Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ The Tide ❯ Chap One ( Chapter 2 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Disclaimer: I don't own 'em.

The Tide,
by Monikku

Chapter One

The sun feels warm on my face. My heart is beating urgently in my chest, a nagging reminder that I am alive.
Sometimes, when I am alone, I become flushed with an over abundance of thoughts, detached from memories. My
death feels more a philosophical notion at times, than an occurrence. I think I've become an existentialist in my new
life. Or perhaps existence has undeniably penetrated the numb indifference. Perhaps such lofty ideals are merely
penance for a past filled with ire and unaccountable reckoning.

I am not sure what to do with myself anymore. Nightmares pervade my sleep, as I get less and less. I am coming
to find being the admirably perfect student body president a loathsome burden, and am relieved to know I'll graduate
soon. I won't have to rely on a flawlessly honed smile. It took me years of practice to get that smile right, for it to
"reach my eyes," as people say. Squinting your eyes, ever so slightly while smiling indicates enthusiasm and sincerity.
Unfortunately, it also creates crow’s feet, but I have creams and moisturizers for that.

When we all mysteriously poofed back into existence, everyone seemed so happy. They were grateful to be alive.
They were grateful to have one another. But how long could that really have lasted before old feelings re-emerged? Natsuki
and I rarely speak of the HiME festival, of my unconscionable actions. She needs to believe that I could never do something
like that. I do, too. Quite desperately, I need to believe I couldn't possibly be a beast, ruthlessly spreading despair. I don't
know how much longer I can prevaricate with myself. I am a wielder of the scythe; I reap the grass of its green, and strip
the earth bare.

I robbed the person I loved most of her choice, of her chastity, of her trust, and her dignity. For what? Desire? Need?
Love? Obsession? Maybe Natsuki grants me these vices. Maybe she believes the HiME star took these emotions and
twisted them into something ghastly. Insecurity. Shame. Rage. Desire. Need. Love. Obsession. If I were to prioritise these
words, what would their sequence be? Would their rank and importance be indicative of my level of self-responsibility for
rape and murder? How shall I quantify my sins? By what right do I deserve unquestionable absolution?

In my dreams, I beg Natsuki on hands and knees to rip my heart out with her bare hands. I sob and splutter and plead,
but instead she disrobes and kisses me fully, passionately. For some reason, ripping out my heart feels the greater mercy.

I sigh deeply, with closed eyes, at this thought, and stretch out lithely on the wooden bench. My greatest retribution may
be having to live with myself. Heh, my life feels like a penalty game gone terribly wrong. I sense someone walking towards me,
but do not move from my resting position. How very uncharacteristic of me to lean back on a bench, my head resting,
exposing the delicate neck of a proper young Fujino woman. Am I best characterised by being a wealthy Fujino? Being a
traditional young lady from Kyoto? Being an impeccable student? Which is more laughable today?

Natsuki sits next to me and says nothing. I could tell it was her even without seeing, be it the measure of her steps or the
smell of her hair. She is instantly recognisable even to a blind woman.

I raise my head and stare at her out of the corners of my eyes, "How is Natsuki this afternoon?"

She sighs and rests her back against the bench, "Irritated and restless."

I smirk at her, "Mah, I don't think I've ever seen Natsuki so forthright."

She stares at me pointedly. As the days pass, she is becoming harder and harder to read, and that makes me
uncomfortable. I give up the game, "Why do you feel so irritated and restless?"

She sighs again, "I don't know."

We sit in silence. These silences used to be dedicated to expectant glances, for I held all of the answers. I know nothing,
however, and I think she has come to realise that. If not already, she is slowly learning. I don't know what my role should
be anymore. I do not know who I am anymore. I want desperately to grab her and ask her who she wants for me to be.
What persona should I create and affix to myself now? What would make her most comfortable? Lately, she seems so distant.
How long can we keep torturing each other by staying friends?

I long to cry. I haven't since Natsuki kissed me at the conclusion to our chapter of the HiME Festival. It's so hard to
believe that it has been two months since then. I say as much, "It has been two months. The world has felt so awkward
to me since then."

"I don't want to talk about it, Shizuru." she replies, crossing her arms protectively over her chest. She strikes such a petulant
and cute picture when she does that.

"Whether or not Natsuki wishes to talk about it won't change what happened." I stand up and begin to walk away without
looking back, "I have to get to class."

to be continued...

Author's notes:

Thanks for reading!