Summary: Love can be a more painful emotion than you can imagine…

Genre(s): Romance/Angst

Character(s): Ritsu T., Mio A., Tsumugi K., Yui H.

Pairing(s): Ritsu x Mio

Story Type: One-shot; Future Fic

Disclaimer: I do not own K-ON!

Author's Notes: This is set after the girls graduate and when Ritsu and Mio are in college.


* You're So Beautiful *

The golden early morning sun gently shined through the dormitory bedroom window of the University of Kyoto, and onto the sleeping face of a messy haired girl. Another girl entered the bedroom, her long black hair styled in a singular ponytail that loosely hung half way down her back. She casually padded over to the sleeping girl, who tossed in her sleep and let out a half-snore, smacking her lips before settling back down.

"Ritsu, get up," Mio urged as she loomed over the sleeping girl. Ritsu tossed in her bed again, flaying her limbs out across the bed as a tired groan escaped her lips. "Ritsu!" Mio repeated as she shook the sleeping girl.

"Wha-?" Ritsu cracked her eyes open but instantly threw her arm up over her eyes to shield them from the sunlight. Mio sighed in exasperation then smiled.

"If you don't get up now you'll be late for class," Mio warned as she walked back towards the door.

"Eh...don't care," Ritsu mumbled lethargically as she wrapped herself up in the sheets like a cocoon.

"Ritsu!" Mio yelled as she rushed back over to the bed and pulled the sheets off of the sleepy girl. Ritsu shivered then curled up in a defensive ball as the change in temperature attacked her exposed limbs.

"Miooo..." Ritsu whined as she sleepily peered up at the taller girl through half-lidded eyes.

"Get up. Now," Mio commanded as she threw the sheets to the floor. Ritsu sat up in bed cross-legged, a tired scowl set on her face.

"Whose idea was it to come to this tough university?" Ritsu griped as she lazily scratched her head.

"Yours, if I recall," Mio retorted as she headed back to the door. "I'll never understand how you passed the entrance exams," she mumbled to herself as she left the room.

Ritsu hopped up out of bed and quickly threw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that she scrounged from the floor. She took care of her morning duties then headed out of her bedroom in the dormitory she shared with Mio. Mio was waiting for her out in the hallway.

"Finally up I see," Mio remarked with an amused grin as the pair began to walk to their first class of the day.

"Shut up," Ritsu retorted irately as she yawned which only caused Mio's grin to grow.

Ritsu sat slumped in her desk as her History teacher droned on about something she had lost interest in the moment that the class had started. At first, Ritsu had settled for staring out of the window next to her desk, but the sun was now in the annoying position to cast a glare into her eyes through the glass. So, she had changed her sights to something far more interesting: her gaze had fallen on Mio, who sat further up in a middle row, which gave Ritsu a perfect sideways view of the girl.

'Y'know, your ponytail looks really pretty, Mio,' Ritsu mentally complimented as if she were talking to the girl in question. 'Though, you looked pretty back in high school too,' she thought with a growing smile as she did not even try to hide her wandering gaze. She unabashedly scanned up and down Mio's body, as she did every day, admiring her face, her hair, every little bit of her.

'And you'll never notice,' Ritsu thought with a combination of coyness and slyness, though a tinge of sorrow also laced her mental voice. 'You'll never notice me admiring every bit of you,' she mentally continued. 'You'll never notice how much I love you,' Ritsu mentally confessed, as she had done so many times, for so many years, as her gaze never strayed from Mio.

"Tainaka-san?"

Ritsu was broken from her usual reverie as the elderly professor's dusty voice reached her ears.

"Y-yes?" Ritsu replied, startled as the class snickered and repressed its full-blown laughter at her. Mio simply sighed and shook her head in exasperation.

"Care to answer the question?" the teacher asked, causing a look of blank despair to wash over Ritsu's face.

"W-what was the question..?" Ritsu replied timidly as her face lit up in embarrassment. The class did not bother to hold back its laughter this time and Ritsu tried to brush off their mockery with a sheepish grin. It also helped that she could focus on Mio out of the corner of her eye.

