Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ Mai-HiME: Royal Flush ❯ Chapter 2 ( Chapter 2 )

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

Youko was given the task of explaining the rules prior to the shuffling of cards, all the while holding Midori's gaze and her skin had pinked with a slight blush. She wasn't sure that Midori's suggestion that she join the game had wholly innocent but it was a risk she was willing to take. After all, she was the one mixing the drinks.
“Ok ladies, the game is fairly simple so let's try to relax and have fun,” Midori said, catching the eyes of both Shizuru and Natsuki as she skillfully dealt out five cards to each HiME in attendance. She had separated the two because the latter was still leveling her frostiest glares at the student council president.
Natsuki had pitched a royal fit earlier when she heard those two words, “What the bloody--? No. Absolutely not. I am not getting naked in any way shape or form. And neither are you,” she said in her best commanding tone as she stared at Shizuru. The pretty kaichou raised an amused eyebrow at her outburst but remained suspiciously silent.
“What's the matter, Kuga? Worried that we might get to see more than you?” Nao had snarked from her place on one of the oversized armchairs near the playing table.
“Sounds like you need the peek. Lost your taste for pedophiles, Nao?
Things went precipitously downhill from there. “Nao-san, Kuga-san, please!” piped up a rather annoyed Yukino (who somehow managed to get out of her “duties” with Haruka). “This is supposed to be fun. Can you both...well, you know,” she gave them both a meaningful look. The two of them were so shocked at Yukino's sudden growth of a spine that they acquiesced almost immediately (not without some mouthed threats to each other, to be sure).
The group around a small circular table they had found in a student study lounge resembled a motley crew of misfits. Youko sat on Midori's right while Nao sat on her left. Then it was Shizuru, Chie, Yukino, Yukariko, Mai, Mikoto and finally Natsuki.
“Why are you here, Harada?” Natsuki observed the campus busybody sitting next to Shizuru for the first time since they sat down to play. She was very uncomfortable with the prospect of having semi-nude photos of herself floating around the school. “Don't you have someplace to be? Where's Aoi anyway? You two are usually joined at the hip.”
Chie peered intently at her cards as she tried to hide the disappointment in her face at the mention of her crush's name. “She had to work,” she replied quietly. “No worries, though, Kuga, I'll behave this time, eh?”
Dubious looks all round were cast in her direction. Chie spread her hands in exasperation. “What? I can be good when I want to! Gods know, this would make some excellent stuff but…my heart isn't in it this time.”
“Uh huh,” Mai gave a derisive snort. “If I hear any smart comments from Tate about tonight, I'll know who to come after, good behaviour or not.”
Youko continued outlining the rules of play as she handed out drinks to those who weren't already drinking tea. “Now remember to keep your cards well hidden. Only discard the cards you think might not be worth anything. The max number of cards you can get rid of for this game is three cards unless you have an ace. Then you can get rid of four and hold onto that ace. Do you all understand the hand values that I explained before?”
Everyone nodded their assent. Midori handed out cards to the last person, put the rest of the deck to the side and placed a marker, or marked poker chip, on top. “We'll be playing five card draw poker with deuces wild.”
Yukariko's hand raised tentatively from behind her cards. “Yes, Sister?” the wayward teacher acknowledged.
“Um, what's a deuce?”
The rest of the evening played out like a Benny Hill skit. Mikoto had to be sent back to Mai's room before the first hand was played when she kept trying to eat her cards. Yukariko acted so jumpy at the possibility of committing multiple grievous sins while gambling on her state of undress that, at the suggestion of Midori, the lovely doctor had to slip her a shot of sake in her tea to calm her down.
Chie, Nao and Midori were doing their level best to see who could out-bluff the other; however, their efforts were for naught as they were the first players to fall. Natsuki and Shizuru continued their silent war of wills, surprising everyone else by their smart, calculated moves despite both of their protestations that they'd never played poker before in their lives.
Youko was the first one to be completely naked, much to the amusement of a broadly grinning Midori. The bets were getting more outrageous the more alcohol that was consumed. Three rounds later, Nao and Yukino lost their clothing as Shizuru's calculated bluff with a pair of tens, ace high, forced them to go all in and call. Nao's screams of frustration could be heard throughout most of the dorm.
