Chapter 22:

The Villain’s Best Friend

My Cute Kohai is Actually My Archnemesis?!

“You know…” Reiko looked Reyna up and down with a thoughtful expression. “You look really good in tights.”Bookmark here

The rush of heat Reyna felt definitely wasn’t her Power activating. With an indignant huff, Reyna pulled her mask on. “Keep your thoughts to yourself, Reiko,” muttered Reyna. “Saying that stuff out loud is embarrassing. And it isn’t form-fitting at all!” However, she suddenly felt very self-conscious and looked herself up and down.Bookmark here

Reiko could only giggle at Reyna’s reaction. “Well, it looks good regardless. It’s nice to know that your work clothes and your jogging pants aren’t the extent of your wardrobe.”Bookmark here

Reyna pouted. Hard. “It’s not my fault that I’m dirt poor! I’m trying to make ends meet here, you know.” She then sighed as she slumped over. “And I still haven’t thanked you for getting me the Globe job.” Straightening herself up, Reyna did a proper bow. “Thank you.”Bookmark here

It was Reiko’s turn to grow bashful. “H-hey, you don’t need to bow. I was just doing a friend a favour. Seriously!” Reiko folded her arms. “Now, stop bowing before I bonk you on the head!”Bookmark here

Reyna immediately backpedaled and shook her hands in front of her. “Nope! No need for that!”Bookmark here

“And I’ve offered to let you stay here many times,” Reiko said with a click of her tongue. “You never replied whenever I did. That hurts, you know!”Bookmark here

Reyna opened her mouth to refute it outright, but she realized there was no way she could defend herself without explaining why. “Reiko…” she whispered. “I…”Bookmark here

“You don’t have to say anything.” Reiko smiled softly. “I’ll still be your friend at the end of the day.”Bookmark here

“It’s not that.” Reyna stared down at her one gloved hand and felt the phantom pain that plagued it. She shook her head clenched her hand into a fist. “There’s just some things I’m scared of bringing with me.”Bookmark here

Reiko seemed to notice her hesitation and frowned. “Reyna. You really don’t have to say anything. I’m your friend. Your best friend. And I’m here for you. But that doesn’t mean you have to tell me everything.”Bookmark here

Reyna looked at Reiko and smiled sadly. “Thanks, Reiko. Maybe…Maybe I’ll tell you another time. But not now. Now isn’t the time for what we’re about to do.”Bookmark here

“Got it.” Reiko nodded. “Well, you’re not wrong there, I suppose. I’m literally about to be your girl-in-the-chair. And you’re Public Enemy Number One right now. If I slip up, we’re both in trouble.”Bookmark here

“At least we’ll go down together, right?”Bookmark here

“Contrary to what you might think, Reyna: I do have a life outside of you.”Bookmark here

Reyna scratched the back of her head sheepishly. “Yeah, sorry. Thanks for looking out for me. And helping look for these Moon Raven guys. I definitely couldn’t do it on my own.”Bookmark here

Reiko snorted at that. “You don’t even have internet right now. I really am your only hope, eh?”Bookmark here

Reyna nodded. “You really are the best friend someone could ask for, you know? I was really afraid of how you would react when I told you.”Bookmark here

“Yes!” Reiko exclaimed with smug satisfaction. “Praise me more!”Bookmark here

“Of course, Lady Reiko. Your greatness exceeds my own infamy.”Bookmark here

“Infamous. You really are, aren’t you?” Reiko suddenly took on a wistful smile. “I remember when I was an outcast for a bit. It was pretty fun.”Bookmark here

Reyna deadpanned. “I think you and I have very different viewpoints of what having fun means.”Bookmark here

“Anyways!” Reiko ran up to Reyna and grabbed her hands. Reyna flinched and tried to jerk her gloved arm away, but Reiko’s grip was iron. “Do you think Hoshi would like seeing you like this?”Bookmark here

Reyna’s brain stopped working. After it rebooted, she widened her eyes and her head burst into flames. Reiko bent over in laughter as Reyna yelled, “WHAT!? Why would you ask that!? Do you have any idea what he might say!?”Bookmark here

Reiko heaved for air in between laughs. “H-he might say you look sexy instead of saying you look cute!”Bookmark here

Reyna’s red face complemented her raging blue inferno of hair. “THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT, REIKO!”Bookmark here

Reiko crumbled in the face of Reyna’s anger and collapsed onto the ground in laughing pains. “Y-your face! I-I’m so sorry! Haha! If you only knew, haha! Sheesh!”Bookmark here

“If Michiaki saw me, he would call the police! That’s it!”Bookmark here

Reiko, to her credit, recovered quickly as she sat up and wiped some tears away. “Oh god, you really are a treasure, aren’t you, Reyna?”Bookmark here

“What do you even mean by that?” Reyna huffed. “I’m just someone who’s trying to do right by me.”Bookmark here

“There’s a lot of people like that, me included. You don’t think I’m your friend just because, right?” Reiko got to her feet and prodded Reyna, causing her to flinch. “Your reactions are hilarious!”Bookmark here

“I will break off being friends with you.”Bookmark here

“You won’t have anymore friends after that. Are you really okay with that?”Bookmark here

Reyna’s flames sputtered. “W-wait, Reiko—“Bookmark here

“Well, I guess we’re not friends anymore.”Bookmark here

They died a little more. “Reiko, please—“Bookmark here

“And I wanted to help you too. Finding any trace of the Moon Ravens must be really hard when you don’t have a friend.” Reiko hummed and placed a finger on her chin. “Who are you again?”Bookmark here

“I’m sorry! Please forgive me! Stay my friend! My best friend!”Bookmark here

“Okay!’Bookmark here

Reyna almost collapsed from relief, and the flames on her head extinguished completely. “Thank you, Reiko. Thank you. I need you.”Bookmark here

“I’m not your only friend, you know. That’s why I wasn’t too worried about you even if we weren’t friends.”Bookmark here

“H-huh?” Reyna asked. “What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“Hoshi Michiaki, of course!” Reiko said. “You know, your coworker? You have his number right? He’s a friend now, isn’t he?”Bookmark here

“No! We’re just partners out of necessity, that’s all.”Bookmark here

“Are you sure about that?”Bookmark here

“Yes. He clearly doesn’t see me as anything more than a nuisance.”Bookmark here

Reiko quirked an eyebrow. “I don’t know about that one. He considers anyone he knows as a friend, which by default makes you his friend, you know?”Bookmark here

“Michiaki? Really?” Reyna scoffed, before looking down quietly. “I mean, have you seen how we treat each other? Why would he ever want to be friends with me…”Bookmark here

“So far, he’s the only one I’ve seen you be your true self around,” Reiko said. Reyna sent a questioning glance her way, and Reiko corrected herself. “A more true version of yourself, at least.”Bookmark here

After a moment, Reyna scowled. “I still don’t like him.”Bookmark here

Reiko giggled. “I guess you don’t have to.” She stretched and plopped down across from her desktop. “Well, fire girl? What are you waiting for? Your patrol isn’t going happen in my living room.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll get moving. And it’s ‘Flare’!”Bookmark here

“Flare, shmare. You’re Reyna to me, so I’ll call you that.”Bookmark here

“No! Call me Flare while I’m like this! I might get caught!”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s a real possibility alright—”Bookmark here

“REIKO!”Bookmark here

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