"That was brutal," Mio joked as she walked up to Ritsu after class as the other students noisily packed up their books around them. Ritsu did not bother to respond, instead giving Mio a pitiable look. Mio smiled, which in turn elicited a smile from the brunette.

"We don't have another class until this afternoon, wanna go out for lunch?" Ritsu asked as she and Mio headed out into the hallway, her bag casually slung over her shoulder.

"Well-" Mio began but she was cut off.

"Mio-chan!"

A boy down the hall called out to Mio as he waved his hand enthusiastically.

"Ah! Reiji-kun!" Mio called as she waved back. "Sorry, Ritsu, I already made plans with Reiji-kun," Mio said apologetically as she turned back to the shorter girl.

"Oh...that's ok, have fun," Ritsu replied as she forced a smile.

"I'll see you later, Ritsu!" Mio called back as she ran off down the hall towards Reiji, leaving Ritsu to follow her with her gaze. Ritsu could not see what Mio and Reiji were talking about, but Mio looked happy. As she watched the pair walk off down the hallway, she let her smile fall into a frown and felt her stomach knot up in jealousy.

The rest of the day passed slowly, Ritsu did not see Mio until their next class, and even then, Mio quickly left after class. Ritsu walked back into her dormitory bedroom later that day, she felt physically and mentally exhausted. She did not see Mio anywhere around and assumed she was still out with Reiji.

'She's been hanging out with him a lot lately...' Ritsu thought bitterly as her stomach twisted in envy again. 'I should just do my homework...' she decided as she headed into her bedroom and flopped onto her bed, pulling out her textbook to do her homework. However, she was unable to even concentrate on reading as her thoughts kept drifting back to Mio.

'Doesn't he know she's mine?' she thought in possessive anger as jealous fire pumped through her veins.

Ritsu threw her textbook down on the floor, her mouth twisting down into a scowl. Her ears pricked up as she heard the dormitory door open and close. She excitedly hopped up out of bed and rushed out of her room to find Mio leaning against the door, a blissful look on her face.

"What's up?" Ritsu asked as a cold feeling of dread washed over her. The feeling only worsened when Mio sighed dreamily.

"Reiji-kun...asked me out!" Mio replied excitedly as her eyes lit up. Ritsu felt as if a cold, cruel hand had clamped down around her heart as she blankly stared at the excitement in Mio's face.

"That's...great, Mio," Ritsu slowly replied, barely keeping her voice from cracking. "I...need to finish my homework," Ritsu said softly as she turned away from Mio, tears welling up in her eyes.

Mio looked at Ritsu oddly as the usually spunky girl quietly walked off into her room, the door slowly clicking shut behind her. Ritsu walked over and stared down at her bed before falling down onto the mattress. She simply laid there in silence until she could not keep the emotion down. She felt the sobs welling up in her throat until finally she grabbed her pillow and let the tears flow, using the pillow to muffle her cries.

* K-ON! *

Ritsu startled awake the next morning, she could feel the dampness of the pillow beneath her.

'Must've fallen asleep...' Ritsu thought lazily as she stared out of the window at the golden horizon; the sun had not even come up yet.

However, she did not take advantage of the situation to get an early start, instead, she simply laid and stared up at the ceiling. She felt more tears threatening to spill down her cheeks as the image of Mio's happy face the previous night had been seared into her mind. She furiously wiped the tears away, though her breathing still came out in raspy half-sobs. She was so deeply entrenched in her own world that she did not hear the door swing open.

"Ritsu! If you don't get up-" Mio stopped suddenly as she noticed that Ritsu was already awake. "Oh, you're up early," she commented in surprise.

"Yeah..." Ritsu replied absently as she propped herself up in bed.

"Well, we need to get going, c'mon, Ritsu," Mio said as she left the room.

"Yeah..." Ritsu repeated absently, sounding strangely distant, as if she was not really there. She slowly got out of bed, as she had slept in her clothes, she did not need to get dressed, and simply followed Mio out of the room.

Ritsu absently stared out of the window in class as she usually did, however, instead of watching things go back, she blankly stared off into the distance. Images of Mio and Reiji together kept making their way into her mind, causing her chest to tighten as jealousy and sorrow stabbed at her heart. She glanced over at Mio, who looked the same as she always did, and her face fell into a frown.

