A/N: I'm sorry! Especially to all the people who have given up on this story already because I'm an asshole (sorry for the wording.) I deserve it, I know. Thank you for supporting me this far and for your continued support. No amount of thank you will ever show how grateful I am to all of you!
Disclaimer: I don't own.
Chapter 25 Like Father
It was quite an eerie feeling, coming back. It seemed like it had been so long since he had stepped foot in the mansion. It almost felt as if he had never lived here to begin with. As he paced down the long gloomy corridors he could hear his own heartbeat pounding loudly.
He was not entirely sure what he was trying to do or what he would say once he came face to face with his father once again. All he knew was that he could let this go no further. He had to stop him now before anything else happened.
The moment he reached the door to his father's study he took a deep breath and attempted to calm himself down. There was no way this could end well for everybody, Natsume knew.
'Happy endings don't necessarily mean everyone gets what they want,' he reminded himself as he turned the knob and pushed the door open.
"I was thinking it was about time you showed your face," said Satoshi as soon as he noticed his son's presence in the room.
Natsume stared at his father and couldn't help but feel mortified. The last time he had seen him he was completely unaware of everything he had done in the past. He didn't know how to look at him anymore. The man sitting before him now, the murderer of Mikan's parents, just thinking he shared the same blood as this man made his stomach turn. The image of a devastated Mikan flashed through his mind.
Natsume didn't think he had it in him to forgive him for what he had done. Even if she were to say she wanted to try to make things right like she had with her uncle, Masao, he would never accept such a thing. Even if they were family he knew there was no way he would ever be able to overlook something like that.
He briefly thought about his mother and sister and how they would be affected by whatever happened from now on but he decided they could not be trusted to a murderer. That was all Satoshi was to him right now, nothing but a murderer; a criminal who would not hesitate to endanger everyone around him in order to get what he wanted.
But Natsume had decided, no matter what happened, no matter what he had to do, he would make sure Satoshi would never get his way again.
"So I assume the Sakura girl has talked to-."
"Shut up," Natsume cut off suddenly. "You don't have the right to speak her name."
"Oh?" asked Satoshi in an amused voice. "You sound angry, Natsume. Whatever has gotten into you?"
"Don't you dare patronize me, old man," he replied. "After everything you have done I can't believe you can maintain that disgusting façade. How can you face your wife every morning when you open your eyes or your children every day? How can you look at your own reflection and not feel a single tinge of remorse?"
"Ah, you always did have a thing for overdramatizing. And here I went to the trouble of finding your little girlfriend's mother. I thought you'd be happy."
"SHUT UP!" snapped Natsume slamming his fists down on the desk. "SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!"
Natsume was infuriated. The thought of Satoshi purposefully hiring some woman to pretend to be Mikan's dead mother made him boil inside. That a human being could do something like that and still keep a straight face revolted him.
"I know everything," the teen finally muttered between gritted teeth. "All of it," he finished glaring into Satoshi's eyes.
'Everything?' thought Satoshi with surprise he would not show.
"What might you be talking about then?" he asked calmly.
"Don't play dumb! You know exactly what I'm talking about."
"And you know I'm not stupid enough to confess to half-baked accusations," retorted Satoshi growing impatient at his son's childish behavior. 'That Sakura brat probably already broke up with him and is enjoying her time with the Yuuka I provided for her. Is this his only way of venting out his teenage angst I wonder?' he thought.
"It was your fault," Natsume took a deep breath trying to steady himself. "Everything that has happened to her until now, all of it, it was all because of you!"
Satoshi's eyes widened. There was no way Natsume could know about the incident sixteen years ago. He had not allowed Luna to leave the mansion yet, not since he had told her the truth. She couldn't have told him.
"You must be-." The older man was immediately interrupted.
"Don't," said Natsume. "Don't try to lie to me. There is no more talking your way out of this. No more deceit, no more games. Iknow the truth and so does she. That woman you sent, that was low. I would like to be able to say even for you, but I would be lying."
Satoshi glared at him. He wondered whether he was just bluffing to get information from him. There was no way he could have found out the truth, unless…
"I'm ashamed to know that I owe my existence to a man like you," the teen continued, "a treacherous liar, a disgusting excuse for a human being, a murderer."
"Ah, so, you have spoken to Masao. Have I not taught you not to believe every story-?"
"I wanted to believe it wasn't true, I wanted to hear your side of the story but… after seeing that woman at the academy I was certain. The only way you could have proved Masao was lying would have been actually finding Azumi Yuuka. But you didn't. You couldn't. She is dead after all. So you had to send a fake one. The only reason you would do that would be if you had known for sure she was dead to begin with. Otherwise in time the real Yuuka might have come up and ruined everything for you.
