"Ugh..", she groaned, her head felt like it was desperately trying to get itself split open her eyes felt as though they had been plastered together. Memory filtered back into the cracks of consciousness; her dreams.

What's with these weird-ass dreams? This damn manor is absolutely fucking my head up!

Her hand raised up to said head, gently rubbing at her temple as she groaned like a zombie to herself, "I should really ask someone about those.. maybe even the hag.. god, even thinking about asking her makes me want to hide under a rock.."

Natsuki started right after those words left her mouth because something had shoved her shoulder. Her hand flew up to her heart like she herself flew up into a sitting position, her eyes sprang open wide and she just about managed to keep herself from screaming.. sadly, she could not keep herself from emitting this tiny little 'eep' as the scream caught in the back of her throat. Her eyes caught the shape of a figure from the corner of her eye.

"Holy mother of fu - Shizuru? What in the.. " she had to stop because her brain needed to properly process what she was seeing. Shizuru. In.. this strange white room - whose room is this anyway? Everything's so... white.. and bright. Its clinic whites almost bleached her eyes! - the girl lay on her back with big red eyes staring at her.

She rubbed her eyes… "Okay. I'm dreaming again… and when I wake up I will be in my room, no white…"

Creaking the pasted tips of her eyes open she stared straight into red eyes…

What. The. Fuck.

Natsuki turned onto her side, her back now facing Shizuru.

Not happening. Just another crazy, crazy dream.. just sleep. Simply sleep. Don't think about stuff.. just sleep.

She buried her head deep into the fluffy pillows breathing clam and deep. The clean smell of linen and lavender washed over her, and regrettably made her more relaxed than she should have been. A vein was bulging on her forehead because she was having arguments in her head with herself. Her hand rubbed at it again, trying to soothe the oncoming headache because she really had enough stuff to worry about.. her head hurting as well would just make her even grumpier than she already was with everything going on.

There was another light shove on her shoulder, followed by another as she did not react immediately. She huffed and tried to shuffle further away from Shizuru without falling out of the bed. Another little shove was given and she had to grip the bed sheets to keep herself from falling onto the probably cold, hard floor - that girl really was way stronger than you'd expect.. and apparently stronger than she herself knew since that shove was almost painful.

And that was the pushover Natsuki did absolutely not need - she snapped.

"What the hell is wrong with you!", she barked as she simultaneously spun around, her eyes staring at Shizuru's... face inches from her own. "Oh for the love of -! STOP DOING THAT! At least have the goddamn curtsey to be at least a few inches away when I am yelling at you!" Natsuki was now breathing hard and deep, the outburst having cost her more energy than it usually should have. Her brows were furrowed, her mouth set into a deep scowl as she crossed her arms and waited for Shizuru to do as she asked.. or commanded.

For a few moments they stared into each others eyes. Neither willing to look away as if they would lose some sort of game if they did. Natsuki did her best to keep the swirling feelings of fear and hate out of her eyes.

It was almost as if Shizuru's eyes were magnets, endlessly deep, sucking her in. For a few seconds all was in a heated silence, the sound of a door handle creaking and clicking as the old frame screeched as the door cracked open.

The familiar click of a cane against the floor, as the oldest of the Kuga,s extravagant dress swept into view, Natsuki had never addressed this but it seemed as though her great aunt always dressed as though she were at a ball of a king or queen. Her old form seemed out of place in the flowing silk gown, as if she were trying to plaster herself into the past.

Her hawk like eyes gazed across the room, locking with the forms of both Shizuru and Natsuki. It was then that it occurred to Natsuki that this was not in fact her room.. But Shizuru's.

The clinic whites seemed almost as though this was the perfect room for the young girl, one she could almost blend into.

Shock of the situation she was in morphed her face into one of absolute horror at being found in her second cousins bed, she had no excuse, nor did she even remember why she was there.

Due to this she doesn't realise Shizuru's weight shift and fall upon her shoulders as the girl drapes her arms around Natsuki, looking straight into the sharp greens of Natsuki's great aunt.

Natsuki stiffened, her eyes darting back and forth between the silhouette of the old woman and the back of Shizuru's white dress. there was little help in resisting, she had already established how strong the girl was and pushing away the girls affection in front of her aunt did not strike her as the best idea.

Natsuki braced herself for some sort of scolding that was so sure to follow that incredulous look she had seen on her great aunts face upon entering the room. She held her breath as the hags eyes continued to swerve from Shizuru to herself and right back. It happened several times, and each time Natsuki thought she saw something strange in her great aunts eyes. Like.. like some sort of spikes behind them, though only directed towards herself. Shizuru was the favourite after all, it was glaringly obvious to her now.

But nothing came.

No scolding. No displeased sigh or wrinkle of the nose, nor a squinting of those still sharp eyes. Just the sound of deep breathing from her side where Shizuru still lay, sprawled across Natsuki in an awkward hug where one participant was not so sure as to what was going on.

