Hey there! So, most of you guys have been wondering, "Why'd you release a one-shot on September 6? What's so special about September 6 anyway?" Well, the answer to that is because it's one of my best friend's birthday! (That's you Kruton Tran *wink wink* You know who you are xD) So this is in commemoration of her birthday (And this is her birthday present xP)! Well I couldn't do a Twilight Fanfiction (I had no ideas on that, sorry xP) so I decided to go with Natsume/Mikan goodness (You can still borrow volume one from me :D). For details on how I got my inspiration (It was too long to post here xD) go to my Author page and go to "Fanfictions" and scroll down to "Chocolate Covered Cherries". Who knows, it might inspire you :D.

Dedicated To: Kruton Tran, for being a real friend, even when I can be unbearable. Thanks a lot, jerk. xD.

Story Song Pick: That Girl by David Choi. xD

Disclaimer: I don't own Gakuen Alice.

:-:Chocolate Covered Cherries:-:

Together, they existed to combine a bittersweet force.

:-:A Gakuen Alice Fanfiction:-:

"Stop pulling me, Polka!"

"No!" The wide eyed brunette stubbornly insisted. "We lost every one in Central Town, thanks to you!"

"You got lost," The crimson eyed lad scrunched his short eyebrows and corrected her, gripping the bar behind the bench. "It's a field day anyway. We're allowed to go wherever we want. I'm staying here."

The ever stubborn girl still tugged on his hand, desperately half begging him to go with her. "B-But I want to go buy food! H-Howalon!" She drooled for a minute, dreaming of the pink cloudy dessert before snapping out of her reverie. "I can't go anywhere without my partner!"

That's right. The dramatic Narumi decided that Elementary Division Class B would be having a field day at Central Town. Normally, Mikan rushed to Hotaru's side and grabbing her arm before having her head shot off by Hotaru's newly invented BAKA-GUN 3000. However, Narumi announced that they would be going on one condition. You had to stay with your partner the whole entire time. Upon hearing that statement, Mikan widened her eyes and snapped her head back to look at the snoozing ebony haired boy. His face, as usual, was covered by some random manga he had read more than he accidentally and sometimes purposely, looked up Mikan's skirt. Well, it wasn't his fault.

Excuse: Her skirt was simply just easy to lift. If anything, blame it on her skirt. It wasn't like he was complaining.

The chocolate eyed girl sighed and slowly walked up to the snoozing boy. In all honesty, she was kind of excited to go with Central Town with Natsume. She felt that they had become more than just partners, maybe even good friends, after their New Year's meeting with Persona and the Middle School Principal. It was like he trusted her a bit more with things and that he talked to her a tiny bit more, although his actions stated otherwise. After all, Natsume was Natsume, the loner she desperately wanted to communicate with. He was, in simple words, confusing. Her nimble fingers quickly tapped the sleeping boy on the shoulder and he drowsily looked up at her from his manga in a pissed off expression. "What do you want, Polka?"

The twin pig tailed brunette was infuriated by the use of her embarrassing nickname, but she managed to keep it under wraps. "Narumi-sensei said that we could go with our partners to Central Town," She feigned a half smile. "So how about we make a deal? Half the time, we'll go to the shops that you want to go to and then it's my turn, okay?"

He raised an eyebrow at her before returning to read his manga. "No. Go away, Polka."

Mikan, devastated, kneeled on her knees before him. "Please! I really really REALLY want to buy more Howalon again! You'll barely find me there by your side!"

"'No way in hell, Polka,'" The shaggy caramel haired, mind reading boy walked up behind the slumping Mikan. "'Over my dead body.'"

The firecaster still kept his eyes on his manga and unconsciously lit up Koko's hair. He gasped and tried banging his head on a nearby table in an attempt to extinguish the red and yellow heat in vain. Let's say, Koko lost quite a lot of brain cells after that.

