Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket or its characters. They belong to Takaya Natsuki.

Okay, okay, I know, I know.... I SUCK! I have kept you waiting far too long for an update, again. I am so sorry, I just keep getting pre-occupied with my other story and this one ends up being put on hold. To make it up to you this is a nice long chapter and I hope you will all really like it. Please review too, because I am curious how many people are actually reading this, and enjoying it. Did I lose all my readers for keeping you waiting for too long? Let me know.

I think this is a very fun chapter, and I have some really exciting ideas for the story now. I want to thank my editor, Smiling Onigiri, for turning this around so quickly, and for always being such a great help and offering fantastic advice. I also want to thank my friend, Macbaby, for all of her help and suggestions. She gave me a couple of great ideas that really made this chapter even better.

Oh, and speaking of fun, please keep in mind that this is only fan fiction and should not be taken overly serious. I like Yuki and Tohru as a couple just as much as the next girl, but I also like Yuki/Manabe, Yuki/Haru, Yuki/well almost everyone. The only Yuki pairing that I am not a fan of is Yuki/Machi, but that is only because I think Kakeru is better suited for Yuki. He makes him happy after all, isn't that what really matters?

I hope you enjoy reading.

NECTAR

Chapter Ten: Out

--------

YUKI

"That's three for a masquerade and two for a Meiji Era theme." I announced after unfolding the last tiny scrap of paper and tallying the final vote. "It's decided then, this year's winter ball will be a masquerade."

"Yes!" Kimi cheered excitedly and did a victory dance in her seat. "I love costume parties, this year's Winter Ball will be the greatest ever!"

"Whatever," Machi said dispassionately, and I turned my attention to her.

"You're disappointed, Machi?" I wondered unhappily. Although the voting process was supposed to be completely anonymous, I had been student council president long enough to recognize everyone's handwriting. Machi and Nao had voted for a Meiji Era themed party, while Kimi and Kakeru had voted for a masquerade ball. This, as too often happened, left me with the deciding vote, and since I really had no preference on either account, I had voted with Kakeru.

"As if I really care," Machi said while standing up and collecting her things although our meeting was still in progress. "Either way, I doubt I'll even go."

"Not go? But why?" I asked in surprise.

"Of course you have to go, Machi," Nao informed her. "We all do. The Winter Ball is the Student Council's responsibility. Teachers and alumni will be attending as well as all the students, it's a significant event."

"That's true." Kakeru agreed, and Machi glared at him crossly.

"Well then, you see, Machi, you have to go. As Nao says, it's important that we all attend, so you can't skip." I told her, but when she switched her angry glare from Kakeru to me, I decided to back down and give her a way out. "Unless you have something more important to do, if that's the case...."

"She doesn't," Kimi explained. "She's just upset since she won't have a date."

"Now that makes sense," Kakeru agreed. "Who would ever ask out such a bad tempered girl?"

"Ah... a date," I realized. I hadn't even considered that. It could make things difficult for me as well. Looking across the table at Kakeru, I made a decision.

"We'll go as a group." I suggested and peered around the table, "The five of us together, no dates necessary."

"A brilliant suggestion," Kimi agreed. "Yun Yun's so clever!"

"That's stupid!" Machi disagreed. "It's probably the stupidest thing I've ever heard, the five of us going together."

"I wouldn't say it's stupid." Nao argued, and looked at me pointedly. "And it would solve some of our dating dilemmas, wouldn't it, Yuki?"

"I thought you had someone you were interested in, Nao?" Kakeru chimed in and Nao's eyes went wide.

"No, no, I don't." Nao blurted out while vehemently shaking his head. "I wouldn't mind going as a group."

"It might solve 'your' dating problems!" Machi said bitterly and slammed her book bag down on the table. "But I have no intention of looking like a dateless loser."

"What if we change the name of the ball just a little?" Kakeru suggested. "We'll call it a Soul Mate Masquerade."

"Soul Mate?" Both Machi and I said together.

"Yes, everyone comes solo, in costume, and you see if you can find the person that your soul is calling out for, your soul mate."

"Now that really is stup..." I started to say, but stopped when I noticed the look of interest on Machi's face.

"That actually might be sort of fun." Machi said, and returned to her seat. "I'd go."

"Really?" I wondered, but then noticed that both Nao and Kimi seemed interested as well.

