Saturday, June 25, 2016

What If? A Hayate no Gotoku! Alternate Retelling: Chapter 4: I’ll Be Waiting

Read Chapter 1

With superhuman speed, Hayate made a mad dash to save his lady from the clutches of his own parents.

Carrying Nagi on his shoulder, Hayate’s dad had already jumped out of the bedroom window and was a good 15 meters away from him, but Hayate managed to close the distance within a fraction of a second. To an onlooker, it would have seemed as if he simply warped from one point to another.
“Dad, you let go of her right now!”
At the same moment that he closed in on his lady’s abductor, Hayate unleashed a furious spinning roundhouse kick in mid-air aimed at his father’s back…
Hayate’s Dad spun around.

“Uh… was that supposed to hurt me, son?”

“Hayate, you hit your own father!” Hayate’s mother who was trailing behind them scolded him.
“Muahaha! Seriously? You’d hit your own father? More importantly, who taught you to kick like that? That was awful. No power behind it at all… you see, it’s all in the hips, son. Gotta rotate your hips as you throw your leg forward… like so!”
The force of the kick sent Hayate sprawling backwards. He gripped his chest in pain.

“Hrmph… well, I can’t go easy on you even if you’re my son after all…ugh….wha---t---the….”

Hayate’s father fell forward unconscious. Nagi stood up and dusted her clothes off with a nonchalant expression on her face.

Still reeling from the pain, Hayate noticed something glittering on her right hand. It was a needle. She had used a syringe of some kind.

“Oh don’t worry, Hayate. It’s just a tranquilizer. It should put him out for a good 3-5 hours, but no permanent damage. I always carry one or two handy. It’s not easy being a billionaire heiress after all.”

“Y-you! What did you do to my husband you little…”

“Um… I really think you should stop.” Nagi retained her stoic expression and pointed the pistol that Hayate’s father had been using straight at Hayate’s mom. This caused the older woman to freeze in her tracks.
“Nagi, Hayate… are you ok?”
By the time Maria had arrived with the Sanzenin SP’s all the action was already over.
Nagi left the cleaning up operations to Maria and the SP’s.
Reluctantly, she approached a shivering Hayate, who had curled up into a fetal position. He was probably more emotionally scarred than physically hurt. Still, they needed to talk.

“Ojou…sama?”He looked up reluctantly at his lady.

“Thanks for saving me.” She said with a smile… but it wasn’t her usual smile. There was a certain sadness in her expression as if she were saying goodbye to an old friend.

Hayate himself must have noticed this as he was almost on the verge of tears again just from looking at her face.

“I’m sorry…. I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

“Hush” Nagi placed her index finger on the lips of the agitated little boy before her.
“But, Hayate… I promise I won’t be angry at you… so please, tell me the truth. Did you approach me on that Christmas eve just so you could steal from me?”
“N-No… umm… I mean, well, yes and no!”

She raised an eyebrow.

“My parents really did abandon me that night and left me with nothing but that letter. I was more angry than sad, so I just ran out of the house and wandered around aimlessly. That’s when I saw you in front of that row of vending machines… I just thought that you were really beautiful! The moment I saw you… I just knew I had to get to know you better.”

Nagi blushed a little at Hayate’s unabashed description of her.

“I… didn’t know what my parents were planning at first, but when you took me in as your butler, that’s when they came in contact with me again. They somehow managed to slip a note into my room. They told me to start replacing the expensive paintings in your house with fakes that they provided me with. They would sneak the paintings in through the mail in the early mornings since I was always the first to get up and answer the door. My parents are experts at forging art pieces so an ordinary person with no training wouldn’t be able to spot these fakes at a glance.  I didn’t want to steal from ojou-sama… so I trashed the first few fakes that they sent me, but then… they slipped another letter into my room and told me that you would get hurt if I didn’t go along with them. I hate to say it, but my parents are really terrible people and I never wanted ojou-sama to get hurt because of me, so I had to do as they said.”

“… and it was going well until you taught me how to spot fakes… but you should have figured that out by yourself. It was such an elementary mistake…”

“I know. Well, I suppose you could say I let my guard down, ojou-sama.”  He could not look her in the eye anymore as he said this.
What Hayate wanted to say was that he let his guard down because he liked her so much, but he hesitated to do so for fear that she might hate him more than she already did.
“I see…” Her voice was cold and lifeless.


“I understand your circumstances, Hayate. I really do… but I suppose…”

“Please don’t say it!” Was what Hayate Ayasaki was thinking at that moment, but the words refused to leave his lips.

