The rat shook his head faintly, beginning to put things back where they belonged. Pens and brushes returned to the small holder on the corner of the desk while papers were filed away. [+violet "I think that's all for tonight,"] Yuki responded softly, glancing at his cousin as he set the grammar book back in its pile with the rest of his school books. He couldn't think of a reason to keep the cat and it was clear he wished to go. Kyou had done rather well on his lesson tonight and deserved to rest for a while. [+violet "If you want anymore help, let me know,"] he offered, keeping his quiet voice. [+violet "Report cards will be handed out soon, most likely in the next few weeks. We'll see how these lessons boost your grades. And thank you for your help in the kitchen, maybe once I master these two things we'll try again."]
Yuki continued to straighten up as Kyou took his leave, letting out a quiet sigh. The cooking lessons were nothing short of a miracle, especially now that they were cooking in home economics, and allowed the rat a bit of freedom he didn't have before. It was nice that he could at least make himself breakfast now and wouldn't need to bother anyone else to do it for him. The other meals were still a challenge, one he didn't think he could take on, but could at least make himself toast in an emergency. It would be especially useful when he was hungry and the dog and cat were being a bit lazy, or he was fighting with Kyou again. A soft wince fell on his face as he stretched across the desk to set the last book away, the painful pull on his side causing him to stop and nearly drop the heavy literature on the floor. Carefully he set it down as not to make too much noise before pulling his arm back and lightly rubbing at the bruises across his ribs. He knew this wouldn't be the last time Akito lashed out at him for something he did that their leader felt was wrong and expected at least a stern lecture as Kyou's grades improved. Even if he didn't figure out that Yuki was tutoring him, he would be displeased that the cat was beginning to do well and would see it as his favorite slacking off. He shrugged the thought off and slowly crawled into bed where he fell into a deep sleep until morning.
Two and a half weeks had passed since Yuki asked for any kind of help in the kitchen; the early afternoon found the rat at his locker as he pulled out the books he would need for the weekend. He had quite a bit of homework to do but, due to his knack for schoolwork, knew it would only take him a few hours. Movement caught his eye as he set the last book in his back, looking over to see his blonde cousin standing beside his locker with his usual happy smile, holding up a folded piece of paper for Yuki to see.
[+goldenrod "Report cards are out, Yuki!"] he exclaimed, keeping his smile as the older teen gently took it and looked over the rabbit's progress. Momiji was rather intelligent even if he didn't act like it at times, and was doing very well in his classes. [+goldenrod "You have straight A's again, even in cooking! I'm sure Gure will be super surprised to see that!"]
Yuki raised an eyebrow at this, taking his when the smaller Sohma offered it to him, opening it up and looking over the columns. Sure enough, Momiji was telling the truth. An A was the last thing Yuki expected to see in that class, though Kyou was more or less carrying him through it. He couldn't help but wonder what the cat had gotten on his card and if Kazuma would be suspending his lessons until further notice.
Yuki's words of the torturing him made the cat look up and give a glare. ANYTHING with writing was a chore for him. It wasn't that he could not do it or could not think it through, it was simply that he had no love for it. Hell he had no love for anything school related. So the fact that he had asked the rat for help and was trying was special all in it's own way. It meant he TRULY needed it and that he had something that meant something to him and that he wanted to keep. [b "Yeah, yeah. A language we know is a better choice. Hell but tolerable."] He muttered, getting back to work on the sheet that he had been given.
It took him longer but when he was done, the cat let his cousin have the page. Even he was aware it was not all perfect, but he had tried to make it legible at the very least. And he sat watching as amethyst eyes roamed over the page, cheek resting again his hand as he acted bored. Truly though, Kyou was praying to whatever gods out there he had not made and mistakes. He wanted his cousin for some unknown reason to see he was NOT a complete idiot.
When the other did not correct him, Kyou let out a breath he did not even known he had been holding. [b "Yeah, guess you could say that...and Yuki..thanks.."] It almost pained him to say it. But that only came from the years of bad blood between them.
Slowly, the cat stood and stretched. Staying still so long murdered him. [b "The cooking offer stands too... And guess I'm gonna go.. unless there is a reaso to stay?"] He asked, orangy-red gaze upon the other and his arms crossed.
Yuki watched as Kyou grumbled and took the next paper before glancing over the one his cousin had just finished. It looked much better, Kyou having to appeared to at least try and make his kanji presentable. There was still some disfigurement happening but it was still much easier to read than anything he had written in the past couple of weeks. Yuki was actually surprised to notice that the cat had rather impressive penmanship skills when he put effort into it.
