Yours will lead mine.
A/N: Hello there everyone! First of all I apologize for not updating my fics sooner. Especially this one since I know you are waiting for the 'Normal' and 'Happy' versions of it. I do hope that you can forgive the delay and that you still have interest in this fic. I want to thank all the people who continue reviewing and reading my stories, I truly appreciate it!
As always I thank leebot-sensei for beta-ing this fic. Just this time I put his notes at the end so be sure to read them.
This is the 'NORMAL ENDING' for this fic, so I hope you like it.
Also don't forget to check my profile for the details of the FanArt contest I'm making.
Enough said! Let's get going with the fic!
Thanks for reading and don't forget to review.
Disclaimer: Sadly I don't own anything. If I did, there would be a lot of merchandise of these two.
Chapter 9 – Legend
The weather was incredibly good at the Krugers' manor. The soft and cool breeze was blowing and moving the branches of the trees, the rays of the sun warming up the green grass, announcing a brand new day.
The otome couple had woken up several minutes before. They were having breakfast together; today was the day that Youko would visit them to check on Natsuki's condition. Shizuru was a bit nervous about it; after all it had been a while since they had left Garderobe and since Natsuki had been checked completely by the doctor, so she was uneasy about what kind of news they would receive regarding Natsuki's condition.
Once they were done eating they decided to go out and wait for the doctor to arrive. While they were standing outside waiting, Natsuki decided to comment on Shizuru's odd behavior that she noticed since breakfast.
- "Shizuru, what's worrying you?"
- "It's nothing, Natsuki" – replied Shizuru with her deceiving smile.
Unfortunately that didn't work against the otome anymore. Natsuki got near Shizuru and, taking her hand between hers, she said.
- "Please Shizuru, don't lie to me. I know that something is bothering you. You know you can tell me."
Shizuru could hear the loving and pleading tone in Natsuki's voice. She bit her lower lip and squeezed her love's hand before replying.
- "I'm worried about you, of course. Of what Youko-sensei will tell us."
Natsuki heard Shizuru's voice, filled with fear and worry. She even felt her tremble. Holding tighter her hands, Natsuki said.
- "Shizuru, I understand how you feel, since I feel the same. I'm afraid of what the result may be, but you know what? I can overcome whatever it might be because you are by my side."
- "Natsuki…" – whispered Shizuru.
Not being able to hold herself back any longer, Shizuru claimed Natsuki's lips in a slow and deep kiss. Natsuki reciprocated the show of affection with equal tenderness. Mere seconds passed, but to them it felt like an eternity. It was always the same sensation when there were only the two of them.
After they got apart, they just had to wait some minutes before Youko arrived. She was riding the same luxurious car that Natsuki had used when she left Garderobe. Youko got off the car and greeted both otome.
- "Meister Shizuru, Gakuenchou. How have you been?"
- "We've been well, Youko-sensei. What about you?"
- "I'm fine, thanks for asking."
- "We may proceed at any time you wish doctor, since I know you may be tired due to the trip." – said Natsuki.
- "Not at all Gakuenchou, we may begin right now."
- "Alright, then this way."
They began to walk towards the manor, when suddenly Natsuki said.
- "Oh, by the way, Youko-sensei..."
- "Yes Gakuenchou?"
- "You don't need to be so formal here. I'm sure that Miss Maria won't pop out from somewhere to scold us." - said Natsuki with a smirk.
- "I'll keep that in mind." – said Youko, suppressing a giggle.
Shizuru simply smiled at her love's remark.
The three women walked inside the manor, in the direction of the room that had been meticulously prepared with all the equipment requested by the doctor. Youko, who was carrying a small briefcase, opened it and, handing Natsuki a robe, she said.
- "Please Natsuki-san, could you take off your clothes and change into this?"
- "Sure." – replied the raven haired woman taking the garment.
- "Also, I wanted to ask you. While I'm here I'd like to check your blindfold and do some modifications to it; if you don't mind of course."
- "Ara, Youko-sensei read my mind. I was thinking of asking you the same." – said Shizuru as she finished assisting Natsuki with getting changed.
- "Then it's settled. I'll have it ready for you to use again before I leave."
- "Thanks, Youko."
- "It's nothing. Then, shall we begin?"
Natsuki sat on an examining table with Shizuru standing by her side in order to assist her and the doctor if needed. Also, she wanted to be there in this crucial moment which was decisive in their lives.
After some hours of analysis, checking and taking samples, Natsuki's examination was over. During Youko's short stay, both otome took some time off in order to relax and enjoy to the fullest that leisure time they got to have. Even though the nights full of passion were considerably – or more like totally – reduced to zero that time (not that they minded if the doctor knew how much stamina they had at night), but as Natsuki had said to Shizuru once, she preferred when they were alone and no one interrupted them.
