Pocky's Crackity Rants: Yeah, I'm sorry I didn't update in December like I was suppose to, but I was kind of having a writer's block and I needed some more time to straighten my musings out. I don't know if I did in the last chapter, but I apologize to all my readers for making you wait so long for an update. I really have no excuse.

You know what I did do though? Several things actually. First, I passed the two chapter mark which is a record for me. I use to have a Witch Hunter Robin fic (a very crappy one, mind you, corny song lyrics and all) but I deleted it because I was just so damn bored with it.

Second, I timed it so that chapter three would be posted on my birthday! –throws confetti- Twisted little Pocky-Pocky-chan has now officially been on this twisted little earth for 14 twisted years! I should've posted something on my second anniversary on which was on December 17th, of course I didn't realize I'd missed my anniversary until three days later –sweatdrop-

Lastly, this day not only marks my birth (and my cousin's, but that's beside the point), it marks the birth of a new fanfiction by this little psychopath! Go check it out (after you read this chapter, of course.) It's called Cold Silver. It's an AU, and very obviously, an eventual Yukiru. Of course, everything is eventual for me. I think it's pretty spiffy if I do say so myself, but nothing I say really matters that much –shrug- Well, review and make me feel good about myself, 'kay? 'Cause if I don't feel good about myself, I write crappy stuff and no body wants that, right?

Oh, and by the way, the last couple of chapters will be proofread and corrected because I've gotten a few reviews saying that there were a lot of typos. I'll try and get that fixed up as soon as possible! –salute-

Okay, the crack is wearing off now. On to the Wow, I've been recognized! Yes, that was me who asked Winter's Light if she was going to complete it. She's a very good writer, ne? Well, anyway, I'm glad you think that the characters were IC (or at least the conscious ones -.-;) So far it hasn't been to difficult keeping them in character but I never really know what will happen, especially when you consider the characters that will be brought in by at least chapter four. I'm getting stressed out just thinking about it… TT3TT Yeah…I have way too much fun with Kyoko. Kyo and Yuki were a little difficult to do although I really can't remember why… I'm not too fond of any mother's from Fruits Basket (save for Kyoko.) Thank you for yet another kind review and I hope you enjoy!

KenzPotter: Yay, a new reader! New readers make Pocky-Pocky-chan very happy –nods head- I'm glad you enjoyed it so much and I'll do my best to please you Ruby: -falls on face- I will figure out a way to get you off of me, if it's the last thing I do!

jHeyTTernallie: Another new reader! Yay :D I hope you enjoy this chapter!

HelloKat: Once again, thank you for such long reviews HelloKat! I've been so neglectful… -sniff- Starting up really is a pain in the ass…This chapter was a bitch to start. After the first line break, things usually get easier though. Tohru was so much fun to write! Writing her part out definitely gave me something to do while at the airport from Chicago to Boston at 4:00 AM…

Yeah, I'm still debating it, but later on, Yuki's mom might get a mouthful of fist. I'm not quite sure yet though (; I was kind of iffy about the moon boy thing, so I'm glad you think it came out alright. That was probably the hardest part to write… Kyo's entry was quite spontaneous; I was still debating how to introduce him into the story when that little scene popped up. Inspiration doesn't often come to me, so I just tossed that in –sweatdrop- Boy I need to learn to plan out the whole story before spontaneously coming up with the stuff and running into dead ends… ;-; and thank you for the song! It really is heartfelt and I think I might include it in future chapters. Most songs I know would be better suited if they were older…

Thank you dearly for your words of kindness and support, as I really need them when I face writer's blocks (which happen more often then not.) Just so you know, whenever you do update, whether or not I have the time to review, I certainly do read your updates and new stories! After all your fics (which I recommend to anyone else who reads this :D) are some of the few that are worth taking the time to read. Damn those crappy two-bit fanfics and cannon pairings –coughdieMachicough- I thank you for your kind review and I hope you enjoy!

