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A Dual! story
by DB Sommer

Disclaimer: Dual! is owned by Masaki Kajishima and Pioneer.

Any and all C&C is appreciated. You can contact me at sommer@3rdm.net

Quite a few bits to the forward this time:

You can freely blame Donny Cheng for this. He's the one that put the seeds of this idea in my mind. I would most likely have never come up with this if he hadn't just kept going on and on about Dual! lemons and getting my mind flowing in this sort of direction. It is entirely his fault.

A warning others have correctly recommended I put in. Despite the more light-hearted tone in the beginning, this does take a bit of a dark turn later. So be forewarned.

This is post episode 14/OVA. Events taking place the next day after the last episode. Differences in the Mitsukis will be done from whichever character's POV is being used. If it's Mitsuki Sanada, she thinks of Mitsuki Rara in terms of Rara. The reverse is true for Mitsuki Rara.

-Lemon Warning- Lemony material ahead. Don't read if you are under eighteen, or whatever the local laws regarding such material are in your local area.

And now onward:

"Ge-stalt: a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts."

—Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary—

The sun crested the horizon, signaling the start of a brand new day in a brave new world.

Except the world did not feel particularly new to Mitsuki Sanada, even if it really was. It looked the same as last week. It felt the same. The floor of the house was as hard as ever as she walked across it. The sky was the as azure as always. The air smelled at it always had, that mix of nitrogen, oxygen, smog, and a handful of other gases. The food tasted the same, instant ramen as bland as ever, home cooked meals leaning towards the delicious. Clothing produced the same sensations rayon, cotton, silk, and a host of other fabrics always did against her skin. It was the same in all the ways that mattered, existentialism be damned.

It was only the little details of personal history that were really different. That and the complete restructuring of the New Rara Order in its vain attempt at global domination. But that was in the 'other world' anyway, so it didn't really count as having been changed, even if Mitsuki had spent several months there.

And it was all thanks to Kazuki Yotsuga, who, for one brief shining moment, was given the power of the Gods to shape reality to his personal whim.

Gazing at the world outside, Mitsuki was thankful Kazuki lacked imagination.

With a tired yawn she forced herself out of bed and began the task of preparing for yet another day of school. Her nightgown was discarded and favor of a bathrobe. There was a time when she wouldn't have worried about such things, but that was before Kazuki moved himself into her house and home. Ostensibly, it was because his parents were out of town for several months and he needed somewhere to live, so it fell to Mitsuki's father, who was a friend of Kazuki's parents, to look after their young charge while they were away. The truth was that the whole situation was Kazuki's doing. With all of existence sitting in the palm of his hand, that was one of the few things he had wished for when the opportunity presented itself, even if he denied it openly. Mitsuki knew better, but rarely pressed the issue unless Kazuki put her in a foul mood.

She supposed it was flattering. Undoubtedly part of the reason Kazuki had arranged to move in was so he could spend more time with her, just like things had been back in the parallel universe they had been unceremoniously thrown into. Making D a part of her family, as well as Commander Yamano… Mother, was an interesting added touch. In the case of the former, Mitsuki was sort of pleased. D was nice enough as a sibling, especially since after the reformation she had started behaving like a normal girl instead of a walking alien artifact, and it was nice to do away with the loneliness being an only child entailed. In the case of trading in one of Mitsuki's old parents for a new one, she still had no idea what Kazuki was thinking when he added that little touch.

Clashing memories filled Mitsuki's mind. Always first and foremost there were the ones of Ayuko Sanada (now Rara) all but ignoring her only offspring the majority of the child's life before eventually abandoning her family altogether. A second set of thoughts, newer, yet feeling as though they had been there the entire time, remembered a far more caring (though prone to excessive lecturing) Akane Sanada acting as Mitsuki's mother for the entirety of her life. It was a fabrication, at least by Mitsuki's reckoning, but one that held an odd sort of comfort. It bothered her that she preferred the lie Kazuki had created to the real life she had once before. But seeing her father's beaming face —one that had departed along with Ayuko— when he spent quiet moments with his wife and daughters, was a consolation that Mitsuki would never have thought possible. So any objections with the way her life had been rewritten silent were left silent in the recesses of her mind.

The sight of Zinv outside her window turned her mind away from the new pages her life was now written upon. Her hand came up to her head in response to a throbbing from her temple. She had hoped, no, prayed that the events from last night had been a nightmare. What had she been thinking when she dressed up in one of those ridiculous Miss Ra cheesecake outfits and proclaimed to the world that it needed to bow down to her and the newly formed 'Rara Army'? How completely absurd. Mitsuki just hoped the neighbors hadn't recognized her in that collection of leather straps that was supposed to represent an outfit. Her 'cousin', Mitsuki Rara, might not have had a second thought about prancing around in tight leather and jackboots while loudly proclaiming she was going to conquer the world, but Mitsuki Sanada was firmly grounded in reality. She got all the attention she wanted by walking down a street. More than she wanted, actually, with the continuous outpouring of love letters she received from her classmates at school. She didn't need to overcompensate for having a passive personality by doing such outrageous things.

It was peculiar that she had engaged in such behavior in the first place. She wasn't surprised by the other girls doing it. Rara had acted like that long before Mitsuki had ever met her. D was just a child, and for some odd reason, looked up to the 'other' Mitsuki, so following in Rara's footsteps made a certain kind of sense. Yayoi was just plain starved for any attention Kazuki might throw her way. But Mitsuki Sanada was made of sterner stuff. She was her own woman, and had proved it by initially resisting the idea. But once Yayoi crossed the line by offering to wear the outfit for Kazuki (and the louse agreed she would look good in it), Mitsuki's resolve vanished and she ended up right alongside the other three, acting like a complete idiot, and she still hadn't figured out why. The only good thing about the sordid affair was the way Kazuki had looked at her. It was partly embarrassment at her behavior, but there was something else there, she had been certain. Something more along the lines of lust, or at the very least attraction.

A warmth spread across Mitsuki's cheeks as she remembered the way Kazuki had stared. The blush irritated her to no end. What was it with her lately? Whenever she pictured Kazuki in her mind, she seemed to feel… strange. And a lot of the strangeness depended on what he was doing at the time. Looking and paying attention to her was good, filling her with a peace that made her know on some instinctual level that all was right with the world. Not paying attention to her was not so good. Acting like a nervous, indecisive twit was marginally worse. Not knowing what she was thinking, when it was blatantly obvious, was bad. Paying attention to Yayoi, or the ultimate sin, that flirty little Miss Rara, was very, very bad. And when Kazuki was bad, he was punished. Sometimes in little ways, sometimes in big ones. Mitsuki was never lax in letting him know of her disappointment in him.

Not that Mitsuki was jealous or possessive or anything. She certainly didn't think of Kazuki like THAT. And it was not as though she disliked Yayoi or Rara; they were nice people and she got along with them fine, just so long as Kazuki wasn't around. When he was within either of the girls' lines of sight, that was when the problems cropped up. The two of them were so desperate for his attention they would go after him like two starving dogs that were tossed a side of raw meat. They didn't understand what he was really like, not the way Mitsuki did. But the idiot kept acting tempted by them, when he should have been tempted by…

A low growl escaped Mitsuki's throat. Again she caught her mind involuntarily regarding Kazuki in non-platonic ways. Sometimes it seemed she couldn't steer her mind clear of him. If her thoughts drifted off in the slightest, they had developed a bad tendency to inevitably turn back towards her house guest, making her feel odd in ways he shouldn't be able to. There were other boys she knew that were more handsome, more built, more aggressive, and more interesting than Kazuki, ones that had demonstrated an interest in her. Yet none of them were appealing to her, even before she had met Kazuki. So what was it about someone so unassuming that set him apart from the rest of the male species?

As Mitsuki exited her bedroom and headed towards the bath, her mind ran off a list of the finer qualities Kazuki possessed: qualities she had learned when they had lived under the same roof, as well as fighting in life and death struggles alongside one another. Despite a timid exterior, he was unbelievably brave. He was almost enthusiastic when it had come to helping save the world. He didn't act like some lech, like most of the other guys his age. He showed interest in her thoughts when she expressed her opinions, at least most of the time. And he was caring. A bit too caring perhaps, in that he would drop anything to help any of the girls in his life. But given a choice between having him too caring and not caring enough, Mitsuki knew she preferred him as he was every single time.

Thinking about it, Mitsuki had to admit there was something there that could probably be worked with and that Kazuki was not a complete loss. Though it would have helped if he were better looking, or at least a little taller. And he was just so passive. A little aggression wouldn't hurt him. What he needed was a few courses in assertiveness from Mitsuki Rara's other half, Miss Ra. Sort of another version of that, like a Mr. Ra, or something.

Pausing in front of the door to the bath, a giggle slipped past Mitsuki's lips as an image of Kazuki, dressed in one of Miss Ra's outfits, came to her unbidden. She was still deeply in amused thought when a soft voice behind her said, "What's so funny, Mitsuki?"

Mitsuki's reaction was to stop giggling and shoot guilty glance at the speaker. Think of the Devil, and she would appear, or at least the more timid version of her would. Mitsuki let out a nervous chuckle as she stared into a face that was far too familiar for her liking. Before her stood Mitsuki Rara, clad only in a towel that barely reached either the top of her chest or the bottom of her rear end.

"Oh, it was nothing, really. Just a joke someone told me the other day," Mitsuki Sanada offered in weak explanation.

Lacking any hint of guile or suspicion, Mitsuki Rara said, "I'd like to hear it. I always enjoy a good laugh."

"It, ah, wasn't that funny, actually." She cleared her throat, trying to change the subject. "What are you doing in that? I told you, you have to wear something decent. There are men in this house, you know."

Rara looked down at her towel, as though seeing it for the first time. "I don't think Uncle Ken would have those sorts of thoughts about me. He doesn't seem the type, and I'm sure Auntie Akane keeps him satisfied in that way."

"Those are my parents you're talking about!" Even if only one of them really was, sort of. "Besides, I wasn't talking about Dad. I was talking about Kazuki."

Now it was Rara's turn to blush. "Oh, Kazuki wouldn't have those sorts of thoughts. He's a perfect gentleman. Just look at how he treated me when Mother tried to set us up together." There was a slight wistfulness in her voice. "I was completely naked and he didn't take advantage of me in the slightest."

"Thanks for reminding me. I was just getting over that," Mitsuki grumbled. "And dressing like that is a good way to get him over that little gentleman act of his."

"Do you think it would?" Rara's voice was heavy with hope as her blush deepened.

"We're not going to find out." Mitsuki grabbed her temporal counterpart by the hand and dragged her into the bath, shutting the door behind them.

Now safely ensconced from the possibility of Kazuki finding them, Mitsuki began running water into buckets for both herself and her cousin… sister… doppelganger, or whatever the correct term was for their relationship. It was bad enough when Rara had to live with them since her parents were 'out of town' (meaning they were secretly living next door the entire time) but with that house destroyed by Zinv's carelessness, Rara was now forced to live with Mitsuki and her family for an indefinite amount of time. At least the older Raras were staying at a hotel, rather than making the house even more overcrowded than it already was.

Finished with filling the bucket, Mitsuki saw that Rara had already hung the towel on a hook and was sitting naked on a stool in preparation for cleaning herself. As Mitsuki removed her own robe, she took the opportunity to carefully examine her counterpart's nude form. Mitsuki's lips curved downward and eyebrows furrowed as her eyes poured over every detail of her 'cousin' who was far closer to a twin.

Double or not, there were differences in more than hairstyle and color between the two girls. Rara was in great physical shape. There was fine muscle tone throughout her body, yet she managed to not lose one bit of her feminine curves. Her legs were long and shapely, making Mitsuki wince. Compared to Rara, she felt her own thighs were large and flabby, even if no one ever said that about them. At least their hips were about the same, Mitsuki having the edge there with hers being slightly narrower, but she wasn't certain. Then there were their breasts. Mitsuki had assumed hat since they shared the same bra size, they would be in the same shape, but there was something about her counterpart's chest that seemed perkier in comparison. Mitsuki's hands grasped the underside of her own breasts, feeling them to see if they had become flabby on her without realizing it.

Rara asked, "Mitsuki, would you mind washing my back?"

The question interrupted Mitsuki's examination. It was just as well, since she was becoming tired of comparing herself to Rara and losing every time. "What? Why?"

Rara said, "It's a bit hard for me to get back there. If you'd be kind enough to wash it, I'll wash yours."

"Oh, okay." It was a simple request. In the past, there were times D had helped in reaching those hard to get spots when they shared a furo. Mitsuki picked up a washcloth, soaked it in the soapy water from the bucket at Rara's feet, and proceeded to wash her counterpart's back.

Being this close to her sort of rival, Mitsuki took the opportunity to examine Rara's skin more closely. Here, she thought, she finally had the advantage. Her cousin's skin was pale, something that was only highlighted by her auburn locks, while Mitsuki's own was a pleasant tan, though not the darkened hue of most 'sun-worshippers.' Rara looked like she hardly ever spent a day in the sun, which suited Mitsuki just fine. Perhaps she would purchase a jar of 50 SPF sunblock for Rara's birthday to ensure she remained that way.

Much closer than ever before, Mitsuki continued studying Rara. Despite the pale cast to it, her skin's texture was perfect. There wasn't a single blemish to be found. No tiny scars indicating a rough childhood, no little nicks left by chicken pox, nothing. It was as though her skin was made out of clay, allowing any imperfections to be smoothed out, and leaving her with a flawless cast that would be the envy of any woman. Mitsuki couldn't say the same for herself. She had scars earned through something of a tomboy childhood, and a pox had left her with a handful of tiny marks that she actively tried to hide and constantly felt self-conscious about. She would have given anything to have skin just as immaculate. That damnable Rara had the advantage in almost every aspect.

"You're in great shape," Mitsuki commented. There was a touch of venom in her voice as she continued scrubbing her counterpart's back, wondering if she could 'accidentally' scratch it, just so it would have some sort of flaw.

Rara's body seemed to turn slightly red, and not from the steady scrubbing. "No, I'm not really."

"Yes, you are."

"Well, maybe it's because of the time I spent in the Rara army. Even though I was the daughter of the leader, I had to go through combat training like everyone else. And in my role as spokesperson, as well as occasional field commander, I had to be in superior physical shape for appearance's sake. I had to go through further advanced training for that. I still do a half hour of exercises every morning, and three times a week I'll stay after school and use the gym facilities for a more intensive workout. I never even think about it anymore. I guess it's become a habit for me."

"I'm envious," Mitsuki admitted. That was certainly more exercise than she ever did.

"Why? You're in great shape too."

"No, I'm not," Mitsuki insisted in vehement denial.

Turning her head so she could look Mitsuki in the eye, Rara said, "If you want, you can stay after school with me and we can work out together."

The offer, given with such heartfelt sincerity, made Mitsuki feel slightly guilty about the case of envy she had been suffering from. "Okay, I think I will."

Rara turned back around. "That'll be nice. Working out with friends is much more fun than doing it by myself. It's sort of boring exercising alone, actually."

