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A Rush of Blood to the Head

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A Rush of Blood to the Head

Post by GoldenSun13 on Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:03 pm

A/N: I was going through all the stories I wrote when I first began watching Mai Hime and came across this one. It's named after the Coldplay song of the same name and after listening to the song whilst reading what little I had written, I have decided to post the first chapter in the hope this will give me the motivation to continue writing it. I hope you enjoy.

Pairing: Shiz/Nat
Rating: PG-13 (Might go up to NC-17 later on due to adult themes)
Genre: Angst
Summary: After the carnival, Shizuru and Natsuki underestimate how hard it will be for things to get back to normal. After Natsuki does what may be the biggest mistake of her life, the two get separated. Will love come through, or is it a case of too little, too late?


Chapter One (Hideaway ~ The Corrs)

You say that you're okay, but I don't believe in what you say...

Her lips were soft, and unlike popular belief, they didn’t taste of green tea or jasmine, but of root beer. On one of her trips abroad, she bought some novelty lip gloss flavoured like pop; the root beer was her favourite. At that moment, I didn’t quite know why I knew that; now I know that it was because I cared. I cared about her more than I ever would anyone else. If I’d only realised it sooner, we wouldn’t have been in discord with each other and I wouldn’t have made the biggest mistake of my life.
A few seconds after she got over the shock and reciprocated the kiss, I pulled back and smiled at what I saw. Her eyes were back to normal, no longer clouded by the build up of unrequited love and Lucifer’s spell. My most important person was back!
“I love you Shizuru, just not in the way you love me.” I said, or words to those effect. “I’m happy you love me, but I cannot let you continue what you started, that is why...” I looked towards my Child, Duran. Surely his size during our last minutes of the first life should have made me realise my true feelings....
“DURAN! LOAD SILVER CARTRIDGE!” I looked back at my best friend, “FIRE!”
The one thing going through my mind as our Children disappeared in a flash of green sparks was, 'I don’t know what happens when people die, but I’m happy to be dying with Shizuru.' As I held her close, my body started to go numb. The only things I could feel were the heat from her body as she huddled into my chest and the deep exhale as she gave a sigh. “I am now complete” I heard her say as my vision became clouded.
“It’s up to you now Mai.” I said, before the world went black, and Shizuru and I were no more.

I awoke with a jump. It’s been half a year since that day. Why am I dreaming about it now? Looking out the window I see that it’s just becoming light outside. A glance at my battered alarm clock shows that it won’t bleep for another hour. I sigh in frustration. One hour of what could have been a sweet, dreamless sleep, lost due to a nightmare long forgotten, by me anyway. Switching off the alarm and “hopping” out of bed, I make my way to the kitchen area, simultaneously trying to not wake up my flat mates and thinking about Shizuru. I wonder if she still has nightmares. I know she still beats herself up over everything she had done; I see it in the way she looks at me when she thinks I’m not looking. She may hide behind her well manicured mask, however her eyes allow me to see her true emotions. I really wanted to text her and see if she’s alright but knew she’d probably still be asleep and didn’t want to wake her. Damn the stupid distance and damn the fact that I no longer have my bike. I know she’s not going to be gone for long on this business trip. The thought of her leaving, though, before we settled our disagreement and especially after this morning’s nightmare, didn’t really sit well with me.
Pouring water into the kettle and taking out my mug for a coffee, I decide to phone her later to apologise. I’m such an idiot! I make her cry, ruin everything when everything was going fine and now I’m going to apologise over the phone.

If only she wasn’t leaving... hang on! She’s going to leave at 08:00, as in “She hasn’t left yet.” BAKA! Right, It’s currently 6:30 and her flat is an hour away from here. Good, that gives me 15 minutes to convince her to talk to me and 15 minutes to say sorry. Not good enough but it’ll have to do.

