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September 24

Arisato Minako simply could not stand Aragaki Shinjiro.

Honestly, there was no reason for her to dislike him. Shinjiro was okay—he liked dogs and he watched a lot of cooking shows, and other than his gruff exterior, he was harmless. Still, there was something about him that made Minako’s stomach twist itself into angry knots whenever she saw him. It didn’t matter if he was minding his own business in the lounge, making something (unfairly delicious-smelling) in the kitchen, or strolling aimlessly up the stairs to his room—Minako hated him.

Maybe it was his hair, long and choppy, unkempt beneath his beanie. Maybe it was his heeled boots and the noise they made, clomping up and down the dorm hallways at night and keeping Minako from her beauty rest. Maybe it was his stupid red coat that really had no business looking that good on him.

Aragaki Shinjiro had done absolutely nothing to earn Minako’s hatred, but it was there.

It was a lazy Saturday afternoon in September when Minako learned the feeling was mutual. She was helping Shinjiro make curry for their teammates in the kitchen, a yawning distance between them as she chopped carrots and Shinjiro grilled the tofu. It was domestic and utterly obnoxious, Minako thought in the back of her mind.

“Yo, kid,” Shinjiro piped up as he flipped the tofu in the pan. The tofu sang a sizzling answer and Minako bit the inside of her cheek. She couldn’t stand it when he called her that and he had a nasty habit of doing so. “I have a question. Why do you hate me so much?”

Minako shrugged, tossing the discarded ends of the carrots into the garbage can beside her. “I don’t know,” she said. “I just don’t like you.”

“Normally, when you hate someone, there’s a justifiable reason for it,” Shinjiro pointed out. “Is there anything that I did? Was it something I said?”

“No,” Minako huffed. “I just don’t like you. I don’t like your existence. You’re weird, unfriendly, and snippy.”

Shinjiro chewed on those words for a moment. He flipped the tofu again. “Well, whatever,” he said. Minako watched out of the corner of her eye as he dumped a spoonful of minced garlic in the frying pan. “I can’t stand you either, so no harm, no foul.”

Minako made a noncommittal noise. “Great, can we stop talking?” she said. “I like it better when you don’t speak.”

The sidelong glare Shinjiro cast her was withering and Minako felt the familiar clench of her stomach gnawing in rage. Now that their emotions were out on the table, Minako felt oddly liberated. Now she could torment Shinjiro without shame to her heart’s content.

“Can you bring me the carrots?” Shinjiro said, ignoring her comment. “Bitch.”

Minako brought the cutting board lined with sliced carrot to the frying pan on the stove, not breaking eye contact with Shinjiro. The kitchen was not a place where she was particularly suited to be and Shinjiro was clearly the superior chef (not that she’d ever admit it aloud), but Minako felt an overwhelming urge to establish dominance over him. She shoved the carrots roughly into the pan, the oil jumping in response.

“What a clever insult,” Minako spat. “Very original.”

Shinjiro stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon. “Thanks, I thought of it all by myself,” he said, voice laced with acid. “Guess this is life now, huh?”

“What?” Minako felt irritated. Hadn’t she just asked him to shut up?

“Bothering the shit out of each other, day in and day out,” Shinjiro said. “Neither of us are going to back down. So we’ll just insult each other forever, until you graduate?”

“I was thinking after then, too,” Minako opined.

Shinjiro seemed bothered by that statement, but he didn’t speak on its behalf. “I don’t like leaving acrimony to fester,” Shinjiro said, flipping the carrots and tofu. The stir-fry smelled divine and Minako almost wished he were a bad cook so she could find another reason to detest him. “So maybe we should settle things on our own. You know, so we don’t drag the rest of the SEES into it.”

Minako narrowed her eyes. She folded her arms over her chest and leaned into the counter behind her. “And how do you suggest we do that?” she asked.

“We have an ongoing competition,” Shinjiro said. He did not look over at her while he stirred. “Something that lets us antagonize each other without bringing it out in the open.”

“So, what? Should we just go kick each other’s asses once per week on the roof?” Minako said. “’Cause the only way I see that going is me beating you to a pulp and Mitsuru consequently beating me to a pulp.”

“Nah, that’s too obvious, we’d make everyone worry if we came back all bruised and bloody,” Shinjiro said, ever the voice of reason. “How about this? We’ll just tease each other until one of us gets too mad and cracks. Whoever touches the other one first loses.”

Minako considered this, tapping her index finger on her forearm. “I’m fine with that,” she said. “How about we up the stakes, though? Loser has to do whatever the winner wants.”

A wide grin split Shinjiro’s face and Minako could almost envision the crust of his stern mask breaking. “I like it,” he said. “Deal?” Placing the wooden spoon into the pan, he turned to Minako and spit in his hand, holding it outstretched.

With a smirk, Minako hocked a wad of saliva into her hand and clapped Shinjiro’s hand with a firm shake.

I’m going to win.


  September 27

 Minako was not winning.

With a heavy sign, she flopped dramatically on the couch in the lounge. It had been three days and Shinjiro was made of stone. She’d tried everything—throwing wads of paper at him while studying at the dinner table, making snide comments about his appearance when passing him in the hall—hell, she’d even tried giving him unseasoned eggs for breakfast, something he’d voiced to Akihiko multiple times as a “crime against humanity.”

Nothing. Shinjiro hadn’t even batted an eyelash at her. Instead, he seemed to be ignoring her even more. Either Shinjiro had a master poker face or he was nowhere near pulling the first punch.

“Maybe I need to change my tactics,” Minako said to the ceiling. The ceiling, unhelpfully, did not respond.

“Maybe you do,” a rough, low voice spoke from the front door. Minako scowled and leaned up far enough to see Shinjiro kicking his shoes off on the welcome mat.

