Disclaimer: Mahou Sensei Negima is owned by its creator Ken Akamatsu.
I would like to thank Draconite for her unfaltering help in this project.
Author notes: This story will happen 8 years in the future with some divergence starting from the festival arc.
Returning to teach, Negi realised that being a teacher is more than just teaching. Mahora has a few surprises in store for him.
Expect Negi centric parings of 4 main partners plus a few more thrown in for spice. In the end, Negi makes a choice. This story is about how he came to that decision.
Hope you'll like it.
The headmaster of Mahora Academy was enjoying the view as he gazed out of his office window. Autumn approaches with the leaves of the trees beginning to show hints of gold at the edges and students, enjoying the refreshing breeze that followed the summer spell, in the open. It was an ideal weather for his usual late afternoon walk, but not today, today he was expecting someone.
Eight years. The headmaster mused. Eight years since he left. I wonder how he is now.
A polite knock on the door announced his visitor's arrival. The strong oak doors swung open to allow a hooded figure to pass. The headmaster felt a sense of déjà vu as the cloaked visitor crossed the room with his staff tapping lively on the carpeted floor. Hopefully this one doesn't bring in another vampire, the headmaster chuckled.
His visitor lowered his hood. A young man in his late teens emerged. His tanned complexion and slightly sun bleached hair were testament to the days out in the sun. The headmaster noted the loss of babyfat from his sharp cheekbones and the eyes that spoke of maturity. "Negi Springfield reporting for duty, Konoe-sama."
Konoemon found it amusing that those were the exact same words that Negi's father had said when he came to his office years ago. "Welcome back, Negi-kun. How have you been?" Konoemon gave a pat on Negi's back and motioned for him to take a seat.
Negi smiled, "I've been well, Konoe-sama. Thank you for this opportunity to return and share my knowledge and experiences."
"I should thank you for accepting my invitation on such short notice. I hope that it wasn't too much of a problem." Konoeman masterfully poured tea for both of them and offered a cup to Negi.
"Well, I've been traveling for quite sometime. It'll be good to settle for a while." Negi gratefully accepted the offered cup of tea. "Being back here also allows me to finish my teaching tour."
Konoeman detected a slight hesitation and knew that Negi was thinking of the reason why he left in the first place. "Its not your fault, Negi," the headmaster said, "It never was."
Negi stared at the swirling steam rising from his cup. "But I could have done something…anything." With a barely audilble sigh, Negi looked up and smiled warily. "Don't worry, Konoe-sama, I won't let that affect my work."
"Good to hear that Negi-kun." A knock on the door thankfully puntured the gloom.
"Sorry I'm late, headmaster." A well endowed blonde quietly closed the door behind her. A look of surprise was quickly replaced by a warm smile when Negi acknowledged her.
"Ah, Shizuna-chan. That's alright. In fact, you came at just the right time. Please wait for a moment." Konoemon turned to Negi. "As you know, Professor Hanai had just retired, short staffing us at the moment in the English department. You will be taking over his class and lessons. Shizuna-chan will give you the details. Shizuna-chan, I'll oblidge you."
"No problem, headmaster. It's great to have Negi-kun returning to teach."
"Well, I'll leave it to your capable hands." The headmaster stood up, stretched and beat his back with a fist. "Excuse me then, this old man will have to go for a walk to soothe his joints. Ah yes, Negi-kun, if you need help, my doors are always open." Konoemon chuckled warily and made his way out of the office.
Shizuna waited for the doors to close before turning to Negi. "I'll show you to your seat. Shall we?"
Rui Domyoji sighed at the clutter on his desk. Another day at Mahora Academy Middle School for Girls' means another stack of papers to mark assimilated into the ever growing pile. Thank goodness for the empty space on Hanai's table next to him. Ever since Hanai had left, Rui had to cover both their classes, increasing his workload up a notch…not that he was complaining.
He pulled out his personal drawer and fished out a photo. It was a candid shot of him pulled into the picture by a grinning Tsukushi Makino during a recent staff outing. Teaching does have its benefits. He studied her bright smile. If only I was not too shy to do anything about it. He looked up hoping to catch a glimpse of her.
Currently, Tsukushi was chatting animatedly with guidance councilor Shizuna. Rui noted the young man next to her: He couldn't be more than twenty and was carrying a rather peculiar staff. The young man's English face lit with a smile when Tsukushi said something funny. Rui watched with interest as the visitor responded with a short sentence, making the group laugh and Rui felt a foreign twinge.
The visitor and Shizuna ended their conversation with Tsukushi and walked towards him. Who is he? Rui slipped the photograph back into his drawer.
"Domyoji-kun, how's work?" Shizuna asked as the pair approached.
"Getting by, Minamoto-san, getting by." Rui placed on a smile and responded positively.
"Ah, don't push yourself too hard, alright? Allow me to introduce you to the person taking over Hanai's class."
