I give you chapter nine. I never thought I'd take this story so far. But don't worry, the ending is only a couple chapters away. So bear with me. Love you all!

Tohru was pouring a cup of tea when she heard the doorbell chime. Scrambling down the hall, Tohru clumsily made her way to the door. Smoothing her skirt, she cautiously opened the door. The girl perked at once.

"Ah! Mitchan! Come in!"

Tohru stepped out of the way as Shigure's frazzled editor stepped into the foyer. In her hands lay a bundle of flowers with a hastily-tied pink ribbon wrapped around the green stems.

"Hello Tohru, it's so good to see you."

"Ah! Yes! It is lovely to see you, Mitchan! Can I get you some tea?"

Mitchan looked like she was going to refuse, but then she glanced out the window at the powdery clumps of snow that had swallowed up the world. She thought about the long walk down the icy driveway to her dilapidated old van that she had been meaning to replace for years. Mitchan could see herself shivering inside her car, desperately trying to start the engine, (which worked about sixty percent of the time,) fingers shaking from the knuckle-biting cold. Suddenly, a steaming cup of tea didn't sound like such a bad idea.

"Yeah," She smiled, turning to face Tohru. "Tea would be great."

Tohru poured Mitchan a cup of tea and pushed it towards her. She picked up her own cup and took a sip of the soothing beverage.

"So, what brings you here today, Mitchan?"

"Oh yes!" Mitchan's voice lost all cheer. She repressed a tiny sniffle. "I brought flowers for Kisa. I would have brought them to her myself, but I didn't know which hospital she was at, or which room. I'm so sorry, Tohru. About all of this. I really am."

"Oh. Yes. Of course." Tohru's mind went off in space for a moment. She finally snapped back to reality, forcing the corners of her mouth upwards and into a smile. "That's very kind of you, Mitchan! I'll take them to the hospital soon! And really, don't feel bad about not knowing where to deliver the flowers. I know you've been very busy editing Shigure's new manuscript."

Mitchan froze.

"Shigure's new manuscript?" The editor laughed nervously and unnaturally loudly. "But he's not working; he's taken time off to be there for Kisa. He's left with you, Kyo, and Yuki."

Tohru's brow furrowed in confusion.

"What do you mean? He had to stay behind at the house to finish the manuscript in time for the big deadline. That's what he said to us before we left."

Mitchan was quiet for a moment. Then she suddenly stood up and smiled at Tohru.

"Well, I'll be going now. Thanks for the tea, Tohru."

"Oh yes!" Tohru exclaimed. "Drive safe, the roads are getting really icy."

"Yeah. I'll see you later."

Mitchan made her way down the driveway with gritted teeth. It was so obvious. Why hadn't she seen it before? Shigure? Being honest? Yeah right.

"That's just like him," she muttered darkly as she yanked open the door of the old van. "To double cross everyone to get out of a little work." She fumbled around in an old handbag for her car keys. "Still, this is a new low." She jammed the keys in the key hole and prayed that the engine with start. With a roar it came to life and Mitchan backed out of the driveway. "Pretending to be visiting his dying family member, but the whole time, he was probably goofing off at the house! Probably watching T.V., and eating bonbons!"

Mitchan took off down the road, heading towards Shigure's house with a look that could kill.

Hatsuharu was suspicious. The gears in his mind were churning, because something was definitely off. The ox of the zodiac sat on his bed, reclining on a pillow, feet dangling over the edge, trying to piece last Monday's events together:

It all started when Haru had remembered that he had left the 'get well balloon' he had bought for Kisa in Hatori's car. Sheepishly, he trudged into the bitter cold and across the parking lot. By the time he had reached Hatori's car, his fingers were numb, feeling more like packed ice than fingers. Haru couldn't properly grip the car door, but managed to retrieve the balloon, clutching it in a death grip. The blush pink balloon bobbed cheerfully over his head, sailing in the light breeze. He shuttered and rubbed his hands together. Winter was far too long for his taste. He wearily pushed away all thoughts of warm weather, because wishful thinking was not going to turn back time, and transport him back to happy summer days when everything was alright.

That's when he heard the shout.

The world seemed to freeze in shock at that moment, all noises muted aside from the scream that seemed deafening and gargantuan. After a pause, the world started turning again. Sound flooded back into Haru's ears. A dog barking. A car alarm howling in the distance.

Haru bolted towards the shout. Tailing the sound, he came across an alley, a gap between the hospital and its neighbor. Ducking behind a dumpster, Haru peeked into the dim alley, hands tightening into a fist when he saw Takashi standing over Hiro, in mid sentence.

"-you won't. Because you know it's your fault."

Haru was now positive that it was Hiro who had shouted. His mind spun. He was trying to connect the dots, but the facts were befuddling, it was like trying to understand Yiddish. Nothing made sense. What was Hiro's fault? What was going on?

"I've got your back, little guy," he thought helplessly as Hiro got onto his knees. The boy was blinking back tender tears as the first drops of pain leaked from his eyes. As Hiro was wiping a combination of dirt, snot, and tears from his face with the sleeve of his jacket, Takashi strode down the alley with an emotionless expression. It was as if the guy couldn't hear Hiro moaning behind him. Or as if he couldn't feel the sadness that had been weighing down on everyone for days. Hatsuharu was milliseconds away from bursting out of his hiding place and knocking the sense out of Takashi. He seethed with anger, trying to suppress the raging black side that was taking over. In a last wild attempt at holding back the attack that would surely land Takashi in intensive care, Haru plopped down on the ground and knotting his limbs together in a desperate attempt at a human straight jacket.

After Hiro had finally gotten to his feet and started the long trek home, Haru unfurled his legs and sat rocking back and forth on his heels for what seemed like an age. A universe of thoughts swirled around in his brain, but four stood out like blood on snow.

First, Takashi, the little rat, was behind everything, somehow.

Second, Hiro was somehow tangled up the whole mess. But how?

Third, he was so not qualified to deal with this.

And last, Kisa was pushed to suicide.

Now, Haru hopped off his bed and walked down the hallway. He was going to deal with the issue immediately. He was simply going to talk to Hiro. To demand the truth. Haru quickened to his pace. He reached Hiro's door and stood firmly in front of it for a moment, one hand on the door knob. Composing himself, Haru stepped in without knocking.

Hiro whirled around, startled. He was sitting on a swivel chair, playing a computer game.

"Hey Haru. Did you want-"

"Hiro." Haru said sharply. "What do you know about Kisa's suicide?"

Chapter 10 will arrive soon, I promise! Thanks for reading!