Title: おさななじみ (Osananajimi)
Pairing: Ninomiya Kazunari/Yoshitaka Yuriko
Summary: Nino and Yuriko are childhood friends, permanently challenging each other and unable to confess their true feelings to each other.
A/N: Dear phrenk, I sincerely hope you will enjoy this fluffy little OS, I did my best to fulfill your request. This is a slice of life, the turning point for a couple-to-be.
Millions of thanks to the dear beta who worked hard on this story ♥
“I dare you to climb the highest tree in my garden.”
The day Ninomiya Kazunari heard his little neighbor challenging him for the very first time , he knew he had met his equal.
“And if I dare?”
“It will be your turn to challenge me.”
It was more than enough for him to take the dare and except a few bumps and bruises, he won the right to challenge the girl at his turn.
“I dare you to go downhill on my skateboard.”
She had arched a skeptical eyebrow. “Easy.”
“Blindfolded.” Nino added, crossing his arms on his chest.
Year after year, the silly challenges would ensue and they soon became like fingers on a hand to their parents’ despair. Those two found each other but not for the best, it seemed.
In time, the seemingly ridiculous dares changed.
“I dare you to climb on the roof to smoke with me.”
“I dare you to drink this entire bottle of beer.”
“I dare you to stop playing this game.”
“I dare you to dump him.”
The day Yuriko dared Nino to kiss her, they stopped playing.
His disbelief as a blatant rejection put a damper on her expectations and the way she treated him as a result established a brand new game between them. One where they would compete as to who was better at hiding their feelings.
They gave it their best shot, but after some months were forced to face an ugly truth: they were far less talented than they initially believed themselves to be. They took advantage of their admittance to university to place some distance between them in a tacit agreement, and if living without the constant presence of the other was painful and so unusual, both considered it was perhaps time to live an adult life, each on their own, and forget their childhood games.
Nino left the town to study music and Yuriko followed a literature program, hoping she could find a job in a publishing company once she graduated.
Each year, Nino came back home for New Year’s Day and after midnight, he would climb on the roof of the neighbor’s house, waiting for his friend who never failed to meet on this sacred date. They drank till morning, trying to summarize one entire year far from each other in the time of a night, then went back to their separate lives.
Each time, Nino did his best to convince himself that the next year wouldn’t be so difficult.
They kept in touch, sending mails and pictures and soon, Nino was the proud owner of an impressive file named “Yuriko pics” stored on his computer.
She told him she had a boyfriend. No wonder, since she was the most beautiful girl he had ever met then — well hidden in his flat — he sighed in relief when she told him they broke up for some reasons.
He met some girls too, he had a few relationships and once or twice he even thought it could work. But eventually, he had to admit that all the women he ever met lacked something. One was too earthy, this one wasn’t feminine enough, this other too girly… not a single one was Yuriko enough.
Naturally, when he graduated he came back in his hometown and found a job at a small musical label.
He also still had time to play in the piano bar he’d played at in his younger days, and he even managed to join a band.
Yuriko wasn’t that lucky. She never found more than an internship in a low quality company and she started to grow desperate. Stuck in an expected life, in the small hometown she never left, nothing seemed to work for her.
Her dream to find a job in the literature field was slowly fading away just like the one to find a man according her liking. She wasn't afraid to hit on someone or being a man's girlfriend but making a commitment was out of reach.
And Yuriko was perfectly aware that she wasn't able to move on because she couldn't draw a line on Nino. In his mind he always was her soul mate, her only perfect match.
Nino who always considered her as nothing more than a good friend.
When he came back from Tokyo she somehow hoped that it was the occasion for them to restart from scratches, to begin together a new life, an adult one where their child games would be forgotten for good.
But nothing ever changed and Yuriko gave up.
“Moshi moshi? Who’s speaking? “ Nino said, a pleased smile adorning his face.
“Baka. Would you have time to spend with a starving old friend?”
“If she’s not dead by the end of the day, why not? Should I treat you?”
“I’ll take care of everything, don’t worry. I’ll buy some groceries and I’ll cook at your place. Does that work for you?”
“Are you circumspect about my cooking talent or do you have something to ask?”
Yuriko chuckled admittedly.
“You know me too well. I have something to ask.”
“Tonight, okay? At eight?”
Nino smiled absentmindedly, trying to imagine what her request could be. A ticket for a concert? Money? Maybe she needed someone to nail a new shelf in her living room? Her new boyfriend, one of her former senpais — and someone he felt was too perfect — didn’t seem to be able to use his two hands.
