Fruits Basket Fan Fiction ❯ Seasons of Sorrow ❯ Embers of Summer's Glory = In the Wake of a Storm ( Chapter 36 )

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

DISCLAIMER: Once again, I do not own Furuba. Pity...
Embers of Summer's Glory
Chapter 36: In the Wake of a Storm
Edited by: TBD
(Sniff, sniff)
`What the hell is that smell? (Sniff) Smells like…'
“Come on…”
`Who said that?' (Heavily breathes, then coughs.)
White light flashes brightly. Darkness resumes…suffocating.
“…sever our ties…”
`Why am I back here?! I…I don't like it here…'
“How could you…”
Red glow fades in…the smell…
“I'm not lying!”
The smell intensifies. It burns…
`Stop!' (Trembling…breathing heavily…dry throat)
White light flashes, leaving behind the red-orange glow that flickers…the smell…
“…your fear…”
Moving away from the glow. Hand clutches tightly onto…
`I'm turning back…but why? What's back there?'
“…to betray…”
`No…this is all wrong! Why does it smell like…'
Running to the red-orange light…running…(huffing)…it burns.
“Do you believe me?”
`It CAN'T be…no…no…'
“If only…”
Bright white light flashes all around. Sticky…damp…yet red glow never fades.
“…to my grave…”
Hand clutched tightly around… Strikes out at nothing…very dark. But it hit…
“Do you believe me?”
`It smells…like me. The moldy smell…like…'
“I will see to it…”
`…rotting flesh.' (Heavy knocking heard)
“…ends here.”
`Who's there? Who are you? What do you want?' (Panic…panting hard) `Dammit, answer me!!!'
“I assure you…”
`Please answer me…'
Loud rumble echoes all around. Ground beneath vibrates. White light flashes then disappears. (Gasping for breath) For a moment all is seen…
`Oh God…'
“…your family…”
For a moment all is heard…
`Please no…' (Shudders, heavy breaths, coughing)
For a moment…
“….has NO future.”
Screams of insanity…screams of pain…screams of death…
`Heaven help us…' (Sobbing heavily)
The heavy knocking stops. Being driven to the ground from impact from above.
Whispers that turn the hot blood bitterly cold. Darkness returns…suffocating…
“The honor to welcome you is all mine.”
White glimmer in the dark…no…two shine in the dark. Sharply spread in an arc…spreading further apart…further away…
`The damn traitor…the fault lies there…'
Bright red-orange glow illuminates the black pitch of the dark. Lurch to the left, then to the right. There…why…?
“If only I hadn't failed…”
`Tohru? Why are you here bleeding?'
Soft whisper…behind…far behind. Jerked to look back…sharp gasp…
“Do you believe me?”
It was all Kyo could do to keep from screaming loudly as he jumped out of his futon. The hot, damp sheets stuck to his legs, which he stumbled out of while breathing heavily. The hard beating of his heart…the clenched fists…the trembling of his body…his teeth grating against one another—all this couldn't drown out the images from his mind, the screams from his ears, the fear in his heart.
Without a second thought, he quickly rushed out of his room, uncaring of the noise he was making as he stampeded straight to Tohru's room. Thrusting the door wide open, he caught his breath as he stared hard into the darkened room.
Deeply breathing now, he leaned heavily against the door frame as he closed his eyes to the scene. He wrapped his arms wearily around his still-trembling frame in hopes of keeping himself from lashing out at absolutely nothing.
“You know, she's not there anymore,” yawned a sleepy writer while making his way to the distraught teen. Carrying a flashlight, Shigure scratched his back as he too looked into the empty bedroom. “Hmph, you'd think it get easier after nearly two months of no home-cooked meals from a blossoming flowe—”
“I have to call her!” blurted out Kyo anxiously while jumping up to attention. Stomping back to his room, he searched high and low, and after turning his room inside out, he finally found his graduation gift in his pant's side pocket. Turning the cell phone on, he pressed buttons left and right, growling in frustration that the contraption was still difficult to maneuver.
