It is said that 'hell hath no fury like a woman scored' and Mai was sure that even demons would hide in fear at the look she was giving her desk at that moment. She wasn't just scorned, she was utterly wrecked.
Naru had insisted, more like literally forced, her to stay in the hospital for a few more days to insure that she was recovering steadily and without complication. Every time she slid into sleep, Naru would become anxious…worry would momentarily wash over his features as she drifted off to sleep. All the times before, Mai was never able to see Naru's reactions to any of her behaviors; it was quite interesting to get a small glimpse of it now.
True to Naru's character, he was also free from the hospital in a matter of days. Mai didn't put it past him to have actually threatened the doctors to discharge him, but she didn't know for sure what had transpired.
It was an awkward couple of days following that. It was practically a free for all battle over a single scrap of meat laid out before several hungry predators; and that piece of meat was Mai. She had been much, much too naïve in the situation.
Waltzing free of the hospital, Mai was certain she would finally be able to return home and attempt to establish some normalcy back into her life. Oh, how wrong she had been. Naru practically demanded that she return home with him until she had completely and fully recovered.
Bou-san had fought back. He argued quite vocally that Naru had monopolized her long enough and that it was time for him to step in and take over. He had a valid point that Naru shouldn't be caring for anyone in his state; he needed to focus on his own recovery. The overly enthusiastic monk didn't listen to a word Mai said as he glomped upon her and attempted to drag her home with him.
Even Masako had offered up her home and care, her mouth hidden conveniently behind her sleeve of course. Mai was sure she was hiding her immense jealousy of the whole thing behind that cute face of hers. The only reason she would even consider such kindness must have been in an attempt to separate her from Naru's side. John was also all too eager to offer his assistance. Mai always had a hard time telling his full-of-good-intention face that she didn't need, nor want, any help.
Before Mai had gotten too caught up with trying to turn down John, Ayako had broken into the battle, fangs bared. She stole Mai from the overly clingy monk and demanded that she would be the one to care for Mai until she was well again. Once again, Mai was totally ignored as she tried to insist that she no longer needed assistance.
Soon the arguing had escalated to an exclusive match between the miko and the monk. Coming from a family of doctors, Ayako argued that she was the most qualified to take care of Mai. Bou-san shot back that there was no way a naggy old woman could meet the needs of a high school girl. This only succeeded in propelling the verbal battle far beyond Mai's situation.
Mai, for what felt like the thousandth time, had tried to establish that she did not need help. She would be fine on her own and would just head home. She only had gotten mid-way through her argument however, when Naru silently and much too skillfully pulled her from the scene and into his awaiting car. It almost seemed as if he had been waiting on the sidelines for the most opportune moment to pull her away from the crowd without a single one of their friends noticing. Lin, the sly cohort that he was, had been ready and waiting in the driver's seat of the car.
Mai decided then that there really was no escape. With Naru the way he was, he would hunt her down if she didn't comply with his wishes and she just didn't feel like dealing with that in the least. She would just play along for a few days and then head home.
And play along she did.
Naru's house, which Mai had pretty much memorized while blind, was interesting to say the least when she was actually able to see it. It was surprisingly normal. Her embarrassment of cohabitating surely would have been much greater if her memories of much, much more embarrassing events were not so fresh in her mind. There really wasn't anything left to worry about at this stage in the game. Mai had but one goal, and only one goal; to return home as soon as possible.
With a bit of severe arguing and stubbornness of her own, Mai did at least win a small triumph while she was in Naru's care; she got the couch. Naru nonchalantly persisted that she sleep in his bed, like she had always done while she was there, though this time Mai vehemently refused. Some tense moments later, and a few words of reason from Lin, finally caused Naru to back down and relinquish control of the couch. Mai couldn't have been more pleased.