'How could you, Mio..?' Ritsu thought, though she could not bring herself to do her usual routine of analyzing every little bit of Mio. 'I should've told you...' she thought sadly as her gaze shifted to staring down mournfully at her desk.

After class, Mio headed out without even telling her. She simply watched from her desk as the black haired girl packed up her things and left. Ritsu headed out into the hall and saw Mio walking alongside Reiji, looking happy once again.

'...But if you're happy...' Ritsu grabbed her chest as her heart began to ache again.

* K-ON! *

Over the next week, Mio began to officially date Reiji. When she told Ritsu, Ritsu put on a happy face for Mio, all that mattered to her was that Mio was happy. However, she often fell asleep crying, she became more distant from Mio, and her academic performance began to slip. Every time she saw Mio with Reiji she felt sick and her chest ached.

"Ritsu, are you ready yet?" Mio called through Ritsu's bedroom door.

"Yeah, almost," Ritsu called back half-heartedly.

Yui and Tsumugi had come to visit Mio and Ritsu, and so they had all decided to go out on a dinner date with Mio's new boyfriend, well the other girls had decided and Ritsu just agreed for Mio's sake.

"Took you long enough," Mio teased as Ritsu finally came out of her room. "Are you alright?" Mio asked as concern filled her voice.

"Yeah, I'm fine," Ritsu lied as she forced a smile. Mio gave her a worried look before turning and heading out of the dormitory, with Ritsu following right behind her.

"Ricchan, Mio-chan, it's so nice to see you both," Tsumugi greeted as the girls all spotted each other at the restaurant.

"Ricchan! Mio-chan!" Yui cried as she threw an arm around each girls' neck and hugged both of them at once. Mio smiled, yet Ritsu's expression remained oddly distant as her mind was distracted by the fifth member of their group.

"Yui, Mugi, this is Reiji-kun," Mio introduced as Reiji waved at the two girls.

"It's nice to meet you, Yui-san, Tsumugi-san," Reiji greeted. "Mio-chan has told me so much about you two," he continued as Yui and Tsumugi giggled.

The group entered the restaurant, found a table, and sat down, and began to order their meals.

"Ricchan, you're not getting anything?" Yui asked curiously as she finished ordering nearly everything off the menu. Ritsu simply shook her head.

"I'm fine," Ritsu replied softly.

She looked across the table and saw the worried look that Mio gave her, and then forced a small smile to try to reassure her. The girls conversed happily as they waited for their meals to arrive. They caught up on what they had all been doing ever since leaving high school. Ritsu did not participate in the conversations much, unless she absolutely had to, but generally she remained silent. Ritsu watched as Mio and Reiji laughed and talked together, their proximity sickening her.

'But...she seems so happy, who am I to ruin that?' Ritsu thought sadly as she stared at Mio's face, longing to feel those delicate lips pressed against her own. Though, Mio's cheerful laugh comforted Ritsu a tiny bit through the entire ordeal. Suddenly, Reiji leaned over and gave Mio a light peck on the cheek.

"What was that for?" Mio asked, the remnants of laughter in her voice.

"Just felt like it," Reiji replied sincerely as he shrugged his shoulders and smiled.

"E-excuse me..." Ritsu said suddenly as she quickly got up from the table and ran to the bathroom, the girls' confused gazes following her.

Ritsu supported herself against the bathroom sink as she tried to swallow her sobs. She looked up at her reflection in the mirror. She was startled slightly as she looked paler than she remembered and it seemed that there was a line of tears permanently stained into her cheeks.

"As long as she's happy...right?" she asked her reflection, her voice sounding hollow in the small bathroom. "...Right?" she asked herself again, her voice shaking as she was unable to keep the tears from falling.

* K-ON! *

Another week passed by and Ritsu continued to grow paler and began to lose weight at an alarming rate as she gradually stopped eating. She did not feel like eating as her stomach was in a constant state of feeling twisted and knotted from thinking of Mio, who slept only a room away from her; yet she seemed so far away. Her grades also continued to suffer and several of her teachers had already had her stay after class to tell her that she was failing.

