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“How long do you intend on making me wait?” Byakuya called from the open car window.

“Coming, Master!” A frantic Toko cried out as she stumbled out of the Future Foundation building, bags in hand, “Sorry for making you wai— Woah!”

Her modest heals clipped the uneven pavement the wrong way, sending her tumbling to the ground. Tossing her bags forward, she held out her hands to keep herself from completely smashing her face on the gravel.

Byakuya watched her descent with a sigh. While it did not personally affect him, he had to admit that the dress-code policy for Future Foundation’s female employees was unnecessary. No woman should be forced to wear heals and a skirt, especially someone as clumsy as Toko Fukawa.

As she sat up on her behind and attempted to regain her composure, Byakuya exited the vehicle and approached her. He grabbed up the bags had flung while she readjusted her glasses on her face.

"Are you alright?”

She blinked a few times, processing the question before smiling with a hint of blush to her cheeks, “Y-Y-Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for caring.”

Byakuya smirked, “Hm. Then, let’s go. We’re burning daylight.”

“Yes, Master!”

And with that, she rose to her feet on her own and began following her beloved to the car, claiming her seat on the passenger’s side while Byakuya placed her bags in the backseat. He took a seat on the driver’s side and buckled his seatbelt.

“I hope you showered,” He chimed in, inserting his key into the ignition.

“Yup, j-just like you told me to! W-W-Want to smell me?”

He held up a hand, “No. I… trust you.”

Ignoring the way she frowned beside him, he began to drive off to their destination.

Upon becoming an official Future Foundation member, she and Byakuya had gotten a lot closer. He had assigned her as his “assistant” and she often accompanied him on many different jobs, most of which required extensive travel to areas that may still be recovering from the Tragedy.

When their adventures together as Future Foundation employees began, Byakuya was adamant on informing her that he only requested her company just in case her special power might be needed, but she knew deep-down his real reason.

They had known each other for nearly ten years if you don’t count their lost school memories at Hope’s Peak. They had their ups and downs but now they were… friends. Not exactly where Toko wanted to be but it was a start. Soon enough, she was sure she’d be able to lure him in.

Today’s job was like many others. They had been assigned the task of meeting with members of a local government to discuss public relations and methods of developing unity amongst the community members in a distant city, a twelve-hour drive away.

Typically, long trips like these would require helicopter travel, but with so many of these types of assignments being spread throughout Future Foundation’s 14th division, sending employees to areas much farther than where they were going, they insisted on driving.

Luckily, it wasn’t like Byakuya despised Toko’s company, certainly not as much as he used to when they first met. Through the years, they had both changed.

The consequences of the Tragedy softened Byakuya (much more than he’d ever like to admit). As a result, he had become more tolerant of other people’s company: Makoto, Kyoko, Hina, Yasuhiro, and even Toko.

Speaking of Toko, while her love for him never died, she grew more self-confident with age. Her experiences in Towa City with Komaru taught her a thousand lessons that shaped her into the woman she is today, a stronger, selfless woman with complete control over her other personality.

While they still had their moments, they both were definitely different than who they were during the Killing School Semester.

Toko caught herself smiling more often.

They were definitely friends.

“Did you bring the book?” Byakuya asked her. They had been driving in silence for nearly an hour and a half and his voice had managed to startle her.

“O-Oh, yeah. Just one second.”

And with that, she unbuckled her seatbelt and shifted in her seat to reach for her bag in the backseat. With her behind pretty much right in his face, Byakuya raised his eyebrows and pressed his foot lightly on the brakes.

“Here it is!’ She spoke cheerfully after rooting through her bag. She returned to her seat and secured her seatbelt once more.

Byakuya’s lips curled up into a hint of a smile.

No matter where they went or what job they were doing together, Toko always made sure to bring a book with her to read out loud to him. What started off as a way of keeping Byakuya’s mind active to avoid any driver’s fatigue turned into a pastime for the two of them.

Many of these books incited discussions between them, about characters, plot-lines, themes, anything pertaining to literature. At this point, they could probably fill a small bookshelf with the amount of novels they had read together.

With a quick lick to her fingertips, Toko opened up to a dog-eared page of the book she was holding and began reading, picking up where they had left off the last time she had read to him, the previous night alone in the library.

Byakuya exhaled, relaxing himself and just listened to her speak every word on the page with eloquence.

Despite her natural speaking voice containing a nervous stutter, her reading voice was quite smooth, almost soothing. Her diction was impressive and her use of tone and emotion made moments of character dialogue compelling and realistic, like an actress in a one-woman show.

This particular book’s genre was much different than many of the other books she had read to him. Often times, she would read books involving mysteries, horror, history, and even science fiction. However, at this point in the story, if Byakuya had to categorize it, he would call it “realistic fiction.”

It followed a nervous romance novelist on the hunt for inspiration to cure her of her writer’s block. A coming-of-age story where she looks to find a muse that will inspire her to write again, landing her back on the career-track before her reputation as a world-renowned author plummets.

The more Toko read, the more Byakuya was surprised to find himself rather invested in the plot’s development.

In their previous reading session, the protagonist Kanako had met a hard-headed business mogul named Hayata. Even though the two argued constantly, they were always together, to Byakuya’s dismay.

He waited for Toko to finish reciting a sentence before commenting on his displeasure, “I don’t understand why she continues to willingly interact with this man. He treats her horrendously.”

