Rin had a habit of stealing kisses.
It had started innocently. One day, when they were still in primary school, Hanayo had wounded her knee. There was a little blood streaming out, but before she could start crying Rin had already knelt down, grabbed her leg and kissed her wound, licking away the blood. Hanayo was so surprised that she forgot to cry, but after she was done with her wound, Rin still comforted her.
From that day on, whenever Hanayo got a cut or an abrasion, Rin was there to kiss her wounds. She said that she always saw cats licking their wounds, and if it worked for cats, it worked for her. Although, since licking would be weird, she'd decided to go for kissing instead. Hanayo wasn't sure if kissing was any less weird than licking, but she didn't question it. After all, Rin's kisses were very effective. Even just seeing Rin approach would ease her pain. Furthermore, she'd noticed the only person Rin kissed (she didn't consider licking herself as something weird) was Hanayo, and that observation made her happy, though she did not know why.
By the end of primary school, Rin had expanded her kissing territory to also include the bruised parts of Hanayo's body. Perhaps it was because Hanayo, despite still being clumsy, had learned better how to avoid getting wounds. Or perhaps Rin was just copying a cat again. Whatever the reason, any blue, green or purple spot that appeared on Hanayo's skin would quickly be covered by Rin's healing lips.
Their classmates' response had evolved as well. In the beginning some of them would ask Rin to kiss their wounds better too, but as Rin always refused they'd stopped asking. In the higher grades, every time Hanayo got hurt when Rin wasn't around, instead of running for the teacher their classmates would fetch Rin, cheering her on as she applied her kissing magic.
In middle school, things changed. A few girls had noticed Rin kissing Hanayo's knee during the opening ceremony and decided that the shy, clumsy girl was an ideal target for bullying. They'd cornered her the next day and mocked and belittled her, calling her all sorts of things, words that Hanayo didn't even know the meaning of. When Rin found her that afternoon, crying in an empty classroom, she didn't get mad, as Hanayo had expected, and neither did she suggest putting an end to their special relationship, as Hanayo had feared. She'd just taken Hanayo's hands and kissed them, kissed every wet part of them, kissed all the salty wetness away, and after finishing with her hands she'd moved on to Hanayo's face, kissing the tears from her cheeks before finally moving on to her eyes. That evening, Hanayo took a long, cold shower, which did not prevent the dreams she had that night, dreams she would never tell anyone about, would not even write down in her diary.
Still, that day changed their relationship. After that day Rin stopped kissing her in public, instead treating her with the same affection she showed to her other friends. But at the end of every day she'd come with an excuse and ask Hanayo to stay a little longer after school, to help with homework, or cleaning duty, or just hang around. No matter the reason, they would invariably find themselves in an empty classroom, or, if the weather allowed it, on the roof. There, Rin would ask her if Hanayo had any cuts or bruises, so that she might heal them.
As Hanayo's body had grown, so had her control of it, and she rarely had bruises anymore, and never any cuts. And yet, she could always think of something that hurt, if ever so slightly. After a long day of writing notes and exercises, her hands and wrists would hurt, and Rin would kiss them until they didn't. A gym class would exhaust her legs, and Rin would kiss them from her socks all the way up to the hem of her skirt.
But her favourite days were those when she'd had to speak in public. She'd always been terrified of public speaking, but the prospect of Rin's soft lips at the end of the day had allowed her to conquer her fears. She was still afraid, but it was a fear subdued by expectation. When Rin kissed her hands or legs, it felt as if they were melting, but when Rin covered her throat in kisses, breathed warm breaths on her collarbone, it felt as if her whole body was melting, as if she was flowing into Rin's lap, soaking through her clothes, becoming one with her.
Rin never asked for anything in return. When they were young, Hanayo never thought anything of it, but as she grew older it started bothering her. Why did Rin never ask for anything, not even a single kiss? Did she not think it would help? Did she not like the idea of being kissed by Hanayo? No matter how insecure she was, Hanayo had to admit that Rin was obviously very fond of her. So why? Rin never showed any trouble with asking for what she wanted. Of course, Hanayo could ask Rin about it, but... Actually, she couldn't. Maybe one day she'd build up to courage to ask Rin. For now, she'd have to let it rest. And thus their middle school days went by.
They entered high school and everything continued like before. They met up almost every day so Rin could kiss Hanayo, and almost every day Hanayo would wonder about their relationship. She worried that Rin wanted more in return and was giving her signs but that she didn't see them. She worried that Rin was perfectly happy with how things were and that she was the only one who thought of change. She worried that someone would find out, a teacher or a classmate. But most of all she worried about her own desires, desires that she had gradually become aware of.
