Author's Note: Nope I'm not writing in my college. I don't want to, I guess because I can be erratic about writing and obviously because I'm just getting lucky in writing – no talent there at all. But thanks for the compliments. Heh. Glad there's been positive feedback about Hiko and Madam Fleur and even on Hitomi being a chef. Lol. Now you know who Madam Fleur is. Oh yes, about if this is going to be flashbacks of the other IAs, some parts I guess. Just like last chapter with the gate scene it came from the prom night and the other from when Allen and Hitomi broke up. Another thing, Hitomi coming back wasn't really planned. Her college instructor (Madam Fleur) just thought that Hitomi wouldn't come to the convention if she was told that it would be in Japan and therefore didn't tell until the last minute. But no conspiracy there, really. And the owner of the hotel? Lol. Next chapter maybe? This is getting too long… I'm off to e-mail people while I have the time and yeah, to anyone who wants to talk to me, Gaean Illusion is my home, lol. Sort of. Thanks for those who went there and of course, thanks for liking the story and sticking with it. Love the feedbacks and support and most of all, the compliments. Wow! Is that my ego? Oh, if I don't write often, sorry, got a life here. hehehe
Forgot this in the last chapter but I'll do this now…
(1) From Intruder Alert: Take Two Chapter 6 (the bar scene with Clover)
Chapter Dedication: Diesty-chan, Catelina, Dark-Dreams-69, Kat-Tastrophe, Wink57CS, Faraday, blue ice2, SabrinaYutsuki, Kya77, Magicman/Smokegirl, stephanie nancy, dreamingofflyingaway, bebopin-dreamer, prima, Lady Snow Blood, Kagome-Chi, mel88, fallen-dark-angel, Rei Tamashi, Silentnight, steves-girl, rabsi-babsy, Dilanda Albata, Joshua Glass, Karone Richardson, duh-hikki-zealot, Anonym, bittersweet partings, Mordicai, One-Mean-Rabbit, Kagome (are you Kagome-Chi?), Blue Demon, c'fay
"Intruder Alert" - dialogue
'Intruder Alert' - thoughts
Intruder Alert - flashback
Summary: Dilandau Albatou and Hitomi Kanzaki both have a new life. After life had taken some crazy roller coaster turns back in high school, another set of erratic twists are on the way. Because when everything seems alright, they are again thrown back for another ride. Although this time, the dice of chances are in their hands. To throw the dice and start the game once again would be up to them.
Standard Disclaimers Apply
Intruder Alert 4: Chances
Chapter Three: Haunt Me Still
"Oh you're also in business management?"
Hiko smiled and chewed on his grandly presented steak. A few moments of emptying his mouth of his food and his smile broadened. "Yes."
Madam Fleur laughed in her elegant way, her voice tinkling like a hypnotic chime. "Go on."
"Well, it seems the need for control runs in the family," Hiko continued amicably. "Dad even had me taking up corporate law. I never thought much of it but he had my life well planned out." He shook his head and looked positively amused. "The only one he couldn't map out is Hitomi."
Hitomi, thoughtful since the introduction of Hiko to Madam Fleur, gave a noncommittal shrug and sliced through her steak. She was comfortable just listening to the conversation of her two companions. It was giving her more time to think and analyze every single detail. For instance, she could delve for plausible reasons as to why Hiko seemed to be utterly charming that many females in the hotel's dining area was eyeing him covert interest. Another thing, she could wonder more why her mentor was quite interested in Hiko, as if he reminded her of someone.
"Hitomi can be unpredictable," Madam Fleur said with fondness and a strange twinkle in her eyes; another thing that Hitomi mentally added to the long and still growing list of what to ponder on. "That reminds me, Hiko. Would your schedule be unpredictable enough for you to be able to join us for tonight's dinner party?"
Hiko's green eyes swept across the surrounding tables nearby, flickering with slight impatience as he noticed the flirtatious and lusty looks he was receiving. "There are some factors," he began.
"Bring an escort. Surely you have a charming girlfriend to cling to you and help you escape the inevitable smothering of women."
Hitomi almost raised her brow quizzically and fixed her brother a curious look. He seemed to have felt her eyes for he turned to her and looked completely uncomfortable.
"I," he began hesitantly, watching his sister's expression closely while suppressing the strong urge to squirm.
"If Clover isn't busy, Hiko will be here," the honey-brown-haired Hitomi interrupted.
Hiko gave a small smile, his eyes looking guiltily down at his forgotten food.
