Destiny Awaits

A Mai HiME Destiny Fan Fiction

Note: You can blame MysticOmega and Wolf from the Hidden Flames for this story as they set free the plot bunnies that then mauled me. Not only did they set them free, they continued to house aforementioned plot bunnies and supply them food. Gah, as if I don't have enough stories to write! And I just had to make this a multi-chapter too! Pfft.

Also, I'm introducing some old HiME characters that haven't appeared in Destiny as of yet to further my own plot. Forgive me if they do show up at some point in Destiny and this ruins the canon but I need some extra characters.

Also, the scenes will be a bit shorter than what I usually write for Giving In, etc. They will probably be about the length of the scenes in Chains, so I can get the chapters out quickly, and move the plot along at a reasonable speed too. Though I'm sure one or two scenes shall be the exception. Heh.

Thanks to Leebot for betaing!

Timeline: Begins a few months before the start of the Destiny Novels.

Dedication: For my li'l tiger… to help cheer you up, I hope. Heh. Because this is all I can do right now.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The soft patter of fine rain against the pavement filled Natsuki Kuga's ears as she strolled between the buildings of Fuuka Academy. Her jacket and skirt were soaked and she could feel her sneakers squelch with each step she took. The dark clouds loomed morosely overhead, darkening her mood even more. Her black hair clung to her face and several strands whipped at her neck as the wind pushed against her. She curled her cold fingers around to form tight fists as she pressed forward, a shiver shaking her slim body as the cold seeped through her uniform.

Emerald eyes scanned the area, searching for someone in particular as she wondered what had urged her to come out in this awful weather. She could have arranged the meeting inside where it was warm and dry after all, even though privacy was a problem. She forced out an irritated breath as she continued to stalk along the path, faintly satisfied with the notion that no one would think to eavesdrop on her conversation in this weather. The rain nicely covered any sounds as well. Catching a flash of brown in her peripheral vision, Natsuki glanced over and noticed her intended target was leaning against the wall of the building, attempting to keep his podgy form from getting too wet.

"Sakomizu," she grunted as she neared him, her eyes narrowing as he smirked at her.

"Would it hurt you to call me sensei?" He asked, an amused edge to his voice.

Natsuki let out a huff in response and rolled her eyes, rubbing the palm of her hands against her soaked jacket in a poor attempt at drying them off. "Get on with it, Sakomizu, I want to get out of this rain," she warned, her voice dropping to a low growl.

The teacher seemed unfazed by her cold response and shook his head slightly, his Afro wobbling at the motion. The sight seemed rather amusing to Natsuki but the scowl remained set firmly into her features; she was far too chilled to let the corner of her lips lift even a little. "You realise I could get in a lot of trouble for this?" It seemed more like a reminder than a question to Natsuki.

"You're scared of losing your job?" She asked, the words dripping with annoyance.

Sakomizu shook his head again. "Not particularly. Something a bit worse than that," he explained vaguely. When two black eyebrows arched upwards, he frowned a little. "I don't want to disappear."

Natsuki couldn't help but snort. "You're being a bit over-dramatic."

He drew his lips into a thin line for a moment, trying to convey his seriousness in that one expression but the young woman didn't appear to be getting the hint. He let out a sigh. "Staff have gone missing in the past, Kuga. It hasn't happened in over a year but that's for a very good reason." He avoided saying anything specific outright and Natsuki caught onto that, a crease appearing in between her eyebrows as she thought.

Then it hit her. "Oh. I see," she murmured, her words quieting as she realised what he had meant. "Fujino."

A nod and then he glanced from side to side before leaning in towards her a little. "The staff that had gone missing previously were said to have broken the rules set by the Student Council. You know I'd be doing the same if I gave you this information," his voice was hushed now and Natsuki could detect the faintest trace of a quiver in it.

She shrugged, trying to keep up her apathetic demeanour. "You came to me, remember?" she pointed out, crossing her arms across her chest, the chill from the soaked clothing seeping throughout her chest.

