Author's Note: I know I said I'd be getting to Perchance to Dream next, but inspiration is just pushing me to this fic again. After having been out of writing for a few days, I'm not going to argue with inspiration when it strikes.
Also, I'm sorry about the little formatting problem in the last chapter, with the section break missing before the flashback. I was trying to do a different type of break for it, using a chain of asterisks instead of hyphens, but apparently FF-dot-net doesn't like those. :P And I also for some reason forgot to do my usual double-checking on things like that after uploading… Kannin na.
Edit Note: Made a couple fixes since uploading this. I originally had Saeko's last name as "Kuga," but it's back to "Kruger" now. I was also informed (thanks, Olivia U. L.!) that Rosalie is actually a year younger than Natsuki and Mai. So, seeing as her role wasn't too detailed or important here, I've swapped her out for Carla Bellini, who's the right age. I might have to make Rosalie a Natsuki fangirl instead if/when she shows up...
Chapter 2: Shizuru the Lech
Natsuki let out a sigh as she de-materialized her robe. Her body always seemed to get over-energized and her mind hyperactive when it was on, which was great for battle, but not so much when she was simply using it to fly. As far as she knew, she was the only Otome who experienced this particular effect from wearing a robe, though others mentioned that they had their own changes in mood when materializing.
Shizuru, for instance, said that wearing a robe always made her feel even more graceful and at peace. It was just her luck, really, to get a beneficial mood change from it. Meanwhile, Natsuki had to deal with being constantly on edge. She'd had to face a lot of teasing from Shizuru about this when they first started training together. The girl thought it was trivially easy to maintain her grace while materialized. It wasn't until Natsuki managed to short out her robe during a particularly grueling practice session and had to have it replaced with a modified, more durable version that Shizuru admitted that perhaps it wasn't Natsuki's fault that she had trouble maintaining her grace.
Her Ice Silver Crystal robe had been quite a relief when she'd first received it, as it was actually capable of handling the energy her body seemed to build up when she materialized. It still wasn't perfect, as the energy actually had to go somewhere, and so she found that after she wore it for an extended period, it could still get quite uncomfortable and twitchy. Fortunately, she'd found out that the robe's cannon had a seemingly endless capacity for charging energy, and with some practice she was able to use that to her advantage.
Although this solved the problem of her excess energy and allowed for some incredibly powerful attacks, it still failed to solve the problem of how materializing affected her mood. And then there was also the problem that it seemed that whenever some problem came up in which she could take advantage of her cannon's energy store, events conspired to make it impossible for her to materialize at all. At least she'd been able to get in a couple of good shots at the end of the Wind Uprising, and she doubted anyone else would have been able to pull off the destroying the Harmonium. She wasn't completely useless – as she had to repeatedly remind Shizuru whenever the woman got it in her mind to tease her about it.
Not that she really minded that type of teasing. Truth be told, she actually appreciated it – a fact that Shizuru had managed to drag out of her early in their relationship and had held over her head ever since. It was the other type of teasing which Natsuki really minded. Shizuru had a very annoying habit of flirting with seemingly every young girl who crossed her path. When Natsuki was around, she always made sure to give a sly glance to make sure that Natsuki was watching her. It was infuriating, to say the least.
Shizuru's intentions were quite clear, though – or at least, they'd seemed to be, up until today. Natsuki had always been quite shy about their relationship. She just wasn't good at showing these things in public, putting herself out like that. Shizuru, on the other hand, had made it quite clear that she wanted everyone to know about the two of them. She claimed that it was because she wanted it to be known that she was officially Natsuki's, though Natsuki privately suspected that her girlfriend looked at things the other way around.
And so Shizuru went out flirting with other girls in front of Natsuki, trying to taunt her girlfriend into exploding and making their relationship public. It was torture, really, seeing Shizuru act like that with others. She'd really wanted to let it all out, but she'd just never had the guts. It was ironic, really. As brave as she could be in battle, she was a complete coward when it came to relationships.
