Yuki was fully aware some form of punishment was coming but he was unable to put his finger on it. He had refused Akito's wishes, no doubt making him angry, and he would have to pay for that. No one stood up against the male and made it out unscathed. Amethyst eyes focused on the table top and tried to watch the dark-haired male out of the corner of his eye, wanting to prepare for whatever would come next. Would Akito attack him now or would he wait until Yuki least expected it? That answer was soon given as he noticed the slender fingers wrap around the small cup and lift it, a bit too quickly, and his arm pull back. This was it. The rat shut his eyes tightly as he didn't want to see it, nor did he want porcelain shards to hit his eyes if he was aiming for his head, and tensed his frame to prepare for impact.
He didn't feel a blow to his side where Akito was sitting, instead feeling a hit to his shoulders. Yuki snapped his eyes open immediately to see Kyou in front of him, both hands on his shoulders and pushing him onto his back while the cat knelt over him. His eyes widened at this, his heart beginning to beat quicker, and stared up at Kyou in shock. What in the hell was he thinking?! What would ever possess him to act like this?! Before Yuki could react, he felt his cousin's hand wrap around his forearm and pull him up to his feet. Instantly Akito was on him trying to stop them but Kyou shoved him back rather hard while gripping Yuki's arm tighter and bolted out of the house.
Yuki couldn't say how far the two of them ran through the woods but, by the time Kyou had finally slowed down, his chest was hurting. His breath came out in shallow bursts, his form bending over a bit as his cousin's firm grip finally left his arm. He imagined he'd have a bruise there tomorrow, he tended to bruise rather easy. Once he finally caught his breath and his heart rate had slowed, Yuki slowly picked up his head and looked around for Kyou. He lay on the damp, forest floor in cat form while his uniform lay in a pile nearby. The orange belly rose and fell quickly, the cat recovering from his sudden run. Yuki sighed, going over and collecting the male's clothes then wrapping them around the wet animal to keep him warm. Once he was properly bundled, Yuki picked him up and began the trek back to the house. Even though they didn't see eye to eye, it would be cruel to leave him there. It had grown colder due to the rain and the dark, causing the rat to shiver now and then, but kept going in order to make it back to their home. The quiet gave him plenty of time to think, however.
Why did Kyou save him like that? If anything he should have been happy to see the rat get what he so rightfully deserved, if nothing else a black eye to match the cut to his lip. Did the cat know something he didn't? Or did he simply lose his damn mind? These questions and more swam through Yuki's brain as he carried his cousin home and silently entered the house. He set Kyou's shoes on the rack beside the door before doing the same with his own then carried the cat up to his bedroom. Carefully he set him down on the bed, picking up one of the blankets and wrapping him up in it, before going down to his own room to change out of his wet clothes.
[i ...until we’re alone.]
Flashes of yesterday crossed his mind like a blatant reminder of what was really going on here. Akito’s game had always been to pin one on the other. That’s what he did. That’s what he enjoyed. The god-child thought he had everyone wrapped around his finger. Well if Akito thought Kyo was going to sit here for one more god-damn second treating them like this, he had another thing coming-
Akito wrapped his fingers around the tea cup and the cat’s eyes widened. It was almost like he was seeing in slow motion. Years of training have taught him to be aware of his surroundings and the sudden movements of other people. That’s what honestly made the cat spirit so skittish. And in this moment, the black haired asshole was lifting his hand with the overly expensive cup of imported green tea and swinging it in an arch, right towards Yuki.
Kyo would have bet that he had never moved so fast in his life then in that moment. He was across the chabudai table and over Yuki before he even knew what he was doing.
Kyo inhaled sharply, staring down at Yuki’s face surrounded by silver hair as he felt the searing of tea dripping through his shirt. The rat must have been as surprised as he was, bending over him so close like they were intimate or some crap like that... but his embarrassment would have to wait.
[#FF0000 “What the hell do you think you’re doing?!”] he heard Akito say over his shoulder. [#FF0000 “Get off of him you filthy animal!”]
Everything felt like instinct. Like he didn’t have to think. He just moved, grabbing the rat spirit off the floor and pulling him out of the room. It was as if he was just watching himself from someplace else. Even when Akito tried to pull Yuki back, he just grabbed that god-child’s kimono collar and shoved, a ruffled thump heavy to the ground.
