A/N: Hi there everyone! Here is another one-shot with my favorite couple: NatsukixShizuru. This one takes place in the Mai Otome Universe. This fic was created thanks to my cousin's idea, since her boyfriend did it for her too. When she told me about it I thought it would be nice to adapt it to a NatsuShizu fic. Also I got lots of inspiration with some songs.

Leebot-sensei beta-ed this one as usual and he assisted me in some points.

Hope you like it! Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Mai Otome. I just own some the figures.


Rally of my love

The kingdom of Windbloom was an extraordinary and peaceful place, now that all hazards had been put under control thanks to the power of the otome. It was a day like any other, and Garderobe was already lively with all its usual activity, since it was a little past midday. However, one member of its staff was more silent than usual.

Shizuru was seated on the couch in the Gakuenchou's office. She let out a mental sigh as she sipped her noon tea. She'd been feeling a bit down for the past few days. How could Natsuki have forgotten such a date? Never, not once in all the years they've been together had she forgotten that important day; Valentine's Day, that is. As usual, on that day she'd woken up and had given Natsuki a hand-made chocolate along with a lovely card and a more gorgeous night. However, Natsuki had not given her anything of the sort. She wondered for a moment if Natsuki might have planned something special for the next day, but nothing came. She waited a couple of days but still nothing. Natsuki surely wasn't as busy as she had been when Earl was in danger due to the evil schemes of Artai and Shwartz – she knew this since she had been by Natsuki's side all this time. Then, what could have made Natsuki forget it? There was no excuse, was there?

Shizuru was still thinking so intently about every possible reason that could have caused Natsuki to not give her anything on Valentine's day, that she didn't hear when Natsuki called her name. It wasn't until the second call that she reacted.

"Yes, Natsuki?"

"Are you okay, Shizuru?" Natsuki asked, a concerned tone to her voice.

"Of course, what makes Natsuki think that I'm not fine?" Shizuru said with a smile

One that Natsuki knew Shizuru was famous for using when she was hiding what she was thinking or feeling. It was rare for Natsuki to see that smile, since Shizuru was more open with her than anybody. For her to receive it, it meant that Shizuru was concerned about something, and Natsuki had an idea of what it could be.

"It's rare for you to space out like that." Natsuki answered sincerely.

"Well, Natsuki should know that I always space out whenever I think of her, especially when I think about doing dirty things to her." Shizuru said with a teasing smile.

"SHIZURU!" Natsuki replied with a full blush covering her face. "For Shinso's sake! You shouldn't be saying that! Not even to me!"

"Ara, Natsuki wanted to know what was wrong with me, didn't she? I'm just stating the facts."

"Well, anyway…" Natsuki said, trying to control her blush, "I need you to go and do some errands for me. I need to finish checking some documents and those can't wait. Could you do it for me, Shizuru?"

"Natsuki should know that I'll do whatever my Natsuki wishes for me to do." Shizuru said in a tender tone.

"Thanks, Shizuru," the raven-haired principal said with a tender smile of her own. Taking an envelope from her pocket she handed it to Shizuru. "Here, this has all the instructions for what you have to do."

Shizuru took it and said:

"I shall be going then, if I want to finish early so I can have dinner with Natsuki."

She leaned in and kissed Natsuki on the lips. Natsuki reciprocated the kiss with tender love, since she knew that Shizuru needed it. After all, she understood why Shizuru was feeling down. It was partially her fault again, but this time there was a good reason behind. And once Shizuru discovered everything, it would be worth all the distress.

Once they moved apart, Shizuru gazed at Natsuki's smiling features and dazzled eyes. She felt proud of herself, as all she was the only one to be able to leave Natsuki in such a state by giving her a 'simple' kiss. She walked to the door and opened it. But before she left the room, she heard Natsuki say to her, "Have fun."

Shizuru simply smiled at her lover and left, but she wondered for a moment what Natsuki could have meant by that. Shrugging it off, she opened the envelope and proceeded to follow the instructions it contained. Apparently she needed to go to the city and pick up a parcel from the post office. Without wasting a second, she headed out. She decided to go by foot since it would help her clear her mind and feel less depressed about the ordeal that was Valentine's Day without receiving any valentine.

