Good GOD, it's been a while since I've updated this story, hasn't it? Well, guys, I took a few steps back, re-evaluated this story and now I feel ready to continue it, starting with this chapter.

Heads up guys, fanfiction(dot)net's document reader is FUCKING UP MY STORY'S FORMAT AGAIN. (Oh my! I am totally surprised at this completely uncalculated turn of events! I did not see this coming...NOT!!!) This time, the stupid lines aren't appearing where I place them. I beg you to extend patience and bear with me because I CAN'T STAND THEM EITHER.

You know, I actually WOULD email fanfiction(dot)net support if it would do me any good, but those assholes never reply back to me.

Chapter 3: The School Cat

Riku remembered his first lesson very well, even though he had been only four-years-old at the time. His father lifted him up and carried him out to the gardens. The nocturnal flowers opened themselves up to the full moon and filled the night air with their luscious scent. The garden was one of Riku's earliest memories. That, and the wall that surrounded their home.

"Our people began as gifted individuals of the hunter-gatherer tribes who were very in tuned with the beasts and nature and acknowledged them as their superiors in hunting," his father said. He winced as his son pulled on his hair and chuckled. His father went on with the story, just as his father had done, and his father before him, and his father before him and so on.

"Then one day, a very distraught human prayed fervently to the moon goddess, asking her to transform him into a tiger so that he may catch their speedy prey. The moon goddess took pity on him, touched him with her grace, and thereby gave him the knowledge to change into another animal at will. With his new ability, the man lived a very long and prosperous life. That man taught his wife and his son how to shape-shift into animals, and when the son was old enough, he taught his wife and children, and when his children were old enough, they in turn taught their families and so our people were created and prospered into a Kingdom."

Sephiroth looked down at him. "Do you understand, Riku?"

"Yes, father."

From there, Riku found himself thinking of the elegant chair in his father's study. He recalled the prestigious off-white colors of the walls, the baroque décor Sephiroth favored, and paintings of the previous heads of the Silver Moon House which surrounded the room. The desk was massive, and its color matched the scheme of the room. It faced the window (which gave a charming view of the gardens and the loathsome, beautiful wall), was located opposite of the door, and surrounded by shelves of books.

To the right of his father's desk, there was always that elegant chair. It was in that chair that Riku learned more than his accomplished tutors could ever teach. Because every day after all his lessons and training, Riku sat in that spot and Sephiroth spoke to him about the ways of patience, cunning, strategy, the duties of the head of the household, and the psychology of minds—human and skinwalker alike. Here and there his father would speak to him of old magics, like the castle, the old an elegant relic of the skinwalker's former Kingdom, and the wall which - were supposed to - keep them safe. Sometimes his father would regale Riku with stories of their ancestors and his childhood; whatever Sephiroth wanted to talk about, the silver-haired teen hung onto his every word.

It was strange thinking of his previous teachings on the morning of his first day of human school. It made Riku sad, pondering about his lessons and how proud his parents had been of him. He had only been a year-old when he attained a partial transformation; Riku had changed his nose into a domestic cat's. It was completely unheard of for such a young infant to even attempt a shifting. By two years, Riku could completely change into another animal at will. His mother and father had been so happy; their son was a natural.

Riku made his way to the Gaming Axis, which wasn't very far from Twilight Town High. Kadaj handed him his uniform and backpack, and the silver-haired teen went into the back offices to change.

"How do I look?" Riku asked Demyx as he stepped out. The sandy-blond had offered to help Riku get ready for class and drive him to school as his college classes didn't usually start until about 10:00 AM. Zexion wasn't able to come, but he sent his best regards.

"Not bad, not bad…" Demyx said, nodding.

The college student's fingers were at Riku's tie. "That's too tight," he murmured. "Let's give your intended something nice to look at." He loosened the silver-haired teen's tie and undid one button.

"There we go!" Demyx said happily. His face turned serious. "Okay! Zexy told me you've never been to a real school before so here's the down-low."

"The what?" Riku asked. But the older skinwalker moved on.

"The important thing is to stay cool and act normal," Demyx explained. "There are probably gonna be some assholes who might bother you 'cause you're new."

"Ah, yes, the usual human custom…" the silver-haired teen said pensively, thinking of the many school-related dramas he watched once he figured out how to use Sora's TV.