Things had changed, though, when she had to face truly losing Shizuru. She'd tried desperately not to let on just how much she was hurting while Shizuru was petrified. It was all she could do to focus on the task at hand and not worry about whether Shizuru would ever recover. She'd pulled it off, but just barely. But then, when she'd learned that Shizuru had recovered, everything had spilled out. She didn't care anymore if people saw how much she cared. Feeling Shizuru's reassuring presence once again was all that mattered to her.
After that, everything was out in the open. There weren't really that many people in the room who saw her, but it was enough. Word soon got out that she and Shizuru were a couple, much faster than Natsuki would have expected. She suspected, though, that Nao was behind that speed. Nao had actually tricked Natsuki into admitting to her relationship a couple years previously, but she'd fortunately kept silent about it thanks to some strong threats. Though now that others knew about it as well, Nao likely figured she was in the clear and went out of her way to spread the word.
Though Natsuki would have eagerly followed through with her threats to have Nao expelled or stripped of her position – and maybe her pants, too, to get some revenge for the incident in Aries – prior to this point, she just didn't have the heart for it anymore. Word had gotten out about her and Shizuru, and the world hadn't ended. It had changed, certainly, but it kept on spinning. Fan shops had started selling new action figures and posters which featured her and Shizuru together, and she was now free to show Shizuru a little extra affection in public, but nothing much else had really changed. Still, Nao had disobeyed her demands, so she'd have to at least see about putting some plans into action to take her revenge for the "incident."
But Nao wasn't the one who was really frustrating her right now; it was Shizuru. Her behavior this morning had been enough to cause Natsuki to snap and run off without telling her. Well, she had been planning on making this trip today anyways, but she'd originally intended to at least let Shizuru know she was leaving. She was still going to keep her intentions a secret though, as she wanted to make sure the end result was a surprise for Shizuru.
But then she'd been thrown off-guard when Shizuru was leaving to her meeting with Queen Mashiro. Arika had come to escort her, and Shizuru had done her thing again with the girl. She brazenly flirted with her in front of Natsuki, and even gave her a kiss on the forehead. Natsuki had started fuming at the sight. Arika seemed to pick up that something was wrong, but Shizuru remained cheerfully oblivious, simply delighting that she'd provoked a reaction from Natsuki.
Natsuki had gotten used to Shizuru's flirtations in the past, because she knew that Shizuru was just doing it to try to provoke a reaction from her and make her take their relationship public. At least, that's what she'd thought. But even now, when their relationship was out in the open, Shizuru was still doing it… It wasn't just teasing anymore. It was bordering on cheating, and Natsuki had no intention of putting up with it any longer.
She'd fretted quite a bit about what to do with Shizuru as she'd flown out. Heading off without leaving a message for her was a start, but it was hardly enough. With some time to think, though, her anger had abated somewhat. Shizuru was probably just flirting out of habit now. She still deserved a little punishment for doing so thoughtlessly, but simply worrying her for a day should accomplish that. Though, to get the message through to Shizuru that she'd have to stop her behavior, some more extreme measures might be necessary.
She certainly wasn't going to think about calling off her plans, though. She'd already put too much effort into this already, and it was much bigger than one small fight between her and her girlfriend. Already, things had involved pushing a couple bills through to Mashiro's desk, and it was only a matter of time before the news of them broke. She couldn't turn back now, and she certainly didn't want to in any case.
That being said, there was still one task left before her. She'd been able to keep one person happily oblivious about her relationship with Shizuru, out of fear of what her reaction might be, but she couldn't wait a day longer. She was sure to find out on her own, soon enough. Natsuki could at least head off the news and tell her herself. Taking a deep breath to steel herself, Natsuki raised her hand and knocked on the door of the only person on Earl other than Shizuru capable of intimidating her: the Countess Saeko Kruger.
It's amazing, when I look back on it, just how much happened in my first year at Garderobe. I developed my first crush (realizing I was a lesbian in the process), got molested, and had my heart broken. Then I became a bargaining chip of sorts in a power contest between Pearls, fell in love, and eventually even made love for my first time. And all that's just what went on with Shizuru. I could add in everything that happened between Mai and me, but it doesn't really seem as important, to be honest. Shizuru's the one who matters most to me. She's the love of my life, and so all of my memories have sorted themselves out to revolve around her.