H.E.Y.T.S: Haha! No pressure, huh? Well, I'm doing my best to update on time (and of course, my best really isn't a lot) but for your sake I hope this will be good enough! Please enjoy!

edge-of-reality: Poor Yuki indeed. It only gets worse in this chapter… Thank you kindly for reviewing!

vaoni: Thank you very much! It was fun to right this after all!

emerald kikyou: Thank you for such kind words! We're so alike too! My parents are both from Lebanon and I went to Syria this summer. You said you went to Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and……I forgot the last one 'cause I'm just dumb like that –is sheepish- I had loads of fun writing Kyoko, so I'm glad you liked how I wrote her! Rest assured, there will be many more chibi Yuki scenes!

LadyOfWolves: Cuteness and angstiness; I never thought I'd be able to pull it off!

xxAmethystEyesxx: -hugs- YES! AN ANGEL HAS SMILED UPON US, FOR I, LAZY BUM EXTRAORDINAIRE, HAVE UPDATED! IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE ME TALK IN CAPS LIKE AN IDIOT! –end dummy moment- And don't you worry. Never will I give up on this, no matter how much hell it gives me (and after this chapter, I can guarantee I'll be given a large helping of hell…) I hope you enjoy this next chapter!

HeartAngel: Yeah, for some reason, FFNET always acts stupid and they don't send alerts…it's happened to me a hell of a lot of times D: I'M SO SORRY FOR THE LONG WAITS BETWEEN THE CHAPTERS! Between preparing for high school, juggling swimming with school work, and my own laziness, I just don't get any time anymore! I'm doing my best though! –end Ritsu moment- I hope this chapter is good enough!

WolfieMoon: I'm glad you like my fic! I prefer AUs too because whether they're badly written or not (although I prefer well-written ones :D) they're always so much more creative! Thank you for reviewing and I hope you like this chapter!

chocolate waffle-san: I never thought I'd live to see the day where someone told me my writing was mature. I'm flattered, thank you very much! And yes, Kyo, Tohru, and Yuki as seven year olds really is so cute! I'd never seen anything with them at such a young age that didn't have anything to do with cannon, so I thought I'd give this a shot. I hope you enjoy this chapter!

Megumi Rutherford: Thank you for such kind comments! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when people say they think my story will be great…since I don't have much faith in my abilities as a writer…;-; I'm really excited about writing about the progression of Yuki and Tohru's 'friendship' –waggles eyebrows-

Drieldwin: Yay! Two reviews! I feel so lucky! Yuki's my favorite too! And it's complete safe to hug him since he won't poof into a mouse :) His mom is definitely gonna' get hell if I have any say I it…and obviously I do :D

PenguinGirl: Angst is my cup of tea! I really have a difficult time writing anything happy… -sweatdrop- And consistency is what's killing me write now! This chapter has been such a bitch… D: Please enjoy!

If I've forgotten anyone, then please tell me so I can note you or something (; I just got volume 15 for Christmas, so it kind of got the creative juices flowing. And I'll warn you now; this whole chapter sucks. BALLS. I guess it was kind of hypocritical of me to tell you guys to actually enjoy this, since it sucks and all, and I don't even like this much. So please, if you choose to throw cabbage or other rotting food products, please don't throw hard. I bruise very easily… D: -opens umbrella-

Did that paragraph make any sense at all?

XXX

Disclaimer: Would I be wasting my time here if I did?

Italics - thoughts

'stuff' – thoughts in flashbacks

"stuff" – speech in flashbacks

Alternate Universe (AU)

XXX

Return To Innocence

Chapter III: Stained With Ink

"You never know what you have until you lose it. And once you lose it, you can never get it back…"

XXX

"Such a pretty child…"

Tiny feet plodded over the flawlessly polished wooden floors of the empty hall, the sound of faint footsteps following in their wake. A small figure was trailed by a taller figure, whose footsteps seemed slower and skin was grayer.

"Why would such a pretty thing cry?"

Their footsteps ceased as they approached a door on the farthest end of the hallway. The child's pasty hand reached out from the silky folds of his robes to the indent in the door and slid it open with infinitely more grace than such a sickly child—no older than ten, in fact—should possess.

