Disclaimer: The author rightfully respects the genius of Tachibana Higuchi, creator of Gakuen Alice.
Author's Notes: This story is based on the events in the Anime and will not be considering the story flow in the manga. Ü The POV shifts among the characters per chapter.
CHAPTER 1: We're Having a Prom
It was like clockwork.
Every morning Mochu would stand by the front door, leaning idly on the jamb. He'd stand there for around fifteen minutes before she arrived, on the dot, five minutes before class started. The moment she rounds the staircase, she'd greet him cheerfully and he'd reply with no more than a polite nod. Then as she walked down the hall, Mochu would signal Kokoroyumi. The latter would acknowledge that with a carefree smile before twisting around in his desk to nod to me. Sometimes I'd chuckle before I finally mutter to my best friend, "She's here."
Natsume in turn, would lean back on his chair and glance towards the back door just in time to see Mikan slip through the front door of her classroom. Then wordlessly, he'd return his attention to the comic book he was reading; without acknowledging what just happened; without even thanking Mochu and Kokoroyumi for their efforts. He didn't have to. We did this everyday.
It was like clockwork.
So we weren't expecting anything different that Monday morning. I was seated with Natsume, absentmindedly stroking my white ferret. On the expected time, I glanced at Kokoroyumi but he was focusing on his class notes so I turned to Mochu instead. Something was wrong. He had straightened from his place, his brows drawn together in confusion at the empty staircase. He saw me looking and shrugged his shoulders. I turned to Natsume, "She's—" Before I could finish, Natsume leaned back, his eyes directed on the back door. I swallowed, "She's late Natsume."
His attention snapped back to me, "What?"
"She's not here yet. She's late."
He glanced at his watch. Then he muttered something under his breath and stood. Wordlessly, he headed for the front door. Mochu cringed when he saw him coming.
"She's later than usual."
"Sit down," Natsume said curtly then took his spot, hands in his pockets, glare fixed on the staircase.
Mochu came in and headed for me, "He's pissed."
"She's late," I said though I knew that didn't explain anything. Then to my chagrin, I realized everyone was now avidly watching the front door ever since Natsume took the post.
It took ten minutes before she finally arrived. It was a good thing our homeroom teacher was even later than her. She was speeding up the staircase to get to class but that didn't deter Natsume from standing in her way forcing her to run into him.
"No running in the halls."
"Don't be in the way," she said irritably. Then suddenly she burst out, "Natsume guess what?"
"Where were you?" He barked instead.
Mikan didn't look fazed at all, "I was becoming the prom head!"Natsume looked stumped and she actually reached out and gripped his wrists enthusiastically, "The prom Natsume! I'll be the head of the prom committee!"
At that, a murmur of interest rippled through the classroom causing Kokoroyumi to look up as their thoughts hit him like a tangible thing. I strained to hear what Natsume said next.
"Prom? Alice Academy never held proms before."
"Mr. Narumi said—"
"Ah, Mr. Narumi," Natsume said dryly, "Well, that's that then. Get to class, you're late." Then he turned and waved her off.
"I'll tell you more later at lunch!" She promised needlessly then she went inside her own classroom. Natsume settled back in his seat.
"What was that about?" I asked.
"We're having a prom."
And so our story begins.
It has been six years since Mikan Sakura came to the Alice Academy. Since then, many things have changed. Our class was now split in two. Mikan, Hotaru, Yuu, Nonoko and Anna all ended up in Class A while most of us remained in Class B. Not that it matters, because at 16, we didn't need to base our friendship on proximity. The Academy believed that keeping us in separate rooms would somehow quell the rebellious streak they saw in us when were in the fourth grade. It didn't work especially since we still had meals together everyday.
"So of course it has to be very different from the dance at the end of the school festival," Mikan said, motioning gaily with her fork for emphasis, "We're going to need a band, decorations, and lots and lots of great food! We won't be dressed alike anymore. All the girls will wear lovely colorful gowns that would match their dates'—"
I choked on my peas, "Their what?"
"Dates," Koko provided helpfully, "She said dates."
