Photo Album

Written by Kuro-chan, orginal story by Matsuri Hino

Juuri Kuran stared absently out the large glass window at the world of white outside. The gentle snowflakes were now piling up in large layers and covering everything. She was worried for her Haruka who had taken their little Kaname out for political matters earlier that day. "Hakura said he would be back around five…but it's already seven…" She stood up quickly, as if trying to get rid of horrid thoughts that flash past her mind, and went to the door that led to the basement of their mansion. She looked one last time out the window. "…I hope they come back soon…"

As she opened the door to the basement, a little girl that looked up and smiled. Her little Yuuki looked almost exactly like a younger version of her, except for her eyes. She had Haruka's gentle eyes. "'Kaa-sama! Are Onii-sama and Otou-sama home yet?"

Juuri returned her daughter's pure smile and bent down to hug the child. "No, Yuuki, not yet. It's just me and you right now."

"'Kaa-sama," Little Yuuki took hold of her mother's hand with her small, chubby fingers and led her to the family bookshelf. In front of the bookshelf, a leather-bound photo album was opened on the ground. Yuuki looked very excited to show her mother her new discoveries. "Look what I found! It's a book of pretty pictures! And there's a picture of me, you, Onii-sama, and Otou-sama in it!"

Juuri bent down and flipped through the book; the old memories decades and centuries ago were jolted in her mind. There was even a picture of a teen version of Haruka and herself with all of their aristocrat friends. And…her eyes stopped on her other brother, Rido. Slowly she stroked the photo. As much as she didn't want to admit to Haruka, Juuri really did miss Rido, but not the Rido that walked the earth now. She missed the younger version of him. She missed the days when they would curl up together on the sofa to read stories to each other.

Yuuki looked at her mother with wide eyes. "'Kaa-sama? Are you okay?"

Juuri returned Yuuki a wide smile, "Yes. It's just that these photos bring up so many memories."

Yuuki smiled innocently. "'Kaa-sama, you should tell me some of these stories. Like this one," The little girl used her little fore-finger to point at a picture of an old teddy bear holding a white rose. "What does it even mean?"

Juuri smiled and began her story, "It was Valentine's Day a couple hundred years ago…"

XkurochanX

Juuri spun around and slapped Haruka's hand that was resting on her arm.

"Haruka, for the last time, stop following me around! I'm just going to school for heaven's sakes and I don't need you to 'protect' me everywhere I go." Juuri knew her words hurt her brother deeply, but it wasn't like she wanted to hurt him like this. She just hated it when Haruka followed her to her All-girls boarding school. Juuri didn't want to admit it, but she was actually jealous of all her friends crowding around Haruka. Deep down, she knew that she wanted Haruka all for herself and she was afraid that one of the human girls would steal him away from her.

"You know what? Stop being annoying or I'm going to go to the movies on Saturday with Rido-nii." With that, Juuri turned and ran for the school, knowing that Haruka wouldn't follow her after that. Haruka hated Rido with passion and Juuri knew how jealously overprotective he got every time she and Rido dance together in vampire parties (since they were the oldest purebloods of their gender).

Haruka stood where he was and watched her go. He let his hand drop and slowly turned around to go home.

All day in class, Juuri sat by the window, looking out to the cloudy sky. Her friends were worried about her sudden quietness.

"Juuri! What's wrong Juuri? Did you not get any flowers today?" Her blonde friend questioned with blatant worry in her tone.

Juuri looked up, surprised. "Am I supposed to be getting flowers or something?" Then it hit her as she looked around in class, "Oh, it's Valentine's Day, it's it?"A wave of discomfort and guilt flooded over her.

Her friend nodded, "Come now Juuri, you didn't just notice did you?" She paused as she took out a red box of candy from behind her back. Juuri noticed that her friend was blushing, "I was hoping that your brother would come to school today so I could give him something."

Juuri's eyes narrowed and tried to hide her jealousy, "Which brother?" She could already feel the heat rising from her chest.

