A/N: Welcome to my first ShizNat-centered story. This is an alternate universe for Mai-Hime. I hope you enjoy it :D
I would like to dedicate this to my best bud Antonio, for helping me with character ideas and such. Arigato Oniichan!
Also to my friend Chelsea, because she was the inspiration for this story with her babbling about Supernatural LOL! (This story is not about the show "Supernatural" though :P )
Disclaimer: I do not own Mai-Otome/Mai-HiME or the characters here. Sunrise Does.
"What?!" Mashiro's screams of rage were heard through the entire underworld, making the obscure place even darker. "What do you mean there is another one!?"
"We have just been informed Mashiro-sama. The millennium is close, but we still have time to get rid of it."
Fumi answered, trying not to lose her composure as Mashiro's fury grew. She had been Mashiro's top demon for centuries now, and she knew that when the Queen of Hell was mad, heads rolled.
"Why didn't they tell me before! For the past fourteen years I have believed I had the only one that could stop me, under my control, and now you tell me that there is another one?" Mashiro turned her gaze quickly to an unlucky soul who had wandered too close, and with a flick of her finger, sent the soul screaming in agony from the pain of the flames that engulfed him.
Fumi did not even flinch. "We can send her out to search for it. She should be able to find it, specially if it's awaken." Mashiro turned her deathly gaze to Fumi, "Very well, Bring her."
Fumi bowed before leaving and returning seconds later in a burst of flames with a young woman standing beside her, looking solemnly at the ground. "Yes Mashiro-sama?"
Mashiro smiled, "I have a job for you my child." The girl flinched at the words that Mashiro placed so much emphasis on. "You're going out on a search. Find the Archangel that possesses Gabriel's powers…and bring it to me alive, or well, you know…dead."
"Shizuru-san!" Mai's loud voice rang though the busy establishment that was overrun with people in their lunch breaks.
"Gomen Mai-san, my class let out later than usual," Shizuru apologized as she quickly placed her apron on and checked the list that was over the counter.
"Don't worry Shizuru-san, we've been able to take care of mostly everything, but that list has the special orders for cakes that will be picked up tomorrow," Mai said pointing at the list Shizuru held in her hand. "Ookini Mai-san," thanked Shizuru as she read over list and furrowed her brows in confusion.
"Are you sure it's for tomorrow?" Shizuru asked, noticing that the three cakes were rather complex for a one-night job. "Yes, they apologized for the short-notice, but they said they were for a wedding."
"Okay…" Shizuru placed the note away and started working on the batter right away. Mai and Shizuru had opened the restaurant a year ago with their savings. Half was a restaurant, and Mai took most of the work there, while Shizuru worked on the bakery part of the restaurant, that was widely known for its delicacies and confectioneries. Both at twenty-one, they had already finished college, but Shizuru kept attending pastry classes to improve her baking skills.
"Shizuru-san, I didn't see you come in…" Shizuru turned and offered a smile when she saw Yukino walk in from the storage room with her apron full of white flour. "I just arrive Yukino-san, thank you for taking care of things here in my absence."
Yukino smiled shyly, "No problem Shizuru-san." Yukino had been Shizuru's and Mai's classmate during college and had readily accepted the offer to work with them when it was presented. "So how is Haruka-san doing?" Shizuru asked about her former classmate, whom Yukino had been dating for a while.
"She's fine," Yukino answered with a slight blush as she helped Shizuru with the batter. "She's on a business trip in Hong Kong right now actually."
"Ara, Hong Kong?" Shizuru asked, now understanding why her friend had been sort of depressed for the past few days. "Yes, but she'll be back tomorrow," Yukino replied, her face instantly lighting up.
Shizuru chuckled lightly, "I'm glad. No more sad faces from you then alright?" Yukino smiled, "Alright."
"Shizuru-san!" Shizuru looked up when she saw Chie and Aoi waving at her from the counter. "Chie-san, Aoi-san, so nice to see you again," Shizuru greeted the couple that had been absent for a couple of weeks. She easily noticed when they stopped coming every day for lunch as usual and greeting her with their energetic smiles.
"Sorry, we missed our daily lunch here, but we're back from our vacation," Chie piped with a large grin as she placed her arm around Aoi's waist and holding up her hand towards Shizuru.