"I know what you mean. I usually don't like being alone either. I'll definitely start working out with you."

With that decided, Mitsuki returned to the task of cleaning. Her mood improved, the work was done more enthusiastically than before. Gently her hands brought the washcloth to the back, caressing as much as cleaning. Now that Mitsuki reconsidered things, it was silly to be jealous. Why shouldn't her cousin-sister be allowed to have a sexy body? It wasn't like Mitsuki ever considered herself the most gorgeous woman around, just in the upper ten percent. There were plenty of other attractive girls in school, but she certainly never felt envious of them.

The close proximity to Rara made Mitsuki aware of a fragrance emanating from her body. It seemed to hover at the edge of her senses, tantalizing and intoxicating at the same time. It reminded her of the scent of a forest being reborn with the dawn of a new spring. No longer satisfied with merely using a cloth as a medium, Mitsuki lathered one of her hands with water and soap and proceeded to use it to clean as well. Underneath delicate fingertips, Mitsuki could feel skin as soft and pristine as it appeared to be. Electricity seemed to dance in her fingertips wherever they made contact with flesh. Soap and lather failed to dull the effect as Mitsuki went from cleaning to tracing the curve of Rara's spine, stopping only when she reached the top of the divide separating the buttocks. Even then she had to resist the urge to continue ever downward. But the stool would have prevented her from going far, and there was the rest of the body to consider.

Deciding the back was finished, Mitsuki opted to move to another section of her compatriot's body and began cleaning it off. Gently her hands reached the flanks of Rara's side, one hand washing with a cloth, the other content to rub across the flesh with a watery hand. No protest was raised as Mitsuki stroked, then handled, the surprisingly solid muscle that lay beneath the pale skin. This time the reaction was one of admiration, not jealousy. Mitsuki refused to allow her fingers to cease their contact, instead basking in every delicious curve of the young woman seated in front of her. From the top of the hips to under her arms, Mitsuki was thorough in the task before her, leaving no section of flesh untouched.

Despite the slow, careful manner in which she cleaned, it took little time to finish with the sides. Mitsuki's hands moved forward, tracing a path from the flanks to the underside of Rara's breasts. Cloth and palm cupped the bottoms, eliciting a soft moan from the recipient of the attention. In response, Mitsuki pressed her own breasts into the back of Rara, both for the sensation of brushing against one another, as well as being able to get a better hold of her front. There was an added warmth to Rara's back as Mitsuki felt her own sensitive nipples harden from the contact. Again she felt a surge of admiration from the firmness of those fleshy orbs that she was handling without trepidation.

Refusing to release the hold on the front, Mitsuki leaned her head forward and caressed the back of her cousin's neck with a soft breath. The tiny hairs along the back of the neck moved and a shudder shook Rara's body, one that seemed to transfer to Mitsuki's own through the front-to-back contact. Delighted by the reaction, Mitsuki went further by maneuvering her head next to Rara's ear and blowing softly into it, while still maintaining a hold of her breasts. Another moan, louder than the others, filled the bath.

Mitsuki smiled at her handiwork. No wonder Kazuki would stare with his mouth open and all but drool whenever he accidentally managed to catch sight of Rara's body in any way. Mitsuki was finding herself incredibly aroused by the intimate contact, and could hardly fault Kazuki from reacting exactly as she was. If anything, she should congratulate him on his restraint in refusing to jump Rara's bones when he had the opportunity yesterday. If Mitsuki had been in his place, awakening next to the nude form that was pressed close to her now, she probably would have-

"What are you guys doing?"

The question, asked with such innocence, shocked Mitsuki out of the trance she had somehow fallen into. Her hands left their risqué perch and her entire body seemed to leap back two feet despite being in a sitting position both when she started and when she finished. "Nothing! Nothing at all!" she quickly blurted out.

"It looked to me like you were doing something," D softly intoned.

Mitsuki looked at Rara for support. The girl seemed content to merely look down at the tiles of the bath and blush. "Well, we were, ah, helping clean each other off."

"That's not what it looked like to me." D raised an eyebrow as her gaze darted between the two.

Rara's response was so quick it was obvious she was saying, without actually verbalizing, 'I'm guilty as sin'. What actually passed from her lips was, "But we were. I asked Mitsuki to wash my back, and she was kind enough to do so." She cast an almost shameful glance to Mitsuki before darting her eyes back to the tile floor.

Despite the obvious guilt, the explanation seemed to ease D's suspicions. "Oh, okay. I thought Mitsuki might have been hurting you with the way she was grabbing your front and you were moaning."

Mitsuki made a gagging sound and began to blush as furiously as Rara. "I was not grabbing. I was washing."

"It looked like your were feeling for something. You didn't even have a washcloth in one of your hands.

Rara looked away from the tiles and to D. "Actually, Mitsuki was being kind enough to examine my breasts for lumps. You see, after a girl hits puberty, it's often a good idea to check for signs of breast cancer in the form of tiny lumps that form under the skin. It's rare in girls our age, but not unheard of."

Mitsuki smiled wide and mentally congratulated her cousin. "Yep. That's what we were doing. Checking for signs of breast cancer. I wasn't feeling her up at all."

"Okay. I understand," D said, then removed her robe. "Would you check my breasts like that, too?"

"NO!" Both Mitsukis shouted as one.

It was remarkable how guilty looks could be exchanged without actually looking one another in the eye, but both Mitsukis were accomplishing that difficult feat at the breakfast table. Neither had dared look at the other for fear of… well, fear of something along the lines of everyone else at the table suddenly being able to read their minds and knowing exactly what had transpired between them in the bathroom. It was silly, of course, but still, through some sort of unspoken declaration, the girls refused to look in each other's direction.

The lack of eye contact did not go unnoticed by the other four occupants of the breakfast table.

Kazuki was the first to venture forth. "Did you and Mitsuki have a fight?" He directed the question to the Mitsuki closest to him, Sanada, as he helped himself to another fried egg roll.

"No," Mitsuki said authoritatively while Rara demurely shook her head.

Kazuki persisted. "Then what's wrong?"

Again Mitsuki acted as spokesperson. "Nothing's wrong. You're just being paranoid." She took a sip of her miso soup.

"Jeez, why are you being so touchy today?"

Mitsuki nearly choked on her soup. "I didn't touch anything today!"

Noticing how the veins were popping out of Mitsuki's forehead, Kazuki's survival instincts took over. He raised his hands defensively. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'll just forget about it."

"That's better." Sensing Kazuki was properly chastened and would let the matter drop, Mitsuki relaxed and took another sip of soup.

D said, "Actually, Mitsuki, you were touching the other Mitsuki's breasts while you were in the bathroom."

This time Mitsuki did choke on the soup. By the time she forced most of it out of her windpipe, she saw Kazuki staring off into the space between the two Mitsukis, his mouth slightly agape and a tiny trickle of drool fleeing while the opportunity presented itself.

That whatever he was imagining was probably exactly what had happened did nothing to assuage Mitsuki's anger. She lashed out with an uppercut, shutting Kazuki's mouth and sending the drool to land on Rara's skirt.

"Mitsuki!" Akane shouted, shooting her daughter a scolding look.

Mitsuki pointed an accusatory finger at Kazuki. "But he was being totally perverted!"

"That's no excuse. You are expressly forbidden to punch anyone at the dinner table." Akane rolled up the morning newspaper and handed it to Mitsuki. "Use this."

Mitsuki swatted Kazuki in the head with it.

Holding his head in pain and ducking low in a futile defense of avoiding a second swat, Kazuki protested, "But I wasn't being perverted!"

Using his role as man of the house, Dr. Sanada chose this moment to enter the conversation. "I'm inclined to agree with Kazuki. I don't think he was being perverted at all. I think it's perfectly normal for a boy that age, after hearing the way D phrased her statement, to jump to such conclusions. Furthermore-"

A second rolled up newspaper appeared in Akane's hand and the rest of the explanation was cut off with a swat to the Doctor's head, reaffirming his position as man of the house, who was second in rank to that of his wife.

"What was that for?" Sanada protested in a tone of voice that was eerily similar to Kazuki's.

Akane took a deep breath, causing everyone else at the dinner table, including D, to cringe.

The matriarch of the Sanada family began. "I'll have you know that simply because you males have this primitive urge to stick together no matter how wrong you are is no excuse for that sort of behavior. Kazuki and both Mitsukis are at an age where such behaviors, no matter how innocent they might seem on the surface, or even normal, are in fact incredibly dangerous when they are all living under the same roof. It's further complicated by the fact that they've been through so many potentially life threatening situations together, further strengthening both real and perceived bonds that-"

Sensing the lecture would end somewhere around her first period of classes, and having more than enough meal conversation to last her to the end of the week, Mitsuki gave a quick, "I have some material I have to turn in to the teacher before class, and have to leave now." Not waiting for an answer, she picked up her school bag and headed for the door.

Kazuki, obviously eager to join in her flight, rose out of his cross-legged sitting position and said, "Wait! I'll go with you."

"Can't stop got to run!" Mitsuki barely took enough time to separate the words as she ran through the entryway and out the front door of the house.

Once outside, Mitsuki stayed out of sight long enough to take the more lengthy way to school, rather than the shorter route she and the others usually took. She let out a sigh of relief as no sign of pursuit revealed itself. Having either Rara or Kazuki accompany her today would have been more than her frazzled nerves could have handled, especially with the way breakfast had gone. Another five minutes and she would have probably blurted out what had happened as a way of unburdening her conscience. Now that she had a few moments to herself, she realized things weren't really that bad. She had made it out of the house with no one else discovering the truth. That was what had been paramount, and the only thing that really mattered. Now with that secret secure behind her, she was in the clear, and intended to remain that way.

The beautiful spring day, one that was helping to usher in an early summer was lost on Mitsuki. Other concerns eradicated any hope she might have had for enjoying the perfect weather. What had happened in the bathroom was a problem she had never encountered before. Just what in the hell had happened? One moment she was perfectly normal, dealing with Rara the same as always, when suddenly it was like a switch had been thrown inside her. Instead of behaving normally, she had acted just like some hormonally crazed guy who couldn't keep his dick in his pants, though in her case it was more like smothering Rara with her chest than with any anatomical features between her legs. The way she had groped her cousin was downright disgusting. She wouldn't have grabbed any guy like that and felt him up, and that included Kazuki. Probably. Maybe. It wasn't like she had the opportunity to find out, so the point was moot. But certainly at no time in the past had she ever felt the urge to feel a girl up and 'test the ripeness of her melons' as some of the more crude male members of her class tended to refer to it. Mostly the guys that had never even engaged in the action.

However, Mitsuki certainly didn't fit into the category anymore. What had been going through her mind? Actually, it was easy to recall, most of it having to do with how sexy she thought Rara was. "Am I a lesbian?" she said out loud, before realizing that it would probably be best to keep her mouth shut on the matter, lest by the end of the day she had butch women hitting on her and Kazuki seeking attention from Yayoi.

Besides, it was ridiculous, wasn't it? Women didn't become lesbians overnight. One didn't suddenly wake up one day and say, "Hey, instead of guys, I think I'd like to get it on with someone that I can share underwear with since we have the same bra size." At least, Mitsuki didn't think that was the way it worked. It wasn't as if she knew any lesbians. At least none that she was aware of. And she had never entertained any romantic thoughts concerning Rara; of that she was certain. The girl had been in many categories in Mitsuki's mind. From enemy to defector to rival (though not for Kazuki's attentions, she assured herself. Mostly.) to friend to family. None of those roles had included 'romantic rug-munching interest.' Aside from being the wrong gender, Rara was like a long lost twin sister, which would make it incestuous before anything else. It was perverted.

To test herself, and reconfirm her sexual orientation, Mitsuki thought of other women naked. Yayoi? No. There wasn't the slightest hint of attraction there. There were occasions Mitsuki had seen Yayoi naked, both at public baths and after changing out of their flight suits when they had been fighting in robots during the war. Her breasts were even larger than Rara's and she was unquestionably in better shape, but Mitsuki didn't feel the slightest urge to feel Yayoi up or try looking at her in the buff again. Rara's three former friends in the Rara army? No. Besides, they tended to annoy her, especially that ditzy Alice. She didn't even consider D. Lesbian or not, pedophilia was an even bigger no-no than incest.

As Mitsuki continued walking, she noticed a billboard of Natsumi Ayakawa, one of the top models in Japan, dressed in a tiny bikini and hawking some sort of vacation to a tropical paradise. Mitsuki's first reaction was to think the bikini's cream color was just plain awful and how she wouldn't be caught dead in such a thing. The second was that she should pick up some suntan lotion since she had nearly run out the last time she had gone sunbathing. Hardly the thoughts a lesbian would have when looking at a supermodel, at least in her book.

The experiment was proving itself something of a relief. She thought about Rara again, just to see if the attraction had been a one-time thing, like catching a virus and then building up an immunity to it. She pictured her counterpart naked. It would be almost like looking into a full-length mirror and admiring herself. It was easy to visualize Rara's shapely thighs leading up to her carefully trimmed bush (No surprise there, since she had been forced to wear that scanty Miss Ra outfit that rode high up into her crotch). Continuing upward, they lead to narrow hips, soft curves eventually winding their way and blending into firm breasts with dainty reddish nipples. Above those was located a set of lips that were made all the more desirable by the way the red contrasted with alabaster skin-

"Oh no! I am a lesbian!" Mitsuki wailed.

Whispers of "Pervert" began to circulate around her. Mitsuki tore herself out of her fantasy and returned to awareness. She looked around to see that she had paused at a street corner next to a crosswalk. Surrounding her were a gaggle of schoolchildren that appeared as though they were barely out of kindergarten. All of them were whispering among themselves, shooting her warded looks, as though she was a stranger about to offer them candy.

Mitsuki laughed nervously. "None of you little rascals know who I am, right?"

Confronted with a question, the children took a poll among themselves. Conclusions decided, a dozen tiny "No's", rose up almost as one.

"Thank the gods." Mitsuki ran off before one of them did put a name to her face.

Three classes passed without incident. The way the day was going, Mitsuki counted it a blessing. At the moment, she would have considered being sucked into another dimension and forced into the role of a robot combat pilot again something of a relief compared to trying to deal with her newly discovered feelings. Every moment felt like she was on an emotional teeter-totter with a fat kid jumping up and down on it. From minute to minute, she would go from trying to ignore her unnatural desires to trying to deal with them by mentally bludgeoning the annoying things to death. It was times like this she wished she were more religious, and Catholic, so she could consider joining a Nunnery as a form of escape.

As the history professor droned on, Mitsuki tuned him out and laid her head on her open book. Pen in hand, she began drawing pictures in her notebook, crude little drawings that would have been more appropriate on an ancient cave wall instead of modern day paper Mitsuki would be the first to admit that among her many talents, artistic ability was not among them. Stick figures were more along her lines, and even then she had problems keeping the person in hangman looking like a human instead of a demented Christmas tree as interpreted by Salvador Dali.

"This is all that darn Mitsuki's fault," Mitsuki mumbled as she continued her doodles.

"Why yes, Miss Sanada, it is all your fault," a voice droned from above her.

