Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice or any of its characters.
A.N. Hello! I am back, I guess. I do not have any excuses for my laziness to update. In fact, I was even beginning to think of erasing my account here. Are people still going to read this? Please leave a review to make sure this fic has hope yet still!! (mind you, I'm not even doing this for the ego. I really want to know who's still going to bother reading)
I'd like to dedicate this chapter to Diana.o5.
A really big mwahugz to my friend and soulsister, Wizdom Goddess.
And of course, my Ate Diane (you know who you are), thank you for not forgetting me. Aheheh..
Love you guys.
Btw. You guys should probably refresh yourselves with previous chapters to catch on with the rest of the story. I had to do it myself. Heh.
He was the living shadow.
Mikan would not hear his footsteps at first, would not see any part of him, except for his eyes. Then his figure, coming from the deep darkness around her, would slowly materialize in front of her. She could not make a clear description of his face. They had been close, so many times had he forced himself on her, and every time she got to trace his face with her hands she would always be drunken with curiosity. The features of his face were familiar, the smoothness of his hair, the moist of his lips. But no matter how hard she tried to recall who the man was exactly, her efforts were always in vain.
He was always a dream.
Mikan knew he was a dream. Ever since she came back to the Academy, she had come to know him in her dreams. At first it started with a faint vision of him, just a flash of his gaze. Then he started appearing on the corners of her dreams, the alleys of her fantasies. Then he tried to come close, she didn't refuse, but she kept her guard. His essence was alluring, a drug to the female kind, she knew. Out of the sudden, his quiet countenance transformed into something feral, something… dangerous. He then would invade her happy dreams with sudden touches to sensitive parts of her body that sometimes would either arouse or hurt her.
He always confused her.
He was just a dream, Mikan kept telling herself. That's what she's been telling herself since the first time he violated her in her dreams, that's what she's been convincing herself since then, right now.
He was hurting her.
In Mikan's mind, the thick mist became heavier. The mist was always part of him and it was probably there to conceal his face and it was her consolation during times like these, for her not to see the horrid things he was to do to her body. Her breathing was struggling, just like her arms and legs, but she was helpless under him. She tried pushing him from her body, but her arms were useless, made immobilize by the crushing force above her. She always tried to open her eyes and she tries to do it now and the moment she does, a heavy wave hits her on the head, like the thick organ invading her genitals, blurring her vision till she fainted.
He always feels so real.
Narumi drew his arms closer about himself as he walked back towards his house from the hotel. He didn't take a cab this morning. He wanted to walk, to think things through and cherish the subtle atmosphere around him. He kept his eyes on the ground, the sky wasn't at all appealing to him. He kept thinking about Imai Subaru, Mikan and her incubus and he couldn't stop feel anything but useless.
"But that's not the incubus, right?"
"Yes, but I manage to take her body tension away. Her nightmares I help with, but the incubus…" Subaru paused, sounding extremely disappointed with himself. "I'm neither an exorcist nor a priest."
Narumi noticed Mikan's breathing became normal again. After a while, he noticed that Subaru began to mildly tremble. The other man's hands began to twitch and he had to sit back down on the chair. As much as he didn't like Subaru, Narumi felt gratefully indebted to him for giving Mikan comfort she deserved. He had been a former student anyway. "Are you alright?"
Subaru kept his gaze away from his as he shuddered. "Its part of my Alice. I have to transfer the pain to someone else after I've taken some from another. In this case, I'm gracious enough to spare you from experiencing it." He snorted with pride, though he kept rubbing his temples with his fingers. "I can handle it, old man. Don't even dare to feel sorry for me."
Was telling Mikan he loved her really enough? Was it? Narumi thought he knew it was. Something inside of him, in fact, kept reminding him that it was supposed to be. When he told Mikan he loved her, he really did mean honestly that he was willing to go through trials with her, that they could go through it together. But how could he ever go through such obstacle with her when all he could do while she was suffering was to watch? He didn't even bother to say goodbye properly to her when he left this morning. He felt ashamed of himself.
"Imai…san," he said that morning, uneasy, unable to look the man in the eyes. "Thank you."
"Ah…" Subaru said. "I am most glad to tell you that I wasn't doing anything for you. Or are you that crazy to thank me for giving you that black eye?"
"Mikan sure is lucky to have someone like you."
"And apparently, she's going to push me away because you're in the picture."
Narumi turned away. "I love her-"
"Bullshit." Subaru snorted and went to the door. "Narumi… I suggest you do some thinking. You don't love Mikan. You may fool yourself that you have fallen deeply for her but the truth is, you're still confused. Why can't you just understand? She was your 'daughter' in the past."
