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Life in the Fast Lane

Chapter Text

April of 1980 arrived swiftly with a cool, clean feeling. 'As it should.' Kira thought to himself. After all, this was his first day of High School, it was a fresh start all around.

Yoshikage Kira wasn't a very social person. From a young age, he had mostly kept to himself, not very interested in what other kids were doing. Not even his parents knew too much about him; they loved him, of course, but they never really knew him. From his calm exterior, most people wouldn't guess that he had a distinct inner turmoil that sometimes left him exploding with violence towards other kids, but he wasn't stupid, whenever he had one of these “fits” he made sure no one was around. If the kid tried to tattle on him, the teachers wouldn't believe them, because Kira was the perfect student, and there were no witnesses to back up the claims. He knew how to keep clean.

These violent tendencies were brought about by the dangerous cocktail of a lack of conscious and an interest in death itself. At a young age, he'd seen a cat get run over, and watched as the life slowly ebbed out of it; once it was dead he went to work prodding the disgusting gore coming from it. It was fascinating to him. However, from observing people, he began to realize that death was regarded as a very sad thing, and was considered almost taboo. Lives were only given once, and death was the final shutdown. But his fascination with death continued, and he'd lay awake at night wondering if he was broken..

In middle school he found a new fascination: hands. This obsession was sexual in nature, yes, but Kira was almost relieved that there was something else to hold his attention that wasn't quite so grim. Maybe he wasn't broken after all, maybe he was just a little odd. He wanted nothing more than to fit in; he didn't want to be noticed or ridiculed anymore, he just wanted to be. His last year of middle school he had discovered the perfect job for him: a mortician. Yes, with this job he'd be able to satiate his desire for death and hands in a discreet way. No one would ever know, he'd be perfectly fine. His life was going almost perfectly..

Almost.

As soon as he entered his first class, the ridicule started. He had sat himself at the back, hoping to not draw any attention, and calmly watched the teacher and took careful notes. At first it was only whispers that he could barely hear, just comments about his appearance or attitude, and those were easy enough to ignore. He didn't turn his attention to them and any time he felt agitated he just started counting quietly. It was gonna be okay, it would be fine, he wasn't going to blow up on his first day.

The teacher put down her chalk. “If you'll excuse me, class, I need to step out for a moment. Behave yourselves!” She stepped out of the classroom, shutting the door behind her.

Kira could feel his heart beat increase sharply, he knew exactly what was coming.

All of the kids who had been whispering about him turned to him.

“Hey blondie~” one of the boys piped up. “Whatcha writin down, the teacher ain't said nothin important yet.”

One of the boys next to him chimed in “Is that your diary there, blondie~? Can we reeead it~?”

The first boy tried to snatch at Kira's notebook, but Kira yanked it closer to himself with an iron grip. He could feel his entire body heating up, his face growing red with rage.
Some girl started giggling “Ooooh look he's blushing, it must be his diary!” This cause a sudden roar of laughter from everyone, noticing his red face.

Kira wanted to get up and scream at these idiots, he wanted to take his pencil and jab it into their eyes, he wanted to rip their skin off with his teeth, destroy them bit by bit in the worst ways possible, make them suffer. He closed his eyes and grit his teeth; this was it, he was going to lose control for the first time in years, he was finally gonna do it, he was finally going to kill someone, he was-

He heard a loud 'THWAP' and the laughter stopped immediately. A voice suddenly rang out “Shut the hell up already! Are you all really that petty?”

He opened his eyes, at first only seeing a figure haloed in blinding light, but after blinking a few times his eyes adjusted and he saw a very pretty girl with brown hair tied back into a ponytail. She was holding her binder above the first boy who had jeered at Kira, and the boy had a very red mark on his face which he was holding tenderly.

The boy growled “What's your problem, bitch? This doesn't involve you.”

The girl with brown hair just scoffed. “Oh, like you weren't trying to pry into someone else's business yourself? God. How self-righteous can you get?” The boy mumbled something quietly and turned back to face the front, his friends doing the same.

Kira was in complete shock, he just sat there watching the display with his mouth agape. Did someone just stand up for him? Is that what had just happened? Did someone.. care? His train of thought was cut off when the girl with brown hair suddenly approached him. “Are you alright?” her voice was soft and kind when she wasn't yelling. It caught him completely off guard, it just felt so caring, like a soft blanket you cuddle up in when there's a storm outside.

