Author's Note: At the end of my last chapter posted, I did a quick poll of my readers as to what they wanted me to update next (in case you didn't read that). This fic won out over Perchance to Dream by a very slim margin, so I'm starting it off first. I'll get back toPerchance to Dream soon enough; don't worry.
Anyways, a short description for those who didn't read it in my aforementioned note: I'd had the inspiration to write an Otome fic detailing the beginnings of Shizuru and Natsuki's relationship for quite a while. But with gunsnroses123's fic in progress, I really didn't want to butt in. However, it seems that's been discontinued, so the way is open for me. I'll try to keep this one mostly canon, following the events of the Drama CDs where appropriate. No worries though if you haven't heard them. (As I was writing this,Swarm012's fic on this subject emerged, but I think this will be different enough that no one should mind.)
I've also decided to take a bit more inspiration from gunsnroses123 (and the preferences of one reviewer), and I'm framing this story with flashbacks from a future which takes place soon after the end of Mai Otome Zwei. This won't be the main story, but there will be a storyline going on there. I'm also going to try to make this able to fit within the same universe as Ascension (my collaboration fic with centauri2002), but I may have to overwrite it if my co-author takes too long at getting back to it. :P
Final note: Anh's name was translated as "Ein" in some subs, though given Annan's Vietnamese theme, "Anh" (a Vietnamese girl's name) is most likely correct. Anyways, enough with the notes, onto the fic!
Rating: T (possibly bordering on M for a certain scene in this chapter and other implications, but that should be as bad as this fic gets)
Chapter 1: Anh-oneesama
Warnings: Anh, alcohol, Anh on alcohol.
Natsuki Kruger, Gakuencho of Garderobe, was missing. Well, not officially, and not against any rules, but in Shizuru's mind, she still counted as missing. She'd arranged with the First Column, Sarah Gallagher, to have her fill in for the rest of the day, and she'd made sure to complete any duties that required her personally the previous day. With everything set up, she'd disappeared. But she was still considered missing for the simple reason that she'd said not a word of what she was doing to Shizuru.
It was completely unlike Natsuki, to say the least – all the more so given how she'd been acting since Shizuru had been cured of her petrification. Shizuru had never before seen the normally-withdrawn Gakuencho be so clingy – save perhaps in the immediate aftermath of lovemaking or in her sleep. Natsuki seemed to be making an effort to be in the same room as Shizuru whenever possible, and whenever they had a moment alone, she was sure to show her affection with a tender hug or kiss.
It was really touching to see how much her absence had affected Natsuki, if a bit heartbreaking to know the pain she must have been going through. Although it had been many painful days for Natsuki, the whole incident had lasted only a moment for Shizuru. One second she was investigating a crater caused by Thron 1 and received a warning from a petrified Miyu, and an attack by a shadowy presence later, she was slumped over in the infirmary, completely exhausted.
Fortunately for her peace of mind, it only took Natsuki five seconds from realizing they were cured before she had Shizuru in her arms. She was still completely clueless as to what had happened, but the jubilation all around her let her know that things were alright, at least. She was put off a bit when Natsuki started openly crying in their embrace, concerned for her girlfriend's image, but no one seemed to mind – especially when Haruka was making a much bigger deal about demanding to know all that had happened while simultaneously trying to pay attention to her own girlfriend's need to feel her presence again. Even Nao and Miss Maria held their tongues at the scene.
Things calmed down eventually, though, and Natsuki was able to take some private time with Shizuru to explain all that had happened. Her change in attitude was left mostly unsaid, but only because she'd decided to show it to Shizuru rather than simply telling her. She didn't really need to speak the words, though, for Shizuru to understand. They'd been with each other for so long they could practically read each other's minds.
Not now, though. Natsuki's departure had taken Shizuru completely by surprise. She'd simply returned from a routine meeting with Queen Mashiro to find that Natsuki had departed. Even though Shizuru regularly filled in for Natsuki under normal circumstances, for some reason Natsuki had asked Sara to fill in instead. It was almost as if Natsuki made that choice specifically so she wouldn't have to inform Shizuru that she was leaving.
