Long December

BY : DrunkenScotsman
Category: +M to R > Rosario Vampire
Dragon prints: 3121
Disclaimer: I make no money from the writing of this story. All characters and locations of Rosario+Vampire belong to Ikeda Akihisa.

A/N: At long last, the beginning of the end! This story is nearing completion, so I wanted to go ahead and start posting chapters. The current plan is to update each Tuesday until the story is finished and fully uploaded.  

Apologies to those who've been following this series for the long hiatus between this fic and the last installment, "Such a Long Story."  This one has fought me every step of the way up until a month ago.

As always, I welcome feedback by review or PM on the forums. If there's sufficient interest, I can also start a discussion thread.

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Chapter 1: Welcome to the Fallout

 

Winter was coming to Yokai Academy.  Everyone, students and faculty alike, could feel a distinct chill in the air as the calendar transitioned from November to December.  Scarves and warm hats became increasingly common as the days shortened, and the girls donned tights more often to stave off the cold.  Conveniently for the girls, those tights also combatted the tendency of their perilously-short uniform skirts to fly up at the slightest breeze and expose their underwear.  Unfortunately for the girls, the tights couldn’t fully prevent either the cold or the free shows, only mitigate them.

For Tsukune Aono, the cold seemed to seep through his skin, his muscles, and even his bones, permeating his very soul.  Ever since outer Moka had used her rosary to prevent a cataclysmic collision between human and monster worlds – thus sacrificing her existence for him, his family, the Newspaper Club, and the school – the young man had felt numb to his core, staggering dazedly from class to class and day to day.  A full week had passed since that dreadful day, and the memory of outer Moka had haunted most of his waking and sleeping moments.

When he finally returned to classes last Wednesday, the girls of the Newspaper Club had greeted his return with the joy usually reserved for those who’d recovered from a deadly illness.  Nonetheless, Tsukune could feel their worry for him as he performed the minimum necessary work to get by.  He also noticed that inner Moka remained as distant as ever, not that that surprised him in the least.

Ruby, of all people, had given him a ray of hope, confiding to him that Lord Shuzen, Moka and Kokoa’s father, had first created Moka’s rosary seal or was close to the one who had.  Tsukune resolved to talk to inner Moka – really, just “Moka” now – about it on Monday morning, assuming she didn’t continue to keep her distance as she had been.  To his surprise, though, he found her waiting for him on the path to the main building.

“Good morning, Tsukune,” the vampire greeted the young man, a soft, non-threatening smirk on her face at his surprised expression.

“Um, good morning, Moka,” Tsukune replied, donning a brittle smile for the sake of the stunning beauty regarding him with a gaze that would, on any other girl, be deemed “affectionate.”  From her, though… I’m not sure what to make of it, he mused.

Moka’s expression fell at the obviously-forced smile.  “Tsukune… we need to talk,” she informed him matter-of-factly.  “About us,” she added as she diverted her gaze to a nearby tree, whose gnarled trunk and branches mirrored the sensation in her gut.

Tsukune sighed and ran a hand through his hair.  He groped about in his thoughts for the best way to respond, not wanting to hurt Moka’s feelings unintentionally.  Ultimately, he settled on “What’s on your mind?”

Moka took a deep breath.  So much, Tsukune, she replied silently, so much I want to say, but now isn’t the right time.  “I just wanted to… to clear the air between us,” she began, as tentative as the pink-haired Moka might have been.  “Last week… was tough for both of us.  We both lost someone dear to us.  I needed space.  Believe it or not, I kept my distance because I thought you needed it, too.”

She looked up at Tsukune and saw a mix of pain and understanding in his eyes, a far better response than she’d hoped for.  “I didn’t mean to neglect you, but…”  Moka blinked back unshed tears.  “Last week was supposed to be her week, not mine.  I thought my presence would hurt you worse.”

Tsukune nodded and walked a few steps toward her.  “I think… I think you were right,” he agreed, his voice hoarse.  “Thank you, Moka, for considering my feelings.”  The smile he wore this time bore a much closer resemblance to his usual kind sincerity.

The vampire closed the physical distance between them in two steps, eager as she was to stand near her beloved and comfort him if she could; she just wished it were so easy to close the emotional distance between them, even if that distance was largely her fault.  On impulse, Moka pulled Tsukune into a fierce embrace.  “I also recognize how poorly I treated you during my last week.  Overall, I’ve not been a good girlfriend, though I intend to rectify that this week,” she vowed.

