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Karma noticed it the day when his smile faltered behind the camera.

 

It had at first been a hilarious idea to him — to whip out his phone and record the moment when Nagisa surprised them all by kissing Kayano in the middle of her battle with Koro Sensei. It had been assumed that Nagisa would go up to her and do, well, something as an attempt to distract her. And distract her he did — but nobody had expected him to kiss her.

 

Now, Karma was never one to miss out on opportunities to make fun of his fellow classmate. Especially not when it was Nagisa doing something so uncharacteristic. It was almost instinct, the way Karma pulled out his phone and held it up capture the kiss, snickering with Nakamura as they pressed the record button.

 

The wind around them roared ferociously, the flames from Kayano’s tentacles flickering fiercely. They cast an orange glow on the kissing couple standing in front of Koro Sensei. Karma’s phone was nearly ripped out of his hands from the sheer magnitude of the wind, but he held it steady enough to focus on Nagisa, chuckling to himself as he did so.

 

Wasn’t it funny, seeing the small, shy boy of Class 3-E be so bold? Yes, yes it was funny, Karma thought.

 

That is, until the two continued to kiss — and kiss, and kiss. Nagisa had kissed her for several seconds already — wouldn’t that be enough to do the trick? He continued to kiss her, as she gripped him tightly, her eyes wide as saucers. It was clear that she was already affected, but nevertheless, Nagisa seemed intent on prolonging the kiss for as long as possible.

 

Karma felt the laughter die slowly and strangely in his throat, as the two stood with their mouths pressed together. It had been seconds, seconds that were starting to feel like minutes, and minutes that were starting to feel like hours. It was as if time had come to a standstill, and yet they were still going at it...

 

Glancing around him to see his classmates’ reactions, Karma saw that many of them were staring in awe at the couple in front of them. Nakamura and a few others were still chuckling.

 

An odd feeling rose inside Karma’s stomach. Why didn’t he find it funny anymore? It hadn’t been that long, he’d gathered from the class’s reactions. At least, it wasn’t as long as he’d thought it to be.

 

The feeling intensified itself, coiling itself into a hard ball that lodged itself in the very pit of his stomach. It made him feel uneasy, a type of feeling that he hadn’t felt before unless he’d been in a dangerous situation. And while this situation might’ve been risky for those involved in the fight, it definitely wasn’t dangerous for Karma.

 

He swallowed, trying to shake off his nerves. He was Akabane Karma, he was not thrown off as easily as this.

 

But the feeling grew as the kiss did, a fiery pit now clawing its way around inside of Karma’s stomach. His grip on his phone loosened, a small frown now etched across his face. He couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from Nagisa, yet that was precisely what was making his stomach churn unnaturally.

 

At last, Nagisa pulled away, as Kayano slumped backward, her face a tomato shade of red. The serpent of a feeling in his throat hissed at her expression, and Karma felt his heart thump. No, it couldn’t be...

 

As the battle drew to a close, he barely kept his focus — his mind was swirling with thoughts of that feeling. What had it been?

 

Luckily, he managed to keep his facial expression controlled and indifferent, as he fixed his eyes on the battle. Although he was looking at Koro Sensei, his mind was someplace else with Nagisa. God, Karma he felt so unlike himself that he felt almost nauseous.

 

Even more fortunately, however, Koro Sensei managed to calm down Kayano, and then the class surrounded him, waiting to hear his backstory. The past of Koro Sensei flooded Karma’s senses and commanded his attention, and he soon forgot all about Nagisa and that weird, awful emotion that had paralyzed him earlier.

By the time Karma actually had time to sit down and think about it, he didn’t really have to think about it.

 

In the aftermath of that night, he came to accept the feeling as something normal. When he saw Nagisa with Kayano, the serpent that had been born the night of the kiss wound itself so tightly that he gripped the edges of his desk hard enough for the wood to dig into his palms. When he saw Nagisa in general, a different kind of serpent slithered inside his stomach — one just as paralyzing, but kinder than the other one.

