her like a lubed-up key into a wide-open lock and it’s a shitty metaphor but it’s the only one Akira can come up with, because she’s fairly sure she’s going to go out of her goddamned mind.

It’s— she was mostly joking, but almost three quarters of a year without any of her toys makes this feel brand new again. It’s not a huge toy, not overly girthy or overly long, but it’s at an angle that she’s never dealt with, and operated by a hand that isn’t hers. Either of those would be enough to get her going, but throwing in the fact that it’s Ryuji’s hand, Ryuji smiling at her and telling her she’s cute— 

“Fuck,” she breathes, unable to stop herself from grinding down on the toy, and it’s just stimulating enough without being anywhere near her clit that she whines low and long. “Ohhhh, fuck.

Ryuji’s hand strokes across her side and waist again, soothing and inflaming in equal measure. “I know, it’s a lot at first, yeah? I’ll start slow ‘n do what I do usually, and you tell me what works for you, okay?”

At Akira’s choked assent, she thrusts it in, and Akira goes to heaven just a little bit. 

She starts slow, with steady thrusts and her hand keeping Akira’s hips down, because she can’t stop trying to chase it faster. Each movement causes an obscene noise, audibly wet and embarrassing; Akira keeps both arms over her face, but can’t help peek between them to see Ryuji’s face. She’d kill to know what’s running through her mind, to have an exact answer about the flush staining her cheeks a pretty pink, about why her teeth are digging into her lower lip, about exactly where her eyes are fixated on, and if it’s where the dildo keeps disappearing inside her.

She almost misses Ryuji’s quiet “How y’doin’, Aki? You gettin’ somewhere? Normally I gotta have a finger on my clit to finish but if this works—” 

“Nnnngh,” Akira says, then “fuck,” then “it’s good, I’m good, it feels good, please don’t stop—”

“Oh!” Ryuji says, as if she’s just remembered something vital. “I mean, yeah, ‘course I won’t stop, but—” She does something that Akira feels but doesn’t see, and— 

And then the dildo starts vibrating. 

The noise that comes out of Akira’s mouth is obscene. She flails a bit, her knee hitting Ryuji’s side; Ryuji pins it flat to the bed with an effortless that sends spikes down her spine and straight to her clit. She’s whimpering now with every thrust, and that seems to encourage Ryuji to speed up, because she’s driving the toy into her harder, faster, sloppier, god, fuck, she has to dig one hand into her own hair to keep herself grounded but the other flails around until it hits Ryuji’s free arm.

She wraps her fingers around Ryuji’s forearm and holds on for dear fucking life, because even without any sort of pressure on her clit she feels her orgasm thundering towards her with the force of a stampede, breathtaking and ominous and terrifying in its threat. She can’t stop whining high and tight in the back of her throat, wordless pleas that Ryuji responds to as if they were direct commands.

Time goes a little syrupy, a little wobbly. There’s no way she’s going to stay on this tightrope edge for long; it’s not a question of if she’ll fall, but when. Even if she could figure out the words to tell Ryuji, her mouth is no longer connected to her brain. At this point, she’s just along for the ride.

So she can’t say anything when she watches Ryuji lick the pad of her thumb.

She can’t do anything as she watches Ryuji lower it.

She feels a quick, firm circle around her clit and comes so hard it feels like she’s been punched in the fucking face. 

It’s like lightning, like a nuke dropping, like a dam breaking, like something she doesn’t even have words for. Everything goes white-hot and brilliant; she can’t see, she can’t hear, she’s sure she’s making some sort of noise but there’s nothing she can do about it at this point. That’s Ryuji’s fault.

Slowly, the tide rolls out and the endorphins roll in. Akira un-clamps her knees from where they’d crocodile-snapped around Ryuji’s forearm, keeping her firmly in place, and goes limp, limbs splayed every which way. The continued buzz of the vibrator is a background non-concern. Nothing is a concern. Everything is wonderful. Life is amazing.

She giggles, and can’t stop even with the backs of both hands pressed against her mouth.

“God damn, Akira,” Ryuji says, low and hoarse and focused. “Was it that good?”

“Mm-hmm,” Akira assents from behind her hands, not even trying to stifle the blissed-out expression she knows she’s making. “Oh my god. Oh my god. I’ve never felt better in my life. Holy shit, I’m ruined, you ruined me, oh my god.” 

She feels more than sees Ryuji’s hand stroking along her thigh and knee, coaxing it back down to the bed, soothing the aftershock trembles away. “In a good way?” she asks.

“The best way. God. Oh my god, fuck, wow.”

“Heh. Cool.” 

Ryuji nudges the vibrator, and the sensation picks back up.

“Ryuji?!” 

“Didn’t I say?” When Akira pushes herself up onto her elbows, all she can see is the shit-eating grin plastered from ear to ear across Ryuji’s face. “I’m doin’ it the way I like, and I like a chaser. Just to make sure I’m real good and relaxed, y’know? So why don’t you lie back down?”

“I’m going to die,” Akira says blissfully, and lets herself collapse.