Notes: This is VERY experimental. Never tried it before, probably never will again. The closest I'll get to a lemon, cuz I suck at 'em. And so you don't have to ask, yes, I'm a guy…and a virgin, no less. In fact, the ONLY thing that qualifies me to do this is having seen and read the anime and manga. Beyond that, I'm clueless. Set after the series (anime, not manga).

Summary: Eri & Naota reevaluate their relationship after they become intimate. Immediately after.

The Morning After

A FLCL Fanfiction by

Nate Grey (XMAN0123-at-aol-dot-com)

I wake up in a bed that is not my own, and then I remember why it isn't. It's official. I, Ninamori Eri, the mayor's daughter, am no longer a virgin. I have Naota to thank for that, of course. He'd think it was funny if I actually did, no doubt.

It was nothing either of us had planned. Lately, Naota has had his spontaneous moments. I think he might have picked it up from that weird housekeeper when she was around. For some reason, though, all his spontaneous acts seem to benefit me.

The first was one day after school three months ago, when he asked me out. The odd thing was that I had been meaning to ask him, only he beat me to it.

Anyway, I'd never been in a real relationship before. I'd read all kinds of novels and advice guides about how they're supposed to go. All that knowledge was, naturally, no help at all. Fortunately, it turned out that I didn't really need them. Being with Naota was…easy. I suppose it was because we'd known each other for so long and knew exactly what to expect. There were no awkward moments, no mistakes. In a way, it was just like being friends, only we were allowed and encouraged to be physically affectionate. Even that was pretty simple, and I'd like to believe that's what led up to Naota inviting me into his bed.

Only I don't think it was. But maybe I should explain the incident in more detail first.

Yesterday, I went to Naota's house. I no longer needed a reason to come and see him, according to him. I think I went more for him than for me. There are times when Naota just…looks at me. Just sits there and actually looks at me for several minutes, for no apparent reason other to remind himself that I'm in his life. I can't say I don't enjoy the attention, but it's kind of scary. Sometimes I wonder what Naota would do if he wanted to look at me and couldn't because I wasn't there. I can't explain it, but I don't want to find out. I want to be there when he looks for me. I'm not afraid that he'll look for someone else, just that he'd be upset if he couldn't see me. I know I would if I couldn't see him whenever I wanted to.

Naota was in the middle of cleaning his room. Maybe that doesn't sound strange, but it is. In all the time that I've known him, Naota has never cleaned his room. At least, he's never finished doing it. But he seemed determined that time.

"I'm going to finish," he told me. "I have to have the place looking nice when my girlfriend comes over."

He does that a lot, talking about me like I'm not there. I guess it should annoy me, but it doesn't. Maybe it's his way of saying that he still sees part of me as a friend, someone he can confide in.

I helped as much as I could, but to be frank, it was his stuff, and I wasn't sure what was important to him and what wasn't. My first instinct was to throw away any bits of paper I found, but you'd be surprised how many people jot important things down on what might otherwise be trash.

At some point, I began to stare at the guitar. I had never seen Naota play it, yet there was not a speck of dust on it from what I could see. I knew at once that it had to be important to him. The more I stared at it, the more I was convinced I had seen it somewhere before…

I suddenly looked up to see Naota staring at the guitar as well. There was an odd look on his face, like he was about to say something, but decided against it at the last moment. Then he looked at me, swallowed, and proceeded to lose his mind. I say that because it was then that he started doing things I never would've expected from him. At least, I didn't expect them from the Naota I knew, the one I had come to think of as my Naota.

He had never exactly been what I would call too generous with touching me. Occasionally, he would pull me into his lap, or stroke my hair, or catch me off guard with a kiss, but he never gave me cause to complain that he was suffocating me with his affection.

So I was more than a little surprised when he pulled me to him and did his best to kiss me into submission. At the time, I had no real idea what he was leading up to, since we had never even discussed the possibility of having sex. All I knew was that my boyfriend was kissing me, albeit with a bit more force than I was used to. At the same time, there was a rush that I had never experienced, one that told me this time would be different from the others.

I'm ashamed to say I don't remember his exact words. I'm usually good at recalling things, but everything was happening so fast, I guess I was a bit distracted. I do remember he told me I was sexy, because I'd never heard that before. I didn't know how to react. I mean, if any other guy had ever told me that, he would've been spitting teeth on the street. But I could tell by the way he said it that he was being perfectly honest. So, at the very least, I knew that Naota thought I was sexy. Why he thought that was beyond me. I had never thought of myself as ugly, but I would never set out to win a beauty contest, either.

Between all the kissing and the sweet, whispered words, we somehow ended up on his bed. I have no doubt that it shocked us both, because we both realized where we were at the same time, and he looked even more surprised than I did. But the shock slowly melted into acceptance, and acceptance into want.

For him, anyway. I was still in awe of it all. Perhaps I was still reeling from him calling me sexy.

Then he told me he wanted me.

For some reason, it never crossed my mind to tell him he couldn't have me. I haven't decided if I was still dazed or just horny. Probably the latter, thanks to the kissing. Now that I think about it, I can't imagine being intimate with anyone else, ever. I've never been close to anyone the way I am with Naota. I guess I should count myself lucky that my first and only crush on a boy actually worked out well…even if it did take a while.

