Hidden Candy

Chapter 1: Bed Lumps

Sometimes we eat the same candy, when the one behind it tastes the best.

Groaning, Nanako Kuroi rose from her mattress in a blurred daze. Wild curls and loose strands exploded from her blonde hair while thin bags curled beneath her snake green eyes. The clock read noon. Yesterday must have been a Friday. No, it must have been Payday Friday. "Tradition rings again," the woman happily and drunkenly sung, waving her arms about. Suddenly she felt a foot slide down her leg. Gazing at the large lump underneath her blanket, she realized what lied underneath. "Yui?"

Mumbles faintly oozed from the lumps. "Hmm?" But as soon as the sound came it vanished. Yui fell back to sleep. Kuroi grinned in resignation. "It finally happened huh? Bound to."

She hopped out of bed with an unusual morning spunk as the bathroom light flashed on. Brushing her hair down, letting it wave from side to side, she already cooked up a plan. She would have to gently let Yui collect her nerves and leave. Whatever happened between them last night was only a result of Kuroi's paycheck celebration-a tradition of getting wasted with her best friend after receiving her hard earned funds. "Imagine what this could do to her marriage…if we did do what I think we did. She's in my bed after all but perhaps we just fell asleep after coming here. Then again why did we come to my place? Hers is much closer from the bar."

"Yui, wake up." She grabbed a hold of the covers and pulled. Underneath slept one of the few things in the world that could snap her instantly out of her hangover. "K-K-Konata?!" Shaking from the sudden coolness, the blue haired otaku moaned, stretching her arms and legs out before rubbing her weary eyes. "Kuroi-sensei? What…what time is it?"

"Did I….no, impossible…" Kuroi thought to herself. Konata spread out across the bed, taking the warm space Kuroi had left moments ago. Not knowing what to do, the teacher simply covered the petite girl back up and headed towards the kitchen. Her hands began to tremble, sending shivers into the coffee maker. Nervous pouring almost spilled her drink; she drank quickly, wishing for the image of Konata to simply fade away like a bad hallucination. Staring at the bed, the only thing Konata did was hug a pillow and roll over with it in her arms. "Did I do what I think I did to Konata? Wait! Are her clothes loose? She would be naked right? Or loosely dressed!"

She realized a dreadful fact. "Wait! I forgot! What was she wearing?!" The only remaining option was to check the girl's body. Tiptoeing towards her own bed, Kuroi silently leaned her arm over the snorting girl, gently pulling the blanket away. Suddenly she covered the girl once again. "Maybe I don't want to know." Konata's soft snores continued to peacefully breeze into the room. Her teacher, however, began suffering from a thunderous drum in her chest.

"I'm an adult. I have to face the truth sooner or later. Might as well now." Nervously grabbing the blanket's edges, she paused. The truth was only a single unveiling away. But what if Konata had nothing but a bra and panties on? Worst, what if she had nothing on?! What horrors lied under the once comfy covers Nanako Kuroi used to melt away in on weary nights after net games? Pulling the blanket towards her, inch by inch, she could see Konata's arms unclothed. The neck was easily spotted along with her bare knees poking out. A foot without a sock was next. "This isn't good…" She then snatched the entire blanket away, facing whatever spiked truth brewed below. "She's…clothed. Casually in fact…"

"Sensei…what are you mumbling about so early in the morning?" Konata asked, flashing her bright green eyes at her teacher.

"It's the afternoon. And why are you in my bed? In my house?" Kuroi countered. She had to take the offensive and place the questions on Konata. To bring a student home was surely something she would never perceive as acceptable. Konata dragged the sheets back atop her body and burrowed into the bed. "It's not like you're in trouble," Konata muttered. "I'm 18 so I'm legal."

"That's not what I'm worried about. I'm a teacher and you're…wait…why did you say that first? What happened last night?!" Konata devilishly grinned, awakening completely to the panicked voice of her teacher. "If we did….what I hope we didn't do…I guess you have no choice but to report me to Yui." Konata peeked behind her shoulders, observing the worried expression on the older woman's face. "It's the proper thing to do."

"Why would I do that?" Konata asked. "Besides, I was just stated a fact. We didn't do anything last night. You were drunk, not me." Kuroi held her chest and sighed in relief.

"That's good. But how did you end up with me? I was out drinking with Yui, it was payday after all. Had to drink it up!" Kuroi cheered. Turning back, Konata rubbed her itchy bush of blue hair before preparing herself. "Well, I left work pretty late last night and Yui had to go home to do something so she told me to watch you. You were pretty drunk at the bar, dancing and happily describing your single life."

"Hey! It is a very fulfilling lifestyle!" fussed the fanged woman.

"You told me to take you home and you guided me there by foot. It wasn't very far after the subway," Konata said. "I called my Dad and told him I was sleeping over with you and he was okay with it."

"Your father trusts me too much…"

"You were a little frisky though," Konata smiled. That was the truth.

"What?! What did I do?"

