Setting: Somewhere before the 22nd novel. I don't know where exactly. It'd fit just about anywhere.
Disclaimer: I don't own Hanazakari no Kimitachi E or the characters.
Last night had been a temptation, but this was ridiculous.
He lay in bed, stripped to his shorts, with Mizuki curled up to him. With one leg over his own and her arm across his chest, Mizuki breathed steadily into his ear as Sano stared at the frame of the empty bunk bed above him. The scent of the strawberry shampoo she obviously did not find too feminine wafted about his head and he inhaled it gratefully. She had warmed the bed in the hours she had spent there and he felt her warmth was only more reason to get closer to her. He wrapped his arm around her back and held her. It felt so good to hold her.
Not four hours ago, Izumi Sano had found himself just resisting this much temptation. Mizuki, yet again, had curled into the lower bunk while he had been at his desk and when he had finished his work he found the girl calmly slumbering in his own bed. He had watched her from across the room for an amount of time he would rather not be known, debating all the while whether or not to lay beside her. Eventually, he had removed his clothing down to the shorts and climbed up the ladder to sleep in a bed that smelled much too much like an attractive young woman for his comfort.
Even so, everything was going fine with that arrangement until he had gotten up to use the bathroom and found himself unwilling to go back to the top bunk. There was just something so captivating about the sleeping woman in his bed. Maybe it was her tousled hair or her puckered lips; it could have even been her shirt, which had become unbuttoned at the top and exposed the soft skin under her collarbone. Whatever the reason, Sano sat on his own bed and, before long, slipped under the covers.
Now, he turned his head to look at her. Her skin was flawless in the moonlight that filtered through the curtains. He ran a hand down her thin cotton sleeve and wondered how this school uniform could hide her. Some days a button down shirt was all that hid the fact that she was a woman. Some days it was all he could muster not to treat her like she was a woman.
Julia's words rang clear in his mind and lately they were haunting him – repeating when he least expected them and making him question his decision. What could he hope for if things didn't change between him and Mizuki? There would be nothing more than friendship between them and, as much as he wanted her as a friend, he wanted more.
Mizuki let out a small sighing moan and nuzzled her face into his shoulder before slowly fluttering her eyes open. She smiled at first, but that faded as she realized she was not dreaming. Turning her eyes upward, she met his gaze. Alarm went through her features, coupled with surprise and, outweighed by the rest, happiness. Her eyes scanned the area and she realized she was in his bed. Opening her mouth to say something Sano could only guess at, Mizuki found she could not speak. Perhaps she did not want to.
For the second time in an hour, he could not seem to restrain himself. Lowering his head just barely inches, Sano let his lips brush softly upon hers. For a second he hesitated, but quickly seized the moment and kissed her. Time stood still at first before Mizuki let out a small whimper and exhaled. He hadn't realized he's been holding his own breath until then. He let their kiss end and pulled away to look into her eyes.
"Sano," she whispered urgently. She needed to confide her secret and it was now or never.
"Izumi," he interrupted her, pointing out, "I call you by your first name." Before she had time to reply, she rolled onto his side and kissed her again. She raised a hand to his chest intending to push him away, but she never did. His own hand snaked around her waist and pulled her to him; their whole bodies touched now. Mizuki felt need run up her spine and settle on her shoulders, fogging her thoughts. Sano was practically naked and, before now, she had refrained from looking at him shirtless, let alone touching.
But this touch of hers was driving him mad. How could people stand to get to this point and not delve in farther? He wanted her – he wanted all of her – and he would take it, if she would let him.
It was raining. No.
Sano opened his eyes and waited for them to focus. He was alone in his bed. Mizuki was in the shower. Putting a hand to his head, he sighed as he remembered the dream he had had last night. That was the best one yet.
The water shut off in the other room. He stared at the bed frame above him. Next door, Nakatsu lost control of a soccer ball once again and it hit the wall. Mizuki emerged from the bathroom fully dressed with a towel over her head. "The bathroom is all yours," she said.
He nodded, then threw back the covers and stood in one swift motion. A squeak came from across the room as Mizuki flushed and turned away. Sano took half a second to inwardly chuckle at her reaction before realizing why she had done so – he was completely naked.
With his heart racing, Sano tried not to blush as she had and grabbed the short he'd discarded on the floor, retreating to the privacy of the bathroom to live out his embarrassment.
With hands over his face, Sano leaned on the closed door. Mizuki was silent in the bedroom. He didn't remember disrobing in the night. Unless... He lowered his hands and stared into nothingness.
It had been a dream, hadn't it? Of course it had. Mizuki hadn't said anything about it. Besides, he wouldn't do that. He always kept such a firm grasp on his willpower.
But she had showered. Mizuki always showered at night. And he didn't remember changing beds in the middle of the night.
Of course, they could have slept together, as they had done before, without having done anything... sexual.
