Fruits Basket Fan Fiction ❯ Seasons of Sorrow ❯ Memories of Spring = Confronting Your Fears ( Chapter 19 )

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

DISCLAIMER: I have thought it over and gave it some thought. Yep, it's a shock to me, too. I DON'T OWN YUKI or the others…how sad, ne?
NOTE: Please forgive the veryindiscreet language found in this chapter…blame the characters. Such potty mouths…let me know your thoughts if rating needs to be upped (thanks Rjunkie)!
Memories of Spring
Confronting Your Fears
`Well, I finally made it,' Yuki thought forlornly as he breathed in heavily. Letting out a short breath, he took off his gear at the entrance of the path that lead into the forest.
Normally he would be grateful to be getting home early from school. With the School Dance just around the corner, there was a flurry of activity going on. He personally did not look forward to it, but thankfully, he had done much of the legwork already and his council members basically picked up the rest. It was now an unspoken agreement between Kakeru and himself that if Yuki didn't have to be there, Kakeru would stay behind and Yuki would go on home. If only to make Kakeru feel better, Yuki went along with this arrangement with little fuss.
`I wonder where the others have gone to?' Yuki thought dejectedly. It was only a little over an hour since he had parted ways with Tohru and the others at the school grounds (he had taken his time getting home). Seeing them rush off elsewhere with no indication as to where they were going, but very adamant that he not go with them, particularly Tohru…
`But why?'
Yuki had just gotten his notes from his schoolwork as well as his personal notes on his graduation speech into order before placing them in his pack. Still sore from his sprained wrist, this rather simple task was not always so easy to carry out, but he managed. As he slowly changed shoes and strapped on his gear, he glanced up and saw that Tohru and her friends plus Kyo and Momiji were still at school. Glad that he didn't get out too late to have missed them, he went over to catch up with them.
“Hello. Are all of you headed somewhere together?” asked Yuki kindly upon reaching their group.
He was met with silence from all there gathered, and each one stared at each other with a weird look on their face. As each tried unsuccessfully to give a remark, they looked to Tohru in expectation. Yuki gazed at her curiously while Tohru could only stand there and blush furiously.
Alarmed that she was maybe suddenly ill, Yuki asked worriedly, “Is there something the matter? Daijoubu?”
Snapping back to attention and replaying his earlier question in her mind, Tohru nervously replied, “Oh, n-nowhere in particular…we're just off to do some sh-shopping. We won't be home for a while.”
“Really?” he asked elated. “That sounds good…I haven't gone shopping for a long while now.”
“NO!” cried out Tohru in a panic, stunning Yuki in the process. “I mean, no, if you have free time now, it's best that you go home so that you could rest. I mean, it's not often that you go home and just take it easy…”
“Well, it's not that much trouble for me to go shopping,” replied Yuki perplexed. “I don't mind taking the time to go with you and the others to some stores.”
“I really think you should go home,” pleaded Tohru. “You will need all your strength what with last minute preparations for the class Dance and then your graduation speech, too. So, please, just go home and rest up.”
Still confused at her adamant request, he remarked, “I'm okay…you don't have to worry about me. It'll be all right…” His voice trailed off as he noticed that nearly everyone in their group were looking the other way (Hana of course looked unemotional during the whole conversation)—only exception being Kyo, who was fixing to pop in 3, 2, 1…
DAMMIT! You are just plain STUPID, RAT BOY!” exclaimed Kyo irritably. To Tohru, he sighed heavily and calmly remarked, “Look, this isn't going to work out. Let's just go home.” As he said this, he glared coldly at Yuki. In turn, Yuki was about to reply to Kyo's scathing remark when he heard Tohru speak up.
“NO, I want you to come with me Kyo-kun! Yuki-kun is…um…we can work it out…somehow,” stammered Tohru panic-stricken.
It still amazes Yuki how a few words from someone can have such an effect on a person. Akito was quite the expert on this—Yuki knew from experience. And now he could honestly say that Tohru was rather adept at the art as well, not that she had any clue of course.
Yuki quickly glanced over to Kyo, only to see him smile smugly at hearing Tohru's fervent request for him to remain with her. It was then that Yuki felt an understanding between the two that he was not a part of. And it was quite clear that his presence was only an intrusion to that connection.
`I see…' thought Yuki despondently. He could never allow her to see just how much that comment had hurt him to hear, and he will certainly never show his distress in front of Kyo. So, for the first time since he's known Tohru, Yuki was about to do the unthinkable.
Lie to her.
“You know what, now that I think about it, you're right,” he replied with a smile to Tohru, hiding behind his mask of perfect contentment. “There are some problems I've been having with my speech. No time like the present to get it straightened out. Go ahead with everyone else, and I'll just meet you home. I may even be able to clean up the place a little by the time you and Kyo get back.”
“Oh, please don't bother—it can wait until I get home,” protested Tohru.
“Yeah, leave well enough alone moron,” interjected Kyo annoyed. “She doesn't need you making a bigger mess at the house that she'll have to clean up in the end. Just stay in your little hole of a room and keep to yourself.”
Not letting his mask or wall crumble (experience with Akito taught him well), Yuki absorbed the insult and moved on. “You guys better get going. It's getting late…enjoy your shopping trip into town, Tohru-san. Don't separate yourself from the others,” cautioned Yuki with his serene smile in place. With a wave to the others, he then casually went off in the other direction without a backward glance.
Tohru, who unfortunately missed the underlying tension from Yuki, had smiled in relief and remarked, “Whew, that was close! Come on, let's get going!”
As Tohru and Uo set off to lead the group, with Hana trailing behind them, Momiji purposely lagged behind with Kyo.
Giving him a sidelong glance, Momiji spoke up and for once, very seriously, “That wasn't very nice, Kyo. That was really mean of you to do that to Yuki.”
“Oh, shut up, baka usagi! The damn rat is too heartless to feel a damn thing. He's practically made of stone…just like Akito,” growled Kyo lowly.
Giving him a disbelieving look, Momiji shook his head at Kyo's stubbornness. As Momiji quickened his pace to catch up with Tohru and the others, he called out softly over his shoulder, “If it makes you feel better to think that, then I feel so sorry for you.”
Kyo could only stare back at Momiji's retreating back, absorbing that cutting remark from the usually friendly usagi. He wasn't the only one out of sorts…Hana herself could only stare straight ahead, wondering only one thing.
`Why couldn't I read Sohma Yuki's waves like I have before? I've never seen anyone guard his own waves so well…' thought Hana pensively.
Rubbing his eyes vigorously, Yuki let out a tired sigh and looked up into the blue sky, watching the clouds slowly drift by. Then he glanced back down and stared absently at the path before him, wondering why Tohru had so adamantly refused his company.
`How did things get this bad between Tohru-san and me? What did I do wrong? How did I screw up so badly…?' Yuki thought hard. Knowing that the answers to those questions wouldn't appear before him, he trudged along the path he has come to know so well.
