Phew, this is a long one. More than 10.000 words. It took me a whole while to finish it, but I am rather proud of it. I hope you guys enjoy it as well.
MintCookieMonterr, this is the request you made, featuring Hana and Doremi, the topic being Fairy Tale. Please comment and tell me if it was to your liking. I also added a bit of romance between the Ojamajo's and the Flat 4, since I won't be doing that for a while. Therefore, I can say that this fic is also dedicated to our hardcore OjamajoXFlat4 shippers out there; PippElulu and Charmed Ojamajo. All the others who love them, cherish this one-shot because it's as I said; you won't be getting them in a while.
Now, I have two more requests coming (one of them is going to be totally different to what I usually do). Those who have requested them know what I'm talking about and those who don't will just have to wait until they're out. I'll try not to make you guys wait too long.
Also: ONLY 5 MORE EPISODES UNTIL OJAMAJO DOREMI IS COMPLETELY SUBBED (in german language). I CAN'T WAIT! I might just start a really long fic once it's done^^. I just don't know which one yet. So this is a plea to everyone who's actually taking the time to read this; go to my page, where you'll find the description of the stories I want to write. You'll find four different Doremi fics listed there. Read their descriptions write a comment here and tell me which one you think I should be doing.
Aaaaand … I think I've rambled enough, so now it's time to enjoy the story. See ya around.
Characters: the cast here is big, so I'll narrow it down to the main cast; Doremi and Hana
Genre: I dunno … Family perhaps?
Rating: Let's make this one T, just in case
"Cinderella almost jumped down the stairs, hoping dearly that she would be down in time.
Wait she cried when she reached the last stairs. Please wait. I haven't tried on the shoe yet!
The ambassador stopped in his tracks and turned around. He doubted that the girl, wearing nothing but rags, could be the mysterious girl the prince was fantasizing about. And yet, when he looked closer, there seemed to be some kind of hidden beauty beneath those old and dirty clothes. So he walked to the girl, bowed before and held out the glass slipper for her to slip in. It fit perfectly.
You're the one the ambassador breathed.
Nobody wasted any time. Cinderella was taken to the castle, much to the disliking of her stepmother and stepsisters. The prince, although Cinderella was still wearing rags, recognized the girl immediately and ordered to set up the marriage, having finally found his one and only princess.
The marriage was celebrated largely. It went on for three nights and three days
And Cinderella? She never had to work or listen to her stepsisters yelling ever again. She and the prince loved each other dearly and soon became the king and the queen of the beautiful land.
And so, they lived happily ever after.
Little Hana squealed in delight and clapped her hands cutely. It was the very first time her mama Doremi had decided to read her a fairytale and Hana was absolutely mesmerized by it. Doremi was very proud of herself for coming up with the idea. She smiled down at her 'daughter' lovingly and made her ready for bed. And that was when Hana's mood dropped.
"Now don't be stubborn Hana-chan. It's time for you to go to bed. It's already late."
But Hana wanted to be stubborn. Just like any other child, the blonde baby was not a fan going to bed. At first, she only pouted and squeaked in protest, but soon, it developed into a huge fit and Doremi had her fair trouble calming the future witch queen down. The more spoiled Hana acted, the more Doremi was on edge of her patience, until …
"Hana-chan, if you don't stop this nonsense right now, I will have Majo Rika and Lala look after you for tonight!"
That made Hana freeze. She was used to having one of her mamas stay by her side, softly humming or singing her favorite lullaby until she was sound asleep. Therefore, having that luxury taken away and being watched by the frog and the fairy was a severe punishment. It was so severe, that instead of throwing another tantrum, Hana's eyes started to get teary.
But Doremi didn't even think of budging; she did what every good mother would do; stay firm when their children are misbehaving. As the baby looked at her mother with tears in her eyes, Doremi stared back coldly, silently promising Hana that she would not let her threat go empty. Hana's following reaction was that she started bawling her eyes out, screaming loud enough for the entire house to hear. And thus, Doremi had her threat come true.
A half an hour later, Hana was sobbing quietly, listening to the noises Doremi and the others made while closing off the flower shop. It was time to go home and Doremi would not stay to sing Hana to sleep.
"Listen Hana," Majo Rika said, "this is your own fault for being so spoiled. If you had done what Doremi said and gone to sleep quietly, then she would still be here with you."
Hana was in no mood to listen. She just laid there, unmoving, in the little bed that had grown into the tree, not even looking at Majo Rika or Lala. While tears were still running down her face, she was pouting out of stubbornness, not wanting to admit that her mother was in the right.
Finally, the witch … or witch-frog … and the fairy gave up with a big sigh and floated out of the room, leaving Hana all to herself.
"Good night, Hana", Lala said one last time before turning out the lights.
And they were finally gone. Immediately, Hana stopped crying and pouting and looked around, making sure that nobody was there. When she was sure, the little ponytail on Hana's head started twitching and the balls started glowing. A book appeared out of nowhere and it landed safely right in front of Hana. One more time, the ponytail twitched and one more time, the balls glowed. A bright light filled the Mahou Dou and once it was gone, the flower shop was empty. As for Doremi, Hazuki, Aiko and Onpu; all traces of them had disappeared.
All this was seen by four pairs of watchful eyes, belonging to the four youngsters of the wizard world. Once the girls were gone, they abandoned their hideout and walked into the Mahou Dou, exploring it from every angle. But not until a certain purple haired prince found the book lying in Hana's bed did they find any clues as to where the girls might have disappeared to.
"Hey guys, come here!" Akatsuki yelled.
The other three boys were by his side immediately, eying the little book in their leader's hand with a lot of curiosity.
"There's a lot of magical energy coming from this book", Fujio stated.
"Akatsuki, you don't think that they might have …" Tooru started, but a very confident, very scary smile from the purple haired made him stop.
