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inertia: a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.


It starts on the rooftop. That's how it always goes for them.

Tohru likes it this way. She's always liked it up here the best, if she had to pick a favorite part of the house. One of the first times they ever had a real conversation, it was up here.

It started off as just his spot, but over time, it's become a shared space. A meeting point. A hiding place. It's nice to imagine that the constellations watch over them. She can shift her focus to the stars when she can't meet his eyes, and the night air always clears their heads. The roof is where Kyo smiles the most, and that's as good a reason as any to spend time up here.

"What do you wish for, Kyo-kun?"

"That a certain someone would stop crying."

She thinks of that memory for some reason. It's probably because both then and now, he hasn't been smiling much. Something about him is off tonight—as kind as ever, but despondent, sad all the same. She racks her brain, trying to find words that might lighten the mood.

"The beach was really fun last year, don't you think?" she asks, smiling at him.

"It was alright."

"It's a shame we didn't get to go again this summer, though."

"Yeah," he replies, voice empty. "What made you think of that?"

"No reason… just a random thought." She fidgets with one of her braids in the silence. "What was your favorite part of that trip?"

He shrugs. "I don't know."

"Oh," she says, then decides to try again. Persistence is key with Kyo, she's found. "Not anything?"

"No, will you drop it?" he snaps. His expression morphs into panic seconds after he says it. "Wait, no. I just—"

"It's okay." She draws her knees closer to her chest, curling in on herself. "Sorry."

"You say that too much."

"Oh, I'm sorry! Wait, no…" She trips over her words. "I'm not sorry, I'm—"

"When we made pancakes, maybe," Kyo finally says.

Tohru blinks. "Really?"

"Sure. It was... nice." A red color creeps up his ears and neck. He turns his head and gives her the barest of smiles, the slightest upturned curve of his lips.

His lips

The image warms her, not just in her heart but... somewhere in her gut, too. It's new. Something she's never felt before. A little bit terrifying, even.

She shoves it down.

"I agree!" she says, eyes snapping back up to his and off of his mouth. "We can make them again, too. Even if we're not at the beach!"

He chuckles. "You get the weirdest ideas sometimes." Then he adds, softer, "I'd like that."

She's startled when he reaches out and takes one of her pigtails, running his fingers down the braid. His hand lingers at the end, and then he lightly tosses the braid over her shoulder. He retracts his hand quickly after that. Her breath is caught in her throat.

"Oh, well..." she struggles for words, "well, if we go back next summer, we could make them every night if you wanted!"

She wishes she could take back the words as soon as they tumble out.

It's the way that a shadow seems to fall over Kyo's face, like how the clouds cover up the moon without warning sometimes. He doesn't react in any noticeable way. He doesn't have to for her to know.

Next summer. Next summer next summer next—

Tohru takes his hand, and he lets her intertwine their fingers. It feels like the thing to do, to be closer to him. Physical distance makes her think of what it'll be like when he's confined. It's a thought she avoids as much as she can—but tonight, sitting next to him on the roof, it won't leave her alone.

"Kyo-kun, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure," he says, swatting at a mosquito that landed on his pant leg.

The only sound is the tinkling of the wind chime below them. The words tumble out of their own volition.

"The Cat before you… he was confined, but he was Shishou's grandfather?"

There's a long pause before he answers. "Uh-huh. Why?"

She isn't sure what possesses her to say it.

"So. He... was married, right?"

"Basically, I guess." A slight edge creeps into his voice.

She's speaking without thinking. "So there wouldn't be anything keeping you from getting married."

"Whoa, slow down," Kyo says, eyeing her. "Why are you even saying shit like that?" The tensing of his shoulders is visible beneath his sleeves.

She bites her lip. "I just was thinking about it."

She tries to calm her heartbeat, like the night air hasn't taken on a new chill. There's a tension between them now that wasn't there before. She didn't even mean to create it. She thinks she could slice through it with a knife.

He does something entirely unexpected then, lifting up her hand and pressing a light kiss to the ridge of her knuckles. Fear flashes in his eyes after he does it.

"I don't wanna talk about that," he says, dropping her hand.

And Tohru thinks of that time last year, talking about wishes on the roof—and her only wish right now is that he would kiss her again. She's never kissed anyone before, and she supposes that wasn't exactly a real kiss... but butterflies erupt in her belly now, and she wishes she could put the feeling into words—but it leaves her speechless. As stupid as it makes her feel.

They drop the conversation, and they don't bring up the kiss again.


Kyo knows he shouldn't. He absolutely shouldn't.

Being friends with Tohru, having her in his life, is a constant exercise in justifying his actions. Touching the small of her back, bonking her on the head, holding her hand... nothing about it is permanent.

He allows himself to indulge in her presence, even though he has no right to, because time is going to run out soon anyway. She'll forget about it all easily enough. Every moment is just another little memory to keep close to his heart when he's locked up, he thinks.

He doesn't do anything messy either. Nothing he can't explain away. Nothing that could tip her off. That could leave him exposed and vulnerable.

That would be a mistake. That would be messy.

But now he enters her room to do homework, as innocent of a meeting as anything, and her cheeks flush for no reason as she greets him, and the pit in his stomach grows. And he decides that if he could take back pressing his lips to her skin—in a moment of weakness, with the stars and her brown eyes clouding up his vision—

He probably wouldn't take it back.

They work in silence mostly, and it's a nice, steady feeling. Tohru occasionally perks up with a random story, and Kyo doesn't really mind the distraction. He can't help but notice the difference between this Tohru, bubbly and babbling at the speed of light, and the Tohru who joins him on the rooftop. In the darkness, she's pensive, quieter, but also steely and brave.

Braver than him, anyway.

Something catches in his gut when he thinks of their conversation last night. The way that she brings up a future, a life, that he's been desperately trying to bury deep. He grabs his glass of water in hopes of settling his stomach.

"Have you ever kissed anyone?"

Kyo nearly chokes on his drink when he registers Tohru's words. He has to take a second gulp of water to clear his throat, hoping the pause will clear his mind as well—but she's still looking at him earnestly when he sets his glass down.

"Uh… why do you ask?"

Tohru's cheeks tinge pink, or maybe it's just a trick of the light. "Oh, I was just curious," she says airily, a tremble slipping into her voice. "You know me, I'm usually thinking about silly things."

"Right." Kyo tugs at his shirt collar, suddenly too tight. "Well, I haven't."

"Oh."

"What, are you gonna make fun of me for it?"

"What? Of course not!" she says. "I would never make fun of you for that, I was really just asking, and it's not even that big of a deal, and anyways I—"

"Hey, it was just a joke." He barely suppresses his grin as her face goes from pink to crimson.

