A/N: Well, my second story. Hope you like it; I'm super nervous about posting this. Dx Anyway, the M rating is for sexual content, but there will most likely not be any graphic sex. Sorry, but I would most likely fail at really graphic stuff. Oh, and the lines in italics are the breaks. I can't figure out a good break to use so I'm sticking with this for now. Thanks for reading, and I'd love some good constructive criticism :)

"I love you."

Rima froze, her mouth agape and her eyes half open as she stared up at Nagihiko with a dumbstruck expression on her face. He was joking, right? He had to have been. But yet the expression on his face made it as plain as day to Rima that Nagihiko was indeed not joking.

"Wha..." Rima couldn't form words to vocalize her utter disbelief. Nagihiko was confessing to her? Really? There was nobody around except for the two of them so he had to be talking to her.

"I know this may seem sort of sudden, but I've been in love with you for quite a long time, and even though you really hated me at first, I feel like we've been getting closer over the past few years." Well, yeah. But that was just because he was Amu's other best friend, and it would save her a lot of trouble if she acted decent to him. By no means did it mean she actually had feelings for him.

"I... I don't know what to say," Rima muttered, her eyes downcast as she struggled to find a way out of this situation without ruining everything. If she rejected him, their "friendship" would be severely affected, and it might even jeopardize her relationship with Amu. If she lied and said she felt the same, she would have to pretend day after day that she felt something that she didn't.

"Well, what are you feeling? Even if it displeases me, I want to know how you really feel about me," Nagihiko suggested, and it seemed to Rima like he knew exactly what she was thinking in this moment.

"I... I don't love you," Rima simply, biting her lip as she looked to the side. It was true, she didn't love Nagihiko, and never would. It was impossible for her to love someone like that, even though it would make everything so much easier.

"Oh, I see. Well, perhaps you would like to-"

Rima cut Nagihiko off with a small shake of her head. "I have no interest in dating. Going out with boys is completely unappealing to me, so sorry."

"Ah... then that's fine."

Even though Nagihiko said it was okay, Rima knew it wasn't. Even though there was a smile on his face, she could see in his eyes that he was very upset; even his wonderful acting skills couldn't hide that.

"I'm sorry," Rima muttered, and she actually was. She was sorry she had to reject him, and sorry that their relationship would be strained, but she didn't love him, and she never would.

But yet, she did feel something

The next day dragged on. Every minute seemed to last an hour, every exchange between Rima and Nagihiko seemed to slow down time. Every time he looked up at met her eyes, it seemed to be a thousands seconds before Nagihiko could bring himself to look away. When their knees bumped under the table, his heart began beating so fast he was sure everyone else could hear it and he would quickly jerk it away, bumping the table in the process.

Tadase seemed to notice that something was up, but he was the only one and seemed to think better than pointing it out. When he met Nagihiko's eyes he gave him a small smile, which was weakly returned. It was like he was urging him to stay strong... but Nagihiko wasn't sure if he could. Maybe it was all those years in a skirt, but he felt like he would cry every time words left Rima's perfect, pink lips.

What could he do? Leaving the classroom to go to the bathroom would only be a temporary escape, and ditching class was something Nagihiko would not even consider. He could move to sit by Fuyuki or some of his other friends, but that was more than a little suspicious, and the last thing he wanted was for anyone to find out what had happened.

Nagihiko sighed as he rested his face in the palm of his hand, thinking about the futility of his situation. Amu looked up at him from across the table. "Nagi, are you alright?"

"Oh, yeah! I'm fine!" Nagihiko insisted, a huge and rather unnatural smile on his face. Rima snorted, leaning back and crossing her arms over her chest from her seat cornered to his.

"Now who was the one who told me to say me true feelings? Isn't that a little hypocritical?" she asked sarcastically, giving him a condescending look that Nagihiko definitely didn't expect her to. He wasn't sure if she was mocking his present denial of his emotions, or if she was challenging him about her telling him the truth the day before, or if she was maybe just treating him like she normally would.

