The school bell rang shrilly and soon after the double doors swung wide, allowing a sea of girls to leave, all dressed in the same plaid skirts, sweater vests, ties and dress shirts. As they hurried out the gates, they all stopped and stared before giggling and whispering to themselves. It wasn't often, after all, that three completely GORGEOUS guys hung around outside the gates!
Kataru grinned, winking at a blonde who offered to have his children. The boy waiting for her didn't look to thrilled by the idea. The other boyfriends standing around were glaring daggers at them as well. "Oi, you realize we're the hottest bloody men here, right?" he asked the other two.
Hayate glanced around, completely unconcerned with that fact. Feryn smiled coyly, his rich golden hair pulled back for a change. "Mais, oui! It is only appropriate then that we are here for the three most beautiful girls in the school."
"Right you are, mate! And speakin' of which, I see me lovely lady now!" Kataru walked forward, grinning as Mawata ran down to him, hugging him close and kissing his cheek. He deftly took her bag from her, slinging an arm around her shoulder. For the start of the school year, he'd gone crazy and decided that lime green with orange tips was a good idea. Mawata's hair was back to normal and she wasn't going to color it again for a while.
"Gotcha somethin', love," he said as they walked off.
"You didn't have to," Mawata answered, blushing.
"I know that! I wanted to. C'mon, lemme show ya!"
Mawata giggled and let him steer the way. They continued down the side walk until they stopped outside their favorite music store. It was barely noticeable, the glass of the door cracked and covered almost entirely in band stickers. From the outside it looked seedy at best, but inside it was a music lover's paradise. If they didn't have it, they would find it. Kataru held the door open for her, following her inside the dimly lit place.
"Hey, Aeris, you back there, mate?"
Aeris, the owner of the shop, came out of the back room. A big ring hung from his nose, another one in his eyebrow and a brand new one in his lip that looked a little red. "Dude, I just started to eat my sandwich."
"Yeah, yeah! Where's me purchase?"
The man rolled his eyes and reached under the counter to slap a cd on the top. Mawata picked it up curiously, eyes widening when she saw which one it was. "The Palm Readers? Where did you FIND this? I've been looking for it for years!"
Kataru grinned and shrugged. "Ask this fine gent back here. He's the bloody wizard with this stuff!"
"And a magician never reveals his tricks,"Aeris responded with a quick little smile. "Later, man, I've got a cheese steak in back with my name written in grease on the bun!"
Mawata was too busy reading the back to notice the man's departure.
"Well, you gonna open it?"
Smiling, she opened the cd case... and shrieked in delight when she saw two tickets inside. "Kataru, you got them! I thought they were sold out!"
He laughed, kissing her cheek. "Those were the last two tickets to see La Traviotta. They're not as good as the box seats yer mum probably has, but it's about all I could get. And it's for tonight, which means if you hurry and get dressed, we can have a nice cheap dinner somwhere before hittin' the opera."
Mawata laughed, dragging him out of the shop. "Thank you! This is so... thank you!"
"Hey, anything for me girl, right?"
Feryn sat waiting patiently, smiling to himself. Yayoi had almost fainted when he'd told her they were going to the Vera Wang studio for her to pick out her wedding dress. They weren't getting married for another three years, but to have a custome made gown would take some time. His eyes lit up when she came out of the fitting room, blushing and giggling in delight. "So, how about this one?"
The dress was strapless and fit her top like a corset before flaring out in a wide ballroom skirt. She had on white gloves and a short veil. This was it. She was the very picture of fairy tale bride in this gown. "Tres belle, me fleur! Tu es magnifique!"
Yayoi giggled again before going over to him and kissing him. Feryn smiled against her mouth, deepening the kiss even further. The woman helping with the fittings was trying hard not to stare at them. He didn't care, not in the least. This was the woman he loved and he wanted the world to know it!
Drawing back, he whispered, "Hurry and change. There is one more stop we must make today."
"Another?" Yayoi asked, puzzled.
"You shall see, ma belle fleur."
Yayoi hurried back into the fitting room and exited in record time, adjusting her school skirt as she went. Feryn pushed to his feet, taking her had in his. It was only a short walk to their next and final destination for the day. It was still early, but he knew this was the last stop. Yayoi would most likely be in until closing.
Two buildings before where they were going, Feryn stopped her. "Close your eyes, Yayoi. I do not want you to see the surprise until we are there."
"Okaaay." She did as she was asked, jumping a little when he placed one hand over her eyes to ensure she couldn't see through. He guided her down the side walk, smiling when the female clerk at the door saw them and opened it up. He had called ahead to inform them they were coming.
Once inside, Feryn removed his hand and whispered against her ear, "Open your eyes, Yayoi."
Yayoi did as he asked, gasping shortly before tears slid down her cheeks. "Tiffany's? Why are we at Tiffany's?"
"To pick out our wedding bands, of course. It only makes sense since this is where I found the engagement ring, non?"
Squealing excitedly, Yayoi jumped into his arms and kissed him hard. "I love you! You're so wonderful! Oh, where do I even start?"
Feryn laughed as she let him go and began exploring the store for their rings.
Hayate smiled at the greeting before placing a quick kiss to her lips. "So, how was the first day of your senior year?" he asked as she tucked her arm around his.