She raised her head off the paper. "I didn't mean me. I meant the other Mits… uk… i." Mitsuki stared into the eyes of the history professor. "I'm going to be holding water in the hallway, aren't I?"

The teacher pointed to a couple of empty wooden buckets sitting towards the back of the room. "Enjoy."

Mitsuki found herself actually relieved to be outside of class. It gave her time to think, though she wasn't looking forward to the lecture she'd get from her mother about paying attention in class. It was the perfect segue to go into some speech about how when Akane was in the military everyone had to pay absolute attention to every little detail and how it might make the difference between life and death. Blech! It was like reciting something by rote. Mitsuki wondered if she took the time to write the diatribe out beforehand and handed it to Akane it would allow her to bypass the upcoming tongue-lashing.

The sound of a lot of people moving outside caught Mitsuki's attention. From her position against the wall, she could see one of the gym classes had gone outside for some sort of exercise. Looking back through the tiny pane of glass in the doorway of the classroom, Mitsuki could see the professor was fully involved in teaching the class something about the Edo era. Deciding it was worth the risk of ending up in more trouble, Mitsuki walked over with the buckets and looked through the window leading outside.

The side of the building Mitsuki was on afforded a view of the track. One of the gym classes was engaging in sprints from the looks of things. Affording one last glance at the door to the classroom, Mitsuki made herself as comfortable as possible and watched as the gym class lined up in groups of six and then ran for thirty meters. Four sets of competitors raced in quick succession. During the last heat, one of the runners managed to outdistance his competitors by an impressive margin. Focusing her attention upon him, Mitsuki was surprised to see it was Kazuki who had defeated the others so easily.

A soft smile slid across her face as she watched him head in her general direction, walking off the excess energy from the race. "That's right. He was able to outrun all those guys that were chasing him when they thought he was dating me," she said to herself with a wry smile. She'd have to congratulate him later, when they met each other during lunch.

Kazuki drifted close enough for her to make out more details. Seeing him all red from running and sticky with sweat was curiously arousing. As much as Kazuki could be a weenie at times, he really wasn't that bad. She recalled him filling out his old combat uniform well enough. He was a bit short and slender, but there wasn't an ounce of fat on him. And the crotch of those uniforms had not been so heavily padded that she didn't get an impression of his general size. Not too big, but definitely not too small. Not that she had anything to compare it to, but that had been her assessment of him. There were lots of guys she could do worse with, not that she was inclined to do anything with him. And, passiveness aside, his personality was actually kind of pleasant. Obnoxious, forward guys had always been a major turn off for Mitsuki. It was one of the reasons she systematically rejected any love letters. Anyone that forward was not for her. But the idea that Kazuki would send any girl a love letter was about as likely as Ayuko reconciling with Mitsuki's father, except that Ayuko had never been her mother, which meant she had never abandoned her father. Instead Ayuko was her aunt, while someone that had never been related to Mitsuki at all was her mother.

"This is all your fault, Kazuki," Mitsuki grumbled. Though now that she thought about it, Akane was definitely a trade up in the parent department.

Mitsuki went back to admiring Kazuki when an all too familiar figure raced up to his side and began congratulating him in a typically shy manner. Mitsuki cringed at seeing someone so much like her, yet not her, complimenting Kazuki before she had a chance to do it. Rara just had to take a job in the school cafeteria to stay close to Kazuki, and therefore had more free time to drop by and see him. It wasn't fair! That damn Rara was always getting in-between her and Kazuki, complicating things when the way should have been clear. Oh, how easy it was for Mitsuki to loathe her cousin for interfering in matters.

What had once been only amorous thoughts concerning Rara turned to jealous anger as Mitsuki kept her eyes riveted to the scene below. Her anger tripled when she saw the pair laughing casually with each other. It was in far too easygoing a manner, especially for Kazuki, who tended to be tense around women he was interested in. And now the two were blushing! Veins began erupting from Mitsuki's forehead, and the sound of teeth gnashing against one another filled the hall. Once again Rara was making an annoyance of herself, butting her nose in where it didn't belong.

"But I know how to take care of people that don't know well enough to mind their own business," Mitsuki said slyly to herself. Yayoi had been a nuisance as well early in the game. And although Mitsuki's plan had not succeeded, it had come darn close, and would have been pulled off it hadn't been for Kazuki's interference. And unlike so many others around her, Mitsuki Sanada learned from her past mistakes. This time she would refine the plan so that Kazuki was not a factor.

Mitsuki returned to her proper position against the wall. All she needed was one more class, then her scheme could begin. By the end of the night, Mitsuki Rara would not be an element in the Kazuki Sweepstakes anymore than D was.

Between classes, Mitsuki located the object of her hunt: the last row of classroom 2-C, two seats to the left of the window. He was leaning on the back two legs of his chair while his feet were propped up on the desk. His uniform was open at the collar. He was trying painfully to act nonchalant, an effect he was halfway succeeding at. The only thing missing was a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Saccharine smile plastered on her face, Mitsuki sat down in the empty seat next to the senior and said in ecstatically happy tones, "Sanosuke."

Sanosuke's previous relaxed posture changed as he returned his chair to four legs and leaned forward to smile at Mitsuki. He grinned wolfishly at her, showing off a perfect set of teeth. "Hey, Sanada. Finally come to your senses and dumped that wimp, Yotsuga, so you can go out with me? I'm always available for you."

Mitsuki was torn between saying, "I would sooner hit myself in the head with a hammer, since it would be less painful and more entertaining," or defending Kazuki by claiming that if Sanosuke was ten times the man he currently was, he might be worthy enough to lick the sweat off Kazuki's balls. There were a dozen ways to deflate his ego, but it was hard choosing the most effective way to go about it. Her acerbic reply met a silent demise in her mind as she recalled that she needed this lecherous idiot for her scheme to work, though his open arrogance nearly made her walk off and choose someone else.

She reevaluated Sanosuke. Conceited jerk though he was, there was no shortage of girls that were eager to go out with him when he asked. Alternate captain on both the soccer and baseball teams, he was a star athlete, extremely handsome, and came from a wealthy family whose money he spent enthusiastically. All of those factors interested Mitsuki about as much as his ability to convert oxygen into carbon dioxide, which she had made clear the handful of times Sanosuke had asked her out. He hadn't been able to understand how she could reject him so casually when practically no other girl had. It was ironic, since Mitsuki couldn't understand why any of girls would want to go out with him. The contrast made her realize how different other women's standards were from hers. Lesser standards, as far as Mitsuki was concerned. However, if Sanosuke's attributes were an effective lure to the school of hungry fish that were her fellow classmates, they would serve Mitsuki well in executing her plan.

"For your information I'm not going out with Kazuki," she said, unable to keep a touch of anger from her voice. "And I'm not here to ask you out."

That seemed to deflate Sanosuke, but only slightly. "So why are you here?"

This was going to be the tricky part. She had to make it sound convincing. "I'm here on behalf of my cousin, Mitsuki Rara. She wants to go out with you."

That perked Sanosuke's interest far more than when he had first thought Mitsuki dropped by to ask him out. That made her twice as irritated as before.

Sanosuke positively cooed. "Well, that is an interesting development. I thought she was interested in Yotsuga, too. I was getting worried all the hot-looking girls around here had lost their minds and were going for pussies like him."

Again Mitsuki had to fight the urge to defend Kazuki. She held her tongue and said in quick, biting words, "Well, I heard her say she was interested in you and was hoping you would ask her out tonight."

He smirked. "It's nice to see good taste wins out after all."

Mitsuki resisted the urge to wipe the smirk off with her fist. This was not turning out the way she had envisioned. The longer she talked with Sanosuke, the more she reluctant she was to set Rara up with this ape. It had been a lot easier setting up Yayoi. Mitsuki had not been anywhere as near as troubled about that plan.

Rising to his feet, Sanosuke said, "I think I'll track her down right now and relieve her of that awful burden of wondering whether or not I'll let her go out with me."

"No!" Mitsuki shot to her feet and placed stood in front of him so he couldn't get past.

"Why not? I thought you said she wanted to go out."

"She does, she does," Mitsuki soothed. She had to think quickly. "It's just I want to make sure she doesn't have any second thoughts. She's odd that way. It's like she doesn't think she's good enough for a guy like you." Though in Mitsuki's estimation, most rats would be good enough for a walking piece of garbage like Sanosuke.

"She's definitely hot enough," Sanosuke confirmed. "Just as hot as you, Sanada, which I didn't think was possible."

"I'm so delighted, I think I'll throw up on you," was what Mitsuki wanted to say. Instead what came out was a dull, "I'm flattered."

Sanosuke sidled himself right next to Mitsuki, invoking images of a snake in her mind. She liked snakes. Liked crushing the slithering vermin flat with the nearest heavy object she could find.

He placed his arm around her shoulder and forced her closer. In a deep, throaty voice, he said, "Hey, Sanada, I got an idea. Why don't you go out with us too? Kind of make it a threesome. Don't worry about anything. I guarantee I can show both of you the time of your lives."

Seeing the lustful gaze he was directing toward her, it took everything Mitsuki had not to knee him in the groin on the spot. The statement about a 'threesome' showed her just how much of a pig Sanosuke was. He was much worse than she remembered. In hindsight, she wished she hadn't chosen him, but it was too late. She couldn't back out now and pick someone else; it would risk blowing everything. Swallowing her recriminations, she said in a voice dripping with false sincerity, "I don't think that's such a good idea. You see, I have this vaginal yeast infection that's-"

"Don't say anymore! I understand." Sanosuke removed his hand from her shoulder as though she had informed him she had a case of the plague.

Mitsuki smiled falsely again and headed for the door, feeling dirtier than she had in months. As she exited the classroom, she overheard Sanosuke boasting to a nearby classmate, "Yeah, and Sanada wants me too. I can tell these things."

The veins in Mitsuki's forehead bulged badly enough that people in the hall kept whispering the words 'brain embolism' as she walked past.

Gym class was next. The detour to Sanosuke's class two floors away meant Mitsuki was one of the last to enter the locker room. By the time she entered, the room was full of chatter as all the other girls were already in varying states of undress. Mitsuki tuned out the mindless bits of conversation and gossip as she rushed to her locker in an effort to catch up to her classmates. The final one out was always worked the hardest by the gym teacher. He seemed to think being last indicated one was reluctant to exercise, which meant that student needed it the most. In Mitsuki's mind, there were few things more irritating than fitness zealots.

She had only undone the first two buttons of her top when an idea struck her. Earlier she had only been able to test her interest in other women by remembering them naked. Now there was a chance to actually see some girls in the buff and give herself a real test instead of one that relied on memory and imagination.

Mitsuki started with the girl closest to her. Sae was standing next to her locker, clad only in a white bra and panties. She was short and had a trim figure. Her chest was small enough that Mitsuki figured if she had such an insignificant bust, she would have worn a padded bra. The sight didn't arouse her in the slightest. Across from Sae was Shinobu, who was nearly finished changing. She was another small girl, but with a few pounds she could stand to lose. Again there was nothing. Athletic Michiko was a few lockers down from Shinobu, partially obscured from her sight. Mitsuki moved around Sae and drew closer so she could get a better view. Michiko was already topless and was just about to take off a pair of lacy black panties that were very inappropriate for a normal school day. Maybe the rumors about her putting out for just about any guy were true, and she had a hot date after classes. Unlike the previous two girls, Michiko had a great body, with above average breasts, long legs, and not an ounce of fat. She tended to draw almost as many stares from the guys as Mitsuki did. Michiko turned around and pulled her panties off slowly, almost sensuously, one leg at a time. She bent over, giving Mitsuki a perfect view of her bare bottom. The only thing that caught Mitsuki's attention was a splotch on the left cheek that reminded her of a tiny Rorschach inkblot. It made her count her blessings that she lacked any sort of hideous birthmark. Besides that, no reaction.

So far Mitsuki was passing the test as easily as if it was her math class. A smile blossomed on her face as she turned to stare at the chest of 'Top Heavy' Tanaka. A couple of weeks back, Mitsuki had sneaked a look at a survey one of the more perverted guys had organized. According to his results, Tanaka was the girl with the 'fourth biggest rack' in school, which was easy to believe. Seeing those large breasts before her, restrained only by a white cotton athletic bra, the only reaction Mitsuki had was one of gratitude. Those babies had to be a strain on Tanaka's back, and from the looks of things her lifelong battle with gravity was already taking its toll.

Some 'lesbian' Mitsuki was turning out to be. All these different types of girls, and not one of them could arouse her the way Rara had. She would have wagered that if even someone as laid back as Kazuki had been staring at Tanaka's cleavage, he would have gotten one of his patented 'speechless and dumb' looks on his face. But not Mitsuki. Even as the breasts drew nearer and she could see a network of veins under the skin, she might as well have been looking at a couple of cantaloupes for all the att…


"Just when in the hell do you think you're doing, Sanada?" Tanaka had walked forward until she stood directly in front of Mitsuki, hands on her hips and thrusting her chest forward.

Mitsuki laughed nervously and backed slowly away. She hadn't realized Tanaka was several centimeters taller, as well as being larger across the chest. Her arms were substantial as well. She looked like she might be able to twist Mitsuki into all sorts of interesting shapes, like a balloon animal. Meekly, she said, "I'm not doing anything. Why do you ask?"

"You were staring at my tits like there was something wrong with them."

Mitsuki saw that she now had everyone's attention, and would have done just about anything to return it to them. "Relax. I was just looking and making sure I wasn't interested in you." The moment the last word left her mouth, Mitsuki knew that had come out horribly wrong. Pretty much as horribly wrong as she could have imagined.

The reaction from the rest of the locker room confirmed her fears.

Michiko said, "Oh, ick! I thought she was checking me out."

With the dam broken, others were eager to join in the flood.

"She was looking at us just like Arisa used to."

"You mean Arisa what's-her-name who had to leave school after she and Rei got caught doing you-know-what in the restroom?"

"Yep, that one."

"Then that means Mitsuki must like girls too."

Panicked, Mitsuki shouted out, "But I don't, or at least I'm not interested in any of you." That had come out wrong too. This was not turning out to be her day.

Tanaka led the charge this time. "Oh, so what you're saying is, we aren't attractive enough for a pervert like you, is that it?"

Realizing if she said no, that meant she would be admitting they were attractive, and if she said yes, it would still be interpreted as an admission of lesbianism, as well as getting the girls angry with her, Mitsuki instead tried, "Can we forget this ever happened?"

"Get out, you disgusting pervert!" Bottles of shampoo and other cleaning utensils headed towards Mitsuki's way. She bolted out the door to the locker rooms before they started throwing something heavier, like lockers, at her.

It had gone from one hell of a morning to one hell of a day.

Two hours —and a gym class full of whispers and evil stares— later, Mitsuki finally had a chance to make her way to the lunchroom. Ordinarily she would have brought something from home and eaten in the school yard, but it had been left behind in her haste to flee from Akane's lecture. Fortunately she had enough money to buy lunch, and if luck were with her for the first time today, it would end up playing right into her hands.

