Title - Tail

Fandom - Azumanga Daioh

Pairing - Sakaki/Kagura

Rating - R

Words - 4433

Summary – Sakaki is scared of losing Kagura, scared of keeping her close, scared of being bitten.

Sakaki thinks of Kagura as a cat.

At first she thought of her as a puppy. A Rottweiler puppy, all big paws and sparkling eyes but with a toothy grin that comes from the confidence of knowing you'll grow into a predator. Kagura would bound around, bark playfully at anything weaker than her and often leave a trail of chaos in her wake.

It wasn't until Sakaki saw Kagura dressed for swimming club that she began to think of her as a cat.

Which is strange, because Sakaki knows cats hate water.

Sakaki knows a lot about cats, though sometimes it feels as if she can never hope to own one. She knows they are as unpredictable and dangerous as they are hypnotic and striking. She knows that they are the ones that make the rules and even the fattest, most content house cat has a rebellious streak that cannot be curbed. It is the wild ones, however, that one must always be wary of...

Sakaki had seen Kagura in a swimming costume before, and she has seen her in one since, but that afternoon holds a permenant place in her mind.

Perhaps it had been the richness of Kagura's tan, or the way she had raised her arms above her head and stretched her back so fully that she'd ended up on her tiptoes, but suddenly Sakaki found herself very aware of just how much flesh was on show. Sakaki had marvelled at the length of Kagura's legs, at the honey-brown tone and unmarred curve of her thighs and the way she moved with a grace that could only be described as feline.

Sakaki had hurried from school, feeling disturbed. After all, she was used to noticing exactly which was the cutest plush toy in a display and admiring the warmth in Mr. Tadakichi's eyes but she'd never caught herself watching a person with the same appreciation.

Of course, no confusing train of thought could keep her from seeking out Kamineko, the dreaded Biting Cat, as a matter of ritual as she neared her house. She watched as it sensed her approach and cracked one eye open, then yawned and stretched. And Sakaki paused, her hand hovering between herself and Kamineko, visions of Kagura balancing on the balls of her feet, arms reaching up to the clouds, dancing in her mind.

From that moment on, Sakaki has thought of Kagura as a cat.

At first this made Sakaki nervous around Kagura. She knows Kagura forcefully strode into her life and it scares her that she might leave in the same way. Sakaki doesn't seem to get along with cats. It's always been so.

She studies Kagura from a distance, seeing how she scraps with Tomo, leaps into any situation without thought of the consequences and takes pride in her failures. She is stubborn and irrepressible. She is a cat; so clearly a cat that Sakaki cannot believe how long it took her to see this.

Whenever Kagura collapses into the chair beside her, Sakaki holds her breath and listens silently to Kagura with all the intensity she can manage, yet can never recall her words when she lies in her bed at night.

Sakaki is terrified of scaring Kagura away. She is even more terrified of Kagura biting her. She has a recurring dream that Kagura is doing just that, nibbling at her fingers, working her way up Sakaki's arm, all teeth and tongue, and then her lips are at Sakaki's throat and Sakaki always wakes up drenched in sweat and trembling so much that she can barely breathe.

On days when Sakaki has dreamt of Kagura, she watches Kagura's mouth carefully, but this makes it even more difficult to recall Kagura's words.

Sakaki has slowly grown used to walking home with Kagura. Kagura certainly appears relaxed around Sakaki, has always been that way since she first sat beside her and declared them rivals. Sakaki, however, tries not to make too much eye contact, or move too close. She is still aware of how easy it would be to scare Kagura away.

Mostly Kagura talks. She never walks in a straight line and Sakaki is usually late home when she walks with Kagura; she may walk in long strides but Kagura is easily distracted and Sakaki has to keep stopping whenever Kagura zigzags in front of her.

Kagura stops to pick things up, Sakaki has noticed. Sometimes it is something shiny that has caught her eye and she will roll it in her hands as they walk, playing with her treasure, and Sakaki will have to suppress a smile because Kagura is so much like a cat.

Sometimes Kagura will pick up litter and carry it with her until they pass a bin. Sakaki can only marvel at how unpredictable a cat she can be.

Sakaki has noticed how, when Kagura stoops to claim her latest find, her skirt rides up just so. Sakaki tries not to look. Sometimes she can't help herself. Sometimes she feels a pain in her chest that she cannot describe but she suspects is guilt.

The first time Kagura invited Sakaki back to her house to study, Sakaki was speechless. Kagura didn't seem interested in a reply and simply led her down a different street, one Sakaki vaguely recognised from a walk with Chiyo-chan and Mr. Tadakichi.

