Author: EzMouse PM
AU. Natsume Hyuuga has everything a teenager could ever ask for—except a girlfriend. He claims that he isn't interested in dating, so everybody thinks he's secretly in love with his best friend. Best friend equals me. Ridiculous, I know. NxM.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Mikan S. & Natsume H. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,918 - Reviews: 86 - Favs: 88 - Follows: 109 - Updated: 11-02-11 - Published: 10-14-11 - id: 7462878
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: You know the drill. Gakuen Alice belongs to Higuchi Tachibana.
Written by EzMouse
Could it be that we were meant to be something more?
It was one of those typical Thursday afternoon and the sun was nearly setting. The vast blue sky had dissolved into an orange canvas, and most of the students were already on their way home.
Not for me.
I was seated on the bleachers at the school gymnasium, and it had been a good hour and half since I've been waiting here, reluctantly watching the school basketball team doing their daily afternoon practices. Not that I find watching a bunch of sweaty guys running around entertaining, but there was nothing much I could do.
It was the beginning of the semester, and they were having try-outs to recruit new members for the team. At every corner of the room, the guys were jogging, doing sit-ups and push-ups, having shooting practice, and some were playing some one-on-one. Okay, so watching basketball players practice may seem entertaining to some people—ahem—referring to the cheerleaders on the far side of the court who kept giggling every ten seconds—ahem—but unlike them, I wasn't here because of my own free will.
Why I was even here when I could be at home, slumped down on the couch and munching on some pizza while watching whatever was on Velvet, I will never know.
Oh, the things I do for my best friend.
"Natsume!" a player shouted, dribbling the ball with his left hand while he tried to slip through the other players who were blocking him. When he finally saw an opening, he passed the ball to Natsume, who easily caught it with one hand.
A few other players began surrounding him, and Natsume dribbled the ball steadily while eyeing each opponent with tact and caution. He faked left and his defender bought the trick, and Natsume came charging towards the hoop like a bolt of lightning. He stopped at the three-point line when nearly all his opponents had caught up to him. I suddenly winced when he sneaked a glance in my direction—while smirking in the process—before hopping backwards and throwing the ball in the air towards the hoop.
It bounced against the board and on the rim, rolling around it before falling inside the basket smoothly. The signal for the game ended with Natsume's team winning with a three-point lead. It was a clear win from the beginning. His teammates approached and congratulated him, patting him on the back and ruffling his hair. I couldn't help but wrinkle my nose at the sight of them exchanging perspiration upon contact with each other.
Seriously, I will never understand the male mind.
Before I could continue my nonsensical reverie, a low voice spoke beside me. I tore my eyes away from the court and directed it to the person who was now sitting closely beside me—a little too close—and eyed him questioningly, unable to make out what the devious grin on his face meant.
"Why are you always alone when you come here? You don't seem like one of the cheerleaders," he mused, leaning in even closer. I shifted in my seat and backed away uncomfortably as he did so. "Are you waiting for somebody?"
Judging from the way he spoke, I already knew that he was one of the freshmen who came to try out for the team. Okay, I'm not exactly into the whole cougar thing. Are all freshmen this aggressive these days? Sheesh.
I opened my mouth to speak, but I felt a tug on my elbow, and not a second later, I was yanked off my seat. I looked over shoulder and found myself leaning against somebody. I had to tilt my head up completely before I could see who it was.
"That would be me," came Natsume's voice sounding stern. He glanced down at me before returning his gaze back at the guy who looked rather—pardon my term—constipated. "And you are?"
Said guy stiffened, obviously in shock. He scrambled to his feet and brushed past us without another word. I was sure he mumbled something close to 'I didn't know she was Captain Hyuuga's girlfriend' before tripping on his own feet and running away like mouse. Well, that wasn't the first time people misunderstood.
The hand that was gripping onto my arm loosened, and I turned around to face Natsume. Beads of sweat were running down his arms, neck, and the side of his face, and his sleek, tousled, black hair was damped. He tugged on the end his shirt and pulled it up to wipe some of the sweat dripping down his chin, and my eyes reflexively traveled down to his bare, flat stomach.
"Checking me out, Mikan?" he asked, the corner of his lips curling up into a smirk.
I rolled my eyes. "You wish."
