Yuki had lost track of how long he had stayed outside but, by the time he decided to return to the house, the sun had shifted quite a bit. His skin felt rather chilled and he imagined he'd wake up in a couple of days with a cold. He always did when he stayed outside like this. It was just another curse placed on the favorite, something else to keep him tied to this damn family. When he stayed in the main house, Akito used it to his advantage and made sure the rat was extra close when he got sick because of the male's actions. Akito wasn't above locking the rat outside in the cold then crooning after him when he fell ill. At least here he could sneeze and sniffle in peace.
Soft footsteps took the rat through the home and back to the kotatsu, Yuki choosing to stare at it instead of sit down. The building was quiet, Shigure having disappeared somewhere else in the building, and Yuki was thankful for that. He didn't need to be reminded of the curses he already knew were there. Yuki would always be the one to soothe the angry God whether he wanted to or not and he would always suffer his wrath. That was the responsibility of the favorite, the curse of the rat. He considered Kyou to be lucky in this aspect as the angry zodiac could fly under the radar and do whatever he wished. He would be able to leave the family one day if he chose to and live a somewhat normal life; Yuki would always be trapped in the Sohma cage and forced to endure Akito until he died.
The rat didn't normally entertain such dark thoughts but sometimes suicide seemed like a viable option.
A soft sigh fell from his chest, the rat continuing his trek though the house and stopped at the staircase as he caught sight of Kyou. He could see the faint red tint to his skin, indicating that he had been outside as well. He remained quiet for a long time, simply watching the cat and wondering what could possibly be going through his head.
[+purple "Why....did you protect me last night?"] he asked quietly. The Kyou he had grown familiar with would have let him take the hit. What he had done Yuki felt was rather out of character and it had been bothering him since the incident.
Yuki didn’t make too much of an effort to get involved and Kyo really shouldn’t have been surprised. No one took the side of the cat. He knew that... but it didn’t hurt less to know that the people in this room thought he couldn’t do it. Thought he [i wouldn’t] do it.
It pissed him off knoing these zodiac members thought they were the important ones in Akito’s little fucking circle. No one wants him involved, then why should he?
[b “One of these days Yuki’s going to get himself killed.”] Kyo looked up, instantly making eye contact with Shigure. [b “With him acting so recklessly with Akito, he makes it seem like his life isn’t worth protecting. What about you, [i cat]?”]
Kyo felt the mood shift in the room like it was being filled with water and he would drown. He knew perfectly well that the dog spirit liked to stir things up for his own benefit. Practically spelling it out for him that Yuki was the more important between the two of them but why would he say that? Was he trying to tell him to make things right? He didn’t know how minus walking straight up to the god-child himself.
Shigure smiled suddenly and waved his hand nonchalantly. [b “Well go on. Have your tea before it gets cold. No one has all day to wait.”]
Fire. He felt like he was on fire. His anger bubbling to the point where he feared he’d actually hurt someone if he stood in that kitchen any longer. Going for the opposite direction of his cousin, he exited out the back, a wave of cold air hitting him. He crouched close to the dirt and grabbed tufts of his hair, pulling slightly.
The beads on his wrists felt hot, reminding him that he really needed to calm his temper before things got out of control. His mother didn’t want him. Shigure didn’t want him. Why would Yuki look at him any different? Even after what he's thinking about doing...
He wasn’t sure how long he stayed there but by the time he stood to go back inside, he was already cold and numb. The guardian was no longer in the living room and the house seemed quiet. The cat vaguely wondered about the others but decided to continue his solitude in his own room. He’ll get ready to leave and he’ll confront Akito himself. Maybe then he can disappear.
The large, amethyst eyes shifted between Kyou and Shigure as they argued before finally remaining on the dog. What he was going to do now was still completely undecided and he found it difficult to think on such difficult subjects while he was so tired. Unfortunately this couldn't be ignored and would have to be taken care of soon.
Kyou's outburst surprised him, the only thing keeping it from showing on his face being the amount of energy it took to move his face muscles. Normally the cat didn't care what went on inside of the family, especially when it came to Yuki and Akito, and the fact that he was sticking up for him nearly dropped him to the floor. Was this because of last night? It had to be.
