Disclaimer: This story (originally written as part of yuletide2009) was written by a single fan (moi) for other fans without the incentive of financial gain. I am making no money off of this story and do not presume to own either MaiHiME or its characters.
A/N: This is the very first thing I ever wrote (and am finally posting a mere 9 months after creation!). All criticisms and critiques are welcome and appreciated, as I know there is plenty of room for improvement (esp in character voice...not sure I really captured Nagi here).
Additionally, this is the first thing I've ever posted to FFnet, so if I do something wrong in my uploading/publishing please point it out.
It didn't, Nagi mused, seem like a day of unmitigated evil. There was a shortage of circling carrion birds, a distinct lack of thunder, and nary a weeping and prostrating nun to be found (if you didn't count Sister Yukariko's daily bout of self-flagellation and guilt over her almost-a-liaison with Ishigami, which Nagi would usually find amusing, were this day not such an utter soul-sucking dalliance with darkness that a normally cheerful demon was unable to crack a half-hearted smile).
"Young man!" the teacher trilled shrilly. "Why are you out of your class room?! You are no doubt aware that Academy regulations regarding truancy are strictly enforced! Especially given the recent phenomenon plaguing our esteemed halls! I must insist you return to your class at once!"
Damning himself, yet again, for being unable to resist the temptation of perching on the tree outside the youngest Tokiha's classroom and looking in on the engaging drama presented by him and his masquerading roommate, Nagi attempted to nonchalantly sidle off around the corner while giving an impression of innocent obedience, hands in pockets and whistling a bit. Looking back to see how his act was being received, he was just in time to see the displeased frown on the severe face grow even more entrenched, along with a narrowing of eyes that could only be described as malicious.
"Clearly you have an attitude problem which needs addressing. Perhaps a detention is in order." The eyes narrowed further and sparkled with dark glee. "I believe the library has a new shipment of books which needs cataloging."
Nagi usually loved the library. In fact, if given a choice of anywhere in the whole of Fuuka Academy to pass his time (excepting perhaps following Nao around and watching her open a can of righteous fury on some perverts), it would be in the library. Today the library was not a haven.
Glancing sidelong at Natsuki, who was clearly shooting him amused glances and snickering as he fought the antiquated label maker he'd been presented with, Nagi narrowed his eyes and attempted to recreate the look from the teacher who had sent him to this hell (who had in fact ended up being the librarian, and if that wasn't a conflict of interest Nagi would cheerfully provide non-cryptic answers to the next Hime who asked.)
"What?" he spat.
Natsuki smirked at him unrepentantly.
"Just wondering how you ended up here with us mortals," she said in a singsong voice. "Did you get caught monologuing up on the flag pole?"
"Wha—Monologuing?! I do not monologue!" Nagi insisted, trying to squelch the petulant note he heard creeping into his voice. "I'll have you know I was quietly going about my business, fulfilling my duty, when the school Gestapo pounced and dragged me in here without allowing me one word in my defense! One single word! I'm not even a student here! This is riducul--"
"SHHHHH!" the librarian hissed, along with another scorching glare his way. Nagi settled for glaring at the label machine, lest he end up put to work dusting the shelves or some such nonsense.
Natsuki gave him a knowing glance. "You were up a tree weren't you?"
The rejoining hiss from Nagi had the librarian striding his way, duster in hand.
Another hour into the detention and life had not improved for Nagi, although Natsuki had taken the opportunity afforded by the single-minded evil focus of the librarian on Nagi and had escaped out a window and down a nearby tree. It was yet another injustice of the day.
Nagi muttered as he stamped the unending pile of books with a "Property of Fuuka Academy" stamp.
"Monologuing?! Hardly! It's not my fault if no one chooses to listen to my excellent advice and insights. I have experience! Centuries of experience! They should be glad to listen to me! They should be lining up--" he dropped his voice back to a whisper when a long drawn out shush was sent his way from the ever-watching librarian, "--lining up to hear me! I could charge for the information I give them, but are they grateful? No! Not at all! Not--"
His emphatic whisper was cut off by a polite cough. Takumi Tokiha stood in front of him, Akira hovering as always behind his shoulder.
