Hello! Thanks for the reviews, you made me happy ;) This chapter is for all six of you reviewers! Oh, and let's not forget the other readers, shall we?

SUMMARY

The Last Dance is coming, and Mikan is nervous! She decides not to attend it…but will something change her mind? Or rather…will SOMEONE do it?

Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice. I only own the crappy plot of this story.

Mikan stared forlornly at excited girls who were talking animatedly about the upcoming Last Dance. She felt a pang in her heart, remembering the workload she had left to do. Thanks to Natsume…Though she could not imagine where the page with her scribbles on disappeared to.

"Would you care to be my partner?" a boy asked as he held out a small bouquet of flowers to a girl. Her friends squealed and she blushed furiously, the flowers now in her hands.

"Yes," she whispered happily. Her girlfriends whooped and cheered.

"Lucky girl! I wonder who my partner will be," one cooed blissfully.

Sigh…I'd better go back to my room, Mikan thought. Nothing of interest here…

….

"So Hotaru, who are you going with?" Mikan asked excitedly. Inside, she was feeling anything but happy. Her heart was aching to go to the Last Dance yet she did not think she could face the humiliation again.

"Ruka."

"Nani? And he agreed?"

"He will. Right Ruka?"

"And why should I?" Ruka protested.

"If you rather I sell that picture with -"

"Okay! Okay! I get the message!" he groaned. Why must he be the subject of her blackmail anyway?

"That's settled then."

"Um…Congratulations?" Mikan said uncertainly. What a weird way to get a partner. Hotaru is Hotaru, after all.

"Arigato."

Mikan stayed there awkwardly without any more topics to discuss. Hotaru simply ignored her and concentrated on her book instead. Feeling bored, she walked over to a very distressed Ruka.

"Why must I do what she says?" he moaned, hiding his face behind his hands.

"Uh…because she'll blackmail you if you don't?"

He moaned some more, not bothering to look at Mikan.

"Aww, cheer up Ruka-pyon. Look at the bright side!"

"I see no light to this solution."

"Hey, at least you wouldn't be hounded by your fangirls," Mikan snorted. Yeah, like last year.

"I guess you're right," he muttered. "But why Imai?"

"Ehehe, you have to find that out for yourself."

Ruka groaned. "That mind of Imai's is as complicated as a maze."

"Care to repeat that?" Hotaru's voice said dangerously, her baka gun at the ready.

"Ah…nothing, H-H – I mean Imai." Mikan sweatdropped at their behaviour. Are they really friends? Hotaru's way of showing affection sure was weird. Sighing, she looked down to the table, suddenly finding it very interesting.

"I have to go," she sighed. "Math homework," she explained upon seeing Ruka's perplexed look.

"Ah, I see. Bye then!"

Mikan flashed him a smile and traipsed out of the door. On the way to her two-star room she was bombarded with many questions like 'what are you going to wear?' and 'who is your partner?' It frustrated her no end. Was it compulsory to attend the Last Dance? She did not know.

I am not going to the Last Dance, so please leave me alone! Mikan wanted to scream at her jovial friends. But of course she could not, so she satisfied herself with a polite excuse.

The excuse of Math homework. Huh! The worst excuse in the world! If only I could skip doing Jinno sensei's work…but I dare not. I guess I could nullify his lightning anytime, but boy, I will be in for it if I do!

Sigh…better settle down to do it then…

….

"Ooh! I can't wait for the Last Dance tonight!" Sumire squealed. She had finally got rid of her old hairstyle and tied it up in a half-pony instead. Her attitude barely changed though…besides the fact that she had lost her puppy love for Natsume.

"So who is your partner?" her friend asked, leaning her elbows on a desk.

"That's a secret!"

"Aww…come on," another cajoled. Mikan giggled behind her hand. It was funny to watch Permy's face getting rapidly redder by the minute. No, make that every second.

"No!"

"Who are you going with Mikan?" Yuu asked shyly.

"Oh…I don't know," Mikan answered truthfully. She might not – correction, will not – go to the Last Dance anyway, so what was the point of finding a partner? "What about you?"

"Haven't found one yet. Well," he sighed as Narumi sensei stood up to leave the class, "good luck Mikan."

"Luck? What for?"

"There's a Math quiz today, remember?"

"NANI!"

….

"Phew, at least I passed," Mikan groaned as she stretched herself, her pencil momentarily abandoned atop her mountain of homework, namely Math. She still had a quarter of the book to do before she finished it…darn Natsume for landing her in this predicament.

Speaking of Natsume, where was that boy? She hardly saw him around these days. Oh well. I don't care for him anyway, she thought silently. Do I?

