Author's Notes: If you don't like Soshi x Riiko, go find a Night x Riiko story. I like Night and Soshi both, but it happens that I simply felt like writing Soshi x Riiko. I should also probably pound it into your head that this is rated M for a reason: namely, sex. So if you don't like reading lemons, then click your back button and get out of the M section.


Shattering Gridlock

She is just as she always was – or so he tells himself. Because it feels better to think that things haven't changed, when in reality they've changed completely.

But technically...some things are still the same.

Some things.

They may be living in the same apartment now, which is a difference...but they sleep in separate bedrooms, so there's nothing going on between them, just like before. (God, how he hates being reminded of that). The routine is just as it was before he left for Spain: He wakes up first and, three days a week he walks onto the balcony to discover that she left the laundry hanging overnight, just like Masaki would always do. He takes the clothes down while muttering sarcastically under his breath about the similarities between her and his younger brother. At some point during this chore, she comes flying out onto the balcony half-dressed, apologizing for having forgotten to bring it in. He tries not to stare at her partially buttoned shirt, throws her double-A bra to her with a deadpan quip about her flat chest, and insists she get back inside before the neighbors see. At this point, she usually hits him upside the head in irritation, and the remainder of the morning is usually spent in silence as they eat the breakfast he prepared and gather their satchels for school, resolutely ignoring each other.

However, as they walk to school together, he occasionally makes some random remark that grates her nerves and she sometimes glances at him in a way that makes his blood race. When the train comes to a halt at their station, she almost always rocks into him as she loses her balance, and he wishes their skin would make contact instead of just their uniforms. They then sit through the day, and he glances at her far more than is strictly necessary, wondering if the teacher will ever notice his constant distraction. And sometimes he catches her glancing through her lashes at him, and he feels his heart beat faster. Yet, despite his lingering feelings and his lack of attention in class, he still makes high marks while she panics over upcoming exams, so there's nothing different there either.

It is during the school day that he receives the most reminders of the past, however. Sometimes a girl will approach him and ask him to go out with her, or be her boyfriend. He declines these offers, gently telling them he's in love with someone else. Which is perfectly true. He's definitely in love with Riiko; he doesn'twant another girl and, truthfully, he doesn't think he ever did. And once in a while, he's fortunate enough that Riiko actually overhears these conversations (she always had a knack for eavesdropping, damn it), and when she gets caught by his gaze after his admirer sadly walks off, she blushes prettily and gives him a soft smile that makes his heart skip. That makes his rejection of whatever girl who cornered him completely worth it.

But worse - definitely much worse - is when one or two of the girls elect to reminisce about a former transfer student named Night, who suddenly vanished one day never to return. Sometimes they stop to ask her if she knows what happened to him; during these brief, painful moments he watches Riiko's eyes become utterly blank and, after a moment, she swallows before mumbling that she doesn't know what happened him. They occasionally press her for information without realizing how it makes her feel: Wasn't she his girlfriend? Did he move away? Surely she knows! Did he dump her? Is he traveling? What happened to him?

But Riiko never answers, and something inside of Soshi breaks every time this happens, because he can tell she will never forget.

But it is possible to move forward, and every evening is an indication of that. He takes comfort in this fact, because it means that something is possible betweenthem, now. It doesn't matter how slowly – just that it's possible.

They return from school, often in silence, and when they reach their shared apartment they do their homework – she is improving in her exam grades because he takes an hour or so to tutor her and explain things, and she smiles whenever he encourages her after she does a math problem right, or guesses the right answer in another subject. Sometimes they go out to eat after these sessions, but more often then not they cook dinner together. Initially, he was surprised to find that they worked well together in the kitchen (because she had once been notorious for not having any cooking skill, until Night taught her how). They hand each other utensils needed and operate as a fluid team. They wash up the dishes afterwards and sometimes watch a bit of television, or sit on the balcony and gaze at the lights of Tokyo, before saying a usually awkward good-night and heading for their separate bedrooms. Sometimes they even pause at their respective doors and glance at each other, unsure of what to say or do, but they always blush and move on before anything happens.

Some might consider this never-changing routine a stalemate; he considers it gridlock. A stalemate implies stagnancy, but gridlock reminds him of rush hour traffic, when things are at a complete stand-still, ready to jerk forward at any moment. Always tense.

They are definitely in gridlock.

