Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ An heir's responsibility ❯ Chapter Two ( Chapter 2 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of characters used. All are licensed to their respective owners. I am not making any money through authorship of this fic.
Chapter Two
Shizuru Fujino sat in the foyer of her wing in Fujino estate. Looking around she found that none of the surroundings were familiar to her at all. It had been two years since she had been home and her father had of course taken the chance to send some renovators over to make sure appearances were kept up.
Taking a seat on one of the many extravagant couches, Shizuru waited for her guest to arrive. She was thankful this was to be an informal meeting as she didn't want to be bothered with all the pretense involved in meeting with one of her father's associates.
Instead of being announced in the usual manner, her guest decided to make her usual fireworks filled entrance. Shizuru heard voices shouting from about a hundred metres away from where she was sitting.
“Miss Suzushiro! Please wait, you need to be announced before you enter that chamber.”
“I will wait for nothing! I demand to see Fujino now!”
Shizuru smiled and readied herself for the imminent arrival of her life-long friend. Haruka could be rather… overwhelming sometimes but as they had grown up together in a very similar manner, Shizuru found she trusted the girl completely.
It was of course very rare that she ever trusted anyone with anything, her position and more importantly, her last name, dictated certain expected behaviour standards that she of course had to keep to. Trust, was not something she gave away easily.
Suddenly, the double doors swung open and there stood Haruka Suzushiro, fuming in all her glory.
“Fujino! Don't tell me you're just going to sit there, calmly sip your tea then tell me that you've agreed to this whole marriage fiasco?!”
“Hello to you too Haruka, it's been a while. Would you like me to pour you some…”
“No! No tea! My God, how can you be smiling right now? I was informed by a very trustworthy source last night that you were engaged to be married!”
“I know that Haruka, I was the one that informed you. And I don't mean to be so pedantic but I'm not engaged as of yet.”
“Yes, yes my mistake, you're arranged to be engaged to be married. Did you just hear how ridiculous that sounds? Look Fujino, my father is a very powerful man, do you want me to try and get you out of this?”
Haruka trailed off at the sight of Shizuru's look.
“Ok so your father is important too… but that's not the point! The point is that you need to be dealing with this in anything but a nonchalant manner. Show some emotion for once woman! God, why are you being so calm?”
Shizuru poured herself a cup of tea and started sipping it slowly.
“Haruka,” she began in a slow, soothing voice. “Please, calm yourself. After all, it's just a wedding.”
“Is that tea medicated with something illegal?! You don't even know who you're supposed to be getting married to! What if it's some moron? My God you damn bubuzuke woman, what if he doesn't even drink tea? What will you do then? If that's the case then for you, I'd consider that aspect of your relationship to be grounds for irreconcilable differences in divorce court!”
“Haruka, if I remember correctly, your own marriage was arranged. I don't know why you're choosing to react in this manner.”
Haruka heaved a sigh.
“Shizuru, they didn't try to marry me off to a non-tea drinking moron!”
“Well no, I suspect Miss Kikukawa enjoys a good cup of tea,” Shizuru said with laugher in her eyes, her timely mention of the name elicited an expected blush from her newly married friend.
“Yes, yes you trained her in traditional tea ceremonies. She excels at them, and for the record, her name is now Kikukawa-Suzushiro.”
“Of course Haruka, my apologies. Tea?,” Shizuru replied in a teasing tone which was rewarded with an eye-roll and arms folded across the chest combo from Haruka.
“If I say no will you stop asking?”
Shizuru poured Haruka a cup and handed it to her before continuing their little debate.
“And besides Haruka, he is a Kuga. A very respectable young man I'm told. He has done nothing but honour his family name during the whole time I was studying abroad.”
“Oh yes, that's how he behaves in the public eye. Well dressed, eloquent, never a hair out of place. As if you and I acted the same way in public as we do in private.”
“You do.”
“I'm not a Fujino nor a Kuga,” said matter of factly.
“Lucky for you,” said Shizuru.
Natsuki awoke to the very unpleasant feeling of someone blowing air into her face. Reaching out to grab the offender, she opened her eyes and saw that she now held her brother by the collar.
“Tate? Early. What?”
Needless to say, Natsuki was rather mono-syllabic first thing in the morning. Or rather… the afternoon.
“Morning sis!”
“Hey Natsuki.”
`Hmm, Mai voice. Where Mai?'
“Tate. Mai. What?”
Mai giggled at her friend and Tate rolled his eyes.
“Natsuki, come on we've been waiting for hours for you to wake up. We've got something very important planned out for you today! Time to catch a glimpse of your bride to be!”
`Hmm, plan sounds like Nao.'
“Waiting for us. Come on, if you get up, we'll get you some mayo!,” offered Tate, quickly appealing to his sister's obsessed self.
“Yep. Mayo on toast for Natsuki. Now come on, you can eat on the way to your bike. Get dressed, we're gonna miss her!”
“Aww Natsuki that's so cute!,” said Mai, failing to resist the urge to stroke her friends hair.
Tate leaned over and gave his sister a kiss on the head.
“I know, she growls when she's frustrated, such a cute little Natsuki!”
