This story, as with a lot of mine, went through a lot of edits before I found a..."style," I suppose, that I liked. It mirrors the anime Fruits Basket, but some parts are from the manga. Tohru does not appear in the story, but the rest of the characters do. I do not own any characters beyond my three OCs. They Sohmas and others are property of Natsuki Takaya and...any other credit where it's due X] This first chapter is just kind of an intro for my original characters... The story really starts in chapter 2. If you want chapter 2, tell me so! If you like the story, let me know! (Have I made a rhyme?) Reviews speed up the time between posts, too. Okay, I'm done talking now. Go ahead and read.

-I. Some Explaining To Do-

I peeked through the window on the door. "Come on..." Miki muttered angrily (nothing new there).

"The coast is clear," I said. "Let's go." I pushed the door open as quietly as possible, and Miki, Sachiko, and I crept into the building.

You may think, from what I just told you, that we were robbing a bank or breaking in somewhere we weren't supposed to. Well, we weren't. We were sneaking into our school. Not to get test answers or anything (we didn't exactly need them). We were sneaking into the locker room to use the showers.

I think I have some explaining to do. My name's Kiku Oshiro, and the other girls I mentioned before are my best friends in the whole world: Miki Miyamoto, and Sachiko Fujioka. You're probably still wondering why we were sneaking into the school to use the showers. Why didn't we just use the showers we had in our house? Because our house (if you wanted to call it that) had no electricity, no heating system, no air conditioning, no running water... Get the idea?

We didn't live in a house. We lived in a tent. Okay, so I've got more explaining to do.

About three months before, there had been what you'd call an accident. We lost our families in that accident. My mom, Miki's grandparents (she called them her parents; they had been her guardians at the time), and Sachiko's parents. This left all three of us parentless.

After the accident, we all had to decide where to live. We'd been friends all through elementary school and middle school, and we weren't about to split up then. I still had some family on my dad's side, and my grandfather offered to take us in. It wasn't roomy, but we were together.

Then we got news that my aunt and two of my cousins (a boy and a girl, both older) were coming to live in my grandfather's house. Well, there certainly wasn't room for all eight of us in that house, so Grandpa decided to do a little remodeling.

Then the three of us, in secret, made plans as to where we would stay during the rennovations. A hotel was out; we didn't have enough money. Staying with my relatives was out; they (my aunt and cousins) disapproved of us being there anyway.

That's when Sachiko came up with a brilliant plan: We would find a way to live on our own until the rennovations were done, and then we could move back into the bigger and better house without having to hear any complaints from my relatives.

And that's how we came to live in a tent in the woods and to take showers in the school locker room every morning.

As for our ages (which is something everyone wonders about), here's how it went. Sachiko was the youngest at fifteen, and in her last year of middle school. Miki and I were the same age, sixteen, and in our first year of high school.

I think we were all so determined to stay together because we knew we were the only ones who could understand each other's craziness. But then I think everyone's crazy in one way or another.

And it wasn't like we lazed around all the time. We had jobs. Miki, Sachiko, and I worked as janitors in an office building in the city. We got by alright. We supported each other and were there for each other, no matter what. And we loved each other, regardless of our faults (who doesn't have them?).

I'll start with Miki. She is easily angered, but mostly if someone insults her or someone around her. I guess you could call it justified anger. We had all taken martial arts when we were kids, but she had shown the greatest advancement. She could knock a man twice her size flat on his back in two seconds. It was for this reason that not many of the other students messed with us. Once you get to know her, though, she's really a caring person. I can't remember a time when she hurt one of us, but she'd dealt her fair share of blows in her day.

Miki had dark brown, almost black, hair that fell just past her shoulders, and a thin fringe of bangs crossed her forehead. Her eyes, which matched her hair perfectly, always glinted with just a little bit of annoyance, even when she was laughing. Maybe we had just seen it so much that it had become part of her expression, and we thought nothing of it.

Sachiko (we called her Saki for short) could seem conniving at times, but that was just how she was. Her grin made you think she was up to something. She usually was. She loved causing mischief. And if anyone ever tried to insult her or anyone else, she always had a snappy comeback that was just perfect. I usually don't think of those until three hours later, so I admire her for that. She didn't take crap from anybody. She was very confident in who she was. Another thing that was interesting about her: she had a kind of sixth sense about certain things. She could "sense" when we were near, and sometimes even the feelings of those around her. She didn't understand it herself, but none of us really felt we needed to.

Sachiko had shorter hair, coming just about to her chin. Her hair, also, was almost black, and red-pink streaks ran throughout. Her eyes were a lighter brown than Miki's, and instead of glinting with annoyance or anger, hers glinted with something that would've looked evil on anyone but her.

As for myself...well, I didn't think I was all that special. (You know what they say: "You're your own harshest critic.") I had thick, brown hair (with blonde highlights) that had been layered, and just brushed my shoulders. Purple streaks were arranged just so among the layers. I had bangs across my forehead that I was constantly blowing or brushing out of my face. Mom had never liked it when I'd had bangs across my forehead. She'd said it hid too much of my "pretty face." I think the only thing I liked about my face were my eyes. My eyes were a blue-green, and I liked them very much.

My friends had many words to describe me. Fun. Caring. Awesome. Optimistic. Empathatic (I could feel the emotions of people around me). I tried to be all of those things, but that was sometimes hard. I was very sensitive and teared up over the littlest things. I could be stubborn, and refuse to budge. I had a habit of hiding my feelings from everyone (except my best friends, who could read me like a book). I usually hid anger, or sadness, or disapproval, or fear. But give me any positive emotion, and you'll know I'm feeling it. I jumped up and down when I was happy. Danced when I was really happy. And I had a laugh that Sachiko called "contagious."

It wasn't that I was unhappy with who I was (though I sometimes felt that way). I believed, more than most anything, that everyone should be happy with who they are and what they're born with. It's not like we can go back to some store and return our nose because it's too small or return our eyes because we don't like the color. I guess I just...found it hard to believe the (few) compliments people gave me. It was mostly on my clothes, which I didn't wear much because of our uniforms for school.

Getting back to school, let me tell you about the day when everything changed. Again.

We finished our showers, blow-dried our hair (the school was bustling by then; no one would hear), and sneaked out to blend in with the other students. Sachiko hurried off to get to the middle school (just down the street from the high school), and Miki and I went to our lockers.

"Think anyone saw?" Miki asked quietly.

"I don't think so," I whispered back.

"Good," she said. "'Cause if they had, I'd beat them so bad, it'll hurt to remember." I looked at her and she sighed. "I'm trying my best, Kiku."

"I know," I said quietly.

After the accident, Miki had lost a lot of control over her outbursts, and they became more and more frequent. Sachiko and I understood her reasons, and we just tried to calm her down as best we could.

The rest of the day passed as any ordinary day would've. We picked up Sachiko on our way to work, and then went to the office building. We worked late that night, and it was all we could do to get back to our tent by the stream. We went in, zipped up the door, and went to sleep.

No, that wasn't the day that everything changed. The day after that... Just keep reading...