Anyway, back to the bedroom.

I'm not sure what I expected from Naota. I was almost positive he'd never done it before, but at the same time, I wasn't sure how much "research" he'd done, having access to all his father's…reading material.

It started off surprisingly well. At first, I thought he was just guessing about where to touch and how, and, miraculously, getting it right every single time. Then it occurred to me that maybe he was more familiar with the female form than he had a right to be. I considered getting angry, but decided against it when he brushed a spot that even I hadn't realized was so sensitive.

From that point on, all thoughts of stopping vanished from my mind. Seeing that I was becoming a lot more receptive to his touches, Naota wasted no time in ridding us both of our clothes. He paused briefly at seeing me naked for the first time, as I'd expected him to. I was far too nervous to meet his eyes or examine his own equipment, as I was concerned he might take back his initial "sexy" comment. To my complete surprise, he merely grinned and kissed me before asking if I was ready to go further.

I understood that he was asking for my permission, and I wondered what he would do if I said no. Then I wondered what I would do if I said no, and quickly decided that there was no reason to refuse him, considering we both wanted this.

Naota glanced over at his dresser, asking a silent question with his eyes.

For reasons that I still don't fully understand, I shook my head and pulled him down on top of me.

From the moment he entered me, it was hot. That's not the best word, but it's the only one I can use to describe what I felt. Everything seemed to be burning, but in a good way. Like a hot bath after a long day. Every touch, every movement, every sensation seemed to rush through my skin and stoke the flames rising inside me.

And this is going to sound really silly, but oh well. I've read stories about people who claim to see God while they're having sex. Well, I'm not going to say that that happened with me, because it isn't true. What I saw was definitely not God…but it was, at the same time, definitely not something you see everyday.

It was over so quickly. I didn't exactly stop to check my watch, but I would guess no more than five, maybe ten minutes had passed since Naota had first kissed me. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it…just that you don't want good things to end so fast.

Which might be why we did it two or three more times afterward. I honestly lost count. But I hardly think anyone can blame me for that.

I was afraid she'd be gone when I woke up. But I know Eri better than that. She wouldn't run away from much, least of all me. Though, sex changes people, so they say. I wonder if they're right.

It must be Saturday. That's why Canti hasn't come in to see if I'm up. Or maybe he saw Eri come up to my room and…no. He couldn't have known what would happen between us. We didn't even know.

Although it is my fault. If only I didn't keep that damn guitar in plain sight.

Not that I regret being with Eri this way, mind you. It would've happened eventually, I think. She's honestly pretty attractive when she doesn't have that stoic look on her face, and…well, I'm no monk.

It's just…Haruko. Now that I think about it, there's only two reasons I could've reacted the way I did to seeing her guitar. You could say that thinking of her made me so lonely and horny that I jumped the first female I saw. Or you could say that thinking of her made so angry that I was determined to move on with my life. I wasn't sure which it was, at first. But through it all, I never once imagined her face. There was only Eri. I'd like to think that means something. But I still can't get rid of the guitar, even now. And I hate myself a little more every day I don't tell Eri the significance behind it.

Eri has seen me with Haruko. She probably knows exactly how we were around each other. She's smarter than most people give her credit for. For all I know, she might just be waiting on me to tell her. But I don't think I will. It would only hurt her, and I don't want to lose Eri. Not over Haruko, anyway. Because it would mean that I was moving backwards, and that I hadn't learned anything at all, and that I wasn't growing up.

Naota wakes up a few minutes after I do. He doesn't actually move, but I can tell by the way his breathing changes ever so slightly. I can only guess that he's waiting on me to do something first.

"Did I hurt you?" he asks suddenly. It comes out slightly muffled, as he has his back to me. Briefly, I wonder if he doesn't just mean physically.

"No." Fortunately, I say that before I think to move my legs, and wince at the sharp pain between them.

He sits up slowly and runs a hand through his hair. "This changes things, you know."

"It wouldn't be sex if it didn't," I remind him, sitting up as well.

For some reason, he blushes and looks away. "So…was I any good?"

"If I wasn't pleased, you'd know." I try to sound the same as I always do, so it's harder for him to read me. Then something occurs to me. "Naota. We just had sex. Are you telling me you can't look at me naked without blushing?"

"I just don't see naked girls every day, that's all," he mutters. After a look from me, he adds, "Outside of pictures and videos, anyway. Besides, this is…different."

"How is it different?" I ask, more curious than angry.

"It's…you, Eri. It means something when I see you naked."

"You already slept with me, Naota. You can stop trying to charm me."

He grunts indignantly. "I was being serious."

"I know." I reach over and play with his hair, to let him know I'm teasing. "So…was I any good?"

"If you weren't, I would've stopped after the first time."

"I don't know. Maybe you were trying to compensate for something."

"Yeah, well, I don't remember hearing any complaints."

"Maybe I didn't want to spoil the mood."

"Maybe you were too busy moaning."

This time, it's my turn to blush. "I could've been faking it."