Entering first, the child gestured for the woman following dazedly behind him to enter. As she passed through the entrance, she became aware of the odd stench wafting through the room.

It smelled of ink and blood.

"Don't you know I love you?"

Looking around the dank room, she easily found the source of the musty, thick scent of ink. Even in the darkness of the large room, against the parchment-shaded walls, it was difficult to miss the culprit.

Pitch black ink was splashed and smeared across the entire left wall of the barren room.

In some spots closer to the ground, large areas had been very delicately painted, thin, even coats lining the once-pristine wall; tiny, thin hairs, presumably from the brush, were caked and dried into the onyx coating as well. However, a much greater portion of the wall, from floor to ceiling, corner to corner, was bathed in haphazard shapes of all sizes, splashed onto the wall. Large blots littered the wall, small splatters surrounding their larger look-alikes. Thin, jagged rivers of ink, long since dried, trailed down from the largest of the ink stains. Many of the larger stains had brush strokes—or fingers—running long lines through them, disturbing their artistically natural perfection.

'What a strange place…'

As for the blood—

"You don't recognize the significance of this place, do you Sohma-san?" the small child said from his place at the open doorway on the other side of the room, leading to the porch.

"Even if no one else in the world does…"

Shaken from her inspection after being addressed, she quickly knelt down on the floor as a display of respect. "No, I'm afraid not. Is it something I should know of?"

The Sohma unconsciously began to rub her arms as the temperature seemed to drop.

"It's quite shameful that you're unaware of what goes on here, but I suppose it only works to my advantage." The woman had to bite her tongue to keep from saying something she might come to regret.

Reaching a frail hand out to the small cluster of birds gathered around him, he inwardly chuckled at the turmoil his company was suffering through. The smallest and whitest of the birds around him boldly perched itself onto his finger, which appeared it would break under any amount of pressure.

"It's been nearly a year, Sohma-san." he continued somewhat brusquely, his mood having soured. "When do you plan to bring your child back?"

The mother's pupils contracted to mere pinpricks, and something seemed to snap. Her hands fisting in her lap, she hissed, "That vile little killer is not my child!" Her dark eyes gained an almost maniacal glint. "I never—never—want that thing back! One disappointment is enough—I don't need another one."

"…I always will. Because we're meant to be together forever…"

Sighing, a touch of irritation in his tone, the inky-haired boy tenderly stroked the head of the bird for a moment before shooing it away. Pulling himself weakly to his feet, he walked over to the woman, stopping in front of her.

"Yes, there are so many awful people in this family, aren't there? If they're not killers, they're merely failures." He turned on his heal to face the ink-drenched wall, and slowly slid his small hand over the stains. "But this choice is not your own. You may not want him back, but you gave him to me, and I want him back. He will be found. Understand?"

"Yes, " she responded mechanically, "Akito-san."

Giving his elder a deceptively innocent smile, Akito knelt down to his elder's level and hugged her. Standing back up, he quickly replaced that rarely displayed air of childish innocence with the mask of a leader.

A God.

"You're dismissed." And with that, he turned back to the porch.

Standing up, the missing child's mother brushed off her skirt of imaginary dust before turning to leave—and, hopefully, never come back. Glancing once more at the black-washed wall, she idly ran her hand over it.

She was surprised to feel a thin film of moisture on her hand. Peering down at it, she had to stifle a gasp.

Her hand was dripping with ink.

But how—!?

The mother dashed out of the room.

Akito remained, grinning after her.

"…in our never-ending banquet. Just us two…

……and no body else."

XXX

Running into the nearest bathroom, the Sohma mother turned the faucet on at full blat, marring the flawless chrome knobs with the thick blackness blemishing her hand. She furiously began to scrub the ink on her hands beneath the jet of water.

It wouldn't come off.

XXX

A blurry shadow flitted on the opposite side of the sliding door, where a polite knock sounded.

"Come in," Akito called indifferently, once again admiring the birds by the porch.

"Why, hello Akito-san!" Shigure Sohma greeted jubilantly, quickly entering and shutting the shoji behind him. "I thought you might be here. What might you be up to? I just saw Auntie run out."