"I'm fine, Rima-chan," Nagihiko insisted, his eyes darkening a bit as he glared across the table at her.

"Are you really?" Rima asked, a smirk forming on her face as she stared at him, leaning forward and resting her arms on her lap. Nagihiko knew that she already knew the answer to her question, though, and was sort of surprised at the sadism she was exhibiting to him.

"Why do I feel like I'm missing something?" Amu asked, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion as she watched her two best friends have a heated stare-down.

"Rima-chan, I assure you I am fi-" Nagihiko cut himself off as Rima leaned forward slightly and he felt a hand on his knee. Rima rubbed his knee in circular motions, her hand slowly going higher and higher until-

Nagihiko jumped to his feet, his chair shooting out behind him and clattering to the floor with a crash that made the whole class stare at him. His friends' eyes were wide, save for Rima, who had a smug sort of expression on her face.

"Fujisaki-san, is something the matter?" The teacher asked, looking up from her stack of papers with an obviously confused look on her face. Nagihiko's mouth fell open for a moment, before he shook his head.

"No, I just..." Nagihiko froze and bit his lip, staring down at Rima who was biting her lip and staring up at him. What the hell was she doing? It was like she was flirting with him! Like salt in an open wound, doing so was only making him more depressed about what had happened between them. "It's nothing, I'm sorry."

Nagihiko picked his chair up of of the floor and pulled it back to his spot, scooting closer to Tadase than he normally would so that he was further away from Rima. The blonde boy seemed to notice this, and gave Nagihiko a suspicious look but didn't speak; if Nagihiko wasn't going to bring it up, then he wouldn't either.

And yet...

he would later wish he had said something more desperately than he would have ever expected

If Nagihiko thought that first day was long, it was nothing in comparison to the rest of the week. He wasn't sure if Rima knew what she was doing, but the things she said would have connotations only he could catch. If they would brush each other in the hall, which seemed to be occurring a bit too often, it would seem to last a bit too long, but that may have just been Nagihiko's imagination.

It was getting unbearable; If Nagihiko didn't have more self control he would have snapped. But he couldn't do that, because she was acting more or less like she usually did. If anything, Nagihiko was the one acting awkward. After that first day he was so paranoid that Rima was going to do something weird that he was going out of his way to be apart from her. His friends were noticing his odd behavior, more or less, but none of them seemed to know quite what was going on, and they didn't really suspect that it had anything to do with Rima.

Nagihiko was pretty sure Rima knew why he was acting strange, though. On the rare chances they would make eye-contact, he would almost say that she looked rather apologetic. It was almost as if she hadn't had wanted to hurt him in the first place... But then again, that might have just been because Amu was spending more time with him then usual, in a desperate attempt to cheer him up.

And then, there came a day in which Nagihiko couldn't take it anymore, and he let his desperate little facade slip just a little. When talking about love with his friends (Of course Amu was thinking of her darling long-distance boyfriend Ikuto and Kukai was thinking of Utau) while they were eating lunch together, he expressed his current feelings for said emotion, "Love is just the worst thing ever."

And at once it became clear to the others what was going on: he had been rejected. Nobody knew by who, though, except for Tadase, who just had the vaguest of suspicions lurking in the back of his mind.

"Why do you say that, Nagi?" Amu inquired, her face wearing a quite cute and puzzled look on it. Rima pointedly looked away from the long-haired boy and picked at her food abashedly.

"Well, I mean I suppose its great if it's mutual, but when it's one-sided it's the worst thing in the world," he sighed, resting his head on the palm of his hand, nearly setting his elbow into his lunch. Kukai raised an eyebrow at this, before looking up at him with a sympathetic sort of expression.

"So you were rejected?" Nagihiko nodded slightly in response, causing Amu to give him a sad look.

"I'm sorry Nagi. Who was it?"

