A/N: Well this is it. IM has finally come to a close. There might be more from this story in the form of a sequel, but until then I shall be working on LFIYAU.

Hope everyone enjoys the incredible disjointedness of this chapter. And I do apologize for the oddity of this fanfiction.

Disclaimer: I don't own any character from Mai Hime but the plot is all mine.


IM by kara papas

Chapter 29 – Finally

"She forgives you..." That was all the raven hair girl could think about as her eyes fluttered shut with one arm draped around her waist in a bed that was not hers. She had sat on it before, but never once had her body laid to rest there. The feeling settling within her could only been matched by the relaxing feeling of how wonderful this quilt top bed plus bedding. A smile crept upon her face as she shifted in the bed to face the owner of the arm whose eyes were shut, but opened to Natsuki. Mai Tokiha could help, but lean forward and gently kiss Natsuki on the forehead. Natsuki shoved Mai for her loving gesture. All of this was surreal. And it felt too good to be true, but neither of them wanted to jinx any of it. There was the last day of finals and the two had plans. Mai wanted to see how Midori did with Dean Fumi, and make sure Nao was expelled from her position as a graduate student and a graduate teaching assistant.

Natsuki's plans were simple. She was going to take her last final and worry about her final semester when it would hit. She wanted to see Shizuru. Natsuki couldn't stand how badly she wanted to see her. There was an ache in her that just called out, but the fear of Shizuru Fujino's red eyes kept her at a distance. That Kyoto borne women raw unbridled passion terrified Natsuki to no end. Yet, she belonged to that turbulent horizon like a plot to a disjointed story. Natsuki had to place her life on track and in order to do that correctly in her mind was to attain the unattainable; Shizuru Fujino.

As the day spanned out the young raven haired girl started to wonder if she could ever go back to what she truly had. Her knowledge of how to care for people was very limited and she only had Mai as an example to go off of for most of her life. So far Natsuki thought she was doing pretty good. Natsuki checked on through her cellphone to see if her final had been exempt due to the interesting circumstances of that course; her psychology course taught by Yuuki Nao. Natsuki shut her eyes hoping for the best possible result.

Meanwhile Shizuru spent her time walking around her apartment and setting up cardboard boxes. The timing could not have happened at any better time. The chestnut haired brunette stared at her phone and sent a text to Mai.

[Dear Mai-san, I have come into a very strange predicament and must be leaving Fuuka soon. I was wondering if you could stop by my apartment before the night hits.]

Shizuru stared at her phone one more time and scrolled to Natsuki's number. She so badly wanted to call, but what could it do. She had her message to Natsuki passed on. Mai would tell the ice princess and Shizuru would be happy enough to even know that Natsuki scoffed at her message. The disarray of her apartment was something she didn't have to worry about. She just wanted to make sure that when /they/ came that all would be packed in the correct boxes. Her orderly ways were starting to show which she knew was more than suitable for her return to Kyoto. The dance of the Fujino clan called out to her; a faith she had hoped to avoid at all costs. The traditions of the family never would stand for her homosexual ways, but the conversation she had pretty much summed it all up.

-Phone Conversation-

"Fujino-sama. You're grandfather has requested that I called you." A male voice said very formally.

"Buta, is it my Natsume-Ojīsan or my father's wish?" Shizuru said with a very stern tone. She heard the sounds of women speaking softly in the back ground and the eventual capture of the phone.

"Izuru-chan...it's you're mother." The woman's voice follow so strangely in Japanese. After almost a decade Shizuru's mother's American accent would not go away. "Listen, you need to take over the Kyoto branch because you're father and I want to go to America and live at my family's estate." She said in English without even bothering to mention to Shizuru. The chestnut haired woman's eyebrows were scrunched together as if she had a headache.

"Oka-san...you know I speak English and understand it well, but I'd appreciate it if you tell me ahead of time. As for taking over the Kyoto branch...I have a life I'd like to live here." Shizuru sighed thinking of Natsuki. I'm so glad she never asked me about my family.

"Listen Izuru...you're the favorite out of your father's children because he doesn't consider you a bastard since your mother died at child birth. I still don't understand, but it's pointless. He wants you to run the Kyoto branch no questions. We have part of the company heading to your apartment now. You're grandfather gave us the address." Shizuru's mother said in a very annoyed tone.

"Fine, then you leave me no choice. I'm in love." Shizuru said feeling her heart rate pick up.

"Oh really? How wonder! You can bring him to Kyoto as well." Her mother chirped. "It's about time. I worried that you'd bury yourself in your studies and start experimenting in college. I remember that awful red haired girl you hung out with when you started college. I swear she was in love with you the way she looked at you."

"Oka-san...I'm in love with a girl...and she's.." Shizuru started defending her lifestyle.

"Oh...well...you'll just have to leave that part of you're life there. I'm sure we can rid you of this disgusting desires. If I have to I'll send you to one of those Jesus camps in the South in the US to free you if you're still...you know." Shizuru's eyes were wide with horror. Talking with her mother was never enjoyable.