The days passed simply, though often interrupted by angry phone calls from a certain monk and miko still angry for her sudden disappearance and refusal to go with either of them. But for the most part, Mai was actually recovering in a lazy and slow paced fashion. Lin worked most of the time, taking needed breaks to force Naru to rest. It was rare for Mai to actually see Naru in such an unguarded state. Even though he put up a strong front, his defenses were quite depleted. Mai couldn't help but think it was cute seeing him as he was; the candid moments she got to see of Naru's weakened state were priceless.
It was almost like their roles were reversed. She could finally see her surroundings, more and more each day. She was able to see Naru just out of bed, and while he ate…even got an eye full of that glorious moment as he strode down the hall directly from his shower.
Life was good.
That was until reality came crashing down upon her. Mai currently sat burning holes in a stack of papers piled upon her desk at the office. It had been approximately a week since she had been discharged from the hospital and Naru had obviously rushed back to the office as soon as he was able. He seemed to be back to his old narcissistic self and didn't show any lingering affects of the ordeal. She on the other hand had recovered her sight for the most part and it no longer caused her any real difficulty, as with her voice. Her ears still felt a bit stuffy, but it was nothing she couldn't handle.
"How in the hell am I supposed to deal with all this…" Mai mumbled angrily, forlornly. There, on her office desk, were neatly stacked piles of all the accumulated homework and notebooks she had missed on her 'long term medical leave.' Mai was a decent student but she was no genius…the work presented before her would be near impossible to complete within her lifetime she was sure…it was practically hopeless. Her attention span was already wandering elsewhere and she hadn't even touched a single page…
It was bad, very bad.
"I highly doubt those papers will go anywhere even if you glare at them that darkly." Naru commented condescendingly as he strode through the lobby. "Surely even your level of intelligence can comprehend such simple concepts as these." He smirked knowingly.
"Well according to you, obviously not!" Mai huffed in anger. He didn't need to be so patronizing about it. She was obviously distressed and he wasn't helping at all. "There is no way I can catch up on this much homework!"
"Especially not with your current speed of addressing it." Naru leered. He just loved to tease the girl. "I suggest sitting down and actually working on it before you decide what you can and can not, do."
Naru knew that this was the last answer the infuriated girl wanted to hear. Of course she was missing the main point; the school didn't expect her to catch up all at once. Lin had taken care of Mai's school and they had been very understanding. The older man had been very thorough in collecting the missed materials even though the teachers assured that Mai didn't need them all right away.
Naru pleasantly kept this simple fact to himself. He was highly amused that Mai was practically reduced to slamming her head against the desk in frustration. Would she ask for his help with a cute, pouting expression? Maybe she would demand for it with fire in her eyes? Most likely though, Mai would probably stubbornly tackle the task entirely on her own. She would panic and fret and blow everything out of proportion. She really needed to learn how to step back and look at the big picture; understand that her every action had a consequence.
But for now, Naru would leave it.
He took too much enjoyment in seeing her flustered expression to stop the fun now. He could always help her and use it as blackmail material, or use it to make her slave over him…not that she didn't do that to some extent already. Either way, Naru was going to ignore it, it was more interesting that way.
"I don't even know where to start…" Mai wailed, poking one of the stacks disdainfully. She was so behind that most of the materials seemed totally foreign to her. Could it be that she would be held back a year, forced to repeat? No! Mai refused to even think of something so horrifying. She had to graduate on time no matter what!
"Ah…" Naru started with a sly glint in his eye. "I know a good place to start, Mai…"
The expectant girl perked, endless amounts of hope etched throughout her face. She really was much too naïve for her own good. Naru smirked deviously.
A/N: So, I gave in a wrote this...hope it tied the story up a bit more...though directly following this story is "Lost Before the Dawn" and after that, "The Depth of Dawning." Still, I had a great time writing it! Suggestions welcome for my next story project! I have about 3 pages on an intro for my next GH adventure...a follow up to the end of the manga series! Will post soon so please check it out! Hope everyone enjoyed reading! Thanks!
Oh I suppose I keep forgetting this part...characters are not mine and sadly, I own nothing! Though I seriously wish I could have Naru in my basement...