Sakomizu leant back against the brickwork once more and heaved a loud sigh. "Yes, yes," he started, his voice still hushed. "I suppose so. I hope you appreciate the danger I'm putting myself in though."

The second-year student narrowed her eyes, green peeking out from behind long dark lashes. "Get on with it, Sakomizu," she barked, her words coming out sounding like a command.

"Fine. The reason I wanted to speak to you in the first place was because I found out someone's been awfully interested in you, Kuga." He paused, waiting for Natsuki's reaction. She quirked an eyebrow at him, a glint of suspicion in her eye. "From what I can tell a group called Munakata are responsible for accessing your records and asking around about you."

"Munakata," Natsuki let the name roll off her tongue, dragging out the syllables as her mind tried to make a connection. It did sound familiar and she found it surprising that there was a faction within this school that she hadn't been aware of, especially one as active as this one appeared to be. "Shiho!" She made the connection.

Sakomizu nodded at her exclamation. "Yes, she appears to be the one running things. Seems a bit unstable though, so be careful," he pushed himself off the wall once he had finished and turned to leave.

Natsuki reached out and placed a hand on his upper arm. "Oi. Is that it?"

He paused and looked back at her, glancing down at her hand and then back at green eyes. "What did you expect? For me to hand over a detailed report? I'm not some grunt that works for you, Kuga, I'm just doing you a favour so you'll do the same for me one day."

Natsuki withdrew her hand and looked back at him, feeling a bit baffled. "What reason would you have..?"

The rotund teacher smiled at her before turning to face the direction he had been going. "I know changes will come in the future and I'm just setting myself up to be in a positive position when they do come." His voice was almost carried away by the wind but Natsuki was able to pick them up.

The young woman pondered his words for a moment, turning them over and over in her mind. What was he trying to say? How would doing her a favour be of advantage to him? How much was he really aware of? He gave her the impression he knew a lot more than he was letting on yet she knew it wouldn't be easy to get that out of him. Was there something going on behind the scenes that she didn't know about yet? She found that quite likely.

She watched as Sakomizu disappeared inside the school building, leaving her alone in the heavy rain. She shivered as she realised she was allowing herself to be continually soaked for no apparent reason. She hurried over to the double doors the teacher had passed through and slipped inside the invitingly warm building. With a sigh of relief, she patted at her clothes, the actions useless except for keeping herself active. She pawed helplessly at her hair, clumps of it clinging to her skin now and she let out a frustrated breath.

She made her way to the gym area, hoping to get a shower and a fresh set of clothes from her locker before she was caught and ushered into class by some inconsiderate member of staff. The halls were almost completely empty and she met little resistance in her journey. The odd student would occasionally greet her but she largely ignored them. Her shoes were squelching loudly by the time she reached her intended destination and she hardly even heard the deliberate footsteps heading her way as she weaved through the rows of lockers.

As she reached to enter her lock combination, a hand on her shoulder caused her to spin around, an angry glare aimed at the owner of the appendage. In front of her stood two girls of around the same age as her; they were both shorter than her, one with short blonde hair, the other a pony tailed brunette. The duo wore matching expressions and they both looked at her with defiance. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" She baulked.

"You're Kuga huh?" The blonde asked, disdain clear in her voice. Natsuki could feel her eyebrow twitch ever so slightly, their mere presence annoying her. What had she done to gain their hatred anyway? Not that she cared much; she just wanted them gone.

"I don't see why I have to answer any of your irritating little questions. Why don't the both of you get lost?" She turned back to her locker, satisfied that the chill in her tone would set them fleeing.

She gritted her teeth when mocking laughter filled her ears and she snapped her head back to the left to see what was so funny. Both girls were snickering at her and she could feel her blood begin to boil. "I don't see where you get your reputation from, there's nothing scary about you," the brunette sneered.

