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Kumiko's decision to study music at university was as much a surprise to herself as it was to everyone else. If someone had told her middle school self that she'd be taking her euphonium playing into her adult life, she would've told them they were crazy. In her preteens she never would've imagined she'd actually be good at the euphonium, maybe even great . She had three years of Taki-sensei's guidance (or brutal dictatorship, whatever you wanted to call it) to thank for that. By the end of high school, playing the euphonium was the thing she was best at. RIP to her grades. Continuing with her musical education had become a very realistic option.

Reina, of course, had always been dead-set on attending a post-secondary music school.

"I want to be a music teacher," she said. "Like Taki-sensei."

"Like Taki-sensei," Kumiko echoed. "Of course. Are you going to have a student hopelessly crush on you the way you did on your music teacher?"

Reina narrowed her eyes. "You're the worst, Kumiko."

In the end, they both ended up getting into Kyoto City University of Arts, which in addition to having the prestige of being Japan's oldest university of the arts, it was also pretty close to where they lived. Not that they let that stop them from moving into the dorms. Together. They were roommates now. Kumiko was officially living the 24/7 Reina Kousaka life.

Reina wasn't the only familiar figure at her new school. Several senpai were attending as well, including the big woman herself, the Queen of the Euphonium.

"You missed me so much you couldn't keep away, huh?" Asuka said as she hugged Kumiko like a boa constrictor. "That needy side of you is so cute!"

"Yeah, yeah, I missed you too," Kumiko said. "Now get off of me."

The encounter occurred in the cafeteria, with Reina off to the side, pouting at the exchange between her roommate and her senpai.

Asuka spotted her and grinned. "You aren't just following Kousaka-san, are you? I'd have hoped you would've done away with that wishy-washy personality of yours by now."

"I'm here for my own reasons," Kumiko objected. Though, she couldn't deny that her decision to room with Reina wasn't made on some pretty flimsy reasoning.

They said goodbye to Asuka and returned to their dorm room. Reina pouted the whole way back. "How come you never hug me like that?" she asked.

"Eh? I save all my affection for Euphemia-chan." Kumiko opened up her instrument case and started polishing her own personal euphonium. Naturally she couldn't keep borrowing an instrument if she was going to university. That simply wouldn't do. So she bought a brand new euphonium, dubbed "Euphemia-chan" and took care of her as you would a lover, holding the instrument in her lap and caressing it with a cleaning cloth.

Reina watched her with what Kumiko would've called jealousy, if she didn't know better.

"Tanaka-senpai is a bad influence on you," she said. "You have an irregular relationship with your euphonium. I'm not that way with Louis-kun." That was the name of her trumpet, named after Louis Armstrong, apparently.

"I guess you don't treasure things the way I do," Kumiko replied. As she cleaned the euphonium, she could see Reina's discontent expression reflected in its brassy surface. In three years Kumiko had figured out that her feelings toward Reina were a little more intense than "girl I knew in middle school and happened to run into later." In time she adjusted to the fact that Reina would only ever be looking Taki-sensei's way, and the fact that he wasn't around for Reina to moon over did little to raise her hopes. She was an adult now. She could no longer let herself be ruled by schoolgirl crushes. That being said, it was hard not to be affected by the sight of Reina traipsing around their dorm in a tank top and tiny, tiny shorts.

Asuka was frustratingly perceptive as ever, but even a complete stranger could've picked up on the vibes Kumiko was putting out as she followed Reina around campus like a lost puppy.

"Still letting Kousaka-san lead you around by the nose, I see," Asuka mused. She had invited Kumiko out for coffee during a rare occasion she wasn't joined at the hip to Reina.

"It's not like that," Kumiko said. She and Reina were friends. Just friends. Kumiko had no interest at all in changing that. She had her studies to worry about.

"Really? You're not still trying to tap that?"

Kumiko almost sprayed her coffee all over the table. "I was never trying to tap that! "

"Come on, you're living together now. You've never had a better chance than now." Asuka hiked up the pitch of her voice to imitate Kumiko's. "'Reina, can you help me with my fingering? Yes, right there! Right there!' It could be like that, but instead she's somewhere on campus, blowing Louis-kun."

"Please don't talk like that in public," Kumiko said, shrinking under the gazes of the other customers who were disturbed by Asuka's orgasmic imitation of her.

