Saturday, March 21, 2015

それが愛でしょうSore Ga Ai Deshou - A Hayate The Combat Butler Fanfic




Disclaimer: This is a non-canon, fanfiction written by a fan of the manga and anime. I am not affiliated with Kenjiro Hata. I do not own any of the characters or places described in this fan-made fiction piece. Hayate no Gotoku! And all its characters belong to Kenjiro Hata and I make no claim of ownership on any copyrighted material expressly or impliedly mentioned/referenced in this fanfic.

 “I love you.”

The words were said quite bluntly without any hint of sweetness in her tone. Certainly not the kind of lovey-dovey voice that you would expect from a heartfelt confession – at least not from the teenage boy’s experience with other girls; and he did have quite a few confessions under his belt.

Yes, most definitely, this was not the first time that Hayate Ayasaki had received a confession of love. Still, to dispense with trivialities, let us just say that this particular situation had come about as quickly as she had uttered those three important words and that this confession was unlike anything that Mr. Ayasaki had ever come across before. 

But first, let us turn back the clock to about 30 minutes earlier in order to give you a clear picture of how the current situation came about.

It had been an unusually humid day and the heat was enough to annoy just about everyone. As usual, Lady Nagi had spent the entire day playing video games and reading manga inside her room while Maria, the mansion’s mainstay maid had gone out to purchase some groceries as Hayate went about his routine butler duties maintaining the vast Sanzen’in Mansion.

For most people, this would be quite a gargantuan task, especially when you consider the fact that it left one’s schedule with time for no more than a paltry 3 hours of sleep a day – for this particular 16-year old boy however, being able to live like this was a little piece of happiness that he would not give up for anything else in this world.

Of course, this is not to say that his 13-year old mistress was some kind of slave driver – far from it, in fact. The reality is that the young girl had been in love with her butler since forever and although she was initially extremely clingy and insecure about her feelings due to a misunderstanding during their initial meeting, she has since come to terms with the fact that Hayate never actually confessed to her.

Still, she did love him genuinely and if he even gave the slightest hint that he was unhappy working for her, then she would definitely let him go immediately – 150 million debt and more or not.

In any event, even Maria, who was generally extremely meticulous about her work had been affected by the humid weather and she was surprised to discover that she had forgotten to purchase a few key items from the supermarket.

“Hayate-kun, I seem to have omitted a few things from the grocery. Would you go out and buy a few things from the store? I’ve made a list so you don’t forget them.”

“Oh? That’s not like you, Maria. Sure thing, I’ll be right back!”

“Yes, I don’t know what came over me. It must be the heat outside. It’s just horrible.”

It was at this point that the hands of fate began to move – or in this case, the little wheels inside of Lady Nagi’s head, or perhaps it was simply her heart. Having overheard Maria and Hayate’s conversation, she casually walked over to her butler.

“Oh? You’re going out? Wait a second and I’ll come with you.”

“You don’t have to do that, milady. I’ll be right ba…”

“Hayate…” She was almost glaring at him – no, she was clearly glaring at him.

“I insist!”

At this point, Hayate did not realize just what it was exactly his mistress was thinking, but when Nagi Sanzen’in says that she would do something, there was simply no stopping her.

“It-it’s not like I’m trying to spend time alone with you or anything like that, stupid! I just want to grab the latest issue of Sunday, ok?”

“Oh, right, right… Well, we won’t be out for very long, but if you really want to, then I’d be happy to have you accompany me, milady.”

She smiled sweetly.

“Ok, I’ll go get changed first.”

“Eh? But we’ll only be…”

But she had already stomped into her room without batting an eyelash before he could finish.

“Great, let’s go!”

She had chosen to wear a lovely pure-white sundress that complimented her petite form and innocent, child-like face quite well, although it still struck the butler as strange as to why she’d go to such lengths for such a short trip.

The trip itself was mostly uneventful. The pair happily went about procuring the grocery items that Maria had listed out, although even someone as oblivious as Hayate could not help noticing that his mistress seemed unusually quiet.

Certainly, Lady Nagi was the epitome of lazy and she definitely could not be accused of being energetic, but even her usual grumpy attitude and witty, snarky remarks that he had grown so accustomed to were noticeably gone.

“Milady, we’re heading to the check-out counter right now so you might want to grab that issue of Shounen Sunday you were missing?”

“Ah…! Oh, yes. Yes, of course. Thank you, Hayate.”