The young man had to admit he hated each and every man in Yuriko's life but he had no right to her. Not even the one to be jealous.
Time passed quickly as his work suddenly piled up, and Nino no longer had a chance to think about his personal affairs until it was well past the time he usually left for the day. In returning home late, Nino only had enough time to spare for a shower before he heard a knock on his door.
With his hair still dripping wet, and in his bare feet, Nino went to open the door to reveal Yuriko with a bag of groceries she then handed to him — a gesture that immediately brought a smile to his face.
Yuriko promptly kissed his cheek before tossing her high heels in the genkan. The easy grace with which she moved to the kitchen counter, while holding the bottle of wine she had hidden inside her coat, was not lost on Nino, and it was endearing.
Nino reached out and she handed him her coat in a well-organized ballet. He took advantage of this moment to observe her leisurely. Yuriko wasn't a fashion victim, far from it. She had her own style, vintage and womanish enhancing her uniqueness. She was like no one else, thought the young man once again.
The big round earrings hanging from her small ears enhanced the perfection of her slight neck, bared by a high ponytail. For a second he wondered if her skin was as smooth as it seemed.
“Am I early?” Yuriko asked while she unloaded the bag.
“No, I’m the one who is late. I was busy at work but the good news is that I won’t have to work tonight.”
“Good. It’s been a long time.”
This was part of their game. Like strangers unable to offer more than a form of politeness, they were now used to cursing the time that had passed while they were far from each other without doing anything to change this painful reality.
She laughed and strode to the kitchen to cook. A tsunami like always, going straight to the point, even if she had to shake some susceptibility in the process.
“Do you need some help?” asked Nino, joining her in the kitchen.
“I’d like a glass of wine.”
“You should stop thinking that wine is a meal by itself. You’re too skinny.”
The smile she gave him was half-hearted and Nino noticed a shadow in her gaze that he never saw before, except for the time when he refused to kiss her. She usually was quite talkative and Nino always thought he could read her like an open book but now he felt he had to be a little more heedful. He sat on the countertop , watching her while she sliced, cut, and boiled water, waiting for her to find the right opportunity to finally voice her concern.
They sat at the low table, hiding behind their usual masks of friendship, both wondering who would be the first to break the uncomfortable silence.
Nino didn’t have to wait too long. As soon as he gripped his chopsticks, ready to mock her lack of talent in cooking, she blushed.
“Nino, I’m leaving.”
“But we didn’t eat.”
“Are you that stupid? I’m leaving town. I found a job in a publishing company in Tokyo. And since there’s nothing for me here, I accepted.”
“It’s so rushed.” Nino hissed, gazing down at his bowl.
“Hm. Not really. I’ve been looking for a job for months now.”
“And your parents, your boyfriend, what did they say?”
“You know my parents, they are upset but they know I have no other choice and with Akira…we broke up last month.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You’re too busy and it’s a minor detail. Why would you care?” Yuriko said softly but Nino didn't miss the bitter tone.
Nino remained silent for a moment, not feeling too proud of himself. He realized that he hadn’t exactly been there for either his family or Yuriko, as he’d been too preoccupied with his job. He’d been too focused on himself and the situation had caused her a great deal of suffering, even if she wouldn’t admit it. Pride was one thing they had in common, after all.
Seeing her sad expression, Nino knew he was right on the mark. He had, after all, hurt her. If she chose not to say a word about what she was going to do from her on, she had every right. It still made him sick, however, to know that her luggage was probably ready in a corner of her apartment.
“Okay. You’re right. It’s certainly the best for you.”
“I’m glad. I was scared that you would be angry with me since I didn’t tell you before.” Yuriko said, relieved.
“Why should I be? I’ve been busy with my job and the band, and we barely see each other anyway.”
Nino cursed himself mentally. Why did he feel the need to hurt her when she was the most precious person in his life? He figured he had never really been honest with her, hiding his feelings behind mean remarks and bad jokes whenever she knocked him off-balance. But this time, seeing her looking so disappointed, he felt sincerely remorseful.
However, it was too late to take back everything he’d said. He attempted to change the subject, albeit rather deliberately. “So what was this service?”
She flushed and looked elsewhere, searching for an answer while looking at the floor in contemplation.
“It’s a bit…particular, actually. Do you remember all those times I saved your ass at school or from our parents?”
“Hm…you scare me suddenly. It should be huge if you have to go that far.” Nino chuckled to hide his embarrassment. Now he feared the worst.
“I dare you to make love to me.” She quickly uttered, looking at him in a straightforward fashion.
