Disclaimer I don't own Yummy Yuki or any Fruits Basket character. Fruits Basket belongs to Takaya Natsuki.
A continuation of the anime series laced with some obsessive hallucinations of mine.
Italics = thoughts
A shout, accompanied by hurried footsteps making their way down the stairs snapped Kyo out of his daze, and although he immediately got to his feet, he couldn't possibly have prevented the tumble that followed.
Rushing over to help her up, he found Tohru as shaken as he'd expected. Her hair was in disarray; her reddened eyes wide with panic and her cheeks flushed with feverish exhaustion. In her hand was a piece of paper that, despite her evident distress, remained neatly folded.
And he didn't even need to ask, for what else could it be but Yuki's note?
Kyo didn't second-guess himself this time; he knew that he had to take care of her. After all, it would only be the two of them now. The semblance of a family home he publicly cursed and loathed would soon disperse along with the illusion of safety it offered all. Yuki's departure left it shattered and irreparable and it would only be a matter of time before he too would go.
There was no time to lose.
Every second would count. Every second with her was one he had cherished despite the unprecedented urgency he felt. After all, what was Kyo's life before this? Before Tohru?
It was Tohru that held all them all together, held the broken pieces of the Sohma spirit together all this time, giving them hope and the courage to dare live beyond their curse. While Kyo was often annoyed by having so many of the family members constantly around him, and publicly claimed that solitude and Yuki's defeat was all he desired, he would clutch at those irritating fragments of this life to the very end.
Seeing her so shaken terrified him, and he struggled to remain calm. The adrenaline that rushed to his veins when confronting Yuki was absent with only the growing, sinking feeling in his stomach was left. More so than her constant worrying, it was the fact that he was alone in comforting her that shook him to the core. It was that there was nothing he could say or do to alleviate her concerns about Yuki.
Kyo knew there was nothing positive to say, and it terrified him to think that he wouldn't see her smile again. That he wouldn't be enough to placate her in Yuki's place.
Being a replacement for a perfect prince was a task as impossible as escaping the fate Akito planned for him.
He reached for her hands and she clung tightly to them in return, trying to draw strength from him as he did her. "Kyo Kun! Where is Yuki Kun?"
Looking away, he mumbled a response. "He's gone. He decided to go back on his own."
Gasping softly, Tohru nearly caused Kyo to transform when she collapsed in his arms. "No! We have to stop him, Kyo Kun. He can't! He can't…!"
His answer was silence. What else was he to say or do? Pride and tumultuous emotions prevented him from openly joining her in grieving (not that he would have grieved for the Kuso Nezumi) and his curse stood as an insurmountable obstacle to holding her as sincerely desired. His mind surged with self-loathing for allowing the inevitable to happen and jealousy at seeing her so torn over his rival.
He was pathetic.
Yet, his heart cracked and splintered with each of her quiet sobs. His throat was suddenly too parched to speak and his eyes were inevitably going to embarrass him again.
Damn you, Kuso Yuki. Couldn't you just go quietly? Why?
He had to berate himself for this particular train of thought. Kyo had to remind himself that it was unfair to put all the blame on Yuki. The events of the last few weeks had broadened his mind slightly to see past his 'blame Yuki' tunnel vision. It wasn't all Yuki's fault—well, at least this particular incident wasn't.
Looking down at the sobbing girl in his arms, Kyo recalled not too long ago, when it was Yuki who was looking back at him with the same miserable, tear-filled eyes. And once again, Kyo was at a loss for words. What could he say to comfort her? He wasn't eloquent or diplomatic; he was no good at anything except stating facts and picking fights. Considering the possible outcome of the situation, it maybe quite a while before they see Yuki again — if ever.
How could he tell her that?
Perhaps it would be better for Tohru to forget about Yuki – at least for the time being. Given that Yuki wanted Tohru to be safe, it was imperative that she stayed away from the Honke. She had her own dreams and wishes, didn't she? What would the point of all of this be if no one were to triumph in the end? Yuki wanted Kyo to look after her in his absence. While it was never voiced, Kyo was certain of it. Despite all the fighting and hate between them, there was a mutual understanding between them that Tohru was to be cared for.
