Fruits Basket Fan Fiction ❯ Seasons of Sorrow ❯ Memories of Spring = The Choices We Make ( Chapter 26 )

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

DISCLAIMER: Hear ye, hear ye. I do not own the characters. Trust me on this…if I did, the manga would be taking a way different course!
Memories of Spring
The Choices We Make
Soft breezes of one fine spring day briskly blew through every corner of the house, ever so gently. The soothing sounds of trees flapping their leaves echoed through the home as well. Even the chirping of birds contentedly tending to their day's activities was heard from inside the house.
How all this was possible was very likely due to the fact that every window and door that led to the outside world was completely left open. Anyone coming up to the house would clearly see wafts of billowing dust emerging from this home. Such a scene usually meant one thing…
“Ah, that's much better,” commented Tohru as she admired her reflection in the now spotless window in Yuki's room. Wiping her brow clean, she sighed to herself, “I'm so glad I cleaned the outside of the window…it makes a big difference. The room actually looks bigger this way.”
And such was how Tohru was spending her Sunday. Just the night before was the biggest bash ever to hit Kaibara High, and yet somehow she managed to wake up early on this fine day to do a `spring cleaning' of sorts at Shigure's house. She had insisted on doing this since the Jyuunishi were all coming over (maybe not Rin for obvious reasons) for their graduation dinner later that week. Since she would not have a chance during the week to clean the house to her liking, she had been adamant about doing the cleaning on this day.
Besides, in all reality, this would be her last time to do something like this for Shigure…the Graduation Ceremony would be the day after the dinner. She'd be moving out that very evening and getting her apartment ready for the other girls to move in as well, after which she'll be helping them with their moving in. So much of her time would be swallowed up by this that she seriously doubted that she'd be able to visit as often as she had hoped, at least for the first couple of weeks. She was also starting a new job in a clerical position at the building that Momiji's dad owns. It was an early graduation gift from Momiji himself that she have a job there where he could always pay a visit to her easily. Being a gift, she couldn't politely refuse (that plus Momiji's tears of begging swayed her instantly), so she'd be focused on getting herself situated there.
(Sigh) Shaking her head at these overwhelming thoughts, she firmly said to herself, “No, I will be able to handle this. I'm getting a great schedule at work that allows me to leave early. So I can visit Shigure-san and Yuki-kun and Kyo-kun as often as I'd like, if it's okay with them. It's just for a couple of weeks that I won't be able to visit…it'll be fine.”
Nodding in determination to her resolve, she snapped herself back to the daunting task of cleaning the house. There was still much to be done, and since it was just her and Kyo for now, she had better hurry.
She had found out earlier that morning while preparing breakfast that Yuki needed to leave to run an errand at school (he'd be there, albeit half-asleep). She had blanched at this thought and wanted to ask exactly what it was that was so important that he was going to school on a Sunday. It then occurred to her that he'd done this before, so she instead hurriedly made a makeshift bento for him to eat along the way. The smile that lit up his face upon receiving the meal was really the eye-opener, she needed since waking up early that morning.
As she saw him off, she couldn't help but wonder where Shigure, too, had gone off to earlier that morning. He had been there while she was getting breakfast ready, before Yuki came down, but then he suddenly disappeared with only a note to say that he'd be back later that afternoon.
`Strange. Oh well, I hope he had a chance to pick up a meal before he ran his errand, too. It'd be terrible to run an errand on an empty stomach,' she mused silently to herself while giving Yuki's room a final look-over. She had purposely started here first since Yuki wasn't there, and therefore she wouldn't be in his way.
Her eyes then trailed to the partially open closet door, her thoughts taking her back to the previous evening once again. She had tried to stay focused on her cleaning duties, but she just couldn't help smiling softly at the memory. Beautiful decorations, wonderful friends, good food, great entertainment, and a dance (not once, three times!) with a friend who truly reached out to her on a new level that evening.
`Oh, I'm blushing again,' she thought bashfully to herself as she brought her hands to cover her face.
Still, she sighed to herself once more while she wrapped her arms around herself, reliving the moment that she had danced with Yuki without any `incident'. How they managed that truly reflected the trust they held for each other despite the odds. The first two songs were not as difficult for them to maneuver around each other, but the third one…a soft sigh and blush was all that she could answer to that. What she's heard other girls talk about dancing with the guys of their dreams paled in comparison to how she felt dancing with Yuki in that third song. She felt as light as a feather in his arms as she heard the melody while exhaling slowly and leaning her head ever so gently on his shoulder. She couldn't understand it, but the song reached to her heart where it knew no language barriers. It was then that she knew that they had come to a kind of crossroads in their young lives…where they go from there was still a question she had not yet found an answer for.
And if that weren't enough, he had led her to a private area that was basically exclusive to the Sohma family. The private grounds were really outstanding, but the statues that graced these gardens were what grasped her attention the most. She had felt so honored that he'd trust her with this family treasure that she completely forgot to thank Yuki.
A treasure it was for sure…she felt so at peace admiring these beautiful statues, especially that of the rat and cat statuesque (no doubt the model for the ice sculpture minus the tree). How happy she felt at that moment, upon seeing the hints of alliance between the rat and cat, could never fully be described with mere words. Her curiosity did peak at wondering what the inscriptions really said, but it was soon set aside when she started to remember how Yuki had opened up to her even more than she could have ever hoped.