"Oh. Right." She ducks her head, staring down at her lap, and Kyo thinks that's the end of the conversation. He's already in the middle of another math problem when she says,

"I haven't either."

His eyes flit back to her, and he's taken aback to see that even amidst her blush, there's a set to her jaw and a familiar, stubborn glint in her eyes. He wonders if she got that from her mother.

"Huh?"

"I've never kissed anyone."

Kyo blinks, and he feels his face heat up against his wishes. For whatever reason, his eyes fixate on the crinkle in her bottom lip where it's chapped, how the light hits the swell of it and makes it an even pinker color.

And now kissing, and therefore kissing Tohru, is on his mind, and that's followed by the thought of her mouth doing things that aren't kissing as well. And that's a mess. And he's not going to make a mess of things—not when there's so little time left.

"Oh," he finally says, eyes returning to his notebook. "Ah, nice."


The same conversation comes up the next time they're on the roof.

It's been a week, and Tohru hasn't stopped thinking about the other night (she can't stop thinking about his lips on her skin). She can't pinpoint where the idea came from (she knows exactly where the idea came from). She'd like to think it's just logic, just her being a good friend. A good person. (She's acting from a place of desperation, as every path towards breaking the curse hits a dead end.)

She wonders why she cares so much at all.

It's always been talking, conversation, words with them. But the days stretch on, and words are starting to lose their meanings, and all that Tohru can think about is that dark, hungry want inside of her.

And maybe it's the way that the starlight reflects in Kyo's eyes, or maybe it's the rush she feels when he absentmindedly envelopes her smaller hand in his larger one... but she feels sick to her stomach and giddy at the same time.

She feels bold. She always feels bolder on the roof, in the dark.

"I was thinking about it again," she says.

"What's that?"

She knows the words will sting, so she says them as gently as possible. "Your confinement."

Kyo doesn't respond. She treads carefully.

"I was thinking about Shishou's grandfather and his wife. He was confined, but they were still married. They had children."

"Hm."

Just like last time, it's pure adrenaline that keeps her talking, even as her hand shakes against his. "It would be... nice. If you had the same thing."

Kyo snorts. "Sure, very likely."

She bristles under his mocking, but it also ignites something in her. "You could, Kyo-kun."

His eyes stay fixed straight ahead. "What are you trying to say?"

She shifts to her knees so that she can turn to face him. The slats of the roof dig into her skin, but it's a good kind of pain. It matches the turmoil in her head, and for a second it fulfills the ache for touch that hasn't stopped churning in her stomach for days.

She takes a deep breath, then speaks. "You know what I'm trying to say."

"No, I really fucking don't."

"Let me."

"Tohru."

"I'm being serious."

"Are you crazy? No." Kyo's voice cuts like a knife, but she pushes back.

"Why not?"

"Because you're being an idiot."

"So are you not attracted to me?" she asks him pointblank. "At all?"

It's maybe the most straightforward she's ever been in her life.

His jaw sets in a hard line, and she sees pain flare in his eyes. "That's not what this is about."

But it's not a no.

"It is about that, though." She squeezes at his hand, staring down at it. Fixating on his nails, wondering for a fleeting moment what they would feel like digging into her hipbones. "Feelings don't have anything to do with it, if that's what you're worried about. It's maybe better if they don't, anyway," and she knows her face heats up at the implication of her own words, but she makes herself look back up at him anyway.

"Like I said, you're being an idiot."

She doesn't know what takes hold of her in that moment. Before she can tell herself to stop, she lifts his hand and presses her lips to the inside of his bare wrist. There's the softest sound of her mouth leaving his skin, and then she's looking directly into his wide eyes.

Her heartbeat races, or maybe it stops completely. "I'm sorry," she says. She doesn't let go of his hand.

Something that's not pain flashes in Kyo's eyes—something fiery, something that burns—and then they flit away, staring at the last sliver of sunlight before it disappears.

"Don't be," is all he says.

It's not an "epic confession of love" at all, nothing like the kind that lives in movies and books and Tohru's imagination. But as the sky shifts from blue to black, she thinks that it's something, at least.


Kyo's been thinking. People assume he's not the brightest, but he actually thinks a lot.

And right now, as he watches Tohru fidget with her pencil from the opposite end of her bed—and as he wonders how they both ended up on her bed, which doesn't sound allowed or logical or right—he thinks about all the stupid stuff she's been saying on the roof.

Being in love with Tohru would never mean getting to be with her, and he accepted that a long time ago. It's not fair to her. To let her fall in love with him in return would be cruel, wrong.

And that will never happen anyway, he reminds himself.

But... other things.

Those don't have to involve feelings at all. And she keeps bringing it up, almost like she wants to (as impossible as it is for him to fathom her wanting to be with something like him, to be with him like that). And if there are no feelings, she won't be hurt when he's gone. And if it tears at his heart but there's no harm to her, then he thinks there's no real problem anyway.

In fact, if it's something that would make her happy, he doesn't have a choice—not after all the hurt he's already caused her.

Something like that... it doesn't mean anything. It's like practice. Just practice for the future, for when she meets someone who isn't a monster and won't be locked away from her and will actually be able to tell her how he feels.

It's practice for a better future, one that doesn't involve him.

She absentmindedly chews on the end of her pencil, and the sight of her parted lips makes him feel scandalous. Dirty. Monstrous.

His thinking didn't help at all. He still isn't sure of anything—except that he's an idiot.

"Is everything okay, Kyo-kun?"

His thoughts are interrupted by Tohru's rosy cheeks and concerned expression, and he realizes that he was definitely staring. "What?"

"You were just looking at me for a long time," she says awkwardly. "I didn't know if you needed something."

He shrugs, an itch underneath his skin. "What, can I not look at you without needing something?"

Her eyes widen, and Kyo panics at the openness, the intimacy that his words betrayed. She starts waving her hands wildly, shaking her head. "That's not what I meant! I'm so sorry, that was rude of me. Of course you can look at me without a reason, and if you did need something that's okay too, and—"

"Tohru." He scoots closer and grabs her hands to stop her. It works well enough to stop the gesticulating, except now they're just... sitting a little bit too close, fingers entangled awkwardly, eyes fixed on each other.

Kyo is scared as fuck of whatever this is, so he lets their hands drop to rest on the bed. But he doesn't completely separate them.

He takes a short, shuddering breath. "I was thinking," he says, fixating on the way her slender fingers contrast against his rougher, tanned skin.

"Yes?"

"About what you said. When we were doing homework, the other night." He stops, thinks over if this is a huge mistake, knows that it is, but keeps talking anyway. "You said you'd never—that you'd never kissed anyone." He hates the flush that rises to his cheeks. "And I've told you before that when you get a boyfriend... I'll be there for you. So if... I don't know..." He can't quite say it.