Nino froze, his chopsticks somewhere between his mouth and his bowl.
“I beg your pardon? Did I misunderstand?” he stuttered, giving her a chance to erase her last sentence.
Yuriko persisted in spite of her obvious awkwardness. “On the contrary, I think you understood perfectly.”
“Do you intend to explain this to me?”
“If you promise to not mock me.”
Nino nodded in silent.
“Okay. I never…well…never…I’m a virgin.” Yuriko stuttered and an endless silence followed the torturing confession.
“...Why didn’t you tell me?”
“It’s not the kind of discussion we used to have.”
Nino couldn’t miss the implied reproach. “And all your boyfriends, the guy I met at your parent’s place?”
“Never. No time…he was a pain in the ass, such a control-freak, so strict, that’s what you always told me, right?”
“Okay. But why me?”
“I’m leaving my home town. Probably forever.” Yuriko flushed but didn't lower her gaze. As a matter of fact, the young woman was reluctant to explain more and it was written all over her scarlet face. But she kept on. “And even if you’ll mock me because it’s ridiculous, I don’t want to make love to a stranger for my first time. Someone who won’t know anything about me, about my parents and my town…I broke up with my last boyfriend I can’t ask him, no way. Maybe I am scared to leave my family, this sudden departure is frightening maybe, I don’t want to have any regrets.”
It sounded like a very prepared speech, thought Nino. No doubt about it, she repeated it like she would have done with an oral presentation. She was giving him many good and logical reasons, but did it make any sense? Did it exist a sole good and objective reason to make love?
“I get your point, but why me?” Nino insisted, seeking the confession he had hoped for years.
“We’re childhood friends. You’re my best friend,” said Yuriko sheepishly and Nino felt a sudden anger overwhelming him. She didn’t realize what she was asking from him, not when he had dreamt about her for years without ever finding the courage to confess.
“Exactly! We have feelings for each other…friendship. We can’t make love just because you decided to lose your virginity to a friend.”
Nino was slowly drifting from anger to sadness. His voice was softer when he kept on.
“Yu-chan, look…you’re clever, I’m pretty sure you can understand that wanting it is not enough. You ask as if you want a new pair of shoes. It’s a completely different matter. I’m not a sex-toy.”
“Nino, please. Just this once and I swear I won’t ask you for anything else. Anyway, by next week, you won’t see me!”
Truth be told, Nino felt insulted. He was a friend. Just a friend. Was it her only motivation for asking? He could have any girl he wanted, and yet the one girl who mattered happened to be so insensitive. What the Hell?
“Anyway…we stopped playing this game a long time ago…” he murmured.
Yuriko lowered her head. “I know,” she whispered as she moved aside to approach him. “It will be the last time.”
Nino clenched his jaw and rose.
“Okay, I agree. Take your clothes off.” He provoked, in an effort to corner her.
“Now?!” She began to panic and Nino crossed his arms against his chest.
“Of course now. You’re leaving soon, right? It’s probably our last night together.” He leaned into her and met her gaze suddenly full of doubt. He stopped one inch from her lips then straightened, smirking in triumph.
“See?” he declared. “You’re not ready.”
As he walked to the kitchen with the dishes in his hands, Nino decided it was best to try and make things easier. “Do you want coffee?” he offered, “Let’s just pretend that this conversation never happened. I’ve already forgotten about it.”
When she didn’t answer, Nino feared the worst and glanced over his shoulder. What he saw made him stop short.
She had already taken off her blouse and was unzipping her skirt.
“Yuriko, what are you doing?”
“What does it look like?”
She was gazing down, focused on her stripping.
“Are you kidding me? It’s not—” He began to freak out at his turn.
She approached him, wearing only her underwear, and took the dishes from his hands to put them in the sink. She tiptoed and after a moment’s hesitation, kissed along his neck to his earlobe. He closed his eyes, whispering, “It’s not fair”.
For years, he’d done his best to see her as a sister, clinging to his belief that he shouldn’t risk their friendship. But now, she was kissing him, and he was struggling not to take her in his arms and hold her tight.
She caressed his stomach and he didn’t protest when she grabbed the hem of his T-shirt to pull it over his head. She tossed it on the floor and soon her bra joined it. She came back to him, kissing him again then cupping his face. Nino knew she was stubborn and determined but now he couldn’t even recognize her. The brotherly feelings he held on to on so many occasions were irrevocably shattered, leaving only a powerful and irresistible desire…
How could he resist? He grabbed her waist and lifted her off the floor, carrying her to the bedroom, as his lips found hers. They toppled on the bed and he broke the kiss, looking into her eyes as he unbuckled his belt.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes, I am.”