The days passed quickly, and soon the day arrived when Youko had to leave for Garderobe. And just as she promised, she had made some modifications to Natsuki's blindfold. The size was reduced considerably and the protection for the eyes now consisted of a singular material that allowed some filtration of the light to it so Natsuki would get used to feeling it again.
Around a week had passed since Youko was at the Krugers' manor. Natsuki and Shizuru were doing some sparring in the forest when Selene arrived to meet them. Both women were surprised by her presence there, and by that mere fact they knew that it had to be something rather important, as both maids were given specific instructions to stay away from their training place as it could be dangerous.
- "Natsuki-ojou-sama." – said the old woman.
- "What is it, Selene?"
- "Sorry to interrupt your training with Shizuru-ojou-sama but you got a call from Youko-sensei not too long ago."
- "What did she say?"
- "She will be coming back in two days to relay to you the results of the analysis."
- "Is that so…Thanks for informing us, Selene, you may go."
Selene bowed and left, leaving her mistresses alone. Silence filled the place; several thoughts running through their minds, but the most important one was: what would be the result? Would it be good? Would it be bad? The only thing they could do now was to wait for Youko's visit in two days; they would have an answer by then.
Days went by faster than expected, and so they were waiting at the entrance of the manor once more, waiting for the sensei to arrive. After some minutes she arrived and the three women headed to the manor's living room. Some tension and uneasiness could be perceived in the air. Natsuki and Shizuru sat together in one couch while Youko sat across them in another. A tray with tea and some pastries was already placed on a small table; surely one of the maids had placed it in there so they wouldn't interrupt their conversation.
Youko didn't know where to begin; it was difficult to convey such important information. Shizuru, detecting Youko's nervousness, decided to help the doctor a bit.
- "Thanks for coming again sensei. I hope your trip was fine."
- "Ah, yes it was. You two look fine."
- "We are. We have been training with the new blindfold."
- "Is it working fine?"
- "Yes doctor; however, I would like to ask you to do some other modifications on it."
- "Sure thing. I'll check on that before leaving."
- "Thanks Youko-sensei." – said Natsuki – "Now on other matters…"
That was Youko's cue to get further into the matter at hand. She understood what the raven haired otome was referring to, so without more delay she began.
- "I got the final results of your analysis two days ago. Here they are." – said Youko taking out some files from a case and handing them over to Shizuru.
Shizuru took them and began to read them. As she read page after page, her features showed immense sadness and hopelessness. Natsuki sensed Shizuru's change of mood and clenched her hands into fists. Finally, after reaching the last page, Shizuru put the papers on her lap and said.
- "Sensei, basically this means…"
Youko closed her eyes and nodded solemnly.
- "That's correct." – noticing Natsuki's eager features she explained – "The damage caused to your eyes by that slave was more severe than what I had thought in the beginning. It was so bad that not even the nanomachines in your body were able to heal it, much less repair it. Even though you were treated right away, the damage was already done. I had hopes that the medicine I prescribed you would help you in a way and the nanomachines would do the rest. Sadly that was not the case. I'm sorry Gakuenchou but…"
- "I'll never recover my eye sight, correct?" – said Natsuki, interrupting.
- "I'm very sorry." – said Youko – "As your doctor I have failed you."
- "It is not your fault Youko." – said Natsuki reassuring her – "No one could have foreseen this result."
- "As sad as it is there's nothing else that can be done. We were ready to accept the result whatever it might be." – said Natsuki taking Shizuru's hand in hers.
- "Despite knowing this, I'd like you to continue taking the medicine. It will help you deal with the changes of light. It will be for a short time since you're getting used to it again."
- "Sure, as strange as it may sound, I have felt the change over the days."
- "It won't take long before you get used to it."
- "Thanks for all your help, Youko-sensei."
- "There's nothing to thank me for."
Silence remained for a moment until Shizuru noticed Youko's hesitance at something, so she asked.
- "Is something the matter doctor?"
- "Well, I've wanted to ask you."
- "About what?" – asked Natsuki.
- "What will you do now?"
- "What could you possibly mean?"
- "What will happen with your position as Gakuenchou?"
After hearing that question, Natsuki and Shizuru immediately understood what Youko's concern was about. Natsuki's current condition certainly would bring different reactions, not only in Garderobe, but also to the different nations. Though, they should know by now that the headmistress was very stubborn and wouldn't give her position out just because she had lost her eyesight. Undoubtedly she would have a plan to show them what she was capable even without it. And Natsuki was convinced that with Shizuru's support she would make it possible. Natsuki just grinned and said.
- "I understand your anxiety, Youko. But fear not, I'll handle this situation properly. Still, I'll need your help."
- "Of course Gakuenchou, count on me."