“DAMMIT! Screw this…I'm goin' over there!” Getting out of his over-shirt and pajama pants, he threw on some shirt he managed to find in the dark and the pants the cell-phone was in. Rushing back out, he ran into Shigure in the hallway.
Trying to get around the writer proved to be unsuccessful for the Neko as the Inu of the Jyuunishi refused to allow him passage. Growling irately, he bit out, “DAMMIT, DOG, GET OUTTA MY WAY!”
Sighing heavily, Shigure tapped his flashlight none-too-gently onto the Neko's head. “Earth to Kyo-kun. Honestly, you must still be dreaming…”
“CUT THAT OUT!” yelled Kyo exasperated.
“Kyo-kun, it's 3AM in the morning. I assure you that she's very asleep at the moment. Besides, aren't you missing something?” The deadpan look Shigure gave him made Kyo pause for thought. Shaking his head in disbelief, the grumpy writer pointed his flashlight out to the window in Tohru's bedroom. “Now, I can't fathom why you don't feel it, but there's a raging storm out there. Why do you think I've got a flashlight? The electricity is gone.”
Incredulously Kyo stared back and cried out, “What?! There ain't no stor—”
“The weather disagrees with you,” called out Shigure loudly above the deep rumbling of the thunder as it shook the house in its foundation. Bringing his voice down after the rumbling ceased, he continued, “Anyway, that's why I came up. The storm was pretty intense coming in, so I woke up and tried to wait it out. I was looking over some research notes when lightening struck the house or somewhere near it. Light's been out ever since.”
“DAMMIT! I HATE IT WHEN IT DOES THAT!” yelled from the top of his lungs as the loud thunder rumbled lower and lower. Clutching his heavily-beating heart, Kyo sighed as he leaned against the wall in the hallway. `Damn…all that running around for nothing. It was all just a bad dream…it had to be.'
“I'm surprised our fair Nezumi is still asleep through all…” His remark trailed off as Shigure frowned at Yuki's bedroom door. Pointing his flashlight in that direction, he thought he heard… He walked briskly to the door and firmly knocked. “Yuki, is that you?”
Opening the door abruptly proved to be a mistake. He was immediately pelted with cold drops of rain that was being blown in by the heavy wind through the open window. The howling wind plus constant lightening and thunder claps held Shigure back as he tried to make out the interior of the disheveled bedroom using the meager light from his flashlight.
`Why would he leave the window open? Was it that hot up here?' “YUKI?” called out Shigure loudly above the noisy weather. Aiming his flashlight to and fro, he noted glass shards on the floor, probably from the broken lamp that was knocked from the nightstand by the pounding winds.
“It's about time,” came the rather annoyed yet muffled reply from under the bed covers that were huddled in a corner against the wall. Lifting the covers enough to just peep from under them, Yuki's irritated gaze was leveled at the shocked writer. “Took you long enough to hear me.”
Finally locating the missing teen, Shigure heaved a sigh of relief before jumping back in surprise. He yelped, “Gah, geez Yuki-kun, don't do that…that thing with your eyes!”
“What thing?” asked Yuki irritably.
Shigure merely waved the light at him, not looking into his eyes. “That…thing. The glowy thing with your eyes. That's pretty freaky in the middle of a dark, stormy night.”
“Argh…you are such a moron, Shigure! Rats' eyes glow in the dark whenever they have a light refracted on their irises…in case you forgot, I'm part-rat, BAKA!” heatedly cried out said Nezumi as he slowly crawled from the corner he had taken refuge in. He still kept a secure hold of the covers over his head so as not to get any wetter from the still pouring rain that flew into his room.
“Tsk, tsk…such a horrid disposition I'm forced to deal with at this ungodly hour,” mused the writer forlornly.
Horrid?” Giving the man a livid stare, Yuki bit out, “It's late, I'm wet, I have glass all over me, my room is a disaster, I have two bungling IDIOTS outside my door doing nothing to help me, and one such IDIOT is complaining about my eyes scaring them which by the way your eyes do the same thing!”
`Damn, I think he's pissed. Ah well…' Clearing his throat, Shigure smiled brightly in hopes of tempering the rising ire of the Nezumi. It never did anyone good to see Yuki mad, especially in the dead of the night. “Of course, of course…almost forgot about that. Maybe I shouldn't have read that ghost story before bed…”
“Shigure…” seethed in warning the trapped teen.