Nobody had been home when they'd arrived so they'd spread their books out on the table in the front room and worked in near silence, with Kagura occassionally grunting in frustration and asking questions which Sakaki struggled to answer around the lump in her throat.

After an hour and a half Kagura had triumphantly thrown her books to the floor and declared herself done. Sakaki had quietly packed up her own books and politely declined Kagura's offer of a snack, not wanting to spend too much time in Kagura's company and risk pushing her away.

Kagura had insisted on walking her home and as much as Sakaki knew she should object, she couldn't bring herself to do so. It had been growing dark and the street lamps had illuminated Kagura's face a soft orange and Sakaki was reminded of Kagura in her swimming costume and soft skin stained with a now-faded tan and Sakaki realised how much she wanted to touch her.

Visiting Kagura's home has become a tradition before any big test. If the house is empty they will stay in the front room, Sakaki sitting rigid on a chair and Kagura sprawled across the couch or floor, wolfing down the snacks Sakaki always refuses.

Sometimes Kagura's mother is home and Sakaki prefers this. Kagura's mother is as loud as her daughter but always preoccupied. She and Kagura seem capable of holding a conversation without being aware of what the other is saying. Kagura's mother always forgets Sakaki's name but Sakaki suspects it is only through years of conditioning that she is able to remember Kagura's.

As much as Sakaki finds herself enjoying the interaction between mother and daughter, the real reason she prefers Kagura's mother's presence is that it means they will study in Kagura's room.

Sakaki is fascinated by Kagura's room. The walls are lined with shelves that look in danger of collapsing under the weight of their contents. There is no order, only piles of magazines, trinkets and, surprisingly, action figures. There are dozens of them from various television shows Sakaki is only half-aware of, and they are in varying condition.

When Sakaki found the courage to ask about them, Kagura shrugged and explained many were childhood toys and she now found it impossible to pass markets or second-hand sales without seeking a new one out. Sakaki has noticed they are never in the same place each time she visits. Sometimes they are lined up in an order Sakaki doesn't understand, other times arranged in compromising positions, sometimes simply piled together, abandoned.

There are no chairs in Kagura's room. Sakaki had stared at Kagura's bed for several minutes the first time they had studied there, before Kagura noticed her hesitation and yanked her down by her wrist. Sakaki had stared at her homework, not seeing any words, and cradled her wrist where Kagura's hand had gripped it.

The bed is small, only a single. Kagura sits at the top, always, reclining against the pillows or curled up with her book lying beside her. Sakaki perches on the side, as close to the door as possible.

Sakaki tries to concentrate but Kagura's foot is pressed against her thigh and the heat seeping into her skin from such simple contact is making her giddy.

There is noise and Sakaki knows Kagura is talking to her but she is struggling so hard to keep her composure that she cannot risk looking at Kagura. But Kagura is moving and her foot has left Sakaki's thigh and Sakaki doesn't know whether to be relieved or seek out that heat again and now she can recognise that Kagura, not used to being ignored, is calling her name. And then Kagura's legs are swinging over the side of the bed beside Sakaki's and her skirt is twisted slightly and there's so much skin and Sakaki isn't thinking when she turns and presses her lips to Kagura's.

In an instant Sakaki is panicking and she cannot believe she is doing such a thing. She is not naive and she knows her feelings for Kagura ceased to be innocent long ago but she has never allowed herself to imagine what kissing Kagura might be like.

She pulls away before she can even feel what Kagura's lips taste like and perhaps that's for the best but she knows she'll have to look at Kagura now and Sakaki doesn't think she can but she does.

And Kagura is staring at her, eyes wide, and then she laughs and it is breathless and surprised, not cruel or mocking, and she leans in before Sakaki can even think to lean away.

Her lips are warm and firm and so so soft.

Kagura helps Sakaki pack her belongings up in silence but she is bouncing on the balls of her feet and smiling to herself and Sakaki knows that she understands that Sakaki needs to leave but there is no rejection. Kagura walks Sakaki home and hums under her breath and smiles and Sakaki clutches the strap of her book bag very tightly and blushes.

Neither of them mention the kiss at school. Sakaki begins to wonder if it happened at all.

When the next big test looms, Kagura invites Sakaki over to study and there is nothing in her face, her voice, her eyes to suggest that anything has changed between them. Clinging to the hope that perhaps they can at least go back to how things were before, Sakaki agrees.

