Disclaimer: Tachibana Higuchi owns Gakuen Alice – not me.


The True Meaning of Black

- ; -

"Love comes in many different shapes and sizes,

The beauty of love is how it's unpredictable."


Hyuuga Natsume stared.

It wasn't everyday that the fire caster caught himself off-guard, but today was definitely the day.

And he stared. He stared real hard.

"What the fuck did you do, Natsume," hissed the low, threatening voice of Persona, his Alice trainer at Alice Academy. As long as Natsume could remember, Persona had to be one of the most cold-hearted, harshest, and strictest teacher the academy had ever seen. And yet, this man, this unbelievably cool and composed man, seemed to find the situation at hand as unexpected as the young fire caster found it himself.

"What," snapped Natsume distractedly, momentarily taking his eyes off of the said 'situation.'

Persona shot him an impatient glare. "I mean," He pointed one long, black-nailed finger at the fireball before resuming, "Why the hell is your flame… pink?"

Like Natsume had any idea.

It had just been another typical day, another ordinary Alice-practice. But it just so happened that, suddenly, on that particularly normal day, the peace and quiet that they had all been enjoying had been disrupted by the sudden, unexpected malfunction of his Alice. Yes - the fireball erupting from Hyuuga Natsume's palm had turned into a bright shade of hot pink. Natsume frowned down at the flame.

"I," he started, beginning to lose his cool indifference. "This," He frowned. Wasn't there something incredibly wrong about this question – why was it pink? - Was Persona asking him 'why it was pink?' His Alice had suddenly decided of its own free accord to change colors and all Persona could ask was 'why it was fucking pink?' Like he knew any better! Natsume pulled himself together and shot an angry scowl at his adviser, "Aren't you supposed to be the teacher here? You explain to me why my Alice is malfunctioning and I'll tell you why my Alice is fucking pink." He quite literally shoved the flame into Persona's stunned face before stalking off towards the homeroom within the Alice buildings.


"HOTARUUU," Mikan pouted cutely, fluttering her eyelashes shamelessly as she leaned forward against the table at the raven-haired girl in front of her. "PLAY WITH MEEE."

Her best friend, Imai Hotaru, the said girl, on the other hand, did not budge. "Sakura Mikan, you may be an idiot, you may be an powerless little girl, and you may be my best friend, but God knows if you do that one more time, I swear," She emphasized each word with an icy hiss, "You will regret it."

"Ne," Mikan puffed her cheeks. She leaned in further, daringly, "I know that you won't really hurt me though. Seriously, all I'm asking for you is to come with me to Central Town so we can eat Howalons and have some fun together. Is that really so har-" BAKA BAKA BAKA. Mikan's eyes swelled up with tears. "Ow."

Amanatsu, the Mikan-look-alike robot, had appeared at Hotaru's side and launched the BAKA gun on her mercilessly.

"Okay, seriously," Mikan rubbed her reddening nose sorely as she tried to fight back tears. "Can you not bring Amanatsu to school? It's enough with you and all your other machines." Hotaru arched an eyebrow, tilted her head towards her new invention, before returning a stern look. "If I hadn't brought Amanatsu with me, I wouldn't have been able to finish this invention due to your constant whining and pleading. And for that, I would have made you really regret." She sighed. "Just go make yourself productive by doing some homework, Mikan." She rolled her eyes before once again concentrating on the creation at hand to check for any flaws.

But at that moment, another distraction for Mikan had already arrived in the homeroom. Her eyes brightened. "HI, NATSUMEE." She waved her arms stupidly in the air to capture the eyes of the Black Cat when suddenly flame appeared on one of her pigtails. But they weren't just any flames.

They were black flames.

"What the… " Mikan started as she quickly tried to extinguish the unnatural fire that had lit up. She twisted her head frantically to face the offender with a panicked expression. "Hey, stop that!" The offender was lost for words. The black flames disappeared as soon as it had come, and soon the brunette regained peace of mind. She smiled brightly, not too affected by the incident, before walking up to the boy. "So, Natsume, how about some Howalons? You're craving for some Howalons, right?" She nudged him eagerly. "Righttt?"

He grunted. "Are you implying we go to Central Town? No."