[+blueviolet "If I really wanted to torture you, I'd jump into English work after this,"] Yuki responded, setting the finished paper aside and watching Kyou work. He seemed to be taking this assignment slower but he was making good progress. [+blueviolet "Especially since we're working on harder grammar and paragraph structure. I also think we're working with words that sound the same but are spelled differently. In comparison, I think you'd rather work with an alphabet and language you know rather well."]
The rat took the paper once it was finished, looking over the work and smiling faintly at it. Kyou had gotten each one correct, a sign he really could succeed in school if he tried harder. [+blueviolet "You did very well,"] he congratulated him softly, looking over at his cousin momentarily before setting the paper down with his other completed work. [+blueviolet "Also you have quite beautiful penmanship when you slow down and try harder. You should practice it more."] Yuki reached over to his filing cabinet, pulling out one of the drawers and taking out an unmarked folder. He placed Kyou's worksheets inside it before returning it to its home and shutting the drawer again.
[+blueviolet "That's all for tonight, if you want any more help bringing your grades up in these subjects or any others just let me know."]
Thos was just as exciting as dental work or cleaning the whole house to Kyou. More like painful and he wished to hell he could be doing ANYTHING else. But he had asked for this and now it was coming back to bite him in the ass. Writing the kanji was even worse than math was for him. At least math was ALWAYS the same and had a clear cut answer. Here it could be pink, purple, blue, or green for all the cat cared. However, he chose not to say the words or to pick the fight. At least FOR NOW.
Slowly he wrote out the kanji that had been written for him. He had to be slow or it would end as badly as his notes had been. And he KNEW the rat would make comments then. With that being in mind, the cat actually TRIED to write neatly and properly.
Only when the page was taken did orangy-red gaze fall on the other teen. The words, making him stiffen as he soon looked to the page. [b "You're enjoying this aren't you?"] Kyou asked lamely as he stared at the sentences and was trying to decide which kanji he would need to replace the words with.
Yuki glanced over at Kyou once he slid the paper over, noting the unhappy look in his cousin's eyes. It was clear that the cat hated this with every fiber of his being and was looking forward to this as much as dental work. Still, it needed to be done in order to proceed with the next part of his work and hopefully raise his grade. It was clear that Kyou wrote quickly due to his disfigured kanji, though Yuki wanted to inform him that if he payed attention from the beginning that he wouldn't have to write so quickly as he would have enough time to copy everything down. Choosing not to start a fight, he kept quiet about it and turned his attention to the next task.
[+blue "Until you have a line of each and I'm able to tell the difference between them,"] Yuki responded quietly. He reached across his desk to a small decorative cup with pens sitting inside of it, pulling out a black one. He then pulled out a clean sheet of paper and began to write a few sentences on it, leaving equal space between them for Kyou to write as well. He waited patiently until the cat had finished, trading him papers so he could look over the one Kyou had previously had. [+blue "Those sentences are to help you pick correct kanji,"] Yuki had stated quietly. [+blue "Each sentence has two underlined words that will be replaced with kanji that you've been practicing. If you need more help, let me know."]
As much as he hated to admit it, the rat was right. Half the time he didn't care how his writing looked as long as he got it himself. Probably why his grammar was a mess and his teachers ALWAYS marked him down. If even the rat seemed to struggle in reading his writing and Gods knew that Yuki had seen bad writing. So it was amusing on one hand but on the other he knew this would be hell.
So he did ask what the plan was. Not to be a smartass for once but he truly wanted to know. He wanted to know how long, boring, and painful this set of lessons would be. Because truly Kyou HATED kanjis almost as much as he hated English.
[b "Not my fault they tell us to take notes and when we have to they go fast. And I get it just do that because I can actually read my writing."] The teen grumbled. It was clear that he found this childish and REALLY did not want to be doing it. And soon the paper was in front of him and Yuki happened to be moving on to something else. [b "So how perfect does this have to be before moving on to the real hell?"] The cat muttered as he began to write the kanji grudgingly.
Yuki quietly looked over some of Kyou's work, studying his handwriting biting his lip in thought as he did so. The teen's writing could be atrocious at times and could be cause for some of his poor marks. Even the rat, who had seen quite a bit of terrible writing, could hardly make out some of his cousin's kanji. There also seemed to be some confusions as to grammar and how some sentences were linked together. If the cat was having this much trouble, he wasn't looking forward to seeing his English work. It was an even harder language than the one they currently spoke and he could only imagine the butchering that was happening to it on Kyou's end.