Kagura's mother is home. They move to Kagura's room.

They study as they always do; Kagura's silence companionable, Sakaki's tense.

When they are done Sakaki gathers her books, while Kagura sweeps her own from her bed to a pile on the floor.

Sakaki moves towards the door. A gentle hand on her arm stops her.

When Sakaki turns, Kagura smiles and reaches forwards, a hand slipping behind Sakaki's neck to tug her closer. Kagura's lips brush Sakaki's so gently it tingles and Sakaki can't help raising her fingers to her mouth when Kagura steps back, grinning broadly.

Then Kagura is opening the door and Sakaki is following in stunned silence and it's growing dark as they walk to Sakaki's house and Kagura is glowing but Sakaki is surprised to notice it is not the streetlights that make her so radiant, it is something else.

Sakaki visits Kagura after school more and more frequently. They study, always study, but afterwards Sakaki will listen to Kagura chatter about nothing inparticular and occassionally she will accept the offered the snacks and it is almost always dark when they walk to Sakaki's, even when the days begin to grow longer.

Each evening is ended in Kagura's room with a kiss, gentle and bittersweet in its brevity, the goodnight kiss Kagura seems to understand Sakaki cannot accept when they reach her home, out in the open for everyone to see; only acceptable behind closed doors in the comfort and protection of Kagura's overflowing room.

At school, little has changed. They spend time with their friends and attempt to survive Ms. Yukari's class and Kagura, every now and then, will flash Sakaki a smile that makes her ache inside.

Kagura is like a cat, and like a cat she should run from Sakaki. And Sakaki cannot believe her own luck and she cannot believe her own greed. Because Sakaki wants more.

Kagura invites Sakaki out shopping the first weekend of spring break. Sakaki spends hours the night before wondering where they'll go, what they'll do, what she should wear.

They wander slowly around the local mall, Kagura exactly the same as all those walks after school, so easily distracted, crossing back and forth between each new object that catches her eye.

They eat in the Food Court, Kagura shovelling down a huge American burger, Sakaki too nervous to do more than pick at her noodles.

Afterwards they end up in the arcade. Sakaki watches while Kagura samples every new game. Then, at Kagura's urging to join in, Sakaki takes a turn at a UFO machine with small pig-shaped plushies inside. Kagura joins in at the machine next to her. Soon they've tried every UFO machine in the arcade and between them have collected a handful of prizes. Kagura gives her winnings to Sakaki, more interested in the stall outside selling multicoloured candies and sweets than the plushes in her hands.

Sakaki, inexplicably, feels like crying.

In return, Sakaki buys Kagura a huge red and white lollipop, which she regrets when Kagura spends the entire walk back to her house licking the gift and smiling at Sakaki and dying her tongue a brilliant pink.

When they reach Kagura's house Sakaki is blushing furiously.

Kagura's mother isn't home but Kagura walks towards the stairs, and her bedroom, anyway, and Sakaki doesn't think to question or object.

Once inside her room, Kagura spins round and kisses Sakaki and thanks her again for the gift.

They talk idly for a while, Kagura already reminiscing about the newest of the arcade games and Sakaki twisting her fingers in the sheets as she tries not to stare at Kagura's tongue.

Kagura, lounging at the head of the bed, shuffles over to sit beside Sakaki and she's still talking but her hand is now resting on Sakaki's knee and the touch is so casual, so natural, but Sakaki is so scared that Kagura will notice how she's trembling and Kagura's asking her a question and looking right at her and Sakaki feels de-ja-vu when she leans in to kiss Kagura but this time it's different because her hands are reaching for Kagura's shoulders, drawing her nearer, and this kiss is different to anything they've shared before. Sakaki is moving with a forcefulness she didn't know herself capable of and she can taste traces of that lollipop on Kagura's lips and she wants more and Kagura lets out a surprised sound, muffled into Sakaki's questing mouth, but her own mouth falls open obediently when she feels Sakaki's tongue running along her bottom lip and, really, they should be stopping now, but Kagura tastes so good and Sakaki feels so warm and it all seems so right.

And then Kagura's mother's voice calls from downstairs and they break apart, gasping.

Kagura is staring at Sakaki with her mouth still slightly open and her tongue still that scandalous pink and her lips moist and Sakaki has to look away.

She grabs her bag and has the door open when Kagura pulls her back, kisses her, quickly, no tongue but all the intensity of their last kiss, and when Kagura says she'll walk Sakaki home, Sakaki doesn't argue.