There's a long pause before Tohru says, "If?"

He figures he might as well get it over with so that she can laugh in his face. So that he can stop being delusional.

"Well. If practicing or something would help... I... could. Uh. With you."

"Oh."

And Kyo cannot clock her expression at all. So he backpedals.

"See, that was stupid. Just forget I said anything."

"No, no, it wasn't stupid!" Her voice is breathless (rattled, if he didn't know any better). "That's very kind of you to offer," her face slowly flushes, "and if you're really sure that it's no trouble, I would... appreciate the help." She grins sheepishly. "I'm sure I need the practice. I'm probably really bad at it."

"It's not that hard," he blurts out.

Her brow furrows. "But you said that you haven't kissed anyone either, right?"

"Well... yeah."

"So how would you know?" she asks, perfectly earnest.

And now Kyo's face is heating up too, and they're both bright red, he's sure of it. He feels embarrassed and put on the spot, like a cornered animal, so he moves without thinking.

"I don't need to have done it to know that, it's common sense," he snaps.

And then he grabs her face and kisses her.

The angle is kind of wrong, and their noses mash together at first, but then his mouth is on hers, and everything is soft and warm and calm, mixed in with something... sweet? That's probably how he would describe it, if his brain could string together letters or words or thoughts right now. Tohru is completely frozen, her arms braced under her so she doesn't lose her balance.

It occurs to him after several seconds that he has no idea what to do, now that they're kissing and it's happening—so he just... presses his lips against hers harder. It doesn't make the kiss any better. He pulls away before he can fuck it up even more.

When he opens his eyes, Tohru looks absolutely dumbstruck. He wants to look cool, like he doesn't care.

"See, I told you it wasn't hard," he says, his voice cracking.

"Right."

Tohru's eyes look out of focus. It's the least talkative Kyo has ever heard her.

"Well... now you know."

"Yes."

"Yeah."

And then after a moment, she starts giggling. "You could've let me move my homework first, though."

"Oh." Before he can mutter an apology, she's standing up, picking up their books and papers and carefully depositing them on the floor.

In no time, she's back on the bed with her knees tucked under her. "There, that's better," she says, but then her eyes go wide. "That is, only if you wanted to again! If you don't want to practice anymore, or if I was too bad at it, that's fine."

"You weren't bad at it." He scratches at his neck, looking away.

"Oh," she says, then smiles widely. "Good."

And then there's yet another in a long line of awkward silences where they alternate between staring at each other and completely avoiding eye contact. He knows as he looks at her now that this is opening a can of worms, that he should turn around and flee the room while he still can, flee Shigure's house and never bother her again. But she's sitting closer this time, and the scent of her shampoo is distracting and something like apple, maybe, and Kyo realizes then that he's in too deep to leave now. That he's always been in too deep.

"I thought it was your turn," he finally says, getting antsy in the quiet.

"There are turns?" she asks.

"... I thought so."

"Oh."

He huffs a sigh. "Maybe I'll just leave if you're gonna take so long."

He starts to get up, but Tohru's hand darts out and grabs his.

"No," she says quickly. She takes a moment, rises to her full seated height and tilts her chin down defiantly. Kyo's reminded that she's a force to be reckoned with.

"I'm good now," she assures him. She keeps her hand on his and reaches up with the other to rest tentatively upon his cheek. She hesitates, and Kyo thinks they're going to be stuck in this moment of anticipation for eternity, but then she surges forward and kisses him.

It's chaste and soft at first, delicate, but Kyo learned a long time ago that Tohru is more than sweet—she is also fire and strength and willpower, and he feels that as she parts her lips, as the hand on top of his own ends up threaded in his hair. He feels himself shrinking in the shadow of her innate confidence. He doesn't know what to do with his hands suddenly; he rests them lightly on her thighs, just above her knees, and she leans into the touch. It's equally exciting and terrifying.

She sets a rhythm that they both fall into, and her breath is quick and hot against his mouth. He feels her tongue graze against his bottom lip, and that's when he breaks the kiss, scared of letting it progress to something she'd regret—that he knows she'd regret. The sight of her lidded eyes as she pulls away makes his head spin.

They're both silent as they catch their breath. Kyo tries not to gasp for air.

"Was that better?" she asks, brows upturned.

He's still winded. Overwhelmed. Knocked off his feet. No idea where she learned to do that.

"... Not really," he lies.

"Oh... okay." Tohru's eyes flicker down, fixing her skirt hem, and he's able to look at her again. Her eyes look hazy, and the hairs that frame her face are slightly mussed. More striking than either of those things, though, is how her lips look just a bit swollen now, a slightly darker shade than they were before.

It's utterly fascinating to Kyo. It makes him squirm.

She readjusts her skirt beneath her, and a strand of hair falls in front of her face. He reaches out and tucks it back behind her ear. His rosary shifts down his wrist. A reminder, always in the back of his mind.

Her eyes meet his again, and his hand lingers as he pulls it away, stopping under her chin. He can't hold her, can't really touch her, but maybe this is enough to last him a lifetime in a dark room.

Against his better judgment, against every survival instinct in his body, he asks, "Well, should we... uh, again?"

Tohru's eyes glint with seriousness and focus. It's ridiculous in a cute way. "Sure," and then she laughs as she adds, "Practice makes perfect."

"Shut up," Kyo says, but he can't help laughing too as he kisses her again.


It's starting to become unclear whether they talk because they're already on the roof, or if they end up on the roof so that they can talk. Their banter is light and easy tonight, and Tohru almost feels bad shifting the conversation.

"Kyo-kun?"

"Yeah?"

Practicing together adds a new layer to their already complicated dynamic. It exists within a bubble; it happens every few nights, it's over, and then they don't discuss it again. It's an unnatural kink in the system, something out of an alternate timeline. It's just under the surface of their skin, hidden where it belongs.

Kyo says he only does it so that she's not clueless when she gets a boyfriend. She lets him think that.

The whole thing has Tohru thinking about what else they could do, too.

Having nothing left to lose is a dangerous thing. With every passing day, breaking the curse in the name of altruism rings less true. She doesn't recognize the thought as her own. But this... the fleeting touches, the lingering glances, her lips pressed to his—they feel real. And when things feel real, you're more aware of what it will feel like to lose them.

You become desperate.

"Have you thought anymore about it?" she asks carefully, a hunter stalking her prey. Any misstep might spook him. "What I said the other night, I mean, about your confinement... and Shishou's grandfather..."

"About how it's stupid? Yeah." Kyo chucks her under the chin affectionately. It normally would make her feel warm inside, but today it just makes her feel overheated.