She wasn't sure where that particular reputation had come from either but it didn't mean she was any less annoyed at the insinuation. Plus, it was quite advantageous at getting rid of annoying students such as these two. Usually. "Want me to show you?" She inwardly cringed at the threat, knowing it'd fool nobody. Even though she itched to summon her weapons and shoot both of these dimwits in the head, she didn't want to risk getting on the wrong side of the student council just yet.

Again came that infuriating laughter. Her eyes narrowed and lips pulled back over her teeth slightly but the reaction only seemed to fuel the two girls' mirth further. "You're kidding no one, Kuga," the blonde managed once she had calmed herself. "Now… disband your so-called group and you may escape this whole situation unscathed."

Natsuki's fists clenched tightly and she had to resist the urge to strike out at them. Not only did they have the gall to threaten her but to mock her faction as well. She wouldn't stand for this. "So that's what this is about. Let me stop you there then, my faction will never bow to anyone so get that idea out of your heads. Tell your little leader that if you want a fight, you got it!"

Instead of the expected snickering, both girls glared at her angrily, her words seemingly having hit a nerve. Perhaps they'd expected her to be fearful. If they'd bothered to do any proper research on her, they'd know she had never backed down before. "Shiho is gonna make sure you never leave this school alive!" The brunette seethed. Shiho huh? So she's behind this too… I guess I need to have words with her.

"Don't make me laugh," Natsuki rolled her eyes at the girls, waving a hand dismissively. "That crazy little freak would never be able to hold her own against me."

A shriek filled her ears and she gasped out as a hand slapped her firmly across the face. She brought a hand up to cover the quickly reddening skin, a sharp stinging in her cheek making her eyes water a little. She looked incredulously at the blonde who had attacked her, eyes widening in disbelief. She slapped me? No one's slapped me…

"You…" Natsuki stumbled to find words. "You… slapped me!?"

The blonde merely glowered at her but the brunette chirped in with her own comment. "That's what you get for insulting Shiho," she sounded almost triumphant. Natsuki growled back at her in response, considering her options. She could just walk away but that went against her nature, she wanted to stand and fight… and win. The girls seemed all too willing to indulge her in the fighting part, at least.

Natsuki took a step backwards, narrowly avoiding another slap. She reflexively lashed out, landing a not-too-heavy punch on the blonde's jaw, sending her sprawling backwards into her friend and knocking them both to the floor. She couldn't help but smirk at the tangle of limbs and clothing. "I don't slap…" She sneered.

Two shocked pairs of eyes blinked back at her, one set rather watery. Considering this her victory, Natsuki smugly turned on her heel and marched out of the locker area, all but forgetting the reason she had come here in the first place. It wasn't until she had reached the corridor outside that she became aware of why she was shivering.

"Idiot…" She mumbled, stalking straight back into the room again.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Why am I even here? Natsuki asked herself as she leant against the cold metal of the fire exit. Little did the other students of the school know that this door was no longer hooked up to the security system and it was possible to open it without triggering any alarms. Not that she usually used it to enter the building, she would often find herself in this narrow alleyway between two of the school's departments after slipping out said fire exit. But she just couldn't understand why she was here or why she ever came. It made no sense to her and yet here she was, waiting like an idiot. Like she always did, like she didn't have a will of her own. Or perhaps it was her wish after all.

She growled in frustration and shook her head, not wanting her thoughts to go down that avenue. All I'm here for is information and I'm the only one who can get it from... Her thoughts trailed off as her eyes darted to the far end of the alley. It was a dead end so there was only one way in and out of this area, if one was unaware of the defunct alarm on the doors behind Natsuki. A soft tapping had drawn her attention and now movement caught her eye. From the gloominess emerged a figure and she recognised that confident stride immediately.