"What you didn't know was that we would find out the truth before you could make your move. And who knows, maybe if you hadn't rushed to get it over with and sent that woman I would have listened to you, you were still my father after all, for whatever that was worth anymore," finished Natsume looking at him with a sullen expression.
Satoshi sighed. He really was a Hyuuga indeed. "What do you expect from me then, an apology?"
Natsume gasped a little taken aback by the readiness in his father acknowledgement of the accusations. Suddenly the reality of it all was finally hitting him. Now that he knew, now that it was finally real what was he supposed to do? How did he continue from this point?
"Not to me. To them," he settled for the moment.
"HA! To THEM!? Is this your idea of a joke? What is an apology worth to them, any of them, now?" Satoshi laughed maliciously at his son's juvenile answer. "You truly have much to learn, son."
"Don't call me that."
"What, son? But you are my son. My own flesh and blood," said Satoshi smirking. "No matter what, that is something you can never change, Natsume. Those blood red eyes of yours will forever be proof that you are exactly like me."
"NO! I'm nothing like you!"
"Really now? Are we really that different you and I? Can you truly claim that to be true?"
"I'm not like you!" he repeated clenching his fists.
"You are more like me than you allow yourself to be. You try to deny it, but some day your true colors will show and no matter how much you fight it you will act the same way I would; the same way a true Hyuuga would. It is in your blood."
Natsume faltered. He hadn't considered that as a possibility. What if it was true? He was a Hyuuga in the end. Even if he was fighting against his programming right now who was to say he would always be able to win against it? What would happen if somewhere down the line he finally lost?
"What if, for instance, I were to tell you that right at this moment, while you waste your time arguing with me, Luna is out there about to dispose of your precious little tangerine? What would you be willing to do in order to protect her, in order to protect your happiness?"
Natsume gasped and opened his mouth to shout but before he could manage it Satoshi interrupted with a deep chuckle.
"Of course it is a hypothetical question. If all things possible I would also like to avoid extreme measures."
Natsume clenched his jaw tightly and glared at the older man. Doubt invaded him as he thought about what he would have done, how he would have reacted if Mikan had been put in danger. No matter who it was he would definitely… definitely what?
He thought about how after finding out Masao had been the one who had shot her parents Mikan's decision had not been to take revenge but rather to turn the other cheek. He thought about what he would have done in her shoes. He thought about how he felt before walking through the door ten minutes before.
He had not thought about forgiving his father, not for a second had it crossed his mind. He hadn't come here to talk and work things out. He was here to put an end to everything, one way or another. He had been so enraged when he saw the look on Mikan's face as she walked away from the fake Yuuka that he hadn't been able to think about anything else.
"You see? The only real difference between you and me is that, while we both deceive everyone around us, at least I don't lie to myself," said Satoshi grinning smugly. "If you carry on down this path you will eventually lose that which you treasure above everything else. You have to let her go; in order to protect her from the only person who can truly hurt her. You"
Natsume dropped his gaze to the ground. Truthfully speaking he had never considered that his own selfishness could be hurting Mikan. If they had never met, if he had never fallen in love with her, if he hadn't dragged her into this whole mess then by now she could probably have been happy.
"You understand don't you, Natsume?"
The only thing you and that man share is your last name.
Suddenly Mikan's words echoed in Natsume's mind.
That's right. This kind of thing had happened before. How could he have forgotten? Was it really that deeply implanted in his brain? Had he always been THAT afraid of being like Satoshi that he constantly kept doubting himself to this extent?
A tiny smile crept on Natsume's lips as he imagined Mikan's displeased expression if she found out he was letting Satoshi play him like this again. She would probably slap him across the face and scold him for being a backboneless, doubtful, low-self-esteemed idiot. Then she would beam brightly at him and kindly explain he shouldn't let anyone but himself define who he is. And then he would have to fight with every last bit of his strength not to hug her fearing he might never be able to let go.
He sighed deeply and shook his head. Why in the world was he still hesitating for?
"You're wrong," he began. "The difference between you and me is that I'm not alone."
"Humph, how naïve!"
"I don't care. So maybe I AM a Hyuuga and maybe it IS in my blood; and some day maybe I won't be able to fight it, just like you couldn't. But me? I'm different. Because even if the time comes for me to break under the pressure of my own instincts and fall into despair I know that she will always be there to get me out. Because in the same way she trusts me to keep her afloat I trust her to keep me sane."
"You can't fight it, Natsume! You were born to stand above others not beside them! It is in your nature to step over those who would stand in your way!"
"Well then, I'm just going to have to overcome my evil nature with sheer willpower, am I not?" retorted Natsume grinning defiantly. "Don't worry, I'll show you. I'm going to succeed where you failed."