Eyes continuously scanning the lunch counters, Mitsuki saw the second participant in her plan standing alone and serving the hot foods. She made her way over and stopped in front of the target. Sweetly, she greeted, "Good afternoon, Mitsuki."

"Oh!" Rara, startled out of her reverie of pouring food onto plates, focused her eyes on Mitsuki. "Come over here." Rara led Mitsuki over to the end of the display, where they could have some measure of privacy. Rara looked around furtively, and seeing no one around, whispered in an angry tone, "Mitsuki, I heard you were hitting on some girls in the locker room. Is that true?"

"NO!" Mitsuki cringed and looked around. Sure enough, she had managed to gain everyone's attention. In an exaggerated voice, she said, "I have plenty of money. You don't need to loan me any." It had the desired of effect of making everyone return to eating and talking.

Rara released a deep breath and placed her hand to her chest. "That's a relief."

Mitsuki wondered exactly why that was a relief, but she wasn't going to ask about that anymore than why Rara had seemed angry when she first asked the question. There were more important matters on hand. "I've got some news for you."


The hope and trust in those eyes made Mitsuki feel a pang of regret for what she was about to do. The memory of Rara congratulating Kazuki speared the regret through its torso and pinned it to a wall, reminding her what was going to happen if the situation was left as it was.

Hoping to set a good mood by smiling broadly, Mitsuki said, "Yep. You know Kentaro Sanosuke? He's a senior that plays on the soccer team. Tall, handsome, has a lot of money and enjoys spending it?"


Eyebrows twitching, Mitsuki forced out, "He's a major hunk." Of brain-dead beef. "Pleasant personality." Just like a limp dishrag. "Very popular." With himself. "Knows how to treat a girl like a lady." One that hangs out at street corners and is paid by the hour. "He's an all around great guy." Whose greatest contribution to humanity will be donating his body to science.

Not sensing the meaning behind Mitsuki's halting compliments, Rara smiled at her counterpart and said, "No, but he sounds nice. Are you going out with him? I hope you have a good time. Should I let Kazuki know, or do you want to tell him?"

"I AM NOT going out with him." What had started out as a shout ended in a whisper.

Rara said, "But you talked about him in such glowing terms. It reminded me of Kazuki"

"Exactly what part of that description sounded like Kazuki?"

"All of it, except the money and soccer part. Kazuki stinks at soccer. Even D is better at it than him."

"That's true. He's got all the coordination of a monkey with two broken feet when he tries kicking the ball. I once saw him trip over… Hey! We're getting off the subject here." Mitsuki composed herself. "What I was trying to say was Sanosuke has a crush on this girl, but he hasn't been able to work up the nerve to tell her how he feels. He's sort of been admiring her from afar, and trying to find the courage to ask her out. It seems that for all of his confidence, he's actually shy when it comes to girls he's interested in. And I found out today that he's finally found the guts to put it all on the line and ask her out on a date. Get it?"

"Oh, I see." The dawn of understanding was clear upon Rara's features.


"He sounds like a nice person, Mitsuki. Don't break his heart. You should go out with him and give him a chance."

"It's not me he's interested in! It's you!" Mitsuki felt like pounding her head into her tray as the whispered voices throughout the cafeteria sounded like shouts by the time they reached her ears.

Rara appeared taken aback. "But, I don't want to go out with him. I don't even know him. There's… someone else I'm interested in." She began shyly twiddling her fingers.

"Gee, I wonder who that could be?" Mitsuki said dryly, wondering why Rara even bothered with the pretense.

Rara blushed. "Uh, well. It's-"

"I know who it is! I was being sarcastic." Mitsuki let out an exasperated sigh. "Look, you yourself said Sanosuke's heart shouldn't be broken after he's finally worked up the courage and determination to ask you out."

"But that was only because I thought he was interested in you. If he's interested in me, that's completely different."

"Oh, why is that?"

"No reason."

Mitsuki noted Rara lacked even the basic capability for subterfuge, which was a good thing. So she perceived Mitsuki as an obstacle as well. That was just fine with her. It would make what she was doing easier. "So you're just going to casually break poor Sanosuke's heart, eh?" She said it as though it was all a sinister scheme Rara had concocted and was confiding with Mitsuki.

"Well…" Rara looked hesitant.

"That's pretty cold. I would hate to think what would happen if Kazuki heard how you blew someone off like that. I'll try to keep it quiet, of course, but you know how gossip spreads around here. Hard to keep anything a secret."

"Oh dear. I wouldn't want him to think that." Rara began chewing on her lower lip.

"And it's too bad because Sanosuke is a genuine… nice guy."

"I doubt if he's as nice as Kazuki."

Leaning in close for a conspiratorial whisper, Mitsuki said, "I'll let you in on a secret. I had a crush on Sanosuke even after I knew Kazuki. I think he's even… even…. even better than Kazuki." Her lips were trembling by the end.

"If you like him so much, why don't you go out with him?"

"Because he used to go out with an old friend of mine and I don't want to betray her memory! Now quit trying to pawn him off on me and drop it. I know for a fact that he's only interested in you. I know it's hard to believe he'd prefer you over me."

"And why is that?"

Mitsuki noted that Rara's voice had dropped several octaves and her usually placid expression held a hint of anger. It reminded her of the announcements Miss Ra used to make on the air. "He, ah, knew me longer."

"Oh." The placid expression returned, almost as though it had never left in the first place.

Putting that disturbing incident aside, which Mitsuki convinced herself she had imagined, she said, "There's another reason to accept Sanosuke's asking you out instead of shattering his heart in a million pieces and Kazuki finding out."

"There is?"

"Yep. It'll give you good training for when you go out on dates with… Kazuki." She barely forced out the last bit. Images of him and Rara together, sighing happily to one another as they held hands and stared into each other's eyes, darkened Mitsuki's mood.

"It will?"

Mitsuki made the anger go away. "Oh yes. You'll learn when guys expect you to laugh, when you're supposed to act impressed, pretend you're interested in sports, and believe me, you need to learn how to manage small talk. You haven't been on many dates, have you?"

"No. Most of the men I came into contact with were subordinates in the Rara army. No fraternization was permitted within the ranks, especially when it came to officers. And I was the leader's daughter as well, which was another complication. The few men I met outside of the military tended to be intimidated by me for some odd reason."

You commanded an incredible amount of power, harped on about conquering the world, wore something that made you look like a dominatrix, and laughed like a psychotic hyena. "Can't imagine why." Was all that actually left Mitsuki's mouth

"Kazuki was the first man I met that wasn't intimidated in the slightest by me," Rara sighed and stared longingly in the direction Kazuki's homeroom lay.

That's hardly the basis for a long-term relationship, and frankly, Kazuki needs to be intimidated sometimes to keep him in line. Of course, it wouldn't hurt if he could act intimidating once in a while when the situation demanded it. "Kazuki would like a girl with a little experience." It was getting increasingly difficult to keep from blurting out what was on her mind.

"Are you sure?"

Unwanted recriminations swept through Mitsuki. She ignored them. "Absolutely."

"Well, since it obviously means so much to Sanosuke, and I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings. I'll go out with him once. But only one time."

"Of course." And either one of two outcomes would occur. Either Rara would have a good enough time with Sanosuke that she would want to date him again, or Mitsuki would see to it that Kazuki found out, in excruciating detail, that Rara had gone out with a guy behind his back. Kazuki would feel betrayed and never trust Rara again. The second would be a whole lot messier, so Mitsuki hoped for the former. That way Rara could have some cretin that would use her for his own self-centered ends while only caring about himself. He would cheat on her regularly, and with Rara's gullibility, she would probably never believe that he was unfaithful no matter how much evidence there was.

Well, maybe the first was messier after all.

Rara said, "Mitsuki, why are you scowling so much?"


"You look very angry. What's wrong?"

"It's nothing." It had to be done for her and Kazuki's sake. If Rara had kept her nose out, it would not have mattered. But she refused to, and it appeared she had an inside track to Kazuki. The issue had to be resolved now, before it was too late.

"Enjoy your date tonight." Mitsuki left Rara and went to sit by herself at one of the tables. She spent the entire lunch period staring at her food, her appetite completely abandoning her.

It was a pity her conscience hadn't as well.

"How do I look?"

"You look great." Mitsuki gave a close inspection of her counterpart. Rara had chosen a soft blue dress with white gloves and a wide white belt that matched perfectly. The dress fit snugly in all the right places and loose in all the others, making her look taller and even more beautiful, accentuating her bust without making it appear too large. Mitsuki hated to admit it, but Rara had definitely inherited her mother's cutting edge fashion sense.

Rara's appearance was perfect save in one area: the face. She looked absolutely miserable. It was the worst hangdog expression Mitsuki had seen in her life. It was more like Rara was preparing to march towards a firing squad composed of poor shots armed with pellet guns instead of a date with one of the most popular guys in school.

"I don't feel great," Rara said in confirmation of Mitsuki's thoughts. She appeared ready to burst into tears. "I wish I hadn't accepted going out tonight."

This wasn't good. Her cousin was on the verge of ruining everything. "It's too late to back out now. You can't accept a date and then cancel at the last minute." Although Mitsuki would have paid good money to see Sanosuke's face if he learned he had been stood up by someone. Whatever anger she had felt toward the conceited jerk was triple what it had been earlier in the day, and Mitsuki couldn't figure out why. He was just a means to an end, and had never been more than a minor irritant in the past. Why was it this irrational rage towards him seemed to grow by the hour? It made no sense.

"It's for Kazuki," she whispered.

"What's that about Kazuki?" Rara asked.

"It's too bad he's staying at a friend's house overnight." It would have been one of the few times Mitsuki could have had Kazuki alone in the house. Her parents were staying overnight at some research center to discuss what to do about Zinv, taking D along to make certain she was suffering no side effects from the artifact's return.

To improve matters, Yayoi had dropped by to mournfully inform Kazuki that a member of the faculty that was supposed to represent the school at some teaching conference had become ill and Yayoi had been ordered to go in his place. She would be leaving tomorrow and be gone the rest of the week, so she wouldn't be able to see him. Mitsuki's initial delight was quickly eradicated when Yayoi 'innocently' suggesting that Kazuki take a few days off from school and go with her to 'learn a few things about teaching,' and that she could personally tutor him on his subjects. Mitsuki had no doubts about what the 'tutoring' would have entailed, and went into a raging apoplexy about all the improprieties of the suggestion. Yayoi's comment about how Mitsuki should 'stop being such a little girl' did nothing to assuage the anger. Luckily Kazuki had reacted in his typically embarrassed fashion and declined. Mitsuki had done something to make herself feel better, though. All that was left was to wait until the old bag returned from her little trip and tried to violate Kazuki's room by her usual invasion route and discovered her walkway had 'accidentally' been sawed most of the way through.

"It's nice to see someone's happy," Rara sighed again as she looked at Mitsuki.

The smile left Mitsuki's face as her recriminations returned a hundredfold. It had been so much easier to set Yayoi up in the other world with the marriage meeting. The only regret she carried from that scheme was that it had failed. But this plan was making her have second thoughts. It was as bad as if she was the one being forced to go on the date. What made it different this time? Both of the girls were in her way, and she had never held anything personally against Yayoi or felt excessively sympathetic about Rara. Until this morning she had never really treated one differently from the other. What had happened?

The internal turmoil wore away Mitsuki's resolve the way pounding surf wore away a coastline's rocks. Softly, she said, "Look, maybe you shouldn't-"

A horn honked twice outside. Both Mitsukis looked out the nearest window to see a bright red Fiat sitting outside the house, an impatient Sanosuke behind the wheel. From their position high above, they could see he was dressed in a perfectly tailored suit that appeared almost as expensive as the car. He looked at a small slip of paper in his hand, glanced at the address on the outside of the house, and honked again.

"This is it," Rara said with all the enthusiasm of the condemned walking to the gallows. "What were you going to say, Mitsuki?"

"Nothing. You should get going." It was all for Kazuki.

Taking a deep breath, Rara firmed her shoulders up and thrust her chin out boldly. "I suppose I should try to enjoy myself and treat this as a learning experience."

"Absolutely." Mitsuki said with far more enthusiasm than she felt. She walked Rara to the door and escorted her outside. Apparently Sanosuke had deigned to get out of his car and head to the house as well. He bore a bouquet of roses in hand, and presented them to Rara when they met in the middle of the walkway.

Rara sniffed deeply of their fragrance. "They're beautiful."

"Beautiful? I could never use that word to refer to anything other than yourself when in your stunning presence." He bowed deeply.

Mitsuki gave her back to the couple before rolling her eyes. Could he be any more insincere? Did girls really fall for lines like that?"

"Why thank you, but you're wrong. I'm not that pretty," Rara said as she blushed.

Mitsuki's eyebrow twitched. This was why all men seemed to think women turned into giddy airheads after a compliment or two. Of course, Rara's accepting the compliment meant Mitsuki's plan was succeeding, but for some inexplicable reason she felt as angry as she was delighted that Rara would let herself be charmed so easily.

Sanosuke offered his arm. "Shall we go?"

"Yes," Rara looped her arm through his, wearing a smile far more real than the one she had exited the house with.

"Have fun you two." Mitsuki waved at them with exaggerated arm motions, as though they were going on an ocean voyage for several months.

Sanosuke opened the car door for Rara. As she sat down, her back was to him. He gave Mitsuki a wink and said, "Oh, we will. That, I can guarantee you. Ciao, Sanada."

She gave a wide smile, one that would have unnerved Kazuki from the unnatural nature of it. "Burn in hell, you conceited piece of shit," she said through her painted on grin far too softly for either of the couple to hear.

Sanosuke pulled out into the street without looking. He nearly struck another car. Luckily the other driver was paying attention and pulled out of the way with a screech of rubber at the last minute, avoiding an accident that would have ended the date before it began.

"Try to bring her back alive!" Mitsuki shouted, though she doubted Sanosuke heard her over the roaring of his motor. Mitsuki hated loud, obnoxious cars almost as much as the loud, obnoxious clods that drove them.

Feeling far more miserable than she should have considering how well her plan was going, Mitsuki trudged back into the house with an expression as sullen as Rara's had been before Sanosuke's arrival.

Darkness had fallen long hours before. Mitsuki Rara now had the whole of her senses occupied as she gazed out the passenger's window of the Fiat. The full moon was high overhead as they drove through the countryside. A midnight (or closer to eleven) ride had been Sanosuke's idea, and though Mitsuki would have preferred returning home, she remembered what Sanada had said about learning everything she could on the date and treating it as a test run for the day when Kazuki would ask her out. So she relented and found herself silently wishing it was the love of her life instead of Sanosuke taking her far away from home. For a learning experience, the only knowledge she seemed to be gleaning was how much she longed for Kazuki to be at her side. She just hoped he didn't hear about this date, as much as she did not want to call it that. If he found out, he might think she had lost interest in him. He was still the only man for her, even if she couldn't bring herself to tell him it aloud.