“You’re home early,” Minako pointed out as Shinjiro shuffled around to sit on the adjacent chaise lounge. “Not going training at Akihiko’s gym with the rest of the group?”

“Ah, so that’s where everyone is,” Shinjiro said. “Why aren’t you there?”

Because I thought you’d be there, so I didn’t want to go. “Don’t want to train right now,” Minako lied. “I’m tired, I was thinking of taking a nap.” That was not a lie, last night had been a long run in Tartarus—ten floors straight, in fact, and Minako was floating between states of consciousness.

“Well, by all accounts, don’t let me stop you,” Shinjiro said, pulling a manga out of his coat pocket. Minako squinted at the title. Doki Doki, Moe Mountain Climbers Attack!!!!! A buxom woman was wearing a winter coat and snowshoes on the cover, brandishing a whaling harpoon.

“What in the ever-loving fuck are you reading?” Minako demanded.

“Aren’t you supposed to be napping?” Shinjiro grumbled, cracking open the novel.

Minako huffed, shelving reads shojo manga in her mental closet for further Shinjiro hatred fuel. “Don’t do anything weird while I’m sleeping,” she snapped.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Shinjiro said, voice muffled by the manga, held close to his face like he was blind. “I’m not that desperate to win.”

Letting out one final mumble of annoyance, Minako closed her eyes, determined to allow her fake nap to give her time to plot her next move against Shinjiro, finding his ultimate weakness—

She fell asleep.


Something on her felt warm and comforting; Minako began to emerge from the fog of sleep as she groggily pulled Shinjiro’s coat closer to her neck. Breathing in, the scent of curry and sweat and cologne—

She froze, instantly awake. Shinjiro’s coat? Cracking open one eye, she noticed that Shinjiro had draped his coat over her.

Minako contemplated throwing it on the ground in disgust, but she was so cozy and she wanted to go right back to sleep. Shinjiro hadn’t even noticed she was awake, engrossed in his manga. He was only a third of the way through Doki Doki, Moe Mountain Climbers Attack!!!!!, as evidenced by Minako’s limited vision, so she hadn’t been asleep for long.

Minako breathed in again, catching a powerful waft of Shinjiro’s scent once more. Her stomach was caught in familiar knots—why was he being so nice? She hated him, he hated her, and yet here he was, reading some stupid manga next to her and putting his stupid coat on her while she was asleep, like… like… like he cared about her. She was completely vulnerable on the couch and he wasn’t even trying to bother her into smacking him.

Immediately, she felt irritated. I’ll bet he’s doing this just to piss me off more, she thought bitterly. Stupid Senpai. Shinjiro turn another page in his manga, not looking up.

Minako screwed her eyes shut again. She’d spent the last three days unsuccessfully trying to get Shinjiro’s attention and rile him up enough to hit her, but nothing was working. Minako was running out of ideas—she needed to think of something fast, because Shinjiro’s mysterious tactics of killing her with kindness was admittedly working.

Until one of us touches the other, huh?

Her insides squeezed as a fresh idea surfaced in her mind. No.

There was no clause in their agreement saying that the touch had to be violent.

No. No way.

 Seducing Shinjiro was totally something she could do. It was legal in the terms of their agreement. It was dirty, underhanded, and snakelike, but she could do it. Shinjiro couldn’t stop her, and the minute he touched her, it was over and Minako could tell him to pound sand. And if Shinjiro wasn’t responding to standard-issue teasing, he might just crack under a different sort of pressure.

Minako’s pulse quickened. I’m seriously considering this, she thought with mild panic. I’m actually going to try to seduce Shinjiro into touching me.

She opened one eye again. Shinjiro was now halfway through Doki Doki, Moe Mountain Climbers Attack!!!!! and was showing no signs of interest anywhere else. Minako shifted slightly under Shinjiro’s coat. She supposed if there was ever a time to start, it would be now.

She shut her eye and allowed her hands to travel down her sides, around her hips, between her legs, into the space between her thighs and under her panties. Holy shit, how am I already this wet? Minako berated herself for being so turned on by sexually torturing her mortal enemy, but the desire to be victorious over Shinjiro won out and she slid a finger inside herself.

She gasped lightly. Oh no, it felt good. It felt really good. She was touching herself and Shinjiro wasn’t even a yard away. Another finger entered her with ease. Minako bit her lip with a soft whine, barely audible. With her thumb, she circled her clit, scissoring her fingers until her fingernails grazed the inside of her pussy.

A blush consumed her face. It was too late to back out, she was way too invested in trying this tactic out and also fuck I am so horny. She felt consumed with embarrassment; too nervous to open her eyes. She began to build a rhythm, replacing her thumb with the pads of the fingers on her left hand. Involuntarily, her hips bucked.

“Oh,” she whispered as a wave of desire rolled over her, replacing the shame associated with masturbating under Shinjiro’s coat while Shinjiro was right fucking there. Boldly, Minako dared to open one eye again, just to see if he noticed—

He did. Shinjiro was still holding his manga, but his expression was trained on Minako, eyes huge with shock. His mouth was parted slightly, breathing shallow. A rush of victory roiled in Minako’s gut as she fucked herself harder with her fingers, no longer attempting to hide.

It had been so long since she’d done this—already, her orgasm was building, threatening to spill over the edge. She opened her other eye, locking eyes with Shinjiro as her hips rocked again, a needy whimper escaping her lips. There really was no going back now.

Shinjiro drew his lower lip into his mouth. He bit hard as he stared at her. He appeared mesmerized, unable to tear his eyes away. Minako almost cried out, she wanted him to watch, she wanted his resolve to break

“I’m—” she began, but her orgasm arrived before her words as jolt after jolt of pleasure gripped her body, coming hard under Shinjiro’s captive audience and the smell of curry in her nose. With a shuddering sigh, her eyes fluttered shut, and she spent a moment to collect herself.