Toko cleared her throat, “P-Perhaps she’s drawn to him,” She answered, her stutter returning.

“Why?”

“Maybe h-he’s the muse she’s been looking for.”

“I suppose. I just don’t understand the logic behind their relationship.”

“M-M-Maybe they’re in l-love a-a-and they haven’t realized it yet.”

“Hmph. Foolish.”

Toko watched Byakuya’s profile for a moment and bit her lip before turning back to the book at hand and picking up where she left off.

Time continued to pass as she read. Pages and pages later, the tension between the two characters grew. Arguments that started off as petty gradually turned personal. Insults were slung left and right.

Byakuya swore, if he were in the protagonist’s shoes, he would have slapped the man and kicked him out of his house a while ago.  He was about to chime in his opinion when…

’With a strong arm hooked around her waist, he pulled her body closer to his own and desperately caught her lips in his.’”

Byakuya erupted into a fit of coughs at the unexpected turn of events, distracting Toko from the novel.

“M-Master! Are you okay?! Do you need some water?”

“I’m… f-fine. J-Just… Why are they kissing?” He asked incredulously.

“I-I mean… It appears they’re finally g-giving in to each other in the h-h-heat of the moment. D-Didn’t the tension-building make it o-obvious?”

“She should have smacked him, not this!”

“I’m s-sorry… Do you want me to stop? I can pick another book—“

“It’s no use. You know I’m not one to leave things unfinished. Just continue.”

And with that, she did as she was told.

The protagonist’s eyes were wide with shock as the man trapped her in his warm embrace. However, when her eyes fluttered closed and she sank into the kiss, Byakuya could feel the tips of his ears burning up.

“’He pinned her against the far wall and grabbed her by the wrists, holding her arms over her head.’”

The imagery flashed into Byakuya’s head. He imagined a man cornering a woman against a wall, gripping her arms up above her. With their lips never detaching, he pressed his hard— hard? Toko never mentioned he was…

Byakuya clenched his thighs together uncomfortably and listened to her as she read on.

’With a mouth to her neck, he began to bite and nibble at the flesh of her skin, marking his territory. ‘You belong to me now.’’”

With her voice dropping several octaves, Toko’s tone was soaked in sensuality. The dominant aura that accompanied the last statement rang through Byakuya’s ears, leaving goosebumps along his flesh.

Being the Ultimate Affluent Progeny, he was used to being a socially dominant figure. If there was anyone that should claiming ownership over another human being, it was him. So, why did hearing Toko Fukawa say that have such a strong effect on him?

Maybe he needed that water she offered after all. But not wanting to interrupt her again, he just sat quietly and suffered in silence.

The characters had now stumbled toward the bedroom and were in the process of undressing. However, their stripping process was constantly halted by each other’s compulsive need to touch and kiss each other.

God, just get on with it already!

Five agonizing minutes of reading later, they were finally nude. Byakuya was expecting them to begin partaking in intercourse when the Hayata had laid Kanako down. He began kissing down her body until…

“’Ahhh… fuck!’” Toko actually moaned the protagonist’s line as the man jutted his tongue forward and began licking the… area between her legs.

Byakuya swallowed hard and snuck a glance at the woman seated next to him. With her eyes glued to the page, her chest rose and fell with every breath she took and her cheeks were flushed pink as her face screwed up beautifully with every sigh and whimper uttered by the protagonist.

Byakuya’s face burned.

Maybe this was his lack of knowledge about recreational sex speaking, but why?! His thoughts raced, creating panic within his mind. Why didn’t they just begin the conception? Why were they even doing something so… unnecessary? And god, why was he becoming so aroused by the erotic sounds coming out of Toko’s mouth?! Why, why, WHY?!

 He wanted to tell her to stop. He should have told her to stop. With the way his body was reacting, he was increasing the likelihood of getting too distracted from the road, losing control of the vehicle, crashing, and killing the both of them… or coming in his pants. Either consequence, he thought, was equally bad.

But even though he knew of those consequences, why the fuck was he letting her continue?

’Her back arched against the mattress as his tongue flicked over her clit. With tears stinging the corners of her eyes, she removed her hand from over her mouth to whine, ‘I-I’m gonna come… O-Oh—‘’”

And with that, Toko released the most sinful strain of curses and groans Byakuya had ever heard. He almost wanted to take the book out of her hands and see if any of that was actually written, but he was already distracted enough by her body writhing beside him. The way her legs clenched and unclenched, the way her breasts bobbed ever-so slightly whenever she exhaled particularly hard, the way her lips shined with a light sheen of drool.

If this was her acting, what would she be like for real? God, he was tempted to pull over and find ou— No! What am I thinking?! This is Toko!

Before she could continue, he cleared his throat.

“I’m getting tired.”

He thanked god his voice sounded more calm and collected than he felt. He hoped she wouldn’t notice the way his tense legs restrained his very painful erection, or the way the color had completely drained from his face, or the way his knuckles turned white as a result of how hard he was gripping the steering wheel.

She looked at the radio clock then back at him, “It’s almost six, sh-should we stop?”

“Yes,” His eyes caught sight of a passing sign on the side of the highway they were driving on, “’Says there’s a motel off the next exit.”

“A-Alright,” She nodded meekly as she dog-eared the page.

Byakuya peaked over to look at the book right before she closed it and his heart sank to his stomach.

The chapter wasn’t even finished yet.