"That's exactly what I think, Tooru", Akatsuki answered. "And we're going to do the same thing."
You're joooking", Leon said in his wretched English.
"I'm not joking. Come on, let's go!"
As he said this, the two outstanding strands of hair on Akatsuki's head twitched. The same happened with the other three and in a matter of seconds, they had completely disappeared, while the book fell on the floor noisily.
Doremi shot up in her bed. Cinderella? Why was somebody yelling for Cinderella? And who was knocking on her door so wildly? ... Wait, that wasn't her door. Looking around, the redhead realized she wasn't even in her room. The room she was in was small and dirty and the bed she was laying in was uncomfortable and stuffed with straw. What was going on here?
"CINDERELLA, GET UP THIS INSTANT!" Again, the person knocked on the door.
Slowly, things started to dawn on Doremi. She looked down on herself and found that she was covered in dirty, torn rugs. How was it that all of this seemed so awfully familiar? Realization finally hit her. That person on the other side of the door was talking to her. She was Cinderella.
"CINDERELLA, IF YOU DON'T GET TO WORK RIGHT NOW THERE WILL BE SEVERE PUNISHMENT!"
Hastily, Doremi jumped out of bed, had her foot caught up in the sheets and fell headfirst to the floor.
"I'm coming", she yelled while her head still tried to figure out how she had landed in this mess.
As fast as she could, she freed her foot, put on some shoes, and tied her messy hair into only one bun, as she couldn't find a second clip. All that took her less than a minute and since the wild knocking never stopped, she bolted out the door as fast as she could, only to run straight into Majo Rika, who was, as always, sitting on a floating dustpan. The next few seconds, Doremi tried to separate the magical frog from her face and it only worked, when two more pair of hands helped.
Once Majo Rika was finally back on her dustpan, Doremi opened her eyes and saw two of her friends behind the witch-frog: the blue-haired sports girl Aiko and her oldest friend, the smart but quiet Hazuki. Both were wearing beautiful dresses in the style of the European baroque. Doremi could only stare until Majo Rika decided to put an end to it.
"DON'T JUST STAND THERE GUAFFING LIKE A MONKEY! YOU HAVE WORK TO DO."
"YES MAM!" Doremi answered automatically and stiffened.
"You have more chores than usual today and you're already late. Now go feed the animals, clean the stalls, wash our clothes and scrub the floors. Once you're done with that, come and help us get ready for the ball", Majo Rika barked.
"Yes mam", the red-haired piped and ran past the witch and her two friends to get to work.
However, seeing that the protagonist of the story was Doremi, pretty much everything went wrong. She mixed up the food for the animals, most of the horse's poop landed on the floors and the clothes ended up dirtier than before. The only thing that the red-head actually managed to clean were the floors. By the time Doremi was finished with the housework, Majo Rika had screamed herself mute with frustration.
Hazuki and Aiko weren't much better. When getting the two ready for the ball, none of them wanted to be last, so they kept pulling their 'step-sister' to themselves.
"Cinderella, ya have ta do my hair first."
"Cinderella, please make fitting me in my dress your first priority."
"Cinderella, my make up needs to be done."
In the middle of tending to Hazuki's hair, Doremi froze, remembering that she wasn't actually Cinderella and that she didn't actually have to do what Majo Rika and her friends told her to do. She was wasting time by playing this stupid little game.
"Why am I even doing this?" she mumbled to herself. "I have to go find a way out of here."
"Cinderella, please don't stop. My hair needs to be done soon or we'll be late for the ball."
Automatically, the red-head went back to work before she even realized what she was doing. But when thinking about her situation, she realized that she had no clue how to get out of this story. From the looks of it, she was the only one who knew that she wasn't part of this story. And since Majo Rika, Hazuki and Aiko were here, did that mean that Onpu was here to? Maybe even Lala and Hana?
Two full hours of being pushed around later, Doremi was finally finished getting her two friends ready. They were polished and ready to go and the unlucky witch had to admit that the two of them looked absolutely stunning. Hazuki's long, brown hair was put up in a big bun, decorated by flowers. Her dress was white and orange and rather simple, decorated only by a flower on her chest, two on her hips and one at her feet. There was also a corset around her waist.
Aiko's short hair was tied together on her left shoulder and she was dressed in different shades of blue and decorated with a ribbon on the left side of her waist, one around her neck a lot on the hem of her overdress and one in her hair. It was sleeveless, but her gloves were long. Doremi looked at the two of them and couldn't help but to be envious. They looked like princesses and she wished that she could be one of them.
"You stay here and correct all the mistakes you did today. If you manage to finish your chores and somehow manage to get a dress, then you may follow us." Majo Rika barked, before turning around and floating out of the house, her two daughters right behind her.
The door closed and Doremi took a huge breath, now that she actually had the time to do so. A few seconds past in which the red-head just stood there, gathering her thoughts. And then she exploded.
"WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON HERE?" she screamed at the top of her lungs.
There was a tiny giggle coming from above and Doremi's head shot up immediately. That giggle sounded awfully familiar. And for real, floating right above 'Cinderella's' head was a baby with blond hair and a single pigtail on the top of her head. She seemed nothing less but amused by the scene since her giggles never stopped. And that's when the gears in Doremi's head clicked.
"Hana-chan", the red-head's voice so quiet and calm that it was frightening. "Don't tell me you were the one who put us all in this story."
Hana stopped giggling immediately at the threatening sound of her mother's voice and gulped. She promptly decided that it was dangerous to stay this close to the clumsy girl any longer and flew away as fast as she could.
"HANA-CHAN!" Doremi yelled after her, but the blonde had already disappeared.
Exhausted and tired, the red-head sighed deeply and walked to the gardens, taking in the sweet air of the night. She never had to work this much before, not even in the Mahou Dou and her muscles were already starting to get sore. Not knowing what to do now, Doremi sat down on one of the cold stone benches. In the story, the fairy god-mother would appear at this point, so the only thing Doremi could think of doing was to wait for this to happen.