"So then, I guess it's agreed, a Soul Mate Masquerade it is." I declared. "Now we should move on to distributing tasks. Let's see, first of all, we'll need to recruit a few volunteers to help out with preparations. Kakeru, would you mind being in charge of recruitment?"

"I'd be happy to, Yuki." Kakeru eagerly agreed.

"What an obvious choice, seeing how Kakeru is so good at wrapping people around his little finger." Machi said spitefully, and I looked at her curiously. Although Kakeru and Machi have never been what anyone might consider close, today she was actually behaving downright hostile towards him. 'I wonder what might have happened between the two of them over the weekend to make her behave in such a manner. Well, it's probably best I don't involve myself in their sibling rivalry,' I decided.

"Machi, would you mind heading up the decorations committee?" I asked softly, and crossed my fingers. I knew that Machi was quite skillful in arts and crafts and I felt certain this would be the one task that she might actually find enjoyable.

"I guess I could do that." Machi agreed casually, but I didn't miss the tiny sparkle in her eyes that assured me she was at least somewhat pleased by my decision.

"Good," I told her and moved on. "Kimi, you'll be in charge of refreshments."

"Woo hoo! Refreshments! How do pina colodas sound, everyone?" Kimi asked enthusiastically.

"On second thought, scratch that. Nao can handle the refreshments," I decided quickly.

"Oh, no fair," Kimi pouted. "Can I be in charge of entertainment then?"

"Entertainment?" I debated for a moment before deciding that entertainment should be a safe enough choice and agreeing. "Yes, that will be fine. Kimi will handle the entertainment."

"Yeah, male exotic dancers in go-go booths!" Kimi said with a grin, and I rubbed at my temples because I could feel a slight headache coming on.

"No, Kimi. No dancers! No exotic! No go-go booths!" I insisted. "Hire a D.J. or a band, either will suffice."

"Yun Yun's no fun." Kimi complained. "Kakeru, you should talk some sense into him. Yun Yun needs to lighten up, tell him Kakeru."

"Kimi, shut up." Kakeru said, and I was overcome with the desire to hug him. "Yuki, do you mind if we take a break? I'd like to get something to drink."

"And I'd like to use the men's room," Nao added.

"Me too, I mean, I'd like to use the ladies room." Machi said.

"That's fine, go right ahead." I told them, and Nao and Machi stood up and headed for the door. "Kakeru, if you wouldn't mind could you grab me something to drink as well?" I asked, reaching into my pocket and pulling out some change for the vending machine.

"Okay." Kakeru agreed, ignoring the money I was holding out to him and instead grabbing Kimi by the arm and pulling her along with him.

"Why do I have to go?" Kimi asked as Kakeru pulled her out the door.

"I need help carrying the drinks." Kakeru told her, and I smiled. 'He probably realizes that I'm getting a headache,' I thought, 'he's so considerate.' By taking the boisterous energy that was Kimi out of the room for a bit, he'd allowed me a moment of quiet, and I made a mental note to thank him later on.

Laying my head down on the desk in front of me, I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the slowly spreading pain at the center of my skull. A moment later when I heard the door slide open, I forced myself to sit up.

"Are you okay?" Machi asked as she returned to her seat across from my own.

"I think I'm getting a headache." I told her, and she nodded then reached into her purse to pull out a bottle of aspirin. Popping open the top, she poured two into her hand and held them out to me.

"I get migraines." She explained as I took the tiny pills from her hand.

"Thank you," I said with a smile. "I'll take them as soon as Kakeru brings my drink."

"I could get you some water," Machi offered.

"That's all right." I told her. "You don't need to go to all that trouble, but thank you."

"Okay." She said softly, and we sat quietly for a moment before she spoke again.

"Yuki," she said, her voice so low that I had to strain to hear her. "Would you mind walking me to class after the meeting is over? I have something that I'd like to discuss with you."

"Okay." I agreed graciously while wondering what it was she wanted to discuss, probably something having to do with the party decorations. "I'd be happy to walk you to class, Machi."

"Good." Machi said, and smiled so sweetly that I found it almost disconcerting. 'What in the world has gotten into her?' I wondered as the door slid open and Nao entered the room. I had never really seen Machi smile that way before, and to be honest I didn't like it. Machi's smile reminded me of another, someone I was trying to forget.

KAKERU

"Kimi, that stuff between Yun Yun and I, our dating and the kiss? You haven't told anyone about it, have you?" I asked hopefully the moment we were out of earshot of the others and heading down the hallway towards the drink machines.

