Title: With a Bang
Prompt: #40 – explosion
Characters: Natsume, Ruka, Koko, Mikan
Genres: Romance/Adventure
Disclaimer: This is the scene depicted in the first or second episode of Gakuen Alice. I just added a little touch to it to give Natsume motive and to share his side of things. All his thoughts are speculation so tell me what you think happened to make Natsume do this.
Author's Note:
Every ending has a beginning. This is the end of The Space Between Dream and Reality so I hope, for the last time, you enjoy! :)

-;-

-;-

He remembers the first day he meets her and the memory makes him want to laugh and think, of course.

-;-

The plan had a lot of flaws but he was done with the Academy. He couldn't stand this place. The teachers all looked at him with pity like they understood what he was going through. The other students were so fucking ignorant, annoying and naïve. Everything about the place pissed him off. Their glee and their happiness were all a lie.

And Persona…well there were a thousand ways Natsume wanted him to die.

He felt like a caged bird… like a mouse whose only way of escape was blocked by thousands of traps… like a horse with its front legs tied and its back legs cut off. There was just no escape here. There was no freedom. He couldn't breathe at this fucking Academy.

Aoi…

"Natsume…" Ruka looked at him with soulful blue eyes. "Are you sure about this?"

It was a rhetorical question.

He'd been planning this with him for weeks now. After several botched up attempts at escaping the Academy, it was obvious to the both of them that there was a slim chance he would actually make it to the outside world for more than a few hours before the Academy captured him once more. He just… needed to feel the freedom on his tongue again, just to know it was there. He wasn't going to leave forever. He needed to stay for Aoi after all. But he needed an escape, temporarily at the very least.

He looked at Ruka solemnly from their perch on the roof before he trained his eyes on the sky. "We'll do it right after classes when everybody's leaving. None of the teachers will think I'm missing until tomorrow morning. That will give me plenty of time to get my fill. I'll send our letters, too." He could feel Ruka's concern in the energy pulsing between them. "You won't have to worry about anything. Just watch the teacher's building. I'll be brought there if I'm caught. Keep your animals watching. I'll need you to come get me as soon as possible."

"I'll get you, Natsume," Ruka said loyally, hugging Usagi close. "You can count on me."

I know.

His muscles were taut with expectation and the ache between his ears was beginning to make him go insane. He shouldn't be putting Ruka up to this. He shouldn't be dragging him down into the darkness with him… but Natsume knew Ruka would just have that look of hurt on his face again if he tried to escape the Academy without telling him and the last thing Natsume wanted Ruka to think was that he was abandoning him. Ruka had come here for him, after all.

They had to stick together.

But he had to see the outside just once more. Just once more.

He was going insane here. He just couldn't last without knowing there was a way… that there was something different for him outside these brick walls, high iron fences and surrounding Academy security. He needed some hope that there was something other than the bruises and welts that proved his slavery to the Academy…something other than this suffocation.

Natsume looked at his best friend from the corner of his eyes and said gruffly, "I'll come back. I won't be gone for long."

There was a pause and Ruka shifted his blue eyes from the sky over to him. "I know, Natsume," he said softly. "I'll wait for you. Just… don't hurt yourself if you can help it, ok?"

He looked at him, then, and begrudgingly nodded.

"Tomorrow, then," Ruka said slowly. "All right."

-;-

His body was on high alert at the resounding ring of the bell. The sound travelled through the walls and floor, slithered right up from the soles of his feet to his knees and ended at a constant vibration in his heart. Nothing had ever sounded so much like a death toll before. The two of them shared a look that made Koko's eyes meet theirs.

It grated on Natsume's nerves…this stupid little mind reader. Koko reared back a bit like he delivered a slap to his face. But brown eyes looked at him deliberately and something in the boy's eyes made him believe he wouldn't betray him. Natsume nodded to him, then turned to Ruka who was already standing and giving Koko a warning look.

"Let's go," he murmured lowly.

They walked from the elementary school branch down the road to the boy's dormitory until Natsume turned on the spot. Ruka gave him one long look before nodding. "Good luck."

Natsume merely turned from him and ran.

He knew exactly where he was going… what he was going to do. The path to the edge of the Academy was a long one. The first time he came to the gates, it took a ten minute car ride for them to reach any buildings. The memory was fleeting as he slowed to a walk. There were middle school students milling around aimlessly and the last thing he wanted to do was tip anybody off about his intentions.

He was notorious for making escape attempts from the Academy, after all.

Once the voices dulled, Natsume made his Alice thrum to warm up his muscles once more before his slow jog turned into a full out run. He could feel the two letters taped to his chest like an extra, awkward limb. It would take him approximately forty minutes to make it to the front gate of the Academy without calling suspicion to himself. He pushed his arms harder, breathed deeper and could feel his muscles ache with the effort. It was a feeling he relished.

His mind blurred with thoughts of duty and responsibility.

What was he doing?

He had to come back for Aoi and Ruka. He couldn't possibly leave Aoi to the clutches of Persona. He couldn't possibly leave Ruka alone in this place. What was he doing?

I'll leave for a bit… just to show them I can leave as easily as I got here. Put them in their place.

He wasn't kidding anyone.

His feet slowed when the gates to the Academy came into view. His heart was thrumming in his chest and the sight of the security guard with his hands on some random kid outside of his world made a flash of red streak across his vision. Pulling another kid into this hell hole, huh? The bitterness in his mouth made him swing up onto the closest tree branch of one of the surrounding trees. He continued to climb, jumping from one tree to the next, until he was hovering just within the Academy grounds. Just one tall brick wall and an iron fencing lining the top separated him from the outside world.

He could taste freedom on the tip of his tongue.

It was still bitter.

From his perch on the tree, he tensed the muscles in his legs before concentrating all of the warmth from his body into his hands. It was a quick process. He was told his concentration was impeccable. His eyes flashed open at the image of Persona behind his eyes and without warning, his body flared with heat, only adding to the inferno beginning to blaze from his hands. With a determined gleam in his eyes, Natsume aimed his anger at the top of the wall and fired.

The sound of the wall exploding almost deafened him… it was earth-shattering and turbulent and completely rattled his bones… but he jumped into the smoke before his cover was no longer obstructed.

There were raised voices and the sound of a girlish scream before he felt a sharp pain on the side of his face.

Fuck!

Knocked off balance, it took the quick arch of his back from making him fall on his head. His knees and chin hurt from where he'd bounced off the cement and the taste of blood in his mouth made him want to choke. What the hell was that?

He struggled to get to his feet until he heard a soft, reluctant voice ask, "Hey… are you a-all right?"

His eyes flashed upwards only to find a pair of large, sincere brown eyes, pale white skin, a childish button nose and two ridiculous brown pigtails on the sides of her head.

What the hell?

-;-

"Narumi-sensei blew you a kiss and you fainted." There is an unmistakable edge of amusement in his girlfriend's voice.

Natsume glares at her but she merely sticks her tongue out cheekily. Fuck, I love her.

He remembers the first day he meets her and the memory makes him want to laugh and think, of course.

He should have known, at that moment, they would end up like this someday.

It is him and her… Natsume Hyuuga and Mikan Sakura, how could they not work when there was always so much fucking chemistry?

After all, they'd started off with a bang.

…and the rest is still unwritten…


I've always known I wanted to finish off TSBDAR with this story. :) Thanks a lot for taking the time to read all of these chapters! I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you for your faves and reviews and everything else you've given me throughout this year and a half journey. I really do appreciate it. Well… that's the end of that. I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Maybe for old time's sake, you can tell me what you think and point out the oneshot/drabbles you liked best. :D

-MHR

Completed: June 20th, 2011