Disclaimer: Gakuen Alice belongs to Higuchi Tachibana.
Note: Current age – Middle Schoolers; Slightly based on the anime version.
ABCDEFGHI RUKA NOGI
Written by Shuffle Princess
This story is dedicated to His Lopsided Grin for being so awesome. :)) This is my gift I told you about. Heehee. :3 Forgive all my mushiness for this fiction. :D
And for H.T.B. ... HAHAHA. Let's leave it at that. ;) that's our own inside joke. HAHAHAHA. :))
Valentine's Day. The most unwanted day for the two most-sought boys in Alice Academy.
"Shit." Natsume cursed as they crawled and hid behind the bushes near the elementary branch building. "This is why I told polka I don't want to go to class today." He groaned and stretched his legs, letting his palm rest on the ground to hold him steady.
Ruka sat beside him, taking one wary glance behind them to see if they had truly escaped from the girls' burning passion to give them chocolates. "It's not even Valentine's Day, yet..." He murmured weakly, cringing at the thought of what would happen on the said day.
For the past years, they had tried their best to stay hidden and out of their way, though their dorm rooms would always end up being filled when they get back. Last year, they gave the chocolates to some kids on an orphanage Mikan had insisted them to. This year, what strategy should they use?
"Two days," Natsume sighed before running his fingers through his messy black locks. "And hell will break lose."
"Did you plan anything for Sakura?" Ruka questioned, making Natsume's brow arch.
"No." Natsume stared at Ruka, as if saying that was a stupid idea. "Why would I? Besides, knowing her, she would bake a chocolate for all of us."
"True." Ruka uttered, heaving a deep sigh. "Will you still eat it?" The blonde boy smiled when he remembered Natsume still eating the chocolate despite how bad it tasted. He ended up being taken to the infirmary after two hours.
"You, are you planning anything?" The firecaster changed subject and grinned when a blush crept up on Ruka's face.
Ruka looked down and patted his rabbit's head. "N-No. Nothing."
"Hmm. Imai would be disappointed." Natsume chuckled lightly as Ruka's face went even redder than it already was. Ruka was about to retort back when they heard someone call out.
"There you are, Natsume!" The two guys stiffened at the voice, but were relieved after a minute when they recognized who it was.
"Don't be so loud, polka." Natsume hissed as he grabbed Mikan and forcefully hid her on the bushes as well.
Mikan fell to her butt and groaned. "Natsume!" She glared at him before sitting like a girl. "Why didn't you go to class today? Narumi-sensei gave us homework."
"Ah! Natsume-sama!" A girl's voice cried out and several footsteps followed.
"Shit. We're spotted." Natsume cursed as he scrambled to his feet and yanked Mikan up as well. They broke into a sprint, avoiding the mob of girls who badly wanted their attention.
"Where are we going?" The brunette worriedly asked.
"Just run, strawberry-prints." He teased, a grin inched up his lips when Mikan's face turned red.
"You pervert!" She yelled and had the urge to hit him on his arm, if only they weren't running.
Everytime they are being chased by their fangirls, the two best friends always feel fear. Even the Hyuuga boy feels it. His fear is kind of in a different category, though.
F. E. A. R.
Fuck Everything And Run.
That kind of fear.
They backed up on one of the hundreds of trees on the Northern Forest. Mikan was panting heavily, as well as Ruka who was still petting his rabbit on his left arm. Natsume ran a hand through his messy raven locks and sighed irritably. Until when are they going to run away? The firecaster tsked in irritation.
"Anyway, I came here to remind you of the upcoming event for the Valentine's Day." Mikan informed them once her breathing became even. "Every ability class will prepare something for..." She trailed off when the two boys stared at her as if she had grown a moustache. "Don't tell me you both forgot!"
To answer her question, another minute of staring passed by.
"Boys are so hopeless!" Mikan whined and crossed her arms across her chest. Then looked apologetically at Natsume. "I don't think Dangerous Ability Class is allowed to join, though..." She bit her lip, her face fell. "I actually tried to ask Jinjin if they could make your class join and—"
"Don't sweat it." Natsume instantly said and slumped his back on the tree. "It's not a big deal. Less work for me."