I was smitten with Shizuru from the first time I saw her. At least, that's how I viewed things at the time. I didn't really know what love was back then, and so I thought I was in it when it was really just a blind crush mixed with idolization. My feelings for Shizuru weren't based on who she really was, but just the mask she put up for the world. Actually, not even that. It was the image of her I superimposed over her mask that I fell for. I couldn't even see her façade correctly, so blind was I.
I wasn't the only one to fall for her, though. Within moments of being exposed to her charm as she greeted the new class, it seemed that roughly two thirds of them had developed a crush on her. It wasn't that bad the whole year, though. Soon enough, word got around about Shizuru's proclivities, and her number of fans declined to a somewhat more reasonable number.
The thing with Shizuru was, she treated her fans a bit too intimately. She was fond of giving a particularly enthusiastic fan a kiss on the forehead just for the sake of making her overload with joy and pass out. Although that action crossed the line of appropriate conduct according to Garderobe's rules on sexual harassment, Shizuru didn't even stop there. She went a step further to take her own pleasure from her fans, which would have easily gotten her in trouble for molestation if it weren't for the fact that they were all so willing to have her feel them up. Of course, there were a ton of girls who wouldn't have appreciated such shows of affection, but the way Shizuru played things helped to sort them all out almost perfectly – the "almost" referring to me.
Near the start of the year, Shizuru was circumspect with how she treated all of her fans. She was affectionate and had this way of showing each of us just a little personal attention to make us think we were all important to her, but she didn't cross the line right away. She waited a bit, until she had a good view on a couple girls who she knew would be receptive to her advances, and then she struck. Her guesses were right, of course, and so she got away with it. As a few other girls made it clear they wouldn't mind, she shared the love with them as well.
Eventually, word got around most of school about Shizuru's actions. No one really thought any less of her for it, as it was always just with girls who were receptive. She simply had a reputation as both an idol and a player. Eventually, her fans segregated out into a couple camps. The close fans were the ones who didn't mind her touch or actively sought it out. There were also her more general fans, who were girls who simply idolized her, but didn't have a more physical attraction to her. Of course, there were also a fair number of girls who simply weren't her fans, such as my roommate, Mai Tokiha.
And then there was me. I didn't really fit into either group of fans. The real problem with my case was that I was completely oblivious to all the rumors running around school. I was always really awkward socially, and so I found myself completely outside the loop at Garderobe. The only person I ever really talked to was Mai, and that was only because it was unavoidable and she kept working at getting me to open up. Although Mai was a bit more in the loop than I was, she didn't pay attention to what was said about Shizuru, and so I remained oblivious to her tendencies.
Even if I'd known about what Shizuru liked to do, I probably wouldn't have fit in well with either group of fans. As I mentioned, I had a pretty big crush on her, but it wasn't anything physical. My parents had brought me up quite strictly, and I had rather conservative views about how a relationship should progress. It was already stretching things enough to be considering a relationship with a girl. Beyond that, I thought of things developing very slowly between us, with nothing physical happening for a long time.
Yes, I was oblivious. Hopelessly oblivious. I spent my fair share of time hanging around on the outskirts of Shizuru's close fans, and I still managed to remain oblivious to what she liked to do to the ones who got close to her. I saw it happening a couple of times, but I always rationalized it away in my mind. To me, she was a perfect goddess, and she'd never do anything like that outside of a deep, committed relationship. With no one to break me out of my delusion, it just grew, and I fell deeper into my illusion of love.
I wanted Shizuru for my own, but I was clueless as to how to get her. I dreamed of becoming her heya-gakkari and using that as a stepping stone to build up our relationship, but I didn't think I had much chance at it. It was Shizuru's choice, after all, and all I could do was to try to stand out to her. I fought my way up to the position of second Coral, behind only Mai – who wasn't competing for Shizuru's attention – so at least I had that going for me. However, I was never one of the fans closest to Shizuru, as I was just too shy to push my way in towards her, and so I didn't think she ever really noticed me.