When Natsuki looked through her office window and noticed that Shizuru had left Garderobe, she smiled and, after making a quick call, she left the office too. She headed to a place that Shizuru would reach eventually.


Shizuru reached the post office after a few minutes of walking. She made it there without any disruption from anyone, since she had covered her column attire with a coat, was using some fake glasses, and had tied up her hair. All of this was to cover her identity, to avoid being discovered by any possible admirers that might stop her and interrupt her 'mission'.

She entered the building and headed to the counter, where a woman was standing.

"Good morning. How can I help you?" the employee asked.

"Good morning. I came to pick up a parcel." Shizuru said. She handed a paper with the information to the worker.

The worker took it and went to look for the item. After just a couple of minutes, the woman was back with a small package in her hands along with a small envelope.

"Sorry for making you wait. Here's your package." she said.

Shizuru thanked the woman and signed the receipt. When she took the small package, she noticed that the envelope was addressed to her. She was wondering what it would contain, but if it was something private, she didn't want to draw any attention to herself. That was why, before opening the envelope and seeing what was inside, she left the post office. She decided to go to a park that was nearby.

When she reached the park, she took a seat on one of the benches and opened the envelope. She was surprised to find a note that said, "Open the box, Shizuru." and was signed with a symbol that belonged to the nation of Zipang. Shizuru blinked a couple of times as curiosity overwhelmed her. She tried not to think much about it, and she opened the parcel without further thought. Upon opening it, she was once more flabbergasted due to its contents. There was a piece of a torn photograph, a roll of adhesive tape, and another piece of paper with something written on it. She took the note and read it.

"On the day you were born, the angels got together and decided to create the epitome of love and beauty: you. Nothing could compare to you. Without my knowing, everything started there. That place I'm very grateful to, the place that saw you for the first time."

Shizuru analyzed the piece of photo she had; it was a corner of the picture. It didn't have much detail of what it could be, nor did it have anything written on the back. What was she supposed to do with this? Shizuru read the note again and, not knowing why, she felt gentle warmth fill her entire being. Those words were beautiful and quite flattering. After reading the note for the tenth time and seeing the piece of photo, she realized that her task must be to complete the photograph. So, she stood up from the bench and, without wasting a second, she headed to the place the note was referring to. The place that saw her for the first time would be the house where she was born.

She arrived at her old house in no time. Her family didn't live there anymore; they had moved out from Windbloom to a less crowded place. She smiled at the fond memories she had in that old house, and how it had been there that she decided to become an otome, much to her parents' dismay. She was about to ring the bell when she saw something posted right underneath it. It was a small paper bag with her name on it. Shizuru took the paper bag and opened it, and just like with the box from before, it contained another piece of the photograph and another note.

"Chamomile, Cinnamon, Jasmine, Peppermint, all can be found in the same place, where you sate your addiction is just one of your weak points, but it also makes you what you are. Those weaknesses don't matter because to me you are perfect. I take you just the way you are. I love you just the way you are."

Shizuru smiled and actually blushed a little at the note. The one responsible for it surely was very passionate and lovely. And that made Shizuru wonder about who could be the responsible for these notes, though she didn't need to think about it for long at all. As soon as she began to ponder the question, her mind let her inevitably to the answer. She read the two notes that she had now in her possession again. Every time she read them, she felt an incredible happiness; she felt complete. That Zipang's symbol drew her attention the most, since she sensed something familiar on it, as if she had seen it before. And every time she looked at it, her mind immediately drifted to her raven-haired lover.

It was the same feeling she always got whenever she was with the company of her Natsuki. Just being by Natsuki's side, Shizuru felt accomplished in many ways.