"Ah, don't worry, Natsume!" The brunette beamed and smiled her most charming smile. Inwardly, Natsume couldn't help but melt at her bright face. "I told Tsubasa-senpai that I'd help them prepare for our Valentine's booth and then spend the day with you on February 14."
His heart jumped a little with this news, but he never said anything. He just stared at the brunette while she grinned back at him. Then she turned to Ruka, who looked awkward, standing there and hearing their conversation.
"What are you planning to do, Ruka?" She chirped and inclined her head to meet his eyes that was firmly pinned on the ground.
"Ah—!" Startled, Ruka looked up immediately and took one step backwards. "Sorry, Sakura-san. I... uhh... Still don't know." He muttered, a faint blush on his cheeks.
"What's that Ice Queen going to do for her class?" Natsume asked out of the blue, making Mikan raise her brow.
But she answered his question, regardless of the suspicion. She pouted, "She told me not to bother her until the Valentine's event because she's making something crucial and that she needs to be alone." She explained, sighing. "As usual, my best friend has her own booth on their class. Let's go to her booth eh, Natsume? I'm sure her invention will be out of this world!"
"I see," Natsume murmured and glimpsed meaningfully at the blonde boy whose face was in pure shock.
Ruka then knew that Natsume had asked Mikan for his sake. Sometimes, he envies his best friend who, even not speaking that much, has still found what he's looking for. He has found his own personal sunshine. Unlike him, still behind, still lurking on the shadows.
It was like their roles were reversed. Natsume thought he would be the one to stand inside the shadows for so long. His personal miracle came along and pulled him out of the dark state he was in. Ruka, who was in the middle of everything, not in the bright light and on the darkest part of life, was still standing there. Sometimes going back and forth towards the shadows and the light.
But he knew so damn well how Natsume felt about Mikan. That she was the only person who could change him and make him happy despite everything he's been through. He wanted his best friend to be happy as well, and he needed her, that was why he gave up. He gave up all his feelings for the bubbly girl.
He still continued living on like a teenage boy – talking to friends, petting all his animals, being chased by his fangirls... and the worst of all?
Being blackmailed by the one who formerly held his heart – her very own best friend: Hotaru Imai.
The Genius Ice Queen.
At first, it was tolerable. And he let it pass by. Then it always happens, sometimes, he just want to hide somewhere her camera couldn't capture him.
One day changed his perspective, though. That day that Natsume got kidnapped by Reo and Mikan had gone off to rescue him. When Reo the bastard broke their only communication, the panda earmuffs... Her face. It was a sight someone rarely gets to see.
Hotaru's eyes were filled with worry. Her usual calm and serene face went blank, then agitated. Even though it lasted for a second, Ruka saw all this. Her mask slipped for a short second, and he realized... She has her gentle side as well.
After some time, Natsume started asking him about her. Ruka knew that Natsume – in his own way – is saying that he might be attracted to Hotaru. He didn't say anything. He just stayed placid and collected about it.
But then, his mind started chasing her... Always thinking about her. Especially that face she had back then. Natsume one time told him, "She treats you special. Feel lucky."
How could he feel lucky? Being blackmailed every single day of your life? But then again, that's just how Hotaru Imai is. Maybe that's kind of fun for her. Because always being matured and thinking about new inventions, that must be tiring. It was her own stress reliever, he thought. Ruka, being him, always being there for others... Even if it meant getting pissed off, he accepted Hotaru's game.
Up 'til now.
The irony of it is, he is also having fun with it as the day goes by. Some of it was embarrassing, but if it meant seeing her smile, then she'd take the humiliation gladly.
He never knew when he did start to feel this way. He just wanted to see her smile. And only at him.
"Oh, I heard that someone from Dangerous Ability Class had actually confessed to her and asked her to be his Valentine!" Mikan gasped at Natsume.
This piece of information made Ruka's head shot up and stare at the brunette.
"What did she say?" He babbled without thinking. Natsume was amused at his eagerness.