The green eyed girl watched only. Watched the familiar, yet unfamiliar green eyes across the room. Something was not quite right, it seemed. It seemed so from the hags body language at least, and the unnerving stillness from the pale girl beside her. They both were staring at each other now, none of their eyes glancing away at something - or someone - else.

The older of the three of them, tilts her head in a kind of apology? Maybe? Then slowly backs out and away from the room. The door creeks shut, and the two of them are left in the cold silence of the dark morning. Shizuru's arms are still wrapped around Natsuki's shoulders and its as if she has no intention of letting go.

Shifting a little she throws her self off balance, sliding back. Due to the sudden shift, Shizuru's head and body move up, her lips pressing right to the hollow of Natsuki's neck…

Everything's cold.

All of a sudden her body is overrun with pain, bruises and scratches, bite marks and the dents of nails. Her body is made of rock, her eyes are plastered open, or maybe someone has used pins and pined her eye lashes to her eye brows in order to keep them open.

It feels as though someone is sticking a million tiny needles into every pore in her body.

Her throat is closing up making it impossible too scream that's why all that comes out is a broken spasm of vocal cords.

Before she even realised what happened, shizuru is on the floor and she is out the door, her bare feet slapping against the frozen floor, but she doesn't care, not any more, just as soon as she felt as though she remembered something its gone and now only the fear is left.

But the fear of what?

She did not know. Well, she did know.. she just had no idea how to explain it even to herself. Or maybe it was just so easy to explain that it became complicated to do so. It was all so confusing now because of a rapid hammering in her skull that appeared. Hadn't she just gotten rid of a headache? Why was it back already, she wondered. She could not do with the headaches interfering with her perception of this manor, it was all weird enough as it was without even trying to be. At least it was to her. Who knew what the others thought of the manor? Who even cared what they thought, they did not seem to care all that much about her and her thoughts, so why should she.

Shizuru.

Her name flicked across her mind for the fraction of a second. She would care in her own weird way, but it would be so weird to Natsuki that she would probably not recognize it for what it was, now would she?

Natsuki climbed out of the bed slowly, her feet clothed in simple white socks touching the ground after some seconds that just seemed to drag on. What was it that had her so scared, she wondered. Even if Shizuru was pretty scary - hell, even borderline terrifying at times - it could not simply be her, could it? Her feet carried her to the door through which the maroon-eyed girl had just fled. She shuddered, wondering how that girl could deal with the biting cold of the floor when even she herself felt as if she was getting frostbite just from standing on it while having socks on.

Well, those were not exactly the most appropriate socks, seemingly just a second skin above her own, but either way the floor was freezing her toes off.

She sighed, "..just how in the world is it that everyone but me is not bothered by this stupid, stupid manor and all these stupid mazes and the stupid things happening here." Another sigh broke free from between her lips as her feet seemed to drag her further into some part of the manor she could not recognize. How in the world did Kado find his way through here, or the hag? She wondered again, since both of them were already quite old, and she had always thought old people forgot things as the time went by. It made sense in her own head, that they should have forgotten the way by now to some room.

"Maybe they do forget it all the time, but who would even be around to see that.. oh for crying out loud, what am I even thinking about!" She threw her hands up in the air at her last remark, her brows furrowed and an angry scowl settling down in her face. Her scowl tightened as she realized she had rhymed unintentionally.

Natsuki kicked at the floor, her socks scraping against a gorgeous velvet carpet, the colour this time an unexpected and soothing blue.. like the flowers back on the dining table. It comforted her for some reason - she had always been quite fond of the colour blue.

Looking around she found herself completely lost. The room at first seemed to have no windows but slowly as she adjusted to the dark, she found that they had been boarded up and barred, this room had little to no light the only reason she had noticed the blue of the velvet was that some of the boards had chipped away letting through a few stray beams of grey light.

There was little in the room, a fireplace, a piano covered in a white sheet, and a couch. They stood alone and silent. It didn't feel that bad. In fact in here she felt safe. She was alone, sure but without anyone to hurt u how could you be in danger.

Slowly she walked forwards stepping onto the wooden floor.

Then.

Crack!

She plummeted down, without time to scream or panic. Her stomach lurched and her body shivered, she could die. No she probably would.

Just as she thought this, she hit the ground.

"Fucking A!" she said out loud as she lay there on her back with her head turned upwards toward the hole in the ceiling which she had just fallen through. Natsuki groaned as one hand flew to her lower back, rubbing at it in soft circles in hopes of dimming the painful throbs that settled there now thanks to this fall. She had crashed upon cold, incredibly hard and wet stone. She was definitely not pleased in the slightest. She turned her head away while she sat up, not yet trusting her body to stand up. Its not everyday that one takes a fall such as this - and then even without breaking something!

