Requested by, and also dedicated to, Kaeru Soyokaze, for her patience when it came to writing this story. I apologize if it's too short.

Normal disclaimer applies.

- -

For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.

-William Shakespeare

(A Midsummer Night's Dream: Act 1, Scene 1)

- -

There's a small, tinny voice hissing into her ear that he'll hate her. Her fingers hover over his pillow. She doesn't dare to touch the white cotton case, not even breathe in the scent of his shampoo and sweat, that musky boy smell that's like nothing else in the world. He wouldn't be very happy with her if he knew what she was doing- just sitting on his bed, her knees folded under her, staring at the bumps on the ceiling. He's the type of person to be very possessive about his personal space.

She bets he'd yell at her for the ceiling if he had the chance.

It's almost unhealthy, how sparse Kyo's room is. The paint is the same shade of white as a million other walls in a million other bedrooms. There's a shelf on one end with books from school, but a few about martial arts are stuck inbetween. His carpet and sheets are ashy blue, and there's a fern that needs watering on the window sill. But that's it.

That's all there is.

Downstairs a door slams, and Kagura slides off of his mattress to watch from the windowsill. Yuki is fast but graceful as he leaps across the yard and into the thicket of trees. She's proud of him, and confident that he will help to set things right. He and Tohru will do their best to help Kyo, and hopefully he'll stop being such a stubborn son of a bitch and listen for once.

Kagura manages to give Yuki's back a tired smile. She flattens her hand against the window pane- the glass is cold- but pulls it back to crumple and fold into a wave.

"Bye."

The rain is sloshing the mud around, erasing their footprints.

Her eyelids feel heavy. She wishes she'd been able to sleep last night, but worry does that to a person. Makes their minds move so quickly they stumble to keep up. Creates scenarios to chew on as they sit, awake in the ugly hours of the morning, staring through a wall and into grisley possibilities.

She turns around and sighs, folding her arms over her chest, leaning on the window sill. There's a lot to be done in this house. Tohru certainly has her work cut out for her, living with three guys. Three slovenly, inconsiderate guys.

That blasted voice is getting louder, more urgent. She slaps her ear to shake it off, but tendrils of doubt linger on her fingertips. She drops her hand and stares at it.

It won't be too long now. Soon, very soon, they'll find him. They'll change him. Tohru will convince him to come home, a home where Kagura was never anything but a guest. He won't know that she was there; he won't know that today she did something irreversible, something she'll never regret for the rest of her life. She prefers it that way. Yuki knows, but he wouldn't rat her out.

Oh dear. Bad pun.

Kagura eyes the laundry that she'd been carrying, before Yuki had come bursting in that is. A few white shirts and a pair of pants, all folded, nicely stacked and smelling fresh. She remembers the last time she touched his laundry, smiles, and picks the pile off the floor to put it away. Again, she is struck by the plainness that surrounds her.

"For such a fiery person, Kyo-kun has awfully dull taste in design."

Kagura knows that it is time to leave; to step away from the stage so that the show may draw to a close. With great reluctance, she brushes dust from her clothes that isn't really there and places one hand on the doorknob. She didn't bring her cat bag this time; she didn't think it was appropriate.

On her way out, she passes by Shigure's study. The door is closed, most likely locked, but there's no light coming from underneath it. She yawns. The bags under her eyes are beginning to burrow into her brain.

She remembers meeting the dog on her way inside. His eyes had been wide and hostile. His whole body had shaken as he'd stumbled towards her, begging her to go inside and stay there while he "took care of something". She'd seen the tears building up before his eyes had even begun to mist. Kagura had understood, perhaps all too well, so she'd whispered a soft 'good luck' as he'd bolted into the trees.

Now he sits, body rigid, smoking a cigarette with his back to her in the living room. His yukata is soaked though and coated in mud, grass and dead leaves. She crunches her nose at the smell of smoke and the forest floor, then turns around towards the linen closet.

"She ran away."

Her hands freeze, fingers poised over a towel. Neither one speaks and the room is still. Then--

"I thought it would be different. She... but she... she ran."

Kagura doesn't say anything. She can't see very well because the lights aren't on and the clouds outside aren't letting in much sun. Gathering a few towels, she hugs them to her chest, pivots and walks towards where he's sitting.

