Fruits Basket Fan Fiction ❯ Seasons of Sorrow ❯ Memories of Spring = To Comply With A ‘God’ Then…& Always ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

DISCLAIMER: I wonder if Takaya-sensei needs me to unload her of this treasure…I'm more than willing to take it on! I'll let her know I'm available—I'll keep you guys posted!
Note: LONG chapter ahead…read at your leisure!
Memories of Spring
To Comply With A `God' Then…and Always
True, Kazuma was a control freak when it came to his dojo. Never mind that his culinary skills were that of a two-year old. He was the head master of the Sohma Martial Arts School, the most prestigious martial arts dojo in all of Japan. You don't run a dojo of that caliber by being careless with details concerning every aspect of the dojo, including the people involved at the dojo and its tournaments.
Kazuma knew that if he told Kyo why he was suddenly inviting Yuki, it would only aggravate Kyo's `barely hanging by a thread' relationship with Yuki.
To think back on it, Kazuma felt all the anxiety coming back to him…
(Flashback to two weeks ago)
Just over a month ago, Akito had sent word in a letter to Kazuma through Kureno that he was to (ahem)restrain the animal that currently resides with my precious Yuki and Shigure along with the ugly airhead”. Deciphering it in a more polite manner, Kureno advised Kazuma that Kyo is to lay off fighting with Yuki.
Kazuma was of course stunned for so many reasons, and when he was going to ask why, Kureno interrupted him as he continued with the letter. Akito had also let Kazuma know that (ahem)if the filth of scum were to comply and behave like a tamed kitty, `god' may just extend its freedom a while longer after graduation”. Kureno translated this to Kazuma that Kyo can remain free so long as he keeps his distance from Yuki—in other words, no fighting with the rat. Kureno didn't want to get their hopes up, but he did let Kazuma know that Akito may just be getting tired of such an old bet. Kureno admitted that the clan head has been tied up with other matters that something this trivial (to Akito anyway) was not worth the time and energy it requires…neither of which Akito had much left.
Kazuma knew better than to ask any more questions at this point. Kureno hinted as much that for now, just accept the terms and don't question them. Kazuma agreed with him…after all, sooner or later the mystery behind this latest request would come to light. Then again...
Bearing this last brush with the clan head in mind, Kazuma was justly feeling apprehensive at being summoned now to Akito's presence. What if the offer was rescinded? Past experiences with the clan head only added more fuel to that speculation.
Keeping this last thought in mind, Kazuma waited anxiously in Akito's main reception room. The room held so many memories…mainly unpleasant ones, but Kazuma quickly put those thoughts out of his mind as he concentrated on relaxing himself. It would do no good to be in that anxious state before the Sohma leader.
Feeling his calm once again, he felt Akito's presence enter the room. Kazuma looked up and saw how much the clan head's physical condition had deteriorated as of late. The young adult was no doubt having one of those famous bouts of illness that plagued each Sohma leader as their end drew near. Thinking those thoughts was rather morbid and saddening, so Kazuma resumed his focus once again at the situation before him. He felt curiosity come back to him as he eyed Akito carefully.
Akito had actually walked in with little airs to draw any attention. Instead, she walked over to the window and opened it. Draping one leg over to the side while keeping the other on the windowsill, she actually seemed to be basking casually in the sun, with little care if Kazuma saw this or not. Just then a small bird perched on the hand that she held out and merrily chirped away its greetings to the clan head.
“How does the world fare on your end, Kazuma?” was Akito's sudden question while eyeing the bird carefully.
“Very hectic, Akito-san. This is the first time in many years that Japan is hosting an international martial arts tournament.” Seeing that Akito wasn't stopping him, Kazuma continued. “As such, our dojo has been rather busier these last few months than in the last few years. Everyone is contributing as much as possible to make this a success. I'm very certain that our dojo will come out as the best in this tournament.”