To share with her those innermost feelings regarding his family…she felt him to be so vulnerable at that moment, sensing that he carried an invisible weight on his shoulders. Yet, under the moonlight and stars that shone on them both, she also clearly sensed the pillar of strength emanating from his form. Strength and faith in the words he spoke…he really had meant all that he had uttered. She couldn't help but be struck with awe and innocent wonder at how deep his feelings ran for his family, and in the back of her mind, she knew that it included Kyo as well. The fact that Yuki had arranged it so that the cat was included with the rat in the ice sculpture was certainly more evidence, and it gave her high hopes that all good things would come to the family soon enough when the rifts between the rat and cat were mended.
However, she couldn't help but wonder what had transpired right before Kyo showed himself. The voice of forlorn…of sorrow… Kyo himself was out of sorts long after leaving the area, and he still didn't want to talk about what had bothered him. She wasn't sure if he heard the same voice as she had, but she was pretty certain that Yuki hadn't. Maybe that's what it was all along…
`I'm such a baka…it was probably just a thought I had that voiced itself in my mind. A very weird and sad thought…I wonder why?' Tohru pondered as she left Yuki's room. Yet, as much as she tried convincing herself of that, the uneasiness in her heart wouldn't dissipate. The voice was much too distressing and heartfelt to have been a stray thought…a great sense of guilt is what laced the soft whisper. Shaking her head, she thought, `As sad as it was, no matter how dark the plight is, there's always a light to shine through it. Okaa-san had said something like that at some point, too. Hm, I wonder what she'd do if she were me? (Smiles softly.) She would tell me that all mysteries reveal themselves sooner or later. To wait and be patient…truth always reveals itself in due time.'
Breathing in deeply and with renewed resolve, she set about to cleaning once more, laundry basket in one arm and cleaning utensils in the other. Come to think of it, where had her helper gone off?
`Where's Kyo-kun? He was cleaning his room and the hallway just a while ago…'
Dust continued to settle on the bookshelves in Kyo's room. He had spent a good part cleaning the hallway and stairwell earlier, and now his room was receiving the same spotless treatment. As much as he ached to be outside enjoying the beautiful weather (preferably with Tohru), he went about cleaning and re-shelving the once dusty books that Shigure still held onto. He'd rather just burn the dusty collection, but he knew Tohru would just come to the inu's defense.
`Damn dog. I could use the space for my own stuff,' was Kyo's heated thought while sorting the books back into their places.
“What would you put there?” was the sudden question that echoed in the room.
“Huh?” Without turning around, Kyo replied, “Oh, you know, stuff like my own books, my weights. Maybe a picture of Shihan, kind of like what you do for your mom, Toh--ru…”
Turning around and staring into the empty room, he stood stock still, not moving one muscle as he strained to let his senses reach out to anything that would remotely remind him of some type of existence other than himself in his room. He did finally hear Tohru humming to herself over in Yuki's room, and although he mentally frowned on this fact, he still had his full attention on her voice that was still ringing through his mind. Oddly enough, he really hadn't expected her to be there this time around as he had the previous times. No, this time around he merely shrugged off the peculiarity and went back to dusting off the shelves.
“Hm, perhaps you should ask to move some of the books to a different location,” she suggested quietly. “I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be a problem. And then you can place your personal items as you like.”
“Yeah, I know,” mumbled Kyo to himself as he dusted himself off. Making his way to his bed, he took his dirty laundry in one basket and went into the hallway. Passing Yuki's room, he peeked in to see Tohru cleaning the nezumi's room to a shine. Gazing at her longingly, he inwardly sighed and with a frown to the room in general, he quietly made his way down the stairs.
“What's the matter? You seem…bothered…by something,” she asked tentatively.
“Nothing could possibly bother me anymore than I'm already bothered,” remarked Kyo curtly. Walking into the laundry room, he dumped the basket with a thud. He then proceeded to sweep away the dust and grime off the floor in the downstairs hallway plus living room area.
“Gomen nasai. I did not mean to pry,” she softly apologized.
Pausing for a moment in his sweeping, he blew out at his bangs in a huff and closed his eyes while resuming his sweeping. “Forget it. I'm just…I've been in a bad mood for a really long while. Don't be sorry.”
Sighing gently, she remarked, “Is it about last night?”
Kyo pressed his lips together in a thin line at being asked this. He had to admit that he really hadn't felt at peace ever since leaving the dance last night, and his sullen mood just didn't dissipate no matter what. Shaking the previous night's events from his mind, he stayed silent and went on to sweep harder and faster, sending dust up everywhere. Groaning, he slowed it down a bit so as not to cover everything with the dust he's sweeping up.
“May I ask what bothered you the most?” she asked.
“Wh-what do you mean by that?” he responded uncertainly. `Does she know how I feel about her and the damn nezumi practically in each other's arms the whole evening? Damn him…conniving, backstabbing nezumi…thinking he can take her away from me by using his prissy ways and all behind my back?! Not a chance in hell…I promise.'
“Actually I was referring to the statues or perhaps…” she trailed off.
“Perhaps what?” asked Kyo hesitantly.
She quickly replied, “Gomen ne. Um, I had thought that maybe you were upset with how you were starting to feel something you were not ready to face…maybe…”
“Hm… Statues…yeah, those,” he contemplated once more to himself. As he felt his repressed feelings resurfacing once more, he finished his ardent sweeping and dusting (done in record time). He then grabbed the blankets and cushions from the living room, and he proceeded to dust these off outside away from the house. Beating them as he did, he started to feel some of his tension ease a bit.