"Natsume," Ruka's kind sky blue eyes looked at Koko with uncertainty. "How about going with all of us again? It'll be fun!" The usually expressionless boy's crimson eyes flashed over to Ruka's earnest expression and over to the brunette's slumping figure before him. He hesitated and extinguished out the flame in Koko's hair. "Fine."

Upon hearing that one word, Mikan lifted her face at him in newfound energy. "Really? Let's go then!" She happily skipped toward the door while yelling "HOWALOOOONNN!". Her skirt hitched up her thigh a bit, Natsume noted with interest. Today, it's strawberries again, huh.

Koko stopped ramming his head on his desk, but his hair on the right side was partly singed with Natsume's non existent flames. The mind reader walked around in dizzy circles until he unconsciously hugged Sumire on the back, who was heading toward the door. "Koko! What-wha-what are you doing?" A slight shade of pink could be seen on her cheeks as she supported Koko's limp body with her left arm.

Koko breathed out. "Sumire, when I go to the light soon, please change my status on Facebook to 'Chillin' with Jesus', okay? And tell mom I'm sorry for digging through her underwear drawer, it was because dad told me to. And I'll give my Piyo lamp to Ruka because he's been eyeing it and undressing it with his eyes for a while now. I knew he was secretly a pervert under that nice boy mask. Oh, and I'll give my secret stash of the Chicken Soup series to Nonoko, because she secretly admitted she needed therapy and I thought those would help her. And remember to give Narumi back his cross dressing pictures I took with Hotaru to blackmail him into giving us free rabbits. And tell Mikan that Natsume has mentally remembered each underwear pattern. And I'm sorry Sumire."

The green haired lady cocked a suspicious eyebrow asked him in confusion. "For what?"

"I secretly lace catnip on your dinner plate every other Saturday."

It was now clear to Sumire that Koko was not going anywhere near the light and dropped him on the floor. "I'll send Hotaru's robotic animals after you," Sumire frowned at the lying Koko on the floor. Hotaru snapped in the general direction of hearing her name. "That's going to be more than you can afford," She replied monotonously at Sumire. The green haired girl only rolled her eyes in response and headed out the door.

Narumi hurriedly shuffled the remaining children out the door before looking at the last fire caster child. The ebony haired boy looked at him for a moment before he grunted and left Narumi alone at the door frame. "Really, that child should stop being so selfless," He sighed, running a hand through his golden sunny locks.

The elementary school teacher had known about Natsume's frequent visits in and out of the hospital. Being the kind of teacher he was, of course he was worried about the lonely fire caster. It just seemed like the love wasn't reciprocal. But he had noticed the budding friendship between him and the usually bubbly brunette. They just seemed closer after their encounter with the Middle School Principal. Well, as close as Mikan could get with the indifferent Natsume. He had known, ever since the day she set foot on Academy grounds, she would save Natsume from the menacing hole that he drowned in. And ever since that day, he had known he had to get them together somehow. Nearly a week later, he made them become partners. Her sunny radiance was the bright rainbow in his dripping pool of obscurity.

Since the class was ahead of schedule anyway, he decided "Why not let them have a fun day?" On one hand, the partners could have a nice time outside and on the other hand, he wanted to buy something from there too…

"Natsume, come on, please?" The brunette pleaded with urgency. "How about this, you'll take up most of the time we have left and I have the last 10 minutes to myself! The Howalon shop closes soon!" She was practically kneeling in front of him, as if she was doing an offering in front of Buddha and ten other gods. Passerbys wandering past them who didn't know what their relationship was, would wonder for a brief second whether the girl was a servant of the bully and continue on what they were doing. Little did they know, the hazel eyed girl almost wanted to do become the "servant". Anything to make the boy budge.

Mikan briefly remembered arriving at Central Town in the sunny afternoon light. They were sitting in the back of the bus, and therefore the last ones to get out. And when they did step out of the crowding bus, everyone else from class B was gone. Hotaru notably dragged Ruka to her favorite gizmo shops by shoving the BAKA-GUN 3000 to his head if he didn't. Sumire dragged the disoriented Koko to look at the adorable little pets in the pet arena. And everyone else but our favorite pair of people went off shopping for things. Mikan was surprised at how fast they sped off. Most of the time at Central Town, the fire caster and the nullifier bickered back and forth so hard, time passed by quickly. Before she knew it, their little "field trip" was almost over and she still hadn't bought the Howalon she dreamed for.