Rushing into the bed area, no longer caring about who or what I wake up, I change out of my pyjamas into yesterdays jeans and a clean t-shirt, run to the door grabbing my jacket on the way out, before realising that I should probably leave a note and take my phone and keys before leaving. Rushing back inside to see that Mai and Mikoto were still asleep, I write on a post-it my whereabouts, grab my keys from the bowl and my phone from the bedside table and run to the door a second time, this time, to actually leave the apartment.

Thanks to adrenaline and sheer panic, I managed to arrive at Shizuru’s replacement flat at 7:15, out of breathe and with jelly legs. Taking out my phone, I slowly walked up the steps to her floor (Stupid lift breaking!) and texted her: Hey. That knock on your door... It’s me. I sent it as I was climbing the last flight of stairs. Completely underestimating the reception in the building, the door swung open a step before I reached it to reveal a very unamused, ex-Kaicho. Her face was blank, but I could tell that she was fuming. “erm... H-hey Shizuru” I said with an out of breath smile, “How you doin’?”

One of her eye brows twitched. I felt the urge to run.

“Why do you care Kuga?” She replied. Ouch; I guess I deserve it though.

“Look, Shiz. I’m sorry.” She snorted delicately at that. “I truly am. I shouldn’t have... done what I did. It was disgusting of me, trying to use your emotions to control you.”

She hummed a noise between agreement and anger. “That’s great, can I please continue with my final packing?” Not waiting for a reply, she began to close the door. Not on my watch missy! I placed a hand on the door quickly, stopping its motion.

“Shizuru, please! Do you know how hard it is for me to apologise?” I laughed ironically, “Of course you do, you’ve had to put up with my hostile butt these past years” She turned to look at me, her face was stone. “The thing is: I know that living with you angry at me and the stupid things I’ve done, like taking you for granted, will be harder than this apology.” No longer feeling resistance against my hand, I slowly lower it from the door. Looking in her eyes, I could see that she was fighting between forgiveness and her common sense. “I know you should just go right ahead and slam that door in my face, it’s the least I deserve after what I’ve done, not just the other day but what I’ve been doing to you since I’ve known you.”

“And why shouldn’t I?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Because I’ve realised what you truly mean to me?” Why did I add that ending inflection of doubt? She was about to close the door again. “NO! You do mean a lot to me Fujino Shizuru and if you dare close that door before I get to tell you how much, then I’ll never leave you alone until I do!”

“What if I do allow you?”

I sigh and accept what I have to say, “Then, If you decide that I’m still not worthy of your... anything, I’ll leave you alone. You’ll never see me again, and I’ll never bother you.” I said this all looking into her eyes, trying to put the seriousness of my words across to her.

“Ok then,” Looking at her watch, “you have 5 minutes to say what you have to say.” Shizuru crossed her arms over her chest as if to show disinterest, but I knew she was doing it to protect herself.

Suddenly my mind went blank. I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I could see her eyes dying to water up. I close my eyes and pull out anything in attempt to get my sorry's across.
“You say that you’re ok, but I don’t believe in what you say. Let your facade go, Shizuru. Stop worrying, okay? I know I’m not good enough for you, I never will be. Please, stop hiding from me though! It’s infuriating!” A tear dropped; my renewed pacing meant I didn't get to register it fall down one porcelain cheek. “That’s partly why I did what I did. I needed to see another emotion other than... than... I dunno. Is blank an emotion?” I didn’t wait for a reply and couldn’t bring myself to look up at her. “The week that you didn’t speak to me was pure torture. I couldn’t think straight” I laughed at the double meaning. “Every night, I would have nightmares about the carnival. Each one slowly showing me things I had missed; things I had messed up. In one of them, I was you. I was actually looking at myself from your eyes Shizuru. How could you stand me? Why would you apply for the Student Council Elections, not for yourself or your father, but for me? Yes, I do know about that.” I could feel her shock, rather than see it. “I don’t deserve everything you gave to me and I feel like I never will. Now that I’ve realised all this, I know it’s too little, too late, but I’ve decided to treat you better. Not to repay any debts, but because that is what you deserve.”