Giving Shigure one of his famous "down-the-nose" glares, Akito calmly retorted, "I honestly don't think it's your place to be prying into my affairs, Shigure."

The 17 year-old boy rested his eyes on the black wall before training his mysterious eyes back on Akito.

"What did you come for Shigure? I honestly don't believe that you would give up your precious time with Hatori and Ayame," the latter's name left a bad taste in his mouth, "…just to pay me a visit."

"Now, now Akito-san," the teen chastised lightly, attempting to step very lightly on the thin ice of the young clan head's temper. "When have I ever done anything to show that I don't care?"

"I don't want to hear anymore!" Akito hissed, clamping his small hands over his ears, trying to block out everything Shigure was saying, and al that he knew he was going to say. "What did you come for?"

Shigure could only sigh in defeat. "Well, I thought you might like to know that last night, I overheard from some people that Yuki had been found; their description of him fit."

If the young head had been ignoring his companion before, he certainly got his attention now. The child quietly approached the older boy, who was now kneeling respectfully on the floor.

"Really now…" he murmured in his velvety smooth voice. "And where did you hear this?"

"I was out late with Haa-san and Aya." Shigure explained. "I overheard a couple talking about some lady who picked him up off the streets. I think he found her wedding ring or something and was returning it to her."

Akito seemed to ponder what Shigure had just relayed to him before climbing into his senior's lap, wrapping his arms around the teen's neck.

"I should've known you'd be the one to bring me news of this to me." the head whispered, clearly pleased. "Always. You'll always be loyal to me, right Shigure?"

"Of course, Akito-san," he replied somewhat robotically.

"And the other two don't know?" Akito pressed.

"Haa-san and Aya? I don't think so."

"Good." Akito crooned. "Such an obedient thing you are, just as it always should be. Besides, I knew I couldn't rely on his mother to bring him back—let alone tell me if she knew anything—and I doubt that Yuki is even aware that he has a brother." Akito's mirth-filled eyes trailed over to the open rice-paper, a draft having formed in the room from the cold October weather.

Goodness, it's been a while since that door was last closed, hasn't it?

"I'm surprised you haven't asked why the door hasn't been closed in so long, Shigure."

"Should I be curious about it?" the teen inquired, peering down at the head of raven hair.

"Perhaps; it has been seven months since it was last closed, after all, or haven't you noticed?"

"No, no, I have noticed."

Good. That's how it will remain until my pet comes back to me… And with that, the young head began to drift off into a light sleep, cradled in Shigure's arms.

Sighing exhaustedly, Shigure gently kissed the sleeping child's head before turning to stare out the open door, dust coating it's wooden frame after being untouched for so long.

How much longer will it be…?

XXX

Tohru blearily opened her wide brown eyes as the light of morning flowed through the glass sliding doors to the balcony. Sitting up ever-so-slowly, so as not to awaken her sleeping companion, the girl rubbed at her eyes, still trying to pull away from blissful sleep. Feeling that it was still a bit too early to be up, Tohru glanced over at the clock resting atop the TV set.

7:32 PM.

Mommy should be getting up soon.

Content with the knowledge that her mother would be up soon—and maybe the mysterious boy too—Tohru laid back down beside Neko-chan, patiently waiting for the "moon boy" to awaken. Pulling the fluffy sheets up to her nose, the young brunette could only stare—somewhat mesmerized—at her company's pretty features.

I wonder…did mommy mention what his name was? Did he tell her…?

Tohru was interrupted from her pondering as Yuki stirred slightly in his sleep. He went through another bout of coughs before settling down once more and unconsciously burrowed deeper under the sheets.

"Eh…? He's…sick?" Tohru thought aloud. Scrutinizing his face quite intently, she found that his skin was unhealthily pale, save for his cheeks, which were flushed with fever. Just to be sure that he was indeed ill, Tohru hesitantly reached her small hand out from beneath the covers, sliding it underneath his bangs, and pressed it gently to his forehead. Resting her other hand on her own forehead, Tohru was able to feel a significant difference in body heat.

He was burning up.