It was times like that she wished she could don her Miss Ra apparel and just tell him. Miss Ra always had the self-confidence and enthusiasm to do what she wanted, when she wanted, and allowed nothing and no one to get in her way. But Mitsuki refused to dress that way anymore, last night being the one time exception. She was Mitsuki Rara, not Miss Ra. That other self had been left behind in the dissolution of the Rara Army, which was for the best. Though Miss Ra wasn't dangerous, merely misunderstood, most people, especially men, felt uncomfortable in her presence. Kazuki was no exception. It was for the best that Mitsuki pretend she had never known that woman and get on with her life.

Sometimes Mitsuki wondered if that was truly for the best. There were times when she was alone in the night, as the world lay asleep around her, when she noticed all was not quite right. She felt as though something was missing in her life. It was more than merely not waking up next to Kazuki (though she had accidentally slipped into his bed the other night. That was nice, even if Sanada and Yayoi seemed to think otherwise.) But there was something else lacking as well. Something within her, some integral piece that had only made its absence known with the world's reformation. She was uncertain as to its elusive nature, but instinctively knew she would recognize it once she found it. Or it found her.

It occurred to Mitsuki that a date was probably not the best time for this sort of internal contemplation. Her thoughts turned back to the man that was with her. Sanosuke had been a perfect gentleman all evening, both during dinner and the movie afterwards. He did seem to enjoy talking about himself and his accomplishments rather than listening to anything Mitsuki might have had to say. Still, he had paid her a number of compliments on her appearance, far more in both number and verbosity than anyone else ever had, including Kazuki. The two had engaged in conversation, though Sanosuke seemed to talk more at her instead of with her. But there was no hesitation or embarrassment on his part. He spoke with confidence and charm. Mitsuki wished Kazuki were more open like that. He leaned more to the shy side, like herself. She supposed that was a good sign since it meant the two of them were alike and compatible, but there were times when she wished one of them was more aggressive and would find the courage to form a solid relationship instead of the simple friendship that currently existed between them.

While Sanosuke certainly qualified as being aggressive, Mitsuki found she cared little for it coming from him. There was the way he looked at her out of the corner of his eye, when he didn't think she was watching, that unsettled her tremendously. It was like a shark watching an injured fish swim past, or when her mother saw something she wanted and couldn't acquire it through direct means. Both were predators that stopped at nothing to get what they wanted. Kazuki never looked at her that way, and Mitsuki was glad for that. One of these days she would even tell him. Someday.

Aside from the glances, Sanosuke had been a sociable date in every other respect. He had let her choose the movie and order what she wanted from the menu, paying for everything without batting an eye. He hadn't even attempted to hold her hand, which she had decided from the outset was the farthest she would let him go. Perhaps he was having a bad time and wouldn't want to ask her out again. Mitsuki found the thought reassuring, and hoped it was true, even if it meant she was a bad date. But she had so little experience with men, it was impossible to tell what mood Sanosuke was really in.

She was still casting her gaze to the moon when the car slowed down. Mitsuki watched through the front windshield as they diverged from the main road and took a smaller side road into some woods. She looked at Sanosuke confusedly. "Where are we going?"

"A better place to watch the moon." Sanosuke flashed his perfect, white teeth at Mitsuki.

The smile reminded her of the shark and her mother again. She saw the road becoming narrower and the trees stretching ominously from above. They blocked out everything, including the moon. "I thought you said we were going for a drive."

"We're still driving," he said. However, they did not for long as he pulled into a small parking lot that was at least a mile away from the main road. It stood on a small promontory that allowed a perfect view of a lake beyond. Only an aging guardrail stood as a barrier between the open lot and going over the point and into the water.

Sanosuke pulled the key out of the ignition and leaned in close. "Now we've stopped."

Mitsuki shifted uncomfortably. She knew she wasn't supposed to be negative on a date, but being out in the middle of nowhere, especially with the shift in emotions by Sanosuke, frightened her. "I want to leave."

"But we just got here." The words slid from Sanosuke's mouth as he placed a hand on Mitsuki's thigh.

"Stop that." She removed his hand from its intimate contact.

He pouted, an expression that was ill-suited for him. "Aw, come on. We've been having a great time. We've been enjoying each other's company. There's nothing wrong with letting loose a little." He tried to brush his hand against her cheek, but she moved away from it as though it was a hot iron.

"I don't want to," Mitsuki said adamantly.

Sanosuke glanced toward the backseat, Mitsuki was certain he was going to make some comment about moving back there for more space, when he said, "I'll tell you what. I think I've got still got some beer in a cooler from when I went out with the guys last night. We'll just pop a few open and enjoy looking at the stars-"

"I said no," Mitsuki's voice was as close to firm as she could muster. "I don't want to drink anything. I don't want to 'let loose'. The only thing I want to do is go home."

The pout disappeared. Sanosuke closed his eyes and pointed his face to the ceiling, letting out an exasperated breath. Mitsuki would have sworn it appeared as though he was deciding something. Then his face seemed to settle into an expression of resolve. He opened his eyes again and looked at her. The shark's stare had returned.

Mitsuki's hand began fumbling for the door handle. Sanosuke leaned over and forced it away from the handle. She pulled her wrist out of his grasp, but he relocated his hand, forcing it behind her neck, making her move closer to his own head as he leaned forward. He managed to brush his lips against hers, but during her struggle her forehead struck his upper lip, causing him to cry out in pain.

Sanosuke shot her in evil look. Any pretenses of romance were gone. Anger and lust were all that remained as he moved out of his seat and nearly on lurched towards Mitsuki, positioning himself so he could get into her half of the car. "Come off it with this pure and virginal act. Everyone knows you're putting out for that little pussy, Yotsuga. Now I want a piece of the action too. I've treated you right all night long, and you've got nothing to complain about. It's time to give a little back."

"Let go of me!" Mitsuki tried pushing him away. In response, he half-slapped, half-punched her hard across the face, sending a volley of pain shooting through her brain. Stunned, she was only partially aware of the feel of him moving on top of her. She tried resisting, but he was far too large and strong and the pain made it hard for her to think. He easily overpowered her weakly flailing fists, wrapping her wrists with one of his beefy hands and pinning them against the headrest of the backseat. With his free hand he groped one of her breasts through her dress, pulling at it roughly and causing her to squeal in anguish.

"Quit struggling and it won't be so unpleasant. And once I get started, it won't be unpleasant at all." His voice was a leer and his words a sour caress. Even as he spoke he felt her struggles lessen.

"Stop." Unlike before, her voice was so quiet and raspy it was barely audible.

He released the hold on her breast. He moved so his body was directly on top of hers, almost pining her to the seat with his frame. "I'm going to show you the time of your life. You're going to be begging for me to give it to you before the night is out."

Her struggles finally stopped altogether. This was what he had been waiting for. His hands went to unbuckle his pants. It was about time this date had finally gotten to the good part.

The squirrel ran across the open area to the acorn that had sat out in the middle of the clearing, yet tantalizingly out of reach. He had spotted it fifteen minutes ago and after cautiously searching the area for predators, was going to risk running out in the open to retrieve it. But then the two-leggers' rumbler had come by and decided to rest in the open area. The squirrel had remained where he was. He had lived in the tree for the majority of his life and understood how rumblers behaved. Generally they would stay there for a while. Sometimes two-leggers would emerge from them, but most of the time, especially in the evening, they stayed inside. A little while after first arriving, the rumblers would stay quiet, only rocking back and forth for a while. Sometimes sounds came from within the rumbler. When that happened, it would sit there for a long time and two-leggers never came out. It was only after the rocking stopped that the rumbler might start up again and depart. But there was always a pause between rocking and silence that warned him it was time to leave.

This one was no different. It stopped and was absolutely quiet. After a few moments of silence, the rumbler started to rock and two-legger noises came from within. That suited the squirrel just fine. He raced out into the open area next to the rumbler and grabbed its prize. He paused for a moment to admire his catch. It was a big acorn, one of the biggest he had ever seen. He would store the food and eat it later, when the cold came and there were no more acorns to be found.

He was still marveling at the size of the nut when the noises from the car stopped. So intent was the squirrel with admiring his catch that he failed to notice how quickly the sounds had ceased. A moment later, the silence was shattered by the clamorous sound of something breaking. The noise froze the squirrel in its tracks and caused his heart to nearly leap out of his chest. Motionless, he watched one of the shiny surfaces around the top of the rumbler break into a half-dozen pieces and fall to the ground, shattering into a dozen more. It looked up to see what had caused this disruption to the serenity of the night. Something round and with short hair poked out of the hole that had been created. A wet substance fell from it to trickle to the ground where the dry soil drank it greedily. The smell of blood drifted from the opening and assailed the squirrel's nostrils. Instincts took over as it was shaken out of its reverie and ran back to the protection of its tree, acorn left lying where it had been found.

"Well, this is what you wanted, Mitsuki. So tell me, why is it you feel like you've stabbed your best friend in the world in her back?"

Mitsuki Sanada's reflection didn't answer. All it did was stare at her in accusation, just as it had for the last five minutes. The whole matter was ridiculous, she knew. She should have been jumping up for joy in celebration. Rara had finally been taken care of and the path to Kazuki, while perhaps not clear, was rid of a major roadblock. All she had to do was inform Kazuki Rara had gone out with the school Casanova and was out of the picture. Then she would comfort him by asking him out and helping him get over it. It was a perfect resolution, and the only one that could truly come about since she and Kazuki were best suited for one another.

She shook her head, "But I'm not interested in… Oh, what's the use? Fine. I'll say it out loud. I like Kazuki and want him."

The open declaration, one that she had been unwilling to admit until this moment, made her feel significantly better. All the false pretenses had lost their strength and durability. They had been weakening for months, and after the terrible acts she had perpetrated today, all for her own desires, it would have been deluded to try and ignore her feelings. She had finally reached the borders of self-denial, and the walls had come tumbling down allowing her to step beyond them and into the truth. Now she had to face and accept it, not matter how risky it was.

Looking back, she could see the attraction to Kazuki had started months ago. Not when they had first met; only a coincidence and a desire to help her father and had made her approach Kazuki at all. After that, she had gone after him to that other world as a responsibility to clean up after her own mistakes, not because she had thought he was anything other than just another guy. But when they ended up trapped in that other world, when they had lived under the same roof for over a month, she had come to understand just how different he was from every other guy she had met. That was where it all began. It was a subtle thing, like creeping vines that sprouted up next to a house. The seeds of it had started out small and inconspicuous next to her heart, beginning —or perhaps disguised— as friendship. But with each day, each time he did something to help her or the others around him, the vines grew, climbing higher and rooting themselves deeper. They were small growths, unnoticeable when one looked at them day-to-day, and subtle, since even the vines didn't know what they were doing. They did what came naturally, just like Kazuki. It had all happened naturally.

It was probably the first time she and Kazuki returned to their world that the vines had her heart fully entrapped with their surprisingly deep tendrils. She had been much more open with Kazuki then, even suggesting that they not return to the other universe and be happy with what they had in the 'real' world they had originated in. But deep down inside she knew he wouldn't abandon the others when they needed his help, and she had been right. She resented him for not choosing her desires above others' needs, and she loved him even more for being true to his own giving nature and refusing to follow her selfish wishes. If he would never abandon his friends, surely he would never abandon his lovers.

Conflicting thoughts and desires surrounded Kazuki. How could one man produce such deep and opposing reactions within her without even trying? It made no sense. No one had ever elicited such emotions, not from Mitsuki Sanada. Most men hadn't been able to make her feel anything. She thought that was for the best, and was content to leave matters like that. She was happy without them, content to take care of her emotional wreck of a father and know that he loved her, even if her mother… Ayuko, had not. It was safe. It was secure. No one could get to her like her mother had. Everyone but her father was on the outside. She had never been on a date. She had never given anyone the chance. She didn't want them to.

But Kazuki, unassuming, gentle, safe Kazuki, had slipped in when she wasn't looking. He had never tried to romance her, and by not trying she had not perceived him as a threat to her insulated world. She allowed him to enter when all others had been turned aside, and once inside, he was there to stay. What she felt now was not anger or betrayal at the 'treachery' of Kazuki and her heart. This unexpected feeling was wondrous, sharing what she was with someone else. One she would have gone to any lengths to keep, as she had proven with her plan for with Rara, even if she had never admitted it before today.

It was true. The lies were falling like dominos. She knew she tended to act shrewish, petty, and egocentric. But she wasn't really like that, or at least not to the degree that she openly demonstrated. She had to act like that, feigning indifference to herself, even if it was obvious to others what she was really feeling inside. It was why she never really held a grudge, despite the fact that she acted as if she should. But it had been easier, safer, to deal with people at arm's length. Letting them close was risky, because she was afraid she might fall in love. Love made her afraid the way nothing else could, not even death. And she knew why she feared love above everything else.

The answer was there in front of her. Tears filled Mitsuki's eyes as she looked into the face of Ayuko Sanada: The Betrayer. She was always there, staring back when Mitsuki looked at a mirror. She hated mirrors. She was every inch her mother in appearance. Not an exact replica, she had some of her father's features, but the resemblance was strong enough that if the women stood side-by-side, no one would doubt they were mother and daughter.

It had been that way as far back as she could remember. When Mitsuki was a child, the few times her mother would go somewhere and deign to take her along —usually acting as though Mitsuki was a heavy weight chained to her ankle— everyone always gushed over the pair, saying they looked exactly alike. It was because of that Mitsuki developed the odd hope that if they looked alike, then they would be alike. To her child's mind, that meant once Mitsuki grew up, her mother would like her more since they would have so much in common and her mother wouldn't be so distant and uncaring, like she always was.

It was the sort of pathetic joke children ignorant to the way the world liked to create. While Mitsuki did grow to look more like Ayuko, her mother seemed to care less and less about her daughter, until there came a day when she stopped caring altogether and left. It was then that Mitsuki understood what a repulsive creature Ayuko Sanada was. The bitch hadn't even acted heartbroken. It was over morning breakfast she had simply declared to her husband and daughter, "I can't handle this anymore. I'm leaving." And did so without a backward glance.

In that instant, unconditional love turned to absolute hatred. Mitsuki wanted nothing to do with the vile person that had spawned her. She went so far as to destroy the few photos of Ayuko that were around the house and demanded to her father that he never mention the woman's name again. It didn't work. During his more pensive moments he would frequently cry out, wondering why she had left them, but no matter what Mitsuki did, she could never shake from him the conviction that Ayuko had been a good woman and he was that one that had done something wrong. The bitch deserved their scorn, not their tears. And Ayuko didn't deserve a moment of their time. Not a second thought could be spared for her anymore than she had spared a thought for them when she left. All Mitsuki wanted to do was forget.

But the mirrors, those taunting reflections of reality, would never let Mitsuki forget. Every year that passed she looked increasingly like her mother. And if she looked like her, what if she began acting like her? What if she became another Ayuko Sanada? No matter how hard Mitsuki tried to distance herself from that hated creature, there was always that deep down fear that she would grow to be exactly like her. They said resemblance was only skin-deep and that free will was everything, but what if it went deeper than that? She knew all the figures on abused children becoming abusive parents. Children that grew up in broken homes tended to repeat those mistakes themselves, no matter how often they swore they would never do to others what had been done to them. What made Mitsuki Sanada different from the rest of humanity? How did she know she could beat the odds?