"Yup," the older skinwalker chirped. "You can kick their asses if you want, but don't make a big show of it. Play up the victim—wait for them to make the first move and then attack with a flourish. Got it?"

"Yeah," Riku nodded.

"Oh, and about wooing: don't try too hard," the mullet-mohawked skinwalker emphasized. "You can't just walk up to Sora and hit on him. He has a boyfriend. He'll get defensive and think you're a manwhore. Not good. So…" Demyx's eyes gleamed playfully at this point, "catch his eye, introduce yourself, and maybe show off here and there. But let him come to you. That's very important. Okay?"

"Okay." Riku nodded again.

"Any questions?"

This time the younger skinwalker shook his head. He was certain that human high school couldn't be that hard. He watched enough TV. How different from real life could it be?

"Great! Here's some lunch money, and…" Demyx patted him on the back sportingly, nearly giving the teen whiplash. "Let's get going, Tiger!"


"Of course it was natural that our people would branch out and favor certain animals due to many factors, the most common is the environment and the second is the certain traits the coveted animal carries. While it's true that each skinwalker can change into whatever creature he or she wishes, transforming into the favored animal of the House is easier. I'm sure you've noticed, Riku, that changing into a bird is more trying than changing into a tiger or a cat for you.

"I believe that this phenomenon occurred over time. As the members of a House continued to change into the particular creature of that House, it became easier. And when they bore children, it became easier for them, and so on and so forth until changing into the House animal became second nature to its members. Interesting, no?

"But I am wandering. Let's start on the Houses: there's the House of the Cerulean Moon, who favor the shark because that house sprang in the maritime. Good people—adaptive. Well, I suppose you have to be when you deal with the sea. I believe the current House animal is the bullshark - notice I say current - an animal that has the ability to survive in salt and fresh water."

"Who's that?" one girl whispered. "I've never seen him before!"

"Oh, that's the new transfer student!" her friend whispered back. "Riku Yorushi, I think his name was. I heard he passed the entrance exam with top marks!"

"He's dreamy…"

"We should say hi…"

Thirty minutes into his first day, and Riku was already annoyed with the constant mutterings around him, which he only caught because of his cursed enhanced hearing. It was irritating going about his business pretending he didn't hear every girl and homosexual boy commenting about his backside, but at least Marluxia was able to place Riku in most of Sora's classes. That was a definite plus. The pink-haired skinwalker raised no suspicion concerning the main branch member's request, either because Kadaj informed him of Riku's intentions or he was indifferent about the situation. In any case, Riku was grateful for the lack of probing.

Marluxia had met him at the entrance. He had given him a brief tour of the school, showed him the bathrooms, the lunchroom ("I do apologize that the meals aren't up to your accustomed standards," Marluxia said), the gymnasium, the library and finally his locker. After demonstrating how the metal contraption worked, the pink-haired skinwalker guided him to his first class. He explained that Riku would have to introduce himself to the classroom each period, and that he had to turn in the slip of paper to the office after all his teachers signed it.

"If at any time you are confused about the protocols of school life, Riku, please don't hesitate to call me," the pink-haired skinwalker said with a slight bow of his head.

"Thank you, Marluxia," the seventeen-year-old replied, though he speculated that he wouldn't need it. Riku was certain that the time spent watching high-school dramas on the Hikari's TV would serve him well.

When the skinwalker walked into class, the chatter that could be heard outside the room died down a bit. Riku pretended not to notice as he stood by the teacher's desk. In the corner of his eye, he saw Sora in his seat by the window, surrounded by his friends Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie. The skinwalker was able to recognize them because sometimes the brunet often brought them over to his house. Riku's heart raced, and he had this strong urge to scurry to himout of feline habit.

"Riku Yorushi," the seventeen-year-old announced himself, saying his alias fluidly. Luxord Doyle, a thirty-year-old British man with short, blond hair and piercings, glanced up at him.

"Ah, the new transfer," he said. He placed his papers aside and turned to the class.

"Students!" he called. "We have a new addition to our class today. Try not to frighten him off, eh?"

A scattered chuckle rose from the class. Luxord gestured for Riku to introduce himself.

"Good morning," he said. "My name is Riku Yorushi." The skinwalker surveyed the class, quite surprised that there was no one who stood out as a smart-mouth, but street-smart, delinquent or a yankee[1] of some sort.

"And a little about yourself, if you please," the teacher prompted.

