How long has it BEEN, people? I-I'm really sorry I let it go this long, guys... I haven't felt motivated and I haven't been in a Furuba mood for a LONG LONG LONG time. I'm still not exactly, but I'm working on it! I did part of my Akito story yesterday, so hopefully I'm getting on track.

One announcement: congratulations to hoppybunny98 for winning my contest! It was way past the deadline, but she was the only one who even entered soooo I decided to give her the prize. She will have a character who is involved with Shigure in here soon! Not yet, but soon... *pulls out magical device of plotting power* BEHOLD. XD

Also, PLEASE READ THE AUTHOR'S NOTE AT THE BOTTOM. It has some important info.

On with the story! I'm really really sorry, guys, and I know it's still really bad because it's kind of a filler chap... but I still hope you enjoy it!

With this heart, I will try to save you from yourself.

Nancy had stopped counting the days since Akito had put her in this "dungeon". It felt like an eternity, but at the same time it felt like she'd barely been in here an hour. She amused herself by tracing over the walls like she was trying to draw, but any sane person would say she needed to be committed to a mental hospital.

Her most frequent visitor was Shigure, who was still trying unsuccessfully to woo her. He was so silly, showering her with mindless compliments and doing things that were supposed to be romantic but really weren't. Hatori sometimes came to her, but when he did all they ended up doing was staring at each other, like they wanted to say something but couldn't think of anything. They both knew, though, that the real reason was that if they said anything to each other they'd just wind up making each other mad. And nobody liked going to sleep mad.

Akito sure as hell never visited her. He probably didn't want to risk stepping out of that fucking sterile environment he'd locked himself up in. Sometimes she wished he would go out, step on a nail, get tetanus, and die. But then she reminded herself that she shouldn't wish things like that on anybody, even if the person in question was an evil asshole who'd spied on her daughter and trapped her in this stupid lightless room. He was actually smart not to come here, because she'd just punch him in his face the second she saw that pretty little mug.

Ayame also visited her often. Unlike Shigure he actually cared about her feelings genuinely. He didn't rain down false compliments, but if he thought something about her deserved a compliment he would give it. His compliments usually made her wince though, because he would start out by saying something nice and then give bad news. Last week it had been, "That's a very pretty shirt... by the way, I'm sorry but Akito hasn't changed his mind." The week before it was, "You know, your face looks so much better without make-up... oh, and before I forget things aren't going well with Ritsu and his friend without your food." And so on, and so on.

She had the feeling that today, when Ayame visited her, it wouldn't be any different. He'd say something about her hair, and then tell her that something was wrong.

He opened the door and poked his head in, almost nervously. Like a snake who was checking if there was any predators around. She was kind of disappointed that all the Sohma members seemed to act like their Zodiac animal so it was easy to guess what they were in the cycle. Oh well. "Nancy-chan? May I come in and talk to you?"

She shrugged, blowing out a breath and pushing her bangs up. "Anyone who wants to keep me company is welcome. Come to keep me company then?"

"For a while, I suppose." He walked in and shut the door before sitting down next to her and leaning against the wall. He had told her that he would have preferred to stand, if there wasn't a draft coming from the sides of the door, and that it wasn't as bad coming from the bottom. "Oh Nancy-chan! Are you doing something different with your hair? It looks so nice."

She rolled her eyes. Yup, that was Ayame "the Snake" Sohma, predictable as they came. "Stow it, Aya. If you haven't noticed my hair's sticking up in all directions and it's frizzy. It looks like I rubbed my head with a balloon. Why? Because Akito refuses to let me out of here. You'd think there was sushi in here if I didn't have perfume with me. Skip it and just bear the bad news."

He blinked a few times, then seemed to deflate a bit. With the little time she'd known him she'd managed to figure out his tell. "Oh, well... alright. Just don't shoot the messenger, okay?"

"Unless he's the one who caused it."

"It wasn't me this time! I swear!"

"Relax. I shot the sheriff, but I DID NOT shoot the deputy."