She didn't, and that made her afraid. More afraid than anything else in her life. So she decided the one sure way to avoid becoming like her mother was by not following in her footsteps. If Mitsuki Sanada never loved a man, then she could never marry and have children. And if she never had a family, she couldn't abandon it. Disgustingly simple in thought, incredibly difficult to maintain in reality. Once adolescence hit, the desires and attractions to the opposite sex, everything that teenagers suffered from, entered the picture. Everyone around her began dating. It would have been easy to do it herself; she had no shortage of admirers. It took everything she had to resist the siren call her body held for the opposite sex, but she had done so, and at no small cost to herself. But her success meant she had avoided her mother's fate, and it was a consolation she went to bed with every night.

Until now. With her declaration the resistance was over. She had surrendered. Her love of Kazuki outweighed her fears of what the eventual outcome of their love might entail. Love might not conquer all, but it had conquered fear, at least today.

Oh, but at what cost. Now that Mitsuki had accepted the truth, she could see more clearly what evils she had perpetrated. Ayuko Rara was much like Ayuko Sanada, at least as Mitsuki remembered her: A ruthless, manipulative bitch that always wanted her own way. The things that she had done to her daughter, Mitsuki Rara, were despicable. It was one of the reasons that, despite their rivalry over Kazuki, Mitsuki had always felt a sort of pity for her counterpart. All Rara had ever been to her mother was a useful tool. It had made Mitsuki roil with revulsion at another suffering under Ayuko's thumb. And how had she returned this sympathy?

"What did I do to her?" Mitsuki moaned. Not be like her mother? This manipulation was truly worthy of Ayuko. She had a feeling that if it weren't contrary to her wishes concerning Rara and Kazuki getting together, Ayuko would have applauded her for a job well done.

For the first time, Mitsuki wondered if she was worthy of Kazuki's love. Setting Rara up was a mistake, one Mitsuki would have done anything to take back even if it meant something as drastic as taking her place on the date. Anything to make amends.

The loud roar of a familiar car engine came from outside. Thank god! Rara was back. At last, it was over. Mitsuki wiped away her tears; there was no sense in letting Rara know she had been crying. As she headed for the door, she vowed that the first thing she was going to do was come clean and apologize, explaining what she had done and how sorry she was. More than anything in the world, Mitsuki wanted to mend their relationship before it was irrevocably shattered by this betrayal. After that was settled, they could discuss the situation concerning Kazuki. Surprisingly, Mitsuki no longer felt threatened by Rara. She just wanted to hold and comfort her cousin, making absolutely certain she understood that as long as she drew breath, Rara would never be anyone's tool ever again.

Mitsuki was almost to the door when the bell rang. She opened it and was taken aback by what was waiting on the porch.

Mitsuki Rara stood there. Numerous small tears were in the front of her dress and along the hem. The left side of her cheek was swollen slightly, and her mascara had run from tears. Mitsuki noticed a small smattering of blood staining the blue of the dress and on her hands.

The newcomer collapsed forward. Reflexively, Mitsuki opened her arms and caught her. The way Rara was hunched over hid her face, but Mitsuki felt the girl shudder in her grasp.

"What happened?" Mitsuki said, her voice unnaturally quiet from the shock of what had just occurred.

Face still down, Rara gasped out, "Sano… Sanosuke tried to rape me."

Mitsuki's mouth dropped open. She drew Rara even more fiercely into her grasp, trying in a futile effort to shield her from harm, though it was long after the fact. And then there was rage. Rage at what that bastard, Sanosuke had tried to do. Mitsuki would kill him, pure and simple. She would borrow a bat from where the baseball team's equipment was stored, go by his class at school tomorrow, and splatters his brains all over his desk. It wouldn't take more than three of four blows. She knew how to swing a bat.

Within her grasp, Rara said softly out, "Is… Is anyone else here?"

"No, they're still gone. But I'm here for you. I'll take care of you, I swear."

Rara moved back out of Mitsuki's grasp and looked her straight in the eye. There was a wry little smile on her face as she said in clipped tones, "Actually, I was going to take care of you."

A fist slammed into Mitsuki's unsuspecting gut. Every breath she had ever taken was knocked out of her body. Her stomach seized up, as though it was going to spew the contents of every meal she had in the last week onto the floor. She doubled over in pain, gasping from the fire in her lungs, trying hard to get some air and wincing with every agonizing breath she took.

Rara had undergone a complete transformation. Whereas before she has staggered into Mitsuki, every inch a beaten girl, she now stood with both hands proudly on her hips, towering over the huddled Mitsuki and admiring her handiwork. She sneered at the girl that lay on the floor, gasping for breath.

"Now that's more like it." She kicked Mitsuki once in the side, aiming for her stomach again but only striking one of the arms protectively covering the area. Mitsuki hissed in pain from the strike.

Through gasping breaths Mitsuki recovered enough to look up. Rara had moved to the door, closing and locking it behind her. She tried the handle once before turning back to confront Mitsuki again.

The instant they made eye contact, Mitsuki understood what had happened. It had been a while, but not so long that she could fail to recognize Miss Ra standing before her.

"Not… " Mitsuki wheezed out. Never had it been so painful to speak.

Miss Ra sneered again. She moved confidently, with a palpable swagger to her gait. "Yes, it is me. It's not shy Mitsuki Rara you're facing now, you contemptuous slug. Miss Ra is back, and you're going to pay for what you did to us."

Through the haze of pain, Mitsuki picked the words out. Since when did Rara refer to herself in the third person? Admittedly Rara acted totally different in her Miss Ra getup, stating she had to put herself in a trance to act so differently. It was to the point where Mitsuki did think of her almost as two different people, but that was only when the outfit was on. Now Rara was standing before her in normal clothing, but not sounding a thing like the meek girl everyone knew.

"How… you," Mitsuki got out through her wheezes.

Miss Ra's voice dripped thick with an icy venom that made Mitsuki flinch. "That bastard, Sanosuke, had us pinned down in his little car and was going to rape us. Mitsuki couldn't deal with it, so she let me take over. Ordinarily I only get to run free when she needs me to act as spokesperson for the Rara Army or out in the field. But this was one time she needed me outside of uniform."

Mitsuki started to regain her footing. In a heartbeat, Miss Ra was there, knocking her feet out from under her. Mitsuki bounced off the wooden floor, one of her wrists twisting under her and shooting more waves of pain through her body.

Miss Ra began screaming. "You little bitch! She thought you were our friend! I thought you were our friend! How dare you do this to us!"

Mitsuki tried to rise to her feet. Some measure of her breath returned, "I didn't mean-"

A backhand sent hard across the mouth ended the sentence and sent Mitsuki sprawling to the floor again.

"Don't play games with me!" Miss Ra shouted, spittle flying from her mouth. "I'm not blind like Mitsuki is! I know you set us up! It was obvious from the beginning, but I couldn't make her see it! What did you and Sanosuke arrange, huh, Mitsuki? Did you tell him I was an easy fuck? That I always spread my legs after dinner and a movie?"

Mitsuki tried crawling away, fleeing from the accusations as much as the next blow. The cold floor seemed to dart out from under her hand as tried to escape, even if there was nowhere far away enough to escape from herself.

Miss Ra followed, bending low so she could shout right at Mitsuki's ear. "What were you going to do?! Tell Kazuki I was 'damaged goods', so he wouldn't want me and you could have him all to yourself?! Was that it? Or did you think I'd enjoy being raped and want more of it, or I'd just go out of my mind? Well, Mitsuki? Tell me!"

Mitsuki stopped crawling. She couldn't find the strength to flee anymore. Eyes turned down to the floor, all she could sob out was, "Sorry. I'm so sorry."

A short snort escaped from Miss Ra. Softly, with only the faintest hint of emotion, she said, "Oh no. That's what's coming up next."

Mitsuki was aware of something hitting the back of her head, and then there was nothing.

The first sensation was that there was covering something in her mouth. Something hard and keeping it pried open. She tried spitting it out, but it was braced in some way that wouldn't allow it to move. It was strapped to her head. She could feel something wrapped around her cheeks and head as she tried to spit it out.

More senses returned. She was laying flat. She opened her eyes, looking up at the familiar ceiling of her room. Underneath her was the soft mattress of her bed. Her arms were above her head, stretched out and sore. She tried to sit up, but discovered her hands were tied at the wrists with something soft yet resilient, which was in turn tied to something secure. She could rotate her wrists slightly back and forth, but there was no hope of escape from how firmly they were bound. Her legs were spread-eagled as well. She tried moving, but discovered they were just as tightly bound as her arms, here she could see some sort of leather restraints, one around each ankle and tied to a bed post.

Despite her predicament, Mitsuki didn't feel panic. Everything seemed hazy, as though it was a dream and happening to someone else. It was almost surreal, this feeling of helplessness. Her head was still sore from the blow. She tried shaking it as best as she could. It hurt her neck, but some of the fog over her senses was lifted. The memory of what had happened before she woke up like this filled her, and she left out a soft moan.

"You're awake? Good."

Mitsuki turned in the direction of the voice. Although it had sounded jovial, there was an undercurrent of menace in it, like a cat informing a mouse they were going to play around for a little while. There was a sound of a chair scraping across the floor. Mitsuki was barely able to swivel her head far enough to see the corner of the room where the noise was coming from.

It was Rara… No, Miss Ra, Mitsuki remembered. Once again she wore the black leather outfit of her role as spokesperson for the Rara Army. For some reason, to Mitsuki's eyes, it almost seemed skimpier and tighter than she had remembered. Her eyes seemed to involuntarily focus on the tightly bound breasts. As Miss Ra exhaled, it seemed to push them forward and making them seem larger than Mitsuki knew them to be. The crotch of the outfit rode up narrow and tight. The shiny leather made a soft sound as she moved. Towards Mitsuki. Only the boots appeared the same, with slender heels that increased Miss Ra's height several centimeters, adding to her already domineering stance.

Miss Ra drew closer, each high-heeled step producing a hollow thud against the floor. Now Mitsuki noticed the traditional red wig and makeup, reminding Mitsuki of who she was dealing with, or more appropriately, who was dealing with her.

Mitsuki knew she should have been afraid, but couldn't seem to summon any fear. In its place there was a self-loathing she never experienced before. It was as though every bad thing she had done struck her all at once, and then multiplied itself a dozen times. She was in this situation solely because of her meddling. Deep down inside she had known setting up Rara was wrong, but had done it anyway, regardless of the consequences. It was Rara (and perhaps Miss Ra), who had really suffered. Mitsuki couldn't imagine what it must have been like having that pig Sanosuke fondling her with his hands, placing them where no man had ever been allowed to touch before. It made her want to retch merely thinking about it, and Rara had actually suffered that bastard's slimy grasp, and all because she had been deceived by someone she trusted as a friend. Mitsuki deserved to share in the suffering she had caused. It was like when she had accidentally sent Kazuki to the other world. She was not Ayuko. She would not avoid her responsibilities. She would pay for what she had done, no matter what form the currency Miss Ra wished to extract from her took.

Miss Ra stood over Mitsuki, smiling wickedly. From behind her back she brought out a small black rubber item that looked similar to a rider's crop. She brought it to her mouth and licked the shaft. Once finished, she lorded over Mitsuki's tied up form. "What do you think?" Miss Ra indicated the crop. "Mother gave it to me right before she and Father went looking for an apartment. She figured since Kazuki wasn't going to take the first step with me, no matter how much she encouraged him, that it was my responsibility to seduce him. So she left this with the… encouragement that I should put it to good use, as well as the other toys she gave me." She pointed at the bonds and ball-gag that was in Mitsuki's mouth. "I don't think this is quite what she had in mind, but she'll have to deal with it."

Involuntarily, Mitsuki's eyes followed the course of Miss Ra's breasts. Even now, rendered helpless for all the evil she had done, she was still finding herself turned on by her cousin's appearance. What a loathsome creature she was to have such base thoughts in such a situation.

Miss Ra handled the crop, bringing it next to bound form. She touched its tip to Mitsuki's pelvis, then dragged it upward, trailing the tip lightly along her body. When she got to the bottom of the shirt, she snagged the hem and pulled several inches upward before twisting it free. Her eyes lingered on the handful of centimeters of flesh that had been bared by the move before continuing upward. The tip lingered right in between the valley of Mitsuki's breasts. Miss Ra's eyes seemed to glint before she continued onward, eventually stopping at the chin. She placed it against the tip of Mitsuki's jaw and pushed upward, forcing her to tilt her head backward as far as it could go.

Miss Ra said, "Sanosuke's already paid for his role in this. He's not in, shall we say 'working condition', anymore, and not likely to be for some time. I'm satisfied that I've taken his pound of flesh from him. Now all that's left is for you to answer for your crimes." She removed the crop from Mitsuki's jaw.

As repelled as Mitsuki was at her impure thoughts, she still found the resolve to accept what was to come. She nodded her head in acquiescence to whatever it was Miss Ra had in mind, and gave out a muffled, "I understand."

Somehow able to understand the unintelligible words, Miss Ra's mood shifted instantly. "Stop that! You should be begging for mercy, even if I won't give you any."

Mitsuki could only stare at her helplessly. She couldn't beg. Punishment was the only way she could attain absolution.

Miss Ra became angrier. "I hate you and what you did. Beg. Tremble in fear. Grovel like Sanosuke did!"

Mitsuki just gave a small shake of her head.

Miss Ra began trembling in anger. "Damn you! You're ruining this! You aren't supposed to be accepting! You have to resist!"

Seeing Miss Ra so distressed, Mitsuki, felt the urge to hold and comfort her. There wasn't an ounce of anger, or even jealousy she could muster. It was all pity and caring. She swore she could feel Miss Ra's pain, and wanted to heal it rather than take any joy in it. She found it impossible to remember exactly why she had set Rara up in the first place. It would have been as alien a concept as hurting herself.

Trembling in fury, Miss Ra raised the crop above her head, intent on bring it down hard on Mitsuki's body. All the bound girl could do in response was close her eyes. A peace settled over her as she prepared for the upcoming pain.

But the blow never arrived. Instead Mitsuki felt a finger touch her cheek, not a move of anger, but of gentle affection. Something wet struck her cheek. She opened her eyes to see not a look of rage, but one of tenderness. Mitsuki watched as a tear traveled down her captor's cheek, and realized that was the moisture that she had felt, as incomprehensible as it seemed.

A soft sigh of resignation escaped from Miss Ra, though her hand never ceased in its gentle strokes. "I can't hate you. I know I should. I hate what you did, but I can't bring myself to hurt you, no matter what happened. It's too much like hurting myself, though it's deeper than that. I don't pretend to understand what's making me feel this way, but I do."

Muffled words came from behind Mitsuki's gag. Miss Ra looked at her confusedly. With only a hint of hesitation, she reached behind Mitsuki's head and undid the strap which held her gag in place, then removed the object altogether.