It wasn't as if I wanted to look down there. It's kind of an involuntary action to look when something is being shown to you before you can register what it is you're actually looking at. If some other girl was in my place right now, she probably would have fainted—or drooled. Let's face it, because I've had this type of guy as my best friend since forever, it's not surprising to admit that I have seen him topless more than once in my life—more often than necessary, in fact, but who's asking—and that alone has already made me immune to his 'pheromones' or whatever you call it.
And besides, why on earth would I be 'checking out' a person whom I treat like my own flesh and blood? Exactly my point.
I snatched the towel hanging from his duffel bag and the water bottle next to it, and handed it to him roughly to express my annoyance.
He chugged a mouthful of water and slung the towel over his shoulder before saying, "How was I? Tell me how awesome I was and that you couldn't take your eyes off me." He went for another drink as he waited for my reply.
This was a question he never let slip whenever he ended practice. He always came to me with that cheeky smirk of his in order to fish out anything tenuously close to a compliment about his 'incredible playing skills' to inflate his huge ego.
He wouldn't let me hear the end of it unless I say something, so even though it was against my will, I said, "You did good."
He didn't look all too pleased with that as he lowered his drink to meet my eyes, but he still kept the mouth of the bottle on his lips. He beckoned me to go on, his eyebrow stretching upward.
I crossed my arms over my chest and returned his gaze, trying to make a point that there was nothing to follow after that statement. That, however, only made his eyes intensify, so much that it nearly shouted: tell me what I want to hear or I'll kill you.
"Fine, you were awesome and I couldn't take my eyes off of you. Happy?" I acted as if I spat the words. He took it all in and felt highly satisfied with himself, ignoring the fact that my voice was dripping with sarcasm when I said it.
"Yeah, I know you love me." He ruffled my bangs playfully and I swatted his hand away.
A group of guys approached us soon after; it was Natsume's friends and teammates. One guy patted him on the shoulder then looked at me.
"Yo, Mikan," Kokoro Yome, the Vice Captain, greeted. He was only a few centimeters shorter than Natsume and his noticeably spiky blonde hair stuck out in different directions. A goofy grin lit up his face when he said, "Hug?" as he spread his arms to his side.
"Hey, Koko." I smiled then eyed him head to toe. He was just as sweaty as his teammates; only, he looked far worse than the rest of them. He knew that, of course. "And, no. Air hug?"
"Nah, boring." He shook his head and launched himself towards me, but Natsume caught the back collar of his shirt and pulled him away before he could touch me.
"Bah, Natsume's no fun." Koko pouted. "Since you keep bringing her here, you should at least share her!"
"Yeah, I don't think so," Natsume deadpanned. "You stink, man. Go take a shower."
"It's not like you smell any better," he retorted. "Mikan, your best friend's a jackass. Have I told you that?"
"Always has been," I agreed, nodding. "And yes. I think it's the million and fifth time that you've told me."
Cue Natsume's signature death glare right… now.
"It's not like I have a choice, do I?" I said, elbowing Natsume in the ribs.
"Yeah, he pretty much has you tied around his finger." At that moment, I completely froze as a blonde young man with the most amazing blue eyes I had ever seen sauntered towards us. "Hi, Mikan." He sent a smile in my direction. All I could do was let out an awkward chuckle as an answer as he gave Natsume a high-five.
"You missed our game," the latter said.
"Did you forget? I was finishing off the papers that you left," Ruka said matter-of-factly.
Natsume held his hands up in defeat and chuckled. "I know you got my back."
"I kind of have to."
His name was Ruka Nogi. In contradiction to Natsume's Badass Jock image, Ruka claimed the title of Prince Charming. While Natsume is the basketball team's captain and the Student Council Vice President—who hardly did anything, might I add—Ruka is the Student Council Secretary and he handles most of the tough jobs Natsume is too lazy to take care of himself. No, Ruka isn't on the team, but I've seen him play some one-on-one with Natsume over summer break and he's actually pretty good. According to him, though, being on the team would be too much work, so he didn't bother joining. He also said that he didn't want to 'steal' Natsume's spotlight.
Among the rest of the guys in school, Ruka was the most decent and probably the only one I commended to be normal.
Natsume caught my cheek in between his fingers and pinched it, snapping me out of my train of thought. I knew he wasn't pulling too hard, but the sting it left made me wince in pain.
"Stop gawking at my best friend," he snapped.
"Which best friend are you talking about again?" I glowered at him.
