Disclaimer: Ken Akamatsu owns Negima.
Setsuna nervously fidgeted in her seat waiting for the class bell to sound. As soon as it began to ring, a gust of wind violently filled the room knocking a few students off balance. Setsuna's seat teetered a moment before becoming still. Several sweat drops appeared as the students witnessed Setsuna's strange behavior. Konoka and Asuna watched her from the window as she whisked away as if the Devil himself was on her heels.
Placing her books inside her bag, Konoka looked over at Setsuna's empty chair, which now had stopped moving. "Why do you think she was in such a hurry to leave? She normally waits for you." Asuna inquired curiously.
"She said she had something urgent to do after school and that she will meet us later in our dorms."
"Urgent?" Asuna echoed, "You mean something having to do with your grandfather?"
Konoka shrugged, "She wouldn't say more than that, although, she did seem nervous."
A sly grin appeared on Asuna's face. Sensing the other girl's dangerous thoughts, Konoka became wary. "Maybe she has something special prepared for just the two of you. You know, a midnight rendezvous." She winked mischievously at Konoka, who responded with a laugh.
"I doubt that, Asuna. Set-chan is a very shy person by nature. She would probably faint just by imagining such a night being planned."
"I don't know about that, Konoka. You know what they say about quiet, shy people. I hear they are the most passionate because they keep their desires locked away and will burst open when you least expect it." Asuna held up her index finger to signify a fact.
"I can't say that I would be unhappy if she ever released all those pent up passions, but I wouldn't hold my breath." Konoka bemused as she slung her backpack onto her shoulder.
Setsuna darted inside her dorm room, throwing her bag on her bed; she grabbed for her wallet. Within the blink of an eye, the door closed and the room was once again empty. She ran the entire way to the train station hoping she could catch one leaving. Fortunately, she managed to slip through the closing doors but barely.
She tried to turn around only to find the train completely packed. Her face pressed hard against the window inside the train as people standing on the platform pointed in her direction whispering. Foreign tourists pulled out their cameras after spotting the strange face peering out at them from the train and began taking pictures of the funny girl's face.
Setsuna managed to push her bruised face away from the smeared window to glare behind her. She hated trains because it meant people and people meant noise and noise meant headaches. Children crying, teenage girls giggling, mothers trying to comfort or more often than not ignore their children, and obnoxiously loud music by a teenage gang believing they are cool for listening to loud rap hammered on her ears.
'It's for Konoka.' Setsuna thought grimly to herself getting a clear picture of the girl who had quickly captured her heart. A smile formed on her lips. Deep in her thoughts, the feeling of something wet, sticky, and cold smacking into her stomach disrupted any further imaginings she could muster. With growing dread, Setsuna looked down to find an ice cream cone stuck to her shirt. A toddler stared at her, his eyes beginning to tear up. She knew without a doubt what would come next.
"WAHHHH!" The boy's voice resembled a miniature siren wailing, provoking other children to join in the small, enclosed train car. A collection of groans sounded from the adults while the gang decided to turn their music up even louder. The boy continued to wail for his lost ice cream while Setsuna covered her ears with her hands. For the next two and a half hours, Setsuna endured it.
Stepping off the train, Setsuna headed for the public bathroom in hopes of cleaning herself off. A mere glance at the door proved how clean the restrooms would be. Grime coated the door. Wrinkling her nose at the thought of touching the doorknob, Setsuna gritted her teeth and grabbed it.
A sticky, gooey substance instantly touched her skin and stayed with her even after letting the knob go. Without delay, she ran straight for the sinks. The inside of the restroom was much worse than she could have imagined. Bugs, dirt and graffiti layered the room and the corroded faucets appeared to have stained what wasn't already graffiti-ed with rust. The sinks seemed to vary in condition, the best one tilting at an odd angle while the drains on the floor appeared stopped up, slowly backing out a questionable fluid.
She reached over to the better sink to turn the handle to find a nest of dead bugs, cigarette butts, and wads of hair covering the hole. She released a frustrated sigh, and she headed for the next one. This sink looked cleaner than the other did, so she turned the handle. No water fell. Furrowing her brows together, she tried the hot handle and received the same results. Sighing, she went to the last sink.
On the handle, reddish, brown smears stained the silver, chipped handle. Setsuna knew instantly what the stain was. She reached to grab the handle's edge to turn it but the handle wouldn't move. Gripping it a bit tighter, she tried to pull but again the handle stayed in place. A tic appeared on Setsuna's forehead, pulsing lightly. She switched to the hot water handle but it too would not budge.
Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes then slowly opened them. She grabbed both handles and twisted them as hard as she could. The handles broke and water shot out from the now exposed pipes. Stunned in place, Setsuna stared at the broken sink wishing it was all just a dream.
Rapidly moving out from under the water, she looked down to find herself completely soaked. At least she didn't have to worry about getting rid of the ice cream now. Even though the water smelled and looked unhealthy, Setsuna used the 'fountain' to rinse off her hands. She left the bathroom as it began to slowly flood.
Gripping her wallet close to her, she stepped out of the station and onto the busy streets. Thanks to her training, she was able to maneuver her way through without being trampled. 'That was quite a workout.' She remarked to herself. The entire plaza had numerous stores lined up next to each other as far as the eye could see. Sale posters and announcements were stationed in every available space. Setsuna's eyes became awe-struck by the ever increasing crowd as she began to wonder how she was ever going to find her way through.
'I know it is somewhere in this block.' Setsuna muttered to herself. It seemed the maze of stores and the flashing signs made it harder for her to locate her desired destination. Several more minutes passed before her eyes widen in shock. 'This is the place!' Setsuna's eyes became as wide as baseballs as she stood in front of the largest store in the plaza.
She remembered overhearing Konoka talking with some friends during lunch about a store that was the only one that was selling something she really wanted. Setsuna had made a mental note and even managed to call the store if the product in question was still available. The clerk had told her that it was but that it was a popular item. It would sell out quickly. To make matters worse, only a limited number of the item were made.
Suddenly, a store clerk announced over the intercom that there was a 75 percent discount on all items in the store. A growing rumble like animals on a stampede reached her ears. Setsuna's eyes widened with fear at the rushing masses running towards her. They pushed and trampled her underfoot as the herd of women soon filled the building. Setsuna's hand shot out in a desperate but successful grab for the door pulling her way outside of the mess. Her school uniform had several footprints on it and her hair was now loose. Not one to give up so easily, a determined and stubborn look overcame her features. She prepared for the battle and jumped into the suicidal calamity.
Elbows and feet attacked from every angle as she made her desperate attempt to find the item in question. She found a table with them stacked on top of each other with a sign, "Last available in stock." Grabbing the first one she could reach, Setsuna had to wrestle and fight over the merchandise with an overweight woman who easily overshadowed Setsuna's smaller form.
The fat woman held an icy glare on Setsuna as the two fought over the last item. Setsuna never knew how truly scary human females could actually be until this moment. Never again, she swore, would she underestimate these beings again. Seeing the fear in her eyes, the fat woman slammed her sausage-like body into Setsuna, who was already backed up against the wall.
Dazed, Setsuna felt the item ripped from her fingers. The fat woman triumphantly pushed her way through the crowd further into the store. Setsuna tried to follow but her small body was no match for the other woman. With what seemed like hours, the store soon emptied. Setsuna looked around her to find nearly everything was gone. She looked around in vain, hoping that by some miracle there was still one left, maybe kicked under the furniture or overlooked, but there was nothing.
She glanced at her watch again to find it was almost eight. Panicking, she ran out of the store. All around her, stores were beginning to close. 'NO!' She ran to each store in hope to find something, but the railed doors slammed in front of her face. She then ran up to a store owner, who was about to close the door.
"Sir, could you please allow me a few minutes to shop? I promise I won't take long." She begged. The store owner shook his head apologetically.
"I'm sorry, miss, but I can't. My grandchildren are coming down to visit me." He explained.
Dejected, Setsuna nodded and slowly walked away. 'Can this day get any worse?' As if Fate heard her challenge and decided to humor her, rain poured down like a bucket full of water being dumped upside down. "I wasn't being serious!" she glared up at the darkening sky. She stuffed her hands in her pockets feeling her wallet in one and walked to the train station.
Just as hope was about to diminish from her completely, she felt a light enveloping her. Turning her head, she found a twenty-four hour mini market. Clenching her fists, she walked inside. 'This isn't a proper place to buy her something. I should leave, but I have to get her something. I can't see her empty-handed.' She reasoned. Taking another step inside, she soon found her feet walking down the aisles.
Browsing at the small selections, she sighed. Nothing here would be a good substitute. She tightened her jaw muscles determined to find something suitable. Finally, her eyes settled on a box of cheap chocolates.
