Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice nor its characters but the story is entirely mine.
Her mind started to jumble again. She was shaking but keeping calm.
Gulping for the last time, she seated herself down. She knew all she had to do was play and no one's attention will be on her this time. It isn't a challenge and she's wearing a mask.
"Pst! Mikan-chan, get down!" hissed Ruka who was standing on the other side of the stage. "Come over here."
She wondered what she was supposed to do. Just get up and walk away? That wouldn't make sense. She took a look at the audience below who were waiting for the music. Suddenly, the lights blacked out. Someone grabbed her arm and pulled her away.
"Hey! Let go!" Mikan protested.
"Be quieter Mikan-chan," whispered Ruka.
"Eh? What's going on?" Backstage, everyone was there, the girls and the boys.
"Mikan-chan, we saw you get up there so we all came to your rescue. But the boys got here first," Anna explained and hugged her; "You weren't scared, were you?"
She smiled and shook her head, "It's no problem! Just a little excitement. You guys should perform now, I'm going to go. Thanks a lot, Ruka-pyon, Mochu, Koko, Iinchou, Youichi, Nobara, Nonoko, Anna, Permy. Have fun okay? I'll be in my room. It's a shame I couldn't dance with any of you guys."
"Alright, Goodnight Mikan-chan. We'll see you tomorrow," Nobara gave her a little hug as well.
She put down her mask and gave everyone a grateful smile before she left the Dance.
"So you never found Natsume?" Ruka asked.
"Nope. He was nowhere to be found. I asked everyone," Mochu told him. Youichi sighed.
"Why'd you need to find Natsume-kun?" Nonoko asked curiously.
"We thought we'd need a replacement but in the end we didn't need one. One of our classmates wanted to play anyway."
Nobara suggested something they all wanted to ask, "So how about we dance?"
Mikan looked closely at herself. It was Christmas and she was being gloomy. Maybe it was the fear getting to her. She wanted to throw up all the food she had eaten, her throat felt crispy and the headache was increasing.
She didn't want to stay at that rowdy place but she also didn't want to be alone. Uncertain with what she wanted, Mikan decided to head to the nurse for some comfort. She needed some medicine for her massive headache.
"Miss? My head is –" Mikan began however the nurse wasn't in. "She must be in the other rooms then."
Stumbling down the hall, she found the nurse coming out of a room. Mikan opened her mouth to say something but shut it when she noticed a raven-haired boy going into the room. "Natsume?"
Mikan knew it was wrong but it was so tempting just to peek. In the end, she decided to just come in.
He only left the Dance because everything looked so boring. The snow was bothering him and the music was making him sleepy. And the thought of Mikan dancing with some other guys pissed him off some more.
Without thinking, he somehow ended up in his sister's room with a present. He knew she'd be lonely today like she usually is. "Aoi?"
"Onii-chan! I wasn't expecting you today. I thought you'd want to dance with your girlfriend," Aoi answered him while eating her cupcake. "If you're here to steal my Christmas dinner, I'll let you know I've just finished it all – except my cupcake."
"Tsk. Why would I need to steal food from you? You obviously don't respect me so you get no present."
"What?! You got me a present? Please give me it! I love you Onii-chan!" Aoi begged.
Natsume smiled a little at his childish sister and handed her the prettily wrapped up box. Aoi grabbed it and quickly ripped it open like a tiger pouncing on his prey. Once the present was revealed, her smile never faded.
"I love this so much! This must have been an expensive laptop. Thank you so much Onii-chan," she tried to hug him but thought better to do it after she put the cupcake and washed her dirty hands.
Abruptly, a knock interrupted their conversation. Natsume turned around to identify the person - Mikan.
"Hey Natsume… Sorry for interrupting you guys. Are you Aoi-chan?" Mikan asked uncertainly.
"Yep! And you're Onii-chan's girlfriend," Aoi grinned happily then frowned, "You're not going to take him away are you?"
"Um… I'm Mikan Sakura and I'm not his girlfriend Aoi-chan… So you don't have to worry about anyone taking Natsume away. He's so stubborn he won't let anyone take him anyway."
"True," Aoi laughed.
"Oi Polka, why aren't you at the dance?"
"Shouldn't I be asking you that Natsume? I wanted to tell you something…"
"Mikan-chan, what do you play? Onii-chan never tells me anything about you."
"Well… I play the piano and um… What about you Aoi-chan? Why don't you tell me more about yourself?" Mikan asked her politely.
"I play piano too! But I've been sick for a long time so I haven't been playing for a while. Oh! I've just got an idea. Mikan-chan, please play for me. I could sneak out!"
"Aoi-chan, that's not such a good idea…"
"Onii-chan? Please," she whined at her brother. Natsume looked into her watery eyes and then sighed.
"Alright…. But just this once."
"Yay! Let's go! Onii-chan, go outside so Mikan-chan can help me change."
"Whatever," and he stomped off to tell the nurse.
Mikan was having a delightful time with Natsume's sister. She was a very cheery girl and definitely very kind. She was basically the opposite of Natsume.
Once they arrived at the music room Aoi hugged her happily, and then moved onto her brother.
"Thank you so much! I haven't been out for so long! Onii-chan, I officially approve her to be your girlfriend!" she laughed. "I'm going to go and play. You guys haven't dance yet right? Come on, I'll play something and you can dance along!" she rushed to the seat.
Aoi flexed her hands and began her vendetta.
Mikan felt nervous to talk to Natsume just like him. However he was the one who started. Natsume held out his hand and muttered something that Mikan thought was an invitation. She giggled at his shyness and took his hand.
"Come on, let's dance," Mikan pulled him into the middle of the room while Aoi sped up her tango.
"Whatever," he smirked at the girl and they pranced around.
"You stink at dancing little girl," Natsume commented.
"As do you, sir. That reminds me, when will you tell me the rest of your story?" she asked and Aoi smiled at the couple. She thought it was cute that her brother was falling in love. They were just dense.
"It's already night."
"After we send Aoi back."
"Oh no! Aoi, i don't have a present for you… Alright, here you go," Mikan took off her necklace and put it on Aoi instead.
"It's beautiful, Mikan-chan. Alright, I'm getting tired…" she yawned.
"Let's take you back," Natsume said boringly but Aoi rejected his offer.
"I want to go back myself. I'll see you two later okay?"
"Of course! We'll visit you almost every day!" Mikan waved her off as she departed.
The couple became quiet as they walk side by side. Mikan became anxious but she didn't speak because she had no idea how to start the conversation. On the other hand, Natsume was deep in thought. His sister was a little off today no matter how she tried to cover it up.
"So… Where do we go?" Mikan asked strangely.
"Huh? Oh… Hn"
"Then it's your room!" Mikan ran ahead of Natsume and into his room. He sighed again and looked at Mikan carefully - almost like he was observing her.
"Who wears a Santa dress if they could pick?" Natsume snorted as he entered his room too.
End of Chapter 23
darkangel1326, I think you are the first person to give me such detailed reviews. Thank you very much and i will try my best to impress you guys more!