I did that, she thought, aghast. I really just did that. She had just masturbated—to completion—in front of Shinjiro.

And he still hadn’t touched her.

When Minako opened her eyes, Shinjiro was gone; his coat was still draped over her and Doki Doki, Moe Mountain Climbers Attack!!!!! sat alone on the chaise cushion.

“Motherfucker,” Minako groaned.


Later that night, Minako encountered Shinjiro in the third floor of the dorm hallway, right after Minako had finished getting an update on the next level of Tartarus from Mitsuru. Over the last few days, it had been a ritual—Shinjiro passing on the right going toward the staircase, Minako on the left going to her room, Minako saying something snarky, and Shinjiro not even stopping to spare her a parting glance.

But tonight, Shinjiro’s poker face had broken and he was visibly angry. “Kid, we need to talk,” he hissed.

“Do we?” Minako paused and looked down at her fingernails with feigned interest.

“What the hell was that earlier today?” Shinjiro growled. “Did you seriously get off in front of me? Under my coat? What’s wrong with you?”

Minako stretched out her fingers. She needed a manicure. “All’s fair in war, Shinjiro,” she said blandly. “I’m teasing you. What else do you think I’m doing? I’ve got a competition to win.”

“So you’re gonna fingerfuck yourself in front of me until, what, I get overcome with lust?” he barked. “Real sneaky, leader.”

“Well, you’re showing emotion for the first time ever,” she said. “So is it working?”

Shinjiro leaned in, his stare smoking with rage. “If that’s how this is gonna be,” he rumbled, his breath hot on Minako’s face, “then I reserve the right to make you regret what you did today.

“Oh?” Minako taunted. “Gonna fold already? What, you want to punch me? Go on, do it.”

“Oh no, this is far from over,” Shinjiro said. “You can dish it out, but let’s see if you can take it.” The last two words came out of his mouth in a lewd drawl, heavy and rough, and a tingle of anxiety wormed its way down Minako’s spine.

“The hell are you planning?” Minako snapped. But Shinjiro was already pulling back, a shit-eating grin on his face as he turned heel and moved towards the staircase to the boys’ floor. “Answer me, Shinjiro!”

Shinjiro had already disappeared down the stairs by the time Minako cooled down enough to glare angrily back at her nails. She had too much pride to admit that her new tactic was simultaneously working and backfiring.

She also had too much pride to admit that she’d wanted to bite Shinjiro on his stupid lips when he leaned in.

Stupid Senpai. Stupid me.


September 30

Minako would never admit it to him, but Shinjiro was actually pretty smart once he showed up to class. Minako would also never admit to him that she was godawful at math and Shinjiro was the best algebra tutor she’d ever had.

Which was why she always pulled Junpei into studying algebra with Shinjiro.

“Guysssssss,” Junpei whined, his chin resting on his workbook, skin dusted with a myriad of eraser shavings from his mistakes. “This sucks! I hate math so much!”

They were doing homework together on the third floor common room—Shinjiro, Junpei, and herself, Junpei groveling under the silent superiority of Shinjiro’s algebra knowledge and Minako pretending that she didn’t need any help. She and Shinjiro were sitting on the couch, a foot’s worth of distance between them, their secret competition still steadfast even when Junpei was in the picture.

Shinjiro scribbled down the answer to the problem he was working on. Wordlessly, Minako cast a glance at his paper and couldn’t help but to be begrudgingly impressed at his clean, organized rows of scratchings where he’d worked it out. “Algebra isn’t that hard, Junpei,” he said. “You just have to follow the order of operations and you’ll get it eventually.”

“SNORE,” Junpei said loudly. “I always forget what that even is!”

“Order of operations?” Shinjiro asked incredulously. “They teach it to you on the first day. Were you even listening?”

“Of course I was! I think,” Junpei said. “Can you please help me on this problem, Shinji? There’s too many letters in place of numbers. Why do they have letters in math?”

“No,” Shinjiro said bluntly. “I already told you how to solve it, try what I taught you. I’m not doing it for you.”

Junpei pulled a very convincing puppy face in response. Shinjiro had a weakness for dogs and Junpei could occasionally be exactly that.

“Looking cute isn’t going to get you through algebra,” Shinjiro deadpanned.

Junpei sighed and lifted his head. “It was worth a shot,” he said. “But you’re helping Minako-chan! Why not me? I’m way more adorable!”

“Thanks, asshole,” Minako said. “Some best friend you are.”

“That’s debatable,” Shinjiro said. The gut-clenching feeling suddenly returned to Minako, hitting her like a truck, and she felt nauseous at his comment. “Just for that, I’m going to tell our leader all the answers and leave you to figure it out by yourself.” He turned to Minako and gestured to her. “Come on, lean in.”

Minako frowned. What’s he trying to do? Shinjiro arched an eyebrow at her, waiting to see if she’d accept his offer. There’s no way he’s going to give me math answers. Is there?

Minako glanced down at her blank sheet of paper. There was a fifty-fifty chance it was algebra help, and God knew she needed that. Forlornly, Minako sniffed and turned her ear toward Shinjiro, leaning to the side.

“You guys are so mean!” Junpei cried. “Minako, tell me everything later, okay?”

Minako opened her mouth to respond to Junpei, but Shinjiro’s hot breath on her earlobe and the ensuing sentence stopped her.

You know what I’m going to do to you once I win our competition?” he murmured, thick and dark and simply sultry. “I’m going to bend you over that couch in the lounge and fuck you so hard you won’t be able to walk.

