Taking Initiative

"So how was your trip to the hot springs?" asked a very disinterested Utau while examining her nails.

Her pink-haired counterpart would've felt a jab of annoyance at the way her friend was behaving when asking a question like that but she was much too blinded by the memories that the query had prompted to feel anything other than blissful elation.

If the blonde had bothered to take a look, she would've noticed Amu's eyes practically turn into star shapes as she spoke.

"Oh, it was great! The place was really nice and everything was so tidy! We were so pampered by all the caretakers of the place I almost felt like a celebrity! The springs were really great and we soaked ourselves in them until we almost disintegrated in the water." The girl laughed at the thought and her behaviour made her friend cock an annoyed eyebrow at her. "Oh, and the food! It was so great! We were served local dishes done by a really talented chef every time—I really don't know how I'll be able to get back to reality after being spoiled so much for a whole weekend."

There was a twitch in Utau's eyebrow while she studied her friend's dumbly happy expression for any signs that the pink-haired atrocity was actually being dense to annoy her or if it came to her naturally.

She was more inclined to believe it was the latter, her hunch based on long years of interacting in this tiresome way with the girl.

"Forget about the resort—get to the point already," the blonde said disdainfully with a heavy sigh—communicating with this creature was sometimes so painful she had to wonder why she still maintained a relationship with her.

Amu looked so completely nonplussed at that question, tilting her head to the side with a thoughtful look, that her idol counterpart couldn't help the strong spike of irritation that speared her in the very next moment.

"Even if you ask me for "the point", I don't really know what that would be, hmm…"

Maybe she really was as stupid as she looked, Utau decided with an air of finality.

"I mean the night, the night already! How was the night with him?" This was definitely not the kind of conversation she wanted to have about her own brother, and with this girl of all people, but she guessed when the person in front of her was the thick Amu, she really had to spell things out.

But even with her very particularly aimed question, the other girl didn't seem any less confused.

"The night?" She put a thoughtful finger on her cheek while she recalled said time of the day. "Well, it was nice… I guess?"

Only after this response of hers did Utau's antagonistic demeanour dissipate. Instead of the hostile expression she'd had a moment before, she donned on a really sympathetic one that did nothing to make Amu more aware of just what they were actually talking about.

"That bad, huh?" the blonde queried with such pity in her voice that her friend felt her pride shrink a little—and she still had no idea what the idol was on about!

"W-wha—? I just said it was nice! Weren't you listening?" Amu snapped, her obstinate character once again making an appearance.

For once her testy attitude and her huffy posture didn't seem enough to spur on the other girl's short temper though, which was really puzzling of a fact – Utau was usually the one with the shorter fuse from the two girls.

"Well if all you can say is that it was "nice", "you guess", then he must really have been quite bad." The light-haired female sighed dramatically and put a consoling hand on her friend's shoulder. "I really expected more of a performance from my brother, but I guess it can't be helped—you have to stay strong, Amu! Maybe he'll get better with practice. Kuukai was just like that as well, so you shouldn't give up hope either!"

If she'd felt lost in this conversation before, Amu didn't know how to label what she was feeling now.

"Performance? W-what are you talking about, Utau? Since a while ago, I really haven't been able to get what you're saying at all…"

Utau paused for a moment, studying the other girl's expression closely for a few seconds. She'd been quick to jump to conclusions that were prejudiced in a negative manner against her brother but she hadn't considered another possibility—a more probable one now that she took a good look at her friend's stupid dumbstruck face.

A suspicious look stole over the blonde's expression.

"You did sleep with him, didn't you?" she asked, just to make sure that they were both on the same page.

Amu gave her a sardonic look that the other girl interpreted wrong until her friend actually elaborated.

"Of course I didn't sleep with him—the coupon was for twin bedrooms, didn't I already tell you that? How exactly am I expected to sleep with him when it's like that?" She paused for a moment, a flush rising to her cheeks as she considered something silently. "B-besides, sharing a room with a boy—how could I do that?" That Utau—always saying such ridiculous things!

The blond girl face-faulted visibly at that, even though she had spent long hours schooling herself not to make such expressions—she could hardly afford being truthful to her feelings since she was an idol and it was expected of her to be cute and dazzling at all times. But this girl's idiocy here… It made one forget even character-defining qualities of one's own.

"What are you talking about? He used to stay at your room for a while back in the day, didn't he? And you were okay with it then so why are you making a big deal of this all of a sudden when you're actually dating?"

'Okay' wasn't the word Amu would've used when talking about what she felt about that time he'd stayed over at her place. Memories of sneaking around and sleepless nights because of her heart hammering nervously in her chest flooded her, filling her cheeks with heat anew.

"What the hell am I saying anyway? This is no good, no good—I'm getting swept up in your pace of total imbecility. That won't do," the former Easter-employee said much too deliberately to sound sincere.

