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“You ever feel like drowning?”

Sakuya taps her lips, turns the question over in her head, looks away, then back at Mamimi - wow, she looks worried, nice - and takes a short, sharp breath.

“Hm,” she offers. 

Yeah. That’s fair.

“How… so?”


“Uh, like… I mean, not actually… haha.” She leans back into the sofa, way more comfortable than the one in the office, even though it’s in the bathroom. Fancy hotels are nuts. How does 283 even afford this place? “Theoretically?”

“Someone’s been reading too much Plath.” Yeah, no, she doesn’t know who that is, Sakuya. She doesn’t read. Actually? She can’t fucking read.

...the last time she told Sakuya that, Sakuya’d asked if she actually wanted an audiobook instead, so Mamimi just keeps quiet instead, until Sakuya begins to explain.

“You see, in The Bell Jar, Esther at one point considers taking her own life by--” Sakuya begins, before clearing her throat, looking at Mamimi again, and placing a friendly, platonic (haha unless...? ) hand on her thigh to rock her out of her own depression. “Mamimi.”

“Seriously, it was a joke... Sorry. Didn’t read my audience, I guess…”

“Ah, well.” Sakuya doesn’t seem convinced, which kind of sucks, because it was a joke? By and large. Like, yeah, something made her feel that way, but not in the actual killing herself way. More just ‘holding her head under the water’ until she feels stupid, because-- “Like drowning in someone’s eyes, perhaps?”

“Oh my god.” She drives the platform heel of her spiked boots into Sakuya’s leg - enough for Sakuya to wince but otherwise remain as half-smiling as ever. Actually, wait, maybe smiling more? Sakuya’s into that. Sakuya definitely wants to be girl-ballbusted. “No… fuck off. Whatever.” Sure, she could go and resolve this whole situation and just walk on out of the bathroom, and go see Mitsumine, and stop being such a coward about this, but--

Drowning in her own anxiety is where she is right now, or something.

“Hm. Well, I’ll keep you company until you’ve figured it out, then.” Mamimi stomps on her toes in response, and that only makes Sakuya lean in closer, that frown now 100% upside down. It’s that usual implacable smile, except… smilier. Gross. “Wouldn’t want to walk out and come back to you trying to stick your head down the toilet bowl, would I.”

Either Sakuya’s learned how to tell jokes or she just got fucking dark. Mamimi appreciates it either way.

What makes it so hard to deal with Mitsumine is that she’s always one step ahead. Even when Mamimi manages to get one over on her, pull off that stone cold dunk and show off that she’s the bad guy, Mitsumine swings right back with something even harder, or just puts a hand on her shoulder and tells her that she shouldn’t do that because if all you do is tell lies then what are you gonna die for, and that second one is way worse. At least if Mitsumine owns her (‘owns’, Mamimi doesn’t take Ls, at least not lightly) then, uh, there’s something satisfying about that. Nice, for someone to want to fight her on her own terms.

...problem is, this time, Mitsumine did just do the first thing. And Mamimi’s still reeling.

It was a stupid, simple joke. Sit at the bar counter, pretend to order a drink (only melon soda because Mitsumine wasn’t willing to get busted buying highballs for them tonight, apparently), make some small talk at Mitsumine like they weren’t bandmates -- “Nice windbreaker. Really… eye-searing.” -- and then slide her room key over the counter at her…

And then Mitsumine looked at her, stared at her. Gave her the whole grey-blue window into her soul. Smirked. Fuck. And then she grabbed the keys, shoved it into her pocket, paid their tab and left in the direction of the elevators.

Fuck fuck fuck.

What do you even say to that? What do you do? Wait five minutes and then go down to your room and do, uh… the stuff you do when you’re alone in your room with the girl you want to pin down to the bed and, uh.

Yeah, go do that, Mamimi. It's what she should do, which means instead of actually doing it she stays at the counter, orders a highball, half-finishes it and doesn't actually pay for it (no-one shouted at her, so she guesses it’s cool), and then walks… vaguely in the direction of her hotel room, eventually.

...where are the elevators, even? The lobby’s huge, and she ends up wandering through it for what feels like five minutes before she even finds them, three big metal doors with lights nearly as loud as Mitsumine’s jacket pulsating above them. Makes her think of a love hotel, probably. Kind of.

...or she’s just getting her hopes up.

She grabs onto the doorknob, twists it, but the door remains shut.