So she lied down on the bench and looked up at sky full of stars. A wide smile appeared on Doremi's face. It was very seldom that she, who lived in a big city, ever got to see so many stars in the sky. They shone in white, in yellow, in blue and in red and they were everywhere. It was a beautiful sight to behold and the reed-head stopped envying her two step-sisters. Let them go to the ball. She had the view of this incredible night sky.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" A voice said next to Doremi.
The witchling jumped in surprise and fell of her bench, head first on the cold stone floor. She cursed a tiny little bit under her breath and tried to pick herself up from the floor. Looking up, she saw a very familiar little being with long, curly, blond hair.
"Lala?" Doremi asked astounded. Was she the fairy godmother?
"Lala?" the fairy asked confused. "You must have hit your head hard my dear. I'm sorry for scaring you."
"Oh no, don't worry about it. I'm always a little clumsy."
Lala's head tilted to the side in confusion.
"If you say so …" she said unsure. "But allow me to introduce myself. I am your fairy godmother, my dear. I've been watching over you, so I know you've had a hard life. You wish to go to the ball, am I right?"
"Well …" Doremi trailed of, scratching the back of her head. "Actually, I wanted to find a way …"
"They serve steak there", Lala interrupted. "As much as you can eat."
"I WISH TO GO TO THE BALL!" Doremi suddenly yelled with stars in her eyes.
The little fairy giggled and pulled a wand out of nowhere. Gracefully, she soared high into the air, where she swung it and a beautiful carriage with four magnificent black stallions appeared out of nowhere. She soared back down to the carriage and had the tip of her wand touch the back and the front of it. The result was the appearance of two gentlemen who bowed to Doremi in perfect sync. To say the least; the red-head was swept of her feet. She was a witch apprentice and knew many witches, but she had never seen this kind of magic.
"Now what do I do with you?" Lala asked herself as she flew back to Doremi. "Oh, I know."
With a tiny swing of the wand, Doremi started changing. Her bun got loose and her hair was turned as shiny as it had never been before, before only the front strands of hair were pulled backwards, held together at the back of her head by a beautiful purple ribbon with a jewel in the middle. Her rags were falling apart and Doremi's body started to glow a bright shade of pink. Before the glowing stopped, the rags put themselves back together, this time forming a beautiful purple dress. It started at her chest, where a tiny ribbon with another jewel was situated, holding together the rosy 'sleeves' (for a better lack of word) that went from her chest straight to her arms, leaving a lot of chest and shoulders exposed. The purple overdress was skin tight from her chest down to her waist, where it parted and fell wide in soft creases. The underdress, that appeared were the overdress parted, was the same shade of a soft, rosy pink as the sleeves and at her back, just where the dress turned wide, was another purple ribbon that fell in the same soft creases the overdress did at the front. It was a dress more beautiful than Doremi had ever seen before. Then finally, the glowing stopped and Doremi's skin had gotten clean and smooth.
Doremi pulled up the hem of her dress and walked to the small backyard fountain. Her eyes got wide and she blushed when she looked into it. She could hardly believe what she was seeing.
"Is this … really me?" she asked in a small voice.
"It sure is" Lala answered. "Do you like it?"
"Yes!" Doremi cried. "I love it. Oh thank you so much."
"But I feel there's something missing."
Doremi stood still as the little fairy flew around her, examining her up and down. And finally, about a minute later, she found out what was missing. One last time did she swing her wand and a beautiful silver necklace appeared around the red-head's neck, decorated with many different jewels. Also, her feet were adorned with beautiful slippers, made out of purple glass. Now, Doremi's outfit was complete.
"There, you're all done", Lala smiled. "Now go and enjoy the ball. But you must be back before midnight, because that is when the magic stops."
"Yeah, yeah, I know that. Thanks for everything La … I mean fairy godmother." The clumsy girl beamed and disappeared into the carriage.
Immediately, gentleman number one hopped onto the front and took the reins, while gentleman number two hopped to the back. And thus, the carriage rode off, steadily making its way towards the castle. Doremi sat at the edge of her seat, watching the gigantic building coming closer and closer. She could hardly wait to get her steak.
Then finally, the carriage arrived. The gentleman sitting on the back of it jumped down and held the door open for Doremi to step out. As she did, she took the outstretched hand of that gentleman to help her down the few steps until she was safely at the ground. Once she was, the red-head exhaled. She had made it this far without ripping, dirtying or ruining her dress in some other way.
With sudden confidence, Doremi held up the hem of her dress and started walking towards the huge castle. But after only a few steps, a very familiar giggle came to the red-head's ears. Her head snapped upwards, just in time to see a tiny blonde baby floating around the corner. Before she disappeared out of sight, the clumsy witch apprentice ran after her, not tripping even once.
Hana flew to around one of the corners of the castle, her mother right on her heels. But when Doremi passed the corner as well, her little daughter was gone. The red-head was fuming and thought about using magic just to stop this nonsense. The only problem was … she didn't have her flower poron with her. While cursing inwardly, the clumsy witchling spotted a tiny little side door and her face lit up. This must have been where Hana disappeared to.
Without hesitation, Doremi walked through the side door into the humongous castle, only to find herself inside a labyrinth of hallways. The one she was in was going straight forward, but there were so many different doors and corners and Hana could have gone anywhere. But the red-head refused to drop her spirits and walked into the castle, calling for her little daughter. For all she knew, she might just get a reply.
Onpu Segawa was without a doubt the biggest attraction at the party … for the moment at least. She looked absolutely stunning in her purple dress. It was simple, but elegant, brought forth all of her (not yet) existing curves and fell to the floor in big, elegant folds. It started at her chest and a beautiful silvery necklace with a purple gem adorned hung around her neck. Also, she was wearing long, light purple gloves.
