Mai HiME and its characters belong to Sunrise. No profit made, no infringement intended and no characters harmed (much) during the making of this fic.
Rated M for a reason. While this fic is mostly ShizNat sweetness, it does have a slight lemony aftertaste. So if you don't (or shouldn't) read such, then please stop now and save us both the headache. I hate headaches.
"Glimpse" is just that; short glimpses at what Shizuru and Natsuki's life could be like a few years after the Carnival. I do seem to like futurefics, don't I? It is very much a oneshot, and I suppose it could also be seen as an AU to the world that Prologue and AMR is set in. How it could have gone if Shizuru hadn't left.
Not that that series won't get a happy ending of its own. I'm nothing if not a sucker for those. Enjoy.
"Hm?" The older woman glanced up from her seat at the kitchen table, her hand resting lightly on the page she'd been reading through. "What is it, Natsuki?"
The biker leaned one shoulder against the door frame, sticking her hands into the pockets of her jeans as her brow furrowed slightly. "Have you seen my headphones? I can't find them anywhere."
Crimson eyes shifted to gaze out of the window as Shizuru tapped the tip of a finger pensively against her cheek. "As I recall, Natsuki brought her MP3 player to school last week. Have you checked your book bag?"
"No. I took it back out when I came home. I'm sure of it."
A dry glance. "Check anyway, just in case, ne?"
A sigh, then, as she turned on her heel and strode off down the hall. "Fine," she called back over her shoulder. "But I'm telling you, it's not there." There was no reply from the studious woman in the kitchen, so she held her own tongue as well as she turned into the small living room and spotted the bag in question resting against the side of the couch.
"I know I took it out," she muttered to herself as she grabbed a hold of the bag's strap and lifted, setting the object onto the low table and zipping it open. "Honestly, that woman... making me check in the silliest pla--"
She stared disbelievingly at the headphones nestled safely in the confines of her bag. "Well, shit."
A chuckle floated down the hallway. "Did Natsuki find her headphones?"
I love how you make my name sound so beautiful.
The massive rumble of the Ducati's engine died down somewhat as its driver pulled over to the side of the road, stopping the bike a few feet away from the front steps of one of the many buildings housed on the university campus. Her passenger removed her own helmet and dismounted gracefully, before strapping the headgear safely into place on the back of the motorcycle. "Ookini, Natsuki."
"Hn." The driver nodded her head and flipped the tinted visor of her own helmet up, revealing a set of clear, emerald eyes that quickly took in the milling students, some of which were stopping up to study the two of them. "No problem."
She noticed the glances cast their way, ones of both confusion and envy, and smirked at the thought. They all wondered, she knew, what someone like Shizuru could possibly want with someone like her. In some ways, it annoyed her. None of their damn business, after all.
In other ways, though, it amused her to no end. She certainly wasn't above privately gloating, just a little, at the fact that she alone could say what they all dearly wished to. That she knew her, and was known by her in turn.
She shifted in her seat a little, recognizing the fact that she had classes of her own to get to. "When're you gonna get out of here today?"
"I wonder..." The older woman glanced off towards the building's main doors, her eyes glazing over in thought. "Unless my tutoring runs late, I should be done by three thirty or so."
"Mm." She nodded and slid the visor back down. "Pick you up at the library?"
A smile at that, one whose brilliance wasn't diminished in the slightest by the darkened plastic covering her eyes. "If my Natsuki wishes."
I love how your smile has more facets than a diamond, and how the purest shine is for me alone.
"I believe that I'm a little drunk," Shizuru remarked.
"I believe you're wrong," the ever-handy support pole glibly replied. "I believe that you're absolutely shitfaced."
"Ara?" The familiar red eyes looked a little clouded as they gazed up at her. "Whatever makes Natsuki say that?"
She sighed and gazed down at her taller friend, who currently had both arms wrapped around her waist and was leaning on her rather heavily as they staggered down the street after a very successful – if success could be measured in the amount of alcohol imbibed – ex-HiME party. "I'm upright," she told her bemusedly. "You're bending ninety degrees at the waist."
"So I am," came the surprised reply, which was impressively free of slurring. "How did that happen?"
"Midori asked you to drink a shot for every year, and you agreed," Natsuki explained, somewhat amused. "It kinda snowballed from there, for all of us. Bad Shizuru. Now everyone's gonna have hangovers tomorrow."
"Ikezu." Shizuru pouted. "It's not my fault that I turned twenty."
I love how your gaze softens every time our eyes meet.
It was scorching. The sun beat down mercilessly on the small garden attached to the apartment, making the inside of the building only slightly more comfortable than the center of a wildfire. The outside wasn't much better, but at least the small, covered porch offered both shade and a slight breeze.
"Damn, I miss Duran," a dark-haired woman grumbled as she closed her eyes and basically went limp on the cushioned deck chair. "Some ice crystals sounds really good right now."
The matching chair a few feet away from her own creaked as its occupant got up, presumably to return to the kitchen for a refill of her cold drink.
"Hey, Shizuru?" She spoke up again as she heard the familiar footsteps patter against the wooden deck. "If you're getting more to drink, could you bring me some t-- Yahh!" The substantial amount of icy liquid being dumped on her exposed midriff made her cringe and jump to her feet, where she glowered at her merrily chuckling companion. "The hell was that for?!"
The tawny-haired woman laughed softly. "Natsuki wanted ice." She indicated the half-melted cubes now scattered over both the lounger and the porch, as well as the few shards that the younger woman was frantically brushing off of her toned stomach. "Naturally, I wanted to provide it for her."
"Really, now?" She narrowed her eyes and fished a cube from her own, mostly empty glass. "How conscientious of you."
There was a hint of worry in the burgundy eyes as they locked on the ice, but mostly there was just amusement. "Now, now, Natsuki..." Shizuru carefully danced a few steps back as the bikini-clad biker made a lunge for her. "There's no need for that. I'm quite glad to help without any repayment."
"Oh, I'm sure," Natsuki drawled as she steadily continued her approach towards her swimsuited companion. "But I insist."
"Ara, ara... Natsuki, that's going to-- Iya! That's cold!"
"Heh." A chuckle. "Gotcha. Now maybe next time you won't be so damn cocky, Fujino."
A lower and far more dangerous laugh came from the other woman.
"Shi-- don't you dare... put that hose down this very s-- Augh!"
I love how we can play together and just be silly. How it makes you laugh.
She set her bento down with a soft sigh of exasperation and crossed her arms. "Out with it."
Crimson eyes rose from their own lunch and blinked at her. "Excuse me?"
Natsuki rolled her eyes. "I'm not dense, Shizuru." She glowered at the older woman as she saw her lips twitch. "We've been sitting here for ten minutes, and you haven't as much as teased me yet." In deference to the always curious and currently crowded cafeteria, she lowered her voice. "What's wrong?"
Shizuru flicked her gaze to the many busily chatting students, and then back to her. She didn't say a word, but Natsuki got the message.
The biker bit back a growl of frustration. Honestly, sometimes she hated the perfect image that Shizuru projected to the world in general. Not that she wasn't happy, even honored, to be among the very few that knew who the much admired Fujino Shizuru truly was. It was just such a pain how the woman patently refused to let down her guard when anyone else was around.
Ah, well. At least that could be fixed. She rose from her seat and snagged up both of their lunches, ignoring the very amused glance she was currently getting from her companion. "Come on."
She led the way to the spot in the nearby forest where her bike was parked, held the bentos out for Shizuru to hold and pulled her leathers out, spreading them out on the forest floor and providing – just barely – enough coverage for the both of them to sit on without getting their clothes dirty.
"There." She plopped down with a distinct lack of grace and reclaimed the bentos while the older woman sat down next to her. "Now spill it."
Shizuru closed her eyes and sighed softly. "I'm tired." One hand idly twiddled her chopsticks around. "School, tutoring, playing my part in everything... it all ends up being quite a large cause of fatigue, in the long run."
"Hm." The biker used her own chopsticks to pick up a meticulously cut piece of sausage and studied it, knowing that preparing meals for the two of them was another thing that added to her friend's weariness. Only a minor one, probably, but...
Again, however, this was something she could fix. And she intended to.
She popped the sausage into her mouth and chewed it thoughtfully. "Well, we're doing alright for money right now, yeah?"
