Okay…-sweatdrop- Now how long have I left this fan fiction of mine stranded again? Oh God a quarter of a year!

Ahehe…don't kill me ok? Here's chapter three for you to enjoy (I hope) –doles out chapter–

Warning: Some characters are extremely OOC. Don't go on if you are not in favour of OOC-ness.

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Gakuen Alice. If only I did. But I don't, so that's that.

Mikan's batch: 15 years old

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Chapter 3

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"Hey, Natsume-kun," Sumire whined. "What are we doing here?"

"…"

The, er, 'couple' were hiding behind a large bush, or rather a small tree. Its many leaves reached up to Natsume's fringe and tickled both him and Sumire. The girl had batted them off, annoyed, but Natsume stayed rooted to his spot and refused to move.

"Natsume-kun -"

"What is it?" he hissed, never taking his eyes off a certain disturbing scene.

He could not believe his eyes. Mikan. Was. Flirting. With. A. BOY. Natsume wouldn't be surprised to see steam coming out of his ears, he was that mad.

"I thought we were going out on a date?" Sumire pouted, crossing her arms. "What are we doing here anyway?"

"Hn…" He trailed off in mid-word, eyes growing as big as saucers.

What the Hell! P-Polka dots…did she just hook her arm around that bastard?! Inner Natsume screamed. The fire of jealousy in his eyes burned brightly.

An impatient Sumire tugged at his arm, bringing Natsume out of his private world with an unpleasant jolt.

"Natsume-kun! Our date," she reminded him while batting her eyelashes in a sexy manner. Her lips formed a pout that was supposed to charm the fire wielder's heart.

What a pity. (Not.) Natsume wasn't moved the slightest.

"Right, date…" he murmured nonchalantly as his angry crimson eyes trailed after Mikan's retreating back. Her excited giggles could be heard from where he was now, and it pissed him off, big time.

The idiot has absolutely no taste in boys, he snarled inwardly.

"Come on, Shouda," he snapped and walked briskly away from their hiding place. "There's nothing to see here."

Sumire's face broke into a happy grin and she tailed the boy eagerly, swooning at his every move.

"I love you so much Natsume-kuunnnn!" she squealed.

And I hate you just as much. Was Natsume's silent reply.

….

The news that one of the hottest boys in the junior high division, as well as former outcast Sakura Mikan, had suddenly found partners traveled around the school like wildfire.

Everyone knew of it, even the young kids down at the elementary division. Unfortunately, the truth had morphed into a heavily twisted story, no thanks to the minds and mouths of gossip masters.

What intrigued them, however, was not the story, but the fact that they had witnessed it with their own eyes. Natsume and Mikan seemed to be everywhere these days. They were always accompanied by their spouses, seemingly oblivious to the gawking crowd made up of the entire Academy.

Hyuuga and Shouda, Sakura and Kazuhiko…

It was so plain wrong.

Very, very wrong.

Mikan's POV

"Fancy walking me to the cafeteria, Ryuki-kun?" I simpered, hating every moment of it. My heart kept bleeding – nothing would make it stop, for it would bleed anew each time Natsume smothered it with his frequent appearances with his girlfriend, Sumire.

Never have I hated anyone to this extent.

But I do now. And do you know why?

Because, my dears, she gets to be close to Natsume, and seduce him like some lowly bimbo while I was cast aside like an unwanted rag.

Sure, I was not the sexiest, nor the most beautiful, but Kami-sama, is it wrong to long for something that isn't yours?

Apparently it was, for Natsume had hurt me deeply with those razor-sharp words of his.

Dimly, I registered Ryuki grinning at me and offering me his arm, something he had gotten used to doing after a week of being my substitute boyfriend. Scratch that, he isn't even close to being one.

I'm only using him to tickle the jealous monster within Natsume.

As I grin and sling my arm around his, I couldn't help but feel guilt boiling up in me.

I was, after all, no better than the conceited boy himself, for I was using an innocent to get back at him. Poor Ryuki had no say in the matter, and what's worse, I…

I used him.

My gaze traveled downwards sorrowfully as I muttered a thousand apologies to him in my heart. We passed many students and even Jin-Jin, with Ryuki guiding me along.

The student body still hasn't gotten used to my 'boyfriend' yet, I thought dryly. Big surprise.

Countless pairs of eyes followed us as we walked past. It intimidated me. I mean, come on, wouldn't your freak out if nearly all the students turned round and stared at you non-stop?

Sighing, I tried to hitch up my customary smile and looked up at Ryuki for some support.

My amber eyes froze when I caught sight of a couple under the blooming sakura tree. It was Natsume, with Sumire clinging to him like a spoilt baby. But what hurt me the most was the fact that her hand was traveling up and down his chest.

The wind chose that moment to pull at my hair then. I didn't care. I was too…distraught. Yes, that's the word.

Stupid Natsume….