But her words achieved their purpose of making a vein pop into visibility at Amu's surge of annoyance.

"Hey, I've noticed that for some time now but you've been really rude today. What's up with that? Can't you have a normal conversation with me?"

"I could only have a normal conversation with someone who is on my intellectual level. Amu is too childish of a girl to be able to have a decent, mature conversation." The blonde huffed and crossed her arms over her ample post-pubescent chest.

The other girl glared at her, a tic in the corner of her mouth.

"What did you just say?" she muttered, the urge to hit her idol buddy becoming almost irresistible.

"After all, only someone as immature as Amu would take her boyfriend of four years to a hot spring resort and sleep in a different room with him and then come back home just as naïve and innocent as she'd gone there," Utau said, giving the girl a condescending look out of the corner of her amethyst eyes.

At this Amu once again lost the thread of the conversation, her confusion successfully derailing her violence-oriented train of thought.

"… Huh?"

Utau sighed.

"What I'm saying is that only Amu could be so clueless when inviting her boyfriend on an overnight trip." When the girl kept giving the older female that same lost look, the idol sighed again. "You didn't even know what it meant inviting him to a trip when you handed him the ticket, did you?"

"It meant something other than wanting to go somewhere together?" the pink-haired girl asked, cocking her head to the side in bafflement, her posture the perfect imitation of an owl.

Resisting the desire to slap her palm against her face in frustration proved a very trying task for the singer.

"Look here, Amu, I'm going to explain to you something that pretty much every other person in this country—heck, probably even the whole world—knows and it is thus believed self-explanatory but it seems that you need the pointer, so I'll say it for your sake—when a girl and a boy who are going out steadily together go to a trip overnight somewhere, alone, away from any disturbance, it's so they can deepen their relationship."

She made a pause, letting the words sink into her friend's slow on the catch-up brain.

"Do you understand? You invited him so it was practically like saying "Let's take the next step in our relationship this weekend!" And don't tell me you have no idea what even that means because I'll really smack you then!" the idol snapped ill-temperedly while her friend's face begun being adorned by a deep red blush that made her think the hitting wouldn't prove necessary.

"I-I-I-I—!" Amu stuttered, her head feeling dizzy and her eyes unfocused and disoriented. "T-that's not w-what I meant at all! I j-just won those coupons in the lottery and when they asked me who I'd want to take there with me, Ikuto was the first person I thought of, so—!" she sputtered, stumbling over her words in her hurry to say them all, resulting in them coming out in a jumble.

Utau gave her the coldest look yet at that.

"Well, you may not have meant it that way, but that's how he probably thought it was going to be. Then you went ahead and acted all childish and clueless like you usually do. Gosh, he must've been so disappointed," she lamented theatrically, shaking her head in disapproval.

Her words made Amu pause and think for a second though; back to the moment she'd first told her significant other about the trip.

"Hey, Ikuto! I won some hot spring resort coupons from the lottery. Do you want to go there together this weekend?"

Her smile as she'd asked that was so wide and innocent that there was no way he could've said no, even if he'd been insane enough to even think of refusing. But even though her expression was so carefree, he couldn't stop the remote hope that what she was offering him was what he thought it was.

Amu blinked confusedly at him, her smile still intact, when pinkness rose to her boyfriend's cheeks while he took the proffered piece of paper.

"Sure. Let's enjoy them together."


Well, Utau's explanation definitely made the whole exchange make a lot more sense to the clueless girl.

So that's why he'd been acting so weird in the beginning of their trip. He'd thought she was going to—

Her jaw dropped open in a very unladylike way and she grabbed her head on the both sides with her hands. Her friend observed her animated antics with vague amusement.

"What-what should I do, Utau? I—I must've been misunderstood!" All that was left was for her to start biting her nails to make the picture perfect nervous pose.

"If he didn't say anything then it must've been fine, even if he'd taken it wrong in the beginning." At the other girl's instant calming at her words, Utau couldn't help a deep sigh. "I pity Ikuto though. Always having to be the grown up in that relationship. It must feel more like he's your guardian than your boyfriend. He must be having a really tough time, keeping up with Amu's childishness at all times."

Now that her world little world had taken its fragile balance back and her mind was out of the disarray that it had been thrown in for a moment there, Amu's emotions were back to full functionality. And as such, the other girl's offensive comment made her feel a sharp jab of annoyance.

"You're not that much older than me, Utau. I really don't get the condescending attitude…" The girl with exotic hair colour muttered with barely contained anger towards her fellow who observed her in that same cold manner.

"It's your own fault for always being so clueless and immature—I'm not the one making you be that way, am I now?"

"Since a while now all you've been saying is "immature", "immature" but more often than not, you're the one who acts more like a child from the two of us!" Amu's accusation seemed to strike a nerve if the way Utau twitched could be anything to go by as proof in this case.