It's only a few days later when Kagura drops by Sakaki's house unexpectedly. She invites Sakaki to the park and Sakaki thinks that perhaps she should refuse, perhaps she is pushing things too far, perhaps what happened was unfair, and Kagura is shifting around and looking suspicious, and, yes, Sakaki knows she should say no and stop this now because she's scaring Kagura away but she finds herself saying yes without realising it.

At the park they sit in the shade, watching other people, families, playing together. Sakaki is surprised Kagura is content to simply sit and watch. Kagura seems restless and she is sitting so close that Sakaki cannot help but notice the way she picks at the grass around them and fiddles with the hem of her shirt.

They've barely been there half an hour when Kagura announces she is cold.

They walk back to Kagura's and, although there is a gentle Spring breeze, Sakaki doesn't feel cold at all and wants to suggest that maybe they separate, maybe Sakaki simply go home, but her mouth won't work and the words won't come out.

They're barely inside Kagura's room when Kagura pounces.

Kagura's lips are against hers, moving impatiently, and Sakaki hears the slam of the door, where Kagura has kicked it shut, as if from a great distance. A hand clutches at Sakaki's sweater and then Kagura pulls her forwards and their bodies are flush and Sakaki cannot believe that this is the first time they've stood like this, cannot believe how weak it makes her knees. And Kagura is pulling her towards the bed and that seems like a good idea because her legs can't support her much longer and Sakaki sits down hard on the edge of the bed and Kagura's already beside her, one leg tucked underneath her, the other draping over Sakaki's thigh, giving Kagura the leverage to kneel slightly above Sakaki, and Sakaki has to tilt her head back and Kagura is ravaging her mouth and Sakaki tries to, tries to make them stop, but she cannot will her hands to stay by her sides and they're already at Kagura's waist and one slips under her shirt, purely by accident, and the skin there is so warm and Kagura groans into her mouth and Sakaki gasps and pulls away from Kagura's lips.

Kagura has one hand tangled in the hair behind Sakaki's ear and she uses it to pull Sakaki back.

Kagura kisses her fiercely, all emotion and the softest whimper, and Sakaki can't breathe, has forgotten how to breathe, and Kagura is nudging her further onto the bed and Sakaki is powerless to resist, allows the way Kagura tilts her face with that hand still tangled in her hair to direct where she should move to. And then Kagura's leg moves from Sakaki's lap, swinging the rest of the way over, straddling her, and Sakaki's falling, falling back against the mattress and Kagura's following her without thought and Sakaki's reaching for her without hesitation. Her hand once again finds its way under Kagura's shirt, slipping around to rest against her back, the other helplessly clutching her hip. Kagura is using one arm to support herself but the other loosens itself from Sakaki's hair and trails down to her neck, fingers trailing over the skin, and Sakaki shivers, but it doesn't stop, moves further down, brushing over her shoulder, and then its moving over her breast and Sakaki jumps slightly, wants to pull away, but doesn't, because she knows how wrong this is but, God, should it feel so good?

But Kagura is the one pulling away, smiling unsteadily down at Sakaki, before moving off of and away from her, allowing her to sit up. Sakaki watches her, waiting for her breath to come back, as Kagura runs a slightly shaky hand through her hair, all her nervous energy apparently gone. When she turns back to Sakaki, Kagura has apparently composed herself and her smile is more confident, more herself, and her eyes are sparkling, and she talks and laughs as she walks Sakaki home and promises they'll meet up again in a few days.

When Sakaki sleeps that night, she dreams that familiar dream of Kagura biting her, but now there are hands, moving over her, pressing into the mattress beside her head, and when she wakes, she is not only trembling, she is positively vibrating with need.

Sakaki's parents are not home when Kagura visits two days later. She asks for a drink and Sakaki leads her to the kitchen and watches as Kagura stands, presenting her profile, glass to her lips, head tilted back, throat working.

When she turns to Sakaki, Kagura's mouth is moist.

Sakaki's mouth feels dry.

Kagura offers her a smile Sakaki doesn't recognise and asks if she can see Sakaki's room.

Sakaki forgets to refuse.

Although Kagura has not seen her room before, she is the one leading the way, obeying Sakaki's soft instructions, twisting her head to stare at every inch of Sakaki's home.

When they step into her bedroom, Sakaki blushes and lowers her eyes as Kagura's gaze rakes over the neatly ordered soft toys and animal books and the posters of kittens above her bed.

Kagura's feet step into her line of sight and Sakaki raises her head.