Shizuru was surprised by the change of subject, she could tell. "Yes... I believe so. Father was quite puzzled that his last two checks hadn't been cashed in, last we spoke." A chuckle. "Proud, but puzzled."
"We can take care of ourselves."
"Anyway..." Natsuki bit off a piece of egg and chewed. "Maybe... it's Friday and all... so how about we go home after school, pack up and catch a train to Kyoto?" She snuck a peek at her companion, whose eyes were widening slightly. "It's been a while since we last visited Dad, right?"
"It has, yes." Shizuru blinked a few times, then let her lips curve into a small, teasing smile. "But didn't Natsuki just express her pride in our independence? How come that she then wants to go mooch off my family for the weekend?"
The dark-haired woman blushed and looked away. "Our independence isn't worth more than your peace of mind," she muttered, somewhat embarrassed as she leaned back against the sturdy tree behind them. "And it's our family, isn't it?"
A head came to rest on her shoulder while a pair of hands squirmed their way into place in the crook of her arm. "True," Shizuru agreed. "Ookini, Natsuki."
A smile. "Always."
I love how you feel safe enough with me to let your mask fall away.
The sound of leather against leather resounded in the small room, bouncing off the mostly bare, concrete walls.
Skin against leather this time – a kick strong enough to make the heavy bag swing back on its metal chain.
She was panting slightly from the exertion, bouncing lightly on the balls of her feet even as she flicked her head to send a few strands of sweat-dampened hair out of her face. "Damn that idiot," she grunted, exhaling forcibly as she put her entire body into a massive elbow to the center of the bag and followed up with a hook to a slightly higher point.
"Stupid son of a bitch." Emerald eyes narrowed in a glare as she slipped back a few steps and connected with a spin-kick hard enough to make the fastening in the ceiling groan.
A familiar voice made her pause, and she clasped the punching bag with her leather-bound hands to still it, leaning her sweaty forehead against the cool surface and trying to get the bubbling anger inside her under control. "Yeah?"
Warm hands settled on her bare, glistening shoulders, and she felt herself being tugged over to the other side of the small storage room, where a few neatly packed, cardboard boxes made their home. "Come on."
Quietly, she dropped to a seat on the small wooden stool there, and watched as slender, gentle fingers began untying her makeshift gloves. "Dinner is getting cold," the softly accented voice told her, although without even the slightest hint of reproach. "Did you lose track of time again?"
"Sorry." She sighed and closed her eyes briefly. "Damn fool got to me today... I had to take it out on something."
"I know." Shizuru finished untying one set of the leather straps, and shifted her attentions to her other hand.
That was the best part, really. Because she wasn't just spouting nonsense, the younger woman realized. Shizuru truly did understand.
She waited until her other hand was freed before she lightly grasped onto the slim, cloth covered hips in front of her and rested her forehead against the older woman's belly. Her eyes fell shut as she felt her ponytail being loosened, and the tender hands that ran through her hair calmed the raging emotions inside her like nothing else ever could.
One hand gave the base of her neck a gentle scratch. "Always."
I love how I can be weak with you and never be afraid.
"Aw, man!" she groaned as she picked up the DVD case and stole a glance at the cover. "Another chick-flick?"
Her companion chortled in amusement as she settled herself into the couch next to her. "Last I checked, we were both chicks, as Natsuki so eloquently puts it." A warmth pressed itself against her side, and she flushed as she felt warm breath against the shell of her ear. "Or has there been a change in that part of you? Perhaps I should check, hm?"
In the background, the DVD lazily began playing through the previews.
"O-oi!" She grabbed the hand that was playfully making its way to the waistband of her jeans. "Knock it off! Nothing's changed there since your last inspection, dammit."
A soft, sultry laugh was her only reply, and she quickly found out that her reassurances apparently weren't good enough for the older woman.
"Shi-Shizuru!" She twitched and grabbed hold of another hand, this one intent on worming its way under her top. In spite of her somewhat fragile appearance, however, Shizuru was quite strong, and the ensuing, playful scuffle ended quickly with Natsuki on her back on the couch, and the other woman grinning smugly down at her.
"Ara... it seems that I've incapacitated my Natsuki now," Shizuru fairly purred as she grasped her wrists a bit more firmly, holding them down against the cushions on either side of her head. "Whatever shall I do with her?"