As for why she'd left, Sara wasn't given any reason. There wasn't any emergency taking place, or Shizuru would certainly have been informed of it, and no one she'd talked to had had any other ideas. She hadn't been this baffled by Natsuki for years. Then again, that last instance of complete befuddlement had had quite good consequences in the end. Perhaps she'd just have to trust Natsuki to make it worthwhile this time as well.
I owe a lot of who I was back in Garderobe to my Oneesama, Anh Lu. Most of it was good, but I did pick up a few bad traits from her as well. An outsider looking at all the influence she had on me would likely say that overall she was quite a blessing. The problem is, they wouldn't know just what the bad traits I picked up from her nearly cost me. I was truly lucky things turned out as they did. If things had gone just a little differently, I'd be a much worse person today, and I'd never know what I was missing.
When I first entered Garderobe, I was a hopelessly naïve city girl. My family was extraordinarily well-off, which unfortunately left me horribly unprepared for life at Garderobe. I went from having a fleet of maids at my command to training to be one. At least, that was how it seemed my first few weeks there. Instead of noble warriors, I started to see Otome as glorified maids. That view didn't last long, though. It was simply childish spite at being forced into hard labor for the first time in my life.
I wasn't the only one having problems adjusting to the lifestyle. Most of the girls there came from rich families, and so they were facing the same problems that I was. In the minority were the girls who'd won scholarships or grants for their education. Not only were these girls more often lower-class and thus better prepared for the work involved, but the fact that they'd earned their tuition meant that they were already quite extraordinary.
While, outside of Garderobe, we might have looked down on these girls, all class divisions were stripped away within the school. Thanks to the little selection bias in their favor, they jumped to the top of the class. We were suddenly all competing to keep up with them. They were lesser idols during our first weeks at school. Of course, our real idols were the second-year students, the Pearls. They'd already been through all of this, and they knew just what we were going through in adjusting.
The most idolized of the Pearls were the top three, the Trias. But of them, the top-ranking Pearl, Anh Lu, easily overshadowed the other two. Anh was the perfect idol for every student at Garderobe. She was dignified, beautiful, and fierce in battle. Her personality also leant itself well to idolatry. She was perfect at giving all of her fans just a moment of personal attention when she was swarmed, and she somehow made everyone feel like they were special to her.
We soon learned that, before long, the Pearls would each be selecting one or two Corals – us first year students – to be their "heya-gakkari." A heya-gakkari served as the Pearl's personal attendant, and did whatever chores were asked of her. In return, the Pearl would help tutor the heya-gakkari, both in academics and in combat. Everyone competed to gain the attention of the upper Pearls, hoping to get one of the best to help them out.
Now, with a situation like the heya-gakkari system, human nature tends to take over. Since the heya-gakkari was obligated to do whatever her Oneesama asked of her, a few students took advantage of this to fill their baser desires. It was well-known around Garderobe that this went on, but few really minded it. With all of the idolatry of the Pearls that went on, many girls actually hoped that their beloved Oneesama would request such favors from them.
It's not that Garderobe was filled entirely with lesbians, of course. It was simply that being an Otome limited our options. We were surrounded entirely by other girls at the time we were first maturing, and we also knew that we could never have sex with a man until we retired. With all the exploration and discovery that goes on at that age, it would be more surprising if this behavior weren't so common.
It was during my first couple months at Garderobe that I really discovered myself. I joined in with many of my friends in idolizing our "Anh-oneesama." I was practically in love with her. When sexual urges started to crop up within me, I soon realized that I was one of the lucky few who truly desired girls. I started to dream of falling in love with Anh and developing a relationship with her. In my fantasies, we didn't even have to end it after we left Garderobe, as happened with most relationships between students.
