Chapter One

The Question No One Should Have Answered

"Tohru!" Kyo hopped down the hall, and balanced himself on the doorframe that led to the staircase that led to the second floor. "Tohru!" He really did not want to have to hop all the way up the stairs as well. It was winter, the floor was cold, and he was missing a sock.

"Y-Yes?!" And there was that stuttered cry of alarm and surprise. Kyo wrinkled his nose in annoyance. He had found that the one thing that always managed to be more irritating than whatever was irritating him at any given time, was realizing that he was taking that irritation out on Tohru.

"Eh, well!-" a pair of blessedly socked feet appeared on the stairs, and down she descended, a brown haired girl of petite build with the most staggering brown eyes that any boy in his late teens should ever be forced to endure and live with under the same roof.

"Yes?! What?! Kyo! Are you limping? Is your leg alright!?" He compressed his fist gently to her forehead, something that out of earshot Shigure had once labeled as 'affectionate.'

"Relax. Breathe. I need a sock. I just checked in the dryer, and I only found the one. Ya know where the other one might be?"

Tohru's eyes widened in even greater alarm, making her seem all the more… more… Anyway, her eyes darted down to his feet- sorry, foot, and then back up to his face, nodding her head furiously. "It had a hole in it from when you were walking around the stage during the Cinderella rehearsals and snagged the plywood, remember? I was patching it up, and I forgot that I was washing the rest of your clothes, and I forgot to get to fresh socks and," he opened his fist, intertwined his fingers in her hair, and now pressed her forehead with his palm as he brought it up against her head.

"Jeez, you need to relax. And why'd you go fixing it anyway? I could have just bought new socks."

He was not exactly certain what the feeling meant or how it worked, but every time those eyes widened just a little more his heart picked up the pace just that much more as well. And those eyes were now looking at him as if he had said the unthinkable. She had even turned a little red with the indignation. "But they're your favorite! So… so I thought…" as had so often happened to her in the past, she seemed to be having trouble getting into words what it was she had on her mind. It reminded him of that episode that had taken place during the school play a few days ago:

Hanjima had been delivering a speech that she could not have known would be as poignant as it was to the recipient. "Do you plan to keep deceiving yourself forever? Inside the castle… locked inside the castle… until you die?" It had been meant for 'Prince Charming,' or whatever. It had nicked at Kyo Sohma.

"So what if I do? Does that hurt anyone else?" As he said it, he had to wonder if he was not being masochistic. After all, he had meant the question in earnest, but of course no one would – could – answer.

And then…she had. Tohru, playing the role of 'the evil stepsister,' looking like an angel in a pink dress, had stuttered. "I…I don't want…" her voice faltered, and she had tried again. "Don't want…"

And then she had erupted into her apologetic gibberish as she did now. It made him so very uneasy… and so very, very alive.

"Gah! I'm so sorry! The laundry must have been done hours ago, and I didn't fold it! I just… I was writing and… and…" There was that red flush again. "I am going to go do it now!" She said, clenching her little hand into a fist, her face taking that overly-enthusiastic look that had much more weight behind it that Kyo had originally supposed when they first met.

And then she tried to move, and his fingers were still in her hair. "Tish," he rolled his eyes in annoyance, extending his fingers, and allowing her to slip out of their reach freely. Did his hand hover there a moment too long? Did his fingers flex instinctively at the loss of her, wanting her back? Well, it did not matter in the least, seeing as she had already turned her back on him and was hurrying down the hall. He was alone now. And his left leg was getting very tired, and his right foot was getting very cold.

And his missing sock was a staircase, a hallway, and a girl's room away. Fantastic.

Hop. He could just have called her back and asked her to get it for him. Hop. No, that would have been selfish and lazy and the sort of thing that damn Dog, Hop. Or that damn Snake, Hop. The brother of that damn Rat– Hop. –Would have done. Hop. But then, was it alright to enter a girl's room? Teeter. Oh God, maybe he should call for her after all. And… Hop.

Kyo balanced himself again as he got to the top of the stairs. The floor was so. freakin'. cold. Kyo was now decided: The second Shigure got home Kyo was beating the crap out of him for breaking the heater… and then leaving for the Main House. And Yuki was off with the rest of his Student Council click. Tish. Figured that Yuki would have a click.

So there he stood, Kyo Sohma, at what he believed was quite literally the threshold to the abyss. He suddenly felt a little jealous of Damned going to Hell. At least they got to go with both feet firmly planted. He teetered again. Swallowed. And then… he reached for the door handle.

It was not that he had never been in Tohru's room before. He had even been there alone with Tohru, like the time she had been sick and he had made her God's most heinous creation: Leak Soup. But never, in the year and a half that he had known her, had he been in Tohru's room alone. He half expected the door to creak ominously when he pushed it open.

There was the table on which she kept her most prized possessions – a photograph of her mother was given a prominent position – there was the massive bed Shigure had given her, which Kyo still found rather suspect, though it had been almost a year and a half since then. There were also the other pieces of furniture, like closest and bookshelf and such, that shaped the room of Tohru Honda.

And there, on the yellow blankets of her bed, next to a booklet and a few writing utensils, and clear as day, was an orange wooly sock.