Something lurched within her stomach and she cursed her own body's reaction as she took in the sight before her. Black shoes were the source of the tapping sound and she watched as they moved closer to her, her emerald eyes travelling upwards over long slim legs encased in dark tights. She reached the short skirt, which was of the same black as the rest of the uniform, moving upwards to skim over the corset wrapped around a petite waist. Her gaze lingered perhaps too long over the ample bosom beneath the blouse and Natsuki felt the heat rise to her cheeks as she averted her eyes to the collar tie and the black jacket. She finally looked up at the newcomer's elegant facial features; a cool, calm expression belying no emotion held behind it. Unusual crimson eyes, sparked with something Natsuki could never quite identify, stared directly at her, never once leaving her face as the other girl neared. Soft chestnut locks danced around her face as the breeze picked up and brushed against the pair.

She had expected the other girl; she had come here specifically to meet with her after all but she still couldn't shake the feeling of being trapped. The student council president always had that effect on her, no matter how much she pretended otherwise. The chestnut-haired beauty stopped directly in front of her, too far into her personal space for Natsuki's liking. It felt as though the air was getting thinner and she found it hard to draw in a full breath, her head spinning slightly at the proximity.

"Fujino," she managed to say, her tone curt.

Shizuru Fujino leaned in closer, one of her hands rising so she could press her palm against the wall beside Natsuki's head. The older girl brought her face nearer, halting only when they were mere inches apart. She stayed there, unmoving and silent for several long minutes and Natsuki found her body frozen. Why couldn't she move? Why did Shizuru have this kind of effect on her? One corner of Shizuru's full lips twitched upwards and a smirk slowly spread its way across her face, which only proved to add further to Natsuki's annoyance.

"Come now, I think we may call each other by something other than our family names, Natsuki," her name slipped from between those lips breathily and it sent a shiver down Natsuki's spine. Shizuru seemed to notice this reaction and leaned in even closer, her cheek slipping briefly against the other girl's as she lowered her lips to Natsuki's ear. "I'm glad you decided to come."

A shudder involuntarily passed through Natsuki as she felt the older girl's breath on her ear and heard that low purr. Another blush forced its way to her cheeks and she finally found the will to bring her arms up and push Shizuru back a little. Her strength had still not fully returned though and she only succeeded in shoving Shizuru back far enough for them to look into each other's eyes once more. "It's not what you think!" she protested. A perfectly shaped eyebrow quirked upwards and Natsuki let out a frustrated breath. "I just needed to talk to you."

The normal calm smile returned to Shizuru's face and the younger girl found that more worrying than the smirk. "Natsuki wishes to speak with me about Shiho Munakata?"

Natsuki nodded, acutely aware that Shizuru was not backing away at all. "So you know about earlier?"

One of Shizuru's eyebrows twitched upwards once before settling to its prior position. "Natsuki should know I'm aware of a lot of things within these grounds," Her voice was low and almost sensual when she spoke, proving to be quite distracting to the younger girl. After a few moments, Natsuki became aware of the other girl staring at her, almost expectantly. She looked back at her blankly. "Is that why Natsuki really came?"

The question confused her at first but then realisation settled in. "Of course!" She insisted, annoyed at how Shizuru had guided their conversation back to where it had already been. "Why do you always have to be like this?"

She flinched as she felt Shizuru's free hand on her shoulder. She glanced at it and watched as it lightly slid over her jacket and down her arm. She shivered when it came to rest on her waist, the lightest of touches causing her body to shudder. The other girl leant in once more, pressing her body against Natsuki's, causing her to hold her breath. "I know how Natsuki can get after a fight," she breathed.

Blood instantly rushed to Natsuki's cheeks and she opened her mouth to protest but no sounds emerged. Shizuru pulled back a little and her eyes glinted with amusement at the reaction she had caused. The younger girl continued to try to force out complaints, her lips twitching slightly with the effort. Without warning, Shizuru closed the gap between them and pressed her lips against Natsuki's, causing the other girl to gasp against her mouth.