Madam Fleur noticed the change in atmosphere and again, the strange twinkle appeared in her grey eyes. "Hitomi, dear, your brother would look splendid in a black tuxedo."
Hitomi gave a nod and observed her brother's subdued demeanor.
"My sweet child," Madam Fleur greeted, regally turning her face to receive a peck on both her cheeks.
A woman, tall and stunning, smiled gaily. "It's so nice to see you here!" Her blue eyes shone with excitement.
The older woman nodded and turned to the other young woman with a perfectly and marvelously tanned complexion. "I can tell you are faring rather well in the big world." She gestured to the people eating around them. "People of society have taken quite a liking to your hotel. And I must say, it is quite superbly run."
"I have some help," the golden-skinned woman replied, gesturing to the blue-eyed, pale-skinned woman with them. A staff, dressed impeccably, approached the table and gave a slight bow, passing a note that was quickly read through. "My apologies, Madam. I am needed for something."
"Go right ahead."
As soon as the other woman left, the blue-eyed one looked about anxiously before asking. "So, where is this student you always talk about? I'm so excited to see her! It's almost as if I already know her from all your stories."
"You have just missed her and her brother. But do not fret. They will be in tonight's party. I'm sure you'll all get along wonderfully. That reminds me of another thing." Madam Fleur smiled fondly. "Is your brother going to be present tonight?"
"That depends actually. He's been quite busy and you know how he could be when he's interrupted," she replied, shaking her head slightly, her pale blonde hair swishing about. "I still think nothing worked out. Even with how things are, he's still… detached at times. It worries me."
"Oh hush," the older woman said, her regal bearing surfacing as they conversed. "He will be alright, I assure you. He merely needs to iron a few creases that he refuses to fix."
"That's just it. He refuses to fix things and I can tell perfectly that it's coming after him." She sighed with irritation. "He's too stubborn for his own good. I have half the mind to slap his head upside down." Suddenly, she seemed perky. "Perhaps you can talk sense into him."
"And what makes you think that your incorrigible brother would listen to me?"
"I have an awful headache," Hitomi murmured to herself as she sieved through the long gowns in the closet of the guest room she used. "And I need to go to some party and socialize. Ugh! It's almost as if Yukari is here."
She pulled out a simple black gown and noticing with distaste that it was backless. She sighed and placed it back to where it belonged in the closet, opting to go to her old room instead and look at what was there. As she placed her hand on the knob, she looked around the guest room and felt hesitant.
When she arrived, she had chosen to stay out of her old room for one reason – to avoid memories. She didn't really understand why she was very opposed to going down memory lane. Perhaps it was because she'd rather forget the painful things that happened to her, or perhaps she wanted to forget the beautiful things that reminded her of what she lost and could never reclaim back.
Instantly, she withdrew her hand from the doorknob and looked at it blankly, her mind already going though both painful and sweet memories that she had so long ago. She wanted to pull back, so desperately needed time to prepare herself for reflection, but she couldn't. Being in this house, so near her room, brought so many things to her. It was as if those memories she had repressed to be able to move on were coming back with a strong retaliation.
The door opened slightly and soon, her brother's head peeked in. "Did I disturb you?"
She blinked profusely, clearing her eyes from the moisture that seemed so abundant all of a sudden. "No," she said, her voice slightly choked.
Hiko frowned and opened the door further, slipping into the space and holding his older sister's shoulders. "If you aren't well, maybe you could skip the party."
She sighed. "We promised we'll be there. I know you didn't want to come and it isn't right if I just send you alone."
"It's alright," he said. "Dad would have my head if I pulled you along when you're not feeling too good."
"But you hate socializing; you always have since we were barely a decade old."
He withdrew his hands and gave a mock martyr look. "The things I do for my sister."
Unnoticed, her lips quirked upwards and she hit Hiko's arm playfully. "We should talk."
He looked at her strangely and gave a grin. "We're talking."
She shook her head and walked back towards her bed, sitting on it and looking at Hiko. "No seriously, let's talk."
"And why do I get the feeling that I might possibly regret this?" He asked, but nevertheless, walking towards the bed and sitting beside his sister. She looked at him silently and he raised a brow, giving a mock look of impatience. "Well, speak up already. It's not good to muddle up my schedule you know."
Hitomi sighed and gave a tentative smile. "How's the thing with Clover?"
He gave an uncomfortable frown. "I knew I'd regret this. Goodness you're brutally straight. Couldn't you have danced around the topic first?"
