"Is it your first time?"
-Kuon and Nanaho in Episode 17
Nanaho gritted her teeth and very nearly shouted, "Yes, I will do it! Even if the kiss is with a girl! There's no problem, no problem!"
Kuon eyed Nanaho with sympathy. "Is it your first time?"
Nanaho flushed and turned away. "Don't ask."
"It's nothing to be ashamed of," Kuon said gently. Pink tinged her cheeks as she added, "I haven't either."
"We're only sixteen," Nanaho said defensively.
"And we go to an all-girls boarding school."
"And it's not as if we're shameless Americans like Cindy's mother!"
"She is rather a challenge, isn't she?" Kuon rested her hand on Nanaho's arm, finding it trembling with anger. "But Cindy's not like her mother."
"I know that!" Nanaho snapped, pulling her arm away.
Kuon considered her friend. Nanaho was a girl of high emotions, but also great personal integrity. Once she decided that a task needed to be performed, she would do her best to complete it. This recurring need to talk herself into the upcoming kiss was not like her and Kuon had to admit that she was a little worried. "Is it because Cindy's mother will be watching?"
Nanaho shuddered, but shook her head. Kuon frowned and thought about what she knew about Nanaho. Ah, of course. "It's because it's Cindy, isn't it?" Nanaho pressed her lips shut, but Kuon knew she was correct. "Cindy is a fellow member of the student council and you will do your best for her, but she's not a close friend." Nanaho nodded sharply.
"Well, there is one obvious solution to the problem," Kuon said.
Nanaho looked up with obvious surprise at Kuon's words. "What solution?"
Kuon smiled. "Follow me."
She led them to Nanaho's room, since it had the best security in the building. She'd been there before, of course, so the proliferation of fancy dolls, stuffed animals, and lacy cushions didn't surprise her. Despite this, Nanaho looked as self-conscious as she did any time someone saw her room. There was a reason why it had the most solid door in the dormitory.
Partially to distract Nanaho, partially because they both had parts to play in less than an hour, Kuon went directly to the heart of the matter. "Cindy does not have to be your first kiss."
Nanaho's eyes widened dramatically, then narrowed. "Are you telling me there's a boy in the dorm?"
Kuon sighed. Really, Nanaho could be unnecessarily dense sometimes. "No, of course not." And thank goodness for it. Mayura was still occasionally breaking out in tears over the cost of the projectile missile they'd launched at the last boy who tried to enter the school. "I can't offer you a kiss with a boy, but I can offer you a kiss with a friend." Nanaho still looked undecided, so Kuon gave one last push. "Remember, the purpose of the Gokujou Seitokai is to ensure freedom and fun for all students, including you."
Nanaho hesitated, though Kuon could see she was tempted. "What about you?"
"I find great fun in helping my fellow council members," Kuon said placidly. And if it happened that she also found Nanaho quite handsome in the boys school uniform she was wearing (as part of her disguise as Cindy's boyfriend), well, Kuon was the head of Covert. She knew the value of protecting information.
Nanaho opened and closed her fists a few times. The gesture was so recognizable as her thinking pose that Kuon was forced to blink back an entirely unexpected stinging in her eyes. Nanaho abruptly stood up tall and Kuon knew that the decision had been made even before Nanaho announced, "I'll do it!"
Kuon controlled a smile. This had the potential to be great fun. "Where should we sit?" she asked out loud, glancing over the room and taking in the western-style bed and the western-style sofa. She wasn't surprised when Nanaho immediately went to the sofa.
There was a bit of awkwardness once they were both seated. Privately, Kuon thought she was better equipped emotionally to initiate the kiss, but in less than an hour Nanaho would have to pass herself off as an energetic, experienced, male lover. Certainly Cindy's mother would expect Cindy to wait for her boyfriend to kiss her.
Suddenly Nanaho snapped forward, pressed her lips to Kuon's for the briefest of moments, then jerked back again, her cheeks flaming.
Kuon licked her lips thoughtfully. Short and unexpected, but nonetheless rather nice. Still, she knew Nanaho could do better. "Quite nice," she said. "Though I do have a couple of suggestions."
"Yes," Nanaho said quickly. "Please."
Kuon smiled comfortingly. "Perhaps you could touch my cheek?" Nanaho did so, her hand quite gently cupping the soft curve of Kuon's jaw. Kuon's smile widened just a fraction, and she leaned in to the touch, her eyes locked on Nanaho's.
Without prompting, Nanaho used her free hand to brush a strand of hair behind Kuon's ear, and her fingers lingered on the side of Kuon's neck, just above the pulse point.
"You might go a bit slower," Kuon breathed. "And maybe close your eyes just before your lips touch mine."
"Yes," Nanaho murmured, her head tilting forward and her eyes slowly sliding shut. Kuon closed her eyes as well, to better savor the sensation as Nanaho's warm, mobile lips brushed against her own.
They stayed that way for a moment, then Nanaho was pushing forward again, her nose nuzzling against Kuon's and her mouth moving possessively over Kuon's. Oh, yes, Kuon thought. So lovely. So sweet.
Time suddenly had no meaning, as Kuon and Nanaho explored each other with lips and hands. Nanaho seemed particularly entranced with Kuon's hair; Kuon's hands kept drifting to the soft skin at the nape of Nanaho's neck.
Eventually a need for air forced them apart, but they continued to stare at each other as they sat there gasping on the sofa.
Kuon was the first to remember herself. "The time," she murmured reluctantly. Her words broke the spell between them and Nanaho glanced away at the clock.
"We must go," she said grudgingly.
"It is important," Kuon admitted.
They stood up and moved towards the door. Nanaho's hand grabbed Kuon's just before they stepped outside. "You know, Kuon, it's possible I'll have to go undercover again," she said, diffidently.
Kuon smiled. That would be well within her power to arrange. Especially if... "You feel more practicing may be in order for future missions?"
"Yes," Nanaho said, clearly relieved.
"I'd be quite happy to help," Kuon said.
"For the good of the student council?"
"Yes," Kuon answered. "But also for you."
She leaned up and kissed Nanaho gently on the mouth. Before her friend recovered Kuon was in the hallway, walking in the direction of the baths for the next stage of their deception.
Despite her best intentions, she was completely unable to quell her smile.