“I suppose… this is goodbye for now.”

“NO…please… no… don’t leave me, Nagi ojou-sama…” Again, these were the words Hayate wanted to say, the words he should have said at that moment, but could not.
“I have an empty mansion just a few blocks away from here. It used to belong to my mother. It’s been abandoned now, but it should have all the basic amenities you’ll need and you should find the place quite livable – perhaps even more comfortable than your life as a butler here has been. Also, don’t worry, I won’t press charges against your parents… I’ve made them promise to leave you alone in my care… but I also think we need a little distance from each other after this incident… to at least think about what comes next, which is why I’m sending you away for now. I’ve already paid for your schooling in Hakuo, so you don’t need to worry about that.” Her voice was calm and steady, but to Hayate, it felt as if she was slowly killing him with the cold treatment she was showing him.
Hayate had never seen this side of her before. It was like she was some lifeless robot reciting a death sentence in front of him.

“Wait! Wait! Don’t I get a say in this?” Protests rang out in Hayate’s head at the thought of being separated from his precious ojou-sama, but he could not find the voice to let them be heard. His tongue was frozen in place by guilt; crushed into silence by the weight of his own betrayal.
 And so, in the end… they had to part.
It was over.  Her decision would not change. His words would not sway her anymore – he was certain of this because he knew that she was making the right decision.
And yet, the thought of being separated from his most precious person – the thought of never seeing her again, perhaps forever, finally spurred Hayate into action.
“WAIT! Ojou-sama!”

Finally, Hayate Ayasaki’s silence was broken.

“Hmm…? Do you have something more to say?” Nagi replied matter-of-factly.
“Yes I do! I-I can’t put it into words right now… it’s not the right time, but… please… I do have something to tell you… so, on December 24, at the place where it all began! Please, can I see you again at that time? I’ll wait for you. I’ll wait for you no matter how long it takes!”

“I see…” Nagi scratched her head as if deep in thought, then she turned to face him with a smile.
“Ok, let’s see each other again… so for now, this is goodbye, Hayate.”
“Goodbye, ojou-sama” Hayate bowed his head low. Mercifully, it began to rain on that night, obscuring the tears which were streaming onto his cheeks.
And thus, time moves forward to December 24. Loser Park. Somewhere in Japan.
“The words that I couldn’t say back then. The words that I’m struggling to say right now. They are all the same.” Was what he said.

He was almost as tall as her now. It wasn’t always this way. Just a year ago, she actually towered over him. Right now however, they were almost at eye level.

“The way you looked at me with those kind and lonely eyes. The way you took my hand in yours, I always knew how you truly felt.” Was her reply.

He held the palms of his hands in front of him. Looking a bit hesitant, he continued.

“You never doubted me – even though I could never say things correctly.”

She took a step forward. They were closer now. Close enough for him to hear her breathing. Close enough for him to smell the sweet scent of her golden hair fluttering in the breeze.
Thus, she spoke.

“I was always one step ahead of you, listening for the familiar echoes of your footsteps.”

And he answered.

“I tried so hard to hide these feelings. I never realized that this was my biggest mistake.”
These were his sincerest thoughts at that moment. There was no room for misunderstanding.
Her face felt slightly warm despite the decidedly cold winter breeze. Strangely enough, although it was winter, it was not yet snowing in this particular part of Japan.
“Do you still remember? The first time that we met?” Was her question.
“Of course, how could I forget?”
“I always kinda hoped those days would last forever.”

She looked far into the horizon with a knowing glance. The sun flared with a bright orange glow – the last rays of light before nighttime.

“I… felt the same. I truly did… I’m sorry.”

Upon hearing his words, she moved closer. Cupping his chin with her long, delicate fingers, she looked kindly into his deep blue eyes.

“Don’t say that… ok? ‘Sorry’ is a word of regret.”
She looked up into the sky. Hayate could only stand and watch, entranced by her every movement. The way her long golden hair tied up in twin-tails fluttered in the breeze, the way she closed her eyes with her head raised high.

“Listen, Hayate… sorry is a word of regret – so don’t you ever say something like that to me again. To regret means to dwell on the past. What has happened cannot be undone, so even if things seem painful, keep moving forward and never look back.”
“But – I thought you’d hate me if I didn’t say that. I did such a terrible thing.”

He was on the verge of tears.

“Hey Hayate! It was so much fun wasn’t it?”

She changed the subject.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  Every day just felt like a wonderful dream.”