There are times that she looks at him, for instance. Times she looks at him with an expression she once looked at her former boyfriend with. Glances that make something stir inside of him. His heart always begins to pound when she looks at him in these ways, and he can feel the heat creeping over his skin, as though he has become super-sensitive in a matter of seconds. He remembers the few brief kisses he stole while she was dating Night – kisses that were long and sweet and perfect. He remembers how she didn't necessarily want to pull away from him those times, but did so because she was dating Night, and always seemed torn afterwards for it.

The trouble is, at some point she realizes she's staring at him and that he's noticed her gaze, and she blushes and looks away quickly, leaving him to struggle not to grab her and kiss her senseless, because now they would have no reason to stop.

Eventually (usually after he's gone to bed), he always reminds himself that once, she told him that he didn't tell her soon enough that he wanted her – he doesn't want this scenario to happen a second time, but he does want the moment to be right when he tells her he still feels the same. So he bides his time, thankful that she lives with him, because it means he's a step closer than any other man is, though still shy of how close Night was.

Night. He struggles with his feelings about Night constantly. He finds a small amount of soothing pleasure at the fact that Night was, despite his perfect appearance, a figure. He wasn't a real man; he was a doll with an advanced computer system built in to make him as close to a man as possible. "Artificial Intelligence"...that had become a little too advanced. In a way, he wonders if Riiko is still a virgin because of this, because even if she had sex with Night, he wasn't a human being, so...? And he thinks that if he can just get Riiko in bed, he'll technically be her first. Won't he?

It's little twisted things like that, he thinks, that makes him feel marginally better. The problem is, a nagging part of his mind won't let him quite forget that Night had started becoming self-aware at the end, and his hopes sag whenever he remembers. And then he tells himself he's absolutely insane for justifying any of it, because it means he believed in Night, too. Because Night was more real than he thought, at the time.

How he hates competing with the memory of a figure.

No matter how many times he's dreamed and fantasized about it, he isn't quite ready for the moment when the gridlock starts to shatter.

It is the day after school has let out. Everything is changing; they have one more year of school remaining and he intends to apply for Tokyo University upon completion, while she isn't certain what she's going to do yet. They rarely talk about the future though, because it seems that both are nervous about what will come next between them, and neither wants to ruin their relationship again.

They have finished dinner in silence and, opting not to venture out to see a movie, they end up on the balcony to watch the stars come out. She leans against him slightly as they sit against the cool concrete with their backs against the sliding glass doors, pointing out stars and constellations, while he listens in silence and wonders what she's really thinking about. After a few moments she falls silent as well, her smile fading into thoughtfulness.

The minutes tick past and he tries to find happiness in the fact that she is so close to him. Near enough to touch. Their shoulders brushing. But the feeling disappears when he remembers he still doesn't have quite the courage to lean over and kiss her. Does that make him a coward?

Unexpectedly, before he can argue with himself, she says, "I know you'll get into Tokyo U, Soshi. I just know it."

"Hm. I hope so."

"I wish I were as smart as you are." Her mouth turns down in a small pout.

A small pout perfect for kissing. Perfect for drawing her lower lip between his and sucking on it until she whimpers for more; until she twines are arms behind his neck and pulls him closer.

He clearly needs a cold shower, he thinks ruefully. And to stop reading the occasional, guilty-pleasure romance story. The guys at school would never let him live it down if they knew he had a couple stashed under his bed.

He doesn't ask where she will apply. She doesn't know, after all – heck, she may not even go to college.

And the fantasy changes...

For a fleeting second, he has an image in his head of coming home from a long day at the university, worn down by a heavy satchel of books and an infinite amount of homework, and the stress of having to make top marks. And then Riiko greets him at the door in nothing but a pair of panties with lace on the edges, her arms crossed over her small breasts - breasts that fit nicely into his palms, he's certain. She grins at him before pulling him inside; they collapse to the floor for a good round of hot sex to relieve his tension, her fingers quickly unfastening his slacks and delving inside to grasp him in her slender little palms.

Her voice snaps him out of his daze.

"Will you... are you planning on staying? Here, I mean?" she asks, hesitating slightly as she glances at him with a nervous expression.

His heart feels like it's swelling. The image becomes more solid in his head, rather than dispelling, because she wants him to stay.

Still, he keeps his remark light. "Probably. If I left, you'd forget the laundry and it would stay on the balcony all winter, and freeze."

She hits his shoulder. "I would not!"

He pushes his glasses up with his middle finger, mostly out of habit. He's always done it when he feels he's giving in to her, when he feels like he's falling head over heels and needs to put some distance between them to clear his head. "Not that it would matter," he says indifferently. "You could go without a bra and no one would even notice."