"Oka-san! This isn't a thing you can decide for me. I love this girl and regardless of the company needing to be run or not! I will have her in my life!" Shizuru shouted and a deep male voice responded making her red eyes clench shut.

"Very well, my darling Hime-sama." Murokur Fujino said. "You do need to come tonight though. There is no other way around it. If I have to I'll find this person and pack her with your belongings as well. Now Hime-sama I've paid off all your debt and taken care of much more. Are you done playing around with common people?"

"Let me remind you father that Fei-ba-chan raised me after you married Ginna." Shizuru said with ice in her voice only getting a sigh. "You remember Fei, right? I was with her until I was a junior in high school..."

"Enough!" Shizuru could hear her father's hand near the receiver. "I loved your mother. You having my name proves that. I was going to marry her which is why I supported her mother against my father's wishes. Stop arguing for the sake of arguing Hime-chan."

"Gomen...will I see you when I arrive in Kyoto?" Shizuru asked in hushed tone.

"I'm sorry my dear. I'll be on a plane to America."

-End Conversation-

Natsuki quickly rushed back to her dorm leaving no time to spare as she ran up the stairs to the second floor. As she rounded the corner the hallway just had the busy chaos to it of people getting ready to head back home. Trash bags lay everywhere and families were strewn from wall to wall with awkward movements thanks to strange furniture constraints. Natsuki was two door down from her dorm when the people in the dorm right in her path walked out with a chest of draws that decided to break. The keeling sound of the wood giving was warning enough for Natsuki as she stop dead in her path.

"Hey...Hey...you should put that..." Natsuki tried to warn them as she watched the wood split. "down..." As the last warning left her mouth the chest of draws broke and her path to her room was obstructed temporarily.

Shizuru isn't going anywhere. Time to help the idiots.

Natsuki quickly started to help pick the piece of the broke chest up. The mood that hit her was almost pure happiness. It occurred to her in that instance that she was about a semester away from finishing college and she was in love with a beautiful woman. A woman who forgave her of her stupidity and Natsuki knew that that in itself was more than reason enough to do whatever had to in order to stay with Shizuru. Anything.

Else where Mai Tokiha stood in the boxed remains of Shizuru Fujino flat. The Kyoto borne woman walked from her bedroom and handed Mai a letter addressed to Natsuki. Mai grabbed it and glared back at Shizuru. Shizuru face remained expressionless as she stared back. Each woman didn't not give in their stances, but Shizuru mind had given. Ah, yes Tokiha-chan, I do deserve that glare. Everything seemed so perfect. So perfectly placed. I would only wish that my darling beauty would come bursting through the front door. I know the reality of things. Life isn't fair, but at least I have given her a choice.

Shizuru stepped towards Mai making her back up. Her cold crimson eyes bore into Mai's eyes.

"I'll make sure she gets its." Mai said coldly. "Luckily for you I'll have to deal with another wave of depression." The orange haired woman clutched the letter tightly as she turned to leave not giving Shizuru anytime to say anything. Mai walk was firm all the to her car and a firm walk all the way out. She had canceled her date with Midori that night just so she could tend to Natsuki.

As she entered the chaotic whoosh of move out for those who had solid homes to return to she stood at the door to her and Natsuki's dorm. Her face was heavy with worry and still very angered by Shizuru's sudden departure. As Mai's hand went for the door a hand landed on her shoulder.

"It's open...let's just go inside. I swear I never want to help people move again." Natsuki's voice huffed.

"Okay..." Mai said as moved the handle and walked in followed by Natsuki who look and smelled the part of hard labor. Mai smirked and quickly remembered why she was at the dorm so early. "Hey...so ..."

Natsuki quickly cut her off not realizing Mai was trying to tell her something.

"Yeah, so I thought about my plans and I'd figure I'd see Shizuru tomorrow. I think she and I still need some time apart. Not seeing other people of course, but we'd see each other now and then. BUT! So this girl I was helping kept staring at me as I helped reorganize her stuff in her car so she'd have room for the rest and still see. She gave me her number and said I'm hot." Natsuki huffed as she poured herself a glass of water. Mai stared hard at Natsuki thinking how she seemed a tad different. After so many years together Mai knew Natsuki was trying to hold herself back. A very dangerous combination of emotions were about to meet.

"Sounds exciting..." Mai voice had a dry tone to it and Natsuki's eyes went to the envelope in her friend's hands. "Stop staring at the letter...take a shower and I'll give it to you when we get done eating dinner."

Natsuki laughed a bit. How bad could a letter be? The very premise of a letter was to passed information along and that is what Natsuki thought was; just a bit of information. The letter was just a little more than information. It was a cluster of words that would be a catalyst to a surge of hormones that would spin out of control into the manifestation of overwhelming emotions. However she would not know that until the letter fell into her hands.

