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Less Than More Than Friends

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When Kimi was a kid, she hated visiting her dad's house on his designated weekend; his fridge was never stocked and his rotating cast of girlfriends irritated her and up until the point at which she was gifted a cell phone, she regularly thought she was going to die of boredom staring at the bachelor-bare white walls. 

She'd ride out her 48-hour prison sentence every two weeks, shuffling out of her bedroom and onto the couch when she inevitably failed to fall asleep at night. She'd flip through the channels until she found a dusty black and white movie, the kind where the couple fell into each other's arms and the scene cut to billowing curtains and waves cresting over a jagged coast. 

Kimi didn't understand then. 

She understands now. 

Now that Kimi is old enough - and more importantly, stubborn enough - to make her own decisions, she doesn't visit her father much. 

She does, every so often, have occasion to dust off his nickname. 

"I'm flattered, but I have a girlfriend," Kakeru says lightly the first time she flirts with him, his grin all crinkly eyes and white teeth. “Unfortunate, I know. Breaking up with me would probably be a public service.” 

Kimi shrugs, nonplussed. “Maybe she just needs to learn to share.” 

But she doesn’t press the issue after that; she’s a lot of things, but Kimi isn’t a homewrecker. She is touchy, to put it lightly; no one on the student council is immune to a hand on the shoulder or a hand on the arm or a swift, playful punch. 

(The only one she doesn’t cling to is Yuki, who she’s pretty sure can’t hug girls for religious reasons, which is weird. But all of the Sohmas are weird, and probably in a cult, which is kind of sexy in its own way.)

So Kimi feels and she touches and she holds and she thinks that’s enough for a while. 

She finds out that Kakeru is single by accident. Yuki doesn't realize Kimi is crouched behind the desk digging through files when he asks how he's holding up. 

It would be too awkward to let them know she's there - and she wants to be strategic in her approach - so she stays in her corner, kneeling until her quads burn and the boys finally leave to do their club rounds, Kakeru brushing off Yuki’s concerns as he goes. 

It hurts to stand up after being on her knees for so long. But hey, she thinks to herself, maybe it's good practice. 

Kakeru is a bit like a duck in some respects, Kimi thinks, watching his easy stride out of the school building later. He’s probably bothered about it; if she’s remembering right, he and his girlfriend had been dating since elementary school or something equally absurd. But he makes it look like it’s all sliding off, rolling down his shoulders. Effortless. 

It’s annoying trying to jog to catch up to him and still look cute and breezy and put-together. “Let me know if you need a shoulder to cry on,” Kimi says, trying not to sound as out of breath as she is. He stops in his tracks to study her, and she can tell he understands what she means. 

So she gets a sick thrill when he chuckles and says “Yeah, I will.” 

It’s a stupid message; out of context it wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else, but Kimi wraps her entire day around it, carefully calibrating the details. 

Feeling sad. :( Free after stuco mtg? :)

He comes up with some excuse to stay behind. Paperwork, probably, though as far as she can tell he’s never actually put pen to paper during a single meeting to date. Kimi doesn’t meet his eyes when she leaves with the rest of the group. 

Maybe it’s suspicious. She doesn’t really care. 

"Oh!" Kimi says, stopping in the stairwell and clapping her hand to her forehead. Machi and Yuki turn around, but Nao keeps walking. 

"Is something the matter, Kimi?" Yuki asks, and she still savors the way her first name sounds in that buttoned-up tone he's always speaking with. 

"I'm so stupid today," she says. "I left my bag in the meeting room. I'll see you guys later." She blows them each a kiss to keep for the walk home and turns back, taking the stairs two at a time. 

Kakeru is on her the moment the lights are off and the door is locked behind her, his hand tangling in her hair as he shoves her up against the doorframe. 

As much as they dominate the student council meetings with their chatter, they don't seem to find the time to do much talking now. 

"Hey," Kimi manages when he comes up for air. 

"Hey," he murmurs against her jawbone, scraping his teeth along all her perfect edges. 

He yanks aside the collar of her shirt to mark her collarbone, and she tangles her hands in his dark hair. 

Soft, for a boy, she thinks fleetingly, and then Kakeru's mouth is on hers again in a firm press of heat. 