Her friend turned away and laughed a little, "Oh come on Juuri, who else is there? Haruka, of course! Everything about him is perfect. His hair is so beautiful and he also acts like such a gentleman—." The glass window of the classroom suddenly shattered and the howling wind flooded in from outside.

Her friend gasped, "What's going on?"

Juuri picked up her books and raised her hand, "Ayumi-sensei, I'm not feeling well today. May I be excused to go to the nurse?"

When Ayumi-sensei saw Juuri with her usual pale cheeks even paler, she let Juuri be excuse to go home. "I'm sorry you have to miss Valentine's Day, Juuri. We hope you get better tomorrow to join us for class."

Juuri nodded as she walked out; she had to swallow to hold back her tears. She wasn't mad at her friend this time, she was mad at herself. She felt horrible for doing what she had done to Haruka on a day that was special to him. She knew what he was doing was mostly to impress her and that when she turned seventeen she [hopefully] would choose him instead of Rido. Juuri had no idea how she was going to pick between her two brothers, but that didn't make it right for her to hurt Haruka like that.

Juuri walked down the empty street slowly as a sudden idea occurred to her. "I will buy Haruka something special to make it up to him for being such a repulsive sister." She muttered to herself as she walked into a small shop. The thought of doing something to amend her wrongdoing made her a little happier.

She walked up and down the aisles searching for something that would mean even a little of an apology to Haruka until her eyes fell on a little teddy bear on the top shelf of the fifth aisle. "I think Haruka would like something like that!" She took it down from the shelf and waited in line to purchase the item.

As she took the teddy bear from the cashier and half-ran out of the store, she bumped into someone that was trying to get out of the store as fast as she was. "I'm sorry," she muttered and looked up into the gentleman's eyes. "Haruka!"

He looked as surprised as her, "What are you doing here, Juuri?"

"I…" Juuri looked down, afraid to meet her brother's eyes, "I was buying something for you to apologize for what I said earlier today." She bit her lips and whispered, "Please don't hate me, 'Nii-sama."

She handed him the teddy bear that she had in her hands while still looking down. To her surprise, Haruka bent down and fully embraced her. In her ear, he gave a low chuckle, "I forgive you Juuri, but I was afraid that you were upset at something I've done."

They broke apart from their hold as Haruka handed Juuri a white rose. "Will you not tell me what's on your mind and why you didn't want me to escort you to school today?"

Juuri sighed and decided to be truthful to her brother, "I…okay you're going to think I'm really stupid and all…"

"I never think you're stupid, Juuri."He smiled at her encouragingly.

"Okay fine, but…I didn't want you to come to school with me because I don't like how all of my friends like touching you and flirting with you."

Haruka smiled and fingered his sister's hair, "The jealous type, I presume?" He joked.

"NO!" Juuri denied it, but she blushed a little, "I just…don't want you to hold all the attention of my friends. I mean, they're supposed to be my friends for a reason." That is part of the reason, she convinced herself.

Haruka smiled knowingly, "I love you Juuri. And you know you're the only one I'll always love, so there's no need to be jealous.," He whispered to her and pulled her into another embrace.

Juuri closed her eyes and relaxed against her brother's chest, "I love you too, Haruka." But her voice was so soft that it sounded like the wind had momentarily sighed.

XkurochanX

"That was a beautiful story, 'Kaa-sama!" Yuuki's eyes were bright with pleasure.

"Yes, your father wanted to preserve our presents afterwards so he encased them in magic." Juuri smiled jubilantly as she stroked an excited Yuuki. Then, without warning, a flash of worry crossed her face again. She looked up towards the ceiling window only to see a blanket of snow on their roof. Juuri sighed wearily, "I wonder when your father and brother will be back. It's already dark outside and I don't sense their presence within five miles of here."

Yuuki looked at her mother with her big brown eyes, "Will it help if you tell another story?"

Juuri laughed at that, "Of course it will help, Yuuki! It'll take my mind off of thing more."

Yuuki didn't seem to completely understand her mother's worries as she flipped to another page. "'Kaa-sama! Will you tell me this story too? Otou-sama looks a lot like 'Nii-sama in this picture!"