Night had fallen. The conditions were perfect.

Hayate took a deep breath. He had asked for this meeting because he wanted to say something to her… but he still needed one final push before he could say it.
“Hey, do you think they were watching over us, ojou-sama?”


“The stars, I mean. Do you remember?”

“Oh yes. You mean when I told you the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi?”

Hayate looked fondly into the night sky.

“Yeah, I just feel that everything fell into place perfectly at that moment… like someone was watching over us.”

“Perhaps, Hayate… perhaps…”

And then…

“Nagi onee-sama… I love you. I’ve always loved you. From the moment that I first saw you, my feelings for you have never changed!”

He had finally said it. The words flowed naturally from his lips. There was no hint of hesitation in his tone. She had told him not to live life with regrets after all – so there would be none from Hayate Ayasaki – even if…

A strong gust of wind blew past just as he had made his confession. Still, there was no doubt that Nagi had heard what he had to say.
She closed her eyes. It was cold, but it wasn’t snowing – just as when they first met. She was wearing a pure white dress that seemed to dance with the wintry breeze as it clung to her petite, feminine figure.

She turned to the side and bowed her head low. A thin smirk formed on her lips. Hayate’s heart was about to jump from his chest in anticipation.

She knew how he felt of course, she had always known.

“1,117 days… or equal to 159 weeks and 4 days.”
“What?” Hayate was understandably bewildered by her response.

“That… is the wall of time that separates us, Hayate. It’s quite a distance, isn’t it?”

“Nagi onee-sama…”

She looked into his eyes. They were definitely almost at eye-level now. He had grown a lot in just a year. Given one more year – perhaps even a few months time, he would probably be taller than her.
“Hayate, I like you but… I’m not sure if I can tell you the words that you so desperately want to hear right now.”

“I… see.”

“So therefore!” She suddenly raised her voice, which startled Hayate before he could even think of becoming depressed.
“1,117 days. That is the wall of time between us. I want you to prove to me that you can overcome this distance! Become stronger, faster, taller … and break down this invisible barrier, Hayate… become strong enough to endure and overcome any problems that come between us, be it kidnappers, a 156 million yen debt or a bitter misunderstanding... until then…”

She turned to face him. She was smiling – the same smile that she had shown him on this very night just 365 days ago.

“I will be waiting... at the other side. So grow up fast, Hayate.”
Hayate closed his eyes and clenched his fist with a firm resolve in his heart.

“Definitely! As long as you are waiting for me, Nagi onee-sama, even if the Milky Way itself tries to get in-between us, I will become strong enough to kick a wormhole through reality just to reach you.”

She leaned forward and closed her eyes… and he too closed his eyes in anticipation.

He felt something wet and warm… on his left cheek – which caused his heart to beat wildly.

Hayate might have left the park just a little bit disappointed on this night, but this was much was fine… for now.

“I’ll be waiting.”

It began on Christmas eve on this very spot just one year ago. And on this very same spot, it begins… the story of their love… from this day forth…

The End

Author’s Notes

Well… this is possibly the longest story I’ve written since the last 4 years or so give or take. I’d like to thank my facebook acquaintance, Bill Plunderbones for urging me on to finish this fic.

Nagi is a very special character for me and I hope you can see that in this fic.

I wrote this story with the intention of making it a stand-alone piece of fiction whether you are familiar with the characters of the manga/anime or not, while still remaining true to the original characters.

The title is a dead giveaway. This is a “what-if” scenario that changes a few things around in their circumstances and most notably reverses the age-gap between Hayate and Nagi. If you feel that Hayate doesn’t act the way he does in the manga in this piece of work, I would argue that this is not exactly the same Hayate from the manga since in this version, he never met Athena and never learned about “the pain of love.” Also, Nagi is older than him in this fic, so even if he has a personal bias against younger women, it wouldn’t really matter in this scenario.

I usually use a show-don't-tell method when I write, but I find that style doesn't work as well for a dialogue and character driven universe like in Hayate the Combat Butler -- so you might find that I'm a bit more direct with my storytelling than usual. That much is intentional.

By the way, regarding the art... this actually just started out as a piece of fanart with a short scenario written for it -- but with Bill's coaxing, it grew into something a little bit larger than that. I actually didn't use digital manipulation that much. The pieces of fanart I'm using here are all drawn with colored pencils and felt-tipped pens.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this little piece as much as I enjoyed drawing and writing for it. See you in future stories to come. -lordcloudx

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