The day of the university dance came around. It had been announced months ago and Ritsu had wanted to go with Mio, it would have been the perfect way to have a seemingly innocent, yet secretly intimate time with Mio. But now Mio was with Reiji.

"Ritsu," Mio tried to get Ritsu's attention as the brunette aimlessly watched the television in their dormitory.

"Mmmm?" Ritsu replied absently.

"Do you want to come to the dance with me and Reiji-kun?" Mio asked. Ritsu's heart soared, yet at the same time fell.

"...Sure," Ritsu replied after a moment then turned the television off and threw the remote down.

"I hope you're not going in that," Mio joked as Ritsu hopped up from the couch in a pair of men's boxer shorts and a t-shirt that she liked to wear around the dormitory. Ritsu gave her a glare then headed into her room and changed. She reappeared shortly in a skirt and un-tucked dress shirt, almost akin to her old school uniform.

The pair left their dormitory and headed to the dance, meeting up with Reiji along the way. The dance was being held in the university's gymnasium. A band stood up on a makeshift stage, playing a variation of songs which kept the dance floor alive with the dancing of the many students in attendance.

Ritsu sat at a three seat table and watched as Mio and Reiji danced. A few boys and even a girl had come over to ask Ritsu to dance, but she had turned them all down. When Ritsu tried hard enough, she could mentally erase Reiji from the picture and was left watching Mio moving and swaying in time with the music, her dress beautifully accentuating every little curve.

'If only you would notice how I feel...' Ritsu mentally yearned. 'You're so beautiful,' she complimented as the song ended and Mio was left simply standing on the dance floor.

Mio and Reiji made their way back over to the table, causing Ritsu to shift her gaze away; she had learned that it was the best way to avoid the emotional pain.

"Ritsu?"

Ritsu turned her gaze back up to Mio, who had her hand extended out to the shorter girl.

"Shall we dance?" Mio proposed with a smile as Ritsu smiled genuinely for the first time in the past two weeks.

"I'd love to," she replied as she placed her hand in Mio's.

Mio pulled Ritsu out to the dance floor and an upbeat song immediately started playing. Ritsu felt alive for the first time in what felt like ages, she moved with Mio in time with the beat and smiled whenever they made eye contact. But the song was too erratic and powerful for what Ritsu really wanted.

'This is my chance...please, God, let the next dance be slow,' Ritsu mentally begged.

The song ended and soon another song began and, much to Ritsu's joy, it was a soft, slow paced song. Ritsu grinned as she took both of Mio's hands in her own, pulled her closer, and slowly began to sway with the music. Ritsu spied Reiji out of the corner of her eye as he watched her dance with Mio. She took a deep sense of pleasure out of the fact that it was her with Mio and not him.

'But this is just one dance...he'll have them all,' Ritsu thought bitterly as she and Mio continued to slowly sway in a circle. 'Then I should make this one count.'

Mio blushed in surprise when Ritsu moved her hands to the middle of her back and pulled her closer. Ritsu lowered her gaze as she felt her pent up desire begin to take its hold on her. She did not care anymore if Mio shoved her away, or hated her for doing it, she just could not resist the feel of Mio pressed up against her. And yet, Mio said nothing, causing Ritsu to curiously look back up into her eyes. They held no rebuff or anger in them, which brought an elated grin to Ritsu's face. She found her gaze drifting downwards towards Mio's lips, those very lips that she had longed to feel against her own for years.

Ritsu felt any inhibition she once held about sacrificing her own happiness slowly slip away. She felt herself leaning in, as if against her will, her eyes slowly closing as a flush crept into her cheeks. Mio simply watched as Ritsu's face came closer, doing nothing to try and stop her advances.

'No, I can't!' Ritsu mentally startled herself out of her lust-fueled daze as her lips stopped a mere inch from giving her what she desired more than anything. She pulled back and stared into Mio's eyes, her own filling with tears. 'I can't cry, not here, not in front of her.' Ritsu abruptly pulled away from Mio. A look of confusion came across Mio's face.

"I'm sorry, Mio," Ritsu said softly, her voice choking, as she turned and ran from the room.