The visitor extended a hand, "Negi Springfield, pleased to meet you."
Rui took a good look at Negi. He couldn't be a day over twenty, right? Rui thought as he stared blankly at the offered handshake. Fortunately, he caught himself before being rude.
Negi Springfield, where did I hear that name from? Rui contemplated as he returned the gesture. Then it struck him. "You're the 10 year old teacher from England, right?"
Mr Springfield seemed to expect that reaction and laughed politely, "Actually, I'm from Wales." Negi smiled to show he had not taken it to heart. "It seems I had made quite a name during my time here. I hope I can maintain and perform better this time. I'm a little rusty so I'll appreciate any guidance along the way."
It turns out that Negi will be taking Hanai's desk which, to Rui's embarrassment, was piled with an assortment of papers and books. The stacks took this moment to topple over, sprawling onto the floor.
"Sorry about that."
"It's no problem." Negi replied as he helped to pick the books off the ground. "I can help you sort these out. Besides, I believe half of these belong to my class."
Rui appreciated the offer and accepted it, agreeing to get onto it the next day. Seems like a nice guy, Rui thought as he watched Negi open the door for Shizuna, humble and polite.
Negi had never been to the teachers' dormitories before. The last time he was a teacher in Mahora, he had lived with his students. Now eight years later, it would be highly inappropriate if he were to do the same again.
The Victorian mansion, with its slopping tiled roof atop the solid brick walls and tall windows followed the architecture theme of Mahora. In fact, it also reminded Negi of the grander homes back in Wales.
There was a gravel walkway cutting through the front lawn leading to the steps of the main entrance. The lawn itself was simply furnished with low evergreen hedges. A lone Sakura tree near the corner was the only break in the English theme.
"No one really knows how it got there," Shizuna said, "But it does add color when it's in season." For now, the tree was bare of delicate flowers in the late summer light.
After pointing out the driveway and the garage, should Negi decide to get a car in the future, Shizuna ushered him into the building.
Negi took an immediate liking for the place. The lobby had a few coffee tables and plush chairs for the residents to gather and socialize or read the morning papers. From one of the three sitter sofas, a fluffy white cat peered curiously at them before hopping off the couch and padding its way in front of Negi. Negi met the cat's gaze for a moment as it went on to make a deliberate circle around him. Unimpressed, the cat sniffed, brushed against him and left the building, pausing to let Shizuna scratch its head.
"That's Adonis. He treats all newcomers like that. He'll warm up to you soon enough."
Despite having a 'no pets' dormitory rule, Adonis was an exception agreed by the current residents for it seemed that he had adopted the mansion rather than the residents adopting him.
After touring the rarely used full kitchen and spacious indoor hot bath, Shizuna showed Negi his accommodations on the second floor. It was a single room apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette. A queen sized bed dominated the room with a black sofa at the foot. On top of the coffee table in front of the sofa, there was a small laptop and a folder.
"The laptop is for you and it comes with wireless features. This folder contains everything you need for class: the class orbat chart, class schedule and organiser. The usual items like the last time." Shizuna allowed Negi to take everything in for a moment. "I hope it's to your liking."
Negi nodded, "Indeed. Thank you."
"No problem. If you need anything in regard to the room or grounds, simply let the manager know." Shizuna passed the room keys to Negi.
"That will be Mrs Chidori. She lives just down the hallway, first room left of the stairs. She apologise that she couldn't receive you today."
"I'll look for her when she's available then." Negi picked up the folder and flipped through it. "So when do I start teaching?"
"Can't wait to meet your students, can you?" Shizuna teased, "I'll introduce you to the class the day after. Meanwhile, take this time to settle down."
Despite Shizuna's advice to get some rest, Negi had one more thing to do before calling it a day.
His shadow was cast long as the sun began to set behind him. She had said that she always loved sunsets. Now, walking up the hill facing away from the city valley that was bathed orange in the setting sun, Negi knew that this was the time of the day she loved the most.
A bouquet of blue roses, her favorite flowers, was gently held in his hands. These natural blue roses were rare. He had gone to almost every flower shop in town to find them. Of course, he only wants the best for her.
Near the crest of the slope, Negi reached his destination: a simple white marble slab with the words 'Kagurazaka Asuna' carved onto it.
Not many knew of its existence, but someone was here not too long ago for a bouquet of flowers laid at the base of the slab. It heartens him that there were still visitors for this lone memorial. Negi recalled the time when he had to blatantly lie to his class that Asuna had to leave for personal reasons, but Negi and a few of his ministra knew better.
He placed his flowers next to the existing ones, curious about who had been here. "It has been awhile, Asuna-san," he began.
"I had been traveling around the world for the past eight years, sorry I haven't visited.
"I'm well. During my travels, I've helped many others in need. Initially, many were skeptical that a small boy could help them much, but everything turned out well eventually. Sometimes, I had to help them secretly. But for their happiness, it was well worth it.