"Oh come on, Subaru-chan," Narumi said with a grin, the dark eye barely noticeable because of his smile. He went to the door and before going out, winked at the younger man. "Sorry I'm a real threat but.." I'm serious about her. "All is fair in love and war."
Was it really fair? The last time he checked, it wasn't. Now, he couldn't stop thinking that maybe she was better without him.
And yet another gathering of happy and secretly confused teachers in the teacher's lounge. Jinno-sensei was happy for some reason –Serena felt the vibe that he and his pen-pal were getting serious. Besides, no one could disturb his seriously happy aura as he silently scribbled on his personalized 'Sincerely, Jinno' stationery notepad. As the oldest teacher kept busy writing and the raven-haired teacher was silent reading his next lesson to teach, two teachers mastered down the 'look when the other's not looking' to an art as they sat uneasily yet comfortably across each other.
Misaki tried to read the latest issue of Plants Magazine but his eyes preferred the golden maiden right before him. Though Jinno and Fukutan minded their own business, he wanted to be alone with Serena. Unlike before, all their conversations were composed of things that were of course, school-related, but now, he wanted to ask her what kinds of things she liked. He knew a lot about her but he knew he had to know more. Her favorite color, food, movie wasn't at all in his list though. His questions were more like, 'Serena-sensei, do you want to settle down someday?' or 'How many children would you like to have, just incase you do like to get married?' Not that he was proposing to her now and now… but… who knows? Feeling that she wasn't looking at his direction, he quickly averted his eyes from his magazine to catch a glimpse of her lovely eyebrows. Gods… he wished he was that glass orb she kept on holding. Ah… her hands massaging, feeling… Her fingers pressing round and round, tracing and tracing…
Contact… Such a beautiful fantasy, Misaki thought as he bit his lower lip with so much pent up passion. He wondered how it would really feel like… to be her glass ball for a day… Or two… Or forever. His thoughts were interrupted with a soft sigh that managed to tickle his ears and bring his attention back to the lady before him. "Hmm…?"
"Uhm… well… Misaki-sensei… I was just wondering…"
"Yes?" Misaki asked, putting his magazine down in a jiffy. Thank goodness this woman was not Kokoro.
"You see," Serena started uneasy, tucking stray strands of her hair behind her ear. "We never really got to talk about… you know… the other day." Her eyes widened then, as if caught stealing something and she waved her hands in the air in defense. "Not that I'm expecting something…! Oh I mean, I just thought… That we should talk about it because it happened… right?"
"Of course it happened." The event which led to his admittance of his fondness of her in such a curt amount of time. That fortunate yet spoiled event. They were supposed to talk with each other when a couple of students interrupted them and asked for his help regarding the grapevines that came to life in the gardens. The vines, the students screeched, started to pull on everyone's ankles and anything that moved. He apologized to Serena for such a ruin for their 'moment' and he had to curse himself for suggesting earlier that they should be quiet and 'just blush.' Things couldn't have gotten much worse because when he arrived at the garden, a student managed to take care of the mess. He knew he should have stayed with Serena. From then on, Misaki decided to be determined. What he could not understand was why couldn't he have the guts to just talk to her now like a man should! Kami… Even Narumi, whom he thought was gay, was even getting more than he should have… "Yeah…" He looked into her eyes and felt his heart beat faster when she turned to look away. "Do you want to go out?"
Serena raised her face to see him. "Are you serious?"
Misaki wondered why they were whispering but he took it as a challenge. Being secret spices things up. "Yeah… How about later, nine in the evening?"
"That late?" she asked, quite surprised of his directness.
Misaki had to snicker. "Well, yeah. We're adults, aren't we?"
"Where are you taking me then?" she asked with a tease, finally letting her hands drop from the glass ball she kept on holding.
"It's a secret, darling…" Misaki whispered, edging closer to the table and taking one of her hands in his. Without checking if the other two teachers were looking, he raised it to his lips and gave it a soft kiss. "Nine, then…"
Serena nodded with a blush.
This was it, Natsume thought, as he stood in front of Ruka's room. He would not deal with another silent companion and supposedly best friend. There were so many confusing things in his mind lately and the fact that Ruka was a pain in the ass wasn't helping. Ever since Ruka had been lodging with him and his companions, he seldom wore a happy face. He always showed himself with a too somber look on his face and barely spoke to anybody. Not only was Ruka disrespectful to everyone in the house, the idiot also manages to sneak in bottles of alcohol into his room!