[+purple "As much as I'm sure that you'd like to have your head ripped off, Kyou, you don't need to talk to him,"] Yuki answered quietly. His gaze was still focused on Shigure and could see the fiery male in his peripheral vision. He imagined that if Kyou went into that building by himself, he wouldn't be returning. If he did it would probably be in a body bag. That was not something he wanted to be responsible for.
[+purple "Unless Akito specifically requested me for a certain time, then I'll go after schoo tomorrow,"] he told Shigure. He knew there was no way he could handle it now, hell he probably wouldn't be able to handle it tomorrow. He slowly pushed himself to his feet, his back cracking into place again, and glanced back at Shigure. [+purple "It wouldn't kill you to actually be an adult once in a while and take care of the people under your roof."]
He glanced over at Kyou once more before exiting the room and going out onto the porch. Slender arms folded over his chest at the chill, the rat mentally cussing himself out for not grabbing his sweater on the way. It wasn't cold enough to drive him back in the house but it was a bit uncomfortable. He stopped at the edge, leaning against one of the posts, and looked out into the woods. How lucky all of those creatures were, not having family hierarchy to suffer through and able to live as they pleased. He often wished what it was like to have a life like that, he'd even settle for a normal human one. A soft sigh left his chest and his eyes closed for a moment.
How was he going to handle this now?
The cat spirit was pulled out of his wandering thoughts when Shigure spoke, directing his words to Yuki who must have awakened. Of course, the first fucking conversation the dog had to have was about last night’s events and- yet again- Yuki was responsible for stroking Akito’s sensetive ego.
[b “While I am [i one] of Akito’s favorites I am surely not the individual he wants to see right now,”] Shigure replied coolly. [b “I’m sure you understand why-”]
[#d89104 “Why don’t you just let it go already?”] Kyo snapped from the kitchen, pouring the boiling water into his cup. It reminded him again of Yuki and that expression on his face. [#d89104 “Yuki doesn’t need to do damage control just because Akito’s throwing a bitch fit over not getting his way.”]
[b “Oh my,”] Shigure mocked, [b “Don’t let him hear you talking like that. I’d never hear the end of it.”]
The carrot top turned, his gaze hard and not amused as he stared at their temporary zodiac guardian. [#d89104 “If this is really so much of a big deal, I’ll talk to him. Can’t the rat be left alone for a day? Geez, it’s like that child has a crush on him or something.”]
[b “And why, pre-tell, do you care so much all of a sudden?”] Shigure shot back, crossing his arms in his own annoyed way.
That really pissed him off. Why did he have to explain himself to everyone? Why couldn’t they take what he said seriously without questioning how, when or why? [i Why is being nice so fucking complicated?] [#d89104 “Because I just do, okay?!”] He was yelling and he could feel his temper rising in his chest. All that work to calm down just to get red hot again.
[b “Well, Yuki, anything to add since we’re having this enlightening family heart to heart?”]
[i He’s mocking me, that stupid dog.]
The rat wasn't aware of the time when he fell asleep but he knew it was pretty late and still dark. The report he needed to complete for history class took up more time than he anticipated but, luckily, he had time to catch up on his sleep in the morning. They weren't like other households, having things planned to do with each other and finding ways to pass the time as a family. They pretty much ignored each other's existence unless time together was necessary. Sure, they had their usual meal times in each other's company but that was only out of convenience and necessity: for Shigure it was convenient, Yuki it was necessary. The dog could cook but was simply too lazy to and Yuki would more than likely starve without it.
When Yuki had finally awoke from his uncomfortable, slumped position on the desk, the sun had risen and filled the room with bright light and warm sounds. He certainly didn't feel rested at all and knew he would probably crash again later in the afternoon but he didn't see it as a problem. He had no where else to be. The rat pushed himself up from the desk, bones cracking back into place and causing a quiet groan to sound, then he slowly made his way down the staircase. He could already tell that the dog was awake, he could hear his incessant chatter from the top of the stairs. When he rounded the corner to the kitchen, however, he was a bit surprised to see Kyou. Well, Kyou's back, as the other teenager was facing the counter as he prepared himself a cup of tea. Yuki moved over to the kotatsu and sat down a bit heavily at it, setting his elbow on the tabletop in order to rest his head on his hand. Once he was comfortable, he closed his eyes in order to relax a little.
Unfortunately, it didn't last long.