"Um," Riku thought for a moment. "I'm seventeen and this is my first time in a… public school." He had almost said "human school."

"Thank you, Mr. Yorushi. You can take your seat in the back and we'll begin." Luxord turned to the whiteboard and pulled off the top of a dry-erase marker. "Today we're starting conic sections. Now, who can tell me what a conic section is?"

Riku looked out the window as an excuse to catch a glimpse of Sora while he walked down the aisle. The teen hardly even noticed the male student with a beanie at his left slide out his foot. Any normal human wouldn't have noticed in time and tripped, undoubtedly humiliating himself. The silver-haired skinwalker's reflexes, however, were impeccable, and he hopped over the treacherous foot without batting an eyelash. He was even cool enough to throw a triumphant smirk at the fuming Beanie-Guy before continuing to seat.

Riku plopped into his chair, placed his backpack onto his lap, opened it and jammed his hand into the backpack to search for his books. Out of the corner of his eye, the silver-haired teen saw something white shift outside the window. He lifted his head and froze.

Loz, who had taken the form of a very fluffy, very fat cat, was staring back at him. Loz's cat-green eyes looked back at him for a moment before the older skinwalker raised a paw and waved at him.

"Mr. Yorushi," Luxord called. "Your undivided attention, if you please."

"Y-yes, sir," Riku said absentmindedly as he forced his gaze back to the front of the class.

"There's the House of the Golden Moon, who favor the dog and it's trademark loyalty. It's a remarkable trait, to be sure. Remember this, Riku, the Golden Moon will never betray each other and will always keep their word. They are good allies or terrible enemies. Our House has been lucky to have a good relation with them."

Sending Loz to spy on him was no doubt Kadaj's doing. Riku grinded his teeth in aggravation as he rushed out of class, determined to find the youngest of the trio and diplomatically ask him to leave.

Suddenly his intuition spiked just as Beanie-Guy rushed forward to ram him from his side. Riku stepped back. The belligerent classmate missed him completely and collided head-on into the lockers. The sound of body hitting metal emanated loudly in the hallways, causing several students to stop.

Riku had thought for sure that a human hitting the lockers at that kind of speed would surely do some damage. Much to his bitter amusement, however, Beanie-Guy glared at him and growled, apparently unscathed.

'Fascinating,' Riku thought to himself tonelessly.

"Dodgy little punk, aren't you, New Kid?" the angry teen said.

"I just have a high sense of self-preservation and a fixation with keeping my social integrity intact," Riku replied, coolly.

Beanie-Guy looked a bit confused.

"Do you want me to repeat that in smaller words?" Riku offered with a disarming smile. The group of students around them snickered.

"Shut up!" the other adolescent slammed his fist into the lockers angrily.

Just as the silver-haired teen was about to reply, someone placed a hand on Riku's shoulder.

"Break it up, Seifer," came a voice. "Or I'll call a teacher over."

Seifer gritted his teeth, as if he were weighing the consequences of continuing the confrontation. Finally, he turned heel and stalked off.

Riku turned to see who had intervened. She was a teenage girl about his height, with short, gray-silver hair, red eyes, and pale skin. Her uniform was adorned with several gothic crosses and leather straps. Oddly enough, her scent was familiar to him, but before Riku could figure out why, she spoke up.

"It hasn't even been half a day," the girl said with a small, amused smile, "and you've already made an enemy, my Lord." She added the title quietly.

It took Riku moments to recognize who she was and he nearly slapped himself for not realizing sooner.

"Paine!" he cried happily, throwing his arms around his cousin. "I haven't seen you in ages!"

The tardy bell rang, but neither skinwalker noticed.

"You have no idea how glad I am to see you," Riku said, beyond relief as he pulled away.

Paine smiled back. "Here, I'll walk you to your next class."


"When we heard about what happened in the main house, we immediately headed to Radiant Garden," she explained as they walked. "When no one could find you, we thought that you…" She chanced a glance at him.

"Almost," Riku said grimly. He looked up at her, almost too afraid to ask his next question. "What of my mother and father?"

Paine stopped walking and swallowed the knot in her throat. "The main house was set aflame, more thank likely due to your father to ensure that neither his or your mother's body could be collected by those vile hunters..." she snarled, too angry to finish the sentence. Riku felt a spring of rage well up inside his own heart, too.