“I would expect nothing less,” replied Akito quietly. “I'm sure all other details have been taken care of, including who is to attend on behalf of the dojo besides the participants…”
“Of course, Akito-san. Every detail has been thoroughly taken care of. I've also taken extra precaution with regards to the Jyuunishi members that are attending.” (Kazuma tactfully avoided mentioning Kyo's name here.) “Kagura is remaining for the most part in the female exclusive section of the arena to represent our dojo there along with several others. One of the `personal' aides to our family will be there as well to look after her. Hatsuharu will be pretty much by my side much of the time, but I'll also have another aide in the area just the same.” (Personally, Kazuma was relying heavily on Kyo to restrain the other half of Haru—no aide can help there.) “I've also designated several other aides throughout the arena and in the outer parts where other events will be taking place.” Kazuma felt very comfortable with these arrangements and other minor ones to protect his family. He left no margin for error when it came to Kyo's--and the others'--welfare.
“Sounds like everything is being taken care of,” replied the clan head. Letting the bird drift to the windowsill, Akito suddenly turned rigid. Eyes closed, with jaw clenched, she asked tightly, “What of Yuki?”
Akito could always catch Kazuma off guard. Blinking in surprise at the question asked, it had never occurred to him that Yuki would be attending…did he actually miss something? Yuki hadn't mentioned that he was going…maybe Yuki asked one of the others and that other person just hadn't said anything to Kazuma about it yet.
Glancing at Kazuma sideways, Akito saw the confusion in his eyes and heaved a heavy sigh. With a frustrated air, she clarified, “You just mentioned that the cow and boar will be representing us at this event. Even that `other' one will be there as well, right? All of them are going, yet, no invitation has been extended to Yuki to attend! Did you not train him as well?! So my question is why?!!!
`Great Kazuma, nice way to piss off Akito. How did she ever find out about Yuki not getting an actual invitation?' thought Kazuma tensely as he mulled over the rather simple question.
In all honesty, Kazuma never thought to ask Yuki since it never crossed Kazuma's mind that Yuki would want to go to these events. When an event like this took place in the past, Yuki always wished Kazuma well in the events and left it at that. He never did ask to go on those occasions, and Kazuma assumed that since it really wasn't a sport he was into, he wouldn't be interested to go to any of those types of events.
Akito continued to intensely glare at Kazuma, knowing that the teacher was thinking of all the assumptions he had made about Yuki (wrong ones at that), and therefore he was struggling to reply to her question. `Clearly the idiot just doesn't know Yuki. I swear I must be surrounded by idiots—the whole lot of them…' thought Akito sullenly. With narrowed eyes, she contemplated, `Well, if you can't think for yourself, you ignorant fool, I will gladly refresh your memory and make sure it stays engraved in your thick head.'
With an exasperated sigh, Akito shooed the bird off and brought her leg over back inside. Sitting on the windowsill and fully facing Kazuma, she breathed in heavily to ease the migraine that was starting to form. Akito then looked hard at Kazuma and `subtly' refreshed his memory, “Have you ever known Yuki to ask for anything in his life? Or have you forgotten how modest my precious can be?”
“No, Akito-san, I've not forgotten. It's just that I didn't believe Yuki to be that interested in the sport to want go to a loud gathering and watch it,” stammered Kazuma as he struggled to collect his thoughts and keep up with Akito's train of thought—now that was harder.
Smirking, Akito responded annoyed, “Your assumptions leave much to be desired, Kazuma. Who ever said Yuki was interested in the sport itself? Yuki might have trained in this sport, but his true interests were always elsewhere, ne Kazuma?”
`What does it matter…I'll never have it…'
This one remark from long ago which Yuki had made struck Kazuma instantly. With widening eyes, Kazuma came to grips with the reality that he somehow buried away in the back of his mind. Back then Kazuma knew Yuki had gone out of his way to learn a sport he wasn't interested in as a way to be near his other cousins (even Kyo)…to somehow participate in their interests just so that he could feel included in their lives. Such behavior resembled the old adage `when in Rome, do as the Romans do'.
Kazuma had somehow unintentionally blinded himself to this part of Yuki…it's like he knew Yuki to be this way, but at the same time only focused on what would be in Kyo's best interest.