Kagura's arms slip around her waist, pulling her impossibly close, and Sakaki's breath catches as her chest is pressed against Kagura's, the gentle pressure strangely pleasant, and then Kagura is kissing her, deeply but slowly, her tongue sliding into Sakaki's mouth with ease, teasing a response from Sakaki's own, all leisurely strokes and the distinctive taste of artificial strawberries.

Sakaki leans closer, the increased press of Kagura's breasts against her own causing her to shiver, and Kagura hums into her mouth, the feel of the noise rubbing across Sakaki's palate, caressing the back of her throat.

And something breaks.

The swipe of tongues is no longer gentle, the press of lips becoming more forceful, messier, more maddening. Kagura's fingers are digging into Sakaki's hips, dragging her closer, and Sakaki knows she is panicking, knows all she wants is more, and knows that she backing away from Kagura's grasping hands.

She is backing away, and Kagura is following her, lips never losing contact.

Sakaki senses the wall behind her before her heel hits it, but Kagura doesn't stop moving towards her, pinning her to the wall, still moving, as if trying to push her through and back out into the corridor.

Sakaki tilts her head, trying to accommodate the insistence of Kagura's kiss, trying to embrace it, trying to get more, her hands clutching at Kagura's shoulders as Kagura's hips press against her and one leg slides between her thighs.

Sakaki flushes as she lets out a soft noise that is deep and guttural and anything but feminine, but Kagura only whimpers in response, tilting her pelvis, using the angle to rub her thigh between Sakaki's own and Sakaki knows that if she does not stop this now everything will change, but instead she pulls away from Kagura's mouth to gasp in air, her head hitting the wall and her hips tilting towards Kagura of their own accord. Kagura's lips slide across her cheek, trailing dizzy kisses towards her ear, and Sakaki's hands slip down Kagura's back, one sliding further to her hip, and, as the fabric shifts under her fingers, Sakaki realises distractedly that Kagura is wearing a skirt, something Sakaki can't recall her doing beyond their school uniform.

Kagura's tongue is at her ear, soothing along the shell, and Sakaki pulls Kagura sharply towards her, her leg slipping between Kagura's own, angled higher than Kagura's, and Kagura yelps and all but throws herself into Sakaki, and Sakaki feels teeth against her ear and her hand begins to tug at Kagura's skirt, pulling it up, exposing her to the room, and a distracted, disjointed part of her realises that she has lost control, that she can no longer stop herself, and that same part of her doesn't care, only wants to hear Kagura make that noise again.

And now Kagura is shivering against her, mouth open against the skin under her ear, breath scorching hot, hips moving in time to Sakaki's own, leading her, following her, both finding a natural rhythm together, and Sakaki's hands have pulled up Kagura's skirt far enough that her fingers can slip underneath and she feels them brush the soft cotton of Kagura's underwear, and the softer skin beneath, and she wishes she could see the colour, the cut of Kagura's panties but even if she were at the right angle, she can no longer keep her eyes open. Her breath is pained and frantic and she can feel Kagura panting into her neck, even over the blood racing through her ears, the steady throb that shakes her whole body, and she is gasping, over and over, and her hands are grasping at Kagura's backside, squeezing the flesh there, and Kagura's teeth are against her skin again as her whole body flushes hot, then freezing cold, then hot as she holds her breath and holds Kagura and waits and writhes and waits.

Sakaki feels as though she has lost time, as if something has slipped away from her.

Kagura is still in her arms, nuzzling against her neck, and her hands are still rubbing over the cotton of Kagura's panties, still holding her skirt pulled up around her waist, and then a shudder rips through Sakaki's body and she is trembling and she. Can. Not. Stop.

But Kagura's hands are there, soothing her, guiding her, moving her to the bed, stroking her, settling her, until Sakaki is lying down, and that makes it easier, she finds, the trembling subsides, and Kagura is curling beside her, draping over her, hand slipping across the bottom of Sakaki's ribs, to hold her. Sakaki stares blankly at the ceiling, concentrates on breathing, doesn't concentrate on the way her hand idly slides through Kagura's hair.

And when she finds it in herself to glance down, Kagura is smiling softly, eyes shut and eyelids flickering, and Sakaki's hand is still in her hair, twisting and caressing the strands and it occurs to Sakaki that she is petting her.

Petting Kagura.

And, yes, that makes sense, because Sakaki has never been able to control her urge to pet cats, and maybe, just maybe, she's found a cat that can finally belong to her, because Sakaki already knows that she belongs to Kagura.