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Shiori Takatsuki was never the kind of woman who could put feelings into mere words; always some double meaning, an underlying message masked in either faux confidence or a bashful front, never honesty. Of course, the girl couldn't be her true self. That meant vulnerability, weakness, being overshadowed by others...a specific other, especially.

"Quite the popular one, aren't you?" She sits at the back end of the gym, staring at the floor as her friend jogs toward her belongings after the day's fencing practice and the hoards of squealing girls and adoring young men alike.

"Ah... Am I?"

Shiori has to resist the urge to scoff, feeling the bile rise in her throat as Juri took a towel from her bag and proceeded to wipe her face. Lucky was she, getting attention from so many. From girls that were clearly lacking in both self esteem and self respect, and men she probably thought she was too good for; what a priss. Shiori would hit her if she wasn't so good at being passive.

"You seem distant lately." Shiori says, glancing up at her almost immediately regretting it; seeing Juri with pink tinted cheeks and slightly disheveled hair gave her a sensation from the bottom of her stomach, something like excitement mostly overcast by anguish and disgust. This wasn't the first time, though, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.

"Is everything alright?"

"...It's fine." Juri responds.

It's been like this for weeks, Shiori thinks she might actually lose her mind. Would it be so hard for her to just admit she thought she was too good for her? It wouldn't surprise her. After all, it was only a matter of time, what with her getting so big on the fencing team and all. Cool girls like her and nobodies like herself weren't meant to bond. Just like the movies.

"I have to shower, but I'll walk you back to your dorm after if you'd like."

Such a kind tone, she'd always been concerned for Shiori's wellbeing, be it sharing umbrellas when she'd forgotten her own back in grade school or walking her across campus once the sun went down. Disgusting; she probably thinks she's being chivalrous. Some kind of selfless prince despite her barely being able to even look Shiori in the eye like she used to.

"...No." She finally responds, standing up and dusting off her skirt, secretly hoping that heat in her cheeks had vanished.

"I'll be alright, we're not 10 anymore Juri."

"Of course. See you tomorrow then?"

Shiori could swear she could hear a bit of disappointment in Juri's voice.

"..Maybe."

--------

Release comes with a soft sigh, and once the aftershock of orgasm wears down the mood is almost immediately replaced with shame.

Shame and guilt.

She'd lay there, only for a moment or two before slowly curling up, what started as slow, deep breathing slowly became sniffling, and what was sniffling slowly became soft sobs. This was an every night occurrence, and it never got easier to deal with, knowing what she'd done. It started the same: thoughts of some boy, any boy popping into her head, anything to help. Needless to say it was fruitless; it always came back to her.

Always her.

She pressed her face against her pillow, trying her damndest to stop the tears from falling. "Stupid." she mutters to no one in particular; it was times like this where she was grateful she'd scored a singles dorm. "You stupid, stupid girl." a moment or two more of wallowing in her shame before muffled sobs fill the pillow; she wasn't sure who she was referring to at this point, herself or Juri.

"Dammit Juri." Tears are staining the pillow at this point; not that she cares, it's what she deserves for being such a useless coward.

A useless, filthy coward.

"..Why does it have to be like this."