Chapter 1: Injuries and Apologies
“Jirou!” Mina yelled, bringing her hands down on said girl’s shoulders.
Kyouka tensed and gave a shout, before relaxing and dropping her head.
“I hate you.” She groaned.
“Love you too, you little emo.” Mina shoved Kyouka playfully.
Kyouka turned and stuck out her tongue, unamused with her friend’s antics. Mina responded with a light chuckle. The two were in front of Kyouka’s locker, where she had been placing her books and laptop before she was ‘rudely interrupted’. Kyouka turned back and brought out her schedule.
“What do you have next?” Mina asked, trying to peer over her shoulder.
Kyouka found the lesson and sighed, tempted to call her father and fake an illness.
“That’s your ‘kill me now’ sigh. Must be sport!” Mina said, overloading with enthusiasm. The fluffy-haired girl loved sport. No matter what game or type of sport it was, Mina was a pro. Somehow, she payed attention in theory classes too, managing to be the top of their year in sports and chemistry. Somehow, though, she was failing most other classes.
“What day is it?” Mina asked.
“Tuesday, we have it together today.”
“Woo! See? It’s not all bad, you’ve got me there!”
“I think that makes it worse.”
Kyouka turned to face Mina, noticing her lack of books while locking her locker.
“You’ve already been to your locker? Why didn’t you just check your schedule then?”
“I haven’t! We had English, I didn’t bring any books.”
Kyouka scoffed at her, beginning to walk towards the gym.
“Didn’t care enough.”
“That’s fair. I mean, considering your grades and all,” Kyouka teased, a large grin on her face. Mina looked proud as ever, and smiled back, nodding as if it were a great achievement.
“Why are you like this?”
“That’s lesbian culture babey.”
When they arrived, they found dozens of gymnastics mats shaped like ramps, perfect squares, circles, fat rectangles and the like scattered around the gym. It was like an obstacle course. All it needed was a clear path.
“To start off we’re gonna have a quick warm up, so everybody do two laps of the gym!” Their teacher called out. He was met with a gleeful cheer from Mina and two other kids, and tired groans from the rest.
“Three if I catch you walking!” He added. Kyouka considered herself motivated and began a light jog with the middle group, glancing at Mina’s rapid sprint at the front of the line. She seemed to be racing Bakugou.
Scanning her crowd, she found a Goddess among men.
Yaoyorozu Momo. Or, Yaomomo, her preferred nickname.
The most amazing girl in the school and Kyouka’s crush since the beginning of the year. Kyouka didn’t usually look at the people in her homeroom or in her classes. Her friends found her. But one of the only times she did, Yaomomo grabbed her attention and never let go.
Kyouka found herself running a little bit faster, with a little bit less breath.
After the laps were over, Kyouka was panting heavily and trying to play it off.
“Okay, that was pretty good! Nearly all of you ran this time!” Mr. Yagi said, side eyeing Shinsou, who crawled the third lap out of spite.
“Now! I want you to grab a partner. Try to pick someone who you don’t usually work with! After that, come to me to get a tag.”
Like hell Kyouka was going to listen to that. She scanned the crowd for Mina, only to find her with another classmate of theirs. Her next best option was Kaminari. For a second, she’d hoped she was in some type of teen romance movie, and only her and Yaomomo would be left. But it wasn’t, and she was already partnered up. Leaving the one and only Kaminari.
She found him pretty quickly, since he was complaining so loudly about his friends not picking him as a partner.
“I feel betrayed, like my entire life has been a lie!” He shouted, acting hurt.
Kyouka grabbed Kaminari by the collar, leading him to Mr. Yagi as he called her a ‘real one’.
Mr. Yagi gave them two light blue tags with a smile. Kyouka put hers on like a normal person, on one shoulder, with her arm through the loop. Kaminari, on the other hand, tied it around his head. He turned back to his friends, shouting a declaration of war.
A few moments after, Mr. Yagi called the class to attention.
“We will be playing battlefield dodgeball! You need to eliminate all other teams and be the last one, or two, standing. If your partner gets eliminated, you still stay in. If your partner is out and you catch a ball, they’re back in! And finally, headshots are not only allowed, but encouraged.” The class got louder as he went on. Kyouka glanced at Kaminari worriedly, hoping his friends didn’t actually try to wage war.
“Now, go find your positions! I’ll lay out the balls now.”
After doing so, he yelled to the class once more.
“Okay! On my mark, begin! Ready? Set… GO!”
It was silent for a few seconds, and then all hell was set loose. Balls flew past her head, screams were heard, wails of defeat, a cry of pain or two. It was pure chaos.
Kaminari had joined the screaming, catching a ball that nearly hit Kyouka and shooting it right at Sero’s back. Two balls flew back at him. One nearly hit, while the other forced Kyouka to duck.
“Come on Jirou! We’re going to the middle!” He yelled to her over the noise. Her eyes begged him not to, but he grabbed her wrist and led her there anyway. They barely dodged the onslaught of balls as they journeyed to the centre.
Upon their arrival, Kyouka was told to watch their backs for the people behind them, while Kaminari threw balls at people. A ball was thrown and stopped short of their mat. Kyouka went to grab it for Kaminari, since he’d run out. It seemed that someone else had a similar idea.
The second Kyouka put her hands on it, someone rammed into the side of her with their head. Kyouka practically flew backwards, hitting her own head on the hinges of the gym’s side door before falling to the ground.
She whined in pain, and heard Kaminari yell ‘man down!’ before Mr. Yagi’s whistle sounded. She heard a loud gasp, and then,
“Are you okay? Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” Was that…?
She felt someone land next to her, softly removing her hands from her wound.
“I should have watched where I was going! I’m so, so sorry! Are you in any pain?”
Yup. It definitely was.
The person who had slammed into her, and who was now tenderly checking her wound was in fact, Yaoyorozu Momo.
“Alright, back up a bit, Yaoyorozu, let me see her.” Mr. Yagi said. The soft and soothing pressure was replaced with a gentle push of her hair.
“It’s bleeding, but you’ll live. Here, I’ll help you up and you tell me if you need someone to walk you to the sick bay.”
Kyouka slowly pulled herself up, feeling the slight pressure of multiple hands and fingertips on her arms, wordlessly offering support. Kyouka kept her eyes closed for a second, hoping no stars would be present when she opened them. When she did, the worried faces of Mina, Mr. Yagi, Kaminari and Yaomomo herself became visible.
“I’m so sorry, Jirou.” She said once more, the most regretful and apologetic expression appearing on her face.
“May I walk you to the sick bay?” She added, after some hesitation.
“I don’t need any—” Kyouka began, but was cut off by a cheery voice.
“She would be delighted to!” Mina said.
“After all…” The latter paused, likely trying to find the wording that wouldn’t upset Yaomomo more than she already was.
“Jirou tends to refuse help when she really needs it.” Mina finished with a smile.
She was trying to set them up now?
When Kyouka recovered, she was going to give her hell.
“Okay, Yaomomo, you can take her. Sero,” He called to the benched boy.
“Could you grab me a cloth? I need to clean the blood.”
The two girls walked slowly off of the court, Yaomomo hovering around Kyouka. As soon as they got out of the door, Mr. Yagi’s whistle was heard, and the noise was brought back.
For a while, they both walked in silence, before Yaomomo broke it.
“Jirou, I am so sorry, that was terribly careless on my part, and I completely understand if you do not—”
“Yaomomo, it’s okay. It was an accident.” Kyouka said. Yaomomo seemed to calm down a bit, but still looked fretful.
“At least, I hope it was an accident.” Kyouka tried, finding humour to be a good remedy for any situation.
Yaomomo looked even more worried.
“Of course! I would never do that on purpose, I promise!” She responded.
“Wait, I was joking.” Kyouka explained.
“Ah. That’s good.”
They walked in a comfortable silence, though Kyouka could feel Yaomomo’s eyes on her, and reached the sick bay moments later.
The nurse, Ms. Shuuzenji, was speaking with another student, and Kyouka didn’t want to be rude, so she tried to let her finish. Yaomomo, shrouded in guilt, had other plans.
“I am so sorry to interrupt, Ms. Shuuzenji, but Jirou has a head injury that needs tending to immediately.”
Kyouka stared at her, shocked. So much for her own politeness.
“Of course, girls,” The short woman said, narrowing her eyes at the pair. She dismissed the other student and beckoned Kyouka forward.
“Let’s see what’s happened, Jirou.”
Kyouka lowered her head to show her the injury. Ms. Shuuzenji tutted at her.
“How did this happen?” She asked, taking Kyouka’s wrist and leading her to a separate room.
Kyouka paused, going over a fake story so no one would get in trouble. Thankfully, Yaomomo cut in.
“I wasn’t watching where I was going, and I ended up running right into Jirou. She hit a door and fell.”
“Just wash your forehead with some of this, dear.” She said, giving Kyouka a plastic bowl filled with a clear liquid, and some cotton balls.
Kyouka nodded and set to work, dabbing her forehead
There was light chatter in the main room between Yaomomo and Ms. Shuuzenji. She could make out a few words. Just things like ‘never and ‘make’.
After she finished, she held her hair away from the wound, and walked out to join the two.