“I know you were quite shocked with the ice sculpture. How must you have felt…” she mused.
“I don't want to talk about it,” he immediately interjected as he pounded into the cushions with more fervor. Thinking about it, he grew agitated and blurted out, “It's not important…it's just the damn nezumi's way of trying to impress you. But I'm not buying into his lies…he's up to something, I know it.”
(Pause) “I don't understand,” she whispered softly. “Why are you so quick to judge ill of him?”
“I'm being quick about it…judge ill of him…yeah,” he sarcastically remarked while he finished with the dusting and pummeling of cushions. Returning to the house, he set the cushions to a corner (more like thrown them there without a care), and he went to fetch the broom once more to sweep the porch clean, all the while shaking his head at the new thoughts running through his mind. Throwing the broom to the floor with a clatter, he yelled, “How else should I think of him? HUH?! Just tell me this, who gets the short end of the stick each and every time in this godforsaken family? That's right, yours truly. The cat is always shoved out of sight, out of mind EVERY TIME! I can give all the thanks for such an honor, too, to the DAMN RAT!!! So you know what, `judging ill of him' can't be too farfetched of an idea for me. He sure as hell deserves it. I won't fall for his lies…I WONT!!!
As silence met his ears, he stood in the porch shuddering as he felt the waves of anguish he had pent up since last evening wash over him. Stunned at how his anger drove him to say those things out loud to her and in such a fit of rage…he could only feel a deep dread within him grow, realizing then that his anger was unleashed upon someone that deserved it least of all.
Leaning against the post of the porch, he closed his eyes and quietly remarked, “I'm…sorry…I…I didn't mean to yell at you…like that. I was mad…since before you asked me anything. I'm…sorry.”
The eerie silence unnerved him to no end. For all he knew, she could have `left', and he'd be standing there like the fool he felt like he was.
“Iie, I'm…glad that you did,” she finally replied. “Sometimes it's much easier to hide from what's bothering you than actually facing it. It's also less scary…”
“Scary…like how?” he questioned in confusion.
(Pause) She replied carefully, “Well, fear can manifest itself in many forms…anger being the most common. It's easier to be angry and accept that than facing a fear you're not ready to acknowledge.”
“Fear of facing what? That the baka nezumi is planning something against me? I've known that all along…” affirmed Kyo.
“Iie,” she clarified. “Fear of realizing that not all truths are yet to be revealed…the ice sculpture was the first of these truths that you were faced with. The truth being that he had given instructions to have it made to begin with. I knew a part of you felt happy about seeing it. However, instead of acknowledging this, you ran away and never allowed for hope to emerge.”
“Hope of what?” asked the neko incredulously.
“Just hope. Hope that maybe he did this without ill intent. Hope that maybe you are considered to be a part of the family. Hope that maybe the cat can finally be at peace…just hope. Such a frail thing…” she acknowledged quietly.
“Hope is never allowed for the cat…not before, not now, not EVER. That's how it's ALWAYS been. Why lie to myself and get worked up over nothing? The sculpture means NOTHING…the rat is only trying to find a new way to betray me, the cat. He's done it before…he's doing it again!” remarked Kyo with certainty. “I can't figure out what game he's playing, but I'm not going to let him fool me. The backstabbing rat won't fool this cat!”
Picking up his broom once more, he swished the porch all around clean as a whistle, desperately trying to stem the flow of bitter rage that was starting to surface once more. He couldn't understand why he was testier than usual, but hell if he was going to take it out on her again. That much he promised himself never to do again. It was at this point that he heard her gently whisper much like the breeze that was starting to blow through him…
“Do not forget the other truth that was revealed,” she softly whispered. “That the cat and rat were very much together in harmony…around a tree you know well. (Pause) Is it still right to judge ill of him seeing what you have seen? (Pause) Please, never allow your anger to override your hope. A frail thing as hope is worth holding on to...”
“Hmph, dare to hope, huh?” pondered Kyo despondently. Even knowing what he saw in that statue of the rat and cat along with that tree, he still couldn't shake off the ideas in his head. He knew that his feelings ran strong, and his mind was currently set on one thing…to not fall prey to another lie, be it from some statue (`who knows where it came from') or from Yuki. “Hope doesn't always come that easy…you know that, right?”
(Pause) Sighing tiredly, she replied, “That may be, but hope once attained only makes you stronger. Dare to hope…do believe in hope.”
Noting that she had suddenly sounded fatigue, Kyo asked, “Daijoubu…you sound so tired.”
“Hai, I'm very tired,” was the response from inside the house.
Whirling around Kyo saw Tohru standing with sweat on her brow and a lopsided grin. Walking towards him, she asked, “Are you okay, Kyo-kun? You sounded like you were yelling earlier…I was busy in the restrooms. Did you need anything?”
“Iie. I was just yelling at some leaves rolling around the porch. It's hard to sweep when the wind's blowing all the dust everywhere,” replied Kyo as he took his broom back into the house. Turning to Tohru, he continued, “Oi, what else you need done in here? I've gotten the whole bottom floor done, except Shigure's room…ain't no way I'm going into that filth.”
