Disclaimer: We don't own Gakuen Alice or Hana Yori Dango. This is a fanfiction and the only thing we own is our plot and the original characters we have added into the story.

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FairyPrincess0326

"Thank you," Mikan said, sobbing. "I really thought I was going to die."

He eyed her with his crimson eyes. Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to be nice to her for just this one time.

The gently wrapped his arms around her frail body. She finally stopped sobbing, but he could sense her smiling. As if she wanted to say something, but kept it for herself anyway. She was happy, and so he is.

For inside him, he was glad that he had been there on time to save this girl whom he had learned to show affection to.

The Seventh Chapter
Pretends and Pretenses

Mikan's auburn eyes flopped open. It was extremely an exhausting night. And she was quite glad it was over. Until now, she was left thinking on how much percent possible, that incident was bestowed to happen again. After a moment, she sat up and looked at the room she was in, finding no one in sight. Silently, she sighed.

Had it all been a dream? Shizuka setting her up and locking her in the closet, Natsume ending up to be the one who saved her – they looked so uncanny and unlikely to happen. Especially with what happened the night before. Had she really taken refuge into Natsume's arms?

Mikan groaned loudly. She wasn't supposed to be in love with him! She made a bet, for God's sake, and for no way she was going to admit nor accept thoughts of her being in love with the raven-haired boy.

After a moment of thinking to herself, she finally decided to get up and get herself some food. It was then she noticed the cellphone Natsume had given her the day before. She reached for it and found two messages. One from Hotaru and one from Natsume.

Natsume. Mikan cringed. After a minute of debating what message she should read first, she finally decided on Hotaru's message.

Baka, ur mother & father told me dat u shud call them. 09XX-XXX-XXXX., the message read.

Inwardly, Mikan frowned. What, there was no "How are you Mikan-chan?" or "Are you feeling better? I was worried." message from her best friend. Sure, Hotaru wasn't a very verbal person, but still she deserved some love from the person she considered very dear to her.

After reading Hotaru's message, Mikan opened Natsume's.

Little girl. I'm at the beach with the rest of the guys, in case you're looking for me. Didn't want to wake you up. BBS.

Mikan's eyebrows furrowed. BBS? What the heck did "BBS" mean? Big black sheep? Big bitch Shizuka? And it piqued her interest how Natsume texted. He didn't seem to misspell, nor shortcut anything when he keyed in his texts. Was that a "thing" for rich people?

Mikan put down her phone. Well, she isn't rich like Natsume. She's a genius but she couldn't fathom what in the world does BBS means. How could he be so half-hearted on keying in an abbreviated word that's so hard to comprehend and expect her to understand it. In tolerance, she sighed again but realize she shouldn't be upset over some SMS thing.

Her stomach grumbled and so she poked around the kitchen, looking for food. When she finally found a frozen baked mac on the refrigerator, she turned the microwave oven on and bathed, while she was waiting.

The room was luxurious! There was a bath tub, shower, a whole closet full of towels and robes and a medium-sized plasma TV hung on one of the corners of the spacious bathroom. It made her want to stay in there and never come out!

After getting dressed, she took the baked mac from the oven and ate until she finally decided it was time she called her parents to tell her how she's doing. She knew the phone Natsume had given her probably had endless balance, but she decided against using it. After all, Natsume had done a lot for her and even gave her the phone! After shoving money to her pocket, she decided to use the payphone at the lobby.

"Mikan? Mikan, honey?" her mother's anxious voice answered.

"Yes, it's me, Mom," Mikan said stiffly. Had Hotaru told her mom what happened to her?

Mrs. Sakura sighed in relief. "That's good. Are you feeling better? I called Hotaru last night to check on you and she said you were sick! How are you?"

Mikan sighed inwardly. Good. Hotaru didn't tell her. "I'm fine, Mom," Mikan assured. "I was just...kind of stressed last night, that's all."