Tsukune hugged Moka back, just as fiercely as she did.  Even though such a display from her struck him as unusual, he couldn’t deny how good it felt to hold her in his arms.  “Thank you, Moka,” the young man whispered into her silver tresses.  “For the first time, it feels like we understand each other a little.”

Knowing how much Tsukune had wanted for them to grow closer, hearing him say that brought Moka’s heart to her throat.  The young woman felt so light, she could almost see herself floating away if it weren’t for the strength of her and Tsukune’s mutual hold.  She didn’t trust herself to answer aloud, so she simply pressed herself flush against the young man.

Both of them recognized Tsukune’s reaction to Moka’s proximity at the same time.  The two teens backed away from each other just enough for their eyes to meet, their faces mere centimeters apart.  Neither one could quite muster the courage to make the first move, however.

The bell signaling the start of the school day shattered the moment.  The two teens parted to walk side-by-side towards the main building where classes were held.  Moka’s hand sought out Tsukune’s as they picked up their pace to limit their tardiness.

“My, my, Tsukune,” chided the vampire playfully, “I didn’t expect a mere hug to excite you so, especially since you’d seemed so down in the dumps just before.  You weren’t faking it to lure me in close, were you?” she teased with a cheeky smile.

The young man’s chuckle sounded decidedly embarrassed.  “N-No!  Of course not!” he protested.  “You just… have that effect on me.”  Plus, Ruby’s behavior last night probably primed me to react that way, he added silently, not that Moka needs to know about that.

“I’m glad,” admitted Moka with a mighty blush.  “Listen, Tsukune… if it would cheer you up, I don’t mind skipping class to, um, do this and that.”  After a brief pause, during which Tsukune didn’t answer, the young woman hastily added, “N-Not that I really want to, of course – I just want to demonstrate how seriously I’ll apply myself to my role as your girlfriend this time.”

That lie sounded so good, I almost believed it myself, the young woman congratulated herself.  Her raging libido, triggered by feeling Tsukune stiffen against her, demanded satisfaction; but Moka quashed those desires, lest she frighten or hurt the young man with her aggression.  I just wish I knew whether or not I want Tsukune to believe me.

“Moka… I appreciate that – really, I do – but I really shouldn’t miss class again for a while,” Tsukune declined.  Nonetheless, fantasies of them sneaking up to the roof or back to her room, where he would strip Moka naked and worship every inch of her glorious body and make love to her for hours danced through the young man’s imagination.

The vampire stared ahead impassively as they neared their classroom.  “Of course, of course,” she replied, her tone more dismissive than intended.  Fantasies of them sneaking into a broom closet or out into the woods, where Tsukune would pin her against a wall or tree and hike up her skirt and tear off her panties and have his way with her danced through Moka’s imagination.

Getting through class won’t be easy today, they both realized separately but simultaneously.