And as much as Kyo downplayed how much he cared for Tohru in front of others, he couldn't ever deny it to himself. He needed her in his life like he needed air. Yuki was gone now and whether he would return or not was unknown, nonetheless irrelevant at the time being. If Kyo was to ever atone for what he had done in the past, if he was ever to find meaning in his exiled existence, if he ever was to have a shot at it – was through her.
In a way, this circumstance was indeed a blessing, wasn't it? With Yuki away, Akito's promise couldn't ever be fulfilled because Kyo wouldn't be given the opportunity to fight Yuki again. Better yet, maybe Akito would be so happy with Yuki by his side that he'd forget all about Kyo and that dreadful promise. The Rat would continue to be revered despite his imprisonment and that was fair, wasn't it? The Rat's imprisonment for the cat – for all the suffering the cat has endured over the centuries.
Tohru would understand, wouldn't she?
Meanwhile, it was time to move on. He would help her move on.
"Tohru, Yuki really did decide to go on his own. If he didn't go, that bastard Akito would just drag him back there. He didn't want to complicate things for everyone."
But I'm still here for you! His eyes pleaded with her. I'm still here!
"Poor Yuki Kun." She responded brokenly, "He must have been so afraid. Its so terrible!"
"Yeah. Yeah, he was… scared." He damned well fell apart!
"Its unfair, Kyo Kun! Yuki Kun worked so hard and Akito San just takes it all away!"
"Akito's a bastard." Kyo agreed, thinking that if she were able to rant, she would eventually feel better. After all, he usually dealt with stress that way.
"He must've felt so alone."
Kyo flinched involuntarily at that. He had known about it well in advance, yet was powerless to stop the flow of events. The guilt began to rise to the surface again and along with it was a sense of worthlessness. He had known, and Yuki was aware of it. Was it any help to Yuki at all? Did Yuki really feel alone this whole time? He had called Yuki and ingrate yet he couldn't deny it. It was Haru at the end that comforted Yuki while Hatori and Ayame put themselves altruistically in the line of fire. Was Kyo's involvement of no consequence? All those turbulent confrontations and sleepless nights…even miracle worker Tohru couldn't have changed anything.
Reaffirming his uselessness. Why couldn't he just bury all this resentment and become someone Tohru could depend on, as she did Yuki. Someone his surrogate father would be proud to call 'son'?
Yet, Tohru seemed to inexplicably sense his gloom. Without a hint of neither accusation nor innuendo, she tightened her hold on his hands and gently asked. "But, you knew Kyo Kun. Am I right?"
"Huh?" He responded intelligently. "What?"
Her words were hushed as she struggled to maintain her composure. "In the woods…I heard you and Yuki Kun. I didn't hear very much, but I know. I know that you…I know that he…"
"Tohru, Listen! It isn't anything like that. It was all a misunderstanding!"
"But Kyo Kun sounded so angry! Was it really a misunderstanding? Yuki Kun didn't try to—"
"Y-yeah! That K-Yuki wouldn't do anything like that. He isn't that stupid, right? It would be a stupid thing to do, right?" The redhead stumbled over all his words, and his performance was far from convincing. Both of them knew it, although he would never budge from this stance and she would never pursue it for it hurt the both of them too much to speak openly about this.
Yet her eyes held his; searching, imploring, waiting…
"Thank you, Kyo Kun. I didn't know about it, but you did. Thank you for helping Yuki Kun. I'm sure that it made him so happy to know that you cared."
"I feel so stupid. I could sense that something was wrong, even if Yuki Kun wouldn't talk about it. He wanted to protect me, and I appreciate that. But—but doesn't he know that I want to protect him too?"
"I don't want us to be apart! Not like this, not when it's against Yuki Kun's wishes!"
"There is nothing that could be done, though!" Kyo countered, "Don't you think Hatori and Shigure already tried? