Disclaimer: Gakuen Alice isn't mine to own and never will be. Promise.
Dedication: Heartbroken Confession. [Happy birthday, dork! Only you would like angsty stories for your birthday.]

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Lying Best to Ourselves

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Because it's not the lies you say, it's the truths that nobody sees.

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You feel nothing.

You make it so that you're standing, small and proud, indistinct amongst the small pool of black figures around you. There aren't many people gathered, on this cold, spring day. To be honest, you're not really that surprised. He hadn't been one to keep in contact after graduation and had gone his own way, only sparing some of the original Class 2B a second glance when they'd managed to track him down.

The biting wind, you can feel, is hurdling into you, but you barely even acknowledge it.

For some reason, you think it's testing you (to see if you'll collapse like a castle of cards).

But your eyes are locked onto one thing and one thing only.

His headstone.

You remember getting the phone call from Ruka, a week prior, calling about how he'd passed away and to be honest, you'd gone cold. He was gone, he was finally gone.

You think you might be happy about it, but after pulling on your black stockings and black attire and heading to the procession, you don't feel anything except that stiff square pressing against your chest that you haven't had the nerve to throw away. You are conscious of the fact that everyone keeps looking at you. You really can't understand why. Did they think you liked him at one point or something? Because what happened in Alice Academy was nothing but a petty crush and there was nothing else to it.

There is a man talking, but you find you can't care enough to listen. Your eyes are still locked onto the patch of turned up dirt and you can't help but think, Hyuuga Natsume is just six feet under there.

You think you can hear someone bumbling and sobbing from behind you, but you don't care. There really is no reason to cry. It was just Hyuuga Natsume.

He wanted this for himself.

You don't move a muscle when friends come up to hug you. You don't say a word when they whisper their condolences. Why do they think you care, you have not the slightest clue. You don't breathe when they tell you he will be missed because what do they know, really? No one really liked him. Hell, you didn't even like him. Why were they saying these things to you as if you cared?

You don't care.

You haven't thought about him for eons until just recently anyway.

Again, you don't blink when they tell you he loved you.

You can't help but think they don't know a thing.

You remember his cold words and his condescending sneers and his constant belittling remarks and there is a ball of heat coiling within your belly. But you don't move an inch from the spot you took when the procession began and it is only when it ends and everyone has disappeared, that you decide to go stand directly in front of his headstone.

The immaculate, black slate headstone stands out amongst the others in grey. Vaguely, you think, he's always had a penchant of standing out, even if he doesn't want to.

The first words that come out of your lips are harsh and cold, much like the biting weather.

You don't think he hears you (not like he ever has) and you repeat yourself twice more, "I hate you. I hate you."

You glare at the headstone and another bout of dark warmth envelops your body when you glimpse the precise characters carved into the stone. A laugh escapes you.

You are happy he's gone.

You hope he's listening to you, wherever the hell he is. You've always thought he considered himself God. He had his little group of friends who did whatever he wanted and he didn't give a shit about anybody but himself.

"Well you know what?"

You hated him for that.

And you laugh.

And it sounds cruel even to your ears. "I've always known you were a shit-eating bastard." While everybody else thought he'd turned over a new leaf and decided to give up his old lifestyle of terrorizing and being a right dictator, you have always seen through him. He has never been able to hide anything from you. "You may think you're clever but you're so fucking transparent." Your body is on fire and you're fighting yourself, trying to hold yourself back from kicking down his headstone and strangling him from where he lies, just a few feet under.

The whole time, you haven't moved from your spot in front of his headstone. Your eyes are clear and you can feel the heat escaping them as you continue to glare much like he used to.

You are certain you have never hated another man more than you hate him. If anything, you're glad he's dead. You're glad someone—something—has finally managed to kill him. He's always been a hazard to society—himself—and you're glad he's gone. You'd think everyone else were glad to be rid of his antagonizing presence, too. He had always been so fucking messed up. You're surprised you didn't kill him yourself.

You take one step forward and stop short, remembering yourself.

You don't breathe when you hiss, "I lived without you before and I'll live without you now. Your life was a fucking joke."

He never deserved the life he got and never deserved a second chance. He always will be—always was—such a selfish jerk.

You can feel your body trembling with anger as you continue reminding yourself. "I hate everything about you. You are selfish and you're cold and you think you're the only one that matters because you've had a tough childhood and a tough life. Yeah? Well fuck you. You've always whined and whined and whined about giving up and dying so are you happy now, you fucker? Well, if you're not, then you're a hypocrite and a liar."