Ms. Shuuzenji walked to her drawer and pulled out a band-aid, a tissue and some antiseptic.
She told Kyouka to sit on the bed. She handed her supplies to Yaomomo and they joined Kyouka.
“This may hurt a little bit.” She warned, grabbing the antiseptic.
The antiseptic was lightly dabbed onto her forehead, and, when the band-aid was in place, Ms. Shuuzenji hummed.
“All done girls, now you get back to class. Be careful!”
The pair left the room for a quiet hallway.
“So,” Kyouka began, searching for a topic.
“How are your classes going?”
“Oh. They’re going well, thank you. Though I do wish they would stop giving us so much homework all at once.”
“Ugh, I get that. It’s like, don’t they talk to each other?”
“Maybe they do, and that’s why we have so much.” Yaomomo responded, seeming to like the light-hearted mood
“Damn… That isn’t so far-fetched, actually.” Yaomomo beamed at her.
They quietened, and their footsteps became the only sound in the hall.
Kyouka felt eyes on her again. She turned to Yaomomo and made eye-contact. For a moment, maybe two, they maintained it. Before they both looked away, flustered at both of their actions.
“Sorry,” Kyouka said, trying to brush off the encounter and steady her heart rate.
“No, no! It’s fine, I started it.”
An embarrassed silence ensued, and the pair reached the gym doors quickly.
“Ready to go in?”
“Yeah. Thanks, Yaomomo.” Kyouka smiled.
The taller girl returned it with a bright grin that rendered Kyouka speechless.
‘I’m so gay.’
Chapter 2: A Gift of Gratitude
Kyouka is grateful for all of Momo's help, so she creates something to give to her.
The next day, Kyouka was sporting a band-aid signed by Kaminari and Mina. They thought it was hilarious.
She had been plotting how to say a proper thank-you to Yaomomo after school had finished. She boiled it down to two options. The option she chose was kind of weird, but sweet anyway.
Kyouka planned to give it to her at lunch, where she could easily slip away immediately afterwards. She knew Yaomomo wouldn’t embarrass her or talk about her behind her back, but it was still scary.
She had chemistry right before lunch, and was heavily considering backing out before Yaomomo had turned around to face one of her friends about half way through the period. She and Kyouka locked eyes, and a light pink filled their cheeks. Yamomo had given her a wave and a large smile similar to the one from yesterday. Kyouka looked around. Just to be sure it was for her. It was.
That positive and heart-warming interaction was enough to encourage Kyouka further to give her a gift.
So, when the obnoxious school bell rang, Kyouka was slightly more confident. The walk to her locker was quick. No one noticed her slight detour but Mina who arched a thick eyebrow.
Kyouka had signalled for her to go. She didn’t want Mina finding out and teasing her any further than she did yesterday.
Once the bag containing the gift was collected, she made her way to the lunch room. It was a bit hectic, but she managed to find Yaomomo’s table. After seven minutes of searching.
Nonetheless, everything was good to go.
With that in mind, Kyouka made her way over to Yaomomo’s table.
“Uh, hi, sorry, could I steal Yaomomo for a second?” She asked.
The table went quiet, and two of the people at it turned to Yaomomo with smirks on.
“Yes, of course!” She responded happily, getting up and motioning for Kyouka to lead the way.
She led her just outside of the lunch room. If any of Kyouka’s friends had seen them, she never would’ve heard the end of it.
“Um. So, like,” Kyouka started gracefully.
“I’m really grateful for all of your help yesterday, and… I wanted to give you a proper thanks, so I made you these.”
Kyouka handed her the bag, which she accepted with a surprised smile.
“Jirou, you didn’t have to do this.” She said, her voice thick with gratitude.
Kyouka didn’t answer. She was too nervous to speak. This was a bad idea, why did she do this, Yaomomo was going to think she was a creep—
Kyouka’s train of thought was cut off by a gasp.
“Cookies!” Yaomomo said, smiling widely at the treat she’d pulled out of the bag.
“Thank you so much!” She said, before taking a small bite of one. Kyouka wanted to melt into the floor, never to be seen again.
“These are amazing!” Her eyes were wide with excitement.
“Did you really make these?” She asked.
“Yeah, yesterday.” Kyouka managed, ignoring her warm cheeks.
“They’re delicious!” She said. Yaomomo seemed to sparkle.
After she swallowed, she got a very serious look on her face. Kyouka panicked.
“Jirou,” She said in a determined tone.
“… Yeah?” She tried, confusedly.
“Would you like to accompany me to a café this Saturday?”
For several moments, Kyouka was speechless.
Yaomomo seemed to be disheartened by this.
She opened her mouth to try to explain it away, but was stopped by Kyouka.
“Yeah, of course, I’d love to.”
“Here,” she said. “I’ll give you the details, do you have a pen?”
“Oh, uh… no, sorry.”
“That’s okay, I’ll… I’ll give you my phone number! I’ll text you the place name and the time, okay?”
“Yeah, of course, sure.” Kyouka knew her cheeks were red. Of course they were.
‘Fat little traitors.’ She insulted.
“Alright. Text me later on, Jirou!”
“Can’t wait!” She responded.
Yaomomo had gone back into the lunch room, but Kyouka stayed out for a while longer, trying to comprehend all that had happened.
By the time she made it back to her table, her cheeks had gone down to a pink hue.
Mina noticed immediately.
“Oooooooo, Jirou, who you blushing for?” She asked teasingly. She obviously expected to get a defensive response.
“I think I just got a date.”
“What.” Sero said.
“WITH WHO?” Mina screamed.
“Ew who would date you?” Kaminari asked.
There was a silence at the table that was broken only by the pained howl of Kaminari.
He wasn’t asking anything anymore.
Kyouka dragged her feet along the pathway to school, her back hunched and eyes drooping. Mina rattled on to Kaminari about a girl in her chemistry class with ‘the softest hair and most beautiful brown eyes, and she’s so nice I think I’m in love’. She was happy for her friend, and prepared to tease her about it, but just not right then. Maybe not for the whole day.
Kyouka hadn’t slept well last night, at first she fretted because of Momo, but it soon turned into a ‘one more episode’ excuse. She’d only fell asleep at 3 AM, believing the pain in the morning would be worth it, since she was all caught up on one of her new favourite shows.
The trio quickly made their way to their lockers and grabbed their books for first period. She had health, then maths. Surprisingly, she found herself looking forward to maths. She would normally be indifferent to it. She was good at it; not outstanding, and not terrible. But she was in the advanced class, and, due to her skill, so was Momo.
And Kyouka was always looking forward to seeing Momo.
Kyouka exhaled mildly heavily, pushing open the door to her class and finding her seat. At the beginning of the year, she had made an effort to be out of sight of their teacher, but Ms. Kayama enjoyed asking students who were trying to hide. So, she had settled for any seat she could find. It had been then, she’d noticed Momo.
She sat down close to the front row, while a stampeded of students rushed to their seats. Kyouka had been surprised. Someone was always late, yet there they all were. Inside two minutes before class started. Kyouka huffed a laugh through her nose.
When she turned back to the front, there was a girl’s face nearly right in front of hers. Her eyebrows rose slightly as the girl’s face took on a sheepish expression.
“I’m so sorry if I startled you,” The girl said.
“But I wanted to know if this seat was taken?” She finished, pointing to the one beside Kyouka.
The shorter girl shook her head, pulling out her textbook as the other took her seat.
“I’m Yaoyorozu Momo, you can call me Yaomomo.” The girl said quietly, sticking her hand out.
Kyouka tilted her head before shaking it. She made eye contact with the girl and looked at her properly.
Yaomomo was gorgeous. Her eyes were dark pools of brown, catching and consuming the classroom lights to create what Kyouka thought looked like sparkles. Her eyelashes were long, and thick. Her eyebrows, thin and arched. She had a long fringe that, even though it hid some of her face, seemed to draw attention to her eyes and cheeks, which Kyouka thought were adorable and chubby.
“What’s your name?” Yaomomo asked in a polite tone. Kyouka realised she had been staring and coughed, shifting so she was facing the front.
“Sorry… It’s Jirou Kyouka.”
Ever since then, she’d made an effort to sit in the same seat, and so did Yaomomo, it appeared.
Kyouka sat and waited patiently for Ms. Kayama, and Yaomomo. The tall girl hadn’t entered the class yet, and the bell was seconds from ringing.
Kyouka tapped her index and middle fingers on her desk, laying her left hand flat on her desk.
The shrill tone of the bell sounded as Ms. Kayama sauntered into the class with her signature smirk/smile hybrid.
Yaomomo was yet to make an appearance.
“Good morning students,” She addressed the class, drawing Kyouka’s attention.
“Last lesson, we had our trigonometry test, and let me just say,” She started glancing over all of their expressions.
“I am incredibly disappointed.” She finished, pulling out a drawer from the desk. She heaved a large pile of papers up, and began to hand them out.
Kyouka was conflicted on whether or not to believe her. It was a well-known fact in the school that Ms. Kayama enjoyed watching students both suffer and succeed, so she had no real evidence that her statement was a lie.
Kyouka glanced back at the door, worry growing thicker with time.
“Jirou Kyouka,” Ms. Kayama said, placing a test paper upside-down on her table.
