A/N: hey people… it's been quite a while since I last updated. Ehehehehe….. Anyways, I got a few reviews saying that I should update soon. So I'll try to finish this story before slacking off.^-^ So, now I'm going to stop my blabbering and type already.

Disclaimer: I don't own Rayearth…wish I did though.

Chappie 23: Running after you

Sutake looked at himself. He was dressed in a white dress shirt and black pants with a black overcoat in his hands. He really didn't know how humans on earth dressed but he wanted to impress Yuki. Studying himself in the mirror, the door opened and Yuhi stuck his head in.

Grinning, he asked," Boy, you're getting quite vain aren't you Sutake?" He ducked as a glass vase came flying at him. Before closing the door, Yuhi said," Everyone's waiting for you… so don't ditch okay? You're the example for all the people…don't let everyone down."

Sutake took one more look at himself in the mirror and then mumbled," I know that already, and I'm not getting vain…." He grabbed a slivery blue mask and black robe before leaving the room.

On the other side of the castle 20 minutes before the masquerade ball…

Yuki stood in front her dresser, contemplating whether to go or not. She could always say she wasn't feeling well and just sneak out, but risk having Yuhi and the others constantly tease her about avoiding her 'loverboy'. Or she could go and get rid of the nagging voice in her head that said, "You know you want to go…." but risk gossip with the millions of mother's trying to set up their daughters with Sutake. She rubbed her head… it was starting to hurt.

In a strange way, Yuki was scared that he wouldn't like her, or just see her as nothing but a friend he had met not too long ago. Also, there was the fact that they had skipped a few years of their childhood, being forced into adolescence before their time. Knowing how back at Earth, the older boys and girls acted, she wondered if she was just infuriated with Sutake or was this for real? That she actually felt something other than, "Man, he's good looking!" A one sided love…. It was what she was scared of the most.

Whatever it was, it was too much to take in all at once, she needed time to think, something to make sure… Checking her appearance once more, she made her decision and opened the door, closing it softly behind her.

Sutake stood at the top of the stairway to the ballroom, not wearing his mask so the people could recognize him. Behind him were Ascot, Gardina, Lafarge , and Yuhi, also dressed accordingly. He took a look at the audience, the people that were here dressed splendidly, in vibrant masks and costumes of all kinds. Animals, spirits and all sorts of strange and mythical creatures. Clearing his throat he started,

" I want to thank everyone who came today to the masquerade ball, we are here to wish my parents and the other former magic Knights a safe journey, wherever they are now. So again, I thank you all and let the ball begin!"

He nearly stumbled as Yuhi clapped him on the back, Saying, " That was a nice one, little boss. Hope you don't start acting like Ferio too soon or you'll have gray hair.!" He laughed and went off, disappearing into the crowd.

Sutake looked around him, there was no one that he could recognize and he couldn't stay in one place, unless he wanted hordes of mothers coming at him trying to set him up with someone. He tried walking around like an bystander, his eyes flickering over every inch of the ballroom, over every little corner and curve, looking for Yuki. Too bad it had to be a masquerade ball. As elusive as she was, this little setback would only make it harder. If he was to find her anytime soon, he'd better start now. And the first place he was heading to ended up being of all places, the refreshment table.

He took a cookie as he passed by, well as he was here, might as well snack too. He turned around suddenly and bumped into someone behind him. Blushing under his mask and stammering, "I'm sorry!" and he looked into the person's face and gasped.

Back down at Earth….

Clef was sitting at the meeting table with the other employees, hearing them discuss various thing in English such as bills, marketing rights, paychecks… How interesting that he had only been here a few hours and he already had begun to puck up English and use it quite well. 'I guess…' he thought,' Being the Master mage does give you some benefits…'

A sudden wave of dizziness hit him and he nearly collapsed. The man who had been working with him, Mr. Uemasu, asked, " Are you okay, Mr. Clef, sir?"