And if she didn't catch the attention of the crowd through her beauty, she caught it through her voice. For Onpu Segawa was the most well known Opera singer in the country and she had come all the way here to sing at the princes' birthday ball. A huge Orchestra was accompanying her and the people would either sit at their respective tables and listen to her while enjoying the tasty food, or would go to the dance floor and dance to their hearts contents to the beautiful music.
But even the one and only Onpu Segawa was put in the shadows when her song ended and the trumpeters announced the entrance of the true star of this ball. The biggest doors in the hall opened and in walked a young boy with purple hair and very princely attire, clad completely in white with a red sash adorning his chest. Right behind him were three other boys, not looking quite as princely but just as handsome. Everyone in the kingdom knew who those boys were; the prince and his closest entourage who would never leave his side.
They walked through the entire room, following the red carpet that had been laid out especially for them. Their heads were held high and it was only thanks to the many screams, squeals and whispers of the young and old women who had come to catch the eye of the prince, that the boys own whispers weren't heard by anybody but themselves. However, their walk was anything but uneventful.
"Fujio, what's going on here?" Akatsuki hissed furiously at his shortest friend.
"It appears as if we have taken over roles of the book we have teleported ourselves into." The orange haired boy whispered back.
"So … what kinda story is this?" Leon asked.
"It's a children's story that's very well known amongst the people of this world, following a young girl that has been mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. But at the night of the ball of the prince's birthday, her fairy godmother appears and gives her the chance to go there. She goes there, capture's the attention of the prince through her beauty and dances with him all night long However, she must leave at midnight for that's when the magic will stop. But when she leaves, she loses her slipper and that's how the prince manages to find her. They marry and live happily ever after."
"Sounds like a nice story" Tooru sighed, his eyes glued on the Opera singer who bowed at them as they walked by.
He blushed when she stood up and smiled sweetly at him, giving him a glance at her full, beautiful attire. When their eyes met, the blue haired boy got uncharacteristically shy and turned his head away immediately. His eyes were glued to his own feet and his head was starting to burn up.
"And what roles did we take in this story?" Akatsuki continued his interrogation.
"It seems", Fujio said upon looking around the hall, "that you have taken over the role of the prince and we … the role … of …"
Fujio didn't answer. His eyes had found a very familiar brunette and upon her sight, he had lost his speech. There, amongst the crowd, was Hazuki, standing ladylike amongst the crowd, her eyes glued on them. Up until now, he had always admired her for her smarts, her quiet determination and her shyness. But now he had found out that she could be stunningly beautiful and it took him a while to comprehend that new discovery.
"Fujio?" Leon asked and waved his hand over the eyes of the boy. "Hey, watcha looking at?"
The blonde followed his friend's eyes and saw what he was looking at. A huge grin spread across his face and he patted his Fujio on the back harshly.
"Looks like someone's got a conquest to do tonight", Leon teased.
"Like you're one to talk", Fujio shot back. "Look who's standing there next to her."
Leon's eyes moved from the brunette only to spot a bluenette who, in his eyes, looked even more gorgeous tonight than both, Hazuki and Onpu put together. Just like everyone else, Aiko had her eyes glued on the boys. Her grin was wide and cheerful and Leon could only stare. She had beaten him once again this night; she was much prettier than he was handsome.
"Wow", he breathed and a small smile featured his lips while his eyes started shining.
As if she had heard him, Aiko's eyes darted over to him. He grinned and winked at her, while she only raised a brow at him before turning her head away completely. She closed her eyes and held her nose high in the air as if saying; 'I don't want anything to do with you, so stay away from me'. Leon could only grin stupidly. This was definitely his Ai-chan and he would get her to look at him this night.
Akatsuki could only roll his eyes at his' friends' behavior. They would be of no use to him tonight. If he wanted Hana, he would have to get her himself. Yet, as he finally reached the throne that was situated at the end of the red carpet, turned around and sat down, only to have the entire hall bow to him, he couldn't help but wonder where a certain red-head might be and what she was doing. And as Onpu Segawa went to stand in the middle of the hall, ready to sing for the prince and the prince only, he also wondered if she might look just as pretty right now.
Doremi meanwhile, was wondering about something entirely different; namely how she would be able to find her little daughter and get out of this nightmare of a fairy tale. The castle was so huge and there were so many different corridors that the red-head felt completely lost. Only a small giggle that would come out of some hallway every now and then kept Doremi going. The dress was weighting heavy on her body and her heeled slippers made it hard for her to walk. But she had to keep it together. She paid attention to every little step she took and somehow managed not to trip once. With time, she got better at walking with the dress and was able to focus more on where the giggling noises came from. However, Doremi started despairing once again when she suddenly ended up in front of a small staircase. How was she supposed to climb these steps without falling?
But as she looked upwards, she could see her little baby floating around, clapping her hands and laughing heartily in delight. Once more did Doremi gather all of her courage, once more did she lift the hem of her dress and once more did she tackle another challenge as she slowly fought her way up the staircase.
"Hana-chan!" she said firmly as she slowly climbed stair after stair. "Hana-chan, that is enough nonsense. You're causing trouble for everybody. You can't do something so selfish just because you don't want to go to bed."
Hana stopped laughing immediately and looked at her mother for a few seconds before her eyes started tearing up. With small sobs, she turned around and disappeared in the next hallway.
"HANA-CHAN!" the red-haired cried and struggled to climb the staircase even fast.
Soon, she had mastered the challenge began to storm after her daughter, when she finally tripped over her dress and fell the stairs back down again, cursing all the way as she tumbled.
"I really am the unluckiest pretty girl in the whole wide world" Doremi whined when she had reached the end of the staircase.