"We buried their remains we could find at Uncle Ansem's estate," Paine continued. "It was a lovely funeral. All the houses attended, among others. The mortician suggested that we set up a coffin for you." She snarled quietly. "I nearly tore his tongue out."

Riku smiled. "You have my thanks."

"I said, nearly tore his tongue out."

"No, not for that," the silver-haired teen chuckled. "For believing that I was still alive."

Paine grinned back. "I know you're tougher than that, Riku."

The light-haired skinwalker continued on. "So the cadet branches of our house were went to other towns to scout for you. I requested to be sent here. Kadaj, Yazoo, Loz had always been close to Lord Sephiroth. I figured if there was any place you'd go, it'd be where they were. Where have you been? Kadaj didn't even tell us!"

"I've been in one of Kadaj's safe-houses, out of the public's eye," the silver-haired teen lied, feeling an uncomfortable pit burrow into his stomach. "We wanted to be more cautious." His dropped his gaze downward. "I'm sorry."

Paine punched his arm lightly. "Don't apologize for that," she said quietly.

Riku opted to change the subject. "When's your lunch period?" he asked.

"Fourth period," she replied.

The silver skinwalker's heart sank. His was sixth period.

"Don't worry about it," Paine said, offering him a smile. "I'll meet you after school. We'll catch up then."

"There's also the House of the Celadon Moon, who are quite partial to the reptiles. They are cunning, tricky people. I, myself, prefer not to get involved with them unless necessary. Dealings with the Celadon Moon tend to be… a double-edged sword."

Excluding the heated glares Seifer sent his way, the morning passed by without any activity. Riku took Demyx's advice and kept his distance from Sora, though he did notice that the brunet often glanced at him. He felt happy that he was getting the brunet's attention, at least. It was one small step toward his objective.

At lunchtime, Riku stifled his hunger and prowled the school grounds to track down Loz. His search eventually took him to the roof. Riku followed his nose to the shadow cast by the roof's entrance and found Loz the fat, white cat lounging on his stomach.

/Hi, Riku,/ Loz greeted lazily, speaking in the skinwalker's speech that fell deaf to human ears.

Riku stalked up to him, intend on asserting every advantage his main branch member status could muster. "Loz, I want you to go home right now," he ordered.

/Can't…/ Loz yawned and rolled over on his back, /Kadaj told me to watch you this week./

"I am perfectly capable of handling myself—wait, this week?" Riku almost roared.

Much to his content surprise, Sora's head poked out of the doorway. "Excuse me," the brunet began, "Sorry, but students aren't allowed—oh!" He cut himself off as he set eyes on Riku and his face lit up with a smile. "Hey! Riku Yorushi, right?"

"Y-yeah," Riku barely managed to reply. His heart leaped up to his chest as Sora approached him.

The human's eyes fell on Loz. Sora gasped in delight. "Is that your cat?" he asked, though he didn't wait for an answer before continuing. "He's so cute! Can I pet him?"

"Of course." For the first time today, Riku was glad his cousin had tagged along, and he finally realized there was some truth in what those loathsome, sleazy men on the TV shows said. Cute animals really were a magnet for attractive people. Who'd have thought it?

Sora plucked the fat cat from the ground and held him tightly with delight. Loz grunted.

"So what's this little guy's name?" the brunet asked.

"Uh…" The silver-haired teen gathered all the creative power he could muster. "…Fluffy."

Loz's ears flattened in disapproval. /That's mean, Riku…/ he objected.

"Cute name," Sora said. "You know, I have a cat too."

"Oh? Really?" The silver-haired teen feigned ignorance.

"Yeah, his name's Riku, just like yours. Isn't that weird?"

Riku laughed as calmly as he could. "That is."

Sora squeezed Loz one last time before letting the cat down. Loz glanced at Riku for a moment before scampering off to give the younger skinwalker some privacy, which was gratefully appreciated.

"You know, you remind me of my cat a lot," Sora said offhandedly.

"Do I?" Riku replied, vaguely.

"Yeah." The brunet came close and eyed his hair. "Your hair's the same color. And I think your eyes are, too."

Riku felt his face heat up and his heart rate skyrocket. He could touch Sora if he wanted to. He had dreamt of touching the brunet's face with his own hands for so long. Maybe for a second he could…

"You can't hit on him," Demyx's words came back, breaking through his thoughts. "He'll think you're a manwhore."