[+grey "I received a call from Akito this morning,"] Shigure stated as he stood by Yuki. This caused the bright eyes to open, looking up at the dog. He remained quiet, waiting for his guardian to continue. [+grey "Whatever the two of you did last night completely pissed him off. Hatori was with him trying to do damage control; I don't think it was very effective by the angry words he was shouting at me. Yuki, you're going to have to fix this somehow."]
[+purple "Why is this suddenly my responsibility?"] he asked quietly, annoyance clear in his voice. While irritation was what showed on the outside, nervousness ran rampant on the inside. In order to fix it he'd need to meet with Akito. Again. And probably alone. [+purple "I thought you were supposed to be his favorite, the little chihuahua in his pocket."]
[i [#FF0000 “What the hell do you think you’re doing?! Get off of him you filthy animal!”] ]
He imagined Yuki’s face in that moment as he laid in bed, unable to get much rest last night. The rat’s vibrant eyes were widened with surprise as he stared up, wondering why the hell he did what he did. Kyo figured he must have thought it was the right thing to do. Akito was going to always hate his guts despite whatever he did just for soley existing. He must be thinking hard about his punishment. The cat wasn’t naive enough to think he would get away with it.
Maybe... maybe he should go. Run away where no one could find him. He knew for a fact no one would miss him. He would be a burden lifted from the family if he never continued the blood line. The cat would virtually disappear from the zodiac. At least, he’d hope so. No one deserved this.
Kyo curled up tighter, glancing up at the clock on the dresser reading it was almost a quarter to ten. He sighed, feeling tired but couldn’t force his brain to stop thinking for even a minute. He grudgingly sat up and threw the sheets off, burying his head in his hands as he pulled his knees to his chest.
All this was so fucking frustrating. Fuck this house. Fuck the zodiac. Fuck this self loathing brain of his! [i I just hate everything!]
Kyo stopped himself and took a deep breath, trembling slightly. He could see Master in his mind, telling his younger self to calm down and breathe. His eyes gentle and loving. [i “Let your emotions run but don’t let them consume you.”]
After a few moments, the fire in his chest had diminished leaving him feeling more exhausted than before. He growled, frustration quickly returning, and started out of the room and down the hall towards the kitchen. Shigure was there, saying something that he completely ignored, and put on a kettle of hot water.
He prepared his green tea, blocking out the sounds around him and only focusing on the single task at hand. It was simple. [i Though...] He frowned at the cup. [i Utterly pathetic...]
It surprised Yuki to hear the cat say such things, especially to him. It partially made him wonder if Kyou realized who he was talking to and if he needed to get glasses. Typically the two zodiac couldn't be in the same room with each other without spouting hurtful comments and harsh words; this behavior was very out of character for both of them. Actions and words such as these certainly wouldn't be occurring if the two hadn't just experienced a slice of Hell recently; Akito's words still rang loudly in Yuki's mind. It wasn't any different than his childhood with the sickly male; Akito's tactics hadn't changed. The fact that Kyou was there to witness it was what kept tripping the rat up. That kind of behavior was usually saved for behind closed doors, maybe once in a while Hatori or Shigure would be there to witness part of it. Never had someone so close to his own age been a part of it and it left him feeling rather uneasy.
Bright, violet eyes widened as Kyou stepped closer and let a hand rest on Yuki's shoulder, his frame even tensing a little. It was clear he wasn't expecting that kind of contact and it took him off guard. As he struggled to find the words to say, Kyou eventually broke the gesture and disappeared from the room.
What in the hell just happened?
If the cat was simply doing this for pity, Yuki wasn't that accepting of it. He was like Kyou in that sense, he didn't need pity from anyone. But what else could it be if that wasn't his driving force? For once, the rat didn't have the answer. The thin male moved over to his desk as he continued to think about these things, sitting down in the comfortable chair and opening one of his textbooks to begin some work. What he was working on wasn't due for another three days but he liked to get things done ahead of time and he could use the distraction. If he didn't, between Kyou's strange behavior and Akito's revenge for the failed dinner, he'd probably lose his mind before the sun rose again.
Yuki worked through a lot of the evening hours, eventually falling asleep at his desk. Luck was on the rat's side, though, as it was Saturday and the Sohma's didn't have school. He could catch up on the sleep that he needed, albeit in a very uncomfortable position.