Whatever. There was her punishment to be reckoned with…and the excited squeals from next door are not helping. With an exasperated sigh Mikan slammed the book shut and stomped out of her room.

Students were milling about, already wearing their costumes. No one noticed a small figure leave her room and slink quietly away towards one of the most desolate places in the Academy: the closet.

A small hand crept slowly forwards to touch some soft fabric. Mikan sighed. I thought I would wear this to the Last Dance this year. Oh well. I guess I can't make it. The dress before her was tight fitting with sparkling blue sequins studding it. A long, flowing white skirt followed.

Her hand traced it lovingly. Mikan had sewn it herself when she was bored and had grown fond of it, each stitch done with utmost care. The silk had been a gift from Hotaru for her last birthday. That was another reason why she wanted to put it to good use.

I guess I could try it on…no harm in doing so right? Her slender hand slipped through the folds of white and blue, searching for the zip located somewhere at the back of the dress.

A smile graced her features as the dress went over her head. Her fingers fumbled with the zip. Boy, it was hard to zip it alone! Ah, done now. Where is the sash? She searched frantically for it, probing every inch of the fabric in the process. Finally she noticed two long trails of pale blue ribbon and traced its source to her sides. She grasped them thankfully and tied them expertly around her slim waist.

The two strands of ribbon became a complete bow on her back, showing off her curves. Her shoulders were bare without any fabric to cover it. Mikan had meant to make some puffy sleeves to match the dress but she had run out of blue silk. Any other colour did not seem to go well enough with it. Oh well. It was nice the way it is.

She smiled at her reflection, turning around every now and then to see it from every angle. Her dress hugged her slim body and flared out at the hips, giving her the perfect look. Good. Now to let my hair down. No one will see me.

Two hands reached up to pull the rubber bands off her silky hair. Brown locks cascaded gently past her shoulders, caressing her porcelain smooth face in the process. She giggled softly to herself and combed her hair with her fingers.

Some rustling sounded behind her, making the lithe frame of the girl stiffen. Who was it? Darn it…she could hear voices. There are more than two of them. No time to change back into her school uniform now. They were much too close. She had to make a break for it…

Now!

Mikan gathered her flowing skirt and slunk quietly out through a small door in the corner of the room just before four students came in, chattering happily. The girl ignored them and proceeded to check out her surroundings. She was in a dark passage. Gulping, she looked around in fear. Ghosts do not exist…do they?

Soft music started to play in the background as lights flashed merrily. Mikan crept closer to a window where she could watch the Last Dance that was being held in the open field nearby. Couples were laughing and exchanging news, eating merrily. Some boys extended their hands to the girls before them, inviting them to dance. Of course, the girls accepted, blushing furiously.

Mikan had to giggle when she saw their reactions. Do all couples act that way? Several people led their partners to the front and started dancing. Despite the cheery attitude she was displaying at the moment, she felt a small pang of sadness in her heart. If only she could go too…but she did not dare to face them. What if her dress tore again? She would be a laughing stock for sure.

So engrossed was she in watching the dancing couples that she did not hear the soft sound of approaching footsteps. The brunette gasped when she saw one of the boys kissing the other on the cheek. The girl in question turned various shades of red.

"What are you doing here?" someone drawled. Mikan screamed and whirled around to face the person.

"Natsume!"

"Why aren't you dancing?" The sight of Mikan with her hair down really intrigued the boy. Not to mention the eye-catching costume she wore too. Beautiful yet not too revealing. It suited her perfectly. She was a goddess in his eyes. It was as if Mikan was a heavenly being. She appeared so much more matured and sophisticated. Not that he would admit that…

"I…I don't dare to," she whispered softly, twirling her fingers around a lock of her shiny brown hair. Natsume snorted. She looked cute that way.

"Come on, let's go."

"No thanks. Why aren't you there?" she asked curiously. Mikan scrutinized him carefully. He wore a white shirt with a stiff collar and long black pants that reached down to his shoes. It really brought out the contrasting colours of his ruby red eyes and dark blue hair.

Because I knew you would not go, was the truthful answer. Being Natsume, he merely shrugged and looked out of the window.

"No point in going without a partner."

"Why don't you find one? I'm sure one of your fangirls would agree."

He snorted again. One? Make that all of them. He was not interested in them anyway. Squealing like monkeys whenever they spotted him…disgusting.

"…"

Mikan sighed and looked out once more, watching the dancing couples wistfully. Suddenly a hand grabbed her wrist roughly, making her squeal with fright.

"What is it?" she hissed when she realized that the hand belonged to no other than Hyuuga Natsume himself. He started pulling her outside as an answer. "Let go of me!"