"Let's see, you really danced a lot, you even tried to get me to dance with you. And, well, you grabbed me somewhere sensitive," Konata cutely said, placing a finger to her lips. The other hand signaled a squeezing motion. That could only mean one thing.

"I….groped you? A student?!"

"Not really. You started squeezing my thighs. It was a little strange but to each their own right?" casually said the surprisingly relaxed Konata, shrugging away the awkwardness. Kuroi stared in utter shock at the girl. "At least nothing happened. I really don't want anything on my record as a teacher."

"I wouldn't have told anybody," Konata said, rolling back into her cushy ditch. Kuroi watched as she quickly fell back to sleep. The least she could do was keep her at her house until later. Pulling her chair over, Kuroi hopped near her desk and turned the computer on. "I can pass the time with some games. I should probably watch those episodes I recorded a few nights ago." Adjusting the volume, she ensured it was quiet enough to not disturb Konata who serenely slept away under her sheets. It was almost angelic.

Minutes passed slowly. Enemy ships blew apart on Kuroi's computer screen with every button tap and mouse click she rapidly executed. The only time she took damage was when her eyes began to wander, wander away into the same direction each and every time. Seconds after the sight of explosions and rattling score points, she would glance at Konata. It started unconsciously but soon she noticed. The looking wouldn't stop even if she tried, it became a hobby. "She is kinda cute," she thought to herself. "Why are her eyes so lazy looking? Does she sleep right at home?"

The screen flashed red. "Crap! I lost!" Closing out the game window, she stared at her screen and all of the icons on her desktop. Oddly enough, she didn't feel like clicking or doing anything. Her eyes felt like sliding towards Konata again. She really is cute like that. I feel ashamed for even looking…

"Loneliness and desperation are turning me into a pedophile," she chuckled.

"I said I was 18," Konata said. Her eyes stared from behind the covers, sending a flinch through her teacher's arms and legs. "Didn't know I was up?"

"I don't even want to know what you're hinting at kid. Besides, I'm 27 and you're apparently 18," Kuroi said. She had felt like that was good enough to end further discussion. Konata pushed herself upwards until her back met the wall. A playfully seductive grin grew across her face.

"I know you're curious," she invited. Kuroi returned to her computer, typing up nothing special. She had to at least look busy and apathetic about the topic.

"Age difference doesn't really entice me Konata."

"I'm not talking about age. I'm talking about me."

The typing stopped, only for a few seconds. Peeking from the side of her eyes, Kuroi easily spotted the playful tone drawn across her student's expression. Konata was daring, that was minimal to say. Yet there was an uncanny seriousness to the girl's suggestion. The endless stare from her made this seem less and less like a joke. "Konata…maybe you did drink some sake last night. You need your rest. Go back to sleep," Kuroi nervously smiled. "I'll drop you off home after you wake up. You can have some snacks in the fridge before we leave. Besides, you have homework to do. I assigned a real load on you kids."

"I'm up anyway," Konata said.

"Good, I'll drop you off. Let's take you home!" the teacher cheered, grabbing her coat and dashing in step out of the house. There was nothing left to do except for Konata to slip in her shoes and follow her teacher to the car outside. Hopping into the passenger seat, Konata watched as the blonde woman turned the keys, checking behind for any oncoming cars. "So you get drunk every payday?" Konata asked. Kuroi nodded instantly in response.

"Yep, that's the way of life! Gotta spend if you want fun, save if you want to live," she chuckled, driving down the small town streets. Konata's small nose began to sniff the scent about her teacher. "You really don't smell bad after a hangover. That's a valuable quality."

"Hey, don't smell me," Kuroi murmured. "I just don't spill my drink all over myself. I'm a self-clean drinker. If others happen to get wet from my spills then that's different."

"I'd like to see that some time," noted Konata. "Maybe you can take me to a bar and show me the adult world!"

"Still talking about that? Listen Konata, you just need to go home and rest. I don't know what's gotten into you but there's no way I'm dating a student. Why are you interested in me anyway?"

"You know how you always choose the same old candy or snack but when you try a new one, you realized you should have been eating that the whole time?" Konata excitedly asked.

"You want to eat me?"

"That's a dirty way of putting it sensei," Konata grinned. "I just never realized before how much fun it could be to go out with you."

"Konata, I'm not that interesting. Besides, you're young, don't grab onto someone as old as me, not that I'm old. I'm still pretty young," Kuroi smiled, curving onto the next street.

"I don't mind your age. I like the matured body better anyway." Kuroi was beginning to notice how easy Konata said such blunt and direct things. Did she even care what others thought about her? "We could give it a try." Relief swept over the teacher as she quickly spotted the Izumi residence, pulling into the driveway. "Here we are Konata."


"I'm sorry Konata. It's just a little weird for me." She stretched her arm over Konata's lap, opening the passenger's door. "About that candy stuff, maybe you should appreciate it more. Look for someone your age. You don't want to be with someone like me." The otaku nodded, stepping out of the car with little else to say. Last night, when Yui asked her to help Kuroi get home, she was more than willing, and it was a perfect opportunity to be alone with her. It had been two weeks since her feelings suddenly bloomed for her teacher, since she decided to not idle about but to actually go for it and give it her all. She turned back to the car, gazing through the window. "My feelings are genuine," she said.