But as she stood back up, she came to realize that she had damaged neither herself, nor the dress. Therefore, she figured that she might not be that unlucky after all. Once she had gathered herself, the young witch summoned her determination once again and climbed the staircase once more. She reached the top faster than the first time and started walking in the direction Hana had disappeared to. She found that the entire hallway was one huge curve and ever single door to her left was opened wide and seemed to lead to the same room, which, for some reason, seemed to have a few chandeliers hanging from the wall that were bigger than the room itself. It was weird, but Doremi didn't have time to inspect it any further. She just kept walking on.
Finally, after what seemed like ages, she found her little baby floating behind one of those chandeliers. Doremi ran into the room and understood immediately, why it had these huge chandeliers when she reached a rail; the room, wasn't a room, it was a hall. A huge hall. And she was standing on a rather narrow balcony far above the heads of the many people inside the hall. She was inside the ballroom and Hana was floating above it, hidden in the chains of one of the chandeliers.
"Hana-chan", Doremi cried as loud as she could without catching the attention of the people beneath her.
The little baby looked up, her eyes still teary. The little ponytail on her head twitched and Doremi had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. And for real, the little witch was lifted into the air and began floating over the protective fence and towards her daughter. She was floating above the hall. She was floating above the hall. She was floating above the hall. And that was NOT a good thing.
"H … ha .. Hana-chan?" Doremi squeaked on the verge of panic. "Hana-chan, let me down. Please let me down. Be a good girl and let me down."
And Doremi understood what people meant when they said to be careful what you wished for. Hana granted her wish and released her right on the spot, which caused Doremi to fall ... fast. She screamed on the top of her lungs as she tumbled down towards the hard floor. Hundreds of eyes shot upwards and watched the young girl fall from the balcony. But nobody moved; nobody except for the one person who had recognized her voice. The two outstanding strands of hair on his head twitched and slowed down the girls fall just enough to delete any possibility of serious damage. The fact that Doremi landed on the famous singer who was just about to sing for the prince helped as well.
"Owww …" Doremi groaned when she had realized that she had survived the fall.
"What on earth …" Onpu moaned when she noticed that she couldn't stand up because there was a weight on her back.
Throughout the whole commotion, the prince and his entourage all cracked a wide smile. It was so typical for Doremi to make a grand entrance like this. Akatsuki made his way towards the two girls lying on the floor before anyone else moved, followed by the blue haired wizard. He reached Doremi just as she had managed to sit up and when she looked upwards, the first thing she saw was purple haired wizards holding out his hand for her to take.
"Are you alright?" he asked.
Doremi almost cried out Akatsuki's name in surprise. After all, he was the last person she had expected to see here. But she bit her tongue just in time to not mess up.
"O … ouji-sama?" she asked instead, unsure whether the person in front of her was whom she believed to be.
As he nodded, she slowly took his hand and allowed him to help her up. And upon the full display of her beauty, the entire hall froze. Doremi was outshining even the famous, beautiful and talented Onpu Segawa. At the sight of her, Akatsuki had forgotten how to breath and even Fujio, Leon and Tooru, who was helping Onpu back on her feet, had to admit that the red-head's beauty was far beyond that of their respective counterparts. Whereas Akatsuki was still fighting to get his head back into gear, Fujio was already deducting that this could only mean that Doremi was Cinderella. Or perhaps this hidden beauty of hers was the reason she was chosen as Cinderella.
The director caught himself first and reacted quickly, signing his orchestra to play a Viennese Waltz. And as the music started playing again, the people reacted to it and began dancing. Doremi caught sight of Fujio and Leon, who asked her friends a.k.a. step-sisters to dance. Hazuki accepted shyly whereas Leon had troubles getting Aiko to accept, but somehow managed anyways. But what really caught the attention of the crowd was once again Onpu, who was dancing with Tooru like nobody had ever seen anyone dance before. They twirled and twisted, step for step and looked as if they hadn't done anything else for their entire life. And as they danced, all six of them looked like they were caught in seventh heaven.
Akatsuki, who had snapped out of his stupor when the music started playing, smiled softly at Doremi's worried look as she observed her friends. The wizard prince took one step back, quickly catching the red-head's attention and bowed deeply.
"Shall we go somewhere with less people?" he asked when he had straightened himself back up.
Doremi blushed heavily and looked to the ground, before remembering Hana and her head shot upwards, searching the chandeliers and the roof for any sign that her beloved baby was alright. But Hana was gone and no matter how hard she tried, the young witchling couldn't find a proper excuse to go look for her, which probably also originated from the fact that Doremi was not exactly the brightest of persons. So instead, she looked back at Akatsuki with a face as red as a tomato and nodded.
Akatsuki held out a hand for Doremi to take and as she did, her face got even redder, if that was possible. Slowly, he tried to lead her out of the room, but Doremi tripped over her dress. Now that she only had one hand to hold up its hem, it was a lot harder to walk. Luckily, Akatsuki caught her in mid fall and kept his arm around her waist just to ensure that she wouldn't fall even if she were to trip, while his hand was still holding hers.
"Don't be nervous", he whispered into her ear. "I won't allow a beautiful young lady like you to embarrass herself. Now, let me get you out of here."
Doremi swore that her heart was going to jump out of her chest and her head was starting to swim. The close contact might just be a little too much for her to handle. Akatsuki on the other hand, only smirked devilishly. Things may not be going as planned, but it was certain that the baby would stay somewhere close to one of her mothers. And each mother was in the company of either him or his friends, so wherever she would appear, someone would be there to capture her. And from the fact that all the girls stayed separated and had no contact whatsoever, apart from Aiko and Hazuki, it was safe to assume that they didn't realize that they were part of a story, which would make it all the easier for them to capture Hana as the royal patraine would not interfere. It was a foolproof plan.
Doremi was unaware of the prince's brooding and allowed herself to be led out of the hall, into the castle gardens. The music was much quieter here, but still loud enough to catch the rhythm easily. Since Akatsuki already held Doremi's hand and already had an arm around her waist, the only thing left to do was to position himself in front of her instead next to her and he could start dancing.