He shook himself out of his stupor to answer, managing to stutter through a “U-uhm, I'm f-fine.” Up close she was even prettier than he had thought. Generally, Kira wasn't interested in anyone for any reason, but this girl was very quickly becoming fascinating.

She sat herself down in an empty desk next to him. “Those guys honestly have no life, I'm sorry they targeted you.”

Kira didn't really know what to say, she sounded actually sympathetic. “It's fine, I'm used to it.”

“Well, here's to hoping you don't have to put up with this anymore.” She then extended her hand, oh my god the most beautiful hand Kira had ever seen, for a handshake. “My name is Reimi Sugimoto.”

He crossed his legs and grasped her hand to shake it. “Kira. Yoshikage Kira.” He said with a smile.

Chapter Text

Reimi was that type of person who everyone liked. She made friends easily and loved everyone with all her heart. Despite being faced with terrible news and mean-spirited people, she believed that everyone and everything had a little good in them, and they only needed to be treated right. She was quick to stand up for injustice, hoping that even the smallest action could somehow change the chaotic world for the better.

And that's why she took action when she saw a boy being tormented in class.

After that debacle was over, she decided to just sit by him for the rest of the class. At first she thought she might be annoying him by talking, since he seemed to be the studious type, but he didn't seem to mind. He chatted back to her, their conversation mostly hitting the very basics. He didn't talk as much as she did, but when he wasn't talking he was listening intently. The rest of the hour was spent talking rather than paying attention, much to the teacher's annoyance.

The bell rang quicker than she'd hoped. “If you don't already have plans, do you wanna sit with me and my friend at lunch?”

Kira had that caught off-guard look that he had when she first approached him “Oh, sure, yeah. I'd like that.”

She smiled “Meet us at the cafeteria entrance, okay?”

He nodded and they both scurried off to their respective second periods. Reimi didn't usually pay much attention on the first day of school, but she found it even harder to pay attention today. Her mind was on Kira, he was just completely different from what she had expected. He wasn't meek or shy, he was rather bold actually, and smart. Not to mention handsome. He didn't say too much about himself, but what he did say was very well thought-out, it made the boring, vapid topics like the weather so much more interesting. High school was really looking up already.

As soon as the bell for lunch rang, she ran off to find her best friend, Aya Tsuji. She wasn't very hard to find, she stood a head taller than most of the kids, and Reimi was immediately at her side.

“Aya~ I invited someone to sit with us!” She said excitedly as she dragged Aya towards the cafeteria.

Aya raised her eyebrow “Oh? That's not like you.”

Reimi shrugged “Well, he seems really interesting. I think you're gonna like him!” or at least she hoped Aya would like him. Aya was very particular about who she hung around.

“Well, if you like him then I'm sure I will too.”

Reimi beamed and stopped near the entrance to the cafeteria, looking around for Kira. He was there, looking a bit nervous.

She put her arm up to wave “Hey! Yoshikage! Over here!”

Kira heard her and looked very relieved, he walked over to them.

“Yoshikage, this is my friend Aya.” She said, gesturing to Aya. “Aya, this is Yoshikage.”

They both mumbled greetings. Despite their lack of enthusiasm, Reimi grabbed both of their arms and led them over to a table. Once they were both seated, she took it upon herself to start a conversation.

“So, how are your days going?”

Without even looking up, Aya offered a “Decent.”

“Mine has been decent too. If we're comparing it to a week stranded in a desert, that is.” Kira said while pulling out his lunch.

Reimi let out a laugh and then stopped herself “Ohh my gosh, I'm sorry you're having a bad day!”

Kira blinked and then started laughing. It was a quiet, nice little laugh, it sounded like it wasn't used very often. “No, no, it's alright, I was being dramatic. I'm fine, really.”

Reimi giggled a little more, relieved that she hadn't actually laughed at genuine pain. She glanced over at Aya, who was still paying full attention to her food. Kira, however, looked extremely happy to be there.

The rest of lunch was spent mostly with Reimi and Kira chatting. They talked about their favorite animals (Kira's was cats and Reimi's was dogs), they talked about what classes they were dreading, they talked about how unkempt the school's lawn was, they talked about anything that popped up. Aya said a few things here and there, but she spent most of the time in stone-faced silence.

After lunch had ended, Reimi and Kira had to go their separate ways, but she and Aya had class together for their next period, so they headed off together.

“So, what do you think of him?” Reimi inquired.

Aya was silent for a moment before replying. “Well, he's.... odd. But I think I can learn to like him.”