Horrified, Minako shot a frantic look at Junpei to see if he’d overhead that. Fortunately, Junpei was ever oblivious, enveloped in a difficult algebra problem, brow furrowed in frustration as he tapped his pencil on the coffee table.

A man possessed, Shinjiro continued. “Or maybe you’d prefer it if I did something right here, in front of Junpei?” he whispered. His breath tickled the hairs in Minako’s inner ear. “Opened your thighs and split you open with my fingers, like you did to yourself yesterday, and make you cum all over yourself like the slutty little exhibitionist that you are.

Minako swallowed, hoping it wasn’t audible. “Uh-huh,” she said shakily, trying to maintain a semblance of solving math problems. “And how’d you get that answer?”

Shinjiro was so close that she could almost feel him smirking. “But knowing you, that wouldn’t be enough,” he went on. “You’d want my cock so badly. You’d never say it, you’re too proud, but I’d wind you up so hard that you’d have to beg me to fucking wreck your tiny little pussy with my dick.

Reaching out, Minako picked up her algebra workbook and nodded, hastily scribbling down some gibberish. “Okay, got it,” she said, feeling spellbound by the absurdity of the situation. She pressed her legs together, trying hard to trick herself into not being hotly aroused in response to Shinjiro’s words.

Some leader you are,” Shinjiro rumbled. “You think you’re all high and mighty, but I know that all you want is for someone to grab you by your hair and force you up against the door and make you nothing more than a hole to be fucked. And when they’re done with you, cum all over your face and make you lick up every last drop. Goddamn, doll, I can’t wait to do that to you.

“Great! Thanks, Shinjiro!” Minako said with fake cheer. “This helps a lot!”

Shinjiro leaned back, his smile infectiously perverted. “No problem, leader.” He slid a glance at Junpei. “You better not have been listening in, Peipei.”

“Of course not! I… I have integrity!” Junpei huffed. “And I’ve solved a whole two problems!” Eagerly, he thrust his workbook toward Shinjiro.

Shinjiro made a show of scanning it. “You got the wrong answer for both of them,” he said pointedly.

“See! This is why you should’ve helped me and told me the answers, too!” Junpei exclaimed. He threw his book down on the table and hoisted himself over the table, practically crawling into Shinjiro’s lap. “Shinjiiiiiiii, whisper in my ear toooooooo!”

Shinjiro cut the study session off early to prevent Junpei from climbing on him in exchange for sweet algebra nothings, leaving Junpei to skulk his way down the stairs. Shinjiro began tidying up his books and, as he stood to leave, cast a sideways glance at Minako.

“… can’t wait to do that to me, huh?” Minako questioned.

The smile that Shinjiro gave her in response was predatory, sharkish. Minako was ever so slightly okay with being prey in that moment. “I told you, leader, I ain’t a nice guy,” he warned with no malice in his tone. “See you in the morning.” With that, he was gone, leaving Minako alone with nothing but the dull ticking of the grandfather clock in the common room corner.

She told herself she wasn’t going to use Shinjiro’s words as fodder, but her hands were busy that night in bed anyway.


October 1

The next night, Minako was determined.

Their score, in Minako’s eyes, was 1-1, and she realized that she had to pull ahead somehow. When Shinjiro asked if she wanted to watch a horror movie marathon in the first floor lounge after everyone was asleep, she jumped at the chance. Secretly, Minako was terrified of scary movies, but like hell she’d let Shinjiro onto that information.

“Gonna try something tonight?” Minako asked as they got comfortable. She’d purposefully worn her tightest-fitting pajama set, despite the fact that the autumn chill was creeping into the cracks of the dorm. Shinjiro, it seemed, had a similar idea—where the fuck did he get off, being so hot without a shirt on? And why were his lounge pants so low on his hips?

“I could ask you the same thing,” Shinjiro scoffed. “You’re not leaving much to the imagination.” He gestured to her pajamas.

“Maybe that’s the idea,” Minako taunted.

“Well, I can assure you I don’t have anything planned,” Shinjiro said, pointing at the TV in front of them, the opening credits of Saw 74 flickering through a black screen with a muted ambient track. “I actually kinda like scary movies, so I want to pay attention.” He threw his arm behind Minako on the couch, letting it sit casually on the backboard.

Minako cut him a glare. “I thought you said you weren’t trying anything,” she said.

“I’m not, can’t a man let his arm rest?” Shinjiro groused.

Minako decided to keep quiet and watch the movie; admittedly, despite the goriness of the content, she felt a little less nervous sitting next to Shinjiro. She needed more Courage anyhow, and she could think of no better way to raise it than watching a horror film marathon next to someone she despised (and kind of—maybe—sort of—wanted to fuck?).

Either the ambience, the frigid atmosphere in the old building, or the awkward finishing thought she’d just had sent a chill through Minako’s body. Wrapping her arms around her, she shivered. “Ugh, God,” she grumbled.

Shinjiro looked over at her. “What’s up, you cold?” he inquired. The dim light from the TV illuminated his skin—his very nice skin, Minako noticed, free of blemishes and stretched taught over two neat rows of washboard abs—

Get it together, Minako. “Yeah, I think so,” she replied.

Shinjiro snorted a laugh. “Well, that’s what you get, dressing like that,” he said. “Wanna go change? I think a commercial break is coming up anyway.”

Minako glanced at the clock and frowned. Had it really only been twenty minutes? This night was a bust so far. “Yeah, okay,” she said, throwing up her hands in defeat. Standing up, she marched briskly up the staircase, leaving Shinjiro to re-invest himself in the movie.

Something stopped her on the second floor, however; a devious thought, riding on the coattails of her original intention of changing her tactics, now emerging after days of tension. The hallway leading to the boys’ rooms were dark, but Minako had been down them several times, and she was able to find Shinjiro’s bedroom door with ease.