A huff. "Knowing you, you have quite a few ideas." She narrowed her eyes in a glare at the chuckle that earned her. "And every one of them will end up with you missing the movie."
"Ah, close," the older woman allowed with an amused smile. "But not quite."
She opened her mouth to ask, but found it completely unnecessary as Shizuru provided the answer by simply laying down on top of her. A pair of arms sneaked under her neck in a light embrace, and she felt the woman wiggle into a comfortable position and turn her head so her cheek rested against the top of the biker's chest, allowing her a perfectly good view of the television.
Natsuki rolled her eyes even as she moved her now released arms to encircle her human blanket's waist. "What am I, your new body pillow?"
Even teeth nipped at a very sensitive part of her anatomy, and she yelped slightly in shock. "Yes. Now be a good pillow and hush. The movie's starting."
"Hrmph." She turned her own head to face the screen and let her chin rest against the chestnut hair that was lightly tickling her throat. It wasn't that she really had a problem with romantic movies. They just bored her to no end.
She chanced a look at what she could see of her companion's face, and saw that Shizuru was already completely entranced in the movie. For a few minutes, she tried focusing her attention on the story playing out there as well, but quickly found her mind wandering.
Resigning herself to an hour and a half of boredom, she closed her eyes, choosing instead to focus on the softness of the body in her arms and the gentle breathing that warmed her skin.
And maybe take a nap.
I love how our bodies fit together when you're in my arms. As if we were made for each other.
The small collection of white lilies dropped from her hand, and she watched as the wind carried them outwards slightly, away from the side of the cliff. Her gaze followed them until they hit the surface of the water below with a barely audible splash.
It was almost funny, really, how much of a difference there was between then and now. Then, she had stood here alone, feeling cold in the harsh breeze and alternately angry and melancholy at the memories that swirled through her head. Now, Shizuru was here with her, arms tenderly encircling her waist from behind, and she felt warm in that hold, inside and out.
She felt a chin come to rest on her shoulder, and watched as the wind blew the older woman's hair forward along with her own, the dark and light strands weaving together in an intricate pattern.
"How are you feeling?"
The softly spoken words floated into her ear on a wave of pleasantly soft breathing, and she clasped her hands over the ones covering her stomach and leaned back against the warm body behind her. "I'm okay."
"You're certain?" The voice was laced with a hint of doubt this time.
She chuckled and pulled away enough that she could turn around and lean against the metal railing that ran along the edge of the cliff. "I'm certain."
There was a light, glancing contact against her hips as Shizuru's hands grasped the railing on either side of her body, and she raised her own hands to cup her lover's beautiful face as it descended, raising her own and meeting the satiny lips halfway.
She buried one hand in the soft hair as the contact deepened, and felt a slow exhale warm her cheeks. She smiled at the sensation, and felt the lips against her own do likewise.
I love how you sigh when we kiss. So content. So happy.
"So..." She took a bite out of her ice cream as the two of them ambled through the park. It wasn't really warm enough for such treats just yet, but it was okay to indulge once in a while, wasn't it? Especially if you were on vacation. "You and Dad were talking when I came downstairs this morning. Did he have any more stories of the she-devil?"
A chuckle. "Plenty. The most interesting one would probably be the one he learned of from his secretary."
"From Kaori-san?" She blinked in surprise. "I thought she hated office gossip?"
"Mm." The older woman nodded as she finished off the remainder of her own frozen treat and chucked her napkin into a nearby garbage can. "She does, but this one was too good for even her to pass up."
"Oh, this I gotta hear," Natsuki laughed softly, and smiled as she felt an arm twine with her own and a hand slip into the pocket of her jacket, where it found her own and clasped it. "Do share."
"Well, I'm not entirely certain whether it counts as gossip when you're an eye-witness yourself," Shizuru pondered somewhat philosophically. "But in any regard... Kaori-san was in the kitchen... the one just down the hall from Father's office, remember?"
She nodded and nibbled at some more of her ice cream. She certainly did remember, having joined the older woman on many a visit to the Kyoto division of Fujino Incorporated.
"Ah, good. Well, she was getting a fresh drink for Father..."
"Let me guess," the biker interrupted. "Could it be... tea?"