She flipped the test, only half-paying attention to her mark. She supposed 82% was fine, for now.
Kyouka went through the test, glimpsing the door out of the corner of her eye as she read through it. About half way through, the door handle squeaked and in stepped Momo.
She had her head down, and her posture was nervous, her once straight-back now hunched, as if she was trying to curl into herself.
“Yaoyorozu!” Ms. Kayama said, arching an eyebrow as her Cheshire smile grew.
“You’re ten minutes late! I hope you have a…” Ms. Kayama trailed off as Momo handed her a form, her head still craned down.
“I apologise for being late, Ms. Kayama.” Momo said, her voice croaking slightly.
“Take this and have a seat, darling.” Ms. Kayama said, handing Momo her test paper upside-down.
Momo sat, not looking cheerful despite her probably very high grade.
Kyouka noticed her movements were sluggish, she was even blinking slowly. Kyouka frowned, her hands stilling, before she tapped Momo thoughtlessly. She didn’t fully realise what she had done until Momo’s dark brown eyes were fixed on her expectantly.
“Oh uh, hey Yaomomo,” She said, trying to find her metaphorical footing.
“Hello, Jirou.” She responded, her tired expression lifting a bit.
“Can you help me with this problem? I got it wrong on the test and I still can’t figure out why! You know Ms. Kayama, she likes to make us ask her ‘cause she’s into fear.” Kyouka said, nudging Momo.
Momo seemed to enjoy it, responding with a slight chuckle. She leaned in and motioned to the test with her hand, prompting Kyouka to turn the page.
“So, I think I went wrong with, like, sin.”
“Ah, I see what you’ve done. You’re right actually, sin isn’t seven over twelve, it’s nine over twelve. You can work it out from the height of the opposite side. But, I will admit, that nine kind of looks like a seven.”
“Thank you!” Kyouka exclaimed, giving a glare to Ms. Kayama.
“It must’ve been a printing error.” Momo supplied, amused.
“True. I guess I won’t ask her to round my 100% up to a 101%.” Kyouka said jokingly, showing Momo her mark. Momo giggled quietly, her shoulders shaking slightly as she went back to her own desk, straightening her back.
“So, what do you have next?”
“Um, you mean after interval?” Momo said.
“Yes! Yeah, sorry, I always forget we have break. It’s like maths just drains the brain out of me. This lesson has gone on,” Kyouka checked her phone.
“For four years already.” Momo smiled at her. It wasn’t a very big smile, just crinkling her eyes, but Kyouka was pleased with it nonetheless.
“Oh no!” Momo started.
“It looks like we’re going to have to reschedule our meeting for 2026.”
Kyouka shook her head, closing her eyes and wiping a fake tear from her cheek.
“I will see you again one day, friend.” Kyouka said, a hand on her heart for emphasis.
She peeked out of on eye to see Momo sitting with a hand over her mouth and a sparkle in her eye. Her shoulders were visibly shaking. Kyouka could hear her soft, muffled laughter.
The shorter girl joined her, and the pair sat in their seats, unable to stop. Every time they tried, they would catch a glimpse of one another and start up again. It didn’t go unnoticed of course, and Ms. Kayama soon scolded them, beginning her lesson.
Kyouka normally despised being yelled at, or even told off in the slightest. But, looking over at Momo, who shared a secret and appreciative smile with her, made it worth it.
Kyouka stood in her bathroom, brushing her hair out with a comb. She’d decided to go for a casual look. Of course, she’d fretted, trying to choose something that didn’t have too much black, but wasn’t completely insane to wear out. She’d settled for jean shorts and a black graphic t-shirt.
Soon, a loud buzzing sound came from her phone.
‘Get Out Of The House And Start Walking Alarm’
Her eyes widened and she rushed to obey the reminder, grabbing her phone and giving the knot in her hair one last tug before getting out the door. Her parents shouted a quick goodbye to her, her father’s slightly more worried. He’d offered to drive Kyouka, but she’d declined.
The walk to the café was brisk, the wind slightly sharp. The sun wasn’t too harsh, warming as much as the wind cooled.
A bell tinkled as Kyouka stepped into the café, and she watched as several patrons looked up at her, and then back down at their meals. All but one.
Momo sat at a table near the back, giving Kyouka a wide grin upon seeing her. She waved her over, and Kyouka complied, returning her smile with one of her own and a small hug. She felt awkward doing it (were they there yet?), but Momo welcomed it.
“Jirou! I’m glad you could make it.” She sounded sincere and happy. Kyouka liked the thought that she’d made Momo happy.
“I am too. Thank you for inviting me here, by the way. It’s really nice.” She said, looking around at the cosy interior of the café.
“I think so too, it’s not too big, and it’s not too small. And the tea they make tastes wonderful.” Momo paused for a second.
“I know I asked over text, but are you sure you don’t mind tea? If you don’t like it that’s perfectly okay, I don’t want to force you to have something you don’t like.” Kyouka smiled at her.
“It’s all good. I’ve drank tea before. Chamomile is my favourite.”
“That’s great! I love Chamomile too, it’s a saviour around exam time.” Kyouka nodded, while wiping her sweaty hands on her shorts under the table.
Momo picked up a menu, and Kyouka followed suit. She balked at the array of options.
Even though it was a café, there was no coffee option. It was fully comprised of different types of tea and cakes, with mixtures, combinations, and one customisable tea. Kyouka went down the ‘Classics’ list.
There were five types of Chamomile available, Kyouka found. Yellow, Wild, Roman, Moroccan or Egyptian. She considered picking one at random, but she had never had much luck with that, especially when she felt she needed it the most.
“Yaomomo?” Kyouka asked, sheepish.
“Hmm?” She said, looking up to meet Kyouka’s eyes.
“I don’t know which one is the best out of these, can you…?” She said, showing her the Chamomile part of the menu.
“Of course! Let me see…” Momo furrowed her brow and pursed her lips. Kyouka averted her eyes, her cheeks warming the slightest bit.
“Definitely Egyptian. In my personal opinion, it’s the best. It tastes like— Wait, no, it’s a surprise.”
Kyouka raised her eyebrows, leaning into the table. She grabbed the serviette under her small cutlery and slid it towards Momo.
“What’s it taste like?”
“Is-is that a bribe?” Momo chuckled, accepting it.
“Is that an answer?” Kyouka said, smiling playfully.
They shared a laugh, Momo handing Kyouka her serviette back. Kyouka accepted with a low nod, leaning back when she noticed a waitress coming over.
“Hello, what can I get for you?” She said, holding up a notepad with a bright smile.
“I’ll have a medium cup of rosemary, with a red velvet slice, please.” Momo said.
“And I’ll get a medium Egyptian Chamomile with a…” Kyouka quickly swept over the baked goods section of the menu.
“Chocolate-chip cookie, please.”
“Yup! It should be out in about five minutes.” The waitress said, heading to the kitchen.
“So red velvet, huh?”
“Yes! It’s not my favourite usually, but they make it so well here…” Momo trailed off for a second. Her brows creased, forming a straight line.
“Would you like to try some?” She said.
“Oh. Yeah, sure. If you say it’s good then it must be.” She said. Momo seemed surprised at her nonchalance. Or maybe at the comment. Kyouka didn’t fully know which one it was, but Momo’s smile had returned, and that was always a good thing.
They made conversation, mostly about school, until the waitress gave them their orders.
“Enjoy your meal!” She said with a smile.
“Thanks, you too!” Kyouka responded, her face falling immediately. Momo’s eyes brightened, and she pursed her lips.
“Did you just—”
“Yes.” Kyouka cut her off with a groan, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. Momo relaxed her face, exhaling a her amusement through her nose.
“That was quite embarrassing.” She said, still smiling.
“Yup.” Kyouka said, using her hands to massage under her cheekbones.
“It’s okay, I’ve seen Shouto and Tooru get their arms stuck in the same vending machine, so yours isn’t too bad.”
“What?” Kyouka said, disbelieving.
“Well, Shouto paid for a coke, and it didn’t come out, so Tooru told him to stick his arm in, and it got stuck. Her solution was to reach her arm in, not to help Shouto, but to get the can.” Momo said in a fond tone. She snickered at Kyouka’s somewhat excited laughter.
“Okay, okay, we should probably, like, eat now.” Kyouka said, calming down.
“Yes! You first, I want to see your reaction.” Momo said, folding her hands under her chin.
“Okay.” Kyouka said, the corners of her lips lifting slightly.
She brought the teacup up, blowing away the faint steam coming from it. She took a short, cautious sip. Then she immediately took more.
“So? What do you think?” Momo said.
“It’s amazing, I love it, where do you buy this?” Kyouka said, drinking half the cup.
Momo giggled, starting on her own drink.
“I’m glad you like it!” She said.
Kyouka felt that ‘like’ was an understatement. It tasted earthy. Initially, she’d felt like it tasted how the forest smelled, soil-like. But that sounded rude. It was sweet, at the same time, leaving an aftertaste with flower-like twinge.
“I love it, it’s so amazing… how’s yours?” Kyouka said between sips.
“It’s great. It tastes like mint… Hey, do you want to try my red velvet slice now?” Momo said.