"I'm just saying this for your benefit and this is how you repay me? By being openly hostile?" The singer mumbled to herself after looking away from her friend whose mouth corner twitched lightly in the girl's incredulity.

"I think you have the person who's being hostile in this situation wrong…" she said with a pointed look at the pop star that conveniently chose to ignore her at the moment. The pulsing of the vein on Amu's forehead intensified. "Okay though, I'll play along—how exactly is your picking on me beneficial for me in any way, pray tell?"

Utau fixed her with that stern gaze of hers once more—the kind that she used when she was about to say something that she believed was common sense type of knowledge.

"I'm saying it so you can try to grow up a little, of course." When she could see her friend's temper flare and her lack of understanding what she meant with her words, the blonde elaborated. "If you keep up the childish act, Ikuto will start feeling bored and insecure with you. In fact, he might already be feeling that way but hasn't told you because he's nice like that and wants to spare your feelings. But surely when you keep failing to give him what he wants and what his body needs, he'll start looking for it elsewhere."

Even though there was a mad blush on her cheeks, Amu could feel the cold sweat budding on her skin at the ominous end note to Utau's words.

"What do you mean, "elsewhere"?" the pink-haired female asked tentatively, already sensing the answer.

"From other girls, of course," said Utau with a really indifferent expression. To think that she said so calmly those words that delivered a lethal blow to her fellow… "For all you know, he might already be seeing someone else while you're busy playing house at school."

It was a tell-tale fact how deeply her suggestion had impacted Amu for the latter not to have argued with her friend over her kindergartener jab.

"No way…" she dry-sobbed, her heart heavy in her chest.

That's how Utau knew she'd taken the joke too far.

"I was just kidding, just kidding, Amu!" she tried to mend. "My brother isn't the playing type so he's definitely not seeing anyone else!"

"R-really…?" Her amber eyes were glistening with unshed tears. "Even though I'm so childish and he's forced to keep pace with me…?" She sniffled audibly. A watery note was creeping in her voice. "Even though he's more like my guardian when we're together rather than my boyfriend?"

W-wow… Her random offhand comments had really cut rather deep this time, eh? Now the pop idol felt really guilty.

"If he hasn't said anything I'm sure that he doesn't mind that much!" She paused for a moment, considering whether to continue with what she intended to say.

It was lucky for her that Amu wasn't quite focused on her so she missed the impish glint that shone in the amethyst pair of eyes at the same moment. She'd always known Amu as one to need a gentle push—or a really hard shove, like in this situation—in the right direction at crucial times, so why shouldn't she be the one to give it to her now?

"But even if he isn't frustrated with the situation, it doesn't mean it couldn't get better." At that piece of information, it seemed that Amu's ears perked to attention. Just as planned, Utau thought, pushing on. "Don't you want to see Ikuto make a really pleased expression, Amu?"

The other girl nodded affirmatively with a hopeful smile. Keeping the evil grin from surfacing on her face as she pulled her plan to action was really difficult for the blond young woman.

"Here's what you have to do…"

It was a lovely Saturday in the early November. The day was warm and there was plenty of sunshine, the town was lively with all the people traversing its lengths and widths and it was a wonderful time to enjoy with friends or family.

For Amu though the nice weather and the lively atmosphere were the last things on her mind. She was so nervous she almost jumped at every little thing while she walked towards her boyfriend's place.

What she had planned was to surprise him by coming over in the afternoon, taking him out for a stroll around town, have some dinner she made together and then—

And then—

Gah, she couldn't even think about it! How was she supposed to do what Utau had advised her when she couldn't even consider it in her mind, never mind putting it in action?!

She guessed she'd just have to give up then, right? There was no need to rush with these things, right? If she wasn't ready, she wasn't ready. And that was that. Ikuto would surely understand, wouldn't he? He always had, so why wouldn't he now?

But… what if he really was starting to feel disillusioned with their relationship? What if he really thought it wasn't going anywhere? What if sometime soon he decided that there was no future for them and thought he should move on to other things in his life? Turn to other girls that were more mature than her?

She didn't want that either! She hadn't gone through thick and thin with him to have this tiny sort of hurdle—that was mainly a psychological problem of hers, too!—tear them apart! She wouldn't stand for that!

And yet when she considered the alternative and how impossible it was for her to do such things, maybe it would indeed end up with them broken up?

It was with her heart painfully thrumming in her chest and her cheeks slightly flushed that she knocked on the Tsukiyomis' house. She had reliable information (given to her by none other than Utau) that there was no one else in the house today but her boyfriend, which was why that day was the perfect time to "strike".

According to Utau and her insane plan, at least.

When he opened the door lazily and his eyes met hers, Ikuto's whole countenance brightened so visibly and he smiled so brilliantly that Amu's heart skipped another beat.