She'd always loved Rin, of course. In primary school she'd loved her as her best friend. In middle school she'd loved as something more than that, but what exactly it was, she did not know. Now that they were in high school, though, she knew. She knew that she was completely in love with her, had been falling in love with her for years, and now that she'd stopped falling and landed and looked around at her surroundings she realised she had no idea where she should go from here.
While she was still thinking about that, things from outside intruded on their relationship again. Joining the School Idol Research Club was a dream come true, and having Rin join as well was great, but she hadn't realised in advance how much work it would bring after school. Before she joined they'd been able to meet more often than not, but now she was lucky if they even managed a single secret rendezvous per week.
It made her crazy, absolutely crazy. And it made her even more aware of how much Rin meant to her. Every day after school and training she longed to be touched by Rin, and to touch her. She wanted to return the caressing Rin showed her. And (though she did not tell her diary) she would lay awake some nights, imagining Rin kissing her under her clothes, kissing Rin under her clothes, in places that no one else had ever seen. They'd stopped bathing together somewhere in middle school but her memories were still vivid.
But still she didn't know what to do. She felt that she couldn't contain her feelings much longer, that sooner or later she'd burst and start gushing to the nearest classmate or µ's member about her love for Rin. She'd have to confess, or things would only get worse. Or did she? Maybe Rin would... No! She cursed herself for her thoughts. To think that Rin would look down on her for confessing her love. It almost felt like a betrayal. Whether or not Rin felt the same way, she wouldn't think any less of Hanayo. She'd have to confess... Somehow...
Two months after joining µ's she made her move and asked Rin to come to an empty classroom in the break. She'd hidden in the hallway, half fearing that Rin wouldn't show up, half that she would. After spotting her enter the room, she'd needed a full minute to calm herself down and follow her.
But now that Rin stood before her, an expectant look on her face, Hanayo did not know what to say, her mind was blank. Rin waited patiently for a while, but when it seemed as if Hanayo wasn't planning on doing anything she opened her mouth, about to say something. Hanayo panicked and shushed her, asked her to close her eyes, and told her that she was hurting a lot, not from anything that had happened, but from things that hadn't, their private times after school, and that she wanted to ease her pain, but this time Rin wouldn't have to do anything, Hanayo would be the one to... well... anyway, if Rin didn't like it, she could just say it, or walk away, or...
Hanayo waited a few seconds, but Rin just stood there with her eyes closed, waiting, a very slight smile on her face. She took a step forward, gave her a peck on her cheeks and stepped back again. Rin did not react, although it seemed as if her smile had gotten slightly larger––or maybe that was just Hanayo's imagination.
She stepped forward again and gave Rin another kiss on her cheeks. Now that she'd calmed down somewhat she could actually feel again, feel the softness of Rin's skin. If this was what her own skin felt like to Rin she could understand why that girl liked to kiss her so much. She kissed her again, even longer this time, almost ten seconds, moving her lips a little over Rin's warm cheeks––it felt as if they were warmer after every kiss.
She leant back a bit. In her fantasies she'd always been too embarrassed to get to Rin's face, but now that she stood here, she was barely embarrassed at all. A little voice popped up in her head to tell her that it was just like when she became a school idol, but she immediately repressed it. She had more important things to do. She looked at Rin's face.
Rin's cheeks were red, and so were her ears. She still had her eyes closed, and Hanayo thought to herself that she'd never seen anything more adorable. She grabbed Rin's shoulders, pulled her close and move her lips to her left ear. She breathed once and kissed her, kissed the bottom of her ear, the middle, the top, the bottom again, took a small part of her earlobe between her lips and breathed softly, then kissed her behind her ear and slowly moved down. She kissed Rin's neck a few times, the skin there had also become red––where did she usually store all that blood, Hanayo wondered––and she pressed her face against it, enjoying the warmth.
And so they stood for a few hours, or a few seconds––Hanayo did not know. And when the bell sounded they went back to class, and did not say anything about what happened. But that afternoon Rin took her to a secluded spot in the park, and told her her own feelings. And they cried a little and laughed a little at how silly they had been for not being more honest with themselves and each other. But then they looked ahead. They no longer needed an excuse to meet up, they had a reason now. And from that day on they would spent many breaks together in a secluded spot, and have a sleep over every week-end. And during idol practice, when none of the others were paying attention, they'd steal a kiss (although nothing went past Nozomi, of course).