Seeing that he wasn't budging anytime soon, she fumed. "Why can't you be nicer? I dunno…like…," She paused for a second to think of an example. "Like Narumi-sensei!"

Natsume pointedly looked toward her with eyebrows scrunched together. "Don't ever categorize nice with that gaylord blonde of a bastard."

The brunette looked up at him with contempt. It wasn't the first time the fire caster had insulted her number one favorite teacher of all time, but she really couldn't take it. She sneaked away from his sight when he was distracted by the sky.

The sunny sky was painted with perfectly blended botches of lavender purples, rose pinks, and a soft dandelion yellow color. It was a picture perfect moment, and his dad painted many scenes of the sunset. A rush of nostalgia splashed Natsume hard, making him remember the heart wrenching moment he reconciled with his dad and Aoi from the Alice Academy's gates. The painful memory still remained, but he pushed it to the back of his mind. The lad blinked back into reality, noting that the cheerful brunette was not in front of him anymore. His eyes scanned the vast horizon, searching for the bubbly brunette. At last, he found her…

…being cradled by Shadow. Tch. Why was he here anyway? He headed swiftly in their direction.

"Tsubasa-sempai!" The twin pigtailed brunette wailed in his arms. "That droopy eyed fox won't let me go anywhere and I really want to have a Howalon fix todaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy!" She buried her head deeper into the crook of Tsubasa's neck.

He tenderly smoothed her back like a mother tending to her bullied child. "You make it sound like it's an illegal drug," He said as she looked up at him in shock. "Besides, you could go to the store without that little brat and check it out. I'll go with you! I'm pretty sure they're sold out for the day though." How exactly was he sure of that? He came to Central Town and luckily ate the very last Howalon of the day. The midnight blue haired boy savored every bite, but he wished that he saved one for his little kouhai, when she ran up to him in tears, catching him off guard. He was unofficially handed the chore of comforting his kouhai as the brotherly sempai, since Misaki took an off day and decided to play hooky and sleep the whole day.

Suddenly, a hard kick stomped his back and sent Mikan out of his arms and flying through the air. The impact made him fall to his knees. "Holy Buddha, who in the hell did that?" He rubbed his back like an old man and looked back to glare at the one person he knew had the audacity to kick him in the back.

"Natsume," He drawled at the glowering boy above him. "Why did you-!"

"Your idiotic germs were beginning to rub on her. If you have enough time, go mark your Misaki with your stupid germs."

Tsubasa widened his eyes at his sudden outburst. Was this boy getting…jealous? He snickered before getting up; leaning in close to Natsume's ear to make sure Mikan didn't hear. Natsume activated a sphere of flames in his hands, but soon extinguished it when he heard what Tsubasa had to say. "I ate the very last Howalon and I'm ashamed. Go buy her some other confectionery, lover boy." He patted Natsume on the shoulder and went well on his way back to his dorm.

Nearly seventeen paces away, Tsubasa felt a burning sensation on his rear end.

"Oh shit, how am I supposed to sit now?"

Natsume walked around Central Town's confectionery shops. Since he knew the Howalon shop was closed (Thanks to the kind advice from his sempai), the twin pigtailed girl had to buy something else that was well worth her money. Fortunately, he spotted the nullifier sitting nearby on a white wooden bench, facing the magnificent sunset. The raven haired lad silently sat next to the brunette, curiously eying the plain white box that sat idly on her lap.

Her head snapped beside her right to look at him. "Natsume!"

"What?" His calm, stoic face answered back. The lad inhaled in sharply to breathe in the relaxing air.

And he immediately regretted it.