Kyo remained silent as Yuki said his piece, giving no satisfaction to the cat to hear him talking in a self decramating manner. He spoke in a way that indicated that the rat didn’t have anything in this life that was ‘worth living’ unlike some others. Kyo was simply trying to be positive and it seemed that Yuki wasn’t very good at receiving that kind of feedback, even though he pretty much sucked at giving it in the first place.
Master had tried to teach him to be kind to himself and give himself breathing room for failure. Yuki sounded like he could use a few of his Master’s teachings as well.
[#d89104 “You’re not all bad, yourself,”] he replied, as he hovered awkwardly by the door. This was probably one of those moments where something else was supposed to be done or said. He despised being this socially inpared. Made him look stupid.
Kyo took one deep breath and took a leap. He closed the distance between the two of them and reached a hand out to pat Yuki’s shoulder lightly. It was strange and he didn’t know how his face was supposed to look, so he tried to play it off as ‘no big deal. I’m touching you when I’m probably not supposed to be but I’m doing it anyway.’
Without another word and a quick blush of embarrassment, Kyo stuffed his hands in his pockets and made for the door, taking the water glass with him. The moment he closed the door, he let out a long shaky breath, unable to understand why he was uncomfortable being around others. Though... maybe he just didn’t want to get hurt. Not again.
And with that last thought, he made him way back to his room and snuggled into the sheets where he felt the safest.
Yuki continued to watch his cousin, observing his behavior. This wasn't an unusual trait for the rat as he did it quite often to everyone around him, preferring to study before he spoke. It was part of his curse, the rat feeling the need to evaluate the people around him before making any kind of interaction towards them as he feared how others would perceive him. This behavior didn't make it easy for him to gain friendships which explained his incredibly small social circle. He wasn't like Kyou in that aspect, the cat able to befriend almost anyone immediately and fit in wherever he went. Yuki was quite jealous of him for that as he wanted more than anything to bond with the world around him.
After a while, Yuki rose from his spot and moved over to the nearby window. He opened it a bit, allowing some cool air to flow in and rustle the papers he had sitting on his desk before they settled and silenced once more. [+purple "You're partially right about that, some of us do have a life worth living,"] he responded in his usual, quiet fashion. [+purple "For the others, most of the damage has already been done."]
For once, he wasn't speaking ill of Kyou. The comment was directed at himself. Recently Yuki had realized that life outside of the Sohma cage would be possible for most, such as Kyou, Momiji, and Haru, but not for himself. He was smart but he was far too dependent on others. Hell, he couldn't even make toast without destroying something in the kitchen. Besides, it weren't as if Akito would allow him to walk out of his life that easily.
[+purple "I know you're not but you have your moments."] The amethyst gaze flickered back to Kyou, watching as he remained rather close to the door as if he would need the opportunity to run away at some point. [+purple "Only one person in this family fits that description."]
There was a long pause before Yuki spoke again and Kyo listened. He hovered on those words, almost too shy to admit that it wasn’t really him in that moment that the rat appreciated. Or maybe it was- he didn’t know.
The cat felt his features soften, not making eye contact with his cousin. Unfortunately Yuki had a piercing gaze that made it difficult for Kyo to be fully comfortable in his presence as most of the zodiac members did. Yuki’s just felt more powerful than others. [#d89104 “Yeah, it’s no problem. Neither of us wanted to be there anyway.”]
He glanced over and tried to make a reassuring smile but felt it looked too stupid so he returned to a scowl. [#d89104 “Look, don’t think too much about what Akito said. He is just a lonely person in a lonely house who likes to pick on the zodiac because, god forbid, we might actually have a life worth living. Also, just ‘cause I didn’t have to doesn’t mean I’m a horrible person all the time. I’m not okay?”]
Kyo could feel himself getting defensive and trying to bottle that was difficult. He wasn’t a fan of feeling vulnerable, especially in front of someone who hated him.
For once, Kyou didn't sound angry or upset. It surprised Yuki to hear that as normally the two were itching to get away from each other. Bright eyes moved back towards Kyou, studying him for a minute as he remained near the door, and wondered why he cared so much. Perhaps he didn't care at all and this was simply a distraction from his life. Either way the two of them were here and having a surprisingly calm talk.