Natsume was confused, annoyed, and angry. What had just happened? His flames had been hot pink a mere five minutes ago, but now, suddenly, they were black? How? It just didn't make any sense to him.

But it did to Hotaru. On the other side of the room, Hotaru's mind had already begun to fly a mile per minute, clicking and whizzing madly. "Amanatsu, hand me the 'Alice calculator.'" She punched in some complex formulas and symbols, and searched up a few things before wearing a smug and satisfied look on her face. Meanwhile, by the time she had finished her calculations, Mikan had already trudged back to their seat with exasperation plastered across her face. "I. Crave. Howalons." She grumbled sadly.

BAKA BAKA BAKA.

Mikan shrieked. She glared angrily at her best friend. "Seriously, Hotaru. I am bored, hungry, and in pain! Unless you're going to play with me-" Hotaru stood up. Mikan's face brightened noticeably. "What, you're going to play with me now?" Hotaru gave her a bland expression before replying, "No, idiot. But there are plenty of Howalons in my personal laboratory, so let's go."


Mikan had instantly spotted the stash of Howalons tucked away in a corner of Hotaru's laboratory.

She squealed, pounced, and soon began devouring the yummy goodness that was Howalons. "Howalons are just the best," she sighed appreciatively, savoring the taste with pure delight written all over her face. "I can't believe you had this much Howalons with you all along but kept them a secret from me." She hugged the Howalons-filled box lovingly. "Ah… You are my true love, Howalons." She paused, and then stared apologetically at Hotaru. "Oh, but don't get it wrong, I also love you a lot too, Hotaru."

Hotaru rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Mikan."

Mikan's eyes fluttered to her best friend for the first time since they had entered the room and realized that she was gazing intently into her huge computer screen, typing away like a madman… or madwoman. Whichever. Complex formulas, symbols, and vocabulary she had never even known had existed flooded the screen, making Mikan's head spin. "What are you doing, Hotaru?" Her friend merely smiled without humor and clicked the enter button with a finish. Sheets of paper began to print from her high-tech printer on cue.

"I'm being the genius that I am."

She organized the papers neatly and stapled them together. "Read these over in your room." Amanatsu delivered the stapled papers into Mikan's waiting hands. "But… What is it?" Hotaru smirked. "You'll find out when you get to your room, won't you?"

She raised her BAKA gun dangerously. "Now get out."

BAKA BAKA BAKA.


"I'll never understand what's going through that Hotaru's head." Mikan mumbled as she walked through the dormitory hallway, rubbing sorely at her forehead. "Let's see…"

- ; -

Name: Hyuuga Natsume

Date of Birth: November 27

Nationality: Japanese

Family: Father, Mother (Deceased), Sister

Alice: Fire & Reading of Emotions (For more information, turn to Page 4.)

- ; -

She hastily scanned the pages. "Blah, blah, blah. Okay, next page." Quickly, she reached the last page without much thought. Mikan grumbled, "This is all obvious information about Natsume. I'm so confused, why'd Hotaru give me thi-" She stopped abruptly as she found an unpleasant piece of text waiting for her at the bottom of the last page.

- ; -

Payment to Imai Hotaru: 500 rabbits.

Thank you for using Imai information center.

(And fork over another 200 rabbits for all the Howalons you ate.)

- ; -

Mikan's jaw dropped and her eyes bulged. "700 rabbits? Are you kidding me? 700 RABBITS? Even if I gathered my entire savings, I don't have 700 rabbits. Hotaru is out to gorge herself on my rabbits!" She moaned and looked around desperately. "I am definitely not paying for this," she muttered to herself before spotting a dorm room a few meters ahead of her. She took a deep breath. "Okay, whoever you are, I am sorry but you are probably in better condition to pay 700 rabbits then me." She bit her lip, slid the paper through the space in between the door and floor, and bowed apologetically. "Forgive me, whoever you are." And with that, Mikan ran towards her dormitory room like there was no tomorrow.

How convenient that she had forgotten she happened to be walking through the elementary division of the Special-Star dormitory hallway.


Natsume stared again for the second time that day.

Someone had just pushed some papers into his room. What the hell? There was no reason for him to have any papers delivered to his room; he never subscribed to the school newspaper, he received all his posts through the post office, and he had also made it very clear that he did not want anymore love letters delivered to him anymore. And yet, there lay those damned papers.

