A/N: Wee! A new ficcie! Since Riceball and Iridescence are nearing the finale, I decided to start this long-delayed fic, as well to update on For Keeps.

Another AU? Sowee! ^^;; I know that some of you might be sick of alternate universe fics, but you see, I just like toying with the fun personalities of the Fruits Basket characters. I hope you guys don't mind!

I dedicate the fanfic to my friends in the message board: z.a. franks, haku-sensei, omi-chan, shadowstorm, litoriceball, trc, and the other people that I forgot to mention. Syao wuvs u!

Lightning pierced the dark skies overhead as shadows walked around the spooky hallways of a palace, each holding long stick of candles. In one corner of the castle, screams of horror tore the thick silence. Screams of a girl.

One tall figure approached the girl roped against the wall. His long, bony fingers caressed the horrified girl's cheek, tracing her cheekbones, down to her slender neck. The fingers lingered on the neck, then he bowed, aiming for the neck. He bared his fangs, deaf to the shrill screeches of the lass…

Seventeen year old Honda Tohru jumped involuntarily, while Hanajima Saki and Uotani Arisa laughed.

"Stop it!" cried the onigiri, sweatdropping. "You're scaring me!"

"But it's all just a folktale, Tohru-chan," reminded Hana. "A tale passed down from generation to generation, just to spook us. We don't even know if the Sohma Castle does exists."

"I know, but I'm still scared!" protested Tohru. " Imagine what is it like to be trapped in a castle full of vampires! Ah!" She instinctively held her neck protectively, making her friends laugh even harder.

The three of them were walking towards the town plaza that night, where their village hold meetings. Uo and Hana decided to scare their gullible friend by narrating the notorious folktale about a clan of vampires living in the dark section of the woods, where no man from their village dare to go, even at broad daylight.

"Vampires are not true," said Uo reassuringly.

"B-But what about the news that some of our animals are disappearing lately? Someone told me that it's the work of the vampires!" said Tohru.

"To-chan, the story of the vampires had been here since time immemorial, and the disappearance occurred just these past few days," reasoned Hana. "Surely, our townsfolk are bright enough to know that."

"Someone must just be stealing our herds," said Uo.

"I hope you're right," said the onigiri. Vampires are not true.

"Damn, Shigure! That's gross!" complained seventeen year old Sohma Yuki as he watched his cousin drink tomato juice straight from the carton. "Don't you have any ounce of decency?"

"Nope," said Shigure cheerfully, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his gray kimono. "Yuki, you are so squeamish! Geez, I lost my decency long ago when our grandfather, a certified vampire, switched from fresh blood to tomato juice."

"It's the right thing to do," reminded the nezumi. " First, it's disgusting. Second, it's wrong. Third, it's unhealthy …it can cause you some diseases like…whatever disease the victim has!"

Shigure raised his hand. "Exactly. So that is why don't get me started on the decency thing. I'm trying my best, you know."

"Right, right." Yuki left his cousin, sighing. Sometimes, he didn't get what kind of grave sin did he commit in his past lifetimes to make him a vampire in this lifetime.

But he was not an exact vampire… a semi-one perhaps, since he and his family do not prey on humans anymore. Well, his ancestors used to do that – steal a virgin from the neighboring town of Kaibara, lock her in their castle and feast on her.

However, one fateful night, his grandfather had committed a fatal mistake: he carried away a person inflicted with a strange disease – one that makes her transform into various Juunishi animals. As a result, when the girl died, her curse was carried by the descendants of the Sohma vampire.

And now, here he was, Sohma Yuki, suffering the curse. If ever touched by a female intimately, he would immediately transform into the Juunishi mouse.

His relatives suffer the same curse too – for instance, Shigure, who carries the Juunishi dog form.

Thus, they do not prey on humans anymore. They had learn to be satisfied with tomato juice and lots of catsup in their main dishes. He, for one, was used to it. However, the older Sohmas like Hatori and Shigure were still uncomfortable with the idea of a full-blooded vampire fasting on blood alternatives.

Yuki went out of the house into the balcony of their castle. His residence was isolated from the rest of the people – his clan lived amidst the lifeless dark woods near the border of the town of Kaibara.

His eyes saddened. He dreamed of meeting at least one friend from the outside world. Sure, when he and Shigure goes downtown to shop for food, he would meet several people, but he wasn't allowed to make friends with them, for they were sworn to secrecy by their clan head, Akito. Of course, the townsfolk would surely react harshly if they learn that the Sohma clan still exists.

The notorious clan of vampires.