"I'm … not the best of dancers", Doremi said before they could start. "I'm very clumsy, so I might step on your feet, or trip over my own or …"
"Don't think about it", the prince interrupted her. "Just allow me to guide you. Follow my lead and we'll be fine."
She didn't know how he did it. His hold on her was gentle, yet when he stepped back, he gave her no choice but to follow. When he took a step to the side, she was not allowed to do anything else but to mimic him. When he took a step forward she automatically stepped back. He was leading her so perfectly that even though she was so clumsy, even though she had never danced before in her life, she was unable to do a single wrong thing.
It didn't take long before Doremi stopped focusing on her feet and looked up, where she met the eyes of the prince. And as cliché as it might sound, the world stopped at that moment and not only for her. Just as she was fascinated by the beautiful boy who had the moonlight in his back, making him shine like Adonis, he was completely intoxicated by the sight of the girl in his arms with her creamy skin which captured the moonlight, her big, innocent red eyes and that tiny, enchanted smile that graced those beautiful … pink … kissable … lips …
They had long forgotten that they were dancing in the huge garden of an even bigger castle. They had long forgotten that they were inside a storybook that would at some point come to an end. They had long forgotten that they were supposed to find the tiny baby that had caused all this commotion. Doremi's heart was thumping faster and faster once she realized that they had stopped dancing and Akatsuki was getting closer. Much closer. Maybe a little bit too close. Or maybe - so Doremi thought when she slowly started closing her eyes and opening her lips –
But just before the red-head's eyes closed completely and Akatsuki closed the distance between them, Doremi caught sight of a tiny blonde ponytail. And there was only one person this ponytail could belong to.
The young witch's eyes shot open immediately. In a split second, her entire body was on alarm. She pushed herself away from the boy in front of her and ran past him, storming after her beloved baby.
Akatsuki just looked after her, completely perplexed and stupefied, still trying to comprehend what had just happened. He had completely forgotten about his mission. He had been completely off guard. Even more than that, he had allowed himself to get enchanted by a simple little girl. And he had almost kissed her as well.
By the honor of his kingdom …
… he had almost kissed her.
HE HAD ALMOST KISSED HER!
The moment he realized that he clapped a hand over his mouth and his face turned red. He really didn't blush often, but this was a bit more than he was able to take. The more he thought about, the redder his face got. He remembered how she had looked at him with those eyes of hers and that smile. She had been completely fascinated by him. He had achieved his goal. And yet, it seemed as if she had been the one that had seduced him, not the other way around.
For some reason that thought angered him. His two strands of hair twitched and the next word he said were heard by his three best friends, regardless of how far away they were.
"I've found the baby", he said, his voice as icy as his eyes, letting his friends know that he was deadly serious. "And I want it right now."
Doremi ran. She ran as fast as she could, the teary face of her little baby not once leaving her mind. She had to reach her. She just had to. As the red-head sprinted around another corner, her beloved Hana finally came into view. Upon seeing her, a huge, relieved sigh came onto her face.
"HANA-CHAN!" Doremi cried on top of her lungs.
The little baby stopped in her run ... errr, I mean float and turned around. That made Doremi stop as well. Completely out of breath, she smiled a smile only a mother could smile, huffing desperately to catch her breath.
"Hana-chan", Doremi said, her voice as soft as it would only ever get with her beloved daughter. "Hana-chan, you've been a bad girl and you know it."
Hana looked down to the ground her eyes started tearing up again.
"You won't ever do it again right?"
"You'll be a good girl from now on, right?"
Again, Hana nodded while tears were running down her cheeks. Doremi just kept smiling and spread out her arms widely. Hana looked up and her eyes were wide, not sure if she was understanding what her mother wanted to say.
"Then let's go home now."
Though her eyes were still teary, the little girl's smile got huge and she cried out while floating towards her mother as fast as she could. However, in mid-flight, she was stopped by ropes that came down from the sky and tied her up completely, only to pull her into the opposite direction, away from Doremi. Hana cried and struggled, trying to get loose, but the more she struggled, the more tightly the ropes tied around her. And as frantically as Doremi looked, the ropes didn't seem to lead anywhere. They just disappeared into the sky.
Of course, unbeknownst to her, the powerhouse of the FLAT 4, Leon, had used a spell to make himself invisible, another one to float in the sky and one more to control the ropes that tied his target. Not far away, hiding behind a wall of the castle, Fujio was on standby, ready to think up a plan to suppress Hana's magic in case she should run wild.
As soon as Leon had fulfilled his task of capturing the baby, Tooru cast his own magic to turn the entire garden into one huge maze. And before Doremi caught hold of herself, she was lost inside it, separated from her little girl.
"Wha …" she whispered to herself, "what's going on here? Does this belong to the story as well?"
She started calling for her daughter. When there was no reply, the red-head started to panic and called louder. When there was still no reply, Doremi started running. She had no idea where she was going and whenever there was a curve, she would just run where her feet took her, all the way yelling and calling for Hana. At some point, her hairstyle got loose and the hair started falling into her face. But not once did she stop running.
Then finally, there was a weak cry from Hana. It was so faint and so far away that Doremi could hardly hear, but it still resulted in her determination getting even stronger and she picked up the pace, screaming louder for her beloved baby. Without a single second of hesitation, the red-head made her way through her maze, constantly getting closer to Hana.
But Akatsuki wouldn't have it. While his friends were struggling with keeping the crying and fighting baby under control, he made it his task to distract its mother. The minute she had run away, he had figured that she knew that she was part of a story. And if Doremi knew it, there was a high possibility that the others did as well, which is why he ordered Tooru to build up the maze, just to keep them separated as long as possible. Fortunately, the only one who had reacted to the change was Doremi, which is why it was safe to assume that the other girls didn't know what was going on. And that made their job a lot easier. The only question was; why hadn't Doremi transformed yet?