All thought of protest quickly fled Natsuki's mind and she felt each of her muscles tense as the sensation of Shizuru's soft, full lips moving against hers consumed her. The hand at her waist pulled her body closer to the president's and the heat from it made her skin tingle. The kiss quickly deepened and she became aware of her mouth moving of its own accord as Shizuru's other hand buried itself in long raven strands.

Her heart thudded loudly in her chest and she huffed heavily through her nose when a teasing tongue brushed against her bottom lip, leaving her legs feeling weak. A low growl rose up from the back of her throat as she parted her lips, allowing Shizuru to caress her tongue with her own. She raised her arms and wrapped them around Shizuru's waist, attempting to bring their bodies closer, to feel more of that glorious heat, to lose herself in the softness of the other girl.

She felt herself being firmly pushed up against the door behind her and Shizuru's supple form crushing against hers, forcing the air from her lungs. Hands began to roam her curves and fingers found their way to her thigh, causing Natsuki to let out a whimper, which only proved to spur the other girl onwards. Shizuru explored Natsuki's mouth eagerly with her tongue as she pushed her fingers up under the hem of the younger girl's skirt, dragging her nails along the skin at the top of her leg.

Natsuki let out a gasp and the sudden surge of desire within her took her by surprise. She dropped a hand from its place behind Shizuru's back and grabbed the wandering arm at her thigh, causing the student council president to pull back from the kiss, an uncharacteristic look of surprise marring her features. Her breathing ragged and heavy, Natsuki tried to steady herself and clear the fogginess of her mind. How could one person have so much control over her body and mind? She clenched her jaw and Shizuru seemed to pick up on it as she pushed herself off the younger girl, withdrawing both hands from Natsuki's body. Natsuki missed the contact immediately but she was sure she'd never tell the other girl that. It was hard enough admitting it to herself.

"Damn it, Shizuru," she panted, her voice barely above a whisper. She pushed herself harder against the fire exit just to feel the reassuring solidity of it. Everything suddenly felt cloudy and incorporeal, much like a dream. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, catching the scent of the other girl that still hung in the air around her.

"So Natsuki uses my name after all," came the low purring response. The tone succeeded in flushing Natsuki's cheeks further and she turned her head to look down the alley, anywhere but at the other girl.

"Do you always have to do this to me?" She found herself asking, though she desperately wanted to escape the situation entirely. She glanced back at the president, noticing the walls had come back up and her expression was hard to read.

"I was under the impression Natsuki enjoyed it as much as I did," the words were oddly cool and without a trace of teasing, which brought Natsuki's head back round so she could look at her properly. Was it even possible that she'd upset the older girl? Could the great president of the student council be hurt? She couldn't tell from her expression but there was something behind those crimson eyes, something she couldn't quite place. They were always a mystery to her.

Choosing now to respond to that, Natsuki let out a puff of air before speaking. "What do you know about Shiho?" She asked curtly, trying to steer the topic to somewhere a bit more comfortable. Namely, a psychotic who was after her blood.

Shizuru turned away slightly, showing Natsuki only her profile, whilst she stared down the length of the alley. "If I didn't know better, I would think Natsuki is using me for information," her words were spoken evenly but there was an ice behind them that caused the younger girl to shiver.

"So you're not going to tell me?" She spat, attempting to ignore the dull ache that had begun to spread across her chest.

Shizuru's eyes found hers once more and, had she not been leaning against the building's fire exit already, she would have taken a step back. "Natsuki should worry about herself. She broke school rules by hitting that girl and the council does not look kindly upon violence," her tone conveyed the sharpness that glistened within her eyes.

Natsuki opened her mouth to hastily object but stopped herself. Shizuru was acting oddly, she had never been this way with her before and it was even harder to reason with her now. Usually, she'd be able to get some form of information out of her, even if it was almost useless. But now, she was being extremely guarded, and threatening her with disciplinary action was very uncharacteristic. Perhaps she really had upset Shizuru. She shook that thought from her mind. To accept that would mean that Shizuru… no, I just can't believe that.