Mrs. Sakura sighed again. "Oh, that's good, that's good," she cooed, more to herself than to Mikan. She could tell her mother was very worried about her condition. "You're father's at work, so..."

"No, that's okay. I just called to assure you I'm fine," Mikan said.

"Well, I'm glad you called." Mikan could hear the smile in her mother's voice.

Smiling, Mikan bid her goodbye. "Yeah, well I gotta go now, Mom. Take care."

"Wait up-" her mother suddenly interrupted.

"What Mom?" she asked unemotionally.

"How's it going with Natsume?" there was a tinge of excitement in her mother's voice.

"Drop it, Mom. You'll never get a good answer from me." she answered flatly.

"Oh well." she could hear a dissapointed sigh from her mother.

"Gotta go now, Mom. Love you. Bye." she said and hung up.

"Love you too, Honey." her mother said finally dropping the phone.

After paying a hundred yen, Mikan decided to take a stroll at the beach and look for Natsume and the others. It would be such a waste if she spent her time sitting in their room and waiting for the rest to come back. This is a supposed-to-be vacation anyway. And after the others made some plans without including her, she might as well do some for herself.

Well, it's not that she's thinking of anything against the rest of the guys. She just feel alone. And to take note she has a bestfriend along with her. Ah, she never really need to dig in. She stood up and began her little adventure.

Okinawa was beautiful! It was the paradise anyone could ever wish for! The clear water licking the white sand as it glittered in beauty and radiance. It was just so peaceful here, the sweet inviting scent of the air was amazing! Mikan was thankful that there were not much people in this side of the beach because it was private and only the people from their hotel had access to it.

Mikan breathed in fresh air and sighed happily. She never thought there would come a time when she'd arrive here. Okinawa was a dream vacation place for her and her family. She guessed she should be thanking Natsume and the F4 more often for taking her to beautiful places like this one.

The brunette stepped closer to the sea shore when suddenly a beach ball hit her head.

She quickly touched a part of her head where the ball had hit her when a familiar voice spoke.

"Hey, sorry! That wasn't on pur - " The voice suddenly trailed off. "Mikan?"

Mikan blinked and looked at the person beside her. "Sorry, do I know you?" she asked in confusion.

Before her was a guy with lavender hair that was pretty much all around his face, but that doesn't make him look all messed up though. His deep brown eyes that resembled mud is actually intoxicating. Hot kind of mud, mind you. This guy sure looked handsome and masculine in any way.

The guy before her laughed, lifting his shoulders up and down as he did. "It's me, Zura! You're Mikan, right?" he introduced.

Mikan's eyes widened. She couldn't believe she just fantasized with his cousin! "Zura! What the hell? I haven't seen you in a long time!" she chirped happily, giving her cousin a bear hug.

Zura hugged her back. "And I didn't expect you to be here!" he said, still laughing at Mikan's surprised reaction.

The brunette finally released her long-lost cousin. "What are you doing here? I thought you were still in Europe with your family!" she exclaimed in excitement.

Zura shrugged. "Oh, we got back to Japan recently and we decided to head straight to Okinawa since it's summer here and just my luck! I bump into you of all people!" he said, smiling.

Mikan smiled back in excitement. "Why didn't you tell me you were coming back?" she asked.

"Meh. It was supposed to be a surprise, but you found out..." Zura winked, pressing his index finger unto his mouth.

Mikan laughed as he took his beach ball from the ground.

"Mom and Dad are here! They're going back as soon as this trip to Okinawa is over, though. I'm going to stay for good in Japan this time," Zura said.

Mikan's auburn eyes glittered. "Really? You're staying?"

Zura laughed as he lead Mikan to his family. "Yeah, I am."

"Hey, Zuu-kun! What took you so long?" said by a slim girl who stood on a shade of a coconut tree. "What makes it so long to get a stupid ball, anywa - " she paused, landing a suspicious eye on Mikan.

Zura grinned as the girl suddenly walked briskly towards Zura's direction and quickly took him away.

