Hotaru came up with an interesting experiment. She invited Mikan, Ruka, Natsume, Sumire, Youichi, Tsubasa & Misaki for a slumber party in her lab. More exciting than exposing everyone's sleeping behavior…were some unheard confessions. N x M.

DISCLAIMER: GAKUEN ALICE IS HIGUCHI TACHIBANA-SAMA'S, NOT MINE.

Author's Notes: In this chapter, you'll find out Natsume and Mikan's sleeping behavior. I'm changing it to sleeping "behavior" instead of "habits." Sleep behavior has a wider scope than sleeping habits. I apologize for the delayed updates (again). I've been pretty busy with the Christmas season here. Hope you enjoy!

Special Thanks to AmazonessArcher for beta-reading it! Cheers!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------o

Hotaru's Sleep Experiment

Chapter 2: Kiss Night Terrors Goodbye!
Genre: Humor / General

Written By: WizdomGoddess

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------o

Nobody who attended the slumber party looked happy, especially not after discovering they were the guinea pigs of Hotaru's latest experiment.

Hotaru had a sweet look on her face, so sweet that an ordinary person will fail to notice the allusions of evil in it. She watched, along with the rest of the class, the television screen flashing the 'SLEEPING UNCUT' title. A tiny animated Narumi throttled across the screen and stood beside the 'T' ---- small hearts floating all over him.

Narumi watched and rubbed his chin thoughtfully with a crooked smile on his lips waiting for the actual footage. Hotaru always came up with the most interesting reports in his class. He had to hand it to her: she knew how to get her way. Maybe he can give her an extra project to make a video of him using his alice on everybody…

Narumi grinned inwardly.

"I wonder what Natsume and Mikan did last night," he twittered, sending a playful glance at the glowering couple, "I sure hope you two won't leave me out next time." He waggled his eyebrows at the two.

Mikan obviously had no idea what he was talking about, so she wondered why Natsume and Ruka looked like somebody forced them to swallow a mouthful of cow dung.

"Oh, before I forget, the television and DVD player are alice-proofed so destroying it will be useless," Hotaru warned, fixing her eyes at a certain dangerous ability type. She smirked, completely satisfied with her unassailable plan.

After all, nobody gets in the way of Hotaru and her experiments -- nobody.

Now before this narration turns into a scary account of Hotaru's evil ways, let us take a look at how her guinea pigs are doing.

Natsume looked indifferent, despite the fact that all eyes were on him.

Ruka seemed ready to make a run for it.

Mikan was shrieking like a turkey on Thanksgiving.

Sumire was making a punching bag out of her table, probably to release her stress.

Tsubasa, Misaki, and Youichi had no idea their secrets were going to be exposed --- this can either be a good thing or a bad thing.

Yuu looked extremely guilty.

Keen old Kokoroyomi was the only one who noticed Yuu's odd reaction. Reading the class president's mind, he swerved his seat noisily to gain the attention of the class. He stood up, grinned deviously, and announced to the whole class:

"Crap, Hotaru better not spill I'm the one who installed that video camera, dammit!"

This came with a perfect imitation of Yuu's voice matched with the fluttering of eyes, obviously in mockery of the class president's femininity.

Dumbfounded gasps reverberated throughout the classroom.

Yuu instantly froze. Koko's mischievous expression stood out like an eyesore amid an ocean of shocked faces. Never did they consider their class president capable of even thinking something so…cool.

Everybody started talking at once. In the midst of blabbers, Hotaru heard a few.

"Iinchou! Oh my gosh, did you just curse??" gasped Nonoko.

"Oooh, scary!" Kokoroyomi chuckled. It didn't help that Yuu actually sent him a dirty look. This caused him to laugh even louder.

Anna clapped. "You're so cool Iinchou!"

"I didn't know you had it in you, class president!" laughed a boy classmate.

"I feel a bad omen…a bad omen!" Yura Otonashi garbled, fiercely rubbing her palms together.

Poor Yuu withered on his seat, looking utterly regretful.

Seeing that her confederate gathered more attention than her report, Hotaru coughed loudly.

The whole class turned their attention back to the platform. Hotaru raised both hands, each covered with her horse-hoof-idiot-whacking inventions to instigate the discontinuation of her classmates' annoying chatter. Fearing to be the victim of Hotaru Imai's wrath, the class had no other option but to shut up.