“Eh, no, that's all right. I just need to tidy up the kitchen once more. I will need to ask a favor from you, um, if it's okay,” she bashfully approached the subject.
“Sure, just tell me,” urged Kyo kindly.
“Oh, well, I was hoping to get dinner started. We only had snacks earlier as our lunch, and I know Shigure-san and Yuki-kun will be famished when they come home,” she reasoned. With a sad smile, she continued, “This will really be the last time I can plan an elaborate dinner for just the four of us. I was really hoping to prepare it now and have time to do everything else. Do you mind going to the grocery store and buying these ingredients for me? I know it's a lot to ask after all the help you've given me today with helping me clean…”
“Whoa, it's all right. I'll do the shopping, and when I get back, I'll help you with dinner. Sound okay to you?” he asked while setting everything back in order in the living room.
“You can relax when you get back. It's a Sunday after all, and you must still be tired from last night,” she protested in earnest.
Sighing, he looked down at her and leaned into her face slowly, “It's okay. I want to do this…you're right. This will be the last time we'll have a meal like this…it'll also be one of the last times I can prepare dinner with you.”
Blushing at his proximity, Tohru finally relented and gave him the list. “Arigatou, Kyo-kun. This will be a wonderful dinner after such a beautiful day. It'll be well worth eating…I promise.”
Taking the list from her, he put his shoes on and waved her off as he went out. Finally feeling his mind and heart getting the relaxation they needed as he walked on, he let out a sigh of relief that his anger was no longer there. Events from last night were highly disturbing to him, but after the talk from earlier, his anger had slowly ebbed away to uncertainty…a feeling he was more comfortable with. At least it didn't aggravate him as much, but it did worry him still.
What other truths had he yet to discover…would he even be ready to face them? After today's demonstration, he wasn't so sure if he wanted to know the truths that still laid out there in the dark recesses hidden amongst the Sohma family. Could he dare to hope? To even consider this will take some getting used to. Smiling softly to himself, he did find that he already hoped for something very dear to him. To have something more with Tohru, beyond the restraints of friendship—such a hope he steadfastly held on to.
(Chuckle) `Maybe hope is not too crazy to hold on to after all…maybe…' he mused as he walked briskly through the forest.
“And those girls kept chasing me all the way home!” stated Kakeru in horror. “They were sadistic! If I'd known they were going to be all sour puss on me, I'd have charged a higher fee…”
“It's your own fault,” replied Yuki annoyed. “I told you to leave well enough alone.”
“Ah, yes, but I'm so happy now.” Giving Yuki a tight embrace, he happily replied, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! You are too good a friend to me! Those pictures you autographed for me will help me out in the tight spot I'm in. Don't worry…this time I'll take precautions and have the disclaimer in larger print.”
Shoving his walking shadow to the side, Yuki wisely ignored any further blabbering from his over-caffeinated friend. He had to admit that a very small part of him came close to remotely feeling pity for the poor baka after his escapades had gotten out of control late last night. Oh the memories… the tears, the near-lynch mob, the commissions made, the bills to pay…oh yes, Kakeru left no detail out as he explained what had transpired after Yuki snuck out. From the sounds of it, even the innocent contest of who had the best mask ended in some form of wrestling match. So, yes, Yuki was wise to ignore any more tidbits of info that he'd rather not know. If he was lucky, none of it made it to the local news station…
`Why do I bother helping the baka with his own messes? I hate it when he grovels…its like nails against a chalkboard. That or I might as well have a big sticker stuck to my forehead with the word -SAP- written loud and clear. That's probably closer to the truth…' was Yuki's sullen thought as he continued walking through the hallways at school. While Kakeru continued to prattle on, Yuki let his mind wander to the events from the evening before…yes, thinking about a certain almost-date he had last night.
Just thinking about her and what possessed him to do the things he's long wanted to do brought a bright blush to his face. As he tried to keep himself in check, he could clearly remember the feel of her frame in his arms, close to him as he dared to hope for. He remembered how his heart pounded at first, and the rest just became a blur for him. Feelings of elation and wonder were the memories he carried with him after dancing with her. He knew that years from now he probably wouldn't remember what she wore that evening, but he'd never forget the way she smiled at him with the utmost trust shining through her eyes. At that moment, he knew they had reached a turning point in their lives. Although he was not sure where to go from there, the next step he needed to take was waiting for him, and he was now ready to take that first step in his new journey.
`Hopefully Tohru-san is willing to come along the rest of the way with me…hopefully…' pondered Yuki as he silently prayed for it to be so. He admitted that he was not very worthy of her company, but he hoped that she could still put up with him despite his peculiarities. `Hm, it may be too much to ask of her, especially after our stroll through the other half of the gardens last night. What must she think of me?'
He had to acknowledge that he was as surprised as she was when he led her to the special grounds. Yet he had felt such a need at that moment when he stared at her eyes on the dance floor to take her to that place. He had never felt as certain as he had then that he could trust her with something that was very near and dear to him. Why he felt that way about a place he rarely visited was still a mystery to him, but he always felt at home walking through its grounds. Seeing all the Jyuunishi statues at peace always gave him a sense of hope for his family despite the sad traditions his family had carried out for generations.