"You're stalling, Hiko. And I thought you said it's not good to muddle up your schedule."
Raking his long fingers through his almost sandy-colored hair, he allowed his upper body to fall on the soft mattress. He appeared to be thinking intently and Hitomi waited silently for the next minutes, watching her brother's green eyes burn holes through the ceiling.
"I don't know," he said at last.
She raised a brow. "I think she likes you. I even think she's in love with you."
"She says so."
"Do you feel it?"
He shrugged, eyes glazing slightly. "She laughs at my jokes, even when I myself know I can be dorky at some punch lines. She hugs and kisses me even when I don't do that to her. She comforts me when I mess up on something and even when I often push her away. She finds way to come and see me, to talk to me and make sure I'm alright. Clover's wonderful, acts like I'm the best guy there could be."
Hitomi smiled slightly. "And how do you feel about it?" Hesitantly, she added – "Why are you so cold to her?" – not realizing that the beginning knots on her stomach was from self-reproach.
Hiko gave a laugh laced with seeping pain and guilt. "I don't really know."
And then everything was silent. Maybe because she didn't know what to say and maybe because Hiko obviously didn't want to talk about it anymore. But whatever the reason was, the silence continued to grow until there came a knocking on the door.
"Hitomi? Is your brother there? Clover is on the line," their mother's voice announced behind the door of the guest room.
"Go," Hitomi urged in a slightly high pitched voice. "It's time we get ready anyway."
He nodded and got off the bed, casting her one strained smile before leaving. After he did so, Hitomi was left alone to deal with the unease at the pit of her stomach. She knew how perceptive she was when it came to other people and at that moment, she'd bet everything she had on the nagging feeling that Hiko knew exactly why he treated Clover the way he did. And it made her feel like a real-life villain, so much like the version of her who had not yet known how it was to be treated like dirt.
The party, swinging in its full glory as it was, was grating on the nerves of her brain. Her migraine seemingly went on with the party, also in its full blast agony-inflicting spree. What she would give at that moment for just an opportunity to leave.
Thankfully, as if some unnamed power heard her, Madam Fleur approached her on her inconspicuous seat at one end of the large ballroom reserved for the party.
"Hitomi, you look tired," the older woman noted immediately. "You need a bit of fresh air."
Hitomi nodded before even registering that she had just been given a temporary pass from the party. But when her migraine-bothered mind finally grasped the meaning, she couldn't help but feel embarrassed about appearing so eager to leave the party. "No, not really," she quickly amended.
But her mentor would have none of it and urging her to stand up, pressed a key in her palm. "I am dreadfully apologetic that my niece and her friend are late for the introduction I wanted to transpire. Perhaps you should just drive around the block for a while and hopefully be replenished by the time you come back. I'm sure by then, they would be here." Motioning to the key, she added. "The car is just outside; it's my niece's extra car here in the hotel."
Stubbornly embarrassed, Hitomi opened her mouth to protest but had ended up shutting it without saying a word after Madam Fleur gave her a look that announced there was no room for argument. That was why, a few minutes later, she found herself driving around the block for a few minutes, before her eyes caught the sight of a certain street that vaguely reminded her of a park somewhere in this busy vicinity. Remembering the calm a park could give her – back in America and then in Japan some time then – she drove the car to the area and parked near the low metal fence of the park.
She walked around the place for a while, the light of the lampposts welcome in the night. A smile began to form on her lips and her migraine began to ebb away, especially when she sat down on one of the benches facing a small fountain, no doubt made to have children amused.
The lamp near the bench she sat on was apparently not in its best condition as its glass was dirty enough to dim the light it was supposed to cast. But it didn't matter to her at all. Everything suited her just fine – the silence, the dimness, the solitude. Those things made her mind relax and seem free to make a choice on what to do and so she just sat there, her eyes alternately fixed on the fountain and the stars that dotted the dark sky.
Time seemed useless from where she was sitting on and her mind soon drifted to memories long left locked up but never even once forgotten. She remembered how she and her friends in America would go about in parks, laughing, goofing off, and hanging around simply because they belonged with each other. Good times, she reflected, were things that she missed most. Not that she didn't have a fair share of it these past years but that it was just different having fun while not having to worry about work at the same time.