A frown appeared on her face as she pondered upon this, did she break something? She rotated and moved her left arm slowly and a relieved sigh left her lips as nothing hurt beyond a minor ache that was caused by some bruises, since she had instinctively tried to shield herself from the fall in some way. Her right arm felt fine, she could move it just perfectly fine and nothing had hurt as she had moved it to her back where her hand still rubbed soothing circles on her lower back.

Natsuki's eyes had finally adjusted to the lighting - or rather, lack thereof - this place was dark as hell and smelled of moss and as strange as it may sound of wet stone. But there was also another distinctive smell that she could place.. but she wished her nose was just playing a trick on her. While slowly making to stand up and noticing that while she had been lucky regarding her arms, her left leg did not fare as well as she would have liked. It burned like hell as she put weight on it and she noticed with some anger burning up inside her, that she had managed to get a little piece of the - apparently rotten - wooden flooring stuck in her leg like a little dagger. She glared up to the hole again and was tempted to give the hole the oh-so-loved finger, but refrained from doing so. She had to calm down if she wanted to get out of here somehow.

...who was she kidding, how in the FUCK would she get out of here! She had no fucking clue where she was, she did not even know where the hell she had been up there in that blue-carpeted room! Hastily she felt for that piece of wood in her leg again and flinched as she came in contact with it. It was pretty much stuck in her upper thigh, though she could not tell if it was deep or not. The pain was so constant that it was already starting to numb, or maybe it was adrenaline that still shot through her system. Probably the latter, she thought, and proceeded to put her hand around the part that stuck out of her thigh. Deep, soothing and slow breaths, she told herself as she steeled her mind for the pain that was sure to follow with the pulling out of that piece.

"AAARGH!", with a yell she pulled and yanked the wood out of her thigh. She tumbled to the ground again during the process - she had not thought of sitting down before doing so. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Whimpers escaped her tightly shut lips and tears squeezed themselves from her eyes, running down her cheeks just like some sweat that was now running down her forehead and the side of her face.

As was the blood from her wound. It was gloriously running down her leg and seeping into her pants as it made its way down to earth. Her wound seemed to glare at her, just as she now glared at the wound. It hurt. It hurt, so much. It hurt, so much and she willed it to stop with her glare, it had always worked when someone was irritating her or anything alike.. she had hoped it worked on wounds as well, though it was stupid. She had to distract herself from the pain, or else she would give in to the pain and the sleepiness fogging her mind.

Natsuki looked around, her vision accustomed to the dark by now without her noticing, and her gaze travelled along the cave like walls, partially covered in moss. The ceiling was occasionally covered with moss as well, though mostly some kind of ranks hung down, though they were more like little wires than ranks. Her gaze shifted onto the floor, and she ducked down slowly, carefully so as to not hurt her leg, and swept a hand across the cold stone, bringing it back up to her face.

"..blood?", she whispered as the colour registered in her mind, and just as she was about to freak out and wonder, what kind of poor thing had been injured in here for there to be so much blood... she slapped herself across the face, softly. "Baka, I was the one injured.. of course there is going to be blood... ugh, my left pant leg is completely drenched..", it came out as a harsh whisper with a hint of disgust at the end.

RRRIIIIIP!

She had just torn a strip off her shirt - white, of course, like apparently everything associated with Shizuru - and used it to bandage her wound, at least somewhat. Now she was at least not loosing so much blood so rapidly, and it also seemed to help with the pain. It pressed constantly against her injury, so it began to feel numb to her brain after some time, and she was glad for that.

Slowly the green eyed girl trotted towards the wall to her left and propped herself with her left hand against it, so that her leg did not have to bare the full weight of her body. She staggered along the wall, all the while her gaze flicking from one thing to another, the moss, the wire-like ranks - or were those actually roots? - to the darkness before her and to anything that may seem interesting. She spotted a cobweb behind a larger rock that was leaning against the wall she was walking along. A tiny spider crawling around on it that froze when she came closer.

Her skin began to crawl, she was reminded of her dream. With her right hand she started to scratch at random places on her body, because it seemed like there were insects crawling upon it. A shudder ran through her, just like an icy chill went down her spine at the same time. It was not pleasant at all.

She was tempted to just pick up some rock lying around and throw it into the net - revenge, if you will. But she decided against it, instead slowly limping her way around the larger rock and finally to some sort of.. entrance - or was it an exit?

She took another step, followed by another and another. She was breathing calmly, the air was surprisingly refreshing down here.. but she still did not want to put a name to that smell that invaded her nose with the others. She was content with just smelling the moss and wet stone. She did not need to know exactly what that last, slightly salty and rusty smell was.

SPLASH!

"Oh great." Natsuki grumbled, "..seriously. An underground river?" One of her eyebrows climbed up on her forehead, a frown settling down on her face once more as she shook her leg that had planted itself flat-out into this underground river. It was shallow, the water - just reaching up to her ankles, at best up to her knees. But as she took a closer look at her now matching pair of soaked pant legs, she spotted not much of a difference. The left one was drenched with blood from her wound, the right was... not drenched in water, as she had expected.

