Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ An heir's responsibility ❯ Chapter Three ( Chapter 3 )
[ 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.
Picking up where we left off…
Chie and Aoi looked in the direction Natsuki's bike and both were staring at it so hard, one would think they were trying to will it to come over to them.
Unfortunately neither had a very strong connection with `the force' and the bike just blankly stared back.
`Holy crap, Natsuki's gonna have some sort of a nervous breakdown if we don't get this bike back to her soon,' thought Chie.
Shizuru noticed the change in her two young guests and became even more suspicious about the motorcycle that sat before her.
Of course Natsuki could easily afford to buy a new bike but the one that had just been apprehended by her newest enemy, body guard number one, was built by Natsuki herself.
Each part was hand picked and individually designed to ensure there was no other motorcycle like it in the world… luckily Shizuru didn't know that.
Walking closer to the bike, she ran a hand across the handle bars, down the tank and on the seat, a movement that elicited gasps from her guests.
Raising an eyebrow at them she was offered a rather vague yet interesting response.
“Umm, sorry, it's just a very special bike… you really shouldn't be touching it yet.”
“Yet?,” Shizuru asked with a small smile. “Am I scheduled to be touching this motorcycle at another time?”
“Ahem, well uh…,” Aoi offered oh-so-eloquently as she tried to cover for Chie's little slip up. “No, she just meant yet… as in until you learn to ride it!”
Inside her head some very different thoughts were racing `Ok, ok, must not let Natsuki's fiancÃ©e break the bike before they're married. That would be very bad for our health.'
Chie nodded vigorously as if she could read what Aoi was thinking.
“Yes, and learn to ride it you really should. I hear it's a very exhilarating feeling,” she said. `Oh, geez why the hell does this crap just keep coming out of my mouth?!,' she added in her head as she realised her mistake.
“You hear? Miss Harada, is there something you're not telling me? I had somehow made the assumption that this vehicle belonged to the two of you. But now… I rather think I was mistaken.”
Shizuru turned to bodyguard number one and gave him her `leave us' look.
As soon as they were alone, Shizuru wordlessly poured Chie, Aoi and herself a cup of tea and simply smiled at her guests.
Chie and Aoi felt like they were being slowly broken into telling the woman before them just who's bike it really was and what exactly it was doing parked upon the cliff overlooking her mansion.
Neither could very well offer either of those facts without being prompted so they just gulped audibly and sat down on one of the couches hoping Shizuru wouldn't ask them… if she did, there's no telling what would happen.
Meanwhile, on a strategically placed cliff…
“Natsuki, just leave it you idiot! Chie and Aoi will bring your bike back. We can't just go rushing in there now!,” Nao said to her distraught cousin.
“But I have to get it back!”
“You will! Just wait a little while, I'm sure your fiancÃ©e isn't planning on trashing it and then selling it for scrap metal!”
Both Tate and Natsuki looked at their cousin while wondering if she could have possibly come up with anything worse…
Mai just stood to the side afraid that Natsuki might just lash out at any given moment. If that was to be the case, she preferred to be as far away as possible.
“Nao I'm not leaving the bike!,” Natsuki said again, for what must have been the hundredth time.
“God Natsuki, you're so insufferable sometimes! Ok ok, just relax. Here you just go with Mai and Tate, I'll get your damn bike back.”
“Don't ride it!”
“What did you want me to do, walk it back to Kuga mansion?”
“Fine, you can ride it but if you so much as scratch it…”
“Tate I think you should tell your dad that the engagement's off. Natsuki here is just too damn attached to her first love.
Chie, Aoi and Shizuru were now locked in what seemed to be a friendly staring competition. Seeing as Shizuru was the only one who was smiling, it was easy to see who was going to come out on top.
Aoi had taken to uncontrollable fiddling and Chie was breaking out into sweatdrops, left right and center.
“Look Miss Fujino, is there something you want from us?,” Chie asked, finally yielding to the pressure.
“Well, you two are reporters yes? Since you provide people with information… how about you provide me with some? In return, I'll give you an interview. How does that sound?”
