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Ririka’s face burned with embarrassment. She smoothed out the asymmetrical blazer she was wearing. Behind her, Sayaka’s deft hands wove her platinum hair into even braids. Despite the outward appearance she was assuming, Ririka currently possessed none of the confidence nor charisma her younger sister naturally exuded on a daily basis. 

 

“Really, Kirari?” Ririka resisted the urge to plaster her hand to her face at what her sister would be parading around in across school grounds shortly. “My bunny costume? While you're posing as me?”

 

A smug grin hovered over Kirari’s subtly curled lips. The younger Momobami leaned over her desk on her forearms, giving her sister and her secretary an eyeful of her attire from the side as she pushed up her glasses. The one-piece pink suit accentuated her curves, hugging her breasts before dipping and cutting a slope past her lower back, revealing a vast swath of alabaster skin to the naked eye. Strip club-appropriate fishnets that framed black diamonds onto her pale skin replaced school-appropriate stockings. A set of bunny ears atop Kirari’s head completed the ensemble; they flopped and wobbled as Kirari cocked her head and shot a knowing look at her secretary. 

 

The hands fixing Ririka’s hair faltered. The sound of a strangled, audible gulp being choked down quickly followed. 

 

Ririka merely buried her face in her hands and let out a strangled sob. She could not have been put on this earth for this. 

 

“What’s wrong? You’ve worn this outfit many times, haven’t you?” Kirari questioned condescendingly, tossing her loose hair back. Memories of Ririka’s burger stunt remained as fresh as the crisp lettuce her sister had crunched on yesterday. “Sayaka betted that you wouldn’t go through with the burger eating– and technically you didn’t. Yomozuki credited your victory to me since you assumed my image– so thank you for helping me ensure that the 106th student council president won’t bear the surname of Burgerbami. ”

 

Ririka opened and closed her mouth, doing her best arowana impression. A proper counter eluded her. 

 

“It’s okay, vice-president, she will be wearing your mask. Your image will remain the same.” Sayaka soothed calmly as she looped the vice-president’s platinum braid into a perfect wreath, roping it off with a black ribbon. “Mary Saotome will not notice that it isn’t you during the scavenger hunt.”

 

A piece of Ririka’s soul died at the secretary’s words. That was it. That was precisely the problem. Ririka had no issues running around in a bunny costume with her mask on. What cranked her anxiety up to eleven and caused her to lose sleep last night was the idea of her sister wearing the bunny suit costume and posing as her while doing god-knows-what. In Mary Saotome's presence, no less! The last time Kirari had worn her mask and taken liberties, havoc ensued and none of the students ever looked at Ririka quite right again; whisperings about her being able to talk to lions, tigers, and bears through harp strumming abounded for weeks thereafter. 

 

“Sayaka’s right,” Kirari grinned proudly. Since when was Sayaka ever wrong in Kirari’s eyes? “And don’t look so down, Ririka. I’ll make sure that no harm comes to Mary Saotome, so as long as you treat Sayaka right when I entrust her in your care.” 

 

Ririka’s eyes widened. “Kirari, no, don’t–”

 

“It’s only fair, is it not?” Kirari stood up and stretched. The grin now stretched from ear-to-ear as she took in Sayaka’s dazed appearance. “Besides, Sayaka wanted to see me in this– isn’t that right, Sayaka?” 

 

Sayaka relinquished Ririka’s other braid. “I’m done,” she choked out, backing away and slinking away to the couch. Sure enough, every inch of the secretary’s skin was a shade of blistering red as she sat down. The redness somehow grew in intensity as Kirari casually sashayed over with six-inch red stiletto pumps strapped to her feet. She regarded Sayaka with a devious smile behind her hand, eyes burning an electric blue.

 

Without any further warning, Kirari leaned forward and planted her hands on her secretary’s shoulders while nudging a leg between Sayaka’s. A flustered squawk emitted from her helpless secretary as she fell back on the couch. With Sayaka’s nose inches away from pronounced cleavage, Kirari whispered softly, with heavy lashes. “I’ll be back in a bit, Sayaka. Could you please wait for me here?”

 

Between the haze of Kirari’s peach scented perfume and the closeness of exposed skin, Sayaka fumbled for her brain cells. Should Kirari move any closer, Sayaka was certain that her head would combust. Any closer and she would not be able to maintain control of her gaze.

 

“An– any– anything you say, President!” came the squeak of affirmation accompanied by eyelids squeezing shut. What did Kirari ask about again?

 

To Sayaka’s mortification, move closer Kirari did, her long silvery hair forming a curtain between them and the world outside as she pressed her glossless lips against atop Sayaka’s head. “Be good for me, okay?” Kirari murmured, cupping her girlfriend's cheek before sliding her index along the length of her jaw. She ignored her sister audibly gagging in the background. Her other hand removed the glasses she wore and tucked them in Sayaka’s breast pocket. Giggling lightly as a fond smile made its way to her bare lips, Kirari withdrew and breathed airly, “So adorable.” 

 

With tears in her eyes and pieces of her brain on the floor, Sayaka short-circuited. 

 


 

Students congregated on the grassy knoll where the burger-eating contest had taken place a day before. Gone were the tables, though the platform still remained. A few members of the election committee milled about, waiting for the scavenger hunt to start.

 

Yet it was all so very far away from Kirari Momobami. 

 

The Momobami heir leaned against the brick exterior, sighing in relief. Sayaka had been right about those six-inch death dagger stilettos currently strapped to her feet: they were going to be the death of her as she trekked across the school to meet Mary. She wasn’t going to meet her end by some Inbami poison nor have her windpipes crushed by a Honebami fist. 

 

The mask, thankfully, allowed her to freely make all the pained expressions her face could muster. And made them all she did. The younger Momobami twin had gone through the phases of lip biting, eye twitching, and general wincing. 

 

Queued next in her expressions of misery list: Channelling her beloved secretary by screwing her eyes shut while they teared in the corners.

 

Ugh… Sayaka– she could be spending time with Sayaka instead. 

 

This truly was a mistake of apocalyptic proportions. 

 

Her hair ruffled as a herd of students stampeded past her. Some turned their heads curiously, but all carried on– except for one. Rough hands grabbed Kirari’s shoulders, shaking her, the world now a dimmed blonde blur. Only the sound of a familiar, defiant voice stopped her from wrenching the wrists away from her body.

 

“Ririka, what– WHY? What are you wearing– oh, God.” 

 

The masquerading Momobami twin intoned, slightly dizzy. “Burger bet.” Kirari’s fingertips graced the white carbon fiber material on her face, ensuring that it didn’t get knocked askew in Mary’s… enthusiasm. How on earth did Ririka put up with this uncouth mutt? 

 

“I– of course.” Mary sighed, planting a hand on her temple and pushing her bangs back. No perfect crime went unpunished, as Ririka could attest to right now. Guilt welled up within her. After all, it was her, Mary Saotome, who had convinced Ririka to take on the bet after her poor girlfriend had come to her for refuge. 