 

Karma accepted it, because it wasn’t something he could prevent. He had tried, the first few times he’d seen Nagisa after the kiss, but it failed. He’d gotten frustrated at himself, nearly punched a wall, then calmed down and decided not to let it get the best of him. If the feeling was going to persist, then at the very least he wasn’t going to let it show.

 

And, when one night he sat down to properly mull it over, the answer came as simply as taking a breath of fresh air.

 

The serpent accompanying Nagisa and Kayano — that was jealousy. And the one that always managed to pop up with just Nagisa? That was attraction.

 

Yeah. There. He admitted it. Karma was attracted to Nagisa. He liked Nagisa.

 

It didn’t surprise him. Not the fact that it was Nagisa, not the fact that the first person he’d developed feelings for was a boy. In fact, he’d almost seen it coming.

 

Back when he’d stopped being friends with Nagisa, he’d said it was because Nagisa had scared him. And that part was entirely true — Nagisa’s odd ability to surprise him made Karma push him away out of fear. He’d made Karma’s palms sweat, his blood freeze in his veins, his heart beat erratically, but was that all?

 

Because Karma remembered, quite distinctly, several times when his heart had skipped a beat around Nagisa for reasons other than fear. For example, when Nagisa had brushed his hand against Karma’s accidentally when they’d walked after class together one day. Or that other time when Nagisa had looked up at him, the most pleasant smile plastered across his face, with a pink blush sprinkling his cheeks. And then there were all those times when Karma had sensed something different in Nagisa — something surprising, something that, he later would find out, made him an excellent assassin. Those times were scary, and made Karma slightly uncomfortable, but they also held, undeniably, something that was attractive. Nagisa captured his attention, and for that, Karma pushed him away.

 

Karma gritted his teeth, squeezing his fists together tightly. He didn’t like this. He didn’t like feeling attracted to Nagisa — it was something he could accepted, but that didn’t mean he liked it. The thought of being at the mercy of someone who didn’t even know the hold they had over you was one that scared Karma to death. He’d been romance-free all of his life, scaring off nearly every girl who could have even remotely had an interest in him. Perhaps, in hindsight, it was because he knew that he didn’t like girls.

 

God. What a mess.

 

It didn’t matter, though, he finally decided. Nagisa wouldn’t like Karma back because that kiss with Kayano had been too real, too genuine. Karma would just have to put up with it, he would just have to pretend like nothing was wrong, at least until junior high was over.

It was after their paintball fight over whether the class should save or kill Koro Sensei that Nagisa told Karma something that changed everything.

 

They were eating ice cream together, just the two of them. Nagisa had offered, after he’d beaten Karma, and was Karma really going to deny that?

 

It’s sort of like a date, his mind not-so-helpfully supplied, and he inwardly scowled as the two sat down at their table and ordered.

 

A small silence was settled over the table, the two of them each lost in their own thoughts and fatigue. Nagisa was tapping his finger against the table lightly, and the background chatter of the restaurant filled Karma’s ears. It was relaxing to listen too, especially after such an intense battle. All that fighting had taken a bit of a toll on him, though he’d probably never admit it.

 

The bubble of quiet continued to engulf the two boys as the waiter returned with their orders, placing the glass ice cream bowls in front of both of them. Karma picked up his spoon delicately, and, quite ungracefully, began shoveling the ice cream into his mouth. He didn’t look at Nagisa as he did so, otherwise, he would’ve noticed that the latter was staring at him rather intensely, ice cream untouched.

 

He did look up, however, when he heard Nagisa clear his throat. Spoon halfway to his mouth, Karma met Nagisa’s stare, one that held something serious inside of it. It made Karma’s heart stutter just the slightest.

 

Hesitantly, Karma set his spoon back down. “Yes?” He asked.

 

Nagisa didn’t say anything right away, just let his gaze pierce Karma for a few more seconds. Then, sighing, he dropped his eyes back down to the bowl in front of him.

 

“Karma...” He said quietly, not looking up from his bowl. “Can I tell you something?”

