I live!

Sorry guys...it's been a while! I'm really trying to finish these things....I just don't have much time anymore. GAH!

I finally decided to push for this next chapter. I'll be honest....it's full of fluff and crap and stuff that seems to be random. But I promise it all has a point and purpose as the story progresses.

I'm really rusty...so I feel like this chapter could have been better. But oh well.

It'll get better, I promise!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Chapter 4 : Duties or Date?

It had been several months since Hilary moved into the illustrious mansion. Life wasn't so hard now…she actually enjoyed doing the various duties she had been assigned to. Making beds, cleaning an already impossibly clean house, and cooking dinner wasn't too difficult, especially since she had a great friend helping her!

Though there were times when things got stressful in that place…reminding her of a slightly mild version of where she had came from. The mysteries in the house, especially those surrounding the main owners, pulled at her mind. She wanted to know so much about the young man who had risked so much to whisk her away from the darkness of her previous life, how he looked so uncaring and heartless, yet melted at the simpleness of a stray kitten...

It was hard to admit, but Kai was growing on her.

But the last two weeks had been especially hard for her. Sakuya had been sent to Russia for something she knew nothing about, leaving her to tackle the house and everyone inside it alone.

And of course…today was one of those "special days" when everything had to sparkle, and everyone had to be up early. It would happen that the person to less likely sleep in would be the only one so hard to get out of bed...Kai…

Yes, her savior, Prince Charming…or so it seemed…would every once in a while not wake up. The first time she had encountered this was with Sakuya. Hilary thought he had died, but the raven haired maid seemed to know better. The younger girl had spotted a pattern to this, but wasn't sure if it was only her. Something was wrong with Kai…some days would be worse for him than others, and on those days, he would be almost impossible.

Hilary let out a lengthy sigh as she placed a large vase of flowers in the center of the grand dining table in its respective room. She had just finished polishing the darn thing, which had taken a good hour of her time, never mind the several breaks she had to take to attend to Voltaire's complaints about Kai's sleeping in. She had to run upstairs, force the large wooden door open, and physically wake the older teen, go back to polishing the table, only to find out that Kai had gone back to bed by the time she had gotten downstairs.

Brushing her hands against her hips and admiring her handiwork, she turned for the maids' quarters. "Sak…!" She hollered, but stopped herself suddenly; remembering Sakuya was currently away from the mansion. With a frustrated sigh, the brunette stormed through the kitchen and into the laundry area.

"Silence! Foolish girl, it's too early for all this racket! Don't you remember that Lord Voltaire likes his mornings peaceful?!"

Boris…

Hilary felt vile rush up her throat as she watched him remove a load of laundry from the washer and throw it into the dryer.

"What are you doing?!" Boris touched the laundry…her laundry. She would have to wash it again now…

"There is a big meeting to prepare for tonight…hurry upstairs and make sure Master Kai is awake this time!"

Hilary sighed as she shuffled back the way she came, mumbling curses to herself. It was as if all her energy had left her the second her foot touched the first step of the staircase to the upper level as she began her trek upward for the…God knew how many times this one made it.

She let out a dreadful moan as she made her way over to Kai's room again. "You better be awake…" Opening the door, she headed straight for the small lump on the bed. Without any warning, she landed a heavy punch straight in the middle of it, sending the sheets up at both ends and displacing the pillows. She would usually be shy doing this sort of thing…but after the umpteenth time, it had pissed her off.

The brunette stepped back to look at the crumpled bedding. "Hmm…he's not here…" She shrugged and began to turn to leave, but something caught her eye.

A small, leather-bound book lay helplessly on the in table next to Kai's plush leather chair facing the window. Kai was always one to keep things in their places, so seeing something as simple as a book out on a table was unusual.

Hilary picked it up and flipped through the aged pages, amazed by the black text. It had been years since she had seen the inside of a book. Her ruby eyes fell in a saddened gaze as she realized something that she had been worried about. She couldn't read most of the words.

Well, it was only to be expected. The last time she read something was when she was six, and she had only had limited contact with printed words up until now. She let out a sigh.

"Did you need something?"