"I." Mitsuki stopped. That had come out scratchy and cracked. She tried summoning some spit to moisten her mouth. "I'm sorry too. From the moment you left with that bastard, I wished I had stopped you. I've never been more sorry for anything I've ever done in my life. If there was anything I could do to correct it, I would have."

Miss Ra seemed shocked by the admission. "You really mean that, don't you? You're not just saying this to save yourself. You were sorry for what you did before I came back."

"Yes. I don't expect you to forgive me-"

Miss Ra moved her hand from Mitsuki' cheek and placed a finger against lips, silencing her. "I already did that when I didn't strike you. But if it helps, I'll say it out loud. Yes, I forgive you."

"Thank you."

Miss Ra went back to caressing Mitsuki's face. "Curious. I feel better now than I would have if I had taken my revenge. Although if you ever try anything like that again." She moved her hand from the face down to a breast. Through the material she felt around until her fingers found the tip of an erect nipple through Mitsuki's bra. She handled it firmly, pinching it as best she could with the clothing in the way.

Mitsuki was surprised both by the aroused state of her body, as well as the unexpected admonishment. Miss Ra was handling it roughly, just on the edge of discomfort. "I get it."

"Do you?"

Mitsuki felt uneasy with the playful look Miss Ra was giving her. "What are you up to?"

"If you can't tell, I must not be doing it right." Miss Ra's hand began to massage the area more vigorously, eliciting a gasp from Mitsuki.

"You were at my throat a minute ago." Mitsuki sighed.

"This is much more fun, wouldn't you agree?"


Mitsuki's hesitation was met with disapproval as the hold on her nipple tightened.

"Yes! Yes it is! Only don't squeeze so hard."

The pinching lessened. "Now that I think about it, I never did pay you back for that little 'cleaning' you gave us this morning."


"Mitsuki and I." She shook her head at Mitsuki's confusion. "Don't be surprised. Surely you suspected from our behavior that we're not exactly a whole person. I came about from all the training Mitsuki had to undergo to perform as 'Miss Ra.' She wasn't really cut out for the rigorous instruction, and some of the mental exercises were… difficult for her to manage. So she created me as a form of dealing with it. I only come around when she needs to be assertive. The usual trigger is the outfit." She stood up, indicating the garment she wore. She looked down at it, as though realizing just how risqué it was for the first time. Again the playful look returned. "Do you like?"

Mitsuki's mouth went dry again, and not because of a gag. "It's not the sort of thing I would wear."

Miss Ra's hand went to Mitsuki's nipple again. The other hand she cupped to her ear and pointed it in the prone girl's direction. "What was that? It sounded like you were dodging the question."

"I like it! It looks great!" Mitsuki blurted out.

Miss Ra laughed. Not with the venom from before, but a genuinely amused one. Mitsuki felt peaceful seeing her cousin enjoying herself for the first time this evening.

Miss Ra removed her hand and placed it under her chin in a clear sign of concentration. She looked down at Mitsuki, her eyes carefully pouring over every centimeter of her body.

Once more Mitsuki felt like a mouse under a cat's careful scrutiny. Only this time she was far more excited than the last.

After careful consideration, Miss Ra stood up. "Now that I think about it, you do need to pay for this morning. Imagine, coming out of nowhere and feeling up your cousin like that. Not only are you deviant, but incestuous as well."

"Well, I didn't exactly plan on it. It just sort of… happened," she offered weakly.

A cross look, the first in a while, crossed Miss Ra's features. "Don't you dare apologize for that. It was very enjoyable."

"It was?"

Miss Ra gave a playful laugh. "Oh, Mitsuki, you are so painfully blind in some ways. Of course we enjoyed it. Why do you think we didn't protest? Mitsuki might be passive, but she's not that passive."

For perhaps the first time since the bathroom incident, Mitsuki thought about how Rara had reacted. Miss Ra was right. Rara had complied with everything, neither hand nor voice raised in disapproval. Guiltily, she said, "So, you liked it too?"

"We could barely keep our minds off it until you came up with that whole foolish dating scheme."

Mitsuki felt a familiar stab in her gut. "I'm sorry. It's just I saw you and Kazuki laughing after his race and I thought I was losing him to you. I panicked."

Miss Ra seemed to consider that. "I'd like to say you were being foolish and stupid, but the truth is, we tend to get jealous when Kazuki shows you affection as well."

"You do?"

"Yes, Mitsuki just hides it better. But let's not worry about motives or Kazuki at the moment. I think we have more important issues to resolve." Miss Ra went to the desk and retrieved a small object that fit in the palm of her hand.

"We do?"

"Oh yes." Miss Ra held the object out, a small utility knife, and extended the blade. "It's called payback."

Mitsuki would have jumped away, save for the fact she was completely bound to the bed. She did manage to twist enough to make the legs of the bed make a scuffling noise as they scraped the floor slightly from her reflexive jerk. "I thought you said you forgave me!"

Slowly, Miss Ra continued to approach. "I did for tonight. But as I said, you still have to pay for this morning." She stood above Mitsuki. Playfulness disappeared for a moment as the leather clad woman warned, "Hold still. I don't want to cut you."

Feeling a wave of trust wash over her, Mitsuki went against her self-preservation instincts and remained motionless.

Miss Ra grabbed the collar of Mitsuki shirt and began cutting through it with the blade. The instrument was sharp, and after a tiny bit of sawing through the collar, the knife slid easily through the rest of the fabric. The blade went through the center of the bra next. Miss Ra pulled the sliced garments aside, revealing Mitsuki's flesh to the air.

Mitsuki was too stunned to say anything as she felt the air upon her naked flesh. Goosebumps sprang up along every inch of where her shirt had been parted. Her silence only lasted until Miss Ra brought the knife up to the skirt. "Don't cut that! It's one of my favorites."

An eyebrow rose upwards at that. Miss Ra did indeed pull the knife away from the material, then placed her hand on top of Mitsuki's breast. This time when she tweaked the nipple, it was painful and elicited a yelp from Mitsuki.

"I'm in charge here. You don't give orders. You're being punished. Do you understand?" She moved her hand from the abused nipple to the other one.

"Cut away," Mitsuki tried saying happily, wincing all the while on the inside. She really liked that skirt.

Satisfied the reprimand had been accepted, Miss Ra held the knife up to the skirt again. She paused in a moment or reflection and handled the soft, cotton material. "This is a nice skirt. And it zips up along the side." She unzipped it, removing it from Mitsuki's body intact.

"Thanks," Mitsuki sighed with relief.

Miss Ra laughed and tossed it toward the door. "I'll be keeping it as a spoil of war. If you ask nicely, I'll let you borrow it from time to time."

"You can't do that!"

Miss Ra gave a cross look. Rather than going for a nipple, she opted to crawl on top of Mitsuki's hips, planting herself fully upon them. "I don't think you have a good grasp of the situation." She leaned forward, bending as low as she could so that her upper chest was pressed against Mitsuki's mid-section. She then began sliding forward. Her leather-clad body rubbed against Mitsuki's bare one.

Rather than being chafed, Mitsuki instead felt her arousal double at the closest contact the two had had since this morning. She wanted Rara, or whoever was in the driver's seat, to keep doing that until her skin was rubbed raw.

Instead, Miss Ra stopped once her face was stationed above Mitsuki's. Looking deeply into her hazel eyes, Miss Ra said, "I can do whatever I want. You're mine to do with as a I please, as long as you're tied to this bed." She fingered one of the wrist bonds. "You're here for punishment. I'm here for my pleasure. But the punishment is what's really important here. If you're amicable, it'll be nice."

She leaned her face forward ran a tongue up under Mitsuki's jaw, trailed it across her chin until stopping at her lips. Once there, she pulled her tongue back in and kissed Mitsuki. It was tender, full of caring and love. Within a heartbeat Mitsuki was kissing back just as tenderly. And then it was over almost as soon as it was begun as Miss Ra pulled away, leaving the lingering flavor of lipstick on Mitsuki's mouth.

"Or it can be vicious." This time Miss Ra grabbed Mitsuki roughly by the back of her head and forced her head forward as far as it would go.

Mitsuki gave a brief "Ow," before the lips returned to hers. Only this time there was no gentleness in the touch. It was an aggressive thing, taking from Mitsuki instead of giving back. She had no chance to react as Miss Ra forced Mitsuki's head away, leaving the bound girl was as breathless as she was helpless.

"Or it can be nothing." And with that Miss Ra rose off Mitsuki's body and stood up. She headed directly to the door without a backward glance, the bright red of the wig flopping back and forth across her backside. Her hand fell on the handle and the sound of the lock clicked out of place.

"Don't go!" Mitsuki shouted as Miss Ra opened the door.

The protest made Miss Ra stop, but not move an inch away from the door. She cast a disdainful look over her shoulder. "Are you sure you want me to stay? I could just leave. I'll let you simmer in your own juices for the night and release you in the morning. I won't touch you again. Really, it's no problem."

"I want you to stay." And Mitsuki meant it. She would never have thought it possible, but it was true.

Miss Ra turned fully around. "If I do decide to, you have to stop being defiant. This time I'll be the one calling the shots the way you were this morning. You have to submit to me as a show of faith. I'm not going to force myself on you; that's Sanosuke's way. If you really want me to stay, agree right now that you'll do what I say, and tell me that you want me."

Mitsuki was stunned to discover that the idea of Miss Ra abandoning her was as horrifying as if it had been Kazuki instead. "I do want you. I'll agree to what you say, but only for tonight. After that, we're on even footing again."

A look of profound relief crossed Miss Ra's features. It was quickly replaced with predatory gleam. She closed the door and locked it behind her. She then went back to Mitsuki's and straddled her again. "Agreed. Now shut that trap of yours and let me go to work."

This time Mitsuki did as she was asked, remaining silent as Miss Ra ran her hands over Mitsuki's chest. The touch was neither light nor heavy. It was something more along what Mitsuki had done to Rara in the bath, save without any water or pretenses. There was no hesitation as Miss Ra became intimately acquainted with every inch of Mitsuki's upper body.

After a thorough examination she went back to the area she had dwelt the most time on: Mitsuki's breasts. She handled them as though they were her own. "I'm so jealous. These are so much better than mine."

Mitsuki was shocked by the admission. "I thought your had a better chest than me."

Miss Ra looked at her skeptically. "Stop trying to kiss up."

"I'm not. I do."

"Really?" Miss Ra looked down at Mitsuki's breasts again. "Why don't I make a more intensive examination and judge for myself?" She leaned forward, moved the long mane of her wig over her shoulder and out of the way, and began sucking on Mitsuki's nipples.

Mitsuki's eyes widened at what was easily the most erotic physical contact she had ever experienced. She had played with her breasts in the past, becoming familiar with the changes and development her body had undergone, and enjoying the sensations they produced —it was not as though she had any other outlet— but this was far beyond anything she had done to herself. She couldn't shower the attention upon them that Miss Ra was skillfully doing, nor the affection her playfulness and teasing entailed.

Back and forth the leather-clad woman went, lavishing attention unapologetically upon the breasts. Mitsuki closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensations it produced.

Miss Ra stopped abruptly. She kept her chin in contact with the breast she had just suckled on, and looked up to Mitsuki. "I bet you're wishing it was Kazuki doing this to you now."

Rather than blurting out a "Yes," Mitsuki considered the statement. Miss Ra was correct but not entirely so. "I wish he was here also, not in place of you, if that doesn't sound too perverted."

A smile split Miss Ra's features. "Not at all. I was thinking the same thing. It's nice to hear you feel the same way. And as a reward for making the right choice." She moved up Mitsuki's body, placing her bottom squarely beneath Mitsuki's breasts. Within moments she had removed the top of her outfit, giving Mitsuki an unrestricted view of her breasts. She then leaned forward, so the breasts were poised directly above Mitsuki's head. To the bound girl's eyes, they appeared even more perfect than they had when she had handled them earlier in the day.

Despite never having a romantic encounter of any sort, much less one that involved another woman, Mitsuki knew what Miss Ra wanted. She returned the favor by leaning forward slightly and taking one of the offered nipples in her mouth. Rather then going all out and all but attacking it as Miss Ra had done, Mitsuki took things more slowly and simply kissed it, letting her lips pull back on the tip until it left her mouth. Miss Ra made a disappointed sound until she felt the mouth on her other breast. Again, the contact was brief as Mitsuki stopped and went back to the first one.

She repeated the exact same pattern a half dozen times before upping the ante by adding her tongue to the kisses. Rather than breaking off right away, she left the nipple in her mouth, playing her tongue around the projection and delighting in the feel of it. If she had ever had any hesitation about having sex with a woman, they were forever gone with how enjoyable the sensations were.

Licking became outright sucking, but again Mitsuki refused to linger too long on either breast. The moans of disappointment when she moved away from a breast amused her. She might have agreed to be a good little girl for Miss Ra, but that didn't mean she couldn't vex her on some subtle level.

Eventually Miss Ra rose up and out of reach of Mitsuki's mouth. That suited her fine; her neck was becoming tired and cramped. Miss Ra replaced her breasts with her mouth, and kissed Mitsuki. It was identical to the first one given at the start of their session, soft and gentle, full of affection rather than dominating love play. This time Mitsuki was permitted to break off the kiss.

Once their lips parted, Miss Ra moved down the bed, crawling backward across Mitsuki's body, before stopping at the space between her legs. The leather-clad girl made certain her head was raised up high enough for Mitsuki to watch her facial expressions. She pouted a bit as she directed her attention to Mitsuki's panty covered crotch. She fingered the underwear. "These are damp."

Mitsuki said, "What did you expect? You've been doing everything you could to excite me."

"I'm not wet yet," Miss Ra said casually. "But we'll get to that later. Right now, these things have to go." Not bothering with a knife this time, Miss Rah simply gripped the cotton panties firmly and ripped them off. She tossed the tattered remains on the floor.

She made certain Mitsuki saw her mischievous glance as she said, "Now this was what I was looking for." She ran her hand through Mitsuki's pubic hair. "Hmm, you could use a bit of grooming. You're getting a bit of a tangle down here."

"I was going to take care of that tomorrow."

Miss Ra directed a smile to Mitsuki's crotch. "Actually, I think I prefer it a bit bushy. Don't trim too much." Without any further teasing, Miss Ra leaned forward and applied her tongue into the soft folds of Mitsuki's pussy.

At the moment of intimate contact into her nether regions, Mitsuki arched her back, straining her bonds. She was more wired than at any other moment in her life.

Miss Rah pulled her head back. "Would you relax? I just got started."

Gasping, Mitsuki said, "I can't help it. I've never been touched like that before."

"And I've never touched a woman like this before, but you don't see me bucking like a bronco. Now relax, or I'm going to be all over the place."

"Just hurry," Mitsuki ordered. Then she saw the warning glare Miss Ra gave her. She quickly added, "Please, oh Mistress of Pleasure."

"Don't be sarcastic," Miss Ra warned. Seeing her reproach was silently accepted, she returned to the pleasant task of having her way with Mitsuki.