"You're my best-best friend," he reassured. "And you are gawking at my other best friend." He pointed to Ruka.
I smacked his arm until he let go, rubbing my cheek with my hand while he and his annoying friends let out a series of chuckles.
"Hey, handsome…" a sly voice said from behind us.
Here comes Ms. Popular Girl and head cheerleader, Luna Koizumi, in all her glory, followed by her loyal subjects—cronies—back-up—minions. One of Natsume's teammates shamelessly let out a wolf whistle as the girl strutted her way towards us, her hips swaying from side to side as she walked a straight line—and by that, I meant one foot in front of the other like how a supermodel would walk. When she approached us, she flirtatiously whipped her back and winked, causing the all the guys in the gym but Natsume and Ruka to swoon.
"Nice game, Natsume," she cooed. "I knew you were amazing."
He answered her with a nod, then immediately turned to me and said, "So, what were you saying about how you can't take your eyes off me?"
My eyes narrowed like saucers. "Oh, shut up, Natsume. Who would look at you?" I snarled.
He stuck his tongue out playfully. "Uh, I don't know… everybody?"
I was about to answer back with a carefully thought out retort, when I felt a pair of eyes burning down my back. Koizumi's furious eyes were glaring at me. Figures. The girl has had her eyes on Mr. Hot Stud Muffin right here since forever, and sees me as the number one threat to her happily ever after. There were a lot of girls who hated me for having the Natsume Hyuuga for a best friend, and Koizumi was one of them, leading the "Kill Mikan Sakura" hate club. I was sure as heck that I was at the top of the hate-list of probably three-fourths of the whole female student body. Meh, it was something I had to get used to sooner or later.
"Natsume…" Luna said again, resuming her attempts to get him to notice her. "The big game's coming up. My squad will work hard to cheer for you."
"Thanks," he answered more interestedly this time. "The squad looks great."
"We have practice in the field tomorrow after school. You will come to watch, right?" she asked in an engagingly hopeful tone.
"Tomorrow at noon?" He thought for a while then turned to me. "Wanna go?"
Startled, my eyes immediately flicked to Koizumi. If she had daggers for eyes, they would be shooting right at me that instant. "N-No, I'm busy… with homework and such," I said nervously.
"I guess I'm not going," Natsume declared, stretching his arms behind his head.
Koizumi raised a brow. "Wait, why?"
Natsume draped an arm over my shoulder and pulled me towards him. I tried to escape, but he kept me firmly in place. Did I mention that his shirt was drenched with sweat? Not cool. "We're kind of a package deal," he answered.
Koizumi shot me another look. Seriously, if she doesn't stop doing that, I might actually lose my cool and throw a ball at her face.
I slid out of Natsume's arm and took two steps away from him. The scowl soon contorted into a wide grin—a fake one, of course—and she walked up to me, a hand on my shoulder. "Then come too, Sakura?" her voice was coated with fake sugariness.
I nodded robotically, mirroring her forced smile. She smiled back (with teeth)—which was really creepy—then beamed at Natsume. Without saying a word, she turned her heel and snapped her fingers, walking off with her posse trotting after her.
"Natsume, it's Saturday tomorrow," I said with a tut.
"I know," he said indifferently. "But you're going, so I'm going."
So much for lazing around at home all day.
People began evaporating from the gym not long after, so I used it as a signal that we had to leave as well. I grabbed my backpack and Natsume's duffel bag from the bleachers and approached him. "Come on," I said. "I really need to go catch up on some homework, you know?"
He looked at me disbelievingly. "Speaking of that, since when have you been concerned about homework?"
"Since now. Let's go!" I pulled on his wrist, but he pulled me back.
"I'll take a shower first."
"Take a shower when you get home," I insisted, tapping my foot impatiently on the floor. "Give me your keys."
I didn't wait for him to respond as I dug my hand inside his pocket, yanked out his car keys and bolted out the gym. I started walking, but an abrupt thought stopped me from my tracks when I was already midway out.
Where did he say he park his car at?
I slumped my shoulders back and turned around. Natsume, who was clad in his jersey jacket, was leaning against the wall next to the door, his arms crossed. I shook my head and beckoned him to get going, which he responded by pushing himself off the wall and brushing past me.