Reimi sighed, it wasn't exactly what she wanted to hear, but it was better than nothing. “Well, thanks for trying.”

She headed home after school, thankful for the nice weather on her walk. As soon as she approached her front door, she could hear her dog Arnold barking and whining. He always knew when she was coming home. She braced herself and opened the door, immediately getting jumped on by the large dog and smother in a bunch of slobbery dog kisses. “Hi boy!” she greeted him, trying to get him to get off of her. When she finally pried him off, she gave him a scratch, and then walked inside.

She heard her mother and one other voice in her living room, so she wandered in. Her mom was chatting with their neighbor, Mrs. Kishibe, who was holding her 1 year old son.

“Welcome home, darling!” Her mother said, getting up to give her a hug. Mrs. Kishibe gave her a smile and a wave. Reimi sat herself down in an armchair.

“How was your first day?” Her mom asked.

“Oh it was fine! I made a new friend.”

Her mom smiled “That's fantastic! Oh, Reimi, honey, do you mind watching Rohan for a moment? I want to go show Mrs. Kishibe the work we just got done on our yard.”

She nodded excitedly, she loved taking care of Rohan.

Mrs. Kishibe walked over and gently deposited the child in her lap. “He's being a little fussy right now, I'm sorry if he's a bit of a handful.”

Reimi adjusted him. “Oh, it'll be fine!” Mrs. Kishibe smiled, and then the two women walked outside.

Little Rohan was a cute baby, but his small, chubby face always looked grumpy. She found that hilarious, he looked like a disgruntled old man. He was indeed being a bit fussy, staring up at Reimi and making little noises of contempt; she gently tapped his nose and he shook his head a little. She laughed, and then started singing a little song to him. He always seemed to get a little happier when she sang to him, sometimes he'd join in with baby babble. This time, he just stopped fussing and watched her with his big green eyes.

She was really good with kids. Maybe when he was older they'd let her babysit.

Chapter Text

Kira had known Reimi for about a week now. They'd usually spend most of their time in their first period talking and goofing off, and then of course have lunch together too. It was... a very odd and new experience for him; for once in his life he actually kind of looked forward to school. Sure, it was an entirely normal friendship, for the average student, that is, but for Kira it was the first time in his life that he mutually cared about someone other than his parents. It was very strange actually having someone to talk to, and he always carefully picked over what he was going to say before he said it. He had no idea what he could and couldn't say at this point in the friendship, but it felt nice to open up a little. He liked knowing that someone other than him knew some little bits and pieces that no one else did, it made him feel a little lighter. Maybe someday he'd be able to tell her everything, but it was far too early to be thinking about that; he'd be lucky if she stuck with him for more than this week.

Today she had her hair up in a short braid, and she'd shift between doodling and picking the chipping nailpolish off of her nails every few minutes. Kira felt kinda bad about keeping such a close tab on what she did daily, but she was always doing something with her hands. Her hands. Sometimes she'd be doing and redoing her hair, sometimes picking off nail polish, sometimes drawing, sometimes tapping her pencil. To him it was just too easy to get lost watching her actions.

He was snapped out of his trance by her lifting her notebook and turning it to him. “So do you think this is enough dogs or-” The entire page was covered in different doodles of dogs.

Kira snorted. “I think you can fit a few more in.”

“I like that attitude!” she plopped the notebook back down and went back to work scribbling.

He pried his eyes away from her delicate hands to study the rest of her. She had her eyebrows furrowed in concentration and her tongue poked out slightly from inbetween her teeth as she scribbled. He watched as a strand of her hair flopped down in front of her face. Before he could help himself, he reached out and tucked it back behind her ear. She stopped and looked up for a split second, mumbling a 'thank you' before dipping her head down to draw again, this time with a slightly pinker face.

He looked away, suddenly worried that he had seriously messed up. The tension grew with the silence, and Kira felt sick to his stomach. Would that be it? The end over some stupid thing he did because he wasn't thinking? Why hadn't he thought that through? He couldn't lose her this soon, it was too soon. He sat there in dreadful thoughts, feeling the blood drain from his face until he felt a hand on his arm.

“Me and Aya are having a movie night this weekend, do you wanna join us?” Reimi's warm voice put him back at ease. He hadn't messed up after all.

He managed a small smile and looked back over to her. “Yes, I'd like that.”

“Great!” She jotted something down on a scrap of paper and handed it to him. “This is my address, be there at 7 pm on Friday.”