She walked out, the box of chocolates wrapped tightly in a plastic bag to keep the rain off. She ran to the train station only to find a puzzling situation. No one was there. She quickly glanced at her watch to find it was nearing nine-thirty.
'When's the next train?' she wandered over to the schedule only to find that no more trains will be running until tomorrow. 'This is not happening. This is a bad dream!' Frustrated, Setsuna placed her hand on her forehead, thinking of an alternative plan to head back to the dorms.
'There is no helping it.' She shook her head regretfully. She wandered around the area to find a nice secluded place, which wasn't hard since the rain was keeping everyone inside. She stepped into an alley only to find a group of teenaged boys loitering about.
Tiptoeing backwards, so as not to make any noise, she crept away. A loud outcry behind her alerted the boy's attention. She spun around to find a cat hissing angrily at her before running away.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here, boys? It would seem some pretty lady has gotten herself lost and wet and in need of a strong man." One of the boys grinned. Pimples cratered his face, distorting his actual image with the red hills and valleys.
The boys all smirked as they moved in to surround her. Setsuna was not in the mood for this. Standing her ground, she glared daggers at them. Usually, she would let small fries go by ignoring them but this time she would not be so forgiving. Just to be fair, she voiced a warning; her eyes shadowed. "Back off. I am not in the mood to deal with you." Her voice low and becoming colder with each word, she knew they wouldn't listen to her.
"What was that, darling? You want me to take you somewhere?" the acne-infested boy reached out his hand to grab her shoulder. Setsuna's eyes darkened as she shot her head up to meet the boy's terrified expression. Her eyes were cold and dangerous. His hand never touched her shoulder because she had it in her iron grip.
"I warned you, but now I'm glad you did not listen." The boy's eyes widened as she closed in on him.
Bending down to pick up the dropped box of chocolates, she looked around her to find all the boys unconscious. Knowing they would be incapable of moving properly, she felt a small drop of satisfaction that she was able to release some frustration from her system.
'I should thank them.' She sniggered. Closing her eyes in a moment of concentration, giant, beautiful white wings sprouted from her back. A sigh of relief escaped her lips from the feeling of stretching them out. She allowed her wings a minute to warm up before beating her wings. Providing a slight lift from her legs, she suddenly vanished.
Setsuna landed near the dorms from behind the school. Darkness had settled completely and as fate would have it, the rain stopped. She didn't need to check her watch to know it was already too late. Closing her eyes, her wings regressed back into her back. She leaned up against the wall, her forehead touching the cool bricks.
She looked down at the bent and torn box of watery chocolates. 'There is no way I can give them to her now.' She thought miserably to herself. 'I'm such a failure!'
"Baka!" She screamed to the night.
'It's too late to visit her anyway.' She choked. She gripped the box in her hand in anger, 'Some friend I am to forget about something as important as this then getting her a crappy present only to have it destroyed.'
She stepped out from behind the dorm building. She would have to face her someday. Guilt-stricken, Setsuna carefully entered the foyer. Letting her eyes roam around, she concluded that it was free of students. Careful not to make any noise, she ran to her room. Opening and closing the door as quietly as possible without waking up her roommate, she discreetly made her way through the darkness to find her bunk.
Feeling around, she found her bed. Setting the crushed box of chocolates next to her, she sat down feeling her muscles cramping slightly. 'That was more intense and brutal than the Shinmeiryuu training I received.' She lightly rubbed her left shoulder.
It was as she rested a moment that two hands landed lightly upon her shoulders. Setsuna grabbed the arm of the assailant as she twisted around to face him. With lightening fast moves, she threw the assailant on the bed with its face into the pillow and both arms pulled up roughly behind them in an arm-breaking grip. The cry of pain stopped Setsuna's actions immediately. She knew that voice.
Instantly, her roommate sat up in bed, awoken by the sudden sound. "Setsuna?" Kaede rubbed her eyes, "What's wrong?"
Setsuna felt her face blush as she turned her head to look at her. "I just accidentally stubbed my toe on the bedpost. Sorry to wake you up." She offered a wobbly smile. Kaede gave her a knowing look before going back to sleep.
Alarmed, she instantly let go of Konoka, "I'm so sorry, princess! Did I hurt you? Are you okay?" She whispered her concerns.
"Set-chan, I'm okay.' Konoka sat herself up with a grin while rubbing her sore arms. "At least I don't have to worry so much when you go out on missions for gramps."
"I'm sorry, Princess." Her head bent in submission.