"Don't tell me you've never thought about it. Nothing like a little experimentation in college to get the blood pumping." She winked.

The word "experimentation" sent Kumiko's mind down a rabbit hole playing the greatest hits list of times Reina's face was less than two inches away from her own. "The only girl I need in my life is Euphemia-chan."

"You've gotten boring, Oumae-chan. You should listen to your senpai. Oh! By the way, I have something for you." Asuka dug around in her bag and pulled out a small box, which she handed to her kouhai.

"Chocolates?"

"Someone bought them for me, but I'm not that fond of sweets. Better to use them to spoil my precious kouhai."

"If you say so." Kumiko stored the chocolates in her own bag, resisting the urge to climb in after them to avoid further scrutiny from her romance-obsessed senpai.

Kumiko didn't immediately return to her dorm room when the coffee date was over. She attended her classes and ran a few errands. It was evening when she finally made it home. As expected, Reina was waiting for her.

"How was your date with Tanaka-senpai?" she asked, eyeing her the way cat might a mouse.

"It wasn't a date," Kumiko said. "And she was as pushy as always." She dropped her bag on the floor and flopped onto the couch.

"You shouldn't let other girls push you around like that."

"'Other girls?' So is it fine if it's you?" Kumiko already knew the answer to that question. She could almost hear Asuka making a whip cracking sound. "Oh, right. This should keep you happy." She fished through her bag and got out the chocolates Asuka had given her. "Here." She thrust them at Reina.

"You can't bribe me." Regardless, Reina opened the box and popped a chocolate into her mouth.

If only she was always this easy to deal with, Kumiko thought. Maybe Asuka was right; maybe she was a pushover. Kumiko buried her face in a throw pillow. She just wanted to sink into the couch and forget about her troubles. Unfortunately, her troubles were sitting next to her on the couch and were pretty hard to ignore. As if attracted like a magnet, her eyes were drawn again to Reina. She sat up to get a proper look at her.

Reina was gently swaying back and forth like a metronome. There were a number of chocolates missing from the box.

"How many of those did you have?" Kumiko grabbed the box. "More importantly, what's in them?" A quick perusal of the ingredients informed her that they were, in fact, alcoholic chocolates. Reina was tipsy, if not outright drunk. "Asuka-senpai did this on purpose!"

"I don't wanna hear anymore about Tanaka-senpai." Reina picked a chocolate out of the box and pressed it up against Kumiko's mouth. "Have one."

Kumiko pushed her hand away. "I don't need any of that chaos in my body." She wasn't sure if she was as much of a lightweight as Reina, but she wasn't going to risk it.

"Suit yourself." Reina giggled. "Indirect kiss," she said, and ate the chocolate.

Kumiko blushed. She needed a cold shower. One, to cool the hell down; two, to get away from the beginnings of a dangerous situation. She snatched away the box of chocolates and shut it up tight. "You should get some coffee to sober up," she said, getting up from the couch. "I'm gonna go—waaaaaah!"

She found herself dragged back onto the couch and into Reina's arms. "Hug me like you hug Tanaka-senpai," Reina murmured, her breath tickling Kumiko's ear.

"I told you, I don't hug her, she—eeeeeeeeeuuguggh!?!?" The sensation of a warm pair of lips pressing against her earlobe sent a shock through her system like sticking a fork in an electrical socket. "What are you doing?"

Reina giggled. "You took away the chocolates, so I'm going to eat you instead." She pressed another kiss to the side of Kumiko's face.

"Ehhhh?" How did she get smoother by getting tipsy? "If you eat me, who's going to take care of you?"

"Silly Kumiko," Reina muttered. She didn't elaborate. Instead, she smooched Kumiko's cheek and clumsily grabbed at her chin to angle her mouth closer. "Gimme your lips, Kumiko."

"Why do you want—mmmmfff!!" Her question was cut off by Reina's lips finding their final destination: hers. The kiss was clumsy but warm, saturated with the aroma of the illicit alcohol. Heat spread from Reina's mouth to Kumiko's entire face, like wildfire through dry brush. The kiss only lasted a second, but she was certain she'd remember it for the rest of her life.

"Because I love you." Reina dissolved into a fit of giggles, her grip on her captive.

"S-sure you do," Kumiko said hurriedly. She stood up, facing away from Reina to hide her embarrassed grin. "Um, I just remembered I have something to do. In my room." She scurried off before something else could happen and she burst into flames from the embarrassment.