It was red - even if a little lighter than the other red on her pants, it was still red. It should not be red. Water is not supposed to be red. It is just not supposed to be red! It should be clear! transparent! Not red! NOT RED!

She stumbled back, watching as the murky water rolled past. She backed up against the wall, bending her knees to sit on her ankles. Despite herself she couldn't help but take a closer look. Was it really blood?

She looked towards the way the river was coming from. It could be a way out.. The river seemed to be running downhill, anywhere pointing up would be good. Slowly she got to her feet. In the light of things she pretty much had no choice. Slowly foot after foot she sank into the murky water. Now coming up to her knees she shivered, using the moss covered walls as handholds she made her way upwards.

It proved to be no easy task, with the moss covering all stones it was dangerous, the water was cold and she was in only socks. Insects scuttled over her hands as she disturbed their nests and hiding places. Slowly it became steeper and steeper she could see at the top a kind of ledge once she got up there is wouldn't be so bad would it?

A smell was beginning to fill the air like rotting fish, the water was getting filthier. Once or twice she thought of turning back.. But what if this was the way out? Shivering as the water became deeper as she reached the bottom of the ledge, now soaked through, she pulled herself up, the smell was getting worse. Could this be the way to where the food that wasn't used was thrown.

But why here?

Panting she cringed at the bitter taste in the air, she couldn't escape the smell, as it overwhelmed her senses. She felt bile in the back of her throat she spat it out, it was like that feel you get after you finish a cigarette, that taste you have to spit it out. She tumbled against the wall.

What was up there?

What could it be?

The water was filthy, scummy, the stench coming from it like raw sewage. Watering at the eyes, she covered her mouth and nose with her sleeve, and ventured forwards.

The level of the water lowering slightly, but it smelt worse, bits had started to form on the top of it as it slowly seeped past her.

"oh good god." she heaved.

Her head was screaming but she couldn't, not now, something was wrong, she knew it. And it was at the end of this tunnel. She would find it, she must.

Soon the water was only to her ankles but that only made her aware of what was beneath the surface.

Bones. Hundreds of them.

Her head started to swirl.

Bones?

Bones!

Blood!

Bones!

Blood!

"Oh Jesus."

Before her stretched a room.

Tall and wide.

And in that room…

Corpses.

They had no eyes, and some where as rotten as the mansion was old.

All were strapped down and nailed to strange wooden contraptions.

Their fingers were bent horribly, as each one of their joints supported a horribly long nail. Mouths were open in agony stretched and pussing.

She could only stare. Horror. The horror.

In the middle of the room, there was a platform, it dripped with red liquid.

Blood.

Illuminated by the straight beam of light that shone down from above. Natsuki could only creep closer. There was a figure on that platform..

Fresh.

Her vision hazed as she wondered further and, she could feel a scream welling up within her. But for now she crept closer to the impaled figure.

His face was familiar.

She recognised his clothes.

She knew his hair.

Finally she stepped into the full light..

There in the middle of the platform. His head bent horribly backwards, each of his dripping wounds, sprung a nail, in each of the joints. He was missing his eyes, but could still portray the absolute horror etched into his face at the time of his death.

On his chest a symbol.

She did not know of what, she did not care of what.

In that room, pinned to that spot, was the horribly mangled corpse of the suited man.

Her body convulsed, as she threw up. She couldn't scream she couldn't breath she, stood there, staring in horror as the mans wounds continued to drip.

One word rang in her head, bouncing from invisible walls inside her head and echoing around till the echoes slowly died down only to be replaced by the very same word again, and again, and again. 'Why'.

Her knees buckled under her, trembling so very much that they could not support her any longer. She did not even feel the impact of her knee's crashing onto the hard ground, she was so numb from shock. She did not believe her eyes, she could not. She would not. It would tear a hole in the already quickly thinning veil that was her sanity. Too much had already happened in such a short time in this manor. The dreams, though she was so very sure they were just exactly that, tore at her very core.

Natsuki coughed and spit on the ground to get a bit of this vile, despicable taste out of her mouth. Her stomach decided that she had not yet tasted enough of it and started to churn again. She heaved every last bit of what was in her stomach onto the floor, her arms bracing themselves against it lest she would fall face-first into it in the end.

Her vision was blurring from tears that ran down her cheeks, she could not force them away, her body did not follow her command anymore, at least for now it did not.

As she finally heaved the last bit of this sour tasting acid onto the floor she took deep breaths to soothe her rapidly pumping heart that seemed to burst out of her ribcage at any given moment, gripped by fear so tightly that it tried to shake it off by moving as much and as fast as possible.

She continued kneeling on the floor over the puddle of vomit, not yet trusting herself to stand up lest her legs give way again.