- "Does anyone else besides us know these final results?"
- "I have not informed anyone else yet."
- "Well, even if you do not say anything, somehow they would find it out. But don't worry about it, just when it happens, let me know when they start talking about this."
- "Of course." – Youko paused for a moment and said – "Shall I give you any special treatment for this?"
Natsuki shook her head in a negative response; she would do this with her own resources.
- "I don't want to give anyone a reason to think that I've been using Garderobe's technology for my own benefit only to maintain my position. You'll only work as my informant and inventor Youko, that's all."
Shizuru, who had been silent watching and listening to the two women, smiled at the honesty and determination that Natsuki had shown in her words. She would make sure to assist her beloved with all her might to achieve her goal. She would be by her side no matter what happened; even if all the nations turned against them, she would be there for Natsuki's sake. Her love and commitment for Natsuki increased in that very moment, filling all her being completely.
After some more light chit-chat Youko proceeded to fix Natsuki's blindfold as requested and instructed Shizuru how to apply the medicine to Natsuki. Finally Youko left the manor before dusk. Natsuki had offered to let her stay and rest for the night. Youko had politely declined the offer, saying that she still had work to do back at the lab, and with her new assignment she wanted to see how things would develop with the news of Natsuki's results. But the truth was that she wanted to give the two otome privacy since she knew they had a lot to talk about, and even if the Gakuenchou had acted tough and accepting in front of her when relaying the information, she knew that she was hurt inside and that she needed some sort of comfort that only her beloved one could give her.
And indeed, just after Youko had left, the couple went upstairs to their room. Upon sitting on the bed, Natsuki had lunged herself at Shizuru and cried silent tears, her head resting on Shizuru's ample bosom, her arms clinging to Shizuru's back, her body shaking due to the effort of trying to control and suppress her sobs. Shizuru also cried along with her lover. She knew more than anyone that Natsuki had hopes for recovering her eye sight. She saw how Natsuki used all of her will power to remain strong in front of Youko when she received the news, even if on the inside she was devastated.
- "I'm here, love." – Shizuru said, almost in a whisper, trying to console her lover – "I won't ever leave your side. My Natsuki is everything to me, and I assure her that I will do whatever is within my power and even more to help her. We will overcome this, Natsuki. I know we will."
Natsuki got a bit apart from Shizuru and, stretching out one of her hands, she began to caress Shizuru's face with her fingers.
- "Shizuru…" – said Natsuki, her tone a bit anxious – "This path that we are going to take might be the most complicated one we have gone so far. I don't know what will wait for us in the end…I…I don't want you to get hurt along the way. Are you sure you want to do it? I mean, you still have a bright future as an otome, as a column, there's so much you can do…"
Natsuki was interrupted when a finger was placed on her lips. Shizuru knew that when Natsuki was anxious she began to ramble, and this was one of those moments. Smiling the most loving smile, she took Natsuki's hand and kissed it, then in a tender tone she said.
- "I'm afraid that Natsuki has not been listening to me. I will go wherever my Natsuki is, and that's final." – then Shizuru thought – "We will take this path together, we've been together since the beginning, we'll be together at the end. That's the way it is meant to be, because I know yours will lead mine."
Shizuru got near Natsuki and kissed her softly on the lips; she lingered in that place for quite a while until she was out of breath. She saw the flushed face of her precious one and, deciding to tease a bit, she whispered.
- "Also I'll make sure you don't forget how I look like. I'll make you remember and memorize until you can't forget."
- "I…" – mumbled Natsuki – "Please do…"
Shizuru let out a soft giggle and proceeded to do just as she said.
The next day Selene and Sayako were informed of Natsuki's current condition; they had shed some tears but soon offered all their support and assistance to the couple, since they knew better than anyone that her mistress did not want to receive pity from anyone, not even those who were considered family.
There wasn't a single day that Natsuki and Shizuru did not train; their practice getting harder every day that passed. During those days they contacted Youko and asked her to create for them different types of machines to improve their training. They also asked Sayako and Selene to improve Natsuki's staff to make it stronger. Undoubtedly both older women agreed to such a request, since they wanted nothing more than to assist the girls under their care.
A couple of weeks had passed by since Youko's last visit. Natsuki and Shizuru were arriving from their morning sparring session when Selene came to them in a rush and said.
- "Natsuki-ojou-sama! Youko-sensei called you just a few minutes ago. She said that she wanted you to call her as soon as you arrived. She says that it's extremely important."
- "Thanks Selene, I will do that right now."
Selene nodded and left the two lovers alone. Natsuki called Youko back just as she said she would.
- "Youko, how are things so far?" – asked Natsuki.
- "Truth be said, not too well Gakuenchou. Just as I thought, they are arguing about your post. They want you to resign so they can look for a permanent substitute, but of course some are opposed to it."