“Ok, well we'll be waiting for you outside,” the couple said briskly before taking the nearest exit.
A quick shower and a few slices of toast later, Natsuki was up and able to speak in complete sentences again.
She made her way to the parking lot and spotted Tate and Mai already sitting in one of his cars.
“Geez are we really in that much of a hurry?”
“On your bike Natsuki, we have it on good authority that Miss Fujino is currently residing in her estate again, and that she is scheduled to be leaving rather soon.”
“How do we know all this?”
“We researched.”
“You what?”
“Chie told us to post a guard outside her gate.”
“You what??!!”
“Ok ok, Nao, Chie and Aoi are hiding in some bushes on the cliff overlooking her estate. We've just heard that a single young woman has definitely been confirmed to have entered the building this morning. No security guard checks or anything, and that place is like a fortress, it must have been her.”
Natsuki's interest suddenly perked up and she decided she would yell at her friends and brother for this stupid idea only if it didn't work out.
“So, what did Nao say she looked like?”
“Well, not fat. So that's a good thing, but…”
“But what?”
“Apparently she looked… really angry for some reason…”
Natsuki shrugged before breaking out into a smirk.
“Her dad must have told her that she had to marry me.”
Arriving at the meeting place, Natsuki dismounted her bike and waited for Tate and Mai to walk the rest of the way up the cliff. It would have looked rather obvious if a large, red car was parked on a cliff conveniently overlooking the Fujino's secluded estate so they parked it a little while away next to Nao's S.U.V.
“Psst Natsuki!”
“Nao? Where are you?”
“Down here!”
Natsuki looked down and saw that her cousin was indeed sitting in a bush with binoculars in hand.
“Good God, you're wearing leaves. Where are Chie and Aoi?”
“Right here Natsuki,” said the two girls as they poked their heads out of the bush.
“Hey! Hey! There she is!,” said Nao as she grabbed at her cousin's legs.
Natsuki hit the deck and crawled into the bush herself.
“Wait, wait did we miss her?,” asked Mai as she and Tate saw Natsuki disappearing into the bush before following her in.
They all peered silently out of the bush and at the young woman standing just outside the mansion. She was small in stature but… imposing was the aura she gave out.
She seemed to be speaking to someone but whoever that someone was, they remained hidden by some strategically placed Roman-style pillars, the most recent works of Mr. Fujino's favourite architect.
“Hey who's she talking to?,” asked Natsuki.
“We all see what you see, so… no idea,” said Nao non-helpfully.
“It seems she's doing a lot of arm waving… yelling at a servant perhaps?,” offered Chie. “We should have definitely brought that telescope huh Aoi?”
“Yeah, now this just seems like a wasted night.”
“Night? You guys camped out here?,” asked Natsuki.
“Well yeah… we weren't sure what time she was coming so…”
“Just shut up Nao.” `Man, how can I be related to this girl?'
“Wait wait, I think I can make out a little of what she's saying,” said Mai. “Pass me your binoculars Nao.”
“Well come on, what is it?!,” Natsuki demanded to know.
“Ok, I think she's saying… stupid idea…arranged marriage something something, cup of tea, moron,” Mai said.
“Wow Natsuki, she must have really been told she was marrying you!,” said Nao with a laugh and a few elbows directed at Natsuki.
“What was that Haruka? I didn't really get that last statement of yours. Maybe if you would stop waving your arms about so much, we could understand each other better. Yes?”
Haruka gave an exasperated sigh.
“I said, I'm sure that this was a stupid idea, an arranged marriage that's this set in concrete is definitely not going to be a nice cup of tea, especially if that guy is actually a moron! I'm just saying, think about what you're getting yourself into. Not everything works out for the best.”
Shizuru nodded and gave her friend a thankful smile.
“Alright, I'll be sure to keep that in mind. Thank you Miss Suzushiro.”
Haruka cleared her throat and Shizuru smiled at the other girl's light blush.
“Thank you, Miss Kikukawa-Suzushiro. It looks like you've gotten rather used to your new name.”
“Well, that is who I am Miss Fujino,” Haruka said before smiling and turning to leave.
“Come on Mai, tell us what she said next!,” said Chie with a pen and small notebook in hand.
“Umm, she said… I am Miss Fujino.”
“Geez what an unnecessary thing to say. Sorry Natsuki, not fat but pretty dumb. And moody. But, you know, big house… big with the pillars.”
“Nevermind I'll just say it to myself… Nao… Shut. Up. There, happy?”
“Oww! Dammit Natsuki, you didn't have to hit me!”
Suddenly Chie grabbed Nao and covered her mouth with her hand.
“Shh,” she said. “Footsteps.”
“Who's there? This is private property! If there's anyone around show yourselves at once!”
The hidden-in-the-bush group froze.
“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap,” the group thought in their heads, well everyone except for Natsuki.
“My God, I'm gonna kill these idiots! Morning Natsuki, let's all go do the most moronic thing Nao could think of. Yaaay!” thought the biker. “Wait… oh crap my bike!”
“This is lookout one, we've just found a suspicious vehicle parked up on the cliff. Requesting orders from base.”
“This is home base, Miss Fujino was just at the south entrance, you can see that side of the estate perfectly from the cliff, its probably members of the press that have got wind of the upcoming marriage news a little early. Your orders are to search the immediate area until you find them.”
Natsuki had by now joined in with the other's mantra.
“Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap,” they all thought together.
“Right, orders received. Over and out. Hmm… time to hunt out the hunters…”
Natsuki rolled her eyes.
`God what a stupid lookout guy thing to say,' she thought.
As she was thinking this she didn't notice two of her friends sneaking out of the bush.
“Oh no! We have been caught by this lookout man, whatever shall we do Chidori?,” asked Chie in an insanely obvious fashion.
“Darn, we must not be very good undercover reporters, Sagara let us beg this good man for mercy… Please sir, let us go we are merely aspiring reporters.”
The lookout smirked rather smugly. `Wow this was just too easy,' he thought.
“Sorry ladies, but Miss Fujino will be the one to deal with you two. I hear she hates the press…”
Pictures of a screaming and arm-waving Haruka bombarded Chie and Aoi as they were taken away by the lookout.
Nao, from inside the bush gave her two friends a quick salute. She was about to crawl out of the bush but was stopped by Mai's hand on her arm.
More footsteps could be heard… coming towards them this time.
“So we gotta take the bike?,” another gruff male voice asked.
“Yeah, Fujino wants everything taken back to the house. Nice bike though, we'd better not trash the thing…”
Natsuki's eyes started watering and her brother was very thankful she wasn't packing a weapon at that moment.
Seeing two unknown people ride away on `her baby' was obviously traumatic for his sister.
Tate on the other hand was more worried about what the arm-flapping woman would do to Chie and Aoi.
They had made a noble sacrifice, it would have been very, very bad if three members of the Kuga family and one member-to-be were to be found spying on the Fujino estate.
Chie and Aoi were now being directed into the main entrance of the mansion.
“Sagara, are we going to die?,” Aoi asked overdramatically.
“Not here Chidori, Not today!” Chie replied.
`God the press is just getting weirder and weirder these days,' thought the lookout.
The two were definitely going to be presented to Miss Fujino as she now preferred to take a very hands on approach. Years away abroad had made her want to take in as much of her responsibilities as the Fujino heir very seriously.
Chie and Aoi were lead into a large room and needless to say, were both very surprised at what they saw.
There was a young woman before them, who seemed to be pouring out some tea but Miss Flappy-arms was nowhere to be seen.
“Would you ladies like some tea?,” Shizuru asked her guests.
“No, thank you…,” said Aoi.
“Sure,” said Chie rather agreeably, causing Aoi to shoot her a questioning look.
Chie shrugged. She figured that now would be a good opportunity to learn something about Natsuki's fiancée. Even if she wasn't there at that very moment.
`Maybe this tea woman knows a bit about her,' the young reporter thought as she bowed to her host.
“We are truly sorry to barge in on you like this but hearing that your Miss Fujino was back in the country, we thought doing a story on her engagement might be the perfect opportunity to advance in our career in the media.”
“Is that right?,” Shizuru asked both amused and intrigued by Chie's response.
`They certainly don't look like press,' Shizuru thought.
At that moment in time, Chie and Aoi were mostly just covered in leaves.
Aoi gave Shizuru a bow and Chie a `what in the hell do you think you're doing?!' look.
“Forgive my partner's manners, my name is … Chidori and my companion is called Sagara.”
“I'm very glad to meet you both,” said Shizuru sincerely.
She found her sincerity rather odd actually, these two claimed to press, admitted to spying on her and had obviously just given her fake names. Still, Shizuru felt oddly compelled to entertain them.
Her innate curiosity made her see that there was something more to these two, she knew for a fact that there was no-one outside her immediate friends and family and a very select few staff who knew about the upcoming engagement. She had assumed that it was the same on the Kuga's side of the arrangement.
So how did two such young looking `reporters' have this knowledge? Shizuru had no idea, but she intended to find out.
“If I tell you my name, will you both tell me yours?”
“But we just…”
At Shizuru's raised eyebrow, the two looked at each other and made a mutual decision to show their cards.
“My name is actually Aoi Senou. I apologise for our ruse.”
“And mine Chie Harada, you have my apologies also. May I ask what your name might be?”
“Would you like to hazard a guess?”
Chie gave the young woman a blank look and just barely stopped herself from saying `tea-pouring woman'.
Shizuru smiled and stood up to give them a formal bow.
“My name is Shizuru Fujino. Welcome to my estate.”
Chie looked over at her friend and was about to say some shock triggered ridiculous statement along the lines of `we gotta go tell Nao she's not fat' but was saved by a large man dressed in a black suit, who was pushing Natsuki's bike into the room.
Shizuru who's eyebrows automatically went up at the sight of the bike just had one, simple thought running through her head at that moment in time.
… `That bike, it reminds me of… mayonnaise?' …
AN: Thanks for all the great reviews! Here's the thank you chapter XD Hope you all enjoy it!! A few more reviews would be nice… hehe