The rest of the week passed by normally without any caveats, but each day that passed filled him with equal dread and anticipation. He had never had any friends, so naturally he had never been to a friend's house, and he didn't know any specific etiquette there may be. Breaching the topic with his parents had been awkward enough, their surprise and excitement was a bit ovewhelming, but he was glad they were happy to let him go. Despite that, he was honestly thinking about just playing sick and not going. Every moment around Reimi was like ice skating on a natural pond: it was filled with joy and beautiful in the way a symphony is, but in some places the ice is thin and you can't let yourself get carried away by the activity and end up crashing through the ice in a near-fatal way. It wasn't just her either, he liked Aya too, definitely not as much as Reimi, but her company was very welcome. Aya was a hard book to read, nothing like Reimi who wore her heart on her sleeve. She wasn't very expressive, and her voice was usually just as flat, so Kira didn't know what she thought of him. It could fall anywhere between hate and like, and he was just hoping for the latter. Friendship felt like a minefield.

When Friday finally made itself around, he decided just to bite the bullet and go to her house. He knocked on her door at 7 pm sharp. He had actually arrived ten minutes prior, but he was worried that might be too early, so he waited out the time in the shadows, silently trying to calm a minor anxiety attack. When 7 came around he had managed to pull himself together enough to approach the house.

Reimi answered the door with her usual bright smile, and beckoned Kira in. This was the first time he had seen her out of uniform: it wasn't like she was dressed to the nines or anything, she was wearing a simple yellow sundress and had her hair down, but he thought it suited her much better. He felt his pulse speed up and immediately thought he was dealing with another anxiety attack, but he didn't have any time to stop and deal with it, because as soon as he got his shoes off, she had gotten a hold of his arm and was dragging him to the living room. She sat herself down on a loveseat, and motioned for Kira to sit next to her. He did so very gingerly.

“Aya isn't here yet so we get to take the good couch!” She explained, wiggling her feet that barely hovered off of the floor.

He smiled. “Well, it is very comfy, you sure she won't be upset?”

“I dunno, this couch is so good it might just make her cry.” she suddenly brought her hand up to her face in what looked like surprise “Oh! I completely forgot to ask if you're okay with horror movies!”

“Oh, I love horror movies.” He really did, the gorier the better of course. Maybe that was something they had in common..

She looked relieved. “Good, good! We've got a few normal movies but the majority are horror, so I'm glad that won't be a problem.”

It was far from a problem, Kira was glad their interests had finally intersected. On most things, they were complete opposites, and to be honest it was odd that they got along as well as they did. He had never really given much thought to “opposites attract”, but it really did seem to be real. He didn't mind that they liked different things, but it was easier to talk when there was common ground, so perhaps horror movies could form a basis.

Before they got a chance to talk more, the doorbell rang, and Reimi sprang up from her seat. “That must be Aya! I'll be right back!” She scurried off and came back swiftly, followed closely by the taller girl.

Aya noticed that the loveseat had been claimed and spoke with a tone of dry displeasure. “I get stuck with the rock-hard arm chair, do I?”

Reimi stuck her tongue out in jest. “You snooze you lose, beauty queen, Yoshi got here first~”

Yoshi? She had never called him that before... he liked it.

Aya sighed in defeat and replied in an over-dramatic voice “Ohh no~! I spent too long making myself look gorgeous and now my ass has to pay! My love of makeup will end me.”

Reimi snorted and bopped Aya's nose. “That's right!” she flopped back down onto the loveseat, the bounce from impact causing Kira to slip more towards the middle and closer to her. His face reddened slightly, he was so close to her. So close that he could smell her hair, it smelled like... mint? No wait, like lavender? Both? Oh god, he was being weird, it was weird to decipher the scent of someone's shampoo.

He glanced around the room awkwardly, looking for anything to distract him, looking anywhere but Reimi. He accidentally met eyes with Aya, she raised an eyebrow and gave him a smile that said she knew something. He glanced away from her too. What was that smile about? It was definitely insinuating something, but he had no clue what.

The awkward moment was saved by Reimi's father walking in. “You kids all ready?” he asked, and then noticed Kira. “Oh, you must be Reimi's new friend! It's nice to meet you.” He approached Kira and extended a hand which Kira shook. He seemed to be studying Kira in a very harsh way, but he didn't blame him, after all he was very awkwardly close to his daughter.

“Dad, can we watch The Omen?” Reimi asked her dad.

“Oh I don't know kiddo, that movie might be a bit much for you guys.”

“ Pleeeease?” She gave him a puppy-dog pout and he sighed.