"Well, the part about getting married was stupid, maybe."

"Oh, just that part, huh?" He picks at a loose thread on his sweatpants, and Tohru wonders what would happen if she untied the drawstrings at his waist.

"Well... yes." She plays with the hem of her skirt to give her suddenly restless hands something to do. "It wasn't all a bad idea, I don't think."

"Tohru, stop."

She isn't the type to stand up for herself, to push people, but Kyo has always caused her to act more courageous than she feels. "I was serious the first time, and I'm serious now."

"I'm not letting you do that—any of that," he snaps. He adds, quieter, "You deserve better than that, dummy." Usually he blows up when he doesn't know how to respond, but he's frustratingly calm right now.

He's resigned.

She can't meet his eyes when she tells him, so she stretches out her legs in front of herself, fixating on a cluster of stars above them. She hopes it's a lucky combination, not the universe predicting certain doom above them.

"Kyo-kun… if you don't want to, it's okay and you can laugh at me, and we can forget about it forever and not talk about it again—and we don't even have to practice anymore, and I won't be upset, I promise." She takes a breath. "But if you do want to... well, so do I."

There's a long pause, and Tohru thinks she's scared him off past the point of no return. A rose color floods his face and stands out against his hair. His eyes are dark.

Her vision starts blurring with the beginnings of tears, because she's ruined everything now, because her idea was a mistake, because there's no way Kyo wants her in the needy way that she wants him. She starts to push herself up with her hands, but before she can leave there's a hand on her thigh, keeping her in place.

She looks at him wide-eyed with shock. It's like she's been branded by his touch. She noticed his hands getting bigger, but she's never been more aware of it than now, his long fingers pressing into her skin, dangerously close to the edge of her skirt. Kyo's touch is usually warm, but this feels like a burn.

"Kyo-kun?"

His eyes are fixed on her leg, like he doesn't know how his hand got there.

"Is that what you want?" he asks softly.

She's too dazed to remember what they'd been talking about, to remember anything before this moment. "What?" But then Kyo's brow furrows and he starts to pull his hand away, and she panics—so she reaches out and grabs his wrist, keeping him in place. "Yes. Sorry. Yes."

He doesn't say anything as she releases her grip on his arm. His hand moves under her skirt and ghosts over her inner thigh. Tohru's face flushes hot, and god she feels like she might combust. She sucks in a breath when he squeezes her thigh, and he looks up at her. His fingers curl slightly, back and forth, just the hint of nails skimming across her skin.

"Is this okay?" he asks again, rubbing his thumb in gentle, precise circles. She nods, thinking of all the times they've touched before and deciding that this is her new favorite.

His hand inches further beneath her skirt, and she gasps when he traces a finger along the warmth between her legs. One finger becomes two as he strokes through her underwear, arousal pooling wet and hot in her stomach.

She forces out words, any words, because she wants to know. "Is this what you want?"

He freezes.

"Kyo-kun?"

"Sorry," he says.

He jerks his hand away. She looks at his face again, and his eyes are wide, pupils blown.

"Kyo-kun, is everything okay?"

"Fuck, I'm... really sorry," he says. "You should get to bed."

He leaves the roof abruptly after that. She tells him goodnight quickly and cheerfully and completely fake. She thinks she might have whiplash.

She stays up there for a long time after he's gone. Her mind is still hazy from his touch as she stares up at the night sky, not really seeing the stars. When she goes back to her bedroom finally, it's impossible to fall asleep. Every time she closes her eyes, she's overwhelmed with thoughts of Kyo's hands roaming up her legs and under her skirt.

She wonders what they might feel like elsewhere.


Kyo is a pervert. If he's sure of one thing in his life, it's that.

First off, he never should've kissed Tohru. He shouldn't have made a habit out of kissing Tohru. He shouldn't have stopped Tohru from leaving when they were on the rooftop, shouldn't have grabbed her thigh to stop her... and he especially shouldn't have done anything that followed.

He can barely stand to look at her.

He slips out of the house in the morning without saying goodbye. He won't meet her eyes at dinner, and he keeps a wide berth when they pass each other in the hallway. They haven't kissed and called it "practice" in over a week. And then there's the issue of the shower, avoiding her like the plague when either of them are in any state of undress.

It always goes like this. The water runs for twenty minutes, and once it turns off he needs to wait another ten minutes before it's safe to leave his room and journey down. Today, when he hears the water stop, he waits fifteen minutes just for good measure before going downstairs.

He slides open the bathroom door and nearly loses his grip on the towel around his waist—

"Kyo-kun."

Tohru is frozen, still in the process of securing her own towel.

He slams the door shut again. Oh fuck. Oh fuck fuck fuck fuck—

He's a monster. He's always been a monster, sure, but now he's one in every way imaginable.

She's not supposed to be in there, wet hair plastered to her back, naked under her towel.

"I didn't—I didn't know you were in there," he stutters, leaning against the opposite wall, legs giving out. He covers his eyes with his hand and looks down as the bathroom door slides open again. Then he hears a soft giggle.

"Y'know, you don't have to cover your eyes, Kyo-kun. I'm wearing a towel."

"I'm sorry," he blurts out.

Her voice is gentle. "No, no! Really, don't worry about it. I probably was in there too long anyway."

He hears light footsteps coming towards him, and then his hand is being pulled down by hers. He keeps his eyes averted downwards, seeing just her bare feet, the bottom edge of her towel, and the stray droplets of water that drip onto the floor. He's suddenly very aware of the fact that they're standing alone in Shigure's hallway, inches away from each other and very much naked except for their bath towels.

"I heard the water shut off ages ago." Kyo struggles to speak. "Were you just standing in there?"

"... yes."

"Uh... why?"

"Just... thinking," she says. Completely unreadable. She still hasn't let go of his hand.

"Oh," he says, and her fingernails just barely scratch against his wrist as she fiddles with his beads. It sends a shock through his system.

He risks looking up a little bit—she is wearing a towel, so it's okay. He realizes his mistake immediately, because now he's looking at her bare shoulders, and he's overwhelmed by the cluster of freckles near the hollow of her neck, and the way that her skin is flushed red at her collarbone from the heat of the water. He offhandedly has the urge to kiss her there, wishes she would take off her towel so he could leave other kinds of red marks along her neck, down her chest, on her tits—

The thought sends blood rushing between his legs and pierces him through with guilt.

"I'll see you later," he says gruffly, taking her hand that's been playing with his rosary and pressing a kiss to the inside of her wrist. "And go get dressed. You don't want Shigure seeing you like that, he's a fucking creep."

"Okay," she says.

He brushes past her as quickly as possible, shoving the bathroom door shut and starting the water. As it hits his skin, cold, he tells himself that he imagined the tightness in her voice.