“All right already…you are really not a morning person.” Barely dodging an unidentified projectile that was thrown at him from within the bedroom, the tired Inu turned to the Neko standing off to the side, finally noting that the teen's gaze was staring absently at Tohru's room.
Shaking his head in pity, Shigure called out above another rumbling of the storm, “Kyo-kun, be a dear and get me towels from downstairs. Oh and get the spare robes from the closet.”
“What? I ain't doin' nothin' for that rat! Let him drown in the rain,” was Kyo's flippant remark as he started to walk back into his room.
“Dear me, must I always use more persuasive tactics?” asked Shigure with a heavy sigh. He mischievously grinned as he called out to the retreating back, “I suppose I'll just have to let Tohru-kun know that Yuki-kun had caught a terrible cold because you were too busy to help me.” He then continued on with dramatic flair and `tears' in his eyes. “Oh, the poor girl will become wrought with guilt for not being here when I needed her the most…”
“Jerk,” commented the `cooperative' Neko as he made his way past the cunning Inu and down the stairs, stomping the whole way.
“Absolutely,” remarked Shigure happily with a goofy grin. Taking a breather, he called out into the battered bedroom, “Yuki-kun, I'm coming right back! Don't go anywhere.”
This time Yuki's aim was much better. Soothing his aching head from where a brush had smacked him, Shigure made his way to the restroom across from the bedrooms. He grumbled lowly, “Mou, the thanks I get for helping. Haa-san is going to hear it from me.”
`What a…a…ARGH! Damn, there's not even a word for what he is!' thought Yuki angrily as he crossed his arms under the covers. Taking deep breaths, he tried not moving too much lest the shards of glass start to move and cut him in the process.
Such a task was difficult since he still felt pounding of his heart beat against his eardrums. The storm was so fierce that he could have sworn he heard a crash of sorts in the area nearby the house. He did feel the foundations of the home shake…probably a downed tree that was close by.
`Man, that really scared me out of my wits. It was strong enough to wake me and hardly anything wakes me…' Heavily sighing, Yuki closed his eyes and yawned widely, still very sleepy and wanting to go back to sleep. He almost rubbed his eyes when he stopped abruptly, too afraid that maybe some glass may be on his skin.
“Shigure…come on!” called out Yuki tiredly when finally his guardian came back to the room with flashlight in hand.
“Now, patience is a virtue, my dear boy,” replied Shigure sagely as he slipped on some slippers he managed to retrieve from another closet upstairs. Keeping the flashlight on the floorboards, he walked gingerly across the shattered glass. “Ew…what a mess. And this rain is cold!”
“Careful with the lamp…it kind of fell over,” remarked the tired teen while holding back more yawns.
“Hm…so I see.” Taking a foot up, he shoved the offending piece to the side as he finally got to Yuki's side. Carefully moving the first cover off, then the next, he flashed the light all around to be sure the glass isn't sticking to the teen. “Good grief, how did so much glass come onto you? You're practically bathed in them…”
“I don't know, just get me out of here,” grumbled Yuki lowly.
`How very…strange,' thought Shigure to himself as he flashed the light all across the room. `I don't see tree limbs in here…must have been the sonic boom from when the lightening struck so close to the house. It had to have struck right outside his room.'
“Come on, I'll have to carry you out. There's no way I can find your shoes in this mess,” he replied as he reached out to grasp the teen's waist.
Hesitant at first, Yuki thought better of it. `Wonderful…how humiliating. And Kyo is about to get an eyeful of it, too,' was his trailing thought while reaching out to wrap his arms securely around his rescuer's neck. He held on even tighter once he felt his weight completely lifted off the bed, all the covers slipping down. He quickly felt the cold pricks of the rain pelt his clammy skin, and so started to tremble from the cold.
`Terrific…the whole cold thing I threatened Kyo-kun about may come true after all. Better hurry or else Haa-san will really blow an artery when he finds out.' Shifting Yuki's weight more comfortably with his two arms, Shigure briskly walked out and momentarily paused at the doorway. Slipping off his shoes just outside of the damaged room, he almost ran into Kyo on his way to the bathroom.