“Oh! I almost forgot about that. Yeah, I’ll have some.”
Momo used her fork to cut through the rather large slice. She stabbed the piece and held it out across the table. Kyouka didn’t pause to think for very long, deciding it would take less time to just bite it right off the fork.
It tasted surprisingly good. She didn’t have a negative opinion on red velvet, but she it wasn’t exactly positive either. The piece would change that, though. It was rich in flavour, tasting like chocolate with a strawberry twist on it.
She looked up with bright eyes to give Momo her opinion, when she noticed the look on the taller girl’s face. A slightly ajar mouth with pink under her surprised eyes. Kyouka realised what she had done.
“Oh,” Momo said.
“I, Yaomomo I’m so sorry,” Kyouka said, her own cheeks igniting.
“It’s okay, Jirou, it just surprised me is all… So how did it taste?” Momo said, changing the subject. Kyouka was reassured enough to give an answer.
“It was really nice, and tasted kind of like chocolate. The frosting was pretty sweet too, and I like sweet food.”
“The frosting is my favourite part too.” Momo said. Kyouka nodded, and took a bite of her cookie.
They finished their meal in relative silence, the clinking of Momo’s fork on her plate being the only sounds coming from their table. Kyouka wanted to bury herself. Luckily Momo didn’t seem that perturbed anymore. She didn’t want to make Momo uncomfortable, since it was really nice inviting her out like that.
“Jirou?” Momo said when they had finished.
“Yeah?” Kyouka said, hoping for the best.
“Thanks for hanging out with me today, it was really fun!”
“No problem, I had fun too.” Kyouka didn’t really want their time together to come to an end. Especially since they had only been in there for about 10 minutes.
“Hey, actually, do you want to walk around a bit? There’s a park near here, and it’s pretty nice.” Kyouka said.
“… I’d like that.” Momo responded, giving Kyouka her signature smile. The pink colour had not left her cheeks since the incident. Kyouka guessed she blushed easily or something.
Kyouka led Momo to the park, which was surrounding a large body of water. They spoke about interests, hobbies and friends. Learning about Momo was always fun, but learning about her friends was an experience, to say the least.
She always saw Todoroki as a stoic, reserved and proper boy who was very secretive. But it turns out he had ‘zero respect for any authority figures whatsoever’, and often said whatever came to mind to his friends. He was also very dramatic, apparently.
Momo was shocked to hear the extent of Kaminari’s antics. She told Kyouka she’d found him reading a Shakespeare book once, and thought he was more ‘nerdy’ in private. Kyouka could only laugh in response.
All too soon, their time together came to a close.
“Thank you for inviting me, I had so much fun.” Kyouka said.
“I did too… Jirou, would you like to… go somewhere next Friday?”
Kyouka was stunned. She wasn’t expecting Momo to want to hang out with her so soon.
“Yes! Of course. We’ll work out the details over text?” Kyouka asked.
“Yes, we will.” Momo said, sounding ecstatic.
Kyouka walked home with a bounce in her step and a large smile on her face. When she got back home, she called Mina.
“Hey, Mi.” She greeted.
“Kyouka! How was the date?” Mina said. She sounded like she was hiding something.
“Great! I’m… Kaminari and Sero are with you, aren’t they?” Kyouka said, glaring at the phone.
“What? Pfft, no, why would I—”
“Yeah, okay they’re here. But they just wanted all the details, and I invited them in case you needed emotional support! Now tell us how it went.”
“It was amazing, I enjoyed it so much… I’m going on another next Friday.”
Kyouka heard someone spit something like a drink out over the phone. It was the only warning before her ears were attacked by her friends screaming.
“You actually got another one! I’m so proud!”
“Our little Jirou is growing up!”
“You made me choke on my drink, that’s good luck!” Sero said. Kyouka snorted.
“Oh, and also, at one point she offered me a piece of her red velvet cake, and I bit it straight off her fork, goodbye.” Kyouka said before hanging up. Almost immediately her phone ambushed her with notifications. At first, from Mina, then from Kaminari and Sero.
She exhaled a laugh at the phone. She could explain herself later. For now…
Kyouka leaned her head against back against her bedroom wall, closing her eyes. Her cheeks warmed. Her hands felt tingling, and the warm feeling spread to her chest.
She couldn’t wait for next week.
Sorry this took so long! I'm going to update this next week, and then the week after that. Thank you for reading!
Chapter 4: Coming Out
Next and final chapter should be out tomorrow!
Kyouka tapped her desk, trying to figure out the answer to the two-paragraph-long question in her textbook. She didn’t mind social studies much. It was just that Mr. Ishiyama had a way of piling on work, and refusing to lighten it. Once it appeared on the board, it was set in stone.
The bell rung ten minutes later. Kyouka exhaled heavily, gathering her things slowly as she waited for others to leave and tried to not get pushed.
As soon as she made it to the lunchroom, she was grabbed by Mina and Kaminari.
“Kyouka! It’s so nice to see you!”
“Mina, What are you—” Kyouka tried.
“C’mon friend! We’re gonna have a nice chat, let’s just go on down to that there table.” Kyouka glared at him.
“What are you two planning? And why are you acting so weird? And why is Kaminari Texan?” Kyouka asked, still confused.
They sat her at the table, where Sero was. He was staring down at the table, his fingers interlaced and sitting in front of his mouth.
“Seriously, guys.” Kyouka said.
“Jirou, this is an intervention.” Sero explained, turning his grim gaze to her.
“An intervention for what?”
“You know.” Mina said.
“I do?” She asked.
“You and Yaomomo…” Kaminari said with his normal accent.
“Yeah, what about us?”
“You two have been going on dates for three weeks now!”
“What?” Kyouka exclaimed. The trio glared at her still.
“Okay, first of all they aren’t dates we’re just hanging out, and second of all what are you intervening with?” They sneered at her.
“‘Just hanging out’” Kaminari mocked.
“Oh come on. We’re your friends, we know everything. And we think it’s high time you admit to yourself that you two,” Mina pointed an accusatory finger at her face. “Are a couple.”
Kyouka sighed. She’d been expecting this chat for a while now. She and Momo had gone on their 7th ‘outing’ just yesterday, and with the way she gushed to Mina about Momo, it was only a matter of time.
“Momo and I are just friends, we’d—”
“Hang on!” Mina said, and Kyouka’s face dropped.
“‘Momo’?” Sero asked.
Kaminari looked like an excited child.
“I… I have nothing to lose, she told me to call her Momo.”
“I can’t believe it!”
“We’re so happy for you!” Sero had abandoned the ‘sinister’, or attempted sinister really, look for his signature smile.
“You three are so embarrassing.” Kyouka said. They smiled at her with varying responses of ‘we know, but you love us.’
They continued teasing her about it. Coming up with stupid scenarios and acting them out, Kaminari using his jacket as Momo’s hair in their ‘live-action play’.
Kyouka felt a light tap on her shoulder.
“Tokoyami! Nice to see you.” She gave him the most grateful look she could muster. He seemed only slightly confused.
“Sit down,” She said, before he could ask. “These three won’t mind, they still like you from last time.”
He gave her a nod. She met him at the poetry club, and encouraged him to share his own poem when he appeared insecure. She got it. Being new was challenging. Though she was surprised it had taken so long for him to socialise with her.
“Can I ask what Kaminari and Sero are doing?”
Kyouka blushed, making a cut throat motion at them. They had continued their play, even through Tokoyami’s entrance.
“They’re just being idiots. You know them.”
“Excuse me.” Kaminari said.
Mina turned to them.
“It’s a play about the best romance in history.”
“A bad rendition of Romeo and Juliet?”
“No, someone much more interesting.”
Tokoyami squinted at her, retaining eye-contact while biting into one of his three apples.
Mina snorted at him, turning back to Kaminari and Sero.
“So how have your classes been?” Kyouka said.
“Adequate. I do enjoy Japanese, and English is… strange.”
“Yeah, when you have Mr. Yamada you come to expect that.”
“He keeps promoting his radio show, but reaffirmed for me today that it’s at 3AM, does he get enough sleep?”
“Do you think he does?”
Tokoyami nodded in understanding.
“Yes, Kyouka, I, the elegant Yaoyorozu Momo, will take you as my bride.” Sero said. Tokoyami’s eyes widened and Kyouka hurtled forward. She smacked his face, keeping her hand there to silence him.
“Shut up.” She whispered loudly. Her face grew red, looking for anyone else who may have heard it.
“Jirou?” Tokoyami called from his seat.
She swallowed, siting back down. She’d had the conversation many times, and didn’t know how this one was going to go.
“It’s okay that you have a crush on Yaoyorozu. I don’t care about that kind of thing. I myself have a certain… appreciation for those of my own gender.” He said. His cheeks were flushed.
She was happy, and felt warm in her chest. It wasn’t often she came out to someone. She hadn’t really needed to, since she was open about it. But every time she had, it was positive.
“Thank you, Tokoyami.” He nods, and they go silent for a while.
“Wait… So you admit you have a crush on Yaomomo?” Mina says. There are stars in her eyes.
“What? I never said that.”
“You agreed to it, Tokoyami said you have a crush and you said nothing.”
“Why were you listening?”