 

Behind the mask, Kirari fought the sensation of ants crawling up and down her exposed skin. She didn’t need her glasses to feel Mary’s gaze rake across her entire body. 

 

Kirari blinked, correcting herself. Not ‘her’ body. Technically this was Ririka’s body so as long as Mary didn’t figure out the swap. Still, she had to play her part as her sister. 

 

“S– s– stop staring!” Kirari stammered, face heating up under the mask. Hearing her own voice being so demur sent pangs of embarrassment through her barely covered chest. 

 

The blonde brought her hand up to her nose, swiping it. It came away without blood. “I– Yeah– sure– but how do you expect me to not stare when you’re wearing that?”

 

Kirari’s mind raced. It was at that precise moment she realized her second mistake.

 

Kirari Momobami had no idea what her sister’s relationship with Mary Saotome precisely was. 

 

“I– You–” The president fumbled under the safety of white carbon fiber. Would Ririka continue to be indignant? Would Ririka acquiesce to being ogled at by Mary? Which hand should Kirari even play? Was there an appropriate reaction that would be suitable for all situations that didn’t come off as ‘odd’ in Mary’s eyes?

 

Internally, Kirari prayed for guidance.

 

What would Ririka do?

 

Sensing her girlfriend’s fretfulness, Mary puffed exasperatedly. Ririka was honestly so weird sometimes. Cute, shy, but honestly crossing into the territory of being a certified freak. Guilt still ate at Mary Saotome, however. 

 

“Yeah, so, uh… come here.” Mary stuck out her hand out, beckoning for ‘Ririka’ to take it. “Let’s, um, just try to have a good time with this scavenger hunt thing. I think your freak bitch of a sister’s using your entire Happy Meal figure collection and we’re supposed to try and ‘catch them all’.”

 

Kirari didn’t even have the energy to prime a snappy retort at the name calling. Her eyes remained fixated on the blonde’s hand as uncertainty wracked her mind. Dread pooled in her stomach. “Catch ‘the most’,” Kirari corrected hollowly through the voice modulator. It was a futile attempt to distract herself at the impending contact. With the nauseating sensation bubbling in her chest, Kirari slipped her hand in Mary’s. 

 

A part of her soul withered away at the contact, swept away by an laughably convenient burst of wind that rustled her hair. 

 


 

“Why are they holding hands?” Sayaka nearly convulsed out of her chair in the campus security closet, the veins in her temple pulsating with agitation. Multiple monitors lined the walls, playing low-resolution renderings of various places on campus. “And where are they going?” 

 

“Why do you and Kirari hold hands?” Ririka replied dryly. Unlike her sister, she simply had no tolerance for questions such as these. She picked idly at the burger Kirari kindly left behind for her. Nothing looked and smelled less appetizing than the scent of reheated onions and beef with buns serving as grease sponges.

 

Realization dawned on Sayaka, her mouth going slack and forming a small ‘o’. She couldn’t help but blurt in surprise. “You and Mary Saotome?”

 

Ririka slumped against the cold, metal table she shared with her sister’s girlfriend and pushed the burger plate toward Sayaka. The chill of steel against her cheek brough temporary relief. Dressed as her younger sister right now, Ririka made a play that she assumed her younger sister would typically make: feeding the secretary. “Did you eat lunch, by the way?” Ririka asked in an attempt to change topics. 

 

Sayaka stared dubiously at the mistakes of the past day. “I’m okay.” She nudged the plate back toward the vice-president, causing the latter to wrinkle her nose in disdain.

 

“Are you certain?” 

 

The younger girl reached into her blazer pocket and fished out a trusty meal replacement bar, wordlessly unwrapping it. Violet eyes searched the monitors for her girlfriend, completely disregarding the facsimile that was in her presence right now. “I’m alright," Sayaka rejected politely, "You should eat it. Burgers are your favorite, are they not?”

 

With a thousand yard stare in her aquamarine eyes, Ririka spoke, her voice weighed down with years of torment and suffering at the hands of those around her. “They used to be.” 

 


 

As Hyakkaou's unlikely duo traversed the school grounds at a snail’s crawl, Mary asked with a sigh, “Do you really want to do the whole scavenger hunt thing?”

 

Tears hovered at the edges of Kirari’s eyes as she involuntarily squeezed Mary’s hand. She had been treating the blonde’s hand similar to how a pregnant woman would use her spouse’s hand during labor. “Not really,” she gasped. The mask modulated it into a deathly wheeze. 

 

"Then you wanna... bounce as usual?" Mary winced at the bone-crushing grip. “Also, will you chill with your hand already? I’m not going anywhere, you know.”

 

“Sorry.” Kirari bit out another death wheeze, loosening her infamous death grip. A soft sigh escaped her lips, adding to the depressive air hovering like a cloud above them despite the sunny weather. 

 

Being Ririka was, indeed, suffering seven days a week. Every bench they passed taunted at her. Every grassy knoll ate away at her soul. Prime ass-estate abounded, yet she couldn’t take a seat anywhere. In her delirium, she nearly crashed into Mary Saotome. 

 

Kirari asked, “Why’d we stop?”

 

“Badge us in.” Mary gestured at the door. 

 

Too enervated to argue, Kirari fished for her keycard from between the valley of her cleavage, ignoring the bulging amber eyes beside her. The reader beeped before flashing green. ‘Ririka’ all but collapsed upon the door handle, forcing it to swing open with a soft creak. 

 

Kirari squinted as the door clicked shut behind them. The band room they arrived at was seldom used, having been deprecated in favor of a larger music hall that opened recently. Instruments sat in orderly rows, all enshrouded by dust covers. Spare chairs stacked like towers toward the ceiling, but what was most enticing was the couch resting near the window. 

 

Like a woman dying of thirst, ‘Ririka’ staggered toward the promise of soft cushions encased by aged leather. She exhaled a long breath of relief as she finally sat down, making a mental note to never take any chair for granted ever again. 

 

“Well, we're alone now.” Mary declared, plopping down in one of the most unlady-like manner Kirari Momobami has ever witnessed, knees shoulder-width apart and skirt riding up to Mary’s mid-thigh. "You can take your mask off.” 

 

Further observations ceased shortly. All Kirari saw was the blonde’s hand reaching for her face. The next thing she knew, the mask had vanished. A good proportion of surprise coloring Kirari’s face was genuine, though she quickly forced herself to look bashful and uncertain, dipping her head and taking great interest in the black leather of the couch. 

 

That view didn’t last long, however, being replaced by one of Mary’s knees. Once again, Kirari Momobami struggled to process what exactly was going on as hands pressed against her shoulders, pushing her back against cushion. Widened blue eyes met the lens of a CCTV camera tucked away near a corner.

 

They had an audience. Namely the secretary and the vice-president.

 


 

Ririka had no eardrums left.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK IS SHE DOING?” Sayaka Igarashi frothed at the mouth as she stood up, palms slamming against the table. Two dents divoted the metal surface when she clenched her fists. Her eyes were no longer a brilliant violet; they were the brightest and vibrant shade of green jealousy. “WHERE THE HELL IS SAOTOME’S HAND GOING?”

