Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from Mai Hime, I’m just borrowing them for a while. This is also a shoujoai story, so if that doesn’t interest you I’d skip this fic.
“So why did you invite me to your birthday party, Shizuru?” Haruka Suzushiro demanded, the tough blonde meeting the taller woman’s eyes. Of course her tough stance was rather ruined by her black party dress, but what do you do?
“We were associates on the student council,” Shizuru Fujino answered mildly, her brown hair flowing in the breeze. A slight smile tugged at her lips as her purple dress was gently stirred by the breeze, “And despite our various disagreements I’d like to think we’re friends.”
“True,” Haruka conceded, “though if you tell anyone else that I’ll deny it.”
“Of course,” Shizuru chuckled.
“What’s it like, having a birthday in December?” Haruka asked curiously.
“About the same as having a birthday at any other time of year,” Shizuru admitted, “my parents aren’t stingy.”
“Suppose so,” Haruka took a drink.
The mansion all around them was decorated up for both the birthday and the Christmas season, creating a odd mix of influences. The stairway was lined with green and balloons, wreaths and twinkling colored lights were scattered about and ‘happy birthday’ banners mixed with all the green and red decorations.
“How is Yukino?” Shizuru asked mildly.
Haruka actually blushed faintly, then gave Shizuru a suspicious look. Seeing only semi-innocent curiosity she answered, “Yukino is handling being student council president quite well, thank you.”
“That wasn’t quite what I meant,” Shizuru noted.
“Isn’t that pushing a bit?” Haruka scowled.
“I’d just like everyone to be as happy as I am,” Shizuru’s eyes twinkled with mirth.
Haruka growled under her breath. “We’re... progressing,” she conceded.
“Yukino is wearing you down, you mean,” Shizuru teased.
“Well, yes,” Haruka said reluctantly.
“I suspect my Natsuki knows how you feel,” Shizuru waved down a waiter to get them some wine.
“Thank you,” Haruka took a glass from him, sipping at it carefully. “Kuga is still having some issues?” she asked.
“She’s coming along,” Shizuru said with a impish look.
“I notice she isn’t here,” Haruka noted.
Shizuru nodded, “This is my official party, Haruka. Friends of the family and business associates are here... Natsuki is organizing another, more private party later.”
“Good,” Haruka said, not mentioning that she and Yukino would be attending that party, too. Besides, she suspected Shizuru already knew.
Shizuru looked up to see her father signaling and sighed, “It seems I have to mingle some more. Excuse me.”
Haruka watched her walk away, the elegant young woman weaving through the crowd with deceptive ease. Her feelings, as always, were mixed around Shizuru. On one hand she admired her grace and style, on the other she resented how easily these things seemed to come to the other woman.
Shizuru mingled as necessary, biding her time until she could slip away. Silently she chaffed at the bonds her role in society forced on her, but she gave no sign as she smiled and greeted people she barely knew. Once her duty was done she excused herself, slipping away to change into a more comfortable dress.
The sound of a horn outside her window sent Shizuru hurrying out to see Natsuki waiting perched on her Ducatti motorbike, dressed in her usual gear, a skin tight body suit that made Shizuru’s heart skip a beat.
“Happy birthday,” Natsuki smiled as Shizuru arrived.
“What took you?” Shizuru gently teased as she climbed on, her short red dress clinging to her body.
Natsuki passed her a helmet, “Midori’s on the loose again.”
“Ah,” Shizuru said as if that explained everything. Snuggling up to Natsuki’s back she asked, “What did she do now?”
“You’ll see,” Natsuki said as she donned her own helmet and revved the bike engine.
Shizuru just chuckled, soothed by the feel of the engine and her Natsuki.
The first sign Shizuru got that plans had changed was when they sped by the little restaurant they were going to eat at, which was burning down at the time. The next sign was the emergency vehicles streaming by them heading towards that building.
“MIdori?” Shizuru yelled to be heard.
“Midori,” Natsuki agreed.
They arrived a little while later at the one place Shizuru should have expected, the kareok bar. “So, no food?” she asked as she got off the bike, smiling faintly as she noticed Natsuki taking a good look at her legs.
“We’ll order in some take out,” Natsuki said as she led them inside, “besides, there’s always mayonase.”
“Lovely,” Shizuru took her arm as they entered the room that had been booked.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” the crowd called as they came into the room. Mai, Mikoto, Reito, Haruka, Yukino, Nao, Midori and Fumi were all gathered on couches around the central table, bottles and food scattered about.
“Bout time you got here,” Midori waved drunkenly, the redhead sitting by Nao and Reito.
“Happy birthday,” Reito called, smiling in a gentlemanly sort of way.
“Mai make you a cake,” Mikoto declared, the younger girl beaming happily.
“Thank you,” Shizuru said as she sat down, relaxing a bit.
“There’s gifts, too,” Nao smirked as the younger redhead added, “I got you something Natsuki and you will enjoy.”
“Oh really?” Natsuki gave her a wary look.
Nao’s smile grew wider, “I’d recommend opening it in private, tho.”
“Pervert,” Haruka sniffed.
Nao looked over to where Yukino was nearly curled up to Haruka’s side and said, “You’re one to talk.”
“Our love is pure,” Haruka said, taking Yukino’s hand in hers, “unlike you.”
A slightly tipsy Yukino blushed charmingly, “Oh, Haruka-sama...”
“Haruka-sama?” Mai blinked.
“Don’t say anything, Tokhia,” Haruka scowled.
“They never change,” Shizuru chuckled as she sat close to Natsuki.
“Oh, I don’t know,” Natsuki answered, “I think we’ve changed since you graduated.” She kissed her softly, “I know I have.”
“Enough talk,” Midori got up and staggered to the kareoke machine, “time to sing!”
“Me, me!” Mai waved.
“Allright,” Midori gave way, “you first.”
Mai sang with enthusiasm, her voice ringing out, as did Midori when she took her turn next. They moved through the group, each taking a turn often choosing love songs of one type or another. Reito crooned a oldie while gazing at Mai, who blushed charmingly.
“Well isn’t that interesting,” Haruka noted, “wonder if Tate has a rival.”
“Him and Mikoto,” Yukino noted.
“Well, I guess it’s my turn,” Natsuki got up, grinning. She ran through the music list then smiled as she hit a song that caught her eye.
‘She’s so sexy,’ Shizuru admitted, feeling her heart race as Natsuki sang.
“I'm not afraid, a trembling flower,” Natsuki purred, “I'll feed your heart and blow the dust from your eyes.” A wicked smile, “And in the dark things happen faster. I love the way you sway your hips next to mine.”
Shizuru blushed as the others whooped. “Go Natsuki!” Mai hollered.
“You’re going to pay for that later,” Shizuru murmured as Natsuki returned to her side.
“I’ll look forward to it,” Natsuki grinned. She dropped her voice, “Maybe you can use Nao’s gift on me later.”
“Oh?” Shizuru asked.
“The box is pretty suggestive,” Natsuki chuckled wickedly.
Notes: The song Natsuki sings from is ‘Dressed for Success’ by Roxette. I liked the ‘trembling flower’ line, considering how it relates to their first meeting.