"Will you excuse us for a sec?" she asked quickly, her piercing dark brown eyes that resembled Zura's still looking at her untrustingly.

Mikan nodded slowly, backing away while staring at the girl with the long dark blue hair tied up into a ponytail and Zura not-so-far away.

It was then she felt a poke in her left leg.

Mikan looked down, only to find a girl, about eight years of age, looking to her with sleepy eyes. Surprisingly, like the other girl and Zura's eyes, her eyes were the same shade of brown which matched her deep brown hair.

"You're Mikan-nee-chan, right?" she asked. It was then she recognized who was talking to her.

"Ah, Lisa-chan!" Mikan exclaimed, remembering that she was one of Zura's sisters.

Then the other one must be Miyu-nee-chan then, she concluded, realizing Zura and the girl was now heading towards her direction again.

"M-Mikan-chan!" the girl, about as tall as Zura bowed her head in apology. "I'm sorry I freaked out a while ago! I thought Zura was playing around with other girls again, so - "

A blush suddenly crossed Zura's cheeks at her older sister's statement. "I – I don't play around with girls!" he defended.

The girl scoffed. "Ah, well, I'm Miyu, Zura's older sis. Do you still remember me?" Miyu asked.

Mikan smiled. "Yeah, of course I do! It might be, like, nine or five years ago since we last met, but I remember!" she assured happily.

Miyu laughed. "Hey, we were just playing some beach volley ball. Wanna join?" she politely offered, Mikan declined.

"Sorry, I have to look for my friends," Mikan said, shaking her head.

"Ah! Then let me come with you!" Zura offered, grinning.

Mikan shook her head again. "Really, you don't have to! The beach is pretty big, so - " Mikan paused, when her message alert tone went off. The message was from Natsume.

We're back at the hotel. Where are you?

Mikan blinked. "Oh, they're back at the hotel!" she said, typing "On my way" and pressing send.

"I'll walk you to the hotel, then." Zura smiled.

Mikan looked around. The beach is quite big and she'll probably get lost, Zura would be a great help. Mikan then smiled back and agreed.

When they arrived at the hotel's entrance Mikan suddenly tripped, but immediately caught balance.

Zura laughed. "Well, you're still as careless and as clumsy as ever!" he said jokingly.

Mikan pouted. "Well, that wasn't at all very nice!"

"That's why you love me, right?" Zura winked.

Mikan laughed, playfully punching Zura's masculine arm. Both were laughing and teasing on the way, when someone suddenly cut them off.

"Where have you been?"

Both Mikan and Zura looked up to see who it was. It was Natsume, with both his hands on his pockets.

"Ah! I was looking for you, guys!" Mikan said, still in a good mood, when suddenly Natsume's glaring orbs looked at Zura who stood closely beside her. "Oh yeah, this is Zura! He's my - "

" - I'm her childhood friend," Zura suddenly said, getting Mikan's attention. Then, he turned to her and winked, which made Natsume ticked off.

Zura turned to Natsume again. "I bumped into her while we were at the beach," he said, extending one hand towards him. "It's nice to meet you."

Natsume continued to glare at the lavender-haired boy, unmoving. After a while, he turned around, ignoring Zura's courtesy.

"Let's go, Polka-dots," Natsume ordered.

Mikan sighed and pushed down Zura's hand slowly. "Forgive him, he's kinda rude," she said, forcing a smile despite her disappointment at Natsume's behavior. "I'll see you around?"

Zura smiled. "Certainly," he said, and leaned closer to Mikan's ear to whisper. "And stick to the "childhood friend" story, will you?" he added.

The brunette tilted her head in confusion. "Why?"

Zura didn't answer. He just chuckled once, glanced at Natsume and turned, waving goodbye. Mikan could only look at Zura's departing figure with raised eye brows.

"Polka-dots," Natsume called again, this time, his tone firmer. "Let's go."

