Story: The Onset of the Frost (chapter 3)

Authors: bleeding.blade

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Chapter 3

Have you forgotten all I know?
And all we had?
You saw me mourning my love for you
And touched my hand
I knew you loved me then...

From the song Taking Over Me (the Fallen album), by Evanescence

It was nearly two years later, shortly before my graduation, that she finally came back.

I was in the garden, dreading saying goodbye, saying it anyway, and missing her as always. And then that melodic accent, unheard for so agonizingly long, sounded from somewhere behind me.

"I've been thinking...Perhaps the only way for flowers and weeds to grow without killing each other is to keep them apart."

I whirled around. There she was, smiling with that heart-breaking, soul-aching smile she always used on me. She looked so beautiful it took my breath away. I must have sighed her name. All I know was that in the next moment, I had her in my arms, holding her with all the desperate longing I'd endured for the last several months.

I felt her hand gently stroke my hair. "Ara, I take it Natsuki missed me?"

There were tears in my eyes when I looked up at her: tears of intense relief - and remembered anger. There was so much I wanted to say. But the first words to leave my mouth were an accusation. "You left without a word, Shizuru."

She looked at me and answered quietly. "I'm sorry, Natsuki. It was selfish of me to not say anything. But I was only fulfilling your wish by leaving."

I opened my mouth to protest, then looked away with shame. She was right. I had instigated her departure. I looked at her again, hoping she could see the regret in my eyes. "I missed you, Shizuru. More than you can ever know. And I wish," my voice suddenly trembled, "I wish you wouldn't fulfill all my wishes if they meant your being far away."

She smiled at this, a smile of infinite tenderness that was exceeded only by the sadness in her eyes.

A voice interrupted us.

"Ah, there you are, Shizuru."

I looked around in annoyance for the source of the interruption - and found a man who, impossible as it seemed, was even handsomer than Reito Kanzaki. He had rumpled blonde hair and kindly green eyes and carried himself with an aristocratic grace that matched Shizuru's perfectly.

He was also looking at Shizuru with a familiarity that I immediately detested. Only Shizuru was looking back at him with a warmth that I'd only ever seen her use on me.

"I'm truly sorry for abandoning you like that, Solomon. I got carried away by nostalgia." Then gesturing at me fluidly with her right hand, she made the introductions. "Solomon, allow me to present Natsuki Kuga, a former schoolmate of mine and a dear...friend. Natsuki, this is Solomon Goldsmith, the CEO of Cinq Flèches Group...and my fiancé."

In the dead silence that followed, Solomon Goldsmith bowed to me and smiled. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Kuga-san."


My memory of those moments is muffled by detachment. To this day, it's the only way I can deal with the recollection.

As soon as she had uttered that final word, I had gone very still.

"Your fiancé?" I'd looked at her then, the betrayal in my heart echoing in the flatness of my words.

Solomon spoke for her, smiling apologetically all the while. "We've only just gotten engaged, so please don't think Shizuru kept it a secret from you. Actually, that's the reason why we're here at Fuka Academy. Shizuru wanted her friends here at the school to be the first to know."

When I heard my answer, it seemed to come from across a vast distance. I marveled at its grave civility. "I'm honored then, in that case." Then nodding at the both of them, I excused myself. "Pardon my rudeness, but I have to be getting back. I'm sure we'll have many opportunities to get to know each other better over the next few days."

I'd walked away then and just barely managed to stop myself from running.

It was only after I'd reached the safety of my dorm room that I collapsed, chest heaving and throat aching with a pain too large for tears. And that was only just the beginning.


The next few days passed by in a haze of agony. The whole school was in an uproar over Shizuru's engagement. The excitement was only heightened by the fact that she and Solomon were, without a doubt, the most magnetic couple that any of us had ever seen. Both were beautiful, graceful, elegant and refined. Even the protests of Shizuru's undying fan club withered under the force of Solomon Goldsmith's angelic charm.

Chie was quick to accost me in the hallway the next day. "Oi, Natsuki. Did you know anything about this?" She looked incensed. Her girlfriend, Aoi, smiled sympathetically at me. "Chie-chan is upset that she missed the scoop of the decade."

Chie looked offended. "Scoop of the decade? Scoop of the century you mean! Shizuru Fujino is the only direct heir of the family that owns the country's largest corporation! Her marriage prospects have been debated for years! And now she's engaged all of a sudden and we didn't even have a clue?"

I simply shook my head and walked away. In the refuge of an empty classroom, I reflected on Chie's words. I had never fully considered Shizuru's stature as a Fujino. The aura of quiet authority she carried with her had been so deeply her own, it had been easy for me to forget her wealth and lineage.

I rammed a fist against a wall in frustration. What was I thinking? Forget that, what was she thinking? Even if nothing else had stood in our way, we could never have been together. I closed my eyes. Images of a crimson-eyed angel cutting a path of destruction suddenly filled my mind. But that's a lie...You know there wasn't anything she wouldn't do for you, including murder. What makes you think she would have let her inheritance get in the way?

The only thing that had gotten in the way - the only thing that could have gotten in the way, and did - was me.

I sank down to the floor and buried my face in my hands.


Mai flopped down next to me in the grass, sighing dramatically. "Goodness. I never thought I'd see the day when Shizuru-san would actually find her match. Even Reito-san never quite seemed her equal. But this Solomon Goldsmith seems absolutely perfect for her, don't you think?" She sighed again, dreamily this time. "They look so wonderfully romantic together. Next to them, Yuuichi and I look like Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead."

I didn't respond. Much as it pained me, I had to agree with Mai's observation. Whenever I saw Shizuru those days, it was always on the arm of Solomon. And much as I searched for evidence to the contrary, they seemed to be genuinely devoted to each other. They were so blatantly, perfectly suited for each other, it made me sick to think about it.

"Hey, Natsuki." I looked down to find Mai staring at me with concern. "Are you...okay? You've been kind of off ever since Shizuru-san got back. I would have thought you'd be ecstatic to see her again, especially with the good news and all."

I managed a half-hearted smile. "You worry too much, Mai. It's just the graduation blues, I suppose."

She looked unconvinced. "Since when did you start disliking the idea of finally getting through high school?"

I chuckled wryly. "Ever since I realized it meant having to get through university."

Mai shook her head good-naturedly. "You do have a point there, my non-academically-inclined friend. Still, you have to try harder to cheer up. It'll upset Shizuru-san to see you like this."

For once, I wasn't too sure about that. I wasn't sure anymore if anything I could ever do could make Shizuru feel any way at all.

[End notes: Solomon Goldsmith is one of the principal characters in the series Blood+. I won't say too much about him here as more will be revealed later on in the series, but the most important thing to know about Solomon at this point is that his character has several things in common with Shizuru's. Like Shizuru, he is exceptionally wealthy, good-looking and charming. Also like Shizuru, his easygoing manner conceals the fact that he is an extremely capable leader and formidable fighter. His death is strongly implied in Blood+, but since his actual destruction isn't shown, I've taken the liberty of "borrowing" his character for this series. For readers who like knowing how a particular character looks, you can view a picture of Solomon at Wikipedia (type in "Solomon Goldsmith" in the search field; this will lead you to the Blood+ main article and from there you can click on the main article for Characters of Blood+). You can also view several pictures of him on the blog Random Curiosity (you can search for articles related to Blood+ under the blog's "categories" tab).]

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