- "Don't worry about that; I expected they would react that way. What amazes me is that it happened much later than what I thought. And if I know them as well as I think I do, it will take a while for them to agree with each other and come to an arrangement."
- "What do you want me to do, headmistress?"
- "I want you to give them a letter. I've already sent it to you a couple of days ago. It should be arriving soon."
- "What if they don't want to accept your terms?"
- "Trust me, they will. After that, things will simply flow from there."
- "I understand."
- "Thanks for all your help, Youko-sensei."
- "It's nothing."
After that, the call ended and Natsuki simply smiled a confident smile. Shizuru took her hand and smiled as well.
The next day after the conversation took place, just as Natsuki said, Youko received the letter. She opened it and read it's contents. Soon, she was walking down the halls of Garderobe to the meeting room in order to deliver the letter as requested. In the meeting room were the leaders of all the nations that had otome, and of course their otome were also there. They were arguing about what to do with the Gakuenchou's current situation. Some were demanding a replacement, stating that she wouldn't be able to perform her role as principal nor her role as an otome. Others, like the nation of Aries and Windbloom still wanted to believe that a miracle might happen and that the principal would be back.
As a fierce discussion was taking place, Youko came in, excusing herself for the interruption. The first column asked her to continue.
- "I'm here to bring you a request from Kruger Gakuenchou." – said Youko, showing off the letter.
- "What? A request?" – asked Queen Mashiro.
- "Youko-sensei, may I read that paper?" – said Sara Gallagher; who was still taking Natsuki's place temporarily.
- "Of course."
Youko handed the letter to Sara, who began to read it. When she was done she placed it on the table and said.
- "Well, I have no objections about this, and I think it's fair."
- "Sara-san, would you mind explaining to us the contents of that letter?" – said President Yukino.
- "Surely, President. Natsuki Kruger, the Ice Silver Crsytal; second column and principal of Garderobe kindly requests for a time frame of one year before we select her replacement on regards of her present condition."
- "One year?" – one exclaimed.
- "She expects us to wait for her for such a long time? Garderobe can't be without a leader! Besides, what can she do?" – said one leader.
- "Sara-san. " – said the leader of An Nam. – "Did the Gakuenchou specify any particular conditions for this request?"
- "Only that one: to give her one year. If, on the day she comes back, she doesn't convince you that she can perform her job, then she'll resign, not only as headmistress but also as the third column and as an otome."
- "The stakes are too high for her. Why would she do that and risk everything?" – asked Queen Mashiro.
- "Because she already knows that we have confidence in her." – said Sara.
Miss Maria smiled an imperceptible smile at the first column's words. She was sure that many people thought the same. President Yukino also smiled and said.
- "I and my nation, the Republic of Aries are willing to wait and agree with Principal Kruger's request."
- "The Kingdom of Windbloom seconds Kruger Gakuenchou's request."
Before long the other nations followed them and accepted the request, even if some of them weren't too fond of the idea, although they didn't have much of a choice.
Youko left the room and contacted Natsuki to inform her of the outcome. The otome had already foreseen the result but nonetheless thanked the doctor for the information. Her last message for the doctor was to inform the others of the exact day when she would be returning. She also asked another favor, to let everyone know that she didn't want to receive any visits from anyone, not even from Youko herself, so she could focus and go on with her training without interruptions, as it was about to get more severe.
Youko agreed and made sure that the principal's friends and comrades received this other request. They were a bit sad and disappointed that Natsuki did not want them to visit her and see how she was doing, but she had her reasons and they knew how Natsuki was, so they had to abide by her wishes. However that didn't stop them from sending her a letter or contacting her in some other way. Natsuki could never admit and tell them how much she appreciated the kind gestures and indirect support her friends were giving her. The only way she could thank them was by reaching her objective, and she wouldn't let anyone down. It was a promise.
Days passed and turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and soon the months became the year, and the date established in the arrangement to find the Gakuenchou's replacement had finally come.
Once more, all the leaders with their respective Otome were in the meeting room, waiting for the still-current and official principal to arrive. Some were anxious, while others were fuming inside due to the long wait. Finally one of the leaders snapped out and said.
- "It's clear that she won't be coming. It's pointless to wait any longer; after all this reunion is a waste of time. We should have done this a year ago!"
- "You should be careful with your choice of words sir." – said a strong voice coming from the door.
Everyone in the room turned in the direction of the door to look at it's owner. There she was, standing proudly at the entrance of the room, the person they were waiting for; Natsuki Kruger. And by her side was none other than the Bewitching Smile Amethyst; Shizuru Viola, as loyal as always.
- "Sorry I'm late." – said Natsuki.