Mikan blinked twice, snapping out of her daze and catching up to Natsume who had already begun walking away.

Meanwhile, Zura turned back at Natsume and Mikan's retreating figure and smirked to himself.

This can be one hell of a summer, the thought to himself.

The seven had finally decided it was time for dinner when there were hardly no people in the beach anymore and there were artists making professional sand-castles, making people take a picture with it and get some tips. Hotaru snapped a picture and smirked wide to herself. Mikan noticed this and thought to herself, "She got hidden agenda again."

They decided to eat at a grill restaurant near the hotel and have just placed their orders when Kokoro Yomi suddenly asked a question that aroused everyone's attention.

"Hey, Mikan, I haven't asked this yet, but - " he paused, as if debating if now was a right time, "How did you get locked in that storage room, anyway?"

Five heads shot up to look at Mikan who stared at her empty plate.

"Well, yeah, come to think of it," Yuu added, "the door was locked from the outside, right?"

Mikan bit her lip; Shizuka subtly cringed. She had barely spoken throughout the day, afraid that Mikan would tell on her after what she did to her. And, if ever Mikan was going to tell the others what she's done, she thought of a sly plan to counter it, conclusively denying what the brunette was going to say.

Hotaru on the other hand kept silent. She's been having suspicions on Shizuka, and she's been silently looking after this girl. It was Hotaru, who first notice when Shizuka cringed because of Yuu's statement.

"A-ano..." Mikan began, avoiding eye contact. "I actually don't remember," she lied.

Shizuka's expression suddenly twisted, but she didn't say a word.

Yuu's brows furrowed. "What do you mean you don't remember?" he asked.

Mikan exhaled slowly, surprised at herself for not telling everyone that Shizuka was the one behind the "freezer" incident. "I...I dunno," she finally said slowly. "I must've bumped my head and I don't remember why I was there."

Koko frowned and opened his mouth to say something when their orders finally arrived, driving everyone's attention to the food.

Mikan sighed inwardly. Thank you, food!

She was about to take her share when she caught Shizuka's eye. She half-expected a thankful expression from her, but instead, she received a death-giving glare from the blonde. She tried to shake it off. She wansn't plotting anything soon after her previous plan failed, right? Smart villains usually let things settle down first. That's how she know it.

"What are you trying to do?" Shizuka's high-pitched voice sent chills down Mikan's spine.

"What do you mean?" Mikan asked, staring at Shizuka's reflection in the mirror. They were both at the girls' restroom and almost finishing-up with their dinner.

Shizuka gritted her teeth in anger. "You know what I mean!" she almost yelled. "Why didn't you freaking tell on me?"

Mikan looked at her in confusion. "Do you mean you'd rather like me to tell them that it was you who locked me into that gigantic freezer?" she asked with hints of sarcasm and confusion in her tone.

"Frankly, I would," Shizuka said, making Mikan's eyes widen in surprise. "Because with what you're doing, you're making me want to bring you down even lower!" she said, turning around and starting to walk away, when Mikan grabbed hold of her arm.

"What do you mean?" she repeated, this time louder. "You should be thanking me!"

The emerald-eyed blond snickered. "I'm never thanking you – not now, not ever!" She paused. "Oh, and just so you know, you should stop it with trying to flirt with my Natsume! It's so freaking obvious that he doesn't like you and he's just toying with you!"

Mikan's auburn eyes narrowed at Shizuka as she finally let her be with her "dramatic exit". Surprisingly, she agreed with what Shizuka said about Natsume just toying with her. This was just a stupid deal, anyway. And the times that he was being nice to her – it was part of the bet that she'd fall in love.

She found it stupid, the way things came to be in the end.

Mikan watched Shizuka's cat-like figure as her hips moved in the same direction her hair did. When the blonde was out of her sight, she looked in the mirror again and sighed.

Where's her spirit? She thought Shizuka, of all people will sufre her wrath. Natsume wasn't an exception, so why Shizuka would? This adds confusion to her. Maybe, she's starting to believe what Shizuka was saying.