Hilary dropped the book as she glanced in the direction of the voice. It was Kai alright…a shirtless one in fact! Her shyness returned in a flash, as she felt her cheeks heat up with embarrassment.

He was leaning against the doorframe to his bathroom, a white towel over his right shoulder. His slate hair was still damp with water, clinging to his face.

The brunette noticed his cheeks were unusually paler today but something she hadn't seen before now caught her attention.

A real tattoo had been etched over the left side of his chest. It appeared to have been there for some time, its details and colors had been stretched and faded from age. Hilary couldn't quite make out what it was exactly, but it seemed to be some sort of crest, like a family symbol.

Her temperature skyrocketed instantly as she couldn't tear her eyes away from the figure in front of her. His fiery eyes were trained on her in an unreadable stare.

Taking a step backward, Hilary tried to exit the situation without a word, but her plan was failing miserably. She couldn't stop stuttering what was supposed to be an apology for the intrusion, and for meddling into his belongings. In an attempt to place the book back where she found it, she missed the table completely and the defenseless volume dropped to the floor.

"S..sorry…" she bent down to retrieve the book, only to crash into Kai as he got to it first. The contact sent a shock through her body, his skin brushing again her causing her temperature to rise impossibly higher.

"What the heck is wrong with you!? It's not like you haven't seen a guy topless before! ….thank God he has pants on though…" Hilary was making a fool out of herself in front of him. She needed to leave…and quick.

Ruby eyes closed, she jumped to her feet and bowed her head slightly. "B…Boris wanted me to ma…make sure you were up…" With that, she pivoted on her heels and left the room.

Kai stared uninterested at the door, a look of slight confusion crossing his façade. He glanced down at the book in his hands, letting his fingers flip through the pages quickly before setting it back on the table.

"Whatever…" He turned and walked back into the bathroom to change.

: : : : : : :

"Pleased to see you decided to join us today…Kai." Boris sneered at the teen as he walked into the dining room rubbing his eyes.

"Stop that." The butler slapped one of his gloves across Kai's hand. The teen growled, flashing a famous death glare at the old man.

Boris began a lecture about being punctual and professional, sometime in the middle of it Kai started rubbing his eyes again, adding a couple loud yawns in the process.

"I know all this already." He pivoted around and headed for the door.

"And where do you think you're going?"

"Definitely outside."

"Hilary will be running the errands today. You will be required to stay inside and get ready for our guests this evening."

"You expect Hilary to be able to find all the crap you require?"

Boris raised his arm to attack but was halted as the young brunette appeared in the room.

"I just love your confidence in me Kai." She placed another vase of flowers on the buffet at the far side of the room.

The butler suddenly smirked. "Perhaps you are correct Master Kai. You should accompany her…make sure she doesn't get lost."

Both teens exchanged looks before staring at the purple-haired villain. Something was up.

"You're serious?!" Hilary was the first to say something.

"Quite."

"Hn." Kai closed his eyes and headed back over toward the door.

Boris looked back at Hilary. She hadn't moved an inch.

"Well?" His arm snapped to the door after Kai. "Get!"

She didn't need to be told twice. She was hot on Kai's heels in two seconds flat.

He tossed a coat at her head. "Let's get out of here."

Hilary only nodded in agreement.

: : : : : : : : : : :

The sun was shining brightly overhead but a cold wind blew through the streets. Summer had come and passed in the blink of an eye and fall was right around the corner. In a few months Hilary would have been with Sakuya and Kai for a whole year. It was hard to believe…

"So…."

Kai arched an eyebrow in her direction.

"Where are we going first?" She was about to take out her list but Kai grabbed it from her fingers. "Hey!"

He glanced over the print with feigned interest before crumpling it up and throwing it over his shoulder. "This thing is stupid anyway. Lets just wing it." A rare smirk crept up on his face.

"But what about…."

He huffed. "We'll just have to let that fall on Boris's shoulders. After all…this was his idea."

Hilary had to giggle. They were always plotting ways to get Boris in trouble or cause him a little bit of it. Even though they usually received a heavy punishment from him….it was all worth it in the end.

