THREE

"I want you Mikan."

All rational thoughts fled Natsume as he descended his lips on hers again, not even waiting for her to answer. His tongue licked her lower lip as his left hand found its way to her waist. His free hand rested on her nape, drawing her closer to him. He slid his tongue inside her parted lips and explored her eager mouth. She tasted like dark chocolate with the right sweetness and bitterness, he thought; and was aroused just by her smell. He was intoxicated yet again and savored the feeling.

He never thought that he would find her. For years he spent his time outside work searching for her but she was evasive. In the end, when he was about to give up, she suddenly appeared in front of him. She found him instead. She was more mature, more radiant and fuller in places he first thought she couldn't possibly develop. He was clearly mistaken.

They temporarily broke the kiss, gasping and panting because of desire and he stared at her hazel eyes. They were tinted with want and need that equaled his own, but there was something else - something akin to fear and doubt.

He loosened his hold on her and his left hand landed on her shoulder.

"What's bothering you?"

She removed her gaze from him and heaved a sigh.

'Should I tell him?' she asked herself. She stared into the distance, a painful memory intruding in her now-jumbled thoughts. She could vividly remember what had happened on that day. That day, where she lost her child… their child.

She met his questioning eyes and she inhaled. She couldn't deprive him of his supposed-to-be son, right? Even if he was already dead, Shinichi Hyuuga was his. He was theirs.

"I-I…" she started and tore herself away from him. She turned her back and restrained the tears that were forming in her eyes. 'How will I tell him?'

"I know a lot of questions must be bothering you right now. I… I'm willing to answer them."

She was silently thanking God that her voice didn't give her away because despite the calm demeanor she was showing, a tremendous storm was raging inside her like an uncontrolled inferno.

Natsume stared at her rigid back, thinking how this woman could make him hard just by being close. He clenched his fists on his sides and it was his turn to sigh. His carnal need was impatient but there was no use giving in to his urge when all she wanted now was to talk. He would have his time later. He would make sure of that.

"Why did you leave?"

He saw her back relax into a resigned posture then she turned to face him.

Her face was a replica of stoic indifference but he could somehow feel that that wasn't what she was actually feeling. The first time they met, she was as easy to read as an open book but now, there was something different about her. And that something, was the very one hidden by her mask.

"Why did I leave?" she said. "I left because the money's of no use to me anymore."

When she didn't elaborate, he asked again, advancing a step towards her. "No use? How about your grandfather?"

"He died while we…" she blushed before adding quickly, "while we were doing the deed. I left because I needed to see grandpa. I left because I needed to, Natsume, not that I wanted to. But if I did stay and wait for you to wake up before leaving, would it make a difference? "

'Everything would be different now if you did!'

Even though he wanted to shout those words at her, he couldn't so he just kept his sentiments to himself and didn't answer.

Minutes of tensed silence passed and he was still the first one to break it by asking, "What happened to you then?"

He was intrigued, Mikan noticed that and told him exactly what she told the twins earlier, well, except the part where their baby was involved. She was surprised that he was listening with obvious interest as she rambled on, pacing back in forth in front of him like an anxious tigress. She was now doubtful that she'd be able to say it because every time she'd glance back at him, his crimson orbs were always intense and it sent rousing chills down her spine. Her mind seemed to malfunction, knowing that his gaze and attention were solely on her.

"… then here I am today," she finished, unable to even remember what she was saying before that. She felt like a robot doing a routine task of reporting the same amount of profits earned by the end of each day.

"So if that's the case then why were you avoiding me?" he asked amiably as if he wasn't enraged by her actions. But she knew, seeing the thin line on his lips and the hardening of his jaw that he was indeed, if not livid, annoyed. His eyes, though seemingly emotionless, showed a hint of an officious demand.

"Why were you following me in the first place?" she retorted, her voice low yet venomous.

They were only inches apart now and Mikan was startled by that realization. But even if he was intimidating, she wouldn't back down. She wasn't a coward. Before, yes she was one, but not after what she had gone through. She stared back at his probing gaze.