With such a desirable dream in mind, I set myself out to earn her attention so I could be her heya-gakkari. I devoted myself entirely to my studies and practice. I shot ahead of all the other Corals, and when the first rankings came out, I was on top. In second place was my roommate, Haruka Armitage, who'd been fully expecting to come out on top herself. From that point on, she declared herself my rival, and she fought with me for every honor at Garderobe – including Anh's attention.
Fortunately for my sake, Haruka's exuberance far outstripped her common sense. Her idea of getting Anh to notice her involved smuggling a load of beer into Garderobe and offering to share it with her and some of Anh's other fan girls – myself not included among them, naturally. Though given that she'd decided to throw this little party in our room, she probably wouldn't have been able to refuse me if I'd asked without losing face.
Nevertheless, I decided to simply attempt to occupy myself with homework while the party went on around me (and quickly spilled out into the hall). I was hoping that I could impress Anh with my studiousness in the face of debauchery. Back then, I'd fallen for her public image and thought of her as someone perfectly prim and proper, who'd just decided to attend this event to keep it from getting out of control. I was wrong.
Haruka's plan went to hell thanks to a couple facets of Anh's personality which she'd carefully hidden behind her façade. It wasn't her fault, really. There was no way any of us could have predicted what would have happened. The first problem was that Anh was (and still is) completely incapable of holding her alcohol. She normally avoids it, but she gives into temptation far too often for her own good – or for the good of anyone around her, for that matter.
This wouldn't have been so bad if it weren't for the other problem with Anh: Uninhibited, she's a complete lech. It isn't uncommon for girls to become more sexual when inebriated, but Anh is something else. She isn't just willing to accept any offers that might come her way; she simply sees what she wants and takes it. She also seems to get the idea in her head that everyone else is going to be just as enthusiastic as her.
There's only one saving grace to Anh's lecherousness: She believes firmly that an Otome must remain a virgin. She extends this to relations between women as well, even though there's no proscription against it like there is when it comes to relations with men. I wasn't about to argue with her on this point, though. If it weren't for this particular belief, Anh would have crossed the line from molester to rapist, and I could well have been one of her victims.
Well, everything came out into the open that night. When the other girls were only just starting to feel the effects of inebriation, Anh lost it. The first sign that something was wrong was when she started to ask Haruka some rather inappropriate questions. The poor girl was quizzed on her sexual preferences first, and when she reluctantly admitted that she was into girls to get Anh to stop pestering her, Anh then just proceeded to ask her if she was involved, or, if not, maybe a bit interested in something.
For a moment there, I simply enjoyed the scene. Haruka was quite amusing when she was flustered like that, and it was also quite refreshing to see her cowering under the predatory Anh. My amusement wasn't to last, though, as Anh's behavior started to get more worrying. She suddenly backed off from Haruka and started to complain about the heat in the room – which was currently quite pleasant. As a logical extension of this, she then proceeded to start stripping off her uniform.
When she was down to her underwear with no relief, she got the idea that it was simply our room which was hot, and she ran out into hall to get some relief. A stunned wave of fangirls followed her out, while those who'd started off in the hall were met with the remarkable sight of a nearly-naked and flushed Anh. It was fortunate for her that all of those girls had dreamed of such a sight for so long that they didn't have a chance to think overmuch on it. They simply stood and swooned, privately imagining that Anh had done this just for their benefit, possibly as a little thanks for the party.
"Aren't you all hot as well?" Ahn then asked. The words sent an alert through my mind. My head flashed with images of Anh going on a rampage through the hallway, forcefully tearing off the clothing of everyone in sight. I ran from my desk to the doorway, my instincts pushing me to try to prevent the imminent disaster. Unfortunately, my sudden appearance just ended up grabbing Anh's attention. "Shizuru-chan! You must be so hot staying in that stuffy room! Please, let me help you out…"
I barely had time to let an expression of worry cross my face before Anh was on me. To this day, I don't know how she managed it, but she was able to get the top of my uniform off in a matter of seconds, even against my resistance. At that point, my conscious mind abandoned me, and I panicked. I fell back into the room as Anh pressed in on me, now working on the lower half of my uniform. It was all I could do to throw the door shut behind us before she pushed me to the floor.