It was at that moment that Shizuru's mind came to its inevitable conclusion. Opening her eyes briefly in amazement at her train of thoughts, she analyzed the letter closely. That handwriting… she had seen it before, countless times… that was when the realization hit her. How could she have been so blind to it, and missed such an obvious clue? It was Natsuki's handwriting! Shizuru also remembered that one time when Natsuki and she were still a coral and a pearl in Garderobe respectively; Shizuru had received a love letter from her dearest Natsuki, and Natsuki had signed it the same way as in these notes; using Zipang's characters. Natsuki had learned some of them thanks to Mai's help. On the other hand, Shizuru already had some knowledge about them by studying them on her own. And it was during one of their studying sessions thatNatsuki had shown how her name would be written with Zipang's characters to Shizuru. Shizuru had been sure to learn it by heart.

So this was what Natsuki meant when she told her to have fun earlier? Shizuru couldn't help but smile broadly at all the schemes of her lover. She wanted to go back and simply kiss Natsuki senseless and make love to her until she was drained of every drop of strength she had. Yet Shizuru suppressed that impulse and decided to continue with this treasure hunt her beloved had prepared specially for her. It would be very impolite and rude not to complete it after Natsuki had put so much effort into it. With regained energy she read the second note again so she could discover where she needed to go next in order to find the following notes and pieces of the photograph.

"Natsuki has always said that the tea is my addiction – besides her of course. Also all those names are tea flavors. And the only place where all of those are together is…" Shizuru whispered. She concluded, "So the next package must be at the Tea Shop."

And so there she went. It really was fortunate that the tea shop wasn't far from there, so it didn't take long to arrive. When she entered, the old lady that was there – who also happened to be the owner of the store – handed her another small package without saying anything. Shizuru was a bit taken aback by this, but most likely the old lady already knew who she was and what she was looking for. Shizuru thanked the old woman and left the shop. Once she was outside, Shizuru opened the packet. Just like with the previous one, she found another note inside, but this time there were two pieces of the picture. Shizuru read the charming note and quickly discovered the next location where she could find a package.

Before long, Shizuru found herself submerged in this rally to find something. What? She didn't know. But truth be told, she was really enjoying it. Especially since Natsuki's notes were so lovely and she had used places and spots that had a lot of meaning for them, like the restaurant where they had a special date. Or the small shrine where they had left a ribbon with their wishes. Even the place they had gone to after Natsuki became her room assistant; among many others. There was a point where Shizuru was leaded back to Garderobe, more specifically, outside Shinso's Mausoleum. Shizuru had even materialized her robe to go back as fast as possible in order to get the next packet. There on the ground was placed another small parcel. Immediately Shizuru cast off her robe and went to get it. She knelt and took the small box. She opened it and took out the note, and what seemed to be the last piece to finally complete the photograph. In the note was written:

"This entire place holds a special meaning to me. On different occasions I witnessed right in this place the ultimate proof of how pure and deep your love for me is. You did everything for my sake, for my safety, for all I mean to you. So after that, I thought it was my turn to show you the same. Sometimes you might not think that I care for you when I really do. In our paradise, I'll show you how deep my love is."

Shizuru's heart was beating fast inside her chest, and tears started to form in her eyes. She took the note and held it closer to her heart. After a few minutes, she took the last piece of the photo and saw that in this particular piece, there was a part of a face. The only thing that could be seen clearly was the eyes: a precious shade of emerald green. Shizuru knew those eyes by heart; they were so engraved in her heart and soul that she would be able to see them clearly even if she closed her own eyes. She smiled fondly at the memory of her lover.

She then proceeded to discover the next place she needed to go. Unfortunately it was proving to be quite a challenge. Then she thought that maybe the note wouldn't give her the clue, but the picture itself, given that this piece was the one to complete it. Shizuru took out all the pieces of the photo and began to arrange it as if it was a puzzle. When it was done, she took out the adhesive tape and attached all the pieces together.

"So that's what it was for…" Shizuru though as she let out a small giggle. When she'd begun the rally, she'd wondered why in the world she would be given adhesive tape. Now she understood why.