“Alright, alright. But if it gets too much for you, call me in and I'll turn it off, okay?” he got to work setting up the VCR and Reimi let out a whoop of victory.

The movie was a British-American film that was a few years old, but it had quickly gained a cult following. None of them had ever seen it before, so no one knew what to expect, but the result was better than anything Kira had expected. The idea of the antichrist being a seemingly perfect little boy really resonated to him. Imagine, such a precious and perfect lifeform, yet death and destruction seem to follow him and don't even phase him in the slightest! In fact, it was questionable whether Damien was truly the culprit after all, everyone seemed to create the chaos around him on their own, he never even needed to so much as raise a finger. On top of that, the death in the movie was plentiful and immeasurably horrible: it gave him a rush watching it. He knew it was wrong, yes, but it didn't feel wrong to him. He eventually gave up on the inner turmoil and let himself enjoy the death scenes, promising to sort out his morals at a later point.

Reimi didn't seem so keen on the deaths. The supernatural elements made her shriek with delight and bring forth legends and real-life stories that they came from, but the deaths made her cringe and squeeze her eyes shut. She tended to grab Kira's arm at these moments, but eventually just stayed clinging to him since there would be more coming up. He was somewhat disappointed that the death element seemed to freak her out, but that was overshadowed by the fact she had her hands tightly wrapped around his arm.

….That was something he could get used to.

Chapter Text

The first semester of school had ended, and summer came quickly, giving the air a sticky hot feeling that forced people to find things to do and avoid the heat. Tourists poured into Morioh, crowding the beaches and cute cafes, filling the town with chatter in hundreds of different dialects and languages. Most people complained about the crowds, but Reimi found it charming. She liked that so many people wanted to see her beloved town and she hoped they were seeing the beauty of it.

As much as she enjoyed it, though, it was nearly impossible for her to find a good spot on the beach most days, but fortunately, on a cloudy day such as this one, the beach was nearly empty. The threat of a summer storm didn't scare her away from the seaside, she tended to enjoy the rain, there was only a minor problem with the chilly air, but she opted to keep her cover-up over her swimsuit and put her feet in the water. She didn't know how long she had been standing there, but the ever-flowing tide had just about buried her feet in the sand. Reimi was deep in thought, mostly about her friends and how much she'd like to be here with them. Aya had gone on vacation and wasn't going to be back for another week, and she had forgotten to get Yoshikage's phone number before the semester was over. The only people she had seen other than her family this break was the Kishibes, and while they were good company, she still missed having her own friends around.

A distant roll of thunder broke her train of thought. As if on cue, rain began to fall, gentle at first, but the drops got bigger and more intense quickly. It was a little cold, but she didn't move at all, she just stretched out her arms and let the rain fall on her. It felt refreshing, a gift from nature that brought good and bad in equal parts, and yet it was gentle enough to stand in like this. She closed her eyes and let the feeling take her.

Suddenly, the rain stopped. Reimi could still hear it, but it wasn't falling on her anymore. She opened her eyes and blinked, registering that someone was holding an umbrella over her.

A quiet and familiar voice muttered “You're going to catch a cold.”

She turned sharply to see Yoshikage getting soaked by the rain as he held his umbrella over her, his expression looked like a cat that had just been dropped in the bathtub.

“Oh!” she quickly grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer so they were both kinda protected by the umbrella. “You're gonna catch a cold too if you do that!”

He puffed out a little sigh. “You're right, but now we're both getting half-wet. We should probably go somewhere with a roof.”

She smiled and wrapped an arm around his waist. “I know just the place~!”

Before he could respond, she was dragging him down the street to a small cafe. She expected him to say something, but he remained silent the entire walk, even when they splashed through a couple of puddles. She had known him for a few months now, but Yoshikage was still a mystery. Every time she thought she had him figured out he'd suddenly throw a curveball and she'd be caught off guard. Aya had voiced her opinion of finding his attitude unnerving, but Reimi found it interesting. She had never met another person like him, and she likely never would.

They reached the cafe, he insisted that Reimi go inside first so he could politely fold his umbrella before stepping inside. The small cafe was pretty packed, likely due to people running for shelter from the rain, but thankfully they managed to find some open seats. She ordered a hot chocolate, and he opted for the less-decadent option of tea.

“What were you doing at the beach, Yoshi?” she asked curiously.

“I... wasn't at the beach. I was taking a walk and I saw you standing in the rain so I thought you could use an umbrella.” she noticed he had that strangely nervous look he got often.