Thinking about this new development lead him to another concern he'd had for a long while now. As more of his time was spent in Akito's presence, he's begun to notice the rapid decline in Akito's health. Normally her illnesses would come and go, and she would have periods of relative peace. Not so as of late…her illnesses lingered from one to another, effectively ending any moment of true peace she may have had.
Yuki was beginning to feel that just as his presence was starting to become somewhat of a burden to Tohru, he was also being a burden to Akito. She made every effort to have Yuki with her whenever he visited, even going so far as to have him in the same room with her if she's sleeping. He felt bad for being more of a bother to her than a positive influence, but Akito was persistent in putting her health aside to attend to him.
Yuki could see it in Hatori's and Kureno's eyes, the haunted look of hopelessness at the situation before them all. Be that as it may, Yuki couldn't allow himself to succumb to that. Despair had followed him since the day he was born, and he was sure Akito's life was no different. Still, despite the darkness that threatened to consume them, Yuki wouldn't allow himself to surrender to it. He'd tried so hard to rise above the dismal situations in his life, and certainly this was no different. Now, if only he could keep Akito from drowning herself in the bleak situation that most clan heads found themselves in…
`Life will never get any easier for us, will it?' thought Yuki glumly. Sighing, he remained pensive as he walked along the pathway leisurely. `Well, if I'm going to go through with my plan, I had better make it known soon…not that anyone will be happy with it though. (Sigh)I guess it can't be helped…'
“Rats can be found in all parts of the world, including in the middle of nowhere,” was the sudden remark from out of nowhere.
Yuki brought himself out of his thoughts and stared at the girl before him. Seeing who it was, Yuki immediately tensed up and stopped in his tracks. `This day just keeps getting better…' he thought tiredly.
“Konnichiwa, Rin. Did you come to pay Tohru-san a visit?” asked Yuki guardedly.
“Just SHUT your trap!” spoke Rin vehemently. “You are NOBODY to be asking me ANYTHING!
`Yeah, better and better…' Seeing that she was already agitated, Yuki decided to keep his questions and comments to a minimum. Normally if he said little to nothing to her, she'd tire of him and leave just as suddenly as she had come. Yet the Horse of the Zodiac seemed to have other ideas in mind…
“Hiding like the damn rat that you are… Hiding and waiting for just the right moment to stab us in the back!” Rin cried out in anguish. She then walked up to him so that she stood toe to toe with him, staring at him straight in the eyes, since she was close to being as tall as he was.
Yuki only stared back solemnly as he tried to think of a way to placate her. He honestly couldn't see how since he knew she'd only ignore him. Still, the question lingered in his mind and it needed to be asked. “What are you talking about, Rin? I'm not hiding anything…”
With that she took one step toward him, forcing him to take a step backward. He knew how much she hated being touched by anyone, especially by him, Haru being the only exception.
ISAIDSHUTUP!” she gritted through her teeth.
Yuki at this point gave up and only hoped that she wouldn't resort to drastic measures like the last time around. He'd never lay a hand on her like he would with Kyo, so normally, the best he could do was just take whatever she threw at him, relatively or physically.
Noting that Yuki had remained silent, she continued to coldly glare at him. She looked at him disdainfully and remarked, “You are such a smug son of bitch…you think you're invincible, untouchable, just like that bitch Akito. Let me tell you that I won't stand by and let you or the wench get away with it. I won't!
`What is she talking about?' thought Yuki desperately. `I mean, what did Akito or me do now that's got her so mad?'
Rin continued glaring at Yuki, not letting him gaze anywhere else but at her. Seeing the confusion in his eyes, she icily remarked, “What? Think that by playing the innocent dove you might just get away with it?! IS THAT IT?!
With that last remark she took a few more steps towards Yuki, finally forcing him against a tree. All the while both Jyuunishi members stared at each other, Rin with her cold demeanor and Yuki in his apprehensive state, fists clenching tightly behind him. The feeling of being trapped with no way out was not acceptable to his rat instincts, but as tense as Yuki was, he had to refrain himself from pushing her aside. If he so much as breathed on her, she would start throwing physical assaults instead of her verbal assaults, and given his current state of mind, he's not sure if he'll be able to control himself.
“Rin…” quietly replied Yuki, “please tell me what's the matter.”
As he heard her say this, he completely felt the color drain from his face. He started to feel the beginnings of an attack, and so he fought to regain his composure. `How can this be? I was so careful…how could she have seen me? How?!'
Seeing his reaction to her remark, she smiled smugly, happy to see him under such duress. She brought her face closer to his face and smiled triumphantly. “Is the smelly rat having a problem breathing? Could it be because it won't be able to carry out its master plan? Hmph, what a damn shame.”
Trying to regain his breathing somewhat, he brought his arms around him and attempted to calm his nerves. He then replied softly as he looked into her eyes, “It's not what you think, Rin. There's no plan at all…”
SHUT UP, JUST SHUT UP, YOU DAMN BASTARD!” she screeched into his face.“I'm not going to let you go through with whatever it is you're trying to do! You and that conniving bitch won't get away with it! YOU WONT!
As he tried to focus on her words, he also observed her demeanor. She certainly was cold and angry, but there was something else that was fueling this… Seeing what it was finally, Yuki tried to approach her from that angle in hopes of trying to reason with her (a real long shot, but it was all he had).
“Rin, my visits to Akito are kept private, but they have nothing to do with you or Haru or with anyone else. There really is no plan going on between Akito and me…nothing at all,” remarked Yuki tentatively.
LIES, YOU'RE SUCH A LYING BASTARD!” cried out Rin as she started to tremble with her rage.
“It's not a lie,” countered Yuki quietly, feeling desperate that his breathing was becoming once again hard to manage, and Rin wasn't letting up in keeping him cornered.
Being pushed past his limit, he gazed at her with a sigh and replied, “Why are you so afraid to believe me? Is it that hard to hope that there really isn't anything to fear from Akito, or me for that matter?” Seeing that she stood staring at him wide-eyed and saying nothing, he continued in a softer tone, “Perhaps what you're most afraid of is to just hope. To hope to have something more with Haru without Akito involving herself…to feel free to express your feelings to the one that matters most to you without repercussions…”
Enraged at the fact that Yuki was actually able to see through her façade and perceive the fear that ran raw through her veins, she narrowed her eyes into slits. She then suddenly brought her right hand up to strike him, but she stopped short of his face as he tensed up immediately, fully expecting the blow yet made no attempt to stop her. She growled lowly to herself and instead spit at him fully in the face. Yuki was certainly caught off guard by this if the shocked look on his face was any indication.