"She blasted him with her baka gun." Mikan shrugged. "You know her. I feel sorry for the poor guy! I think he really likes her... And he's been persistently waiting outside the room to see if Hotaru is there. Unfortunately for him, she's stuck at her lab. And Hotaru would kill me if I told him that." She sulked a little, missing her best friend.
They heard the bell echo, Mikan grunted a little. "I'll be late!" She shrieked and dusted off her skirt. "See you later, guys! Err... I hope you can come to class," She frowned. "But I saw what happened today... And I know it's best not to go right now. But you will take remedial classes, okay? I will tell our teachers. Bye!" She waved and dashed off.
"So what are you going to do now?" The firecaster questioned once Mikan was out of sight.
He didn't want to answer, but Natsume knew it anyway, so he gave him an honest answer. "I-I don't really know."
"You'll know it soon," Natsume gave the blonde a reassuring smile before walking away. "You will ask her to be yours, I know it." His answer was so sure Ruka was afraid if he could live it up to his expectations.
The next day, Ruka still hadn't thought of what to do. Valentine's Day in Japan is usually celebrated with girls giving guys the chocolates. But knowing Hotaru, she would never give anyone any. Let alone accept a chocolate, except maybe if it came from Mikan. Should he give her anything?
A card? Maybe. That's a nice idea. But what would he write in it? He's not the romantic type.
Youichi's crayon fell on his lap. "Aah," Youichi murmured and stopped himself from reaching.
Ruka politely handed him back his crayon with a smile. Youichi still hangs out with Natsume. Youichi smiled a little and went back to what he was doing: writing alphabets.
"A, B, C, D, E, F, G..." Youichi sang a tuneless melody absentmindedly. "H, I, J, K..."
Then it hit Ruka. It made him blush, just thinking of what to write.
But he had to get a grip on himself. Or watch somebody else snatch her away, which he wouldn't want.
"Wow." One word escaped Ruka's lips when he saw the Technical Ability Class' booth. So many people came here. There were games for couples, things for couples and everything for couples.
And he is also with a couple. He mentally sighed. Even though, they weren't official, it was evident that Mikan and Natsume both had a thing for each other eversince Elementary.
"Come on! Let's go to Hotaru's booth!" Mikan chirped happily, clapping her hands before looking around. "I think it's there..." She pointed to a large tent on the south side of the TA territory.
She bounced off ahead of them and made Ruka chuckle at her enthusiasm when it comes to her best friend. Natsume nonchalantly followed with his hands on the pockets of his school jeans. Ruka stayed close to Natsume, feeling aware that some of the girls were already staring at them like a predator.
"Good luck." Natsume murmured quietly at the blonde when they approached the large tent.
Ruka's heartbeat launched a mile the instant he said that, he couldn't speak so he just nodded. A lump formed on his throat, he had to clear it. And his stomach clenched tightly, as if someone was squeezing it.
The whole tent appeared to be Hotaru's whole booth. There were machines everywhere, pink in color with heart decorations all over. It says Love Match! on top with two red hearts that were holding their hands.
"Hotaruuu!" Mikan ran to the paypoint where Hotaru was standing. The inventor girl immediately grabbed her baka gun and aimed at Mikan's face, triggered the gun and one hard baka-ball landed on Mikan's face.
"You meanieee!" Mikan pouted and whined.
"If you plan on interfering with my business, you can go now." She muttered coldly and returned to arranging the cartons on the shelf behind the cashier.
"Eehh," Mikan pouted. "We're going to try your invention!"
The blackmailer sighed. "Okay." She surrendered, knowing she wouldn't get rid of her. "It's a love compatibility test. Instructions are written on the machine. Help yourselves."
Mikan's eyes instantly lit up and she dragged Natsume to one of the machines to try it out.
"Tch." Natsume angrily hissed and glared at the inventor who was grinning at them.
Ruka just stood there, not knowing whether he should do it right now or later... Or not at all.
He decided to dwell on doing it 'later'... So he busied himself with watching his friends from afar. Mikan seemed to be enjoying herself, tapping the screen of the machine immediately. She often had to ask Natsume and pout, before tapping the screen again. It's a test for the two people in a relationship.