 

Beside the secretary, Ririka buried her face in her hands. Now she understood what Kirari meant when she had said that she ‘did not want to see’.

 

“This is unbelievable.” Sayaka seethed, leaning forward and exposing the pulsating tendons that ran down her neck, from her jaw and out-of-sight underneath her collar. Her left eye twitched while her face turned into the angriest saturation of red Ririka had ever witnessed. If Sayaka’s outburst over Jabami had been bad, this was easily a hundred times worse. 

 

“Easy, Igarashi… Kirari wouldn’t let Mary–”

 

On screen, Mary pulled her hair loose from her ribbons and leaned down.

 

“– kiss her,” Ririka feebly finished as she braced herself for ruptured ear drums all over again.  

 


 

Kirari turned her face abruptly, dodging Mary’s lips and letting the blonde’s face fall into the crook of her neck. Her heart pounded in her chest– not out of desire, but rather out of sheer panic. She felt Mary sniff at her neck like a golden retriever and her spine stiffened in panic against the leather. 

 

God, Sayaka would never sniff that loudly. Sayaka had class unlike this mutt. Sayaka was a blueblood, hailing from perfectly fine stock. 

 

Ririka’s girlfriend pulled back, frowning. The scent wasn’t familiar, but it wasn’t unfamiliar either. Something about it teased at buried memories. “Are you okay, Ririka? You were more… aggressive than this a few days ago.”

 

“Wha– what?” Kirari wasn’t answering Mary’s question. Her eyes widened ever-so-slightly as she mentally conducted a few calculations. 

 

The election had started roughly three weeks ago, which happened to be the same time she had Ririka begin tailing Mary Saotome. Prior to that, Kirari was fairly positive that Saotome had given all of the student council members a wide berth, her older twin not being an exception. Rin had fallen at her sister’s hands about a week ago… and now Saotome had the gall to try and slip a hand under her clothes?

 

The Momobami heir’s face blanched at the thought of her sister and... this... this mutt rutting in various places on campus. 

 

Good God, Ririka Momobami moved fast. It took Kirari years to confess to Sayaka. Her sister truly lacked manners not only at the dinner table, but in matters of courtship as well. Where were the grandiose gestures of love? Where were the fervent glances, the teases, the touches? Experiencing the full chase of romance made the end result worth it. 

 

Ririka was truly uncouth at the core. No wonder she had taken to Saotome so quickly.

 

Kirari shook her head. “I’m sorry, Mary. Perhaps another time?” Disarmed, ‘Ririka’ fought to shoot a neutral smile at her, all the while doing her best to superimpose Sayaka’s face over the blonde's. No amount of mental bleach nor therapy would make her head right ever again. Some actual bleach might come in handy in sanitizing the furniture and ridding them of commoner's germs. 

 

Frowning, Mary pressed their temples together. Amber and aquamarine met as the blonde sniffed again. Something wasn’t entirely on point and it– 

 

Ambers widened.

 

Aquamarines narrowed.

 

Peaches. 

 

An arowana swam by in both of their minds.

 

A leg between her knees. A hand grasping at her jaw. An offer to join the student council.

 

A brief beat passed as reality crashed upon the blonde.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK?” Mary tumbled off the couch as if Sayaka Igarashi had unleashed the full force of her military-grade taser upon her body. She spasmed. Her trembling hands ran up and down her blazer in an attempt to comfort herself.   

 

Schooling her face into a neutral mask, Kirari scooped up Ririka’s from the ground and fixed it with a look of disdain. “Glad you figured things out there, Saotome.”

 

With the pain of her feet a distant memory, the Momobami heir made her escape. 

 


 

By the time Sayaka had made it to the old band room, Mary Saotome had vanished. That didn’t deter the secretary as she pressed on. Hallway after hallway she stalked, floor after floor she traversed through Hyakkaou’s labyrinth of a campus. Her dark hair swayed aggressively as she strong armed through the crowds. News had spread quickly that Sayaka Igarashi was a woman on the hunt. Those who tried to curry favor with the student council easily forked over the blonde’s whereabouts to the secretary.

 

With the fury of fifty storms burning in her eyes, Sayaka threw open the double doors. All heads in the room turned to her attention while hers swiveled like a camera on a killer robot. Sure, they had all witnessed an outburst here and there by the diminutive secretary, but otherwise, Sayaka’s demeanor defaulted to being passive and neutral– uncaring. Never had they witnessed her this infuriated: fists clenched, veins on her forehead and neck alike threatening to erupt out of her skin. 

 

“You!” Sayaka seethed, teeth grinding angrily as her eyes locked on her target. Like a homing missile, she rapidly erased the gap between her and the flabbergasted blonde. 

 

“Me?!” Mary pointed to herself, affront scrawled all over her features, eyes wide with incredulity. 

 

“Yes, you!” Unforgiving fervor danced in Sayaka’s violet eyes. Her hand darted out, grabbing a fistful of Mary’s chest. “Are you deaf, Mary Saotome?” Sayaka echoed the President’s sentiments from yesterday. 

 

Mary leapt back, slapping the invading hand that had latched onto her chest, both in shock at Sayaka’s audacity and at how much of her chest Sayaka was able to seemingly cop out of her meager offerings while Yumeko giggled in the background. “Get your hand off of me, damn it!”

 

“Don't play innocent,” Sayaka scowled. “I saw you lean in toward the president– you– you kissed her!”

 

The blonde swiveled on the spot, noting the rather sizeable crowd that had accrued in their extremely public confrontation. Mary pushed aside her own trauma and countered, “Oh, is that what this about, you peeping Tom? For the record, I didn’t kiss her on the lips and she was wearing a mask! You can’t expect me to tell them apart–”

 

“That’s not an excuse!” Sayaka blurted, immediately blanching as she revisited images of intimacy that Kirari should (in Sayaka’s extremely modest opinion) never have with another person. “And what do you mean you can’t tell the President and Vice-President apart?! They’re entirely different people!” Kirari’s aquamarine eyes were so much softer, yet just a shade darker than Ririka’s in the dark; her smile so much kinder and more patient; more loving and tender were her touches–  

 

“Sayaka,” Mary snapped, reattracting the daydreaming girl's attention. “They're twins. They have the same face, the same hands, the same body–”

 

The air shifted imperceptibly. Sayaka’s eyelid twitched visibly. A soulless glaze swept all the empathy from violet eyes, leaving behind an emotionless haze charged by a dangerous curl of her lips.

 

That was it. 

 

That was the last straw. 

 

The final line for Sayaka had been irrevocably crossed. Nothing could quell the rage in her chest. “And you would know that they have the same body because…?” She coldly led, eyes daring Mary to elaborate. Her hackles rose.

 

Mary’s eyes widened and her face reddened in record time. Ririka would absolutely slaughter her if she went around spilling the dirty details of their relationship. “I don’t have to answer you, you bitch!”

 

Sayaka wound her right arm, ready to slap the blonde out of Mary Saotome when a purple sucker thrusted itself in front of her face. She flinched back, not wanting any sort of sugary stickiness on any part of her skin. “Out of my way, Yomozuki!” She growled, glaring at the smaller girl.