"Ara…an engagement ring…it's beautiful," Shizuru wiped her hands clean of flour in her apron and held Aoi's hand softly as she inspected the ring that adorned Aoi's finger.
"Oh My God!!!" Mai could not believe her eyes when she heard Shizuru and came running to the group that was congregated in the pastry counter, "You proposed to Aoi-san?!"
Chie laughed, "Of course! It tricked Aoi into thinking it was a business trip, but I proposed to her under the Eiffel Tower!" Chie and Aoi both worked at a magazine company, and while Chie was the chief director, Aoi was the vice-president of the company. Chie had told Aoi they were going to take pictures for next issue, but surprised her when she took out a ring and proposed. Of course, Aoi agreed as she jumped up and down with joy.
"Wow, I thought you were scared of marriage," Chie smirked at Mai's comment, "I'm not like you Mai, you're the one scared of marrying Mikoto…"
"W-What?!" Mai's face blushed deeply, "I am not afraid of marrying her, I just don't think she's ready…"
"She? I think it's more like you who's not ready!" Chie doubled over in laughter as she watch Mai blush even more.
"I-I have to go serve some food, so if you'll excuse me." Aoi and Shizuru joined Chie in her laughter as Mai walked off sporting a deep blush.
"What about you Shizuru-san?" Aoi asked, turning to Shizuru as their laughter subdued, "What about me Aoi-san?" Shizuru asked in response.
"You know…you and Reito-san…" Shizuru chuckled when Aoi leaned closer, as if sharing a deep secret.
"Reito-san? There's no "me and Reito-san", you know he's just a friend," Chie smirked, "Sure he is…"
"Ara, do you not believe me?" Chie shook her head, "No, I don't, because such a hot woman like you can't possible be single after all this time."
"Chie-chan, are you flirting with Shizuru-san?" Aoi asked as she playfully slapped her shoulder, "Of course not! I'm just stating the truth."
"Well Chie-san, I'm am still single because I'm waiting for the right person to come. I have a feeling that someday, I will meet my soul mate." Shizuru answered honestly.
"Well, that sounds romantic and cheesy enough for me, right Aoi?" Aoi laughed, "Right."
They continued talking for a while until Chie and Aoi left and Shizuru returned to the cakes.
Shizuru and Yukino kept working until late into the night when the cakes were done. "Alright Yukino-san. See you tomorrow."
"Bye." Shizuru and Yukino bid each other farewell as Shizuru locked the door, since they were the last ones to leave. Having left work late during the night quite often, Shizuru had grown accustomed to the dark, and no longer feared the unseen like she did as a child.
She walked with steady steps towards her apartment that was not far from the restaurant, but froze when she felt a sharp pain in her heart. 'Oh no…Not again…'
Shizuru clutched her fist onto her chest trying to hold out the pain that was now a familiar presence. She quickened her past, hoping to make it home, but felt the pain grow stronger. She quickly took out her cell phone and tried to dial for an ambulance but was unable to when she lost consciousness and fell onto the ground.
Natsuki walked through the dark streets, almost dragging her feet on the ground. Oh how much she hated this place. The smells, the buildings, the people. It had been years since she had set foot in this place, and already she detested it. She turned a corner and widened her eyes in surprise when she saw a dark figure sprawled on the floor. She tried to ignore it, thinking it was some drunk laying on the ground, but something inside of her moved her body, almost unconsciously, towards the body.
She halted when she was close enough to recognize the body as a young woman who seemed not drunk, but unconscious, since Natsuki could smell a sweet scent coming from her, not alcohol. 'She smells like cinnamon…' Without thinking, she grabbed the girl in her arms and dashed towards the nearby hospital.
'What am I doing? Why did I help her? I don't help people, I kill people…Mashiro-sama will be extremely upset when she finds out I'm losing time by helping a human…' Racing with thoughts, Natsuki's mind awoke from her slumber when she felt a soft poke on her arm.
"Are you the one who brought the unconscious girl last night?" Natsuki nodded her head at the doctor who stood in front of her. "Well, I just wanted to let you know that she had minor heart attack, but she's okay now. We checked her history, and it seems Miss Fujino has had a history of this, so just make sure she takes her pills okay?"
Natsuki raised an eyebrow at the doctor, 'He thinks I know her?' Not bothering to clarify, she nodded her head again, "Okay."