But for some reason today, Kai was slightly more quiet than usual. She secretly wondered if it had anything to do with the argument before they left or what happened earlier in the morning.

"You okay?"

"Why?"

"Something's bothering you."

"Nothing's bothering me."

"Liar."

"Shut it."

A long silence followed. Kai rubbed the inside of his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. As if sensing brown eyes on him, he turned back to his companion. "What?"

Hilary only arched a brow at his glare.

"It's nothing. Just a little stressed…" He growled in annoyance. He resumed rubbing at them again, determined to get whatever was in them out.

"Stop picking at them!"

"I can't!"

Hilary sighed and gave up. "You're just going to make it worse…"

"Yes, mother."

"So since you're so stressed…why don't you just leave? Move out or take a vacation or something?"

"Can't…"

"Oooh?" She earned a death glare.

He held his glare a little longer before sighing in defeat. "Voltaire's lies have gotten around. Though I'm 18, the government thinks I'm 16. Because of that, I won't be able to find a place to stay and I won't be able to access my money."

"Sixteen?!" Hilary made a face at that. No one in their right mind would think this young man was as old as her.

"Heh...I know." Kai smirked at her expression. "So I'm stuck in this hellhole until I'm at least 20..." He sighed. "Then again…it probably won't matter by then."

The brunette left it at that. She wasn't going to push it and risk not hearing more stories later on.

They came up to a pet store and proceeded inside. They had set up a system with the owner where they could get stuff for Neko and have it sent to the mansion undetected…no questions asked.

Every time they ventured outside, this was one of the places they would go. Both teens enjoyed being able to play with the baby animals they had for sale. Kai especially.

Upon walking inside, they went straight for the kitten cages. Hilary would always laugh as Kai was the first there to stick his arms down into the cage and pick up a couple of kittens.

"What is it about cats?" The question had been nagging Hilary for weeks. She just had to ask it.

"Hn?"

"Why do you like cats so much?"

"I don't really know…dogs can be trained to hate certain people…but I have yet to see a cat be trained in that way. They will either like you or hate you on their own will. Animals in general don't care who you are, or where you come from…" the kitten curled into the base of Kai's neck as he spoke, purring loudly as the teen rubbed behind his ear, "all they care about is if you love them in return..."

Hilary grabbed the black one that had found its way on Kai's shoulder and cradled it in her arms. "That's what I like about them too." She flashed a quick smile toward the older teen. "What better way for someone who's never been love to experience it?"

After a few more moments with the kittens, the brunette put the ones she was holding back into the pen and went to look for the items on the list. She quickly found the supplies Neko would need to survive back at the mansion and brought them up to the register.

The lady behind the counter smiled at her, noticing she was with the young man playing with all the cats. "No kittens today?"

"No." The brunette replied with a sheepish smile. Piling the items on the counter, the shopkeeper began totaling them up and placing them in a box to be delievered.

The bell above the door rang suddenly. Hilary turned to look as Kai began walking down the street. The classic sign of when it's time to go.

She thanked the lady and ran after him.

"I hate it when you do that, you know?" She sighed as she caught up with him.

"I'm crushed." His voice oozed sarcasm.

With a frustrated sigh Hilary darted into another shop. Boris had requested fresh baked goods along with a cake for whatever they were hosting tonight. She had to make sure it was ready.

Kai turned around as the door closed and decided to wait.

After a few minutes, Hilary reappeared. "How nice of you to wait this time!"

"Hey…why don't you go find some clothes…" He nodded toward a store across the street.

Hilary paused for a moment. "Huh?"

"Clothes…go find some clothes for yourself…you know…at a store…" Kai raised an eyebrow in her direction. "Find something that suits you better…I'm not good with that sort of thing…"

"But the uniform…"

"You can't wear that thing all the time…" Kai's eyes traveled down her figure, which was covered up with one of his coats. She had been careful to keep it closed the whole time during their outing. "I may not see as well as I used to…but even that is obvious…"

"Hmph!" Hilary puffed hot air out of her cheeks and turned her nose up at the older teen. "Fine then!" She stormed off in the direction of a random store across from the street.

