A chapter you guys, a chapter! Warnings and disclaimers apply. My computer is on the fritz, sorry for any mistakes.
Natsumes Love: Thank you for your compliments. Nope, you aren't the only one. There are lots more out there.
Kaze: Thanks for reviewing each and everyone of my chapters. They made me very~ happy that day.^^
Dark-Angel-Princess 01: I updated soonish~. Hehehe... don't kill me.
Ammune: Haha, I hope the wait wasn't too long. Thanks.
ImmortalMissRaven: I love your name, btw. Thank you for your compliments.
Miriellaine Cambridge: Yup, Izuna. Did you read the newest Naruto chapter. I can't believe all the feels and secrets. Damn you, Tobi! I updated.
Meocaroba: Thanks for your reviews, and I was excited to find out as well. I think you can tell I'm the doubt of writer who writes chapter after chapter with no type of plan. I'm a jotter not a planner.
Aristania: Glad, I can make it funny.
Aki-chan26: Agnostic Angel: I updated in a relatively short time for me. Hahahee. I thank you for your compliments. You've made me blush like mad. Ack! You should read more Mpregs like in the Naruto section. Those are always really good. I'm glad you liked my story and I hope I kept it up to your standards.
knightinred: Yes, she does. -chuckles- Ah, I honestly, have no ideas. I tend to have characters give other characters nicknames and such. Sorry if it gets annoying.
NanaliJoci: Let's see.
Shinigami-chan: You know, I always get scared when I have to reply to you. You've been here since the beginning like many others. Ahh, sorry, I left you for so long. I wonder what she will say too. I know its sad, but he shall appear again. I promise. I updated.
"Don't lie to me, Ruka. You know damn well that isn't possible!" Natsume's voice rose as did his ire. How dare Ruka tell him a lie such as this. How about he try to lie better. He wasn't some gullible child that believed every word spewing from his lips. Gods, did Ruka have to be so difficult? Surely, the truth was more plausible than this horrible farce.
Ruka scoffed. He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at him. "I wish I was lying, you big oaf." He blew a piece of stray hair out of his face. "And you, my dear, are really the last one to tell me what's possible and what's not.
Natsume ignored the obvious jab. "Do you have any proof?" he challenged.
"Proof!" Ruka echoed him; astounded that Natsume would want such a thing. Did he suddenly turn blind and forgetful in these last few moments? Had his memory been wiped blank by some unknown Alice-user? Pfft, leave it to Natsume to ignore the evidence. "Look at her, Natsume. Her skin, her hair, her personality, and her Alice. I've known you since you were Amaterasu's age. Don't think I don't understand how a fire Alice works!"
Natsume narrowed his eyes still refusing to believe what Ruka continued to spout. "If she really was mine, then why didn't you tell me? She must be at least five by now!"
Ruka laughed hysterically, chilling Natsume with its hollow tone. "Believe me, I've tried every year on two separate occasions, one being on her birthday and the other on mine. I even tried a couple months into my pregnancy, but you never answered your damn phone! Amaterasu is six and a half. She was born December 17th. "
"I... I thought," Natsume tried but Ruka beat him to the punch. He hunched over and laughed mirthlessly.
"You probably thought I wanted to confront you about that night. Well, newsflash Natsume, I'm not one of those crazy fangirls from our school days. I'm a grown man. I can tell when a situation needs to be forgotten," Ruka spat out, glaring daggers.
Natsume winced subtly. Ouch. As usual Ruka was right. "Does she know?"
Ruka raised an incredulous eyebrow, "You aren't daft. Of course Amaterasu doesn't know. Was her reaction to your initial appearance not enough to show you that?"
Again Natsume winced. His newfound daughter hated him, and when he first saw the feelings were mutual, or rather he was jealous of how his daughter had Ruka wrapped so tightly around her small pinkie. Now, he wanted to fix that and possibly build a relationship. That's what fathers did, right? He wanted to be there for his daughter. He grew up without his father, and he knew the pain that came with it. He didn't want any child (especially his own) to go through that. "What do you want me to do?"
Ruka was deathly silent. He sat rigidly in his seat, his eyes narrowing marginally. "I want you out of her life. You don't have to pay for any of her expenses or any of that crap. Amaterasu already has Yoichi, who is her father as far as she is concerned. She doesn't need you in her life, especially since for seven years you made it clear that you didn't want her," Ruka said coldly.
"That isn't fair! I never-," Natsume attempted to protest. Ruka was jumping to conclusions and decisions too early and too fast. They had to talk about these things. Amaterasu had a right to know her real father, and he had a right to be there in her life.
"Correct, you never," Ruka reiterated.
Irritation grew within Natsume. Ruka wasn't giving him a chance to prove himself! He wanted to be there for his daughter. He had missed so much of her life. Ruka was preventing him access: "I want to be a part of her life."
"No, you don't. You say you do. You made a choice when you ignored my calls every year. I'm not going to uproot Yoichi's place because of your ignorance," Ruka said. His lips flatlining.
Natsume shook his head, knowing he was fighting a losing battle. Ruka had made his feelings clear on the situation, and it appeared that no matter what he said would change Ruka's heart. Natsume stood up from his seat, staring at Amaterasu's prone form for what seemed like an eternity. Vermillion eyes flickered to Ruka; "There is nothing more to say, is there?"
"You already know the answer to that," Ruka replied coldly.
Natsume scowled at his lifelong friend. He pursed his lips nodded sharply, exiting the room. He missed the way Ruka broke down after he left. A few tears slipped down his cheek, Ruka wiped them as more followed. He collapsed onto the bedside of his baby, sobbing as he clutched the thin covers. "I'm so sorry, Amaterasu. I'm so sorry.