Fortunately, I was wrong on that count. I found out that Shizuru at least knew who I was and finally got a chance to interact directly with her one night, when the school was abuzz with word of an intruder on Garderobe's grounds. All the Pearls were called out to help track the intruder down, but even that wasn't deemed enough, and so Mai and I, the top two Corals, were also enlisted to help.
We didn't find the intruder, but we did stumble upon a cat that had wandered into the grounds. For some reason, this cat reminded Mai of me. On the outside, I tried to present a composed, ladylike appearance, but I was still a girl underneath. To prove this, she had the bright idea to pull up my skirt, and I couldn't help but scream in shock as I jerked away from her.
Mai chuckled in response to this, which only deepened my embarrassment. I glared at her through the blush that had formed on my face, but she ignored this and said, "I think you and I are going to become good friends, Natsuki-san."
I grunted in indignation, but before I could reply, a melodic voice came from behind me. "Ara ara, this seems like an interesting conversation…"
I turned around in shock, knowing who was standing there. It was my idol and my secret love: Shizuru Viola. I nearly swooned just from her proximity to me and the fact that she was looking me directly in the eyes. "Sh-sh-sh-shizuru-oneesama…" I managed to stutter out.
"Ah! Shizuru-oneesama, hello," Mai said behind me. Not being cursed with idolatry for the girl, Mai was much more able to keep her composure than I was. I was too engrossed in Shizuru's presence to care, though.
"Ara, you're Coral Number One, Mai Tokiha," Shizuru said with a nod to Mai. She then turned to me and said, "And Coral Number Two, Natsuki Kruger." She gave me a quick wink with this that I knew Mai didn't get. Did she recognize me as one of her fans? And she remembered my name! She knew who I was. I wasn't just another face in the crowd to Shizuru.
I was so overwhelmed with glee that Shizuru knew who I was that I didn't notice that she'd brought a young girl along with her until Mai asked, "And so who's this?" Looking down, I caught sight of a young girl with dark green hair clinging to Shizuru's leg. I silently envied her position.
"This is our intruder, Tomoe-chan," Shizuru explained. "She tells me that she's a fan of mine, and snuck in just to get a glimpse of me."
"Aha," Mai said. She bent down to her knees to talk to Tomoe. "You must be quite pleased then to actually get to meet Shizuru-oneesama, and to have her escort you around like this."
A big grin split across Tomoe's face. "Yup!" she said.
Trying to suppress my jealousy over Tomoe's luck, I turned to Shizuru and said, "So what are you going to do with her?"
"Well, I don't think there was any harm really done," Shizuru said. I could feel my heart pound in my chest as she talked directly to me. Sadly, she then turned to Tomoe and kneeled down. "I'll tell you what, Tomoe-chan: I'll escort you out of Garderobe, and then if you want to see me again, you can work really hard to become an Otome. I'm sure we'll meet again someday if you do that."
A blush appeared on Tomoe's cheeks, and she nodded happily. Sensing her moment, Shizuru went to do her thing. She leaned forward and planted a kiss on Tomoe's forehead, causing the girl to faint in an instant, though she had the fortune of being caught in Shizuru's arms. I looked on this sight with stunned jealousy. I wanted to be the recipient of Shizuru's kiss, not some little stalker!
To my chagrin, Shizuru noticed my jealousy – not that I was doing much to hide it. She turned to me and a sparkle appeared in her eye as she stood back up. "Ara, I wonder if Natsuki would like a kiss, too?"
My head turned into a grapefruit at that suggestion. My mind ran wild with thoughts of my beloved Shizuru kissing me, but I also worried about what she must have thought about me, staring at her so openly. But, to my bad luck, my embarrassment kept me from being able to say that I would indeed like a kiss from her, and I missed my chance as Shizuru walked away with a last farewell to Mai and me.
