Yuki watched the cat quietly for a moment or two, leaning back a bit as he did so. Being free of the dreaded curse was all any of them really wanted, to live a normal life with the people around them. He tried to remain hopeful, that one day the right person would come along and break it. Realistically, it didn't seem plausible. Generations upon generations of Sohmas had suffered under the weight of the zodiac and he was certain it would continue for generations more. Hearing that Kyou wanted to leave the family was a bit surprising, however. Even though it was never voiced to him, the rat knew that the cat wanted to be accepted by the others. It was part of his curse. To just abandon that...
[+purple "Perhaps you can go back with Kazuma-sensei,"] Yuki responded softly after a bit. He finished the rest of his dinner, setting the chopsticks on top of the bowl before bringing his gaze back up to Kyou again. [+purple "He'll need someone to take over the dojo at some point, I'm sure. I think it would be a good fit for you."]
Yuki was the smart one. Practical and could handle numbers, organization, and simple house running. A talent the cat would kill for. He himself was lucky if he could keep track of the food in the house OR his school work. But unlike his cousin, Kyou could manage social aspects of life. He could cook and he could clean. Even make bargains and wasn't "shy". Useful he supposed in the real world.
Together, the cat and rat had what it took to make it outside their cursed family. Could probably make it in the world. And he HAD to stop right there. They HATED the other. They were only getting along now because of their deal. Yuki needed all A's to not get a beating..and he needed to get his grades up to keep his lessons with Kazuma. A mere means to each get what they wanted and nothing more. Even he wasn't stupid enough to hope this so called truce could stay.
Red gaze went to the other male as he seemed to deliberate the question that Kyou himself had posed. It took longer than the cat thought it should, but an answer was soon given. And he was silent as he listened. The part that surprised him was having the question asked of him as well. Now it was his turn to take a couple bites of his own chicken and rice to try and find an answer. Of course he had thought about it..but knew it wasn't likely to happen.
[b "Be free of this damn curse and the family ties. To live my own life and maybe even become a martial arts master. The college life isn't for me. Maybe even get away from here and start again. That is if..."] But the cat shut down right there and began to eat again. He had opened his mouth too much. Said too much.
The talent of being practical. Was it really a talent or was it a set of skills that were forced onto him by family roles? He was smart, yes, which meant account balances were no problem for him and keeping track of food items in the house to keep them from running out was a breeze. He could organize a person's routine for more efficiency like nobody's business and could even work a laptop pretty well. Unfortunately he didn't have the social skills to back all of that up, not like Kyou, and would probably starve to death within the first month.
Either that or burn up in an electrical fire.
If the two zodiac were to work together as a single unit then none of this would be a problem. Yuki could handle the technical aspect of like while Kyou could handle the social and basic living. That was something, though, he didn't see in their immediate future as the two hardly got along.
Except for right now.
Amethyst eyes raised a bit as Kyou returned to the table, Yuki carefully setting the last bowl on his side of the table before sitting down at it. It was a question the rat had never thought about before, not in great detail. It was hard to do when he was constantly reminded of the Sohma chain he was attached to. Nimble fingers picked up the chopsticks beside his bowl before plunging them into the rice and carefully pulling out some. It smelled amazing, especially combined with the chicken, and tasted even better. Once he chewed and swallowed, he brought his eyes back up the cat once again.
[+purple "I just want to be free, I think, to live a normal life,"] he responded quietly after a moment. [+purple "I want to go to college, one that I choose, and maybe even leave Kyoto for a while. What about you?"]
The cooking was something he didn't mind. Besides it kept him busy and was a good distraction from the thoughts that began to enter his head. The thoughts of the past and of their family. Kyou had never been much liked and it was made a point to keep the cat on the outside. His mother and Kazuma had been the ones to pretty much raise him and to teach him. How he knew how to cook the chicken like he was doing now. Well how he learned almost ALL the pratical things he knew how to do. It was because he knew that he would have nearly no one. And Kazuma wanted to make sure he would be able to take care of himself.
It was only the soft words from the rat that brought Kyou out of his thoughts. Which as much as he hated to admit, he was thankful for it. The past was not where he wanted to live. But it haunted him. [b "Neither of us are lucky, rat. You have the place expected of you. And I have mine.."] He tried to have the usual bite to his words, but they just didn't come. The tone was more sad, and even he noticed that. [b "You have the talent of being pracgical..maybe not like house work. But listening and problem solving."] It was his own way to say he admired those traits.
