Alternate storyline that starts during the Kyoto fieldtrip. While Negi and Asuna are away, someone challenges Haruna to the card videogame...ParuOC POSSIBLE SPOILERS! Character piece. First of its kind, I guess, and a bit experimental.
It was only eight-thirty in the morning, and already everybody was in a hubbub... small wonder, considering the events of the past night. Kasumi Asakura's exciting, though oddly strange, game of 'Lip Scramble' ended with Nodoka as the winner, even though it was obviously by accident.
"Even then," Haruna smirked to herself, stepping out of her room. Not waiting for the others to start getting ready for the day's free group activities, she was already dressed in casual attire. "It was still very cute, and I've got lunch tickets to last the next few months...eh?"
Up ahead were Nodoka and Yue, just standing in the middle of the passageway. "Oh, these two..."
Some physical coercion was definitely in order. A flying kick would suffice. WHAP
"Hey there! What're you two doing, spacing out up here!? Hurry up and get ready already! We're hanging out with Negi-sensei today, right? Get changed!"
"You're way too worked up, Haruna! We're suffering from lack of sleep here!" Even though the other two complained, they soon went into the room for a change of clothes.
"Now what was that all about...?" They seemed to be looking at some kind of book... "Ah well, I'm sure it's nothing. Now about the rest of Group 5..."
She found Konoka and Setsuna in the lobby; the former was chatting idly with members from other groups, while the latter leaned against a wall near the front doors.
"Hey Paru! Have you seen Negi-kun or Asuna or the others?" Konoka called out as Haruna approached.
She shrugged. "Sorry, I'm looking for them at the moment as well. Nodoka and Yue are getting ready in the room, and Setsuna-san is over there by the door. Say, Negi-sensei is going to spend the day with us, right?"
"I hope so; everybody's been looking for him since awhile ago. I wonder if he went out already..."
Just then Haruna noticed somebody coming down the stairs. "Oh, there's Asuna. I bet she'd know where Negi-sensei is...Hey Asuna!!"
"Great! This place has the game I've wanted to play for a long time!" Haruna shrieked in delight, pointing at one of the arcade game machines.
"That's like the card game you guys were playing on the train, right?" Asuna asked. "Whoa...the graphics look very realistic, especially the magic effects!"
"Yup! And we can get special edition cards if we do well!"
Negi seemed particularly interested in the game. "Magic, huh? Could I try it out?"
"Sure! I've been waiting for you to show your stuff, sensei!"
"Here, we'll loan you what you need to get started," Yue offered, handing him several of her cards.
The game was soon underway, and the child-teacher wasn't doing all that bad.
"Is this your first time playing, Negi-sensei? You're doing great! No wonder, you're a kid genius!" His students cheered him on.
"Okay if I join in?" An approaching kid asked, taking out a deck of cards. Apparently he was going to challenge Negi to a game.
"Oh, yeah, go ahead." Negi replied.
"It's a showdown with the hometown kid! Do your best, Negi-sensei!"
The so-called showdown did not take very long...the other boy was able to best Negi in the end. "Oh no, I lost!" Negi exclaimed with the final blow.
"That's okay...it wasn't bad for a first time..." Haruna said.
"She's right," the kid added, "you did pretty well...but you've still got a ways to go as a wizard." With that he left.
Negi and Asuna wandered off somewhere as well...probably to find another interesting game. Nodoka probably went along with them, and Setsuna was just lingering about nearby.
"That boy gives me a funny feeling...kinda like with Negi-kun, I suppose," Konoka wondered, still staring at where the peculiar boy had gone.
Haruna scoffed. "Ah, never mind him. Now, let me, your Highness Paru, show you a shining example of how to play the game."
And indeed, in a shining example, Haruna breezed through level after level. "Yes! I've collected all the rare, limited-edition Kansai cards!"
"You're very skilled at this game...would you mind a challenge, then?" A teenage guy asked as he walked up to the game and sat where the other hometown boy was in the match against Negi. He pushed his glasses up a bit and grinned. "That is, only if it's okay. I've seen your style of play already so I'm sort of at an advantage, it seems."
"Oh another challenge then!" Konoka stated excitedly.
"He doesn't look like a beginner, Paru," Yue cautioned.
However, Haruna was undaunted. "You kidding? Hah! I don't even need to see your strategy. Prepare to be wiped out by...by..." She noticed the parcel the other person was holding. "Hey...isn't that..."
"You mean this...?" He held the labeled paper bag he was holding in one arm. "It's from a comic specialty shop down the road." Reaching inside, he took out two volumes of what appeared to be...
Haruna looked stunned. "Ah...manga! One of them is that new Gundam volume, where all the series are crossed-over and all the hot guys get together in one big org-"
"Organization of Gundams against the combined forces of Federation Titans, ZAFT and OZ. Sounds cool..." He butted in, not really knowing why. At least, he was just reading the synopsis at the back of the book. There was something else written on the inner covering, but he couldn't quite make it out...apart that there was something that looked rather heart-shaped...and there were splotches of pink here and there, come to think of it, if you looked closely...
