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These ‘exchanges’ were always awkward to begin with, Issei reflected. By now they had an understanding of what was going to be talked about, but being the first one to make a confession was still difficult.

“This probably doesn’t need to be said,” he began at last, “but you remember the trip to the beach a few months ago, don’t you?”

Sakura nodded, a blush tinting her cheeks. “Senpai… was so handsome with the seawater sticking to his skin…”

“He was…” Fighting off his own blush, he cleared his throat and continued. “He - I - he let me put sunscreen on his back.”

She gasped, her face burning up at the thought of putting her hands all over Shirou’s naked back. “H-how was that?”

“A-amazing.” He sighed wistfully. “Emiya is… really stunning.”

Sakura nodded again, pausing to think of her own memory to share. “…He fell asleep on the couch a week ago, he was working too hard again, but - seeing him sleeping there like that, I thought that I might-”

“I wouldn’t have blamed you,” he interrupted, not needing to hear what Sakura might have done. “My self-control might have… slipped, as well.” Another pause. “Sp-speaking of Emiya working too hard, have you seen him when he’s exhausted, sweating, but still telling you that he could go for a little while longer? His words, not mine!”

She blushed furiously, but fixed Issei with an annoyed look. “You told him to get some rest, didn’t you?”

“Of course I did,” he snapped. “It might have been ridiculously attractive, but I put his health above that!”

“…Lately, there haven’t been so many things that he’s done that I haven’t told you already,” she admitted.

“That’s fine,” Issei answered. “We’ll just move on to something else.” Another pause, as he tried and failed to hide his blush. “If - is it betraying my duties as student council president if I’ve considered w-what it would be like to - in an empty classroom-?”

“Not really,” she replied, knowing full well how many times she had thought of him bending her over a desk and- She cut her thoughts off, turning an even brighter shade of red.

“…I still don’t know why you won’t try for him,” he said, after a moment. “It’s hopeless for me, but you’re - well, Emiya could certainly like you.”

“He couldn’t.” Sakura shook her head frantically. “Senpai deserves a… I’m not…”

The student council president raised an eyebrow. “There are very few words that would fit into that and still be true. You’re a very nice girl and you’re beautiful. What more could there possibly be that Emiya deserves?”

She opened her mouth to reply.

“Keep in mind that ‘an older woman’, ‘a virgin’, ‘someone with experience’, ‘someone prettier’, and the like are not acceptable answers, as no man with any decency cares about that sort of thing,” he added. “And as we know, calling Emiya a decent man is an understatement.”

She closed her mouth and blinked at him, trying to process that information. “…Doesn’t… care… if I’m not a vir…?”

“Oh, is that it? I thought that it would be one of the others, but…” He shrugged. “It’s nice to know that you’re someone’s first, but it’s hardly essential. I’m sure Emiya feels the same way.”

Sakura didn’t answer.

After a moment, Issei waved a hand in front of her face.

No response.

“Matou Sakura? Hello…? Is there something strange about what I said?”