Finally I stopped pacing and looked into her eyes. “Please Shizuru! I want... No. I need to be with you. I’m far away from feeling what you feel... felt for me. But please, I’m really trying here.” More tears fell, but her face held a certain kind of determination. “Please Shizuru... What do you say?”

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Re: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Post by GoldenSun13 on Fri Nov 11, 2011 4:04 pm

Chapter Two (Angels Calling ~ Rooster)

You and I, we were one and I swore I’d stay forever, but they say all good things come to an end, my friend...

I don’t know what to say. Here she is, the soul reason for my past sins, the one who holds my heart in such an iron grip, offering an apology. In an ideal world, I would probably accept the apology; cancel my trip round the different factions of my father’s company until a later time so Natsuki and I could establish our relationship. Actually, in an ideal world, she wouldn’t have anything to apologise for and I wouldn’t feel so hopeless.

This is not an ideal world.

“I don’t know Natsuki. All this has put my feelings into perspective and I’ve realised how much of an idiot I have been. You’re right; I don’t feel the same for you as I once did. I just need some time to get over this... school girl crush that I have for you, and see where it leaves us then.” It was true. When Natsuki kissed me and we had our little argument, I saw another side to the person I supposedly loved and I don’t like it. Both of us need to do some growing up, and away from each other.

“Oh...erm, okay.” She has broken eye contact with me now and is looking at the floor, trying to stop the tears. “I understand, I guess. Needing time to...find ourselves and all that... Jazz.” She sniffs.

“Yes.” She’s turning away now to walk back to her apartment, however I have to say this one last thing. I guess a part of me wishes she could stay for a few seconds more, “Thank you for apologising to me before I left, Natsuki. I’m glad we won’t be parting on bad terms.”

She turns back to me now with a small smile that doesn’t reach her eyes, “Yeah. See you around Shizuru-san.”

With a pang in my heart she turns back around and away from me.

“See you Natsuki...-han.”



Six months ago

Yoshi Tanaka regrets the day he ever allowed that group of girls to hire his karaoke room. Sure, they paid well and that red-head, who only stated her real age when buying alcohol, practically pays for his rent (with tax) just from drinking the store dry. The noise, mess and sheer trauma of being in a room filled with hormonal, teenage girls, however, makes him rethink his obsession with internet porn and the money needed to feed it.

The week after Fuka High School graduation, the twelve Hime, their loved ones and mutual friends had booked their usual room in Tanaka’s Karaoke and Bowling studio. When he saw the name “Tokiha” booked for that, specific room, he immediately ordered a box of noise cancelling headphones, the nearest pharmacist’s whole stock of aspirin and booked appointments for both his psychiatrist and a cleaning company. Over kill? Possibly, but this is a man whose only contact with teenage girls are the ones who stand in dark alleys wearing next to nothing. The only reason he allows them to continue coming was because one of them, the younger red-head, had some info on him that he would rather the police not hear about.

At exactly 6:45, 15 minutes before the decided party time, Akira walked into the front entrance dragging an un-amused Natsuki behind her. “I still don’t see why I have to come early, Akira.” The older girl grumbled.

“After what Nao told me about this guy, I wanted to double check that everything was working fine before the others arrive.” Was the reply.

“Yeah, I know that. What I don’t understand is why it had to be me. Why couldn’t your boyfriend come with you instead?”

When they made it up to the front desk, Akira rang the bell for assistance before turning back to Natsuki, “I already told you; Takumi is helping Mai with the food preparation. Also,” she gave a sigh as Yoshi’s balding head poked out from behind the manager’s door, recognition sweeping over his features before he disappeared back into the room. “I wanted to talk to you about something.” The manager’s door swinging open suddenly stopped the younger girl from elaborating. A young, black haired guy walked out mumbling something under his breath, (“Ha! Scared of a couple of girls...”) his scowl immediately turning into a show smile as he reached the front desk to address the two girls.