So, knowing that Yuki's presence (this was after he started to live with Shigure and presently) in any of the public classes or events would only further alienate Kyo from the sport he loved, Kazuma purposely kept Yuki away for Kyo's benefit. It was never because of Yuki's health (that improved over time) or even Akito (Kazuma never asked) as he fooled himself to believe at some point. Kazuma was solely focused on Kyo's welfare that he never gave thought to how he was hindering Yuki's own personal endeavors to reach out to his family and to others.
Thinking back on how he behaved toward Yuki, Kazuma realized that he has given no reason for Yuki to hope that he could be included in this part of their world…indeed, why would Yuki ask if he had always subconsciously been led to believe this.
Sadly, in a way, Kazuma had left behind that innocent `child' sitting alone in that old dojo, quietly humming to himself and keeping out of sight so as not to bother anyone. That same `child' that was still looking to be included in their lives…looking for anyone willing to let him in.
That thought alone struck Kazuma hard, and he felt such a heavy weight in his heart overwhelm him. He bent his head down in shame, thinking how thoughtless and uncaring he had somehow become. And of all people to bring this to his attention…
Kazuma looked up and then gazed at the clan head. Kazuma knew then that Akito had known all along about Yuki's personal desire to be near others while using his training as a means to that end. Kazuma really had to hand it to the clan head…nothing ever escaped the eyes of Akito, least of all when it concerned Yuki in particular.
“So, you finally caught on, eh Kazuma?” asked Akito sardonically. She then got off the ledge and walked over to Kazuma and bent down to his level. With a smirk, she looked straight into his eyes, no doubt enjoying the stress Kazuma was under. Tilting her head at an angle, Akito replied coolly, “To think you're the martial arts teacher of such an honorable dojo such as our family's, and yet you are so blind to those that need your understanding the most. Such a disappointment.”
With a satisfied sigh, the young leader stood up and turned back to the window. The bird that had been there before returned to Akito's hand. While stroking the bird, she icily remarked to Kazuma, “I suppose I don't have to make it clear to you that I don't ever want to find out that you've again excluded Yuki from any activities that take place in this family. After all, you are no one to decide that.” With that, Akito glared coldly at Kazuma.
Kazuma felt the full weight of that warning, and Akito's glare only emphasized it more. `And no doubt you will find out,' thought Kazuma half-heartedly. Bowing apologetically to Akito, he quietly replied, “My misunderstanding will be rectified immediately, Akito-san. Arigatou for explaining it to me so…clearly.”
“Your misunderstandings are poor excuses! Don't ever believe for a moment that I won't instantly send that filthy alley cat back to his cage where he belongs! Keep that to heart, Kazuma…apparently that filth is all that you care about anyway. I should have expected the family members of the cat to stick together! It's actually rather pathetic…” spat Akito while releasing the bird back outside and with that, she stormed out of the reception room.
Akito never failed to point out the ugly truth and drag it out for all to see, or in this case, for Kazuma to see. Sighing heavily, he stood up and returned to his home. Sitting down alone in his room, he closed his eyes and allowed his head to droop as he felt his shame overwhelm him…
(End flashback)
Little wonder that it took Kazuma over a week to speak of the matter openly. His nerves and state of mind were completely shot. He had never felt so distressed (other than when Kyo was involved) as he had been the days following that interview. Akito knew how to effectively get the point across and be sure that it's never forgotten. No doubt, she saw the opportunity for using Kazuma's conscience against him. The clan head knew it would prick at him endlessly, and therefore allowed Kazuma to leave the interview as unscathed as he did…'unscathed' being the relative term of course. It definitely could have been worse.
Well, Kazuma didn't reveal these details to Kyo when he did tell him last week that he was inviting Yuki. He knew it would only make Kyo more apprehensive of the new situation he was in. Ever since Kyo had been informed that he was being allowed to remain free after graduation, he's been on edge waiting for the `other ball to drop'.
Not that Kazuma could blame him—he also felt wary of the new arrangement in their `contract' with Akito. He wanted to just simply agree with what Kureno had said, to just accept this truth for now and let the rest unfold itself…to not worry about something they had no control over. It was truly hard to accept this as even a `maybe'—how in the world was Kazuma going to convince Kyo that it was an actual truth?