Screw you, asshole,” she replied lowly. “I would neverstoop so low as to touch somebody else's garbage, especially from that damn bitch. You'll never be anything more than her toy…her filth… Her bake-mono. And just to let you know, everyoneknows that it's the rat's faultfor the mess we're in…the two-timing, scheming rat—think about it, you knowI'm right. The cat may have a second form, but you'rethe real outcast…the realplaguein this screwed up family. Too bad youcan't be locked up in a cage…or drowned like all dirty rats should be.”
She looked him over with contempt and finally backed away, walking back onto the path leading to the outside world. Yuki breathed in a little heavily and shakily brought his hand across his face to clean off her spit. But as she started walking off, she turned around and called out, “Tell that bitch her hold over us is over. I'm not going to stand idly by and watch you or her screw up our lives anymore. Even it means letting certain people in on your little secrets.”
With that she tramped off, leaving behind a very distraught Yuki. All he could think of as he shakily wiped his face is how everything was caving in on him. He slowly slid to the ground and breathed in raggedly. Seeing that his attack wasn't subsiding on its own, Yuki brought out his medication from his backpack and administered it to himself. Finally breathing a little easier, he tried pushing the terrible things Rin had told him out of his mind. As hard as he tried, the scathing remarks kept being replayed over and over in his head. And lastly, her threat at the very end could only mean one thing.
`How can I stop her from telling others? If Akito finds out, she'll go after Rin without a doubt. Then Haru will get involved, too,' worried Yuki. Closing his eyes and letting his head droop, he thought with desperation, `I can't let her get herself or anyone else involved in this. I need to think of something…anything…'
“How about this Kyo-kun? Do you think Yuki-kun would like this set?” asked Tohru as she showed the 10th gardening set in the store thus far to the overly bored neko.
After many shop hopping, they were currently in another nursery store, and looking for items that would interest Yuki. While Momiji and Hana took one side of the store looking at various plants, Tohru, Uo, and Kyo were currently in the tool section. Needless to say, Kyo was falling asleep on his feet.
Holding back a yawn, Kyo remarked with feigned interest, “That's good, too.”
“You know, you could at least try to vary your comments, Mr. Gentleman,” replied Uo annoyed. Ever since leaving the apparel store, she made it a point to tease him endlessly of how much he lacked certain gentlemanly qualities. Currently name-calling was in order.
“SHUT UP!” replied Kyo tightly through clenched teeth. “It's not every day you get dragged to every nursery or plant shop in the city to pick out garden sets!”
Tohru looked up from the displays she was at and looked away ashamed. “I'm so sorry. I knew I should have made my final decisions before bringing you. Gomen nasai.”
`DAMN!' thought Kyo as he inwardly groaned and mentally kicked himself to high heaven. `Why do I always do this to myself!'
“Kicking yourself in the head, aren't ya?” whispered Uo with a smirk.
Glaring back at her, Kyo turned his attention to Tohru and tried to remedy the situation once more. “I'm sorry…I didn't mean for it to come out that way. It's just that you're trying too hard and worrying too much over this. I'm pretty sure the (`damn') rat wouldn't want you to go through so much trouble just to get him a present. You've gotten a handkerchief, and Momiji even convinced you to get a matching tie.”
“I know, but it's because I'm getting a gift for him that I'm trying harder,” remarked Tohru softly as she bowed her head. “He's always so giving of himself, and lately, I've been so busy with school and getting myself ready for when I move out that I hardly spend any time with him. I only see him when we eat, and even then, he's usually too tired to say anything, but no matter how tired he is, he'll always insist that I tell him how my day went, as if it's so important. He'll sit there and listen to me blabber on and on, smiling the whole time. (Sigh) So, you see, for me, spending even one afternoon finding the perfect gifts for him is nothing compared to what he gives to me every day.”
Looking up, Tohru held an apologetic look on her face. “I know it's hard for you to be doing this at all. It really is my fault for not planning ahead better…today just seemed to be the perfect day to go shopping. I'm sorry for wasting your time. We can leave now, and go home.”
Kyo could only look on as she started walking off. If he didn't think that he could kick himself any harder, he was wrong. Cursing to himself, Kyo grabbed onto Tohru's arm and brought her back to the garden set display. She only stared back at him with wide eyes, confusion written all over her.
“Look, the key to getting the perfect gift is to not try too hard. You need to feel if the gift you're looking at is something that reminds you of that person. Just like with the handkerchief and tie,” reasoned Kyo. Pointing to the garden sets, he asked, “You've been gardening with him…which of these here do you see him actually take a liking to?”
Being asked the question, Tohru thought hard but couldn't think of an answer. Shrugging her shoulders, she replied, “I don't know…”
“When you saw the handkerchief and tie, your decision was immediate and absolute, right? (She nods to this.) Well, if you don't get that same vibe with these, we'll look elsewhere,” remarked Kyo as he leaned against the displays.
“Oh, no, I can't put you through that anymore! It's okay if we just get something from here. I'm sure it'll still be okay,” replied hurriedly Tohru.
“Don't worry about me. I'm here to help, right?” interjected Kyo. “Besides, I've got nowhere else to be—I was…just more worried about you. You can give yourself a fever the way you were carrying on. Just take it easy, and I'm sure you'll find the perfect garden set for the baka nezumi.”
Smiling gratefully, she gazed one last time at the display, and not seeing what she liked she turned to Kyo with a wide smile. “If it's okay with you, let's try another store.”
Smiling back at her, Kyo replied, “Well, come on then.”
“Took you long enough to apologize,” snickered Uo under her breath. Ignoring the usual glare from Kyo, she called out to Momiji and Hana, “Yo, guys…let's go! We've got to tackle another shop.”
And thus continued their shop hopping.
It seemed like ages came and went while Yuki sat against the base of the tree, completely ignoring the ache in his numb legs.
He had cleaned off his face as best as he could using a napkin he had in his pack. Admittedly, that was the first time ever that someone actually spit him in the face. It definitely did the job…he felt very dirty, likely how Rin saw him. Feeling very tired and filthy, he dragged himself back onto his feet and shuffled his way back to the path that led to Shigure's place.
`I don't want to worry Kureno…maybe if I ask Hatori about it,' thought Yuki frantically. 'Maybe he can reason with her…maybe…'
Sighing heavily and coughing every so often, he shifted his backpack to the other shoulder and walked on, lost in his troubling thoughts with a migraine to boot. He vaguely heard the soft rustle of the wind blowing around him through the leaves of the trees. The vague chirping of birds in the forest didn't reach him either. Yet as he neared the house, distinct yelling did catch his attention. What was more unusual is that the voice did not sound familiar to him.
`The only person who yells around here is Kyo, and he's not around. No one else comes down here except the mailman and delivery guy. Who else could it be?' wondered Yuki curiously.
As he got closer to the house, he finally heard Shigure's tense voice along with this loud voice. Yuki's eyes widened in disbelief, `Wait, Shigure is actually tense! Who's he talking to?'
Not losing another moment lingering in the forest, Yuki quickened his steps and burst in on the scene before him. Sure enough, in front of the house there stood Shigure frowning at the man before him. A man that Yuki did not immediately recognize.