"Please forgive me. I couldn't let him hurt me... or you."
Natsume stomped down the walls of Gakuen Alice. His earrings itched as it tried to keep his Alice at bay. Gods, the flames within him burned at the chance to envelop something into a fiery inferno. His churning emotions mainly composed of anger and confusion swirled inside him in tumultuous waves. He wasn't sure what to do now. He had an illegitimate daughter birthed by his best friend who was male. He missed practically seven years of her life. Yoichi was considered her father. He had a daughter. He had a daughter, and Ruka wasn't going to let him into her life.
He snarled. He'd be in her life whether his friend wanted him there or not. And if Ruka didn't cooperate there was always the option of going to court, or conveniently telling their daughter of her true parentage during the school year. He allowed a bittersweet smile to play on his lips. Yes, those was the plans for that. Now, he had to think of the time and the place. Not to mention, how was he supposed to break this to Mikan? An image of his wife looking absolutely heartbroken popped up. Oh, he couldn't do that to his sweetheart. No... Natsume resolved to tell her later. It would probably be the last thing to do on the life of stuff he had regarding his relationship with his daughter.
"Big Brother!" a voice yelled out, the sounds of sneakers screeching against the tile floors accompanied it. Natsume did not have to turn around to know who it that called him. He merely stood there waiting for him to catch up. When he did, he stared the young silver-haired man down, frowning at him with distaste. "Big Brother?" the man asked in a small voice. He took a step back, knowing of Natsume's tendency to lash out. "What's wrong?"
"What's wrong?" Natsume repeated mockingly. "What's wrong, he asks. What the hell is wrong is that Ruka has been taking care of my daughter for seven years with a certain fool playing her father? Did the fool think of ever telling the real father of his progeny? No!" Natsume smacked his cheek, his mouth gaping, "No. We'll just let the real father live with blinders on his whole life never knowing his daughter!" he shouted.
"So, you've found out," the man said lowly. Suddenly, his eager appearance morphed into something infinitely tired.
"Of course, I've found out, Yoichi. How could you keep this from me? Your supposed big brother? Didn't you ever think that; gee, since Natsume isn't answering his phone maybe I should visit him since I do so regularly!"
To this Yoichi both flinched, and then he gathered his bearings. He gave Natsume the same apathetic look he gave to all those that would gather around him as a child. "Don't talk to me as if I had a choice," he snapped.
"I know you had a choice. Ruka is too soft to threaten you with anything lethal. You've scheduled monthly meetings with me for years, and yet you didn't think you could somehow add this into our conversations!" Natsume was on the verge of losing his temper. Dammit. He wanted answers. He wanted to turn back the clock to that night where he had made so many mistakes.
"Natsume, it wasn't my secret to tell. I was also there every year he called you. Why didn't you pick up? Huh?"
"It's none of your business," came Natsume's evasive answer.
Natsume shook his head. He clenched and unclenched his fingers, preparing himself to ask this question. "Does she call you father?" he glanced up at Yoichi before glancing back down. He wasn't entirely sure of he wanted to hear this answer.
"Ruka hasn't ever allowed or disallowed Amaterasu to call me father," Natsume's head jerked up in surprise. Really? He felt like asking, however, the blank look in Yoichi's eyes quelled the question. "Amaterasu doesn't do it a lot, but when we're alone she sometimes calls me 'Daddy' or 'Dad', and for that Natsume. I'm sorry."
Natsume shifted on his feet. The picture of Amaterasu being tucked into bed by Yoichi ran across his mind. He sees Yoichi leaning in to peck his daughter on his forehead and brushing back strands of ebony hair from her forehead. Just as Yoichi reached to pull her light off, Amaterasu gave Yoichi an endearing gaze with her inherited bluish-grey eyes that Natsume secretly adored. "I love you, daddy," she say. The picture disappears into wisps. Natsume swears to himself that his heart isn't breaking.
"Don't say sorry, it's not your fault. I wasn't there." He swallowed a thick ball of his spit.
"But you are here now!" Yoichi said happily.
"No, I'm not," came Natsume's subdued reply.
"Huh?" Yoichi tilted his head at his adopted big brother. "What do you mean? Surely, Ruka wants you -"
"No, he doesn't," he cut off the other man flatly. "He says Amaterasu doesn't need me. She has you in her life now."
Yoichi frowned, rocking on his feet. He hummed thoughtfully. At that, Natsume, he couldn't help the smile that grew on his face. No doubt, Yoichi was trying to string some words together for some comfort, but he had never been particularly good at that. More often than not he'd manage to make a person feel worse, and the situation worse with some unneeded truths. With his anger now extinguished, he stepped closer to his self-proclaimed little brother and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Don't try to appease me, I'm alright, really," he said, offering him a smile.
Yoichi's frown became deeper. "No, you aren't alright. What about your relationship with your daughter, or with Ruka for that matter?"
"With Ruka?" he chuckled. "No, no, we'll worry about that later. Besides, remember, I'm the Black Cat. When have I ever given up?"
Yoichi gave him a short laugh. "Ok, you've made your point. Still, do you have any plans for building these relationships? Amaterasu is more stubborn than you and Ruka combined, with a mischievous streak that runs as deep as yours."
"Well, I'm going to be her teacher for the year. So, something has to come to me during that time frame." He shrugged. He had plenty of time for strategizing later. For now, he needed to relax and let the dust settle.
"If you're sure," Yoichi said uncertainly.
"Ok," Yoichi ended.