"The kiss! Ahh... yes! Yun Yun and Nabe kissing, what a beautiful thing," Kimi said dreamily. "If only Kimi had been a fly on that wall. Just imagine, witnessing such a wonderful spectacle... Yun Yun's hungry fingers wrapped in Nabe's silky black hair, Nabe's strong hands caressing Yun Yun's innocent ivory flesh... it's just... so... so yummy!"

"Oh yes..." I agreed, my mind momentarily carried away on Kimi's white wave, "Yun Yun really is an incredible kisser."

"Oh, Nabe! I'm so jealous; the whole school is, actually. You don't know just how lucky you are, having Yun Yun all to yourself like that." Kimi gushed, and the implication of her words hit me like a sharp kick to the groin.

"The whole school! Kimi, tell me you didn't." I begged desperately, but knew it was hopeless.

"What? Was it a secret?" Kimi wondered innocently.

"Hello! Was it a secret! Kimi, are you brainless?" I asked in aggravation. "Do you have any idea how Yun Yun will feel when he finds out that you outed us to the entire school?"

"Do you think he'll be mad?" Kimi asked worriedly.

"Yun Yun isn't going to be mad, Kimi, he's going to be furious. He'll probably hate you, and he'll hate me for telling you. Damn it Kimi, what were you thinking?" I yelled at her, then immediately felt terrible when Kimi's eyes went wide and I feared she might actually burst into tears. "I'm sorry, Kimi, but did you really have to tell everyone?"

"Well, you didn't tell me it was a secret, and besides I didn't tell everyone." Kimi said unhappily.

"No, you're right. That wouldn't be possible," I decided. "It's only Monday morning, you couldn't have spoken to that many people yet." Breathing a sigh of relief, I started thinking about damage control. "So you've told who? Machi and Nao? I think I can handle Nao, but Machi could be a problem...."

"Well, I did speak to a few other people over the weekend." Kimi admitted quietly, and I frowned at her.

"Which people, Kimi? Who did you call?" I asked, while crossing my fingers and saying a prayer. 'Not the Prince Yuki Fan Club, please tell me she didn't call the Prince Yuki Fan Club.'

"Who did I call? Let's see..." Kimi said and took a second to think about it. "Well, first I called Kinoshita Minami, she was the most important, and so I had to tell her."

"Who?" I wondered and tried to put a face to the name.

"Oh she's one of those silly Prince Yuki Fan Club girls! Understand Kakeru, I had to tell her, those psychos run around acting like Yun Yun is their personal property, it was about time someone put them in their place." Kimi said defensively, and even though it was tremendously bad news, I couldn't stop myself from smiling as I imagined the reaction of Yun Yun's fan club upon learning their Prince Charming had kissed a boy... had kissed this boy, actually... and also... that stuff last night in the snow, damn that was amazing....

"Mm... Yun Yun! So good," I said distractedly. "No wonder those little bimbos chase him around the way they do, but they can't have him... Yun Yun is mine!"

"Focus, Kakeru." Kimi said and snapped her fingers in front of my face. "Stop acting like a freak. This is really your own fault for not telling me it was a secret in the first place, you know. You need to come up with a plan to keep Yun Yun from hating us. I'll just die if Yun Yun hates me for outing him!"

"Yes, of course." I said, suddenly recalling that our meeting was still in progress and a thirsty Yun Yun was waiting for me to return. "I'll talk to him as soon as the meeting is over," I decided. "I'll explain everything, but you only told three people, right?"

"Well actually..." Kimi said with an innocent smile. "There were just a few more."

"Spill it." I told her while wrapping an arm tightly around her neck and pulling her down the hall towards the drink machines. Kimi was right; she couldn't be blamed for this. I was the one who had neglected to inform her that my relationship with Yuki was not public domain. Giving into my fate, I listened to Kimi chattering cheerfully as she divulged the unimaginably long list of people she had contacted over the weekend. Our little Kimi had been a very busy girl. It was certain that Yuki's reputation, as well as my own, was officially shattered, and there was not a damn thing that I would be able to do about it.

"Kimi?" I asked as we pulled up in front of the drink machines and I released my hold on her neck. "How do you even have all of these people's phone numbers anyway?"

"I'm well connected, Nabe!" Kimi said with a confident grin and shoved some change into a machine.