“Hello, how may I help you?”

“Hey, we’re Tokiha. Got room 3A booked.” It was Natsuki who addressed the guy with a curt answer and minimal eye contact.

After a few taps on the computers keyboard, a slight frown appeared on the man’s face, “I’m sorry, but the room is booked for 7:00.”

“We need to set things up.” Green eyes finally sprang to the employees face, boring a hole right between his eyes.

He swallowed thickly, but did not give in. “Company policy states that a room cannot be entered until the designated time. If customers wish to enter before then, they must pay an hours charge.”

Natsuki slammed a hand down onto the desk, “You want us to pay you an hour’s worth of rental for 10 minutes?”

Akira calmly placed a hand on Natsuki’s shoulder and pulled her back a bit. With a stern expression, she told the blunette to shut up, then turned to address the guy who was now sweating profusely. “You know as well as I do, that any policy made by this company and your boss is a load of bowling balls.” The look she gave him forced him to nod in agreement, “I think your boss won’t mind allowing us to go up, free of charge. After all, what he doesn’t know, won’t hurt him.”

“I can’t do that. If he finds out, he’ll kill me!”

Moving her hands to her hips, Akira revealed something hanging on her belt which was previously hidden by her long coat. The glint caught the guy’s eye. “On second thought, I think the quicker I take you up, the less time we have to waste down here. Let me show you to your room.”

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

Once they reached the room, the guy (who they could now see from the back of his bowling shirt was “Yamaguchi”) fled back to the front desk with his metaphorical tail between his legs. Akira closed the door, checked the electronic soundproofing was switched on and double checked that no one else was in the room. She gestured for Natsuki to have a seat. “I don’t have much time to go into details. Mai and Takumi will probably be late, but knowing your... friend, she will come here right on time.”

Natsuki nodded in agreement. For any other event, Shizuru would arrive fashionably late; karaoke on the other hand seemed to make her as punctual as ever.
“What do you plan on doing once you’ve graduated from Fuka?” Akira asked as she sat down opposite Natsuki, her body language showing that she was relaxed, but her eyes held a glint of purpose.

“I – I don’t really know just yet.” Natsuki’s brow furrowed. Why would Akira care about her life after school?

“I was hoping you’d say that.” She leaned forward, closer to Natsuki, making sure she had her attention. “It’s understandable really, what with you spending the majority of your time tracking down the people who killed your mother; training yourself to be strong enough... smart enough to beat them. Now that your enemies are gone, you’re just left with useless skills.”

Natsuki nearly growled in anger. “How dare you bring up my mother’s death and insult-“

“Trust me, Kuga-san, I did not mean to offend; I am, after all, in the same boat as you. However, I speak the truth, no? These skills of espionage and fighting, they are useless without a goal. That is why I have come to you.”

The older girls confusion over-rode her anger, “What do you mean?”

“I have a proposition for you.” Akira leaned back again, pulled her jacket to the side and took the clip off her belt. “This” She threw the badge onto the table between them, “is my proposition.”

It was gold and in the shape of a traditional, police badge but the writing and emblem in the centre were different. “Did you get this out of a cereal box?”

Not one for joking around, Akria replied, “just look at it closer, Kuga.”

In the centre was an angel; above it was the word “Tenshi” and around was “Three little angels all dressed in white, Trying to get to Heaven on the end of a kite, But the kite string broke and down they all fell, Instead of going to Heaven, they all went to...

“Hell.” Natsuki whispered, “three little angels?” This question was directed at the stoic girl across the coffee table.

“At the end of the Carnival, Sakomizu and I agreed that despite the fall of The First and the defeat of the Obsidian Lord, there would still be lower level problems which might turn into high risk situations. Even after we combat these, there could still be a business using our skills. Together, we created an underground organization called “Tenshi” or “Angels”. We already have a few recruits, but most importantly, we’re looking for the next “Little Angel”. I am the first; another one of our fellow Hime is the second. We were hoping you’d be the third.”