"Ritsu! Wait!" Mio called out as Ritsu disappeared out the exit.

* K-ON! *

Ritsu blindly ran down the dormitory hallway, tears fogging her vision. She burst into her dormitory and ran into her room, sitting down on her bed. Her chest heaved and her breathing was labored with repressed sobs and the exertion of her running.

'What did I do..? She'll hate me now...,' Ritsu thought despondently as she pressed her palms against her eyes, almost physically trying to hold the tears back. Finally, she sniffled and let the tears fall out, letting out the occasional strangled sob.

'I'm pathetic...' she berated herself as her heart fell into a deep, dark place.

"Ritsu?"

The sound of Mio's voice startled Ritsu and she desperately tried to wipe away the evidence of her crying.

"Yeah..?" she replied through a stuffy nose, she was unable to hide that bit of evidence. Mio stood in Ritsu's doorway and came in, sitting down next to her on the bed.

"Ritsu...I won't even try asking, I know something's wrong with you," Mio said sadly. Ritsu looked over at Mio and forced one of her usual grins.

"What're you talking about, Mio? I'm fine," Ritsu lied through her fake grin, though a few stray tears betrayed her as they streaked down her cheeks.

"Don't give me that, Ritsu, I've known you long enough to know when you're faking," Mio rebuffed which caused Ritsu's fake grin to shatter, leaving only an etched frown on her face. Ritsu's whole body seemed to slump in defeat as she stared down at the floor.

"Ritsu, look at yourself, you're so thin and pale, this isn't you," Mio said as concern and worry filled her voice. "And, I know you're failing almost all of your classes," she continued. Ritsu said nothing and kept her gaze on the floor.

"What's wrong, Ritsu?" Mio asked, her voice pleading for an answer.

"I-it's nothings," Ritsu replied without shifting her gaze.

"If you can't tell me, who can you tell, Ritsu? I thought we were best friends," Mio urged.

"If I told you, it would only make things worse," Ritsu replied stubbornly.

"Ritsu! Tell me!" Mio cried as she stood up and looked down at Ritsu.

"It's because I love you!" Ritsu yelled back as she jumped up from the bed, her eyes full of emotion. Mio was taken aback, her eyes widening as her mouth hung agape. Ritsu looked to the side and stared up at the full moon outside. 'Now you'll hate me...'

"You idiot."

Ritsu's gaze snapped back to Mio who was smiling, yet tears were in her eyes as well. "Why didn't you tell me?" she continued as she took a tentative step closer to Ritsu.

"I...love you too," Mio confessed slowly, her eyes sparkling with love.

"B-but..." Ritsu stammered as her mouth refused to work properly.

"I've always...loved you," Mio continued softly.

"W-what about...Reiji?" Ritsu managed to ask. Mio looked down for a moment before looking back into Ritsu's eyes.

"You're such an idiot," she admonished light heartedly. "Didn't you ever notice? How he looks so much like you..." Ritsu was even more startled as realization hit her like a ton of bricks.

'He...he does,' she thought as her mind made the connection, he looked almost exactly like her if she were a boy.

"I went out with him because he reminded me of you," Mio said as she reached out and held Ritsu's cheek, tenderly rubbing her thumb against her face which elicited a heavy blush from the shorter girl.

"I've loved you for as long as I can remember, but I was afraid you didn't feel the same, and I didn't want to ruin our friendship," she continued as she ran her fingers down Ritsu's face and slowly traced her lips. Ritsu's eyes remained in a constant state of wide shock as Mio continued her confession.

"You don't know how long I've wanted to feel these lips against mine..." she said softly, a hint of seduction in her voice.

"I-I have an idea..." Ritsu replied sincerely, though her voice shook with amazement. Her brain struggled to process the reality of the situation she was in.

'This can't be happening, it has to be a dream...' she stared in silent disbelief as Mio's eyes softened, shining with care and love.

Mio slowly leaned in; Ritsu could feel her hot breath against her lips. She timidly hesitated for a moment then closed the distance, pressing her lips firmly against Ritsu's. Ritsu was shocked as she experienced the kiss she had wanted for so long. She lightly closed her eyes, tears of joy pooling in the corners of her closed eyes as she wrapped her arms around Mio's waist and pulled her into a tight embrace.

