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the light that comes from you

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"No."

"Please, Kunimi?"

"No."

"But it'll look so cool!"

"It'll look stupid. And I'll just have to wash it off anyway, so what's the point."

Kindaichi tries on her best attempt at a pout. "Kunimiiiii," she whines. "Just this once. I promise I'll never ask again."

Kunimi folds her arms across her chest, glaring down from her usual spot on the bed at Kindaichi, who's sprawled on her bedroom floor. Her gaze sizzles on Kindaichi's skin, forcing her to look away.

Kunimi's sigh would be imperceptible to someone who hadn't spent the last five years studying her every nuance. "…Fine."

Kindaichi knocks her head against the bedframe in her haste to scramble upright.

"Really?" she exclaims, ignoring the way Kunimi is laughing at her, and especially ignoring the way those tiny giggles light sparklers in her lungs.

"I'm giving you ten seconds before I change my mind."

Kindaichi runs across her room to the set of drawers where she keeps her extensive makeup collection. She chooses her palest shade of foundation for Kunimi's sun-starved complexion, as well as lots of concealer, because no matter how much sleep Kunimi seems to get, she still holds the record for Most Impressive Dark Circles at Aobajousai.

When she's picked out everything she needs, Kindaichi sits on the bed, facing Kunimi.

"Um, normally you'd wash your face first," she starts, but stops short at the look of pure mutiny that Kunimi gives her.

"Okay…so, concealer first," she murmurs, half to herself, and gets to work on what she's decided to dub Kunimi's spontaneous after-school makeover.

Scratch that, she thinks, seconds later—she should call it the most disastrous idea Kindaichi has ever had. For one thing, Kunimi's bangs are pinned out of the way by two of Kindaichi's own hairclips, and Kindaichi thanks every god she can think of that Kunimi doesn't wear them like that regularly, because it would probably do all kinds of things to her heart that she'd rather not experience at such a young age.

And, of course, she underestimated her own ability to get so close to Kunimi's lazy eyes and cute little nose and still remember how to breathe.

She hopes her hand isn't shaking too much as she brushes highlighter over Kunimi's cheeks, forehead, cupid's bow…ah, fuck, she shouldn't have done that one. Too close to those lips.

"Close your eyes," she instructs, and if Kunimi notices the way her voice stumbles, she doesn't say anything. She simply does as she's told, totally relaxed under Kindaichi's careful brush strokes and gentle touches.

Kindaichi chooses a sparkling golden eyeshadow to match all that highlighter, and tries not to pay attention to the way Kunimi's eyelids flutter slightly. A song fills the soft silence around them, something from Kindaichi's favorite girl group, and Kunimi hums along under her breath, and Kindaichi's chest aches. Does Kunimi know the effect she has on Kindaichi? Probably not, or she would have ditched her long ago for friends who didn't think about the arch of her cheekbones or the curve of her waist or how it might feel to kiss her.

And that brings Kindaichi to the moment she's been dreading ever since she realized just how big of a mistake she made: the lips. She picked an apricot gloss that shimmers mockingly on Kunimi and makes Kindaichi wish she'd gone to a different middle school. At least then she wouldn't be sitting here, valiantly ignoring the impulse to erase those few centimeters between her own mouth and her best friend's.

She shuts down that train of thought immediately and finishes her project with a mist of setting spray, hoping she doesn't look as flustered as she feels.

"It's heavy," Kunimi complains.

Kindaichi observes her handiwork while her stomach performs an audition for the circus. As she'd intended, Kunimi is quite literally radiant. Kindaichi painted her in gold and bronze and gossamer pink, and it suits her even better than turquoise.

"It—it looks really, uh, good," Kindaichi croaks rather cleverly, wondering where she left her glass of water. Her mouth is suddenly very dry.

Kunimi huffs lightly. "I don't know if I even want to see."

"Come on, you have to," Kindaichi pleads, offering a small mirror. She put her health at risk for this. There's no way she'll let Kunimi get away with not appreciating it.

Kunimi only turns stubbornly to look out Kindaichi's bedroom window, and the rose-gold glow of sunset catches in her hair and floats around her face, all lily-soft and pristine angles.

She's ethereal, Kindaichi thinks, not for the first time, and then, holy shit, is she blushing?

"I think you'd blush too if your best friend called you ethereal," Kunimi mumbles, ducking her head a little.

Kindaichi slaps a hand over her own mouth. "Oh my god, I am so sorry, I didn't mean to say that outside of my head, and you probably think I'm a total creep—"

She cuts herself off, mortified. Kunimi's shoulders are quivering.

"Oh, fuck, are you crying? Did I gross you out that much?" Kindaichi asks, and, wow, well done, idiot. Top marks for tact.

But then Kunimi looks up, and Kindaichi realizes she's laughing.

She scowls. "Hey, this isn't funny! I just made a total idiot of myself!"

"That's exactly why it's funny," Kunimi snickers, and when Kindaichi scoffs in exaggerated indignance, she laughs again. This time, though, it's a full laugh, the kind that spreads across her whole, lovely face and lights up her eyes and makes Kindaichi's heart twirl in her chest. Kindaichi can count the number of times she's seen this laugh on one hand. She's utterly helpless, unable to move or speak or think while Kunimi unfolds before her.

Finally, though, she calms down, and the smirk she gives Kindaichi can't mean anything good.

"So," she says. "You only think I'm ethereal when I'm wearing your makeup?"

Kindaichi probably could have slathered all the blush she owns onto her face right now and it wouldn't make any difference. "Of course not!" she says, her words tumbling over one another. "I think you're ethereal all the time! At school, and at volleyball practice, and when you fall asleep in my mom's car, and when we're watching a movie and you like it and pretend not to, and—Kunimiwhatareyoudoing."

Kunimi has lifted one hand to Kindaichi's face, slender fingers ghosting over her skin. Kindaichi isn't even able to splutter when one quiet thumb brushes across her bottom lip, as if simply to find out whether it can.

Kindaichi doesn't move when Kunimi leans closer. She's blinded by flickering eyes and starry glitter, and then Kunimi kisses her, lip-gloss-soft and a little bit sticky.

"Sorry," Kunimi whispers. "I just wanted to see if I'd like it."

"And did you?"

Kunimi seems surprised at Kindaichi's instant reply. Kindaichi herself is shocked at her own boldness.

"Yes, I did," Kunimi admits, and now she looks away, frowning slightly.

"Oh thank goodness," Kindaichi breathes, all at once. "I did, too."

"You did?"

Kindaichi thinks she's never seen Kunimi look so interested in anything, not finding a new secret napping spot, or skipping afternoon practice, or even plotting Kageyama's defeat.

She nods hesitantly. "Yeah, I—I did. A lot. Um, would you maybe want to, ah, do it again? Sometime? Maybe lots of times? Or, like, maybe, forever? Because I wouldn't mind! But only if you want to—"

"You're rambling," Kunimi points out, and kisses Kindaichi once more, longer this time, warm like countless popsicle-strewn summers, and tasting faintly of peach tea.

"I wouldn't mind doing that forever, either," she tells Kindaichi, and then, as an afterthought, "but you're bringing me chocolates on Valentine's Day. And I don't want any of those weak store-bought ones that taste like cardboard."

Kindaichi can only agree. She got herself into this, after all.

And when Kunimi kisses her again (and again, and again), she thinks a few boxes of chocolate will be more than worth it.