Sano ran his hands through his hair and splashed water on his face. He would have preferred to hide in the bathroom until Mizuki left, but he had to walk out there, and in his under garments, no less, because he had forgotten a change of clothes. Taking a deep breath, he opened the door.
Mizuki hadn't been there when he had left the bathroom that morning. The beds were stripped, the laundry baskets gone. Nakatsu stood in the middle of the room, kicking a soccer ball like a hackisack, with the door wide open. At ease now that she was gone, Sano walked around the room leisurely and obtained a clean change of clothes.
"Mizuki just left," Nakatsu mentioned casually. "He said you two were nearly out of clothes and he wanted to get in a load before classes started."
Sano merely grunted in reply as he changed. He had wanted to get a closer look at his linens – perhaps they would have given a clue. Of course, Mizuki's behavior might have been telling enough, but it was hardly incriminating.
"Breakfast?" Nakatsu asked.
"Yeah," Sano replied, and grabbed his books before heading to the door.
Mizuki hadn't spoken more than two words to Sano in the past few days. She didn't talk much to anyone, but he was accustomed to her babbling on and on after classes when the two of them were alone in their room. He didn't know where she had been going, but she seemed to be avoiding being alone with him recently. Perhaps he was just overreacting.
Either way, it had to stop. He wasn't going to let their friendship slip through his fingers.
She sat on the opposite side of the table at dinner, between Nakatsu and Kayashima. She was smiling. God, he loved to see her smile. Nakatsu put an arm around her and something close to jealousy erupted within him, but it was stalled by a hand on his shoulder.
"So," said Nanba. "I hear you've got a girlfriend, Sano."
Keeping his cool as best he could, he replied, "Who told you that?"
"Someone heard you two the other night..." he said, heavily implicating. "Where was Mizuki when this happened?"
Sano stood rapidly, his fists clenched, but he did nothing. Turning, he left the cafeteria with wide, heavy steps. Nanba turned to Mizuki, whose chopsticks had gone limp. "So it's true?"
"Sano's never brought a girl to our room," she said defensively and stormed off, leaving the others to speculate between themselves, but not before she heard a comment that became trapped in her mind.
"Do you think they're lovers?" someone had whispered. "Do you think Sano's gay?"
Mizuki rounded a corner before she lost her legs and leaned on the wall for support. What if Sano was gay? It had been dark... maybe he hadn't...
Of course he had noticed...
Hadn't he? But she had hidden the fact that she was a girl for this long...
Oh god, oh god...
Sano sat on the floor, too preoccupied to think about furniture. Someone had heard them. It hadn't been a dream. Still, a part of him doubted it.
The mole, he thought. The mole on her hip. There's no way I would have known about it if it was a dream. I have to see if it's really there.
The door opened and Mizuki closed it when she was through. Moving silently, she sat behind him and remained still for a moment. When he faced her, Mizuki was taken aback. He seemed so confused, worried... vulnerable. She was so fixated on his expression that it took her a minute to realize he was unfastening her belt.
But by then he had it undone and was sliding down her pants and underwear to boot. He stopped just shy of sheer terror on Mizuki's part and stared without breathing for a moment.
There was a mole on her left hip.
He started breathing again; he was breathing like he hadn't breathed in days.
His eyes traveled to her face again. He kept one hand on her hip, the other on the floor, supporting his weight as he held himself above her slightly reclined figure. "Mizuki," he said huskily and she shuddered. "What happened the other night."
"The other night?" she questioned, not wanting to say the words. Her stomach clenched as she looked into his eyes and her back arched impulsively at the thought of what he might do to her right then. Still, fear gripped her heart that he might not know he secret still, despite the rather feminine underwear he had pulled down seconds ago.
"I made love to you, didn't I?" he said, far less embarrassed than she by the truth.
He leaned closer. "Why did you let me think it was a dream?" He was teasing her now. He certainly didn't seem upset or worried or even nervous any longer.
"I didn't... want things to be awkward," she said lamely, realizing how futile her attempts were now that she spoke her motivations out loud.
He leaned closer still. "Is this awkward?"
She wanted to scream 'Yes!' but he silenced her with a kiss. Her arms shook at first, then gave out completely and, before she could realize it, she was lying on the floor with Sano on top of her and they were kissing feverishly. A slightly more familiar tension spread throughout her body and she found her arms wrapping around him as his free arm groped her shamelessly.
As fate would have it, the door opened at that precise moment.
Sano pulled down her shirt to hide her breasts and looked at the door, but did not move, otherwise. Mizuki flushed and tried faintly to sit up, but she was pinned. In a vain attempt to look less incriminating, she unhooked her ankle from his thigh and placed it firmly on the floor. Sekime stared for a moment and then closed the door without having said a word. Outside, the suspicions of several young men were seemingly confirmed.
Sano didn't care. They could think he was gay. They could say whatever they wanted. As long as he didn't have to hide his love for her anymore.