Clenching his fists, Natsume decided that he had to do this. Give Ruka one helluva blow on the face. The impact, Natsume hoped, should wake up Ruka somewhere inside. He knows that Ruka was probably still blaming himself for all that happened and if there would be something that should concern Ruka is that he should be making it up to him, not making things harder than it already was! Natsume took a deep breath. Begin with a calm demeanor, he told himself. You could spare Ruka the punch on the face. He knocked on the door. "Ruka… open up. Its me."
Natsume tried again. When there was still no reply, he banged his knuckles hard against the door one last time and when there was still no initiative inside the room, Natsume lost the control. He stepped backward, got his torque in cue and charged to the door, giving it a good kick. With a crunch, the door swung open and revealed a very distressed and afraid Ruka Nogi. Natsume was supposed to be mad at the young man but as he digested Ruka's appearance, he sighed. Ruka's hair needed trimming and his body was poorly fit. He was skin and bones. Instead of running to Ruka to give him a good wake up call with a knuckle sandwich, Natsume took slow strides towards his best friend and sat beside him on the floor.
"What the hell is the matter with you," Natsume said. He run his fingers through his hair and shook his head disappointedly. "You're so much stronger than this. You're a mess, Ruka…"
"I know that," Ruka whispered. He drew his knees against his chest and hid his face on his chest. "I'm sorry, Natsume. You don't know how much trouble I have and would cause you. Forgive me…"
"I'm not even blaming you, jackass," he replied, placing his arm around Ruka's shoulders. "What have you done to yourself? Do you know you're making me feel guiltier because of what you're doing? Is this my fault, too?"
"No," Ruka sobbed. "You had to do what you had to. I would never take your decisions against you. I can't."
"Then stop this nonsense. Stop being pathetic. You're better than this…"
"I know so."
Ruka nodded meaningfully and wiped the tears from his eyes. He took a deep breath. "I can't believe that these kind of things happened, Natsume. Life never really settles for mediocrity, don't you think?"
"For as long as we've got Alice in our blood, I don't think it really would." Natsume gave Ruka one nudge and stood up. "We need to clear this mess up, Ruka. I need you to help me."
Taking one last glance at the empty rum bottle on his floor, Ruka nodded and took Natsume's out-stretched hand.
The kiss was warm but her heart felt cold. It was then that Mikan decided that Subaru's affections were starting to lose its effect. She locked herself in her room, trying to calm herself down. They were about to have breakfast, she was half way in confiding her feelings to Subaru, thinking that he was actually interested in lending her a shoulder to cry on, but turns out, he was looking forward to dessert.
"Open the door, Mikan. I'm sorry… I… I didn't mean to…"
That's when Mikan's insides flared with anger. She furiously stomped to the door and swung it wide and glared at the man standing behind it. "And what was that then? You just felt like it, huh? You sonova-"
Subaru jumped on her, locking her in his embrace. "Mikan… I just… Missed you. I missed you so much." He kissed the top of her head and inhaled her perfume. "Don't you know how miserable I was, knowing that you and that baka teacher getting close?"
She was ready to kill him. The idiot took advantage of her again. Just when she thought they were being civil, he actually thought she was going to sleep with him? Mikan rolled her eyes. "And you think I enjoyed every second that you were rutting someone else?" She pushed him off her and grunted. "I agreed to let you stay here because of the deal you offered. It goes to show how considerate I am considering the horrible thing you did." You made me see.
The young man sighed. "I'm sorry, OK? I don't know what else to say." When she didn't flinch, he smiled faintly. "You're not going to ask me to leave now, are you?"
"Like I said, I'm not completely heartless." Mikan crossed her arms across her chest. "No groping, ogling, kissing or anything else, Subaru. Is that clear?"
"You know its going to be hard but if that's what it takes for me to be with you… then yes, I agree."
"You always could bring a slut over, you know. Its not a problem with me anymore."
Subaru was left alone again. He did not want to get used to it.
Narumi thought he was going to go nuts had not he spotted the campus any sooner. He thought the walk would do him good but unfortunately, age was catching up with him. The long road back to the school was not a competition and his sleep-deprived body was not helping him much. He had strong, firm limbs, and lungs of an athlete, but his depression was getting the best of him. And he was walking with no food in his stomach. The sun was extra sunny today that it was hard not to sweat. His usually strong joints ached, probably because of sleeping slouched on the chair.
During these times he regretted his Alice. Goes to show he's still human, still an idiot, still helpless. If only he had the Alice of flight or even animal pheromone, maybe he'd charm an animal to make things easier for him. He couldn't charm a passing vehicle as much as he tried.