 

“Sayaka, you of all people should know that violence is strictly prohibited,” Runa reminded with a dark glint in her eyes, flashing her extra sharp canines. The sucker disappeared back into her mouth for a second before she nudged it to the back and crunched on it with her molars.

 

The secretary’s chest rose and fell visibly with each incensed breath, but she dropped her arm back to her sides. “If you have a better alternative, then spit it out.” 

 

“Calm down, Sayaka. I’m supposed to be busy overseeing election matches, but I’ll make an exception this time around.” Runa wedged herself between the two second-years, furry ears flopping. Both parties immediately stepped back to give the election gremlin room. Who knew what lived on that fur coat?

 

“Get on with it.” Impatience wrinkled Mary’s words, putting her temporarily on the same side as the secretary.

 

“All right, all right, yeesh.” Apparently both Momobami twins have a thing for short-tempered women. Runa closed her eyes, feigning exasperation and shrugged. “Since Sayaka here seems to want to get up close and personal and put her hands on you–”

 

That sounded so very, very wrong. Sayaka shivered and shuddered in disgust. Touching Mary Saotome would probably be like placing her hands on a dirty golden retriever. “Yomozuki. Could we please not?”

 

“Right, my bad! That’s reserved for the President– who both of you are seemingly after.”

 

“YOMOZUKI!” 

 

“I DON’T WANT THE PSYCHOTIC BITCH!”

 

Mary and Sayaka both snapped in unison, faces flushing simultaneously. They exchanged heated glares.

 

Runa chortled heartily. “Yeah, yeah, okay! Anyway, as I was saying, as since Sayaka here really wants to take a few swings at ya, why don’t we make it a good ‘ol fighting match? Whattya two say, huh? To make it a gamble, we can have the students place bets on the two of ya and make it into a festival event.”

 

Without seemingly any hesitation, Sayaka replied, “I’ll do it!”

 

“I don’t have to do anything,” Mary Saotome stated flatly. “Unless I can bet on myself and increase the number of votes I have in my possession, I’ll gain absolutely nothing from this.” 

 

“You just have no sense of honor and no sense of shame for what you did!” Sayaka screeched in a manner that would make a banshee proud, ponytail swinging wildly as she gesticulated at Mary. Rage completely consumed her tiny frame. 

 

Mary scowled. Her eyes sized the secretary up: scrawny legs hidden by a prudish skirt, a blazer that hung on her small shoulders, thin fingers and a jawline that could probably cut diamonds– did Kirari Momobami even bother feeding her? In Mary’s eyes, Sayaka may as well have been a sack of bones– an extremely pissed off sack of bones. To cap it all off, there were those scratches on her face courtesy of Miri– how dangerous could Sayaka be if she couldn’t defend against someone who barely reached her chin?

 

“Scared? Of you, Igarashi?” Mary scoffed and laughed. She could take Sayaka on, so long as tasers did not make an appearance. Come to think of it, Mary had never seen Sayaka deal with anyone successfully without the taser in her fist. That and her reputation as the president’s right hand girl insulated her from all the nonsense normal Hyakkaou students had to endure. 

 

“What other reason do you have for rejecting me?” Sayaka’s eyes gleamed with determination. Then, borrowing a page from Kirari’s book, she tilted her head up and looked down at Mary, “But it’s okay, I didn’t expect someone without class nor status to understand anything about honor anyway.”

 

A vein on Mary’s forehead pulsed as she saw nothing but red. “Excuse me? What did you say, you skinny bi–”

 

“Then fight me.” The secretary reiterated evenly. “Fight me.”

 


 

“Igarashi took off.” Ririka shot an exhausted look at her twin the moment the latter staggered into the room. The older twin had given up trying to be Kirari Momobami despite her appearance. There really was no point anymore. 

 

Kirari visibly drew back, stunned. Sayaka never went against her wishes. This was a first. “Where did she go?”

 

Ririka merely pointed at one of the CCTV monitors. Sayaka’s arm beckoned wildly toward Mary in challenge. Kirari inched closer to the screen, pulling out a chair and sitting down. “What’s going on?”

 

The gambling gods answered. Another screen, one normally used to keep tabs on election results and announce matches alike flickered to life. Silently, both twins digested the information presented. They exchanged glances. Under the dim artificial lighting, what Ririka found in Kirari’s eyes was unprecedented: true, genuine fear. She imagined her own eyes must've held similar sentiments. 

 

Twenty-to-one odds in favor of Saotome– this wasn’t going to be a brawl. This was going to be a slaughter.

 

A solemn silence reminiscent to ones that lingered at funerals hung in the air. 

 

“She’s going to get destroyed," Ririka finally croaked.

 

“We have to go. There’ll be a death if we don’t.” Kirari's tone left no room for argument as she hurriedly threaded her arms into one of her spare blazers laying about. 

 


 

The regrets of thirty-two burgers still weighed her down as Ririka sprinted down the vaunted halls of Hyakkaou Academy, futilely attempting to keep up with Kirari and her Segway. How Kirari was managing to balance on that contraption in her heels without running straight through a wall or committing vehicular manslaughter blew her mind. Ririka suspected the same diety who granted her the ability to wolf down those burgers yesterday may have had a hand in it. 

 

“Ki… ra… ri… wait!” Ririka panted, reaching out with a sleeved arm as she braced herself against a pillar, trying to find her lungs. She staggered forward. Messy looped wreaths of her hair bouncing with every step Ririka took, the leather of her loafers squeaking against tile. If her younger sister turned around, Ririka would be positive Kirari would be aghast at how disheveled Ririka was. Then again, it was still a significant upgrade from the burger-gorging appearance Ririka had put on yesterday for the entire school. 

 

Relief washed over Ririka Momobami as she spotted her sister disembark the scooter by a betting booth. Ignoring the scorching burn in her lungs, she half-stumbled, half-jogged the remaining distance. Her hands clutched her stomach as cramps overtook her, and she finally collapsed in a boneless heap on the ground beside Kirari’s fishnetted legs and death daggers.

 

Kirari narrowed her eyes at her older sister, honing in on the hands on Ririka’s abdomen. “Pregnancy complications, Ririka?” She inquired dryly. 

 

“Shut up,” Ririka moaned. The entire scene was a deja vu of yesterday. She struggled to her feet, determined to prove her twin wrong. 

 

“That’s better,” Kirari murmured, eyes busily searching the table for a writing utensil. Seriously, dating Mary Saotome had seemingly made her twin toss out everything she learned during their years of ettiquette lessons. “You're still dressed as me. We can’t have the school thinking that I’m about to give birth to a Burgerbami.”

 

"Shut up," Ririka wheezed, leaning her entire weight, burgers and all, against the booth's table. She caught a glimpse of her sister’s wager for the brawl. “You’re betting all in on Sayaka Igarashi?”

 

"Why not?” Kirari’s blue eyes narrowed a tad as she squinted at the font. Sayaka had neglected to increase the size again on the forms; lining up the lines on the table was rapidly becoming an exercise in figuring out which bingo cell to scratch out in a retirement home. “I have to support my girlfriend, don’t I? I understand if you won’t support yours." 