By now the word that had been bouncing around in her head was joined by other words, though most of them being vulgar and cursing out whoever the hell did this, or let something like this happen.

Against what her mind told her in-between the words jumbling around in it, she looked up again to this ludicrous... whatever it was. Her stomach churned again as her green eyes set upon the empty sockets where once the others eyes had been.

With a grimace on her face, Natsuki turned her eyes away and saw the remaining of the poor creatures littered around this.. torture chamber.

"Oh god.. oh, god. Oh god. Oh god!", it repeated in her head like a mantra, fortified by every bloodied and mangled corpse she was and getting louder until she whispered the mantra to herself, louder and louder.

She had to get out of here. Now. Right now.

Without paying attention to her injured leg she shot up, wincing at the pain that shot up her leg and cursing softly. She gripped at said leg, the pain far worse than she had anticipated as a cold sweat formed on her forehead and clung to her eyebrows as it made its way down her face. With some effort, she swallowed, the sound way to loud to her liking and run out of this chamber as fast as she could.. which wasn't all that fast, what with her limping and her stomach now painfully empty.

Painfully long minutes that seemed like hours to Natsuki crawled by as she made her way out of the chamber and back to the... river. She shuddered as she saw the red liquid flowing its way through the cave in an almost peaceful manner. The thought of.. of all their blood granting this river it's colour had her almost hunching over again, but there was nothing left to get rid of in her stomach.

'How do I get out.. how. How. How? How! How.. ' Words repeated themselves in her head several times before she really grasped their meaning. The pounding was back, though it was minor it still irritated her and she scoffed. As if she did not have enough stuff to deal with already. She eyed the river again and watched it flow down into the place where she fell through the ceiling.. or at least down that way, it was to far and to dark to see back to that place.

"..if.. if I follow it back up.. it has to come from somewhere.." Natsuki mumbled to herself, turning into the direction where the water came from, "..it's worth a shot.. otherwise.."

She did not dare continue that thought.

With a heavy sigh she set upon the task to walk alongside the river in hopes of getting out of here, her leg giving her more trouble than she expected and slowing her down more than she liked.

After walking for what seemed like hours, maybe even days she heard louder splashing and her mind immediately jumped to the conclusion that yes - finally! - she had found out where the water came from and maybe she could get out of here. She did not even notice that the water had become clear during the distance she walked, since the blood had turned it red, thus the closer she got to the original source, the clearer it became. She was to tired to notice something like that. Her body hurt, her leg the most of all, and her stomach grumbled in demand of food to sate its hunger. She was a wreck by now.

Natsuki's elated expression that had settled in her face without her noticing turned sour as a whispered 'For the love of -!' escaped her lips. It just HAD to be a waterfall - though quite small - that would hopefully lead out of here.

Well, not really a waterfall, but the water came splashing down a wall of rocks about 20 feet high and in her current condition, that would be quite the task ahead of her. But she had no choice.

...well, apart from staying down here and dying by starvation or blood loss. Whichever came first, she could not tell. Probably the latter.

With an angry huff and after taking a deep breath she began her climb up the rocky wall as soon as she found some place where she could get a grip. She was quite lucky despite everything happening - the wall really was littered with rocks that just screamed 'Hold onto me, I am a sturdy rock planted firmly into this wall, I will not give way so easily!' to her.

Sweat clung to her body as she urged herself to ascend into her freedom, she at least hoped so. She had to think positive, even if it was not her forte and probably never would be. Her leg hurt. It hurt very much.

Who was she kidding? Her leg was killing her, it was throbbing and pulsing so harshly and practically radiated heat. She really was not doing her injury any favours by doing this and she often had to stop for a second to catch her breath and will the pain away as best as she could.

And to Natsuki's credit, it worked quite well and after.. some time she finally - FINALLY! - grasped the end. The top. She was on top, she had managed it, she did not care what it was called. She just wanted to get up there and she did it, now lying on her back on the cold, still wet floor simply breathing in much needed air.

The cold water rushed past her body, she couldn't stop now, not as close as she believed she was to the exit. She sat up, from behind a noise sounded, like rock slipping against rock, something opening.

Someone was behind her…

Back there..

Where..

She shivered at the memory, the person who had done it, probably was back there. She jumped back slightly, slowly edging her way closer and closer to the speck of light coming from behind.

Some mumbled voices.

A scream.

Caution was gone replaced by panic. Breath caught in her throat, she turned and ran. Ignoring the burn of her wounds she scrambled through the large hole where the water was coming from, she found herself in the middle of a river. In the distance the ominous figure of the mansion.

Screw not having her stuff, screw her phone, screw her trainers and family obligation.

She kept running, her feet ploughing through the water, the water resisting her almost trying to pull her back to keep her from running to the nearest police station and telling them about the freak shows in this place.

