Hi guys! I really hope this works, because I just got my new laptop and I can't open files just by clicking on the icon, I have to open the application first then I can open the file. I only hope that I can still upload my stories to this site, otherwise I'll have to take my thumb drive and load into the other computer . . . oh yeah, the internet connection doesn't work there. Oh dear . . .

Urg, I hate technological problems.

Well, this is another fic about the Yuki/Machi paring, my second favourite paring in Fruits Basket. I notice that all my favourite parings are all canon, and that this paring is not very popular among Yuki fans, who seem to prefer Yuki/Tohru (a paring which I completely and utterly hate). This is just my little way of fighting back.

For those of you, who are reading my "Past and Present" fic, don't worry; I'm still working on it! In fact, I'll have the next chapter up pretty soon, so look out for that!

Okay, enough shameless self-endorsement. I really hope that you guys like this fic, and please read and review and tell me what you think, what you like and dislike about it and how I can improve. Constructive criticism very much welcome! Thanks in advance!

'Til next time, see yah!

Meet the Parents

Yuki Sohma glanced at his watch and sighed with relief, he had actually made it five minutes earlier than the time he had estimated, where he was supposed to meet Machi Kuragi. He glanced up at the control station, good; she was not here yet. It would give him more time to prepare for this ordeal. He still had no idea how he was supposed to act; he had spent the entire train trip thinking about how he was supposed to greet them, yet he was not even sure what he was going to say. He could barely even think properly, he was so scared that he would end up giving them a bad impression of him.

He really hoped that he would not disgrace Machi in front of her parents. Heavens, it took Machi such a long time to convince her parents to give him a chance. Machi had told him that it had all started when her mother came over to her apartment because Machi always seemed too busy to answer her phone, and had come across his name on her answering machine. She told him that she ended up getting into a screaming match with her parents, especially when they found out that they had been dating for two weeks, since Machi never thought to tell them.

Then again, he did not blame her. He never even told his parents that he was dating anyone anyway. Like him, Machi was not very close to her parents, so even she had been surprised at the outrage that they had shown when they found out that the two of them were dating. They told her that she was to cut all ties with Yuki, and if she did not follow their orders, they would send her to boarding school. They had even called Kakeru Manabe, her half-brother, to tell him to keep an eye on her in school.

Both Yuki and Machi had been very upset by the turn of events but it turned out that Kakeru was on their side. Yuki was his best friend in school, and the very fact that the somewhat over-protective Kakeru actually let Yuki date his half-sister showed the esteem Kakeru had for Yuki. Kakeru had even promised to speak to Machi's parents on their behalf. However, it would be best that both of them did not call each other or go of together after school, because that would only cause further trouble.

So far, he had succeeded, because two days ago, Kakeru told them that Machi's parents wanted to meet Yuki in person, to access whether Yuki was good date material for their daughter. They had named the day and the time, and that Machi was to meet him at the train station and bring him to the restaurant. Yuki only hoped that the two full days he spent preparing for the event would at least save him his girlfriend.

For perhaps the hundred time, he peered into his sling bag to make sure that he had remembered to bring his gift. He sighed with relief to find that it was there, nestled safely in his bag. He pulled it out and checked to see that it was not broken and to his relief, it was in perfect condition. The day before, he had gone with Kakeru to the nearest department store because he wanted to get Machi's parents a gift, but they could not find anything. He did not want to get something too cheap, yet he had no idea what their definition of cheap was. Finally, Kakeru had picked out a picture frame, which cost one thousand, five hundred and sixty-two yen. He immediately bought it, assuming that Kakeru was better acquainted with Machi's parents and should know what they would approve off.

He hoped that the gift would put him in a better position with them, that he was actually polite enough to get them a gift. At least, he hoped so. Once again, he checked his gift, but that moment, he heard soft, scurrying footsteps and he quickly looked up.

He could not help smiling as he saw Machi heading towards him. As usual, she was resplendent, in a white blouse, yellow cardigan and dark blue skirt reaching to her knees. She was even wearing white dress slippers, slightly darker than the colour of her blouse. Not many people paid attention to her, they just glanced at her and moved on, but for Yuki, he was content to gaze at her for hours. He had never though the same way of any girl he had ever met in his entire life.

In a few seconds, Machi was by his side. She smiled up at him and took his hand. "Ready?" she asked.

"Of course," he answered, smiling down at her. He felt her hand trembling as she grasped his, and he gave it a reassuring squeeze. Yet, he noticed the slight frown on her face, and knew that she was every bit as nervous as him, maybe even more so. "Let's go then," he said, trying to sound encouraging. "At least, we have each other."