“This conversation is over. Leave these premises now,” remarked Shigure tersely at the man before him. He then noticed Yuki over the man's shoulder and quickly addressed him, “Yuki-kun, go inside the house. Now.
As bewildered as he was, Yuki knew not to question Shigure when he was in that mood. Yuki merely nodded in consent and was about to go around the pair when the mysterious man turned around abruptly, apparently just realizing Yuki's presence. Upon looking at him up close, Yuki saw the familiarity, and he was stunned to realize who was actually before him.
`What's Kyo's father doing here? And why is he arguing with Shigure?' Yuki questioned to himself. Sensing malice from the man, Yuki backed a way a bit as he tried to go around him. However, it seemed that this man also had `words' he wanted to share with Yuki…
“YOU, I remember YOU!” remarked the man coldly as he pointed a finger at Yuki's face. “The Rat of the Zodiac…I should have smelled you from miles away.”
`Do I honestly smell that bad?' mused Yuki when the man caught him off guard with the insult. `Rin certainly thinks so…'
“Yuki-kun, go on into the house,” remarked Shigure curtly as he walked closer to the two.
“Not so fast, mutt,” bit out the man. “I've been waiting for TWO DAMN HOURS for that MONSTERto return to this `hole-in-wall' place you call a house. And even before that, I had waited for HOURS for that DAMN TEACHER to show up, which he NEVERdid!”
`And who would blame Shihan?' thought Yuki annoyed. He could see why Shigure was practically skimming that last shred of patience he had with the creep—to put up with the guy for two hours would be a nightmare even for the normally laid back inu. Yuki's earlier migraine was pounding his skull even more with this guy around. So when he saw his opportunity, Yuki carefully slid past the guy hoping to avoid any more contact with him. However, little has gone his way on this day…
Seeing Yuki slip past him on his left, the man harshly grabbed Yuki by his left arm and swung him around to face him, thus making Yuki drop his pack. Pressuring his left wrist painfully, the man spat the words out to Yuki's startled yet pained face, “I didn't tell you to leave RAT! TELL ME where your enemy is…that CAT. That's all I need to know.”
He was then swiftly torn from Yuki by a very pissed off inu. Bringing Yuki behind him, Shigure glared at the man coldly and icily stated, “Touch him again, and I'll have no qualms about making your life a true hell.”
Yuki could only stare in astonishment at the writer from behind as he nursed his throbbing wrist. He had never seen him royally pissed off, and it was rather creepy to see him like this now. Swallowing nervously, he glanced back at the bitter man and saw that he was also stunned by the inu's reaction. But apparently not too stunned as he started to speak up again.
“Back off you FREAK! That `MESS' you call a human being is walking around these parts of the city, and that `THING' behind you knows where IT is,” fumed the irate individual. He then glowered at Yuki directly and yelled, “I am not leaving this hell hole until YOU tell me where that DAMN THINGis RIGHT NOW!TELL ME, DAMN YOU!”
“I'm warning you for the last time…” was Shigure's tight remark.
“Kyo…” replied Yuki softly from behind Shigure with his head down.
WHAT?!” cried out Kyo's `father'.
“His name is Kyo,” continued Yuki quietly, looking up and gazing at the man evenly. “He can be many things, but he is not an `it' or a `mess' or a `thing'. He certainly tries my patience, but an enemy…no, that he definitely is not.”
Why you damn BASTARD!” the man screeched in fury. “The cat and rat are alwaysenemies…ALWAYS have been, ALWAYS will be! What, you think that by being all good and noble with that monsterthat it'll make you less like the deceiving ratof the Zodiac legend? DO YOU!
Before Shigure had a chance to interject, Yuki spoke up again with a narrowed gaze. “I am who I am…Kyo is who he is—not that you'd understand what that means. But one thing is certain—Kyo's nothing like you, a true monster.”
You SON OF A BITCH!” screamed the man as he lunged at Yuki. But he never had the chance to reach him because 1) Shigure immediately set himself solidly between than man and Yuki, plus 2) a very vise-like grip held him back. The man then realized his two arms were hooked behind him most painfully by none other than another member of the Jyuunishi, who, by the way, was less than pleased at the scene before him.
“You so much as breathe, I'll rip each and every one of your body parts, starting with the shortest one, capieche?” remarked Black Haru coolly as he held fast to the man. Looking over at Yuki behind Shigure, Haru saw Yuki's look of discomfort as he rubbed his injured wrist. Realizing what had happened to Yuki, Haru gave the man a wild, lethal look. “Forget what I just said…your ASS IS MINE!
"Eh, go my guest," remarked Shigure with a smirk.
“NO!” cried out Yuki as he made his way between Shigure and this man. Looking at Shigure exasperated, Yuki turned to Haru and replied fatigued, “It's all right, Haru. Let him go…he was just leaving.”
Just as Haru was about to retort with a big `hell no', he looked over at Yuki, and he saw that Yuki was more than exhausted and wanted nothing more to do with the creep. Groaning loudly at his loss of a little venting, Haru shoved the man a few feet away from them. “Next time, BASTARD, the very next time I lay eyes on you and your ASS WILL BE MINE!” yelled the darkest of Haru's personality.
Sighing tiredly, Shigure spoke to Haru's unstable half, “Ha-kun, please just take Yuki-kun inside the house with you, okay? I believe I can take it from here.”
“Fine, Sensei,” grumbled Haru as he went over to pick up Yuki's pack from the ground. Yuki could only stare at the irate man that was a few feet away, and as Yuki turned away with Haru back toward the house, he heard the man yell at him once more.
“Go, run off, you SICK FREAK!That's all the good a RATcan do…run off so that we don't have to smell the STENCH of what a RATis! Just like the DAMN CAT!” bellowed the bitter man. “Yeah, just like the CAT, everything is the RAT'Sfault…EVERYTHING! This whole damn family owes all their problems to you two, especially YOU! The DECEIVING RAT that lies and cheats his way to the top…THAT'S WHAT YOU ARE—A CHEATING BASTARD!No wonder your own mother can't stand the sight of you.”
The blackest of Black Haru would have had the man eating his fists long ago if it weren't for Yuki's iron grip on his arm. Yuki continued to walk away into the house, never once looking back or even acknowledging the man's presence, let alone his cruel remarks.
Seeing that the two finally got into the house, the inu turned on the intruder with very controlled anger. Walking up to the man, Shigure smiled (very scary) and remarked, “Like I've been saying for the past two hours, if you want to see Kyo-kun, speak with Kazuma-dono when he returns from his trip tomorrow. I'm sure a nice little tête-à-tête can be arranged between the two of you. Until then, don't ever come back to my home.”