Offhandedly, she notices that his cigarette is burning dangerously close to his skin, and although she doesn't mean to- feels it's not her place to butt into their business- she can feel the words tangling up in her breath. They gush out, soaking the air between them.

"I'm sorry."

Shigure's shoulders relax a little. She slides down behind him. Delicately unfolding a towel, she rubs it over his hair. "Here," she hands him another, "dry yourself off as best you can." Confident that he can take care of himself, she stands to leave, aware that she's overstayed her welcome.

He grabs a fistful of her skirt. She leans forward; he gives her grey eyes such a meaningful look that her tired smile floats away, just for a moment. She reaches out and covers his hand with her own, picking apart his fingers from the fabric.

"Trust in Tohru, Shigure. She'll make it through, I just know it."

"Why?"

He's glaring. She fidgets, anxious to leave. If Kyo sees her here, if they're early, then he'll run. Kyo will run, she just knows it. If he's ever going to change for the better, that can't happen.

"Because she must."

With an apologetic look, she turns around and walks out the door. It's too late, though. They've returned from their frightful escapades; the sky has begun to clear and sunbeams illuminate them, a purring cat cradled in Tohru's arms. Kagura wishes she hadn't delayed, but this is not the time to grieve her bad judgment, so she scurries off to the side of the house. Had she made an attempt for her car, she would've been spotted.

They're talking to Shigure, who's met them at the door. She's so happy that everything has worked out, that everything is going to be fine. A tear rolls down her cheek, and then another, and another down the other. Much as she'd like to stay there, however, she can feel the muscles in her legs slacken. If she doesn't find a place to rest soon, she's afraid she'll pass out.

Well, it's obvious by now that they'll be staying inside, talking at length for what promises to be quite some time. She can't very well stand and leave; he'll find out she was there if she tries. So with very few options, and the notion of hiding for many hours in the bushes (unconscious) quite unappealing, Kagura climbs warily to the roof of the house. She hopes with all her heart that Kyo won't come up, even though it's very likely that he will.

"God, I'm so tired."

It would seem that last night's lack of sleep has caught up to her. Physically drained, Kagura stretches herself out on the roof shingles, the warm sunlight blanketing her skin and coating her mind in fuzz. Lazily she drapes an arm over her eyes, feeling the tattered edges of sleep draping themselves over her mind.

For a moment, everything is golden.

- -

At first, she's unaware of what's going on. Her dream- a soft, sweet, amber haze- still occupies her thoughts as someone gently shakes her shoulder.

"Come on Kagura. Wake up."

"No... let me... lemme sleep." She turns on her stomach to ignore the figure further, but it's in vain.

"Goddamn it, get up so you can go home!"

Hearing that voice, familiar and sharp in annoyance, her eyes flash open. Overhead she can see the sky is dark between the clouds and plagued with stars. The brisk air helps to wake her up as she groans, pushing herself into a sitting position with an arm. He's giving her a strange look, so she runs her hands through her hair in an attempt to appear better kept.

"Why are you up here?"

Kagura purses her lips. She can't tell him the truth, now can she? He'll yell at her for interfering, for thinking of what's good for him, for just being herself.

"That damn- I mean- Yuki told me that about... about you, you know."

Suddenly, her heart is beating faster. She's having difficulty breathing. Kyo bends his head to one side, as if ashamed. Of her, maybe?

'Oh no, he's angry. I just know it.'

"I'm sorry Kyo."

Now she's crying again, but her relief is all gone. In its stead is a ravenous grief that, despite all her efforts to let him go, he still hates her- maybe even more than before.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean-- I didn't want-- I'M SORRY! I'M SO SORRY KYO!"

"Damn it, stop crying! What did I do? Damn it, STOP CRYING KAGURA!"

Well, there it is. He's yelled at her, albeit not for the same reasons she'd predicted. She's so shocked, in fact, that she immediately does just that. Stops crying. He's muttering something now. His tone is clipped and urgent and she can't see his eyes; they're hidden under his orange bangs.

"Why do women always have to cry? Jeez, makes things worse."

He notices she's listening, looks up at her and blushes, then turns away.

"What I meant was-- goddamn it, I suck at this-- I was trying to say..."

And when he looks directly at her, her heart skips a beat or two. His whole face is the same shade of red as his eyes. His fearful, uncertain eyes.

"Thank you, Kagura."

With that, he hugs her.

And everything turns from golden to red. A lovely shade of red.

"Thank you."