"We are all gathered here to discuss about the alarming disappearance of our livestock, our main source of livelihood," said the head of the village.

"This is the work of the vampires!" one voice yelled.

Tohru bit her lip when the rest of her town mates yelled in agreement.

"Therefore, we have decided that we must offer a sacrifice!" announced the leader. This shocked everyone, and buzzes filled the town square.

"A sacrifice?" gasped Tohru.

"And our council has decided who to offer as human sacrifice to the vampires…just so they would stop pestering us!" The leader's eyes roved around the crowd, then suddenly pointed at the onigiri.

"E-Eh?" She was shocked, especially when she felt the gazes of everyone at her.

"That's right, Honda Tohru," said the leader of the town. "Since you are an orphan, and you have no family, we decided that you will do as the best sacrificial lamb. You are tied to no obligations, am I right?"

Tohru was dismayed. "B-But…!"

Uo raised her fist. "No way! That's unfair! Forcing her to be a human sacrifice is like killing her slowly!"

Hana nodded. "If you really want a hero, why don't you do it, Leader?"

The man was stumped, but then recovered his composure. "Because my flock still needs me! If I die there will be no leader for this town!"

The crowd nodded as Tohru's heart sank.

"So, who's with me?" asked the head.

"Aye!!!" was the resounding yell of the mob, drowning the small protests of Uo and Hana.

Tohru was on the verge of tears. I was betrayed by my own fellow villagers.

She shook her head. "No, I will be strong. If what I can offer to the vampires will do the village good, then I must do it."

"We must dress the sacrifice up," said the town leader. "We will do the sacrifice ritual tonight."

Yuki and Shigure were walking downtown that night because of a sudden lack of supply of tomato juice.

"You just had to drink all four gallons, didn't you?" asked Yuki, irritated.

"I was thirsty!" protested Shigure. "The film I was watching was really good! It's about a werewolf who preyed on an orphanage house. You should have seen those spilled guts, Yuki! I mean, one scene showed the child's intestines being plucked out by the werewolf-"

Yuki nearly threw up. "Stop that!" he yelled.

"Hey, Yuki-chan, look at my hangnail! It's bleeding!" announced the dog, showing his bruised thumb to the nezumi.

"Get that away from me!" he yelled.

"Hee hee. What kind of vampire are you? You're afraid of blood and spilled guts!"

"I hate blood, period!" said Yuki, arms crossed.

"Good thing you didn't become a girl. I just couldn't imagine how you will react when your monthly period comes-"

"SHUT UP, DAMN DOG!!!"

Shigure laughed some more, then stopped. "Hey, the foot of the forest is brighter than usual."

"Are those torches I see?" asked Yuki, forehead creased. "Shigure, let's check it out."

"Oh Vampire Clan, accept our humble sacrifice – a fresh virgin. Please accept this, just do not play with our animals anymore," said the town leader, pushing Tohru towards the dark forest, dressed in white linen cloth, holding a tray of freshly beheaded chicken.

The onigiri looked at her friends who were watching her helplessly. She mustered a smile for them.

Don't worry about me. I will be fine.

I think.

Okaasan always tells me to not worry. As long as I smile, everything will be fine.

Soon, Tohru was left in the woods. She was instructed not to go back to town, for her fellow villagers fear that the vampires might follow her to town. She knew that if the vampires wouldn't kill her, her town mates would.

She inhaled deeply and smiled bravely. She strode towards the forest.

Everything will be alright, because I am smiling.

But when she heard the footsteps ahead of her, her hearts started to beat double time.

She was about to run back when the bushes revealed two young men gaping at her.

A moment of silence.

Then Tohru screamed. Her screech was heard all over the forest and the town of Kaibara.

Back in the town, Hana buried her head on Uo's shoulder. "Poor Tohru!" she cried.

Uo nodded. "Tohru…"

The two then blinked when they heard another scream, this time a duet of males.

"What was that?" asked one woman behind Uo.

"I don't want to find out," said another man, nervously going back to his house.

"Ah…" Tohru collapsed on the ground weakly, dizzy.

"Sorry about shouting," apologized the younger of the two. "W-We thought you were a white lady…a ghost." He looked at her outfit. "You look like one."

"And I thought you were vampires," said the onigiri, pressing her hand on her heart.

The men looked at each other.

"Why are you here out on your own anyway?" asked the elder one kindly.

"Um…I'm a human sacrifice…for the vampires," revealed Tohru.

"E-Eh?!!" chorused the men.

Tsuzuku

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