After the photo was properly attached together, Shizuru was left speechless. The picture was of a smiling Natsuki with her Column attire. She had one hand up with its back towards the camera. And on the ring finger, Shizuru noticed a gold and silver band. Her heart was beating so fast, and her mind was starting to cloud at the emotions she was feeling, so she almost didn't notice where Natsuki was in the picture. Not wasting a second, Shizuru headed there; to their paradise.

Shizuru made it to the building where the Gakuenchou's room was located. She knocked on the door just out of politeness. When she didn't receive any answer, she opened the door and went in, finding that all of the room was covered in the shadows.

"Natsuki?" Shizuru called out.

Shizuru walked all the way to the bedroom of the principal.

"Natsuki? Are you in here?"

Once more, she knocked the door, receiving only silence as an answer. Carefully, she turned the doorknob and opened the door, walking in with silent steps. She walked to the bed, where she noticed that a smaller box – compared to the ones she had received preciously in the rally – was placed neatly on it. Anxiously, she picked it up with trembling hands. When she opened the box, she was left astounded. The box contained a small note that simply said: "Behind you."

Shizuru turned around and standing there, near the door was Natsuki, wearing her column attire and holding the same pose as in the picture; her hand was up, with the gold and silver band around her ring finger.

Natsuki walked to Shizuru and smiled lovingly and tenderly at her, a smile reserved only for her love as Shizuru smiled a special smile of her own. Natsuki cupped Shizuru's cheek and began to say,

"It was a long path, wasn't it? It was filled with lots of emotions. And it's thanks to them that we are here now. It's a road we'll travel dreaming hand in hand." Natsuki took Shizuru's hand and, on Shizuru's ring finger, she placed a matching gold and silver band. "The next time you want to experience those again, you'll just have to look at your hand, to this finger. All my love is stored there. I love you so much Shizuru."

Shizuru was shedding tears of happiness, so Natsuki got closer and embraced her in an amorous hug. Shizuru rested her head against Natsuki's chest and smiled widely.

She never expected to receive such a precious gift after she had a not-so-sweet Valentine's Day. Despite the fact that she was overwhelmed with it, part of her still wanted to know the occasion for such a wonderful gift.

"Why did Natsuki do all of this today of all days?" Shizuru asked in a low voice, yet Natsuki was still able to hear it.

"What do you mean, Shizuru? You didn't like it?" Natsuki asked, a bit nervous.

"That's not it. I loved it. I had so much fun following your clues. Your notes were so charming and passionate. I enjoyed every minute of it, but why today and not days ago?"

"You mean on Valentine's Day?"

"Yes."

"It's not that I forgot or anything. Recently I've been thinking that my undying love for you should be professed all year long, and not only on special dates. That's what I do believe." Natsuki said with determination and love. Then, in an apologizing tone, she said, "Sorry that I made you feel down on Valentine's Day, that wasn't my intention. I still owe you a chocolate by the way."

Shizuru was so touched by Natsuki's words that she simply let out soft giggle and said,

"It's okay, Natsuki. I'm sure you can redeem yourself on White Day. Right now, what we feel tonight is all we need to make it right."

Shizuru hugged Natsuki tighter, and the raven-haired principal did the same. When they got apart from the hug, they stared at each other's eyes intensely. Their gazes were expressing a pure love that couldn't be compared to anything in the world. The ups and downs they'd find on the way wouldn't matter, because their love was strong enough to last when things were rough. They kissed each other fervently, as if to seal a pact that would last forever. A vow for showing the love they had for each other everyday, for the rest of their lives, and to eternity.

END.


Notes.

White Day – In Japan the White Day is when all of those that got a chocolate (or a present) on Valentine's Day hand out a gift in return as a way to express their gratitude.

By the way, I do believe that when you truly love someone, you show off your love for him/her everyday and not only on special ocassions. The daily small details are more cherished than one appealing day or night. Or that's what I feel.

Anyways...I thought that the idea was very appealing and quite romantic. So this was the turn out of it. Did you like it? I hope so. Don't forget to drop a review!

Thanks for reading.

See you around!

Shezaei neko