Disclaimer: I do not own Gakuen Alice nor its characters but the story is entirely mine.
The news spread quickly due to the fact that they were already so popular, also due to the fact that they had Sumire as a friend. Everyone heard the news however that meant that Persona did as well.
The first thing Mikan decided to do was tell her friends. They all congratulated her happily, all relieved that all the confessions and confusion was over.
"You know Natsume, we should go and tell Aoi-chan," Mikan told him as they left the classroom; Natsume had planned to hang out at the sakura tree however the night came faster than expected.
"Yeah… I haven't seen her since Christmas."
Mikan smiled and they started talking about how she would react. When they went to the room, the tag was empty. The 'Aoi Hyuuga' was missing.
"N-natsume? You don't think something bad happened do you?" she asked shakily. A horrid feeling seemed to make her stomach become a large pit.
Natsume was feeling unsteady but answered calmly at his new girlfriend, "Calm down and we'll check what happened okay?" He knocked and entered the room to find it cleared up.
No machines around for emergency, no clothes, no fluffy slippers that fitted the girl, no fruit on the bedside table and no Aoi Hyuuga.
"Nurse!" Mikan cried as she saw the woman scurrying past them. "W-what happened?"
"Miss Sakura!" she exclaimed then turned to Natsume worriedly, "And Mr. Hyuuga, how are you doing? Did you not hear? Aoi Hyuuga passed away last night. We did send notification to you, Hyuuga-san. I am so sorry for your los-"
"Where is she?!" yelled Natsume angrily. He knew she wasn't dead, it was basically impossible.
"Her body is down the-"
He didn't stay to listen to what she continued to say. Mikan apologized for Natsume's behavior then quickly followed behind. She also felt scared but knew she shouldn't say anything.
"Natsume you have to stay calm alright? You can't…" However when she saw that face, Mikan froze in fear. That stone cold face was the same one who encouraged her yesterday. Aoi was completely covered up except her face which Natsume uncovered.
The tears rolled down her face. "No way… It's not true right?" Mikan stroked Aoi's cheek. It was freezing. "Natsume?"
His face was hidden away from Mikan and he also wasn't looking at the corpse. It felt worse than when he saw his mother died. Aoi had left him so silently, he never noticed. This was worse than the car crash. It seemed as though there were thousands of needles, taking turns to torture him.
Mikan wanted to comfort Natsume but she knew nothing could stop his pain. She gave him a short hug and murmured something about getting Aoi's things.
She went to the nurse to confirm Aoi's death and the things she has to do about it. "Will you take her body out of here? To Mr. Hyuuga?" Mikan asked as she took Aoi's belongings. Another stream of tears hit her when she saw the necklace.
"Yes. We just got his confirmation, so we'll transport her tonight. I'm sorry for your lost and sorry that I couldn't help," the nurse apologized. "Aoi-chan was a pleasure to be with."
"No… it wasn't your fault. When did she…?"
"I'm not sure. When I came in this morning, she was already gone…"
"Oh, thank you. I'll be going now. Thank you for taking care of Aoi all this time."
"It was my pleasure."
As she went to see Natsume again, the door slammed open. "We're going," he hissed at her and Mikan quickly followed.
"Natsume, if you don't see her now you'll never see her again," Mikan kept insisting.
"I don't care right now. Just give me some time."
"Natsume, let's go back. We have to-"
"Shut up! Leave me alone!" he screamed at her.
Mikan flinched and looked pitifully at him. "I'll… go."
Natsume felt sorry, but the pain was unbearable. He had to calm himself down before he did anything else.
Hotaru had been staying in the background for ages. She had a reason though. She was tracking that certain man. That man behind the mask.
"Hotaru-chan, I got the files you needed," Yuu reported and handed her the pages of information she had complained for.
"Perfect. Now go and get bunny boy. I'll be at the lab," she ordered then headed for the staffroom. The info Yuu gave her wasn't enough. She needed more direct information and evidence. "Narumi!" she growled.
"Oh! Hotaru-chan, how are you? Looking for something? Classes don't start for another week," Narumi grinned.
"I need information."
Mikan inquired with Ruka. He was the one who could calm Natsume down at the moment.
"Thank you very much Ruka-pyon. I want to find someone right now," Mikan sighed.
"It's no problem Mikan-chan, I understand. Natsume has already lost his mother… You know what, since Aoi is... gone, I feel as though I have permission to tell you about last summer," he gulped.
"Tell me please Ruka-pyon. I've been dying to hear about it."
"I dunno if I should tell you." Ruka's face paled a little.
"I… I really want to know about Natsume. Please tell me."
The days past perfectly. Even though their mum was gone, they seemed to recover.
"Onii-san! Youichi and I will be practicing if you need us!" Aoi shouted up to the Sakura tree, peacefully sleeping – just as Natsume was when he heard his sister.
"Whatever. Just leave me alone," he grunted sleepily and yearned for a pillow.
"Alright! Bye! Come on Youichi. This time we could practice another song," she giggled and Youichi became to tell her that she wasn't on the same standards as he was.
They played happily and Aoi even began sing when the song became intense. However, something was bothering her and she knew what it was: that strange person outside, waiting intently.
"Hey Youichi, who's that?" whispered Aoi, her eyes and fingers not leaving the piano.
Youichi lifted his head and pretended to be looking at the scores. "Persona."
"He's freaking me out. Should we just go and ask him to come in?"
"That's rude, Youichi Hijiri," Persona chuckled darkly.
No one answered him. He had entered the room without letting them know. This man was dangerous.
"Aoi Hyuuga, you are much more talented than your rude brother. Surely you'd rather have lessons with me than Misaki-sensei. He's not letting you show your talent," Persona convinced. "And if you are with me, practice won't be necessary."
"B-but I like practicing," Aoi answered feebly.
"Even better. A hardworking student. I don't think Misaki-sensei notices that. Come to my class Aoi Hyuuga and everything you wish will no longer be a wish."
"Misaki-sensei does happen to notice Aoi's talent and hard work. But my teacher doesn't," Youichi spat at Persona. His attempt to save Aoi was effective. Persona's interest shifted.
"A guitarist… I don't have one yet for my collection. Youichi Hijiri, you'll be in my class from now on."
Youichi gave a cold glare and Persona left them.
"The rest I really have no idea what happened. Apparently, Person never gave up and tried to persuade Aoi-chan again."
"But she didn't join them?"
Ruka exhaled, "Even worse… She committed suicide. Natsume found her in time to save her but apparently the wound damaged her permanently. She stayed in the hospital ever since. Natsume was angry at Persona but that's as far as I can go." Ruka sighed.
"That's terrible… I can't believe Aoi-chan…"
"She didn't have a good life but she lived through it bravely."
"Now that she's gone we can't leave Natsume alone. Let's watch over Natsume even closer than we did before. I want to say my last words to Aoi. You should come along too," Mikan advised him.
Ruka shook his head stiffly, "Not before I check on Natsume and met up with Hotaru. But I promise I'll go to her before she's sent away."
"Alright, bye." Mikan smiled weakly.
Ruka entered the lab. Only the lamp was on and Hotaru was typing quickly on her laptop.
"He was gone last night. I'm sure he has something to do with the other Hyuuga's death," Hotaru calculated. "Now all I need is the evidence."
End of Chapter 25
MikanXNatsume4ever98 thanks for saying I update fast although I might be a little slow these months…