Pulling her hands back, Tohru decided, "I guess I should go tell Mama that he's sick." The small brunette very carefully rolled off of the sofa, mindful of the fact that Yuki was still sound asleep. Leaning over her cat plushy, she whispered, "You make sure he doesn't get out of bed, okay Neko-chan? I'm going to get mommy."

No sooner had Tohru turned her back to relay the news to her mother, had Yuki opened his tired eyes.

XXX

"I know!" Kyoko all but yelled into the phone. "I know the house is full, but it's not like I'd just leave the poor kid out there! He was half-dead when I found him in the rain."

"Well, what are we supposed to do?" the voice on the other end of the phone retorted heatedly. "There's no more extra room; we're jam-packed! We don't even have any extra cots!"

"I hope you're not implying that I should've left him on the streets, Izumi." the orange-top growled threateningly.

"I'm not implying anything, Kyoko, and you know that. Adoptions have been kind of slow for a while, whether the kid needs a foster family or a new home altogether, and lots of lost children we have here haven't been found, so we may have to send him to another—"

"You know what? Forget it!" …and the very last thread of patience Kyoko managed to cling to finally snapped. "He'll stay with me until there's enough room for him! I have plenty—"

"Now wait a minute," Izumi halted the rambling woman as she tried to reason with her. "Are you sure you can do that? I mean with Tohru and all—"

"It'll be fine." the mother paused for a moment to compose herself before sighing apologetically. "I'm sorry for being such an ass, Izumi. I'm just kind of frustrated. You didn't see him; he was covered in blood…! I don't even know whether it was his or—OH MY GOD, I FORGOT TO GET HIM TO CHANGE HIS CLOTHES!!"

Nearly running into a wall in her sudden panic attack, Kyoko managed to string together another apology and a goodbye before hanging up on her partner and slamming the phone back on the charger.

"Mama?" Tohru called, poking her head into her mother's room after hearing the commotion.

"Hn? What is it, Tohru? she asked, kneeling down to Tohru's level.

"I think the little boy is sick! His forehead was really warm."

"Crap…" Kyoko muttered, slapping her hand over her face. "Why did I have to forget to get him to change clothes? How could I have been so stupid?"

"Will he be okay, Mama? He's gonna be okay, right?" Tohru inquired worriedly.

"Well, first, I'm gonna give him a bath and change his wet clothes, and then we'll give him some food and medicine and let him sleep." she answered. "If he doesn't feel better, we'll take him to the doctors'. How's that sound?"

"That sounds good! Me and Neko-chan'll help too!

"That's my girl!" the mother applauded. "Now be a good girl and go eat some breakfast."

XXX

Yuki wearily took in his surroundings with barely focused, sleep-clouded eyes. He didn't dare move an inch, fearing that if he did, he would truly awaken and his homey surroundings and the genuine warmth around him would disappear and he would find himself, once again, cold and alone, in the alley that he could still picture so vividly.

Nn…so warm…

When was it last that he'd slept in a warm bed, let alone had a roof over his head? He could still feel tendrils of warmth where gentle hands had touched his forehead. Once or twice, he'd tried to pull himself into a sitting position, but he quickly abandoned his futile attempts and laid back down when waves of dizziness and nausea simultaneously flooded over him.

Just as Yuki began to drift off to sleep once more, he felt himself being shaken awake.

"…Yuki……Yuki…!" Who was that calling him…?

"C'mon kid, wake up!" Kyoko was becoming desperate.

Why isn't he waking up!? What if he caught pneumonia overnight or something? I could've killed him!

Desperation was slowly morphing into hysteria. She began shaking him harder. "Please Yuki, wake up! C'mon, wake up!"

Katsuya, do something! Wake him up!

An icy chill seemed to flow through the room momentarily before quickly melting away as suddenly as it came, and after a bit more shaking on Kyoko's part, Yuki finally managed to crack his sleepy, wide eyes open. "M-mama…is that you?"

Thank you… The ginger-haired woman released a sigh of relief and gently pulled the delirious boy into her lap. "No, I'm sorry, kiddo." she continued when she saw the flash of disappointment on his young face. "Remember though? Yesterday we ran into each other on the street; you found my ring."