Still it had to be done. After having read over Akito's letter several times to himself (checking loopholes here), Kazuma managed to convince Kyo that this arrangement was legit (that was not easy). Kazuma, of course, left out the actual `catch' to this arrangement (remember…Kyo's barely tangible relationship with Yuki…), so instead he convinced Kyo (again, so not easy) that he could now focus on participating and hopefully winning at the tournament without the lockup issue over his head. He reasoned with Kyo that he needed the best Kyo could offer at this event, and so it only made sense that Kyo needed to now focus on his training and prepare himself for this big tournament. Kazuma then pointed out that fighting Yuki was just a distraction and a waste of precious training time…something Kyo could not afford to lose anymore if he planned to even make it through the preliminaries.
Well, after this well thought out explanation from Kazuma (plus after many hours of persuasion), Kyo went along with the arrangement and new restriction. The benefits from this new arrangement were immediately seen in Kyo. He has since been in a livelier mood and training harder than he ever had before. Kazuma was truly happy to see him this way, personally hoping that it would continue to be this way after the tournament was over. But, from now until then, it will be a roller coaster ride. Kyo's already started to get suspicious (not surprisingly) and no doubt feels that there's something behind it all.
`Well, no need to get him started in that direction, not after all the trouble—especially since it's all for both Yuki's and Kyo's sake,' thought Kazuma. He then leaned on one hand and pushed himself up to see Kyo up close. He kept his expression relaxed as he told Kyo exactly what he's been rehearsing in his mind these past few weeks.
“Kyo, this truly has nothing to do with you (`well, not directly anyway')—it's just that I really want Yuki there for the team. Over these past few months our competition has been getting a lot tougher than I would have anticipated. You will be focusing on winning your fights, so I am going to need someone other than my assistant Kunimatsu to be there for your teammates. They'll respond better to someone their own age that can give them sound advice just like I would. Yuki will be of great help to me, so please, for me, let this go. Like I said, you'll be too focused on your own events to even notice that Yuki's around…so don't let it worry you so much, okay?”
Kyo knew there was more to it than that, but Kazuma kept giving him the same old warm smile. Kyo sighed in defeat and nodded his consent to this plan. It was the least he could do for his father figure after all the trouble Kyo put them through that evening.
It was then that they heard Shigure and Tohru talking as they approached closer to the house. Shigure glanced up to the roof (he knew they'd be there…or at least Kyo), and called out to them, “Hey you two! Come on down! You wouldn't believe the dessert I got for all of us!”
“Wasn't he supposed to just get leeks?” asked Kyo while he climbed down the ladder.
“Well, I don't mind having dessert first,” replied Kazuma happily as he followed Kyo down the ladder and into the house.
Kyo rolled his eyes, knowing that Kazuma just loved desserts. They passed Yuki's room and saw that he was still resting. “Let him rest for a while…Tohru-san can always bring him his meal later,” suggested Kazuma as he shooed Kyo out of the hallway and back downstairs.
Everyone got together and started to get their places set for their meal. Tohru was worried that Yuki wasn't there, but Kazuma assured her that he was just resting and would be fine. As he had thought, Tohru promised to get Yuki's meal up to him when everybody has been given their meals.
Unbeknownst to all of them, Yuki did wake up upon hearing the commotion downstairs. He realized in what state he was in (remember, nude under the sheet Kazuma placed over him), and so he carefully got up to get dressed and join the others. He was painfully aware of the growing throb from his left wrist and realized that he must have twisted it during his rendezvous with the local wildlife. He went over to the first-aid kit that Hatori always told him to keep in his room—it wasn't the typical first-aid kit since it mainly had Yuki's medication and anything related to it that Hatori might need if Yuki were sick. Yuki was glad to see the roll of bandage he found there and started dressing his wound. Satisfied with the results, he carefully put a long sleeve shirt on that had the cuffs cover his entire hand, so he wouldn't worry Tohru or the others.
Going downstairs, he saw all of them settling in for their dinner and spotted Tohru in the kitchen. “Um…hello everyone,” said Yuki quietly as he looked away bashfully, carefully keeping his injury hidden. Taking a small breath, Yuki walked over to his place at the table and sat down carefully, not letting his throbbing pain show across his face.