She fiddled with the knob; surprisingly, it was unlocked. Was Shinjiro really the type to leave his room wide open? Nevertheless, the door swung inside, and Minako found herself staring at Shinjiro’s desk chair, immediately to the right of the entrance.

There it was—his red jacket, all black buttons and buckled sleeves, slung haphazardly over the chair. Minako felt a rush of adrenaline, remembering what she’d done underneath it a few short days ago. And who had been watching.

Blood roaring in her ears, Minako stole a glance behind her to make sure nobody was coming, that Shinjiro hadn’t followed her up the stairs—and she slid her shorts around her ankles as soon as the coast was clear. She made quick work of her shirt and, before she could hesitate, threw on Shinjiro’s coat, buttoning the front.

Awkwardly, she turned and stared at herself in the mirror next to Shinjiro’s bed. No wonder it had made such a comfortable blanket—the hem extended past her knees and the sleeves dangled over the lower knuckles of her fingers. The coat was lined with some sort of fur; it brushed soothingly against her bare skin. The neckline dipped below her collarbone and came to rest in a deep V between her breasts, silhouettes of flesh barely there in the darkness.

I can’t believe I’m doing this. Minako took a few unsure steps out of the room, closing the door behind her. Each movement helped her gain a little confidence as she sidled by the adjacent bedroom doors, keeping quiet to ensure that she wouldn’t wake any of her teammates. She descended down the stairs, stopping at the base of the landing.

Shinjiro, who had been paying close attention to the movie, heard Minako arrive and lifted his gaze. As soon as he realized what she was wearing, a cloudy expression passed over his face.

“She-devil,” he crooned.

Minako’s heart refused to slow as she approached the couch, taking her same seat next to Shinjiro. “I hope you don’t mind,” she said. “Your jacket is way warmer than anything that I own.”

Shinjiro clicked his tongue. “Ain’t that a shame,” he said throatily. He threw his arm behind her on the couch again. “Guess you’ll have to wear it more often.”

“Shall we continue watching?” she asked with a small smile, motioning toward the television.

“No,” Shinjiro said, point-blank, and Minako was blown away by his bluntness. “To be frank, kid, I can’t focus. I’m sure you understand.”

He reached out to her and Minako nearly squealed—was this it? Was this the moment where she won? Did her plan of seduction actually work? But instead of her face, her hands, her legs—Shinjiro deftly unclasped the first button on his coat.

“You’re touching me,” Minako preened. “I win.”

“Oh no, doll, I’m not touching you,” Shinjiro said. “I’m touching my coat. Big difference.” He undid the second button.

“It counts,” Minako protested. Fuck, she was so wet, there wasn’t any way she wasn’t dampening his coat. A part of her realized that he probably didn’t care at this point.

“Nope,” Shinjiro said. “And I’m not touching you tonight, either.” Without so much as ghosting his fingertips against her chest, Shinjiro pulled open the coat and exposed Minako to the drafty cold of the first floor lounge.

Minako was more or less proud of her body. She had round, perky breasts with fine nipples, abs and legs toned from fighting Shadows, and a shock of curly red pubes. She’d checked herself out in the mirror a few times—if she was her type, she’d have gone for herself.

Shinjiro, though, was never supposed to have been her type. And yet here she was, relishing in the ravenous way Shinjiro’s eyes raked over her body as she squirmed slightly. He wasn’t touching her, and yet his gaze was so heavy and heady that she almost mistook it for a hand.

“Holy hell, Minako,” he groaned. Minako’s insides flipped at the way he said her name, the first time ever that she remembered him saying it without a layer of kid or leader thrown in. In the flickering light of the television, Minako saw that Shinjiro’s pupils were dilated, his brown irises a suggestion rimming them. “Fuck.”

“Like what you see?” Minako pretended to have more confidence in this moment than she really did—secretly, she was terrified and uncertain of her pull. Still, her intrigue was stronger than her fear.

“God,” Shinjiro said thickly, apparently denigrating to one-word answers. “Why the hell do you have to look like this? It ain’t fair.”

“What’s not fair?” Minako teased. Although nervous and way out of her depth, she was loving this deep down. She had him—if only he would reach out and touch

“You’re making this really fucking hard, you know,” he said, voice hoarse and rough, grating against Minako’s ears like deliciously painful sandpaper. “You have no idea what you do to me. Fuck—and your pubes are red too, shit—”

“Show me,” Minako demanded. “Show me how I make you feel.” Her breathing was ragged now, her pulse thrumming with excitement, heart threatening to escape her chest.

Shinjiro barked out a short laugh. “You haven’t won yet,” he said. “You don’t get to make demands.”

“It’s not a demand, then,” Minako said lightly. “A request.”

Before Minako could even finish her sentence, however, Shinjiro was frenetically untying his lounge pants and freeing his cock. Minako’s first jumbled thought was God it’s so huge and oh he’s hard, like really hard and Shinjiro spat in his hand. Grasping himself at his base, Shinjiro gave a firm stroke with his large, calloused palm. The moan that ripped itself from his throat was erotic and Minako realized she couldn’t take it anymore.

Minako leaned back on the couch until she was lying prone, propped up against the armrest, spreading her legs and sliding her hands down between them. “Remember,” she warned as she rolled her clit between her fingers, voice faltering with arousal. “Cum counts.”

Shinjiro laughed again. “Fuck you,” he said, sliding his hand over the head of his cock. It twitched as his gaze travelled down to her pussy, wet and puffy, flushed red with piqued interest. “Fuck you,” he sighed and Minako had to clench her thighs together long enough to convince herself that she was not about to get off, right then and there, to Shinjiro’s throaty moaning.