One hand slapped her shoulder lightly. "Don't ask such silly questions," Shizuru scolded her. "Of course it was tea."
She grinned. "It's genetic, isn't it?"
"Does Natsuki want to hear the story or not?"
"By all means." She raised her free hand, frozen treat and all, and waved it slightly. "My most sincere apologies, ojou-sama. Please do continue."
She felt a squeeze to her other hand, the one that usually meant that she'd be in trouble as soon as the two of them were out of public view. Oh well.
"If Natsuki is finished... Kaori-san was in the process of preparing Father's tea when She-Devil-san's assistant walked in, rinsed her superior's cup out with vinegar, poured tea directly into it afterwards, and left."
"Huh." She mulled that over for a few seconds, and used the time to finish her ice cream. "Vinegar, eh? No wonder she's so damn sour all the time."
Shizuru chuckled. "Exactly what Father said."
I love how my home is not a building or a room, but a person. You.
It wasn't her normal style of music, she privately acknowledged as she listened to the rapidly pulsing beat that blared out of the many strategically placed speakers in the large room. But she didn't mind it, and had actually grown to like it through the few times that they had come here.
'Here' was a night club in downtown Kyoto, one of the more exclusive ones, which meant that you had to have money to get a membership, and significant social clout to make regular appearances.
The Fujino family, of course, had both, and Shizuru had used those powers to good effect after their first visit a few years back. Neither one of them spent much time in the club scene during their everyday lives, but it had become a sort of tradition for them now to come here whenever they ventured this far north.
She felt a smirk form on her face as she ran her eyes over her lover's shapely and tightly-clad form, then met the wine-red eyes that were watching her with thinly veiled seductive intent over the rim of a frosted cocktail glass. And it was nice to just cut loose every once in a while. In more ways than one.
'Exclusive' also meant than no one cared who they were or what they did, at least as long as no laws of indecent exposure were violated. It was a strange sort of freedom granted to them only within these walls.
And it left them both feeling almost... primal.
She placed the mouth of the tinted bottle to her lips and tipped it up, feeling the liquid run down her throat and cool her body, which was already feeling hot in spite of the fact that they had just arrived and were standing in the fairly cool air by the bar, not in the middle of the sauna that made up the dance floor.
It was wasted exercise, she realized, as a hand placed itself against the exposed skin at the small of her back. The contact was almost scorching, and she suppressed a shiver as she felt a thumb slip under the edge of her top and press lightly along the lower part of her spine.
"Dance with me," Shizuru whispered against the side of her face, her voice a few notes lower than normal, and she wordlessly set the bottle down and followed the older woman into the mass of bodies twisting in time with the music.
Almost immediately after finding a square foot of available space, Shizuru turned to face her and buried her hands in the hair at the nape of her neck, drawing her close and pulling her into a kiss that was at once both fierce and teasing. Her mind whirled at the strength of the desire in that contact, and she matched the pace of of her lover's tongue as it slid between her parted lips, raising her hands and dragging the tips of her fingers down the length of the taller woman's cloth-covered back.
Shizuru arched slightly at the sensation, and Natsuki broke away from the kiss and grasped her hips as they both began to move – not necessarily with the music – but with each other in the dim lighting. She felt those searingly hot hands trail from her neck to her bare shoulders and down along the length of her somewhat exposed back, mapping out the terrain all the way down to the low waistband of her jeans.
"I love how that top looks on you," came a moist whisper against her ear.
She had to grin at that. "You should." A tug at the sides of the belt encircling Shizuru's waist brought them flush against each other. "You bought it."
A warm cheek slid against her own. "For both of us. Natsuki's wardrobe and my enjoyment."
She growled as she felt her cheeks tint from something other than the heat in the room and her lover's seductive nearness. "Hentai."
The sudden, sharp intake of breath next to her ear made her smirk in satisfaction, and she released the sensitive spot of skin she'd just bitten. She kissed it soothingly instead, letting her lips linger and feeling the pulse beneath them beat rapidly as a light, pleased shudder traveled through the taller woman's frame.
I love how you shiver when I touch you.
It never ceased to amaze her just how utterly ephemeral Shizuru looked like this. How the moonlight from outside the window lent the thin sheen of sweat on her body an almost silvery hue and made her pale skin glow.