Everyone was quiet for a moment until Tohru broke the silence. “Oh, Yuki-kun, you should be upstairs in bed! I was going to bring this tray to you so you wouldn't have to come down. I'm so sorry for being too slow…” exclaimed Tohru while running around getting Yuki's meal to the table instead.
“Don't worry, Tohru-san, I'm fine. I'd rather eat down here with all of you instead of in my room alone,” replied Yuki with a soft smile. It still didn't seem to dawn on him that he used Tohru's first name when he was addressing her.
Everyone else noticed though, and Tohru just couldn't suppress her smile any longer. It was her first true smile she's given since before the run-in with the wild cat. “I'm so happy that you're eating with us. Oh, let me get you that leek stew I prepared just for you!” cried Tohru happily as she ran into the kitchen.
Kyo and the others were happy to see her so cheerful again…even Shigure didn't want to ruin the moment by teasing Yuki about how he called her by her first name. After all the meals were set and thanks were given, everyone started on their meals. Yuki had a little trouble since he used one hand, but he managed.
Unfortunately, it was rather noticeable, and Kazuma knew Yuki was hiding something. Knowing that Yuki didn't want to worry them, least of all Tohru, he didn't immediately bring it up. But Kyo was never one to hold back on his thoughts…
“Hey, what's up with you? Why aren't you using your other hand?” asked Kyo suspiciously.
Now the others noticed as well, and Yuki really wished that Kyo hadn't said anything. Yuki really didn't like being the center of attention (especially now), least of all when he knew that Tohru would start worrying again if she knew.
“It's nothing. I just don't feel like using my other hand…I can eat with one hand, you know,” remarked Yuki as he tried to get Kyo to drop the matter.
No such thing ever happened before and it didn't look like it would happen now. “Feh, fine! If that's how you want it…” exclaimed Kyo quickly reaching over and yanking Yuki's other hand for all to see.
Yuki was tired and couldn't pull back in time…that and the pain was getting a little too unbearable. It was hard not to notice the rather large wad of bandage around his wrist. He quickly pulled his arm back and remarked, “Look, my wrist is FINE…I've got it all bandaged, so there's nothing wrong. Really…” He seemed to say this last remark to Tohru so she wouldn't feel bad for him.
“Um…well, it seems to look fine, doesn't it, Kazuma-dono?” asked Shigure hesitantly as he helped remedy the situation. “I mean that bandage is large enough to take care of his injured wrist…plus the hand, arm, elbow…is it reaching over your shoulder?” Shigure just couldn't get over at how much bandage there was on Yuki's wrist and everywhere else. It was tied all wrong, and it was still falling apart here and there.
Both Shigure and Kazuma were silently struggling to keep it together, but in the end lost out to their pent up laughter. It had been such a stressful evening that it really felt good to just laugh. It seemed to also dissipate the growing tension in the room as Tohru's smile once again lit the room.
“Um, Yuki-kun, maybe we should get Hatori-san to check your wrist…just to be safe,” replied Tohru tactfully. She always managed to never hurt Yuki's feelings about his unfortunate inadequacy to dress wounds.
All the while, no one noticed as Kyo got up and grabbed another first-aid kit that Shigure kept downstairs. He grabbed a fresh roll of bandage and sat himself next to Yuki. Yuki was rather surprised and looked at him warily at first until he felt Kyo start pulling at his arm. Yuki pulled his injured wrist to his chest and asked suspiciously, “What do you think you're doing?”
Kyo just looked back at him and replied, “Taking you out dancing…what the hell does it look like I'm doing?! Hatori doesn't have to come over for this…it's easy to dress this kind of injury. Unless you really want Hatori to come over with all his instruments…”
That got Yuki thinking twice…needles, pills…nope, he'd rather take his chances with Kyo. He pulled his wrist out hesitantly and gave it to Kyo to take care of. Kyo unwound the holy mess that Yuki had made and saw that it was a pretty bad sprain…he was surprised that Yuki didn't complain at all about the pain he was certainly in. Seeing that sort of injury really brought a wave of guilt over Kyo. Shaking his head of the feeling, Kyo started to dress the wound carefully…Tohru was right, Hatori did need to look at it, but later.