[+purple "It's just....upsetting, I guess. What happened at the main house,"] Yuki stated quietly after a long minute of silence. It was more than upsetting to the rat but he didn't know if he should share that with Kyou. He probably wouldn't care. It was best to keep his feelings to the bare minimum. [+purple "I can't stop thinking about what he said and what happened. But....thank you for doing what you did. You didn't have to."]
The cat watched carefully as Yuki trailed off with his words, looking from side to side like he actually didn’t want to talk to him... which wouldn’t be a surprise. Kyo was often disregarded and usually that didn’t bother him. But today...
He wasn’t about to be nothing again.
And it bugged him that Yuki was going to pull that bullshit anyway. [#d89104 “I asked,”] he started, holding back any frustration that was threatening to spill over in his tone, [#d89104 “So I would like if you told me what was on your mind.”] Even if it is stupid, Kyo was sure that he had said stupider shit in his lifetime.
Yuki leaned back against the headboard as he watched Kyou, pulling his legs up into his chest a bit. It was strange having the other in his room without a shouting match but he wasn't about to protest it. He appeared to be in better shape now that he was awake, if not a bit sore, but he expected some discomfort. That was a staple of any visit with Akito. The wounds that inflicted weren't always visible as some were internal but there was always pain inflicted. The degree of it was always a surprise.
A lot of thought had been given to the words that Akito spoke to him while Kyou had been asleep. Never before had the head of the family threatened to humiliate the rat in front Kyou, nor really anyone his own age, and it left an unsettled feeling in his stomach. He had always known that the sickly male wasn't above it as he had seen it done plenty of times, but this felt different. Perhaps he had fully realized that, no matter what he did, it would never be good enough for their God.
[+purple "...I..."] Yuki's voice started quiet and trailed off, the bright eyes shifting from the cat over to his closet nearby. Honestly he felt a bit selfish in his feelings as he knew the cat always had it worse....that was the curse of being who he was. Knowing that didn't lessen his feelings in the least.
[+purple "....Nevermind. It's stupid."]
Kyo pushed the door open, spotting Yuki in the corner in bed and closing a book. From what he could tell, the other looked fine. A little frizzy in the hair but fine otherwise. [#d89104 “How are you doing?”] Yet... he asked anyway... [i Way to be awkward, Kyo.]
He closed the door behind him softly to not wake Shigure and took the medicine. It was strange standing here in Yuki’s room but feeling absolutely no hostility so he took a moment to glance around the room. It was similar to his but obviously more studious. Yuki was probably the type to want to go to university.
[#d89104 “Did you, you know, wanna talk or something?”] he asked, placing his water cup on the dresser closest to him.
The bedroom door shut softly behind Yuki, the teenager moving across the room and over to his bed. His clothes were just as wet as Kyou's and would need changed; the longer he stayed in the damp cloth the greater his risk of getting sick became. It was another curse the rat had to deal with as he fell ill rather easily and needed to be extra careful in wet and cold conditions. Slowly Yuki peeled off the wet clothes and allowed them to drop onto the floor before changing into his pajamas, carrying the damp items over to his desk and draping them over his chair to allow them to dry. As he did so, his thoughts were occupied by the dinner they had fled from and Kyou himself. What the cat did was impulsive and probably not that smart as it meant they would have Hell to answer for later, but he wasn't mad about his actions. Yuki already had a split in his lip from the other day, he could only imagine what the tea cup would have done.
But why did he do it? Yuki and Kyou had never gotten along, just yesterday the cat had been cussing him out. What caused the sudden change? It was a question he couldn't answer and was debating on whether or not he should ask. He doubted he'd receive an honest answer, anyway. The rat headed back over to his bed, picking up a book from his desk on the way, and crawled under the warm blankets. Luckily they didn't have school the next day so he could use tonight and tomorrow to try to unwind. Thank God for holidays.
Yuki had devoured a few pages of the book before he heard a quiet knock at his door followed by the familiar voice. Kyou must have transformed back; it was good to know his cousin was back in the waking world and not laying in a coma. Amethyst eyes lifted to the door for a moment before back down at the pages, Yuki reaching beside him and picking up the bookmark.
[+purple "It's open,"] he answered quietly, setting the strip of plastic in between the pages. Afterwards he closed the book but left it in his lap.
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