 

All your votes, though?”

 

“I have full confidence in my Sayaka,” Kirari re-asserted boldly, putting more pen to paper. 

 

Ririka gawked. This wasn’t a bluff. This wasn’t a bold-faced lie nor a swindle. This also wasn’t a poker match and there was nothing for Kirari to overwhelm by betting it all on Sayaka, the underdog of the match. And Kirari, with seemingly every fiber of her exposed skin in that scandalous bunny costume, truly believed in her girlfriend to come out on top. 

 

This left only one conclusion.

 

“Wait, Kirari– when I said, 'she’s going to get destroyed', who did you think I was talking about?”

 

“Mary, of course.” A frown made its way to Kirari’s fair features before quickly being replaced by a curious smirk. “Did you think I meant Sayaka?”

 

The older Momobami twin paled. What a grave miscalculation this had been, one which was bound to send Mary Saotome to the grave itself. “Really? Then why were you so worried?”

 

At the question, Kirari mutely turned her body to face her sister. Her entire body screamed exasperation, from the slouched shoulders to the deadpan glare festering in her blue eyes. Ignoring the yelp of protest, Kirari aggressively thrusted her hand inside Ririka’s blazer; from it she retrieved her personal seal and uncapped the stamp with a soft pop.

 

While injuries, bloodletting, and other dubious activities had occurred at Hyakkaou, none had manifested in the death of a student on school grounds. Of course, there was that incident in her second year of high school, but that hadn’t been a death (technically)– that had been an accident. To skirt the line once more– twice in total within her presidency– would drive in the stain in her legacy at Hyakkaou. And after yesterday’s event, all the stain remover in the world wouldn’t be able to erase the damage Ririka and Mary had dealt to her reputation. Adding Mary Saotome’s demise on top of Tsuzura Hanatemari’s would bury Kirari alive. 

 

“Fly high, Tsuzura.” Kirari shot her sister an extremely pointed look, one filled to the brim with implication. “Fly high, Saotome.” 

 

Taking advantage of the stunned, flustered rage on Ririka’s face, Kirari hastily scrawled her name and stamped the betting slip with the Momobami seal, urgently tucking the paper into the slot before revving away on her Segway. 

 


 

Sayaka stormed out of the locker room and into the gym, clad in her black shorts and a deep navy t-shirt. Her teeth bit into the roll of tape, ripping into it with more furiosity than necessary; white wraps clung on her hands, from wrist to knuckles on both hands. It was overkill, but Sayaka preferred to err on the side of caution. Saotome did come from the poorer side of the tracks. Who knew what sort of dirty fighting tactics she picked up along the way? Whether it’d be a finger in the eye, hair pulling, or ear biting– Sayaka had to be ready. 

 

From her corner in the octagon cage, Mary rolled her eyes at the ostentatious showing of Sayaka tossing the tape aside. That t-shirt hung loosely on the secretary like a table cloth on a skeleton decoration during spooky season. That was more than enough of a confidence booster for the blonde.

 

“Hey, Igarashi,” Mary called with her arms crossed. “You know the mouthguard is supposed to go inside your mouth, right? You’re chewing it like a dog right now.”

 

Sayaka merely glowered as she continued toying with her clear mouthguard, letting it dangle from the side of her mouth as she grinded her jaw. Her opponents always commented on how bratty and extra-punchable it made her look. Her sensei had admonished her for it, saying that it made her look disrespectful. 

 

Kirari, however, had cooed and said it made her look ‘adorably ferocious’. That was the only opinion that mattered.

 

Sayaka popped the plastic back into her mouth as she paced, shaking out her dominant arm. She barely heard Runa make the introductions and announcements as she took up her stance, fists at shoulder level and legs loose as she continued to bounce from foot to foot. 

 

Violet eyes promised murder. 

 

Mary Saotome would die today. 

 


 

Still with the same baffling balance, Kirari ditched her Segway and sprinted toward the window overlooking the gymnasium. Her hand wrapped around the railing as she leaned forward. Even with her broken vision, she could still make out Sayaka’s distinct form, side-swept ponytail and all. A thin crowd began to fill the seats around the fighting ring while a jumbotron hovered high over the two second-year combatants and Runa Yomozuki. 

 

Kirari sighed, hopping on and taking a seat on the rail as she leaned her shoulder against the glass. This was going to be a repeat of yesterday. With Runa running things, there was no stopping the match. She would simply have to trust Sayaka to not deal too much damage to Mary and hope for the best.

 

“...and in this corner, we have Mary Saotome! Recently a housepet, she has certainly climbed her way up in the world–”

 

The camera panned to Mary shooting a cocky grin and waving to the audience.

 

“–seeing as she has upgraded from being a fangirl in Yumeko Jabami’s posse to being Ririka Momobami’s trophy wife.”

 

Kirari snickered just as the trophy wife’s partner huffed and puffed to a stop beside her, face completely red. “I heard… my name… what’s… how’s…” Ririka wheezed, leaning gracelessly against the railing.

 

“–in this corner we have the student council secretary, Sayaka Igarashi! Weighing in at a shocking 110 pounds–”

 

Ririka propped her head up on an arm and stared at the ring skeptically. Specifically, at Kirari’s girlfriend. “Sayaka’s that heavy?”

 

“You’re one to call her ‘fat’ after consuming thirty-two burgers,” Kirari sniped at breakneck speed, coming to her beloved’s defense. She reached out and adjusted one of the lopsided loops of hair on her sister's head. Her image must be maintained, literally.

 

Ririka heaved out a sigh (and thankfully not the bovine aftermath that had plagued her esophagus and mouth yesterday). “No, I mean, she doesn’t look a shade over 90 pounds?”

 

“Ah.” Kirari expelled her breath in understanding. Then, she tittered with a proud grin as if describing a new, intriguing gamble, “Sayaka’s all muscle.”

 

“What? Sayaka?” Ririka rubbed her eyes in a vain attempt to x-ray vision through the t-shirt and shorts Sayaka had on. “I– What have you been feeding her?”

 

“I simply offer her protein bars and fruits, why?”

 


 

“This is for the President!” Sayaka roared, the microphone picking up every single word and projecting her undying devotion to the entire student body. She rocked her weight back on her heels before dashing into a full charge and threw her entire 110 pound frame into the blonde's body.

 

Mary, wild-eyed, flailed at the oncoming assault. Her hands bit into Sayaka’s upper arms in a vain attempt to pry the mad secretary loose. "Holy fuck," She coughed at the immediate jump in intensity.  

 

Heels digging into the canvas mat, Sayaka grinded her teeth against her mouthguard. A light sheen of sweat coated her temple as her biceps flexed underneath her sleeves. 

 

While Sayaka’s suicide charge had taken the blonde slightly off-guard, Mary quickly regained her composure even though the secretary was currently pressing with much more force than she had anticipated. A bead of sweat dripped from Mary’s forehead and onto the mat as she strained against the pressure. 