“Damn, you can make a mess of putting on bandages. I'm definitely not letting you near me with a roll of bandage—I'd be covered from head to foot,” remarked Kyo sarcastically as he finished dressing the wound.
Yuki narrowed his eyes and retorted, “That's fine with me. I'll let you rot with your injury, and I won't even come near you to help even if you begged me!”
“BEG…ME??!! What world are you living in BAKA?! I NEVER beg!” exclaimed Kyo glaring back at Yuki.
“This is wonderful! Don't you think, Shigure-san?” asked Tohru happily while the nezumi and neko continued their argument as they all looked on and ate their meals.
Shigure then noticed that Kazuma had this far away look and smile on his face. “Ano, Kazuma-dono, what are you thinking?”
Looking at Shigure for a moment and then bringing his attention back at the two dueling cousins, Kazuma replied softly, “Oh, just recalling an old memory.”
Kyo nor Yuki seemed to remember but Kazuma did…Yuki's injured wrist was the exact same one that Kyo had injured by accident so many years ago…
`Weird how things come around in full circle…'
After dinner and dessert, Shigure went into his study to hopefully work a little more on his manuscript plus call Hatori about Yuki's injury. Tohru and Kyo were conversing quietly as they washed the dishes in the kitchen while Kazuma sat with Yuki at the table, discussing Kazuma's proposal.
“Yuki, I would really appreciate your presence there. It would really help me out. What do you think?” asked Kazuma with a smile.
Yuki was stunned at first, but slowly it wore off. He couldn't help but feel excited at being invited to go to one of those events. It would be rather hectic, but Haru and Kagura would be there, so he'd always have someone to talk to. With a big smile, Yuki consented, “Of course, I would be happy to help out. I'm afraid I don't know much about these events, but I'll try not to be too much of a bother to you and help out as best as I can.”
Kazuma could only sadly smile inwardly at this. `Yuki really did want to go after all.' With a soft smile, Kazuma replied, “You're never a bother. As far as how these events take place, come by the dojo later this week, and we'll go over the details. I should have your personal pass ready by then, okay?”
“Sure,” replied Yuki gladly. He then noticed Kazuma's face falter for just a moment. “Shihan, are you okay?” asked Yuki with concern.
Kazuma regained his bearings and replied quickly, “Of course, why not? It's just that I wished I had asked you to come to these events more often…”
“Don't worry about it…I would have just gotten in the way,” replied Yuki softly as he glanced briefly at Kyo. With more knowledge than Kazuma gave him credit for, Yuki continued quietly speaking, “You were only looking out for Kyo when no one else cared to. Just like any father would…there's nothing wrong with that.” With that said, Yuki regarded Kazuma with an understanding smile.
Kazuma held his gaze and inwardly thanked Yuki heartily for being so kind to him. Shigure had then made his presence known as he plopped a cup with two pills for Yuki to take. With a broad smile to Yuki, Shigure remarked, “Haa-san was ready to fly over here on his dragon wings, but I talked him out of it. He said I could give this painkiller to you with your regular medication. So go on, pop them little babies into your mouth and get it over with.”
With a glare to Shigure, Yuki stood up and said goodnight to Kazuma and the others. He then took his cup and went up the stairs with nary a glance to his cousin. Shigure grinned broadly as he went after him. “Yuki-kun, don't be so mean to me! It's not my fault Haa-san wants me to force feed these pills to you…come back! You need water with those,” called out the inu as he headed to Yuki's room.
“That's one plain idiot that I hope I never grow up to be,” remarked Kyo dryly as he heard the ongoing squabble between Yuki and Shigure. Kazuma merely smiled some more and inwardly thanked Yuki again.
An hour later, Kazuma had already gone home and both Tohru and Kyo were going over some homework. Meanwhile, Yuki sat on his bed staring at the two pills still in the cup. Shigure was also there but on the floor, nursing a large bump while reading his paper.
“I hope they invent some easier way to get you to take your pills without me getting wounded in the process,” replied Shigure wryly while he continued to read his paper.