The second time around, Mitsuki restrained her reactions, but Miss Ra could tell she was hitting all the right spots, which seemed to be anywhere between the bound girl's lower lips and possibly including an inch outside of them as well. Curious, Miss Ra tested her theory as, with only the lightest touch of her fingers, she played along the outer labia. Once again she was rewarded with a series of moans from Mitsuki. She felt a prickle of jealous envy. As much alike as they might have appeared, she was nowhere near this sensitive. Still, it amused her that she could elicit so much reaction with so little effort.

Once again she plunged her tongue in earnest, working it around Mitsuki's pussy again. She thought she had gotten a good feel for the clitoris when the most powerful jerk yet pulled Mitsuki out of reach of her tongue.

Miss Ra came up for a breath of air, and so she didn't get struck in the head with a stray thigh. "Would you…" she stopped as she saw a look of ecstasy on Mitsuki's face. The bound girl let out a strangled wail, then went limp. "You've got to be kidding me."

Miss Ra looked down at the area between Mitsuki's legs and saw a small trail of vaginal fluid leaking out. She leveled in incredulous stare. "You came after only that?"

Still gasping, Mitsuki said, "It felt good to me."

Miss Ra chuckled. "I can see you're easy to satisfy. Now it's time for you to return the favor." She crawled of the bed and stood on the floor. Again her hand deftly undid the clasps and straps that held the bottom of her outfit in place. It pooled to the floor at Miss Ra's feet.

Mitsuki watched Miss Ra approach, her attention riveted to the neatly trimmed bush between her legs. Where Mitsuki was a bit wild, Miss Ra had only a slender trail of light brown hair running up from her lips. She could have worn the skimpiest of bikinis and not worried about even a single strand of hair poking out the sides.

This time when Miss Ra crawled on top of Mitsuki, she straddled her head. Bringing her hand behind Mitsuki's head, she forced it up and into the space between her thighs. "Now be a good girl and start putting that quick tongue of yours to work. If you do a good job, I'll consider letting you go long enough to stretch your legs a bit.

Mitsuki's need to reciprocate was so great she would have done it even if Miss Ra had threatened to punish her for trying it. Unlike the breasts, this time Mitsuki pressed her tongue up to Miss Ra's folds and thrust immediately in. She worked back and forth, licking wildly all over the place. She went after the vagina before as though it was an ice cream cone left in the sun and she was trying to prevent a dozen trails of melted liquid from rolling off the scoop and hitting the ground.

Miss Ra eyes widened and moaned at the attention Mitsuki was lavishing upon her. Her tongue seemed to be dancing everywhere all at once. High, low, left and right. The only downside was that it wasn't' longer, then she could hit those really hard to reach spots. It amazed Miss Ra that Mitsuki could be so energetic, but then she remembered the temper the bound girl could display and how quick she could be with her tongue in oral matters of a different sort.

For Miss Ra, things seemed to be really getting good when the tongue-lashing slowed down. "Don't stop."

"My mongues mired," Mitsuki mumbled from below.

"Shit," Miss Ra cursed, accepting that there were limits to what her new lover could do, though she kept Mitsuki's face buried in her crotch. She remained silent as Mitsuki continued slowing down, and actually found her arousal leveling off. Frustrated, she said, "More to the left."

Mitsuki did as she was asked.

"Now more to the right."

Again Mitsuki responded.


And again.

"No, no. That's too high. You need to go lower."


"Lower than that. You're not very good at this, you know."

Mitsuki finally broke off, jerking her head out of Miss Ra's grasp. "It's not like I've ever done this before."

"Attack it with your tongue the way you would handle yourself with your fingers. You have played with yourself, haven't you"

"Played? Yes. Eaten myself out? No. I'm not that flexible. And it doesn't take that long to get me off either."

Miss Ra looked back at Mitsuki's pussy. "I noticed. You're a lucky little thing. Ah well. I guess it means you're going to have to practice a lot in order to learn what it takes to satisfy me. But as long as you put your heart in it, and move your tongue to the left, that's all that matters."

For the first time in a long while, Mitsuki felt a touch of irritation at her cousin. The feeling didn't last long as Miss Ra grabbed the back of Mitsuki's head again and force-fed her crotch to her.

Fifteen long minutes passed, Mitsuki swearing that her tongue was going to fall out of her head. It was getting so she couldn't even remember being enthusiastic to do this. Miss Ra wasn't allowing her come up for air, let alone have a break. The only consolation was that her 'victim' was building up a crescendo in the last few minutes, and was hopefully ready to plunge over the edge at any moment.

"More to the left," Miss Ra pleaded.

Tired of being told what to do, Mitsuki went to the right instead. Surprisingly, she was rewarded with a, "That's it! Right there! Don't stop!"

It figured the whole problem was because of bad directions. Mitsuki used the last of her ebbing energies to spear that area with her tongue. It felt like she was going to dislocate her jaw with how far she had it worked in. Mitsuki was about to go further to the left when she heard a cry from above and felt something wet splatter in her mouth. It wasn't a huge amount of come, but it had caught her off-guard. She forced her head out of Miss Ra's hands and coughed once, preventing the small amount of fluid from going down the wrong pipe.

Miss Ra remained where she was, a look of extreme relief on her face. She gazed down with affection at Mitsuki. "That's more like it. I thought I was never going to come. Thank you so much, Mitsuki. I'm sorry I made you work so hard for it. You were close for a long while, but until that last bit, you couldn't quite put me over the top. But I'm sure after a few more times you'll get better. "

"A few more times?" Mitsuki moaned, then noted something odd about Miss Ra's speech pattern as well as her tone of voice. "Mitsuki?"


"You're not Miss Ra anymore?"

"Of course I… am." Mitsuki Rara stared at her cousin perched beneath her thighs. "How very odd. I am Mitsuki Sanada, but I feel like Miss Ra too."

"What do you mean?"

Rara considered that. "I'm not sure. I guess I feel like I usually do, but more confident, and sure of myself. I don't feel as timid as I usually am. I know everything Miss Ra thought and felt, but there's no separation anymore. It's like it's always been me the entire time."

"Got any inclinations of walking up and down my back in those jackboots of yours?"

Rara gave a radiant smile. "You could probably talk me into it. It does sound like it might be fun to try out once or twice, but I really don't feel like it at the moment. I don't know how to explain it, other than I feel much more whole than before. It feels good. Very, very good."

Mitsuki felt the urge to tell Rara how she was feeling as well. It was curious, since she had never been close enough to anyone to confide in, but there was a level of trust between the two that had been absent before. "I'm glad to hear it. I think I feel the same way too. I used to be angry with you and how close you were to Kazuki, but after what we just shared, I don't feel any anger towards you at all. I'm not sure how or why, but I feel better. It's almost like you said with feeling whole now. Before I woke up tied to the bed something was missing. But now that we're laying against one another, all I feel is complete and at peace."

Finished with her speech, Mitsuki allowed her head to sag back on her bed. Her neck and tongue were both killing her. The next time it was going to be Rara tied down and Mitsuki riding her like a pony.

Rara seemed to pick up on her companion's discomfort. "Here. Let me untie you. I'd say you've paid your debt and now we're more than even."

It took moments for Rara's skilled hands to undo the leg and arm restraints. Mitsuki used the opportunity to rub the severely chafed parts of her body and get the circulation going. She kept twisting her head back and forth, as though she was afraid it was so loose it would fall off.

While Mitsuki continued rubbing her appendages, Rara slid into bed next to her cousin and held her tight. It took Mitsuki a moment to adjust to the aggression her companion was displaying. While it was unquestionably Rara in charge, there did seem to be some of the confidence that Miss Ra displayed in there. She thought she rather like the mix of the two. It seemed to be in just the right amounts, at least in her opinion.

Mitsuki returned the favor by wrapping her arms around Rara. Each looked deeply into the other's eyes as they lay there silently, enjoying their mutual afterglow. Eventually, both found the energy to begin talking again. Their conversation was warm and full of affection. Neither felt inclined to hold back or be ashamed any details they wished to share.

Despite Rara's newfound confidence, it was Mitsuki who was the first to speak. "I have to ask you something."

"I love you," Rara cuddled closer to her lover.

"Same here. But that wasn't what I was going to say."

"It should have been."

"Are you going to let me talk, or are you just going to steer the conversation away every time I try to discuss something?"

"I'm sorry. That was rude of me. What did you want to say?"

Mitsuki tried getting her mind back on track. "When did you first become attracted to me?"

Rara considered that. "I think you sparked my interest when you felt me up in the bath."

"And that was the first time?"

"What are you getting at?"

Although it pained Mitsuki to say it out loud, to risk possibly angering Rara, she had to say what was on her mind before she lost the her conviction. "Don't get angry with me, because I do love you, but I have to admit, I wasn't attracted to you before everything was merged into one world by Kazuki. I'm sure of it, even if my feelings have changed now."

The initial protest died on Rara's lips. Reluctantly, she admitted, "I think you're right. I never thought of you in those sorts of terms either. But since Kazuki fixed everything, and we started living together, I guess maybe there was something going on below the surface that I wasn't consciously aware of."

"That's what I was afraid of." Mitsuki sighed. "Everything we've gone through today, at least between the two of us that's ended up with us sharing the same bed, wasn't fate. I mean, not real fate. I mean… oh I don't know how to put this without it sounding bad!

"Then just say it. I'll listen to you." There was a touch of concern in Rara's voice. Just a hint, but one that was edging close to fear.

Mitsuki finally forced herself to say the words. "I think our getting together was Kazuki's doing."

Silence met that statement. Then Rara held a hand up to her mouth and began laughing. "That's the silliest thing I've ever head. Kazuki's not that sort of pervert. He would have tried something with us or Yayoi by now if he was."

"I knew that was going to come out wrong!" Mitsuki growled. "I know that. I agree, sort of. I don't believe for one second he would consciously tamper with us like that; he's way too nice a guy. But I think maybe he might have subconsciously did it when he remade the world."

"Maybe you were the one who did it. Kazuki said you had something to do with it since you pushed Zinj's self-destruct button," Rara protested.

Mitsuki rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on. You know me. If there were any chance I had to influence things, I would have made you and Yayoi Kazuki's sisters so I could have had a clear shot at him. Besides, how the hell could I have made things change just by pushing the button? Kazuki was the one that was the center of the shift. He was the one who merged the two worlds together. This is how he wanted things, not me." Mitsuki's voice dropped some. "Although I am grateful for all the things he's done to make my life better, even if it is more complicated." She cast a meaningful glance at Rara.

Rara sat up, anger blazing in her eyes. "So you're telling me Kazuki doesn't really love me and I don't love him? You think I'm just some lesbian toy for him to play with? Well I've got news for you, I do love him. I've loved him ever since I got to know him in my old world. He didn't do anything to change my feelings about him!"

Mitsuki held her hands up defensively. "I don't doubt you do love him. I loved him too way before that last battle. That's remained constant and it didn't change. I can remember things clearly, same as you. But I think the feelings we have for each other were created by him. Think about it. Would you ever have seen the two of us all over each other before the worlds merged?"

She tried saying no, but couldn't force the words out. With a resolve that was more reminiscent of Miss Ra than Mitsuki Rara, she softly said, "Do you think he's placed us in each other's arms because he wants Yayoi and doesn't want to us to be hurt and alone?"

Mitsuki laughed long and hard, her laughter easily penetrating the bedroom door and filling the house. Rara became so annoyed with it she was considering berating Mitsuki when the girl stopped laughing and said, "Don't be silly. He wants both of us. I bet you that indecisive weenie couldn't decide which one he wanted, so on some level of his mind he came to the conclusion that if we liked each other, we'd get along really well and then he could have both of us without one getting angry or resentful at the other."

Rara looked at Mitsuki aghast. After the statement set in, she found she couldn't help smiling in return. "That would be just like Kazuki to try and spare our feeling while wanting both of us without having to admit it. And it might explain why I… you know, jumped your bones so quickly even though I was angry with you just a few minutes earlier. Oh, Mitsuki, you must be right."

Both of the girls began giggling like crazy. Once the snickering died down, Rara said with unexpected weight in her voice, "Do you hate him for it?"

Mitsuki became contemplative. "I really ought to, I guess. I mean basically he's played with my feelings by making me love someone I wasn't interested in before. But I can't, and I don't think it's his doing. I try to think of what things were like before the change, and how I might have reacted to something like this compared to what I'm feeling now, and I'm not sure I'd feel any different. I might have been more angry than I am now, but you want to know something? I don't want to be angry. I want to enjoy these emotions. At this moment, with you at my side instead of against me, it's more wonderful than anything I ever imagined. I like feeling happy and complete instead of sad and missing something, like before I met Kazuki and you. Now that I have someone— two someones— I can look back and see how alone I used to be, even if I didn't realize it at the time. It hurts now just thinking about how empty my life was without someone to share it. I didn't know what I was missing, and it would have been so much if I kept everyone at a distance. Maybe I'd have overcome it, but maybe not. I'm afraid I wouldn't have. I do know, beyond any doubt, that I'm happier now than I've ever been before, and I'd do anything to keep a hold of this feeling. Maybe my happiness is just because of Kazuki's wishes, but it's as real as any emotion I've ever had.

"How can I be angry with someone who had the opportunity to do anything in the world, and one of the few things he wished for was for me to be happy? Hate him? I love him more than ever for that alone."

Rara breathed a sigh of relief. "I… I feel the same way. I'm so relieved. If you resented me or Kazuki, it would have eaten me alive from the inside. Your happiness is important to me, and I want you to be as happy as I am." She held Mitsuki even closer to her.

They enjoyed the warmth of their bodies after sharing their feelings, closer now than even right after the copulation. They felt joined together emotionally, greater together than what they were before, while still maintaining their individuality. It was a perfect balance between the two, and the bathed in their mutual contentment.

Happy beyond belief, Rara said, "So now that we've settled things between us and how we feel about Kazuki, all we have left to do is inform him that we've come to this mutual agreement for a three-way relationship."

"Actually he hasn't agreed to it yet," Mitsuki pointed out, but then added with a smile, "That is just a minor detail, isn't it? This is what he wants, even if he doesn't consciously realize it, so this is what he's going to get. If he's got his hands full, he should have wished for a twin instead. Now how do you think we should go about informing him?"

Rara playfully tossed one of the wrist bonds to Mitsuki. "I think this was a pretty persuasive method of delivering information. Don't you? He'll have to sit still while we lay down the ground rules. And then afterwards we can show him examples of what our expectations of him are going to be."

"I have the number of the house he's staying at. We'll call and tell him it's an emergency."

"That's sort of a lie."

"Not really. We do need him urgently to take care of our needs. And he needs us just as badly. We just have to help him open his eyes and realize it."

"We can snag him right when he gets to the door. He's too passive to resist us. We'll have him tied up in no time," Rara was fully into it now. "Do you think Kazuki will be mad at us for deceiving him?"

"Not for long. How can he when he has the two of us to cheer him up for the rest of his life?" Both girls laughed at that.

As Mitsuki toyed with the restraint in her hand, she reflected on the events of the day. She was forced to admit that when she woke up this morning, she had been completely wrong.

It did feel like a brave new world after all.


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Last revision: May 21, 2007

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