As Tokiha had, in a roundabout way, been responsible for this cruel and unjust sentence, Nagi glared at him while continuing his stamping, now with a bit more force behind it.
"Excuse me," Takumi began.
THUD, went the stamp.
"I don't meant to interrupt you, but I couldn't help overhearing, and well, we're doing a report on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream," THUD "and as part of the report we were thinking, well I was thinking, Akira doesn't completely agree, "THUD "I was thinking it'd help our report if we did a little piece from the play," THUD "just a speech or two," THUD "to help the rest of the class really understand what it's about" THUD "and really, well," THUD "I know we just met you and all," THUD "and I don't know how busy you are with your own school work," THUD "but it'd be," THUD "really great," THUD "of you if you'd" THUD "help us out and play Puck!" he finished in a rush.
THWACK! went the stamp as it connected with Nagi's finger.
"What?!" he yelped, as much as in response to the sudden pain in index finger as to the rambling request.
"Play Puck for us," Takumi repeated with a hopeful smile.
"Goat-legged nature spirit who gives monologues," Akira added in a helpful monotone.
Nagi stared. The stamp made a cracking noise as broke in his hand.
Takumi blinked innocently before Akira grabbed his shoulder and hustled him from the library.
The stamp shattered one of the panes in the window that Natsuki had escaped from, but any sense of triumph Nagi might have felt was replaced by a sick sense of resignation as the librarian strode toward him with the inevitability of a destructive hurricane, a loaded cart of books awaiting reshelving clattering behind her.
Another hour passes. Or perhaps it's more. Nagi loses track, lost as he is in the gloomy aisles of books. He's beginning to reconsider his position at the Academy.
Against the odds of the day, detention was over. By any reasonable and sane individual's calculation, using any handy timepiece, detention had ended at 6:00 and Nagi was free. And he was celebrating his freedom the way he did best, lurking in the shadows outside the library with his favorite book-o-secrets securely atop his noggin.
The thrice damned librarian crossed her arms as she eyed Nagi. "Young man, I must insist you put that book down at once and give it to me. Balancing works of literature on one's head is not the way one conducts himself at Fuuka Academy."
Nagi sighed and attempted again to explain, with his best old world manners of the court. "Kind lady," he began, forcing himself not to choke on the words, "I completely agree with you insomuch as literature is concerned, if indeed the books in this library can be deemed literature; but this particular book is mine. Mine!" He stopped to draw a breath and address the slight tinge of hysteria he could hear creeping into his words, "and as such, it is exempt from any and all rules as put forth by yourself and this library. So No. Nyet. Nie. Nein. Non. No No No! You may not have it, and that's all I have to say on the subject!"
The librarian, who unbeknownst to Nagi fancied herself quite the learned bibliophile crossed her arms and frowned in a way she had deemed most effective against any and all young people.
"Young man," she began again severely, glaring down her nose, "you will cease this Puck-ish behavior at once and begin acting like one of the well-bred youth Fuuka Academy is famous for!"
Nagi, who had frozen at the word "Puck-ish" responded in a way that no Fuuka Academy student had before to the librarian's glare in combination with arm-crossing maneuver. He giggled. Throwing back his head the giggle became a full-out laugh.
He turned his back on the stunned woman and snapped his fingers. A swiftly curtailed yelp was all that the librarian managed to utter as the ground swallowed her up and then sealed with no sign of a crack left behind.
Nagi's eyes glinted slightly yellow (he resolutely ignored the twitch his eye had shown signs of developing, figuring that it'd disappear now that the source of stress was gone) as he ambled away, hands back in pockets.
"Oh what fools these mortals be," he said to the universe and grinned.