"Yes, we do," she whispered. "The restaurant's this way," she pulled him in the direction that led out of the train station and into the cool, dusky breeze. It was going to be dark soon; already he could see the sun setting in the distance. The scene would have been very romantic, if he had been able to concentrate only on the girl by his side; yet, her parents seemed to occupy most of his mind, and probably hers as well, from the way she walked stiffly at his side.

Five minutes later, they reached the restaurant. A waiter in a suit bowed to them and pushed open the door, and they slipped in. Yuki glanced around, he had never been in this restaurant before, because he had always deemed it too high class, though technically, the Sohmas were actually more affluent that the Kuragis. The restaurant was brightly lit, with a red-carpeted floor and ornate lanterns decorated with various flora and fauna. The people wore either business suits or evening dresses; many of them imported from Europe or the United States, and glistering, highly polished jewels. He could hear soft murmurs of talk, very unlike the loud food centers and cafes that he had been used to frequenting with Machi or his friends.

Machi led him through the maze of tables and diners to a table where sat a man and woman. The man was dressed in a dark suit and pants, and a white shirt. His hair was starting to grey, and he had fine lines on his face, though he still carried himself tall and proud. The white shirt was tucked in, but without a tie. The woman was wearing a light blue blouse with a long black skirt, with a shawl wrapped around her shoulders. Her long hair was held in a bun, and Yuki noticed that her hair was the same colour as Machi's. She had barely any wrinkles on her skin, yet her lips were pulsed, and her eyes, though the same colour as Machi's, seemed to reflect a steely resolve, so unlike Machi's own gentle, grey orbs. Yuki knew that without a doubt that they were Machi's parents, especially from the deferential way she referred to them. Machi told Yuki later that she had a younger brother, but her parents had decided not to bring him along because they did not want to disturb the serenity of the restaurant, and get them into trouble with the rest of the diners. It would be completely humiliating if they were embarrassed in public. At that very moment, her younger brother was with Kakeru and Komaki, who had offered to baby-sit him.

"Father, mother," Machi said quietly and without fanfare, "I would like you to meet Yuki Sohma." She looked up at him expectantly.

Yuki had, of course, practiced zealously with Kakeru, going over what he was supposed to say again and again with him, making sure that Kakeru approved of it. However, when he came face to face with Machi's parents, he realized that he had completely forgotten exactly what he was supposed to say, even though he had been rehearsing it throughout the train ride. It was as if everything had flown out of his head. Desperately, he racked his mind, before finally managing to squeak, "Erm . . . hi . . ." and a slight wave. It was not exactly what he wanted to say, but he hoped that it was sufficient for them.

At his words, Mr. Kuragi stood up and grasped his hand, giving it a firm handshake. "I'm pleased to meet you," he said with a smile on his face. "I've been hearing a lot about you from both Kakeru and Machi."

Yuki grinned sheepishly at him and glanced at Mrs. Kuragi out of the corner of his eye. To his relief, the frown seemed to have disappeared, and she was even nodding graciously at him. Yuki seemed to be quite a nice person, she thought. He was even dressed rather well, with a along sleeved shirt and jacket, she recognized the brand as the one that her husband endorsed as well. She did not think that Machi would be able to attract a boy, let alone someone from as prestigious a family such as the Sohmas. Perhaps, Machi was not so hopeless after all, and in a way, she would make her own fortune and bring honour to the family. "Please, take a seat," she said aloud to Yuki and Machi, as well as her husband, smiling brightly.

They found their places, Yuki sitting between Machi and Mr. Kuragi, with Mrs. Kuragi opposite them. Yuki suddenly remembered his gift, and he pulled it out and handed it to Mrs. Kuragi. "It's a token of my esteem for you," he said using that same respectful, tone he used with visiting parents. "I really hope you like it."

Mrs. Kuragi smiled and accepted it with both hands. "Thank you," she replied. "I'm sure that we would treasure it." How nice of him, she thought, that he would actually think of giving them a gift. A well-behaved boy, reflective of his upbringing and his status. Machi had certainly chosen well, though it did remain to be seen how he behaved over dinner. Then again, since he was from a good family, she was sure that he would behave excellently.

Mr. Kuragi motioned for the waiter, and the waiter began serving the food. The food, of course, was wonderful. Everything was properly cooked and presented; the smells drifting up from the dishes were more than enough to whet his appetite. He could not help wondering how much the whole dinner was going to cost. He was starving, but he managed to eat slowly and calmly, because it would not be good for the Kuragis to think that their daughter's boyfriend was a glutton. It tasted almost as delicious as Tohru's cooking in fact.