---

Kai followed Hilary into the store and almost instantly regretted it. He shuffled through the jungle of racks filled with clothes, arms up in case something would bite or snare him. He overheard other girls giggling and "aww"ing at him…whispering how sweet it was of him to go shopping with his girlfriend. Those comments were instantly silenced with a simple glare in their general direction.

He found a vacant chair and sat down. The teen wasn't even sure that it was a good idea. He had lost sight of Hilary and now he couldn't even see over the clothing racks. If she had left he would have no way of knowing…

But he was comforted once he heard Hilary's voice. She was over with a salesperson explaining how she didn't know anything about clothes…yadda yadda….as long as she was in the building he was satisfied and went about trying to catch up on his sleep.

Hilary followed her new design consultant around the racks of clothes, making weird faces at most of the clothes she was presented with. "Do you have anything less…." She didn't want to say the word "whore" but that's what most of this stuff looked like. "Well um…maybe more...covering?"

"But your boyfriend would just love this on you!" The guy was obviously gay, flipping his hand out at her and holding the shirt up to her.

Hilary blushed instantly and pushed the shirt back into the rack. "He isn't my boyfriend!" The salesman jutted his hip out and crossed his arms…giving her that whatever-I-know-better look. She blushed even more, thanking God Kai was asleep…hopefully not hearing this conversation. "Seriously! It's nothing like that!"

"Well then…" The guy got close to her ear. "Let's knock him off his feet!" he giggled, covering his mouth with a girly fist.

---

"Hey Kai."

Hilary's voice pulled him out of the semi-conscious state he was in. He yawned slightly and stared at her with sleepy, unfocused eyes.

"Come on…we haven't been here that long!"

As his crimson eyes focused, he noticed she was wearing a denim skirt with a simple pink tank top and a matching jacket. He sat up, eyes widening a bit.

Hilary giggled and spun around. "What do you think? Is whatever it is obvious now?" She now knew why girls seemed to love shopping…it was fun! She felt like a kid again! And seeing the look on Kai's face made her want to do it all the time.

"…wow…"

Kai wasn't sure what else to say. She had been transformed with just a simple wardrobe change. It was like without the maids' dress and a baggy jacket hiding it, she was a different person!

"See? What did I tell ya?!" The salesman patted her on the shoulder, winking at Kai.

He earned the most potent death glare Kai could muster.

"Eww…" He reclaimed his hands and made a sour face at the teen. "Well...if you need anything else, let me know!" he flashed a smile at Hilary before fleeing the premises.

"That suits you much better." Kai got up from his seat. "Anything else you want to get?"

"This is fine." She smiled brightly and gave Kai a quick hug. "Thank you."

"Looks like we missed lunch, want to grab something to eat before we head back?"

"Sure!" Hilary smiled up at him. "But…won't we be in trouble? I'll probably need to help with dinner…"

"Boris told you to follow me around, so he'll be in trouble…not you." Kai smirked slightly at the thought.

After paying for the clothes, they went down the street to the nearest restaurant. Hilary had never eaten outside of the mansion before so she decided to wait until Kai ordered to see how it was done.

"I'll take the number 8, large, no tomato."

That seemed easy…but she had no idea what exactly the food was. It looked edible enough…

"Let's see…uh…" Hilary felt her face heat up, realizing she wasn't sure how to order from the menu. "What's the number five?"

"The quarter-pounder?"

"Sure?" The brunette had no clue what a quarter-pounder was, but the picture looked decent.

The cashier proceeded to name off a list of things that came with it, along with the toppings. Hilary grimaced at a few of them, thinking there was no way one could eat them with beef and get away with it with their stomach in tact.

"What about the one two over from it?" She inquired, "No, to the left."

Kai finally sighed. "She'll just take the same as me."

After a few minutes their food was given to them in a bag wrapped up in paper. Hilary stared curiously at it, eyes large with wonder.

"Lets sit on the pier." Kai nodded over to a bench overlooking the ocean.

As they sat down, Hilary took her food and turned it over in her hands, trying to figure out an easy way to unwrap it.

"Seriously….you need to get out more." Kai took her burger from her and unwrapped it.