"Do we actually have access to 'everyone's' phone numbers in the Student Council computer?" I wondered.

"Pretty much," Kimi said and pushed the button on her drink of choice.

"Good to know." I said, and tried to remember what Yun Yun liked to drink.

KURENO

"Get out!" Akito screamed and with one brutal kick sent me flying from his bed.

"Akito," I said sleepily as I pulled myself up from the floor and stepped backwards in order to avoid his hand, which flew out in an effort to strike me.

"Who in the hell are you and what are you doing in my bedroom?" Akito demanded, and I stared at him in surprise.

"Akito, calm down," I told him softly and stepped towards him again, then dodged to the side when he picked up the heavy lamp from his bedside table and heaved it in my direction. It smashed against the wall noisily, sending ceramic shards flying through the air.

"Akito." I said again, louder this time. "It's me, Kureno, your cousin. Please calm down, you've been very ill and you shouldn't be distressing yourself like this."

"My cousin?" Akito asked suspiciously and shook his head violently. "No, you're not. You're a stranger and a pervert! What were you doing in my bed?"

"A stranger? A pervert?" I said in confusion. "I'm not. I'm Kureno. I've been sharing your bed since you were fifteen, Akito. After Shigure moved out, you insisted I sleep in here, you're afraid of the dark."

"Liar! That's proof you're lying!" Akito yelled and jumped out of his bed, yanking the I.V. out of his arm in the process. Rushing towards me while pointing accusingly, he forced me towards the door. "I'm only thirteen years old, you're a dirty rotten liar, and you're going to be in trouble when Yuki finds out what you've done. Get out of my house, get out right now or I'll make you regret you were ever born."

KAKERU

"So then, I think we've covered everything on our agenda for the day." Yuki declared and shuffled through the pile of notes in his hand. "Unless anyone has something more to add...."

"We don't." I informed Yun Yun, and peered around the table hoping the others would agree.

"Can I..." Kimi said and started to raise her hand, but quickly lowered it after catching the look on my face. "Ah... never mind," she said, and I smiled.

The meeting had lasted much longer then I had hoped, glancing up at the clock I noticed that class would be starting in only twenty minutes. That wouldn't leave me much time for explanations, but it would have to do.

"Okay, our next meeting will be Wednesday afternoon, I'll see everyone then," Yuki said. Pulling his backpack from underneath the table, he opened it and tossed his pen and notebook inside.

"Yuki?" I asked in a low voice as I threw my own backpack over my shoulder. "I need to speak with you. Can you stay a moment longer?"

"Actually, Kakeru, I told Machi I would walk her to class this morning." Yuki said.

"Can it wait?"

Over at the door Machi stood waiting, a calculating smile floating on her lips. 'I can't let her be the one to tell him,' I realized in irritation.

"It really can't, Yuki." I told him, and moved to stand in front of him. "We need to talk." I said under my breath, and Yuki stared into my eyes questioningly before looking past me to where my half-sister stood.

"Yuki, we really should hurry, I don't want to be late for class." Machi said sharply, and Yuki nodded.

"I'll meet you here during lunchtime, okay Kakeru," Yuki said in a soft whisper. "We can talk then."

'That might be too late.' I thought to myself, and searched desperately for an excuse that I could use to keep Yuki by my side, only nothing at all came to mind.

"I'll walk with you guys!" I blurted out at last, and followed them out the door while shooting Machi a victorious grin.

"But your class is in the opposite direction, Kakeru." Yuki pointed out, and the smile dropped from my face. "I'll see you at lunch, okay?" Yuki insisted, and then added in a whisper that only I could hear, "Don't worry, she isn't really my type."

'He just thinks I'm jealous?' I realized as I watched Yuki and my half-sister walk away. "Give me a break!" I said out loud, causing a group of girls who were gossiping in the corner to look my way.

"Hey, it's him. You're Kakeru Manabe, right?" One of the girls, who was rather unattractive with an unholy case of acne, called out.

"Yeah, that's me. Why? Do I know you?" I asked and was surprised when the entire group of girls immediately surrounded me and started firing off questions.

"So tell us about Prince Yuki?"

"Are the rumors true, are you really his lover?"

"No way, it can't be true, Prince Yuki isn't gay!"

"You should be ashamed of yourself, Yuki belongs with Tohru Honda!"

"You do realize that the two of you are not even canon? It's preposterous!"