It was already past eleven in the evening when everyone decided to hit the hay. Now, both Natsume and Mikan were at their room watching TV silently.

After a while, Natsume broke the silence. "Who's he?" he asked emotionlessly.

Mikan turned her head to him in confusion. "He?" she echoed.

Natsume rolled his eyes, not bothering to look at the brunette beside him. "That purple head," he noted.

Even if he knew Zura's name, he couldn't bring himself to say it. Misuki Zura was the only son of the owners of Misuki Enterprises, which launched their earlier career in France, Spain, Italy, to the point of dominating industries in Europe before launching them to the United States and Japan. He knew about this through the teacher his mother hires. He has been studying different companies and groups for about ten years now.

Mikan sighed in annoyance. "He has a name you know! And he's a real great guy, unlike you!" she said, sticking her tongue out.

Natsume rolled his red, ruby eyes again. "As if I asked about that."

A vein popped in Mikan's head. He was ticking her off again. "Well excuse me for defending an important person!"

Natsume scoffed. "That guy's that important to you?" he asked, almost sounding offended.

Mikan crossed her arms. "As a matter of fact, he is," she said with a hundred percent assurance. "He happens to be my closest c - " Mikan suddenly stopped talking, rememering Zura's words.

"Stick to the "childhood friend" story, will you?"

" - c-closest friend," she said finally. "Next to Hotaru, that is."

Natsume said nothing. Instead, he just glared at the television, unmoving.

"You have a boyfriend," Natsume said silently after a while.

"W-what are you saying?" she exclaimed horridly.

"You've got a boyfriend." Natsume's tone was hard.

Mikan felt blood rush to her cheeks. "D-don't get any ideas!" she squeaked. "I never chose you!"

Finally, Natsume's dark crimson eyes met hers. "So, you're saying you're choosing him over me?"

Mikan looked away, embarrassed at the way Natsume had looked at her. "As a matter of fact, yes."

"Tch." At that, Natsume stood up and headed for the door, leaving the bothered Mikan behind.

"Hey, where do you think you're going?" she called out.

"I'm going to get some fresh air," Natsume said flatly, but it was quite obvious in his face that he was angry. "If I stay too long in the same room as you, I'm going to be stupid."

Mikan opened her mouth to yell something at his comment, when the door suddenly banged loudly, marking Natsume's leave.

What's his problem? she asked herself.

Hotaru panted. This chase was going nowhere. It was nearly two in the morning when she noticed that Shizuka wasn't in her bed, so she decided to trail after her and it has nearly been an hour of running around in the beach and there was no sign of the blonde anywhere.

Just as she was about to decide to give up, she saw a figure of a girl by the shore and sounds of screaming and yelling to whoever she was talking to at the phone. Hotaru walked closer, silently,attempting to listen to her words, when she suddenly felt a hand on her mouth.

Startled, she tried her best to break free when the person who caught her led her to a nearby tree to hide. She couldn't fathom why in the world would someone dare touch her so,

"Hey, calm down!" the person whispered. It was then Hotaru realized it was Yuu who had her.

After a moment, Yuu finally let go of the raven-haired girl. "Hey, I'm sorry I surprised you like that," Yuu continued whispering.

Hotaru nodded, stone-faced, as she glanced towards Shizuka. "What is she up to?" she said in a low voice.

Yuu shrugged. "I don't know, I just arrived as well." He paused. "But I'm pretty sure that she's unto Mikan-chan."

"So you've noticed?" she asked.

"She's acting all weird after the incident. She doesn't talk much when we know she has a big mouth. And she never badmouth Mikan-chan now." Yuu explained.

Hotaru nodded, so it's not only her who noticed Shizuka's weird behavior. She then noticed Yuu's hand linked with hers. She blushed deep red but hid it from Yuu's reach of gaze.

"You can let go of my hand now." she said emotionless.