“Your father will kill me.”
“So we won’t tell him,” Yuriko replied, easily shrugging off his concern.
In that moment, every last apprehension Nino had was replaced with a sense of calm. He straddled her and slid her panties down her legs, then tossed them aside where they fell in a heap on the floor.
Yuriko stretched her arms above her head and gripped the bedpost, gazing up at him with naked want in her eyes. As his eyes met hers, Nino was spellbound by how the years had changed her from the girl next door to this splendid woman lying in his bed. He’d dreamed of this moment so many times, but all of that paled in comparison to reality.
He leaned down to blow gently across one breast, marveling at how her nipple tightened in response as if calling for his kiss. He gave in to the urging to taste her and gently suckled, feeling her hand tightening in his hair, urging him to continue his exploration.
Slowly, he released her nipple and his tongue traced a path on her skin, down towards her belly. She sighed with delight and Nino, intoxicated by her reaction, kissed his way down to her hips. As if she realized his intent, Yuriko reflexively clamped her legs together.
Even as her actions were meant to deter him, Nino knew they were both past the point of shyness and he was not going to back down.
“Spread your legs.”
“I can’t.” Yuriko murmured, partly ashamed to refuse what she begged for. She died to be bold, she dreamt so many time to drive him crazy but she realized painfully that it was far more difficult once in Nino's bed.
A part of him wanted to roll his eyes. “Then how am I supposed to proceed, smartass?”
“You don’t need to kiss me…there.” she muttered shyly, her voice broken with emotion.
Nino straightened up to gaze at her. “Look, I’m no expert on virginity, but I’m pretty sure that the more you are prepared, the easier it will be.”
Yuriko looked wary and on the verge of arguing with him, but desire won out and she closed her eyes. Nino resumed caressing her, gently easing her thighs apart and testing her with a soft flick of his tongue against her sex. He was instantly rewarded with a moan and her hips lifted off the mattress to meet his mouth.
The flavor of her was elemental, clouding his mind but somehow making him acutely aware of nothing else but her. She tried to smother her moans behind her hand, but that only made Nino more determined to take her to the brink of ecstasy. His fingers replaced his lips and tongue, teasing the slick folds of her womanhood before dipping inside to stretch her.
She cried out his name, her back arching up off the bed as his fingers continued to work their magic on her. Part of her thought it unfair that he could be so wicked with his hands, but Yuriko prayed that he wouldn’t stop what he was doing.
Just when she thought she would go mad from the pleasure, he pulled away, leaving her wanting. Almost immediately, she called his name, only to be cut short by his mouth on hers once more. She whimpered into the kiss, aware of the hardness pressing insistently against her inner thigh. The realization that he desired her made Yuriko giddy with happiness. Nino pulled away from Yuriko to breathe, smiling as he took in her disheveled appearance before his gaze fell on her mouth. She looked thoroughly kissed and so beautiful that he almost forgot what to do next. When his eyes met hers, he knew that he was right: there would never be anyone else.
Wordlessly, he reached for the drawer of his nightstand to fish out a condom, tearing the foil under her watchful eyes. If this was going to be their last night together, he owed it to her not to further complicate her life. He then stood up to quickly divest himself of his pants and boxers, revealing his erection to her.
Noticing the widening of her eyes, Nino blushed and wished he could spare her from her embarrassment of watching him put on a condom. This wasn’t a choreographed love scene like in the movies, after all.
She surprised him by taking the condom from him, saying, “Let me do this for you.”
He watched in fascination as she skillfully rolled the condom over his shaft. The curiosity must have been evident on his face because she looked up at him with a smile. “I said I was virgin, not that I never did anything...”
“Do you want me to be jealous?” Nino asked, huskily.
“I know you’re not.” Yuriko whispered sadly.
“Of course I am. Of each and every man who ever touched you.”
He leaned forward to press his lips to hers, angling his head to deepen the kiss as he nudged her thighs apart with his knee. He felt her tense and he pulled away, noticing how her eyes had squeezed shut and how her hands trembled where they rested on his skin.
She was more nervous than she had let on, so Nino decided that he had to do more to reassure her. Gently, he took one of her hands and brushed a kiss on her fingertips. “Yu, open your eyes and look at me,” he commanded softly, maintaining his composure as best he could and speaking in reassuring tones, “You trust me, right?”
Yuriko opened her eyes, regarding him with an affectionate gaze that she’d send his way when she thought he didn’t notice. “You’ll be gentle?”
He smiled. “I promise.”