Kyo couldn't help but guffaw at the sight before him. “Pfft…damn, aren't you taking this `princess' part too far, Nezumi?”
“Oh, shut up, baka neko!” cried out Yuki from over Shigure's shoulder. If he weren't holding onto Shigure's neck so tightly, he would've swung at Kyo…hard.
“You know, you're a real jackass in the morning,” countered Kyo.
“All right already…sheesh, it's really too early for this nonsense. (Grunting) And Yuki-kun isn't getting any lighter…” Not bothering to complain any further, Shigure hurried to the bathroom and set Yuki down on the rim of the tub. “Stay put.”
Taking his damp outer robe off, he bundled it up and stuck it in a corner of the restroom. He then turned to the bathtub and turned the hot water on, inwardly congratulating himself for choosing propane gas to heat his water instead of electricity. You never know with their service out here in the middle of nowhere.
Seeing Yuki start to fidget in his seat, he once again warned, “Don't move…you have glass all over your clothing and skin, even in your hair.” Rushing out to the hallway, he quickly closed Yuki's bedroom door and turned to the contemplative red-headed teen who was once again staring into Tohru's old bedroom.
“Kyo-kun, why don't you just go back to bed? The storm seems to be dying down some, so you can still get some good Z's before the real morning comes around,” advised Shigure while taking the towels from Kyo's arms.
“Shigure…?” asked Kyo tentatively, never once breaking eye contact from Tohru's room.
“Are you sure…about the lightening…?” Kyo couldn't bring himself to ask out loud if Shigure had heard anything else besides the raging storm. If perhaps…just maybe…it wasn't all just a dream…
“Thunder, lightening, howling winds…the makings of a rough storm. Yep, that's what's out there,” assured the adult to the bothered teen. Patting him on the shoulder, he walked past him and remarked, “Go to sleep, Kyo-kun…it's over.”
Oh, how he wished that were true. Kyo couldn't help but relive the few moments he recalled, now fading fast as he became more awake. Before it was just on impulse that he knew what was said, he felt what he felt, he saw what he saw. But now with his mind more aware, it was all fading back to the dark recesses of his mind. He tried desperately to hang onto the mere shreds of his nightmare, if only to decipher its meaning.
`A while back Tohru had said that the mind is usually trying to just sort things out when dreaming. And that sometimes…just sometimes, it may be trying to let me know something.' Trudging back to his room, he slipped out of his clothes that were now damp from the bit of rain that came into the hallway from Yuki's room. Putting his sleepwear back on, he settled into his futon and left the sheets rumpled on the floor.
He stared up at the ceiling, the room illuminating every so often with lightening and loud thunder. Thankfully the ground-shaking sort of thunder claps was waning…the worst of the storm seemed to be now over. It was only then that he felt the weight of lethargy hit him hard, so much so that his vision was sent spinning. Closing his eyes, he moaned in discomfort as he rolled to his side and clutched his pillows to his body.
`Dammit…I hate this weather. I need to think, and I can't…not like this.' Seeing that his weakness was not letting up and the fringes of deep sleep weighing down on him, Kyo sighed in defeat and brought the pillow over his head to drown out the noisy weather. `I'll think on this later…(yawn)…yeah…later…'
(YAWN) “Shigure…I want to go to sleep,” remarked Yuki sleepily, letting out a string of yawns with his plea. Absently he started to scratch the itch on his nose when he felt a hand clamp down on his wrist.
“Na-ah, Sleeping Beauty. You have a nice thin scratch there. Can't have you marring that pretty little nose of yours, ne?” Bringing the youth's wrist down to his side, Shigure laid the towels on top of the sink along with the flashlight. Promptly kneeling, he quickly set to work to check Yuki's arms and feet, picking off shards that were still stuck on his skin and placing them in the trash bin.
“Sorry about that,” replied the adult, for once serious on his task. “These must sting. That must have been some bang.”
“Hm.” Not deigning to reply any further, Yuki yawned when he suddenly felt the urge to sneeze. And so, he did…right on Shigure's face.
