The house was large.

It was old and traditional; framed in dark oak, ornate in red, complete with sliding doors and tatami mats. The roof was a slate grey, and the wood was chocolate brown. The front doorway came down in a great arch of elegance, lit quietly by golden lanterns. The largest willow Tohru had ever seen overlooked the back of the garden, softly whispering to the sky. The front hall's sliding doors opened onto a roll of tiny hills, blossom trees and small shrubs, a stream running silently in the grass with a red wooden bridge. It was perfect.

Inside, it smelled of tea. Every single room was heavily fragranced with the tender aroma of green tea. It was as though the previous owner drank this tea every second of their life; bathed in it, washed dishes with it, cleaned with it. The smell was everywhere.

Tohru stepped gingerly inside the house. "Shitsurei shimasu…" The quiet was overwhelming. The house was quite beautiful; having a Sohma budget really stepped up the choice in house. Tohru and Kyo spent hours poring over lists and pictures of houses, weeks visiting house after house, and even longer listening to endless descriptions and analyses from agents, when they finally came to this house. Tohru knew it was the one, straight away. "We must have it."

"Tooohru? Is it okay? There aren't any susuwatari are there?" Kyo's voice called through the doorway. He appeared carrying 2 large boxes with a soft expression on his face.

"Eeeeeh? They're real?" Tohru jumped, and scooted back a few steps towards the sunlight.

Kyo chuckled, slipping his shoes off. "No, silly." He walked into the hall and dumped the boxes by the sliding doors. "Oh, it really is as big as the picture! You sure picked it, Tohru."

Tohru smiled. "Yes!" She touched the wall, following the curves of wood carving. "I'll go and get some more boxes."

Kyo watched her go, and then turned his attention to the house. He sniffed. "Is she making tea already..?" He followed the hall to the open door, which led to the stairwell and 3 other doors. It was unusually clean. He examined the stairs for rodent droppings and leaned up curve they followed to see the start of the second floor. That was for later, he thought. Hearing Tohru still rummaging through the hired van, Kyo decided to explore some of the house for himself. He opened the first door to his right, "One, two…three!" It was a closet. Damp, and still smelling of tea. Damn it, what's with this smell? he thought. The shelves were empty – except for one box, sat in the shadows. It was made of delicate porcelain, painted in gold and red with ornate handles, inset with glass and stone. It was exquisite. There was an inscription in a language lining the lid that Kyo could not understand, and sensing something eerie of it, he decided to ignore it.

Closing the door, Kyo turned to the next door to hear a crash.


Kyo wheeled around and ran back outside to the van to find Tohru holding a box upside down, its contents scattered on the floor.

"Gomenasai…!" Tohru whimpered. She looked pathetically at Kyo, who made a face and took the box from her hands.

"It's okay, clumsy-pants. Let's clean this mess up." He ruffled her hair. "The sooner we start, the better."