His chest tightened and his throat threatened to spew out blood. The lump of blood inched higher up his throat. His crimson eyes slid sideways at the innocent brunette who was poking the white box with her index finger while covering his mouth with his black sleeve. If she knew that he was spewing blood, she'd be concerned about him and yell for help. The last person he'd want to worry was her. He hated people worrying about him. It…just bothered him that there were people who had enough of their own troubles to care about him. The young brunette especially had more than enough troubles to last her entire life. The urge to cough was scraping the inside of his throat; the addiction to cough was just unbearable. At last, he only let out a small sputter, the blood spilled on his sleeve, therefore staining it. The lad silently cursed to himself. He stained another uniform, which meant he had to ask the stupid blonde of a teacher for another. God dammit.

She narrowed her eyes at him, not noticing his predicament. "How'd you find me?"

He flexed his arms behind his back and leaned backwards. "It's not hard."

She looked at him weirdly. The brunette had known Natsume had been acting weirdly, but she didn't know how. Maybe it was just intuition. It was on the edge of her tongue. You know those times when you just kinda know what it is, but that idea just slips away? It was like what she felt now. Something was nagging her incessantly, like it was important. But, looking at him now, he looked completely fine being laid back. The brunette decided to disregard the feeling. Instead, she aimed for a conversation starter.

"Natsume!" Mikan opened the box of cherries she had just bought. "Look! The color of the chocolate is like the color of my eyes and the color of the cherry is like the color of your eyes! Try one!" She knew the attempt to talk him up was a small chance, but she took it anyway.

Natsume snorted. "More like the color of your strawberry panties."

She gasped at him in disgust. "Natsume! You molester! How many times have I told you not to look…," She stuttered with embarrassment. "Anyway, just stop! It's annoying when you do that!"

"It's annoying when I look up your skirt or when I tell you about it?"

She was seriously tired of his smart-ass antics. "Both!" Exasperated, she shoved the pure white box of cherry cordials in his face. "I won't be able to eat them all. Here, try one."

He hesitated at the box blocking his face from seeing anything. She eagerly looked at him to pick one up and taste it. His fingers twitched. "I don't like sweets."

Her face fell. "What? But I saw you eating a Howalon once!" She protested.

"That's because Youichi fed it to me, baka," He squared his shoulders.

The pigtailed girl's face went blank for a minute before her usually cheerful face appeared again. "So if I feed you, will you eat it?"

He was stunned. Did that stupid to hell girl NOT understand what feeding another person meant? Was she REALLY that clueless? Did she REALLY not know that feeding him was a sign of affection?

Did she REALLY want to feed him like a BABY?

The cheerful girl's peppy appearance still remained on her face, her right hand ready to feed the crimson eyed boy with the chocolate covered cherry. He narrowed his eyes into slits and swiveled his head in the other direction. There was no way he was going to let her feed him like a freaking baby like-

"Oh my gosh, that perverted old man's looking up my skirt Natsume!"

He decided in a split second that he would burn that old man's rear end to a crisp as soon as he laid eyes on him.


And in that split second, Mikan decided to plop a cherry cordial in his mouth.

His teeth automatically crushed in on the small concoction, breaking the smooth milk chocolate mold. Smooth cocoa bean and natural sugar coated his tongue. Out of the hole that he broke in the mold flowed out syrupy cherry syrup. His molars broke the mold even further and it chewed on the preserved cherry. He hated to admit it, but it actually tasted okay. Not that he would ever tell Mikan anything about that.

She had to admit her love for Hotaru was almost homosexual first for him to admit that.

Mikan's beaming face appeared under Natsume's usually stoic expression. "Soooo? How was it? It's good, isn't it?"

"Look! The color of the chocolate is like the color of my eyes and the color of the cherry is like the color of your eyes!"

Thinking about it for a while, he stared at the cherry cordials in the box she was holding. The smooth brown layering on the outside did look like her eyes. And the burning crimson red cherry did look like his eyes too. Maybe it meant something. The lad thought about all the times they had been together. When they first met, she thought he was some crazy molester. When they were paired as partners, she almost had an epidemic. When he was kidnapped, she went to no limits to try to save him.

