Mai-HiME Fan Fiction ❯ The Tide ❯ Chap. 2; Brittle Grace, Part 1 ( Chapter 3 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]
Author’s Notes: I am going to split one chapter into two. I’ve been very busy with a new job, and I’d like to get what is written out when I can, instead of waiting for completions. Don’t want people to think I’ve given up, I guess.

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The Tide,
By Monikku

Chapter Two; Brittle Grace

Part A

"Fujino-san... Fu-ji-no-san!!!" Haruka screeches my name as I sip my tea. She makes it
incredibly difficult to tolerate her. She is so easy to rouse into anger, that is her only saving grace
in my eyes; revenge can be exacted effortlessly. To wear your weaknesses in scarlet for all to see, sometimes I cannot decipher if it is stupidity or bravery on her part. Perhaps the two interchange depending on circumstance. I sigh internally, to do so outwardly would be an open acknowledgement of Suzushiro-san, and it is far more entertaining to make her beg. And really, I should be scolding myself for putting even the most minute amount of effort in analysing such a simple creature. - I wonder what people would think if they heard the thoughts that pass through my mind.

"FUJINO!!!!" She is ever the nuisance to peace.

"Suzushiro-san, it is unbecoming of both a lady and a responsible council head to yell in the presence of company." I reply. Oh, that should incite her childishness. In my peripheral vision, I see Kanzaki smirk infinitesimally. He and I are far too alike. We both take some sort of sadistic relief in baiting her like a dog. It makes me uncomfortable to think he and I share a kinship. I wonder if he has been able to forgive himself for his misdeeds, though our situations differ tremendously. One could excuse him as being possessed during the HiME Festival, whereas I was possessed only by my own twisted obsession.

Being "of the moment" seems to have been exorcised from my life, I completely missed Suzushiro's response to my prodding. What's the fun in aggravating people if you leave before they writhe?

"Fujino-san, this is a very serious issue!! The atheletic clubs cannot continue to take short cuts through the lawns! They are killing the grass!!" With every inane word she utters she always seems to gesture wildly. By the time she's done with her plea, her hands are thrown out in front of her, fingers splayed and tense. She must have been raised by foreign help, there is no possible way a respectable Japanese family would permit such a brute child.

"Suzushiro-san," Kanzaki interrupts, his voice as smooth and calm as ever. His intonation is one I have used many, many times before, "the school is still under some heavy construction, which you should know well." Her family is making a ridiculous amount of money, over charging the Academy for the reconstruction efforts. She should know all too well, indeed. "The students have taken to traveling by unconventional means, as it is necessary to bypass the construction." He smiles at her as he finishes his little speech, "Please be patient." Polished.

For as much as things have changed in the past two months since the festival, it is a marvel just how much they stay exactly the same. For every folktale, there is a moral. How much have we learned in this living folktale of ours?

I take a sip of my tea, and frown lightly as it has cooled. Suzushiro is searching my expression as I reach for the tea pot to top off my cup, hoping the new liquid will assist in warming my drink. She is looking for an ally, and I am pointedly ignoring her. Kikukawa always seems to remain calm and silent during these exchanges. She very rarely speaks, except to calm Suzushiro before she reaches a point of unforgivable action. Kikukawa is very smart and calculating, had she more confidence, she would be quite a force to be reckoned with. It is her cowardice that allows her to love Suzushiro, I'm not sure a person of strong character could.

I take another sip of my newly refreshed tea. It is not perfect, but it will suffice. Smiling, I look up at Suzushiro-san, and remove all doubt, "I'm glad that is taken care of. I believe that will conclude our meeting today." Kanzaki smiles winningly, he is a rather handsome young man. Kikukawa returns his smile weakly, Suzushiro's scowl obviously fraying her nerves. I imagine she will have to listen to Suzushiro rant for the next hour or so. Oh well.

Natsuki is supposed to meet me here soon, I'd prefer the student council room be clear upon her arrival. Natsuki has softened to the other students significantly, making genuine friends. Our time... even if the world should gladly intrude upon our lives, I wish for our time to be our own. Truthfully, I hate sharing her. I am happy that she is happy, but I need our time alone.

I haven't seen Natsuki since yesterday afternoon. I walked away from her. It may have been the first time I have ever taken a stand in such a way. What statement was I making in doing so? That her being so guarded and utterly closed to conversation about our past is... unacceptable? Will it come up again today? Not likely unless I press the issue. I wonder what she is thinking and feeling, not knowing is killing me.

Suzushiro brusquely grabs her things, namely one Kikukawa Yukino, and huffs her way out of the room. Ah, classic Suzushiro Haruka. Kanzaki smiles broadly as he rises from his seat. He begins to collect the tea cups and hand washes them in the sink, he dries them with a towel, each of his movements are methodical. I do not move to help him, instead opting to sit and sip idly in the serene quiet. He slowly places each of the cups in their proper cabinets, then heads back
to his seat to collect his books. I close my eyes, and listen to his footsteps as he walks my way to exit the room. I feel a strong hand on my shoulder. I knew he wanted to say something, but this gesture truly startles me. I don't think we have ever touched before.

"There is a great burden in knowing too much. Do not become so absorbed in awareness that you vanish." His hand leaves my shoulder as he ushers himself in silence towards the door. I sit numbly without response as I hear him twist the doorknob, "There are people who care deeply about you," and with that the door shuts. In another life he and I may have made the perfect couple, he understands me far too well.

In contrast, at times I wonder if Natsuki understands herself enough to grasp the world, muchless myself. The part of Natsuki I loved best was her innocence. Despite thriving on such furious anger, she was still so delicate and innocent. Her beauty was insurmountable. Her innocence, I fear, has been irreversibly tainted by the festival, rather by me.

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Thus was the conclusion of Part A. Hope you enjoyed it. Please do leave your criticisms, as they are what keeps me going.