"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU GIRLS!?" I screamed in fear as they backed me up against the wall and ripped my shirt wide open. "Are you part of the Prince Yuki Fan Club?"

"Hell no, don't you dare mistake us for those pansies." The largest and most intimidating of the group informed me. "We're the Anti-Yaoi Fan Club, and we're here to tell you, buster, that we do not approve of this particular pairing!"

'And so it begins!' I thought as I was kicked to the floor and resigned myself to my doom.

"GET OFF OF HIM, YOU FREAKS!" A male voice bellowed through the crowd, and a moment later I was grabbed by the seat of my pants and hauled to my feet. "Get lost you goons!" Yun Yun's white haired cousin, Haru, said while glaring threateningly at the group of girls.

"Fine," the acne faced girl agreed, "but don't you forget, you're supposed to be with Rin!"

"Whatever!" Haru said before turning his attention to me. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, thanks!" I told him while examining my torn shirt.

"So listen, I was actually looking for Yuki, you don't happen to know where I might find him?" Haru asked distantly.

"Yes, actually, you just missed him." I said, and it hit me that Haru could possibly be just the excuse I needed. "He's walking Machi to class, she's in 2D. If you'd like, I could show you where it is."

MACHI

'It isn't true.' I said to myself as we walked together towards D block, where both of our classes were. 'It's just some silly lie that annoying girl came up with to piss me off. Yuki isn't dating Kakeru. It couldn't be true. It simply couldn't be, and even if it was true, she said it was only one date. One date is nothing, right? I can still put a stop to it, can't I? Of course I can!'

"Watch out, Machi!" Yuki cried out and pulled me aside just as a soccer ball flew through the halls, bounced off the wall directly behind us, hit the floor in the exact spot I had just vacated, and ended up in Yuki's quick hands.

"Sorry about that, Princess." A red haired, second year boy called out as he rushed forward, grabbed the ball out of Yuki's fingers, and bowed apologetically.

"Don't call me Princess!" I said coldly, using the voice that I generally saved for my idiot half-brother.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I wasn't talking to you." The boy explained sweetly while peering up through his unnaturally long eyelashes and giving Yuki a seductive grin. "You're looking lovely this morning, Yuki." The boy said in a whisper, and Yuki's eyes went wide while his entire face turned scarlet.

"Cut it out, Dio!" Yuki said, and shoved the boy away. "You should know better than to play ball in the halls, you might hurt someone."

"You're right, Yuki. Sorry." The boy said with a flirtatious smile, and I felt my stomach turn. 'I can't believe it, that boy is flirting with him, and Yuki doesn't even realize it.'

"Just be more careful from now on." Yuki lectured while the boy stared up at him like a lovesick schoolgirl.

"I will Yuki." The boy agreed, and looked like he might have something more to say, but he never got a chance because Yuki grabbed me by the hand and led me up the hall.

"Sorry about that, Machi," Yuki said uncomfortably. "Dio's a friend of my cousin Momiji's. I've never seen him act that way before, though. I wonder what that princess nonsense was about?"

'I think it's kind of obvious, that boy has a crush on you.' I thought about saying, but instead, as always was the case when I was around Yuki, I remained silent.

"Here's your class." Yuki said as we rounded the corner. "Did say you needed to speak with me?"

"Yes, about that." I started nervously, and tried to decide how best to say what needed to be said. 'Just ask him,' I decided, and opened my mouth to do just that when I was distracted by a group of boys who were standing across the hall, staring our way and whispering.

"Shhh... There he is. He really is as pretty as a girl, isn't he?" I overheard one of the boys say, and looked to Yuki to see if he had heard as well. Judging by the embarrassed look on his face, I was certain that he had.

"He's actually prettier then any girl I've ever seen. Boy or not, I wouldn't kick him out of bed," another boy said.

"Yes, it's too bad he's already taken. He's just my type." A third boy, with dyed blond hair and striking, but fake, blue eyes said. I recognized the boy at once; he was Taketo, the first year transfer student that everyone had been talking about, the one that was rumored to be gay.

"Come on." Yuki said and pulled me down the hall, putting distance between his admirers and us. "I'm sorry about that, Machi. I'm afraid it's always been like this for me. People act so weird around me sometimes. So anyway, what did you want to speak about?"

"Well..." I started again, and was immediately interrupted again when Yuki's orange-headed cousin, Kyo Sohma, came barreling around the corner with one of his friends.