Only after she had closed the door behind her did Kumiko finally breath again. "What the heck! What the heck! What the heck!" She tentatively put her fingers to her lips, drawing them away again quickly as if were at risk of being burned.

After so many close encounters during their high school years, after so many tense emotional moments between them, what finally made a kiss happen between them was a handful of alcoholic chocolates? Kumiko wasn't sure if it was a comedy or a tragedy.

She decided to let go of those conflicted feelings and cherish this bizarre experience. After all, it wasn't like Reina was going to kiss her again...

 


 

Ever since graduation, Reina had become clingy. Well, clingier than before. Kumiko suspected it had something to do with her having no more Taki-sensei to fawn over and redirecting the excess affection. When she brought it up to her friends, they said they didn't notice any difference.

"You've always been Reina's favourite," Midori said.

"If she was any more attached to you, she would propose," Hazuki added.

Images of herself in a wedding dress and Reina in a tux filled Kumiko's head. "Don't even joke about that."

Reina had never been one for personal space, and living within the confines of their shared dorm room only exacerbated things. Whenever Kumiko was sprawled out on the couch watching a movie, Reina would appear as if summoned and curl up against her like a cat. She would put on Kumiko's clothes as if it were the most natural thing in the world. When Kumiko finally got her favourite hoodie back it smelled just like her. She tested it out various times. The naughtier part of her brain suggested that this was Reina's marking way of her territory. Living with her was a little too exciting.

The morning after the chocolate incident saw Kumiko sneaking out of her room like a thief on the prowl. She snuck over to the kitchen to make a quick breakfast and hopefully make her escape before—

"You're up early," Reina said.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Kumiko dropped a bowl and scrambled wildly for it. The bowl hit the floor, but thankfully it was made of plastic and didn't shatter into a whole new problem for her.

The bowl rolled on its side before coming to a stop at Reina's feet. She bent over and picked it up, giving Kumiko a heart-stopping view down her shirt. When she stood up again, she pushed her hair out of her face and smiled in that unmistakable Reina-like way.

She crossed the floor and closed the distance between them. "You should be more careful." As she handed the bowl back, she leaned in and kissed Kumiko on the cheek.

Kumiko's face ignited. Apparently Reina remembered the events of last night. "Is this a thing now?"

"Should it not be?" Reina draped her arms around Kumiko. "I just want to show you how much I care about you. You won't begrudge me that, will you?"

"I guess not," Kumiko responded weakly. What was she letting herself get dragged into? She supposed there wasn't that much harm in it, as long as—

Reina pecked Kumiko on the lips. "Good to hear it."

"Are you still half-asleep or something!?" Kumiko wormed her way out of Reina's grasp and went about making her breakfast, ignoring her roommate's giggling over her flustered state. There was no way she'd survive this kind of thing on a regular basis. She ought to write out her will while she still had time. Of course, she could always tell Reina to stop , but she had lost her ability to say no to her a long time ago. To say nothing of her suppressed desire to continue being kissed by Reina...

 


 

Kumiko soon fell into a routine of passive acceptance of her roommate's whims. As much stress as it put on her heart (literally and metaphorically), she did little to stop Reina's teasing—or whatever it was.

Without the influence of alcohol (could such a small amount have ever been a culprit in the first place?), Reina was slow to work back up. It began with more cuddling, close enough to suggest the possibility of a kiss without following through. She'd smirk at Kumiko's flustered reaction as if she could read her mind like a book and see the memories of their kiss in a full-colour spread. When Kumiko didn't push her away, she only grew bolder. She would cover Kumiko's face with kisses, building up to a peck on the lips, which Kumiko let her get away with for the most part. That was usually her cue to leave so she could recover.

One night Kumiko let her guard down. She was binge-watching her favourite drama when Reina got back from a late lecture. Unlike her slovenly roommate, she put her things away and made herself a snack before slumping down on the couch next to Kumiko.

"Is this the one with the love hexagon?" Reina asked as she slipped under the blanket, snuggling up to her.

"It's not a love hexagon," Kumiko said, giggling at the strange term. "It's two separate love triangles."

"No it's not. R-chan is clearly in love with K-kun."

"Eh? Where did you get that from? She's clearly hung up on T-san."

"You're so oblivious," Reina sighed. She rested her head on Kumiko's shoulder.