Tohru doesn't really know how they end up on the roof again. It's tricky to put together the puzzle pieces sometimes, decipher how they end up entangled with each other in the ways that they do.

But they always do.

They're not having a particularly serious conversation—Kyo listening to her talk about work at first, then telling her about his day at the dojo. Tohru knows it's rude to let her mind wander as he talks, but it's taking everything in her power to not get... distracted. Because there are so many distractions in front of her.

It's how the lines of his face have gotten more defined as they've gotten older, and wondering what it would be like to plant soft, hungry kisses along his sharp jawline, or to leave tiny, illicit marks up and down his throat. It's the gentle flex of his biceps as he stretches his arms above his head, the way that her eyes trace the lines of his back—wanting to touch him there suddenly, dig her nails into his shoulders just to know what it feels like. It's the veins of his hands and his long fingers, and thinking about him using them to push her against a wall, or pin her to a bed beneath him, or travel under her skirt but not stop so quickly this time. It's how his eyes reflect the moonlight, wondering if his gaze rakes over her frame every time she turns around, the same way that she looks at him.

But she's still listening to him talk, as best as she can, and that brings her attention to his mouth most of all, lips soft (she knows this now) and home to her favorite smile. Her thoughts follow the rabbit trail quickly, going from thinking about smiles and kisses to imagining his mouth in other places—leaving bruises on her collarbone, sucking on her breasts, buried between her legs—

"Kyo-kun?" she cuts him off, immediately feeling impolite but glad to stop her train of thought. She feels like a horny mess, hot and bothered just from sitting innocently next to him.

He snaps out of what he was saying. "Oh, yeah?"

She's tried it, ever since the other night on the roof. Touching herself.

Alone in her room, in the dark, quiet as a mouse. A few times in the shower. Never very successfully.

Without meaning to, she always tries to superimpose his hand on her mind's eye instead of her own. She imagines his rough, calloused fingers rubbing circles and curling inside her and doing countless other things that she knows the words for but doesn't really know. But her fingers are too thin, her hands too small. Once she starts, she has no real clue what she's doing. She feels clumsier than ever as she tries to navigate her own body, something that should be intuitive and easy.

It's frustrating. Never amounts to much. And it's not really what she wants anyway, she's realized. It's not her own hands that she yearns for.

"Could we... practice again?" Tohru asks him, a shake in her voice.

He doesn't need to be in love with her—not to kiss her, not to touch her like that. And she doesn't need him to. She still wants it just as badly.

They don't have to feel anything.

She sees Kyo tense up, but he nods in agreement. "If you want to."

There's a bit of that awkward second-guessing again, whose turn is it?, the rules that they impose to keep it from feeling too real. But then he's scooting closer, a hand tilting her chin up (he's gotten into a habit of that, she's noticed), and then their mouths are pressed together. They have a better idea of what they're doing than when Kyo first grabbed her cheeks and kissed her—and yet, something's missing.

Tohru sucks on his bottom lip, but he doesn't respond. She grabs at his arm as their rhythm quickens, but he doesn't touch her in return. As much as Kyo puts on a mysterious, aggressive front, he's also respectful and gentle. Tohru appreciates that in just about any moment... except right now. It's like he's holding back. Why?

She wishes he could hold her.

No curse stopping them if they wanted to be together. But that's too much for this moment. Too complicated, and the last thing Tohru wants is to complicate anyone's life, especially Kyo's.

She can't quite find the words to tell him how deep her feelings run, and that's not important right now—not something that he wants, she knows that much. She can tell him the other things that she wants, though, what she's wanted ever since he first grabbed her hand and kissed her knuckles. She wants to feel him, more than anything. Urgently.

She pulls away, and Kyo's brow furrows.

"What's wrong?"

"Well, I…" She takes a deep breath. "I've been meaning to tell you something, Kyo-kun. I was thinking that I don't want to practice anymore."

"Oh," he says, turning away. "Sure. We can stop."

"Wait, no! That's not what I meant… that didn't come out right..." She bites her lip, willing herself to not look away. "What I mean is, I don't want to practice… just kissing anymore. I wanted to do more."

"What?"

She blinks. "What do you mean?"

"Well, are you... you're being serious right now?" he asks slowly.

"I told you already," and she feels her confidence pick up as she touches his shoulder, "I'm being serious. I want to."

"I might transform, though," he says, shrugging off her hand and shuddering. "And I'm not doing anything as a cat, that's fucking weird. So I don't even know if we could do... well, anything."

"Well, the Cat before you had children, so it must be possible. It's not like babies just fall out of the sky."

"Oh, you figured that out?"

She gasps at the jab. Something flares in her gut, an odd feeling that ebbs and flows white hot inside of her. A part of her realizes it's not indignation or hurt, though.

It's desire.

"I know what sex is, Kyo-kun," she says as defiantly as she can. "I wasn't a little kid when Mom died. She explained things to me. I'm not an idiot."

Kyo looks like he wants to run away—or jump off the roof, maybe. "I... I never said you were," he says quickly, face red.

"Do you know everything about sex, then?"

"I know enough."

She giggles into her hand. "Of course you do."

"Stop laughing at me," he mutters.

"I'll stop if you prove it," and she says it lightly, but then he grabs her wrist, and it's funny how such a small touch ignites such an ugly, needy feeling inside of her.

Tohru's stomach drops as his face comes closer to hers, then moves right next to her ear.

"What if I did?" he breathes, and then she feels it, him pressing a kiss to the sensitive skin below her ear, then another at the juncture of her jaw and her neck. It's too gentle. He doesn't do it again but doesn't move away either, and she gets dizzier with every exhale of his hot breath on her chilled skin. She wishes he would draw back, or better yet kiss her there again and again and never stop, so why hasn't he done anything else—

Oh. He's teasing her. He's teasing her, and she loves it.

"I... you... sure," she stammers, face burning.

He pulls back but not by much, only far enough to meet her eyes, their faces inches apart. His cheeks are red too, and even with eyes glowing molten he looks so shy, so boyish. The moment is hazy, with everything unspoken hidden in the night air.

It's a blur, but Tohru does know that she kisses him first, without a doubt.

She still hasn't found the words for what she wants, but as his hands knot into her hair and she grabs at the front of his shirt, she thinks that she couldn't care less for words anymore. She's past the point of verbalizing, relying on breathless sighs to say what she means as Kyo licks into her mouth, uncharacteristically confident.

They've kissed a dozen times before, but never on the roof, and never like this, gasping and hungry for each other. She bites his bottom lip, and his soft moan sets every inch of her ablaze, but not in a way that's painful.