Hitting the bank of the river, finally free of the cold water, her legs burned with cuts, her throat burned with a throbbing ache, her eyes were beginning to get swollen from the amount of tears she was holding back.

She broke into a pathetic run her body and mind exhausted.

She continued to plod through the foliage, getting ever more lost..

Finally she fell too her knees. Curling over herself, sobbing.

She was alone.

A weight on her back.

It was warm and soft, and as it gently ran over her messy hair and back, she could feel her body loosen.

She turned, teary eyes shaking, she didn't care who. She just wanted comfort. And there kneeling next to her, though distorted by tears was Shizuru. Her red eyes gazed at Natsuki, full of worry? Of pity? Unable to stop herself she fell into her lap, the white of her dress, stained with dirt and tears as Natsuki let go and started to cry readily into the soft lap of her second cousin.

"I didn't want to come here you know.." she hiccupped. "I would have been fine staying in fuuka… But.. I would have been fine with Mai, with Aoi, with everyone…" her voice horse and broken. "why does it all have to happen to me? I don't get it?"

Shizuru lent forwards her arms coming right round, lost in her warmth Natsuki realised how long she had gone with out a real hug. Sure Shizuru had hugged her before but this was different. This was one of those hugs that Mai would give her after she had, had a particularly crappy day, when she had been down and depressed as all teens get.

She reacted as though it were normal, shooting up she pulled Shizuru into a full on hug, her tear streaked face buried in her hair, her arms tightly wrapped around. And Shizuru let it happen, gently stroking her back. They stayed that way for a few moments, Natsuki sniffing and coughing once in a while.

Natsuki felt warm breath on her ear, stiffening she heard a whisper. "It's okay. Don't cry, Natsuki."

"Shizuru-"

She was cut off by a hackled yell of Shizuru-sama! The old man, Kado!

She leapt back from the hug as if it were made of fire. Just as the man shuffled round the corner. Surprise covered his weepy blue eyes for a moment as he lay eyes on the two girls.

It left just as quickly as it came. "It is getting to be around noon. Milady would prefer for you to come inside." and just as quickly he shuffled away.

Before Natsuki could even utter a word or word a question she was snatched by the elbow by a surprisingly comforting hand from Shizuru who then immediately proceeded to drag her off into the direction Kado had just disappeared to.

The injured girl however had not expected to just suddenly be jolted forward, thus she proceeded to nearly face-plant into the dirt had it not been for her pale companion. She had the reflexes and the strength to catch her before something like that could happen and after a wide-eyed stare that swept over her body she was just as promptly snatched up in bridal-style.

"O-oi, what..", there was a pause and then the sound of ragged breathing. After some seconds her voice sounded again, low, nearly in a whisper, "..what are you doing? I can walk perfectly fine by myself." She had to force it out of her mouth, a sudden sleepiness clinging to her mind so strong that she nearly wanted to give in right then and there, never mind that she was being touched without her consent.

Natsuki's eyes kept closing and shooting open after seconds while she was being carried rather fast and apparently without effort into the place she had tried to escape in the first place. The heavy, dark doors of the manor seeming not quite as intimidating to her as they did some days ago, just like everything else right now. She was just so tired, and her goddamn leg still hurt like hell.

At that thought she suddenly had to wince and reached with one hand for the wounded leg that was pressing against Shizuru's abdomen, staining her white dress with all the dirt and grime that clung to her pants.

Shizuru did not seem to mind, her face set into a determined, practically invisible frown, her brows just a little furrowed. Just a little bit. It sent a surprisingly warm and comforting feeling through her body as she noticed this. Maybe it was not all that bad that the strange, pale girl seemed to be this attached to her.

And before she even really noticed, Natsuki was placed upon the same white bed in which she had been this morning with the utmost care, the crack in Shizuru's mask still in view as said girl brushed softly over her cheek and then proceeded to practically run towards the door in search of.. something. A first-aid kit most likely.

She appeared in the door way, the first aid kit in her hand looked as though it were here from the 1940's she gently placed it at Natsuki's side, before gripping hold of her wrists to make her stand up.

For a few seconds Natsuki just stood there looking at Shizuru's bashful face. It was the first time she had shown barely any emotion, plus she had no idea why she had to stand up.

Shizuru looked at her expectantly, the pink tint on her cheeks grew as time went on… the girl moved forward and tugged on Natsuki's jeans.

"Oh..- Oh!" she exclaimed as she realised that Shizuru couldn't exactly get to the wound while she wore jeans.

She fingered around the zipper, her fingers fumbling from nerves.

Awkward and slow she shimmied out of her jeans and kicked them away slightly, as her face got redder and redder. She sunk back into the bed refusing to make eye contact with the young girl in front of her.

The sound of liquid on cloth as Shizuru gently placed the wet cloth on her wound, she took a sharp breath and hissed in pain. Dabbing it she cleaned the wound, then pulled out an assortment of other things a bandage and salve.