Her mind continued to delve deeper into things related to parks and just as she was about fading off into another memory of a rainy day in a park with a certain troublemaker, a distinct sound of a familiar ringing tone forcibly dragged her away. At first, she thought that somebody was there with her and she looked around, expecting to see another person on the verge of answering a phone call. When she discovered that she was still alone, she shook her head and reached for the cellular phone beside the car key on her lap. She glanced at the flashing name and almost rolled her eyes.
'It's almost as if I'm the younger one needed to be looked after,' she mused wryly as she answered the call.
"Hitomi, where are you?" Hiko's urgently worried voice immediately bombarded on her. "Madam Fleur told me you went out an hour ago and—"
"I'm in a park, two blocks off there," she replied resignedly and winced visibly when she realized that Hiko was clearly becoming more like her overly protective father.
"Alone? It's already near midnight and there's no telling who would stumble there. What if you get mugged? And don't even say you took up kendo because—"
"I'll be alright. I just need some time." She gave a sigh. "My migraine was driving me crazy."
He immediately quieted down. "Oh."
She laughed slightly, amused. "I'll be alright. Besides, you should keep Clover some company. I'll be back there a bit later."
"Are you sure?"
"I am," she insisted.
He still seemed uncertain and to placate him, she found herself promising that he could come and personally escort her back to the party if he felt that she had disappeared for far too long. Finally he gave in and she again found herself with the factors she needed to drown out reality and cruise back into the previous fond memory she was reliving before her brother called.
"There you are."
Madam Fleur turned around in a graceful way and smiled as she came face to face with one of the person she waited for. "At long last," she said in a teasing way as she received a peck on her cheek.
"I'm really sorry. There were just been some problems with you-know-who."
The older woman's grey eyes narrowed slightly. "And your brother?"
"He's somewhere around here. We were making our way towards you when some woman drew him away." She looked embarrassed then. "It's really… rude of him considering that he's…"
"I can tell he's intimately acquainted with this said woman from your reaction," Madam Fleur said with a hint of cold disapproval. "He had better show himself before this event ends. It is already a rather embarrassing circumstance that the two of you had made my introduction delayed."
The younger woman, her pale face now tinged with hot embarrassment, gave a hesitant smile. "So where is this student of yours? It seems like you really like her."
"I do," was the solemn reply. "I find her rather refreshing from all these nonsensical people you and your brother move around with up until now. Your parents are getting the wrong signals as a result and now your brother is running around with some superficial, random woman he used to bed." She gave a stern, silencing look. "On the other hand, it is rather unfortunate for you that my student is now off to some place because of this tardiness."
Blue eyes widened with apology. "We missed her? After all these years of hoping to meet her—"
"Hush. I am sure she would be back soon. In the meantime, there's someone you should meet." Leading the younger woman away from the secluded corner of the big room, Madam Fleur sashayed her way through the crowd, her grey eyes fixed on a tall man's back. When they had approached the unsuspecting man, Madam Fleur's voice floated like an instrumental music. "Enjoying the party?"
Hiko was pretending to listen to his date's soft voice when another voice drew his attention, making him spin around and lock eyes with his sister's favorite mentor. "Madam," he acknowledge easily, smiling and feeling his date move closer to him as she turned to look at the newcomer.
Madam Fleur gave a smile, fixing her piercing eyes on the red-head beside Hiko. "I hope I am not interrupting something."
His date shook her head. "Not at all."
"Good. I would just like to introduce my niece." At this she glanced at the fair woman beside her, noting that her companion seemed concentrated on trying to identify something. "My dear, this charming young man is-"
Blue eyes shone with relieved recognition. "Hiko?"
Hiko gave an almost sheepish smile at finally noticing the beautiful woman beside Madam Fleur. "Celena," he said in a disbelieving tone. "I almost didn't recognize you." And he took the woman's hand and gave a slight squeeze. "It's been so long."
The redhead beside Hiko gave a hesitant smile but did not move from her position. She now looked uncertain on what to do and she looked at Hiko's hand, entwined with Celena's.
Celena hardly noticed Clover as she withdrew her hand and gave Hiko a hug. "Yeah! Where did you disappear to?" Stepping away then, she met Madam Fleur's pleased face. "I should have gone here earlier!" And she looked at Hiko again, beaming. "You are so gorgeous!"
Hiko gave a boyish grin this time and looped an arm around Clover's waist, pulling her near. "Didn't you notice before?" He looked at Madam Fleur and gave a look of being offended. "Madam, your niece is a friend of many years ago and she only managed to see the truth just now."