Mio tilted her head to the side and slipped her tongue out, tracing Ritsu's lips, quietly begging for entrance, which Ritsu happily allowed. Ritsu replied to the invasion by playfully massaging Mio's tongue with her own as the corners of her mouth turned up in an elated and coy grin. The girls parted after what seemed like an eternity, both staring into each others' eyes and panting lightly, their cheeks deeply flushed. They could both see the repressed desire in each other's eyes, the pent up love.

Ritsu was slightly startled when she felt a tugging on her shirt and glanced down to see Mio's hands busily fumbling with the buttons of her shirt. She looked back up into Mio's eyes and saw the need, the pleading in them. Ritsu pressed her lips back against Mio's, quickly picking up where they had left off as she reached around and tugged at the zipper of Mio's dress. Slowly, she pulled the zipper down until she could slip the dress down Mio's shoulders and down her arms, letting the elegant garment pool at her feet, leaving her in nothing but her underwear. Mio broke away and blushed intensely as she was now almost completely exposed in front of Ritsu, yet she had only managed to get Ritsu's shirt half off.

Suddenly, Mio pressed forward and gently pushed Ritsu back onto the bed. Ritsu clenched her eyes shut in surprise as she landed against the soft mattress on her behind. She blinked her eyes open but was stunned into silence when she saw that Mio had crawled onto the bed herself, supporting herself on her hands and knees as she gently gazed into Ritsu's eyes. Mio's eyes were soft with emotion, yet gleamed with a hint of teasing seduction which matched the small, coy smile on her features.

Mio slowly crawled towards Ritsu then sat on her knees in front of the brunette. She gazed into her eyes before leaning in, letting her breath pass over Ritsu's lips, and then captured them in a needy kiss. Mio became the aggressor again as she reached out and began to fumble with the last few buttons on Ritsu's shirt. Finally, she succeeded in her earlier attempts as the final button came undone. Ritsu's shirt loosened and slipped down around her shoulders before Mio slowly pressed the cloth down Ritsu's shoulders, softly caressing the brunette's shoulders as she did so. The shirt fell down Ritsu's limp arms and pooled around her, leaving her in nothing but her bra and skirt. Once her shirt was off, Ritsu's arms immediately came to life as she ran her hands up Mio's arms, causing the black haired girl to quiver slightly from the sensation. Ritsu rubbed her hands up and down Mio's shoulders, massaging the soft skin.

When the two finally broke their kiss, Ritsu wasted no time in pressing herself against Mio and attacking the delicate flesh of her neck, lavishing it with affection. Mio threw her head back and gasped out as Ritsu ran her hands down her sides then around to teasingly trace up and down her spine. Mio began to shake lightly at the overwhelming sensations as Ritsu stole the lead back from her and pressed forward, laying herself and Mio down against the bed.

Ritsu continued trailing heated kisses further down Mio's neck, until she reached the base of her neck where she nibbled and kissed at the sensitive flesh. Ritsu began to fumble with the straps of Mio's bra, finally succeeding in freeing the garment. Her goal reached, Ritsu brought her hand up and began to teasingly trace slow, tiny circles against Mio's midriff, gradually winding her way downward across Mio's body.

Every little ministration elicited a mixture of gasps and small moans from Mio; she writhed beneath Ritsu's every little touch. Ritsu brought her other free hand up against Mio's side, slowly brushing the flesh as she took a more teasing pace to her affections. Ritsu smiled against Mio's neck as she pressed Mio's now loose bra aside with her fingers and began to lovingly knead and massage the tender flesh beneath. Mio arched her back up to meet Ritsu's passionate touch as it continued to elicit breathless gasps and moans from her, the full moon washing their bodies in silvery light.

"Ritsu..."

END


Author's Commentary: When I originally came up with the idea for this story, it ended very differently and much more depressed. But I love the happier ending I decided to write, this is also the most passionate ending I've ever written, Ritsu and Mio deserve it. Also, I created Reiji as a simple Original Character to act as a catalyst. All feedback is happily welcomed!