Silence fell between them again and out of the corner of his eye, the cat saw that the rat was getting water and dishes out. It helped since he was finishing the chicken annd the rice would be done soon. Or more like just finished. And both of them had filled the bowls, Yuki taking both to the table while Kyou quickly washed out the pan before joining him.
[b "Know stupid to ask..but what do you actually want? Not this whole family crap. But personally?"] Why not ask the question? Gave them something else to talk about and the meal wouldn't be spent in silence.
Yuki continued to rest against the counter as the rice began to cook. This job was a mindless one, as soon as the lid was closed and the settings pressed the rice wouldn't need to be touched again until it was finished. This compared to the chicken was a task better suited for the rat as it guaranteed he wouldn't give them all food poisoning.
He listened quietly as Kyou spoke, observing him from his position across the small kitchen. Yuki imagined a small Kyou holding onto his mother's skirt as he watched her cook, the same child sitting on the counter trying to crack an egg and, when he got frustrated as he failed, the gentle woman coming over to help him with a smile. It was something Yuki couldn't relate to, he drew a rather short stick when it came to caring family members. He didn't remember his parents all that well, he was hardly around them as a child. They made certain he became friends with Akito which meant a lot of time at the main house while they continued to live their lives. After that, they more or less dumped him there to be cared for by the adults at the estate and give the head of the family an eternal plaything. This was one of the reasons he felt jealousy towards Kyou: he never had someone to unconditionally love him. The cat had his mother and, when she passed, he had Kazuma. Yuki literally had no one.
The rat straightened himself up to move to one of the counters after a while, reaching up into it and pulling down some bowls. Both elements of their meal would be finished soon and they would need something to put them into. Afterwards he headed over to the fridge and knelt down to pull out a pitcher of water. [+purple "I had always wished I was good at something practical,"] Yuki murmured quietly, slowly rising with the pitcher and taking it to an empty spot on the counter. A slender hand reached up to take down two glasses and set them nearby, then picked up a lemon and carefully quartered it. [+purple "You're lucky, even if you don't think you are. As for Kazuma, you deserve someone to look up to and who takes care of you. It's nice to have someone to lean on."]
As the chicken and rice both finished cooking, Yuki added water to the glasses with lemon inside then scooped out enough rice to fill each bowl. When Kyou had finished diving the chicken between them Yuki set both bowls on the table and carried the glasses over as well.
The directions had been easy enough and he knew that the rat would follow no problem. It always amazed the cat how well Yuki could do when guided through a task in the kitchen, but left alone how it could go to hell. Not that he could fault the rat. He had NEVER been taught and it was a well known fact that the others, Akito especially did not want the family's golden boy to know how to take care of himself. If he could, then he could leave.
His mind was wandering as he cooked the chicken. A task he had learned from early on. And for a little while, Kyou had actually forgot that his cousin was there. Or he had until the other male spoke up from his place by the counter. Orangey-red orbs came up from the pan and fell on the other.
[b "When I was allowed to be with her...or more like before...My mom taught me. She knew would have to know this stuff. Kazuma taught me more after and continued."] Kyou's words were actually soft as he spoke them. Not exactly memories he liked to think about. The part that had surprised him was that he had actually told Yuki and NOT told him to go to hell. Looked like their little truce was still in play. Or at least it seemed to be for the moment.
Yuki listened quietly as Kyou began to instruct him how to use the steamer and to measure out the rice correctly. He hated how easy it sounded, knowing full well that if the cat weren't here to help that the kitchen would be on fire by now. How he managed to screw up the easiest task in a kitchen was beyond him; if he were doing anything else it would be flawless.
Once Kyou finished explaining, Yuki took out the inner chamber of the steamer and filled it with to the line that the cat had shown him then measured out the correct amount of rice. He rinsed the small grains with Kyou's supervision then dumped them into the chamber, once finished setting it inside the steamer and closing the lid. The correct settings were pressed by the cat before he moved away and began to start the chicken.
Yuki was still very insecure when it came to cooking meat as he had a hard time gauging how cooked the inside was. When he felt he was finished it was either still raw on the inside or it was burned pretty badly. Not wanting to give the two of them food poisoning, he allowed the cat to take over that part of dinner and began to get dishes down instead. Quietly he pulled down two bowls from a nearby cabinet and found two pairs of chopsticks, setting them down on the counter and out of the way. He couldn't help but wonder who, exactly, taught the cat to cook. His father was ruled out immediately as the two didn't get along, leaving either his mother or Kazuma. He didn't want to bring up bad memories but he was curious and it would give the two of them something to do other than stare at a wall.