The oldest woman's grey eyes danced with pleasure. "Yes, Celena can be blind to glaring truths." Her eyes then scanned the crowd in one sweeping look.
Clover, not wanting to embarrass Hiko with her silence, said, "She said she'll be here a bit later."
Celena looked at Clover, apparently noticing her for the first time and also noticing that the redhead's eyes were elsewhere, and then returned her gaze at Hiko. "Hitomi? She's here?"
"I take it that you know my student then?"
The pale blonde looked at the elegant woman with a look of realization and suddenly felt as if the world had just fallen on her. "You mean… Hitomi Kanzaki is the mystery girl?"
A raised brow – "Yes, she is. Is there something bothering about it?"
"No," Celena answered almost meekly. "It's just… it's been so long and I miss her." She looked away and suddenly seemed apprehensive.
"He's here," Hiko said suddenly, feeling Clover tense slightly despite her obvious efforts against it.
Madam Fleur observed surreptitiously every little thing that the three younger people exhibited. There was something about the reactions that alerted of something bigger than the picture she saw. Perhaps she would now see the true extent of what Hitomi was suppressing and running away from. A closer look at her niece's face and she just knew her improper nephew was the key to the mystery surrounding the green-eyed woman she truly was fond of.
Soft lips, hungry and demanding, smoldered his own lips, causing a twinge of guilt to snake into his chest. He pushed it aside and tried to concentrate on what he was engaged in. The sensation her hands caused on his body was amazing and yet when his back hit the soft mattress of a hotel room, he found himself tearing his lips away. But her lips trailed kisses on his strong jaw and her hands continued its exploration.
"So, who are you screwing up with?" (1)
"Nobody. And you?"
He flinched and pushed her away, making her look at him in a confused way.
His breathing was heavy but he was not, for a moment, even deceived into thinking that it was because of the earlier encounter he was having but because of a sudden memory trip that made him incredibly uncomfortable with what he had been doing. "We should stop." He pushed her off and sat up, running his long, slender fingers through his ruffled hair.
A warm whisper against his ear caused him to shiver. "Thought of someone?" She licked his ear. "It has never stopped you before."
Suddenly, he realized that he couldn't think straight; he had a massive headache. He stood up and ignored the state of sloppiness his clothing was in and he strode out of the hotel room, intent on heading for his car and getting out and away from there. Briefly, the thought of his aunt looking at him with absolute disapproval crossed his mind and he could almost hear his sister telling him that it was wrong of him to not show himself. But in his state, his impulsive nature took over.
'To hell with everything,' he thought angrily, not sure where this consuming anger came from or who it was directed to.
He strode with purpose, exiting the big hotel and walking with incensed strides to nowhere in particular. The strong need to get away was suffocating him and without really thinking, his feet brought him two blocks away and in front of a park. When he realized where he was, he calmed down gradually and almost sighed with relief. It never did cease to amaze him how a park, even just the sight of it, could make him feel better. He really did owe a certain someone a great deal for giving him something to help him stem his unpredictable temper.
With a considerably better disposition, he entered the park and allowed himself to be lost in the comforting feeling of a certain rainy day in a park with a certain temperamental girl throwing a ruined wig at him. He barely noticed it when his lips, still puffy from the fierce kisses from earlier, quirked upwards in an almost longing smile.
He looked up at the many stars in the night and the new moon and smiled even wider. Lost in the peaceful feeling, he wandered on and not long thereafter, walked towards the sound of flowing water to find himself engulfed in a hauntingly familiar feeling upon seeing someone seated on a bench in a relax and familiar way. His feet stopped and glued him to the ground, and as he looked on with mixed emotions inside at the person there, his eyes became so unreadable and his face so blank.
There had been many times like this.
She was haunting him – always had and perhaps, always will.
Smiling slightly, she shook her head and then felt that eyes were fixed on her. She almost shivered with familiarity and suddenly realized that she must have been gone for another more hour and that her brother was now here to retrieve her.
"You didn't have to, Hiko," she said, eyes still fixed on the fountain.
When her brother didn't say anything, she gave one last look at the fountain and then at the night sky before turning her eyes on the direction she felt Hiko was standing at. And suddenly, she found her breath hitching in her throat with her heartbeat increasing rapidly.
She was frozen in place as she looked at the familiar face of the certain someone she had been reminiscing about. Her eyes locked with his unreadable ones and with effort, she forced her voice to work and in a breathy whisper, still clearly heard in that tranquil place, she called out with uncertainty. "Dilandau?"