“Err… we could try that,” Chie said.
Before Shizuru could ask her first question however, Aoi's phone began to ring and she excused herself to answer it.
“Hey, it's Nao. Listen, I'm gonna need you to get the bike outta there, Natsuki's gonna start crying…”
“I am not!”
“Natsuki… don't interrupt while other people on the phone. Tate, take her home ok? Just in case something else goes horribly wrong and we all end up as Fujino's prisoners.”
“Come on Natsuki…”
“Right, Aoi? Sorry about that, they're gone now. So yeah, steal the bike back.”
“Nao… we can't just steal the bike back.”
“Oh. Ok you distract the guards and I'll steal the bike back.”
“No one's stealing anything! Chie's talking to Fujino right now, I'm sure she'll give it back after the negotiations…”
“Talking? About what?”
“I don't know exactly, just stick around though ok? Someone's gonna have to ride the motorcycle home.”
“Fine fine, I'll wait just outside the gates. You just go see what that Fujino's up to.”
“Basically, all I'd like to know is who this motorcycle belongs to.”
“Oh, well that's easy enough,” Chie said before continuing the rest of her answer in her head. `It belongs to your fiancÃ©e actually. I just can't tell you because then it'll seem like she was spying on you. Anyway you don't know it yet, but Aoi and I will probably be bridesmaids at your wedding! Won't that be great?'
Chie cleared her throat.
“No comment,” she said.
“Come now, you just said it was easy enough for you to answer the question.”
“Yes and as much as I'd like to answer you… I can't.”
`Because Natsuki's dad would kill me and then we wouldn't be allowed to be bridesmaids.' … “I think I'll just stick with the no comment.”
“For a reporter, you're rather guarded with your information. How about this, I'll give you one question, all you have to say is `yes' or `no'. Simple enough?”
“The owner of this motorcycle, does she… have an unhealthy attraction to mayonnaise?”
`What the hell?! Has Natsuki been dating her fiancÃ©e behind everyone's back?!… Wait that doesn't sound quite right…'
Shizuru caught the other girl's deer in headlights look and found her suspicions to be true.
“Uh…” began a very confused Chie.
“Let me guess? No comment?,” Shizuru asked with a laugh.
For some reason, knowing that the gorgeous rebel she met the other day had been close-by put Shizuru in quite a happy mood, nevermind the fact that she had no idea what the girl had been doing watching her estate from a cliff top.
Hearing a man clear his throat behind her, Shizuru turned to face bodyguard number one.
“Miss Fujino, your father has just arrived. He says he needs to speak with you about something important.”
Shizuru nodded and turning back to Chie, gave the girl a low bow.
“Well, it has been a rather interesting morning for me Miss Harada, I thank you for your part in it.”
Aoi walked in just at that moment and suddenly felt that she had missed something important.
“Ah and Miss Senou, I thank you too. In return for your cooperation I'd like to offer you two invitations to my upcoming wedding. Maybe you could also bring with you the owner of the motorcycle?”
Chie gave the girl a smile.
“Thank you Miss Fujino, but I have a feeling we'll all be busy on that day.”
“But we haven't even set a date…”
“Miss Fujino…your father.”
Shizuru heaved a sigh and gave the two girls a what seemed to be a disappointed smile.
“If you should change your minds…”
“Don't worry yourself Miss Fujino, the invite was enough for us,” said Aoi as she dragged Chie off to get Nao.
“Alright you, what the hell did you tell her?,” Aoi asked as soon as they were out of earshot.
“She just invited us to her wedding! You two must have had some sort of a super bonding session or something!”
“Come on, we were gonna go anyway.”
“Yeah, but she doesn't know that! What did you tell her?”
“She just wanted to know who owned the bike.”
“Oh my God the Kuga's are gonna kill us… I actually wanted to be a bridesmaid you know!”
“No, actually I didn't tell her. Natsuki must have just turned her head in passing or something. Fujino didn't seem to know her name… just the mayo thing.”
“Yeah… don't ask. I didn't.”
Nao saw the two approaching and jumped off the large rock she was perched on.