"I'm sorry," Sora apologized when he saw the silver-haired teen's downtrodden face. "I know it's kinda weird for me to come up here and suddenly compare you to my cat. I mean, I don't even know you and you're new here and—"

"It's fine, Sora." Riku said, with a soft laugh.

The brunet tilted his head sideways. "I don't remember telling you my name," he said.

The skinwalker quickly sought to cover his slip-up. "Really? I could have sworn you said it a while ago."

"Oh." Sora's eyes glanced upwards thoughtfully, expression shifting into what Riku recognized as his thinking face. A moment later Riku's stomach asserted its need for food in a scandalously loud rumble.

The human giggled. "Wanna grab something to eat?" he asked.

"I'd love to," Riku said quickly, hardly hiding his eagerness. He couldn't help it. He was making progress so fast.

"Cool." The silver-haired teen shot Loz a dirty look before he and Sora headed to the cafeteria in a leisurely pace.

"So I think we have Advanced Mathematics, Physics, English and History together, right?" the human asked.

"Yeah." Riku was going to mention that they also had Biology 3 together, but he realized that they hadn't been to that class yet.

"I saw Seifer try to trip you," the brunet said with a scowl. "He's such a dick."

Riku tripped over his own feet when Sora dropped the vulgar word, but he quickly regained his balance.

Sora continued on without noticing. "Just because you're new he thinks he can push you around. Hey, your face is red. Are you all right?"

"Fine, fine," the skinwalker said a bit too quickly.

'I just never knew you had such a crude vocabulary…' Riku thought to himself. And yet for some strange reason, the thought of Sora using dirty language was actually… kind of sexy.

Sora's eyes widened as he remembered that it was Riku's first time at a public school. "Oh my Go—gosh! You're a sheltered private Catholic school kid, aren't you?" he said, panicking. "Oh shit—I mean, crap! I mean… Oh, no…" The human buried his face in his hands. "I've scarred you for life, haven't I?"

"No, no, I'm all right," Riku said, waving it off.

"Aside from the fact that I weirded you out and traumatized you within the first thirty minutes of our friendship."

The silver-haired teen laughed. "The good thing about friendships is that you don't have to be perfect," he said. "But just for the record: no, I'm not a sheltered private Catholic school kid. I was just home-schooled."

"Ooh, home-schooled," Sora repeated in awe. "So this must be a real transition for you, then."

Riku nodded. "It's certainly different."

"Well, that's cool," the brunet said, easily slipping back into his easy-going demeanor. "Anyway, if Seifer ever gives you trouble again, I'll come and help you."

"Thanks," the skinwalker flashed a smile.

"Ah, the House of the Vermillion Moon, a grandiose group of families who favor the bird. Like the bird they enjoy freedom and movement. They have never given us trouble, though they prefer to keep to their own business and stay out of ours. If you barter with them, do not expect them to give too much. Oh, they will keep their word, rest assured, but they prefer to be the party who loses the least and gains the most out of any contract, more so than any of the other Houses."

The rest of the school day passed by uneventfully and the silver-haired teen soon found himself exiting his last class a bit disappointed. The televised dramas made high school seem so… action-packed. He half-expected a sort of modern-day anarchy with social traps, pregnant teenagers, vicious fights between girls, gangs, and pranks-gone-wrong. However, now that Riku thought about it, he figured the school was better off without them.

In all, public school wasn't so bad. The only class that disturbed him at all was his Physical Education class. Not the activities, but the fact that they had to change in front of each other. Luckily, Riku was exempted from changing today as his P.E. outfit had yet to come in. Even though the skinwalker had watched enough TV at Sora's house to know how P.E. in schools worked, the fact that he would eventually have to dress out in front of everyone made him anxious. Though, he was fascinated with how the class seemed so comfortable changing in a room full of other people.

The changing classes, teachers, and the hustle and bustle of students around him left Riku pleasantly unsettled. It was stark contrast to his old, static study room in the quiet atmosphere of his Radiant Garden. Not that the silver-haired teen really found anything wrong with that, at least that's what he thought back then, before he came here and realized how enclosed his existence was. While he was learning how to become the next head of the Silver Moon House he missed the nonsensical, whimsical things of the human world like TV, radio, computers, internet, and people in general.