She was wearing her Gakuenchou attire, with some slight modifications. She was also wearing her blindfold and she was holding a metal staff in her right hand. Sara and Miss Maria were the first ones to notice how much Natsuki had grown in several ways. She looked more mature and determined. They just could imagine what kind of training the otome went through in order to become like this. They couldn't wait to see what Natsuki would be showing them.
Natsuki began to walk forward, finally stopping her steps at the center of the room.
- "I apologize for my tardiness. Nevertheless I truly appreciate that you have come."
- "Then, shall we begin with this meeting?" – said Sara.
Natsuki remained standing in the same place, there in the middle of the room with Shizuru by her side. One of the leaders that did not have much confidence in the principal's abilities, upon seeing that she didn't bother to move, said in a mocking way.
- "Do you want some assistance to be guided to your place, Gakuenchou Kruger?"
Some of Natsuki's supporters scowled at his comment, he sure was taunting the otome now. Others chuckled at the comment.
Natsuki simply grinned and said.
- "Thanks for your thoughtfulness, but I'm afraid there's no place for me at the table. All of the seats are taken."
The leader opened his eyes in surprise. How had she known that? Most likely someone had told her about it. He placed his hand inside his coat pocket and clenched his fists out of nervousness. No one noticed this motion – no one but Natsuki, so she said.
- "May I ask why you are so nervous mister? Your hand will get sore if you continue clenching it like that."
Every person in the room turned her eyes to this leader and saw how indeed he had a hand inside his pocket, but they couldn't see more than that. Then they turned their gazes to the raven-haired otome, who was smiling broadly.
- "I never expected to get this many different reactions from you. I'm glad. By the way Arika, stop playing with your uniform, that's not the correct behavior of an otome, especially during a meeting."
- "Ye- yes!" – said Arika completely surprised that she was addressed by none other than Natsuki.
Sara, Miss Maria and Queen Mashiro saw how the Windbloom's otome was indeed playing the hem of her dress out of boredom. To say they were shocked was an understatement; they were left completely speechless and totally astonished.
- "Hahaha! This is quite interesting." – said the holder of the Continental Orb Topaz; Haruka Armitage – "Gakuenchou, I want to have a Butou with you right now if possible."
- "I have no objection. And you Sara?" – said Natsuki.
Said otome was a bit surprised that she was being asked, but soon understood that Natsuki was giving her her place as the provisional head of campus.
- "You have Shinso-sama's and my authorization."
- "Excellent!" – said Haruka – "Yukino! Give me the contract kiss."
- "Eh? But Haruka-chan, you plan to Butou here?"
- "I was specific wasn't I? I said I wanted to Butou now."
Yukino tried to stop Haruka, but as usual her otome did things without even thinking and when she was this excited, she heard no reasons at all, so in the end Yukino kissed Haruka's gem. Haruka immediately summoned her robe.
Not a second later after Haruka materialized her robe and weapon she charged at the raven haired otome. Shizuru had already stepped aside to give Natsuki enough space to fight at the moment she saw Haruka getting the contract kiss from Yukino, and she simply smiled when she saw Natsuki get in her fighting stance.
- "DINAMITE CRUSHER!" – yelled Haruka throwing her weapon directly at Natsuki.
A cloud of dust covered the room right after Haruka launched her attack; when it cleared, all the people in the room were awed. Natsuki was still standing in her place; the staff up above her head in a horizontal position being firmly held in her hands, neutralizing Haruka's powerful attack. Haruka's eyes opened widely. Natsuki was not only able to stop her most powerful technique easily, but she also did it without materializing her robe. Almost immediately, Haruka initiated a series of combos that Natsuki dodged and blocked without effort.
Natsuki's movements were sharp, perfect, and flawless; they flowed so smoothly and with such elegance that it was hard to believe that she couldn't see.
Sara couldn't believe that her onee-sama was the one showing off this kind of Butou; it was incredible. Without noticing she whispered.
- "How is she able to do that?"
Shizuru who was near, heard her and said.
- "It wasn't easy. Natsuki went through a rough and rigid training, not only to get stronger physically but also spiritually. She trained her other senses to a higher level in order to see all her surroundings in a new way. The nanomachines did their part in this too. Natsuki's senses are now higher than the ones of an average human or even an otome. You could say that she now has super senses."
- "So basically she sees with all her senses?"
- "Yes, even if she couldn't hear you, she would still be able to know where you are, since she can smell you, feel your presence, perceive the slightest movements and changes on your body."
The women turned their gazes to the battle and saw how Natsuki had the upper hand.
During the fight, Natsuki had detected a weak point in Haruka's series of attacks, so she waited for the correct moment to strike, and she didn't have to wait for too long; soon she attacked Haruka back and disarmed her using her staff. Haruka blinked twice and then she busted out a powerful laugh.