The faintest of sighs brought her attention back to the older girl and she looked up at the side of her face. "I suppose I can let Natsuki off with a warning," she said a little too quietly.

Natsuki's jaw clenched. She knew what was coming. "In exchange for what?" She asked, knowing full well what the other girl would ask for.

Shizuru turned to face her once more, tilting her head slightly. "You think to bribe me?" When Natsuki's brow furrowed and cheeks flushed, she smirked a little. "It is merely a warning, not a favour," with that said, she turned and began to walk up the alley.

Natsuki pushed herself off the door and jogged to catch up with the other girl and reached out to grab her upper arm, spinning the president slightly. Shizuru peered over her shoulder, an eyebrow arching upwards in surprise. Natsuki's actions had surprised even herself, not once had she gone after Shizuru before, she'd always allowed her to come to her. She faltered for a moment, trying to search for words before the silence got too awkward. "You… y-you're not going to tell me about Shiho then?"

She inwardly cursed her lack of imagination as she watched that eyebrow drop again. "It appears so," was all Shizuru said.

"I just…" She looked away slightly, avoiding that piercing crimson gaze. "I'd just like to know if I need to keep looking over my shoulder," she felt rather proud of that excuse. Even though it was half true, it was still a particularly good one on such short notice.

Natsuki looked back at Shizuru and noticed something flash through those blood red depths before it was gone again. The older girl turned back to face the exit of the alley but didn't move to walk away. She stood there a moment and Natsuki began to wonder if she'd heard her at all. "You need not worry about that," she murmured, her voice drifting away with the breeze.

"But…" Natsuki trailed off when she couldn't think of anything else to persuade Shizuru with. She wasn't particularly bad at thinking on her feet, especially not when it came to physical confrontations. But the norm was always shattered when it came to Shizuru.

"No harm will come to you while I am Student Council President, Natsuki," her voice held a firmness that ushered all thoughts from Natsuki's mind and she inwardly stammered over what had been said. When she was finally able to pull her thoughts together, Shizuru had already reached the entrance of the alley. She paused momentarily but didn't look back. And then she was gone.

Natsuki brought her hands up and wrapped them around herself, rubbing at her upper arms in an attempt to dispel the sudden chill she felt. What could she have meant? It might have been nothing, she's very good at keeping the peace around here after all… but there was something in the way she said it. Natsuki's mind attempted to make sense of what had just happened. Could it be possible that Shizuru felt for her? She shook her head. No. There was no way. She felt for nothing but being the most powerful presence in the academy.

Then why did her stomach flutter at the mere thought of it? Why did a tightness pull at her chest whenever she was near Shizuru? She squeezed her eyes shut momentarily. She didn't even know what it was the two of them had, she couldn't exactly call it a relationship as it was far from it. She still felt nothing more than a passing acquaintance to the student council president and she had believed that was how she liked it. They were rivals after all, but somehow that had pushed the pair of them together and now she couldn't see the line anymore. It was far too blurry now.

She kicked at the ground with one foot, sending dirt drifting up into the air. What a mess, she thought. Why can't everything be simple? She sighed and shoved her hands into her jacket pockets and trudged the same path Shizuru had just taken. Her mood dimmed even further when she realized she still had no information regarding Shiho's faction. Now she only had questions about far more complicated matters.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

END OF CHAPTER ONE

Author's Note: Well, there we go… end of the first chapter of my HiME Destiny fan fiction. What do you think? I just love the potential for Shizuru and Natsuki interaction in this novel. And I doubt Sunrise will do much with it so I thought I would. Heh. So here we are.

I hadn't intended for this to be released so early but I wanted to cheer up someone special so, in essence, I wrote it for her. I just hope everyone else likes it as well. Heh.

Oh, and the plot may not be entirely clear right now but I was never one to rush that, I like to ease the reader in slowly. It may take a little while to catch up to the novel too but I'm sure people won't mind.