He glanced up as Kyou entered and sat beside him, inquiring as to what Yuki has planned as the rat continued to sort through some of the papers. Kyou was no doubt going to find this childish but it needed to be done. The rat pulled out a blank piece of paper and set it in front of Kyou before opening a narrow drawer under the desk and sorting through it. Writing utensils of all kinds were stored in there as well as a few math tools. The rat picked up a calligraphy brush pen and a normal one before closing it again and setting the regular pen in front of Kyou.
[+purple "You have a tendency to write like you're taking notes in a tornado,"] Yuki told him quietly. He pulled the paper closer to himself after pulling the cap off and slowly but carefully wrote out a few kanji:
[size25 鳥] - bird
[size25 烏] - crow
[size25 陳] - align
[size25 陣] - formation, encampment
[size25 賃] - to hire, rent
[size25 貸] - to lend, loan
[size25 貨] - goods, valuables
[+blue "Some of these I can tell are an issue with the way you write and not because you don't understand them,"] he continued quietly. [+blue "The last set you like to interchange quite a bit and also seem to have some problems with their usage. I want you to practice writing them, using the same method I did, to help fix your writing a bit. Don't go as fast and mind where some strokes end. Try doing a line of each while I get the other part of this ready."] With that, he pushed the paper back over to Kyou for him to work on.
Kyou had been hoping for a few moments to himself. It wasn't that being around the rat like this was a bad thing but he was NOT used to it. Hell he was not used to being around anyone so much or so long. So to have the chance for the break and to gather his things, the cst was silently thanking the gods. It meant he had a little time to get his head back together.
All of this was strange to say the least. Normally he and Yuki did NOT see eye-to-eye on anything. Usually, the pair were at the others throat both figuratively and literally. But he did have to admit the help in his grades and school work was nice. It gave him the chance to learn and to maybe keep his training AND it gave Yuki a chance to irritate the God. So looking at it that way, it was a win for both teens.
Maybe five minutes later, Kyou was walking into the rat's room with his backpack and took the extra chair, sitting in it backwards and having his head on his arms. [b "So rat, where do you wanna start?"] He asked, orangey orbs on the other, scowl over his features as this was going to be a worse lesson than the math was. Schooling and academia were just NOT for him.
[+blueviolet "Let me look through the textbook quickly and review some of your past tests,"] he suggested softly as he slowly pushed his form from the counter. [+blueviolet "In the meantime, you can grab your materials and meet me in my room."] With that he slowly exited the kitchen, giving Kyou the chance to do whatever he wished, and made his way up the stairs and to his bedroom.
Teaching Kyou could certainly be a challenge at times and he was aware of how frustrated the cat could get and how he would lash out as a result. He had seen it in school plenty of times and it was one of the reasons why his scores were so low. Honestly, he kind of enjoyed teaching Kyou and improving his grades as it was the only way he could think of to get back at the God that tortured him. Kyou's success, no doubt, upset him greatly and Yuki knowing it was because of him helping the cat made it so much better.
Yuki pulled the extra chair over to the desk again and set it beside his own before sitting down and pulling out his grammar book and binder. Their native tongue was tricky enough as it was but Kyou really seemed to be struggling with it lately. He carefully reviewed his cousin's recent tests, discovering what exactly he was having difficulty with before deciding on a plan of action.
Kyou by now had assumed his normal stance of arms crossed and was leaning against a counter opposite where the rat happened to be standing. Orangey-red orbs did seem to follow and to make sure nothing got broken since the cooking part was done and the stove was off. He as well as the other KNEW the disaster that Yuki was in both cooking and cleaning. Probably the reason he had stayed so close by. And the fact that he wanted him to at least succeed at this. Not that he would be telling that to the rat or anyone else.
[b "Eh not like I have anything better to be doing. Besides we made the deal of cooking for homework."] The cat said with a shrug. They were always going to be at some form of odds but this brief reprieve seemed nice. Easy even, which again was a nice change as his life had never been such.
His head tilted just the faintest and he nodded. [b "Yeah..sounds good. You know I hate the 'God' and his tongue lashings. So which lesson would we start on?"]
[+blueviolet "I'm a bit surprised at that, honestly,"] Yuki admitted quietly as he carefully extinguished the flame under the burner of the stove before moving the hot pan and dirty utensil to the sink to be cleaned later. [+I was expecting to have set something on fire again, I'm sure I would have without your presence."] It was no secret of the family that the rat was a disaster when it came to cooking and cleaning. They were the only two things he regularly failed at. He was known for setting things on fire in the kitchen and breaking things beyond repair when cleaning. It was no wonder he had been banned from the two activities for the foreseeable future.