"If you say so." Kumiko's heart did a little tap dance as her roommate snuggled a little closer. Despite anticipation to the contrary, Reina didn't try to pull anything. Kumiko let herself relax, sinking into a comfortable embrace. There was something ineffably cozy about the whole situation: cuddling on the couch with her roommate and closest friend while watching something pointless without a care in the world. Kumiko felt like she could stay like this forever. She hoped that Reina felt the same. Of course, she could always ask...

She turned her head to face her feelings. "Reina, what would you say if I—"

She trailed off when she saw Reina stuffing a familiar-looking chocolate into her mouth.

Kumiko's eyes scanned the couch and, sure enough, she found that same box of alcoholic chocolates, illuminated by the TV's glare. "I thought I got rid of those!"

"I saved them," Reina said. "They're too good to waste." She popped another one down the hatch. How many of those chocolates were there?

It was at that moment the universe chose to showcase its terrible sense of humour; the drama's tense to rose to a crescendo and R-chan confessed to K-kun, resulting in a passionate kiss.

Out of the corner of her eye, Kumiko saw Reina loom closer and closer, like a shinigami come to take its due.

"Kumiko," she whined, the scent of alcohol warm on her breath, "aren't you going to kiss me?"

"I'm busy watching my drama." It was a weak excuse and she knew it. She knew it wouldn't stop Reina from pestering her, nor would Kumiko do anything to hinder her.

Sure enough, Reina leaned in closer, the ends of her hair brushing up against Kumiko's shoulder. "So you're saying I can kiss you as long as you can still watch?"

Kumiko's stomach did a back flip. "Knock yourself out."

Reina didn't need to be told twice. She peppered kisses over her the side of Kumiko's face, her temple, the soft skin of her cheek. It was impossible for her to focus on the TV when Reina's lips pecking at her non-stop, drawing closer to her mouth with tantalizing sluggishness. It would only be a matter of time until her lips were captured again in another alcohol-fuelled kiss...

In the most shocking plot twist of the century, Reina's lips went off course and she pulled back a few inches. Her hand slipped under the blanket and found Kumiko's, interlacing their fingers before pulling their joined hands up to her face and kissing the back of Kumiko's. The gesture was tender in a way that took Kumiko by surprise, more unpredictable than anything her favourite drama could come up with.

With a rush of embarrassment, she realized she hadn't just been expecting Reina to kiss her on the lips—she'd been looking forward to it. I can't believe she didn't do it when she had the chance, she thought.

Reina gave Kumiko that look people did when she'd let her thoughts come out her mouth without realizing. Damn.

"Did you want me to kiss you on the lips?" Reina smirked as if she already knew the answer. And she did.

"N-no!"

Having had its fun messing around with her, the universe threw Kumiko a bone: the TV screen went dark, lit only by the end credits. "Well, that's enough episodes for tonight." She faked a yawn, leaning out to stretch and incidentally angle her blushing face away from Reina's prying eyes. "Um, it's getting late, so, uh, goodnight."

"It's not even that late," Reina said as Kumiko got up from the couch and made her escape.

"I, um, have a class early in the morning!"

"No you don't!" Reina giggled like a schoolgirl and made no attempt to follow her.

Kumiko retreated back to her room, just as she had the first time Reina kissed her. She could still remember how it tasted. That damn chocolate...

But Reina hadn't kissed her tonight. Not on the lips. Kumiko had gotten so used to her roommate's nonsense that she missed it when Reina didn't go all the way, as it were. I don't miss it, she told herself. I was just surprised, that's all.  

Her heart still hadn't calmed down, her pulse pounding in her ears. She was going down a dangerous path. Reina was just playing around. That's just who she was, who she had always been, only having escalated her shenanigans over time. Kumiko couldn't blame Reina for her nature, but she'd be lying if she said she wasn't getting seriously messed up by it. She was not going to fall back in love with Kousaka Reina. Simply wasn't happening.

She hoped it wouldn't.

Those intimate moments did a number on her heart, but she could manage Reina and her own feelings in the privacy of their dorm room. The real problem was when they were around other people.