 

For a brief moment, Karma felt fear flood his veins. Had Nagisa found out about Karma’s feelings somehow somehow? Had he somehow realized that Karma was uncharacteristically head over heels for him?

 

But he brushed the thought away almost as quickly as it came. Karma was careful, he knew what he was doing. He had done nothing but tease Nagisa like usual, the lilt in his voice ever-present, since he had had his realization, and nobody suspected a thing. He masked his feelings easily and with grace, and with Nagisa, that was no exception.

 

Karma shrugged. “Sure,” He said in response. “Go ahead.”

 

There was a pause. Nagisa sat perfectly still, eyes still trained on his scoop of ice cream.

 

“Don’t... tell anyone, please,” He lifted his head and gave Karma a nervous smile. “What I’m about to tell you.”

 

Karma raised an eyebrow. “I won’t.”

 

And he meant it.

 

Nagisa nodded. The background noises of plates clinking, people talking, children yelling seemed to be growing louder every second that he remained silent.

 

He exhaled softly. Looking at Karma straight in the eye, he spoke firmly and quickly.

 

“I’m gay.”

 

Karma’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head.

 

“What?” Karma blurted. He hadn’t been aware of the way his heart suddenly sped as soon as Nagisa had said that, it felt as if it had been calm one second and pounding the next.

 

It was a quick reaction that Nagisa had. He simply looked at Karma, the confidence in his eyes slowly melting into something resembling doubt. Then, was that... disappointment?

 

“...Never mind.” Nagisa muttered, and started to get up.

 

His eyes weren’t meeting Karma’s anymore. A painful squeezing pierced his chest. The serpent didn’t like this, that much was clear.

 

Barely thinking, Karma reached out and grabbed Nagisa’s arm. Nagisa turned back to face him, his eyebrows lifted in surprise.

 

“Don’t leave,” Karma said. The serpent was hissing in his ear now, telling him not to fuck this up. “I don’t care, or anything.”

 

Lies. You care so much about this.

 

Nagisa flinched a bit at this, and Karma felt himself cringe at how blunt he’d sounded. Letting go of Nagisa’s sleeve, he motioned for Nagisa to sit back down.

 

Hesitantly, a wary look on his face, Nagisa slid into his seat again.

 

“You don’t mind?” He asked cautiously.

 

Karma shrugged, ignoring the faint beginning sparks of excitement begin to ignite within his veins.

 

“I’m not going to shun you or anything, if that’s what you’re worried about.” Karma responded. “I couldn’t care less who you like.”

 

Really, though, the serpent seemed to be screaming in excitement, writhing around inside of his stomach. (In a good way.)

 

Nagisa visibly relaxed when he heard that, his tense shoulders softening. He even offered a small smile to Karma, one that the latter pretended didn’t affect him.

 

“Thank you, Karma...”

 

His voice was so soft that it seemed fragile, as if it were going to break any moment. Karma shot him a grin back, a proper one that wasn’t his usual arrogant smirk. What could he say, he was happy. For both him and Nagisa.

 

Nagisa’s smile turned slightly watery, and a spark of concern wormed its way through Karma’s mind. And then, he noticed the tears that were filling Nagisa’s eyes, and the blush beginning to spread across his cheeks. Evidently embarrassed, Nagisa buried his face in his hands. And then, it dawned on Karma.

 

“Oh?” He grinned devilishly. “What’s this? I’m important enough to you that you’d cry over my approval?”

 

“S-Shut up,” Nagisa shot back, rubbing his eyes frantically.

 

Karma felt a tug at his heart. The serpent was excited, yet somehow calm at the same time. It urged him to do something, to be bold, to be daring, to be Akabane Karma.

 

“Come here,” Karma said, standing up.

 

Nagisa took his head out of his hands, and looked confusedly up at Karma. Tears streaked his face, his mouth pinched into a small circle of worry. It was quite cute.

 

Slowly, as if unsure, he stood up. And Karma wasted no time in pulling Nagisa close, wrapping his arms around him tightly.