Yuki didn't pay him any attention as he continued to focus on the pills. They were getting bigger—he could almost swear it. Just then, and quickly without realizing it, Yuki drank his pills down in one swoop. He coughed a little but finally let out a sigh of relief. The nightly ritual was finally over.
“Finally…my prayers have been answered,” cried Shigure with tears of joy came down his face.
(SMACK!) “Quit that…I told you that you don't have to be here,” remarked Yuki exasperatedly as he started to pull the covers over him. Hatori did mention to Shigure that the painkiller would make him really sleepy.
“Itai…so cruel to your caretaker! After all my years of loyal service, this is all I get…” was the inu's cries while helping Yuki into the covers.
(Yawn) “I didn't smack you hard, baka, so quit (yawn) your whining,” called out softly Yuki trying to stay awake. With a groan, he thought, `Great, I forgot the light.' With that in mind, he glanced at the small nightlight he kept in his room hidden from sight. It was really embarrassing to share this with anyone, but he found that his old nightmares wouldn't bother him as much if he had the small light on. It was a long time since he'd had one, and he should just get over his childish fear—easier said than done. Tonight was not a night he wanted to start breaking this habit…not with those cats still roaming around the outskirts of the house.
Shigure, of course, knew of Yuki's little problem with the dark and was actually the one to put the nightlight in for him…it saved tons on his electric bill compared to the other light in the room. With a soft smile, Shigure went over to the nightlight to turn it on, and then he went over to turn off the other light. He sat down on Yuki's bed and tucked him in further. “I'll stay with you `til you go to sleep, okay?”
Yuki blushed a little under Shigure's tender gaze. But he was actually very grateful that Shigure would do this for him…his nerves were really shot with everything that's happened. He nodded and sleepily replied, “Arigatou. Oyasumi…”
“Good night, Yuki-kun,” replied Shigure as he smoothed Yuki's hair from his face. Yuki really fought hard against the drowsiness, but it finally won him over and soon was sound asleep. Shigure then got an ice pack from the first-aid kit in the room and put Yuki's wrist carefully over it in hopes to bring down the swelling.
Not many people knew of what went on in Shigure's mind, but at that moment, he recalled how worried Hatori had been upon hearing Yuki's run-in with the wild cat and his injury. Stands to reason though…Akito made it plainly clear to Shigure months ago that both he and Hatori would be held fully responsible if Yuki's health deteriorated any further. She was livid, to put it mildly, upon learning of Yuki's poor health under Shigure's care. It was the first time the inu had seen such bitterness and anger directed at him from his `god'. He was beyond shocked at such a reaction from Akito. Subsequently, Shigure kept a keen eye on Yuki to be sure his health was improving.
Reflecting on this, Shigure knew his suspicions were being confirmed. The clan head had seen Yuki at some point…but how…when…why? More importantly, Shigure sensed the growing gap between himself and Akito, not to mention Akito's ailing health. These facts did not bode well for him…or for lifting the curse.
Gazing at Yuki, Shigure thought with melancholy, `I'm finding it harder to fight this curse, my little nezumi. To succumb to this curse will only ensure that future Sohma go through the same heartache we all have been through. I just can't allow that to happen anymore…no more…no more.'
The flowering trees were all around him as he felt its petals fall gracefully at his feet. The scent was pleasant and the peace that permeated throughout the area was calming his beating heart.
He glanced over his shoulder and saw someone sitting against a tree not too far away. The person called him over with the voice that resembled the sound of sleigh bells in winter.
“Come sit, you must be tired after such a long day,” remarked kindly the individual while stroking something in their possession.
He came closer to see the person's face but saw that it was hidden in the shadows of the shade under the tree. It seemed that there were two possessions that the individual held onto.
“Why the look? Don't you want to sit next to me? I promise that I won't scare you off like last time…you are so shy, you know? So kawaii…” replied the voice gently while gesturing him to sit down.
He complied and slowly sat down. The person's hair hid their face so he asked, “Why are you hiding now…the game is over.”