His singular heritage gave him access to superior education, but it also shut him away from the world, locked him behind prestigious white walls to keep him safe. Outside of that bubble, even in this rather average-looking school facility, Riku felt freer here.

Paine found him once last period ended. She looked ecstatic.

"Seifer really hates you," she said with a reserved, but gleeful, smile. "I'd be worried about you if you were a regular human."

Riku barked out a laugh. "He really has a one-track mind, doesn't he?"

"Shall I get rid of him for you?" Paine looked a bit too eager to help. "A lynx attack might be rather far-fetched but certainly not unheard of."

The silver-haired teen almost—almost—conceded. "No," he answered. "I walk among humans now and I will solve my problems on human terms. But I thank you for the delightful image of Seifer being mauled by an animal." He grinned.

His cousin grinned back. "So how was your first day of school?" she asked.

Riku shrugged. "All right. Though I expected a bit more excitement. I thought for certain I'd meet a yankee[1] or at least an emo. I've always wanted to meet one! Emos are so strange, aren't they Paine? I've yet to grasp why even though they're so adverse to the world they elect to be vegan."

Paine raised an eyebrow. "What kind of shows has Kadaj been letting you watch?" she asked. "You do know that most of the things they broadcast on TV aren't true, right?"

"So every school isn't equipped with an impeccable band that's at the beck and call of a glee club and has the ability to play requested songs in an instant?" [2] Riku questioned, down-trodden.

The light-haired girl gave him a peculiar look that made his cheeks flush red with embarrassment.

"I think it's within your best interest to stop watching TV, Riku," was all she said.

They talked for a while longer as Riku waited for Kadaj. The silver-haired teen spoke of his journey briefly (careful to leave out Sora) and encouraged Paine to talk more about their family.

"How's Aunt Lulu doing?" he asked.

"Mother's doing well," the light-haired girl replied. "Her collection of dolls is as vast as ever. She's going to throw a fit when she finds out you've been safe this entire time. Mother's been worried sick about you."

Riku winced. "I saw what she did to Uncle Boris," he said, recalling an incident in which his uncle had accidentally broken one of her ancient and rare Chinese dolls. Lulu had set him on fire.

"You should prepare yourself," Paine advised with a flat look on her face. "Uncle Boris was lucky."

"Oh, Goddess…" Riku muttered, lowering his head and placing his palm to his temple in an attempt to calm an oncoming headache.

"Uncle Ansem has been heading our family," Paine went on. "Most of the Heads have given you up for dead. Are you planning on telling them you're alive soon?"

"Not yet," Riku explained. "I felt it best to keep myself hidden from them for the time being. The hunters who broke into our most coveted sanctuary must have access to someone powerful, someone among the Heads of the Houses." That wasn't a lie. Riku had come to those solid conclusions on his way to Twilight Town.

"They knew how to find my room, Paine. They entered my room," the seventeen-year-old said, his face clouding with fury. Since it housed the future of the Silver Moon bloodline, Riku's room was the most ingeniously guarded of Radiant Garden's rooms. It was sanctioned by magic that was laid down by first skinwalkers of legend when they were persecuted by the first hunters. It wasn't easy to find, let alone break into. "It's best to keep the Heads ignorant of my survival."

The light-haired girl nodded and went on. "Understood."

Riku took several deep breathes to control himself. In a grateful change, Paine talked about something else. "Oh, I heard Zexion's in college already."

"Yes, I've seen him. He tutored me for the entrance exam."

"Ah, how is he?"

"He's doing well. He's sharing an apartment with Demyx, another skinwalker."

"I've never heard him before. What's his family name?"

"Ross. Of the Golden Moon."

"Ah," she tilted her head to the side a bit as she recalled the family.

A bright red Lotus Elise drove up in front of the school. The window rolled down to reveal Kadaj at the steering wheel.

"Hey! Riku!" he called, waving his arm wildly to catch his cousin's attention.

The silver-haired teen sighed. If the ostentatious car didn't turn heads, the older skinwalker's obnoxious yelling surely did. Together, Riku and Paine headed to the car.

"Hey," Kadaj greeted the light-haired girl. "Didn't know you went to this school."

"Didn't know Riku was alive until this morning, thank you very much," Paine countered rather spitefully. She turned to the Riku. "See you tomorrow, my Lord."

"Paine, I already said—" the silver-haired teen began to protest but Paine interrupted him.