--okay, she tries again, using every little ounce of strength she’s ever had, twisting harder than she has in her whole life... which isn’t actually that much, but--

Still shut. Oh, wow, Mitsumine’s playing hard to get, but that just makes it all the more satisfying, or something. Mamimi raps at the door of her own hotel room, because there isn’t a bell for some reason, and… yep, nothing.

This is clearly some kind of high-level bullying foreplay. Makes sense. Mitsumine’s a freak. Mamimi takes a breath, knocks hard on the door this time, and--  “Mitsumiiiine.” It was meant as a low drone, but it came out… kind of loud, and suddenly Mamimi feels this really deep sense of shame. 

It was way too loud.

She’s glad Mitsumine wasn’t there to hear it, kinda.

...she could blame that half-finished highball for this, rather than her own raging hormones, but that’s… maybe not more pathetic, but kinda?  She’s not good at math, she needs a dumb nerd to work out the, like, shame quotient cosine curve here.

...seriously, where is Mitsumine. Okay, fine, she’s lost, she gives up; Mamimi  fishes out her phone, lets the spikes on the case dig into her fingers a little just to ground herself, and...

<<where are you>>

She waits a minute. Maybe two. Easy to distract yourself staring at the wall.

<<open the door already?>>

Two texts, no reply, and that’s when Mamimi knew that - oh, god, she wanted Mitsumine to be there, more than anything, and she wasn’t.

Another minute passes, and they’re still unread, and Mamimi wishes you could delete stuff on LINE so bad. Tenka was right, that ‘chat for gamers’ app is definitely better, and Mamimi doesn’t even have heated gamer moments to hide.

<< mitsumine? >>

She’s never sent three messages in a row in her life. Okay, calm down. Don’t squat and huddle against the wall in a fancy hotel, that’s kinda lame. What if someone comes and sees you? Sure, they won’t care, but you’ll care, and that’s even worse.

Her nail taps against the  back button -- ugh, her nail clippers are in the room, too, she won’t even be prepared for Mitsumine at this rate -- and she surveys her other messages. All, uh, eight contacts she has. Nothing in the L’Antica group chat from Mitsumine, either, it looks like - just Kogane talking about the buffet and the swimming pool.

<<kogane >>

--in her DMs, duh. She’s not about to embarrass herself in front of… uh, Kiriko’s the only person she hasn’t dragged into this, but still.

<< ayuuuup? >>

<< seen Mitsumine? >>

<< nope!! Did you need her? Lol! :O >>

‘Need’. Ouch. That hurts, Kogane.

<< she stole my room keys! Lol! :OO >>

<< :OOO >>

If Kogane was here Mamimi could at least make weird comments at her until Kogane let her bury her head in her talents, or give her a lap pillow, or something. Instead, Mamimi tries to draw emotional support from, apparently, a really surprised emoticon guy. better than she expects, but.

<< the swimming pool is good, right >>

<< yep! Do you have a towel? I can lend you one! >>

<<no need haha just gonna go drown myself x >>

Not, like, actually. She knows she’s too sexy to kill herself. Definitely wants to stick her head in chlorinated water and then open her eyes and immediately regret it, though.

<< :OOOOO !!! >>

...thanks for caring, though, Kogane.

--if there was something that would stop her suicide attempt (not serious) (joke) (clickbait), it would be, uh, Mitsumine.

Who also happens to be at the poolside, looking up at the stars, that kind of faraway look in her eyes you only get to see when you look at her before she catches you and smiles back, and this time Mamimi can’t even see her eyes from how the moonlight’s bouncing off her glasses, but just the  curve of her lips and the way her neck hangs forward a little is enough to tell.


Mitsumine’s so hot and Mamimi doesn’t even get why.

She treads lightly on the tiles, as lightly as she can with triple-stacked soles, and cops that rare moment of Mitsumine not hyperconcious of the rest of the world… or maybe she’s awake as ever, and just wants to ignore whoever’s joined her for a moon-viewing? Her hand itches, like she needs to snap a picture... but she just gives Mitsumine this one. Burn it into her own eyes instead, or something, because that windbreaker’s so bright right now it might as well be glowing in the dark.’s really quiet out here.

“Heyyyy.” It almost takes a second for Mitsumine to notice, and when she does she jumps around so quickly  she nearly kicks her slides off her feet. A sweet, sweet moment of Mitsumine’s genuinely oh fuck face. Now that expression, that one’s always way too brief for Mamimi to get for her collection, but the fact she knows it exists is enough to warm her heart.