 

“Holy. Shit.” Mary wheezed, nearly feeling her knees buckle as Sayaka gave another push. She mentally retracted her earlier thoughts.

 

The president fed her secretary alright- in more ways than one, Mary reckoned. 

 

With the eyes of an apathetic killer who eschewed all logic, Sayaka pulled her head back. All Mary could do was widen her eyes as a loud crack reverberated across the fighting ring, resulting in her temporarily seeing stars falling from the fluorescent lights above. She shook her head, blonde hair a mess as she sat up. 

 

Sayaka had fallen into a heap beside her, a taped hand at her forehead with her violet eyes closed. A soft groan escaped the secretary's mouth. That was worse than her usual self-inflicted punches. She had miscalculated somewhat. 

 

Taking advantage of the secretary’s dazed state, Mary lunged on top of the not-that-much-smaller girl. Fingers threaded into hair, pulling and eliciting yelps. Arms and legs tangled as both struggled to gain the upper hand as they rolled to the edge of the cage. 

 


 

Ririka winced as Mary pulled her fist back and punched, barely missing the student council secretary’s face as Sayaka craned her neck away at the last possible second. She turned toward her younger sister, mouth agape at how utterly calm Kirari was. Could her sister not see what was happening to her precious secretary?

 

“My, my… that was rather close,” Kirari hummed with amusement, bringing her fingers to her bare lips.

 

Ririka moved her jaw, but struggled to get the words out. “Are you really that confident about Igarashi?”

 

“She won't be on the…” Kirari grappled for better words, but her brain grasped nothing. A quick glance over her shoulder confirmed that they were alone, for now. “...bottom for long.” 

 

Light pink dusted Kirari’s cheeks at the admission.

 

Ririka, meanwhile, flushed agitatedly, the tips of her ears turning red as she faced her younger sister. Good to know Kirari had at least some shred of dignity to feel embarrassment for once in her life. Ririka filed that bit of information away for future use as she returned her attention to the brawl at hand. Sure enough, Sayaka had somehow wormed her way out from under her opponent and was now forcing Mary to lick the flooring of the cage. “I won't even ask how you know that.”

 

Kirari capitalized, going on the offensive. “Not even a little bit?” She arched an eyebrow, waving a hand at the dog fight before them, "Don't you want to ask Sayaka for tips on how to get Mary on her ba–"

 

Ririka took back every new realization she just drew from her sister. Kirari was truly and utterly shameless. She decided that she never wanted to pry inside her brain, especially when it came to her relationship dynamics with Sayaka Igarashi. "No, I'm not asking Igarashi for anything!"

 

"A pity, then. I think you can learn plenty from Sayaka."

 

There were no shades of red deeper than the one Ririka now sported on her face. “I– I– At least I’m not a bottom like you!”

 

Kirari bristled, defensive. Nonetheless, the slight blush on her face intensified. “I’m not a bottom. I tell Sayaka what to do.”

 

“A power bottom is still a bottom!” Ririka blurted, mortified at the turn the conversation had taken. Her head swiveled in a panic, checking their surroundings for eavesdropping souls. Relieved that there weren’t any, it still took another few seconds for the facts to sink into her mind.

 

Kirari Momobami, head of the Hundred Devouring Families, the 105th student council president of Hyakkaou Academy, harbinger of life plans and destroyer of lives alike was a bottom

 

A bottom. 

 

A freaking bottom.

 

Ririka buried her face in her hands, literally trying to hold that wild, wild piece of information within her mind. 

 


 

Of course Mary Saotome played dirty. 

 

Sayaka would’ve mentally kicked herself in the head if Mary hadn’t already. In true low-class fashion, Mary had stopped struggling underneath her and screamed out the only name that would cause Sayaka Igarashi to lose focus. 

 

“Oh, God, Kirari Momobami?!”

 

That had been enough to pry Sayaka’s attention away, forcing her to look up. The next thing she knew, Mary’s knee clipped her temple, temporarily disorienting her and drawing blood. Clumsy, untrained, plebeian hands then followed up and grabbed the secretary, pushing and tugging her into an upright position against the cage’s fence mesh. 

 

“Jesus Christ, hold still, will ya?” Mary Saotome groused, resuming the grapple-fest as her hands desperately tried to scrabble for purchase on her opponent’s body. Sayaka was like a damn rock and near impossible to grab. There were no fat rolls Mary could hold onto, no flabs of loose skin to speak of.  

 

“Fuck you!” Sayaka snarled, throwing all propriety and etiquette out the window. Blood ran down her face in rivulets, making her look like a hardened veteran of the cage. “Don’t you EVER touch the President with your filthy, ignoble hands again –”

 

Mary’s blonde brow twitched in disbelief. Even in the middle of the fight, Sayaka was still pulling out university entrance exam vocabulary to sling at her. What a privileged bitch. “What the hell does that– ow, why the fuck do you keep using headbutts?”

 

Having had enough, Mary fisted the fabric of Sayaka’s top in an attempt to get the smaller girl to hold still. Her wrists were beginning to get sore thanks to the secretary’s jerky movements, and her patience had long waned. With an angry cry, Mary Saotome tugged– hard. 

 

Then time ceased to exist as Sayaka fell loose to the canvas mat with a yelp, leaving Mary holding nothing but cloth. Amber eyes flashed between the body at her feet and the navy shirt in her fist as if trying to put two and two together. 

 

Sayaka laid there momentarily as she, too, attempted to come to grasp what had just occurred. She groaned. Her own hand grew a mind of its own as it patted her torso, feeling nothing but bare skin and her sports bra. The blonde’s body blocked the light, causing violet eyes to squint. 

 

“Oh, shit… um…” Mary mumbled abashedly as she crouched down, the fight temporarily forgotten as she attempted to cover up Sayaka’s body. She was quickly reminded, though, when a toned arm calmly took the shirt draped over her and tossed it aside. 

 

Fury scorched away any sort of embarrassment Sayaka Igarashi may have felt at the predicament. A mosaic of red and purple blotches dotted her collarbone down into her sports bra– and those were the ones that she could see in the mirror on the daily. Those marks weren't going to determine the outcome of the match. Neither was the shirt. Logic won out in the end. With precise, cutting movements Sayaka disengaged and distanced from her opponent. She bounced her weight from one foot from another as she centered on Mary Saotome. However, her determination and focus faltered ever-so-slightly as she traced Mary’s line of sight to her abdomen.

 

Bits and pieces of the conversation she had with Kirari during that particular make-out session came rushing back.

 

“I think my stomach is too hard,” Sayaka mumbled apologetically, a bit confounded as to why Kirari was so utterly fond of it as she sat slouched on the day bed.

 

With her head in her secretary's lap, Kirari merely turned her face toward Sayaka's toned stomach, nuzzling the hickey she had inflicted first before outlining the burgeoning abs with her tongue. “Nonsense, I think it’s perfect,” the president all but purred. 

 

A shuddering sigh escaped Sayaka's well-kissed lips as Kirari’s hands continued running up and down her waist, fingertips gently trailing their way upwards until they reached the edge of her–

 

Holy shit. ” Mary finally croaked, amber eyes blown wide open as she continued to openly gawk, rudely bringing Sayaka back to the fighting ring.

