Shiawase no Niji
Rainbow of Happiness
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN GAKUEN ALICE. IT IS THE PROPERTY OF HIGUCHI TACHIBANA, THE MANGAKA OF GAKUEN ALICE. THE SONG SNIPPETS ARE NOT MINE EITHER. THE TRNASLATION IS FROM
Author's notes: Wah! I'm so excited! My first Gakuen Alice fic! Hehehe... Nyweyz, this was inspired by a particular episode from Cardcaptor Sakura where Sakura finally admits to Yukito that she likes him... If anyone knows what happened during that episode, then you can expect the same thing from here. But not really, coz' I'm adding stuff and whatever... I've had this fic hibernating in my PC for about 2 months now… I've finally managed to finish it! Wehehehe… Sorry if it's corny or shitty or whatever, but I wanted to post a Gakuen Alice fic… It's a good thing GA category in is growing. I can still remember when there was less than 10 fics posted…
Warning: Natsume and Mikan are a bit OOC…
demo kawaranu mono ga aru
kotoba ni wa dasenai mama
kokoro ni afureru omoi...
/But there are some things that don't ever change,
that can't ever be put into words:
the feelings that fill your heart.../
ima kawaranu mono wa tada
kotoba ni wa naranakatta
/Now, unchanging things are nothing but
continually glittering emotions
that have gone unspoken.../
-Mugen no Kaze; Eternal Wind sung by GeSang (from Ayashi no Ceres)
It was so annoying.
Really, it was so very, VERY annoying.
But why, oh WHY, did it bother HIM?
Hell, it didn't even concern him.
Maybe that was why it was so annoying. Irritating. Vexing. DISTURBING.
'I... I... I want to tell him how I feel!'
Damn it! Why won't her words stop ringing in his head? It was like an echo in the hollowness of his mind, never ceasing in its intensity, haunting him in its wake.
'I... I'll surely tell him! I want to tell him how I feel... before it becomes harder for me to say and before I know it, it's already too late...'
Before it becomes harder for me to say...
Why couldn't he just get it out of his mind? He shouldn't care anyway...
Why the hell should he care if that idiot Mikan is going to confess to that damn Tsubasa!
That's IT. If he didn't think of something else other than HER, he was going to go insane.
'I'm sure... Tsubasa-senpai is my special someone!'
Something inside him snapped in anger at that particular sentence, making him growl in frustration. Ruka, who was sitting beside him with his bunny companion, flinched in surprise at Natsume's sudden action.
"Natsume, is something bothering you? You've been spacing out the whole day. You've been reading the same page for an hour now," Ruka pointed out in concern, seeing that Natsume wasn't actually reading the latest shounen manga he had. Natsume's ruby eyes had a faraway gaze, farther than the picture in front of him. Ruka thought his behavior strange.
Natsume turned to look at his animal-loving best friend. "It's nothing. Just thinking, that's all." His glance then landed on the back of a certain brunette sitting a few seats in front, talking to that inventor friend of hers along with the class representative. She was merrily chatting away. For some reason, he couldn't tear his gaze away from her.
As if sensing his eyes upon her, she turned around to meet his gaze. Brown eyes locked with red oculars. Natsume didn't dare blink, unable to break the connection. Then she did the unexpected.
She smiled and waved at his direction.
His temper flared and he snapped, "What're you looking at!"
His sudden outburst startled Ruka for the second time.
Her smile turned to an angry expression. "What're you talking about! YOU'RE the one staring!" She retorted.
"Who would want to stare at an ugly girl like you!"
Mikan gave him an annoyed look. "What's your problem today?"
"You are!" Well, that wasn't exactly a lie. Actually, it was the absolute truth.
"Natsume? Where are you going?" Ruka inquired as his best friend suddenly stood up from his seat. Ruka stood to follow him but Natsume shook his head.
Mikan huffed and decided to just ignore him. She turned back to Hotaru and Yuu, mumbling something about waking up at the wrong side of the bed and anger management.
"I'm going out for a while."