Reina made no bones about her affection for Kumiko in front of their mutual friends. She'd always made a point of being at Kumiko's side, and as of late she'd been so clingy it was like she was trying to fuse with her roommate. Whenever they were sitting together, Reina would try to sneak in kisses and Kumiko fended her off half-heartedly while their friends pretended not to notice

Kumiko had asked Midori and Hazuki what she should think about the chocolates incident, though she wasn't brave enough to admit how much she'd let Reina get away with. She deigned not to tell Asuka how successful her plan had been.

Midori's eyes went all heart-shaped. "Is this... romance!?"

"It's definitely not that," Kumiko said, waving her off.

"Isn't that just Reina being Reina?" Hazuki said. "If she liked you, she'd have declared it in front of an entire concert floor by now."

"Don't remind me," Kumiko grumbled under her breath.

She was aware that her reactions could be amusing, and that was enough for certain people (Reina, Asuka) to want to provoke them, but it was a little much to do it in public.

Perhaps Kumiko should've known better than to attend the New Years Eve party at Asuka's apartment, but she didn't want to disappoint her senpai, nor could she stand to leave her clingy roommate behind. That old wishy-washy personality at work again.

The second they entered the apartment, Asuka called out. "Oumae-chan! My favourite kouhai!" Kumiko didn't even have time to take off her coat before Asuka was in front of her, ruffling her hair.

"Are you going to give me a New Years kiss?" Asuka asked. Like throwing a match into a barrel of gasoline.

"Kumiko belongs to me," Reina said, putting her arms around Kumiko and going in for a kiss on the lips. Marking her territory.

Kumiko only just got away, though her face burned hot all the same. "Not in front of everyone!"

"So it's fine when we're alone?"

Asuka smirked at what she'd provoked, then leaned in next to Kumiko's ear (the one farthest from Reina). "Watch out, Oumae-chan," she whispered. "I might've left a few bits of mistletoe in the doorways." She pulled back and winked.

Sure enough, Kumiko spent the entire party dodging attempted kisses from her roommate. Every doorway was a danger, like a bear trap with lips instead of teeth. And Reina wasn't above dragging or pushing Kumiko under the mistletoe to get another "chance." Everyone else either wrote their behaviour off as drunken antics, or they knew better as Asuka did.

After fifteen failed attempts to seize Kumiko's lips, Reina gave her a break and went off to mingle. Kumiko leaned against a wall and sighed. Hot damn. She wanted Reina to kiss her, but not like that. Not if she was making a show of it. In their dorm room was one thing, but in front of all their friends was a bit too much for teasing.

She was half-tempted to ask Reina out the next time she tried to kiss her. Wouldn't that be quite the reversal? Kumiko bet the look on her face would be priceless. Of course, even asking that as a joke could have serious consequences for their friendship. The only way she would ask that would be by accident. It was still tempting though...

As if she knew Kumiko was thinking about her (and to be fair, she often was), Reina staggered over to her, drink in hand. "Kumiko! Kumiko, Kumiko, Kumiko. Gimme a smooch." Reina lunged for a kiss. Unlike her previous attempts that night, this one was easy to avoid. Rather, Reina would've missed on her own.

"What did you drink?" Kumiko snatched the drink from her grasp and sniffed it: definitely alcoholic. The fumes coming off that thing put those chocolates to shame, which meant her lightweight roommate was absolutely plastered. Especially after Reina took it back and downed the rest of the drink in one gulp. Fantastic. "You're not supposed to be having booze."

"Kumiko!" Reina drew the name out into ten syllables. "Where's my kissie?" She lunged again, throwing her arms around Kumiko loosely and kissing her shoulder.

She was a handful before, Kumiko thought. Now she's going to be a nightmare. Obviously Reina was too drunk to stick around at the party. Kumiko didn't know what Reina would be like when she was this intoxicated—probably kiss her within an inch of her life. Better to take her away from all the excitement.

"Wait till we get home, okay?" she said, leaning in close.

"Okay." Reina had never looked more serious, which was quite the feat given how drunk she was.

They said their goodbyes and left the apartment, Kumiko ignoring the lewd comment Asuka made at them, which Reina responded to with a whoop.

Thankfully Asuka's apartment wasn't too far from their university's dorms. Unfortunately, Reina wasn't exactly making the journey any easier. She clung to Kumiko as usual, but without her usual grace and capacity to walk in a straight line. Too eager to wait, Reina sloppily kissed the side of Kumiko's face, making it extremely difficult to concentrate on anything else.