When she's able to gather her wits again, Kimi surges against him, capturing his bottom lip between her teeth. The noise he makes is like finishing a circuit, like sticking a fork into an outlet. Her skin prickles, sparks, a shiver like ice water running from the space between her shoulder blades down to the tips of her polished toes. 

He's never been pretty like Yuki, but Kakeru is hot. She almost giggles, thinking about Yuki at a moment like this. She feels high. 

Kakeru's hands are big enough to nearly encircle her waist, and she hopes he gets a thrill from the soft gasp she lets out when he lifts her up to sit on the desk. He's not scrawny, per se, but she didn't expect him to be able to move her like a rag doll, like a whisp. A weaker woman might swoon. 

Komaki doesn't know what she's missing, Kimi thinks. Or maybe she does. Maybe it's for the best, for the moment, to have his heat and momentum and none of the baggage. 

Baggage isn't fun

If he were less clothed, she'd sink her teeth into the flesh of his shoulder. But Kimi doesn't want to bother with buttons, so she settles for nipping at his earlobe. 

Kakeru’s hands are still around her waist, and she takes them and places them on her thighs, pulling him in by the neck for another kiss. 

“Is this okay?” he asks when he breaks away, his hands inching up beneath the hem of her skirt. 

“Only if you’re good at it,” she says, and he muffles his laughter against her lips. 

And he is. As large as they are, his hands move with a certain precision, all soft brushes and slow strokes until they absolutely aren’t , and the perfect pink ovals of her fingernails dig into his back when she spasms around his fingers. 

“Good enough?” he asks when he pulls away. 

“Yeah.” Kimi tilts her head up to the ceiling, taking deep breaths as the stars on her eyelids dissipate. “Yeah, that was good.” 

A still-coherent part of her brain hopes her makeup isn’t smudged. She ignores it, but does remind herself she might need to touch up her lipgloss. 

“Do you want me to…” she gestures vaguely in the vicinity of his midsection, but he just laughs. 

“God no. Not here, anyway.” He scrubs a hand over the back of his neck in that easy way he often does, and she thinks she definitely won’t mind making it up to him later. 

Kimi rubs a hand through her hair, trying to straighten her dark strands where he’s gotten them tangled. She punches him lightly in the arm with her free hand. 

“You fucked up my hair,” she pouts. 

He laughs, then musses his own. It looks exactly the same. Men have it so easy, Kimi thinks. Bastards. “See?” he says. “Now we’re even.” 

“Hardly.” 

God, Nao would be so fucking pissed that they just got to third base in the student council room. Kimi giggles at that, reaching down to straighten her sock before she hops down from the desk. 

"What's so funny?" Kakeru asks, and she tells him. She’s got him where he wants him for the time being, so there's no use playing coy. 

He snorts. “I’d bet you good money that Yuki and Machi have already done it in the supply closet.” 

“Gross. I don’t want to think about Yuki and Machi doing anything.”

They’re a quiet couple. But Kimi has a theory that the quiet ones are the kinkiest. 

“We should do this again sometime,” Kakeru says, picking up his bookbag from the floor. “Maybe in a more appropriate venue.” 

She agrees. Wholeheartedly. 

Whatever this is, she’s enjoying it. 

It's fun. It's a thrill. It's hot. 

It's all theatrics, Kimi tells herself, even though she's starting to hate herself for actually appreciating his company, for clinging to his banter during their meetings and loitering in the hall with him between classes whenever she gets the chance. 

If Machi knows, she doesn't say anything. And Machi almost certainly knows, because Machi is the most irritatingly perceptive person Kimi has ever met in her entire life. 

It's a regrettable waste; if Kimi had that kind of ability she'd figure out how to weaponize it, or at the very least wield it to make herself look better. Power like that is wasted on someone like Machi. It's probably for the best, Kimi concedes. In her own hands, it could be dangerous. Playing with fire. 

But Machi has to know, even though Kimi is certain she and Kakeru haven't changed since this whatever it is between them has developed. Their flirting sounds the same as it did before, even if it now smoulders with intent. 

On Kimi's end, at least. Save for herself, she's convinced no one could possibly talk as much as he does, but Kakeru is still unreadable. 

She can only make excuses to linger in the student council room for so long before she’s afraid someone - other than Machi, obviously - will get suspicious. 

And anyway, the student council is due for a party. 

