by Apple-chan

Disclaimer: Will never be mine.

Summary: Four couples, one perfect night...or is it? A 5-act tale on how four young men and four young women fall in love at the night of their Junior-Senior Prom. YXA, RXP, LXJ, and HXT.

Warnings: None, except that it's AU. Also, PG-13 to be safe...and Hao.^^

Dedicated to Ami-chan, a late reply to an early request (or was it a challenge?).

ACT I: On Your Mark.

SCENE 1: Favors.


The spiky, azure-haired editor-in-chief of The Quill looked upon his friend with unhidden disdain and frustration. "Why NOT?" He brandished his arms forcefully in front of the younger boy, an obvious attempt to distract him from what he was currently doing.

The navy-haired captain of the aikido club remained unfazed and resumed his katas, his face unnerved. "I have never dated a cheerleader in my whole life and I'm not going to start now."

"She's not a cheerleader, she's my sister!" Was the passionate protest.

An absent shrug. "Exactly. All the more reason NOT to date her."

"You have no right to refuse me, Ren!"

"On the contrary. I have every right." Ren replied tonelessly. "Why don't you ask someone else? Why not ask YOH? Or LYSERG?"

"Yoh's already going with someone, and other than that, Pilica says he makes her nervous with that silly smile of his," his friend answered matter-of-factly. "...And Lyserg--he's always too busy to approach. And he's too polite for my sister. She'll eat him alive." He reasoned. "Besides, you're the only one she's ever been comfortable with," he added with a meaningful look.

"Comfortable?" The comment was stated with an ironic laugh. "That's an understatement." With a few quick gestures of his hands and arms, and a final pose, Ren took a bow, and at last, the exercise was finished. "She tramples upon my dignity even WORSE than the way she tramples upon the hearts of her suitors, I'm sure you know."

"Never mind that," his friend replied with a careless wave of a hand. "Just go with her to the prom. Please?"

"Horo-horo, how many times do I have to say it? NO. " Ren sat down in a lotus position and closed his eyes serenely, clearly implying that the subject matter was closed.

But Horo-horo wasn't one to be daunted. He sat down in front of his friend, slapped his cheeks, forcing his eyes open. The latter reluctantly relented, opening his eyes and gazing at the other boy with annoyance.

"Come ON," Horo-horo wheedled. "You'll HAVE to come with her, otherwise, she won't be able to go."

Ren rolled his eyes to the ceiling. "All the better." He wasn't even planning on going, come to think of it. Social functions involving drinks, dancing, and a whole lot of ear-splitting music were a complete waste of his time. He'd much rather stay at home and train. Training was, by far, the most crucial thing in the world, with school and studying coming a close second. Strict and regular training was what had made their school's aikido team the champion in the whole country for the last three years. Training was what he lived for, and it was what he would die for.

And proms? He thought with disgust. Nothing but a mere...crease in his otherwise orderly living. One disordered piece of his life's puzzle--like this poor, hapless creature of a young man--part human, part feline, part hyena, part hare, and part...goodness knows what. Despite that (or perhaps because of all that), this creature known as Horo-horo was his friend, in all his weird glory.

"She's never going to let me hear the end of it!" Said friend added desperately. "Even worse, she'll never let either one of us hear the end of it! And you KNOW how bad she can get..."

"Alright, alright," Ren said with an irritated sigh. Horo-horo's sister, being a cheerleader, had very strong vocal chords, which were more often used, not for cheering, but for scolding her brother...and her brother's friends. Primarily, him. "I'll go with her," he said without enthusiasm. He gave his friend a look. "Happy now?"

"Thank YOU," Horo-horo exclaimed, outstretching his arms in an attempt to enfold his friend in a hug. The latter evaded said arms with a shudder.

"Try that with me again and I'll KILL you, so help me God." Murder was evident in the tone of Ren's voice. "Is that clear?"

"Very," Horo said quickly, flinching away from the Chinese junior, who tended to get violent when he didn't like something. Cautiously, he stood up. "Thanks again. I mean it." He gave his friend a grateful look.

"Whatever." Ren frowned as his friend and sempai exited the dojo. "Where are you off to now?"

"Back to the printing office. Your picture's on the front page of The Quill," Horo-horo added.

"Really?" Ren said with interest.

"Yeah. Hey, can you do me one more favor? You're done with training, right?"

Ren sighed. "What?" He asked, knowing what was coming.

"Pick my sister up after cheerleading practice and take her home for me." A frown. "I don't want her talking with her suitors again. Make sure they keep their hands off of her--ANY part of her," he added firmly. "Threaten them with death by means of castration if you have to." He gave his friend a pleading look. "Onegai?"

Ren rolled his eyes. "Is that one of the other reasons why you're asking ME to take her to the prom?"

Horo-horo shrugged sheepishly. "You got me."

"Could you tell me again why I'm agreeing to this?"

"Uh...because we're friends?"

Ren raised an eyebrow. "You'll have to do better than that."

"Um..." Horo-horo scratched his head, racking his brain for a plausible reason, "...because I keep a portfolio of embarrassing pictures of you and if you don't do this, I'll have them published on the paper?"

"That's blackmail." Ren glared at him.

"Yeah, I know." A sigh. "So just do this for me. As my friend. That sounds more ethical to me."

"Like you've ever had any ethics." Ren sighed deeply as he stood up. "Anyway, I'll do everything you ask...but you owe me. Big time."