I let out a sigh as Shizuru left, finally able to breathe again. I barely was able to take a single breath, though, before Mai took it away from me again when she said, "You're one of Shizuru-oneesama's fans, aren't you, Natsuki-san?"
"Uh?" I choked out as I spun to face Mai. Gulping down my embarrassment and nervously twirling my hair around a finger, I said, "How did… how did you…?"
"Oh come on!" Mai said, rolling her eyes. "It's so obvious. You practically have little hearts in your eyes when you look at her, and it was so obvious you wished you were in Tomoe-chan's place."
I really didn't know what I could say to that. There was no point in denying it, and yet I couldn't bring myself to admit it out loud. So I decided simply to give a grunt of acknowledgement as I turned to walk back towards our room.
Mai was silent for a bit, but she wasn't going to let the subject drop. "Natsuki-san… you were telling me about the heya-gakkari system earlier, and I was thinking… why don't you become Shizuru-oneesama's?"
I wish. I sighed at this. "It's not up to me, Mai-san. Shizuru-oneesama has to choose on her own, and there's just too much competition for her…"
"Hmm…" Mai thought about this for a few minutes. By the time we reached our room, she seemed to have come to a solution. "Well then, we'll just have to make sure you stand out to her. Let me help you, Natsuki-san, and I guarantee you that you'll be Shizuru-oneesama's heya-gakkari before you know it."
I thought about this for a bit. I really doubted that Mai could help, but the prospect was just too tempting. "Well… I guess so…" I relented. I opened up the door to our room and walked in, allowing myself to drop to my bed as exhaustion finally caught up with me. "But why would you try to help me like this, Mai-san? What's in it for you?"
Mai came in behind me and took a seat on her bed, across from me. She looked at me as if I was an idiot – which, looking back, I was, though not for the reasons she thought. "I told you, Natsuki-san," she said. "We're going to be good friends, and this is what friends do for each other."
"Oh," I said. I'd never really had a friend before, being quite isolated in my youth, so this was new to me. "Well, thanks then… Mai." I looked at her nervously, hoping she wouldn't be put off by my addressing her without an honorific. That was what friends did with each other, wasn't it?
I needn't have worried. Mai simply smiled at me and said, "You're welcome, Natsuki."
I'll give Mai this: Her plan was inspired. Unfortunately, it relied on me being able to build up my courage to face Shizuru. I begged with her to come up with something to get around it, but she insisted that there was just no other way. I eventually relented, though, as she had a point. I was never going to get anywhere with Shizuru if I was too afraid to talk to her.
The key part of Mai's plan was getting Shizuru relatively alone. She was normally so swarmed with fans whenever she was in public that I wouldn't be able to push through to her. Even if I could, if I brought this issue up while in the middle of a crowd of her other fans, I'd certainly be surrounded by a chorus of "No, pick me!" and lost in the shuffle. I'd have to get her alone for her to give me any particular thought. It still wasn't much of a guarantee, but she just might take me up on it if I give her the opportunity.
Now, the problem, of course, was how to separate a mob of Shizuru fangirls from Shizuru. Mai revealed to me that back in her native country, Zipang, there was a habit among fangirls of creating what were called "fanbooks," roughly translated. They were essentially amateur-made illustrated novels, focusing on whatever the author's obsession was. Shizuru, being quite the idol, was bound to be the focus of many of these, though she'd only risen to that status recently, and so not many were made yet. A few simpler pieces of idolization of her had been made though, and I featured one poster of her from such pursuits above my bed.
However, the previous year at Garderobe, Shizuru was the heya-gakkari to Anh Lu, who was quite the idol herself. Quite a number of fanbooks had arisen starring Anh, and a few of them also featured Shizuru. One in particular was quite explicit, to say the least. It was far too much for me, to be honest. It made me embarrassed just thinking about the existence of such a book defiling my goddess. When Mai was able to get a copy of it, I wasn't even able to glance at the cover without breaking out into a blush.