She managed to figure out how to eat and drink her food from watching Kai first. The brunette was delighted…this was so much better than that stuff she fixed! She wondered if she could figure out how to make this stuff too…but figured Voltaire would frown upon this glorious meal.

Speaking of Voltaire...

"Hey Kai? Shouldn't we start heading back? That party is probably already starting."

Kai made a disapproving noise. "I could care less about that. I can only stand around and look alive for so long in a situation like that."

"But...your grandfather..." Sure he was an ass of an old man...but this seemed important.

"He may have adopted me, but we aren't family…" his lips curled in a snarl at the thought. Grandfather...how he hated refering to him as that. "You've seen the crest, haven't you?" His hand brushed under his left collarbone where the tattoo had been carved into his skin. "That's the only thing that keeps my name separated from his…for now."

"I see…" Hilary looked down at the pavement as she walked beside him. "What's with that anyway?

Kai seemed a little shocked that she asked, but quickly rearranged his face to cover the small expression. "It's…a long story. You're full of questions today…."

"Oh, come on! You can tell me!"

"Why do you even care? …Seriously?"

She paused for a minute and looked over at the soft waves in the distance. "We're friends, aren't we?"

Kai's eyes narrowed slightly at her words.

"Sakuya told me that friends are supposed to tell each other their problems, and together they can work them out…" Hilary gave the older teen a faint smile. "Sakuya's really the first friend I've ever had, so I don't know much about it…but I think that it would be beneficial to the both of us if we were friends as well…"

She could feel her cheeks heat up as she spoke, completely embarrassed. Had she really just said something that stupid?! "Remind me to hit myself in the head later."

There was a long pause between the two. Hilary couldn't find the courage to look over and see what he was thinking. "You're really stupid, ya know Hilary?" She tried to mimic what she thought Kai was thinking in her head. "Yeah, I know Kai...sorry. At least I can think of a better name for a cat that Neko."

Kai's voice broke her mental conversation with herself. "My father had our family crest tattooed on me when I was very young. I can't remember why exactly…something about proving who I really was if things ever got bad."

"Yay!" He was going to tell her! "So it's like a proof of insurance?"

"Something like that." He glanced off into the distance, listening to the crash of the waves. "What about you? How did you end up here?"

"You bought me for a ridiculous amount of money."

"You know what I mean."

"…my father sold me to the Underground when I was young. I don't remember much about it, but I just remember they thought I'd have 'potential', so I was saved until I was older."

"You were lucky."

"I guess." Hilary looked at her lap. "A lot of the people I got close to were sold as sex slaves, or just disappeared. I watched as others got sick and died…you wouldn't believe how many times I wanted to die too…" She sniffed softly, not allowing tears to build up. "I was pretty much worthless. A little boy was sold for…I think seven million, which caused an uproar, and everyone that wasn't expected to make a million was….." She couldn't finish, she didn't want to break down.

Kai paled at her statement. It was making his stomach flip and his veins run cold.

"By the time I was old enough, they didn't think they were going to get much, and I was just a waste of time. The status quo was set too high." She turned to Kai with a fake smile. "Heh…I suppose you wasted a lot of your money, didn't you?" The girl wasn't even sure why she was talking about her life and feelings like this…but they had been backing up for so long, she felt like she needed to get them out, and they just decided to come with Kai here.

"I'll tell you something Saku once told me…" The older teen's crimson eyes turned toward the ocean again. "A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls, but once there is something to stop that conviction, those walls will start to crumble, and you will see just how worthy you really are." He turned to face her again, a discrete smile graced his lips. "You will never be worthless."

She returned his smile. "Thanks, Kai."

------

The two teens came to the front doorway of the mansion. They both were hesitant to open it. The house was silent, the driveway clear. There should have been dozens of excessively overpriced cars, their owners inside having a great time. Kai and Hilary looked at each other.

They were extremely late.

Kai let out a sigh. Oh well. He knew what was going to happen. He could only hope that Hilary wouldn't be dragged into it.

He grabbed the handle of the door and pushed.

"Kai!" Voltaire's voice echoed as the two teens proceeded through the hallway. Freezing in their tracks, they looked over their shoulder to see the elder coming out of the library at the base of the staircase.