 

Nagisa let out a small squeak as Karma gave him what he hoped was a comforting hug — the first ever time they had been this close aside from fighting each other. He was small, and warm, and Karma liked this. It was a simple, honest feeling. He liked this, being so close to Nagisa. He only hoped that Nagisa didn’t hear the pounding of his heart through his jacket.

 

As several seconds passed, the two of them pressed close, he felt Nagisa slowly put his arms around Karma and hug him back. Karma’s heart stuttered, and he felt his face begin to warm. God, could he please not start blushing right now?

 

But it couldn’t be helped. In order to stop blushing, he’d have to let go of Nagisa, and he didn’t want to do that. So he held on, the two of them embracing in the midst of an ice cream shop, the ice cream itself forgotten on the table. It was something oddly intimate for them, but Karma somehow felt that it was right. He only hoped Nagisa felt the same.

 

The spell was broken when Nagisa’s cell phone rang, blasting a cheesy pop song loudly. It startled Nagisa, who jumped a bit in Karma’s arms, and abruptly pulled away.

 

Nagisa was blushing profusely as he searched frantically in his pockets to pull out the ringing phone. Karma watched with amusement, and a warm feeling, as the boy pulled out his phone and turned around, talking loudly into it.

 

Karma didn’t pay attention to what he was saying, his heart feeling warm and red. If this was what love felt like, then why hadn’t he fallen in love earlier?

 

Nagisa hung up the phone, and turned back to face Karma.

 

“Sorry,” He said sheepishly. “That was my mom. I have to get going now.”

 

Karma smiled back lazily, a hint of his usual smirk creeping in. “Go ahead.”

 

Nagisa smiled at him, dug out some money from his pocket, dumped them onto the table, and left while waving goodbye to Karma.

 

As soon as he turned his back, Karma felt a stupid smile spread across his face, and he mimicked the earlier Nagisa, burying his face in his hands.

Knowing that Nagisa was gay changed everything.

 

It meant that Karma had a chance now, no matter how slim. Not that he would actively pursue anything in public, of course. He couldn’t do that, not in the classroom setting where anyone could see. (Certainly not with the gossiping Koro Sensei always on the watch.)

 

But he did small things, just to test the waters. Just to see how much of a chance he really stood.

 

For example, he decided to try something one day when they were walking home together from school.

 

The sky was clear that day, the sun shining down on the two of them, making Nagisa’s eyes sparkle even more than usual. The two of them were talking about that day’s class, just simple chatter, and Karma was basking in that. The simplicity he felt when he was with Nagisa was refreshing.

 

At the start of the conversation, the two had been walking several feet apart, like normal teenage friends. Towards the middle, Karma had begun edging closer, centimeter by centimeter. It was something that came naturally, even though it was planned. When they had nearly reached Nagisa’s house, Karma was so close that when he brushed their shoulders, it wasn’t something that looked out of place.

 

Nagisa jumped to the side at the sudden, brief contact, putting a few centimeters between them again. His eyes were wide, his cheeks a sudden pale pink.

 

“What?” Karma asked teasingly, a smirk lazily growing on his face.

 

“Nothing!” Nagisa squeaked, suddenly speeding up as he began to walk again. Karma matched his pace easily.

 

Karma scoffed. “Nothing, my ass. Something obviously bothered you. Tell me, why’d you jump?”

 

It was a bit cruel, but he enjoyed seeing Nagisa squirm because of his teasing.

 

“You just scared me.”

 

Karma grinned, but accepted the answer, and left the poor boy alone.

The second time Karma tried something, he just couldn’t help himself. Nagisa was just so captivating, even while simply sitting there at lunch, laughing with his friends and talking excitedly. It was endearing, the way his face lit up with happiness when discussing something he was excited about, even more so when his attention was directed towards Karma.

 

So you couldn’t blame him, really, when he reached out and snatched Nagisa’s juicebox right from his hands.