Slowly her wound was cleaned but, she was forced to take a shower before it was dressed… it was only when she was clean that she realised how much she had stank, and yet Shizuru still held her and allowed her to sit on her bed.

As she came out he hair dripping wet she sat on the bed once more, Shizuru bandaged her wound..

And when it was over she couldn't help but smile at her and say thanks.

The girl shook her head and pulled out her mobile.

"Where did you get that?.. No wait it doesn't matter. Thank you."

From outside she could hear the old woman calling for Shizuru and with an apologetic look she slipped out only leaving Natsuki in this white room.

Without thinking twice she went to contacts and dialled up Mai's number. The buzzing of the other phone on the other end, made her count the seconds until Mai picked up.

Ring, ring! Ring, ring!

The click as someone picked up the phone.

"Hello?" Mai's chipper voice rang over the line.. Natsuki was suddenly overcome with a jolt of panic

"Mai. You've got to save me. They're crazy here, CRAZY!"

"Okay… Hello by the way. Nice to hear your voice?"

"Are you listening Mai? They are GO-ING TO KILL ME!"

"Who? What's going on?"

Words spilled out of Natsuki's mouth before she could anchor them, they slipped out like water, as she spewed them into the phone.

."…Okay? You need meds. Are you sure it wasn't just a nightmare? You know cause like you said in horribly butchered way, that you had been having a lot of them. Are you sure your just not home sick?"

"Mai. I'm not home sick, and no I don't think it was a dream, if it were I wouldn't have this freaking stab wound on my leg, that is defiantly going to scar by the way."

"Okay. I get it, I'll… try to find out.. Something, okay?"

That was really all Natsuki could ask for. Reluctant for Mai's voice to disapear she paused before grunting a agreement into the phone.

"Good. Then I will call you soon. Okay?"

"Yeah… bye."

"bye-bye Na-chan."

As the line buzzed Natsuki held her phone to her head for a few seconds. Almost as if it could of sucked her in to take her to where Mai was.

Deciding that after about 7minutes with her phone pressed to her ear nothing would happen in regards to that anymore, she placed it beside her on the bed with a sigh, praying silently for Mai to find something. She looked around this ridiculously bright, white room, not finding a speck of dirt clinging to anything, really.

"...well," she thought," ..besides the bed now I guess." as her gaze dropped to said bed and the dirt and filth now clinging to the pristine white sheets. Before she could think more about it though, the hag came trotting into the room, Shizuru not even 3 steps behind her.

"Uh... hi?", it really came out more as a question than a greeting, so she promptly started to scratch the back of her neck - a nervous habit of hers.

"My.. whatever have you done to yourself, child." The statement was accompanied by a slight shake of the head, a wrinkly hand coming up to the forehead while doing so.

Before Natsuki could even open her mouth she continued, "Do try to be more careful, it would be a shame if your pretty skin would be blemished by more scars, dear." A sigh, and then Madam Kuga came closer to her niece, invading her personal space to softly pat at her cheek in a fashion that was probably meant to be loving.

Natsuki had to repress the urge to shiver, that hag really had some awfully cold hands, not to mention it just made her so uncomfortable when her personal space got invaded, even for petty things such as these.

She just sat there, staring quite dumbfounded ahead to where her great-aunt had just been. She was already walking away, her cane clicking along as it ever did and after a brief exchange between Shizuru and the Madam, the hag left.

Natsuki snapped out of it after a while and noticed her pale.. saviour still standing there just some steps away from the door. So with a little sigh that, hopefully, went unnoticed she gestured for the paler girl to sit beside her.

She could not even think another word before she found herself nearly tackled to the bed. And surprising the both of them, she just accepted it. She really could not tell if it was because she was just getting so tired, what with all the things that happened and her injury.. or if she was just sick of telling her off and not really getting her point across.

She brought one hand up and softly patted the other girls back, before simply telling her that she was goddamn tired.

Natsuki had not even waited for a response, so the soft whisper of "Sleep, Natsuki." threw her completely off. Too close to her ear, that voice. Way too close. Way too close to her in general.

She was about to wriggle out of the hug, somehow, as Shizuru willingly let her go and tenderly pushed her into a lying position while she herself still sat on the bed. And once again as she opened her mouth to say something, slender fingers were upon her lips combined with a soft smile that had her eyes grow tired and close.

Though not even half an hour later Natsuki's eyes shot open again, a scream breaking from her mouth and one arm shooting into the air, as if to grasp at something. Seconds later she was enveloped by soft arms and cool breath upon her shoulder while she still fought the images in her head away - the horrible images of the men and probably women she had seen down there. Her eyes shot around, never settling on one thing for more than a second as her breathing was still ragged.

Blood.

So much blood.

Too much blood.

Then her eyes settled onto something red and she nearly wanted to scream again - her mind still associating that colour strictly with blood. A delicate hand upon her cheek, cool to the touch but soothing despite that fact, and the scream died down in her throat before it broke free.