That’s when things started to get blurry. He somehow found his way through to the door, ignoring the call of a housemaid, and out into the darkness outside where the rain had started again. Somewhere he thought that he may have been holding his cousin’s arm too tight. Somewhere he thought that he didn’t know where he was going. Somewhere he knew he was feeling extremely weak and should have stopped.
But he didn’t. Kyo dragged Yuki as far as he could before the blurs of wavering shapes and colors became black spots in his eyes. He dropped his grip on the other and crumpled to his knees, trying to focus on controlling his transformation with little avail. He blinked slowly, too hard to stay awake... so he closed his eyes...
Yuki was aware he had said the wrong thing the moment it left his lips. In a desperate attempt to keep Kyou from eating off of the floor he had moved the target from the cat's chest to his own. There was no way Akito would have accepted anything less than an "of course that's where he belongs" and the rat was well aware of that. Still, he thought if he worded it differently and took the path of ignoring Kyou it would at least make this visit a bit more civilized.
The hit to the table caused Yuki to jump and tense, closing his eyes for a moment afterwards. He half expected it to connect to some part of his body even though he had seen the male's fist connect with the table. The rat had always been paranoid and on edge around the head of their family, especially since he spent quite a few years in the main house under his care.
Well, "care" was a very loose definition.
The years he spent with Akito were focused on psychological torture and mental abuse. He hardly left the male's sight and, when he did, was forced to check in constantly. The rat was so damaged by the time he had fallen into Shigure's care that he refused to speak to anyone for months. Akito knew full well the effect he had on Yuki and used it as a weapon as often as he could.
[+purple "No, Akito-san,"] Yuki whispered, his voice beginning to falter. [+purple "Please....don't. At least wait....until we're alone."]
Kyo could feel the rage building deep in his chest. What was anxiety was replaced by anger and spite. [i He couldn’t do it! He couldn’t man up for one fucking second! That damned Yuki is going to treat me like the fucking rat always does! Like I’m nothing.]
[i ...like I’m nothing.]
[#FF0000 “You don’t see the point in it,”] Akito repeated, not making eye contact with either of them. [#FF0000 “You don’t see that he doesn’t belong here? He’s so loud it’s impossible to ignore him.”] The head of the family lifted his fist suddenly and slammed it on the table, making all the dishes rattle and Kyo’s hairs stand on end. [#FF0000 “And you’re so damn quiet that you don’t know how to act when you know you’re better.”]
[i On the contrary, he does.] Kyo fumed. [i Yuki’s just a bully when you’re not around to see it.]
[#FF0000 “And you do know better, don’t you?”] Akito poured more tea into his cup, the question directed at Yuki. [#FF0000 “Or do we need to go into another of our lessons right here in front of [i it.]?”]
Yuki's eyes closed at Akito's words, not able to look at the cat as his mother was spoken about. He knew very well how he felt about her and how special she was; it was almost like if he didn't look over at his cousin, he wouldn't feel the pain and anger in the tan frame. It was easy for Yuki to brush off his own parents, they dumped him in this house when he was a small child. He could barely remember their faces. But Kyou, he had a parent that loved him and cared for his well being. He often wondered what that was like.
The amethyst eyes shot open as the conversation was directed towards him, landing on Kyou first before flickering over towards Akito. Such an asshole, no wonder everyone hated him. If he didn't have such control over all of their lives, no doubt they would have rebelled long before now. Unfortunately he dealt out some rather brutal beatings which made everyone, especially Yuki, step right back into line.
[+purple "I...I don't see the point it in, Akito-san,"] Yuki murmured quietly, his gaze dropping down to the table. If he was going to be given a glare that would churn his stomach, he didn't want to see it then. Even though the two didn't get along and hated each other's existence, he didn't want to see his cousin suffer for no reason. [+purple "Can't we just....ignore him?"]
The cat spirit held his tongue which came with a lot of concentration. [i Don’t say anything. Don’t say anything,] he repeated, trying not to feel the heat of frustration growing in his chest. An eyebrow twitched in an almost comical way as he took a sip of his tea. The dinner in no way enjoyable.