Shizuru's other fangirls, however, weren't quite so limited. I may have been oblivious to how Shizuru actually treated them, but I did notice those girls talking about wanting such things from Shizuru. As such, finding a book like this would be irresistible to them. If they were told they had a limited chance to access it, it would even be enough to draw them away from Shizuru.
When the day came for us to put our plan into action – that is, when the urgency of having to ask Shizuru before she decided overwhelmed my nervousness and I told Mai I was ready – Mai covertly brought the book into the cafeteria during our lunch break. Shizuru, as expected, was surrounded by a swarm of her fans. I hung back while Mai went to work.
I saw her approach one of Shizuru's more respected fans: Carla Bellini, the fourth Coral. She whispered something to the girl. I couldn't hear what was said, but it drew Carla's attention away from Shizuru. Once she was pulled away, Mai slipped her a quick peak of the book. I could see Carla's eyes grow huge in their sockets, and a blush formed on my face at the thought of what she was looking at.
Carla's attention snapped back to Mai and she spoke up. Her voice wasn't quite as soft as Mai's, and so I could make out some of her words. It sounded basically like she was demanding Mai tell her what she needed to do to get her hands on that book. Mai whispered back to her, too low for me to hear what she was saying, but I knew basically what it would be from our discussions of the plan. The deal she would give was that Carla could peek at it for the lunch hour as long as she was fair and shared it with the rest of Shizuru's fans who wanted to see. She'd also have to be careful to make sure no one else – especially Shizuru – found out about it. In return, she'd just owe Mai a favor sometime in the future.
Of course, Carla accepted the deal eagerly, judging by her ferocious nod. Mai slipped the book out to give it to her, while Carla went to slip the word to the rest of Shizuru's fans. Soon, the news had reached all of them, and they flowed out from around Shizuru. They vacated the lunchroom – possibly off to the room of one of them – leaving Shizuru sitting stunned by herself.
Shizuru looked around in surprise as she suddenly found herself bereft of fans. She even got up from her chair to better look around and see where they had all gone. The confused look on her face called out to my heart. It was my fault that this was happening. I knew it wasn't really bad, but even hurting her this little bit was hard on me. That impetus was all I needed to get moving towards her. I didn't have to think about building up my courage at all for it.
Shizuru caught sight of me as I walked up to her, and relief washed over her face. It was probably just that she was happy she had some fan there, but I allowed myself to believe that she was specifically happy to see me. She gave me a stunning smile which nearly caused me to faint, and she said, "Ara, Natsuki-chan certainly is faithful to be able to resist whatever's pulling everyone else away from me."
A blush rose to my cheeks as Shizuru said this. I gave her a quick nod of agreement and tried to steel myself for what I had to say. I'd rehearsed the words so many times; I just needed to spit them out now. I could see Mai moving in behind me out of the corner of my eye, prepared to back me up and offer her support.
Squeezing my eyes shut so I could pretend I was doing this like in practice, without Shizuru around, I forced out, "Shi-shizuru-oneesama… I was hoping that, if you hadn't selected a heya-gakkari yet… you could please consider me. I'm a really hard worker, and already second in the class, so I can make you proud and handle all of your needs. I really, really respect you, Shizuru-oneesama, and I just want to be closer to you."
I pried my eyes open to look at Shizuru's face. I was scared as hell that she would reject me, saying that she had already chosen another girl or that she was still looking around, but I didn't see any sign of that in her face. She was a little surprised, but she seemed to be truly considering this. The thought that I had a chance and that this might work out sent a wave of euphoria through my body. My face broke out into a smile, and I looked up at her with my most hopeful eyes.
A light tickling on my chest caught my attention. I looked down to see that Shizuru had started to trail her fingers back and forth across it. As she did this, she said to herself thoughtfully, "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…"
My thoughts ran wild as Shizuru said this. Half of my mind was screaming in joy that she thought I was pretty, while the other half was worried that this mattered so much to her. I wanted to get to know the real person inside her, not just her mask. Were my looks all she cared about?