 

“Would you stop staring?” Sayaka barked, shaking her head to clear herself of impure thoughts. This was the worst time to be horny on main. 

 

“I–” Mary stammered while pointing at Sayaka’s stomach before making a wax-on, wax-off polishing motion. 

 

Now the 110 pounds made sense. It also explained why the secretary had been so damn difficult to push around.

 

While still slim and not at all bulky, Sayaka Igarashi resembled nothing like the sack of bones Mary had envisioned when she agreed to the brawl. Instead of fighting a roadside runt of a mutt that subsisted on scraps, she had been fighting a lean, mean doberman pinscher.

 

As if to reinforce Mary’s thoughts, Sayaka snarled visibly, showcasing her canines and the veins that pulsated on her neck. Coagulated blood smeared across her face like war paint. Fear overtook astonishment on the blonde’s face as the secretary unleashed a battle cry. The muscles in Sayaka’s legs clenched and released, propelling her as she pounced, dominant arm wound and ready to deliver a windmill of a punch. 

 


 

Kirari Momobami was a bottom. 

 

The world seemed to stand still as Ririka struggled to process that thought, but it was like the thirty-third burger from the eating contest: it refused to go down. 

 

Minutes passed and a heavy sigh escaped Kirari’s lips as she tugged at the hem near her bosom. Being not as blessed as a certain cousin or two, the costume’s front kept on slipping. With another sigh, she buttoned up the spare asymmetrical blazer she had hastily slipped on earlier.

 

Finally, Kirari broke the silence, corralling whatever imagination that was running wild in Ririka’s freedom-loving mind. “It’s just… it’s nice not to have to do anything once in a while.” 

 

“Oh…” Ririka mumbled reflexively, the words landing on her ears and falling on the floor beside all her brain cells. 

 

“And before you get any further ideas, it’s not like I plan to lay there like a dead fish.” Kirari reiterated with more force than usual, “I tell Sayaka what to do and I will continue to do so.”

 

“Wait, ‘plan’? What?” Ririka was almost certain that her younger sister and the secretary had christened every piece of furniture in the student council room by now. There was a reason why Ririka actively avoided sitting on anything. The slightly tousled hair both president and secretary sported before council meetings, the disheveled shirt collars and ties that didn’t quite hide everything… not to mention the sheer amount of smudges on the aquarium glass– Ririka was positive those were ‘snail trails’ of a different sort. 

 

“Do I need to spell it out for you?” Kirari asked in distress. Her ears were feeling extremely hot. “Sayaka and I haven’t yet–” The true heir to the Momobami clan lifted a hand, waving airly at nothing in particular “–we just haven’t had the chance to.”

 

“Oh my God! You two haven’t?!” The longer this conversation drew out, the more things Ririka discovered about her sister. And none of them were at all for the better as her face burned.

 

“Are you reverse slut-shaming me, dear sister?” Kirari snapped in her presidential voice. "Sayaka and I are both a little busy due to the election."

 

“This is the number of years you pined over that girl,” Ririka countered, thrusting three fingers at the direction of the jumbotron, which had conveniently panned to a close up of Sayaka jumping onto Mary's back while the latter staggered around, trying to keep balance. “You made her the student council secretary when she was still in middle school, built a giant rotating tower in anticipation of a gamble– her gamble– don’t make that face at me, Kirari– and now she’s your personal, private secretary. And you’re always so, so handsy with her! And–”

 

“–and you aren’t handsy with your girlfriend?” Kirari remained calm and composed under fire, though her eyes remained narrowed. "You struck a home run with Saotome within three weeks of getting close to her."

 

“That’s not the point!”

 

“It’s called a ‘slow-burn’, I’d suggest you look it up.” Internally, the younger Momobami sibling regretted not taking further action the day before to ensure that she was an only child. She hid her mouth behind a closed fist as she keenly observed Sayaka on the jumbotron: her secretary had managed to force Saotome to her knees via a leg sweep before straddling her opponent’s back. Almost all of Kirari’s concentration went into quashing the shivers that threatened to run down her spine. 

 

Sayaka Igarashi reached down and grabbed a fistful of hair, wholly dominating over the blonde as she forced Saotome to look into her eyes.

 

Kirari couldn’t stymie her sharp intake of air as her pupils dilated a smidge. Her blazer became all too stuffy. Blue eyes narrowed as her lips formed into a thin line at the sight of Mary bucking her hips in an attempt to throw the ex-secretary off. 

 

That shouldn’t be Mary Saotome under her secretary. That should really have been–

 

“Kirari!” 

 

The president uncrossed her arms, blinking a few times to refocus on her twin.

 

“It’s been three years!” Ririka reiterated, thoroughly shattering her younger sister’s quiet fantasies. “What else is there left to slowly burn? Our estate from your atrocious cooking skills?” At Kirari’s demeaning glare and opened mouth, Ririka quickly added, “Actually, no, don’t answer that, please.”

 

Kirari bristled. A tart comment regarding burgers and grease and fires danced on her tongue. “Look, sister, I haven’t exactly had the time to take her out to a proper dinner. Besides, why ruin the experience by pressing things? The best part about a romance is the journey and reveling in every bit of it.”

 

A collective gasp vibrated the window Kirari leaned on, drawing her attention back to the fisticuffs at hand.

 


 

The blonde wheezed as she felt air re-enter her lungs when Runa forced Sayaka to release her, but not before the dark-haired girl had managed to club her a solid ten times in the face, sneaking in no less than two more headbutts between the assault, rattling her brain and teeth alike in the ordeal. Sore legs and arms screaming in protest, Mary hauled herself to the opposite end of the octagon and staggered to her feet. Her ego wouldn’t let her throw in the towel. Getting beat down by Kirari Momobami’s personal lapdog in front of the entire school was perhaps a hundred times more humiliating than being made a housepet. 

 

The President’s haughty smirk taunted her thoughts. Mary could envision those blue eyes leering down at her, looking down on her– to endure that indignity for the rest of the school year until Kirari graduated was inconceivable, unacceptable– and oh, fuck

 

Whether it was reflex, adrenaline, or innate self-preservation, Mary Saotome, for the first time in this fight, managed to catch the kick targeted at her chest. Violet eyes and amber eyes both blinked in amazement as both girls froze for a full second. 

 

Sayaka’s lips curled into a cruel grin, cracking the blood that had dried on her cheeks. “Nice job.”

 

“Why, thank–” 

 

Sayaka abruptly pivoted and swung her captured foot back toward the ground, all the while sending her other heel wheeling toward Mary’s face in a textbook-perfect jump kick. The blonde never saw it coming as she crumpled into the ground like a rag doll with a loud thud. Her limbs trembled momentarily before stilling. The specter of a haughty grin lingered still on her unconscious features. 

