Everything was hot. This irritated Kyo. His head pounded with every heartbeat and his hair was matted with sweat. This irritated him further. He sat up too quickly and the room spun in a nauseating spiral around him. He fell back onto his pillow and groaned. A voice called to him from downstairs.
"Kyo! Oh lazy, stupid Kyo! You're going to be late to school!"
Kyo groaned. He didn't even have the energy to tell Shigure off.
"I hate being sick," he muttered into his pillow.
"Err...I'll check on him," he heard Tohru stammer. Kyo blushed and tried to hide himself beneath his sheet. He heard the door slide open.
He rolled away from her and grunted. He'd rather be alone in a state like this than have to show it to Tohru—or even worse, Yuki.
"What's the matter, Kyo-kun?" He heard her bag drop. She knelt to the floor. "Are you sick?" She reached her arm over his shoulder and pressed her palm to his forehead. "Aaa! You have a fever! This is terrible! I'll go make a cold compress for you and cook you some soup and—"
"BE QUIET! My head is pounding," Kyo snapped, feeling guilty before the words had left his mouth. Tohru's froze mid-panic and looked at him with a pained expression. "That's not what I meant," he quickly amended, burying his face in his pillow.
"It's all right," Tohru said. Kyo looked up at her guiltily. "Mom was irritable when she was sick, too. But fevers can be dangerous!" Tohru flashed him a wan smile before continuing. "That's how papa died, after all."
How can she smile while saying that, Kyo wondered. Yuki and Shigure appeared in the doorway across the room.
"I wouldn't worry too much about that stupid cat," Yuki sighed. "He's too dumb to die."
"You nasty rat!" Kyo tried to sit up again, and immediately slumped back into bed.
"See what I mean?" Yuki groaned.
Tohru looked confused.
"My, my! Tohru-kun, don't worry about Kyo. I am home, so he won't be alone. Go on ahead to school, it's what your mother would want, isn't it?"
Tohru gave him a worried look, but nodded anyway.
"And of course, I'll call Ha-san," Shigure added with a casual wave of his hand. Tohru looked at Kyo, then at Shigure, and nodded slowly.
"Shall we get going then, Honda-san?" Yuki grinned at her. It was those sorts of high-and-mighty expressions that he wanted to punch off his face. Kyo grimaced.
"Get better soon! I'll be home as soon as I can," Tohru exclaimed before picking up her things and leaving with Yuki. Kyo glared at Shigure, who continued to lounge in the doorway. The back door slid shut.
"It doesn't seem natural, does it?" Shigure said.
"Tohru-kun. She has gone through so much recently, but she seems so calm about it. To think what she must be holding back…makes you wonder when she's going to snap, doesn't it?" He leaned against the wall and stared at the ceiling. Judging from the crooked smirk on his face, he was deeply amused with himself.
"What do you mean?"
"I'm just saying that you should be nice to her, Kyo-kun."
"I am nice to her!" He shouted at Shigure's retreating figure. He curled into a ball beneath his sheets and worried about what his cousin had said. Of course it bothered him that Tohru was too nice for her own good, and that she never seemed concerned about her own needs. No matter what, that girl was genuinely nice. Perhaps, Kyo realized, it was a little scary. He tucked into a ball under the covers, and fell asleep to Shigure babbling to Hatori over the phone.
Kyo navigated the stairs slowly; his head was spinning and he was not inclined to trust his own feet. Regardless, his thirst drove him to seek out the kitchen. Once there, he found Tohru hard at work. The kitchen had been brought to new levels of cleanliness: every thing sparkled as if it were on a television commercial. Tohru stood at the counter, chopping vegetables rapidly and tossing them into a boiling pot.
"Yes, Kyo-kun?" She turned around, holding the chopping knife in one hand. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"Not really, I was just thirsty," he said, reaching for the refrigerator.
"You weren't going to drink milk from the carton again, were you Kyo-kun?"
"No," he lied. Her voice was eerily sweet, as if she were coaxing an animal to eat from her hand. She stared at him intensely, lightly fingering the tip of the knife. "What are you cooking?" He asked nervously.
"Beef stew," she said cheerfully. Just then, Momiji burst into the house, looking frantic.
"Tohru! Tohru! Have you seen Haru? He's been missing all day."
Kyo looked at Momiji, then the boiling pot, then at Tohru. His eye twitched.