It was a picture of sunset at a beach with a younger Juuri asleep in Haruka's arms. Haruka was looking out into the sunset while stroking Juuri's arm. There was a sense of serenity about the photo that made Juuri smile.

Suddenly, the peaceful look on Juuri's face disappeared and it was replaced by one of annoyance. "Ugh…I can't believe Kisa actually took THAT picture!"

Yuuki looked confused, "Kisa…?"

Juuri began, "Kisa, daughter of the Shiki family, and I were best friends…"

XkurochanX

"Today is going to be so much fun, Juuri-chan! My mother gave me a new camera to take pictures for my birthday and today, you and your brothers are going to be my main models." The messily brown-haired girl giggled and winked.

"Don't push your luck, Kisa."Juuri warned and glared at her best friend. Right…how were they best friends again? She started to head down to the beach and yelped as the sand she set her foot upon burned her.

Kisa sighed lightly, "You're no fun, Juuri," she complained and put an arm around her best friend, "But I gotta tell you, I am so envious of you! You are the luckiest person I've ever met!"

"How so?"Juuri raised an eyebrow.

"Oh, don't play stupid Juuri. You get to live every single day with the two sexiest brother in the world! Which one of them do you think is sexier, huh?"Kisa gave Juuri a sly smile.

XkurochanX

At this point in the story, Yuuki suddenly interrupted her mother. "'Kaa-sama, what does 'sexy' mean?"

Juuri thought for a second, not exactly sure how she was going to describe this to her four year old daughter, "It's a certain way of describing someone's looks…"

"And Otou-sama is sexy?"

"Well," Juuri smiled innocently at her daughter, "Everyone has their own way of looking at people."

Yuuki's eyes widened, as if in understanding, "Oh..."

XkurochanX

Juuri rolled her eyes and didn't bother to answer Kisa's question, "Trust me, it's not always that good."

Kisa kept the smile on her face, "Let me guess, competition over you…since you're almost seventeen now?"

Juuri groaned, "You have no idea…"

Kisa laughed, "Oh come on, forget about your brothers. Let's just have fun today…and you'd better watch out for me and my new camera!." She gave Juuri her 'actress' wink and urged her to hurry to the beach.

"I'm scared, Kisa," Juuri said dryly.

"Hoho, you should be!" Kisa laughed freely again as she held up a volleyball, "Beach volleyball anyone?"

From the other side of the net, Rido and Haruka took a look at the two girls and asked to be in the game. Somehow, Haruka ended up on the same team as Juuri while Kisa played with Rido.

As the rounds continued back and forth, the sun slowly crept up to its highest point in the sky.

Kisa finally plopped down onto the sand and wiped away the sweat on her forehead. "Phew, I'm tired," She looked like she was having severe sunburns. "I think we should take a swim or something."

Juuri should her head. "I'd rather stay here. I prefer not to get wet."

Kisa rolled her eyes and tugged on Juuri's arm, "Come on, it's going to be fun!"

Haruka stepped in, "Juuri doesn't know how to swim and she's deathly afraid of water. I think it's best if you go and take a nice long swim while Juuri and I find something to do on those cliff rocks over there."

Kisa winked at Juuri. "Okay then you two, have fun!" She then turned to Rido to ask if he wanted to come with her and he complied to her invitation with an annoyed look at Haruka.

Hand in hand, Haruka helped Juuri up the steep cliff rocks. At the top, Juuri shot an angry glared at Haruka, "Did you have to tell her that?"

Haruka looked confused, "What?"

"My fear of water…"

Haruka raised an eyebrow, "Did you want to go swimming?"

Juuri looked away as the Aidou twins came up to the rocks too. Hana (female) ran up and hugged Juuri from behind as Kazuya (male) greeted Haruka politely.

"Juuri! I've missed you so much! The last time I saw you was at Kisa's birthday party!"

"I missed you too, Hana. Kisa is down at the beach swimming right now. You can go say hi to her if you want." Juuri replied with a smile.

Hana shook her head and looked excitedly at Juuri, "I have great news to tell you!"

Juuri cocked her head, "Oh? Enlighten me then."

"You know that really cute guy I was talking to you and Kisa about at the birthday party?"