The struggle that ensued wasn't pretty – at least from my perspective; I'm suresome out there would have found it quite the sight. Anyways, Anh was able to get the rest of my uniform off, while somehow I also ended up removing her bra – or perhaps she simply did that herself. Fortunately, panicked knocking on the door and Haruka's yells interrupted us before things could go any further.
A moment of clarity seemed to hit Anh at that moment, and I was able to slip out while she was stunned. I got to the door and opened it a crack, being careful to hide the state of my body. "Anh-oneesama seems to be suffering from heatstroke," I explained to the enraged Haruka and other girls outside. "She really isn't feeling right, so I think it's probably best if you leave her to me for tonight."
I was able to keep my voice steady as I said this – but only barely. The feeling of having my bra unhooked from behind in the middle of my sentence was quite distracting, but I don't believe anyone noticed. I said all of this in the hope of simply preserving Anh's dignity. I knew that Haruka, at least, would have figured out what was really going on. I tried to get across to her in my expression that if she didn't want to get into deep trouble for starting all of this, she'd simply play along and hopefully also disperse the girls outside.
From an expression of fear that appeared in Haruka's face, I knew she got it, so I quickly closed the door. It was just in time, apparently, as my bra was on the floor only a second later. Soon enough, Anh had me pinned to my bed and was eying me hungrily. For a moment there, I succumbed to temptation and allowed myself to peer down at her bared breasts. Embarrassment taking over me, I soon snapped my gaze back up to her face, where I caught her doing the same to me.
To put it lightly, I did not like her expression. She looked ready to consume me. Quite honestly, I was frightened of what she might do to me. I'd never given much thought to doing things like this before. I'd fantasized about Anh, but it was more about the romantic, rather than sexual, side of things. I could feel my dreams shattering and being replaced by a nightmare. I didn't know about her limits then, and so I was fearing for the sake of my virginity. I even started crying softly as my fear grew.
It was at that sight that Anh finally sobered up. I found myself in a tight hug as she tried desperately to console me and ask forgiveness for her actions. Relieved to be safe and content to blame everything on the beer, I obliged her. The two of us shyly put our uniforms back on as she continually thanked me for saving her from embarrassment and again asked for forgiveness for her actions.
Anh explained to me then about what alcohol did to her and reassured me that she would never go all the way, even though she might press the limits at times. She'd gotten away with it in the past because most of her fangirls had been more than happy to oblige her desires. Surrounded mostly by girls she thought would be like this, she'd allowed herself to give into temptation and imbibe in alcohol for a night of relaxation and fun.
She'd assumed I was simply another fangirl who wanted her like that, which was why she'd gone after me as she did. My fear, however, was a splash of cold water to her. Not only was she ashamed of what she'd almost done to me, but she was also ashamed of how she'd looked in front of the other girls. She started to imagine them all reacting like I did to her display. I tried to reassure her that a lot of them had probably simply enjoyed the sight, and that I was simply the exception. It probably wasn't the best way to handle the situation, but it seemed to settle her down a bit.
All in all, I'm pretty proud of the way I handled myself that night. I know I wasn't a very elegant picture cowering in fear from what she might do to me, but it's the fact that I resisted falling for her that I'm proud of. I held strong to my convictions about how inappropriate her behavior was, and I was even able to break through her drunken haze to convince her of this.
Sadly, though, that was the high point for my convictions. If I'd kept working at that level, perhaps I would have been able to affect a more permanent change in Anh's behavior and attitudes. As it was, though, the changes I saw in her were short-lived. She picked me as her heya-gakkari not long after this incident, saying that she respected my strength of character. She told me that she would work with me to strengthen it even further over the next year. What this unfortunately meant was that she pressed my limits at every opportunity to force me to toughen up in my rebuffing of her.