He glanced over to see how Machi was doing, and saw that she was eating slowly as well. She could have a healthy appetite at times, especially after a long day of school and student council, but now, she was barely eating. Moreover, she was sitting straight and stiff, her eyes darting from her parents and him from time to time. He reached out and squeezed her hand, and she gave him a relieved smile.

All through dinner, both Machi's parents made small talk with Yuki. They were very interested in him, asking him about school life, council life, what he did in his spare time, how well he did at school, and of course, how he met Machi. Machi was mostly silent, though once in a while, when Yuki mentioned some of her good qualities, she had blushed and tried not to smile too much. The whole evening was actually turning out better than she had expected. Her parents seemed to take a liking to Yuki, they were actually engaging him in conversation, and were actually listening to what he had to say. Even Yuki now seemed more at ease. He was starting to relax and actually enjoy the food. She smirked, Yuki had always been known to have a reputation of being very charming when he had to, and though sometimes, it seemed to annoy her, at least this time round, it actually came in handy. She found her own appetite rapidly increasing, and ended up eating more than playing with her food, as she had been doing before.

Yuki had really changed from that boy whom she was first introduced to. She remembered her first impression of him, a quiet, polite, well-behaved boy, yet he hardly seemed like the Prince everybody thought he was. Now though, ever since he had been introduced to Kakeru, he'd become much more confidant. Now, he would even tease and laugh loudly, full-heartedly enjoying the time spent with his friends, something that would have been though of as blasphemous a description of him years back. Yet, there was something about her that drew him to her, which meant that nobody else ever got to see his true self, and that pleased her. With others, he could act another way, but with her, he was . . . himself. A kind-hearted boy who cared for others and who loved to have fun, who was happy whenever she was happy and comforting whenever she was sad. A boy who took intense pleasure in being by her side. A boy who dropped all pretence of a Prince Charming to other people to become simply Yuki in her presence.

"Hey," Yuki whispered to her, making her jump with the suddenness of it. She blushed angrily, which only made Yuki grin even more. "Your parents have offered to drive me to the Sohma estate. Is that supposed to be good news?"

Machi smiled. "That's great! It shows that they think well of you. They aren't exactly known for their generosity." She could not help feeling relieved, her parents must have been fond of Yuki in order to give such an offer. Yuki looked very relieved when he heard that.

Everybody stood up and made their way out of the restaurant, Machi's father paying with his credit card. Machi slipped her hand into Yuki's as they made their way to the car. The car ride was rather uneventful, since it was dark, but it was comforting in a way, as she rested her head on his warm shoulder, his arm around her. She had always hated her parent's car; it seemed to represent coldness and perfection to her, with its clean and fresh interior and highly polished exterior. Everything was in its place, neat and proper, exactly where they belonged. She always dumped the contents of her bag onto the car seat in order to keep her sanity, but this time round, she did not need to. She had Yuki.

All too soon, they reached the Sohma compound and Yuki reluctantly disentangled himself from Machi and reached for his bag. "Thank you for the car ride," he said politely, "As well as the wonderful meal. I really enjoyed myself."

"Not a problem," her father told him. "We're glad to see that both of you enjoyed yourselves. Take care of Machi, you hear?" The kind undercurrent belied his somewhat stern tones.

"Of course, sir," Yuki replied promptly, his grin literally widening to his ears as he realized the full extent of those words. "Thank you so much! I'll definitely do my best to take care of her!"

He opened the car door, kissed Machi's cheek, whispered a "See you tomorrow in school," to her, and said his polite and respectful goodbyes to her parents, before closing the car door. When the car started, Machi turned and both waved at each other until they were both out of sight. Machi smiled and turned back, snuggling against her seat.

"A very nice boy, I must say," her mother remarked. "I'm sure he'll take good care of our Machi." She sighed. "I can't believe it, our little Machi is growing up. Now, she even has her own boyfriend, and from such a good family as well."

"Our Machi has chosen wisely," her father replied. "A nice boy, from one of the most distinguished families in Tokyo."

Machi sighed. Perhaps, it would be too much to hope that her parents would not see her choice as materialist gains and society, when in factual fact, she knew those were the last things on her mind. She could not be bothered to care about those, no matter how much her parents lectured her on their importance. She knew that even if Yuki had been the poorest boy in Japan, she would still have chosen him, though her parents would have objected. Of course, they would approve of Yuki because he was a Sohma, and it would be a prestigious union. She could imagine her parents boasting to other relatives that they had a Sohma for a son-in-law.

Then again, perhaps, it did not matter what her parents thought. As long as they approved of their relationship, she had nothing to complain about. All that really mattered was that she could be with Yuki, without parental objection. She had her way, shouldn't she be content with it?

She emptied her bag all over the car seat and settled down to wait for the car to reach her apartment.