They exchanged merry greetings (and somewhat stiff replies, on Amu's end) before he let her in while he got ready to go out around town with her.

By the time they were walking down towards the town center, the pink-haired girl was already sweating bullets and her whole being was stiff as a board.

This was it… She had to do this perfectly, or her relationship was going to be in trouble. She just had to!

She nodded decisively to herself and as if to mock her, she felt the trickle of cold sweat slide tauntingly down the back of her neck.

Ikuto was sitting on the couch in his living room with his head propped up on his hand while he stared at the back of his girlfriend who was currently washing the dishes from dinner.

He had no idea what was wrong but she'd been so edgy and fidgety the entire evening that he was sure something was going on that he wasn't aware of.

What had him even more worried was that when he asked her what was going on, she'd denied that there was anything—with a laugh so forced it was painful to his ears—and had changed the subject, speaking just as stiffly as she acted.

This was definitely not like her. She was usually such a carefree girl that seeing her so out of it made him feel like there was something wrong with the world.

And the fact that she refused to share with him what was bothering her upset him like few things in the world ever could.

Did she think he was so unreliable that she couldn't tell him what was on her mind?

The thought stung a lot.

When she came back into the room, wiping her hands in the apron he'd given her to use while in the kitchen, she smiled at him in the same wavering way that unnerved him so much. She removed the apron and threw it on the back of a chair while she sat next to him on the couch, making an attempt at small talk that he didn't deem with much of a response. He just nodded to her for affirmation every now and then to let her know he was still listening and kept studying her expression.

This seemed to aggravate her ever-present blush tonight—a fact he found rather inexplicable.

"W-what is it?" she muttered, gaze shying away from his when he kept staring intently at her face.

"Mm? Nothing really," he said against his palm with a small smile that made Amu's heart skip another beat.

This evening was going to be very taxing to her cardiac health, she could already tell from the beginnings of it…

When she couldn't come up with anything to talk about for a moment or two, a gentle hand was placed on her forehead. The suddenness of the action made her practically jump back from the contact but her significant other refused to be deterred by her inadequacy and kept his palm flat against her forehead while mimicking the same action with his other hand against his own head.

"It doesn't seem like you have a fever but you look like you're burning up," he mused aloud while removing his appendage from her. Amu kept her gaze from locking with his because she was much too embarrassed in this situation—having her boyfriend mistake her shyness for a fever was definitely not one of the things she'd brag about to her friends.

'Of course I'd be burning up when you're so close to me like this!' suddenly popped in her head as something she could retort with but she refused to say such humiliating things! How'd she look at him again if she started talking like that?

"You should try sweet-talking to him at first for a change—he's always the one who does those things, isn't he?" Utau's words from a few days ago came to her but she shook her head mentally at herself. It was impossible for her—it wasn't in her character to say or do things like this. She really shouldn't have to do the things she didn't want to do, right?

"Amu, you looked really out of it today. Are you sure you're alright?" His worried tone made something twist in her chest unpleasantly. The concerned crease of his brow made her feel like the worst girlfriend ever—this wasn't what she'd aimed to achieve when she'd come here today.

"Don't you want to see him make a really pleased expression you've never seen before?" His sister's words haunted her like a plague, making her heart race even quicker in her ribcage.

She was starting to feel slightly light-headed.

'Of course I'd be weird—I'm going mad! I'm madly in love with you, you fool!' Even though she could think it—with much embarrassment—in her own mind, she couldn't make the words come out from her mouth.

Why was she being like this? Utau was right—he was always saying such things to her so it would probably make him happy to hear her say something nice like that to him for once, in return for all those times he'd done it for her. He didn't show it but perhaps it was embarrassing for him too, to bare his feelings to her like that all the time.

And yet she couldn't do something as simple as that…! She was really the worst!

She had unknowingly clutched her eyes tightly shut, successfully making her lover worry even more for her. When she felt his hand on her shoulder and vaguely heard him call her name—her mind was too far gone to be much too coherent—she opened her eyes to look again.

That's when she noticed just how close he actually was. Her breath promptly caught in her throat when his fanned against her cheek and it felt like the whole world would be able to hear her heart hammering in her chest.

She swallowed dryly while she stared into his intense cerulean gaze, her whole body numb from nervousness. This was the perfect chance! She had to seize it! It was now or never!

"You need to take initiative, Amu. Guys like girls like that."

This was a challenge. And she had never been one to back down from a challenge!

He was beginning to think that there was something seriously wrong to have her agonizing over it as much. He put a hand to her shoulder and called her name softly, hoping to pull her back to present time.

What struck him like a lightning out of a clear sky was when in the very next moment—after some really intense blushing—she closed the gap between them and placed a kiss on his lips.