The raven haired young woman walked into her steam filled shower letting a sigh out as the heat of the water beat into her sore body. Her sight was downcast as she placed her hands against the wall of her small shower. The shower itself was a standing shower which Natsuki despised with all her being, but hopeful thoughts rushed into her mind about the full sized shower with bathtub that Shizuru had. Her eyes fluttered shut as she envisioned a steamy shower shared by the two of them. An envious image that only Natsuki could see perfectly. A shutter went across her as the water pressure hiccuped causing a momentary burst as her mind wandered further with the delightful image playing so hard within her. The thought of Shizuru's hands, no, fingers gently brushing against her was making Natsuki ache. She quickly opened her eyes and shut them again as she turned to face the showering water.

I can't think that way. My damn libido is what got me into trouble in the first place, but...NO. Ugh, Shizuru all I want to do is be with you. Get lost in your haunting eyes. I can't wait for tomorrow. Now I wonder what is up with that letter.

As Natsuki thought that she thought about going online as she sat in her room. She walked over to her desktop and moved her mouse so it would wake from power save. As she did she quickly click on her IM and waited for it to automatically sign on. Online status showed the one person she wanted to talk was on; Shizuru.

Duran: Shizuru...

Kiyohime1219: Natsuki...are you okay? I'm so sorry.

Duran: Where is that coming from? Anyhow, are you busy tomorrow? I want to see you...so we can...chat. I just really want to see you.

Kiyohime1219: Mai hasn't given you the letter yet has she...please...I can't write that to you on here. Please read it. I'm so sorry. (Kiyohime1219 has signed off)

Natsuki quickly got up slipping on a long night shirt and nothing else. She quickly burst into common area looking and calling for Mai. The orange haired girl laughed at first thinking her life long friend was truly dying of hunger as she was setting down a simple Mai's Special Ramen for the both of them.

"Mai...give me the letter...I just got offline with Shizuru. She signed off saying she was sorry. What's going on?" Natsuki said as the color in skin drain right before Mai's eyes.

"Shit...I was hoping I could spare you that panic...it's on the table." Mai said not moving watching a very shaken Natsuki grab the letter as she sat down. Natsuki smiled looking at her would be lover's beautiful handwriting. The outside of the plain white envelope was entitled to "My Natsuki" and just that alone made her heart calm down a bit. Natsuki's hands shook as she went to open fearing the truth of what might await her. As she removed the letter a hushed silenced overtook the room for her.

To My Darling Natsuki

Words will not describe my heart ache at this moment, and I am certain that these cold dry written words will do no better for you my darling. I have not once told you about my life and I feel bad knowing about yours without your consent, but I'm certain that you will be okay with what your brave sister has told me. I never wanted this part of my life to come back to me.

I'm the child of a very successful business man from Kyoto. Technically I am his bastard. According to what my father has told me countless times was how much he loved my birth mother. I never knew her. I instead at the age of 10 received a stepmother of sorts. She's American and very well...American. I don't know how to describe it. I was to be reared in the ways of my family's company and never quite mentioned how much I did not want to do that. Instead I decided to live with my birth mother's mother. Until I went to college with you know who.

I do not mean to jump around while I write this. It is very difficult. I have to take breaks so my tears stop hitting the paper. I do forgive you my darling. My sweet Natsuki...I was wrong to have treated you that way, but I do not really know how else everything would have played out. Perhaps that needed to happen. I am uncertain of what would have happened. I love you...don't think I'm saying that because I want to guilt you. I'm sure you know I love you. There is so much I wish we could talk about still. I was willing to wait as long as I had to. I mean it. We could live a life apart for years and I'd still love you. No matter how many others there would be because I'm sure you'd break hearts of anyone; men and women alike.

By the time you read this I'll either be in Kyoto or on a train to Kyoto. I'll have my laptop with me so I'll be waiting. I only hope that you get this before hand. I cannot write this. I know it does not say much, but you must understand I fought as much as I could. I have been forced into this. I have been reassured that there will be a place for you here. I must lead a company which deals with god knows what.

But my love for you will keep me alive even in the darkest of moments. Your voice will whisper to me the words I long to hear.

Aishiteru

Fujino Shizuru

Natsuki's hands slowly released the page and let it sit against the table. The sorrow on her face was evident, but her fingers traced over the dried tears marks that were almost every where. The raven haired woman smiled strongly and looked to Mai who had a hand over her mouth as tears coursed down her own face. Natsuki looked down at the letter again realizing that fresh tears were present upon the letter mixing with the dried ones and the ink.

"Oh Natsuki..." Mai sad voice whispered.

"Mai...it's okay...it's okay. I'll be with her again. Just not now." Natsuki sighed pushing the letter to the side. "Let's eat and finish this shitty things called college." Mai nodded as she sighed along with Natsuki.

We will be together again. Until then are words will do on IM. Cold and simple; perhaps, but at least we can connect. In my darkest moments I can look over this letter and write to you; my sweet Crimson Eyed Goddess.


A/N: Again, thanks you for reading. I know it's not the ending everyone wanted but this story could have gone on forever. Honto gomen. I shall write more as my epic unemployment continues!