"I don't travel alone all the time, of course. I've made many friends, although my traveling companions would change when we reach their destination. Who knows when I'll meet them again?
"As time went by, I hope that helping others would help me forget, but I can't. Not since…"
Negi stopped himself and tried to regain his composure. There was no use regretting. Recalling only made the hurt worse. "I tried, Asuna-san. I really did. I tried not to blame myself, tried not to think how the situation could be changed and tried not to wonder how life would be like if you're still here."
Negi ran a hand through his hair. This was not how he hoped their reunion would be like. It felt surreal talking to a slab of marble which only served as a memory of her…although it somehow felt …
He turned away to watch magnificent orange clouds drifting towards the horizon, leaving a deep purple trail. A full moon slowly materialized as day gave way to night.
It was almost time to make his way back. Negi kneeled to brush away an imaginary layer of dust on her name. Feeling the cool, fine texture marble under his finger tips soothed his troubled mind.
"I would imagine you'd have gotten over it by now." Negi's senses piqued at the voice and inwardly chided himself for the lapse of awareness. He turned to face a grinning blonde. "Hello."
"M-Master…" Negi never got to finish when a fist came his way. Too fast to dodge, he brought up his staff to parry the blow. Evangeline spun on the ball of her foot and kicked forward, striking his abdomen. The force behind the kick was unexpected. It knocked the wind out his lungs, and threw him a distance back. Seeing the look on her face, he knew she must be really mad at me!
Before Negi could recover, Evangeline pounced to strike with the heel of her palm. Negi leaned back nearly horizontal, her hand sailed inches above his face, creating an opening at his chest.
Evangeline expected this and cycled her hand to redirect the force straight down into his chest. Expecting a satisfactory "thump" on her target, she was slightly disappointed when she hit the ground instead. Negi had moved instantly, placing a comfortable distance between them.
Evangeline smirked, leaped high into the air. "Glacialis Sagitta!" An icy spike darted towards him, barrowed deep into the ground where he was standing a split second ago. It managed to create a tear at the edge of his cloak.
Levitating above him, Evangeline was preparing an ice barrage this time. "LIC LAC LALAC LILAC- To Shumbolion, Diakonoto Moi Hei, Krystaline Bashleia…" Negi knew that he had to stop her. He dropped his staff, instantly moving behind her and held her upraised hand, the spell was interrupted.
"Evangeline, stop it."
Pause. "Oh, it's 'Evangeline' now, eh?" She threw him over her shoulder. Negi landed bodily onto the ground, quickly rolling aside as he saw her foot rapidly descending toward his head.
Negi rushed towards her as she recovered, grabbing her hands firmly apart, a leg behind her knees, ready to take her down. "Stop!" he commanded the thrashing blonde.
She struggled to hit him with her captured fists but Negi held tight. Moments later, she calmed down. "Are you done?"
Evangeline grinned ferally, "Foolish."
Negi felt invisible strings tightened around his wrists and neck. With a twitch of her fingers, he was pulled away, suspended a foot off the ground. Evangeline levitated to meet his eyes, staring icily. She raised a hand and brought it down hard across his cheek.
Smack! "This is for leaving."
Smack! "This is for the class."
Smack! "This is for letting your ministra down."
"And this is from me!" Smack!
Negi took her hits. He did not mind the slaps nor did he feel her small fists beating his chests as she vented her frustration… her words were the ones that stung.
The beating slowed to a stop. Evangeline breathed deep to calm herself. She stared at him, expectantly "Well? Aren't you going to get yourself down?"
Negi was surprised; he did not expect her to notice his skill level. Closing his eyes for a few moments' concentration, the bindings were lifted and he landed gracefully on the ground.
Smack! "What's that for?" Negi clutched the sore spot on his face.
"That's for not breaking my bindings earlier. I knew you could."
Negi thought to retort, only to reconsider against it "Yes, master."
Evangeline scoffed, "You still take me as your master? I thought you had forgotten me the moment you left…not a word, no letters and when you finally return, I had to look for you!"
Silence passed between them. Not knowing what to say, Negi went on to pick his staff.
"Master, I admit I had not done my duty as a teacher by leaving like that. But I was not ready to carry on teaching. It felt wrong to face the class with a false smile and lie to them everyday while teaching like nothing was wrong. Negi's grip tightened on his staff. "I did what I thought was best for all of us."
"What about the group of us that knew the truth? Did you spare a thought for them?
"…I did. They were the ones I had the most difficulty to face. I hope that…despite what I did…I'll have a chance to see them again.
Evangeline sneered, "That won't be too hard." She began to walk away.
"Consider this piece of information as a 'Homecoming' gift to you." She turned to face him. "All you have to do is find them at the right places". With a flutter of bat wings, she was gone.