“Cat got your tongue?” Minako was surprised she was even still able to speak as she rubbed herself vigorously, fingers greedy as she teased the bundle of nerves between her legs. Experimentally, she inserted two fingers into herself with her other hand—without any preparation at all, she took them down to the knuckle of her palm, spreading herself wide open for Shinjiro’s view.

Minako watched as Shinjiro’s strokes increased in pace, sloppy and needy. All he managed was a weak “damn” as a pearly bead of precum introduced itself onto the head of his cock; Shinjiro’s hand slicked over it, sliding up and down his shaft. Minako felt a thrill of pleasure fill her. Goaded, she thrust harder with her fingers, keening at the feeling of being so full and I wish this were something—something bigger—something—

 “Wish that was me,” Shinjiro rasped, movements erratic now, eyes obediently trained on Minako’s pussy as she mercilessly fucked herself to the beat of his thrusts. His hips were moving, jerky in motion, gaze stuck on her as if he never wanted it to leave. “God. Wish. Wish that was me.”

"Do you?” Minako said, her tongue thick and heavy like cotton. Shinjiro’s cock looked amazing, there was nothing she wanted more than to sling her legs over him and straddle him as she impaled herself with that thick, hard dick, overwhelm her to the brim—

“Bet you’re so tight,” he said hoarsely, rambling like a madman, his hair sticking to his forehead. “So wet—so good—Minako—I can’t—”

Minako’s vision was blurring, each hand working desperately as she chased her orgasm, just over the edge of the chasm she’d met before on this same couch several days ago, when she first decided to start seducing Shinjiro. “Do it,” she pleaded, almost ashamed of how starved she sounded. “I want it, please, Shinjiro-senpai, I—”

With a grunt, Shinjiro arched over her and Minako barely felt the first jet of his cum spilling over her bare chest before she dropped over the edge of the cliff into bliss, her pussy gripping her fingers like a vice and it robbed a high-pitched whine from her lungs.

Coming down from the high, Minako hazily glanced down at her chest, the cold ropes of semen splattered all over her. “Ah,” she said, unsure of what else to add. Shinjiro, the man she’d declared her mortal enemy, was now cumming on her in the middle of the night. She didn’t know if there was anything else to say.

Shinjiro cleared his throat first, his mind clear. “Well,” he said, nevertheless unwieldy. “Guess I lose?”

Licking her lips, Minako realized how chapped and dry they were. “Uh, I’ll let this one slide,” she said, not meeting his gaze. The absolute last thing she wanted to do right now was make eye contact with Shinjiro. “We’re still even.”

Minako pretended not to notice Shinjiro tucking his softening cock back into his pajama pants as she gathered her wits. “You can… er—I mean, you can still wear that,” he said. “Just clean up using the lining. I have to take it to the dry cleaner’s anyway.”

Sitting up, Minako wiped up Shinjiro’s seed with the inner lining of his coat, ignoring how slimy and wholly unpleasant (and yet she was still wet and still trapped in the fact that I’m so going to use this later on, the next time I’m alone in my room—) it felt against her skin. “I’m… going to take a shower,” she said. “Thanks for inviting me to watch movies.”

“Sure,” Shinjiro chuckled. They still weren’t making eye contact. “Sorry we didn’t watch more than one.”

Minako made a light hm of understanding as she stood up, hurrying up the stairs, feeling far more naked now than she did when she first descended them. In the shower, she struggled not to touch herself; but she did, and she went to bed wondering what was next. Wondering which of the two of them would be willing to give up first, after the recent change in events.

As Minako drifted off to sleep, a part of her knew that it needed to end soon.


October 2

 Shinjiro appeared taken aback by Minako’s presence at his door.

"Yo, kid,” he said as he answered, beanie-less and wearing the same damn lounge pants as he had the night before. This time (unfortunately, thought Minako, followed by near-immediate embarrassment) he was wearing a shirt.

Minako cringed.

“I can’t believe you have the audacity to call me that, after yesterday,” she scoffed aloud and relished in Shinjiro’s easygoing laughter.

“I gotta admit, I was terrified you’d never have an attitude again,” he said, leaning on his doorframe. It was early evening the next day and Minako decided that, as the de facto leader of the SEES, it would be irresponsible for her to not address active conflict with another team member, even if that conflict involved whatever the fuck had transpired between her and Shinjiro the night before.

Glancing behind him, Minako noticed that Shinjiro’s coat was back in its original home, hung sloppily over the back of his desk chair. “Is that seriously already clean?” Minako asked, jabbing a finger in its direction.

Shinjiro shrugged. “No,” he admitted, smirking at Minako’s disgusted expression. “What? I’ve dealt with my own dried cum before, nothing to worry about. And do you think I’d get this clean so quickly after you wore it naked? I want to savor the moment.”

Minako was equal parts horrified that Shinjiro was disgusting (and reminded of how much, deep down, she hated him—or did she really?) and relieved that he had more or less returned to his normal banter with her (not that it mattered, because she hated him—or did she really?).

In fact, she didn’t want to admit it, but the part of her that was relieved had more clout than the other.

Minako momentarily dispelled her inner conflict with a sigh. “Hey, can we talk?” she asked, sounding more hesitant than how she thought a leader should. “About… us?”

A shadow obscured Shinjiro’s face and for a moment, Minako was worried he’d refuse, but the doubt cleared from his expression as fast as it had appeared. “Sure,” he agreed. “I was thinking the same thing. Is, uh, my room okay?” He gestured loosely to the space behind him.

Minako nodded. “Yeah, wherever is comfortable.” She quelled an errant thought that screamed but I’m not as she passed over the threshold, courage rising triumphant.