By the time they got home Reina was half-asleep on her feet. The alcohol in her system had drained all her energy, making it much easier to steer her to her room and put her to bed.

"Very forward of you," Reina said, as Kumiko tucked her in. "Taking me to bed..." She giggled.

"You're one to talk, Miss Kissy."

"You promised me a kiss," Reina said, grabbing Kumiko's hand before she had a chance to leave.

Kumiko sat down on the bed and Reina relaxed her grip. "You're too drunk for that."

"Would you kiss me if I wasn't?"

Not "Would you let me kiss you," Kumiko noted. "Would you kiss me?" The phrasing kept her from answering immediately. Would she make the first move, given the chance? Would she ever kiss Reina back? If she did that she'd be admitting something, wouldn't she? She didn't want to open that Pandora's box.

A soft snore caught her attention. Reina appeared to have dozed off while Kumiko was lost in thought. She looked peaceful.

"You shouldn't ask a question then fall asleep before you get the answer," she said as if Reina would hear her, as if she would've been able to come up with an answer.

"What am I going to do with you?" Kumiko leaned over pressed her lips to Reina's forehead. She didn't have an answer to that question either, but maybe she would one day.

 


 

"Kumiko?"

"Yeah?"

"What's it feel like when I kiss you?"

Kumiko almost sprayed the TV with tea. "REINA!"

They were on the couch again, watching a movie. It was a week after the New Year's Ever fiasco—Reina had been sulking because she didn't get a New Year's kiss. Kumiko wasn't sure how much Reina remembered from that night, but she knew it was only a matter of time before Reina brought up kissing again.

"It's a serious question," Reina said, unperturbed by Kumiko's extreme reaction. "I'm always the one kissing you, but you've never kissed me. I'm curious about how it feels."

Kumiko spluttered, no idea of how to respond. The frank way Reina talked about kissing was somehow even more embarrassing than usual. "It feels..." What could she even say? "It makes my heart flutter like nothing else?" As if. She couldn't be too dismissive, risking hurting Reina's feelings. "It feels... alright?" That wasn't too bad, was it?

Reina stared at her with calculating eyes. "You're not being honest with me, are you?" That definitely wasn't the answer she wanted to hear.

Kumiko shrugged. "Well, I guess you'll just have to get someone to kiss you so you'll know yourself." She slapped her hands over her mouth when she realized she'd dug her own grave.

"Okay," Reina said. She moved closer. "When are you going to kiss me?"

"Uh, I wasn't, um, planning on it," Kumiko responded, visibly sweating. "Maybe I, uh, can pencil you in for sometime next month?"

Reina narrowed her eyes. "You're riding a fine line, Oumae. I want to know how it feels to be kissed. Who else can I turn to?"

It wasn't like Kumiko was going to suggest someone else, but she wasn't going to offer herself up either. Sure, she wanted to kiss Reina, but was that reason enough to indulge her idle curiosity?

She escaped the conversation by making up an errand, but it knew that wouldn't pacify Reina for even an afternoon. Reina wasn't going to let the matter go without a proper answer. She started asking for good morning and goodnight kisses. The few days later she asked for a kiss as a reward for doing well on a test. The requests were constant. Even her music practice wasn't sacred. Reina stared at Kumiko as she played her euphonium.

When Kumiko took a break, Reina struck. "It's not fair that Euphemia-chan gets to feel your lips and I don't."

It took Kumiko a moment to figure out what she meant. "I'm not kissing my instrument, I'm playing it." She tried to go back to playing, but when she looked at the mouthpiece all she saw was a pair of lips. Well played, Kousaka-san.

She could've put an end to it by simply saying no, but of course she wasn't going to. If she did, Reina would think that she didn't want to kiss her, which simply wasn't true, but she didn't want Reina to know that. It was stupidly complicated.

Kumiko fell asleep on the couch, waiting for Reina to get back from her late lecture. She'd been losing so much sleep over her troubled feelings that she could barely stay awake during the day. It was all that she could do not to pass out during class.

She woke up to the soft light of the living room lamp, which she didn't remember leaving on. There was a heavy weight on her chest as well. Must be the weight of my roommate troubles, she thought, feeling poetic.

"What did you call me?"

"EHHHHHHHHHHHH???" Kumiko's eyes snapped open to see Reina perched on her chest, grinning down at her. She was super into it, but the shock of it was going to rupture something. "What are you doing?"