"Humor me," she said. "I didn't think I'd ever be able to call you that again."

The light-haired girl opened the door for him.

"Thanks," Riku said. He grinned at her. "See you tomorrow."

He shut the door and Kadaj steered the car away from the sidewalk and into traffic.

"So, how was your first day of class?" Kadaj asked his cousin.

"Great," Riku answered brightly. "Aside from the fact that you sent Loz to follow me," he added acidly.

"What? Was he being too obtrusive?" The older skinwalker glanced up at the rearview mirror to catch Riku's gaze. "Hmmm… maybe I'll send Yazoo next time—"

"I don't want you to send anyone!" the teen protested.

"I allowed you go to a human school; I didn't say anything about letting you go unsupervised."

The main branch member opened his mouth to protest but Kadaj shot him a look that clearly stated the argument was over.

"And, of course, there is our House, the House of the Silver Moon. We are the first family of skinwalkers. We are direct descendents of the first human who was touched by the grace of the Moon Goddess. Have great pride, Riku. The Heads of the Houses look to the Head of the Silver Moon House. One day, that will be you."

Extra: The Thing About Names

Riku twitched his tail in aggravation as he glanced up at Sora.

"Hmmm…" the brunet placed a fingertip to one side of his lip as he looked at a sheet riddled with potential names.

Fluffy, Mr. Meow, Tom, Scratches, Whiskers, Sherlock, Kenken—each had been met with a displeased meow from his new pet and crossed out. They had been at this for the last hour and brunet was right about at the end of his creativity streak.

Naturally, Riku was far more irritated at this tedious game than Sora was. Since he was posing as a regular cat, the skinwalker certainly couldn't say, "My name is Riku!" outright.

"Are you sure you don't like 'Kenken'?" the brunet asked, turning to his pet with a dubious look. "I like 'Kenken.'"

Riku wrinkled his nose and did his best to make his feline face look offended. It looked like Sora got the message.

"Fine," he sighed in defeat, unable fathom why his cat was being so picky.

Figuring that now would be the time to start his homework, the brunet opened his laptop and turned it on. Sora heaved his heavy history book onto his desk, opened up a new document and set to work on writing a paper on the history of Deep Jungle.

Riku watched in fascination. He had never seen a computer up close before. Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz had talked about them once and he had seen some, but they had never brought one to Riku. The skinwalker observed as Sora typed and deleted and sighed. Then, after catching on, an idea came to him. Riku rose up from his haunches and pawed a few choice keys.

"Hey!" the brunet protested. "You pesky cat!" He shooed the cat off his laptop. Letting out an irritated mewl, Riku leaped off the desk completely and sought refuge on top of Sora's bed.

The brunet sighed and turned back to his screen.


The name stared back at him on the nearly blank document.

"Riku?" Sora read aloud.

The silver cat meowed in approval. The human stared at him, an amused smile tugging his lips. "So it's Riku, huh? That's what you want?"

Riku meowed again.

Sora beamed. He was positively ecstatic that his cat had somehow managed to choose his own name. "Riku!" he cooed. "Come here, Riku!"

[1] Yankee: a delinquent who usually dies his/her hair blonde, dresses really sloppy, sleeps around, and plucks out their eyebrows. Apparently this is Japanese students think that Americans look like that. And let me tell you non-American readers, I've lived in the US for well over a decade and I have NEVER seen anyone who fits this profile (at least not to the T.) Maybe up more up North of the US?

[2]"So every school isn't equipped with an impeccable band that's at the beck and call of a glee club and has the ability to play requested songs in an instant?" Glee reference!!! XD For those of you who are face-palming, don't worry. I gave up on Glee at the third season. The Klaine ship tanked, man. The Klaine ship tanked.

I've started to realize that I've sort of characterized Sora like Fin from Glee. An idiot who's somehow the center of attention of everyone. Hahaha! XD

Sorry this chapter wasn't very exciting. :/ Well, if this story goes the way I want it to go, it should - keyword "should" - culminate into something more exciting soon.

Also guys! Please check out my Cookie Jar compilation! Yes, this is a shameless plug to one of my stories. I'm sad because I actually think the last two chapters were pretty good, but no one seems to like them (if the review count is anything to go by.) :( Yeah, some of the other one-shots are crappy, but once in a while I do something good! Honest!

- See your next chapter!

|Corrosive Moon|