Yuu earned a beet-red face as he slowly remove the link of their hands. "Sorry."

He doesn't exactly know what to say at Hotaru. He's never been speechless in front of a girl. Hotaru is sure something. Hotaru then suddenly turned her head back towards Yuu when she heard her best friend's name. She saw Shizuka on the phone doing gestures.

"Yes, of course you know how much I despise that Sakura girl." Shizuka says.

Shizuka then began to nod, as if in understanding what the caller had been telling her.

"I could plan instead of my sweet revenge. How about tripping her foot when she walks?" Shizuka echoed but suddenly changed her mind, "Nah, that'd be too mild. I'll just drown her on the water." she exclaimed proud of her plan.

"You can't do that Shizuka. That'd be too obvious, are you crazy?" the caller profusely disagreed.

"She's flirting with my Natsume!" she argued.

"Hell, you can let it pass now. You can wait for that sweet revenge of yours." the caller smirked.

"Duh. I'll call you later. The rest might be looking for me now." Shizuka rolled her eyes and pressed the end button, "I'll play your dirty games now, Sakura. But you'll never win against me." she said to herself.

Meanwhile, Hotaru and Yuu couldn't hear a thing. All were hushes on the phone, Shizuka was a bit far from their place and all what she's saying came to them just like soundwaves only.

Yuu shrugged again. "But, hey...Why would Shizuka make a call at this late at night? She even mentions Mikan-chan."

Hotaru's lavender eyes narrowed. Mikan.

It was about nine o'clock the next day when Mikan was awoken because of a call.

"Hello?" she said sleepily.

"Ah, Mikan? It's Zura."

Mikan suddenly jerked up, hearing her cousin's voice. "Oh, Zura-kun! How did you get my number?"

Suddenly, Natsume turned to the brunette subtly, hearing Zura's name.

Mikan heard Zura chuckle. "Oh, I have my sources. Say, would you want to have lunch with us? Mom and Dad asked if you could come over at our hotel room. We could order room service."

"That's cool! Sure, I'll come over! You're in the same hotel as ours right? What's your room number?" she asked excitedly.

"One hundred-four," Zura answered. "Liza is really excited to seeing you ag - "

At that moment, the phone was out of her hands – it was in Natsume's.

"Hey, I was talking on the phone!" she screamed, trying to get the phone back. But, clearly, it was too late because Natsume had already ended the call. "That was rude!"

Natsume shrugged, turning away. "You shouldn't be using the battery of the phone for such useless matters. Who knows, maybe you'll get yourself stuck in an oven, this time?" he said mockingly.

Mikan scoffed. "What the heck are you talking about?"

"I don't know – figure out for yourself," Natsume answered coldly.

Mikan's eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms. "Natsume, don't tell me …are you jealous?"

Natsume, who was now walking away, turned at the brunette with an amused expression. "Call it possessive," he corrected smugly.

Slowly, he walked towards Mikan and drew his face closer to her hear. "I won't let anyone else have you," he said. "You're mine to play with."

Shocked, Mikan slapped his hand away. Tears began cornering her orbs.

"I'm reminding you again, Hyuuga." her voice shivered, "That day will never happen!" she emphasized.

Oh! How she felt like crying now. She knew of that stupid deal. Natsume's going to do anything just to win the bet. And she's determine she won't lose. Before, it just sounded silly every time Natsume called hear a 'toy' ,or anything else related to that, felt like a needle was bestowed to prick her heart. It hurt, frankly.

"And who do you think you are to tell me that?" Natsume retorted.

"I am Sakura Mikan." she shouted, "Sakura Mikan, get it? That name will tell you who I am." she warned and leave a dumbfounded Natsume.

END. :"

Author's Note: There you go! We've finally updated. Faye-chan and Cessie-chan would like to say a sincere apology for updating late. We would like you to enjoy reading this fic one more time. We'll love to hear your comments. Till then. :))

~FairyPrincess0326