"People! People! Calm down. Yuu was merely a confederate," she explained lucidly, inserting a laser pointer in one of her hooves.

Almost everyone gulped.

"There's no point in making a big deal out of it," she turned the pointer on and projected it on the television. A teeny red dot moved around the screen. "Now…as I was saying, the video begins now."

Mikan was shaking, torn between humiliation and fury; a dangerous glint twinkled in her eye. She had no idea what Hotaru managed to place in that film, but she had a bad feeling it's something that might damage her reputation – for good - as if her reputation's not damaged enough.

"HOOOOOTARU!!! GIVE ME THAT VIDEOOOOO!" diving towards her best friend.

Hotaru automatically received her with a gigantic fly swatter. She watched Mikan bounce off the ceiling and crash on the cemented floor.

Natsume shrugged and stalked towards the door. Steel doors zipped towards the floor and covered the exits. He tried to hide his shock but his vocabulary took over.

"What the hell!"

"Natsume!" Ruka hollered.

Hotaru grinned. "Where do you think you're going? The show hasn't even started yet…"

Steel windows replaced the normal classroom windows with a boom, causing everyone to jump off their seats.

Crap! Natsume cursed innately.

They were now trapped. No one can escape --- no one.

Silence engulfed the room as the words "Sleeping Behavior Part I" appeared on the monitor. Hotaru whipped out a wireless microphone and brought it closer to her lips.

"As you can see, the camera is in night vision mode so the experimenters can clearly see any changes in their sleeping behavior," she droned. The screen revealed seven sleeping figures. "Our first participant will display the first signs of REM sleep in a few seconds."

The class watched as the camera zoomed closer to someone's sleeping face.

Delighted squeals echoed like a wave throughout the enclosure---particularly from the Natsume and Ruka fans club.

"Oh my gosh! Natsume looks like an angel!" a girl swooned. Several excited giggles followed. Sumire would have joined in if she wasn't as white as a ghost. Mikan rubbed her sore butt, mumbling about best friends and insensitivity. She sent her friend a glare, which Hotaru just shrugged off.

Ruka leaned over Natsume's ear. "Natsume, sorry I can't do anything. We're dealing with Imai…," he whispered apologetically, "She'll blackmail me if I do something."

"It doesn't matter. Come on, Ruka," Natsume replied, going back to his seat. He propped his feet on the desk, sending Hotaru a taunting look. It was his way of showing her that whatever she had up her sleeve will not affect his dignity. Ruka settled beside him, quiet as a mouse.

Hotaru grinned triumphantly and shifted her gaze to the television. She still got a lot of reporting to do!

On screen, Natsume's sleeping face started sweating rapidly; his forehead was pleated and his breathing was heavy.

"Oh no! My Natsume!" a fan girl wailed.

A hush ran over the entire class. Even Mikan forgot all about her contempt and watched.

"What is he doing?" she asked curiously.

Kokoroyomi turned to her. "He's having a dream."

"…a wet dream," Narumi snickered.

Natsume instantly sent their teacher a death glare. "One more crack and I'll burn you," he growled. Ruka and his bunny were shaking their heads.

"Don't you people know how to listen?" Hotaru butted in.

The class settled down.

"Moving on…as you can see, participant number one has long entered REM sleep. At this moment, he seems to be dreaming. He looks like he's having a nightmare…," she stated, removing the pointer-less horse-hoof from her hand.

The words "Participant 1: Dreaming (of what?)" flashed thrice at the bottom of the screen.

Nonoko raised a hand. "Um…Hotaru, what's REM sleep? Mr. Misaki told us about the REM cycle in our lessons but you've been talking about this REM sleep…what's the difference? I'm sorry..." she asked timidly.

The rest of the class simultaneously nodded, except Natsume (who had looked out the window) and Sumire (who was still frozen in shock).

Hotaru cleared her throat. "We all know that REM sleep is short for rapid eye movement. It's also called the paradoxical sleep or deep sleep," she explained, flipping through her index cards. "It goes like this…the REM cycle starts with stage1 where an individual falls asleep. It goes through stages 2 to 4. If the sleeping person is disturbed by a loud noise it causes a reversal of stages if not, the stages slowly cycles back from stage 4 to stage 3 to stage2…before the sleeping person enters REM sleep, which is just a part of the REM cycle. The sequence repeats."