She gave him a reassuring smile. “That was very nice of you! I hope I didn't interrupt anything important by bringing you here.”

“Oh no, I wasn't busy. I'm glad to see you, actually, it's been a lonely break.” he averted his eyes to his tea, a slightly sad smile gracing his face.

“Yeah, sorry about that! I forgot to get your phone number before break. To think, we could've been hanging out all this time!” she pulled a pen out of her purse and handed it to him “Here, just write it on my hand.”

He picked up the pen, and then very gingerly took her hand, holding it like one would a baby bird. With very precise and long strokes, he wrote down his phone number. She could feel that his hands were shaking... was he cold?

When he had finished Reimi brought her hand up to her face to read the number. “Geez, that handwriting is so pretty I'd call it art.”

He let out a little laugh. “I find it therapeutic to practice handwriting.”

She nodded and took a sip of her hot chocolate, not noticing that her nose now had a nice topping of whipped cream. Yoshikage chuckled and she gave him a quizzical look, to which he reponded by wiping the whipped cream off of her nose.

She turned bright red. It's not that she was embarrassed or anything, there was just something about how he went about that that made her feel oddly light.

Looking for a distraction, she noticed the sound of rain had stopped, and looked out of the window to confirm that it was indeed done. “Hey! The rain stopped! Wanna go splash in some puddles?”

He looked a bit taken aback. “Oh, I didn't bring shoes for that.”

“You can take them off! C'mon, it's fun, I swear!”

He took a moment to think before nodding. “Why not?”

Reimi clapped her hands together in excitement and raced out of the building, followed by Yoshikage who was trying to walk at a reasonable pace. She kicked off her sandals while he slowly untied his laces and folded his socks, followed of course by carefully rolling up his pant legs. He was so careful and organized with everything, wasn't he?

She was the first to jump into the puddle. The water was probably pretty gross, it was on the side of a street after all, but she really didn't care. Yoshikage followed suit, but splashed the water around a lot less jubilantly. She was worried he wasn't having a good time, but he looked happy enough.

 

After dragging him around to several more puddles, they both decided to part as it was getting dark. He had just turned to walk home when Reimi remembered an important detail and grabbed his arm. “Yoshi! I almost forgot! My birthday is on August 15th, would you like to come over that day? It's not a big party or anything, just me and probably Aya too, but the more the merrier, right?”

He smiled. “I wouldn't miss it for the world.”

“I'll call you, we'll get together before that, okay? Bye Yoshi~!” she gave him a wave before heading on home with a skip in her step.

Chapter Text

Three years. It'd been three years since he'd met Reimi. Kira had been just about glued to her side since then, spending most of his free time with her and Aya. He did like Aya too, she had taken a bit longer to warm up to him, but they were good friends at this point. Nonetheless he definitely preferred when he and Reimi got to be alone together.

 

She had definitely changed him, probably for the better. Whenever she was around he made it a point to consider other people's feelings, even if he didn't completely understand them. It made her happy, and seeing as she was one of the only people he genuinely cared about, it made him happy too. He had also opened about to her about some of his macabre interests, not the worst of them of course, but she seemed to be okay with the things he had told her, which was a relief. She was the only person who had ever accepted him without any caveats, there was definitely a deeper attachment that had been growing for years inside him.

 

And now it was the beginning of their last year in high school. The April morning was brisk, not super cold but enough to force Kira to turn up the heat in his beat-up car. He parked outside of Reimi's house to pick her up, and just as he did she came out of her house. She looked so different than she had when they first met, having grown quite a bit and looking more like an adult. Her face had taken on a gentle elegance that shone with genuine sweetness when she smiled. Her hands, of course, were still the loveliest pair to have ever existed, only becoming more beautiful with age.

 

She got in the car and he noticed that she had cut her once shoulder-length hair, it now sat close to her chin, pulled back by a simple yellow headband. He outstretched a hand to touch it, gently trailing his fingers down the soft curls and accidentally brushing her jaw before pulling his hand back. “The haircut suits you.”

 

Reimi gave him a bright smile. “Thank you! I was worried I might have gone too short with it, but you really think it looks alright?”

 

“Mmhm. It's lovely.” He said, hesitating to pull his eyes from her but eventually forcing himself to do so in order to pull out from the curb and drive.

 

The radio quietly hummed a familiar melody, prompting Kira to turn the dial an increase the volume. Freddie Mercury's voice boomed from the speakers to a jaunty collage of instruments, creating the classic Killer Queen. This song was one of his favorites, and he never hesitated to blast the volume when it came on.