"I'll burn whoever sent these into a crisp." Natsume muttered before picking up the paper angrily.

Then, he found himself staring for the third time that day. There on the paper was his profile - every fucking thing about him (holy hell, he had himself a proficient stalker) – as well as his school picture. He gaped blankly at it for a moment before sinking back into his bed slowly.

Okay, lets give this a try.

- ; -

Name: Hyuuga Natsume

Date of Birth: November 27

Nationality: Japanese

Family: Father, Mother (Deceased), Sister

Alice: Fire & Reading of Emotions (For more information, turn to Page 4.)

Star Status: Special Star

- ; -

Wait. What?

Rewind. Stop. Play.

Alice: Fire & Reading of Emotions

What the hell?

Natsume flipped furiously to Page 4.

- ; -

Alice: Fire & Reading of Emotions

It is quite rare for an Alice child to possess two Alices, however, it is not an unheard phenomena. There have been a handful of cases in where the Alice child receives an Alice from both the Father and the Mother. With this in mind, the case of Hyuuga Natsume can easily be explained. By gene, the Alice of the Father passes down to the Son, and hence the Alice of Fire was inherited. However, when enormous stress is put on the Mother during pregnancy, a mutation in the fetus may occur thus resulting in the inheritance of two Alices. In the cases of these Alice child, the initial Alice that is inherited begins to show during early stages of life while the second Alice may take form later on in life, or, at times, never.

Hyuuga Natsume's two Alices are as listed: Fire & Reading of Emotions

As noted from several observations, Hyuuga Natsume's second Alice, the Alice of Emotions, seem to take form through his initial Alice, the Alice of Fire. By initiating the Alice of Fire, the Alice of Emotions is instigated as well thus resulting in the color change of the produced fire.

Currently, the emotions Hyuuga Natsume is capable of reading are:

Red: Anger

Pink: Love

Orange: Content

Yellow: Joy

Blue: Moody

Green: Jealous

Black: Hate

Further training will allow wider ranges of Emotions to be read.

- ; -

Natsume's eyebrows went way, way up.

His mind had suddenly become extremely busy with the abrupt explosion of thoughts. He tried to put together the puzzles, "So that time when I'd been using my Alice during Alice-practice with Persona… It was pink."

His brows furrowed, disgusted. "No, it was hot pink." He stared at the description.

Pink: Love.

Fuck.

Okay. Let's try this again, Natsume.

He thought for a while until he recalled the scene at homeroom that morning. Black flames instantly flooded his memory - but it had not just been any black – they had been coal black. Natsume could feel his stomach sink to the floor, his face as if a cold slab of meat had slapped it. He gulped.

Black: Hate

AKA, Sakura Mikan hated him.


Had it been because he had seen her underwear before? Or had all the teasing finally gotten to her?

Natsume heaved a silent sigh before leaning against the cherry blossom tree that he so-cherished. And here, all along, he had longed so much for her, teased her to death just so she would notice him. Hell, he had even come to sit next to this cherry blossom tree everyday because she had the same last name as it.

Sakura.

Well, damn. He'd been made a fool this entire time. Just for a stupid – stupid - little girl.

And speaking of the devil, here she was: Sakura Mikan.

"Why the long face, Natsume?" She frowned as she tilted her head down at him. He gave her a sneer as a response. "Stupid girls won't understand." Mikan puffed her cheeks defensively. "That was uncalled for. Take it back." She plopped down into the patch of grass next to him, with a matter-of-fact expression, "You know, you're always so sour about things, Natsume. You're supposed to be nice when someone tries to offer you help. You seemed pretty down, so I just came to help, or listen you out, or whatever. I mean, at least you aren't that unlucky guy who has to pay for that 700-rabbits priced paper about you."

Natsume jerked his head up. "What?"

"Oh, well, this is a secret," Mikan said mischievously, "but Hotaru printed out some stuff about you. It was like – I don't know – 13 pages. And it cost 700 rabbits in total, including all the Howalons I ate back at her laboratory. I mean, I'm supposed to be her best friend and she tries to take all my rabbits away from me." She scowled. "Anyways, so I sort of freaked out when I saw that it cost 700 rabbits and shoved it up someone's dormitory door. I felt really bad about it, but, hey, it's better than paying up what I don't even have, right?" She sighed before lying down in the grass, closing her eyes and feeling the breeze.