She hits him again, a little harder. "If you're going to be like that, I'm going back in!" she snarls, starting to rise.

And then he moves without thinking. He simply reaches out, pulls her back down, and kisses her firmly on the lips.

Amazing, he thinks dimly, how easy it was. Why the hell hasn't he done it before now?

The shock that runs through his body feels sharp and delicious, exactly like he remembers; Riiko freezes beneath him and he deepens the kiss, needing her to understand how he really feels. That he's terrified of losing her again. That he still loves her. That he's not just here because Night asked him to take care of her; that he's here because he wants to take care of her. Because he wants to be hers.

The seconds tick by and she hasn't pulled away. In fact, her mouth starts to move with his and one of her arms slides slowly around his neck. As soon as it does though, he cautiously sits back, grasping her wrists with his hands, to see her expression. She seems nervous, shy, and worried, all at once. Quietly, he says, "I'm not going anywhere, Riiko. I'm going to stay with you."

She nods slowly, like an automaton, before she sinks back beside him and slowly leans against his shoulder. He wraps an arm around her and she cuddles closer. He can't lose her again. He can't.

"Soshi?" she whispers, placing a small hand against his chest so she can look up at him.

She can probably feel his heart – it sounds loud enough for all of Tokyo to hear it, he thinks wryly.


"I... I love you, Soshi."

And then his heart stops. It just stops. There's no other description for it. It feels like it's dropped into his stomach, or shot into his throat.

"I love you too, Riiko. I always have," he whispers back.

Her voice is barely audible, and slightly guiltily. "I know."

She snuggles closer, and he kisses the top of her head, keeping his arms tight around her small frame, willing her to forget the past.

He wakes in the middle of the night because he hears her voice, faintly calling his name. At first he thinks that perhaps he was dreaming, an extension of his fantasies from earlier, when they were out on the balcony and admitted they loved each other. Then he hears it again and realizes that she must be having a nightmare; he quickly staggers out of bed, pushes his glasses on, and hurries to her bedroom to wake her.

But what he sees, in the faint light coming from the chink in her curtains, causes him to stop dead on the threshold to her room.

The blankets have been strewn and her limbs are every which way; she wears nothing but a white t-shirt that may as well be see-through for all the good it does, and a pair of pale pink panties. For a moment, he stares, his heart thudding so hard against his chest that it may very well wake her up and she'll lose her temper when she realizes he's gaping at her like a horny schoolboy.

(Which... He is, actually).

But she doesn't wake; she just tosses her head on the pillow and mumbles his name again, arching her back slightly as she does so.

The movement draws his eyes unconsciously to her breasts. They jut against the thin fabric, the nipples tight points aching to be touched, caressed, petted, tasted. His eyes then flicker down, where the shirt has ridden up on her flat stomach, and he realizes with a jolt that her panties are wet – very wet, in fact.

His erection is almost immediate; he grips the doorframe so hard that he wonders it doesn't crack under his fingers. She moans again and says his name a bit louder.

A possessive fire sears through him: Riiko is dreaming about him. Erotically. Not about Night Tenjo or any other guy she's ever asked out. She's dreaming abouthim.

He doesn't think. He couldn't if he tried. He simply moves forward until he sits on the edge of her bed, leans down, and kisses her deeply.

She responds while still dreaming, kissing him back, groaning as she pushes up to meet him. The kiss becomes heady and deep and he briefly decides he's a horrible pervert for kissing a sleeping girl who's obviously randy as hell for him (a girl he's in love with, no less), and so he presses her shoulders to the bed with his hands, willing himself not to rip her clothes apart while she's not even conscious.

And then, inevitably, she wakes up. She is still kissing him, slower and more lingeringly now, but the second passes and her eyes flash open. She gasps when she sees him through the darkness.

He jerks back, away from her, ready for whatever punch she intends to throw. But damn it – it was worth it – worth anything she does to him. He was just kissing the girl he's been madly in love with for several years now, and she wanted him in her dreams. That was worth everything.


He doesn't respond verbally, but after a few tense seconds, he leans back down and kisses her again, his hands touching her sides just beneath the hem of her t-shirt. To his shock, she doesn't hit him or push him away. She mumbles his name again against his mouth and her trembling fingers skim his jaw; her lips open to his and his tongue gets inside to tangle with hers. She arches again, but the moment breaks seconds later.

"Wait... Am I dreaming?" she suddenly asks, sounding a bit frightened as she pulls away to gaze at him.

"No. But you were."

"Then... But... I don't understand... Why are you...?"