"Eh?!" Mikan groaned loudly. "We're not compatible!" Her forehead creased and she turned to her guy. "It's your fault! You're not taking it seriously. Now, again!"
"Sheesh." Natsume rolled his eyes. "Why treat a stupid quiz seriously?"
Mikan inserted twenty rabbits on the coin slot and they began to take the quiz again. "Eh! Only 5% compatible!" Resigning from the machine, she headed back to Hotaru who was amused at her dedication for a stupid quiz, as Natsume had put it. Several people came bustling in on the tent and headed for the machines as well.
"I forgot to tell you that for those who will score a hundred percent in the love compatibility test will win this pair of necklace. Or you can switch it to anklets or bracelets." She showed them the cartons with the said products inside. Mikan gaped at it.
"Wooooow, they're so prettyyyyyy!" Mikan stared at the necklaces. They were two silver necklaces with heart-shaped pendants which you could put your photos inside. The silver anklets and silver bracelets were the same as well. They had the heart-shaped pendants on them.
"It's not just a normal accessory." Hotaru opened the box of necklaces and showed them. She opened the heart pendant. There was a mini red button and a mini screen on it. "When you couldn't find him – or her – you push this button and it shows on the screen where she is. It's a tracker. In approximately a range of five miles. You can tap the screen for closer details on the place. And it is bullet proof, water proof..." She stared at Natsume. "And fire proof." Then snickered when he rolled his eyes.
"Awww, that's a good invention, Hotaru!" Mikan smiled her Mikan-ish smile. "And the designs are pretty! Such a shame..." She trailed off, satisfying herself with just looking at the products.
Hotaru eyed Natsume meaningfully. "How much?" He murmured.
"Ten thousand rabbits." Hotaru's eyes gleamed.
"Tch." Natsume scowled. "That much for a piece of junk." He muttered which made Hotaru send him glares. "Do you accept card?"
"Of course, Hyuuga." Hotaru immediately tapped the till screen and clicked Purchase. "What would you take?"
"Polka?" Natsume asked. Mikan turned to look at her, her eyes gleaming in interest at Hotaru's inventions. "Do you like the bracelet?"
Her mouth dropped open before squealing in delight. "Yes, please!" She nodded eagerly, her brown locks swaying up and down.
Natsume smirked as he swiped his card on the card machine. "Thank you for your purchase." Hotaru murmured as she handed them the box.
Ruka had been silent on the entire transaction, still thinking deeply about what he was about to do. Just thinking about it, his palms were already sweating.
"Ruka?" Natsume called and Ruka blinked at him. "We're going..." He stated, unsre. "Or are we not...?" He had this grin on his face, daring Ruka.
"Cool Blue Sky!" Someone yelled and headed to the cashier as well.
BAKA BAKA BAKA BAKA BAKA!
Hotaru's baka gun emitted some smoke after the five constant shots. "Don't interfere with my work."
"Eh, I'm here to try it." He animatedly stated. "Let's try it! Both of us!"
The poor guy groaned. Ruka's heart clenched on his chest. Seeing her get worked up because of another guy. Inserting his right hand on the pocket of his jeans, he held on to his card tightly before taking a deep breath towards the Ice Queen.
"I-Imai-san," Ruka weakly muttered, his face already flushed.
The genius inventor inclined to meet his gaze. "What, Nogi?"
His hands trembled slightly as he took out the card on his pocket. He swallowed back his bile before handing it to her. "H-Here." He murmured, his stomach clenched once more.
With a raised brow, Hotaru took it from his hand. She swiftly opened the white envelope and almost widened her eyes. She took the card out painfully slow that Ruka felt like he could collapse any minute now.
It was a red card that says Happy Valentine's Day!
Hotaru's heart was beating an odd, frantic beat. Flipping it open, her brows arched at the meaningless message inside.
"ABCDEFGHI?" She read the words, feeling silly.
Ruka's flushed face even became redder than it was before. He knew she would laugh and think it's childish and... He glanced at her and he felt more nervous when he saw her waiting expectantly at him.