"Aha!" Idiotic, yes, but sheer relief swept over him as he realized that he would not have to be going through different drawers in search of a sewing kit, potentially finding articles of clothing very different from socks…

One, two, three hops and he was across the room and plopped down happily on her bed. As he pulled the sock up off the bed he saw that the needle was still dangling off a string but that the sock itself had been darned up and was ready for use.

He bit through the string that attached the needle to his sock and placed it gingerly on her bedside table. He would have to later tell her where he put the needle so that she didn't accidentally swipe it off onto the floor. She even got the same shade of orange string...

Contrary to popular belief, Kyo did not have a vast amount of orange clothing. His hair was an orange that often made people think he had dyed it, and his red-brown eyes had thrown the question of 'Do you wear contacts?' at him more than once, but no, he did not wear a lot of orange. Orange was his favorite color, but even he could not ignore how horribly it clashed with his hair on most days. In fact, his favorite hoodie had been a light blue. Had been, because an overly-love-sick relation of his named Kagura Sohma had, rather than letting evaporation take its course or attempting the dryer, tried to ring it out… and torn it to pieces.

His favorite socks were orange and more importantly, they were warm. He had been very, very pissed when one of them had gotten a hole in it while he was rehearsing on the stage at school. The whole damn play had been nothing but a pain in the ass.

Kyo slipped the sock onto his foot, and rubbed it repeatedly, trying to get the warmth going. He looked about the room again, feeling a good deal more at ease than he had five minutes ago. Something was pressing into his side, and he looked down at the bed. It was one of the pencils that had been lying on the bed, and had now rolled against him with the slope he had made by sitting down. He picked it up and moved it away onto a portion of the bed where the surface was still even. The notebook was also teetering towards him. He shoved it after the pencil and the pages flipped backwards a few leafs, and he saw his name.

It was in a list of others, and he really did not mean to read any more than he did, or even as much as he did. Kyo just caught his name on a line, so he read the entire line: 'Prince – Kyo Sohma,' and then, to get the general idea, and without really thinking, he read on. 'Step-sister – Tohru Honda' 'Cinderella – Saki Hanajima,' and finally 'Step-mother Mimami Kinoshita.' It was a list of the casting to the crap play they had performed. Why on earth had she re-written it? If she really wanted to remember the pain-in-the-ass affair she had a video tape of it. The very thought made Kyo shudder. But still, if that was the case, why had she left out Yuki's name? It was not at all like her to just forget. And the cast was listed in a different order too. He smirked. Maybe she did forget that damn Rat.

Still, lazily his eyes traveled up to her title. 'Something Cinderella-ish' was what he was expecting. What the rest of the text underneath the casting list was, he really did not think he would care to know. Had she re-written the enter play by hand even after receiving a scri-

His thought process truncated there because his mind registered the title. 'A Little Continuation to Something Cinderella-ish, Our Class Play.' The title spanned across two lines in very neat girl's handwriting.

"What the…?" Kyo had no idea that Tohru liked to dabble. But then, he did not know much at all about her hobbies. Over the years she had remained just as much of a mystery to the Sohmas as they remained to her.

For the first time since he had spotted his name Kyo suddenly asked himself if it would not be more moral to close the little book now. At this point he was doing exactly what he had come into her room dreading to do: he was looking at Tohru's private possessions. Had martial arts not honed his mind as well as his body? Discipline. Honor. Respect. Sure, even he knew that he was loud and obnoxious and all those other things that people accused him of… but he was not immoral. He was resolute in that.

But then, since he had met Tohru he had felt himself being slowly stripped of many of his resolute principles, his hatred for Yuki to begin with… his sanity not too far behind.

Without moving, without even breathing, only his eyes made a movement. They flickered down the first page as he made the decision that he would leave the room without a second glance, and nothing but the shame of his indecision, unless he found either his or the 'Prince's name on this first page at least…

One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six…. His part in the actual play (as 'actual' as Something Cinderella-ish could get,) had not begun until Act II, without even a hint of it on page one of the original-class-modified text. He swallowed. Honor. Discipline. Restraint. But another course of thought was beginning to erode his rational thinking. Those fragments of an answer to the question no one ought to have answered. That stuttered cover-up of a conclusion. Maybe… maybe she explained that… here. He did not want to know. He told himself that he did not want to know.

"I… I don't want… don't want…"

If it was as he had imagined it on the stage… No, she could not… But what she did… Then it would lead to nothing but pain and regret for the both of them. Again, Honor and Virtue dictated that he should not even think about such an possibility. That if ever any… affection… if ever she did entertain any such emotion, then he should eradicate it, both for her happiness… (Kyo's eyes flicked to the photograph of her mother on her table. He could just see it from this angle.) …and for the general Right.

He closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. It's just something the air-head wrote in her free time… What the Hell am I freaking out about? The truth was, what if he read it, and did not find what he was looking for? It's like I'm scared of a fairy-tale. Not even. A teenage freakin' sequel to a fairy-tale rip-off. All this he was thinking just to drown out the real current of his thoughts.

He did want to know. He did. He wanted to know, and maybe her concern for him…know if it was just as it was for Shigure and his breakfast and Yuki with his ties or if… if it was something more.

I really am a masochist. They were hardly the appropriate thoughts before reading a story written by a teenage girl as a continuation to a rather disastrous performance of Cinderella.

Kyo began to read.