I am nothing like Yuki. Or at least, that is what he thinks. Myself, I'm not sure.

I am exuberant and loud – and insane, 'Gure-san would say – and he isn't. But I love him. I'm not sure he'd believe me, but I really was frightened. I have always been self-centered, and don't bother to deny it. But I am frightened – petrified, quite stiff – that he will never care about me.

Because if he ever did, long ago, then I only hurt him. And my little brother, painfully introverted, is trying to keep that from happening again.

I don't want to hurt him. Not again. I won't.

Everyone in this confounded family wears armor. 'Tori-san is the most obvious about it, I suppose. He's so quiet, now, and tries not to let anything through. But it's beginning to crack. I've seen him smile. And once or twice, he almost laughed.

And hit me on the head with a book. I'll take that for a good sign.

Kagura's another one, always carefully protected, though I don't think even she realizes it. She refuses to believe that Kyo won't end up loving her – some day. Always another day. And Kyo, in that constant state of irritation, does his best to hide.

And 'Gure – even 'Gure has his shell. Sometimes I'm not even sure how well I know him. And we grew up together. And so I launch into one of my ridiculous acts that so annoy Yuki.

Me, as well. Because I said – I'm terrified – so if I am always dramatic and utterly insane, then nothing can ever hurt me. And that charade is what he hates about me most.

So maybe there's hope.

And so Tohru Honda is the only one without a mask, a shield. And that's why he cares about her.

So I'll do my best to let the façade crack – once in a while. Because maybe then we can understand each other, if just a little more. But I just can't let it crack too often.

Because – I still am frightened.

I do not own anything. All characters are the property of Natsuki Takaya; this story was merely inspired by the events of Volume Eight. But if you review, that review will be MINE and I shall cherish it for eternity. )