She slowly and deliberately walked over to the magazine rack and then thumbed through the different magazines there for a moment before returning with her Magazine of choice.

“Ah… Milady, that’s Ribon magazine.”

“Huh? Oh! Well, I’ll go with this one. It’s important for a mangaka to take in all kinds of literature after all. Yes, all kinds…”

“Strange…” This was the only thought that crossed Hayate Ayasaki’s mind, but he thought it better not to pry.

Outside of the grocery store, it was already dark at about 8:00 PM. Today was a holiday, so there were not a lot of people out in the streets at this time and the rush of office workers coming to and from work had already dispersed a few hours ago.

“Hayate… let’s pass through ‘that place’ on the way back.”

“Hmm… that place, milady?”

“Yeah… you know?”

“I know…?” He paused for a moment before the answer hit him.

“Oh… oh! Of course. Yes, that’s a great idea, milady.”

The place that the young mistress was referring to was a little known unfortunately named park. It hardly needs to be said, but for Hayate and Nagi, this was a significant place of many memories.

The pair casually strolled past the entrance to that place. Hayate had not noticed it, but Nagi had been intentionally lagging behind by a single step ever since they reached the entrance.

Pretty soon, the familiar row of vending machines came into view – yes, this was Loser Park, the place where they had first met on Christmas Eve, the most romantic night of the year for the Japanese.

Still, romance was most likely the farthest thing from Hayate’s head at that moment – it was then that he realized that his precious mistress was no longer by his side.

And then, it just happened.

“I love you.”

She held her hand to her chest as if to confirm what she had just said.  Nagi's feelings were soaring even if her demeanor seemed to indicate otherwise.

The words were said quite bluntly without any hint of sweetness in her voice. Certainly not the kind of lovey-dovey tone that you would expect from a heartfelt confession – at least not from the teenage boy’s experience with other girls; and he did have quite a few confessions under his belt.

Of course, Nagi had always been different – no perhaps “different” was not the proper term…

“So… what’s the punch line, milady?”

SMACK!

Even with all the martial arts skills ingrained into his body, there was no way that Hayate Ayasaki could have seen that punch coming from Nagi Sanzen’in’s small frame, which landed quite squarely into his left cheek.

“Idiot! That was a total moment-killer! I’m being serious here. I love you so…”

She was clearly exasperated… and also a bit sore from where the back of her hand had hit his cheek.

Nursing his injured cheek, Hayate now realized that his lady was being serious – deadly serious.

Probably until that very moment, he had found it to be quite a long-shot to even consider his much younger mistress, who was a full three years younger than the 16 year-old boy, as a romantic prospect. In fact, he had carefully repressed any thoughts of ever thinking of her in this way ever since he started working for the small, yet undeniably cute young mistress.

“So… what about you, Hayate?”

She continued her “assault” without giving her butler even a chance to be surprised.

“What do you think about me?”

“Eh? Ah… what are you saying all of a sudden, milady?”

He tried to be his usual evasive self but ultimately, Nagi knew and perhaps Hayate himself knew that such tactics would be meaningless. No, Mr. Ayasaki wasn’t going to get away with a “gag response” after this. After all, she had thought things through thoroughly.

For days, she had been holed up inside her room reading through several volumes of shoujo manga just to prepare for this particular occasion. She had taken her clue from her “rivals” for Hayate’s heart after all and with even the normally timid “Hamster” on the move recently, she knew that it was her turn to stake her claim on the man she loves. To top it off, she was using a sure-fire confession method recommended to her by a certain “love goddess” herself.

“Hayate… do you even like me?” Again, she said this bluntly with no hint of sweetness in her voice.

“That’s unfair!” Was what Hayate wanted to say at that point.

After all, how was he supposed to respond to that when she had just confessed to him out of the blue.

“Geez, at least give me some time to think of a proper response” Was what he was thinking, but of course, the words never parted from his lips.

Right now, Hayate Ayasaki was being figuratively “mowed down” by the unstoppable force that is Nagi

Sanzen’in. He was being “forced” to seriously consider his beloved mistress as a romantic partner and to try and sort out what he truly felt for her.

It was a subject that he was simply content to brush aside most of the time. In fact, it was a subject that he himself was not really certain of.

What did he really think of Nagi Sanzen’in? Yes, she was his mistress and he owed her debt of 150 million yen. Until he managed to pay off that debt, he had promised to remain as her butler. Essentially, this was a lifetime contract, but… was that really all there was to it?