"…"

"Oh, look. It's Sakura. Planning on tripping again?" a girl sneered, oblivious to Natsume's cold glare. One moment she had a sickly looking smile on her face, and the other she was screaming with her butt on fire, a tribute to Natsume's fire alice.

"You don't have to do that you know," Mikan muttered distractedly. "Let's go away. I…I don't want to be here."

"You are going to stay," he replied simply, sticking his hands into the pockets of his black pants.

"No…" she turned away and sprinted off in the opposite direction. Natsume cursed lightly under his breath and took off in pursuit of her.

Why, out of all things, did I have to wear high heels today? Mikan moaned inwardly. It really slowed her down. A firm hand closed on her right arm, stopping her in her tracks.

Looking up, she found herself mesmerized by two seas of passionate red flames. Natsume dragged her back towards the venue of the Last Dance without uttering so much as one word. But then again, this was Hyuuga Natsume she was talking about. He was unique, the most dangerous among the dangerous, the… Hey! Why was she thinking of him?

It was too late for her to struggle now. Natsume had led her straight to the dance floor. She watched the dancing couples coming closer with increasing fear evident in her deep brown eyes.

"I don't want to do this," she blurted abruptly, earning stares from several people.

"Wow, is that Hyuuga Natsume?"

"I wonder why he is here…"

Mikan whimpered and tried to pull away from his strong grip. For such a thin boy, Natsume had a lot of strength. His grip was unrelenting yet it did not cause her pain.

"Start dancing before they start gaping at us, baka," he hissed. When she did not respond he took the matter into his own hands by placing her slender hand onto his shoulder. His arm encircled her slim waist, making the young woman blush.

"Follow me," Natsume commanded gently as he began swaying according to the rhythm. (Whoa, I envy Mikan! Hehe.) Mikan nodded nervously. She watched his every move attentively, the burning sensation she felt on her cheeks growing more intense with every passing second. It was as though they were on fire. A warm heat that gave her a carefree feeling in her tummy each time he gazed at her.

Natsume moved a step to the right. The nervous girl quickly copied his move. She was afraid. What if she stepped on his toes? Would there be an inferno surrounding her? She sure hoped not. A step to the left…one step backwards followed by a step forwards…Mikan gathered enough courage to look timidly up into the ruby red eyes belonging to him. Only him, and no other.

The second she spent gazing up at him came at a price. Mikan gasped as she felt herself fall backwards. She shut her eyes in fear, not wanting to experience the humiliation all over again.

One second…

Two…

Five seconds…

Eh? Why hadn't she hit the ground yet? Mikan then felt the loss of a comforting pressure on her waist as Natsume's hand traveled up her back and stop around her shoulders.

With an impressive gesture, Natsume pulled her closer to his warm body. This caused her to twirl around a 360-degree angle. Her long hair was blown forwards by the impact and tickled his chest.

"That wasn't too bad, was it?" he murmured into her ear. His exhaled, the warm air rushing down her neck. Mikan giggled despite her shock. The colour of her cheeks deepened as she realized how close she was to the fire handler.

"N-No."

"Care for another round?"

"I…I, uh…"

Natsume sighed and pulled away from her, placing her hand once more on his shoulder whereas his own rested on her waist.

"Confident now?"

"I-I'll try," she whispered softly, her timid brown eyes meeting his deep ruby red ones. Right on cue the band struck up a slow, classical song, inviting the students to dance.

Natsume spared her a small smile and started to move according to the rhythm, throwing glares at gaping couples as he met their stare with his own. They gulped and continued dancing as if nothing had happened.

Sakura Mikan was happy. No, more than that. She was practically over the moon! Dancing with Hyuuga Natsume was one of her wildest dreams which she never thought would come to pass. Yet, here she was now, dancing gracefully with him as though she had been dancing for years.

So what if she did not know how to dance? The important thing is to enjoy the song and go with the flow. And may I add with your loved one? In short, it is the feeling that counts and not the experience.

Mikan smiled blissfully at the fire starter before her, causing him to blush lightly. He hid it under his bangs. Giggling softly, she placed her head onto his chest and prepared to dance as long as the night was young.

And I don't think I mind if I dance until my feet were sore either, she thought to herself. As long as you are with me, Natsume-kun.

Her smile widened as she felt a hand going through her brown locks, caressing her scalp. Grinning, she snuggled deeper into his chest.

"Arigato, Natsume-kun."

"Hn." You made my night as well, Mikan.

I would not have felt this happy if you did not come for me back when we were in Elementary school and aided me in escaping the endless darkness I was cursed to stay in…

Because the atmosphere lightens up when basking in your presence…

And because…I love you, Sakura Mikan.

I love you more than life itself.

You are mine, and mine alone.

MY Sakura Mikan.

THE END

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Ja ne mina san!