Nagihiko couldn't answer that. He couldn't dare tell Amu that her other best friend had rejected him; she would be mad and then Rima would be hurt. And, even though he had been rejected, he still loved her and didn't want to cause her discomfort. "It's nobody you know."

Just for a brief second Nagihiko's eyes flashed across the table, and he and Rima stared at each other before he quickly looked away. He knew she felt guilty, but he didn't want to see it. It would hurt him all the more. And, even though he wouldn't admit it, he still wanted to hang onto some pride; maybe that was the true reason he wouldn't tell anyone what had happened.

The rest of his classes that day seemed to last even longer than usual, especially when every time he glanced over at his right he saw Rima looking at him. He wondered what exactly she was doing, what kind of game she was playing, before realizing that she pitied him.

Nagihiko was set to tell her off, to tell her not to feel guilty for her emotions, and maybe ask her to keep away from him a little bit... but Rima got to it first. When the bell rang and everyone began to gather up there stuff, she approached him. "Hey, can I speak to you for a moment?"

Nagihiko froze, his arm hanging in the air stupidly as he held his book above his bag, before regaining his senses and continuing his motion.

"Yeah, what do you want?" he asked, setting his book in his bag the closing it. Rima bit her lip and shuffled her feet, refusing to meet eyes with the taller boy.

"I meant alone," she muttered, most likely knowing full well the implications of what she was saying. Nagihiko did not like this, it would be the first time the two were alone together since he had confessed, but he knew he had to talk to her.

"Oh, sure," Nagihiko replied after a moment's hesitation. He slung his bag over his shoulder and followed Rima as she walked from the classroom after a brief wave towards Amu and Tadase, who watched them walk off curiously.

After walking for a short while, Rima entered an empty classroom and Nagihiko followed her inside. He had no idea what was going on, and as he slid the door shut he got the feeling that this was not going to end well. His mind spun as he thought of what Rima might be about to tell him: she was sorry that she had hurt him, she wanted him to calm down around her, she realized her mistake and really was in love with him... No, Nagihiko wouldn't even let himself dream of that; it would be horrible to get his hopes once again just to get shot down.

"Nagihiko..." Rima said after a long moment of silence, "I have a proposition for you."

"What kind of a proposition?" Nagihiko asked, thoroughly surprised at Rima's words. Rima had a moment's hesitation before answering, almost as if she wasn't sure of what she was saying.

"Well, you're in love with me, and lately you've been acting like a dumb-ass because I don't like you back." Nagihiko winced at how bluntly she spoke, but didn't interrupt. "And in the past few days I realized that although I don't love you or want to date you, I am attracted to you."

"What... where are you going with this?" Nagihiko asked, a glimmer of hope building in his chest.

"I... I think we should become friends with benefits."

Nagihiko's mouth dropped into a large "O" as he stared down at Rima. She had to be kidding. There was no way she meant what she was saying. He waited for the punchline, but after a minute or so he realized it was never going to come. "Are you serious?"

Rima's cheeks took on a hint of pink and she looked away. "Well, yeah. I mean, this way we both get what we want."

What they want? Rima may have been a fan of casual sex, but Nagihiko was definitely the kind that preferred long-term relationships. He loved Rima. He wanted to be her boyfriend, not her fuck buddy! "Rima-chan, I don't-"

Nagihiko stopped talking when Rima stood on her toes and pressed her lips to his. Her arms wound around his neck, she slowly pulled back after just a moment. "What were you saying, Nagihiko?"

And although it was a horribly bad idea and Nagihiko was very aware of this fact, the feeling of Rima's lips on his had killed every ounce of reason he possessed. "Maybe we could give this a try."

Rima would get what she wanted, and Nagihiko would get to be with her more. And he was pretty sure that he would treat her better than the other guys she could ask to have a casual relationship with. As long as Rima was happy, then he would be happy...

He loved her after all