"That has to be the funniest thing I've ever heard." Kyo said with a loud chuckle, and then upon spotting us, smiled condescendingly.

"There's the little Fairy Princess now." Kyo said, and Yuki's eyes grew dark. Stepping away from me, he confronted his cousin.

"What's your problem, you idiot cat?" Yuki asked, causing Kyo to laugh even harder. "And why are you so happy? It's creepy seeing you laugh like that."

"Well it's not like I can help it. It's just so funny," Kyo said wickedly.

"What is? What?" Yuki asked irritably. Looking past him, I saw Kakeru heading our way with Yuki's cousin Haru in tow.

"I was just invited to join the Fairy Princess Yuki Fan Club," Kyo announced loudly. "But I had to turn them down because unlike you, I'm straight!"

"You bastard," Yuki said and grabbed Kyo by the collar of his shirt. "What in the hell are you going on about?"

"Don't get mad at me." Kyo said and pushed Yuki away. "It isn't my fault that your little secret got out. It's your own fault for running around kissing boys."

"What?" Yuki gasped, and I watched in sympathy as his air of annoyed superiority melted into a look of complete horror as the meaning of Kyo's words sunk in.

"Well it's true, isn't it Yuki?" Kyo continued and looked distastefully at my half-brother. "The whole school is talking about it. You're gay and he's your lover."

'So Kimi was right,' I realized. The uncomfortable look in Yuki's eyes coupled with the stressed out look on Kakeru's face was enough to assure me of the truth.

"Is it, Yuki?" Haru asked while grabbing Yuki's arm and dragging him away from Kyo. "Is what everyone's saying true?"

"Haru?" Yuki mumbled bewilderedly and peered around at the quickly growing crowd of onlookers.

"You told me you weren't gay, Yuki," Haru said bluntly. "Did you lie to me?"

"Haru, I'm n..." Yuki started to say, then looked to Kakeru and stopped talking.

"To think I've actually been worrying about Tohru and Akito all this time, thinking they were the reason..." Haru said crossly, his dark eyes glowing black with resentment.

"Haru, try to calm down." Yuki begged uncomfortably and pulled his arm away from his cousin's tight grasp. "This isn't the place to discuss this."

"Goddamnit Yuki, I have always been in love with you!" Haru yelled. Grabbing Yuki's chin in one hand and his waist in the other, he pushed him back against the wall while glaring coldly into his eyes. "And I knew you were in love with me, so why the fuck did you have to play with my feelings and lie to me?"

"Let him alone!" Kakeru said and quickly pushed himself between them.

"You stay the fuck out of this, if you don't I will kill you." Haru said calmly to my half-brother as he knocked him aside. "Now tell me, Yuki, are you gay? Are you really in love with him?" I noticed Yuki's cousin was now staring at Kakeru with a look I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. "I want you to admit it. Tell me you feel for him what you say you didn't feel for me." At that point, I knew things were much more complicated than just Yuki dating my brother.

"I'm..." Yuki mumbled quietly while staring around himself in distress. "Sorry, Haru, I... I can't." And then he sidestepped away from his cousin, shot through the crowd that had gathered around us, and ran away down the hall.

YUKI

'They know! Kyo, Haru, Machi, they know! Everyone knows! What did Kyo say? Everyone in the whole school is talking about it? Does that mean all my teachers know? That Tohru knows? It's unthinkable!'

Pushing through the school doors, I ran out into the snow and headed for home.

"YUKI! WAIT!" Kakeru called out from behind me. Ignoring him, I hit the street and continued to run.

'But how? How was it possible for everyone to know?' I wondered to myself as I flew down the road. 'Had someone seen us together, maybe last night at the coffee house, or worse, the park?'

It hit me so hard that I stopped in my tracks. "You idiot!" I cursed myself and laughed at my own stupidity. I was running in the wrong direction. I was running towards Shigure's house while the main house was the other way.

MANABE

'Damn, he's too fast!' I thought to myself as I chased Yuki down the road. 'And where the hell does he think he's going anyway? This is the way towards his old house. The place he lives now is in the opposite direction.'

Suddenly he stopped, and I smiled as I closed the distance between us.

"Yuki, are you all right?" I asked as I came up behind him, and he turned around to face me. He wasn't all right, how could he be? He looked hurt and confused, and he was laughing about something, and that was just plain fucked up.