Nino kissed her again, hoping to distract her enough from the initial pain as he eased himself between her thighs. He had not anticipated how the tightness of her would rob him of breath, but more than that, he had not anticipated how much he had wanted this. He’d wanted more than just friendship for a long time, and even now, he was overwhelmed by the depth of his own feelings for her.
He stopped when he felt the proof of her innocence and took her face in his hands, urging her to open her eyes because he needed her to know the truth. “Look at me, Yu.”
Her eyes were glittering with unshed tears as she lay beneath him. Nino smiled. “I’m glad to be the first…I’ve always wanted you, all those years.”
It was the first time he’d ever been completely honest, and after so long, he was relieved that he’d finally told her of the secret longing of his heart — that he had wanted to be hers forever.
Her cry of pain when he finally took her made his heart clench, and he willed himself not to move until she had adjusted to him. As he waited, he pressed butterfly kisses on her eyelids, her forehead, her cheeks, whispering endearments in her ear. When she shifted against him, he began to move — slowly at first, never breaking eye contact with her. Realizing that her gasps were no longer of pain, his thrusts grew urgent, and he gritted his teeth when her hips arched upwards to meet his thrusts.
Hearing him call her name made her clutch harder at his shoulders, then his neck — as if by pressing her body against his, they would meld together. Here, in his arms, she felt cherished and desired and somewhere along the way, she knew that it was no longer just her or just him. It was all about them, about this moment, about years of suppressed feelings finally given a voice.
She tried to reciprocate as much as she could through the haze of pleasure; kissing him, letting her hands move across his back, grabbing at his hips and buttocks. She wasn’t as experienced as he was, but she was determined to make up for that with the passion she had always felt for him.
Nino heard the quickening of her breath and the way she clenched around him indicated that she was close. Taking her hands in his, he brought them above her head, shifting just so his thrusts were deeper. Their pace grew frenzied, the rhythm lost as their bodies moved. Reaching between them, his fingers found her core and touched her aching flesh, causing her to stiffen beneath him as she climaxed.
He followed after her, groaning her name as he thrust deep into her, his head resting on the slope of her shoulder. He collapsed in her arms, out of breath and sweaty, but with a sense of fulfillment that he’d thought he would never experience in his lifetime. It had felt…like coming home. As if everything finally made sense.
Slowly, he raised his head to look at her, his full weight still pressing her into the mattress. She hadn’t made any complaints about his weight, and right now, he was content to bask in the afterglow of their lovemaking.
He did have to wonder if this truly changed things between them. Would she do as he said and forget about this? He watched her as she smiled, still trying to catch her breath. A lone tear escaped from the corner of her eye, running down the side of her temple and disappearing into her hair.
“Thanks.” She whispered.
“My pleasure.” Nino said with a smirk. Despite what had just transpired between them, he couldn’t help but tease her. “Are we officially sex friends now?”
“Nino…I lied to you earlier.”
The look on her face was so grave that Nino was worried, thinking he might have gone too far in joking about their status as sex friends.
He pulled away, moving to sit up against the headboard and pulling the blanket over the two of them. Were his feelings unrequited after all? Searching her face and finding her expression unreadable, he looked away.
Yuriko sat up, pulling the sheet over her chest. “It’s true…that I never had sex with my boyfriends,” she admitted, speaking as if with great difficulty, “but that’s only because…I wanted you to be the first.”
Her words startled him and Nino turned to stare at her. She regarded him anxiously, her face half-expectant and half-fearful as she waited for him to answer, even as she was leaving the pretense behind for the first time.
Nino was speechless. So much time had been lost between them, so many years had been wasted because of pride. If only—
“Are you blaming me for setting a trap? For hiding the truth from you? I didn’t want to leave the town without telling you what I feel for you. I forced you somehow…”
Nino sighed and looked at her. He owed her the truth too.
“I came back for you after university and now…you’re leaving.”
Yuriko had the grace to look embarrassed. “I didn’t know. I didn’t dare to hope it. Will you visit me?”
Nino felt compelled to answer.
He snaked an arm around her waist and made her straddle his thighs, intertwining their fingers then placing their joined hands behind her back.
“Let’s say we have an entire week to catch up, I’ll take some days off and then I’ll visit you from time to time,” he murmured, his smile more genuine now that there was nothing to hold them back.
She kissed him, savoring the groan elicited by the subtle grinding of her hips.
“Like what a boyfriend will do?” Yuriko smiled against his lips.
She slowly sank down onto him.
“Like what a boyfriend will do.” Nino whispered in her ear.