“Changing the subject!” Sero and Kaminari had finally paused, choosing instead to back Mina.
“You like her!” Mina said.
“Yes you do!” Kaminari said, dragging out the o.
She glared at the three. They were about to start up again, when Sero shushed them.
“Sero? What?” Kaminari said.
“Are you betraying us?” Mina gasped.
“Thank you, Sero. Finally, someone with some sense.” Sero was motioning to something behind Kyouka.
“Now that you’re all quiet, I can tell you that despite my feelings, I know Momo doesn’t have a crush on me.”
The trio in front of her looked wide-eyed and speechless, happiness radiating from their huddle. Kyouka frowned.
“What are you…” She jolted. It felt like all the colour had been leeched out of her cheeks immediately. She turned to find a pink-cheeked Momo; a sight she had become familiar with by now. Though, never in this context.
“Hi, Momo.” She said. There was embarrassment dripping from her voice.
“Hi, Jirou,” She heard a ‘huh?’ from behind. “I was just wanting to know if we could talk for a second?”
“Yeah, of course.” Kyouka shot a look at Mina, Kaminari and Sero. They had the gall to give her winks and smirks, as if she wasn’t three seconds from killing them.
Momo smiled at her, converting her rage to giddiness in seconds.
They walked out of the lunch room. Kyouka thought it felt familiar.
“I was just wondering if we could change the location of our next outing?” Kyouka liked the subtle poshness in her accent.
“Yeah, sure. Where were you thinking?”
“There’s this strawberry picking field in the Hiki District, which Shouto went to with his sister, and he says that they made great milkshakes and ice-cream from the strawberries you pick. I checked, and it’s about a 45 minute drive, which I know is a bit far but I can pick you up and—”
“Momo.” Kyouka said. Momo looked relieved for the escape.
“I would love to go strawberry-picking with you.” Kyouka gave her a large smile. Momo reddened, giving her a smile of equal excitement.
“And I would too.” They made eye contact. It felt like an intimate moment between them. They had silence, but they also had each other.
“Same time?” Kyouka said, when Momo’s soft stare proved just a bit too much.
“Yes!” Momo said. They were heading back into the lunch room.
Kyouka headed back to her table, exchanging short ‘bye’s with Momo along the way.
For a moment, she forgot about her friends and their antics.
But as soon as she sat back down, their expectant and borderline crazed expressions greeted her.
Only a moment of silence passed. Sweet, blissful silence, with an undertone of dread and anticipation. Then, an eruption of teasing remarks and questions.
“Is this what you deal with every time?” Tokoyami asked.
Kyouka was sitting on her couch, facing the front door. Momo would text her when she got there, Kyouka knew, but it was good to be prepared.
Usually, before she was about to leave or before she was about to pick up Momo, she’d either been getting ready or texting her friends. But, today was different.
Maybe it was because of Momo picking her up. That had never happened before. It was always meeting up or Kyouka picking her up. Now she would be Momo’s car with her for 45 minutes.
Or maybe it was because of the fact that Momo had heard her at school that day.
“Despite my feelings, I know Momo doesn’t have a crush on me.”
There’s no way Momo wouldn’t know what that meant.
But she didn’t say anything. No reassurance, no polite decline. Nothing.
Her phone buzzed, and Kyouka welcomed the distraction.
Kaminari: Hey Jirou
Kaminari: I’m really sorry
Kaminari: I didn’t see Tokoyami sitting down, if I did I wouldn’tve kept going
Jirou: It’s fine, dw. He knew anyway
Jirou: We’re in the poetry club together, he knows everything I write.
Jirou: You think I don’t write poetry that’s obviously about Momo?
Kaminari took a screenshot of the chat!
Jirou deleted 1 chat!
Jirou: DAMN IT
Kaminari: YOUR DENIAL IS FAST BUT I’M FASTER
Jirou: KAMINARI DON’T SHOW ANYONE I’LL PAY YOU
Kaminari: TOO LATE
A loud ‘ding dong’ sounded through the house, snatching Kyouka’s attention away from her phone.
She pocketed it and went to answer. Wiping her sweaty hands on her pants quickly, she opened it with a smile.
Momo looked happy. She was normally sunny, but more so now. A white-floral turtleneck tucked into a yellow denim skirt. Her hair was in a messy bun, with strands sticking out and some falling down. Her fringe was still out, though.
Kyouka wondered how it would feel to run her fingers through that fringe.
“Hello, Jirou!” She greeted. Kyouka snapped out of her revere.
“Hi Momo.” She said.
Momo extended an arm. Kyouka looked at it. Then glanced up at Momo, than back down at her arm.
She gave a smile, expectant. Waiting. Kyouka took it, pulling herself as close as she dared to the tall girl.
Momo led her to the backseat of the car, opening the door for her. Kyouka laughed, grinning at her.
Momo got in on the other side, smiling cheekily at Kyouka. She found it was a look she didn’t mind. Or, rather, one that she liked.
“You’re formal today.”
“I’m happy. I feel like it’s going to be a good day.”
“It will be.”
Momo gave her a larger smile.
“Promise?” She stuck her pinky out. Kyouka took it, bringing up her thumb to lock it.
“Oh wow. This place is… a lot bigger than I expected.” Kyouka said.
“What did you think it was going to be?” Momo asked.
“Like, twenty rows of strawberry trees. Bushes?”
“Strawberry bushes. And I suppose if that was your expectation, this must be a shock.”
Kyouka nodded. The strawberries were housed in three, transparent-white greenhouses. Two separate buildings surrounded them. One a reception, the other, a restaurant/café where they served the strawberries.
“Shall we go in?” Momo asked. Kyouka took her arm.
“Yeah, we shall.” She teased. Momo laughed, glancing quickly down at their joined arms. Kyouka found she couldn’t read the emotion in her eyes.
The reception was cosy. It was quite small, with a waiting area and a desk only, but Kyouka liked it.
“Hi, how may I help you?” A worker said. She was stood at the counter, looming over both it and the girls.
“Hello, we’d like a table for two.” Momo said.
“That will be 900 yen for the two of you.” Momo reached into her skirt pocket, but Kyouka stopped her.
“You payed last time.” She said, taking out her own wallet. Before Momo could stop her, she gave the woman a ¥1000 note.
She collected her change while Momo glared at her. Kyouka smirked. There wasn’t any heat behind either of their expressions.
“Okay, so you go right through that door, pick up a basket and pick some strawberries. Make sure you read the signs.” The woman said with a smile.
The girls thanked her before heading into the first greenhouse.
“They have strawberries that grow from different districts and countries. We can get one of each, if you would like.” Momo said.
“Todoroki tell you that much?” Kyouka asked, surprised.
“That and I did some research. I wanted today to be fun!”
Kyouka smiled at her, turning her head away. Momo didn’t necessarily need to see the pink on her cheeks.
“It’s, yeah, I think that’d be pretty cool. How many, um, places do they have?”
“Around five per room, I believe.”
“How many strawberries can we have?” Kyouka asked, doing the math in her head.
“As many as you want. Though you can’t fill the bucket up entirely,” Momo pointed to a red around the inside of the basket. “Just until there.”
“That’s pretty good.” Kyouka said, shrugging.
“I know, right?”
They walked down the aisles of bushes in silence, picking a couple strawberries from each section.
“It smells so nice in here. Like, fresh and stuff.” Kyouka said.
“I think so too. It’s because they’re all locked in here, so the scent lingers.”
They finished the first greenhouse quickly. The next had strawberries from different countries. It was halved between a row of three fridges and actual growing strawberry bushes.
“The sign says the ones in the fridge are imported.” Kyouka said, pointing to a large wooden sign hanging from the ceiling.
“And this one says these seeds are imported.” Momo said.
“Wanna get one from both sides?” Kyouka asked.
“Yes, then we can judge them for which is better.”
“That’s so rude, Momo.”
“I… oh. Jirou.” Exasperation was clear in her voice.
“You walked into that one.” Kyouka said, leaving to gather strawberries from more bushes.
Momo scoffed playfully at her.
They walked in relative silence, Kyouka appreciating the mild humidity of the greenhouses and the break it gave her from the cold of the outside. She felt like Momo was looking at her, sometimes. The one time she had checked proved her to be right, much to Momo’s supposed embarrassment.
“So, I realised at school, I had never asked if you were in any extracurriculars.” Momo said.
“Are you in any clubs?”
“Yes, actually. I’m in band and poetry.” Kyouka said. Momo seemed to light up.
“Wow, really? I knew you liked music, but I didn’t know you could play an instrument. Which one?” Kyouka smiled at her sheepishly.
“Uh, well in band I play the bass and I sing, but otherwise I can play the drums, the electric guitar, the keyboard, and the violin.” Momo’s eyes were wide, and her mouth was slightly agape.
“Really? You can play all that?” She said.
“You’re a music prodigy! I’ve never seen a musician as amazing as you are.” Kyouka blushed.
“You said you could sing, may I hear you?” Kyouka’s heartbeat increased, filling her ears.
“I, well— I don’t, I’m not that good really I only mentioned it ‘cause I do it for the band it’s nothing special really.”