“Please, must you yell? I can hear you more than perfectly well” tersely remarked Shigure once again. He then changed expressions and smiled even wider than before. “Listen, I really don't wish to take this any further than it has to be, but if you insist on forcing me, I will call up our precious clan head.” (Man in shock-Shigure smirks.) “Oh yes, you remember now. `Any interaction of any kind is forbidden between the Jyuunishi and the family of the cat.' Something about tainting us with anything related to the cat's creation or something like that…our `god' can be so peculiar about things like that. (Taps finger to chin.) You know, I do wonder how our dear leader would react when it's casually mentioned how the most prized of the Jyuunishi was injured by your hand. Surely that can't be pretty, ne?”
Knowing full well that the consequences would be severe if Akito was informed, the bitter individual backed down considerably from before. Not wanting to relent just yet, though, he coldly remarked, “You'd still protect that son of a bitch and that monsterknowing that they are the cause to all the problems in our lives! You're just as screwed up as that damn Kazuma! REPULSIVE creatures—that's what the whole lot of you are! Especially your DAMN RAT! He'sthe center of everyone's worldin this damned family—always being coddledand reveredand pampered!
With a cutting gaze, Shigure smiled mysteriously, “Absolutely. Such is our curse.”
Sensing that if he made any further attempts to argue with the inu he'd definitely be chased down by rabid wolves on his way out, the man shot one final glare to Shigure and to the house before stomping off into the woods.
While the men outside sorted out their differences, Yuki had led Haru back into the house. Yuki then slipped off his shoes and headed into the living room, praying that he can drown out the insults that still rang through his mind. It didn't help any when the bitter visitor outside continued to throw insults loud enough for him and everyone within a one-mile radius to hear. He cringed inwardly at having to listen to these insults…after all, there's only so much a wall can absorb before it crumbles…
“I'm going to my room,” Yuki quietly replied as he headed for the stairs.
“Yuki…” started off Haru while dropping Yuki's pack.
“I want to be alone, Haru,” was Yuki's abrupt remark while climbing the stairs.
Haru silently watched his cousin retreat to his room. It was a common scene for Haru. Yuki always retreated to be by himself when he was under a lot of pressure, which, unfortunately, tended to happen often when the nezumi was involved. In that aspect Haru could clearly see the rat instincts taking over Yuki as he retreated to quiet solitude.
Knowing that Yuki needed to be left alone to sort out his troubling thoughts, Haru glanced back to the doorway and smiled evilly, just realizing that he could now pummel the man without Yuki holding him back. He quickly put his boots back on and ran out only to find Shigure alone on the porch smoking up a storm.
Letting out a disappointed sigh, Haru sat down next to the puffing inu. He saw three cigarettes already littered around Shigure. Understandable—from what Haru saw earlier, the normally calm writer truly needed to have his nicotine at the moment.
“So, your `visitor' left without a good-bye?” asked Haru sardonically.
Blowing out a stream of smoke, Shigure replied, “Hmph, rather rude of him, ne? Making me go through two hours of torment just to stomp off in the end.”
“What the hell did he want anyway?” was Haru's question as he scraped off some mud from his boots.
“The usual…looking for someone to blame for his mistakes,” remarked Shigure as he finished off his cigarette and started up another. There was no way he'd be able to go into the house just yet with his craving in full force now. Glancing at Haru's quiet demeanor, he asked with a grin, “Did you lose your way and arrived here by chance?”
“No, I was following someone, and somehow...I lost my horse,” responded Haru with no further explanation, not that Shigure needed one as he grinned at Haru knowingly.
“Well, now that you're here, stay on until Tohru-kun and Kyo-kun arrive. I'm sure they'd be ecstatic to have you over for a visit, especially Tohru-kun,” commented Shigure. Glancing back into the house, he asked Haru, “Where's Yuki-kun now?”
“Upstairs in his room. He didn't want to be bothered,” stated the cow.
“Hm, I see. I really had intended for that monstrosity of humanity to leave before the kids came home, but he kept staying on. Who would have thought that Yuki-kun would be arriving before Kyo-kun or Tohru-kun?” asked the inu incredulously. Smiling a little apologetically, Shigure continued, “Well, I just hope my other visitor doesn't harass him too much. Poor rat, he's had quite the day, ne?”
Haru only looked back at him with a confused expression. “You have another visitor…who?”
Shigure only grinned and looked back toward the house, wondering where had his second visitor gone to for so long. `You'd think he'd hear all the racket and demand to be included…'
Little did Shigure realize that his visitor was completely absorbed in major problems of his own. Catastrophic proportions practically…at least, in his world.
“Can you hear me now?” asked Ayame frantically while holding onto his cell phone. Tilting his head the other way and balancing himself on one leg he repeated his question again. He then tilted his head in different angles on his other leg and strained to hear his assistant on the phone.
Finally getting a signal on his phone while holding the phone upside down, right leg extended out in front of him while balancing himself on his left leg plus tilting his head to the extreme right, he exclaimed with unbottled joy, “MINE! WE CAN FINALLY SOLVE THE CRISIS THAT PLAGUES US…um, hello? Hello, hello, hello, hello, hellllooooo! AH, THERE YOU ARE! WE”LL SOLVE THIS IN NO TIME…hello? Hello…MINE I'M GLAD THAT WE'RE BLESSED TO BE CONNECTED ONCE MORE…hello? HELLLLLOOOO? YES, MI-…hello?”
Thus continued the melodrama of Ayame and his cell phone. Ultimately, he gave up trying to get a good signal when he suddenly remembered the wonders of text messaging. He immediately set to work on resolving his `crisis'.
(Click, click) `Mine, the glorious wonders of modern technology has saved us once again! Please, no tears, for I am here for you to save the day! Now be absolutely calm. Ready? Here goes…carefully take the blue silk that was left over from the last order and use it on this dress…make a hemline using this silk and what's left over you can use as bows across the bodice. That should do it…just because some fabric wasn't enough to finish off the details doesn't mean other discarded fabric cannot be used in its place. Words to take to heart Mine…you must always keep a cool head under any circumstance, especially when a deadline is upon you. Now, we shall meet once again under the bright sun of tomorrow! ADIEU!'
One could only wonder the cell phone bill for that text message…too bad that it never occurred to Ayame that he could have used the phone downstairs to call up Mine…
Wiping off imaginary sweat off his brow (him actually sweating—preposterous), he leaned against the wall, absently wondering why Shigure hadn't come up to find him when he felt a rush of wind pass him and into the bathroom. He heard the water from the sink come on and water being splashed rather sloppily inside.
`Hm? Wonder who could that be…and to ignore ME? Oh, dear, what a cruel world this has become,' thought Ayame with a heartbroken air. Closing his eyes in dismay, he immediately brightened and ran into the bathroom.
“YUKI!” cried out Ayame, clasping his hands joyously. “I was not expecting you until evening! And here I planned on surprising you! No matter…I can still surprise you by not telling you where we're going on our picnic. It will be a picnic of a lifetime…no, ten lifetimes!”