 

Their fingers brushed momentarily, and the serpent hissed in satisfaction. Nagisa looked at him, eyebrows drawn together in confusion.

 

“Karma, what are you doing?”

 

It was nice when Nagisa said his name.

 

“Can I try your juice?” Karma asked, leaning back lazily in his chair and propping his feet up on the table.

 

Nagisa rolled his eyes, but smiled. “You already took it, so I guess so.”

 

“Thanks,” Karma said.

 

He jammed the straw into his mouth, staring intently at Nagisa as he sipped the drink. It didn’t taste like anything special, but the knowledge that Nagisa’s lips has just been on that very same straw, made his heart thump.

 

Nagisa seemed to realize that too, because his eyes suddenly started to widen until they were saucers, and his cheeks began to redden. Cute.

 

Satisfied with that simple reaction, and not wanting to draw too much attention to the pair of them, Karma stopped sipping and put the juice back down.

 

“It tastes... sweet,” He said, grinning.

 

He was sure that, to Nagisa, he was being obvious right then, especially because Nagisa began to blush harder. He doubted anyone else noticed though, too busy stuck in their heteronormative minds and thoughts.

 

“Th-That’s good...” Nagisa stuttered, snatching the juicebox back quickly.

 

Karma shot him another clever smile, and then turned his attention back to the rest of the lunch table.

Nagisa asks him one day, after Karma has been testing things for quite a while now.

 

They’re walking home again, something that is pretty routine for them nowadays. Karma had his arm draped across Nagisa’s shoulders, something he hadn’t tried before at all until that day. Nagisa was accepting it, not making any attempts to brush him off or pull away. It satisfied Karma, and left him with a yearning to be able to do this regularly, as something more than just a friend.

 

“Karma?” Nagisa asked suddenly.

 

Karma hummed in response.

 

“Have you been acting weirdly around me lately because I’m gay?”

 

Well, that caught him off guard. He supposed he hadn’t given it much thought, how he’d come across.

 

“No...” He said slowly. “Is that what it looks like?”

 

Nagisa shrugged, starting to blush again. “It’s just, you’ve been a lot more touchy recently. I’ve noticed that, is all.”

 

Karma stared at the shorter boy thoughtfully, his arm still resting on his shoulders. He observed the way that Nagisa avoided eye contact with him, the pinkness of his cheeks, and the nervousness in his stance. Perhaps he had more of a chance than he’d previously thought.

 

“Maybe I’m just now acting around you how I’ve always wanted to act.” Karma said simply, choosing his words carefully. He said it in his trademark sing-song tone, but he felt it was pretty clear that he meant it seriously.

 

A silence settled itself over them as Nagisa seemingly tried to think of a response. The two of them turned the corner they were walking on, and rapidly approached Nagisa’s house.

 

Slipping his arm off of Nagisa’s, Karma shot him a smile.

 

“Well, I’d better get going!” He said. “Bye, Nagisaaa~”

 

And so, he turned and walked off in the opposite direction, oblivious to the way that Nagisa stared after him with his jaw dropped.

Karma finally snapped.

 

One day, he could hide it just fine, his usual facade concealing his feelings from the rest of the class. And the next, the serpent was seething in his stomach, hissing and prodding him to do something already, something that mattered more than just gentle touches here and there or flirty words that carried almost nothing at all to them.

 

He came out in what was probably the most assholeish way possible.

 

He had been sitting with Okajima, Sugino, Maehara, and Nagisa in the classroom, savoring the last few moments before Koro Sensei would walk in and instruction would begin. They — except for Nagisa and Karma, of course — had been discussing what was most teenage boys’ favorite topic: girls.

 

The three of them babbled on and on about the girls in their class, about which was the prettiest, which was the cutest, which they wanted to date the most. It was cute and all, but it was so shallow it made Karma want to puke. He couldn’t care less about the romance between the boys and girls in the class. There was only one he cared about, and that was the (nonexistent) one with him and Nagisa.

 

Karma rolled his eyes as Okajima chattered endlessly about his desperateness, and finally, when he was in the middle of discussing Kanzaki, he lost it.