“You know…” started off Shigure as he wiped his face off with his sleeve, “it'd be funny if it weren't sprayed all over my face.”
“Oh, all right, I get the point.” Standing up (and wiping his face down again), he checked the temperature in the water and found it to be just right. Turning to the slightly dozing teen, he nudged him awake and said, “You're good to remove your clothes but carefully. Bundle them up with the ones in the corner over there.”
“Hm…okay,” mumbled Yuki lowly while yawning once more. As he tried standing up, he was held down once more. He then turned to his guardian with a questioning stare.
“Sorry, almost forgot…I need to check your hair. I'll be quick,” assured Shigure while deftly picking out the remaining shards from the teen's hair. Careful not to cut himself with the larger pieces, he was relieved to see that there was no visible damage to Yuki's head. `Oh wait…spoke too soon. God, I can hear Haa-san lecturing me already.'
“ITAI!” cried out Yuki abruptly, the sudden sting bringing him out of his drowsy state. Taking his hands up, he grasped Shigure's own hands, trying to determine for himself where this stinging sensation was coming from. “That hurts…how bad is it?”
“Gomen ne…it's a good cut. I'll leave it alone for now.” Staring down at Yuki's grimacing expression, he stood up and lifted him as well. “Your hair is good to wash out, but be careful with that cut. We'll take care of that once you've taken a quick bath. The water is warm enough now.”
Nodding his head slightly, Yuki started to carefully strip while Shigure headed out and closed the door behind him. Breathing heavily, Shigure stretched his tired limbs some and realized he left the flashlight with Yuki. Not wanting to leave the boy in the dark, he went off without it, carefully making his way down the hall and downstairs to fetch his trusty and overused first-aid kit.
`This kid is really a piece of work. Honestly, I go through this kit at least twice a month. And look…I need to restock again.' Groaning inwardly, he decided to hunt for another flashlight. Using the light from the storm and of course his `canine' senses, he found an extra flashlight in one of the drawers in the kitchen.
`Eureka! Life is good! Now, to make a little something for my patient…good thing I have a gas stove,' thought Shigure with a grin as he set about with his task. After fifteen minutes, he finished up in the kitchen and went upstairs with his tray full of goodies.
Knocking softly, he opened the door and checked the bathroom. He noted that Yuki had indeed followed his instructions of leaving his clothing in a pile with the other shard-laden garments. Making a mental note to dispose of those after getting Yuki to bed, he called out to the drowsy teen dressed in the borrowed robe.
“Come on, sleepy-head. You can sleep all you want after we get your cut taken care of.” With that said, Shigure turned back to the hallway towards Tohru's old room.
“It's fine,” grumbled Yuki who followed listlessly. Realizing where they were headed, he suddenly stopped in his trek. “No, I don't want to sleep in there. That's…that's…not my room. I'll sleep on the floor downstairs…”
“I don't think so,” quipped the writer as he went in to the vacant room, settling his tray on the nightstand next to the bed. He grabbed the flashlight and shined it into the Nezumi's eyes who winced at the abrupt light in his eyes. Noting the teen's rising temper, he quickly remarked, “Look, this room is fine. A little on the pink side, but fine. I'm sure you'll adjust.”
“No! This…doesn't feel right!” exclaimed Yuki as he started to back away.
“It's a room with a bed…and it's DRY. What could be more right than that? I'm sure Tohru-kun would be more than happy to volunteer her old room for your sake.” Seeing that Yuki wasn't backing down, he decided using his more `persuasive' approach. “Then again, I could let you sleep downstairs on the cold floor with your damp hair with only the thin robe on your back. And after I've called Haa-san to let him know you've come down with a cold and he must come to give you an injection, I'll call Tohru-kun and let her kno—”
“Fine, I get the picture!” Rubbing his arms in discomfort and grumbling lowly about stool pigeons, Yuki momentarily stood his ground before sucking in a deep breath and walking into the bedroom. Breathing out slowly, he rubbed his eyes tiredly as he finally made his way to the bed, not bothering to glance at Shigure's wide grin.