[#FF0000 “Now nothing to say?’] Akito mocked, tipping his cup to the point that it spilled a little onto his saucer, creating a small puddle. [#FF0000 “Come now, that’s not any way to entertain your host. Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners?”] Kyo instantly tensed up, his shoulders tight. [#FF0000 “Oh that’s right... She’s dead.”]
He lifted his gaze, his eyes thin slits looking straight into Akito’s amused features. How dare that fucking child say a damn thing about her! [#d89104 “You keep her out of this,”] he muttered through gritted teeth.
[#FF0000 “Such filth at the table, it’s almost as if he shouldn’t be eating here with us elites. Isn’t that right, Yuki? Wouldn’t you rather have him elsewhere? Maybe eating on the floor perhaps?”]
Kyo’s chest tightened more as he in turn looked at the rat for his response. He hoped to god that Yuki would man up and take his side for once. It wasn’t fair to be the cat. Often he felt he would be better dead. A burden lifted off people’s minds. But... he hoped regardless.
Yuki's body wanted to tense even more as Akito drew closer but it was physically impossible. He could already feel muscles begin to ache and cramp from how tight they were on his frame, one wrong punch could probably shatter him into a thousand pieces. Every time he saw Akito he was reminded of all the horrific acts he had to endure throughout his life at the main house, each one killing him a bit inside. He remembered how hollow he was when he finally came to live with Shigure and how it took him weeks to find the courage to leave his bedroom. It all came rushing back like water bursting though a dam.
[+purple "I...I could never hate you,"] Yuki lied quietly, trying to force his voice to remain stable. In fact it was quite the opposite: he hated every fiber of Akito's being. If he wanted to preserve the current arrangement of his face and keep his other bones in tact, he had to pretend the head of the house was the most precious thing on earth. It was difficult to do but he had quite a bit of experience in it. [+purple "It's just...I've been busy with school since midterms are next month. I want to make sure I'm prepared...."]
His eyes lifted once Kyou spoke, looking over at him and allowing his voice to fade. Yuki couldn't figure out if Kyou was simply not bright enough to keep his mouth shut or if he was trying to draw the focus to himself. Whatever it was, it caught Akito's attention and earned him a sickening smile. A chill ran up the rat's tense spine at that.
Something was up.
Kyo kept his gaze fixed at Akito’s kimono collar, careful not to make eye contact with the young master. He wasn’t weak. He was just cautious- yes. That’s what good fighters do! They analyze their opponents and wait for them to make the first move. Akito made no such hesitations.
[#FF0000 “The pleasure is all mine since neither of you seem to [i want] to make the trip out to the Main Estate to see me.”] The black haired teen leaned closer to Yuki, like a boy trying to flirt. [#FF0000 “Careful, it might seem like you don’t like me.”]
The cat spirit cleared his throat almost instinctively seeing how uncomfortable his table companion was becoming. He was here for that rat after all. [#d89104 “We don’t need to talk about specifics here. Aren’t we gonna eat or something?”]
Akito’s smile grew slightly wider, narrowing his eyes at him. [#FF0000 “Always so quick to be on with the events. Is it in your nature to be so instinctively rude or is it just in your deformed genes?”]
Yuki's breath nearly stopped completely as Akito entered, his pulse beginning to escalate. He felt as if he were in one of those American horror films where the killer picked off his victims one by one. Yuki's gaze remained fixed on the surface of the table as the head of the family moved closer, taking the open spot beside him and greeted them with that soft, cold voice. A bit of color dropped from his face and he didn't remember to begin breathing again until his chest became dangerously tight. He hated that Akito still had this effect on him; he liked to think he was stronger than this. It was evident that the dark-haired male still had the rat firmly in his grip and he wouldn't be letting go any time soon.
Such was the curse of being the favorite.
[+purple "....Yes, Akito,"] Yuki whispered, unable to really find his voice. His gaze remained locked on the table, not daring to bring it up just yet for fear of repercussions. The male could get particularly nasty when he wished to, leaving scars and broken bones in his wake. His hands rested in his lap as was customary in Akito's presence; presentation was everything. He could see his hand move over and grab the last empty cup, pulling it closer to him in order to fill it with the hot liquid. He could hear it as it hit the cup and it slide across the table moments later.