Natsuki tried to hold back her interest, but it was in vain. “What’s the difference between the recruits and the Three Angels? Are there any other Hime involved?”

“The recruits are merely normal people who have shown an aptitude for undercover work. There is one Hime who has been recruited, but did not wish to become one of the Three, as her specialties lie within technology. Her codename is Dianna.” Akira looked poignantly at Natsuki, “Myself and the second Angel, who goes by the name of Julia, are singled out from the rest of the recruits as we have gone through specific training; training done even before our Hime days.” Akira stood up and walked round the table towards where Natsuki was sitting, holding out her hand for the badge, “I only have a minute to ask you this: The three of us, Julia, Sakomizu and myself, would like for you to become the Third L.A. I do not expect an answer from you straight away, however, please take into account that this may be your only available option after graduation.”

Just as Akira clipped her badge to her belt, a knock was heard on the door. Natsuki stood to answer it, already knowing who it would be from the specific rhythm of the knock. On her way over she stopped, turned to look back at Akira and said, “I’ll think about it.”

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Re: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Post by GoldenSun13 on Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:37 pm

I will edit tomorrow morning, but for now here's...

Chapter 3 (Andrea Corr ~ Ten Feet High)

You don't need to smile when you hurt inside, I can see the doubt in your eyes and the sun we had is down. But I don't want to say it's over when I still love you. Don't say it's over when I still love you.

The party was in full swing. You could tell from the usually disinterested Nao Yuuki swinging her hips on stage to Blondie (“One way or another, I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna getcha, getcha, getcha!”). Midori looked around the room as she took a swig of her beer. Before the party had started, once everyone had arrived, she had them all sit down and apologise for the wrongs they had committed to each other. She knew it was naive to think a simple “I’m sorry for killing you and your loved one in a moment of despair,” would fix anything straight away, but she thought it would be a start. In some ways, she was right; on Takumi’s request, Mai was now dancing along to Nao’s singing with her arm around Shiho, Tate looking on in amusement. Underneath the happy facade though, Midori could feel the residual friction.
Earlier, Shizuru had made a formal apology to both Haruka and Yukino, saying her madness was no excuse for the pain she caused. Yukino had accepted it right away, understanding the position that Shizuru was in, but Haruka had remained strangely quiet throughout. Even now, Shizuru was staying beside Natsuki on the longer sofa near the back as Haruka and Yukino remained on the second sofa, as far away from the other pair as possible. In fact Shizuru hadn’t strayed far from Natsuki at all that night. Which makes trying to talk to the younger girl hard, thought Midori, it also might mean she won’t agree with what I want from her. She giggled tipsily as she realised how perverted that could sound, an even drunker Yohko giggling along despite not knowing what was so funny.

It wasn’t for another 20 minutes that an opportunity presented itself to Midori. Natsuki leaned close to Shizuru and whispered something in her ear. At Shizuru’s nod and half-smile, Natsuki stood up and made her way outside the room. Gulping down the rest of her beer, Midori waited a few minutes before following the blue haired girl out of the room and into the ladies, where she leaned against one of the sinks. With a flush, and a click of the lock, Natsuki stepped out of her cubicle; noticing the red head she gave a bemused, “Hey, Sensei. What are you waiting for?”

“Come now, Natsuki-chan! No need for this Sensei nonsense. Not for another month anyway.” She gave the girl a reassuring smile before continuing, “I’m waiting for you, actually.”

Natsuki looked at Midori through the mirror as she washed her hands, one blue eyebrow rising. “I already told you, I don’t care if cosplaying is good for the soul, I am not going to dress up as the pink ranger for Comiket.”

Midori gave a loud laugh as she watched Natsuki move to the paper towel dispenser, “As much I would like you to finish off my group, this isn’t about cosplay.”

Natsuki neatly threw the scrunched up paper towards the bin, her eyes smirking as it went in cleanly. “So, what is this about then?”