No one drinks much; Nao’s uptight enough that Kimi doesn’t trust him enough to keep from snitching, so it’s a low-key affair. 

Small-scale and painstakingly timed. Her dad is off on a business trip, and it’s not like he’s a responsible adult anyway. They’re all so polite that no one overstays their welcome; the wait is still killing Kimi all the same. 

Kakeru stays under the guise of helping her clean up, but he traps her against the counter with an arm on either side of her hips the moment Machi has shut the apartment door on her way out. 

“Come to my room,” she says before he even has a chance to kiss her. And she’s pissed at herself for sounding so desperate, so alight with wanting. 

He doesn’t need a bigger ego than he’s got. 

“Sure,” he says, the timbre of his voice sending a shiver down her spine. “But you better not catch feelings for me.” 

It’s a joke. It’s a joke. It’s a joke, she has to keep reminding herself. It’s a joke because it’s so absurd, and at least they’re both in agreement. Joke. LOL. Just kidding. 

She had the foresight to make her bed, but something tells her he wouldn’t notice or care otherwise. 

On principle, Kimi doesn’t sleep with boys who won’t go down on her. Or girls, for that matter. Correction: Kimi doesn’t sleep with anyone who won’t go down on her.  It’s immature and it’s annoying and it isn’t fun

And with her hands fisted in Kakeru’s hair, she thinks that this is fun. This might be worth any amount of baggage. There’s not a feeling she wouldn’t put up with for someone who makes her feel like this. 

Kimi’s heart drops, and not just because of whatever Kakeru just started doing with his tongue. Her knees jerk of their own accord, and she tries to clear her brain of anything else and focus just on her pleasure. 

God knows that’s what Kakeru is doing. 

Her toes curl into the sheets, and since they’re not in the student council room, she has no reservations about stringing together a litany of profanities and, occasionally, his name. 

After she comes for the second time, he rises to plant firm kisses up her neck, stopping where her jawline meets her ear. 

“Do you want to-”

“Yes,” Kimi says abruptly, nearly slamming her chin into his forehead when she nods. She tries to recover, tracing her manicured hands down his biceps. “That sounds good.”  

Before they started hooking up, she never would have called Kakeru Manabe a gentleman. Now she knows he’s at least noble enough not to tease her for the eagerness dripping from her words. 

He finds ways to make up for it, though, taunting her in other - far more agonizing - ways. 

Kakeru is slow. Deliberate. Outside, with other people, he moves like he’s too fast to be captured on film. Now he’s keeping Kimi waiting, so slow she’s almost not sure if she’s moving at all. She’s still waiting. Waiting for him to dig out a condom from the pocket of his jeans, waiting while he positions himself over her, waiting while he slides himself inside. 

“Please,” she says, willing it to come out more like an instruction than a prayer. 

“Be patient.” He’s teasing again , but the face he makes when she bucks her hips, his composure slipping, makes it worthwhile. “Jesus,” he hisses. 

“No,” she says, lips quirking into a smirk. “Just Kimi.” 

Kakeru laughs into her neck, thrusting into her again. He brings his thumb up to rub against her clit purposefully and her back arches, her body one single live-wire. 

She could definitely finish like this, but variety is the spice of life. Kimi taps his arm and motions for Kakeru to sit up. 

“Here,” she says, nudging him so he’s sitting against the headboard. He knows how to take orders, Kimi notes, relishing in the way he trails his eyes down her body as she climbs into his lap. She’ll have to remember that for next time. 

They find their rhythm easily, one of his arms wrapped around her back while his free hand works her breast. And Kimi likes Kakeru but she loves the way her hair feels brushing the small of her back as she rides him, nails digging into his shoulders. She hopes they leave marks. 

When his breathing becomes staggered and his movements erratic, she drops a hand between her legs, for efficiency’s sake. Before her brain whites out to the sound of Kakeru’s groan against her neck, Kimi is smug that she managed to time things perfectly. 

Neither of them drank much during her party, but apparently a few beers is enough to make Kakeru soft. 

Kimi momentarily forgets how to work her lungs when he presses a gentle kiss just below her ear before throwing an arm around her and pulling her close.

She’ll have to get up soon, but for a few minutes, it’s nice to sink into the warmth and weight of his body. It’s nice to think that maybe there’s a universe where they’re together, baggage and feelings and all. 

But still, for now, she’ll take fun.