Seeing the stubborn boy sit on the bed, Shigure grabbed the first-aid kit. Sitting behind Yuki, he remarked happily, “My, this bed is comfy…I should see about getting one for me!”
“Just…hurry…up,” advised Yuki with an edge to his soft voice.
Still grinning, Shigure grabbed the antiseptic and a cotton ball. Dabbing a bit of the liquid to the soft ball, he turned to the area on Yuki's head where he saw the cut (top left side). Taking a closer look with his flashlight, he saw the cut was bleeding still but not as much as before. He noticed that the quick rinse to the area washed away most of the caked blood.
`Hm…better get his mind off of this. This is going to sting…a lot.' Setting the cotton ball to the side for the moment, he grabbed the other items on the tray. “Here, have some of this first.”
Wearily glancing behind him, Yuki saw a glass of milk and two slices of milk bread. “What's this for?”
“Must you always make things difficult?” countered Shigure as he shoved them into the boy's hands. “Just eat. You'll thank me in a minute.”
Too tired to care much less argue, Yuki started to eat his bread and drank some of the milk which turned out to be warm. `He's right…this does hit the spot.'
“Arigatou,” he replied quietly between bites.
`He eats so daintily, no matter if it's fine foods or just plain ol' bread.' Deciding it was best (for his health anyway) to keep the comment to himself, Shigure smiled and watched Yuki for a few minutes more before taking up the cotton ball once again.
“Okay, this will sting. Ready?” he asked.
Swallowing the last bit of his snack, Yuki took a sip from his glass of milk, then gave it back to Shigure. Taking a calming breath, he nodded his head once and immediately pressed his lips into a thin line. “Okay…go.”
Setting the glass down, Shigure gingerly removed the strands of hair from the damaged area. `I really hate doing this…how Haa-san does it, I'll never know.'
The sudden jerk and gasp from Yuki told Shigure plenty that this was really painful. Shigure tried to dab as gently as he could to the area, but it was of little consequence to the ailing teen who was now taking deep, measured breaths. Taking a small break, he rubbed the youth's back soothingly.
“We're almost done…I just need to dab it a little more and get a bandage on it. That'll be the hard part,” remarked Shigure with a trace of uncertainty.
Yuki merely nodded his head and kept his deep breathing going. He finally felt the hands of his guardian once again on his scalp, and it took all that he had at that moment to keep from crying out when the antiseptic finally reached raw skin instead of old, caked-on blood. He did however jerk his hand up to grasp Shigure's wrist tightly as his body shuddered with the shooting pain from his head.
“Sorry,” apologized Shigure gently. Patting his head softly, he replied, “I'm done now…let me get that bandage in there. Okay? Here, drink more of the milk…it'll help.”
Taking the offered glass gratefully, Yuki drank more of the warm fluid, glad to feel the shooting pain fade away. Heaving a heavy sigh, he asked curiously, “Shigure, how did you know this would make me feel better?”
“Oh, didn't I tell you before?” asked the writer with a wide grin. Resuming his treatment, this time without inflicting pain, Shigure spun his tale. “Haa-san got me into the habit whenever I got my yearly physical exams. Or when I needed injections. Or when I needed a cut to be bandaged. It was the only way to shut me up, according to him.”
“Oh…” trailed in his remark Yuki as he gazed sleepily at his empty glass.
“It's also a natural sedative when milk is served warm. You'll have no trouble sleeping tonight.” Bracing himself for an animated reaction to his next words, he said, “Although I will need to call Haa-san tomorrow. He needs to check you over to be sure no permanent damage is done.”
And Yuki certainly reacted.
“Why? I'm fine! I'm not some delicate china doll!” declared Yuki irately.
`Do I know this boy or what?' Embracing his cousin from behind, Shigure leaned his head onto the boy's slim shoulder. “Simmer down, Yuki-kun. I think you're good in my book, but Haa-san left strict orders that even God can't defy. And I really don't want any bodily harm done to me in my next physical.”