He needed to get out and get some air into his brain that seemingly lacked some much needed oxygen. He needed to clear his head.
'I'll definitely tell him!'
ARGH! Damn it all!
Natsume hit his head with the manga volume that he brought with him. He groaned. Yes, perhaps he really was going crazy because of that... that girl!
He sighed inwardly. That private and serious conversation between Mikan and her best friend should've taken place somewhere more secret. Somewhere he didn't know. (No, he wasn't eavesdropping on them; he just happened to come across them in the Northern Forest and couldn't help listening... Their voices were too loud...)
The scene kept playing over and over like his mind was pushing the replay button again and again like a movie…
Natsume hid behind a large tree, hiding his presence from the two girls he was spying on.
"Hotaru... I... I... I really, REALLY like Tsubasa-senpai! More than you'll ever know!"
Hotaru's eyebrows shot up. Surprise and shock could be seen in her violet eyes, though only slightly. "Mikan, are you sure of what you're talking about?"
"Yes, I do."
"So are you planning to tell him?"
Mikan nodded, a hand balled up and held in front with the other clutching the wrist, certainty in her brown eyes. She was unusually serious, without her usual naiveté.
Mikan composed herself and tilted her head, averting her gaze from Hotaru to a dear memory within. Natsume noticed the rosy blush on her cheeks.
"I've felt like this for some time now. Tsubasa-senpai makes me feel like no one else has ever made me feel."
She giggled before continuing. "Plus, Tsubasa-senpai is really handsome and charming and kind and cool and caring..."
Right then and there, Natsume felt an ache in his chest. He didn't bother listening to her rambling about her beloved senpai. His hands balled into fists, shaking as he let his back lean on the tree. Why did he suddenly have the urge to burn away that darn Tsubasa's existence into nothingness?
"That's why... after much thinking... I've decided..."
Natsume could feel his heart booming in his ears. Why was he feeling like this? He should just walk away now and forget about everything he heard today, but he was rooted to the spot like the tree he was currently standing by.
"I... I... I want to tell him how I feel!"
Hotaru was taken aback by Mikan's words. She suspected that Mikan had a crush on Andou-san (since they were eleven; it was obvious for her since she knew Mikan better than anyone; it was hinted in subtle ways), but she never thought it was anything serious.
"Why are you telling me all this?" Hotaru asked in confusion. She wasn't a person to go to for advice on love. She had absolutely no idea on the subject.
Mikan held both her hands. "You're my best friend. And... I need your support."
"So... you're saying... you're in love... with Andou-san?" Mikan nodded happily, the blush returning to her cheeks.
"And... you're planning to tell him?" Mikan nodded yet again, and she was redder this time.
"I... I'll surely tell him! I want to tell him how I feel... before it becomes harder for me to say and before I know it, it's already too late..." Mikan's eyes took on a melancholy glow.
"He's graduating this year you know. After that, I don't know if I'll ever see Tsubasa-senpai again. That's why I..."
"I see..." Hotaru commented. "But Mikan..."
The brunette looked up worriedly at her best friend, probably thinking that the 'but' was an objection.
"Are you sure he's... the one?"
"I'm sure... Tsubasa-senpai is my special someone!"
She offered Mikan a simple smile. "Well then, I wish you the best of luck, Mikan."
"I'll definitely tell him!"
Mikan, in her joy, hugged Hotaru to show her appreciation. And Hotaru, in one of her rare moments, actually allowed the girl. But both of them did not notice the shadow that crept away quietly.
Natsume walked towards the Northern Forest, his hands in his pockets and a shounen manga under his arm. Upon reaching his destination (the tree he always frequented when he needed some time alone) he plopped down and sat in an undignified heap.
He needed to get rid of those annoying thoughts or else he'll burn something to let off stress. Perhaps her hair. Or maybe her skirt. That way, he'd be able to see her panties...
... What the Hell was he thinking!
Natsume sighed. It seemed like he had been doing that a lot today.
He was down in the dumps; he didn't feel like doing anything today. All he could think about was that SHE was planning to confess to him TODAY. And that thought just made his ego deflate.
