Title: Riding the Roller Coaster (Part XXIV)
Author: ficeler37
Note: Don't own Mai-Hime. I'll let Sunrise take the credit.
Rating: PG
Word count: 1878

Summary: Going home.


Hmm …It's over already?
As the ferris wheel ride comes to an end, Natsuki gently wakes up the other girl and helps her out of the gondola with her arm still across her shoulder. Perhaps because the Kyoto beauty is still dazed from her little nap, Natsuki finds herself supporting most of Shizuru's weight. Thank god Shizuru is light as a feather. This is so unfair. How can she be so light when she's taller than me and her breasts are bigger than mine? "Hold on, Shizuru. Let's see if we can wake you up."

Carefully, the sober girl leads Shizuru towards the bathroom. Inside the nearly empty bathroom, Natsuki pulls back the chestnut-colored hair to keep it from getting wet as Shizuru splatters water on her still flushed face. "Feeling better?" When she bends down to take a closer look at the other girl, her heart skips a beat without warning.

Water drops slide down creamy white skin and drop to the sink from Shizuru's pointed chin. The older girl is practically glowing as her face reflects the golden rays shinning in from the window. The cute pink blush on her cheeks only serves to make her look more sweet and innocent than she actually is. "The water is cold …" Shizuru offers a small smile to the stunned blue haired girl. I wonder what is going on in that adorable head?

"Oh, okay. Let's wipe the water off your face then." Stop zoning out, Natsuki. Be more helpful! You need to take care of Shizuru. Natsuki reaches into Shizuru's purse and takes out some Kleenex. "Here, let me help you with this." She focuses her gaze on the droplets as she dabs the Kleenex softly on the porcelain face.

The concentrated look of the blue haired girl makes the previously receding blush of Shizuru come back in full force. Suddenly she finds it difficult to control her breathing as her mind registers the minimal distance between the two girls. Natsuki, don't you know the gentler you are with me, the harder it is for me to let you go? Shizuru grabs the hand holding the damp Kleenex and looks deep into the green eyes. "Thank you, Natsuki. That's enough." And the clock strikes twelve for Cinderella … "I'm tired. Let's go home."

As the two of them walk out of the bathroom, Natsuki notices that the other girl has trouble walking in a straight line. It seems to her that even though Shizuru has cleared her head, her body still has trouble shaking off the effect from the liquor. In one swift movement, Natsuki lets her hand slide around the Kyoto woman's lean waist.

Feeling the sudden pressure on her body, Shizuru looks over in surprise at the girl in the baseball cap. So, you were brave enough to hold me but not brave enough to look at me? Awww, you're blushing. KAWAII! "Are you cold, Natsuki? You should have just told me. You know I would gladly throw myself at you to keep you warm."

Ahhhh, this woman and her smirk! Natsuki pinches Shizuru at the waist through her dress to show her annoyance, but she does not let go of the tipsy girl's body.

"Ow! Natsuki is so mean." Shizuru attempts to use her teary-eyes attack to gain back the upper hand. That didn't hurt at all. Always the tender one, Natsuki, no matter how hard you try to come off as a mean-spirited person.

This time, the younger girl predicted Shizuru's strategy and has long averted her gaze to the stores on the side. I won't fall for it again. To Natsuki's surprise, from the reflection of the store windows, she notices many curious glances at Shizuru and her from the people around them. What are they looking at? Why do they all have that creepy smile on their faces? "Ne, Shizuru. Do you notice all these people staring at us?"

Shizuru lets her lips get as close as possible to the nicely shaped ear facing her. "Must be the irresistible fragrance of Natsuki's body scent." As Natsuki swings her head around ready to admonish the other girl, Shizuru takes this opportunity to give her a small peck on the cheek. "Oops, I guess Natsuki's cheek ran into my lips."

A slump of the shoulders and a deep sigh later, Natsuki once again surrenders to the cunningness that is Shizuru. "C'mon, I'm serious. Look around."

"I saw earlier. I honestly don't know why." I'm used to guys staring at Natsuki and me. But this is weird. It's like everyone is staring at us.

A couple steps forward and the answer hits Shizuru and Natsuki in the face. "Ara, it seems that we are in the spotlight." On the screen outside the sticky pictures machine is an awkwardly smiling Natsuki who is being kissed on the cheek by Shizuru with her eyes closed. The caption underneath the picture reads 'Number One Most Popular Picture of the Day'.

"Argh, this is all your fault!" The heavily blushing girl lets go of the other girl's waist and goes for her hand instead. "We need to get out of here." She pulls Shizuru towards the park exit hurriedly. I feel so dumb being the only one who is embarrassed. Is there anything that will make this woman blush in embarrassment?