 

“Ah, it must be so hard to be as painfully straight as all of you obnoxious heterosexuals.” He said in his usual condescending tone, a patient smile carefully placed on his face.

 

Nearly immediately, Okajima stopped talking, and turned to gape at Karma. The rest of them widened their eyes, staring at him as if he were some ugly, foreign creature. Nagisa, in particular, was staring so intensely at Karma that he felt small beads of sweat begin to form on his forehead, but he decided not to acknowledge that.

 

Pretending to examine his fingernails, he smirked at them.

 

“What?” He asked mockingly. “If any of you have got a problem with me, I’ll beat you up.”

 

The four of them continued to gape, silent as Karma decided to make a swift exit, getting up and walking over to his desk. The bell rang, and the other students began to rush to their respective seats, except for the group of boys Karma had been sitting with. They all simply stared as Karma shot them an arrogant grin and a wave, plopping down in his seat.

 

Koro Sensei entered, told the boys to go to their seats, and class commenced as usual.

 

Karma tried to ignore the nervous hissing of the serpent in his chest, but it was hard when Nagisa kept shooting him curious glances every ten minutes.

After class ended, Karma met Nagisa outside of the schoolroom, as he usually did. He felt the eyes of the other boys on his back, but he ignored it. In a way, it felt freeing to let some people know.

 

As he started walking with Nagisa, he pretended as if nothing happened. They meandered their way along in quiet silence, the air crackling with unspoken words and tension. Karma ignored it.

 

It was Nagisa who spoke first.

 

“Karma... About what you said earlier...” He said hesitantly.

 

The serpent began squirming around in Karma’s stomach again, beginning to scramble his insides.

 

“What about it?” He replied nonchalantly.

 

It was kind of amazing, really, how good he was at acting composed.

 

“What did you mean by it?”

 

The two were walking close together, sort of a habit now. Karma felt that in this specific circumstance, maybe it was a bit awkward.

 

“I dunno,” Karma said. “What did you think I meant by it?”

 

Way to skirt around actually saying it, the serpent seemed to tell him.

 

Nagisa sighed. “I’m not really in the mood for your games, Karma. If you were making fun of me, just say it and go.”

It surprised Karma a bit to hear that. (But that was just Nagisa for you, wasn’t it? Always full of surprises.) The serpent sneered at him for being cruel.

 

Karma turned his head lazily to meet Nagisa’s eyes. “I wasn’t making fun of you.” He said slowly.

 

His voice was honest and raw, devoid of its usual condescending lilt. They maintained eye contact as the wind swirled around them, ruffling Nagisa’s hair. Seeing his hair swept up so prettily made Karma want to do something rash.

 

“In case you haven’t figured it out already,” He continued. “I’m gay too.”

 

Nagisa’s eyes widened, but only a little. Karma figured that he wasn’t surprised. He figured that most people, probably, weren’t surprised. It was fitting, for a guy like him, who had seemingly no interest in girls.

 

The serpent didn’t wait for Nagisa to respond. It slithered about frantically inside of him, urging him to stop being a coward, to man up and be the confident boy he’d always been, and Karma clenched his fists unconsciously.

 

Should he? The thought flitted through his mind so briefly, that he wanted to ignore it. He tried to ignore it. But he couldn’t, not when his veins felt like they were about to pop if he didn’t... If he didn’t...

 

“Ah... Another thing.” Karma said, although it was more like the serpent was speaking.

 

Don’t back out now, It hissed.

 

I won’t, He thought in response.

 

Nagisa was looking at him curiously, eyes still slightly wide after hearing Karma’s previous statement. His stare was soft, and the kindness inside them fueled the flames dancing inside Karma’s stomach.

 

Flashing a smile, he said, “I like you.”

 

Nagisa’s eyes widened, wider than Karma had ever seen them before, and the red that filled his cheeks was as bright as the fire eating away at Karma’s heart. It was cliché to say that time came to a standstill, but in his world, it really did. The wind that was blowing seemed to stop blowing, the sounds of the animals in the forest around them seemed to fade away, and the world seemed to revolve, if only for a moment, on the two boys facing each other on a beat down path.