A yellow cab passed by and all he could do was breathe out a sigh of exhaustion. He must've looked pathetic. A poor guy walking his way back to kami-knows-where. Too absorbed with his self-pity, he did not realize that the taxi stopped a few meters before him. Eyes on the ground, he passed apathetically, not seeing who was inside the taxi.
Times like this he wished he was a bird. Or a unicorn. Pegasus. Right. A horse with wings. He would still look the dashing being he was. Still would be able to charm all the ladies and men–
"Eh?!" His fatigue turned to lovely surprise as he found himself staring at two amazing hazel eyes. A smile touched his face and as he took in Mikan's appearance, he was grinning like an idiot. He sniffed dramatically. "You came after me?" Suddenly, all of his emotional distress disappeared with just the sight of her. He felt young again, somehow. His optimistic side was back. Now he felt like he was on a roll. He felt like he could run to Mt. Fuji if she asked him to.
For a moment, Mikan just stared at him dumbfounded. "Actually, no. I have a class to look after. Those students are way too lucky to have no teacher around." She opened the door. "Are you going to join me or what? The meter is running, you know."
After a second, the taxi was on its way to the Academy with two teachers in the backseat.
"Are we okay?" Narumi asked, trying to look her in the eyes, but her attention was on the moving grove outside the car. He wanted to reach out and take her hand, but he read the 'don't piss me' sign on her body language way too well. Something must've happened back at the hotel. As much as he didn't like her feeling angry or sad, he was positive that it had nothing to do with him. It was a good thing he left early.
Mikan shrugged, her gaze still outside the window. "No kissing for a while though." She turned her head for a moment to look at him knowingly. She wondered if she ever would forget Rio kissing Narumi. Would it be as hard as forgetting Subaru between that woman's legs? Kami, she hoped not. "Especially kissing boys. Or else." Flashing him one lethal glare, and having said what she wanted to say since that happened, she returned her focus back on the moving scenery outside.
It was an offer he could and would never refuse. With a content smile, he said, "OK." A done deal. This was a start, somehow. The situation was light at the moment. Deal with the bitterness later on.
Once at the Academy, Mikan insisted to pay. The yellow cab entered the school premises. When the pair hopped out the cab, some would mistake them for lovers, some would be surprised, some would choose not to look, and it was found impossible not to give a damn about them.
"Packing your bags already, I see…"
Natsume snorted as he stuffed his clothes neatly into his duffel bag. "I have to go back. I have to see her." He paused midway packing and turned his head to look at the woman. "Aren't you going to come with me?"
His housemate smiled weakly at him and sighed. "I'm not sure if it's a good idea… But I'm considering it."
"For crying out loud, Yu-Mi-chan," Natsume barked, half-teased, half meant. "You know you have to meet her. She has to know about us."
Yu-Mi tossed her silky hair to her side and shrugged nonchalantly.
Natsume was forever amused by this woman. She was alluring to all the men she met and every time he walked in to a public place with her, all eyes were on them. Men envied him when she was by his arm. Women were furious at her for being so pretty and sensual, despite her age. The people they met loved and hated her. But of course, those who knew her just loved her. It was impossible not to. He turned his focus back on packing. "She has to know." Eventually… "She has to know about you as well."
"What about A-chan?" the woman asked, the emotion of her voice uncertain. "Does she know about your plans?"
"She will have to accept how things will turn out, Yu-Mi."
"Both of you are impossible at times, you know that. You expect me to deal with her alone?"
Natsume knew she was just teasing him, trying to find out how he'll react. "She will be glad to get rid of me. Especially after I've refused with her wish to have Ruka as a boyfriend."
Yu-Mi laughed and her tone was light and merry. Her eyes sparkled with delight as she stared at him. "Ah! A wise decision, love. I do not know how to deal with a Ruka junior or a hyper-active A– "
"Ruka wasn't always this way," Natsume said, feeling the need to defend his best friend. "Things will change from now on, Yu-Mi-chan." He meant those words. "A-chan will deal with it. She's not a child."
"You're such an adult now, my dear," Yu-Mi whispered, walking behind him and wrapped her arms around his frame. "She's equivalent to change, Natsume. Our lives will never be the same."
Who's Yu-Mi? Who's the A-chan? Who're these women in Natsume's life? Why the hell am I reading this, I don't even remember the plot anymore? Should I even leave the lazy author a review?
These are the questions in your mind. Heh. Well, just a few of them, actually.
Please leave me a review for the sake of letting me know there are still people interested. If I don't get enough reviews, I might just drop this fic. Honestly, I'm really losing motivation lately. So hope to hear from you guys! Thanks for reading.