Tears that threatened to fall from her green eyes were slowly running down her cheeks, wetting them and the hand upon one of them. Her eyes still gazed upon their red counterpart, her head just slightly turned to look over her shoulder to Shizuru.

Tender words, no more than a whisper, ghosted over her ear just like the other girls breath, "It's alright, don't cry Natsuki."

And seemingly just as sudden as she had awoken, her eyelids closed while she was gently guided back into a lying position.

peacefully she closed her eyes drifting into blissful silence

XOXOXOXOXXOX

L: slides into AN* FINISSSSSHED *face plants desk*

S:*Calmly walks into the AN, sees Lion and simply ignores her antics* Yo.

L: *Hugs sheep* We MADE it sheepy WE MADE IT

S: Get off of me. *Smacks Lions forehead* And yes, we made it. Woop woop. I am thrilled. Get off.

L: No you love it and don't pretend you don't

S: I don't love it. I may not absolutely loathe it, but still. I accept it on certain occasions, as you already know. Now is not such an occasion, thus I conclude that you should get the hell off, you're making my body temperature rise and I don't like that.

L: She loves it. any way *calmly bows before readers* I'm sorry about last months update there were some problems going on.

S: *Rolls eyes and bows with Lion* True, most on my end. Trouble in Paradise, thus I am now single. Yay. One can feel my elation, no?

L: *looks to sheep* uh Hello mostly me lets not forget who was in the middle of a love triangle

S: ...true, Almost forgot about that. But you know how I get, being so very, very lazy and all that. I guess we both did have quite some Trouble in Paradise.

L: yeah. we've been there for each other though.. both of us have been in our relationships longer than three years so.. mine has been for around like five.

S: *pats Lions back* Yup. Been in mine for three to four years, have been urged to break up by a friend of ours who was.. and pretty much still is in love with me. Though Lion there also opened my eyes quite a bit to that relationship I had. In the end, its for the best.

L: *pats sheep's shoulder* ..mine. well lets just say.. it was a blast from the past plus a lot of.. uh how to say jealous fights

S: Bitch-fights. Or more like Catfights..

L: now they r pretty much a dime a dozen

S: Yeah. Plus you got yourself way to many people who crush on you for unexplainable reasons.. at least in my eyes.

L: ..WHY DO U ALL LOVE ME? seriously i have too many likers

S:: I don't love you.

L:: ...why.. why do u say such things

S: Because it's the truth. Besides, your reaction to me confessing my love would be 'Ew.'

L: actually it would be a hug u no ilylas

S: I thought we spoke about the romantic kind of love.

L: ew no

S:: See? Told you so.

L: well u would make THE FACE and scream loud enough to wake Austria

S: Before or after I smacked your silly head into oblivion?

L: ...through a computer?

S: You have no idea what I am capable of.

L: D:

S: *Chuckles darkly* Oh I do so enjoy being mean to you.

L: *punches sheep in the face* anyway next chappie should be out this month like cause i am going to MAKE sheep do it whether she WANTS to or NOT O.o

S: MOTHERF-! *puts hand over mouth and nose* What the hell was that for, Lion! That hurt, god damnit

L: the I don't love you and for being mean to me plus I think everyone wanted to punch u in the face for being mean to me soooo...

S: *Snorts, even though it is painful* Suuuure. *Rolls eyes and wipes blood away with her hand* I so want to know who of our DEAR readers would have punched me.

L: duno your being mean to me and I don't like it

S: Do I punch you in the face when you hug me because I do not like it? *Raises eyebrow*

L: yeah you do *turns into a lion and runs away*...*CRYING!*

S: *Looks puzzled* When, for heavens sake, have I ever done that. Never mind, just run if you want. I don't care

4 minutes later.

S: Have I really been left alone? Oh how magnificent that would be.. *Smirks slowly*

9 minutes after that

L: there how did that feel meanie

S: Oh. You're back? *Sighs*

L: ... yeah and I'm leaving again

S: *Chuckles and softly hugs Lion* Calm down already, you are very much aware that I am just teasing you like you always tease me and make me blush. Though in different ways.. nevermind.

L: I duno if i should forgive u or not

S: Well. Think logically. If you do not forgive me, we will most likely not be conversing for some time, thus there is not really a way for us to complete the next chapter. Besides, you do like having me around.

L: hmm..

S: By the way, the AN is getting ridiculously long.

L: yeah lets argue somewhere else till next time... you know what seeing as u were being mean.. im leaving sheep here bye *ninja's away."

S: *Shakes head with a small smile* Indeed, lets argue somewhere else. I do hope you all have enjoyed this delayed chapter. I am not asking for Reviews, that usually is Lions job. Seeing as she is already gone, we will have to deal without something like that. Until the next chapter then, Servus.

L: *ninja whisper* Reeeeeveiw...