“If you’re not comfortable singing, that’s perfectly okay! I was just surprised is all. No pressure!” Momo said. She gave Kyouka one of her reassuring smiles, the ones that didn’t crinkle her eyes, but closed them.
“Yeah, no, I can— I’ll do it.” Kyouka said. She clenched and unclenched her right hand, away from Momo’s view.
Kyouka cleared her throat, trying to think of a song. She definitely wanted to show off, and had no trouble admitting it.
A more throaty song would be best, considering her voice. She’d need to be quiet. There was no need for anyone else to hear her but Momo.
If Momo liked it, she’d probably ask where it was from, so she could listen to it again. Maybe if she chose a lesbian song, then Momo would ask more about it. Then she’d know if she had a chance with Momo.
Nothing like ‘Girls Like Girls’, that’s be too obvious. Maybe Zolita? That’s work nicely with her voice.
Kyouka settled on ‘Holy’.
“Okay, so I’ve never really done this in front of someone, so forgive me if I’m awkward…” Kyouka said. She fidgeted with her long earrings.
She started on the chorus, barely thinking about the lyrics and trying to speed it up a little bit. She enjoyed the repeat of fluidity, then a stop. It worked well with her voice, she thought.
When she had finished, she risked a glance at Momo’s face. She immediately had to take another one, however.
The taller girl’s mouth was wide, set in a gaping smile. Her eyes sparkled in the way they did when she was happy. Her cheeks were a pink Kyouka had committed to memory from their first outing.
“You’re amazing! I’ve never heard a voice like yours it’s so— so… angelic! And you have just the right tone!”
She had received praise in the past, but never in such an adoring and amazed tone. Never from a crush.
Her parents, sure, but her mother’s eyes shone, and her father’s praise was cried and yelled.
“Thank you so much you’re too nice, really…” Kyouka said. Her chest was light, and it felt like there was something in there bursting to be free, at the base at her throat and under her skin.
“Not at all!”
“Thanks,” Kyouka laughed, retreating into herself. She slouched, and looked away from Momo, trying to get her bearings.
She picked some more strawberries, and tried to predict their taste. She said as much to Momo.
“I think they’re going to be incredibly sweet. Not sour at all.”
“What? But they’re strawberries! They’re always a little bit sour.”
“Yes, but I have a feeling.” Kyouka narrowed her eyes.
“Okay, let’s see. 500 yen says they’re sour.”
“Really? Petty bets? Jirou, I thought you were above this… 1000 yen says they taste sweet.”
“Oh!” Kyouka laughed. “Okay, okay… But can I ask you a question?”
“Are you going to get the strawberry ice-cream? You know, as a comfort food. For when you lose 1000 yen.” Momo bit her bottom lip, holding back a laugh.
“Okay, I will. And when I’m right, I’ll lend you some.” She said.
Kyouka scoffed out a laugh. “I’m hurt.”
Momo laughed with her.
It was a strange moment, Kyouka thought. Their banter felt easy, and light. It felt like she was talking to an old friend, but a lover at the same time. She shook her head. It was not good to think of Momo as her girlfriend when the girl was right in front of her.
Soon enough, they had reached the restaurant.
“Welcome, ladies!” A waiter said. He held out his hands, motioning for their baskets.
“Pick any table, and I’ll be with you soon!” He said. They handing him the strawberries, and he sped off to the kitchen.
The restaurant was cosy, and was mostly made of redwood. What wasn’t red was either a deep green or a nice gold.
“Would you like to sit at one of the booths?” Momo asked. Kyouka nodded, leading her to a more secluded one in the corner.
They sat down and picked up the green menus.
“I’m gonna get a spider.” Kyouka said almost immediately.
“Good choice,” Momo said. “I like milkshakes more, personally.”
“Is it the sweet taste?”
“Yes, that’s what I don’t like about spiders…” Momo trailed off. “They have a pancake option!”
Kyouka looked back to the menu.
“Wow. Strawberry-maple syrup?” She read. “I didn’t know that was a thing.”
“It sounds nice. I think I’ll get it.” She said, placing it down happily.
“Hmm… Tempting, but I think I’ll just grab some off your plate.” Kyouka said teasingly.
Momo giggled at her. “You’re more than welcome to.”
Kyouka ignored the feeling in her chest and cheeks at the genuine tone Momo had.
“I’m gonna get chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a strawberry cheesecake slice.”
“Sounds lovely!” Momo said.
“You can have some too if you like. Just take some, don’t worry about asking.”
“Oh, thank you!”
They shared a smile. A waitress approached their table.
“Hello, what can I get for you?”
They relayed their orders to her, remembering to ask for the strawberry ice-cream
“Great! You food should be ready within 15 minutes!” She said.
They thanked her, and turned back to each other.
“So, I just realised they’re probably not gonna use the strawberries we picked…”
“That is true… However we do get a punnet we picked out before we leave!”
“Oh… Well, I mean that’s pretty nice. Makes up for it.” Momo nodded.
They sat in silence for a moment. Kyouka looked to Momo, wondering what to say. What she didn’t expect was Momo’s expression to be one of pure fear and worry. As soon as Momo caught her looking, it changed. Kyouka knew that her smile was fake.
“Momo? Are you okay?”
“Well… I was just wondering about your political stance, really!” Momo said. Kyouka felt like it wasn’t entirely true, but was willing to go with it.
“Really? Well what would you like to know?”
“Do you support homosexuality?” Momo blurted. It was rushed and Momo looked like she regretted it immediately. She slouched, like she was curling into herself.
“Oh, okay.” Kyouka let out a slight laugh.
“Yes, I do. I’m actually bisexual, myself.” She said. Anxiety settled in her lower chest, just above her churning stomach. She glanced back and forth from the menu to Momo.
Surprisingly— Kyouka felt like she was surprised a lot around Momo— Momo seemed relieved.
“What about you?” Kyouka said, nodding to her. Her worries had dissipated slightly, and some form of hope shone through. Logically, it made sense for Momo to support it. But if she didn’t, why would she bring it up?
“I…” Momo took a deep breath. “I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I believe I may be… I may be a lesbian.”
Momo stilled. She bit down into her bottom lip and clasped her hands tightly.
“Momo, that’s great! I’m glad you’re accepting yourself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if you don’t want me to, I won’t tell anyone.”
The taller girl let out a big breath, straightening her back.
“Thank you, Jirou.”
“No problem.” Kyouka placed a hand on Momo’s shoulder and gave her the best reassuring smile she could muster.
“Thank you for trusting me.” Kyouka said.
“It’s quite easy, to be honest.”
The soft look Momo gave her in that moment was breathtaking. Her eyes were endless voids of dark brown that reflected the soft lights of the restaurant beautifully. They had an appreciative look in them. Her cheeks were a strawberry-red hue and her smile was as wide as ever.
That moment really made up for the 1000 yen she lost when they took a bite out of the strawberries.
It didn’t set in until hours later that she was probably the first person that Momo told.
It made her feel special, in a way. Even if she wasn’t the first, the fact that she told Kyouka about something so clearly personal to her was amazing.
She felt trusted.
She also felt flustered. When she’d thought about how date-like their outings felt in the past, she could always combat it with ‘I probably don’t have a chance’ or ‘she probably doesn’t even like girls’.
She knew Momo liked girls. Or, was definitely thinking about it.
She also knew Momo trusted her. And likely cared about her.
It was something she’d definitely tried to deny, just so she wouldn’t get her hopes up.
Now they were in the clouds.
And they weren’t coming down.
Chapter 5: Moon God Fair
Momo and Kyouka go out to a fair together.
Momo comes clean
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Kyouka sighed, walking out of her Languages class with heavy eyes. Mr. Yamada was fun, and he was definitely her favourite teacher, but he was a bit quick for her. Luckily, he’d picked up on that. She’d been held back from leaving to lunch for a few minutes to talk about some different homework.
He was smart enough to have an easy-to-understand program.
And he was kind enough to let her skip homework to complete it.
She got her lunch from her locker fairly quickly, finding that she missed the feeling of Mina leaning on her back and looking over her shoulder.
When she got to the lunchroom door, she was stopped.
“Jirou,” Todoroki said. “Could we have a word?”
Kyouka was a little shocked. Todoroki had never been one to talk to someone he didn’t know. She didn’t think he’d known she existed.
“Yeah sure, what’s up?” She replied. She let her curiosity seep into her voice, and her eyebrows were set in a confused frown.
“Great.” He said, and began walking.
Okay, Kyouka thought. Weird, but okay.
She followed him down the hall in silence.
They stopped outside of Mrs. Kayama’s classroom. He checked to make sure it was empty before heading in. She gaped at him as he sat on the teacher’s desk. He beckoned her in, giving her no choice but to follow.
“I understand you and Momo have begun dating,” Kyouka choked. “And I fully support you two. Treat her right.”
“What?” Kyouka mustered. It wasn’t like she hadn’t thought about it before, or that she didn’t like the thought. It was just that tone of certainty. And the fact he thought she and Momo were dating, too.
“Yeah!” Kyouka jumped. Hagakure stepped out from behind Kyouka, her light-coloured eyes filled with scrutiny.
“We aren’t here to give you the shovel talk or anything! We just want Momo to be happy, and make sure you’re a good girlfriend to her!” The shorter girl said.