"A... A Boy Can Do Everything..." The blonde boy stuttered. He wanted to pinch himself to stop being nervous. He patted Usagi's head to calm him down a bit. Usagi looked up at him and bent his head, telling him it's okay.
Hotaru, meanwhile, had to bite the inside of her cheeks to keep herself from smiling. Seeing him take one step to being a man in front of her eyes... It was both amusing and humorous for her. But there was still this fuzzy feeling inside her chest. It was warm and glowing, she felt quite lost in it as she see him struggle with words. "And the F G H I?"
"F... For Genius Hotaru Imai." He quickly uttered out and looked down. He remembered what Natsume told him. He quickly gathered all his courage and blew it out in one breath. "Will you be mine... I mean, my V-Valentine?"
Hotaru could feel the warm feeling spread throughout her body and she couldn't suppress her chuckle anymore. She chuckled a little bit before grabbing a piece of white paper and she wrote something on it. Folding it in half, she handed it to Ruka who was staring at her, tensed.
The animal lover feebly took it from her hands. With one canny glance at the inventor, he flipped the paper open.
Mikan was currently tugging Natsume's sleeve at the romantic scene in front of her, and Natsume being Natsume, he was a bit annoyed and rolled his eyes too often at his girl.
Ruka's heart sank as he read what was written on the paper. He wished he hadn't told her. He wished he just stayed silent forever.
He lowered his head and was about to step backwards when Hotaru spoke up. "You are an idiot, Nogi."
His head snapped up. He was hurt, and she was saying he's an idiot? That was far too much insult a guy could take in a day – in three minutes, even.
"Read it aloud." She commanded, her voice cold and sharp. "What's written in there. Read it aloud."
He didn't want to, but what does he have any other choice? Ice Queen is back.
"E-Except RUKA NOGI." Ruka's voice trembled.
Behind them, Mikan gasped audibly.
"Yes, that's right." Hotaru nodded and smiled a little. Ruka wondered how could she smile when she just broke his heart. She walked over to where he was standing and pointed at the letters as she said this out loud, "R U Kidding? Actually, Nobody Owns Genius Imai."
Ruka's heart was thumping wildly despite the negative words she'd said.
"Repeat it." Hotaru ordered. "Repeat what you said earlier."
"E-Except RUKA NOGI?"
"Yes. Nobody Owns Genius Imai..."
"E-Except... R-Ru... Me." Ruka suddenly realized and his face was bloody red. That wasn't a yes, but it was the closest thing to yes with Hotaru Imai.
Ruka chuckled. It was a laugh of relief. He was so relieved. He threw his head back for a loud set of guffaws. The people around them stared at him. Who would've known that Ruka Nogi would laugh like that?
Hotaru, seeing his reaction, couldn't help but just grin silently and savour the fuzzy feeling inside of her.
Ruka stopped laughing and turned to look at the lady beside him who was grinning at him. He smiled back.
Then Hotaru cleared her throat. "Tonight. 8PM. Don't be late, Nogi. I'm warning you." Ice Queen is back. But her eyes were cheery, that look in her eyes when she blackmails Ruka...
"Of course, I won't be." Ruka deftly responded when Hotaru turned about face and headed back to the counter, continuing to arrange the boxes of her inventions.
Mikan squealed happily and clapped her hands before tugging Natsume's sleeve for the hundredth time in five minutes. Natsume's eyes reached for the heavens before rolling.
Hayate – the DA guy who likes Hotaru, was staring at the whole scene with his mouth agape.
"Excuse me," A student approached Hotaru. Hotaru casually turned around.
"Yes, can I help?"
"I want to buy one of those." The girl pointed at the necklace boxes. "How much is it?"
"Five thousand rabbits." Hotaru stated and she looked at Natsume with that I-fooled-you expression.
Natsume's eyes twitched in irritation.
That Genius Hotaru Imai. Tsk.
Early Valentine's fiction because I might be busy on the said day. :)) I hope you enjoyed reading. And yes, I ended it that way. It's up to you to create your own idea of what happened on the date. ;)
Thanks for reading. Please do leave a review. I like to read them all. ;))
Have a nice day ahead, people. :))
~ Shuffle Princess (02-07-13; 05:27AM)