Kyo's hand trails down from the nape of her neck, and Tohru whimpers into his mouth as he finds her breast. He squeezes gently, brushing over her nipple through the fabric of her dress. It's such a small amount of friction, but his hands make her head spin, just like they always do.

She craves more. She craves him.

Her hands travel downwards on instinct as they kiss, and she feels him through the front of his jeans. He's hard.

He pulls away abruptly, and Tohru nearly whines at the loss of contact. "Kyo-kun?"

"We shouldn't do this out here," he says, his breathing ragged, and Tohru thinks she might burst into tears until he scrambles up and reaches out a hand to her. "Inside."

She takes his hand and follows him without hesitation. She always will, she thinks.


At first, Kyo is absolutely sure that this is just a really vivid dream. But as the night goes on, as he and Tohru climb down from the roof, as they tiptoe down the hallway hand in hand, as she leads him deliberately into her bedroom—he's having a hard time clinging to that belief.

This doesn't mean anything, says a nagging voice behind his eyes.

He goes and sits down on the edge of the bed, fidgety and restless as Tohru shuts the door and locks it behind them. Even if they stay quiet, he's thanking every god in existence that Shigure's room is downstairs and that Yuki is a heavy sleeper.

She comes towards him now, the moonlight spilling through the window blinds and casting striped shadows along her pink dress. Something about it makes his head spin.

It's probably the fact that she won't be wearing the dress for much longer.

She suddenly hesitates, doesn't move any further once she's a foot away from him.

"You can come closer, y'know," he says, reaching out to take her hands and pulling her gently to him. "I don't bite."

And he's never seen Tohru smirk in his life—but honest to god she does as she says, "Really? Too bad, I was looking forward to that."

He pulls her face down to his, kisses her hard so she doesn't see his face redden.

When he touched her on the roof, he was working off of pure adrenaline and the blood pumping in his ears. He didn't lie—he knows enough about sex. In the most basic sense.

Kazuma didn't really explain things if Kyo didn't ask about them, and Kyo had no desire to have The Talk growing up. It never seemed like a pressing issue when he knew he would be confined like the previous Cat. And besides that, he never thought he'd meet someone who he'd want and who would want him in return.

But then he met Tohru, and that line of thinking went to shit.

So he played catch up. He learned what he could from the internet (and not from Shigure's shitty porn books). He asked Haru about it once, totally casually and definitely not like he was asking for a particular reason.

Haru responded, "Oh, so you want to bone Honda-san?"

It was fucking embarrassing, but it's where his most… uh, extensive knowledge comes from, the price being that he now knows more about Haru's sex life than he ever wanted.

Even so, as Tohru meets his hungry kisses with her own, he's kicking himself that he didn't have an interest in quality sex ed sooner.

She sits herself in his lap with her knees on either side of him, careful to keep their chests separated. She moves naturally, confidently, and he follows her lead the best that he can. When she dips her tongue into his open mouth, he doesn't spook but meets it with his own. He grabs at her waist, and white spots dance at the corners of his vision as she rocks her hips clumsily against his. Kissing her chastely over homework or on the rooftop is one thing—but kissing her in the dark, on her bed, is different, scary, exhilarating.

This doesn't mean anything, the voice says again, but it's drowned out by Tohru's breathy panting as he starts kissing along her jaw, then down the length of her neck. He wonders what would happen if he left a mark, so he bites down just above her collarbone and is met with a choked cry, the sound making him dizzy.

He sucks on the spot, and her hands thread through his hair frantically, nails skimming lightly against his scalp. Her whimpers spur him on like courage, but he realizes he can't go any lower because of her dress.

"Tohru? Can I..."

She looks down at him, eyes visibly glazed even in the dark, and she seems to realize the problem. "Oh, right! Sorry." She hikes up the bottom of her dress and starts to pull it over her head, but she stops. "Sorry, did you... want to?"

"Oh," Kyo says, eyes widening. "Yeah, sure." He grits his teeth, determined to not be any more incompetent than he feels. It's like he's handling fire as he takes the hem of her dress and slowly edges it up past her hips, her stomach, and then her chest as she extends her arms above her head. He throws it off the bed and it lands somewhere in the corner.

He sucks in a sharp breath when he registers that now she's in his lap in just her bra and underwear.

He'd reach around and undo her bra, but he's not sure he could even do that trick successfully, and the close contact could trigger his transformation if he's not careful. Tohru seems to understand, because without hesitation she reaches behind herself, fiddles with something for a moment, and then shrugs off her bra, letting it fall to the ground.

It's so stupid, but seeing Tohru like this knocks the wind out of him. It's overwhelming. He feels hot everywhere.

He drops his hands, lets them rest lightly against the soft skin of her waist. He refuses to look up. "Is it okay if... if I..."

Tiny hands find his in the dark. "Of course," she says.

Kyo realizes with a jolt that she's lifting up one of his hands and placing it on her breast.

He's frozen at first, but he forces himself to take a deep breath and look back up. And there she is, looking down at him sweetly, wide-eyed and biting her lip. Her face is flushed, but she doesn't even look shy about it, her bare chest rising and falling evenly as she breathes. It's not anything like how his heart threatens to beat right out of his chest. There's no way she feels completely out of her depth like he does.

She's just… perfect.

He runs his thumb gently over the swell of her breast, drawing it lower to trace the faint red line that the elastic of her bra left along her skin. Then he takes a guess and squeezes. She leans into his hand and gasps—did he really do that? It doesn't make sense, but he keeps doing it. He's fascinated when he feels her nipple start to stiffen against his touch, and want eats away at him as he cups her other breast.

He tries to commit this to memory, how small and soft and perfect her tits feel in his hands, the little high-pitched noises escaping her lips, the friction of her hips rolling against his. He kisses along the line of her throat again as he touches her, delighting in how she shivers at his breath against her skin.

He thinks he might be okay staying exactly like this forever, time unchanging, her sighs drowning out the white noise in his mind—but then her hands are on his chest, pushing him away.

"Tohru?" he murmurs, did I hurt you? left unsaid. But he realizes with a start that she's only pushed him back so that she can reach down and pull at the hem of his shirt. He pauses, but then he remembers that Tohru is in his lap wearing nothing but her underwear.

He grabs his shirt from the back of his neck and pulls it over his head. He tries not to flush when he catches the way that her eyes widen. She starts to struggle with his belt, but the angle is too tricky with her on top of him.

"Here, I'll get it," Kyo says, and he guides her off of his lap and onto the bed next to him. He makes quick work of taking off his belt and then slides his pants off, leaving his boxers on for now. He turns to sit facing her, a bit awkwardly, but he's relieved to not be confined so tightly in his jeans anymore. His breath catches at the way her eyes rove over his chest... and down.