When the girls get to Natsuki's motorcycle, the sky has already turned a deep shade of blue. Natsuki turns to the chestnut haired girl who is leaning on her metallic sweetheart and putting on a light purple helmet. "I know that you are still not feeling up to a hundred percent. So promise me that you will hold onto me tight later, okay?" At least Shizuru's apartment is not too far from here. I'll have to make sure to drive slower than usual.

Watching Natsuki get on the bike with a powerful leap, Shizuru climbs behind her carefully to make sure that her dress will not ride up later. "Too bad I don't have the means to superglue myself to Natsuki. It'll be so much safer to fall asleep on your motorcycle." As Shizuru wraps her arms around Natsuki's waist, she lets her fingers make a faint trail on the skin underneath her black shirt.

She did it again! Suppressing the urge to turn around and push the other girl off the bike, Natsuki starts the engine and begins maneuvering her ride out of the parking lot. "Don't do anything strange to me. I don't want to crash my bike and kill the both of us."

"I don't understand what kind of strange things you were referring to." To provoke the person in front even more, Shizuru begins tracing circles around Natsuki's belly button underneath her shirt.

The motorcycle makes a loud shriek as the wheels struggle to regain control. "Didn't I just tell you not to do that? I don't want you to get hurt!" Natsuki yells loudly to make sure that the girl behind can hear her.

Melodious Kyoto-ben makes a strong contrast with the angry growl. "I believe in Natsuki's driving skills. You'd never let me get hurt." Sorry, Natsuki. For a moment there, the thought of us dying together suddenly seemed appealing to me. What a selfish bitch I am. (scoff) How I wish we were never reborn. That way I won't be forcing my twisted feelings on you now, and you'll be free.

The rest of the ride to Shizuru's apartment is filled with silence. Both girls are deep in thought, afraid to acknowledge the end of their wonderful day together.

Throughout the day Shizuru had been treating the date like a wish granted by a genie, a dream that will never be repeated once the spell is broken. Turning a blind eye on her previous resolution of hiding from Natsuki, Shizuru convinced herself to be indulged one last time before she completely lets go. The only reason why Natsuki would agree to go out with me was because she felt like she owed me since I saved her from a date in hell with Takeda. But now that we are even, I really don't have any excuses to be around her anymore. Shizuru, it's time to set her free.

While the girl at the back is mentally preparing herself to say goodbye, Natsuki's mind has been traveling at a different direction. When is the next time that we are going to see each other again? Do I need to wait another three months? Is she even going to pick up her phone again when I call? Green eyes dim considerably while hidden inside the dark helmet. I still don't understand the feelings I have towards Shizuru, whether it is friendship or … But one thing is certain, Shizuru, I don't want you to go. I need to know that when I open my eyes tomorrow, I'll still be able to see you if I want to. I …need you.

Soon they arrive at their destination and Natsuki parks her bike on the side of the road. Both Shizuru and Natsuki take off their helmets, but neither girl makes a move to get off the motorcycle.

"I had a great time today, Natsuki."

"Yea, me too."


Both girls do not want the day to end, but neither of them can come up with a reason to prolong today's enchantment which had numbed their heartaches for the past three months. Finally, Shizuru lets out a deep sigh that she has been holding in for a long time and releases her arms from around Natsuki's waist. Cinderella has to go home someday. Only this time, there is no fairy godmother to help me live happily ever after …



Natsuki rambles on. "My apartment is closer to the university anyways. I can give you a ride to school every morning. In return, you can make lunch boxes for me to bring to school. You always say that I should eat healthy. Well, here's your chance to make me. Oh, and if I need help with school stuff, it'll be easier for you to come tutor me if you just live with me." Not hearing any replies from the older girl, Natsuki struggles to find more excuses to bind Shizuru to her. "I heard that there are a lot of creepy men that like to follow women home. You don't have a car, right? It'd be much safer if you let me drive you everywhere. We don't have our hime powers anymore. The least we can do is stick together and look out for each other …"

Shizuru shuts up the younger girl by pressing onto her back more and kissing her ear lope. "Shuush … Natsuki, breathe." Shizuru brings her arms around Natsuki's neck and pulls her back into a fierce embrace. "The answer is yes." How can I say no to such a passionate plea? It's okay if we are not lovers now … We have all the time in the world.



"Uhm, Shizuru. You can get off my bike now."

"Iya I thought Natsuki was going to take me home." (holds onto Natsuki for dear life)

"Well, we're here." (confused look)

(whisper) "I meant our home."

(tomato face)


A/N: Well, I guess this is the end of the roller coaster ride. Did everyone have fun? I sure did. Just want to say a big thank you to all who have read all the chapters from beginning to end. Having your support and reviews means a lot. (waves) Till next time!

(passes out tea sets and motorcycle models designed by Shizuru and Natsuki respectively)