All the while Yuki didn't even realize Ayame was even there as he continued splashing the water across his face with little regard of how wet his clothes were getting. He let the water run as he shakily wiped his face continuously, rubbing his temple every so often while he willed in vain for his migraine to go away. Shutting off the water, he was hunched over the sink with eyes closed, forcing his ragged breathing to calm down.
“So, what do you think?” asked Ayame merrily.
His voice boomed in the silence that was left behind from the water being shut off. It was then that Yuki realized that Ayame was there, yet spared no glance or recognition to him. After a few moments, Yuki straightened himself and walked past Ayame, head bowed, eyes hidden underneath his bangs. Not once did Yuki acknowledge the question, the talking, or even Ayame's presence as he walked straight to his room and closed the door behind him, effectively shutting himself off from the world, including Ayame.
`Eh! No words from my beloved brother? Not even a `go to hell' remark? Oh, wait, he didn't dry himself off!' realized Ayame suddenly. He grabbed a towel from the restroom, and went over to Yuki's door. Not one to knock before entering, he opened the door graciously and strode in.
In the meantime, Yuki had quickly changed clothes and had thrown them on the floor. His left wrist was throbbing painfully and so was his migraine, so he busied himself with trying to open the bottle that contained his painkillers. He sorely needed a big dose of it, but unfortunately, the manufacturers of pill bottles made it so that no mere human with two hands could open the bottle without actually struggling with it long and hard—Yuki only had one good hand at the moment. As he made his fourteenth attempt to pry open the bottle, he heard the door to his room open and saw Ayame waltz in with a towel.
“Yuki, you're still wet…here, dry yourself off before you catch cold,” chided Ayame gently with a wide smile. Though that was an exaggeration in and of itself, Ayame was intent on expressing his brotherly concern for Yuki's health.
“Who…grrr…told you…gggrrr…to come in here! GET OUT!” yelled Yuki as he struggled to get the bottle to open. Seeing how futile the rather simple task was, Yuki couldn't help but throw the bottle hard against the wall out of frustration. There was a deafening silence in the bedroom, Ayame silently observing his brother's rather rash actions and Yuki with great effort trying to control his shaking as he covered his face with his hands.
Breathing heavily once again, Yuki went over to his bed and sat down on the edge of it, never taking his hands off his face. As his shaking started to subside, he remarked quietly, “Go. Please…just leave. Leave me alone.”
Ayame was stunned silent (a first time for everything) as he continued to gaze at Yuki in astonishment. He contemplated over what Yuki requested—Ayame knew better than to stick around anymore if his little brother was in this sort of state. Not wanting to intrude any longer on Yuki's privacy, he turned to leave the room. He strode over to the door, biting on his lower lip and resolutely nodded to himself.
Yuki always kept his face hidden behind his hands, continuing to struggle with all his problems as of late, thus the reason his migraine wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. Upon hearing the door click shut, he brought his hands down and sat further into the bed. He brought his knees up to his chest and wrapped his arms around them in an effort to console himself and rid his mind of these disturbing thoughts.
Letting out a sigh, he rocked back and forth, laying his head on his knees as he once again closed his eyes. It was then that he felt a presence sit right next to him. Opening his eyes suddenly, he turned his head the other way and felt his eyes go wide in surprise as he looked at his intruder.
“What are you doing here? I said leave…why can't you just leave me alone!” replied Yuki agitated.
Ayame just stared back serenely during Yuki's remarks. Once Yuki stopped speaking, Ayame brought the towel up to his face and started to dry off the water that still remained. In response, Ayame smiled softly and said, “I just can't do that to someone so dear to me. You have a headache, ne?”
Yuki lifted his head and could only gape at his brother's remarks. He didn't even notice that Ayame had not stopped drying him off. Yuki stuttered, “W-what are you d-doing? And it's a m-migraine, not a headache…”
“Well then, I have the perfect remedy that doesn't involve taking pills,” interjected Ayame with a grin, laying aside the towel. Apparently, he also knew of Yuki's dread to the pharmaceutical item. “Here, allow me.”
Grabbing a pillow and laying it on his lap, Ayame immediately brought Yuki down and laid his head on the pillow. Yuki, who was stunned silent (his turn now) and now lying on his back, didn't react to this. He just stared wide-eyed at Ayame, wondering what his brother was thinking…Ayame always managed to surprise him in the oddest of ways.
Nii-san…” started Yuki off as he frowned at his brother. He was abruptly silenced as he felt a gentle circular motion massage on his temples. He blinked in realization that Ayame was trying to help ease the migraine he had using a method that was already tried before with no success. Yet, somehow, with Ayame doing it, the results were different. He started to feel the effects immediately, the stabbing pain ebbing away just a bit more with each motion. His ragged breathing from earlier also started to even out, sending all his tense chest muscles into relaxation.
`Why does it always have to hurt?' thought Yuki despondently of his problems while he gazed at Ayame. He would have continued to ponder on such depressing matters, but then suddenly realized that along with the migraine, his mountain of problems was dwindling away to mere piles of dirt while continuing to feel the soothing effects of Ayame's ministrations. Letting out a soft sigh, he blinked his eyes tiredly and struggled with his mind to stay awake so that he could get Ayame out of his room. Strangely, though, he had no real desire to push Ayame away, not today. And it wasn't because of Ayame's gentle massaging.
`I don't want to be alone,' Yuki sadly realized as he stared absently to the ceiling above him. `I'm just so tired of being…so alone.'
Ayame saw a range of desolate looks from Yuki as he gently massaged Yuki's temples. He knew something terrible had happened to his little brother, but he also knew well enough that Yuki wasn't ready to talk about it. Ayame sincerely wished he could wash all the worries away that troubled his little brother—to be some kind of use to him, especially when Yuki needed it the most. Seeing that such a thing would likely never happen in his lifetime, Ayame comforted his brother the best way that he could, hoping that somehow his desire to be there when Yuki needed him would be conveyed to Yuki. He hoped it wasn't too much to wish for.
“Feeling a little better?” asked Ayame kindly.
Blinking sleepily to Ayame, Yuki turned to his side and nodded in consent, “M-hm.” With that, Yuki settled himself on the pillow, letting himself relax under Ayame's hands. He could feel that Ayame was starting to stroke his hair softly, humming quietly to Yuki. Basically, that was all Yuki needed to let himself be lulled to a nap…heck, he deserved it after all that'd happened. But it was weird how some of the most unusual questions seem to pop into your head as you drift off to sleep…
“Nii-san…” yawned Yuki softly as he closed his eyes. “Do I smell?”
Ayame's eyes widened when he paused for a moment upon hearing that question. He then smiled widely and leaned down, breathing in deeply Yuki's scent. When he came back up, he continued to run his fingers through Yuki's hair softly. With conviction, Ayame responded, “Certainly. I smelled you rush past me when you came upstairs—I knew it was you without even looking! Clean, clear, and crisp…just like winter. I love it!”