[+blueviolet "...but...thank you."] He turned around at the sink, allowing his backside to rest against it and the counter, while looking back at the cat. They still had their issues, the rat and the cat, but he was grateful for this chance of normalcy and independence he couldn't get from anyone else. He didn't expect himself and Kyou to get along in any other aspect of their lives but this was a nice break. [+blueviolet "In return, I'll help you with your grammar homework. With that and your hopefully improving math grade it'll give you a high enough of a bump to escape Akito's tongue lashing when report cards come out."]
Was it that he had patience? Or was it because he wanted to in a figurative sense give Akito the finger that he was doing this? Or could it even be that he felt sorry for the rat? All their lives, Yuki had been the prince. The golden boy of the family and he an outcast and scorned. Everyone pretty much gave up on him and from a ypung age Kyou had learned that he was the "cat", the "forgotten member" of the zodiac. And all his life even if he knew that it was not Yuki's doing, Kyou had hated him. He hated him because of the old legend that happened to be their family tale.
Of course these thoughts he kept to himself. Or mostly. He would lash out and let some of the anger show but he NEVER admitted he never truly blamed the rat. And in his mind, helping the rat like this he was trying to make up some of his hostility. Also, the cat felt bad that Yuki was unable to cook and so far behind their classmates in that sense. He knew what it was like to be rediculed and he guessed in doing this he was letting the rat still have his image.
[b "I figured you'd get it. Took a few tries but at least nothing went up."] Kyou muttered. In his own way, the cat had been saying good job.
Yuki watched Kyou carefully and listened as the cat explained the process of cooking scrambled eggs. Honestly, it didn't look that hard. It was something he should be able to do, break some eggs and cook them. This was something even Kisa and Hiro could do without breaking a sweat. So why did this intimidate Yuki so much?
The toast he made the previous night was the first successful attempt at cooking he had in his sixteen years of life. Many things had to be replaced in this kitchen from his other attempts at cooking, Shigure eventually banning him from using anything other than the sink. Honestly it was safer for all of them that way. Now here Kyou was, agreeing to teach him the impossible. He had to admit that the cat had much more patience than he initially thought.
Once Kyou had finished and moved so the rat could try it, he simply stared at the stove top a moment before moving towards it. He reached out, picking up an egg, and attempted to break it cleanly over the pan that was still pretty warm. He crushed it, sighing quietly, before rinsing it out and trying again. Five eggs ended up like this. It took another lesson from Kyou before he finally cracked an egg successfully with only a couple pieces of shell in it. Once they were carefully picked out and tossed, he began the process of cooking them. They turned out a little more burned than they should be, but they were still edible. Yuki had doubts about being able to do this without the cat's supervision but at least he had finally learned how to cook two items in the kitchen. A strange sense of pride washed over him at this, amethyst eyes slowly flickering back to Kyou.
[+purple "At least I didn't catch anything on fire this time,"] he murmured quietly.
[b "You wanted something a little more challenging than toast and that would be this. Besides was thinking to have them scrambled that way if yokes break it's no big deal."] Kyou said as he took a side glance at his cousin, who seemed to he looking at the stove as if it were some kind of monster. Or that was just how he interpretted the look. To be fair he didn't know what went through the mind of the damn rat and didn't even want to.
It almost to a sad point amused him with Yuki seeming scared of the stove. Well he knew the history there so that was him being cruel. But on the other hand he felt kinda bad for him too. He knew what it was like not getting something and well this was a first for the rat. [b "Watch...it ain't that hard."] The cat said as he took up an egg and began to show the rat how to crack the eggs and even cook them.
Yuki bit his lip faintly in slight worry as Kyou went to the fridge to retrieve the eggs for their next lesson. He knew at some point it would come to this but he wasn't expecting it so soon. The stove? Did the cat really think he was ready for this? Yuki didn't and, in fact, had many doubts about his ability to not catch the kitchen on fire. The last time he had tried to use the stove he had done almost exactly that and had been banned from the appliance for the foreseeable future.
[+purple "Do you really think I'm ready for this?"] he asked quietly, following Kyou over to the counter and standing beside the stove range. Yuki eyed the white, oval shapes afterwards while folding his arms loosely over his chest. On top of that, how was he supposed to break an egg cleanly? He had failed at that task as well before, almost crushing it to pieces. Hopefully Kyou could teach him successfully and the lesson wouldn't end with a destroyed kitchen.
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