He'd been so stunned at first that he'd been unable to respond. When she inched closer to him and put her dainty hand on the base of his neck—he could feel her shaking against his skin—he hurried to return the kiss as tenderly as he could, hoping that it would at least enable her to forget whatever was making her fret—since her sudden "attack" seemed to him to be for exactly that reason to him.

Instead of feeling more relaxed like she usually did when he kissed her so sweetly, Amu felt the tension in her shoulders increase. So far, so good. But if she told Utau that this was as far as she'd gone—an innocent peck on the lips ("Humph. Still at kindergarten level, aren't you?" the words the blonde would say echoed tauntingly in her mind)—she knew that her friend would scoff at her and blame her for being immature again.

And she couldn't have that.

So she pushed her limits, lightly licking Ikuto's lips as she wordlessly asked for permission beyond. The touch was so slight, so evanescent that the young man wondered if it had even been there in the first place.

His girlfriend was being unusually forward though and he wasn't about to question that—no, he wasn't stupid enough to do such a thing. He wanted to see what she would do next too much for that. So he just parted his lips to allow her entry into his mouth, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips.

When he did as she'd silently requested, she felt like the ball was in her court once again. Her whole being trembled with nervousness and anticipation (of what, she didn't know) as she furthered her ministrations, her tongue slowly swiping over his teeth before engaging his in a deliberate, tantalizing dance that made the knot that had tightened in her gut coil in a weird way she wasn't entirely familiar with.

It was good that they'd done this before because otherwise she'd be so completely out of her element now that she wouldn't be able to do even as much.

When he returned her kiss with equal fervor, she slid her hand up to lace in his soft hair, the strands protruding from between her fingers as she lightly kneaded at his scalp while deepening the kiss.

It almost made her pass out when she felt him sigh against her mouth. She cracked her eyes open a fraction to see the blissful expression etched on his face. Encouraged—and scared, at the same time, when realizing the implications that she should continue—by this, Amu brought her other hand to his shoulder, steadying herself for a moment while she steeled her resolve.

When she made up her mind—just barely, mind you; so embarrassed was she—she made her extremity make a slow open-palmed descent down the front of her boyfriend's shirt—her heart made another few leaps and heat pooled in her stomach while she felt out the fine outlines of his well-sculpted chest—and down to his abdomen until she reached the hem of the clothing article.

Her hand shakily slipped beneath the fabric before snaking up the front of his torso once more.

It was about this moment that Ikuto finally snapped back to reality and broke the kiss to look at her. Her face was burning up in a bright red colour and she refused to meet his gaze.

Her hand was still on his chest under his shirt though.

"What are you doing?" he asked puzzled.

He just had to ask this—the only question that made her feel like digging up a hole, crawling inside and curling into a ball in it until she died of shame.

Her obstinate character wouldn't let her stay speechless in this situation though—oh no. Appearances were much more important to that part of her than anyone might have believed.

"I'm taking initiative—what does it look like?" She mumbled so silently and petulantly that if it was anyone else they might not have heard her answer.

Still, Ikuto heard her clearly enough and her answer made him cock a curious eyebrow.

"Why?" he said, clueless. His endless barrage of questions—so it seemed to the unnerved Amu—was making her lose her forced cool quite quick.

"Can't I? Can't I be a bit more forward without a reason?!" She was near screeching now. He deserved it, for making her feel so uncomfortable.

Damn him! And it had taken so much effort to do this much!

She'd extricated her hand from him, crossing both over her chest and turning her head away from him in her huff. He looked a little lost at her reaction.

"It's not that you can't… It's just that it seems so unlike you to do this kind of thing."

He stared at her infuriated profile for a few moments during which no one said anything until things added up in his mind.

"Is this why you've been acting weird all day?"

Amu all but sputtered at his question. "Weird"?! Is that what he thought of her trying to go out of her own way to make him feel nice? Weird? Was she a weird girl for wanting to keep their relationship healthy? Was she the only one who cared whether they made it through?!

While she was grappling for words, Ikuto sighed to her side, resting back until he was half-sprawled across the couch, his back supported by the armrest. There was a look of great relief on his face.

"Thank goodness that's all it is." His lover was about to pitch a fit at his phrasing again when he continued with an unfocused look in his gaze, "I was starting to really worry what was going on with you that you couldn't tell me about. I was thinking you didn't think I was trustworthy to come to me with your concerns anymore." Amu's heart sunk at his words while he closed his eyes with a blissful smile. "Thank God that's all it was."

The girl next to the navy-haired youth felt truly crestfallen. She'd intended to do one thing and ended up going horribly wrong instead. She hadn't meant to make him feel unreliable or insecure. There wasn't anything she couldn't talk about with Ikuto so she didn't want him thinking she didn't trust him. He was her most important person in the entire world! How could she ever just give him the cold shoulder just like that?!

It was all her fault. If she wasn't so bad at being a girlfriend, these sorts of things wouldn't happen. What was wrong with her anyway? At school and among her contemporaries, she was thought of as one of the most mature girls her age.