Jealousy took over me when I saw Sumire trace his jawbone. My grip on Ryuki's arm tightened ever so slightly and I lowered by now-blank eyes to fix my gaze on the couple.

"Let's go say hi to them, shall we Ryuki-kun?" I said sweetly, not forgetting to widen my eyes in an innocent manner.

He fell for it. "Yeah, sure. Whatever you want, baby."

Baby. Eww. I'm no baby, let me tell you that.

Ah well. No time to dwell on it now, Sumire just ruffled Natsume's hair! Why that girl…wait, why do I care?

I hate him, I thought bitterly. I hate Hyuuga Natsume.

I hate him, do you hear! My heart screamed.

My hurt must have showed on my face, for Ryuki bent down to look at me straight in the eye.

"Mikan-chan, are you alright?" he asked softly.

I forced out a smile. "Yes. Let's go…greet Natsume-kun now."

He nodded, and I exhaled in relief. My heart started palpitating wildly as we neared the boy I loved – I mean hated with all my heart.

"Hey Ryuki-kun," I said in a carrying voice, so that the two lovebirds under the tree could hear me.

"Hm?"

"Thanks for escorting me!"

From the corner of my eye, I saw Natsume's eyes narrow slightly in my direction. Good. This way, I'll be able to get my revenge on him.

I squeezed Ryuki's arm and pretended not to notice the way Natsume was glaring at us. If he wasn't fuming earlier, he definitely was now. Ooh yeah, really, really mad. His death glare can melt whole blocks of ice without much of a problem, that's for sure.

"You're the reason I had so much fun today!"

Ryuki smiled nervously. Poor boy. He must be uncomfortable. Well, I'm not surprised. He's going up against Hyuuga Natsume, for goodness sake! I wonder which guy wouldn't freak out.

Natsume, you are so going to pay for insulting my pride.

Natsume's POV

Stupid, stupid Shouda Sumire.

Why, out of the many girls in class, did I have to pick the most girly and most seductive of them all?

One with a weird hairstyle, no less. Should I burn it? I suppose it would crackle like dry seaweed...

"Natsume-kun…" she crooned, trailing her fingers over my chest. My irritation flared up and threatened to explode.

Calm down, calm down Natsume, I ordered myself, taking a deep breath. This is for revenge….

One inquisitive, carefully tapered, and extremely annoying finger started to travel up my nape.

Twitch.

I let out a hiss, soft enough so that Shouda wouldn't hear me. I couldn't risk her hating me anyway. Heck, that would mean I lost to polka dots!

"Hey Ryuki-kun!" I heard a girl call.

"Thanks for escorting me!"

My eyes narrowed. They were practically spitting fire at the duo! It was no wonder, for the girl was polka dots…with a boy.

I snorted, causing several loose strands of Shouda's awful hair to fall out of place.

Idiot. Does she think she can get back at me that way?

I am Hyuuga Natsume. I won't be staggered by her flirting with another boy.

No, definitely not.

Mikan tightened her grip on the boy's arm, smiling radiantly at him. Tch. It makes me sick.

A soft pressure on my cheek alerted me to Sumire's presence, dangerously close to my face. Her warm breath tickled my neck. I was revolted, to say the least.

Wait, I can't push her off now! The idiot is approaching! What's worse, she's heading towards me.

Shit.

Can she not pick a better time?

I shot them a death glare that promised them a very painful, torturous death, and had the pleasure of seeing her escort squirm in discomfort. Hmph.

That'll teach him to play with me.

Him, rival me? Fat chance.

Besides, what do I care? I hate polka dots.

….

As their paths crossed, Mikan finally looked up and locked solemn gazes with Natsume. His angry, challenging crimson eyes bored a hole through her gentle, chocolate brown ones, yet she refused to look down. She stood her ground defiantly and tightened her hold on Ryuki. Natsume noticed it and glared harder, if that was possible.

"Polka dots," he greeted icily. She inclined her head and muttered a 'hi'.

A loud snort from Sumire broke the tense moment into billions of tiny pieces. Mikan's bleeding heart shattered along with it. Natsume did not look as though he would give up easily, and neither did she.

Ryuki saved the day by grinning jovially down at Natsume. "Hi!" he said jovially. "I suppose you are Mikan-chan's classmate?"

Crimson eyes narrowed at the mention of Mikan's name. Mikan-chan? He thought incredulously.

"Oh, so you two are on a first-name basis now, polka dots?" he snapped coldly, sending an intimidating glare at Ryuki for emphasis.

"Yes, we are, Natsume-kun," she replied staunchly. "What about you and…Sumire?" Why? Why is it so hard for me to accept the truth? Why!

"We're doing fine, Sakura, and we'd appreciate it if you'll leave us alone!" Sumire interjected.

Mikan stared long and hard at her, never speaking a word. Her eyes were glazed and faraway. Natsume could almost detect a misty layer on those intoxicating eyes of hers.

"Well, we have to go, anyway," she finally said, rather shakily. "Goodbye."