Natsume's reaction was the least she expected.

"How dare you laugh at me at a time like this!" she threw her two arms in the air as if overturning a large table and shot a glare at the chuckling Hyuuga. "And this is not even a laughable matter! What's wrong with you? Are you insane? Do you want me to call the asylum?"

The laughter ceased but the smile on his lips was still there. She held her breath. He was getting into her even without trying! God help her. That smile reminded her of their night together and the memories brought back the sensations he had awaken on her. Innocent as she was back then, she didn't fully understand the pleasure of the flesh but now, with the aid of Hotaru and the books she had read, she had come to her senses.

She knew she was aroused just by having him close.

"You were a wee bit funny actually," he replied.

Natsume noticed the change in her expression when he stopped laughing and saw that her eyes dropped to his lips. He was about to comment on that when she suddenly stooped low and twirled around, saying that she needed to go and that she was about to be late for an important appointment.

"Mikan, wait," he took hold of her elbow.

"Wha-what is it?" she replied, stuttering a bit but refusing to look at him.

"Tell me as honestly as possible, why the hell are you avoiding me?"

He felt her flinch at his question and saw how her face fell.

"Thank you for stopping me. I was trying to take the coward's way out again," she replied and softly pulled her elbow away from him.

She faced him. He was crushed seeing her in this state. He didn't know what happened back then but he was sure that she was hiding something - something that she couldn't easily dispense on him. He wondered why she was acting this way. She seemed bothered, guilty, pained, worried and even burdened by a memory she couldn't forget or let go.

Natsume couldn't help but gather her in his arms. He felt her warm hands on her chest, hesitating.

"You changed…" he found himself saying. "You know how to mask your emotions now… but still, I don't how but I can see the truth in your eyes."

"I'm sorry…" He heard her say.

"Don't try to pretend around me. I know you. Yes it sounds crazy but that's true. I know you."

"I'm sorry…" she said again.

He felt her hands clutching his shirt and her cheek pressed on his chest. God, he thought, if only he could hold her like this every day. He'd die a happy man…

"I'm sorry…" she said, but this time, it sounded more like a sob.

He rested his chin atop her head. "What're you sorry for?"

"I'm sorry if I avoided you. I'm sorry for not being brave enough. Sorry for letting my guilt consume me. Sorry for the pretention. Sorry for not being strong. Sorry for losing our baby."

His eyes widened and he pulled back a little, wide enough for him to look at her but not wide enough for her to avert her eyes.

"What are you saying?" he asked; disbelief almost tangible in his voice.

"I… I got pregnant but I didn't realize it until my best friend noticed that I was… getting off the scale. She urged me to take the test and it was positive. Then, I told her everything… I did stop my part time jobs because my doctor said that my condition's pretty delicate. But he was premature… He was only eight months and there were a lot of complications. He only lived for two days…"

He heard her cry out.

The pain seared his insides. He now knew what was killing her, what was pushing her to hide herself. The shame… the regrets… the blame…She all had that on her shoulders. He imagined what it was like for her, what life was for a pregnant teenager. But he couldn't. He knew she went through a lot but he couldn't possibly fathom the pain she was feeling.

He was guilty beyond anything else.

"I'm sorry Mikan… It's not your fault so stop blaming yourself…" he whispered. "What did you name him?"

"Shi-Shinichi…" she replied and pulled away a little.

"Shinichi… I like it."

He stared at her disheveled self.

She stared back with red puffy eyes.

He knew the meaning behind her look.

"We both need comforting tonight," he started. "So will you stay?"

"Do you want me to?" she asked back, her voice was cracked.

"You're all I ever wanted, you know that."

"Then please…"

His lips descended on hers and trailed butterfly kisses on her neck. He stopped at the hollow base and nipped the flesh.

"I'm glad I have you again, Mikan."

END

I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Okay, okay. Please don't kill me. I know I said this will be a four shot, but then things happen and I know I may never update again. So I fixed the end and I'll stop here. My deepest apologies. I hope you guys will understand.