“In the foyer thing. Let's just hurry up and get it back before Natsuki really does start crying.”
Shizuru, who was still disappointed that her bid to see the young rebel again had failed, readied herself for whatever news her father had come to bestow upon her.
“Ah, Shizuru. You look well.”
“Thank you father. As do you. I was informed that you had some important things to discuss with me?”
“Straight to the point as always. Yes, I've come to make sure you're ready for this afternoon. We're to have a meeting with the Kuga's.”
“You have reservations? There isn't someone else you find yourself attracted to is there?,” her father half-joked.
Shizuru flashed him a wry smile.
“No father, I'm ready for our meeting.”
“A meeting?! I'm not ready for a meeting already!”
Natsuki had been cornered by her father as soon as she, Tate and Mai walked through the door, she had been home for about two hours now but Mr. Kuga was still by his daughter's side.
“Father, stop hovering around me!”
“I just want to make sure you're…”
“Not going to run away? You could have given me prior warning you know! This afternoon is going to come around rather quickly isn't it?”
“Just as long as we're ready.”
“Ok then, what do we do now that we know I'm not?”
“Pretend you are.”
Natsuki rolled her eyes.
“Fantastic advice father, thank you.”
“You're welcome, now give me your hand,” her father said, now looking just a tiny bit nervous.
Natsuki sighed and obeyed hoping that he wasn't about to make her wear some ridiculous frilly gloves.
“I draw the line at frilly… hey, what is this?”
Her father had carefully placed a small object in the palm of her hand.
A teary eyed Tate walked in and silently stood behind his father.
“It's your ring now Natsuki,” Mr. Kuga continued. “The same one that your grandfather gave my mother and the same one that I gave to yours.”
“Just make sure you don't drop the thing before you can give it to her sis,” Tate joked as he teared up slightly.
Natsuki cleared her throat.
“Why are you people crying? You know other people crying sets me off…,” she said with a sniff.
“Hey Natsuki…” said Nao walking in. “Oops, sorry to interrupt, just wanted to say your baby's back… hey, are you guys crying? Don't do that! It makes me cry too dammit!”
Tate wiped his eyes and put an arm round his cousin leading her out of the room.
“Come on you, I could use a drink or something… our little Natsuki's growing up so quickly.”
“Hey! I can still hear you! Don't you forget why I'm doing this!,” Natsuki called after them.
Her father gave her a smile before he too left her to her own thoughts.
Natsuki sat in her room silently, feeling the ring in her hand.
“Right well, as far as defining moments go, any that involves this ring right here ranks pretty highly in my book.”
Shizuru and her father were at that very moment just pulling into the Kuga's main driveway…
A knock on Natsuki's door signalled her time of peace over and she opened it, expecting to see one of their staff who had come to inform her of the Fujino's arrival.
Instead, as she stepped out the door, she found herself surrounded by Tate, Mai, Nao, Aoi and Chie, the latter two depositing an intricate looking wooden box in her hand.
“Thanks guys, you shouldn't have.”
“Actually Natsuki we didn't,” said Aoi. “It's for her.”
“Huh? What did you guys get?”
“Open the box duh!”
Natsuki lifted the lid and found two traditional tea-cups inside. Each one had both `Kuga' and `Fujino' on them.
“Aren't they cute?,” Chie asked. “We just painted them today, but I'm sure they're dry.”
Natsuki smiled at their thoughtfulness.
“Well go on then Natsuki. They're waiting for you!”
“Ok ok, well wish me luck!.”
With a last smile, she walked towards the room in which she was to meet her bride-to-be.
She entered the room and bowed low.
“Father, my apologies for being so late. I was…” she looked up for a second and found herself staring into familiar crimson eyes…
“Kyoto-ben?,” she asked with her voice dripping with confusion. `She can't be my…'
“Mayonnaise?,” Shizuru echoed in a similar voice with genuine surprise written allover her features. `The rebel… it's my rebel! My rebel is my…'
“What? Kuga! Who on Earth is this?,” Mr. Fujino demanded to know as he was expecting Tate to walk through the door.