She tugged gently at Ryuki's arm, and he stared dubiously, first at her, then at Natsume and Sumire.

"Well…goodbye, I suppose," he muttered doubtfully, running a hand through his hair. "See you soon!"

"Not," Natsume hissed under his breath. "Bastard."

"What did you say, Natsume-kun?" Sumire asked.

"Nothing…"

I won't let you win. Mikan belongs to ME.

….

"…" The entire class was speechless.

No, it was not because of some commotion, nor was there any accident of any kind in the class.

So why were they silent?

"N-Narumi-sensei…why are you dressed like that?" Mikan asked with a large sweatdrop.

"Hm? Anything wrong with it?" he asked, training his gaze on her.

"Er."

"Yes. Why are you wearing such a sparkly outfit?" two voices chorused at the same time. Mikan blinked and looked at Kokoroyomi, who grinned at her.

Sure enough, Narumi was wearing a tight-fitting shirt with an equally tight pair of pants. Sequins studded every area of pale violet fabric available, nearly blinding his students with its brilliance.

To top it all off, on his head was what looked like a sombrero, but…it was of a striking violet colour and had some fuzzy material sewed onto the rim. And like the rest of Narumi's outfit, it sparkled brightly whenever light hit it.

"Oh, this?"

The majority of his students nodded. Narumi rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

"Well, since Valentine's Day is approaching, I thought I'd dress up early to remind the students who might have forgotten." Here he winked at Mikan, who smiled back at him without catching his hint.

He cleared his throat and allowed his gaze to wander around the class once.

"This year, the Academy is organizing a special event in conjunction with this very meaningful day."

Excited murmurs broke out among the students, especially the girls.

"There will be a performance every student must take part in. You will do it in pairs. Oh yes, and did I mention that this is a musical night?" he grinned when he saw that his words had piqued the interest of his students.

Unfortunately, with the attention also comes a riot, and the noise level in the cramped classroom went up by a threefold. Narumi winced slightly and tried to smile at his eager students.

"Calm down, class!"

Nothing changed. If possible, the noise grew louder.

"Allow me to explain," he tried again. "As I said, each of you will have to perform a duet with your partner. And the theme for the songs is…"

"Love."

Right, Natsume thought dryly. Trust Narumi to pick that topic, of all themes. However, the rest of the students disagreed with the moody fire alice.

The girls squealed loudly.

"Natsume-kun, I'll sing a song just for you!" Sumire said happily.

"But you have to sing with your partner remember?" he pointed out. Thank God she can't sing with me. It'll be Hell.

"Ah, who cares about my partner. You're my one true love!"

"Class, class!" Narumi sensei called, clapping his hands to gain attention. When the clamour subsided, he smiled and held up a box. There was a hole in the middle, just enough for a hand to slip inside.

"What's that box for, Narumi sensei?" Mikan asked.

He gave her a conniving grin. "There are many slips of papers in here. Either you or your partner must stick your hand into this little hole here -" he indicated the hole on the top of the box "- and draw one piece of paper out."

"What is it for, sensei?" Nonoko enquired, unable to restrain her excitement.

"This, my dear students, will determine the song you will be singing that day."

"Stupid," Natsume muttered and pulled out a manga. He wasn't going to listen to this crackpot's rant. Oh no, not he.

Mikan glared at him. "I heard that. As if I'm thrilled. A duet, with you! It's going to turn my life upside down."

"Yeah. Your croaky voice will deafen me."

"Why you idiot!"

"You're the idiot."

"Insensitive, low-lying jerk!"

"Polka dots."

"Bastard!"

"Mikan-chan, Natsume-kun!!" Narumi shouted over the eager chatter of the students who have already chosen their songs. "I'm sorry, but there's only one more song left for the both of you."

"It's okay, sensei," the brunette said with a smile, simmering down. Walking to the front of the class, she took the last slip of paper out of the box and opened it slowly.

"Hm…? What's this? Hey, Natsume-kun, look at this!"

"Hn." He threw a careless gaze at the words scribbled on the paper before going to back his manga.

Wait.

Snatching it out of a very surprised Mikan's hand, he re-read the words. His crimson eyes widened.

"Pfft." With a loud crackle, his fist was engulfed in flames, consuming the paper but leaving the boy's hand unharmed.

Out of all songs…they just had to get that one.

Darn Narumi and his love themes.

An idea popped up in his head and he frowned. Well, if he has to sing a duet with the idiot, might as well use it to his advantage.

Whoever suggested this event is going to be burnt into a crisp.

Valentine's Day, indeed.

',',

Okay, I apologize for the late update…

What song will they have to sing? And why is Natsume so pissed off? It's just a song! Hopefully, nothing goes wrong…but knowing Mikan it's bound to screw up. Ah well.

Stay tuned for the next chapter! I'll work on it after another update, or maybe I'll do this first to compensate for the mega late update...