"You would if the gun had had more than one bullet. You would have shot the whole town."

"Wouldn'ta shot bad, bad Leroy Brown though."

"Because you already hog-tied him before shooting the sheriff."

"... True." Nancy reached over and played with his hair. "So, what is it?"

Ayame sighed before taking Nancy's hand in his. "I don't want you to get too upset, but... Yuki and Becca are in the middle of a... how should I say... a spat."

"A spat."

"Oh yes. And I must say it's affecting Yuki quite a lot, though I can't seem to reach Becca and ask how it's affecting her. But I assume she's suffering as well." He let out another sigh and shook his head. "I've never seen Yuki so upset over something, especially a girl. I don't know if it was something she said to him, or if it's the guilt of something he said to her..."

"Oh, it was her alright." Nancy played with her hair, letting out a deep sigh. "I know Becky, and if she gets riled up she can say some pretty nasty things. I have no doubt that Yuki is partly responsible, but I have a feeling Becky did most of the hurting." She sighed too. "But you're right. They've never fought before."

"Not like this, at least," he agreed. "We've got to do something and we've got to do it fast. Think of what they'd both be like if they broke up. Even I can see how perfect they are for each other, but they're both stubborn."

"I have no idea what to do. I've never been good with romance and the whole making up thing."

"Well, luckily for us it just so happens that I excel at it." He pushed some hair behind his ear. "The first step is to get them to know when enough is enough. They've never fought before, so they're going to need someone to tell them when it's time to kiss and make up."

"I agree wholeheartedly, Aya." She rested her chin on her knuckles, biting her lip. "But how? You said Becky's not answering her phone."

"Well, she did answer a few times, but as soon as I said 'Hi-hi, Becca', she just hung up on me." He shrugged. "She probably thinks Yuki put me up to it, and she's positively livid at him."

"Probably. She does hold grudges, especially against boys. So how are we going to get them to apologize to each other?"

"Ah, simple, my dear." Ayame stood up, a well-meaning but sinister grin adorning his lips. "We tug at their heartstrings with no mercy. We need someone who's on both their sides, one person."

Nancy raised an eyebrow. "And by this you mean...?"

"Huh." Ayame opened the door. "Nancy, darling, have you seen Momiji today...?"

Preview of Chapter 18


She looked at the clock, which read one-fourteen. She sighed and picked up the phone, not knowing who to expect. "Hello? Who is this and why are you calling me at one in the morning?"

She became slightly annoyed when she heard Momiji on the other end. "B-Becca-chan?"

She shook her head and blinked. "What is it, Momiji-kun?"

Her heart broke when she heard him sniffling on the other end. "I-I m-miss..." His voice broke, and he sobbed once before trying to speak again.

"When are you coming home, Becca-chan?"


1: Since nobody entered anything in my contest, I'm going to have another before the story is over. I'm not sure when it'll be, but the tentative date is sometime during the summer. It will be another drawing or fic contest, but this time the options are limited a bit more. Character choices for the winner are: Momiji, Akito, and Hatsuharu (because love triangles with this guy, Rin, and an OC are fun as hell.) Thanks for considering!


2: THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MESSAGE. So... what is UP, people? *cries* I haven't been getting reviews for this story when I update! It makes me feel unappreciated. It's one of the reasons I haven't been motivated to write. When I see reviews, I get happy. When I'm happy, I write. That is almost a math equation right there, so thank my trig teacher. SO, in light of this... IF I DO NOT RECEIVE AT LEAST 5 REVIEWS PER CHAPTER STARTING WITH THIS ONE, I WILL NOT UPDATE FOR LIKE A YEAR. (Probably exaggerating, but hey, whatever works.) So if you guys like this story and want to see it updated more often, PLEASE review. If you read it, or favorite it, or put it on our alert list, post a review! I don't mind how short it is, but I live off reviews.

Thanks guys, and thanks for waiting SOO DAMN LONG. I appreciate those of you who do.

And of course, I hope you enjoyed this chapter! ^^