It was the final hand of the last round; Shizuru and Natsuki had yet to lose a stitch. Most of the other HiME had either opted to fold when they thought their hands would not be able to stand up to the pair's collective cunning or lost when they attempted to take a risk that one of the two was bluffing outrageously. Midori had a bemused expression on her face as she handed them their cards. Natsuki took one look at her cards and a brief flash of excitement flickered in her eyes.
“Natsuki, I've heard that certain body language between players are called `tells'. Perhaps you shouldn't be quite so obvious about what you might be holding in your hand,” Shizuru joked.
The younger girl blushed furiously. “Think you know so much, do you? Very well,” she purred. “I'm going all in.” She pushed her rather large stack of poker chips into the center of the table where the `pot' was.
Shizuru blinked at the size of Natsuki's bet. “Are you sure you want to do that?”
“I've never been surer about anything in my life.”
Everyone around the table held their breath as Midori laid down the challenge. “You two know the drill. Show us what you've got.”
Shocked gasps hissed out as Shizuru laid her cards down first. “Well, damn,” Chie grumbled. “Full house: three Kings and two tens. Now what are the odds of THAT happening?”
“Not so fast,” Natsuki said with a smirk that nearly split her face in two. She laid down her own set of cards. If the reaction to Shizuru's hand was shock, then the reaction to Natsuki's was awe.
“What the bloody---?” “How did she get THAT? She can't have that!” “Are you kidding me?”
“Straight flush. Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten of Hearts. Looks like I win, kaichou-sama.”
Ara, it's not like Natsuki to be a sore winner.”
“Hmph. Cut the crap, I beat you. You know what you gotta do…”
“Whatever do you mean?” Shizuru asked as she placed her hand over her ample bosom and gave her friend a faux innocent look.
“Strip. Now!” Natsuki growled.
“I don't see point you're trying to make, Natsuki. You've seen me without clothing numerous times,” Shizuru complained with her bottom lip protruding in a slight pout.
Chie's eyes lit up with all of the gossip possibilities being laid out before her, her earlier promise almost completely forgotten. “Ehhh, Kuga? When was this? Why didn't you tell us about your hot love affair with the lovely student council president?” she teased, poking the grumpy student in the side with her elbow.
"Shut UP! Shizuru, the POINT is that I beat you and now you...h-have to take off your clo--damn, this game is pathetic. Why the hell am I playing along with this?" she groused and stood up to face down her wily sempai.
“Aw Natsuki-san is all flustered,” Nao grinned nastily as she took out her camera phone. “Could it be that she's enjoying this a little more than she lets on? Huu huu huuu…”
Natsuki whirled on the red-haired girl so fast, she barely had time to duck or risk being cold cocked in the chin. “Shut your mouth before I shut it for you.” She gave the wannabe badass a parting glare before standing and stomping off to the common room kitchen. Her ears burned with embarrassment as she heard Shizuru say, “Natsuki's leaving just when I've gotten to the good part? How mean.” She slammed the kitchen door so hard the artwork on the walls nearly flew off.
“Oh my,” Yukino mused while trying to cover her nudity with one of the sofa cushions.
“Whadda we do now?” Youko slurred. Though she'd had fewer glasses of the alcoholic punch mixture that she had made, somehow she felt more inebriated than she should.
“Don't worry,” Shizuru said calmly. “I am the one she is upset with so…” She straightened her skirt and headed off in the direction Natsuki fled to.
When she was out of earshot, the rest of the group looked at each other in consternation. “I don't know if I respect her for her courage or think she's totally insane for going after Kuga,” Chie noted. Yukariko nodded vigorously in agreement, hiccupped twice and passed out cold in Chie's lap.
“Whoa, what's going on here?”
Everyone's eyes whipped around to see a very confused Aoi standing in the doorway of the common room. Her own eyes went as wide as saucers as she took in the collective nudity of the group. Chie jumped up from her chair in a panic, heedless of her own state of undress.
“Aoi! Look, I can explain everything!”