Hilary heard Kai mutter a curse under his breath as he turned to face her slightly, not wanting to take his attention away from the raging man in front of them.

"You should probably run…"

Without more than a nod, the girl turned on her heels and fled into the kitchen they had just passed. She threw her shopping bags in a half-emptied cabinet, tossed her maid's dress over her head and headed for the maids' quarters, but decided to stay where she was. Seeing that there were a few pots soaking in the sink, she decided to wash them out and set them to dry. Secretly, she just wanted to be in earshot of the confrontation between Kai and Voltaire. She would be somewhat responsible for whatever would happen.

"Do you know what time it is?! Do you have any idea of what you have cost me today?!!"

Voltaire was furious; his rage was creating a resonating tone that Hilary could feel through the metal of the pot she was holding. This wasn't going to end pretty. A simple sentence like that could set Kai off as well…

"What could you have possibly lost?!" Kai spat, his red eyes glaring with a burning anger already. "You don't know the meaning of the word."

A loud smack caused Hilary to jump. Dropping the pot in the sink, she flung herself around just in time to see Kai skid across the floor in front of the kitchen. She gasped, immediately rushing to his side but froze when he held up his hand slightly…just a few inches off the ground…telling her to stay back and out of sight.

The blue haired teen touched his jaw line tenderly, making sure there was no blood. His face paint had been smeared, to his annoyance, but this had happened many times before.

Hilary watched as the elder stomped over to his grandson, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and shoved him against the wall.

Lacking the strength to lift Kai up any higher, Voltaire had to lift his head slightly to glare directly in his eyes. The teen could only chuckle at this, earning another punch to the face.

"It looks like someone has got his spirit back…"

"Guess another plan bites the dust, huh?"

Voltaire released his grip, allowing the teen to fall to the floor with a dull 'thud'.

The old man straightened up, fixed his collar and brushed out the imaginary wrinkles on his suit.

"I will have a talk to Boris about letting you leave the premises." He glared down at the teen before returning to his library.

Kai sighed as he picked himself off the floor. He knew exactly what that talk with Boris would entail. He would be taking a trip to BioVolt soon.

Hilary tiptoed out from behind the kitchen island. "Are you alright?" Her fingers brushed lightly against the growing bruise on his cheek.

"Yeah. It's nothing." He nodded towards the stairs before walking over and heading up to his room. Hilary followed.

She closed the doors behind him and let out a sigh.

"I'm glad he didn't involve you. It's good to stay hidden when he's like that." Kai took off his coat and scarf, tossing them on his bed. He unbuttoned his shirt as he looked in the small mirror above his dresser.

Hilary heard him grunt with disapproval.

"What was that all about?" She sat down on the plush chair next to the window as he walked into the bathroom to remove his face paint. That book she had dropped earlier was still on the table. She picked it up and thumbed through the pages again.

"Voltaire was hosting a party full of rich snobs. I was supposed to be there...show the world how much better I look now that he's been taking care of me...yadda yadda." Kai let out a disgusted sigh.

"I'm sorry...it's my fault. I should have..."

"No. It's not your fault. I enjoy pushing him like that too much." Kai smirked at her as he came out of the bathroom. "You like books, don't you?"

"Oh! Sorry!" She placed the book back on the table. "It just seems interesting!"

"You can have it if you want."

"Oh no...I can't read very well anyway." She smiled sadly.

"Well I'll teach you then."

"You will?!" Hilary nearly jumped out of the chair. "I mean...no...you've done enough for me already."

"Heh." He rubbed her head playfully. "It's a good book. You wouldn't want to miss out." He picked it up and handed it to her. "I'm going to be at BioVolt for the next few days. Might as well read as much as you can."

BioVolt...Kai was always different when he came back from that place. It took him days to get back to his normal self. It seemed like every time Boris or Voltaire caught a sign Kai was turning into his rebellious self...he was sent back.

Hilary frowned.

"Yeah...alright then."

-----------------------------------------------

Review pwease?

oh! And a big thanks to Kimkizna once again. I'd seriously be lost without her!