Why was this bringing him down, anyway?
He sighed for the nth time as he furiously scratched his head in frustration.
STOP THINKING ABOUT HER!
Well, easier said than done.
Why? Why did he feel as if he'd lose something important? Like his heart had been broken?
Damn, he was sounding so mushy. Since when did he become like this? And all because of that stupid little girl…
But the fact was she wasn't a little girl anymore. In the four years he had known her, she had grown up. Well, only physically. Her mentality remained as that of a ten-year-old (maybe it was more appropriate to say six-year-old…). She had developed curves and acquired a well-sized bust. Though he didn't like to admit, he sometimes found himself stealing a peek at her from time to time.
But even in her simple-mindedness, she was still more mature than he was. Come to think of it, even with that blasted Tsubasa's troublemaking, he knew when to act his age. Maybe that was why Mikan liked him so much more...
This train of thought suddenly crashed into a wall of realization.
… Did he like her?
Did that little polka-dots-panties-wearing girl manage to make him fall in love with her without any effort at all?
Did Sakura Mikan actually make him fall for her without actually meaning to?
Natsume groaned as he hit his head hard one more time with the manga he had.
Stupid, stupid, stupid, he berated himself, whacking his forehead hard with the manga with each word. He should just forget about her; it was already too late.
Mikan was planning to confess today, he knew that much.
And what was he gonna do about it?
Natsume gritted his teeth.
Because it's too late.
"Good morning!" Mikan greeted as she entered the classroom. She proceeded to her seat next to Natsume without making a fuss.
No one noticed the change in routine. That today, for the first time in the four years she's been in the academy, she didn't make a fuss by hurling herself at her best friend first thing in the morning. She just sat quietly and began engaging in a conversation with Yuu. Hotaru was greeted happily when she approached Mikan and Yuu. If she sensed anything amiss, she didn't let it on.
Natsume decided to do a little experiment. As soon as she sat on her seat next to him, he pulled one of her pigtails, just to see her reaction. Her normal response would be yelling and insults.
Instead, Mikan turned to him and smiled cheerfully, "Good morning, Natsume!"
Everything just seemed so wrong, so out of place, even her smile.
He found it really strange of her. It was official. She wasn't herself today. He released his grip on her hair, letting her auburn locks slide against his fingers as she turned back to Hotaru and Yuu. As he contemplated on how silky her brown tresses were, Narumi-sensei walked inside to begin homeroom.
Mikan had been acting strange all day. She paid attention to all classes. A little too much, based on his observation. No amount of teasing or insults could wipe away that smile on her face.
It didn't seem like her at all; he had never seen such a smile so forced before. He knew for a fact that Hotaru had asked Mikan if anything was the matter at all, but the latter just kept on saying that everything was alright and today was a beautiful day.
And that was why he was now looking for her. Mikan left as soon as they were dismissed, leaving behind Hotaru and Yuu. She just disappeared right after their classes had ended.
He finally found her in the playground for the A division students. She was sitting on a swing, unmoving and solitary. Her back was hunched in a depressing way with her head hung low. She looked up, surprised upon hearing his footsteps.
"Natsume…" Her puzzlement was written all over her face.
Natsume did not greet her and decided to occupy the empty swing beside her.
The sun was beginning to set, bathing their surroundings in a jacinth glow. None of them uttered a sound.
Natsume couldn't take the silence anymore. "What's wrong with you today? You seem off, not your usual self."
Mikan just chuckled. "Hotaru-chan keeps saying the same thing, but really, I'm still the same old Mikan! I'm perfectly fine-"
"Stop lying. You're not fooling me."
Mikan was taken aback by his frankness, causing her to gawk at him.
Natsume readied himself before continuing, "You can talk about it if you like. I'll listen."
Mikan's brown eyes widened in surprise before her expression turned into a melancholy one, all intentions of pretense gone. Sighing deeply, she prepared herself for what was to come.
"Yesterday, I confessed to Tsubasa-senpai. I told him I like him." A sad smile graced her features.