- "Hahaha! This is it! There's no doubt for me anymore! She certainly has the power, technique and guts of an otome and to continue being the Headmistress of Garderobe!"
Natsuki lowered her staff again and said.
- "Thank you, Haruka."
- "That was simply amazing, Gakuenchou!" – said Arika coming closer to Natsuki, her eyes filled with admiration and respect.
All the leaders and their otome still couldn't believe what had happened. The Ice Silver Crystal had won the Butou without even materializing.
- "That's impossible…" – whispered one.
- "I bet the doctor did something to her. "
Sara, who had heard what they were saying, approached them and said.
- "I'm afraid to tell you that you are mistaken. Youko-sensei has been in Garderobe all the past year. She never left, not even once. So, it would have been impossible for her to assist Natsuki the way you think she did."
- "I believe it's settled then. Natsuki Kruger will continue being the headmistress of Garderobe." – said Miss Maria.
- "Certainly she has proved that she can still be an otome. But, what about the paper work?" – someone asked.
- "That's why she has me." – answered Shizuru coming closer to them.
Her face was showing her trademark polite smile, however her body was emanating a dangerous aura, daring anyone to open their mouths and complain about it.
All the ones that were opposed in the beginning didn't have any other option but to agree, after all, they had witnessed Natsuki's skills and capabilities; it was futile to deny such a demonstration.
After all the proper documents were signed by all the leaders and the current but temporary Gakuenchou, Natsuki headed to what was now her office again. She took a seat behind her desk and sighed as she rested her elbows over the desk. Shizuru closed the door behind them and walked to where Natsuki was. She saw how her love now had a more relaxed expression adorning her features; also her body had released all the tension that had been contained before.
- "Are you satisfied with the result?" – asked Shizuru placing her hand over Natsuki's shoulder.
- "Yes, I am. But I bet that some of those people are still wary and unconvinced of it. I want to prove them wrong. There's still much to do."
- "I will help my Natsuki; after all, we are not even half of the way down this path we decided to take."
Natsuki squeezed Shizuru's hand and said.
- "Thank you for everything Shizuru; without your strength, devotion and love for me I wouldn't be sitting here today. I don't know what would have become of me; it was thanks to your light that I was able to overcome this world of shadows. Shizuru, I don't know how to thank you love. Words can't even describe how grateful I am, how much I love you."
Shizuru had tears in her eyes and running down her cheeks. Natsuki's sweet words reached deep inside her soul, making her feel like the happiest person in the entire world, making her feel complete. Leaning over her, she pressed her lips over her beloved ones, a deep kiss full of emotions; she was pouring all her feelings in that kiss. When they were out of breath, Shizuru rested her forehead against Natsuki's and whispered.
- "I'm thankful to Natsuki too. I'm happy that she didn't push me aside; that she allowed me to walk by her side all this time. Her kindness and love are what give me a reason to move on. Natsuki, I love you with all my being, I love you so much."
This time it was Natsuki who had tears in her emerald eyes. Natsuki brought her lips to Shizuru's, starting a new, sweet and meaningful kiss; as if sealing a silent promise and making an eternal vow that not even all the words in the universe could express.
After that day Natsuki made sure to show off her capacities as Headmistress, and with Shizuru's help, it was an easy task. In fact, after the Butou she had held with Haruka, Natsuki's popularity among the students increased considerably; she had more admirers than before, and she even surpassed Shizuru's numbers. Since Natsuki was still a column, from time to time she was sent on missions too, Shizuru always going with her of course. The otome that accompanied her those times were overwhelmed by her power and style. If she was powerful without her robe, when using it she was unbeatable.
Every time that Natsuki returned from a mission, some of the corals and even some pearls spread the news and started new rumors of what they've heard from other otome or their onee-sama; most of them were regarding her amazing strength technique and superb Butou. The most well-known was how she was able to contain the destructive power of the Dinamite Crusher without using her robe.
And the new students did not only have that topic to talk about regarding her admired and mysterious principal; one of the aspects that intrigued them the most was that whenever they caught a glimpse of the Gakuenchou sometimes she was wearing her blindfold and sometimes she didn't; and the times she didn't, she always kept her eyes closed. Even though they knew that the principal was blind, the new corals had never seen the headmistress' eyes. Due to that, a legend was created and began to spread all around Garderobe. Some said that the principal only opened her eyes to summon her fighting spirit; others said that she opened them to scare off her enemies due to her deadly gaze; but the most popular one among the students was also the most romantic, since it said that she only opened her eyes to show them to her dearly beloved, since their beauty could not even be compared to a pair of emeralds. This last one wasn't too far from the truth, but certainly the students didn't have the slightest idea how correct they were, Natsuki would show her eyes only to Shizuru.