"Yes, yes I have," Tohru giggled. "I gave him a big hug!" She exclaimed cheerfully, and did the same to Momiji. PAMF! He transformed into a rabbit. She held the younger Sohma to her chest possessively as she turned her gaze back to Kyo. "You know what also tastes good in stew, Kyo-kun?"
Kyo didn't want to know the answer, but he replied anyway. "W-what?"
"Rabbit!" She continued to grin cutely, lifting Momiji by the foot and placed him on the cutting board. She raised her knife.
Before he knew it, she was standing close, leering at him. Something dripped off the knife she still held in her hands. He tried to convince himself that it wasn't blood.
"This is a disaster!" she shrieked. "We can't have you being sick!"
"Don't tell me that you're going to—?"
"Being sick is no good, Kyo-kun. I have to make you all better."
Kyo edged his way toward the door. She was cooking Hatsuharu and Momiji? Had she already gotten Yuki and Shigure? "W-why?" He managed to stammer.
"I had a talk with Akito-san," she said. "He's really very nice." Her head listed to one side as she spoke. "And we came to the decision that I would have to cook him a twelve course meal. I thought that would be cruel, so I managed to convince him to change it to thirteen. That would make you happy, I thought."
He backed away from her, terrified by her calm expression. It couldn't be true!
"We have to make you feel better first, though," she said. "So you have to eat up."
She raised her hand, which now no longer had a knife in it. It had been replaced with something far, far worse.
"Eat your leeks, Kyo-kun! Eat your leeks!"
"No! I hate leeks!" He gathered his wits and tried to run, but his socks slipped over the immaculate floor. He fell on his face. The floor reflected the image of Tohru approaching behind him, holding a fistful of the awful green things in each hand. They also gleamed with a freshly-cleaned sparkle.
"Eat your leeks! Kyo-kun, you have to eat them! Leeks!"
He clawed the floor, trying to escape. "No way! You're going to leek me then eat me!"
"Leeks, leeks, leeks! Mother says that they are the best!"
Kyo's eyes snapped open. He was back in his room. He must have been thrashing around in his sleep, because he was partially out of bed. His heart was racing. He tried to calm down by taking some long, slow breaths.
Slowly, he rolled onto his other side to get a view of who had called his name. It was Tohru.
"Y-you!" He pointed an accusing finger. "Where are Haru and Momiji?"
"At school of course," Tohru replied, looking completely confused. "It's lunchtime so Uo-chan helped me sneak out so I could check up on you."
"Oh," Kyo replied, deflated. "No leeks?"
"No, I didn't think that you liked them. But if you want me to—"
"No!" He interrupted desperately. "No leeks."
"Excuse me," Hatori said as he entered the room. "Shigure left the door open again, so I just let myself in."
"Hatori-san!" Tohru exclaimed. "Kyo-kun is very sick. I'm worried."
"Probably a flu," he responded stoically. "You should get yourself back to school."
Tohru nodded reluctantly. "Um, Kyo-kun? Should I tell Hatsuharu-san and Momiji-kun that you wanted to see them?"
"What? No! That's not what I meant," Kyo grumbled. "Just go back to school."
"R-right," she stammered before leaving the room. "Please take care of him, Hatori-san! And get well soon, Kyo-kun!"
Hatori rummaged through his things. "What was that all about," he wondered out loud.
"Nothing! I just had a weird dream, that's all."
"Not uncommon in patients suffering from a fever," he replied. "Don't pay them any mind, they mean nothing."
"I know," Kyo muttered. "Stupid Shigure."
"Shigure, huh? Being himself again, I assume."
"Yeah." Kyo crossed his arms indignantly.
Hatori put on his stethoscope. "If I remember correctly, I haven't given that fool his flu shot yet this year—he keeps avoiding it because he hates needles. I make sure to do that before I leave, then."
Kyo couldn't be sure, but he thought that he saw Hatori wink at him.
"But Kyo," he cautioned as he took out a thermometer. "You should be careful around Tohru. A nice girl like that having to deal with you three all the time—she might just snap."
A/N: Super thanks to Solderini for beta-ing this according to the Mr. K school of editing (she took out her pencil and pumped it full of lead). The fic would have been a lot suckier without her help. Also, thanks to Kenshin's Pants for encouragement. Forgive my use of honorifics in the fic—some things just aren't translatable, and Fruits Basket just sounds weird without them.