The class blinked.

"What?" Anna reacted, utterly confused.

"Eh?" Kokoroyomi said. Even his mind-reading alice failed to follow Hotaru's thoughts.

"So as you can see, we don't have a single dream each night. We actually undergo several dreams each time we sleep," Hotaru finalized and looked expectantly at the class.

Some struggled to understand what she said while some were too busy drooling over Natsume's sleeping face to listen.

Nonoko's eyes widened. "Ohhh!" she exclaimed, clapping her hands over her mouth. "I don't quite get it but I think you're making sense!"

But to everyone's surprise (except Hotaru), an earsplitting scream boomed throughout the room.

The footage showed Natsume wide awake, breathing heavily and sweating profusely. The camera focused on his dilated pupils for a second and zoomed out to reveal the anxiety breaking out from his features.

The class gaped. It was the first time they saw Natsume act so vulnerable. Such behavior seemed unlikely from a boy with an intimidating reputation. Why did he scream? What did he dream about? Are those saliva marks on his cheeks?

"Ewww," Mikan gurgled.

Since their love for Natsume was greater than the fact that he drooled in his sleep, the Natsume and Ruka fangirls simply ignored it. Mikan, on the other hand, found it a wonderful opportunity to laugh at him.

"Wahahahaha!" she burst into a fit of giggles. Shaking uncontrollably, she pointed at Natsume wildly. "Drool-boy, drool-boy! Ahahahahaha!!!!! "

"That…" Hotaru continued, "…is what we call a night terror. I said before that Natsume had long entered REM sleep but since this video was edited by me, at this point, he had entered what we call the NREM sleep or Non-Rem sleep, when most night terrors occur. Now, class, this is different from a nightmare. Night terrors are experiences of anxiety from which a person wakes up screaming…"

Anna looked sympathetic. "I wonder what made Natsume scream like that…"

Everybody started guessing.

"Maybe he dreamt of something bad," Nonoko reflected out loud.

"He won't scream like that if it's something good, Nonoko-chan…" Yuu reminded.

"Not if it's really that good…hehehehe…" Kokoroyomi said sheepishly. His inner radar sensed a glare at his back and he quickly added. "…which is unlikely, so I think he dreamt of Mr. Narumi wearing nothing."

"Hmmm? What's so bad about that?" Narumi grinned, overhearing their conversation. He turned to Mikan, who was still making fun of Natsume. "Maybe he was dreaming he lost someone precious to him." A knowing look stretched across his face. Natsume grew awfully quiet. His jaws were tightly clenched. Ruka swore he saw a faint red color appear on his cheeks.

In the background, Mikan can be heard chanting 'drool-boy' over and over again though it became less audible as everyone slowly got engrossed with Natsume's behavior on-screen.

o-------------O

The softness of his pillow failed to help Natsume go back to sleep. He shifted from side to side, trying to find a comfortable sleeping position yet nothing seemed to work.

He grumbled, pulling the covers up his chin. "Stupid nightmare…"

Tomorrow was another school day and he could not afford to let his temporary insomnia get the better of him --- again. Many sleepless nights took over his sleeping schedule. Maybe he was working too hard, his missions after all, became more dangerous everyday and it was a rare opportunity for him to get a good night's rest. He focused on the ceiling and waited for his vision to adjust to the darkness.

A light snore broke the silence; the feel of warm breath tickled his nape.

Now this puzzled Natsume.

Ruka was the only person sleeping beside him.

But if Ruka was right in front of him, peacefully asleep, then who the hell was behind him?

o-------------O

"Wh-whaaaa…wh-wh-wh…!!!!!"

Rendered tongue-tied upon seeing her sleeping self cuddling Natsume's back, Mikan could only react by gawking. She was now as white as Sumire.

Hotaru grinned. Typical of Mikan to react that way; plus the fact that it never bored her made it even more satisfying.

"Awww that's so sweet!" Nonoko squealed. It was quickly followed by the infuriated babbles of the Natsume and Ruka fangirls.

"I can't believe her!!"

"The nerve..!!"

"Who does she think she is??"

"Participant number two, our very own Mikan Sakura, seems unaware of her actions towards participant number one," continued Hotaru, glancing at her best friend who looked too shocked to speak. "However, this was merely an observation because participant 2 showed a behavior that you'd normally not expect from someone who's asleep…."