When she convinced him to come back to the Academy, he fell.


And it only grew more ever since then.

When he thought about it even more, it was like she was the chocolate mold, always protecting him. He was the cherry inside, protecting her inside as well. Of course, it seemed to others that the roles were vice versa. It seemed to them that he was the one protecting her physically and that she was the one supporting him emotionally. He didn't think so. Just like the cherry cordial, they balanced harmoniously. The chocolate couldn't exist without the cherry in the middle and the cherry couldn't exist without the chocolate outside to protect it.

Together, they existed to combine a bittersweet force.

He knew, that in the time he had left-in this shortened lifetime of his-he wanted to go through no limits to protect that innocence. He wanted to protect the shining light that everyone needed. He wanted to protect that person.

He wanted to protect the person that he needed the most.

Mikan confusedly waved her hand in front of the lad's stoic face, interrupting his trance. "Hello? Is Natsume home?"

He only glared at her and she recoiled back in her seat. "Let's hurry up and go back," The boy stood up abruptly.

"You're right," The brunette stood up and closed the white box of chocolates. "We're gonna miss the bus back home."

He turned his face to look at her and narrowed his eyes. "And who's fault do you think that is?"

The young girl frowned deeply. "I never would've thought we were going to get lost! Don't blame it on me!" She pouted and pointed her skinny index finger to the left, towards a small shady alley. "I say we go that way."

"No," The crimson boy pointed his chin towards the right, towards a shortcut he had used whenever he needed to escape from Central Town. "They're over there."

"Nuh-uh! We're going here!" She stubbornly insisted in going in her direction, and when she received a stoic glare from Natsume, she stomped off in her direction.

A strong yank on her wrist made her wince out in pain and face him. "Natsume! Stop yanking me! Trust me, they're over there, I know it!"

"And how many times have you said that?"

Mikan started to open to rebuke his previous statement, but she froze. Her hazel eyes narrowed into tiny slits. Did she mention how annoying his smart-ass comments were?

Natsume started heading off in his direction, yanking the klutz behind him. He quickened his pace, just in case they did miss the bus. The clumsy girl tried to catch up to his quick pace and grabbed his hand instead of his wrist. "Hold on! You're going too fast!"

The crimson eyed boy sucked in a breath and slowed down, just as the brunette had ordered. It was unlike her to make moves first, but he welcomed them anyway. He intertwined his fingers into hers and gave her a flash of a smile. "Then hurry up."

She was dazzled by his flash of pearly white teeth. The hot and fiery heat from his hand transferred to her small warm one and she could feel the pulse of his blood. Her face and her neck burned up and the hair on the back of her neck stood on its ends. What is this? The brunette could feel her cheeks warming up just by the touch of the fire caster. Her skinny hand gave his a reassuring squeeze and he did the same. An inevitable smile crept up her glossy pink lips as she was trying to hide her smile.

"Hurry up or we're gonna be late."

This time, she didn't bother hiding the huge grin. "Then let's go."

Her lean legs ran to keep up with Natsume. In her right hand, she absentmindedly dropped the box of chocolate covered cherries on the street as she kept up in pace with the crimson eyed boy. The breezy wind flew by and opened the lid of the pure white box of cherry cordials.

In it, were two perfectly preserved chocolate covered cherries that were sitting next to each other.

The chocolate couldn't exist without the cherry in the middle and the cherry couldn't exist without the chocolate outside to protect it.

Together, they existed to combine a bittersweet force.

Everyone leaned in to hear Ruka's horrifying experience on the multi-colored bus.

"I…I," Ruka stuttered wide eyed. His face was as pale as a ghost's and his forehead was drenched in sweat. "When I was passing by a women's boutique in Central Town…"

They inched in further to hear the rest of his story.

"I…I saw Narumi try on a leopard leotard and he was flirting with the salesman behind the counter."