The older woman gave a quick scan of the bathroom before turning her green eyes to another set of emeralds. “I’m guessing Akira has already briefed you on the L.A.?” She saw those eyes widen slightly in surprise, “She didn’t mention my involvement because technically, I am not involved. I was there for the set up, I am here now and I will continue to help in someway, but I do not wish to become fully involved just yet. There is something in the Middle East which needs my attention first.”

“Okay. What has this got to do with me?”

“If you choose to become a Tenshi, your first mission would be to come with me to what was once Persia. This would involve intense undercover training which would be happening in between your school studies, until we leave in February. I’m pretty sure you could do this training in a month, let alone eight, but I want you to be prepared. You no longer have your Hime powers; things aren’t going to be as easy as they once were. “

She could see the thoughts swirling in the younger girls bright eyes. “How long would we be away for?”

Midori gave a sigh, “I’m not too sure. Could be a few months; could be a few years. That’s why I want you to think about this carefully, Natsuki. On the one hand, you’ll be doing something you are good at, but on the other, you could be throwing away a chance at love.”

Confusion became apparent on the teenagers face. “Love?” She looked away, “I can’t love her... not the way she wants me to.”

A sympathetic laugh came from the older ex-hime as she walked up to Natsuki, giving her shoulder a squeeze, “You haven’t given yourself a chance. Come back to me when you do, okay?” With that, she left the bathroom, leaving a conflicted Natsuki Kuga behind.


Going back into the party room, Natsuki had been able to drown out all her doubts and thoughts with the sound of music and her friend’s laughter. The morning after, however, nothing could stop the barrage of emotions. Mai and Mikoto were not around, as they had been invited to Reito’s house the night before, so the apartment was empty and silent. Natsuki lied on her back on her bed, watching the sunlight streaming in through the window make rainbows on the ceiling. Midori’s words last night had conjured up a whole host of feelings that she’d been trying to keep at bay; travelling to Iran would allow her to run away from these feelings, but she knew Midori wouldn’t accept her until her heart was fully intent on the mission and not on what she had left behind. What would she need to do to sort things out between herself and Shizuru? If she was adamant that she could never reciprocate the older girl’s romantic feelings, then the obvious thing to do would be to take a break from each other. Green eyes winced in pain at the mere thought of not having contact with Shizuru.

What other options were there though? It seemed the only way to keep Shizuru close would be to ether hurt her by being so close and yet so far or hurt her eventually by faking these feelings. She groaned in frustration, bringing her hands up over her eyes to block out the room. She never wanted this; she never wanted to worry about anybody else’s feelings because those just got in the way of her mission. A sigh escaped her lips as she remembered once again; her mission was over and now the very person who ended it is standing in the way of another one. Maybe her life would be better off without-

“No!” Natsuki yelled out loud. She sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, her eyes still blocked by the heel of her hands; her elbows resting on her knees. Another deep, heavy sigh stretched her lungs before leaving her mouth. Leaving Shizuru would be the very last option on her list. “How did it come to this?” she mumbled. If Shizuru had never taken an interest in her, maybe she wouldn’t be in this mess; Of course blaming Shizuru will make everything better, a voice in the back of her head (which sounded oddly like Mai) scoffed. If you aren’t going to let her go, then you might as well make your selfish decisions count.

“Would staying really be selfish though? Shizuru’s going to be going to college anyway, would a few more months together really hurt?”

“Yes, it would, but you have to decide what would be the lesser of two evils, Natsuki.” Came a voice from behind her.

“Ah!” Natsuki squeaked a battle cry as she stood up quickly, swinging round into a fighting stance... only to see Mai on the opposite side of her bed. “HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN THERE!? God, you nearly scared the life out of me.” She loosened her stance as a hand came up to her quickly beating heart.

“Sorry, Natsuki. I thought you knew I was here... why else would you be talking to yourself?” The red-head began rummaging around underneath her own bed, looking for something.