"You were waiting for me, weren't you?" Reina asked, avoiding the question.

"Maybe," Kumiko conceded. It was hard to come up with a better response when her hot roommate was on top of her.

"I bet you're so happy to see me that you could kiss me."

"Eh!? Says who!?"

"If seeing your beloved roommate isn't enough to make you feel that way, maybe this will sweeten the deal." She produced a hauntingly familiar box, opening it and pulling out an alcoholic chocolate. "It's the last one," she said. "I saved it for a special occasion."

Merely the sight of the chocolate caused Kumiko to blush from Pavlovian conditioning. "You can't bribe me!" Her voice wavered, not convincing even herself.

"I'm not going to bribe you," Reina said with a giggle. She put the chocolate between her lips. "I'm going to seduce you," she said around the sweet. “Give me some sugar.”

It should've been funny. It should've been downright hilarious that someone was trying to trick her into kissing by tempting her with chocolate. Kumiko actually found it sexy, and was judging herself severely for it.

She tried to play it off. "You really went for the full set-up, huh?" Her disaffected facade, weak as it was already, shattered when Reina shimmied backward over Kumiko's hips—otherwise they wouldn't be in a position where they could kiss.

"Don't keep me waiting," Reina said. "The chocolate is melting."

The mental image of liquid chocolate dripping from Reina's mouth and onto her body was more than Kumiko could bear. "I'm not going to kiss someone I'm not dating!" she yelped, hoping that would put an end to the matter. It's not like Reina was going to ask her out—

"Okay."

Kumiko blinked. "What?"

"Okay," Reina repeated. "I'll date you. Now kiss me."

It didn't compute. "What do you mean you'll date me?"

Reina frowned. She took the chocolate out of her mouth (it was impressive that she'd talked around it for so long). "I mean I'll be your girlfriend, Kumiko."

"Why?" Kumiko mentally screamed at herself for arguing, but she couldn't believe it. It was too good to be true. "But you don't love me!"

Reina's eyebrows knitted together. "Yes I do. I told you I love you."

"When!?"

"Right after I kissed you."

"You were drunk!"

"I was tipsy, and I meant it. I love you, Kumiko. You're so terrible, you should've noticed by now."

Kumiko's eye twitched involuntarily. "You're one to talk! I've loved you for years!" She immediately tried to shove the words back in with her fists, but it was too late.

"Is that so?" Reina smirked. Kumiko had never seen her so self-satisfied. "Why haven't you kissed me yet?"

"Because I didn't think you were being serious! I thought you were just messing around!"

"Why not both?"

Kumiko chewed her bottom lip in frustration, her face aflame with embarrassment. Reina had liked her all along. She'd made a huge fuss over nothing. They both had. If Kumiko had just made a move early on, she would've saved herself so much stress.

"Don't pout," Reina said. "Though it is pretty cute."

Kumiko made her move at last. She snatched the chocolate out of Reina's hand and ate it out of spite.

"Hey, you can't just take that," Reina objected.

"That's not all I'm going to take." Kumiko grabbed Reina by the front of her shirt and pulled her into a passive-aggressive kiss, crushing their lips together. Whatever objections Reina had disappeared with a sigh. She leaned into the kiss, pressing their bodies together. Kumiko opened Reina's mouth with her tongue, finding a certain thrill that she was the one giving chocolate-flavoured kisses this time. Her hands moved from the front of Reina's shirt to her back, fingers trailing through her silky hair.

Kumiko had never let Reina get away with this much, let any of her kisses last this long. Now that she'd started, she never wanted to stop. She'd rather asphyxiate than pull her mouth away from Reina's, but dying on their living room couch wouldn't be very romantic. Nevertheless, the lung capacity of brass instrument players were nothing to sniff at.

At last they broke apart, lips swollen, hearts pounding. "Damn, Kumiko," Reina said breathlessly. "I definitely know what it's like to get kissed now. I'm going to need to send Tanaka-senpai a thank you letter for those chocolates."

"She's going to be insufferable," Kumiko groaned. Before she could complain anymore, Reina leaned in and pecked her on the lips.

"No more whining," she said, a devious glint in her eye. "I'm going to put that mouth to use. Your lips aren't going to remember anything but me when I'm done with them."

Kumiko would've made some smart remark about it being nothing compared to playing the euphonium, but it was hard to say anything with Reina's tongue in her mouth.