"Yeah, yeah, that's the one! I heard it's got some very extreme...action!" There was now a hungry look in her face, and an evil glint in her eyes, and she was beginning to drool too...
"That so?" He wondered. The 'Gundam Crossover' was actually thrown in as a 'buy-one-take-one' thing back at the shop; what he really bought was an old volume of 'Metropolis' in mint condition...though nobody else seemed to take notice of that...rather unfortunately.
"I know!" Haruna declared, standing and pointing a finger at him. "Let's make this challenge more interesting with a bet!"
Konoka's, Yue's and maybe even Setsuna's jaws dropped.
The challenger readily raised an eyebrow. "A bet you say?"
"Yeah! If you lose to me in this game, that Gundam manga is mine!"
"Oh? And if I win?"
She took a while to think; firstly looking around at her classmates, who either shrugged or shook their heads, and then to the ceiling, and to her feet. "I've got it!"
"You do?!" The other girls asked incredulously.
"If you do win..."
"...I'll become your girlfriend! How's that?!"
Everybody else in the vicinity slipped on invisible banana peelings.
"What the...?! Paru! Don't just make any wagers like that!" Yue and Konoka yelled.
"Eh? What's wrong with that? I'm sure to win anyways," Haruna commented offhandedly.
"Don't be too sure...hey, why not the cards we just got? I'm sure those are a fair trade for the manga, right?" Konoka suggested.
Haruna screamed in her face. "NO WAY! These are especially rare cards that can only be gotten here in this district! Who knows when I'll be able to come back here or if they'll even be up for grabs when that time comes!"
"But didn't you just say that you're a sure win, Paru?" Setsuna rationalized. Apparently she was more interested in what was happening than she first seemed...but why was she suddenly standing between Konoka and Paru? Anyways...
"Mind your own business, Setsuna-san! I really need to see the..."
The fellow cut off whatever she was going to say. "I really don't mind what the bet is."
"Whatever you like...can we just get this game underway already? Or maybe you're not interested anymore..." There was a slight irritation in his voice...or was it amusement?
"See? I told you it'd be fine!" Haruna extended her hand. "Now...let's shake hands to seal the deal, uh..."
He shook her hand firmly. "Jai Akira. And you are...Paru, right?"
"That's Haruna 'Paru' Saotome to you, and don't you dare forget it! One game! I'm gonna beat you to a pulp!"
"...a rematch...I demand..."
"One game...wasn't that what you said, Paru?" Yue said, still staring at the screen in disbelief. It had been a close fight at the beginning, but then, even with mostly uncommon and rather conventional cards, Jai was able to take control of the match and emerge victorious. It was pure strategy.
Paru just hung her head in dejection. "Ah well...I guess you win some and you lose some..." She took a pen and a piece of paper from her pocket, scribbled a few things, and handed it to Jai.
"Good game...huh? What's this?"
"Phone number, school and some other stuff you should know since I'm your girlfriend..." Though her voice sounded defeated, her expression didn't look all that depressed. The other girls were rendered dumbfounded, and their jaws fell even further than before.
"You were really serious about all that, huh? But I thought you were betting the cards...?"
"No way! I wouldn't do that in a million years! Although I'm not sure how to really handle a long-distance relationship..."
Jai checked his watch. "Whoa! It's getting late! I'm gonna miss the next train back to Tokyo, if I don't hurry..."
Everyone suddenly found their voices. "You're not from here?!"
"Ah, no...I was just killing some time before my train arrived. I just visited some relatives here and ran a few errands these past couple of days," he said, collecting his books and starting off. "Well, it's been fun, all. Thanks for a great morning!"
He was out of the place when Paru turned to her classmates and laughed. "So it's not going to be such a long-distance relationship after all, huh?"
"Though the fact is that you've never even been in a relationship before," Yue pointed out.
"Anyway, what does it matter? I still got all these cards and..."
"Hey!" A call from behind got their attention. Paru turned around soon enough to catch a paper bag that was thrown at her.
"What...?" Inside were the manga she wanted and another small slip of paper.
Jai was standing at a hallway near the entrance. "Guess I decided to give it to you after all. That's thanks for a really good game. Haven't had that much fun in ages! Well...see you guys soon, for real this time!" With that, he dashed out once more.
Now Paru was really stunned.
"Now that was sweet of him...this'll be some great gossip, huh?" Yue teased.
Konoka was a little more supportive. "Ah, wow, how romantic...though you did get what you wanted in the end, huh Paru?"
"Oh...uh, yeah, I guess..."
Suddenly, Setsuna pushed them all to the ground. "Get down!"
The sudden movement jerked everybody back to their senses, most especially Paru, who had been standing like a statue the whole time.
"H-wha? Se-chan?! What's wrong?" Konoka gasped in surprise.
"We have to get out of here on the double! Move!" She ordered, taking Konoka's hand and running out the back door.
"W-wait for us!" Yue and Paru yelled, chasing after the two.