Shinjiro’s room was as blank and unassuming as he appeared—no posters on the walls, a simple white spread adorning his bed, and a tube of generic Junes-brand toothpaste sitting on the counter next to his sink. It had been too dark for Minako to observe her surrounds when she’d pilfered his coat the night before and she wasn’t surprised to see that Shinjiro preferred to live light.

Nevertheless, she commented on the bare environment as Shinjiro closed the door. “You don’t have much,” she said, turning to face him.

Shinjiro’s hands were shoved into the pocket of his lounge pants as he shrugged. “I got used to not having possessions,” he said. “Y’know, being an orphan. People steal stuff, it’s best not to get attached to things.” Something in his eyes seemed almost longing as he regarded Minako.

Minako realized that had toed the line into untouchable territory with her remark; especially, she noted, with the solemn way he was looking at her—that was something she wasn’t prepared to address yet. She chose to say nothing in return as she scanned the room, looking for a place to sit. Finally, she jerked her head toward his bed.

“Can I sit there?” she asked.

Shinjiro’s disposition changed as he laughed. “Sure, long as you don’t stay long,” he replied.

“How come?”

“’Cause I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold back if you’re on my bed,” Shinjiro confessed. “To be honest.”

Minako’s throat shifted, her breath trapped in her lungs. She met Shinjiro’s stare with an upward tilt of her chin and defiantly sat on the edge of his bed, not breaking eye contact, daring him to go towards her, to answer the siren song. One last challenge to touch her.

Shinjiro did not move. Minako was impressed. She cleared her throat.

“I want to end the competition,” she said.

“Doll, you and me both,” Shinjiro growled. He was still, but his face betrayed his thinly veiled hunger. His eyes tailed her as if he were parched and sizing up an oasis.

“I have a solution,” Minako proposed, knees shaking, her voice confident but her body weak. Lifting her hand, she splayed her palm out before him. “On the count of three, we press our hands together. That’ll be the end of it. No winners, no losers. And we work out this tension together.”

Shinjiro’s eyebrows shot up. “That easy, huh?” he said, a coy smile playing on his lips. “Didn’t think you were as desperate as I was. I’m a little nonplused.”

“I started it,” Minako pointed out. “And you saw me last night, Shinjiro. You saw the way I fucked myself staring at you. You know just how much I want you. You and your. Thick.” She spread her legs very slightly, knees still quaking, no longer out of nerves but from need. “Cock.”

The growl that Shinjiro made was animalistic. Once more, Minako felt like prey, and this time, she was thrilled for it. “You’d best be careful, kid,” he rasped, running a tongue over his bottom lip. “I’m warning you. Once I touch your hand, I won’t be held accountable for my actions.”

Shinjiro,” Minako said emphatically. Every nerve in her body felt as if it were on fire, vibrating, practically roaring with the desire to get utterly destroyed by him. She couldn’t verbalize it except by saying his name; and from the way his muscles tightened, coiling like a cobra ready to strike, he felt no different. “I give you my full consent to do whatever the hell you want with me.”

Shinjiro took one step towards her, smoldering. “One,” he began.

“Two,” Minako continued.

Shinjiro lifted his hand. He brought it up to Minako’s.

They whispered “three” in near-perfect unison as the tips of their fingers made contact with one another. The skin of Shinjiro’s hands were rough, Minako noticed, and they were so much larger than hers. Shinjiro enfolded the thumb of his left hand with hers, tender and affectionate, and for a second, Minako felt something other than lust twinge at the edge of her memory.

Once more, Minako locked eyes with Shinjiro. He regarded her with greed, his mood unchanged now that their competition as officially over. No winners, no losers. It was as if the tension between them was suspended on piano wire, threatening to snap.

“Please,” Minako whispered, breaking the silence.

The wire snapped.

Shinjiro grabbed Minako’s wrist and was on top of her in an instant, pinning her to the bed with rough arms and powerful legs. His free hand roamed her curves, from thigh to hip to waist, sinking his fingers into the pliant flesh he found there. Minako keened against his touch, fisting her own fingers into the comforter below her.

“It’s been one week,” he groaned. His hand snaked beneath her sleep shirt, touch encircling her breast, pinching her nipple and rolling it between his fingers until it hardened. Minako gasped, shuddered, her form arching to meet his and falling short. “One week since I saw you touch yourself under my coat. Seven fucking days of jerking myself off every night because you woke something up in me and—fuck—”

Shinjiro trailed off sharply as Minako managed to pry her wrist free to run her hand eagerly up the tent in his pants. His erection felt warm against her; it throbbed in response to her touch. “Worst week of my whole life,” Minako said.

Minako,” Shinjiro said firmly, his lustful tone making the tips of Minako’s toes tingle. He almost never called her that and now that he was, she was over the moon. “I’m gonna wreck you. I’m gonna destroy you. Is—”

“That’s okay, please, Shinjiro,” Minako whimpered. She arched her back, her crotch falling just short of his, and Shinjiro’s hips chased her with a desperate need for friction. “It’s fine. Destroy me, I want it.”

Shinjiro’s eyes were wild as any remaining shred of his resolve crumbled. In an instant, his hands were on her sleep shorts, yanking them down around her ankles and replacing the achingly empty air between her thighs with his fingers. As soon as he made contact with her pussy, Minako cried out, feeling his digits sink into her warmth.

“Wow,” Shinjiro whispered, reverential, marveling at the way she curved to meet his fingers and biting back a scream as he expertly thumbed her clit. He gazed at her with misplaced longing, pupils fat with interest. “You’re even wetter than I expected. Christ.

“You can’t do this, you’re so meaaahn,” Minako all but whined as she felt Shinjiro stretching her with a second finger, his hands large but deft. His handiwork felt much bigger and altogether more satisfying than her own small hands.