The doctor left, and in a couple of hours the girl who Natsuki had brought in appeared before her, standing beside a nurse who handed her a sheet of paper with a prescription. "Please make sure Miss Fujino takes her medicine okay? This is a new one that should keep her heart in check." Natsuki took the sheet of paper hesitantly as Shizuru's gaze penetrated her own.
'Who is this girl? Was she the one who saved me?' A soft smile spread through Shizuru's lips, surprising Natsuki. "You can take her now, miss…"
"Kuga…Kuga Natsuki…" Natsuki answered to the nurse without breaking eye contact with Shizuru. 'Fujino…' Natsuki replayed the name repeatedly in her head, 'Why does she look so familiar?'
"Okay Kuga-san. Please take care of Miss Fujino." Shizuru covered her mouth to stop from laughing as the nurse excused herself.
"Oi! What are you laughing for?" Natsuki asked as she saw the chestnut haired girl trying to stifle a laugh. "Gomen Kuga-san. I should be thanking you for saving my life, not laughing…"
"That's right," Natsuki said as she crossed her arms across her chest indignantly, with the medication prescription still in her hand. "Ookini Kuga-san," Shizuru bowed in thanks to Natsuki, who blushed in a flustered manner.
"Oi! I was kidding, you don't have to thank me…" 'Oh shit. Why is my face hot? Am I…blushing?!' Natsuki's eyes widened as she freaked upon the realization. Shizuru smiled, "Well, you did save my life, and I have no way of ever repaying you. So how about I invite you to breakfast? My treat?"
Natsuki looked down to the floor, trying to find a way to refuse, but when her gaze meet Shizuru, she found it futile. 'How can anybody say no to that sweet face…wait, sweet? What the…' "Okay," she answered before she knew.
"Great! Then how about…" Shizuru looked at her wristwatch, "It's six, so how about you meet me at nine in the HiME restaurant?"
"Okay." Natsuki said, even though she had no idea where that was, she was sure she could find it easily. "I'll see you there Kuga-san."
"Natsuki…" Natsuki said softly, barely audible, but Shizuru heard it.
"Huh?" Shizuru smiled when she heard Natsuki say softly, in an almost shy voice, "Natsuki, call me, Natsuki."
"Ara, then you can all me Shizuru too." Shizuru smiled genuinely to the bluenette before walking down the hospital corridor. "Bye…Shizuru."
'Why the hell am I doing this? It's like…not me…' Natsuki walked through the street, trying to kill time, 'Hmmm…I'm not going…Yes! I'm NOT going!' Feeling in control again, Natsuki placed her hands in her leather jacket's pockets and felt defeated as she slowly took out Shizuru's prescription note.
'Oh well, I guess I have to go…' Natsuki sighed, not knowing if she was annoyed, or relieved.
"Good morning!" Natsuki glared at the orange-haired girl in front of her that was too cheerful for her liking. "Can I get you a table?"
"She's my guest Mai-san," Shizuru said as she appeared behind Mai. "Oh, okay." Mai left as Shizuru motioned for Natsuki to follow her to a table already set up with a wide variety of pastries. "Eat as many as you want Natsuki, I made them myself."
"I…I see." Natsuki looked at the table, embarrassed, trying to find something to talk about as she felt Shizuru's gaze upon her. "So…you work here?"
"I do, and you?"
"I don't work here." Natsuki responded, surprising herself with her unknown sense of humor.
Shizuru laughed, "Ara, I didn't know Natsuki had such great sense of humor."
"Neither did I…" Natsuki said honestly, which caused Shizuru to laugh even more.
"So what do you really do?" Shizuru asked, watching the girl intently as she bit into a piece of apple pie.
"I…" 'Shit…What do I do? Come on Natsuki, think quick…' "I work at a bike shop," Natsuki answered confidently.
"Ara, a bike shop?" Shizuru asked surprised, "I would've never guessed it…"
"Why not?" Natsuki questioned after she finished munching on the pie, 'This pie is amazing! I have never tasted anything this good!'
Shizuru chuckled, "You look too girly for such a job…"
Natsuki's eyes widened as her face took a crimson blush once again, "Too girly? What is that supposed to mean?" she asked, slamming the fork down onto the table with an offended look.