“I would like to present to you, my daughter, Natsuki Kuga. Natsuki, the beautiful young lady before you is Miss Shizuru Fujino.”
Shizuru managed to give her a bow, while Natsuki could only nod.
`Kyoto-ben… my… fiancÃ©e?! See! I told Nao she wouldn't be fat, she's not fat she's…'
Natsuki found herself looking the girl up and down.
`She's a hottie…hey, what the… what am I doing? It's ok Natsuki, breathe, it's ok, she's gonna be your fiancÃ©e..'
“No!” she heard someone say.
`No?' Natsuki thought with an involuntary pout. `Why not?'
“This is not acceptable Kuga! I was promised the hand of your eldest son.”
Natsuki's pout turned into a frown.
`Why is this man yelling at my father? And what's wrong with me?'
Mr. Kuga caught Natsuki's look and was about to try and stop whatever was about to come out of her mouth but…
“Geez old man, you make it sound like you want to marry my brother.”
… he was too late.
“Natsuki please… don't try to help any more than you have to… you're doing this for the good of your brother aren't you?,” Mr. Kuga said trying to calm the situation down.
Unfortunately his daughter would have nothing of it.
“Yes yes, I don't suppose it's entirely his fault that cupid attacked him when he wasn't paying attention. I'm doing this so he can live happily ever after etc…,” Natsuki continued, while still feeling rather insulted.
Mr. Fujino was in no mood to be calmed down either.
“Happily ever-afters put aside…How can you expect me to marry my daughter off to this little girl… The whole reason for this union is to ensure that a strong bloodline tie is made and that both companies will have suitable heirs to take over when the time comes. I only have one daughter, you only one son and we can't have heirs without a male and a female!!”
“Father please,” Shizuru said, who was feeling very much embarrassed at her father's choice of words.
“Wait, wait, wait.. You want us to breed?,” Natsuki asked incredulously.
“No!! You're both girls!”
“There are ways…,” Mr. Kuga mused aloud.
“My God, you're both sick perverted old men!” Natsuki was getting angrier by the second.
“Natsuki your tone.”
“Father this man has moronic ideas!”
“Natsuki, you must understand… that was only the original reason for the agreement but now, with your brother denouncing his position as my heir…”
“I understand perfectly well! Explain it to this guy!”
“Unacceptable! If you think I'm going to let this little girl marry my daughter…”
“Why does everyone call me a little girl?”
“Because that's what you are!”
Natsuki was about to start using obscenities when she heard Shizuru's voice.
“Father. You are a very important man, I understand that you are used to having your way in any and every situation, but as we are guests in the Kuga's home I ask that you lower your voice.”
She looked Natsuki in the eye and gave a small smile before continuing.
“And since I am present, I ask… that you do not insult my fiancÃ©e.”
`Hey, her eyes are laughing again. Kyoto-ben has such nice eyes,' Natsuki thought, finding herself being calmed down a little. `Wait… what'd she call me?'
“She is not your fiancÃ©e Shizuru! Your fiancÃ©e is Tate Kuga! Not this little girl.”
`Little girl, little girl, man this guy is giving me a headache, just shut up.'
Deciding that this fiancÃ©e, not fiancÃ©e business had to end immediately for the sake of her head, Natsuki took some quick steps towards the Fujino's and got down on one knee.
“Hey! What are you doing! Get up!,” said Mr. Fujino in a rather panicked manner.
“Umm, Natsuki… you're kneeling in front of the wrong person…”
`Geez father, do I look that stupid to you?'
Natsuki looked up at Mr. Fujino and gave him her sincerest look.
“I may not be able to directly provide you with heirs Mr. Fujino, but in me you are receiving an excellent asset. Do not be so quick to turn your back on someone when you know not their merits or true capabilities.”
Mr. Fujino, who looked sufficiently taken aback stared down at the girl kneeling before him.
“My name is Natsuki Kuga, not `little girl' and I assure you I'm not just here as a favour to my brother, I am here to honour our side of an agreement between our two families. Also, I don't know if you realise this but I'm on my knees informing you that I'm about to ask for your daughter's hand in marriage.”