Sighing in defeat, Yuki nodded in understanding. Hatori had been more than overbearing since his `episode' at his graduation ceremony. He really did try to hide that particular fact, but the doctor was a genius when it came to his health. Honestly, the Dragon of the Zodiac knew more about his personal anatomy and health than he did, and he was an expert in extracting from him each private detail dealing with it. To top it all off, the doctor had given him the lecture to end all lectures along with a few threats involving confinement in his clinic…so yeah, he understood Shigure perfectly.
“Good…glad to see we're on the same page. Come on, time to sleep.” Taking the empty glass and placing it on the tray, Shigure moved off the bed to allow the weary teen to get under the covers reluctantly. He coughed slightly to hide the chuckle that rose up in his chest, seeing that the pink comforter really did suit Yuki's hair color.
`So kawaii in pink! Makes you just want to hug the little mouse for all he's worth.' Suppressing that rather risky urge, he sighed softly and turned off one of the flashlights.
“Ouch…” murmured Yuki softly.
“Hey, careful on how you sleep. Be sure to sleep on your right side,” advised Shigure while flicking off the last flashlight.
Hearing the abrupt remark, Shigure stared at Yuki's turned back with the question left unspoken.
The silent teen lay still on his right side, seemingly staring out at the still lightening-lit skies through the curtains. Deeply sighing, Yuki repeated himself but in a whisper. “No…leave it on.”
Rubbing his temple, Shigure dared to ask the obvious. “Yuki-kun, there's plenty of light from the window. Why bother having the flashlight on? The battery will eventually run out anyway…”
Yuki truly didn't want to answer that question. It was one that even he couldn't answer with a perfectly logical reason. It was still embarrassing to have this ingrained fear of the dark shadows of the night. Yet, this time, it was more than that. He just…knew. Whatever his instincts were trying to tell him or whatever his mind strained to convey to him, he knew for certain that they were hell-bent on getting him to comply with this one minor detail.
`It's so insignificant. Yet…' Morbid fear struck him hard at that point. The lightening still gracing the skies amplified it even more. It was all too overwhelming for him…the air suddenly feeling dry and heavy around him. Biting his lip anxiously, he curled up even more under the covers while clutching a pillow tightly to his chest.
`Why? Why does this always happen? I don't…I don't know why. Even back that room…something…something just…wasn't right. And it's always hiding in the dark…I don't understand.' Yuki then breathed in deeply, inhaling the soft scent that was Tohru's smell barely lingering on the pillowcase. How he missed this scent so much in this house. It now proved to bring small comfort to his exhausted mind.
Shigure couldn't help but pity the boy who had his head buried in the pillow. He certainly received his answer to his question. Turning the flashlight on, he placed it on the nightstand facing away from the distraught teen. With the room bathed in a soft glow from the light, the tuckered out writer yawned as he settled himself on the edge of the bed.
“Get some rest…this storm is over.” He said this to Yuki while running his hand carefully through the boy's soft hair. He knew it was going to be another long night which suited him fine…there was much to think about.
Yuki opened his eyes warily and let out a sigh of relief to see the soft glow of the flashlight in the room. Glancing out the window, he noticed that his cousin was correct about the weather…it was slowly dying away leaving only the soft patter of rain. That he could live with.
“Thank you. Oyasumi,” he whispered softly into the night, hoping that his tone implied how grateful he was that he never needed to explain his actions regardless of how illogical they seemed. He is the way he is, and Shigure understood that very well.
“Oyasumi, Yuki. All will be well in the morning,” quietly assured Shigure. After a short while, Yuki's steady breathing pattern of deep sleep was all that was heard in the late hour of the night. As much sense it was to turn the flashlight off, he knew better than to try it. The Nezumi always knew when it was not turned on, even in his sleep.
Shigure stared out at the fading storm system, his eyes and ears taking in all its glory. But none of this actually registered in his mind. There was so much on his mind at the moment that all his attention was focused on precisely what Kyo was referring to earlier and everything that it implied.
He was correct in what he told Kyo and even Yuki this evening. It was over. Just what that exactly involved was not something he shared with the teens. And for good reason, too.
`Kyo-kun definitely heard it. And the binds in our ties with one another felt the distinct shift in our bond. I wouldn't be surprised if the others felt it as well.'