Yuki sniffed softly before peering up at the slightly strange, but kind, woman holding him. "I-I remember." What will Mama say if she finds out I was with a stranger?

"Well, Yuki," she continued, "you've been sleeping in those wet clothes all night," or longer, I'm sure… "so I'm going to get you some dry clothes and give you a bath, and then you can eat a bit and take some medicine so you'll feel a little better, alright?"

"Um…o-okay." he stuttered shyly. "…maybe then, um…can you…help me find my Mama? Please?"

Kyoko was somewhat surprised by the timid boy's bold request, but answered nonetheless. "I'm going to do my very best to bring you home, okay Yuki?"

He nodded apprehensively.

"Alright," she smiled brightly, taking the grey-haired boy's small hand in her own as she led him into the bathroom. "I'll go grab you some clothes for you to wear and I'll give you a bath."

"E-eh?" Yuki's face flushed embarrassedly as he turned to face the woman. Kyoko, however, burst into peals of amused laughter.

"My god, you're so cute!" Kyoko gushed, eyes glowing with mirth. Yuki looked shocked more than anything. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "You barely know me and here I am scaring you. But you're just so sweet and shy…"

"Oh, then…thank you…?" the mom chuckled a bit more. Coming to the bathroom door, she pushed it open and ushered the 7 year-old inside. "You just jump into the tub and I'll be back with some clothes, alright kid?" the orange-top didn't wait for him to respond before shutting the door behind her.

XXX

Tohru stared after her mother from over the living room table, her doe-brown eyes lingering on the door she shut.

I almost got to see his eyes…

XXX

The soft noises of clothes being tossed and strewn all over the place with the occasional grunt of annoyance from Kyoko were the only noises that could be heard from the room as the mother went through a drawer crammed with clothing that hadn't been touched in years.

"This is just ridiculous," the woman muttered under her breath, as she pulled out clothing she wouldn't dream of wearing before chucking the clothes over her shoulder, much like the way she emptied her fridge the previous night. "When was the last time I cleaned this old place?" After several more minutes of rummaging, Kyoko cried out triumphantly as she finally unearthed a pair of pants, a shirt, and a sweater fit for a child about Yuki's size. Bundling the clothing in her arms, she rushed back over to the bathroom. Shifting the load in her arms, she reached out and rapped her knuckles lightly on the bathroom door. "Yuki? Can I come in?"

She had to strain to hear his quiet reply; "You can come in…"

Turning the knob, she pushed the door in, only to find Yuki curled up in the corner of the room.

Plopping the clothes down on the counter, Kyoko leaned down beside the bathtub and jerked the dial on and flicked a switch near the bottom of the tub to keep the water from draining. Running her fingers beneath the steady jet of water, she turned to Yuki saying, "The water's already now, so you can hop in."

Once again, the dusky-eyed boy's face flushed with more than just fever. Deciding it would be best not to make him any more uncomfortable than he already was, all the woman did was give Yuki a motherly smile. Gently taking his small hand again, she pulled him shakily to his feet.

"If it'll make you feel better, I won't look," she suggested. After a bit of hesitation, the child nodded. Turning her back to him, he began to remove his worn and wet clothing. Only when she heard the faint lapping of water against the rim of the tub did Kyoko turn around. Even sitting in the bathtub, the boy appeared to be half-asleep, so she decided it be best to work quickly. "Yuki, if the water starts getting too cold or if you feel uncomfortable at all, just tug on my arm."

He sniffed a bit and bowed his head to hide a cough before answering, "…Alright…"

No more words were exchanged after this. Working as fast and efficiently as she could, Kyoko squeezed a bit of shampoo into her palm before gently lathering it into the boy's hair. Wow, the poor kid hasn't had a decent bath in ages…save for heavy rainstorms…

Taking a washcloth in hand, Kyoko once again began lathering it up with soap before gently rubbing Yuki down. Said boy was quite visibly nervous, and clutched tightly to Kyoko's free hand, and yet he seemed to trust her, as he had not yet tugged on her arm. In no time at all, the orange-top had the small child all rinsed off and was tenderly toweling him off.