"Heard you," he mutters, dragging his lips down her neck. Her spine curves inward, her heart beats faster. He can taste her pulse. God, he needs more. "You kept calling my name out," he breathes, inhaling the scent behind her ear. A musky scent that isn't soap, but is Riiko.

"OH. Oh, God." She sounds mortified. "Soshi... Soshi, wait..."

He shakes his head slightly. He doesn't want to wait any longer and she has no reason to be embarrassed, after all; watching her dream about him was damned kinky. He'd love to see it again and again and again and... He never thought he would react this way. He's always so level-headed and calm. But not now.

"Riiko, I love you. I never stopped loving you and I'm tired of waiting."

"I know." She is breathing harder as his head dips lower, his tongue darting out to touch the hollow of her throat, then her collarbone. "I... I love you too, Soshi. More than I ever did. But..."

"But?" He looks up, feeling the age-old irritation welling inside him. Irritation that she still may be longing for a figure instead of a person. That she may be wishing Kronos Heaven will repair Night so that he'll come back to her, even though he can't give her what Soshi can: a life and children and growing old together.

"It... It still feels awkward, sometimes. I think you must despise me, even after all this time," she whispers. "Even after what happened earlier, when I kissed you back, Soshi. Because I wanted you to know then... that I love you."

He doesn't answer, because he sometimes does become angry and jealous for no reason except that she once was infatuated with Night. Instead, he merely kisses her again, and slides on top of her, allowing the bare skin of her stomach to brush his, since he is shirtless and damn it, he needs to feel her against him.


She gasps and arches, pressing against him. The rippling contact sends his brain reeling.

"You were dreaming about me," he reminds her, his voice low and a little strained. "I saw you, Riiko. I heard you. Do you want me? Because I want you. And if I wait too long, you might find someone else. I won't make that mistake twice."

After a couple of seconds, he feels her arms slowly snake their way around his shoulders. She whispers, "I'm scared of losing you, too. I don't want some other girl to take you from me. I already lost one person I loved. And I love you too, Soshi. I loved you both at the same time and it was awful. But now I've got you back, and Night's gone, and I think I've been ready for a while. I don't want to lose you again... But I'm so nervous... And you must think I'm weird for... for dreaming about you."

He can practically feel the heat radiating off of her cheeks from her embarrassment. But his fingers can't stay still; he wants to reassure her and pleasure her all at the same time because she wants him – she really wants him this time. His palm skates up her ribs beneath her shirt to cup her breast; it fills his hand easily and he grits his teeth because his erection actually hurts from wanting to be inside her. Her breathing has become shallower; he rubs his thumb slowly and deliberately over the tight tip, hears her hiss, and he repeats the motion. It is almost too fast, no matter how slowly he tries to take it. No matter that it's been years since he's wanted her. But then she finds his mouth and moves her lips with his and begins to kiss him in earnest. Their contact deepens and he slides against her, rolling his hips to hers, needing the pressure to relieve some of the ache deep down. She tangles her fingers in his hair and he pushes her t-shirt up higher, over her breasts, so they can flatten against his skin and send fire erupting down his body.

She gasps his name again when her nipples rub against his body. He pulls away far enough to pull her t-shirt off completely, over her head, so she's left in only those wet panties and he's in thin sweats that don't really hide what he wants. She wriggles under him, blushing – he touches as much of her as he can: slow and reverent at first, because even though he's known her his whole life, he's never seen her like this before. And the fact that she's letting him do what he's currently doing means that she's going to become his in just a few minutes, and then maybe they can have a real relationship like he's always daydreamed about, and eventually get married and...

Her fingernails scrape down his chest and over his stomach and he bites out her name harshly, all thought evaporating from his brain.

She jumps and swallows. "S-sorry," she whispers.

"No, don't be," he says, his voice strained. "Do it again, Riiko. Please."

She pauses; then does it again. He buries his face against her small shoulder, breathing deep and hard, holding her hips steady with his hands. Nothing should feel so damned good, he thinks.

She giggles suddenly, and his head snaps up.

"What?" he demands, irritated.

Her hands come up and remove his glasses. "They were cutting into my skin," she apologizes gently. "Can you see well enough without them, for this?"

He kisses her hard and she tangles herself around him, the wetness between her legs rubbing against his sweat pants and soaking through. He can't take it much longer; he needs to be inside her, relieving all the pent-up frustration he's had since the beginning of high school.