 

~~~~~

 

“Last week, we looked at samples of tanka from the Hyaku-nin-isshiu,” Ms. Nekonome reminded her literature class.  “Who remembers how old those are?  Miss Shirayuki?”

“The Hundred Verses were collected by the poet Sadaiye Fujiwara almost eight hundred years ago,” answered Mizore in her usual soft voice, “but the oldest ones are six hundred years older than that.”  Literature class was by far the snow-woman’s favorite, not to mention the only one she paid attention to.  She really liked Ms. Nekonome, the sanest of their teachers and the faculty advisor for the Newspaper Club, especially after the feline teacher sent Mizore copies of the paper – through which she fell in love with Tsukune – and, more recently, helped her file a harassment claim against Mr. Kotsubo, the P.E. teacher who molested her last year.  Because of all Ms. Nekonome had done for her, the snow-woman had sworn she’d excel in that teacher’s class.

“Excellent!” the teacher crowed.  “Not only did you answer the question posed, Miss Shirayuki, you provided further information for a complete answer!”  Ms. Nekonome favored Mizore with a broad smile.  “Remember, everyone – answers like that will earn better marks on your year-end exams.”  At the front of the class, the ever-diligent Yukari made a note of that comment in the margins of her lecture notes.

“This week, we’ll be looking at the sonnet, a poetic form prominent in English poetry,” continued Ms. Nekonome.  “The sonnet has fourteen lines, each with ten syllables, though occasionally more.  Poetry of that form relies on rhyme as well as meter to enact its effects.  The lines of a sonnet will rhyme in one of the following patterns, or ‘schemes.’”  Here she wrote the most common rhyme schemes on the board for the class to copy down, along with the names of those schemes, names which derived from the poets most associated with their use.

Kurumu’s eyes glazed over.  As much as I like Ms. Nekonome, her class is so boring.  Then again, all classes are boring, except music and home ec, she mused.  If only poems were songs…

“The first sonnet we’ll spend time on is the first one in your handout,” Ms. Nekonome instructed them.  “Obviously, these have been translated into Japanese so you can get a better feel for them, though the English originals are also provided for you to practice the language.”  The class collectively groaned at having to wrangle with English, but the teacher ignored them.  “What do you notice about this one, Miss Sendo?”

Yukari looked at the text on the page for a long moment.  “I don’t recognize some of the characters,” she answered.

Ms. Nekonome nodded.  “Correct. This sonnet was composed over four hundred years ago by one William Shakespeare, considered by many English speakers to be their finest poet.  Therefore, the translators chose to use some outdated characters from that time period to reflect that.”

The teacher adjusted her cat’s-eye glasses and surveyed the room, on the prowl for a student likely to handle what she planned next.  “Miss Akashiya, since you handled poetry so well last week, please read this Shakespearean sonnet,” she instructed her student.

Moka stood and recited Sonnet 150, her voice ringing with increasing sincerity:

O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
With insufficiency my heart to sway?
To make me give the lie to my true sight,
And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill, 
That in the very refuse of thy deeds 
There is such strength and warrantise of skill
That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds? 
Who taught thee how to make me love thee more 
The more I hear and see just cause of hate? 
O, though I love what others do abhor, 
With others thou shouldst not abhor my state;
If thy unworthiness rais'd love in me,
More worthy I to be beloved of thee.

“Perfect, Miss Akashiya!” praised Ms. Nekonome, bouncing on her toes excitedly.  “Now, I know the syntax seems jumbled…”

As the teacher continued to guide the class through the sonnet’s poetic complexities, Moka sat and hid her face in her martial arts magazine.  Not that she disliked the class or teacher – Ms. Nekonome always explained literary concepts in simple terms, and she’d accepted the “new” Moka with ease.  I just can’t believe she made me read something like that in front of everyone, she groused.  I practically just confessed to Tsukune with the whole class watching.

While writing notes on the board, her back turned to the class, Ms. Nekonome allowed herself a satisfied smirk.  Maybe that’ll help her stop fiddling around when it comes to Mr. Aono, the teacher mused.  If nothing else, a little embarrassment should suffice as punishment for their tardiness this morning.

 

~~~~~

 

“Why do we even have P.E.?” whined Kurumu later that morning.  “It’s not like most of us will become athletes or anything.”

“Staying in shape helps you study,” replied Yukari.  “Y’know the old saying: ‘Sound mind in a sound body.’”

“My body’s already pretty sound,” argued the succubus, a note of pride in her voice.

“Maybe, but if you want to become a model, you’ll have to keep in shape,” Mizore pointed out as the three of them walked from the changing room to the gym.  Unlike the other two with their obvious goosebumps, the ice-demon embraced the chill wind blowing through the breezeway.  The cold never bothered me anyway, she sang to herself.

Kurumu blushed; she’d mentioned her modelling dream to Mizore in private one night while discussing their respective futures.  “Good point,” she murmured, touched that the snow-woman had remembered such an offhand comment.  Changing the subject, she remarked, “I’m surprised you’re not trying to skip this class like usual.”

Mizore smirked and rolled her lollipop in her mouth.  “They finally fired that asshole teacher who groped me,” she explained.  “I’m not afraid to go to class anymore.”

“That’s great news, Mizore!” chirped Yukari.

Kurumu squinted.  “Hey, is that Tsukune walking towards the gym too?”  Cupping her hands around her mouth to project her voice, the succubus called, “Tsukune!  Are the boys in the gym today too?”

The young man paused and waved, which allowed the trio of girls to catch up to him.  “Yeah, we’re playing basketball today,” he answered, his eyes flitting over Kurumu and Mizore in their form-fitting shirts and short shorts.

Kurumu gave him a sly smile and a conspiratorial wink.  “Just make sure you watch us closely while we’re stretching, okay?” she teased.

Mizore smirked around her lollipop.  “You know I’ll be doing the same,” she commented nonchalantly, though the faint flush of her cheeks hinted at her hidden emotions.  When the other girls gave her a strange look, the ice-woman shrugged.  “Wait till you see Tsukune rocking the forward bend; then you’ll understand.”  She winked at the young man.