[+purple "Where did you learn how to cook?"] Yuki asked quietly, leaning against the counter nearby and folding his arms over his chest.
Was the rat seriously trying to read him? The cat knew that his cousin liked to watch and to obsereve. Liked to learn about people and perhaps knew SO much about the family. Knew their secrets and most likely did use them when the need arose. So he wished he would back the hell off when it came to him. No one cared as it was and that was how he liked it. Or that was what the orange haired teen told himself. He was just scared to let down his guard and to be hurt.
It was when Yuki got the steamer out did he realise that Yuki actually was meaning to help him and learn how to do the chicken and rice. Chicken, the cat was sure Yuki could do as he had seen it done in class. Had even had to try and cook and managed with Kyou's help. Rice and a steamer, well Kyou didn't let him near. It had been so it was not known just how easy it was for the rat to break the machines or to possibly set a kitchen on fire.
[b "Let me help..."] His words meant let me show you and explain. And with that said, Kyou did make his way over. [b "Okay...let me tell you the directions for use...then we can actually do it..."] And soon, the cat was helping the rat with the steamer. He was walking him through it and then helping with the chicken.
Oh the fun Shigure would have IF he caught this...
Yuki allowed his frame to lean against the counter again, his gaze trailing over to Kyou. The cat tried hard to make it appear as if he didn't care about anything that happened around him but Yuki knew better. There were things that bothered him, just like any other person, but he hid it as much as he could from his immediate family. Yuki wasn't sure if it was because he feared the others would perceive him as weak or if he wanted to pretend as if the Sohma troubles didn't reach him but, either way, the rat could see it in his eyes. Kyou may have been able to hide from the others but not from the one who spent his time observing everyone around him.
He couldn't help but wonder how the cat carried on every day. Yuki didn't think he would be able to in his position.
[+purple "Chicken and rice is fine,"] Yuki answered quietly. Stew sounded good, too, but he imagined chicken was easier to make. He straightened himself up, going across the kitchen and to the large cabinet to pull out the rice steamer. Once he had it in his grip, he carried it back to the counter and set it down gently while amethyst eyes looked it over. This was another object he was forbidden from using since he had destroyed the last two but, maybe, he could learn how to operate it just as he did the toaster. His bread still came out burned sometimes but it was far better than it had been.
[+purple "What do I do?"]
For a moment, Kyou wondered if this was as hard on the rat as it was for him. Both of them KNEW they hardly ever got along. Hardly ever shared kind words. Usually the pair were throwing punches or insults. And so to be nice...to say that the break had been something needed was hard as hell.
Orange-red gaze continued to watch his cousin and he nodded. He could take a form of solace in the fact that Yuki ALWAYS had it so much worse..though and he would NEVER admit it, Kyou almost felt sorry for the rat. No one deserved that kind of treatment. He had his fair share of abuse being the cat and the cursed member of the family...So in a way he could almost relate to the violet eyed teen.
[b "You know chicken and rise is simple to make. There's enough there to make it..."] Came the quiet words of the cat as he had had the quickest of looks in the fridge when it had been open. Not that he was sure the rat had noticed that. It hadn't seemed so from the way he looked it over and then closed the door again.
[b "Stew can also be made....just...What one sounds better?"] Kyou muttered with a faint shrug when the rat also said he had enjoyed the break. So they had been on the same page.. Nice to know..
Yuki watched his cousin quietly as he spoke, the last part of his sentence coming out quieter than the rest. It was almost as if he struggled saying such words to his enemy. He could understand that as he didn't say things like that often, either. At least not to Kyou. They were typically too busy throwing angry punches and hateful words at each other to allow time for peace. The cat was right, though, the break was nice.
[+purple "You can take solace in the fact that, if this does reach Akito, my punishment will more than likely be more severe than yours,"] the rat stated quietly. He pushed his frame to stand up straight from where it had been leaning in the counter and moved over to the fridge. His stomach had begun to grumble a bit as it had been awhile since lunch and wanted sustenance. He pulled the door open, looking over all of the ingredients in front of him. Nothing had been prepared previously so that meant he would have to try to make something. It was difficult to think of a dish he could prepare with these things, causing Yuki to let out a quiet sigh. Perhaps it was toast again tonight.