Even now he couldn't erase the forlorn expression that Tohru held as she stared at the rat and cat statue from his mind. He had been apprehensive to say the least as to how her reaction would be upon being shown this particular sculpture. She certainly was elated at first to find the camaraderie that the two Zodiac members shared. She quickly became distressed, as he had half-feared, knowing full well how the Cat of the Zodiac was treated within the Sohma family in spite of blaring evidence that the cat was part of the ring within the Jyuunishi. Why the Cat himself was unable to feel this connection with the others was a mystery as old as the curse itself, and why the Cat also had a hideous second form was also part and parcel of said mystery. Yet traditions were held just as sacred as the curse, so the Cat—no, Kyo—was to always follow in the shadows of the Cats before him…to always be the outcast of the family…to always be the dirty little secret the family shunned away from sight and mind.
'I…never wanted that, Tohru-san. I hope you believe me when I said Kyo was family…to me, at least,' thought Yuki dejectedly to himself. He had to confess to himself that this might be the reason why he rarely visited the gardens. To be constantly reminded of how things ought to have been versus cold reality…how he in a way allowed this to continue within the family, never once taking courage to stand up for a member of his family against a tradition that only brought tragedy to another innocent life.
`The rat was the Jyuunishi member paired up with the cat. Can I actually blame Kyo for being bitter with me when I obviously have done nothing for him? I may have had problems of my own, but he hasn't had it easy either (if his so-called Dad was any clue—the creep) even though he's had Shihan with him. And even if I think it's an absurd idea of trying to `break into the family', it's been Kyo's personal wish for as long as I can remember. I've never realized just how selfish I've been by belittling something he believes in so much. The baka can be stupid at times (okay, most of the time), but no one should have to feel less worthy than others. If he thinks that once he's included in the family he won't feel this way anymore, who am I to stand in his way? (Sigh) If anyone should feel less than worthy, it should be me.'
Lifting his hand to his face, he absently wondered about the time he stood toe to toe with Tohru in front of the statue. Shaking his head, he ruefully smiled to himself. `Maybe that's why I keep repeating the same thing over and over whenever I leave the grounds…because whenever I am in front of that statue, despite all the peace that surrounds me, I feel exactly what the old story portrays. I feel like I betrayed not just Kyo, but all of my family. (Pause) Maybe I am the true monster in the family… How must Tohru-san see me?'
“Earth to my Lord Master…hellllooo???
Yuki once again snapped back to attention upon seeing Kakeru's hand waving in front of his face. He noticed that he was standing still in the middle of the hallway, just outside the teacher's office that Mayuko-sensei was in. `How long was I standing here?'
“Stop daydreaming about your date, okay? Later on you have got to give me details…every lovey-dovey hugs and smooching kisses. Even the risqué moments…” continued on Kakeru until he felt the sure smack on his head, indicating to him that Yuki was now back in the land of the living. “Itai, who knew love hurts? Anyway, we're here…are you sure you want to go through with this?”
It was always hard to see how Kakeru would turn from sudden class clown and irresponsible jerk to a model student and close friend in mere seconds. Seeing him be serious, Yuki smiled in return and just gave him a pat on the shoulder. “Go on to the other hallway and wait for me by the stairs. I'll be fine on my own…I need to do this by myself.”
“Well…yeah, I guess you're right,” consented Kakeru hesitantly. Turning away, he called out over his shoulder, “Just be sure of what you're doing. I don't really understand your decision myself, but…anyway… I'll wait over by the stairs, okay?”
Nodding in reply, Yuki watched him turn a corner down the long corridor. Letting out a breath he'd been holding in, Yuki turned to the door of the office Mayuko told him she'd be in and walked in. `Don't worry Kakeru…for once, I'm sure of what I'm about to do.'
It was a decision he had been mulling over for a long while now, and it's time he owned up to it. Just how far the repercussions to his decision were going to be was something that he had honestly never anticipated…
Silence permeated the walls of the small room. The clock on the desk ticked ever so precisely. A breeze flitted through the room from the open window every so often. Uneasy that his teacher hadn't spoken a word for the last ten minutes, Yuki shifted in his seat, hoping that the sudden movement would spur her to say something. They had been sitting in this room, discussing his `situation' and the `consequences' of such an `abominable' decision he had resolutely made.
`I didn't think she'd take this so hard,' mused Yuki silently to himself. He then felt a stronger breeze hit him. He glanced out the window and noticed how the beautiful spring weather turned to sudden gloomy clouds that brought with it a scent of rain. `Perfect...spring storms. And I left my umbrella at home, too. Maybe if I can get out of here soon, I'll miss the rain and make it back home to help Tohru-san with any cleaning she needed done inside the house.'
“Don't fret, Sohma. You'll make it outta here before the storm hits. It's actually still a ways off, but it'll be a doozy when it hits,” spoke Mayuko with a narrow gaze to the gray-violet-haired youth.
“Arigatou, Mayuko-sensei,” replied Yuki quietly. “Was there anything else you needed of me? I believe we discussed all that needed to be said…”
“Yeah, right,” interjected Mayuko. “Look, I've been sitting here thinking how to change your mind. It's tough because I respect your decision…but as your teacher, I have obligations to fulfill with this school, and so I have to insist on knowing why you're deciding this. Your scores have been impeccable, your social activities with the school have been successful, and your student council responsibilities have all prepared you well. Your exam's scores are beyond anything this school had hoped for you, and believe me, that says a lot. We have scores of universities and private colleges from here and abroad vying for your transcript. It all boiled down to you saying one word to just one of them, and you'd be off to receive the finest education that's to be had, at no cost even. What any student would give to have half as much as what's being gift-wrapped for you, and yet…”
“Gomen nasai,” interrupted Yuki gracefully. “I understand that you must feel compelled to change my mind, and I thank you for your concern. I am very thankful that you and this school have prepared me so well to attend any school of my choosing. If it were possible, I would give all that has been passed my way to any student here that deserves such an honor. Sad to say that I cannot do that, however, just as it is impossible for me to pass these blessings on to someone else, it is impossible for you to change my mind. Please believe me that I have given careful consideration to my decision…it was not spur of the moment.”