Sighing in defeat, I silently followed behind him through the parking lot to where his car was. I hopped in the passenger seat and shut the door, waiting for him to get inside. He got in after, inserting the key through the ignition and the car rumbled to life. He breezed through the parking lot and on the road in a cinch. It had become a habit for him to drive me to and from school ever since he got his license. I, on the other hand, have yet to pass Driver's Ed, which is quite far from now.
I stared outside the window, admiring the view of the neighborhood. It will take approximately fifteen minutes before we get to my house, and our rides were usually filled with conversations; funny how I never run out of things to talk about with a person I've known since my whole life.
"We seriously need to do something about me babysitting you during practice everyday," I said. "I have a life too, you know?"
"And I'm a part of your life. I'm allowed to take some of your precious time."
"You take all of my precious time."
Okay, this conversation is going nowhere. I am, once again, defeated.
"So," I started casually. "Koizumi was hitting on you earlier."
Not tearing his eyes from the road, he said, "Oh, was she? I didn't notice." An innocent smile was tacked on his face, looking like he didn't have a care in the world.
I snorted. "You never notice."
"Maybe I was too busy paying attention to you to notice," he countered. I didn't have to look at him to know that he was smirking.
"Should I be flattered by that statement?" I raised a brow at him.
"If you were a normal girl, you would be," he replied, almost as if he was challenging me. Tsk, tsk. Again with the sweet-talking. He is such a pro at this.
"Oh, I'm normal." I sat upright and leaned my head back on my seat. "Everybody else is just deluded and conned by your charming words."
"You think I'm charming?"
"No, I think Ruka's charming. You, on the other hand, have an ego the size of the solar system."
Natsume let out a subdued chuckle. "See, that's why you're my best-best friend. You're the only one who's impervious to my charms. That makes it easier to have you around without me worrying about your… temptations… and feelings," he said dramatically and with feigned distress.
I pinched the side of his arm aggressively. Unfortunately, he had his school jacket on which made my attempt a little less than effective to hurt him. He didn't even cringe, the thick-skinned jerk.
I shook my head in defeat as I accepted that I can't ever put a scratch on him no matter how hard I try. "Conceited as ever, aren't you? You don't have to stick with me if you don't want to, and I'm not—"
"Hey, hey," he cut me off, his cheery mood deteriorating. "Mikan, we've been together since we were born. Heck, we've been together since the womb. Wouldn't it be crazy if we suddenly just stopped hanging out?"
"Natsume, being around each other has driven both of us crazy in the last seventeen years," I nearly snarled.
My expression became lighter, however, as I began to recall those seventeen years. He was right. The longest that I've been away from him was a month when I went to summer camp. We were supposed to go together, but he refused, saying that he didn't want and need to explore the wonders of the great outdoors. I got mad, then he got mad, then I went to camp alone without telling him. A few weeks later, the Head introduced two new campers, which turned out to be Natsume and his sister, Aoi.
He reasoned out that Aoi wanted to go to summer camp when she heard I won't be home for two months. Figuring that she might be in need of a chaperone, Natsume went with her. Reluctantly, he said. Psh, like I'll believe that story.
"Just admit that you'll be a complete wreck without me," I teased. Hey, since he's been in the mood for this since this afternoon, I should just go with it.
"We both know it's the other way around, Mik," he said, using the nickname that meant that he was either challenging me, or ticking me off on purpose. In this case, it was both.
"Oh, yeah? I'll have you know that Aoi told me that when I left for summer camp, you wouldn't shut up about me at all. Being the kind and considerate sister that she was, she pretended to want to follow me and asked you to go together with her, seeing as how badly you wanted to see me again, Nattie," I said, dragging on the similarly annoying nickname I made up for him back when we were kids.
"Well, who was the person who wouldn't shut up about me during her alone time in summer camp, hm?"
Eyes wide, I veered at him. "And who did you hear that from?"
"Your roommate." He grinned wickedly then cleared his throat. "If I weren't so mad at him, I'd call him right now. I wonder what he's doing. He can go fall off a cliff for all I care, but I hope I can see him one more time before does … blah blah blah," he said in all mockery as he imitated my voice. "Desperate, much?"
I could have sworn my mouth was hanging open the whole time. "I did not! And I do not sound like that! Oh, whatever!" I moaned, flailing my arms.
"Boo, you're no fun anymore. I liked you better when you were painfully cheerful," he complained.
"I'm always painfully cheerful," I retorted. "It's just that when you annoy me like this that I get so worked up! And I liked you better when you didn't talk as much."