“Um, thanks, I guess,” chuckled Tsukune, scratching the back of his head, a nervous tic he’d always had.

Kurumu regarded her Destined One for a long moment, her empathy picking up on a profound sadness behind his façade of normalcy.  Of course, she realized.  He couldn’t possibly bounce back so fast from what happened, so he’s faking to keep us from worrying.  Wearing a determined expression, the young woman wrapped the young man in a warm embrace.

“Kurumu, what –?” began Tsukune, though he was cut off.

Mizore, inspired by her friend’s example, also embraced Tsukune, pressing herself flush against him.  Even though it’s only been a little over a week since we last became one, it feels like forever, the snow-woman lamented.  I wish I could comfort him right now.

Not wanting to remain left out, Yukari wiggled her way in between the other two girls.  The diminutive witch tried not to dwell on the fact that her head only reached to Tsukune’s stomach.  “I hope it’s not weird if I join in,” she mumbled into his shirt.

“Not at all,” he answered.  “I’m just… confused.  Why…?”

“We’ve been worried about you, Tsukune dear,” answered Kurumu, her breath tickling his neck.

“After what happened with Moka… ever since then, you’ve been a wreck,” added Mizore in her frequent blunt matter.

“Also, the Moka who’s around now can be a bit… standoffish,” Yukari pointed out.  “We want to show you we’re here for you.”

“We love you,” the three of them chorused.

Tsukune smiled, too touched at first to respond.  “Thanks for your concern,” he finally managed, “but I’m… I’m fine, really – no need to worry.  As for Moka…”

“Excuse me, ladies,” rang out the clear contralto of Moka’s voice, with just a hint of threat in its undertones.  “What do you think you’re doing with my boyfriend?”  The vampire approached, terrifying even in her gym outfit.

Yukari leapt away and waved her arms frantically.  “Not what it looks like!” she yelped.

Kurumu glared over her shoulder at Moka, upset that she’d ruined the moment.  Dim as she was, though, the succubus was no fool; so she knew better than to challenge the vampire directly.  “We’re just, um, doing the thing where we rub our boobs on Tsukune,” she answered, starting to bounce up and down on her toes.  She made eye contact with Mizore and raised her eyebrows; the ice-woman followed suit.

Moka frowned.  I don’t buy that explanation.  Still, two can play at that game, Kurumu, she challenged silently.  “If that’s the case, step aside and allow me,” the vampire commanded, flaring her monstrous aura a bit to underscore her seriousness.  “Unless, of course, you wish to learn your places.”

Kurumu and Mizore released Tsukune and retreated, not wishing to provoke the vampire’s ire or nullify the mostly-harmonious harem agreement they’d all abided by thus far.  Moka closed the distance almost hurriedly and pressed her ample bosom against the young man’s chest.  Her eyes focused on Tsukune’s shoulder as though that were the most interesting part of him.

“Um… M-Moka,” Tsukune stammered, “wh-what’re you d-doing?”

“Can’t I do something like this for my boyfriend?” retorted the blushing young woman as she started to rise and fall.  “How’s this?  Am I doing this right?”  She shot a grudging look to Kurumu.  “This is a lot harder than it looks.”

Kurumu just gawked, agape with shock.  Mizore stared in stunned silence.  Yukari’s jaw dropped.

Tsukune blanched and wondered, Where the hell did this come from?  She’s never behaved like this before.  Does Moka think this is how she should act as my girlfriend?  If so, she’s clearly serious about trying harder.

It’ll definitely take some getting used to, that’s for sure.

Abruptly, Moka broke contact.  Rubbing her breasts against Tsukune like that had stirred up her dormant desires for the second time today, but she also felt rather embarrassed at having put on such a display in front of her rivals – not that her pride would allow her to admit to her chagrin.  Instead, she told the others, “If the lot of you are done gaping, we should head to class before we get in trouble for tardiness.”

“G-Good idea,” Tsukune agreed.  He led the way, with Moka at his side.

“Wait up, guys!” cried Yukari, who scrambled to catch up.

Kurumu and Mizore watched the couple for a long moment, still trying to figure out what the hell they’d just witnessed.  The two glanced askance and made eye contact.  The snow-woman simply shrugged, while the succubus mouthed, “Weird.”  To avoid falling too far behind, they followed the others into the gym.

 



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