“Hey! Hey there! Mamimin!” 

“Solved your puzzle, Mitsumine.”

“My what?” There’s that smirk, but it’s not the smirk of ‘you did it’ but the one where Mitsumine’s got no idea what’s going on but isn’t about to admit it. That one’s fun.

“Don’t play dumb with me…” Mamimi starts to close the distance, matching Mitsumine’s smile with her own sharp little grin. Grins are good. Means you can look cool without having to actually look her in the eye.

“Very well, Tanaka-no-Mamimimin.” Mitsumine’s voice drops, and she pushes her glasses up her nose, like the nerd she is. Bet she thinks she’s so cool. “You truly intercepted my bitcoin scam. Or my death game. Or my plan to reconstruct Inca lines in the middle of Tokyo in order to summon out the ancient earthbound spirits that lie dormant. Or, uh… actually, Tanaka-no-Mamimimimin, could you gimme, maybe, a clue to which of my many many dastardly plans you have managed to figure out? See, I got so many that--”

“The ‘stealing my room key’ thing.”

“Ooh. That one,” she sighs out. Mitsumine’s smirk becomes smirkier, and she sneaks a look back at the moon. “Thaaat one wasn’t a plan.”

“Not even the ignoring me bit?” Did Mamimi just let a bit of actual annoyance slip into her voice? Naaah. That’d be lame. Just the usual level of detached snark.

“The, uh, ignoring you?”

“Why weren’t you replying to my messages...?”

“...left my phone in my room, wouldn’t ya know it.” She rubs at her brow over her glasses, and Mamimi likes to imagine that maybe she’s a little embarrassed about that. Hurts that she missed Mamimi’s messages, maybe. “And I didn’t wanna go back there, because, uh… I dunno! Not sure what I was doing with the key thing, earlier, in general.”

“You did this ‘cause you...  thought it was funny.”

“Suuuuuure.” It’s still hard to look her straight in the eye; not that Mamimi likes doing that to people anyway, but Mitsumine isn’t making it easy tonight. “Let’s go with that, Mamimin!”

“And going back to your room would be, like... hiding and pretending nothing happened? ...and that’d make you really, really uncool… and then all the girls at school would pick on you for  being that lame, and then--”

“Yep, yep, I get it!” The smirk turns into that open-mouthed smile that actually means ‘shut up’, which doesn’t really work on Mamimi. Must suck for her that understanding Mitsumine’s body language just means she can pin it down more. “So, uh, sorry if there were any miscaught feelings, or anything.” God, Mitsumine, if you knew --

“Mostly just wondering why you’d do that if it was just a joke.” ...but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much she hides the need in her words, because Mitsumine probably gets it anyway. “Pretty low, even for you…”

“Mm. Well, uh. You’ve been asking me all the questions, Tanaka-no-Mamimimimin, so--”

“One more? I mean, uh… should be Mamimimimimin. This time.” The closer she gets, with each and every step, it gets easier to look Mitsumine in the eye. After all, she wants some kind of answer, even if--

“Nice catch~”

“The question.”

Even if she has to be asked for it herself.

“Ahaha, well. You know me pretty well, Mamimin, so… what do you think? Was I joking?”

Mamimi stares her dead in the eyes. Fuck off. 

“So... you really don’t have your phone on you or anything?” Mitsumine seems taken aback, like she just got stonewalled. Which she deserves. 

“Eh? Nope. Nothing but keys and, uhhhh, 510 yen? I’m basically naked, so to speak. Defenceless and prone in the age of the overequipped gen Z-er!”

“Yeah,” Mamimi agrees, takes a step forward so they’re close, breathing distance. And with a single hard push to Mitsumine’s flatties, sends her flying right into the pool.

Damn. She didn’t think she had the strength. Or that Mitsumine’d make that big a splash.

Mitsumine looks hot when she’s surprised and struggling, too. This some kind of drowning fetish thing I got, or…? 

“This… this is my best windbreaker! I thought you liked it!” Mitsumine flails around in the water like she’s going to sink like a rock, except she’s staying entirely above water, and Mamimi knows she can swim, so.

“Yeah, I do. Looks hot on you. For a windbreaker.”

...maybe ‘nude except neon green and pink windbreaker’ was some dormant fetish in the back of Mamimi’s mind just waiting to happen. She has a crush on Mitsumine, only makes sense.