(Heavy sigh) `Those screams of torture and fear…they can only mean that the beginning of our end is at hand. The demise of the Jyuunishi curse…how very strange to think that to even be possible after so many years of being `blessed' with it. Hmmm, I only wonder if I'll be strong enough to face the new turn our lives will take when all is said and done.'
Shigure stared hard at the room around him, recalling the girl that used to occupy this very room. He could only shake his head in dismay thinking about her. `How will I be able to face her, the one true mirror of a good conscience? I had to shed that long ago… It'll be so hard on her to see what is to come down on this family. The bitter truth is too much to handle, even for someone like me.'
He suddenly felt a trembling of sorts. Looking down, he was not surprised to see his hands shaking violently. It really was no wonder…just beyond the reach of these very hands exist the elusive truths that have haunted him for many years now. The truths that were being suppressed by that very bond that tied the Jyuunishi with one another…a bond that `God' was steadfastly protecting with her life.
`Is that what you're trying to accomplish in the end, Akito…hide the truths that must come out? How will you feel to know that all your efforts are in vain? Regardless of how strong your will is or how powerful the ties are that bind the Jyuunishi, it will not deter me in my goals. All will come to pass.'
He then gazed down to his slumbering charge, having the sudden urge to reach out and softly trace the peaceful face of his younger cousin. `So innocent, much like Tohru-kun but…different. Frankly, it's best that you stay away from these affairs for as long as possible. Maybe in the end, you'll understand the truth better than I can. And just maybe…maybe…it will all be well.'
The moment this thought crossed his mind, regret fleeted through his dark eyes.
Unknowingly, it was an emotion he would become all too familiar with in the years to come…
Personal Corner to a Devious Mind (12-09-05):
And what a mind I have! Welcome to all my devoted readers and to any new ones out there! It certainly is great to be back on this boat!
For those reading my other side fic, Sometimes…, please don't despair. I'll have that done soon enough as I move this main fic along. I hope you'll end up liking the overall story on that small fic of mine!
Regarding my editor, well, the poor girl is tuckered out & lost somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle. Just kidding! But she really is so busy…Miya-chan, hang in there—all will be well! For my readers, the first five chapters of SOS were edited for grammar and verb tense and spelling and anything that seemed `off'. Take a look and see how much it's improved…thanks Miya! We'll get the rest of this monster and the others officially edited eventually!
Now, down to the fun part. This chapter was rather lengthy in the sense that most of the details weren't exactly supposed to be this detailed. Still, I'm glad I went all out with the small details here. They do carry the plot along pretty well and put more than the usual emphasis on certain aspects of the story—the main one being the end of the Jyuunishi curse. I tried going back to the original summary of the story plus emphasize the overall point in this storyline to move this story along. Here's hoping you agree with me!
Speaking of which, you can see how Kyo's `dreams' are in fact becoming very real to the poor Neko. How about Shigure's involvement up to this point with what's going on with Kyo? What truths are being held back? Does Kyo know any of this? Oh, how I love to torment my readers!
I liked the moments with Shigure and Yuki…my goal was to bring them both in harmony with one another—you know, light versus dark. Yuki's innocence is already making its impact on Shigure's shrouded mind. This is very important for later on. Other than that, I do like the closeness I conveyed here between the two, as small and private as it was. It's a bond that will be tested much later. How do you like my cookies so far?
Musical moments…hmmm… It's rather unusual but the lyrics fit! Duran Duran's “Come Undone” is an 80's song that you really couldn't make out the words for but the tune was quite catchy! If you take a closer look at the lyrics, you can see how much of the desperation in the song actually coincides with much of the frustration in the story. Pretty neat!
Phew, hope this chapter release can keep you happy until the next release. But first I must bring some closure to the other side fic. If you're curious to read it, please do so since it does lend a hand with my main plotline in this story. Also my other side fic, The Game of Memory, is a really good read, too (shameless advertising). It can stand by itself and also move this story along.
Thanks to all my dear reviewers and readers who have patiently waited for me! You are so wonderful, I just don't deserve you!
Read…rate…review…or just drop a blurb in my online journals (see profile for links).