 

A giggle from beside him caught his attention. “You're gonna break your speakers~” Reimi said in an almost sing-song voice.

 

“It's well worth it.” he had a smile on his face, it was faint but genuine.

 

He had expected the day to feel the same as most school days, but senior year brought about a feeling of ecstasy that it'd all soon be over. Unfortunately that also brought a feeling of dread about what might happen after high school. He couldn't bear thinking about losing his dear Reimi, but it was likely they'd be separated if they had different plans on what to do afterwards. Regardless, he decided to put such thoughts aside until the time to solve those issues was at hand.

 

 

 

Despite the excitement the entire senior class held for the beginning of their last year, the school day passed by ordinarily. Of course, Reimi was expecting as much. The real highlight she had been looking forward to was spending time with her friends, and that never disappointed. Aya, of course, was her best friend, her partner in crime. Then there was her new friend, Shinobu. She had only known her for a couple of months, but she really enjoyed her presence. She had such a bright and confident attitude, it was clear she was going to be going places. Her and Aya seemed to have hit it off as well despite having pretty polar attitudes. It was going to be a fun school year with those two around.

 

And then of course, there was Yoshi... He was a dear friend, and had opened up to her a lot since they had first met. He seemed a lot more casual around her now, and despite his very drawn-back demeanor he had a dry sense of humor that always surprised people when it came out. He was constantly revealing more sides of himself, like a never-ending puzzle. Reimi really liked him... she really liked him. Her feelings kept growing more intense and it was confusing and frustrating, she didn't know whether to tell him or not. Every time she went to do so she always ended up chickening out at the last minute and managing to turn her stuttering words into some kind of lame joke. God, she was so awkward when it came to this stuff. Whenever she saw him she told herself to tell him or make a move or something, but at the same time she didn't know if that would completely off-put him and wreck their friendship.

 

She was having that same internal turmoil as Yoshikage drove her home, but quickly got blinked back to reality by his soft voice stating “You're unusually quiet today. Is something wrong?”

 

Quick, quick, think of an excuse- “Oh, no, just tired from all of the excitement today. The senior class sure is loud, huh?” Nailed it.

 

He laughed lightly, a rare treat to hear. “Too loud, if you ask me. I could do without the loud shouting of 'Class of '83' after every minor event.”

 

She smiled, relieved that he took the excuse and didn't inquire any further. “I mean it'll probably die down when those clowns realize they need to actually do work to graduate. Or at least, I hope it will.”

 

He nodded in silent agreement.

 

Yoshi's well-loved and well-worn Queen cd was, of course, playing yet again, the familiar notes of Somebody To Love quietly sounding through the speakers. The momentary silent brought back Reimi's fretful thoughts, so she turned to listening intently to the song, but it didn't help as her heart only seemed to speed up with the swelling of the music. This was it, it was now or never, she was going to tell him, she turned to him-

 

The car slowed to a stop in front of her house. Yoshikage evidently hadn't noticed that she was staring at him with fierce intent, so when he turned to her to say goodbye, his words died in his mouth and he regarded her with a furrowed brow, clearly confused.

 

All of Reimi's determination was now gone, instead leaving behind pure adrenaline and what was probably a really bad idea. She leaned in and kissed him.

 

Well, she tried, but she narrowly missed his lips and instead landed a kiss on his cheek. There was a split second where they both looked at each other with expressions that read both pure terror and confusion, before Reimi barreled out of the car and into her house with the speed of an animal being hunted. She slammed the front door shut, holding her ever-reddening face in pure shock just thinking to herself; did I seriously just do that? She barely got a chance to catch her breath before she heard her mom calling from the kitchen.

 

“Are you home? The Kishibes are going to an art gallery tonight, they need you to watch Rohan for a few hours.”

 

She took a deep breath, trying to steady her voice. “Okay, I can do that!”

 

The Kishibes brought Rohan over about twenty minutes later, and Reimi was more than thankful that she had something to distract her. She was laying on the floor with the four year old as he colored with the intensity of a mathematician solving a complicated equation. She had put on a cartoon for him, but as usual he never watched it. Sometimes he'd glance at the screen and choose some crayons that matched whatever colors that he had seen on it, but for the most part he was more invested in creating things from his imagination. He could talk pretty fluently now, but he was quiet unless he got started on a subject he liked.