And so, the young prince used his magic to conjure up a little bit of wind, just enough to make Doremi's hair go wild. Just a split second, the wizard was a bit distracted by seeing the wild side of the red-head's beauty. How odd just how much influence hair could have on a person's looks. But he refused to let himself get controlled by that girl once more and so, before she was able to sort out the mess the wind had made out of her hair, Akatsuki landed just in front of her so that Doremi ran right into him.
"Ouji-sama", Doremi cried. "I'm sorry, but I have to go."
"Eh? But why?" Akatsuki asked innocently before she could run away.
"There's something important I have to do. So please, excuse me."
Once again, Doremi started running, but Akatsuki wouldn't let her go and caught her wrist before she could escape.
"Ojou-sama, what's the matter? Did I do something wrong? Was my company not to your liking?" he said, looking as heartbroken as he could, his acting skills really coming to shine now and definitely topping those of Onpu. And Doremi's heart broke as well at the face the prince was making.
"No", she desperately tried to explain. "No, that's not it."
"Is it about what just happened? I stepped too far, didn't I? Please forgive me, I didn't mean to. I just …"
"NO! Don't say something like that. It's not your fault, it really isn't."
There was another weak cry from Hana and both, Akatsuki and Doremi could hear it. It seemed like the baby refused to learn that the more it struggled, the tighter the ropes would bind it. Upon her cry, Doremi even more desperately to get out of Akatsuki's hold, but he stayed firm and held her wrist tight, making sure not to hurt her in the process. That's when Doremi looked like she would finally crack and allowed herself to fall to the ground in defeat, hear head hanging low and her hair falling into her face, blocking Akatsuki's view on it. A satisfied smirk came over his face, but it disappeared the moment he realized that the girl's shoulders were shacking.
"Ojou-sama … ?" Akatsuki said carefully, but Doremi didn't react. So he kneeled down to her, not quite knowing what to do or what to say. A crying girl was an uncomfortable situation for any boy, but for one who had lived his entire life in a country filled with men, it seemed like the end of the world. "Ojou-sama", he said helplessly, "please don't cry. Come back to the castle with me. I'll make this evening the most beautiful one of your life."
"You don't understand!" the red-head cried, her head snapping up, before repeating herself a lot more quietly. "You don't understand …"
Akatsuki tumbled backwards. As much as he had sworn not to let this girl get the better of him any longer, this was an entirely different situation. Thick tears were running down her face and her eyes were brimming with worry. In front of him was a mother that was desperate to get to her child and even though there was obviously no room for anything else in her head, she had still tried to reassure him and calm him down. This was the Doremi that Oyajide had to deal with on a regular basis. And slowly, Akatsuki began to understand why he was always failing.
Two seconds after the prince had been caught off guard, Doremi realized that he was no longer holding her by her wrist and immediately stood back up and ran as if the devil himself was on her tail. She would apologize later. Right now, the most important thing was to find Hana. Her constant cries were enough for Doremi to find her way through the maze. If only she'd have her poron with her. Transforming into a witch would have made things so much easier.
"If she struggles any more, the ropes are going to suffocate her!" Tooru yelled to his blonde friend.
"And what am I supposed to do about it? I didn't make these ropes, I only told them what their target is! Fujio, you're the brainiac here, tell me what to do!"
The orange-haired boy thought hard. But the longer he thought, the more Hana struggled. And the more Hana struggled, the tighter the ropes would bind themselves around her. Before he could come up with a solution however, Akatsuki appeared before him, looking rather pale and distracted.
"Doremi's coming", he warned his friends.
"What happened to your grand plan?" The blue-haired wizard asked his boss. "Weren't you supposed to distract her?"
"She caught me off guard."
"Again?" Fujio asked critically. "You're starting to lose your touch."
"Whatever. Just make yourselves invisible and make sure you stay quiet so Doremi doesn't hear you."
"Wouldn't it be safer to give her the baby back and leave? If she notices us and Hana somehow frees herself she'll warn her friends and things will become a lot more complicated for us."
"No!" Akatsuki almost yelled. "Whatever you do, don't give up the baby. I want to get this matter over with as fast as possible. And what are you doing to the poor thing? She can hardly even breathe anymore!"
With a single snip of his hands and a twitch of his outstanding strands of hair, the rope loosened just enough for Hana to be able to breathe. It was just at that moment that Doremi's voice reached them and the four made themselves invisible. Only a few seconds later, the red-haired witch came running around the corner.
"Hana-chan", she yelled and ran to her baby, who was fairly exhausted from her fight with ropes and almost being strangled.
The four wizards could only watch as Doremi tried her best to get rid of the ropes. She pulled and tugged on them and even tried to bite them through. Fujio knew it would be in vain, which is why his gaze was resting on his leader. His eyes on the other hand, were fixated on Doremi, but what confused Fujio was the way he was looking at her. There was a mix between confusion, distraction, anger, affection, pain, and most of all, fear. This was something completely new. Akatsuki had never shown fear before. He was one of the most talented wizards of the Mahoutskaikai after all, there was nothing he needed to be afraid of. So how did this insolent little girl manage to drive the chills down the spine of his usually fearless leader? It was a mystery to him. He would have to note it down later on.
And then the ropes tied themselves around Doremi's arms as well. The witchling screamed and started pulling away, but just like they had done with Hana, they only wrapped themselves around Doremi even tighter. The changes that Fujio noticed on Akatsuki's features were astounding. His anxiousness only increased and his fear transformed himself into something different, as if he was no longer scared of Doremi, but instead scared for her. The moment the ropes wrapped themselves around her body as well, the prince's hand rose as if wanting to stop the ropes, but he stopped in the middle of it. It seemed as if he was fighting with himself, unsure of what to do. How could one single girl have such an effect on him? Fujio would have to write this down as well.