A muttered, “Because I’m going crazy, that’s why,” was the blunette’s reply, before she paused and looked at Mai, “what do you mean ‘the lesser of two evils’?”

Mai gave a triumphant “Ah-ha!” before standing up with a pair of chopsticks in her hand. Giving them a once over, she looked up at Natsuki, “You have decide how you really feel and whether acting on it or leaving it be is best.” The cryptic message confusing Natsuki even more. “Anyway, I only came back to pick up my chopsticks. You’re welcome to join us for lunch if you want.”

The thought of food made her stomach roll, but Natsuki wasn’t quite sure if it was from hunger or sickness. “I think I’ll stay here for a little longer.”

“Take care of yourself, okay?” Mai made sure to not leave before Natsuki gave her eye-contact and a small nod.

“You too.” Natsuki mumbled as the door clicked closed.


Natsuki must have fallen asleep soon after Mai’s departure as the next thing she remembers is feeling a hand running gently through her hair and opening her eyes to evening sunshine. She turns her head to find smiling, burgundy eyes staring back at her. “Shi-Shizuru?” She yawns, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“I knocked, but no one answered. I tried your mobile and got sent straight to voicemail, so I phoned Mai. She told me where the spare key was. I hope that’s alright, Tsuki.” Before the carnival, Shizuru probably would have been in close proximity to Natsuki at that moment; on the same bed, practically sharing the same space. Now, though, she was sitting on Mai’s bed, her legs in the space between, her knees touching Natsuki’s mattress.

“I... erm... No, it’s fine Shizuru. Why wouldn’t it be?” She nearly winced, knowing that asking that would leave Shizuru open to saying “Maybe you needed some time alone.” She could already imagine the perfect curve a light eyebrow would make as it rose in mock questioning, red eyes shimmering with laughter at her own innuendo.

When the reply that came was in fact: “I thought perhaps you were enjoying the solitude, what with the apartment being quiet with your roommate’s absence.” Natsuki rose from her lying position to sitting so she could analyse the emotions swirling in her friend’s eyes.

Nothing. No gleam of mischief; no sparkle of happiness; not even pain. Just a neutral expression, which, by the slight scrunching of Shizuru’s eyebrows, could be read as concern.

Neutral, friendly concern.

“Are you okay Shizuru?” Natsuki’s eyebrows also scrunching in scrutiny.

“Yes, why wouldn’t I be?”

“I- Nothing, I must still be sleepy.” She stopped her searching, afraid of the answers she’d find.

“Okay.” A little piece of Shizuru begged for Natsuki to continue; to notice how much pain she was still in. It did not seem like they’d ever be on the same page. “So... what has Natsuki been up to today?”

Thinking about the complex position you have put me in. “Nothing much. I was so tired after last night that I just stayed in and slept. What about you?”

“I met my father today and... well, I think this conversation is best had over a cup of tea, no?” Without waiting for a reply, the dark blonde stood and began to make her way into the kitchen. By the time Natsuki had processed what was happening and thought to follow, there was already the sound of clinking tea cups and the kettle beginning to boil. “No need to stand around like a Goose, Natsuki.” Shizuru laughed lightly, “This is your place, I shouldn’t tell you to sit.”

Natsuki chuckled as she sat down at the table, “Like a goose?”

Shizuru turned, leaning against the counter, waiting for the kettle to boil, “Yes. Ara, wasn’t it you who told me to start talking like “a normal person”?” The older woman had a deadpan expression on her face, but Natsuki could tell she was being teased.

“Since when does talking like a normal person involve metaphors relating to geese?”

“What have geese ever done to you?”

“Nothing, I just find them to be fowl.”

“...did you just make a joke?”

Natsuki blushed, “Maybe, I don’t know. Just make the tea and tell me what your father said already!”

With a rarely heard snort, Shizuru poured the water into a prepared teapot and brought it, along with two mugs, to the table. It wasn’t until the tea had been brewed and then poured, that Shizuru began. It was as if she needed those few moments of silence to gather her thoughts.