“No!” Was the steadfast answer he had in his mind. Nagi was not just a mere mistress to him.

In fact, the debt itself was not what really bound his fate together with that of his lady, even if most people would happily love to believe this to be the one absolute truth.

He must have been at least partially aware of it, but Nagi would surely have waved off the debt at any time and wished him happiness – although quite certainly with a heavy heart, had he only asked her to.

At this point, Hayate knew full well that it wasn’t that he had a debt of 150 million yen, but rather that the 150 million yen debt allowed him to stay by Nagi’s side -  this was something that he could not deny now that he had been forced to seriously “think” about it.

“I… don’t dislike you.”

“What?” Was Nagi’s rage-filled response.

Despite the thin veneer of bravado she had shown, the young girl bowed her head low and hid her eyes beneath her bangs. She was definitely on the verge of tears. Hayate’s heart sank at the sight of this and he knew he had to redeem himself quickly.

“Whatever else happens, I won’t make her cry!” – this was his firm resolve.

“Wait, wait! Don’t kill me just yet, Milady. Ahaha!” He laughed sheepishly.

“So…  you’re going to stay that way until the end?” She said with ever a slight crack in her voice.

“Well, you didn’t let me finish, Milady.”

He adjusted his bow tie and cleared his throat before continuing.

“It’s hard for me to put it into words well… because you probably realize that saying things out loud isn’t really my strong point.”

“… yes, I suppose that is true.”

“I don’t dislike you… because you’re special, milady.”

A faint flicker of hope shone in Nagi’s eyes at that moment.

“I’m… special?” She echoed his words almost on reflex while still being slightly hesitant and expecting a mood-killer to thwart her expectations at any given moment.

“Whenever I look at you… I’m reminded of just how lucky I am that I’m even allowed to be by your side. Without you, who knows what those ‘very kind people’ would have done to me? I’ve had the opportunity to go to a top-class school and meet all kinds of new, interesting friends with whom I’ve shared so many adventures with. I even had the chance to be reunited with two very important people in my life whom I thought I’d lost forever… everything I currently have I owe to you, milady.”

Hayate hesitated for a moment before continuing.

“Yet, when I look at you, I also see a lazy little girl who likes to do nothing but watch anime, play video games, read manga, and then sleep all day. A girl who is definitely a genius in her own right, but who only uses her intellect to dream up more ways to indulge in her lazy lifestyle.”

“He-hey!”

“… and I can’t help but want to push you further because I know that you have the potential to be so much more than this lazy, hikkikomori otaku that you so proudly proclaim yourself to be – at the same time, I’m comforted when you persistently choose to remain your usual lazy self because… that means that somehow, you are still the mistress that I know.”

“You don’t have to go that far… I already know I’m lazy. Geez!”

“In other words, I see you as a total failure as a person, and yet, I don’t really dislike you, milady.”

“Hey, now THAT’s really going too far!” Her voice was now one octave higher as she flailed her arms about in protest.

“In fact, if I were to put it simply, I would say, that… you are my life itself.”

“Eh…?”

“It’s true. I can’t really say the words that you want me to say right now… but I definitely don’t want to leave your side and I’m really happy that you have these feelings for me, milady.”

He smiled and knelt down on one knee in front of her. He cupped her chin in his hand until they were facing each other eye to eye.

Hayate looked deep into her emerald-green eyes. Their faces were so close together that he could hear her rhythmic breathing as a faint reddish line cut across her nose and bled right down to her cheeks.

At that moment, even for just a scant few milliseconds, he truly thought she was beautiful. These were his most honest feelings that not even his self-imposed mental barrier concerning Nagi’s tender age could reject.

“So… for now, if you’d just allow me to be your loyal butler for a little while longer. I’ll definitely cherish these feelings that you have for me. I can’t say what you want me to say right now, but someday… someday soon…”

“I see…”

Nagi bowed her head low once again and Hayate almost felt guilty that he had done something irreparable with his incomprehensible, noncommittal response, but at the next moment she met his worried gaze with her winsome smile – a smile that Hayate had only rarely ever seen because the fact of the matter is that it was reserved only for him.

“I guess that too is love… isn’t it?” Was what she wanted to say, but of course, the words never crossed her lips. Yes, she was more than satisfied with his answer for now.

“Let’s go home, Hayate.”

“Yes, of course, milady.”

“By the way, Hayate. That last line was from Tsukihime wasn’t it?”

“Eh? You knew?”