"I'm sorry Konata." Parting off with those words, Kuroi drove away, leaving Konata with what she could only describe as murkiness within. She didn't want to accept it, those words of rejection but if she could try her hardest to convince her teacher and still received a "no thanks", she would accept it.

"Time to go home and forget about this whole mishap," Kuroi sighed. "I'll crack open the good alcohol after I play some Monster Hunter!"

Yawning, Kuroi found herself in a daze. Hastily, she rolled over in her bed to check for snoring lumps. Nothing. "Good, didn't wake up with someone else….maybe I should cut down a little on the drinking." The memories of yesterday weren't gone but at least she could put them past her. "Still…" she muttered in front of the bathroom mirror. "I can understand where Konata's coming from with that whole 'Hidden Candy' stuff. At least she can acknowledge her feelings. Took me a long time to do that."

A crushing feeling then enveloped her head. "And here comes the hangover!" she grunted, rubbing her throbbing head. "I've really been on a path of self destruction lately huh?"

As usual for a early Saturday afternoon, she watch whatever baseball games were airing and remained a leg's stretch from her computer where she grinded her levels in preparation for another big hunt. Alone and well-stocked, she had little reason to leave the house. Maybe she never expected to actually go out with anybody. Konata's offer was sweet, that, Kuroi believed- an offer with honesty. Unfortunately, a student and teacher relationship was taboo. "I better play some games to keep my mind off of this."

She unraveled her long, luxurious hair and gently took her seat before the computer monitor. "Today will be the Valley of the Musicians!" she declared as she logged in. "What's this?" Peeking over at her message box, she could see several private messages from Konata.

"I'll be on all night. I would really like to talk! ;)-Konakona!"

"I would like to talk before school on Monday. I should apologize for bothering you too but I have lots of fun with you! Why not have more?-Konakona!"

The last one struck her as odd. "I can't wait for tomorrow! Sorry if I'm junking up your inbox! 0 I'm glad this game updated to allow us 10 MBs of mailbox space. Mine is filled with all those messages from that battle with the Lich in the Mid Fields.-Konakona"

"I don't remember talking to her. And was she always this playful?"

Just then a ringing came from the front door. "I'll be there in a minute," Kuroi explained, fixing her hair back into a ponytail. Heading towards the door, she was surprised to see no one through the door's window. At the end of the peephole stood Konata. Kuroi opened the door, curious why Konata walked all the way to her house. "Konata, what's up? And you seem to be well dressed. What's up?"

"I'm here for our date!" Konata cheered. "Now's your chance to trigger some flags though I don't really prefer 'accidental' events. I prefer a more direct approach."

"What…what date?" Kuroi asked. "I never agreed to that."

"On the phone. Don't you remember?" Konata asked. "I called you last night. I tried to talk to you online but you didn't log into the game so your inbox is probably full of messages from me. Sorry."

"A phone call?" Suddenly it all came back. Kuroi remembered the call. She didn't mean to say 'yes', it just slipped out!

"Yeah! Who is this?" Kuroi loudly asked, rolling across her bed. Little to Konata's knowledge, her teacher was drunk. "It's me, Konata. I wanted to try and convince you one more time. A man can't call himself a man if he doesn't try!"

"Psssh! Konatty! You aren't a man!" Kuroi laughed.

"Konatty? Well, you seemed to be a lot happier than earlier. Did you hit up the ol' bottle sensei?" asked Konata. "Maybe I should strike when the iron is hot. What do you say about we go into the city tomorrow afternoon and have some fun? I know thse really neat places we could-"

"I…I would love to Konata! Every man deserves a chance! I'm so lonely around here…"

"Really? Cool! I'll see you tomorrow sensei!"

"Crap…" Kuroi muttered, looking at Konata in her beige shorts and sleeveless, striped shirt. "I forgot about that call…."

"So you were drunk?" Konata innocently asked.

"Yep, unfortunately I was Konata. About today though…" She noticed the time from her oven. This is when she would usually cook dinner. It was a Saturday; she didn't want plain, home-cooked food either. Konata did look unusually cute. And how could she reject her after she was told yes? "Alright, alright," Kuroi resigned. "Just this once. Mostly because I'm hungry and don't feel like cooking and because I'll give you one fun night on the town which I promised….though I was drunk. Just don't be…Konata, try not to feel bad when it's over okay?"

"Foolish sensei! I'll change your heart by the end of the day!" Konata confidently said. "And I'll get into your bed without you being drunk this time!"

"That's pretty bold little one," Kuroi said, laughing with her coat already in hand. "Fine! Give me your best shot!"

Author's Note: It's finally uploaded! It was hard to organize this first chapter. I wanted something sort of realistic without adding any sadness or angst. This will be a fun story. Also, if you're reading Lucky Music-which I also write- please tell me if this is better written than that. Just curious.