[+purple "It's...it's kind of you to invite us for dinner...."] Yuki spoke quietly. His voice wavered a bit in the beginning, indicating just how nervous he was. No doubt the head of the house was eating it up.
Well if Yuki wouldn’t relax then how could he? He could fake it for a while but he knew his temper would eventually get the better of him...
His breath caught as the shoji door slid open, catching Akito’s eye as he came through. It was a piercing gaze and Kyo felt his senses heighten like an animal in the presence of a predator. The kimono dragged across the floor behind the god-child as he made his way over to his seat... beside Yuki.
Akito reached over the table to grab his tea cup from the spot he was supposed to sit and dragged it across the wood, running a chill up the cat’s spine. Kyo gripped his own tea cup tighter in his hand, trying to find some stability in the warmth of the glass.
[#FF0000 “It seems you’ve already made yourself comfortable, Kyo,”] he spoke, nodding towards the cat as he poured his own tea. [#FF0000 “My favorite knows how to behave. Would you like some Gyokuro, Yuki dear?”] Akito presented the rat with a smile, twisting Kyo’s stomach that he almost felt sick.
Yuki watched quietly as Kyou moved further into the room, taking his seat at the table. Akito had yet to arrive, something that wasn't uncommon as he remembered waiting for fifteen to twenty minutes on the head of the family before, and for the rat it made his anxiety worse. It was precisely why Akito did it as he wanted to build their anxiety and deepest fears. After a good look around the room to be sure the sickly male wasn't hiding in the corners somewhere, he slowly made his way further inside and took his spot next to Kyou. Any other time he would have grumbled about being so close to the cat but, right now, it was strangely comforting. Like he didn't have to endure this hell alone.
It didn't take long for Kyou to behave in true Kyou-fashion, picking up the tea pot and helping himself to the piping hot liquid. Polite dinner etiquette required all party members to be present before such actions, main house etiquette meant not touching anything until Akito arrived and gave permission to do so. After living there for so many years Yuki knew the rules inside and out, watching Kyou deliberately break them nearly caused the rat's chest to tighten.
[+purple "He's going to skin you alive,"] Yuki murmured quietly, watching as Kyou set the delicate china down on the table. The pot was pushed towards him, Yuki shaking his head faintly to deny his request, before letting his gaze flicker up to the cat. The smirk he held told him that his cousin wasn't taking this as seriously as he should, his rebelliousness was going to get them into trouble. [+purple "I'm not scrubbing your blood off of the floor."]
Moments after the last sentence was uttered, the shoji door across from them slid open and Akito slipped through. The kimono he wore nearly swallowed his thin form, the fabric slipping a bit from one shoulder as his frame was too narrow to hold it up. It wasn't properly folded and tied, either, which told Yuki he had been somewhat active before he arrived to dinner.
[+red "It's so good of you to join me,"] he greeted them softly, slowly making his way towards the table. [+red "It's been so long since we've had time to talk."]
Kyo took his seat in the awaiting car and stared absentmindedly out the window. The drive seemed relatively short for neither wanted to reach their destination and the space between them became heavy. They pulled to a stop in front of a dark, shadowed house, a small light luminating in one window. With a deep, meditative breath, Kyo stepped out of the car.
At the entrance, they removed their shoes and the cat spirit followed Yuki into the softly lit dining room. The rat stood their almost frozen in the doorway of the fairly plain room before taking cautious steps inside. He was a scared creature in the predators cage. Luckily, the monster was nowhere to be seen.
Kyo scoffed at Yuki’s quiet words, almost finding it funny. [#d89104 “Silly thing to say since we’re literally standing here anyway.”] He lowered himself to his spot near the table and reached over for the tea cup, helping himself to the pot. It was his tactic to make it seem like Akito didn’t get under his skin... as if this was just another boring dinner. He mustn't show weakness especially when Yuki was around. He wondered if the other would indulge in tea with him even at the absence of their host.
With a smirk, he pushed the teapot towards his cousin. [#d89104 “We don’t need to start with the dinner with the Almighty.”]
Yuki followed the cat out to the waiting car quietly, waiting for Kyou to enter before sliding into the back seat beside him. He wouldn't say he [i decided] to attend this dinner, it was more of a demand in a polite disguise. The price for refusing Akito's request would be far more severe than anything he would face at this dinner tonight, the only fact that caused the rat to muster up any courage he had and get into the car.