Mr. Kuga watched in awe as his daughter set about rendering one of the country's most powerful men speechless.
“I know who you are Mr. Fujino, I know your power but once you signed that agreement saying that your heir will marry my father's, the control of this whole situation transferred from the two of you, onto me and Miss Fujino.”
“Shizuru,” the older girl said with a smile as she walked towards Natsuki who turned to face her.
Natsuki looked up at the older girl and offered held out the engagement ring.
“Shizuru… this ring, it's been in my family for generations, I offer it to you. With it comes my partnership, my support and my…”
“Your love Miss Kuga?,” Shizuru asked teasingly.
“Natsuki… and I was going to say, my services as an excellent motorcycle driver but.. maybe we can work on that.”
With a small laugh, Shizuru held her hand out and Natsuki slipped the ring onto her finger.
“Well,” said Mr. Fujino. “That was taken out of my control rather quickly.”
“I apologise if you felt that way, sir,” said Natsuki. `But you were making my head hurt…'
“No Miss Kuga, I'm thankful for your insights. If I should ever feel the urge to retire, at least I know my company will be in good hands. And you Kuga? What say you?”
“I say we should go have a celebratory drink!,” Mr. Kuga said.
“Agreed. Congratulations Shizuru, I take it you will be staying with your fiancÃ©e tonight?”
“Of course father. We have many things to… discuss.”
Natsuki who was still on one knee, felt her cheeks going red at the girl's tone.
Once left on their own, the girls sat down on the coach reflecting on the events that had just transpired.
“Hey, what just happened?,” Natsuki asked with her eyes closed.
“I think we just got engaged.”
“Oh hey, I almost forgot,” said Natsuki as she reached behind her for the wooden box she had placed on a table.
“This is for you.”
“You got me a present? My Natsuki is seems to be much sweeter than she likes to show…”
“Your Natsuki huh?”
“Well of course,” Shizuru confirmed with a cheeky smile. “Would you like to see that ring she gave me?”
“Why don't you just open your gift missy.”
“Ah, we're using terms of endearment already?”
Natsuki considered poking her tongue out at her new fiancÃ©e but decided against it.
“Come on come on, open it.”
Shizuru lifted the lid of the wooden box and inspected it's contents.
“Natsuki… they're beautiful! But how did you know?”
“Ha, ha very funny. I meant tea.”
“Ohhh, well I didn't actually, my friends came up with the idea.”
“Geez finally we get a mention…” said Nao from somewhere making Shizuru and Natsuki jump.
“Nao? What the hell?! And you're not a friend, you're my always inconveniently placed cousin. What the heck are you doing out there?”
The redhead… along with four other people were standing outside by the window.
“Heeey, Natsuki what are you doing with that girl? She's a real cutie but didn't you just get engaged? Where's the flappy arms girl?,” said Nao, completely ignoring everyone else.
“Uh, Nao,” said Aoi trying to interrupt.
“Oh wait, your fiancÃ©e now, sorry I shouldn't really be calling her the flappy arms girl, anyway where is she?”
“Nao,” said Chie in a warning tone.
“And aren't you gonna introduce us to your lovely… mistress is it? Natsuki, you dog you.”
Natsuki just closed her eyes hoping that when she next opened them Nao would be nowhere in sight.
Suddenly she felt a gentle hand take hold of her own.
Due to the movement, Nao saw a familiar looking ring on the `nameless' young woman's hand and her attention was drawn to the wooden box that was sitting on her lap.
“Ohhh.. hehe… uh…” clears throat…
“Yes it all makes sense now doesn't it?,” said Tate, shaking his head.
The rest of the group rolled their eyes at the redhead who now seemed to be at a loss.
“Umm, Welcome to the family!,” she said to Shizuru. “So, when's the engagement party?,” she asked with a grin.
“Nao…” said Natsuki with her eyes still closed. “You, just go ahead and stay outside ok?”
AN: Well you guys asked for it so here's another chapter! Thank you for reading the fic, especially those who review. Consider this another thank you update hehe. So our heroes are engaged now… the fun is just beginning!