Yet when it came to intimately dealing with boyfriend who was five years her senior she suddenly became this stuttering silly school girl who didn't know what she wanted.

She didn't like that kind of character for herself. This wasn't who she was.

Why had she been acting that weird anyway?

"Hey… Ikuto…?" she began slowly, her eyes pinned to her fidgeting in her lap hands.

"Mm?" he murmured, looking at her out of the corner of his deep sapphire gaze.

"Do you think I'm childish?" she asked, pushing the tips of her index fingers against one another.

"What's wrong with being childish or immature?" She bristled at his response. So he did think of her that way too! What was wrong with both brother and sister?! "I find that quality about Amu really endearing," he added with that charming smile that could make her knees turn to jelly.

Now said smile only made her sigh in defeat. Her companion gave her a questioning look.

"I… talked to Utau about… y'know… the trip." He nodded, his expression never changing. "And she explained to me about… the things I didn't understand and… implications of such an invite…" At this understanding dawned on his face. But he didn't say anything, letting her finish whatever she had to say.

Ever the perfect gentleman that he was.

"And she asked me whether I wanted to see an expression you've never made before, whether I wanted to make you feel happy. So she said I should take initiative… Since… Ikuto is always the one who instigates… these kinds of things in our relationship… And Utau said guys like it when their girls take initiative…" Her voice was so small by the end of her explanation that it was almost inexistent.

Ikuto resisted the urge to sigh at her reasoning. To think she would be so easily swayed by that sister of his—just what had Utau said to her to make her do things so out of character for herself?

"I don't completely understand but you really don't have to do things you don't want to." The placating smile on his face made her stress practically siphon out of her system. "You don't have to force yourself for me. Just take things at your own pace and everything will be fine."

He pulled one hand behind his neck to prop himself up a bit so he could look at her better.

"It's the natural, carefree Amu that I love. I don't want you changing over anything and especially not on my account. I don't want you stressing yourself over matters that should come naturally. If you dislike doing this kind of things, you don't have to do them. If you're not ready to take this step, I don't mind going at your pace until you feel comfortable with it. Amu's peace of mind and happiness are what matters most to me so I'm in no hurry for anything. We'll take it slow and enjoy our youth for what it's worth, right?"

Amu was about ready to cry a river by the time he was done saying what he wanted to. She could really see why both he and Utau called her childish now.

She really was such a kid, thinking of things on her own, getting worked up over stuff so stupidly. She always thought so selfishly and only about herself, while Ikuto always took her feelings into account first and foremost, before anything else.

It made her feel like a failure as a girlfriend to have such things revealed to her.

She loved him and that's what made her so nervous in his presence. She loved him and wanted to be with him, so she wanted to please him to make him see how fortune he was to have her as his girlfriend.

She'd forgotten that he felt that way even without her going out of her way to do anything for him. He loved her, so he didn't need her to do anything she didn't want to in order to prove that to him.

No, this was wrong. It wasn't like she wasn't ready to do those… things with him. She'd thought plenty on that matter—she was a normal sixteen-year-old (going on seventeen soon) girl after all, so of course her body had started to have urges. It wasn't like she disliked the thought of doing those sorts of things with Ikuto.

He was the only person with whom she'd ever want to do them.

Because it was Ikuto, she didn't dislike the idea of doing them with him…

What had she been so worried over in the first place? She couldn't even remember. She'd been so worked up over reaching out to him, over touching him and being in any way intimate with him and now she couldn't remember why that was. She hadn't wanted to disappoint him with her inexperience and she'd been so blinded by the fear that she'd do just that that she'd forgotten to take into account that even though he was much older than her he was just as inexperienced in those things as she was.

She loved him and knew he loved her back. He always respected her wishes and her desires so he never rushed her to do anything she didn't want so he'd never take the first step with these things as long as she kept acting as weird as she had today.

She was leaving him with a wrong impression. And she hated herself for that.

He loved her so he gave her the space she needed. Even though it must really be very trying for him to have a girlfriend five years his junior. It was probably very hard for him to keep pace with her but he still did it because he loved her.

She was so happy that she had fallen in love with someone so understanding that she was about ready to cry.

Amu sighed slowly through her nose and turned to look at his leisurely stance against the couch's armrest. She smiled tenderly and leaned over him to place a gentle kiss on his lips.

When she pulled away just a fraction he opened his eyes to look at her, a confused expression stealing over his features. She didn't let his bafflement deter her though—she proceeded to place a small trek of butterfly kisses by the side of his jaw and up until she reached his earlobe which she playfully nibbled on. When she pulled away again she noticed the slight blush that had risen in his cheeks now and felt her gut tighten in response.

Ah, so this was the kind of expression she could get from him when she was being honest with her feelings? She definitely appreciated it.