Breathtaking. More than anything, she looked like an angel.
"Mine," she whispered as she let her forehead come to rest against her lover's, her gaze filled with nothing but darkened, cloudy crimson that looked almost chocolate in the dim lighting.
A soft moan was her reply as she thrust in again, and felt the body underneath her arch. "Yours," Shizuru whispered in return, her gaze clearing slightly as she moved one hand away from Natsuki's shoulders and instead shakily cupped her face. "Mine."
She smiled and thrust her fingers in as far as she could, watching as the older woman's entire body jerked, the tawny head falling back against the pillows while even, white teeth firmly closed on a full lower lip and one slender leg came up to wrap around her waist. "Yours."
A weak whimper sounded as she slid her thigh up against the back of her hand, lending her own weight to it as they began to move in rhythm. In return, she hissed as she felt two sets of nails dig into her back almost painfully as Shizuru clung to her with desperate strength.
Even if she hadn't been able to feel the searing walls begin to tighten around her stroking fingers, she would have understood that plea. In response, she pressed a gentle, brief kiss on her lover's lips, then dropped her head to the side of the woman's neck and bit down on the skin above her pulse point, sucking it into her mouth even as she crooked her fingers and beckoned to Shizuru from within.
The result was instantaneous. Shizuru's leg tightened around her waist with almost enough force to knock the wind out of her, and a hoarse cry was ripped from her lover's throat even as her nails raked sharply down the length of her back.
That, the back of her mind tickled her, was definitely gonna leave marks.
But that was alright, the same part decided as she rode out the waves with the violently trembling body beneath her, the bite being replaced with tender kisses and soothing words murmured against sweat-slickened skin. It could, after all, never match the mark Shizuru had already left on her heart.
Outside the window, the moon chuckled indulgently at them.
I love how you sound when we move together. How your skin feels against mine.
They rested together in the center of the bed, their bodies cuddling with each other in warm familiarity. Hands still wandered over any exposed skin they could reach as they kissed, but it was more of a leisurely exploration than an expression of desire for a further taste of passion.
Natsuki felt herself being coaxed onto her back and went willingly, feeling their bare legs entwine more firmly as her lover settled on top of her. The kiss went on for a little while yet, an exchange of nibbling and tasting, and she trailed her fingertips lightly over the older woman's sides just to hear the laugh that followed.
That forced them to break apart, and she was left gazing up at Shizuru.
And the sight stole her breath away.
The smile on her face - in her eyes – was so filled with adoration and joy that it made her heart swell almost painfully. It was the smile of a woman so deeply in love, and so firmly secure in having that same love returned.
It was beautiful.
Tears suddenly pricked at the corners of her eyes, and all she could do was wrap her lover up in an embrace that was almost suffocating in its strength. She pressed her face into the crook of the older woman's neck and squeezed her eyes shut, wishing for a brief, irrational second that she could burrow under Shizuru's skin so she'd never, ever lose this feeling. It was more intense and more frightening than anything she'd ever felt in her life, but she wouldn't trade it for the world on a silver platter.
"Natsuki?" She could feel Shizuru's cheek press against her temple shortly before her lips did, and the tender concern in both her voice and her touch made her shiver and press even closer. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah." She knew that her voice sounded a little shaky, but pulled back anyway as she felt a gentle hand cup her face. "I'm okay." She kept her eyes closed as she felt soft lips lightly kiss away the moisture that had gathered on her lashes. "I just... you... I..."
"I know." A kiss stopped her stuttering, and she felt the love that was poured into it. It was almost enough to make fresh tears spring forth.
"You really do, don't you?" she whispered as they broke apart, stroking the palms of her hands over the strong, yet soft back above her as Shizuru laid down and nestled her face into the crook of her neck.
"Of course I do," came the return whisper, as a soft kiss was placed over her pulse point.
She sighed contentedly and smiled in the darkness. "Goodnight then, Shizuru-hentai."
A surprised chortle. "Goodnight, Natsuki-ikezu."
A few heartbeats passed before their soft laughter broke the peaceful silence in the bedroom.
I love how we fall asleep in each other's arms and wake up the same way.
I love how you love me. But most of all, I love you.
END - "Glimpse"