A/N: Okay, this is take two.

I'll admit, I wasn't entirely happy with how the last take on the story went the first time. But here I am, willing to try again. I want to incorporate elements of my old chapter, and try to make it more authentic to my own experiences, as I am now more comfortable sharing more aspects of my experience. I hope you give this second attempt a chance! I appreciate you and your support so much!

Chapter One: Pain

I didn't want to believe that a pain so numbing could exist, but here I was, drowning in it.

The night was pitch black, and around fifty centimeters of snow had been covering the ground. A blizzard had occurred earlier in the day, but it had finally settled. My hands were jittery, and my head began to spin uncontrollably as I recalled the disastrous four hours I had spent in my now ex-boyfriend's dorm room. I didn't know why I subjected myself to that again, but I felt my lips quiver in what seemed to be a chuckle at the ridiculousness of my thought. Ex-boyfriend.

We were never even dating.

That was what we agreed to, at least. He wasn't ready to be with me just yet, and he needed time.

The pain that comes after a breakup is excruciating, and that was never going to change. I knew how much pain he was in after the breakdown of his four-year relationship. The long-distance and the unbearable time difference had been too much for them, but the love never left. I knew all of it, and I wanted to be there for him, even if my love for him would never be returned. I was clearly naive, and I didn't understand that the pain he had been under gave him permission to use my mind and my body for emotional support. What I believed to be a reciprocity of my feelings was just emotional manipulation, for all those months. I was so infatuated with him to notice the lack of empathy he had towards him. I was so head over heels for him that I didn't notice my mental health deteriorating because of his lies, deceit, and manipulation. I was so in love with him… I stayed the entire time.

As I walked away from the house he was staying in - a house I used to consider home myself, my mind became free of all the toxins within. Standing outside in the dark, under the starless night, with the freezing wind brushing through the tracks of my tears, I was able to see those four months clearly. As they sank in, I struggled to make it back to my own apartment as I felt my body slowly collapsing within myself.

I struggled to get my card out of my pocket to let myself into the building. I limped my way to the third floor after I got myself in. Unlocking the door to my apartment with shaky palms, I made my way in, and I was greeted by my roommate cleaning the dining room. There was a half-eaten pork roast, mashed potatoes, and two empty glasses of what appeared to be wine. Great. Just what I fucking needed. Her boyfriend had been over. I was barely able to acknowledge her as I felt my eyes falling even further down from the sheer exhaustion I felt overtaking my body.

"Hey, are you alright?"

No, I'm not okay. I want to scream. I want to scream to the top of my lungs. I want to scream at the ordeal I went through. I want to crawl up in a ball and cry my goddamn fucking eyes out. I want the last four months of my life back. And most importantly… I want to know what the hell I did to deserve this! "I'm okay. Just tired."

I didn't need Vanessa grilling me on what had happened at Adam's place, and I was thankful when she let whatever she was thinking go and simply nodded her head. It seemed as if my pathetic excuse for a face was enough to convince her. "Are you hungry? I can heat up the roast for you."

She was sweet - she had always been sweet. I shook my head to say no, but before she could say anything else, I had already kicked my shoes and dragged myself into my room. I locked the door behind me, and as soon as I was out of public view, I felt my eyes watering immediately. I didn't even think of taking off the disgusting clothes I had been in all day before collapsing onto my unmade bed. I was trying to contain my anger and sadness that had been consuming me all at once, but with each moment passing by with me remembering the elements of our conversation, my anger became more and more unsustained.

Where did he get the balls to blame the 'break-up' on me?

I can't focus on my grades, my friendships, or my parents anymore.

This is stressing me out.

We both knew that was bullshit.

I can't be that person for you anymore.

Funny… he never was.

I need to get over my own relationship.

There was the golden sentence. He was heartbroken, he was human, and he needed to heal. He wanted - no, needed - something to take the aching away. That 'something' happened to be me. I was there; I was the thing that soothed the misery. He showered me with so much affection, so much kindness - all to get me to stay just a little longer. I numbed the pain, I took away the suffering; I made him forget. I knew he wouldn't think of her with my lips between his, or with his hands all over my body… but he sure as shit thought of her every other second of the day. My naivete didn't bother to care, because I fooled myself into thinking he cared for me.

How stupid do I look now?