"Not really." Yuki said, and then he dropped down on his knees in the snow. "How could this have happened?" Yuki asked and ran his hand through his hair unconsciously.

"I'm sorry, Yuki, this is all my fault." I blurted out what I felt was the most important thing, the only thing that really mattered at the moment, and sat down next to him in the snow. Yes, I had fucked up, and because of me Yuki had been yanked ungraciously out of the closet, but I didn't do it to hurt him. It was an accident and I was sorry... so completely sorry, so Yuki just had to forgive me. He cared about me, I was certain he did, so of course he would forgive me... right?

"It isn't your fault." Yuki said and smiled at me halfheartedly. "Someone must have seen us last night, Kakeru, someone must have seen us together in the park. We should have been more careful."

"It wasn't that, Yuki. Nobody saw us last night. It is my fault that everyone knows." I admitted quietly and stared into his eyes remorsefully.

"What are you saying?" Yuki asked in bewilderment while searching my eyes. "You wouldn't! Please Kakeru, tell me you didn't."

"I sort of..." I whispered while fighting the urge to look away from the awful mixture of uncertainty and pain that was growing within his beautiful violet eyes. "I told Kimi, Yuki, about us kissing, and I told her about our date. I told Kimi, and she sort of told everyone else."

In one dark burst Yuki's face transformed, all the pain and confusion vanished instantly to be replaced by rage and frustration.

"YOU TOLD KIMI?" Yuki blared at me while grabbing each of my shoulders in his hands. "WHY WOULD YOU THINK TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?"

"I screwed up." I admitted, and grimaced from the pain that the tight grip of his fingers was causing me. "Can you let go? You're hurting me."

"Oh..." Yuki realized, his face softening for only a moment as he pulled his hands back. "But why, Kakeru? Kimi of all people, you know how she is, what were you thinking?"

"I guess I wasn't." I mumbled and grabbed one of Yuki's hands between my own. "Kimi is my friend, and I thought I could trust her."

"Well, you were wrong." Yuki said quietly and yanked his hand away. "But then so was I, apparently, because I thought you were my friend, that I could trust you."

"Yun Yun," I gasped. "How could you say something like that? You know I'm your friend and you can trust me. Of course you can."

"I just don't understand, Kakeru," Yuki said and pulled himself to his feet. "Why tell Kimi, of all people?"

"I don't know, Yun Yun. I just did, and now I wish that I hadn't." I said, although inside my head a part of me, the part that was annoyed with him for pulling away from me, was whispering that Yuki had brought it all on himself. He was the one, after all, that had kissed me first. He was also the one who had left his phone for Kimi to find.

"But Kimi, Kakeru? You know what a gossip she is. It's like you wanted the whole school to find out," Yuki continued accusingly.

"I didn't do it on purpose, Yuki!" I said indignantly. "Stop acting like I planned all this."

"I didn't say that." Yuki said sullenly while offering his hand to me. "It is just a bit disturbing is all, having the entire school find out about us. I would really rather nobody knew," Yuki continued as I took his hand and pulled myself to my feet.

"What?" I said as the implications of Yuki's words sunk through my frozen skin. On one hand he had taken my hand and this was a sign that I might be forgiven, but on the other he had basically told me he was ashamed that people knew he was seeing me.

"I guess it doesn't really matter," Yuki said and smiled feebly, "just as long as Akito never finds out about us."

"Why?" I asked and looked into his eyes. "Would it really matter what he thinks?"

"Of course," Yuki said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Why?" I asked again. Inside me, I feared I knew the answer... my suspicions about Yuki and his white haired cousin Haru had already been confirmed this morning....

"Because..." Yuki said and pulled his hand away again.

"Because, why?" I persisted.

"I don't want to talk about this, Kakeru." Yuki said angrily. "My family isn't what's important right now. What we need to talk about is us."

"I see." I said, and leaned forward, closer to him so I wouldn't miss his next response. "So is there any hope? For us, I mean?"

I saw it, knew his answer before he parted his lips and spoke the words in a gentle sigh.

"I'm not so sure, Kakeru. I think our being together might be a mistake."

It was over....

"A mistake?" I said as the sting from his words sunk into my brain and my protective instincts took over. "You're right, Yuki. My falling in love with you was surely a mistake, one I'm already starting to regret."

Fighting the desire to take back my hastily spoken words, I turned my back on him.