“Then… okay, I’m like, a tiiiny bit actually mad, right now?”

“Nice.” Wouldn’t be right if she wasn’t. She likes it when Mitsumine says nice things to her, and tells her she should actually bother waking up in the morning and that she’s not some invisible piece of vaguely human-shaped trash, but she likes it when she gets mad, too. Loves it when Yuica grabs her by the wrist, or leans into her and whispers that she shouldn’t key someone’s car even if they are her mom’s friend, or even glares at her.

Ugh... that’s the best.

Mamimi’s learning a lot about herself, tonight, beyond the obvious ‘yeah, wanting to fuck Mitsumine isn’t some passing weird urge she gets because a hot girl touched her hand, once’. (Because if it was just that then she would have ended up dragging Sakuya into some other hotel room already, and it’s not like that hasn’t occurred to her, but, y’know. Actually, she hopes you know, because she doesn’t.)

“When I get out of here-- let’s see how you like this, Mamimin…!” She sounds eighty percent joking and twenty percent serious, just how Mamimi likes it, but--

“Don’t bother…” She smirks right back down at Mitsumine, keeping her feet right on the edge of the pool, ready to step on Mitsumine’s toes if she even tries to get out (well, no, she’s not actually gonna do that… probably…), checks which pocket her phone is in (jacket pocket… not that it matters, she only uses it to talk to the four people she hangs out with every day anyway…), throws it behind her (that coach jacket cost 30,000 yen…), and--

“Watch out, Mitsumine…”

Cannonballs, right into the pool. First time for everything, right?

It takes her deeper than she expected, actually. Almost to the bottom, the tips of her soles tapping against the tiles, and she opens her eyes to see. Just like she hoped, the chlorine stings like a bitch, but the deep deep blue she gets to see in the half-second before she screws her eyes shut again is kind of worth it. She forgets Mitsumine’s floating up above her for a bit, and just feels the pressure around her head; the water buffeting her hair around and soaking through it.

She gets her dyeing done like… properly, now. The stuff smells kind of bad and probably leaves her hair even more full of dry patches and split ends than it is already, but at least it doesn’t wash away in the shower any more. It’s totally her, impermeable, purple, the true way she wants the world to see her, because anyone who tries to tell her to be herself, and she’s so much prettier like that, doesn’t understand shit.

....kind of rude of Mitsumine to suddenly interrupt her little bit of introspection by grabbing onto the back of her camo tank top and dragging her right out to the surface.

“I wasn’t trying to drown myself this time,” Mamimi explains. “Like, not even as a joke.”

“Thank god,” Mitsumine replies, and Mamimi can’t tell if that’s a joke. “Anyway, you’ve robbed me of my catharsis, and you haven’t answered my question, so as much as I love you, this Mitsumine is very dissatisfied--”

“Did... answer you, though,” Mamimi sputters out, before realising platforms are basically impossible to swim in. She grabs the edge of the pool, lets herself get her breath back, and turns to Mitsumine with, yeah, a smirk. Waiting for that smirk back, even. “And?”

...Mitsumine stares like she seriously doesn’t believe this shit. Her semi-panicked swimming’s now replaced with a stable peddling of water, too, which is pretty much a sign she’s totally lost.

“Wow, you can’t even tell when a girl’s telling you how she feels about you. I expected better, Mitsumine-no-Mitsuminene.”

“...if your idea of asking someone out is to push them, nay, shove them into a swimming pool,” Mitsumine mumbles, awkwardly thrusting forwards through the water until she’s grasping against the poolside, too, right where Mamimi’s arm is-- oh, shit, she’s kind of pinned-- “then I might suggest you don’t really know what you’re doing, Mamimi.”

...huh. Sounds... pretty different.

...and sounds like permission to kiss her, maybe? Whatever. Mitsumine’s already called her bad at this, so she might as well go for it. Look, she’s never even bothered having… expectations for her first kiss, anyway, so one arm awkwardly hooking around Mitsumine’s back, trying to pull them close and keep their lips together, Mitsumine suddenly leaning forward to put both hands on the side of the pool and keeping her there, is… Nice. I guess. Their legs are kicking at each other, hers wrapping around Mitsumine’s until she starts to realise it’s dragging the both of them under the water. Mamimi breaks the kiss for a second, Mitsumine chases after, her glasses start sliding off her face. It’s not matching up quite right-- her teeth graze against Mitsumine’s lips, Mitsumine’s nose somehow nearly ends up in her eye -- but, for Mamimi--

You’re probably not meant to keep your eyes open, either, but… if she didn’t, they might drown, and right now Mamimi actually doesn’t want that. Like, at all

Mitsumine’s glasses are basically falling off, too, and Mamimi decides to do a favour by taking them off, sorta-gently placing them on the poolside before wrapping a hand back around Mitsumine’s neck. Sure, she winces at first, but -- if they fall into the pool, no-one wants that, right? Plus she’s pretty sure Mitsumine’s short-sighted…?