The wind sends a burst of breath by your ear and you think you can hear him. You think you can hear him laughing at you, mocking you. The sound makes your stomach sink to your feet and a bout of stinging, hot anger wells within your stomach.

"Oh, you'd think that's ironic, huh? Because you've always gone on and on about how much you hate liars." You blink a few times and then continue glaring. "Well you're a liar yourself and in my eyes, you'll never have been good enough for the people around you. You never appreciated anything because you've always been spoiled by everyone. Well I could care less if you were the president because you were useless. You were a waste of space, a waste of life and a waste of breath."

You're close.

"I think you're weak. I think you are an attention whore and to be honest, life would've been a walk in the park without your constant cold remarks and your useless, derogatory comments. Did you think you were cool, being able to say those things and knowing nobody would oppose you? Well you were a fucking retard and you don't deserve happiness. I hope you were miserable for your whole fucking life."

You are kneeling right in front of his headstone, tracing his name with your fingers and your voice sounds soft, even to you. It isn't supposed to be soft. You're supposed to be angry at him. You're supposed to hate him. You're supposed to be glad he died.

With resolve, you collect yourself but your words don't hold the same heat and anger. "You know what? I kind of wish you weren't dead anymore… because death is but a blessing to someone that wants it. And you… you aren't the type of person that should get what he wants. I—You…" You swallow, but when you part your lips, you know the hateful words won't come out anymore.

And when you finish tracing the characters of his name, you become aware your body is trembling. You are shaking so hard, you have to rest your hand against the cold stone to prevent you from falling right on top of him.

Something warm is coming out of your eyes, but there is nobody around to see you and you don't give a damn about what he wants anymore. He's always been such a selfish, selfish bastard.

"Why, why, why Natsume?"

You choke and pound the soil underneath you where he lies a few feet under. The thought, if anything, makes your heart twist until you can barely breathe. But you punch it again and again and again in a vain attempt to hurt him in some way, to give him a feel of how suffocating it feels like this… but you know it's useless. He's already dead. He can't feel a thing.

And you wish and wish—and wishwishwish—he wasn't dead. You wish he was alive and well and had that infuriating smirk on his face and that mock-condescending tone in his low voice when he told you, come here, Polka Dots, and when you refused, his smirk would become playfully predatory and he'd say firmly, Polka, come here.

You wish he hadn't asked you for something so cruel.

"Why are you being so selfish!" you scream, voice cracking. "Why would you ask me to do something like this? Why would you even ask me to try when you know it's fucking impossible you…you—!"

You had been doing so well, but you think you knew and you think he knew, that you wouldn't last. You'd never be able to last. You were never as strong as he was. You were never as good as hiding your emotions like he was.

You even remember that time when your head was on his stomach and he was watching the stars as you watched him and all of a sudden, he propped himself up on his elbows, looked at you and said, I love you for the very first time.

And you'd cried because as much as you'd understood he was more of a man of action instead of a man of words, it meant more than he could ever know, to hear him say the things you've always felt.

You heave because the urge to vomit doubles and the anguish wracks your body. For what seems like an eternity, you can't speak, can't even move. When you lift yourself up and let yourself trace his name with your eyes once more, you can't help but allow a bitter laugh to escape you. "Do you think this is funny, Natsume?"

You work at the buttons of your jacket and pull out the tiny square letter from the breast pocket. You want to scream and break something but all you can really manage is pressing your forehead to the upturned dirt and wondering, can you feel my forehead pressed against yours through all of these things between us?

You wonder if he thinks he was funny, writing this to you. You wonder if he was even in his right mind when he thought about this little joke.

He asked you to hate him. He asked you to come up with every possible thing that you couldn't stand about him and he asked you to say it enough times until you started to believe it yourself. He asked you to make things up if you couldn't come up with enough hatred. He asked you to do everything possible to make it so that you hated him enough not to care when he was gone. He asked you for anything and everything.

He asked you for the impossible.

You're lying on your side with one hand against the dirt and your body curled into a ball and ask softly, "Natsume… did you think I was a joke? Because—"

The wind sends a burst of breath by your ear and you think you can hear him like you did earlier. But instead of the mocking laugh you begged yourself to hear, there is a sigh.

The sound makes your heart twist until you don't think you can breathe another breath because it hurts so bad.

"—because you know, in the long run, I could never hate you enough."