 

She kept trying to sneak peaks at what he was drawing, but he hated that, he always pushed her face away with his tiny hands, firmly stating “NO.” Honestly, she knew he was going to do that as he always did, but it always cracked her up so sometimes she'd just do it to mess with him.

 

Her mind wandered back to the situation earlier and she cringed before reaching out to ruffle Rohan's hair. “Hey little man, don't ever do anything on impulse without thinking it through, mmkay?”

 

He stopped coloring and look up at her inquisitively. “What's em-poolse?”

 

“It's like... when your brain gives you a sudden idea and you do it... Like buying a mountain out of nowhere, or taking stuff without paying.”

 

He pursed his lips and considered it deeply. “Lame.” he stated before immediately going back to work on his drawings.

 

Reimi snorted and dropped into a laughing fit, smooshing her face into the carpet to stifle it. She loved this kid.

 

 

Chapter Text

Kira’s hand hovered over the number dial on his phone. It felt like he had been there for hours, and truthfully he wouldn’t be surprised if it actually had been hours. He had stood there and dialed almost all of Reimi’s number with badly shaking hands, and now there was just one more to go. One more and the phone would begin to ring and he’d ask her if that strange almost-kiss meant what he thought- or at least hoped it meant. One more. But he was frozen. With what? It wasn’t that same nervous fear that bubbled up any time he thought he said the wrong thing, it was… different. An icy, hollow feeling that ran up his spine and made him sick to his stomach. It was sheer terror.

 

It felt as if he was at a precipice. Sure, he could still turn around and walk away. Pretend that nothing had happened, and she would likely pretend the same. Everything would continue as normal.

 

But…

If he walked off that precipice and into the unknown, there was a chance he could finally get what he had wanted for so long.. or a chance it would all come crashing down on him and he’d lose everything. Perhaps she would react in disgust at his feelings, and finally treat him like the scum he felt he was. After all, she looked pretty shocked after she had kissed him. Maybe she made a mistake. Maybe it was best to just walk away.

 

Then again.. say she did love him as he loved her? Was he really going to turn his back on this chance? His whole life would change for the better.

 

And it all hung in the balance between his finger and the phone’s rotary dial.

 

He swallowed, trying to push down the lump in his throat, and he dialed the last number.

 

 

Aya made her way through the Sugimoto’s yard towards their front door, shifting her tote bag uncomfortably on her shoulder. Reimi had called her last minute, practically begging her to have a sleepover that very night. It was a school night, but Aya managed to convince her parents to let her go. After all, Reimi said there was something really important she needed to tell her in person.

 

She had expected it to be bad news, especially considering the urgency in Reimi’s voice over the phone, but when the door opened, Reimi was standing there, grinning like she had won the lottery. Aya gave her a questioning look, but Reimi only beckoned her inside, clearly not ready to spill the beans until they were in her room.

 

Shutting the door behind them, Reimi practically bounced over to sit on her bed, motioning for Aya to sit down next to her. Aya did so, and raised an eyebrow. “Okay, explain?”

 

Reimi took a deep breath, and then the words practically fell out of her mouth. “He asked me out, Aya!”

 

Aya smiled, but it was a peculiar smile, one that didn’t seem entirely happy. She didn’t even have to ask who “he” was, she already knew it was Yoshikage. She was uncomfortably aware that she should’ve been reacting with delight and congratulating her best friend, but a peculiar deflating feeling hung in her gut… and she knew exactly why it did. That old crush she had on Reimi was flaring like a rocket in her chest.

 

She had been trying to lose those feelings since Yoshikage had come along. That very first day that Reimi had introduced him to her, she had felt the first pangs of jealousy, and she had known it was going to end up like this. It would’ve been hard enough to tell her that she was crazy for her, but with another person who had a better chance competing for her affections? Forget about it. Maybe she had claimed defeat too easily, but she bitterly blamed Yoshikage for it that entire first year of knowing him. She had known this was coming, even expected it sooner, but it still hurt.

 

But there was something else, some other feeling creeping up her spine. Something that made the hairs on her arms stand up with goosebumps. Some horrible foreboding gut feeling that something was wrong. It didn’t make sense for that feeling to be there, what about this situation was doing that to her? It was probably nothing. Probably just her trying to reach for a reason that Reimi and Yoshikage shouldn’t be together.

 

Aya looked into Reimi’s eyes and saw them shining with such fierce happiness that she tucked those unpleasant feelings back down into her, and she finally smiled back sincerely. She took her hands and squeezed them.

 

“I’m happy for you.”

 

Inside, she was terrified for no reason.