Years went by and the gossip concerning the remarkable Gakuenchou never ceased, it reached a point where she was compared to the famous otome, holder of the Blue Sky Sapphire; Lena Sayers. Some dared to say that the headmistress had become as powerful as her.
Natsuki was there all this time to guide and instruct many girls who wanted to become an otome; of course that was until her day to retire finally came. She spent all of her youth assisting Garderobe with all her might, all the time being supported by her ever loyal and graceful lover.
Natsuki knew that she had reached the end of the path she and her lover firmly took when she heard some of their friends, acquaintances and other people say that she had been the best headmistress in all of Garderobe's history.
She retired feeling fulfilled, feeling that she had achieved what she had aimed for, and it was very satisfying. Gone from campus and her otome life style, she decided to start another path that she always had wanted to take. One that only one person could take with her, and she wanted only that person to be with her. She wanted to spend the rest of her years living with Shizuru, the holder of her heart, that's why she had asked her to be officially her wife. When she did ask Shizuru, of course Natsuki was blushing more than ever, and from this small gesture, Shizuru realized that even if this was a 'new' Natsuki, she was still the same in several ways, and she loved it.
Shizuru had agreed right away of course, since it was something she had always wished and dreamed of, and now it would become real. She was overjoyed that Natsuki would like to take this path with her too, since it was one she had always wished of taking with her beloved goddess. She only wished for one thing too, to walk this path for the longest time possible and to reach its end together.
Some months after Natsuki had left her position as headmistress, she received a visit from her dear friend Mai Tokiha. They were sitting outside of Natsuki's manor, at the flower garden that Shizuru loved to spend hours with Natsuki, to be more precise. Natsuki and Mai were chatting and drinking some tea that Shizuru had poured for them earlier. Shizuru herself wasn't there at the moment, since she was baking some pastries that Natsuki was very fond of.
Mai sent some side-glances to her raven-haired friend. Of course, Natsuki noticed them and asked.
- "Yes Mai? Is there something on your mind?"
Mai closed her eyes and shook her head. Ever since she'd reconnected with Natsuki, she had trouble even hiding her thoughts from her friend. She was still baffled at how Natsuki could do it, but as long as she could, the question of why didn't really matter.
- "It's just something that I've been wondering for a while."
- "And that is?"
- "Well…" – paused Mai – "Do you ever miss being able to see? I know you are more perceptive now than you used to be, but I can't help but think that there'd be something missing without your eyesight."
Natsuki thought for a moment, not really finding an answer to that since she never considered that something was missing.
- "I don't really think so. What are you trying to say?"
- "What I mean is, doesn't it bother you that you can't see Shizuru's face? Haven't you missed that?"
Natsuki's brows went up for a second and then she let out a small and carefree laugh. Mai was surprised at this reaction from her friend. Was she missing something?
- "Why do you think that I can't see Shizuru's face?"
- "What?" – exclaimed Mai – "Then Natsuki, you mean that you…"
Natsuki shook her head as a negative response to what her friend was implying. Then she said.
- "I'm still unable to see Mai. But I don't need my eyesight to see Shizuru's face everyday, every second. All her features, all her being is engraved in my memory, in my soul. I can see her face any time I want; her smiling face, her pouting face…her image becomes clearer every day."
What also she didn't tell her friend was that Shizuru made sure every night that she would remember; she would never let her forget. A blush adorned Natsuki's face at this thought. Mai looked at her friend curiously for a moment and then smiled. Indeed she still was the old Natsuki in some ways.
- "And what about me?" – asked Mai all of a sudden – "Do you still remember how I look like?"
- "Of course, it's hard to forget a nosy red-head like you." – replied Natsuki with a smirk.
Mai took a sip of her tea when another question formed in her mind. She furrowed her eyebrows and put her cup down. Once more Natsuki sensed Mai's movements and asked.
- "There's still much on your mind, right?"
- "Please, stop doing that. I feel that I can't even blink in front of you." – said Mai with a chuckle.
- "Sorry, I really can't help it."
Mai sighed again and, looking back at the former headmistress, she said.
- "Have you ever heard what the new students and some people at Garderobe say about you?"
At that moment, Shizuru was walking to the flower garden with a tray in her hands filled with Natsuki's favorite sweets. As she came nearer she could hear the two friends' conversation. She stopped in her tracks when she heard Mai asking Natsuki about some gossip regarding her beloved back at Garderobe. She knew that Natsuki had probably already heard her approaching, but she wanted to hear what was about to be said by Mai, and she did not want to interrupt the flow of the conversation. Plus, her instincts told her that it was quite important. Shizuru then heard Natsuki talk.
- "Not really, I live at a quite secluded place now, so I'm quite disconnected from the world. Mind enlightening me?"
- "They say that you've become a legendary otome too. They say you are a legend, Natsuki."