"Kakeru?" I heard him say softly, but I didn't turn around as I told him cruelly "Go home to your precious cousin Akito! What would the people at school think of 'THAT' relationship? It's disgusting. Well, he can have you. We're over. I never want to see you again!"

As I left Yuki standing alone and, I suspected, in tears, I heard his cel phone ringing. 'Well, at least that didn't break,' I thought to myself while fighting the desire to turn around. I wanted one last look at him, but knew that would only make things more difficult. 'You'll see enough of him in school, and that certainly isn't going to be easy, is it?' I realized and sucked back the pain that was building in my heart.

Since my house was in the same direction that Yuki would be walking, I decided I couldn't go home, so instead I headed for the warmth and safety of the coffee house. It would be better off, after all, that my aunt was the one to see me this way and not my mother. My mother would never understand, she'd just be pissed at me for leaving school without permission. My aunt, on the other hand, was open-minded and worldly. She would understand everything, even the fact that a boy had broken my heart, and perhaps she could even explain how to make this intolerable ache in the center of my soul go away.

KURENO

"How is he?" I asked as Hatori stepped into the hallway outside Akito's room where I was waiting with Shigure.

"Not good, I'm afraid." Hatori informed me. "As a result of Haru's attack, Akito is suffering from selective amnesia. He knows who he is and I have explained to him that he has been in an accident, but as you can imagine he is having a very hard time accepting everything. Shigure, were you able to get in touch with Yuki?"

"Yes, he was already on his way home. He turned down my offer of a ride, but promised he would be here shortly."

"He's still upset over what happened with Tohru, no doubt," Hatori said critically.

"Stupid kid," I uttered, gaining me a smile from Shigure and a curious look from Hatori. I am usually careful of what I say around my cousins, because staying silent is staying safe. What others don't know about you, they cannot use against you. Today, however, I was finding it difficult to keep things in. Akito's reaction, coupled with his accusations that I was a stranger and a pervert, had affected me profoundly. That Akito remembered Yuki, the selfish little rat who has avoided him for years, but did not remember me, the most loyal person in his life, was inexcusable.

"Can I see him?" Shigure asked before I had a chance.

"No," Hatori said. "It would only upset him. I'm sorry Shigure, but Akito doesn't remember you, or Kureno, or most of his cousins. I don't believe it will remain a permanent condition, but at the moment it might be better to re-introduce each of you to Akito gradually."

"He's forgotten me?" Shigure asked in surprise, and I was surprised to find myself feeling sorry for him. Akito loved Shigure, much in the same way that he loved me. In fact, I have always suspected that Akito favored Shigure over me, so I understood completely what Shigure was going through.

"He hasn't forgotten all of us." I said as I heard footsteps hurrying up the halls and knew even before he turned the corner and rushed towards us that Yuki had arrived.

"That is true. He remembers Yuki and wants very much to see him." Hatori confirmed, and then took a few steps up the hall towards Yuki.

"How is Akito?" I heard Yuki ask and watched as Hatori placed an arm around his shoulder and leaned down to speak quietly to him.

"We're obviously not needed here," I said resentfully and then started up the hall to the bedroom that was technically mine, but that I hadn't slept in for years. Once there, I changed into a pair of jeans and a warm sweater, grabbed a jacket, and headed out of the house to my car.

MANABE

"Yuki!" I mumbled and opened my eyes in confusion. As so often happened, I had fallen asleep on my favorite couch in the center of the coffee house and I had dreamed of him... of our first kiss. "Damn it," I said out loud, "it was only a dream."

"Excuse me." A low and somewhat sultry male voice said, and I peered up into the handsome face of Yuki's cousin, the one I had met on my trip to the main house... I think his name was Kureno.

"Yes?" I said drowsily, while sitting up hurriedly and wiping at my eyes.

"I was wondering if this seat was taken," Kureno asked and smiled beautifully.

"No." I said while looking around the coffee house and noticing that it was virtually empty, which meant there were plenty of other places this guy could sit. "It's not taken, please have a seat." Then I smiled. "I'm Kakeru Manabe, and if I'm not mistaken, you're Kureno Sohma, Yuki's cousin."

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End of chapter So ... anyway, let me know what you think. I am really excited about what I have planned for the upcoming chapters. This story really is a blast to write. I love working on it, because I just adore Kakeru, and Yuki, and Kureno... and, and.... Anyway, thanks for reading. I'll try to update soon.

YTR