 

Karma’s heart was still one minute, but now, as expected, it was beating. It was beating faster than it had ever been, faster than when he’d realized his feelings for Nagisa, faster than when Nagisa had come out to him, faster than when he’d teased Nagisa relentlessly to fuel his own (not so) hopeless crush, faster faster faster.

 

The serpent seemed to be having some kind of seizure inside of him, twisting his guts around and squeezing his heart painfully to try and keep it from beating out of his chest. It was shrieking, shrieking with nervousness and anxiety and — and, well, hope.

 

It wasn’t too far off to believe that Nagisa could like him back, was it? He responded so sweetly and so embarrassingly every time that Karma did something. That couldn’t mean nothing, could it?

 

But the silence from Nagisa, and the stare, made it pretty clear that it could.

 

Although Karma was sure that his expression was the same as it had been moments before, confident and arrogant and relaxed, his body felt like it had been twisted inside out within a matter of seconds. His chest hurt, his throat hurt, his eyes hurt, although they weren’t beginning to sting. If Nagisa left him hanging any longer, Karma honestly felt that he just might die.

 

“A-are you serious?” Nagisa choked out. His tone was cautious, and Karma might have been imagining it, but it sounded slightly hopeful as well.

 

Karma nodded. If he spoke, he was worried that his expression would falter, and that his true thoughts would show through his face.

 

Nagisa still didn’t believe him, though, Karma could see that clearly in his eyes.

 

“Stop kidding with me, Karma.” Nagisa muttered, turning away from him, sounding a bit hurt.

 

Well, that was good, wasn’t it? If he was hurt at the thought that Karma was playing with his feelings... It might mean that...

 

The serpent caught wind of his next thoughts, and it paused its shrieking to hiss at him in horror.

 

Don’t do it, It urged. You’ve manned up enough already. It’s too sudden.You could regret it if you do.

 

But Karma, for the first time, brushed those words away. He didn’t live with regrets. If he wanted something, he would try for it. After all, that’s what fighting was for him.

 

He grabbed Nagisa’s shoulder, and spun him around to face him. Nagisa’s mouth opened slightly in shock when he saw the look in Karma’s eyes — it was determination.

 

Gripping Nagisa’s chin in his fingers lightly, Karma tilted Nagisa’s head upwards. He could see the realization dawning in Nagisa’s eyes, but Nagisa didn’t pull away. Karma took that as a sign to keep going.

 

Not giving himself the time to think twice, not allowing the serpent to possess him anymore, he leaned down and swiftly pressed his mouth against Nagisa’s.

 

Nagisa let out a small squeak, but he didn’t push Karma off. His hands hovered awkwardly around Karma’s waist, as Karma kissed him as sweetly as he’d done in his daydreams.

 

Karma had closed his eyes the moment his lips touched Nagisa’s, so he didn’t see the moment when softness filled Nagisa’s gaze, followed immediately by his eyelids fluttering shut. However, he did feel the moment when Nagisa gripped Karma’s waist with intensity to rival Karma’s hold. He did feel the moment when Nagisa began to kiss him back, his soft lips quelling the harsh movements of the serpent within him.

 

Karma felt like crying out with relief in that instant, and somehow managed to kiss him even more fervently. Nagisa responded by reacting similarly.

 

The serpent inside of Karma’s stomach slowed, slowed down until it stopped and rolled up into a coil. Settling down in the pit of his stomach, it fell asleep, tamed at last.

When Karma pulled back, because he needed to breathe properly, he felt dizzy. He couldn’t help the delighted grin that spread across his cheeks, the one that grew wider when he saw the smile plastered on Nagisa’s face.

 

“Do you believe me now?” Karma asked, feeling his smirk creep through.

 

Nagisa blushed, nodded, and quick as a snake, pulled Karma in for another kiss.