"That wasn't too bad, was it?" Kyoko asked. "You weren't uncomfortable at all, right?"

"No…it was okay," he agreed.

"Well that's good!" she encouraged. Draping a couple of towels around Yuki, she stood up to fetch his clothing. Holding them up, she said, "It's a good thing my daughter, Tohru, was supposed to be a boy! Otherwise, we never would've gotten these clothes!" Yuki almost laughed.

XXX

"Tohru?" her mother called, holding a squeaky-clean Yuki's hand as she pulled him out of the bathroom. "Honey, are you all done with breakfast?"

"Yes Mama!" she replied, poking her head over the sofa.

"I need you to help keep Yuki awake while I get him some food and some medicine, okay?"

"Okay!" Tohru agreed enthusiastically. "Neko-chan wants to help too!"

"Alright then, Neko-chan can help." Tohru's mother helped Yuki onto the sofa before scurrying off into the kitchen. Turning her attention to the boy beside her, Tohru asked, "Is that your name? Yuki?"

"Oh, um…yes. I'm Yuki."

"That's a pretty name!" the little brunette commented sweetly. "My name is Tohru Honda and this," she held up her orange cat plush-toy, "is Neko-chan!"

"Oh, h-hello Neko-san," Yuki greeted.

"Neko-chan says 'hello to you too.'" Tohru answered for her orange cat. "Guess what Neko-chan and me like to eat. Strawberries! Do you like strawberries?"

She seems nice… "I've never had strawberries. My mama doesn't like them."

"Eh!?" Tohru appeared flabbergasted. "You've never had a strawberry?" Yuki was worried that he may have offended Tohru because she looked so distraught.

What happened next surprised him quite a bit.

"Then…then I'm gonna ask mommy if she'll buy some strawberries just for you!" she exclaimed, clearly determined.

Cocking his head to the side curiously, Yuki asked, "You would do that…for me?"

"O-of course I would!" the little girl's small hand found Yuki's own one. "What about you though? What's you're favorite fruit?"

"Me? Well, I like—" the rest of what the boy was about to say was cut off when he choked up and began to cough. Pulling his hand from Tohru's he quickly clamped his hands over his mouth.

"Yuki? Yuki, are you okay?" Little Tohru asked, a thin strand of hair bouncing from within her hair bauble. "It's okay, just take deep breaths…" She moved onto the couch beside him so that she could rub his back to soothe him. Soon, the coughs began to subside, until stopping completely.

Removing his hands from his mouth, Yuki had to stifle a gasp at what he saw.

"Something tore inside of him."

"The pain was almost too overwhelming and it took everything he had to bite back a cry of pain. A bitter metallic-tasting liquid filled his mouth as he coughed into his hands."

Tohru's eyes widened impossibly before she screamed.

"BLOOD!"

Somewhere in the kitchen, glass shattered.

XXX

The Return of Pocky's Crackity Rants: HAHAHA! A CLIFFHANGER! I'M HIGH ON CRACK AGAIN! THAT'S WHY I'M ABUSING THE CAPS LOCK BUTTON! –abuses button more- Damn crack keeps wearing off… Okay, anyway, this chapter is, of course, un-betaed. I was too busy with writing Cold Silver to really worry about that, so I'll take care of it some other time. Oh yeah. I forgot to continue shamelessly promoting myself. Go read Cold Silver right now.

Okay all ye little curious children; if ye all want to know what happens next, hit that awesome little blue button. C'mon, you know you want to. Think of poor Yuki! Besides you can just think of this update as a birthday gift from me to you –throws more confetti- If you don't review poor Pocky-Pocky-chan won't have a happy 14th birthday. You don't want that now, do you?

I didn't think so. –throws more confetti-

REVIEWS EQUAL CRACK, AND WE ALL KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE CRACK.

HAHAHA! THE CRACK CAME BACK! SO MUCH CONFETTI! CRACKFETTI!

Wait, what was I doing?

♥ Pocky-Pocky-chan ♥