Juuri nodded slowly, "Hikaru Kain?"

Hana looked like she could hardly contain her excitement, "Well, I talked to him about a week after the party and we're officially going out now! Isn't it great?"

Juuri laughed, "That is exciting indeed! What does Kazuya say about all of this?" She knew Hana's twin brother usually didn't approve of her dating guys.

Hana scowled, "Kazuya is being really stupid saying that Kain-senpai is too tall and all that stuff…" She rolled her eyes.

Without warning, Takahiro Ichijou suddenly appeared behind Hana and tickled her.

Because of suddenly surprise, Kana screamed and accidently took a step forward which left no room for Juuri to move, except backwards and off the cliff. Juuri reached out with her hands to reach for anything she could cling on to, but her palms only found air. As the light blue water encircled around her, she felt her consciousness leaving her.

Juuri woke up in Haruka's arms on a completely different side of the shoreline. She coughed up the water that her lungs had gathered and asked hoarsely, "Where are we?"

Haruka looked down at her. "Oh, you're awake. Thank goodness." He set Juuri down on the sand and placed himself next to her. The sun was setting in the distance and Juuri was beginning to feel woozy. She leaned against Haruka's open chest.

"I'm tired, 'Nii-sama…"She struggled to keep herself awake, "…thank you…for…for doing what you did."

He patted her head. "You know I'll always protect you no matter who you choose when you turn seventeen. But for now, go to sleep."Juuri didn't need to be told twice; she was already dozing off and trying to figure out what Haruka had just said.

XkurochanX

Yuuki stared at her mother in awe and silence. "Did Otou-sama really jump in to save you 'Kaa-sama?"

Juuri laughed, "Yes he did. He's a very brave man, isn't he Yuuki?"

Yuuki nodded, "Yes; he's the bravestest of all…well, except 'Nii-sama…"

At that, Juuri laughed again, "Of course! Your brother is extremely brave too."

It was then that the door to the room suddenly opened and a snow covered Haruka and Kaname walked in. Juuri ran across the room and hugged Haruka. In his ear, she whispered, "I missed you way too much, Haruka. Don't you ever get out of this house ever again!"

Haruka looked surprised and then took Juuri in his arms. "Sometimes it can't be helped, sweetheart."

Kaname looked in confusion at his parents and turned to Yuuki. "What did Okaa-sama and you do at home while we were gone, Yuuki?"

Yuuki beamed up at Kaname, "'Kaa-sama told me stories from this book." She flipped through the worn pages. "It was really fun and 'Kaa-sama got all nervous that you and Otou-sama wouldn't come back."

Haruka looked at Juuri as Yuuki said this, "Were you really that worried, love? I'm sorry we're late, but I had some emergency business to attend to." He then took the photo album from Yuuki and looked through it himself with Yuuki and Kaname sit on either side of him.

At last, he stopped on a picture of a daisy ring on Juuri's finger and Haruka kneeling before her and kissing her hand. Yuuki stared at the photo, "'Kaa-sama, 'Tou-sama, can you two tell me this story?"

Haruka looked at the picture and smiled at Yuuki. "I don't need to tell the story. Your mother and I can act out this story for you."

He went down on one knee and took Juuri's hand in his, "Juuri, my love, my sister, my dearest, I know you have chosen me to be your mate on your seventeenth birthday, but I still want to properly propose and wed you." He kissed her hand tenderly, "Will you marry me?"

Juuri bent down and hugged him, "There's not one person who I would rather live another day of my life with. Yes Haruka, I choose you from my heart and I want to love you until I die."

"I love you too, darling, but we might not die for a while."

Juuri smiled, "Then I'll be happy to spend all of eternity with you."

Yuuki and Kaname watched this scene from the side of the room in surprise until Yuuki broke the silence between the two of them. "Onii-sama, there's something I want to tell you!"

"Hmm? And what may that be?"

"I think you're sexy."


A/N: So? What do you guys think? Plz leave me some comments!

(And...I totally want to see Kaname's face after what Yuuki said, but I'll leave that up to your own imaginations)