Shizuru's next actions caused all of my mind to shift over to worrying. The hand that had been trailing across my chest dropped down to cup my right breast, and it gradually tightened its grip. Panic shot through my body at this. I couldn't believe this was happening. It had to be a mistake. Why would my Oneesama do something so… so crude? I looked up into her face to see it coming down towards mine emotionlessly. It was lined up to bring her lips straight towards my own.
At that moment, I snapped. Nothing about this was right. A loving relationship shouldn't be starting out this way… She shouldn't be molesting me in public… or anywhere, for that matter. I wasn't even prepared for my first kiss. I couldn't give it up in this manner, even if it was for my idol… no, my former idol.
"No!" I swung my hand around with all the force I could muster. It met Shizuru's cheek with a crack that resounded throughout the cafeteria and caused all eyes to focus on us. I couldn't have cared less, though. I backed off from Shizuru and brought my hand up to protect my abused breast. On the verge of tears, I managed to get out, "W-what are you doing, Oneesama?"
Shizuru took a moment to reply as she held her cheek. I could see tears forming in her eyes, and my mind warred over whether I was proud or ashamed to have caused them. Eventually, Shizuru removed her hand from her cheek, showing a terrible red welt which had already formed.
"Ara? Did you not want this?" Shizuru said. Her voice was soft, as if in disbelief that this all could be happening. "It seemed to me that, asking to become my heya-gakkari, you also wanted this... My fangirls would all be glad to be in your position..." It sounded like she was trying to piece this all together in her mind, to rationalize her own actions and explain mine.
But she was dead wrong. That wasn't what I wanted from her. I didn't know about her other fangirls, but it wasn't what I wanted. "No," I said, still barely able to hold my voice steady. "It's different. This is…"
Shizuru shook her head, dazed. She could barely focus her eyes on me as she further tried to justify her actions. "But, what's different? You all want me, what else is there? Their beautiful and kind Oneesama… So, I'm just answering that wish for you…"
What else? There's love, Shizuru-oneesama. Do you not even know what that is? This thought was enough to push me over the edge. I'd dreamed about her for so long, and yet she didn't even know what love was. My heart broke at that very moment. Tears poured from my eyes. "Shizuru… Oneesama…" The words were my farewell to my dream. The Oneesama I thought I knew had died.
"Wh-why are you crying…?" Shizuru asked, incredulous. She still didn't get it. "I was the one who was slapped, wasn't I?"
Why couldn't she understand? How could she be so dense as to how I felt to still not realize it? I tried to force out an explanation, but the right words just weren't coming. "But… such…" After that, all I could get out was a sob of frustration.
Shizuru started to speak, but I couldn't stand to hear anymore. I turned and fled from the cafeteria so I could cry in peace back in my room. I could hear Mai calling out to me, and then cursing at Shizuru as I was on my way out, but I didn't stop for her. I needed escape. I couldn't let myself break down in front of everyone else any longer. Even as I ran, though, I wondered what the point was. I didn't have anything left to live for, with my Oneesama lost for me. What was the point if everyone saw me breaking down or not?
I passed a few of Shizuru's fans on my way to my room, and I roughly shoved them out of my way. If they wanted those things from Shizuru just as she said, then they were as guilty as her. They seemed to notice that I was hurt, at least, and so they didn't press the issue. They were better than I gave them credit for, I guess.
Finally, I made it to my room. The first thing I did as I entered was to rip the poster of Shizuru off of my wall and tear it up in a rage. I shredded it as best as I could until I finally lost heart in the endeavor and collapsed to the floor in tears. That was how Mai found me when she entered the room. She had the sense not to say anything then. She simply sat down behind me and held me in a hug as I cried my heart out.
Author's Notes: Yes, I'm working off of the drama CDs here, so if something seems familiar, that's why. I made a couple tweaks to the dialog here and there, but nothing outside the leeway a translation gives us.
I'm also quite sorry this took some time to get out. I've been busy with a few things, and generally feeling crappy for other periods. I've also been helping Shezaei Neko out a bit with a couple of her new fics. One of which is up now, while the other one should be pretty soon.
Finally, I've put up a poll in my profile for which fic you want me to update next. Please go there to let me know your opinion.