“Sohma, I'm a straight-shooter. That's how I am with all my students, including you. So please be straight with me,” pleaded Mayuko as she leaned forward in her chair behind the desk. “Just tell me why…anything, something so I can pass this on to my dear bosses that are going bananas over this whole thing.”
“This has always been a personal matter, Mayuko-sensei,” replied Yuki softly as he tucked an errant strand of hair away from his face (wind is picking up). “My reasons like my decisions are my own.”
(Door slamming heard in the building somewhere.)
“Eh, guess I'm not the only one hanging around here. Listen, I've been sort of close to your older cousins and your brother,” tentatively remarked Mayuko. “And even they were straight with me. I'm not asking you to divulge family secrets or anything, just help me out here, okay?”
(More doors slamming. Shoes clicking heard distantly in the hallways.)
“Damn noise. Whoever's here sure can make a ruckus,” she muttered to herself. Turning back to her stubborn student, she went on, “Okay, let's do this…since your parents couldn't be reached, why don't I call one of your older cousins over? Your cousin that's a doctor came by here once…I'm sure he'll be agreeable to an interview between the three of us…”
(SLAM! Shoes clicking loudly in the hallways with more doors being heard slammed.)
“What the…” blurted out Mayuko as she stood up suddenly. “Dammit, I am trying to hold a serious interview here. Excuse me, Sohma, let me check who that is.”
She had walked out the doorway leaving it partially opened. Watching her retreating back, Yuki heavily sighed, wondering when he was going to be let go. This really was getting a little tedious…he was fast running out of different ways of how to say the same thing. Still, he was resolute in his decision, and he's going to stick by it. If he could only convince his teacher to just drop the matter before approaching his other family members…
`I am wishing for the moon and stars here, aren't I?' he asked himself pessimistically while staring out the window. He noted that the once beautiful blue skies were quickly changing to a darker cloudy mass, and the gentle breezes flowing through the room were now gusts of cool wind promising a good shower later on in the day. `I wonder how Kyo's doing? Hope he's not stupid enough to get caught out in this weather…'
Letting his mind wander far from where he was, he failed to notice the commotion outside the room. The only thing he felt as he pondered on his thoughts was a swift draft of air across the room. Thinking that the teacher had returned with renewed endeavors to change his mind, Yuki mentally prepared himself once more. He never did have a chance to notice the sudden change in the room's atmosphere…
“Shigure-san! You're back!” merrily cried out Tohru while attending to her cleaning duties in the kitchen. “Would you like some tea or maybe a light snack? I wasn't sure if you had something to eat since you left early today.”
“Iie, it's quite all right, Tohru-kun. But tea would be really nice right about now…” commented the writer lowly to himself. Looking around, he asked, “Ne, Tohru-kun, where's your dashing neko? He seems to be missing…”
“Hai! I had asked him if he could get the groceries for me today since I'm cleaning up the kitchen. He's been gone for a while now. (Pauses while pondering.) I hope he didn't have too much trouble getting the ingredients for tonight's dinner and I hope he arrives soon…I just heard on the radio of a heavy storm system coming through this area later on.”
“Well, if all he's doing is grocery shopping, he should be coming along very soon then,” Shigure assured her.
“Yes, of course, you're right! Tonight I'm making a surprise dish for each one of you…sort of my farewell gift to you all. It may not be much, but I promise to make the dishes delicious,” smiled Tohru hopefully. She then noted that the usually charismatic writer had been unusually silent while setting his things in order. `How strange. Usually Shigure-san doesn't let anything bother him. I wonder what it could be?' However, before she could voice her concerns, he spoke up.
“That's wonderful, Tohru-kun. I'm sure the boys will love whatever you make for them,” commented Shigure quietly. “Listen, I'm going to step outside for a little fresh air. If you need me, just come and fetch me, okay?”
“Certainly Shigure-san. I'll bring you your tea in a few minutes,” she replied to the writer's retreating back. Tilting her head to the side, she wondered what could bother Shigure so much that he needed to be outside. He may have said that he needed fresh air, but in all actuality he was probably going to be smoking quite heavily. Shaking her head from her thoughts, she hurriedly went about to prepare the tea, and hopefully offer any support she could to the distressed inu. If only to listen to his problems, she'd be there for him every step of the way. Had he not done as much for her in the past?
(Ring, ring)
She was headed outside with tea tray in hand when the phone rang. Making the minor detour, she answered, “Moshi, moshi?”
“Honda-kun, I need to speak with Shigure immediately,” urgently requested Hatori.
“Eh, ha-hai! Let me go get him,” she stammered in response as panic started to come over her. `This sounds important…maybe a family emergency! Oh no, I hope everyone is okay!'