"Sorry Natsuki, I just though a cute girl like you could not possibly work in such a rough place…" 'Ara…Shizuru, what's going on with you? Why all of the sudden so flirty with Natsuki?'
"Cu-Cute!?" Shizuru laughed at Natsuki's reaction, "But of course!" Shizuru added with a large grin.
"I am NOT CUTE!!!" Natsuki fumed with a blushed face, and turning to see the faces of other customers who stared at her like an animal in exhibition, "What ya'll looking at?!" she asked with anger evident in her husky voice. 'I'm a demon! Demon's aren't supposed to be cute!!!'
"Ara Natsuki is too cute when she's mad…" Natsuki turned her glare to the brunette, which only cause Shizuru more laughter.
"Hello Shizuru-san," Both girls turned to see a young man dressed in a business suit that had come to their table, "Ara, Reito-san, this is my friend Kuga Natsuki."
"Pleasure to meet you Kuga-san," Reito smiled politely as he bowed down slightly to Natsuki.
'Oh shit…' Natsuki smiled awkwardly, "Hi…" Natsuki looked around and saw a short spiky haired girl leaning over the counter and laughing with the orange-haired waitress that had greeted her when she had first walked in. 'Another one…but what are they doing here?'
"Shizuru, I got to go, thanks for breakfast," Natsuki stood from the table and gave a warm smile to Shizuru, "I'll see you around."
"Oh, okay. Bye Natsuki." Shizuru frowned as she watched Natsuki exit the restaurant in what seemed haste.
"I'm sorry to have interrupted your breakfast Shizuru-san…" Shizuru turned to Reito, "Don't worry Reito-san, but did you need something?"
"I actually do," Reito replied as he extracted an envelope from his suitcase and handed it to Shizuru, "This is for you."
"Ara…" Shizuru opened the letter and frowned as soon as she saw the name of the sender, "From my father…"
Reito nodded his head as he watched Shizuru read the letter.
'That angel…what did he want with Shizuru? ' Natsuki asked herself as she walked through the streets, looking to get away from all the people. 'Their wings…these were not normal angels…they were archangels.' With her special vision, Natsuki was able to see angelic deities with a different light. To her, angels actually had long white wings that spread from their back, and depending the type of wings, it was the hierarchy rank they were in. Luckily for her, angels were unable to tell what she was.
Turning into an alley, she frowned when she felt a familiar energy near her.
"Nao. I know you're here." Natsuki stood still as a soft giggle was heard, "Good as always mutt. I can never surprise you with my amazing stealth talents can I?"
Nao appeared from behind Natsuki, "So where you been? Mashiro got you on a tight leash?"
Natsuki grunted, "Same as you spider. How you know I was here?"
"Oh come on Natsuki, you've got to give me more credit than that. After all, I am the second 'Horsemen of the Apocalypse' or whatever, so I got my methods of knowing…" Nao said with a smirk. Ever since Mashiro had told her about her duties to come soon, she had taken to her new position as number two demon with glee, although she wasn't an actual demon.
"Whatever, Mashiro sent you." Natsuki said, rolling her eyes at Nao's drivel. She had not been able to shut Nao up ever since she had gotten her new position. She knew Nao had sold her soul to Mashiro to get revenge against her family's assassins, but she never quite understood how she had been able to ascend the rank ladder so much, even though she was just a human.
"Correct as always too Mutt. Congratulations, that's two assertions in one day!" Nao's laugh was heard through the alley, "Mashiro sent me to make sure you're doing your job."
"I don't need a damn babysitter, much less you." Natsuki turned to leave but was stopped by a strong grip on her arm.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you mutt, if Mashiro finds out you are not following her orders, there will be hell…literally." Natsuki sighed heavily at Nao's words. As much as she hated it, Nao was right.
"Fine, just stay out of my sight." Nao grinned, "I don't think so mutt. I, unlike you, can get my ass fried if I don't follow directions, and I actually like my ass, thank you very much."
Natsuki shook Nao's hand away as she walked away with Nao trotting along with her. 'This is going to be one long search…but where should I start?'
A/N: I hope you guys enjoyed it, and if you're confused, just wait, it will all be explained in further chapters. I will probably have to change the rating to an M in future chapters due to violence and such. Maybe even some fluffyness :D
Please review and tell me what you think. Reviews really make me smile and encourage me to update sooner. Arigato :D