She started to swing slightly, still looking down at the golden sand of the children's playground. "He told me he liked me too, but not in the way that I think."
"Tsubasa-senpai told me that he saw me only as a little sister, and that what I feel for him is actually the love for a family. And when he kissed my forehead, I realized it was true." She smiled sadly.
"I'm happy to know that, really I am, but I can't help but feel sad too," Her lip started quivering and her eyes were beginning to water.
"And when I think about it, I feel so disappointed." Her voice cracked. "And it makes me think that maybe Tsubasa-senpai just said those words so I wouldn't be hurt. But what I'm afraid of is that he might avoid me after this and things will never be the same."
"I know now that I see Tsubasa-senpai as the big brother I never had, but I also like him in a deeper way. And I guess that's why it hurts." He could see the tears building up in her eyes, but she was trying to hold them back.
"But don't get me wrong though; I'm very happy, but I… I don't know why I just want to cry so much…" Her futile effort to prevent the tears failed as a few managed to escape. And as soon as it began the others followed. It gripped his heart in a painful way, to see her like this. He decided that he didn't like seeing her cry. And at that moment, he also made a silent vow to himself that he would never let anyone make her cry.
"Geez, stop crying already," Natsume stood and knelt in front of Mikan. Her head was bowed, her bangs hiding her eyes from him. But he could see the glistening drops that fell onto her skirt. However, she persisted in using her hands to wipe away the tears that fell uncontrollably. She bit her lower lip in an attempt to suppress her crying, but her breath still hitched forcefully.
Natsume sighed and pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket. With his forefinger under her chin, he tilted her face upwards to him.
"Geez, don't you have a hanky?" He reprimanded gently as he wiped away her tears using his navy blue hanky. "Your face will get dirty if you keep using your hands."
"I'm sorry," she sobbed, "I'm such an inconvenience. I'm bothering you, aren't I?"
Natsume chose not to answer, opting instead to just wipe her face and afterwards, her tear-streaked hands. If he answered yes for the sake of keeping up his image, he would end up hurting her feelings. And if he said no, he'd give away too much…
"Here," Natsume held out his hand that held his hanky, offering it to her.
"But I couldn't—"
"Right now, you need it more than I do, so just take it."
Mikan meekly accepted it from him. Natsume settled back to the swing seat he occupied before.
"I'm sorry; I'm soiling your hanky," She said after a while.
"You can keep it."
"Oh no, that's too much—"
"I said keep it." He said in a firm tone, stressing the finality in his decision.
A few minutes with the absence of words between them passed, the silence broken by the occasional sniff coming from her. It was becoming dark; Natsume decided they should head back to their dorms.
"You don't plan on staying here for the whole night, do you?"
Mikan snapped out of her daze. "Huh? What time is it? Oh no, it's rather late! I guess we should head back in before we miss dinner," She stood up; Natsume followed her action. She faced him with her head bowed.
"It's not good to keep everything to yourself."
"I'm sorry," she said, looking apologetically to him. Natsume inwardly sighed. She was apologizing too much for nothing!
"You know, it's alright to cry sometimes, when you're sad."
Her eyes welled up again and her lip quivered once more. In a flurry of movements, she had flung her arms around him, locking him in a tight embrace, taking him aback in surprise. It was a good thing they didn't tumble.
Natsume suddenly felt her tears soak his school jacket. Awkwardly, he held her seemingly fragile form, not knowing how to comfort her.
He had a master plan all ready to take action.
He would make sure to catch her alone in the hallway to ask her what was wrong with her the past few days. It had to seem like he just naturally happened to come across her and casually inquire about her wellbeing.
He noticed that she had been drowsy in classes for the whole week. She seemed tired during the day. It was bothering him, and he found himself concerned about her health. Maybe she's still gloomy because of that… that person…
Natsume felt himself seethe at the thought. If HE had anything to do with it, he would personally make sure to make HIS life a living hell before sending HIM below.
But he wasn't too sure about that. He would have to ask her if she's alright. He had to make sure before doing something rash.