It didn't take long for his tricks to fade, though. With every night I left his room, I felt emptier and pained. My chest ached with the weight of the uncertainty and heartbreak, as I grew to understand that he was just using me. He saw my pain too; he knew how useless I had become to him as the manipulation got the better of me. He realized that there was only so much he was able to do to me before I broke. And what does one do when something is broken, and of no use to them?

They throw it in the trash.

I still want us to be friends.

Because that plan had worked so brilliantly before, why not do the same shit again?

Coming from the same person who said let's just be friends to admitting we had been more than friends the entire time. And I was stupid enough to fall for that.

Stretching my arms out to grab a pillow, my hand collided with what seemed to be a small book. Sitting up onto my bed to put the book away, my eyes rested on the cover, and an instant familiarity hit me across the face.

It was the first Fruits Basket book.

Growing up with the manga series and anime, this manga series was a definite detox agent for me amidst the stress. The story held a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first series I had ever read, and I instantly fell in love with the innocent school girl named Honda Tohru who went on to meet, befriend and become part of the Sohma family. However, despite my history of comfort with the manga, I couldn't even bear to open it. I was so hurt. I was in so much pain, that I didn't think anything could take my suffering away. All I could really think of was the young girl on the cover of the manga, staring back at me with that goofy grin of hers.

I wish I could get away from this world.

Even if it was just for a few days, anywhere would be better than where I was now. I wanted to be relieved from the agony that was overtaking my body and soul. I wanted to feel at peace, and I couldn't do it here. Closing my eyes, I kept wishing for a secret hideaway where I could just cope with this pain on my own terms, away from anyone and anything. Even though I knew that would never be possible, I still kept hoping for it to be a reality. Before I knew it, my anger and hurt seemed to have settled down enough for me to fall asleep.

...

"I just miss them, you know?" Adam sighed while taking a sip of his beer. The club was piercing loud, and I was barely able to hear him… but I didn't care. I had a goofy smile plastered across my face, and I was just completely enamoured by him.

"I do." I sighed, grabbing the glass beer bottle from him and took a sip. Adam's lips curled into a sly smile, which made my heart beat a thousand times faster. "This is the first time being away from my parents, and I miss them a lot too."

Taking another sip, Adam's fingers tapped onto the bottle gently. "You seem to be put together a lot better than me." He leaned into the table, his piercing blue eyes penetrating my soul. "What's your secret?"

I couldn't help but laugh at his remark, but also felt flustered feeling his presence so close to me. "Who says I'm put together?" I arched my eyebrow as I took his beer bottle from him once again, and took a longer sip. "Maybe I'm secretly in a lot of pain, but I hide it so well?"

A long pause loomed over us, and the air between u felt still and quiet, despite the blazing music in the background. With one sip, he finished the rest of the beer. His eyes were on the empty bottle briefly, before they met mine. I felt the hummingbird heartbeat pounding in my chest. "I don't think I could bear to see you in pain."

Any of the words I could've and should've said in response were stuck to my throat. All I could do was stare at him. Adam noticed that too, and chuckled. He slowly moved closer to me, and carefully tucked a lock of hair behind my ear. I felt the back of his fingers gently caressing my cheek, which sent shivers down my whole body. "You're too precious to me."

The last words were enough to have my eyes shoot open. I blinked several times, as the realization sunk in several moments later. It had just been a dream. A stupid goddamn dream. His words still haunted me, and I hated that so much. My vision had been slightly blurry, and it took a few moments to regain its focus. It was then when I caught the pattern on my roof.

My dorm roof is patterned… why is this roof so smooth?

My body shot up from the bed, and I immediately noticed the pink covers I was under. My covers weren't pink - they were grey. And my mattress wasn't white… it was dark blue with a plastic cover. My curtains weren't pink, and I only had one window. I also didn't have a carpet.

I felt a surge of panic waving within me since I distinctly remember being in my dorm room before I fell asleep. I carefully got out of the bed, and noticed that I had been wearing the same black sweater and leggings from that night. I made my way to one of the windows, and carefully opened the drapes to see what was outside. My eyes were greeted with a beautiful scenery of nature at its purest. It had been winter back in my home, with nothing but snow and death looming everywhere. And the scenery seemed so familiar to the eyes. In fact, the whole bedroom seemed familiar.

It wasn't until I heard his voice when I noticed something had gone horrendously wrong.

"Oh good! You're awake! We're very relieved."

I would recognize that soft, gentle, and mature voice anywhere. I turned my head to face him, but I knew who had been talking to me. Yuki Sohma.