Look, as long as Mitsumine can see her face, that’s good enough.

...aww, like this, makeup washed away in the pool and face undefended by glasses, she can kinda see Mitsumine’s eyebags.

God, she loves her.

Glasses or not, Mitsumine just keeps going, though, and starts to press against her so tight the pool tiles start to dig into her back, just about uncomfortable enough to hurt. Also hot. “Mamimi, your knee, it’s kinda in the way--”

“...stop riding it, then?”

Mitsumine doesn’t even bother to reply, just kisses her again, and that’s fair. Mamimi doesn’t mind this position, honestly, and when Mitsumine suddenly holds onto her shoulders, wow, that’s kinda exciting--

“Oookay. Satisifed?”

“Not until you are.”

“Gosh, well, if you’re offering… maybe we could do this somewhere a little more comfortable?” Ah, there it is… the smirk. Mamimi missed it, though right now, it looks kinda softer than usual.

“You just miss your glasses...”

“Perhaps so…” Mitsumine gives her a pat on the shoulder, lifts herself off Mamimi in a way that somehow seems almost calculated hot, but maybe Mamimi’s, uh, biased at this point. The way she lifts herself out of the pool and scrambles for her glasses isn’t as hot, but it’s cute. Win-win.

“You got the keys?” Mamimi follows her, elbows pinned onto the poolside and boosting herself out of it. She slides onto the tiles belly-first like some lizard, and that makes her feel sexy.

“Uhh…” Mitsumine sticks a hand into one pocket of the windbreaker, then the other, then the first one again, and after even turning them out does nothing-- “Oh, no, I guess I don’t, tee hee! Maybe because… soooomeone pushed me into the water! Wonder! Where! Those! Keys! Went!”

...Mamimi points at the pool and shrugs.

Back in the bar, again. Not exactly rejected by Mitsumine, just… given a reprieve. Okay. Sure, maybe refusing to go and get her keys (and Mitsumine’s one missing slide, having fallen off amidst the passion) out of the pool didn’t help, but she’s a Bad Girl, right? It’s on brand. Mitsumine’s fault, really.

“She said she felt ‘unsexy’ and I like, let out a really long sigh... and then she told me she was just gonna make out with me some more back in the room anyway.” At that moment, Mamimi had felt seen, in a way she never had before and never really wanted to again. “Am I that obvious?”

“Well, I think Yuica’s very clever…” Nice dodge, Kiriko. No wonder everyone loves you. “And despite how she seems, I think she’s a very careful girl…”

“Compared to who...?”

“...weeell, Kogane is very loud, and Sakuya… Sakuya isn’t very subtle!” Okay, if Kiriko keeps dodging the question, then it starts getting obvious, and Mamimi’s ego is already… sore. Not broken, just, like, ow. “So let her take her time…”

“Yeah, I know, just.” She stares down into her highball, because she’s started to realise they don’t card here, even when Kiriko is with her. Hope Hazuki won’t interrogate her over the expenses.

“Hehe… Don’t worry, Mamimi!”

“I’m not worried…” Not about the Mitsumine thing. Hazuki’s different.

“No, I mean, um… when you get there, you know, there… with her…” ...Kiriko’s lovely, but Mamimi’s impressed she’s met a girl who speaks, like, not just slower than her, but… 150% slower. World speed record, but in the opposite direction. She nods along, letting Kiriko find the words, idly tapping at her phone, until--


One LINE notification, Mitsumine, << okay well ive had my shower lol and uhh if you… >>

Her eyes open, wide, and suddenly she realises she’s been ignoring Kiriko, and that makes her feel kinda shitty, except what did Mitsumine just send her--

“Um, well… what I’m trying to say is… I think Yuica will take very good care of Mamimi’s pussy-san…”

Mamimi spits the second highball of the night out over the table.