He allowed the door to close and looked over at his cousin once more. [+purple "But you're right. The peace was nice."]
He was more than aware of how their family worked. All of them were under constant watch and rules that HAD to be followed. Some were more willing to throw a family member the bus than were others as long as it worked in their favour. It had been done many a time and he was sure it would continue to be done. Shigure hated his role as guardian to both Yuki and Kyou as it meant keeping an eye and ear on them and making reports back to Akito and the main house. So when Yuki pointed it out to him, the orange haired male could not say he was shocked.
Red-brown orbs stayed trained on the doorway that led into the hall and he was trying to listen for the soft steps of the dog. Again, normal for family to sneak around and to spy. Only was he pulled from that thought when the rat spoke and his gaze fell on the other teen. He could not decide if he was serious or not. But Yuki was not like the others and did not speak unless he meant it.
[b "Yeah..both our asses will be pretty much grass when this comes out. He's the hardest on you..but never hesitates to dish out punishments when he thinks they are earned. So I'll be in the same boat...Though...thanks... And gonna say this only the once.. I didn't regret it either. The break was...nice."] His last words happened to be quieter as he was struggling with them. Kyou was never one for the emotional kind of crap and did not know how to dispaly them. But this time he had at least tried.
[+purple "With something this good, he may very well let Shigure off with a free pass,"] Yuki warned quietly. Even though the older Sohma took them both in to save them from the confines of the main house, he was still required to report in on both of them. The better the news, the easier Akito was on him. He doubted that the dog particularly enjoyed this job but it was his responsibility in the Sohma family: watch and report.
Yuki's slender frame remained resting against the counter, his arms folding over his chest loosely. He doubted that Shigure would return so quickly but it was best to keep their voices low. Just because he wasn't within eyesight didn't mean he wasn't listening. The rat liked to think he knew his other family members pretty well and had learned many of their secrets. Shigure, like his brother, enjoyed eavesdropping even if they didn't use their newfound information immediately.
[+purple "There isn't much I can do besides prepare for it,"] he answered in his quiet tone. Amethyst eyes flickered over to Kyou as he spoke. [+purple "If I'm lucky and Akito's in a good mood, I'll walk away with a few bruises and quite a few harsh words. If not...I'm guessing a broken nose, maybe some ribs or fingers. It's nothing that I haven't experienced before. But I don't regret helping you, no matter what the outcome is."]
Both rat and cat would be in for it when this got back to Akito at the main house. Yuki usually suffered worse than he did. But something like this would actually have the god on his ass and punishing him too. A lecture was the best case scenario..worst case made even Kyou cringe and there was not much able to do that.
All of that was dancing in the cat's head as the dog watched both of the teens. He had been trying to figure them out but decided to leave it. Apparently they were too tiresome for the moment and he left the kitchen to do whatever it was he did. A relief to say the very least. And when the dog was out of sight and he was sure their range of hearing, Kyou thanked Yuki for the help. The smallest bit of his pride was still in his eyes.
No matter the yelling and the lashings gotten, pride was the one thing that couldn't be taken. It could be dimmed for sure, but never taken. It was a lesson Kazuma had taught him and something he was sure the rat had picked up on too. [b "Gonna figure that out when it comes. We know the dog won't 'rat' us out just yet though. He hates the lashings as much as we do if not more. But what you gonna do when it comes out?"] Yeah he wanted to play like he didn't care. But he did. This time WOULD be his fault if the rat got "thrashed" by Akito.
Yuki leaned quietly against the counter, slender arms folding over his chest as he continued to watch Shigure. It was easy to see that the older male knew something was going on, his seriousness gave it away. He was also aware that the news of their good grades would make their way back to the main house, possibly by Shigure, and he needed to prepare himself for that. If he was lucky, a stern lecture and some sort of yelling would occur but he would be sent home without a scratch.
He didn't want to think about if he was unlucky.
Amethyst eyes stayed on Shigure until he exited the kitchen, deciding his time was better spent in the next room. It wasn't until he disappeared from sight did Kyou speak again, quietly thanking Yuki for helping to cover their tracks. The rat could have done better had he been given time to prepare for it, but this would do for now. [+purple "You're welcome,"] he answered quietly, letting his gaze flicker back towards Kyou. Some of the pride of his job well done still shone in his eyes, something Yuki liked to see. No matter how much the head of their family yelled and cursed at them, that was still something he wouldn't be able to take away.
[+purple "What are you going to do when this gets back to Akito?"] he asked quietly.
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