“Can’t believe I waited this long to touch you,” Shinjiro murmured, interspersing each syllable with a well-timed push into her pussy, knuckles curled in a way that made Minako’s eyes cross. “Should’ve just thrown my coat off you on the couch that first time and fucked you. Made you mine.”

“Why didn’t you?” Minako challenged, in no position to be taunting him, with half his hand pushing every sweet button inside her.

Shinjiro’s eyes narrowed and his fingers withdrew from her; Minako wailed in protest until she saw him untying the drawstring on his lounge pants with fervor. Within a second, his uncut cock stood at attention from his pants, flushed and hard and slightly glistening at the top. He lifted his brows at Minako, who gave her consent with a hungry nod.

“So it would be sweeter once I did this,” he said. He lifted her hips and, without preamble, pushed himself to the hilt inside her.

Minako opened her mouth to respond, but no voice came; instead, her eyes rolled to the back of her head as she felt every inch of Shinjiro slide in, unrelenting, the irony of the situation not lost on her—but also not anywhere near her real priority. Right now, she wanted Shinjiro to fuck her into the mattress, logic be damned—she’d sort the residual feelings out later.

Shinjiro pulling all the way out and then gliding back into her quickly shook off any doubt that may have been creeping up to the edges of Minako’s brain. She let out a strangled cry—his heat was overwhelming and the pressure addicting, and Shinjiro looking at her like she was the most delicious thing in the world was not helping.

Fuck,” Shinjiro groaned. “God—” His hips gave a light, stilted thrust, as if he were still trying to convince himself that this was reality. Minako squirmed, trying to angle her body upwards enough that she could take more of him. He was huge, thick, and yet there wasn’t enough of him.

“Shinjiro-senpai,” Minako whispered. “I want more. This—this isn’t enough—”

“What do you want, baby girl?” Shinjiro said. “Use your words.”

Fuck. Me,” she all but demanded.

Spurned, Shinjiro roughly grabbed her hips and angled her towards him, pounding into her fiercely. Minako’s voice was nothing but taut strings as she choked out a high sob, words failing her, Shinjiro’s dick doing the talking. She reached between them and started rubbing herself roughly, a mad rush toward her own orgasm. All too soon, Shinjiro’s thrusts were erratic, telling of an end that was coming.

“Minako—Minako, I’m not going to last,” Shinjiro gasped. “Feels good, feels perfect. Where--?”

“Inside,” Minako barely managed to croak, too busy approaching the brink to worry about the consequences. Her clit vibrated with excitement as she pressed down, her fingers encircled the bundle of nerves ever faster, ever desperate. Her free hand raked down Shinjiro’s back, nails marking his skin, and Shinjiro hardly flinched.

Shinjiro slowed enough to pull back and give her a bewildering glance. He looked like he wanted to question her judgment; Minako was prepared, snarling, “I’m fine, I’m on the pill, if you don’t move, Shinjiro, I swear to God—”

Shinjiro screwed his eyes shut. He grabbed her hips with bruising force and, with him still inside her, arched her back upwards so that only her shoulders were attached to the bed and he loomed over her, a heady shadow. The new angle caused Minako to squeak as Shinjiro gave an experimental thrust, the position deep and satisfying. Entirely at his mercy, she looked up at him, his expression dark and covered in a deep flush.

“You’re gonna kill me,” Shinjiro said, his only coherent thought before he began pounding into Minako again, this time with renewed fervor. Each movement, each grunt from Shinjiro, each stolen glance at his furrowed brow and the single vein bulbous on his temple from exertion, it was so attractive, there was no way she could hate

Minako’s insides were knotted, coiled, ready to spring. It was a feeling that was all too familiar. All too frequent.

Suddenly, Shinjiro’s thrusting stopped, and Minako felt something warm spilling into her as he released inside her with a roar, his chest against hers so that she felt his voice vibrating in her ribcage. As if shoved off the cliff by an invisible body, the force of Minako’s own orgasm blindsided her, despite how eagerly she’d been anticipating it. Her pussy clenched around him as her vision went white, feeling as if a firecracker had been lit somewhere deep inside her.

Mercifully, Shinjiro pulled out and allowed Minako to slide down to lie on her back. Somehow, Minako managed to pull Shinjiro’s bulky form with her, encircling her thin arms around his broad back. Shinjiro allowed the contact; a part of him seemed to sink into her pliantly, but there was a silent part of his soul that did not yield to her affection.

“I don’t hate you,” Minako finally murmured after a few moments, the afterglow consuming any rational thought that she had. It felt strange to be honest with herself; Shinjiro seemed to share her thoughts, lifting his head from her chest with a surprised expression on his face. His dark eyes shone at her beneath his bangs, adumbrated but not completely obscured.

“Really?” he asked, his voice requesting explanation.

“Yeah,” Minako admitted. “I think I’ve always liked you. I’m just bad at letting myself be okay with those sorts of feelings.” Shinjiro seemed to stare at her with silent assent, and Minako recognized their similarities: orphans, abandoned at birth, seeking solace in those as broken as them.

“I understand,” Shinjiro said. Minako realized that was all he needed to say—she just needed to be understood. Shinjiro did just that.

“We have time,” Minako said. “To figure this out. Us. Right?”

“Of course,” Shinjiro said. He smiled, but the tone of his voice was far more empty and removed than his face.

They fell asleep in each other’s arms and Minako dozed off with the security that somehow, maybe, they could learn to set aside their hatred, however long it took. They had time.

Her insides clenched.


October 3  

The night before the Dark Hour of the full moon in October, Junpei came to Minako’s room.

“Yo, the exam is coming up,” he said. “Want to share the answers Shinji gave to you? Pleeeeeease, Minako?”

Minako looked up from her desk, where she was absolutely doing work.

“Answers?” she asked.