"It's okay. I should be the one apologizing by surprising you like that. Anyways, there are far more important matters at hand." Her expression became serious. "First, let us step outside the room so Kaede may sleep." She held Setsuna's hand leading her toward the door.
After closing the door behind her, Konoka turned her attention on Setsuna, "Why did you disappear so suddenly after class today?"
Setsuna's mind traveled back to her unfortunate trip into town. She couldn't tell Konoka the real reason because it would have spoiled the surprise but the events that occurred had already ruined her original plans. "I just had someplace to go." Setsuna's eyes were downcast.
Placing two fingers under Setsuna's chin, Konoka lifted her face to look into her eyes. "What happened, Set-chan?" Her voice was thick with worry. Even though it was dark in the room, Konoka could tell right away that something was wrong with Setsuna. The strong, sour smell that drifted off the half-demon was the first clue along with her haggard, weary appearance. Setsuna, she knew, prided herself on being immaculate in appearance and everything she did.
Setsuna refused to meet Konoka's eyes. Turning her eyes toward the empty hallway, she clenched her hands into fists. Konoka tried to move her body to look at the half-demon's face but Setsuna kept turning away. "Did I do something to upset you?" Konoka questioned.
Setsuna stiffened. Wringing her hands anxiously, Konoka bit her lower lip, "Why won't you look at me?"
"I am not upset with you, Princess…' she trailed off, struggling with her words. "I went to town." Konoka became confused but remained silent for Setsuna to continue.
"I went into town to buy you a birthday present. I overheard you telling some classmates about a store that only sold something you really wanted." Setsuna's face was becoming as red as a cherry. "Unfortunately, I was not able to get it for you because it was sold out."
Guilt washed over her features, "I'm sorry, Princess." Her knuckles turned white from the anger she felt at herself.
"It's okay, Set-chan. You don't need to apologize." Konoka remarked sincerely.
"No matter how hard I tried, I could not get you the one thing you desired." Tears began to seep from her eyes and her voice became shaky, "All the stores were closing, and I had nothing to get you. So…so I became desperate." Shame weighed heavily on her shoulders. "I..I found a twenty-four hour market and bought you some chocolate candy but even that is ruined."
Konoka's heart broke at seeing her knight standing before her burdened with failure, disappointment, shame, and disgust at herself. Taking Setsuna's face in her hands, she wiped away the tears with her thumbs. She leaned into her knight placing a single kiss on her lips.
"Thank you, Set-chan." She kissed her again causing Setsuna's blush to darken, "But you're wrong. The one thing I desire most is not materialistic. The only thing I desire is this, you and me holding each other. Knowing that you love me so much that you would go through such lengths to get me a birthday gift, I...' Konoka gazed into Setsuna's eyes, "I love you, Set-chan."
Setsuna felt as if her heart would burst. She wrapped her arms possessively around Konoka's waist. She closed her eyes as Konoka caressed her face. "Do you understand now?" Konoka whispered.
Setsuna opened her eyes and nodded. "Good." Konoka gave her knight an Eskimo kiss then stepped back. "Set-chan,' she wrinkled her nose, "you really need to take a bath." Setsuna's face, which begun to turn back to normal, switched to full blush again.
"Grab your bathing stuff and meet me at the bath." Konoka instructed before turning to walk towards her room.
"You're going too? But, Princess, you don't look like you need a bath." Setsuna pointed out.
Konoka paused in mid-step and then turned around to face Setsuna. A playful grin lit her face as she walked back to the confused girl. Lifting herself up on her tip-toes so her lips were right next to Setsuna's ear she whispered, "You need someone to wash your back and to make sure every part of you is clean."
"Pr..princess!" Setsuna exclaimed as her face looked like it was going to blow up from embarrassment.
Konoka licked Setsuna's ear before walking away swaying her hips, "Don't leave me waiting too long. Oh, bring the chocolates with you. I'm sure we can find something interesting to do with them."
Setsuna licked her dry lips as she watched Konoka disappear down the dark halls. She slipped into her room to grab her bathing items and the box of chocolates. Then without a moment's hesitation she ran toward the bathroom.
Kaede smiled in thought, "I wonder whose birthday gift is being presented to whom?"
AN: A HUGE thanks and I seriously mean a huge thanks to my editor who has put up so much from me while taking her time editing this. She really is a saint. Lol Thank you, you know who you are.
My other story, The Sword and its Sheath has not been removed but the rating was changed from "T" to "M" because of the graphic violence. Just to let you know in case you were worried.
Please review to let me know your thoughts. Love? Hate?