"Yeah, true." Naota turns and flashes me one of his shit-eating grins. "But you weren't."

"Shut up!" I hit him with the nearest object, which happens to be a pillow. Not too effective, but it makes me feel better, a little. "Don't go getting a huge ego. I'm sure there's plenty of room for improvement."

"I'll say. You only passed out once."

I'm not sure whether he was trying to be funny, so I hit him again, anyway. This time, though, he grabs my arms and rolls us so that he ends up on top of me. Before I can plan an escape, I feel a familiar something graze my inner thigh.

"Naota. Don't even THINK about it."

He pretends to look hurt. "Why not?"

"I'm still sore, and you need to shower."

"First, you said you weren't hurt. Second, if I need a shower, so do you. Third, we might as well save water and share one."

"Oh no. We'd only get dirtier and end up wasting water. We're taking separate showers."

"If I didn't know any better, Eri, I'd say you didn't like being intimate with me."

I manage a smirk. "Good thing you do know better, huh?"

"Guess so." He stares at me for a moment before kissing my nose and rolling off me. "You first. And watch out for my father. And Grampa. In fact, just take my bat with you…"

I make a decision. The tricky part is, I don't quite know what the decision is just yet. But I've made it, and that's all I know at the moment. It must have something to do with Eri, but I can't even begin to imagine what.

While she's showering, I try to finish cleaning up my room again. But I don't get far because I've just had sex and I'm still naked. All I really feel like doing is barging in on Eri and hoping the bat isn't within reach. I don't think she'd actually hit me, but I do wonder how serious she was about not sharing.

I never would've even considered pulling something like that before. Maybe that's how sex changes people. Now I'll know that at the end of each day, there's at least a slim chance of getting laid. Because we've been there before, and now we won't be afraid to go back…especially if Eri enjoyed it as much as I think she did. The precedents are out of the way, and now sex is normal for us. Well, not normal…just nothing to be scared of.

When Eri comes back, I realize what my decision is. Only I can't really believe that I'm going to do it. But I see my hand reaching for the guitar, and the next thing I know, I'm holding it out to her.

"Take it," I hear myself say. "It's yours now."

"What am I supposed to do with that, Naota?" she asks.

"Whatever you want, I guess."

"No, I mean, what am I suppose do with it NOW? I'm wearing a towel."

A wicked grin spreads across my face. "Play something. Right now."

"There are less inventive ways to trick a girl into dropping her towel, I suppose."

"Could you at least hum while you get dressed, then?"

"Do I have to shimmy, too?"

"I'll leave that up to you."

She doesn't shimmy, but I guess that would be pushing it. She keeps giving me funny looks the whole time, and when she's finally dressed, Eri turns to stare at me. "What am I supposed to do with it?" she asks, laying a hand on the guitar.

"Keep it safe. Until…"

"Until when?"

"Until I do something stupid, like say I don't love you, or cheat on you, or…I don't know."

"And you expect me to suddenly know how to play a guitar in one of those depressing events?"

"No. I expect you to whack me in the head with it."

Eri stares at me. "You don't want to give me that kind of power," she says at last.

"No, I don't want to hurt you. But if I do, this will ensure that I hurt in return."

"Naota, this is crazy."

"Keep it, Eri. Just in case."

"You say that like you know you're going to hurt me."

"I don't plan on it. But I'd rather we planned for it."

"But you love me. Don't you?"

"Yes, Eri, I love you. That's why I want you to have that kind of power. Because if I ever do anything to hurt you, a solid whack on the head is the least I'd deserve."

She finally accepts the guitar and studies it carefully. "It'll break, though."

"It was made to be broken."

Eri smiles. "I was talking about your head, Naota."

"Then you can nurse me back to my senses. Just keep it, Eri. Please."

"Okay. But it seems a real shame to break something so shiny."

"Pretty packaging doesn't always mean pretty contents."

"Naota, I've seen you with a horn the size of our school sticking out of your head. Any day your head can fit in one room, I consider myself lucky. Do you really think I care what you look like?"

"So you don't think I'm sexy?" I ask, trying to sound hurt.

"Of course you're not," Eri replies, cupping my face in one hand. "But you're mine, anyway."

I can see in her eyes that she really means it.

"You never did finish cleaning up your room," she points out suddenly.

"Well…you don't care how it looks, anyway. Right?"

"I guess." Eri sighs to herself. "I better get home. My dad might actually be worried. Or at least the maids."

"Tell them you fell asleep behind a music store," I suggest.

"You're not sexy or funny," Eri sighs again. "What happened to my standards?"

I can't resist. "Same thing that happened to you. There's a big hole in them."

Eri's eyes flash, and for a second, something tells me she's going to use that guitar sooner than either of us knew. Then she smirks. "It's not that big of a hole, Naota. The next time I come up here, I hope to see some improvement, in all areas."

She heads for the door, and I actually consider picking up a few things here and there.

"Oh, and Naota?" Eri calls back to me from the doorway.


She grins wickedly at me. "Keep the bed clean. We'll be needing it."

The End.

Endnotes: This took SO long to write. I started right after Adult Swim's first run of FLCL, and now it's BACK on the air. Sheesh.