“I don’t know what— we aren’t— that’s not right.” She said. Her face must’ve been red by then.
“Huh?” Hagakure said, her gaze turning even more judgemental. Todoroki remained silent.
“We aren’t dating! We’re just friends who hang out a lot.” She huffed. Todoroki’s eyebrows lifted, and Hagakure gaped.
“Shouto, we got it wrong.” Todoroki stared her down for a moment. He then turned to Hagakure.
“Yes, we did.”
“Well.” Hagakure coughed. “We are so, so sorry to have bothered you, Jirou. It’s just that Momo told us about her being a lesbian, and how she told you and we thought…”
“We thought that the reason you made her so happy was because you two were together. I’m sorry.” Todoroki finished for her. None of them said anything for a moment. Two. Three.
Todoroki shrugged, before hopping off the desk and walking back to the lunchroom. Hagakure followed him. She frequently glanced back at Jirou with an apologetic look.
Her first thought, ‘That was… interesting.’
Her second, ‘I make Momo happy?’
Kyouka was lounging around in her bedroom. She had her social studies book open on her bed, and her pens were spread out on the bed, a result of knocking her pencil case over.
Kyouka herself was lying near the end of the bed, scrolling through Instagram. Tokoyami had been sending her sad poetry, and Mina spammed their group chat with memes, as usual.
She had zoomed in to see the last, translucent words of the poem in a post, when her phone vibrated.
‘1 Message from Momo’
She abandoned the post.
Momo: Hi Jirou! I just wanted to know if you wanted to go somewhere tomorrow? I’m so sorry that it’s such short notice.
Jirou: Yeah, sure! Did you have any place in mind?
Momo: I actually wanted to know if you wanted to go somewhere?
Jirou: UhhhhhhhhhIHBDFIEK YEAH
Jirou: THE TSUKUYOMI FAIR’S IN TOWN!
Momo: Tsukuyomi like the Moon God?
Of course she would know that. Momo loved Japanese history and art. It was cute to see her rave about it at their outings.
Jirou: Yup that’s the one! Tokoyami was telling me about it and how he and his cousin/uncle Hawks were gonna go on the second day, and it sounds great!
Momo: Sounds lovely! Would you like me to pick you up?
Jirou: If it’s no trouble!
Momo: Never is, never will be. Not with you.
Kyouka took a breath, trying to keep the warmth from settling in her cheeks, chest and stomach, as it so often did around Momo.
Jirou: Thank you! Same to you!
It was awful, not knowing how many exclamation marks to use and where to put them. She didn’t want to seem uninterested, but she also didn’t want to seem overexcited.
Momo: So when does it start?
Jirou: At 6 PM
Momo: Great! What time do your parents want you back home? Mine are willing to stretch to 10, but I think I can convince them to allow until 11.
Jirou: I’ll ask! Brb
Kyouka checked with her parents.
“Um, tomorrow? It is short notice…” Her mother trailed off, considering it. “Until what time?”
“Uh, we were thinking 11?”
“Honey,” Her mother soothed, throwing glances at her father.
“Hell no.” He said.
Kyouka’s mother rolled her eyes. “10.”
Her father glared at her, and they held silent eye contact for about half a minute before her father gave in.
“Fine… Just be back before curfew, always be alert, don’t walk anywhere alone, don’t talk to any strangers, and text us every hour.”
“Yes!” Kyouka said, barely listening to her father’s terms.
Jirou: My parents agreed to 10!!
Momo: Great! I’ll see you then, Jirou!
Jirou: Can’t wait!
Kyouka’s fingers ached. She put down her guitar and thanked her father, allowing him to give her a bear hug before shooing him out.
Sundays were guitar practice days. Saturdays, drums with her mother.
She checked the time. 5:30.
And it was a 15 minute drive to the fair.
And Momo was usually 5 minutes early picking her up.
Kyouka rushed to her closet, hurriedly grabbing out several pairs of jeans and t shirts.
She threw them to the bed, picking her black ripped jeans and a purple t-shirt that matched her hair.
She washed her face and ran a comb through her hair. Unfortunately, her fringe was filled with knots. Throwing a quick glance to the clock, she decided to use clips to hold it to the side, exposing her forehead.
‘It’ll do.’ She thought. It only took a few more minutes to comb through the rest of her hair and get her shoes on.
She flopped on the couch, happy with her timing. Not two seconds later, her doorbell rang.
“Hey Momo!” She said with a grin as she opened the door.
“Hello Jirou.” Momo smiled in return. She was wearing a black peplum top with black jeans. Momo in black was a look she definitely didn’t mind.
“I heard about the Tsukuyomi dress code.” She explained.
“I forgot about that.” Kyouka said sheepishly. Momo smiled at her, slightly amused.
“It looks great anyway.”
“Mum! Dad! I’m going now!” She called into her house. Mostly so that Momo wouldn’t see her pink cheeks. Her father appeared immediately, trying to act serious in front of Momo.
“Remember our rules.” He said.
“I will, I promise. I’ve even got a timer set so I can text you guys, look.” She said, showing him her phone.
“Good.” He said. She rolled her eyes and gave him a warm hug.
“Goodbye, Kyouka.” Some emotion seeped into his voice as she closed the door.
“Your father seems to care about you a lot.” Momo said with a genuine smile. “That’s good! You deserve people who care about you.”
“Aw, thanks. Same to you!” Kyouka pinkened. Great, only three seconds into their da— outing and she’d started bushing already.
“I do.” Kyouka added quickly. “Care about you, I mean. I do care about you.”
“Thank you, Jirou.” She said, opening the car door for her.
“Thanks.” Kyouka said, hopping in.
“So,” Momo said as she got in on the other side. Kyouka noticed her fingers twitching.
“Hey, who’s Tsukuyomi?” She asked.
“Oh! He’s a Shinto moon deity. He’s also a moon deity in Japanese mythology, though. His full title is Tsukuyomi No Mikoto, and he was born when Izanagi, a creator god, was cleansing himself of sin. He married the sun goddess, but she left him after he murdered the food goddess. So the day and night are separated.”
Kyouka listened intently, noting how Momo’s face lit up and her eyes crinkled. It was by no means a new or rare sight, but Kyouka treasured all of Momo’s smiles.
They chatted a bit more about Japanese mythology, Kyouka remembering some names from other days.
Without realising any time had passed, they arrived at the fair.
“Oh, wow.” Momo said. Awe filled her voice.
“Damn… It’s amazing.” Kyouka said, coming to stand next to her.
“It’s brilliant…” Momo said.
They waited in line outside, catching glimpses of the lights of the rides.
“We should go on the rides first, then eat later.” Momo said. Kyouka agreed, hearing the high screams from the passengers from the line.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.”
After paying for their tickets, they were admitted into the fair.
“Woah…” Kyouka said.
“This looks amazing!”
Momo grabbed her hand, and took her to the ferris wheel.
“Are you afraid of heights?”
“Kinda…” Kyouka replied, eyeing the size of the machine. It wasn’t too big, since the Tsukuyomi Fair moved quite a fair bit.
“… It’s alright.” Momo decided, grabbing Kyouka’s hand and leading her into the line. Kyouka glanced between their hands and Momo’s face, her own growing ever warmer.
“I’ll hold your hand, so you don’t get scared.”
“Oh…” Kyouka said eloquently. “Thank you, Momo.”
“No problem.” Momo smiled at her.
By the time they got on the ferris wheel, the sky had grown dark, and there were a few stars sparkling down at them. The rest of the sky was blocked by clouds.
They were lifted up slowly, and Kyouka could feel her hand getting sweaty in Momo’s grip. Her cheeks darkened to red. Great.
As they climbed higher, stopping only twice along the way, Kyouka gre more and more nervous.
The ferris wheel was a lot bigger than she’d initially thought.
She was staring at the ground, breathing becoming heavier by the second, when she felt it. A pressure on her hand. She refocused on it, and found that Momo was squeezing her hand.
“Are you feeling okay?” Momo asked.
“Yeah, just a bit—” The ride stopped suddenly, and their sat rocked back and forth.
“Scared.” She said, trying to regain control of her breathing. Getting scared of a little height in front of Momo was not how she planned to spend her night. Her eyes shut tightly, and she tried to imagine herself elsewhere, when Momo let go of her hand.
Before she could react, Momo scooted closer (jostling the ride just a little bit more), and wrapped her arms around Kyouka’s shivering form.
Kyouka froze, not comprehending the situation properly.
Momo, who was holding her hand, was hugging her.
Momo wasn’t holding her hand anymore, but she was hugging her.
She was being hugged by Momo.
‘Oh my god.’
She leaned into the touch, knowing her blush would be spread across her entire face and to the tips of her ears by now.
“Is this better?” Momo asked. She seemed genuine.
“Yeah… yeah, I feel a lot better now.” Kyouka said. She figured Momo might let her go then or when they got lower. But, by the time the end of the ride came, she was still hugging her. They got out, and Momo left her arm across Kyouka’s shoulders.
Kyouka wasn’t complaining.
They decided to go on the pirate ship, then the zero gravity ride. Kyouka was nervous on the pirate ship, but it was fast enough to distract her. That and Momo’s ever-present arm.