I glared at him, "I know she said dates."
"Then why did you ask?"
Stifling the urge to glance at Imai, I gazed at Koko murderously, You'd better not be reading my mind. And Koko held up his hands in surrender.
"It's custom for boys to ask the girls they like to the prom as their dates," Hotaru said with her usual air of superiority, "They usually have matching attires. Then on prom night, the guys give the girls a corsage and she gives her date a boutonnière."
"What's a boutonnière?" Mochu wanted to know.
"Oh honestly, you guys are hopeless," Yuu burst out, causing some of us to squirm.
Yuu had shed his image as a pushover a couple of years back. Trading his glasses for contact lenses and windswept hair, he had swiftly become one of the most sought-after boys in the school. He was practically as popular as Natsume, or maybe to a lesser degree, me. His advantage was that Yuu had always been approachable, which made it easier for girls to get to know him better thereby solidifying his reputation as a heartthrob.
"A boutonniere is a small flower bud fastened to the collar of the guy's tux."
I frowned, "There's a name for that?"
"Yes, there is."
"Wait, we have to wear flowers on our tuxes?" Mochu asked again.
"We have to wear tuxes?" Koko put in.
"Tell me again why we need to get them a corsage?" Mochu went on, "And how much does that cost?"
"My knees are knocking together at your romantic streak," Sumire said dryly, eyeing her boyfriend in distaste. "You will get me a corsage because you like me. That is, if I'm going with you."
Mochu's eyes widened, "Sumire, will you go to the prom with me?"
"If I must."
Mochu sighed with relief and everyone laughed. Then Mikan rapped her hand on the table authoritatively, speaking in her three-star voice, "As I was saying, the prom will need a lot of work if it'll be organized in time so I'm going to need everyone's help."
"I'm in," Nonoko said readily and Anna quickly agreed.
"If the pay is good—" Hotaru began.
"You'll help because you're my best friend!" Mikan cried.
Hotaru rolled her eyes, "Oh, all right."
"I'll help too," Sumire said airily, "Someone has to make sure you do your job right."
"Great!" Mikan said cheerfully before turning to us, "Anyone else?"
The boys exchanged glances, studiously avoiding Mikan's eyes and started mumbling incoherent excuses. Then at the far end of the table, Natsume suddenly stood up. Everyone halted. He still had that effect. "Ruka, let's go," He nodded towards Mikan, "Good luck with that." Then he abruptly left the table and I hurried after him, mercilessly leaving Yuu and the rest.
Untroubled by Natsume's unfathomable mood I asked, "Who are you asking to the prom?"
He stared at me for a while as though I just asked a stupid question. Then without bothering to reply, we went on our way.
A week after Mikan's announcement, the Academy was abuzz with prom details. The girls started obsessing about what they were going to wear and the more controversial and pressing matter of who they were going with. Boys started hanging out more frequently together as it became clear to us that asking a girl to the prom wasn't as easy as it sounded. In fact, after Mochu's effortless success of asking his girlfriend to the prom, none of us managed to make any progress. To make matters worse, Kokoroyumi was having an impossible time shutting out people's thoughts and as a result he had the tendency to provide unsolicited advice.
"You know you should have told Hikari that you liked her that day at the library," I overheard him telling someone in the dining hall, "She would've said yes. And it's not too late!"
"Get away from me!" Another voiced fumed at him and dejectedly Koko came and slumped down next to me, his head in his hands.
"Thoughts bearing you down?"
"It's amazing how much trouble one little prom could cause."
"Maybe you should get a controlling device," I suggested.
"And maybe you should just go ahead and ask—"
"Hey!" I cut him off, "Stay out of my mind."
Before he could reply, Natsume suddenly appeared next to our table casting an ominous shadow upon us. "Where is she?"
"In the gym, where else?"
"Did she come here at all?"
"Nope. I haven't seen her here in four days," I said. Natsume muttered something under his breath then left. I turned back to Koko who looked puzzled.
"What was that about?"
"His thoughts too fast for you?"
He made a face, "Is Natsume going to the prom?"
I shrugged, "He didn't say."