Yuki pried one eye open and gazed at Ayame's very sincere smile. `He honestly believes that. How funny…'
With a small smile, Yuki closed his eyes and breathed out deeply, no longer feeling the throbbing pain of his wrist. Amazingly as well, he didn't give his problems any more thought as he drifted off into slumber. What did stick in his mind was Ayame's humming, in particular the tune he was humming. Yuki knew it well enough to hum it on his own when no one was around, but he never really knew what it was he was humming. One thing was for sure—it was a tune he knew from long ago…and it was very comforting to hear.
“Arigatou,” Yuki mumbled sleepily.
Ayame could only continue to gaze down softly and hum quietly as Yuki drifted off to sleep completely.
“Tadaima!” called out Tohru joyously while coming into the house in the early evening. Seeing that Haru was sitting in the living room watching TV while Shigure read his paper, she immediately brightened. “Momiji-kun, look! Hatsuharu-san is here, too! Maybe he'd like to join us for dinner, too!”
“NANI!“ yelped Kyo as he got in the house. “He skips school and now he shows up here! It's bad enough that the usagi has to stay for dinner!”
“I was wondering where you had gone to this morning! You had disappeared without telling anyone where you headed off to,” replied Momiji as he joined Haru at the table.
“All the better, then, that you two go home,” retorted Kyo irritably while heading up the stairs.
“Oh, please do keep it down, Kyo-kun…our beloved nezumi is resting upstairs,” called out Shigure with a grin. “Why don't you help Tohru-kun in the kitchen? We have three guests today so she'll need lots of help.”
“Baka, can't you count? It's just the cow and usagi,” replied Kyo.
“Yeah, well, our other visitor is with Yuki-kun at the moment. Just don't go up there just yet,” advised Shigure as he stood up and headed into his study. Passing by Tohru, he gave a knowing glance to her then glanced upstairs. He then went into his study silently.
Tohru knew something was not right, Shigure's more subdued demeanor being a clue to her. Also, Haru was not his normal peaceful self—true, he was not a talkative individual as it was, but he was just plain…silent. More like in a contemplative mood. Not wanting to intrude in matters that weren't any of her business, she did feel the need to check on Yuki first before starting dinner, just to be sure he was okay.
“Kyo-kun, could you please start preparing the dinner for me? I'll just check on Yuki-kun really quick, okay?” asked Tohru as she ascended the stairs quietly.
“Hmph, baka nezumi still gets the attention,” grumbled Kyo as he stomped into the kitchen. Seeing this, Momiji couldn't resist.
“How kawaii! Kyo-kun is JEALOUS!” squealed Momiji joyously.
“THAT DOES IT! I'm going to make you beg for mercy…BAKA!” cried out Kyo as he lunged for Momiji. As Kyo ran around the table or reached out across it to get to Momiji, Haru ignored the commotion as he glanced over at the stairwell, wondering how Yuki was faring.
Tohru shared his concerns, but was hesitant to disturb Yuki if he was resting. She first placed her secretive purchases in her room out of sight, and then went back out to the hallway to Yuki's door. Breathing deeply, she got up her nerve, raised her hand, and rapped the door softly. “Um, Yuki-kun, it's me Tohru. May I come in?”
“Hai,” was the muffled reply from inside.
Knowing that the commotion downstairs was pretty loud, Tohru quickly opened the door and shut it behind her. She glanced to the bed and saw that it was Ayame that had spoken to her since Yuki seemed pretty out of it. She saw Ayame on the bed, with Yuki's head on a pillow on Ayame's lap. Ayame had seemingly made himself comfortable as Yuki dozed on, threading a sample fabric and softly humming all the while.
“Ayame-san! I didn't know you were the visitor that Shigure-san had mentioned. I'm so glad to see you here! But what's the matter with Yuki-kun…he seemed okay when he left school,” wondered Tohru softly. Starting to panic, she whispered frantically, “Did he get sick? Was he found off the side of the road? Does he have a fever? He was okay when I saw him last—I should have let him come with us shopping! Even if meant that he'd find out my surprise, I shouldn't have been so selfish—please forgive me, Yuki-kun!”
Ayame would have stopped her earlier, but just couldn't resist seeing her like this. She always imagined the worst and became a raging maniac…a very cute one at that. As much fun as it was to see her like this, he really didn't want Yuki to wake up just yet—it was hard to get Yuki to completely relax because of his migraine.
“Tohru-kun, it's all right…all is well in Yuki's world (`well, sort of'). I was already here when Yuki came in earlier, and he was just a little tired, that's all,” replied Ayame quietly. Seeing that Yuki was still dozing, he asked the next question on his mind, “What sort of surprise were you planning for him?”
“Oh, nothing special…I mean, it's special to me, but I seriously doubt Yuki-kun would think my surprise graduation present would be anything special. I'm sure he'll be getting really wonderful gifts from other people…my gifts would be nothing compared to them,” commented Tohru with a sad smile. She immediately shook her thoughts away and cheerily replied, “But that's okay with me…Yuki-kun deserves the best! I just hope he finds my gifts useful for him, even a little.”
Ayame smiled widely, knowing full well how much Yuki would appreciate anything from Tohru—even a rock from her would be a precious stone in Yuki's eyes. “That's marvelous!” he whispered excitedly. “If you need any help, don't be shy to let me know!”
Blushing in appreciation, she went over to Yuki and looked down on him. She softly brushed his bangs from his face, tucking them behind his ear. She silently prayed that Yuki would love his gifts plus her much bigger surprise as much as she loved his support through the years they've become close friends.
“I'll be making dinner pretty soon. I'll let you know when to come down, okay?” she asked as she headed out the door, picking up Yuki's discarded clothing and placing them in the hamper.
“Hai, Tohru-kun. Arigatou,” replied Ayame. When the door shut, he quickly glanced down, seeing Yuki still asleep and oblivious to the activity downstairs or to Tohru's presence just then. He sincerely hoped that Yuki would wake up feeling better, and not have the look of despair he had earlier. `Yes, that would suit him best…a smile that lights up the room, just like Tohru-kun's.'
Even as Ayame was hoping for all the best for Yuki, another was seeing the worst of his nightmares come to haunt him in full.
When he saw Tohru come down the stairs and into the kitchen, he quietly went up the stairs and stood in front of Yuki's door. The door was left ajar just a crack, enough to take a peek inside at the two brothers. He should have felt elated at observing this unity, seeing how much of Ayame's efforts were starting to pay off. Yet, what had occurred earlier that day overshadowed any joy he would normally have felt.
`Why?' contemplated Shigure to himself. `Are you aware of what's really going on in this family, Yuki? Is that why you're meeting with Akito secretly?'