 

Silence descended on the spectators as Sayaka hovered over the fallen blonde. Her heart pounded in her ears. From the way the right side of Mary’s face drooped into a caved mess, Sayaka was almost certain her fancy footwork had shattered the orbital socket. Her taped hands grasped at her head as she looked down, mortified, before rapidly backing up. She stared at her own feet, utterly catatonic as an election committee member escorted her out of the fighting ring. The crowd seemingly pressed toward the fallen girl, suffocating Sayaka in its waves. Nameless bodies buzzed around her as paramedics began loading Mary Saotome onto a stretcher, clamping her head in a bright orange brace.

 

Somewhere in the chaos, Sayaka managed to pick out the president’s form pushing through the crowd toward her.

 

With outstretched arms, Sayaka began, “President, I–”

 

The form dashed past her, leaving the secretary stunned. Slowly, she turned around, face falling as she met the back of a red blazer fussing over Mary’s still body. Her heart sank as she reached out with a sore arm. “Ki… Kirari?”

 

Sayaka Igarashi couldn’t believe her eyes as she screwed them shut, feeling hot tear burgeoning in her tear ducts. Finally, she had been replaced. Not by Yumeko Jabami, but by Mary Saotome of all people. 

 

“Sayaka!”

 

Sayaka blinked. The tears made it difficult to see. Faces in the audience blurred with one another. 

 

“Sayaka!” Familiar arms wrapped around the battered secretary from behind and spun her around. Upon seeing the streaks of blood dampened by tears, the grin fell from Kirari’s face, replaced by a look of concern. “Sayaka? Did you forget? Ririka and I switched.”

 

Relief washed over the secretary as the president gave her a reassuring squeeze and capped it off with a kiss atop her crown of dark hair. Sayaka sniffled as Kirari took off the blazer she was wearing and threw it around the smaller girl’s bruised frame. Sayaka looked up, unused to the drastic height difference brought on by the stilettos. “Kirari, I– I thought– I thought you had–” Sayaka raised her arm and gesticulated in Mary's general direction, unable to find the words.

 

“Shh–” Kirari soothed, pressing their bodies together. Her fingers played with some of the hair that came loose from the scuffle. She casted an apprehensive glance over at the swarm of medics surrounding Saotome, praying that this wouldn't be a redux of the Hanatemari incident. “It’s okay, Sayaka. Let’s just… get out of here.”

 


 

Kirari bit the inside of her lip as she walked alongside Sayaka, each step feeling like she was walking on raging hot coals once more. Their pace outside the buildings had slowed to a snail's crawl against the reds of the setting sun, and it didn't go unnoticed by her secretary. 

 

"Are you hurting, President?" Sayaka looked up, tugging the borrowed asymmetrical blazer closer to her body. A bandage was taped to her forehead once more, but otherwise, her face had been cleaned of any dirt and blood.  

 

Kirari smiled. Sayaka was so unlike Mary Saotome. Her secretary truly did notice every little detail. Kirari couldn’t hide the grimace any longer, however, as she stared at their long shadows that stretched out in front of them. "I've had better experiences walking, yes," she admitted. 

 

Sayaka's eyebrows furrowed as she lost herself in a quick calculation. Bashfully, she dipped her head as she contemplated the results, her signature blush coloring her face.

 

Kirari wasted no time swooping in, teasing gently. "It's this costume, isn't it?" 

 

"No, that's not–" Sayaka blushed furiously. She clenched and unclenched her hands, trying to banish the numbness slowly taking hold in her nervousness as she stopped walking. "If– if you want, President…"

 

“Hm?”

 

Sayaka blurted out, painting shock on Kirari’s face. "I can carry you!" Immediately, she turned around and crouched down, taking a knee, hiding her flaming face as she waited for Kirari to get on. Her hands trembled as the sensation of pins and needles spread throughout her palms. 

 

"My, Sayaka, you're truly sweeping me off my feet today with your efforts." Kirari giggled, kicking off the deathtraps fashion had deemed as acceptable shoes. The lukewarm concrete kissed by the setting sun never felt better against her soles. 

 

Sayaka’s breath hitched as Kirari scooped up the stilettos and hopped on in one fluid motion. The secretary stood up on shaky legs, hyper aware of the new sensation of Kirari’s body pressing fully against her back. Her heart threatened to pound out of her chest when the President shifted her legs and effectively rolled her scantily clad hips around her lower back. An involuntary squeak left the secretary's lips, which was met with a another giggle that vibrated against Sayaka’s shoulders. 

 

Kirari Momobami was going to be the death of Sayaka Igarashi someday, if not today. “President, please.” Sayaka croaked, doing her best to not drop her precious cargo. Maybe this was a terrible idea. She couldn't really rely on the president. Kirari was, after all, a wild card. 

 

Thankfully, Kirari listened, quieting her laughter as she settled in comfortably, looping her arms over Sayaka’s shoulders and collarbone alike. The thought of dragging her fingertips across the younger girl’s clavicle was enticing, but she knew better than to press things. Sayaka just might not ever recover if she did so. Besides, getting dropped onto the ground just might get her a trip to the hospital. Being roommates with Saotome, unconscious or not, sounded like an overnight hospital stay from hell. 

 

Their combined shadows stretched out in front of them as they headed back toward the student council room, crossing the largely empty courtyard. The silence between them felt comfortable. Kirari was grateful for Sayaka’s introversion, especially during times like these– it meant everything to her knowing that she and Sayaka could say nothing yet speak about everything all at once. 

 

“Stop!” Kirari’s voice suddenly rang out. Before Sayaka could ask questions, Kirari flicked her wrist, sending a stiletto arcing through the air and swishing into the trash bin with a clatter. That shot was money. With her arm still extended above her head, she pointed excitedly, “Did you see that, Sayaka? That had to have been at least ten meters.”

 

“I- yes- that- that was a good shot.” The compliment earned a giggle from the President. Kirari’s accuracy baffled Sayaka sometimes, but the older girl’s aggravation during gym class when people didn’t pass her the ball became clearer and clearer with each ridiculous shot she took– and made. 

 

A contemplative hum reached Sayaka’s ears. “Take two steps to the left.”

 

“Er… alright.” Sayaka wanted to question, but didn't. Times like these, she merely obeyed. 

 

Sayaka felt Kirari arch her body back, then forward once more as she fired the other shoe– this time banking it off the circular pillar behind the trash before rattling around the rim, the heel briefly catching on the lip of the bin before falling in like the first. 

 

“Hmm… not as clean as I’d hoped. Oh, well.” Kirari looped her arm back around the front of Sayaka’s chest, sighing.

 

“You still got it in,” Sayaka remarked optimistically as she resumed walking.

 

Kirari lips pressed against the base of Sayaka’s neck, curling into a smile at how unwaveringly supportive her secretary could be. "Thanks for being my number one today, Sayaka," she hummed softly, her breath puffing at Sayaka’s neck. She nuzzled affectionately, earning a yelp and taking delight at Sayaka’s reddening ears; she couldn't help but dart a tongue out and swiping at the shell.  

 

"Kirari!" Sayaka chided gently.

 

"I love you, Sayaka."

 

An exaggerated and exasperated sigh left Sayaka's mouth, but she carried on anyway. "I love you, too, Kirari."