Her hands slide down his bare back to the waist of his sweatpants; he feels her working them over his hips with soft little groans in her throat as she keeps her mouth fused to his. He pushes to his knees to help her, releasing her body so he can get out of the damned things as quickly as possible. He feels her fingers brush against his erection and he nearly yells; he grabs her wrist and thrusts it above her head to keep her from doing it again. If he's going to come, it's going to be inside her, and they have time later for other things.

She cries his name again and he loves hearing it. Something about the way it falls from her lips makes him want her even more. She says it like she really, reallyneeds him.


God help him; her leg has actually wrapped around his waist in effort to bring him closer to her.

"I... I've never done this," he blurts out, hating himself for actually confessing it. "I don't want to hurt you."

She pulls his jaw down with her fingertips and kisses him sweetly. "You won't, Soshi. You've never hurt me. I just wish I could say the same thing... That I've never hurt you."

He ignores the remark, because it's all going to be better in a moment. He nearly rips the panties off, and she kicks free of them and quickly pulls him back to her. Now completely naked, with a fine sheen of sweat starting to build, he slides his hands between her legs and moans at the feel of the silken wetness that greets his fingers.

"Riiko... I need..."

"I know," she pants, clutching at him. "Please, Soshi...!"

He nods against her shoulder, because he has to bury his face against her to keep control. He opens her with his fingers, slipping through the slick skin, and guides himself inside.

The first inch feels like it may kill him, and he thrusts lightly a couple of times until he's completely within her, completely wet. Her body seems to tighten around him and he takes a shaky breath between gritted teeth. He feels her chest press to his, feels her back arch off of the bed. And then they are suddenly moving together; slowly at first, before speeding up in desperation. She meets every thrust and rolls against him, her head falling back as she groans his name. His lips find her throat, running up the smooth column as he gasps for breath, while his fingers skate up her ribs and across her nipples again. She wraps both legs around his waist and the contact becomes deeper, closer. Sweat builds between them as they work harder, both needing that moment of release when all the tension will snap and they can spiral out of control together.

When it happens (a lot sooner than he wanted), he feels his body relax and float away, his throat sore from actually yelling her name out. His skin is still hot as he sinks against her, and she twitches against him, her arms going limp about his neck as she nuzzles her nose against the bob in his throat, breathing his name with a soft sniffle.

He wakes to a line of sunlight coming in through the curtains, and his first conscious thought is that he doesn't want to move. The blankets are warm and comfortable, and he's happy here.

A second passes before he realizes he's twisted up with Riiko.

Without his glasses (he thinks they're somewhere on the floor, perhaps), everything is a bit blurry. But he can tell that her hair is tousled and cute, her face is relaxed and her body is soft, and her nipples are a dark, pretty pink against the paleness of her skin when he glances beneath the blanket.

Then he swallows, because if he starts thinking about that, they'll be having sex before breakfast. And it's already late in the morning. They must have both been tired last night. But then before breakfast is really a good idea. A damned good idea. He presses his palm gently against her stomach, feeling the softness of her skin, wondering if she'll agree to it.

She stirs after a few more seconds, stretching slightly. The motion sends a little ripple of pleasure up his spine. She relaxes again and her eyes flutter open; she glances at the strip of light from the window and then up at him.

"Soshi?" she whispers.

Fear seems to evaporate off of him. He smiles, bends, and kisses her.

She responds immediately, and his eyes widen in shock.

"Touch me...please?" she moans.

"You just woke up. Are you sure?"

"I had the most amazing dream, Soshi..."

Irritation wells inside of him. "It wasn't a dream!" he snaps.

She giggles and hugs him, rubbing herself against him, causing the irritation to fade as fast as it came. "I know it wasn't. I meant... afterwards." She blushes and glances up at him, her eyes large and doe-like. "After I went to sleep, with you holding me. I dreamed you never let me go. I know that that's not possible...because Night told me the same thing and he reached his lifespan and let go of me... But please don't let go of me, Soshi."

"I don't intend to, Riiko."

"I hope not," she says softly. "I don't want to lose you now."

"What about Night?" The word tastes bitter and unpleasant in his mouth. He doesn't want to bring Night up, but he feels he must. They need to address that issue before this goes any further, he thinks.

She smiles at him – a sad but happy smile at the same time. "Night wanted me to move on, didn't he? Who knows if he'll come back or not? He knew how both you and I felt, or he wouldn't have sent you that letter. I love you, Soshi. I really love you. As much as I ever loved Night. And you're here with me, right now."

He tries not to think about what might happen if Night is revived. They can deal with that if it happens. And maybe it won't.

"I love you too, Riiko."