As he turned to leave the room Satoshi suddenly shot up from his chair and forcefully pulled him back by the arm.
"You are not going anywhere!" he threatened. "Do you honestly believe I will let your childish whims jeopardize everything I have worked my entire life for!? I WILL NOT LET SOME STUPID SELFISH BRAT DESTROY EVERYTHING I HAVE BUILT! If you insist on becoming the pebble in my shoe I will-!"
"Kill me!?" as the words left Natsume's mouth his fist collided against Satoshi's jaw knocking him to the ground. "Go the fuck ahead! I dare you!" glaring down at him with an expression of utter abhorrence he calmed himself and continued speaking. "From this moment on you and I are strangers," he said before heading out the door.
For Satoshi that was the first time in his life to be under the infamous burning glare of a Hyuuga and also for the first time in his life he finally understood why exactly he inflicted such terror on people.
Mikan paced the hall nervously. After school had ended Natsume had suddenly ran off and told her to quickly go back home. She knew where he was going; it didn't take a rocket scientist to understand, which was exactly why she was so worried.
She had argued with him, told him they should go together, but he had refused. He had made her promise she would go straight home, that he could be more at ease that way, knowing she was safe. He had promised he would come back no matter what, that everything would be fine; but that didn't make her any less uneasy.
All of a sudden the front door burst open and revealed a panting Natsume standing at the threshold. Mikan let out a sigh of relief and ran to him and demand he told her everything that had happened.
"I-." he began. "Forgot- . Went to-. Guest house-. Ran all the way here-." Between pants he managed to roughly explain his current state.
"How out of shape are you? It's not even that far and you're already like this! You made me worry for-!"
"I'm so sorry," he said suddenly wrapping his arms around her and catching her in a tight embrace. "Thank you so much," he added nuzzling his forehead on the crook of her neck.
"Are you okay?" she asked concerned putting her arms around him and patting the back of his head gently. "Why are you thanking me for all of a sudden?"
"For being a part of me," he instantly replied.
Mikan's cheeks immediately turned completely red. "Eh? Wha-? What's up with you? You're acting weird!"
"Hmm, am I? I didn't notice."
"You are! Suddenly barging in and jumping on me like that. You're like a cat demanding attention…" she commented still caressing his hair. "Nah! Don't start purring!"
"Hahaha," a soft chuckle escaped Natsume's lips. "It seemed less creepy in my head," he explained pulling away from her slightly and looking into her eyes. He was a bit confused to receive a confused look from her. "What?"
"Did you get new contacts?" she asked.
"What are you talking about?"
At Natsume's puzzlement Mikan's face changed from confusion to utter shock.
"What am I-? Your eyes!" she blurted.
"I told you it's a family thing. Every male from the Hyuuga-."
"NO!" she shouted exasperated as she dragged him down the hall to a mirror. "Look!" she commanded pointing at it.
"And I'm the one acting weird?" he asked approaching the mirror. "I don't really get what you're fussing over I'm-. WHOA! What the-!?" Natsume quickly removed the contact lenses from his eyes and closely inspected himself in the mirror. "They're... brown!"
"I'm kind of freaking out right now."
"Tell me about it! Wait, you can see without the contacts on!?"
"Huh? Of course I can-. Holy crap! My vision was a bit blurry before, I thought it was because I came running and the contacts were out of place. I never thought…"
"So… do you feel any different other than that?"
"I… I don't think so…"
"Let me see," Mikan said putting her hands on his cheeks and inspecting his eyes closely. "I… don't really know what I'm looking for here."
Natsume's expression softened and turned to one of affection. Placing his hands over Mikan's he slowly removed them from his face and held them against his chest.
Mikan blushed as she caught him staring at her. "That's so sly," she pouted.
"What is?" he asked looking fondly at her.
"That!" she replied. "Your expression is so much more… tender now. I just…" her voice trailed off.
"You just?" he inquired inching his face towards her.
"I just… I-."
Before she could finish her sentence his lips found hers and with that kiss all other thoughts completely vanished into nothingness.
Locked up in his study Masao stared hopelessly at the ringing phone. He didn't dare answer for he knew very well who was on the other end.
He knew time was running out. It wouldn't be long now before he had to make a choice. He thought his mind was already made up, but as he gazed at the incessantly ringing phone he couldn't help but waver.
He buried his face in the palms of his hands and sighed miserably.
Would he really be able to change the music to suit his pace or would he continue dancing to Hyuuga Satoshi's rhythm?
A/N: Honestly speaking some time ago I had already written the ending chapters for this story. I was not and still am not proud of those so I decided to scrap them and rewrote the whole thing. I will be uploading that in the span of this week so if you're still following this you can look forward to that.
Thank you for sticking with me until now, I hope you enjoyed reading.
To be continued…