Nearly spilling the tea tray, she finally made her way outside to the porch to see Shigure indeed smoking heavily. However the look he had previously was replaced with a pensive look, keenly focused on a certain thought. Not wanting to intrude on his solitude, but seeing that she had no other choice, she quietly but urgently remarked, “Gomen nasai, Shigure-san. You have an important phone call from Hatori-san.”
Silence was the only response he gave. `Maybe he didn't hear me right…' thought Tohru as she was about to repeat herself.
“Is that the tea you made, Tohru-kun?” he asked abruptly.
“Eh? Um, hai. Would you like for me to keep it for you while you answer your phone call?” she asked worriedly.
“Iie. I'll take my tea here. Arigatou, Tohru-kun,” he replied calmly while taking his cup of tea from her tray. Sipping his tea, he gave a soft sigh of satisfaction and set his cup to the side. As he lit up another cigarette, he coolly sat back against the beam supporting the porch, all the while never losing his focus on that one certain thought.
Seeing that he seemingly was not going to get up, she asked in utter confusion, “Gomen ne, but will you not take Hatori-san's call? It seems very important that he speak with you.”
With one steady stream of smoke blown out, he turned his pensive gaze in her direction. Tohru never thought she'd ever feel uncomfortable around Shigure, but at that moment, it certainly came close to feeling that way. As she started to fidget in her spot, she heard him finally respond to her inquiry.
“Please let him know that I'll give him a call back later on tonight. Thank you, Tohru-kun.” Nodding her off as his way of dismissing her, he returned to smoking his cigarette and shifting his gaze to an unknown point before him. Sitting there like he was with the wind blowing his hair, it seemed to Tohru that he was completely unaware of the brewing storm front that was sure to come if the eerie silence of the forest and gusts of cool wind were any evidence.
As confused as she was, Tohru knew not to interfere any further in Shigure's personal matters at this point. Walking back into the house, she reached the phone and softly replied, “Sumimasen, Hatori-san, …Shigure-san…he had, um, told me to tell you that he will call you back later. Gomen ne.”
It seemed like time slowed to the point of stopping as she waited on Hatori's response. And just as suddenly as Shigure replied, Hatori abruptly commented, “I see. Thank you, Honda-kun. Have a good afternoon.”
While she held on to the receiver, never letting it go despite the dial tone, she speculated with a rising tide of panic as to what just happened. First Shigure leaves earlier than he normally would, then he arrives home preoccupied by something unknown. And now it seems that he and Hatori are having some issues that they're working out. `How very strange…what could be the matter? I hope all is well with the family. Yuki-kun, Kyo-kun…where are you?'
“Thank you…have a pleasant afternoon,” the cashier monotonously called out when Kyo took his groceries.
Nodding in acknowledgement to that comment, he made his way out the door and into the quickly deserting walkways. The beautiful bright spring day was now turning into one of the dreaded moments of his life.
He had gone to the usual store getting the usual items. Seeing that they were out of leeks, and not wanting to upset Tohru's plans, he took it upon himself to go to another, then another, then another store. Finally getting the offending produce, he carried it off (half-hoping to just drag it through the ground) and lugged all the bags back towards the long walk home. And to top it all off, the shift in weather sapped his strength considerably.
`Damn weather reporters. Can't they ever get anything right?' he thought sullenly while weaving his way through some crowds. `I better hurry if I'm to beat this damn storm home. Argh, I'd be there now if didn't have to go across town for one lame ingredient. And of all things, I'm running around for LEEKS! Haven't these people heard of keeping stock of their damn leeks? Kuso nezumi…why the hell would he EAT this damn stuff?'
Shifting his bags into a more comfortable position, he walked on, grumbling every so often of weather bunnies and poisonous plants. He finally came across the school grounds that he passed on his way to the store, and he noted how deserted it seemed on a Sunday. `Well, at least I know I'm getting closer to home.'
Hearing a door slam behind him, he turned to see someone hurriedly approaching the school doors and going in. Normally he would have shrugged this off, and pay it no mind. However this individual was someone he knew, and for the life of him, he couldn't understand why that person would be there at his school on this day.
`It's not like I care anyway,' he reminded himself in irritation as he turned away and walked on. He was determined to get home and spend the rest of his day in Tohru's comforting presence without any further thought to what he just saw.
Still…as much as he wanted to walk away like his mind was screaming at him to, he was finding his hurried gait slowing down to mere paces, and then completely stop. No matter how hard he tried to ignore it, that pit in his stomach earnestly pulled at both him and his neko spirit to go after that person.
Curiosity killed the cat, so they say, and he wasn't keen on proving that adage at every opportunity that presented itself, especially now. Sighing heavily, he slowly turned his head around to see the school behind him. The moment he looked back, he knew then that he could no longer continue on his trek home.
`DAMMIT! I swear if I get into trouble…' trailed his thoughts while walking into the school. He left his purchases just inside in an out-of-the-way corner, and he strained to see or hear the footsteps of this person. Distantly hearing the doors slam further down the corridors, he cautiously and quietly began to follow the noises. As he neared his target and still staying out of sight, the apprehension he had felt grew with each slamming door.
`Why come here?' thought Kyo anxiously as he felt the small hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. He was starting to notice how with each second going by that his neko spirit was becoming more and more restless.
And for once in his life, he had to credit his neko spirit for actually being right in being apprehensive.