Himeno rolled her eyes. "Did you know they assign HOMEWORK on the first day back? As if anyone can focus on homework after coming back from summer vacation! Oh, and speaking of vacation, have you heard from Kei or Sete yet?"
Hayate shook his head. "Not yet. It's been a week since they went to Thailand. I doubt he'll want to hear from any of us until after the honeymoon."
Two weeks ago, the safe house had woken in an uproar. Mannen had gone in with ice cold water balloons to drop on Kei... only to find a note hastily scribbled saying he and Sete had run off to get married and that NOBODY was to try and find them until they made contact. He did let them know they were in Thailand, but that was about it.
Himeno snickered. "I bet they're backpacking or something."
"You think so?" Hayate laughed.
"I mean, neither of them would want to, but Sete might make him just because it would amuse her to put him through all that. Hey, and if you and Feryn are here, who's watching the other three?"
"Ginshima and Kinshima have the honor today," Hayate said, obviously feeling sorry for the two. After Kei had left, the three had taken to tormenting the twins. The two were still so formal about things they didn't know quite how to react to all the teasing and pranks.
"You're evil! Mannen's gonna eat them alive!"
"Yes, but I wasn't about to miss meeting you after your first day. And Feryn was taking Yayoi out looking for dresses today."
Himeno wrinkled her nose. "I saw what she was considering for the bridesmaids. It's some frilly, poofy thing that's the color of grape pop. UGH!"
He laughed, giving her a sly look. "You're going to look so cute, Bid-"
"NOT IN PUBLIC!" Himeno quickly clamped a hand to his mouth to keep the awful nickname from coming out. "God, can you pretend for five minutes you're my boyfriend and NOT some jerk?"
Hayate pulled her hand away so that he could kiss it. "Is that better?"
"Yeah, a bit... hey, that's cheating!" He knew she found it terribly sexy when he kissed her wrist.
"Depends on the game," he answered. He stopped it all the same, giving her a smug smile. The bastard wasn't even sorry he'd turned her on like that!
They entered their usual after school spot; the ice cream shop. They got in line and scanned over the options available. It didn't take Himeno long to figure out what she wanted. It was finally their turn and Hayate got his money out and ready. "Can I have the chocolate ice cream with heath bar bits." He turned a wary eye to her.
"Wait, let me guess," Hayate interupted. "You want the banana flavored ice cream with Oreo cookies and mustard, right?"
She made a disgusted face. "Ew! Why would you even joke about something so gross?"
"Okay, then it's going to be green tea ice cream with dried seaweed flakes and chocolate syrup."
That DID sound yummy, but it wasn't what she wanted. Smiling, she said, "Actually, I just want vanilla ice cream today!"
Both Hayate's and the ice cream man's jaws dropped in shock. Himeno laughed, pleased at his reaction. It took him a second to recover, swallowing heavily and nodding to the man to get her order. He paid and they took their ice cream to a table, sitting down across from each other.
Himeno glanced up in between bites as he continued to stab at his, just staring at her. "What?" she asked, licking her spoon clean.
"Nothing. Just... you never cease to amaze me, that's all," he said.
Leaning over the table, she kissed him long enough so that he wouldn't see her slide his ice cream across the counter space to her side. Drawing back, she said, "Let's hope that never changes!"
Hayate smiled, looking down as he was about take a bite. His eyebrows drew together before he looked across the table. He gave her a glare and said, "You stole my ice cream!"
Taking a big bite of it, she gave him a challenging smile. "So, what are you gonna do, take it back? Go ahead and try!"
She squirmed as he stood up and came to her side of the table. And, as he tickled her, making her squeek and laugh and make other noises she didn't know what to call, she continued to steal bites of his ice cream. The entire time, all she could think about was how much she loved him... and how much better his ice cream was than hers!
AUTHOR'S BIT: If any of you tune out for the acceptance speeches at award shows, this is where you can stop reading. I would like to thank first and foremost everyone who has reviewed for all three stories in the trilogy. The reason my stories have become so popular is because of the reviews. Thank you so much! I can't begin to say how touching it was to read every single one of them and respond when I could!
Second, thank you to everyone who even READ these stories! One of the greatest joys a writer can have is to know that people out there read your work and (hopefully) enjoyed it. Considering that Upsetting The Balance was one of the first fics I ever posted, I never imagined any of them would take off like this. So, thank you very much for liking what you read!
Third, thank you to the creators of Pretear for giving us ALL such a wonderful story! I doubt very much either of them would be interested in some crazy fangirl's fics, but they're the reason I found inspiration to write the trilogy. So, thank you for kicking Bob in the ass and breeding plot bunnies like I cannot believe! And also thank you for giving us such a wonderful fairy tale! Oh, and can I pretty PLEEEEEASE have Kei? Even if it's just for an hour, that's fine with me!
Okay, that's it. No, seriously that is. I don't have anything else for this fic. STOP STARING AT ME LIKE THAT! And dry your eyes, too! (sigh) Fine, fine... I DO have a new Pretear project that's going to be started soon. It's called Acts Of Desperation and will be about the love triangle/tragedy between Sasame, Takako and Hayate. SO, keep an eye out for it, okay? Well, that's enough plugging for one evening! Thank you again to ALL OF YOU! I'm seriously overwhelmed by you all for the support, the help, the critiquing and the in general love... (hugs everyone until they're blue in the face) Oh, right... I guess I shouldn't squeeze you all to death, should I? Hehe..., sorry!