- "Is that so?"
- "Aren't you honored? Heroes are remembered but legends never die. Natsuki, you've gained a life for eternity and even more."
Natsuki kept silent for a moment and then she said.
- "They are giving me too much credit and merits that I don't deserve."
- "What do you mean?"
- "All that I did was not to gain the title of legendary otome or anything as such. I could care less about that. A life for eternity is pointless to me without my most important person by my side."
- "Then, can you explain to me why you came back?"
- "Everything I did, I did it for Shizuru." – Natsuki paused and then turned her face towards Mai, her face serious and determined – "I wanted to be worthy of Shizuru. I didn't want to be a burden to her. I wanted to be able to protect her. If I didn't prove it to the others, if I didn't prove it to myself, then it would have been meaningless. Having their approval was proof that I did fine, that I could be by her side even in this state."
- "But, you do realize that Shizuru's love for you is unconditional, she would be by your side no matter what happened."
- "I know, but still, it was something that I wanted to do. All I accomplished in Garderobe was thanks to Shizuru. Shizuru was there with me during my training; there were times that I wanted to give up, but it was thanks to her that I was able to continue. She was the wind beneath my wings. If I'm considered a legend, then to me she's divinity. She…she's much stronger than I am. In many ways, yet people are not giving her the credit she deserves."
- "I know it was selfish of me, but it was something that I had to do."
Mai simply smiled and, finishing her tea, she said.
- "It's alright Natsuki. I should have figured as much. You were always like that, even when we were corals."
Mai and Natsuki chatted about other random stuff. In the meantime, Shizuru, who had listened everything the girls said, tried to control the beating of her heart and to steady her breathing. She was totally moved by Natsuki's confession; she didn't know that the girl she loved thought like this. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she made her appearance, walking to the table where the two friends were, still carrying the tray with sweets. She saw how Mai was standing up and asked.
- "Ara, Mai-san, are you leaving already?"
- "Yes, I'm afraid that I can't stay any longer. Mikoto is probably eating all the ramen at the shop, so I want to check on her." – looking back at Natsuki she said – "Hope to see you soon, Natsuki. And you too, Shizuru-san."
- "You're welcome any time." – said Shizuru.
- "Thanks for coming by, Mai."
Mai bid them farewell and left the manor, leaving the couple alone. Shizuru had already placed the tray on the table and had taken a seat by her love's side. Natsuki could hear that Shizuru's heartbeat was faster than usual, so she asked.
- "Shizuru, are you okay?"
Shizuru simply took Natsuki's hand and, squeezing it, she asked.
- "Why didn't you tell me?"
- "Tell you…?" – asked Natsuki not quite understanding what Shizuru was referring to.
- "The real reason for your training." – said Shizuru.
- "So you heard me before…"
Shizuru simply nodded. Natsuki hung her head a bit in embarrassment. Holding Shizuru's hand tighter, she answered.
- "As I said, I wanted to be worthy of you, I wanted to able to protect you. If I were to be a burden to you, I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. I wanted to be forever by your side, no matter what I had to do to accomplish it."
- "Natsuki…" – Shizuru said, kissing the lips of her partner – "You can be so silly sometimes. As Mai-san said, you didn't need to do this. I love you the way you are."
- "You already know how I can be."
- "Yes, and that's why I love you so much."
The two stayed there, in silence, enjoying the serenity of their favorite spot. Finally, they had reached the end of their path, walking together; there were many obstacles along the way, but with each other's strength and love, there was nothing that could stop them. Natsuki was told many times that she was a legend; she didn't think too high about it in the beginning, but then realized that maybe it was good.; because if she were to live forever, then Shizuru would too. Since legends never die, and Natsuki's love for Shizuru was so strong that she too had become a legend thanks to her lover. She liked it, since this was the way it was supposed to be: the two of them together for eternity.
There you go! I hope you enjoyed this Normal ending. It took me a while to come up with it, but if it makes you happy, then I'll feel satisfied.
Now, I would like to ask you something. After this ending, would you still like to see the 'Happy Version'? I feel that this ending fits the fic, but that's only my opinion, I will do what YOU my dear readers say; if you want me to leave it this way or to write the third version. Please leave a review with your opinion about it.
Thanks so much for reading all for all your support!
See you around!
Beta's notes: Personally, I was just blown away by this chapter. I was at first expecting it to be more tame, but I'm really pleased with what Shezaei Neko did show how Natsuki can get past losing her eyesight and not really lose anything in the process. I really hope that it met your expectations after the sad ending. In fact, with all the growth shown here, I'd actually be content with this as simply the happy ending, and I have trouble imagining what might be able to top it. But maybe it doesn't have to top it; it just has to be different. Feel free to leave your own opinion on this in a review.