“Duh? You’re talking to a hardcore otaku here, kid. Get with the program.”

And so, the Butler and his mistress continued on in this way. Of course, now that he had been made fully aware of them, Hayate Ayasaki knew that he had to come up with an answer for his mistress’ feelings and while it did not have to happen today, he realized that the time would come very soon…”

To Be Concluded (In the official manga, that is. :D Lordcloudx)

Author’s Ramblings:  

On This Fic
 
This short piece was partially inspired by a scene from Can’t take My Eyes Off You episode 12 wherein there were various Hayate x Nagi flashbacks and one particular scene where Nagi asks Hayate if he even likes her  – which doesn’t seem to have happened yet in the manga (unless maybe it happened in the Shimoda arc?) was shown for what seemed like less than a second.

How would Nagi confess to Hayate? This is the scenario that popped into my mind one day when I decided to write this fic and as with most Hayate x Nagi conversations, this short scenario practically just wrote itself. Anyway, everything that happens in this fanfic is actually just a build-up for Nagi’s eventual confession in Loser Park. I wrote the story with this plan in mind.

This is one thing I really like about this pairing: When they’re together, Hayate and Nagi just seem to play off of each other really well and their conversations are so natural, that you don’t really need to put much thought into how they are supposed to interact with each other. To put it in another way, it’s not that they’re actually perfect for each other, but in a way, they really are. Yes, it’s contradictory, I know.

I had initially planned for the location to be in front of Yukariko’s grave so that I could somewhat mirror the Athena x Hayate in front of the Royal Garden moment, but a poster from facebook gave me a much better idea – so I went with Loser Park instead.

Also, this fic gives me a chance to expound a little bit on some of the things that I like about Nagi which has elevated her into “my favorite anime girl ever” status. Nagi is not an initially attractive character, undeniably, and that in a way, makes her very attractive for me. Now that one wasn’t really a contradiction. To explain: The fact that Nagi is a very flawed character is what makes her really attractive for me because she has so much potential for growth. I’m a fan of the “little things” in anime and while Nagi is certainly “little” in terms of stature at only 138 centimeters, I’m actually talking about her little signs of character growth such as the fact that she accomplished something by her own volition for once in Ruka’s arc, and how she is slowly growing more independent of both Hayate and Maria – albeit, with the help of her newfound suppot group in her Violet Mansion friends.

Anyway, I’m forever on the Hayate x Nagi ship and this little self-indulgent fanfic is just my way of affirming and confirming my stand on the matter.

See you in future stories to come whether fanfic or whatever… lordcloudx out.
By the way, this story ties in nicely with my other fanfic, which is meant to happen further into the manga's timeline. Do check it out here if you liked this one: Hayate The Combat Butler: The Final Chapter.

On Fanfiction As A Creative Outlet

As someone who has dabbled in writing original fiction and creating English visual novels at some point, I'd like to say that from experience, it's often tempting to think of things in terms of gradation or scale.

It's easy to think that making a visual novel is "superior" to writing original fiction and that original fiction is always superior to writing fanfiction such as this one. After all, objectively speaking, there are definitely several advantages to going "original" and even better, making a full-fledged visual novel, such as the capacity to monetize your efforts and the lack of any copyright issues with making derivative work out of someone else's stories and characters.

Therefore, one could make the argument that you start out with a crutch by writing fanfics and then graduate to designing your own world and characters with original fiction - after which, you're ready to graduate and enter the "big game" with your own visual novel project or even a full-fledged, non-VN indie game and further than that, becoming an AAA game developer or even a movie director.

Monetary considerations and objective differences aside however, I find that the gradation does not really exist -- or rather, it exists only in one's mind when it comes to personal satisfaction. It's easy to think that the difference in scale should naturally dictate a much higher degree of personal satisfaction, but in may case -- and I may be just an exception, I find that it's more a matter of going through cycles rather than a linear path.

So while you might think that whichever medium you're working on right now is so infinitely superior to the one that you "graduated" out of, this is not really the case (for me) in terms of satisfaction level.

I believe that once you have attained a certain degree of skill in which you know you can be competent in any given medium that might be available for you, it's really just a matter of going through different cycles wherein you might favor a different channel of expression during a particular cycle. In this sense, now all the particular channels available for you stand on equal footing and it's really just a matter of personal bias which one you think is "the best."






























3 comments:

  1. The image you are thinking of is from the last chapter of volume 1.

    ReplyDelete

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