It was discovered. Hana-chan stared down at Yuki's mouse form, Uo-chan's back pressed against hers as she stared down at the arched orange cat. Tooru stood in shock on the other side of the table. It had happened so fast. They had been playing cards when Uo-chan and Kyou had begun arguing again. It quickly escalated so that they were both standing and shouting in each other's faces. Hana-chan sighed and stood, reaching for the empty bowl to get more snacks. Yuki stood out of politeness and Tooru continued to shuffle the cards. Kyou raised his hand to gesture and Uo-chan had grabbed it and pulled, probably intending to twist him into a headlock. But the move had surprised him and he fell forward against her. A bright orange cloud of smoke appeared, and Uo-chan stepped back from the shocked looking cat at her feet.

"W-what?" She cried, pressing further back.

She jostled Hana-chan who gave a small cry as she fell forward onto Yuki who had been staring wide-eyed at Uo-chan and Kyou. Tooru jumped to her feet as a second cloud went up and Yuki disappeared into his clothes at Hana-chan's feet.

"A mouse?" She said, sparks flashing behind her eyes. Both Hana-chan and Uo-chan looked over to Tooru who stood white faced on the other side of the table. She stuttered and stammered, but there was no explanation but the truth. It had been discovered.

The story had been told, once the boys had changed back, and the girls had since left minds reeling but sworn to secrecy. Kyou, Yuki and Shigure sat at cross-legged at the table while Tooru cooked in the kitchen. It was a sign of how serious it was that no recriminations flew between the mouse and the cat. No blame was placed, for they both knew this wasn't the time for petty arguments.

"Akito will have to be told." Shigure's face was expressionless his usual humor buried.
Both boys refused to look at him; they'd known it even as they'd told Honda's friends the story of their curse. They knew that their memories would not remain intact. And once Akito knew, the girls would be receiving a visit from Hatori, as would Honda.

"Couldn't we just erase this day?" Kyou flared, pounding a fist on the table. "They don't have to forget everything! She could keep one more secret!" No need to say who she was, her presence was at the heart of the conversation.

Shigure didn't speak. Yuki kept his head down, his hand brushing his hair back, "Baka Neko," he sighed, but there was no rancor, just deep weariness. "Akito will never be satisfied with that. If they found out once, they'll find out again. As long as she is here..." He trailed off hopelessly.

"But where will she go? Back to that family of hers? No way!" Yuki couldn't meet his gaze, and hid his face in his arms folded against the table. Kyou's face flushed, "We can't send her back to those harping, cruel-"

"Do I have to leave?" Honda stood in the doorway, wide eyed with a piping crock of something undoubtedly delicious forgotten in her hands. The boys looked up at her, both faces flushed. She put the bowl on the table and began serving the boys. "I thought I might. Will H-hatori-" her voice faltered as she spooned the meal into Shigure's bowl. She looked up, and was not reassured. "It's okay." She said and forced a smile. "You have to do what is best for the Souma's." She turned a dazzling smile, only slightly damp with tears to the two boys. "Please become friends with me again soon." A teakettle whistled, and she jumped up to answer its call.

Shigure dipped into his bowl, "So Good!" Wordlessly both Kyou and Yuki left the table. Shigure's eyes followed them, dark and unreadable.

* * *

Tooru sat in her dark room holding her mother's picture. Shigure had left hours ago, and she could hear Kyou creaking on the roof. Yuki she assumed was at his secret base. "Mother," she set the picture up and stared at the smiling face, "I have to leave again." She tried to picture what her mother's response to the situation would be. She was sure it would be full of encouragement, and she would be told to strive and be strong. Her memories of her mother kept her alive forever in her heart. She couldn't help but let the tears fall when she realized that soon she would have no memories of the two wonderful people who had come to mean so much to her. She dearly wished that her mother were there to hold her now. She began to pack her possessions.

* * *

Yuki met Kyou as he descended from the roof, the dark haired boy's fists clenched and delicate frame rigid. "We could leave."

Kyou's eyes widened, but he quickly nodded. "My place in the mountains, not even my Master knows where it is. They wouldn't be able to find us, not for a long time."

"We need to leave before Shigure returns. Hatori may be coming back with him. We'll need food, and blankets, unless there's..." Yuki trailed off looking at Kyou. He shook his head.
"No, there's not much there, since it was just me. You go get food and supplies. I'll pack our things." They both wheeled and went to work, as if they had never had a quarrel between them. There was something more important uniting them now.

Tooru looked on the two with wide eyes when she opened her door to their knock a short time later. They stood straight backed and determined before her; both carried rucksacks and wore jackets. Yuki held a food hamper in his hands and Kyou held Tooru's coat and scarf.
"W-what-" she started, but was cut off by a flushing Kyou.

"We're going...going to my place in the mountains. Where I trained."

"But-" she began again looking back and forth between them. Kyou helped her into her jacket while Yuki gathered her things. He handed her the frame with her mother's picture. He looked down at her gently and tucked her scarf securely around her.

"They won't be able to find us there Honda-san. It will give us time to think of...something."

Tooru looked down at her mother's picture and then up at the boys. Her agreement was wordless, and they quickly left the house dark and silent. When Shigure returned later he knew instantly that the house was empty, and smiled.