Oh. He can't really hide that anymore.

She meets his eyes, and he nods even as his face burns. She splays her fingers across his pecs, then traces her delicate touch along his shoulders, down his stomach. She lowers her hand and palms at his erection. He jerks involuntarily in her hand, a groan escaping his mouth. Oh shit.

Tohru keeps her hand there, like she doesn't quite know what she's doing. He snorts at the way her face lights up like a child in a candy store.

Her eyes flicker up. "Why are you laughing?"

"Because you're—" his voice catches as she strokes him through his boxers, "... you're being silly."

She laughs too, even as she pouts, leaning forward and kissing him on the mouth again as her hand becomes less hesitant. She leaves his lips and starts to press soft, wet kisses to his chin, his jawline, and then down his neck.

He trails his fingertips lightly along her sides, up and down the length of her arms, flattens them over her bare stomach. She gasps against the hollow of his throat and he tips his head back, shutting his eyes. He's always cherished the small, intimate touches that they share, whether it's holding hands or his knuckles against her hair—but it's a rush to learn each other's bodies in this new way.

This doesn't mean anything.

Her hand is still moving clumsily against his cock, and that combined with the sensation of her sucking on his neck is building the heat inside of him, almost too fast. "Fuck," he breathes.

And then he feels her fingers tugging on his waistband.

It's terrifying, or maybe it's thrilling—but Kyo knows it couldn't have been on purpose. Until she says against his throat, "Can I?"

"What? Are you sure you want to?"

"Yes."

Blood rushes between his ears, between his legs. "Sure then."

Together they pull his boxers down to his ankles and then off. He's completely exposed now, and it almost feels like being without his beads in front of her—but fear and shame don't consume him like he expects. Everything is only warmth and heat.

He waits for her to do something, but she stays unnervingly still, leaned back on her heels. Her eyes are fixed on... well. What you'd expect. It makes Kyo feel jittery.

It's not like she hasn't seen him naked before, dozens of accidental transformations and clothing mishaps later. But it's never been like this, just the two of them, lasting much longer than a few panicked seconds.

And never while he's had a hard-on. That's definitely new, too.

"What, is there a problem?" he asks. Tohru's face immediately turns crimson as she averts her gaze.

"No, no, of course not!" Her hands ball into little fists, a determined glint in her eye as she stares down at the bed. "It's... it's the opposite of a problem! I've just never seen... up close it's just... bigger than—"

"You really don't have to say it like that." He presses his face into the crook of his elbow, wanting to disappear.

"Right, sorry."

And Kyo is about to respond, but the words die on his lips as she moves in between his legs and presses her hands to his abdomen. They're cold, a shock to his overheating system.

"So you don't dye your hair, then," she giggles.

His face burns. "Well obviously not, idiot." He scowls at her, but she doesn't seem to give it much thought, eyes fixed downward and cheeks pink.

Time skids to a halt for Kyo as her fingers trail lower, until she's wrapping her hand around him. He inhales sharply.

It's a slow start as she strokes up and down a few times, languid and unsure. Not the most amazing thing he's ever felt, but it's Tohru, and she's here, and he loves her.

He loves her. She'll never know, but that's his only coherent thought.

Tohru may be spacey most days, but she's also stubborn once she sets her mind to something—and Kyo sees that now as she increases the pressure of her grasp, as her other hand settles around the base of his cock, as her thumb runs over the head. It sends shivers down his spine to feel her exploring his body with her hands.

But her hands.

He absolutely hates the sight of her hands, small and clean and perfect, touching him, touching this body that's just another form for the monster inside of him. So he shuts his eyes tight and focuses on the feeling, on the heat coming off of her in waves and pulsing through him. In the quiet he hears her, somewhere between a sigh and a moan, and the sound rings in his ears.

"Tohru... Tohru, fuck," he mutters again and again, clings to the sensation of saying her name as an anchor.

He chokes down his cries, won't let them escape his mouth as he bucks into her palm. As her strokes become more confident, he leans back on his elbows. He twitches and jerks at the slightest shift in her touch. Everything around him starts to grow in intensity. It feels like losing control as he starts panting, gasping, moaning, unable to hold it all back, but she's there with him, and suddenly it doesn't sound like his deepest, darkest fear to lose control—

If it means giving it to her.

She doesn't move her hands away as he comes, and he's whispering her name over and over, the only word he can remember as everything rises and then dissolves around him.

He opens his eyes and all he sees is her, eyes wide and cheeks flushed. She's still there with him.

But then he sees her hands, and dread cuts through him.

"Shit, shit, I'm sorry," he says. He spots the tissue box on her nightstand and grabs it, and his hands shake as he starts wiping off the mess, he's made a mess—

"Please don't apologize, Kyo-kun." She smiles like nothing is wrong as he gently scrubs at her skin. "I'm really happy that I... I don't know. That I could make you feel good."

And something in her words disarms him, so he kisses her because he can't think of anything else. One of her hands comes up to hold his cheek, and the other is on his neck—her touch is warmer now. He cups her breasts again, and she sighs into his mouth as he flicks his thumb over her nipple.

She traces her tongue over his lips and he lets her in, and Kyo has never felt bliss in his life—but it might be something like this, he thinks, as her tongue pushes and swipes against his, as he explores her mouth in turn. Her skin against his fingertips is like touching something holy, but what makes him feel the dizziest is how she presses herself into his hands, her barely-audible moans reverberating in his head.

She wraps her arms around his neck, and he realizes with a start that she's leaning back, pulling him down with her. He breaks the kiss and moves his hands to either side of her, grunting as he catches himself.

But now she's laying flat on the bed beneath him.

There's a twinkle in her eye as she looks up at him, and he knows that he needs to do something but fuck if he knows what.

"Kyo-kun," she says, face flushed, "... will you touch me?"

She says it so simply. She just… knows what she's doing. He'd punch himself if he could.

He feels like an idiot.

"Yeah, sure," he says.

He puts his weight all on one hand and uses his other to trace lazily along her collarbone, trailing down to her breasts. He circles her nipple with his thumb, and she arches into the touch, her eyes fluttering shut. He drags his fingers lightly down her stomach, and she lets out a little laugh.

"Ticklish," she explains when he hesitates, her voice breathy and tight.

He fans out his fingers and runs them slowly along the tiny grooves in her rib cage, but he pauses below her navel. He touched her that one time on the roof, but teasing his hand under her skirt for a few seconds is very different from this.

"You don't have to if you don't want to," Tohru says quietly.

He hopes the trembling in his supporting arm doesn't betray his nerves. "No, no, I... want to, I just." He huffs out a sigh, wanting to cover his face. "It's so stupid, but I don't really... know what I'm doing."