When she dove in to follow another trail of gentle pecks on the other side of his face, lingering a little more on his lobe—since she knew well it was his weak spot—he shuffled slightly beneath her in what she reckoned was an attempt to diverge his attention from her actions.

"Amu?" he asked in a somewhat shaking tone, uncertain whether he'd let his point come across to her just a few minutes ago.

She smiled in that heart-warming way that infallibly stilled all of his complaints at all times before she kissed him fully on the mouth, her hands supporting her weight over him on his chest.


She never gave him the chance to finish though, as she angled her head to nibble at his neck and up the column of it where it joined with his jaw.

It wasn't about returning a favour. Because love wasn't such a shallow and simple give-and-take relationship. It wasn't about clinging onto him for dear life because she felt insecure about exactly where they stood and where they were going.

It was about doing what she felt like, when she felt like it. That's practically what he'd told her to do too, right?

She wanted him to feel as loved as she did.

And she wanted to make sure he didn't misunderstand her.

She shifted her body a bit to get into a more comfortable position while she hovered atop of him.

"You know, Ikuto, you said I shouldn't do things I don't like, right?"

She could only feel him nod while she placed open-mouthed kisses along his collarbone and the crook of his neck.

"But I don't particularly dislike doing this sort of things with you." She spoke as she ascended the column of his neck while showering it with sweet pecks. "Ikuto is the only person I'd do something like this with in the first place." She kissed him fully on the lips before placing a chaste kiss to his forehead as well, resting her head against his until their noses were almost touching. "Because it's Ikuto, I don't dislike doing these kinds of things with you…"

"Amu…" he murmured, mind in a daze when she angled her head to capture his lips again.

This kiss was nothing like the one from when she was forcing herself to 'take initiative'. It was passionate and earnest. Her lips were pliant and soft against his, her body was relaxed against his and her feelings were flowing through their physically joined bodies, making their hearts race with excitement and emotion. Her tongue was caressing his in a way that made something in him stir and want to have more of her, keep her closer to him until there was no room left to move between them.

She was exploring his mouth so easily and naturally that for all you could know it might have been all they had done all these years.

And then she shifted so as to straddle his hips and there was no way he could've stopped his reaction.

A deep throaty moan tore from him. She swallowed the sound greedily, encouraged by his response. She cupped his cheek with one hand while her other kept her balance atop of him—the last thing she needed was to topple sideways now—as she tried to make herself more comfortable. While she shifted her hips against him, her bottom accidentally brushed against his crotch and caused a sharp intake of breath on his part.

She broke away from him far enough to be able to focus on his face and she was intrigued by the wide array of emotions she could see swimming in them. But most of all she appreciated the somewhat disoriented look she had begotten within him with her actions—and the twinge of lust that shone behind the thick masks he put between his own feelings and the outside world.

So he did appreciate her attempts at being sexy and forward. This was a noteworthy fact she'd stash away for further reference.

For the time being she gave him an impish grin before engaging him in another deep kiss, their tongues battling for dominance in one another's mouths, making the heat and passion between them escalate higher and higher until all Amu could feel was her boyfriend's presence enveloping her whole being, his scent intoxicating her senses, the sweetness of his breath against her making her feel lightheaded all over again.

When she accidentally suckled gently on the moist organ in her mouth and he reacted with an audible moan against her she knew she was doing something right so she repeated the action, switching the angle of her head so as to make attacking his lips easier. Her fingers were buried deeply in his navy blue locks, her finely filed nails scraping lightly against the surface of his scalp.

All the things she was doing were making him lose control really fast and it was scaring him. He had kept his head's cool for so long that he no longer trusted himself completely in this sort of situation with her. If he couldn't rein in his reactions, would he do to her something he wouldn't be able to forgive himself for?

He couldn't afford that. He was supposed to be the responsible one.

"Amu," he tried to protest but she put a finger to his lips, silencing him.

"It's okay. Just let me try this for a little while longer, okay? You don't have to do anything. Just relax and enjoy." She pushed him back down with one hand against his chest until his back was resting against the couch's armrest again.

He didn't seem at all at ease to her so she bit his lip as a punishment before the hand that had been against his chest started exploring the area, brushing against his hardened nipples. When he made a sound similar to a whimper when she brushed over them, she repeated the action, delighted at how animated he was being for once. While she busied his mind with teasing him, she shifted her head so as to capture his lobe, nipping lightly on it and eliciting responses that made a warmth pool between her legs.

As she settled herself comfortably on top of him, her lower body brushed against his lap again but this time the contact caused a much different reaction. Amu felt an almost electrical-like jolt of pleasure race up her body from the point of contact before realization dawned on her when she figured out why the sensation felt different than before—there was a hard bulge in his pants where her body had touched his.