I did get better at hiding my emotions from these experiences, but in the end, I didn't handle things properly with her. Looking back, I think the best thing I could have done was to take a firm stand with her and make it clear that even the slightest advances were inappropriate. Instead, I came to enjoy them. Her lecherousness infected me. Instead of fighting her off, I put up an air of it simply not bothering me. This allowed me to both enjoy her touches and keep my dignity. Before I knew it, Anh had transformed me into a younger version of herself: A perfect lady on the outside, a complete pervert on the inside.
If the younger version of me from when I'd just entered Garderobe had come across that older version, she would have been rightfully repulsed. I'd lost myself in the mask I put up for the world. I convinced myself that acting as an idol like that was what I truly wanted, and that I could be fulfilled with the shallow relationships I formed with my fangirls. I treated them all simply as means to an end, ways to fulfill my own personal desires. When I neared graduation, I dreamed of finding a cute young Coral and making her my own, for whatever I might wish to do with her.
Yes, sadly, at that point, the romantic in me had been deeply buried. I no longer dreamed of my first time being with someone I was deeply in love with. Instead, I wanted it to be a fangirl who was obligated to obey my every perverted command. It's hard just thinking about the person I was back then, and I shudder to imagine who I might have grown into had I not been saved by the very girl I'd once hoped to dominate.
Her name was Natsuki Kruger. I met her my first day as a Pearl, along with all of the other new Corals. I didn't think of her as much beyond one of my many fans at first. She was certainly cute, though, and perhaps the cutest of the bunch. She stood out from most of the others skill-wise, too, with only her roommate, Mai Tokiha, giving her any decent competition.
Natsuki put on a mask of her own back in those days. Like many of us, she'd been raised in a well-off family. She bore a grace well beyond her years, which would serve her well as an Otome, but she was still a child at heart and had trouble applying her grace properly. She wore her particular mask a bit too well, and a lot of her development in her first year involved her roommate breaking it down to help let out her true self.
One thing that came out when Natsuki's true self slipped out was that she'd fallen for me. I thought then that it was just like with my other fangirls, but I really should have known better. Much like myself with Anh the prior year, Natsuki was anything but a typical fan who just wanted me for my mask and my body. She wanted me for me – the core of my personality that I'd buried deep within me. I don't think she really saw anything of that person back then, but she imagined that she did and fell in love with it.
Of course, I realized none of this at the time. Her feelings were just those of another fan to me. All that really mattered was that I found her to be both one of the cutest girls of the younger class and one of the most skilled. And so when she shyly – and so adorably – approached me in the cafeteria one day to ask if she could be my heya-gakkari, I was pleased to accept her. By my own shallow standards, she was quite simply the best.
All that was left was to seal the deal. I brought my hand up to trail my fingers lightly back and forth across Natsuki's chest as I said to myself, as if in thought, "Ara, well Natsuki-chan certainly is quite pretty, and she's quite skilled as an Otome, too. She certainly meets my standards there. There's just one last thing I'll need to make sure she's skilled enough at…"
I saw the nervousness in Natsuki's eyes as I looked down at her, and the faint blush that was appearing in her cheeks. All I could think of was how cute it made her look. It didn't occur to me that she might not want this – I knew full well that all my other fangirls did, and I'd grouped her in with them. I figured she was just nervous about finally getting what she'd longed for for so long.
I dropped my hand down to cup her breast. As it slowly started to squeeze down on her, I leaned my head down to capture her lips in a kiss. She would be the first fangirl I'd ever given this pleasure to. I'd never even allowed Anh to take my first kiss from me. Natsuki was indeed quite lucky, I thought.
"No!" A high-pitched shriek tore through my ears while a hand fiercely struck my cheek. The pain froze me in the moment. I held my cheek, stunned, as my world started to shatter before me.
Author's Note: I have to apologize a bit for the scene between Shizuru and Anh. In Mai Otome Zwei, Anh's behavior is played for laughs, but I tried to play it a bit straighter here, to show the effects it would really have on someone who wasn't interested in playing along. I fear that it might have come out a bit harsh, though. But, well, I just can't play that type of behavior for laughs.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed reading this. I'll probably get to working on the next chapter of Perchance to Dream next, so you can look forward to that.