Again, all eyes turned to the television screen.

o-------------O

"What the…?"

"Um…are you awake, Natsume?" Mikan asked. Her eyes were still closed. Natsume rolled over to his side and faced her. What's wrong with this girl? Why was she talking with her eyes closed?

"Yeah. What do you want?" he asked, a bit of impatience escaping his tongue.

Both corners of her lips curved upwards.

It was then that Natsume noticed that Mikan was blushing, the redness of her cheeks were visible in the darkness. "I've always wanted to tell you this Natsume…" she drawled, moving her body closer to his.

"Blurt it out already," he grumbled impatiently.

"I…I…"

o-------------O

"Hey!" wailed Anna.

Hotaru had clicked the pause button.

"What was that for??" a girl classmate whined.

"Yeah! Right when we were getting to the good part!" yelled someone from the other side of the room.

"WHAT GOOD PART?!!!" Mikan demanded. "There's nothing good about that!"

Kokoroyomi chuckled. "Someone's in denial…" he teased.

"Patience, dear classmates..." Hotaru warned, raising her right palm towards the class, thus signaling it was her turn to talk. "Let's have some class sharing." The class responded with simultaneous groans. Hotaru ignored them. "From mere observation, what do you think will happen next?"

Anna raised her hand. "I think Mikan will confess her love to Natsume!" she answered excitedly.

"Yeah!" Nonoko agreed. "Mikan obviously likes Natsume!"

"You're wrong!! Sure I like Natsume but not…wait, that doesn't sound right…I mean, I don't like Natsume…..waaaaah!" Mikan stuttered, distracted from the glares she received from the Natsume and Ruka fangirls. "Don't look at me like that! It's confusing me!!" Realizing it was the best time to shut up, she bit her lower lip instead.

What did she tell Natsume last night?

She doesn't remember a thing!

Sumire instantly snapped out of her ghostly state, returning to her normal color. "Whaaaat! I knew it! I just knew it!" she screeched, dashing over to Mikan like a siren. She proceeded to shake the poor girl vigorously. "How dare you make a private confession to Natsume before me!"

Narumi rushed over to the panicking girls and tried to pry Sumire from Mikan in vain. Yuu assisted to prevent the two girls from turning the classroom into a boxing arena.

Natsume and Ruka watched from a distance silently. An awkward atmosphere grew between them.

Being the sensitive girl that she was, Hotaru immediately noticed it. She hid a sly grin. Turning her attention back to the report, she turned to the class once again.

"So…are those assumptions final?" she inquired.

"Maybe Mikan will kiss Natsume!" a boy classmate shouted.

"Naw, that's so boring. I'd like to see Mikan make out with him," said the boy beside the previous one.

A girl classmate sitting in the front row flipped through her notebook. She seemed to be the only one in the class who was taking down notes. "You guys are idiots. Look at her gestures! I think Mikan will tell Natsume she hates him like she usually does," she said curtly.

"I think you're wrong," her seatmate contradicted. "I think Mikan will jump off the window."

"What window?"

"Ummm…"

"I think she's going to tell him her deepest darkest secret!"

The arguments continued, the intensity increasing so rapidly that even Hotaru barely heard her own thoughts.

Kokoroyomi waved his hand in the air. "How did Mikan end up beside Natsume?" he shouted, rendering everyone to listen to his bellow.

"Hmm…yeah, how did Mikan end up beside Natsume?" Nonoko said thoughtfully. The class buzzed again.

Geezfinally, someone asked an intellectual question…, Hotaru thought. Thanks Koko

Kokoroyomi grinned. "Welcome."

Despite the fact some people were more interested watching Sumire and Mikan at each other's necks, Hotaru proudly stood before them with her handy-dandy remote control. "Very well…let's move on with the show, shall we?" she announced.

As the noise slowly dwindled, a lone click can be heard, and the show goes on.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------o

To be continued…

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------o

End Notes: What did Mikan say to Natsume? I apologize for the very slow updates. I've been really busy with my part-time work and some volunteer work lately. I still lack a whole lot of sleep so I hope you guys don't mind if I postpone the other updates. Thank you for waiting! (WiGi goes back to sleep) Ahhh…sweet pillow…