Shigure merely shook his head dejectedly at the situation before him. Walking away back to the stairs, Shigure reflected on what was to be done. `Whatever is going on between you and Akito cannot go on any further. It just can't. We have so little time left, Yuki. This curse is starting to bear down on me quite oppressively. To submit to it is to allow it to continue…this cannot be. I will not allow it - I won't.'

Edited by: Seiren-no-Kaze 02-23-07
Author's Penniless Thoughts (12-10-04):
Welcome back everyone! Thanks for hanging in there and reading this far! You deserve a medal for it. Sorry for the late posting—our judicial system has bad timing (yours truly had to serve jury duty for TWO days, yeesh).
It was extra long, extra angst, and extra Yuki—my favorite combinations! And mystery, suspense, and plenty of bitterness to go around, all in one chapter! Lots of hours of sleep were devoted to this chapter. Hopefully, you'll find it enjoyable and interesting to read. Here's looking forward to your reviews.
First off, I'm a bit afraid that Tohru's denseness would be seen as being overly rude and insensitive to Yuki's feelings. In the beginning, during Yuki's point of view, it was rather distressing to see Yuki feeling the cold shoulder, although it was more of a big misunderstanding on his part. Hopefully, the break in the middle of the chapter and the latter part of the chapter explains this a little more. That's primarily why I had the good things Tohru was doing for Yuki put into the last chapter. I pray that this chapter even reiterates Tohru's efforts to show how she feels about him…little by little anyway…what's her big surprise? All in good time, my dears…
Do you guys think Momiji was a little out of place here in the beginning of the chapter? I know it wasn't precisely Yuki's thoughts here since he had already left, but I wanted to include something that I believe Momiji would do. Being irate and impatient is in Kyo's nature when he's around Yuki. It can get so annoying at times—that's probably why Yuki `hates' Kyo since he gets on his nerves so much (I'm sure Yuki could care less about the whole `cat' thing—he'd probably even be friendly with Kyo as he is with his other cousins). Like an annoying itch that doesn't go away…(Kyo fans don't hurt me—I'm describing Kyo's behavior around Yuki; Kyo himself is actually quite all right)…but to downright cut him down so badly in front of everyone. That's just plain mean, and I don't believe Momiji would let Kyo get away with something like that. Momiji is, of course, discreet, and in a way, he even offered sound advice. I think it had a more profound impact on Kyo who isn't used to hearing the truth told to him from Momiji. Yes, I like this moment between the two…it spoke volumes of Momiji's maturity—yay, Momiji!
Yuki's tête-à-tête with Rin—that was bound to be ugly (Rjunkie guessed right, of course!). I'm not going into detail on what happens in the actual manga between the two, but I hope this chapter upholds the strained relationship between the two Zodiac members. Why that is the case is still a mystery (at least to me—Zodiac legend states that neither creature get along with each other at all)—it's definitely not Yuki's fault of course, but Rin doesn't seem to agree with that. The girl has quite a mouth on her…I really don't like her much because she's that way with Yuki. Pretty petty of me, I know, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
Kyo's so-called Dad. Does he have an actual name…I couldn't recall an instance in which the manga actually gave the creep his name, so I called on the experts to confirm for me (thanks Rjunkie and Ina-chan!). Sure enough, the great author Takaya-sensei didn't give him a name at all. Instead of thinking up a name for the CENSOR, I decided to go with the author's use of reference for him and just leave him anonymous. He really doesn't deserve to be given any special treatment in my book…he reallyis a creep, not very nice in any level at all. Kyo deserves Kazuma for a father, not this thing that walks around with a big chip on his shoulder. As far as the creep actually interacting with the rest of the Jyuunishi in the actual manga, I don't know of any instance in which he does talk to anyone else other than Kazuma. I would believe that the older Jyuunishi would know of him, maybe even have met him. I also would believe that this CENSOR would also hold some amount of hatred and contempt for Yuki for the same reasons Kyo does (heck, where do you think our poor neko got the idea?). I'm glad I could get Yuki to stand up to the CENSOR…it definitely would be something that Yuki is capable of doing. Trust me my dear readers…the `Dad' is a CENSOR, CENSOR, and CENSOR (credit to Rjunkie for her wonderful mind on this trick!). That's all I have to say about that.
Oh, my dear, sweet, oblivious snake. I had so much angst there that Ayame was a great distraction. I know his problems with the cell phone all too well…I live out in the middle of nowhere and getting a signal requires remarkable skills! I loved putting out the brotherly scene between Yuki and him…it was so right to have Yuki get a little lovin' after all that's been thrown at him in one day! Hmm, I wonder if anyone's ever tried going to sleep, and then all of a sudden, BAM, a really odd question comes to your head and you just can't get rid of it. Pretty weird mind we have...
More suspense from our beloved inu…yep, he was finally clued in on these visits. I hope my readers had caught on to who the `first' visitor was, thus why he called Ayame his `second' visitor. This new development will certainly turn Yuki's world upside down…oh, my poor nezumi…
This chapter is about confrontations between many members of the family, but it also reveals much on the behavior of Shigure and Yuki that will be important in later developments of the story. However insignificant the details, it all comes together. That's the only hint I'm making for now.
Now, after all my blabbering, my reply to the last round of reviews!
Alcapacien: I'm glad my explanation helped! I know my other reviewer sheds more light on the matter, so I hope all my readers take advantage of this info and understand the manga better.
S.B.B. Kisses: I like the story you were starting up! And I appreciate your review—it helps to keep me going!
Baka-neko: Thanks for shedding more light on this hot issue—you are correct! Any input from my reviewers is always appreciated. I agree that Takaya-sensei has quite a mind to deliver these shocking revelations to us. I only hope that my fic doesn't disgrace her creation…I only mean to celebrate the beauty of it!
AnimeFreakVee52: Thanks for dropping in once again! The `italics' in the whole story was a blooper—fanficnet's fault of course! I didn't even notice until I read your review; it was fine before then. Oh well, at least you liked the chapter—I am still blushing!
Rjunkie: Thanks to you for your advice (thanks to Ina-chan, too!), and I really hope this chapter quenched your Yuki-thirst! I'm actually afraid I might have gone too far with the foul language. I know you'll let me know if that's the case—I don't want to be booted off because someone was offended. There was a reason behind the PG-13 rating. Hope you like my preference with leaving the big creep without a name. I wouldn't do the language any justice by coming up with a name anyway… Don't worry…Tohru is actually smarter in this fic of mine. Her surprise gift is a big one, and trust me when I say that she is putting in a lot more effort into this surprise than she actually lets on. No one knows about this aside from Tohru and me, but it'll be worth it!
That seems to be it from me for now. It's a long author's section compared to before, but then again, so was the chapter! I hope everyone is enjoying the fic thus far; just remember to take to heart the little details as well as the big ones. My fic will continue to twist and turn, so hang in there for me, and I hope to make it worth your while!
Thanks for the reading and reviewing…please continue to bless me in this manner! Ja ne!