In line to the joy zone, Momo looked a bit weary. She took her arm off Kyouka’s shoulders, and settled for holding her hand instead.
Kyouka felt kind of bare without it.
“You okay?” She asked Momo.
“Yes, I’m just a bit reluctant. I’ve never been on a very fast ride.” She said.
Kyouka hummed, squeezing Momo’s hand to comfort her.
“You know, when I was little, my dad took me on a rollercoaster.” Kyouka started. “And I was pretty scared. But, he told me that if I feel like I’m going to be sick, I should just scream.”
Momo nodded, watching her intently.
“And it works, and if you scream, I will too so you’re not screaming alone.” Kyouka smiled.
“Thank you, Jirou.” Momo said, returning her smile.
They got on, quickly grabbing seats next to each other. The ride started up, slow at first, then gradually faster. She turned to try and look at Momo, the wind struggling to push her head back.
The ride got even faster, and a little girl across from her started to scream.
Soon, the ride started to shift onto its side. Slowly, it crept up to become vertical, throwing around those on board like ragdolls.
She heard a short scream next to her, standing out from the various others.
Kyouka screamed in response, and soon, they were screaming together. About a minute later, the ride was more horizontal, and their screams had dissipated into laughter.
As the ride came to a stop, the bars over their arms came up, and Kyouka unbuckled herself from the ride.
It took a second or two to regain her balance, but she was relatively fine. She turned to Momo, whose ponytail had been completely wrecked.
She giggled, before unbuckling her and helping her out of her seat.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, thank you. Though I think I’ll need to leave my hair out for the rest of tonight.” She took a step forward, and nearly fell. Kyouka just barely caught her.
“Woah,” Kyouka said. “Here, lean on me.”
“Thank you.” Momo replied, putting an arm over Kyouka and allowing herself to be led out of the ride.
“We should probably take a break before the drop. There’s like, 30 mini games. Wanna try them out?” Kyouka said.
“Yes! I love playing them— I’m the best out of all of my friends at darts and the ring toss.”
“Yup. When the school had that fair a few months back, I had the high score on those two. Tooru actually stole a prize from another stand, and no one saw her.”
“Really?” Kyouka snorted.
“Yes, but I made her return it.”
“Well, yeah, it’s a heinous crime, why wouldn’t you.” Momo chuckled.
They ended up playing all of the minigames at least twice.
Momo’s words proved true, as she took the two largest prizes for the dart and ring toss games. Both of them, she gave to Kyouka.
Kyouka managed to get several small gifts for Momo at different games. One large one in the ball toss.
They were getting hungry by the time they finished.
“Do you want to grab some food and go on the drop zone later?” Momo asked.
“Hmm,” Kyouka considered. “Well, the drop only takes like a minute. Are you hungry?”
“Only a little bit.” Momo said. Kyouka checked the time on her watch.
“Wow, time flies.” Kyouka said. Momo hummed in agreement, stretching her arms out and off of Kyouka’s shoulder.
She held onto Kyouka’s hand again, and they walked over to the drop.
“So, it goes high and it’s fast.” Kyouka said.
“Our arch-nemesis.” Momo commented. Kyouka snorted and nodded, and they began the short wait in line.
Kyouka observed the people on the ride. One little girl, who she recognised from the Zero Gravity ride, was holding hands with an older woman next to her.
“So the viewing starts in about ten minutes.” Momo said.
“Yeah, but I don’t know if the sky’s gonna to clear up in time.” Kyouka pointed to the heavy clouds in the sky.
“Maybe we should have brought an umbrella… I didn’t check the weather forecast— did you?”
“Nope. If it rains, we’re screwed.” Kyouka said. She pulled the bags holding their prized over one another.
“At least they’re water proof.”
“Clever.” Momo said. Kyouka pinkened.
As they stepped onto the ride area, Kyouka secured the conjoined bags into one of the ride’s cubbyholes, and Momo put her phone on top.
They fastened themselves in, and Kyouka felt anticipation and regret settle in her chest.
The ride started slowly, climbing up higher and higher. It wasn’t very eventful, really, but Kyouka felt nauseous.
She saw Momo’s hands on her lap out of the corner of her eyes, and grabbed one.
Momo peaked around the corner, her long hair covering her cheek.
“Are you okay?” Momo asked. Kyouka risked a glance to the floor.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” They gripped each other’s hands, while the ride slowed. It climbed painstakingly up, until Kyouka had to shut her eyes.
Then, a little ‘ping’ sounded from above them, and they were dropped. She heard Momo scream for the second the drop lasted.
She laughed as she got out of her seat, smoothing her hair down. Her fringe was now a bubble fringe, but it was okay. Momo’s hair on the other hand…
Momo’s hair was covering her entire face, and had a slight frizz to it.
“Are you alright there?” Kyouka asked, unbuckling her for the second time that night.
“It happens often.” Momo said, pushing it back.
“It looks nice!”
“It looks like the grudge.”
“You’ve seen the grudge?”
“My friends have a movie night once a week, and Mashirao often tries to get Tooru to cuddle him during movies, so we watched a horror.”
“Cute.” Kyouka said.
They made towards the food stands, Kyouka splitting off to get frozen drinks while Momo grabbed pancakes. On her way, she grabbed two hot dogs, and then they met back up at one of the benches nearby.
“Thank you.” Kyouka said, taking the dozen mini-pancakes and maple syrup packet.
“Thank you, too.” Momo said, grabbing her food. They chatted for a while, not noticing when they finished their food. Their own little world was a fun one to get lost in.
A loud bell caught their attention.
“What time is it?” Momo asked.
“The viewing started!” Momo said, perking up. She grabbed their rubbish in one hand, and Kyouka’s hand with the other. Kyouka picked up what Momo couldn’t.
When they arrived at the viewing hill, after discarding the rubbish and securing the prizes, they found complete darkness.
“Guess the clouds didn’t clear up, huh?” Kyouka said.
“Yeah… I was hoping they would.”
“Same.” Kyouka looked to Momo, who was rigid. Her expression was one of anxiety, and she was completely frozen.
“Jirou… I have something to ask of you.” Momo said, sounding like she was in physical pain. Kyouka nodded for her to continue
“… I have absolutely loved hanging out with you, and I love spending time with you. You’re so funny and sweet and I love seeing new things with you. Your smile is just so radiant, I can’t find the proper words to describe it… And I wish the moon was uncovered so we could see it, because I wanted to ask you—”
There was a shout of indignance was the only warning Kyouka and Momo received, before water rained down on them in buckets. The drops fell quickly, and soon, they were completely soaked.
Kyouka brought her arms up to cover her hair. Her fringe had finally been freed, and was hanging down into her eyes.
She looked to Momo. She looked bewildered, her expression one of complete shock.
“Momo, you okay?” She shouted over the loud noises of rainfall. Momo was quiet for a moment.
Before she burst into loud, raucous laughter that still managed to sound like tinkling bells.
It was Kyouka’s turn to be surprised. She stood there, watching her crush laughing as hard as possible, maybe crying, in the rain. Really, what else was she supposed to do?
Kyouka chuckled, then snorted, then howled. It was easy, with Momo around. Momo hugged her, placing her chin on top of Kyouka’s head. Kyouka happily returned it, tucking her head into Momo’s neck, positioning herself so that she would feel the vibrations in her throat and chest.
They continued their laughter, definitely disturbing the others on the hill with umbrellas.
They only calmed down when Momo let go of her.
In her eyes, sheer joy shone brighter than any star could. Her face was newly illuminated with the soft, white glow of the moon.
Kyouka checked, and sure enough, there was the moon, hanging high in the dark sky, just a day or two away from being full.
“Moon’s uncovered.” She said, turning back to Momo. She was floored by what she saw.
Momo was standing there, looking gorgeous as ever, staring straight at Kyouka. Momo’s eyes didn’t stray from her own once. In them was an indescribable look. Something more than adoration, she thought.
Kyouka found her voice.
“Momo, what’re you—” She was cut off by a pair of soft, plump lips on her own. Momo was kissing her.
Momo was kissing her.
Momo’s lips moved against her own slowly, unsure. Her hands were clasped around Kyouka’s face.
Momo pulled away just seconds later. Too soon.
Even if she had kissed her for hours, it would be too soon.
And despite that, Kyouka hadn’t kissed her back.
‘Not good enough.’ She thought, before chasing Momo’s lips. She had to get onto her toes, but that was fine. It was fine because Momo needed to know it was returned.
She pressed all of the months of pining into the kiss, and felt as much passion returned. The kiss had a certain pressure to it. Not too hard, but not too soft. Perfect…
They parted, panting. Momo looked as star struck as Kyouka felt.
“I wanted to say that I really like you, and ask if you wanted to be my girlfriend…”
Kyouka stood there, catching her breath, and thinking entirely about Momo.
Kind, elegant, gorgeous Momo. The formal-speaking girl who accidentally bowled her over, and had to take her to the sick bay. The girl who asked her to hang out multiple times a week. The girl who liked Kyouka for everything she was.
“Yes?” Her voice was filled with worry.
“You can call me Kyouka.”
Thank you all so much for reading, supporting and commenting on this fic. It's my first multi-chaptered fic, and it's been such a journey.