And then, Hana acted for him. The tiny ponytail on her head twitched the effects were tremendous. The ropes moved away from her and her mother immediately, as if her magic had burned them. The ground beneath them started moving in waves and the maze began loosening itself from the ground and charged towards the four invisible boys.
While Leon, Fujio and Tooru were busy evading the murderous walls of the maze, Akatsuki used his own magic to calm them down. But Hana didn't seem to like them and had them charge towards the boys again only to have Akatsuki stop them again. That went on for a whole while until Doremi finally managed to balance herself upon the waving floor and reach her beloved daughter, catching her in a warm embrace. Hana finally calmed down and used one last spell to disperse the entire situation.
Once Doremi opened her eyes again, she was no longer in the castle gardens, but in front of the doors to the castle and Hana was safe in her arms. She was still crying, but from the way she was clinging to her mother's chest and burying her head in it, the red-head no longer felt any worry. For the first time ever since the she woke up in this story, she felt like things were alright. There was peace within and around her. And seconds later, it got interrupted by the sound of the bells ringing. As Doremi looked up, she saw that it was midnight. Her eyes widened as she remembered that Lala's magic would stop at midnight. She went pale and once again, started running.
"Ojou-sama", Akatsuki's voice came from the door.
The girl in question shot around and tripped over her own feet, losing one of her purple glass slippers in the process. But before Akatsuki could reach her, she stood back up and ran out of the castle grounds as fast as she could with Hana in her arms. The only thing she left behind for the prince was her glass slipper. The purple haired wizard walked towards it and picked it up, his eyes never leaving the disappearing figure.
As his friends walked up to his side, something began to dawn on Akatsuki; he might have chosen the worst of all girls to mess with.
Doremi had no clue how she had reached her home. From the moment she had appeared in front of the castle, everything had seemed like a blur to her. It was only the familiar weight in her arms and the warmth at her chest that kept her head halfway clear. She was still caught in the story of Cinderella. She still had no clue how to get out. But at least Hana was now safe by her side.
The red-head sat up groggily, making sure not wake the blond little princess. Her dress was gone, her skin was dirty again and her apple-red hair was a complete mess. The only thing that was left to remind her of the last beautiful and exiting evening was the single purple glass slipper that was hidden safely under her bed. The witch apprentice combed through her hair and put it in a bun as she had done the day before. Funny how it seemed to be ages away.
But as Doremi tried to open the door, she found that it was locked … and panicked. She pulled and tugged on the door and rattled on it with as much strength as she could muster. But it wouldn't budge no matter how hard she tried. As she stopped yelling her lungs out, she could hear voices outside. They seemed awfully familiar. There was … Majo Rika … and …the soft voice of Hazuki …. also ... she could sort out Aiko's energetic voice … and then there was … Doremi's heart sunk into herstomach;
Doremi calmed down almost immediately. She knew what part of the story she was in. They were looking for the princess that had danced with the prince the last night. They were looking for Cinderella. They were looking for her. And in the story, Cinderella found a way to get to the prince just in time. Therefore, the same thing was bound to happen here. She just had to calm down and figure out a way out of this room. The only problem was; Doremi wasn't all that good in figuring things out.
She was fighting with the door for ages, unwilling to give up. At some point, she could hear the people downstairs saying their goodbye to one another. Just when Doremi thought that all was lost and the story wouldn't rap up after all, the door unlocked. The only hint she got as to how the door unlocked as a small giggle from behind, which she heard as she bolted out of it.
Doremi almost jumped down the stairs, hoping dearly that she would be on time.
"Wait", she cried as she ran down the stairs. "Please wait, I haven't tried on the shoe yet."
The prince and his entourage stopped in their tracks and looked up. For sure, there was Doremi, although she looked completely different from the night before. The hidden beauty that had come to light at the ball was hidden again and she was back to the usual, clumsy Doremi, perhaps a little dirtier. But to Akatsuki, the beauty he had seen the day before was still present. Perhaps he had only learned how to see it. The search that Fujio had ordered him to in order to get out of the story (their magic didn't do the trick) was finally over. He had found his princess.
Without saying a word, he walked to the girl, kneeled before her and held out the glass slipper for her to slip in. As expected, it fit perfectly. Akatsuki stood back up and stood right in front of her.
"You're the one", he breathed.
He was so close that Doremi could feel his hot breath on her face and it send shivers down her spine. She was so focused on his eyes that she didn't even notice how he had reached for her hands and intertwined his fingers with hers. He was coming closer, slowly but steadily, as if he had forgotten where he was and the red-head's heart skipped a few beats. It was a familiar giggle that pulled them out of their own little world.
Doremi looked around. There was Tooru, who, for some reason, had Onpu in his arms, whispering something into her ear that made her giggle. There was Leon, who had stolen a kiss from her blue haired step-sister and was paying the price through a slap from her. There was Fujio, who was holding Hazuki's hand and kissing it gently, like only a real gentlemen would. There was Majo Rika, who was yelling at her girls for being satisfied with the prince's friends instead of going for the prince himself. And then there was Hana, who was clapping and giggling to scene beyond her and Doremi couldn't help but smile at her. At the same time, Akatsuki's face darkened, feeling the first dark foreshadowing of something bad that was to come.
And with a twitch of Hana's ponytail, the scene disappeared.
When Doremi's mother came to the Mahou Dou that night to see where her daughter was, she found her curled up next to the blonde little baby. She smiled gently, hugged herself and left. Her daughter didn't have any school the next day, so she might as well allow her to spend the night with her protégé. The one thing on her mind when she left the shop again was that she had become a grandmother far too soon.
It was a feeling that Doremi wouldn't get to know for many, many years. After all, her beloved little daughter was still just a baby that lived and loved fairy tales.