Clef struggled to keep his pain hidden under a fake smile of reassurance. It was the magic thing again… he was running low and he could feel one of his hands burning with pain. He took a quick look at it and it was almost transparent. He stifled a gasp and turned to Mr. Uemasu and stammered," It's no big deal.. I'm just not feeling too well, would Mr. Oikage mind if I took off a little early to get some rest? "

My. Uemasu rubbed his bald head, sighed then said, " You really should go back to your hotel room, because you seriously look rather pale. I'll take over your work today. It shouldn't be too hard anyway."

Clef bowed and murmured his thanks and walked towards the door.

"Mr. Clef! I forgot to tell you something!"

He turned around and asked, "What?"

" Mr. Ferio called and said that he was coming to join us here, something about too much that you couldn't handle by yourself or something like that."


Clef said his thanks again bowed and went out the front door and into the hallway and pressed the button for the elevator. Another wave of dizziness hit him and he struggled to keep his mind from going into unconsciousness. The sound for the elevator rang as the doors opened for him to walk in. He bumped into someone and without looking and said ,"Sorry…"

His eyes widened and he turned around. It was someone quite familiar to him, the person he would love to see the least right now… a woman with long blue hair pulled back, lively blue eyes and mouth set into a frown…. He grinned lopsidedly and said,

" Oh… hi Umi."

Umi looked rather angry and yelled out, " HI?!?!?!!? THAT"S ALL I GET FOR CHASING YOU HERE ALL THE WAY TO NEW YORK?!?!?!!? HI?!?!?" People were starting to stick their heads through the doors now, wondering what on Earth could be all the commotion coming from. Clef wisely pulled Umi into the elevator before the door shut and silenced her with a kiss as soon as they got in.

It was a chaste, sweet kiss and Umi looked slightly disappointed as Clef pulled away

" You were saying?…."

Umi pulled his nice dress shirt to get him closer to her and she sobbed… " I was so worried!… I didn't know where you were, why you suddenly just got up and left like that without telling me anything… I thought that something bad could've happened to you here, since you don't know Earth that well…" She stopped herself for a moment to look up into his eyes and feel his face, as if making sure he were still there in front of her.

" I didn't want to lose you again, not after all we've been through, with Yuki and the others, not after all the misunderstandings that we had. " She straightened herself up, and punched him playfully on the shoulder.

" I can't believe you made me worry so much about you! You could've at least called… Stupid."

Clef was about to answer when another wave of dizziness hit him and this time, he slowly felt his mind fading into the darkness as Umi called his name, again and again… and he heard no more afterwards.

The next day…..

Clef woke up in bed, feeling worse than he had felt yesterday. He wouldn't be surprised if he looked like that too. Running a hand through his hair he looked around, and found that this was his hotel room. Groaning he forced one leg out of bed, then the other. He took a look at himself and relieved to find that his body was not transparent anywhere. He looked over at the nightstand, and found a hastily written note.

Gone out to get some food for you and catch up on the word you're missing right now. Stay in bed and don't get out. We'll have a nice long chat when I get back from work, okay? I should be back around 6. If you're hungry, I left some chow mein out on the table near the window.

Umi

Clef grinned, he was definitely going to get chewed out when she came back. He was lucky that yesterday, she hadn't got mad at him at all, especially when he kissed her to silence her. Well, he had a whole day to kill until 6 anyway and he check the clock. It read 2:54PM. Clef stared at it for a little amazed that he had actually slept in so long. It was going to be a long day for him… He check his magic reserves. He had enough to last for a few more days here on Earth. Enough to get him where he needed to, and enough to look healthy enough for Umi not to worry about him.

He dressed, washed up and opened the door to find Ferio staring at him. He had a worried expression on his face, and looked like he hadn't slept at all. He grabbed Clef' arm and looked at it, then said,

"Clef…. I need to tell you something."

'Does he know?' Clef wondered.

A/N: okay! Not much really happened in this chapter but, hopefully the action will perk up as we see if the person who bumped into Sutake was Yuki and what Ferio has to do to get Clef back to Cephiro. Um….. Let's see! The usual please R&R( or at least read ) and Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed during my LONG absence. I really, really, appreciate it. Oh, and just for something to think about… should the next chapter be all about Hikaru and Lantis? I don't want to forget about them….

Ja mata!