He'd heard of how time can come to a crawl right before your very eyes. Standing discreetly inside one of the darkened hallways, he peered at the agonizing scene that was slowly unfolding itself before him…
A scene that he would take to memory always…
Edited by: Seiren-no-Kaze 02-23-07
Author's `From Me to You' (02-23-05):
Ah, how you must hate me! Cliffie's are always nerve wracking for me to read, but I just couldn't help it this time. I had wanted to wait and release this chapter along with the other one, but things didn't work out that way. In my next posting, I will explain further. For now, I hope this chapter gives you enough to look forward to the next chapter!
What to say…well, overall it was just a splash of what Yuki, Tohru, and Kyo felt about the previous evening's activities, all from their own perspectives. Yuki certainly has a lot on his plate with his personal issues both at home and at school. Many probably already guessed what's up at school. And to think Kyo was there…yeah, that'll definitely come up in the next chap, too!
What's up with Shigure and Hatori now? What could it be…hm, not telling…yet! You can see why I debated about releasing this chapter without the other one. Oh well, let's hope the lynch mob doesn't find me here!
Not much else to say this time around except that I will surprise you…maybe…I hope…
OKAY!!! Responses to the last round of reviews!
Coiling Death: Curious are we? I'm glad you like the double whammy! I was afraid it'd be too much for my readers to digest all at once! Two chapters being released is not an easy task, trust me! The statues admittedly were a last minute idea I plugged into the storyline, and I'm happy to see that it's working out beautifully. In this new chapter, your ideas of how the rat and cat are together are confirmed. As are those `dreams'—you're right…these are important. Stay tuned!
Alcapacien: Hello again! Yukiru…YEAH BABY! Very kawaii! This new chapter should give you a little more of that in a way!
S.B. Kisses: Hey there! Yuki equals SEXY. ABSOLUTELY! I'm happy that you liked the mix of emotions throughout the two chapters…I was sort of afraid that it wouldn't flow the right way, but it seemed like it did. Yukiru…of course they are the BEST couple! I personally enjoyed the Kakeru/fan girls moments…they were extra fun to write! Not many moments that I'll be able to do that, so I'm enjoying it as much as I can! I am happy that the storyline is moving forward while still being entertaining for all of you!
Lhuntathraiel: Thank you again for reviewing! I do believe I got the spelling right this time…I'm glad you're enjoying my fic thus far! Hope to see you in the next chaps to come!
Deathscribe: Hi! Hm, I admit that I've not read many fanfics in which the main storyline revolves around a dance or something like that. I'd have to take your word for it that these stories always run with the same `formula'. Balance is what I strive for with each chapter released and then hope that it balances itself out with the overall storyline. That's tough to say the least, but I'm glad to see you found that element in that particular chapter…that's good to know! Tohru and Kyo and Shigure. What to say without revealing too much? I'm actually a bit on the paranoia side of revealing too much too soon. Such a curse of mine… Anyway, let me say this since I'm pretty sure some other readers may think the same thing. Tohru is very much the Tohru we all love and adore; Kyo the super cat—I wouldn't go that far; and Shigure the sniveling mutt—I'd like to think that I'm portraying him as a conniving mutt (is that the same thing? I wonder…). There, that's all I'm saying…the fic will clarify this more as it goes on…hopefully! Do remember…not everything is as it appears, especially in my fic! Kyo-Yuki rivalry is heating up…poor Tohru…what I have planned for them all will definitely send many fans after me with their batons. This'll hurt. As far as Akito and Shigure (the puppeteers) are concerned, that situation will have more light shed on it in the next posting. You are so ahead of me! Oh and to clarify, there is only one curse and that's the original curse of the Jyuunishi. So much is waiting just around the corner…hope to see you there!
R Junkie: Big hellos and hugs to you! Too long to read? Imagine me typing it up! I love Ayame…he can really twist your world around! Hatori and Shigure's showdown seems to be escalating if this new chapter is any clue to you. Thanks about the descriptions…I really didn't know how else to explain this, but I'm glad it worked out in the end. Kakeru can really make a yen off anything even remotely related to Yuki! The mystery of what Tohru heard…what could it mean? That won't be touched on for a while…but do keep it in mind! Yukiru galore just for you, and of course I'm planning something ominous. I'm evil, remember?! This chapter must really leave you with a sense to hunt me down for the next chapter. Don't hurt me! It's coming next week, promise!
Mcblueangel: Hello and welcome (I don't believe you've reviewed before)! The dreams are certainly becoming more significant than many thought at first. They can mean many things and mean nothing, sometimes all at the same time. What about Kyo's `dreams'? These will certainly continue to plague Kyo and this fic! Stay tuned!
Fangirl Vee-chan: Wow, I am BLUSHING! You are too kind to me…I don't deserve such praise! There are many fics out there that are superb on levels so above my own fic. Just check out Ina-chan's and R Junkie's fics…S.B. Kisses, too! I love their fics—Ina-chan's and R Junkie's fics truly inspired me to write this one! But I am very grateful that you like my fic that much, and don't worry. I am not ending this fic anytime soon. I'm just now wrapping up the `spring' segment…two more to go! So please hang in there for me…I really hope you as well as my other readers will continue to stay on `til the end when it inevitably comes around!
Wow, that was long! This is getting pretty angsty pretty quick…oh, what have I done?! I am such a bad person…oh well! Moving on…a big thanks and hugs to all my readers and reviewers for still being here with me. I can only wish that it would continue to be this way! Catch you all later...ja ne!