“How much have a told you about my Father?”

Natsuki stirred two spoons of sugar into her tea, watching Shizuru hide a wince (“Must you really use so much sugar? It’s sweet enough on its own.”). “From what you’ve said, he is the clichéd pompous, head of the family company to our story.”

Shizuru hummed in agreement. “He is an overbearing tyrant who only sees his family as investment pieces. What have I told you about my Ojisan?”

The younger girl looked away in thought. To be quite honest, she didn’t really know much about Shizuru’s family except for the brief moment she bumped into her Father on one of his trips to Fuka. “He’s your Father’s father, right?” Shizuru nodded, “So he’s probably even more of an ass then.”

Shizuru must have been expecting this answer for her laugh was loud and pure. “Thankfully, Natsuki is wrong. My Ojichan is more of a father to me than my own. He may be going a bit senile in his old age, especially after Obasan died, but he still has the mind to stick up for me when I need it.” The blonde gave a sigh and looked past Natsuki to the window behind her. There was another moment of silence. It seemed to Natsuki like most of their conversations were filled with comfortable silences as one of them pondered what to say next.

“About a month ago,” Shizuru began, “my Father, the lovely man that he is, decided that I will become his heir and should therefore know the ins and outs of the Fujino business. This means a year or so of travelling round the different factions.”

Natsuki sat up straight and focussed on Shizuru, “What? I thought you were going to do a business course.”

“I thought so too,” She sighed into her tea-cup, “thankfully, Ojichan jumped in. He told my Father to give me options: ether go now, go during the year of my degree usually set aside for work-experience, or go after I have finished my degree. That’s what he talked about this morning.”

“Either way, you’re trapped, right?”

“I always knew that was going to be my fate, Natsuki. I just have an option of delaying it for a while.”

Another long pause. Another cup of tea.

“So,” Natsuki broke the silence, “Are you going to?”

“Am I going to what?”

“Delay the inevitable?”

Shizuru gave a heavy sigh. “I’m not quite sure yet. I have a week to decide.”

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Re: A Rush of Blood to the Head

Post by Luu Sky Sapphire on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:49 pm

I hate to admit this but here goes...*inhales and exhales* this line touched me deeply:

'I don’t know what happens when people die, but I’m happy to be dying with Shizuru.'

Had Natsuki added this in the anime during my first watch of Mai-HiME, I probably would of broke down. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL way to open up A Rush of Blood to the Head. Their relationship whether it's gonna blossom or be in danger, needs to start off with momentum. Now onto the story. Note that I didn't review the two previous chapters, so I will review all three current chapters as a whole.

The way you write Natsuki is so accurate. True, we rarely got to see things from her perspective and when we did, it was normally so serious due to the First District drama. Post-Carnival Natsuki is more of a spaz, constantly over thinking things and timing herself. It does not ease her worry to know Shizuru isn't taking kindly to her apologies. In fact, Shizuru not responding to Natsuki in the beginning felt so uneasy, it almost felt so real. Who says these two are always happy-go-lucky?

Doujinshi do.

>:3 Shaddup, brain.

Never in my wildest dreams would I see interaction between Natsuki and Akira Okuzaki actually work. The only time these two speak to one another is usually during comedy fics. Probably the most innovative thing to come out of chapter 2 was Akira's proposition for her underground stable. Leave to Okuzaki to have affiliations, associations, even liaisons with the people in so many fields. The way of the ninja sure is enticing!

Nao Yuuki singing One Way Or Another... the most covered song of all time!? WIN. PURE UNTAPPED WIN.

*ahem* Chapter 3 started off with a conflicted Natsuki who got to share some moments with Mai and Midori to ease things a bit, but once Shizuru came into the picture and basically laid it out that she will be leaving Natsuki, even with the options given to her. I can't wait to read what happens next.

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When Shizuru said "Ara" for the first time, the "Ara" broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies.

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Re: A Rush of Blood to the Head

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