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Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Karma takes his time going back to the classroom. He calculates each distance between steps, but not carefully. Just enough to let his mind wander through numbers he doesn't need. He measures the distance from classroom to the vending machine, doubling the number for the trip back. He estimates the time it will take until Nagisa wonders what's taking him so long.

When it's his turn to buy drinks, Nagisa takes around five minutes, seven if someone strikes up conversation along the way. Karma doesn't exactly time him- the numbers themselves pop up in his head, he subtracts the time passing on the clock without realizing it.

He knows the importance of friendship. Almost too well since he transferred to Class-E. Teamwork becomes shaky when people question motives. It falls apart if there's no trust. The people you are close with are your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses.

Maybe these walks are tests of trust. The distance he puts between him and the other boy is just that- distance. But the time it takes to return to point of origin...

He inserts coins into the machine (Nagisa's first, they're warm in his grasp) and selects a drink. He fumbles his pockets for his own coins- adding more time, he thinks- and repeats with another selection.

Nagisa doesn't think about how much time it takes him, right? He shouldn't have to worry about Karma taking care of himself, ever.

It's the waiting that gets to him, though. The anticipation of getting his juice, of seeing a friendly face, what they'll talk about after. He trusts that Nagisa will come back. He trusts that he comes back within the seven minute leeway he unconsciously established. But does that also mean, in a way, Karma doesn't trust him? By giving Nagisa this one-sided time limit, he acts like a the stern parent with an early curfew. What would he do if Nagisa didn't come back?

Once again, he's just thinking too hard about it. It hasn't happened yet, won't happen anytime soon. He trusts Nagisa.

Maybe all these venomous thoughts took form after hearing about Nagisa's victory against Takaoka. Nagisa still quietly surprises him to this day, ever since they first met. From learning he wasn't a girl, to becoming friends easily despite the influence surrounding Karma. Especially finding out he had transferred to Class-E. After so many surprises, it's like renewing his image of him every time. He's had to renew his side of trust each time.

Karma steps into the classroom. He glances at the clock and the numbers jump out at him. Eight minutes.

What a lousy friend he is.

"Yo, Nagisa-kun."

Nagisa looks up, and Karma swears to himself. After all the stuff that crosses his mind on the way here, Nagisa still manages to give him the most serene smile anybody ever gives him.

"Hi, Karma-kun."

He feels himself melt inside. Out of warmth or guilt, or both, he's not sure. And he's always so sure of himself. Is it weird that he wants Nagisa to berate him instead?

"Did you miss me?" Karma hands over the strawberry milk. The drinks are still cold, and he's glad his palms don't sweat like crazy when he's guilty. Nagisa laughs and plays along.

"Yep." He looks from his usual milk to the juice box in Karma's hands. "Is that a new drink?"

"Yeah." Karma looks at his own drink. He makes it a goal to try all the weird drink flavors. "Wanna try?"

He more or less shoves the box into Nagisa's face. Always take the opportunity to make someone else the guinea pig.

Nagisa takes a tentative sip. Karma stares at the careful way he wraps his lips around the straw, the way his cheeks curve inward as he drinks. It's kind of cute, in the sense that it's like watching a small pet drinking. Karma blinks. Nagisa has really long eyelashes.

"Blegh," Nagisa says when he hands it back. "Really sweet. I can definitely taste the... pineapple-mango-peach. In that order."

Karma tries it himself. The drink isn't the sweetest thing he's tried, but it is very sweet. The aftertaste leaves a scratchy-feeling film on his tongue.

Karma decides his problem with Nagisa is that he trusts too much. He'll let girls play with his hair, he'll tie a grenade around his neck if someone tells him to. He's too nice. Karma sighs a bit, and gets comfy on Nagisa's desk, using his arms as pillows. His desk is by the windows, and the light that filters through is warm and makes him sleepy.

Nagisa lets out a quiet breath that Karma feels is a little shaky, but it just peters into another chuckle.

"You took longer than usual," he starts, and Karma is not slow on the uptake, "any longer and I might've..."

Karma peeks up slowly, but Nagisa's not looking at him. Ah.

Maybe the thing that surprises Karma the most is how similarly they think. Hidden within Nagisa's soft, girlish exterior is a menacing force nobody could have imagined. There's a chance that Nagisa will beat him to it- killing the elusive Korosensei.

He knows what they've been learning this whole time is teamwork and the  importance of working together, but he's made it his personal goal to kill Korosensei himself. And if Nagisa decides to get in the way of that...

"Sorry. I'll be quicker next time. Promise."

Nagisa looks at him. He smiles, but it's strained. Karma smiles back.