That was what he had in mind as he sat in the cool shade. He had been in the Northern Forest, thinking under his favorite tree. By this time, she would've been in her Alice-based classes. He hoped she would stay in the classroom today so he could finally put his plan to work.
Determined to whip his ingenious plan in motion, he was about to set off towards the elementary division building to look for her when,
"Natsume!" The sudden jolt from his thoughts surprised him, though he did not show it. He turned around to see Mikan running towards him from a distance, obviously having come from her Tokuryoku class. This was good; he didn't have to look for her anymore.
What perfect timing. It was now or never.
"Hi, Natsume," Mikan greeted, hands on her slightly bent knees, "I was looking for you. It's a good thing I found you."
Wha-? Looking for him? Natsume hoped he wasn't looking flushed.
"H-hi," Natsume wanted to kick himself for stammering. He hoped she didn't notice, which, fortunately, she didn't.
"Ano, Natsume…" Mikan looked downwards a bit before thrusting her hands that were previously behind her back towards him. "Thank you! I-I want to thank you for being with me and listening to me yesterday…"
Natsume was quite shocked. She never failed to surprise him…
"At that time, I was so depressed. But you made me feel better. This is a small token of gratitude to show how much I appreciate your help." Natsume took the gift from her hands, feeling his cheeks flaming. He undid the ribbon carefully and since the wrapper wasn't taped, he had no difficulty in undoing the gift wrapper to reveal the present.
"Well, I figured you might need a new hanky because you gave me yours, so I decided to make one because I didn't have enough money to buy a new one. But since I only have a small allowance, I didn't want to make you wait that long for a replacement so this is what I came up with." She explained, scratching her head sheepishly.
"Since I ruined your handkerchief at that time, I decided to make one for you. Actually, it's not a hanky but a bandanna. I asked Misaki-senpai to teach me how to tie-dye. I'm sorry if it's so late. I'm not good at sewing so I had a lot of difficulty. Anna-chan tutored me on how to improve my sewing. I made a lot of mistakes and I had to do it over and over again. "
Ah, she was talking about the embroidered characters of his name on a corner of the bandanna. And stitched beside it was the face of a chibi Natsume.
"Do you like it?" she quietly asked, anxious of what he thought of her handiwork.
She chuckled embarrassedly. "Err, well, It's not that well made. Maybe I should just buy you one from Central Town—" She meant to take the bandanna from him but as soon as their palms came in contact, his hand suddenly closed on hers like a clam. This sudden motion surprised her, making her look up at his serious face.
"Thank you. It's nice. Really, thank you," He finally spoke, looking directly into her eyes.
'Someday, you'll find that someone, Mikan. That someone who will love you more than life itself. Who knows, maybe he's right in front of you, but you just haven't noticed. Love has many kinds and that's what makes it so confusing. But if you listen to your heart, it will show you what many would call the one great love that we all search for to make us feel complete.'
For an inexplicable moment, the words of Tsubasa-senpai rang in her mind.
Mikan smiled brightly. His hands were warm.
"You're welcome, Natsume."
itsumo ienai omoi
imasara dakedo kiite ne
chotto terekusai ne...
/The feelings I always can't say
It's kind of late but please listen
although I'm a little shy about it.../
sunao na omoi wa kokoro de yobu yori
hora mou ichido koe ni dashite miyou yo...
/Instead of screaming out honest feelings in the heart
let's say it out loud with our voices.../
-Tenkyu; Thank You sung by Rythem (from Naruto, c/w Harumonia)
A/n: According to Wikipedia, Tsubasa is four years older than Mikan. I've heard that the Japanese educational system has 6 years high school, which consists of 3 years middleschool/junior high and 3 years high school/senior high. But I'm not really sure if the average age that Japanese students graduate high school is 18... If I'm wrong, please correct me...
P.S. ANYONE WANT A BETAREADER? NEED A BETAREADER? I'M FOR HIRE. FREE OF CHARGE. Just review and tell me which fic you want me to betaread…