Natsume took out the folded papers in his pocket before flipping rapidly to the payment page.

- ; -

Payment to Imai Hotaru: 500 rabbits.

Thank you for using Imai information center.

(And fork over another 200 rabbits for all the Howalons you ate.)

- ; -

Was she trying to rub it in his face that she hated him?

He glared daggers at the brunette lying next to him. "You talking about this?"

Her long eyelashes fluttered open, her lips curled into a curious smile. Oh, hell. Why did she have to look so beautiful at a time like this? Natsume kicked himself mentally in the balls. "Well, that unlucky bastard who you happened to shove a bunch of papers into his dormitory room," He growled as sardonically as he could possibly breathe. "Yeah, I think that's me."

Mikan's once relaxed and peaceful face suddenly morphed into one of utter horror as she lunged for the papers desperately. "What?" She squealed. "I can't believe this. Out of all the rooms I could shove it in to, I had to do it in yours. I'm so sorry!"

Natsume held the papers higher, out of her reach, furious with rage. "Is that really all you can say?"

She went blank, "What?"

He could no longer contain his anger. Natsume clenched his jaws tightly before hissing, "I know you hate me. You've obviously read this paper as well as I did. But just because you and I both know that you hate me does not mean that you can go around shoving it in my face every other second and rubbing it in extra deep just for good measure." He breathed out heavily, "You can be such a pest sometimes."

He stood up to leave.

But not before Mikan had immediately bounced up in response to follow in his stride, a look of utter shock sprawled over her face. "Natsume, I don't know what you're talking about. I never read that paper in detail so I really have no idea what this is all about!" She was having a difficult time keeping up with the enormous, angry strides Natsume was taking. "I never meant to give you that paper, I never meant to shove whatever in your face, and…" Slowly, tears were welling up in her eyes as her voice began choking up. "And I definitely do not hate you at all. I promise." Natsume slowed down, and turned to face her, holding the papers up. Suddenly, the papers were on fire. Black fire.

"You may deny it, Polka," he shook the flaming papers roughly, "but the proof is staring you in the eye."

"You hate me."

Mikan was practically bawling at this point. She began to sob, "I don't know what was written on that paper, Natsume, but I don't care. Information can be misleading and I hope that paper just burns down in flames because I have never hated you. In fact, it's the complete opposite. I will never hate you." She was breathing heavily to hold back her tears. "Do you know why? Do you want to know why? Because I love you! And that is all I'll ever do to you." And finally she let the tears flow.

Natsume stood there, blinking rather pathetically at her bawling figure.

And then he finally pulled her into a rough hug, a warm smile spreading across his lips.


"H-Hotaru-sama…" Amanatsu gulped as she approached her creator. Hotaru acknowledged her wearily.

"What?"

"I am sorry to inform that a miscalculation was detected during the analysis of Hyuuga Natsume's Alice." She bowed low before presenting Hotaru a new sheet of paper:

Red: Anger

Pink: Hate

Orange: Content

Yellow: Joy

Blue: Moody

Green: Jealous

Black: Love

Hotaru blinked. How was that even possible?

"Explain how Pink and Black were switched." She demanded.

Amanatsu bowed. "It seems that everyone has the misconception of believing Pink is a more appropriate color for Love and likewise that Black is an appropriate color for Hate." Hotaru nodded. "However, it is quite the opposite. Black is the true color to represent Love because when one thinks about the person they so desire their thoughts are completely blinded by the mere thought of their certain loved one. This is also the reason why they become ignorantly obnoxious of their surroundings when in Love. Because they only have eyes for their other half."

Out the window, Hotaru could see a bawling Sakura Mikan being comforted in the strong, firm arms and the warmth of Hyuuga Natsume's chest, and finally let out a small, affectionate laugh.

"Well, despite the mistake in my calculations, I think Mikan seems to have found a way to get her feelings known to him in the end."


~ Nemesis of Truth

Edited on July 30, 2011.

So this is the third time I'm editing this story, and it just amazes me how much mistakes I made in the past. Anyways, the plot has been heavily revised, and I think it's just so much cuter this way. Oh, and if you're wondering why there isn't a reason for Pink, it's because I have none ;DD