It makes his stomach flip-flop to hear her giggle as her fingers wrap around his wrist, her palm against his beads. "Well, that makes me your senpai then."

He rolls his eyes, a flush creeping into his cheeks all the same.

"Shut up, senpai," he deadpans, kissing her once as she guides his hand lower, beneath the elastic of her underwear.

It's warm between her legs, which Kyo didn't notice last time. He can't see much, not in the dark of her room, so he focuses on her face below him. Her eyes are shut, a pink flush to her cheeks. He wills his hand to not shake as he starts just barely stroking her with one finger. He watches with fascination as she breathes in and out, a little gasp escaping when he brushes over a particular spot—

Okay, so that's her clit, then. Probably. So he should try to do that again.

It can't be too hard, he thinks.

Her fingers splay over his and move him this way and that, making silent suggestions as he figures out a pattern. It's not an instantaneous result. She'll make a noise so thrilling that he'd like to hear it on repeat, but then she drops silent for twice as long. He's frustrated with himself, with his lack of experience, how he can't do this simple thing for Tohru when she's always giving so much and never getting anything back.

And then he hears,

"I'm sorry, Kyo-kun."

Her voice is so quiet, so small.

"What? Why?" he asks. He tries to read her face, but her eyes are still screwed shut.

"That... I'm not... that I can't..." She lets go of his wrist, presses her hands into her eyes.

He's not completely sure, but he thinks he understands. "Hey, no, if anyone should be apologizing, it's me, not you." He leans back on his heels, hand coming back to rest on her knee. "I think I'm fucking it up."

"It's not you," she says quickly, like she's trying to hold back tears. "I mean, I've tried to before, I really have, but I... I never do it right. So I don't really know—I think it's just... something wrong with me."

"Hey, no, it's no big deal," In that moment, Kyo feels like he needs to be brave for her, braver than both of them feel. "I think we just figure it out together. It's just practice anyway, right?"

"Right... practice."

The words prick him harder than he anticipated. "And aren't you supposed to be my senpai or something?"

"I guess that's true," Tohru laughs softly.

He risks moving his hand up to her waist. "Maybe if I took off... uh, that might help?"

There's a pause, and then she takes a deep breath. "Okay, try that."

"Okay."

He hooks his fingers into the elastic, sliding her underwear down her legs. He moves off of her, and she lifts up her feet as he slides them all the way off. He shifts so that he's laying next to her, propped up on his elbow, careful that his chest doesn't actually touch her arm. Relief washes over him when she moves her hands back to her stomach, a calm yet anticipatory expression returning to her face.

But she's also completely naked now—they both are—and something about that seems so serious, so reverential that it's making his nerves skyrocket. He attempts to ignore everything in front of him, respect her privacy, while also trying to memorize every detail, every peak and valley of her body.

He sets his jaw before moving his hand between her legs. It takes him a second, but he finds her clit again, making her breath quicken. It's trial and error as he rubs circles, up and down, anything that seems to elicit a positive reaction. It finally seems like he's getting the hang of it as her moans come out fast and repetitive.

He's starting to feel more confident, so before he can chicken out, he lets his fingers drift lower and eases one into her. She gasps loudly, her hips rutting against his hand. He freezes.

"Did that hurt?"

"No, please... keep going," Tohru breathes, and she widens her legs. "It feels good, Kyo-kun."

It's a rush to hear her say his name like that. He wants to hear it again.

"Good."

He starts slow, very slow, trying to listen to her every breath, letting it inform his tiniest of movements. After a while he gently slips another finger in, finding a rhythm of motion that seems to make her feel good. He curls his fingers and she bucks into his hand again, choking back a cry. There's a light sheen of sweat building up on her skin, and most of all he can feel the wetness on his hand. It's making him light-headed.

Her face and chest are flushing bright red—and something about the sight makes him lean down and start leaving feverish kisses along her neck, her shoulder, her collarbone, as his hand starts moving faster.

Somewhere amidst her sighs and moans, she's started saying actual words—and it's like shock waves when Kyo realizes that she's babbling his name over and over. His name has always sounded different when she says it, but he thinks he's never really understood that until now.

He sees in his periphery as one of her hands travels down, and his stomach drops—because he thinks she's about to stop him in his tracks, put an end to all of this. But then she's not pulling his hand away, or even trying to change what he's doing... instead, she's touching herself.

And it's really hot.

He feels awful even thinking that.

His panting matches hers, and he thinks she's getting close to coming undone. She fucks into his hand, and he bites her neck, sucking hard enough to leave another mark, even though he has no right to. Her back arches up, and she trembles next to him.

"Tohru," he says again and again against her skin. Trying to tuck every detail of this away in his memory.

And then the constant stream of Kyo-kun coming out of her mouth stops abruptly, and he feels her go completely still. He looks at her face—at her closed eyes, her ruddy cheeks, her gasping, open mouth—and he isn't sure, but he hopes to god that it's an expression of pleasure.

Whatever it is, she's beautiful.

He keeps moving his fingers until she's finished riding out her high, until her last few broken moans have given way to the silence of the night. He brings his hand back up—and even after everything, it seems too bold to grab her chin and kiss her, so he rests his hand on top of hers and nothing more.

They lay there for minutes or for hours. Kyo isn't sure of the details at the moment, wrapped up as he is in the slowing tempo of Tohru's breathing. He's almost... comfortable. He never thought he'd feel that way with someone. Comfortable revealing every part of himself, completely unguarded. But it all comes back to Tohru in the end, and in this moment, he almost feels safe.

This doesn't mean anything. The voice won't leave him alone.

"I should go," he says reflexively.

Tohru's eyes open. "Right... okay."

The spell of laying peacefully next to each other is broken, and they're suddenly both self-conscious again. There's that awkward moment where they stand up at the same time, scrambling in the dark for their clothes. Kyo pulls his pants and shirt back on, and Tohru throws on her dress—he forces himself to not look at her until she's clothed again, even though that's probably stupid at this point.

He pauses on his way out the door when she grabs at his sleeve.

"So, we can... again, right?" she asks quietly.

And Kyo tries to make his decision while not thinking about her messy bangs sticking to her forehead, or the faint mark he can see at the base of her neck, or her swollen, pink lips. He tries to ignore it all.

"Sure," he says.

"Okay." Tohru smiles, different than the one he's used to. It's small, private. "Well, goodnight, Kyo-kun."

He slips out without saying anything else. Running away has always worked in the past, but once he gets back to his own room, he shuts his door with a deafening click.

And he thinks he'll never run far enough to escape this new ache in his chest.


entangle me, entangle me
i don't believe in love
but i believe that you believe