“True, but it's been such a long while since you actually spent time with me. I suppose it takes a little getting used to.” With a big smile, the individual looked up and looked at him straight in the eyes. “Oh, by the way, arigatou.”
He was once again feeling the hairs behind his neck rise as he felt the overwhelming familiarity strike him as he stared at…
With a start, he was sitting up in bed, once again breathing heavily. His mouth was dry, and he looked all around his room to see if that person was still there.
`Damn these dreams…but I swear that she resembled…
Edited by: Seiren-no-Kaze 02-23-07
Author's Random Blabbering (9-28-04?):
Wow, I am SOOO happy! Yep, yep, yep, happy, happy, happy…that's me! I'm just dancing around in my little world over here…why?
NyoNyo: I'm happy you like the developments with Shigure and the `behind the scenes' with Akito and Yuki. Yuki and Tohru…hmmm? Stay tuned! But I prefer to keep chibi Yuki all to myself…he's too kawaii to share with anyone!
Bass Star Cardians Webmis: Glad you like my fic…thanks for the review!
Jackie (anonymous): Thank you soooo much for your words of encouragement! I love reading them, and your review along with others really boosts my spirits. I'm happy you like the way the story is being laid out thus far. School? Graduated ages ago…I wish I were in school…never thought I'd say that! Things are really much easier when you're in school, compared to having to work your merry little mind to the point of insanity. I can definitely say I hate it, but hey, it pays the bills!
AnimeFreakVee52: No offense taken at all, so no apologies needed! Like I said, as long as you enjoy yourself, that's all I ask! Thanks for the compliment with Takaya-sensei…unfortunately, she and I are worlds apart. Just as well, I'm fighting with her for possession of Yuki! Kazuma and Yuki are so cute together, don't you think? (I'm dodging the Kazuma and Kyo fans back here.) And your devoted reviews are sooo appreciated…thanks!
All right, down to the post remarks for this chapter…
This was the chapter I was beating my head against the wall over. It was that hard to phrase it correctly, and it was long (so sorry). The chapter had me stumped for a while…I had the idea in my head, but not the words. Anyone ever had that problem? Trying to explain your ideas, but the words just weren't there. Well, hopefully, the idea did come across to you, my readers.
This chapter was difficult due to the change of events involved. I mean, almost every single idea out there generally states that Kyo will be locked up upon graduating high school. But just what if that weren't to happen? How…when…why? Akito is a great character to throw your world upside down, and she does manage to do this to Kazuma and Kyo. Once again, Akito is the spotlight in this matter…why is she being this way when Yuki is concerned? Being nice and all at first, then not, then being overly nice again (of course, Yuki is oblivious to many of these `behind the scenes' situations). Oh, the headaches my readers must be suffering! Yuki, too…me, too…
I hope I got Kazuma down just right with his behavior with Yuki. That was a tough one to put together without making Kazuma seem like such a cheap person. Don't worry, Kazuma, Yuki understands!
I had wanted to do a flashback with Shigure `complying' with his `god' in relation to Yuki's health problems. That would be cool to see Akito lose it with him of all people, but the chapter was already thoroughly hosed down with so much info that this scene wasn't necessary. I didn't want to extend this `day' any longer, so hopefully the wrap-up at the end would suffice—it was tender and creepy enough for me! What are you thinking, my little inu?
I hope Yuki and Kyo's little moment here with the bandages was heartwarming for you all! It's just to emphasize that Kyo doesn't harbor any ill will to Yuki…he never really did. But Kyo will just have to figure that out for himself! Also, you'll get a glimpse as to why Kyo has been rather edgy around Yuki—not being allowed to fight someone he's been wanting to beat since forever is nerve-wracking. Keep an eye out for this development.
What's up with these dream sequences? I love using them…just to get on your nerves! Not! It really ties in to later developments, so keep an eye out for them as well!
I really didn't have a musical moment here…it was such a tough chapter to put together that I didn't even think about the music. I recommend you listen to whatever would set the mood for you!
Man, these post remarks are lengthy…hope you don't mind! As usual, leave your reviews and thoughts and ideas and flames…er, scratch that last one…leave them on your way out of my twisted world! Ja ne!