"Hey, you're the one who forced yourself to me. It's not my fault that we're stuck with each other now."
"Yeah? Well, here's an idea; why don't you just go out with Koizumi?"
That came out of the blue, and I didn't even fully register in my head that I said it until the car abruptly pulled to a stop. I would have crashed out the window if I wasn't wearing my seat-belt. Strands of hair were hanging all over my face and I brushed it away and turned to Natsume.
"Are you trying to get us killed?" I shouted, my voice cracking.
His eyes were glued to the road as if nothing happened and his face was stern. He then craned his neck to face me with a questioning brow in place. "You want me to go out with Luna Koizumi?"
I was taken aback by the sudden inquiry, and for some reason, I didn't know how to respond. I mentally slapped myself at the realization. "Of course not! I mean, I don't know! Who you go out with is none of my—it depends on who—it's not like you like her or anythi—wait, do you like her, Natsume? Really?" I fired off uncontrollably. I didn't know what I was saying anymore and I didn't take the time to question myself.
Natsume was just as shocked as I was. We held each other's gaze for a moment, until he broke into a hearty laugh. Huh? Why? Why was he laughing at me?
"What?" I spat, trying to appear as if I wasn't the least bit affected that he was making fun of me.
"Luna Koizumi? Seriously, Mikan, you need to get your brain checked," he amusedly said as he started the engine again.
I shook my head. "Well, anything can happen. Luna might actually turn out to be your type… or something. Okay, I know that sounded weird, but… be sure to tell me first. So, you know, I won't get a heart attack when Luna suddenly kisses you in front of me… Not that kissing you is a bad thing since she'll be your girl—"
I pursed my lips, realizing that I had been babbling nonstop again. Nodding, I faced front once again and no more words were exchanged between us after that. Now that I think about it, it was rather stupid of me to have given a lecture like that to Natsume. I knew nothing about love or dating, so I understood completely how he wouldn't like a lecture coming from me of all people.
"And yourself?" Natsume inquired. "Any boyfriends I should know about? I haven't kicked any butts lately."
It wasn't like I was the invisible girl that no one bothered to ask out. Being the most popular guy's best friend made the whole I-want-to-go-through-high-school-without-being-noticed act somewhat futile for my case. I've had a fair few guys come up to me before, but I was never the type to be interested in dating. Half the guys who asked me out weren't exactly boyfriend material, and the other half held a grudge on Natsume and just asked me out to get to him. They think hurting his best friend would hurt him, too.
I shrugged at Natsume. "Even if I did have one, I'd be too busy hanging out with you to give him the time of day."
"…Are you trying to make me feel better?"
"Thanks, kid." He grinned, ruffling my bangs once more.
"Hey, I'm only two months younger than you!"
The whole ride was filled with talks about age, childhood memories, and embarrassing encounters, until we finally reached the front of my house.
If you didn't know Natsume any better, you'll say he's badass and cool, somebody who drowned in overflowing attention and played around with girls. In actuality, he wasn't the type to cause trouble (unless provoked) and he didn't really care much about social status. Sure, he went out with some girls in the past, but none of them were remotely close to being a real 'girlfriend' to him. That necessarily didn't mean that he played around with them.
Most of the girls who went out with him just made themselves too easy and too… available. And by that, I mean, it didn't matter to them if it was long-term or not. Even if it was just for a day, the fact that they can be talking about how they went out with Natsume Hyuuga would be enough—and him falling in love with them is just a bonus. He knew better, of course, so he wouldn't go out with just anyone, especially those who would shamelessly throw themselves at him.
Now, because Natsume refuses to date anyone, the entire school thinks that he has 'secret feelings' for his best friend.
Best friend equals me. Ridiculous, I know.
END OF CHAPTER ONE
Author's Notes: Hello, lovely people. This was the product of my summer boredom. It's one of those stories, like Our Suicidal Engagement, that I unconsciously started writing about on a Saturday morning after waking up. It started out as a random drabble, but as I continued to write, it turned out something big in my head.
Anyway, I think I'll be leaving this chapter here for the time being. I don't know when I'm going to update it, since I'm still reluctant about continuing this, considering that I'm starting to dislike how I write in 1st person POV, and also because I don't know if you guys like the premise of this story.
Well, let me know what you think by hitting that review button over there. :)