He wondered, though, how Kyou planned to keep them both safe.
Kyou was certainly more brave than Yuki when it came to facing the head of their family. He could voice his thoughts to the head of the family much easier than Yuki ever could, even when it came to his anger. Whatever self-esteem the rat had was destroyed by Akito a long time ago which turned him into the quiet and partially depressed teenager that he was now. Those feelings became worse in the male's presence, Yuki afraid to speak for fear of being punished. Whatever light that had been inside the younger Sohma had been snuffed out, certainly there was no way it could get worse. But still, he wondered exactly what plans were running through the cat's head. Did he plan on a physical altercation or simply trying to cut him down with words?
They were about to find out.
Yuki stepped out of the car once it stopped, waiting for Kyou to do the same before walking up to the old, dark house with him. Their shoes were removed in the entry way before Yuki expertly walked the quiet halls to the dining room. He wasn't sure if he was ready for this, his hand shook a bit as he reached out to slide open the shoji screen door and his breath came out in a deep and long exhale. Before he could turn and run he pushed the door open and quickly looked around the room. It was already set up for them, a tea set in the center of the table, while two cups sat on one side and a single one on the other. Slowly he stepped in, his eyes darting all around just to make sure Akito wasn't lurking in the corners, before stepping up to the table.
[+purple "You didn't have to come,"] he told Kyou quietly while keeping his gaze averted from him. [+purple "I could have handled this on my own."]
Kyo wouldn’t let himself be bothered by the silence that followed when Yuki left the room... the time that occured between the peace of home and meeting Akito again. As he moved around the room, he practiced a meditation that his Master taught him to do before he did something that was uncomfortable. He relaxed his muscles and mind, dressing without care and not thinking about the dinner.
Time passed rather quickly and before he knew it, he was done and sitting quietly on the bed. The cat spirit was only brought back to reality by the sound of his cousin’s quivering voice. He opened his eyes, his feline pupils landing on Yuki instantly.
[#d89104 “Yeah,”] he answered, gathering to his feet. [#d89104 “Trust me, I want it over more than you do.”] Kyo crossed the room and gave him a slight smile. [#d89104 “Which is funny because you decided to go in the first place.”]
The carrot top led the way down the hall and outside where a family car was waiting. [#d89104 “Just remember, rat. I wouldn’t let anything happen to us.”]
The rat was fully aware of what a terrible idea it was, walking straight into Akito's hand. Yuki was certain there was some kind of horror that awaited them as the head of the family didn't have family gatherings simply to have them. There was always an ulterior motive, some kind of mental torture that would happen. Any gathering that the cat was invited to was bound to be a nightmare, not because of Kyou's presence but because of how much Akito hated him.
Nothing good would come from this.
Amethyst eyes continued to stare at the paper as he became lost in his thoughts, his form jumping as the letter was ripped from his hands by an irritated Kyou. His gaze lifted, silently watching Kyou crumple up the paper and tossing it away before grumbling about getting ready. He simply watched as his cousin's back was turned, pulling his shirt off, and dropping it to be cleaned later. Yuki wanted to go probably as much as Kyou did but he didn't have the option to say no. At some point he would have to face Akito again and he feared he would leave with more than a busted lip after that. The small frame turned and quietly left the room to head to his own in order to change into better clothes.
Yuki sorted through his closet, finding a suitable outfit and began to change out of his uniform. His hands still shook a bit which made it difficult to undo the buttons of his shirt and even worse to button his other one closed. Each passing minute made his anxiety grow, within the hour the rat imagined he'd be as stiff as a board. He couldn't wait to get this hell over with and return to the safety of his home where he didn't have to be worried about being locked into his room overnight. Once he found himself presentable, he went back to the cat's room to check on his cousin and see if he was ready.
He doubted he'd ever be fully ready for this.
[+purple "Are...are you ready?"] he asked quietly. His voice shook a bit, no matter how hard he tried to hide it, and deep breaths exhaled more in a faint stutter than a steady stream. It would seem that his nerves were already shot and they hadn't even left home yet. [+purple "I...I just want to get this over with..."]
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