The notion that her closeness made him react this way made her both shy and proud. He was hard as an iron pipe and she hadn't even touched him yet.

She rubbed herself against him on purpose then, gasping at the breath-taking feeling the action begot in her body. Her whole being felt alight in a primordial flame, consumed by liquid heat that spread fast throughout her entire body, engulfing her in its alluring depths.

She grinded her hips down on him again, a small moan coming out of her mouth then. His rock-hardness felt so good, so very good against her. She couldn't get enough of it. She needed more of it. So she started a pace, bringing her pelvis down upon his, savouring the pleasurable jolts each and every thrust let her experience.

But most of all she savoured the way his face contorted when she did it, how his brow furrowed and that guttural sound went past his lips when she rubbed herself against his erection. His head was thrown back, his eyes were closed and his breath coming out in short, quick gasps—the sight he made had her feeling so aroused that her mind was shutting down and she could feel her panties already soaked through.

She wanted to make him do more of those faces. She wanted to make him feel even better.

She wanted to see what was beyond this.

"Amu…" he murmured beneath her breathlessly.

His hand slowly slid up the length of the back of her thigh, bare beneath her skirt that did little to hinder him from feeling the sweetness of her softness beneath the clothes that were still between them. It left very little to the imagination to think how it would be should there be no fabric left between their bodies.

He cupped her creamy white flesh just beneath the lovely curve of her butt-cheek, allowing himself some leverage as he started bucking up into her, mind going blank with franticness for more friction between their bodies.

The way he said her name while he looked at her through half-lidded eyes ridden with pleasure made her gut twist in the most tantalizing of ways and had her writhing on top of him and rubbing herself against him more as the tension started to build in her body. The frequency of her thrusts downwards increased just as his tempo did too. Their voices mingled, moans and grunts and gasps and mewls filling the stillness of the room, the light creaking of protest of the couch intensifying in like to the raise in temperature in the premise.

His name tumbled over her tongue like a precious stone as blotches of white just behind her lids started to mar her vision. His fingers' hold on her legs had tightened and he was pushing up quite more forcefully into her, his thrusts upward hitting a spot that made the blotches much more eminent as the feeling in the whole of Amu's body that something grand was just around the corner for her intensified.

"Amu…" he all but whined just at her earlobe and the next time he thrust against her made the stars just behind her lids explode in a splendour that knocked the wind right out of her, the air in her lungs coming out in a small scream that left her whole being shuddering.

Her legs that had been her support felt limp and powerless and the sweet sensation of overwhelming pleasure was being sent in waves throughout her entire body from a pulsing point between her spread legs.

When she had an orgasm on top of him and the whiff of her arousal reached his sensitive nostrils, Ikuto wasn't far behind. He gasped for breath as he rested back on the couch, spent and overwhelmed of the sensation of just having had satisfied his girlfriend without ever taking his clothes off.

As for Amu, for her part she'd definitely seen something really priceless that she would treasure in her heart forever—the priceless expression he'd had when he'd reached his climax, the light flush of his cheeks and the way every muscle in his body had tensed beneath her as he came – it was something she'd never forget, she was sure.

It would be her little gem in her mind's eye's treasury.

She rested her forehead against his collarbone with a content sigh, a serene look coming onto her features as she sprawled herself over him.

He smirked as he tried to catch his breath. He angled his head so he would be able to catch a glimpse of her and his look turned into a smile.

"You look like you enjoyed your first attempt at taking initiative," he pointed out with a pleased expression.

His smile grew when a crimson shade took over Amu's face.

"You, too! Even though most of the time you put on airs, you didn't seem to mind too much being topped by a girl…" she mumbled against his chest, refusing to meet his eye.

He chuckled and the sound rumbled against her ears. It was a pleasant reverberation…

"Only because it's Amu who wants to top me."

He pulled her face gently up so he could place a tender kiss to the side of her face. The way her attitude had changed so much when she'd taken charge had been quite a turn-on but her reverting back to her usual behaviour almost had him reduced to chuckles. He really was smitten with this odd girl who would forever be to him the cutest and most endearing of them all.

"I like the way you take initiative." She could feel his smile against her earlobe when he leaned to whisper his next words in her ear, "Just, next time, let's lose the clothes, 'kay?"

If you had to tell which was richer in colour—a ripe tomato or Amu's face in that very moment—it would have been a very tough call.


A/N: Kinkiness is the way to go for me, so I just had to write something like this. I purposefully had them do things like this because it would've been really OOC of Amu to jump in bed with Ikuto only because of the kind of conversation she had with Utau. (Even though she did feel a bit OOC to me once things started getting really steamy, but it could just be me… I shall let you be the judge of that :D) So, thus, this is what happened. :3 I hope you enjoyed the story and I'd love to hear some feedback from anyone who reads this because I have more kinky ideas for kinky stories in this pairing should you say you're interested. :D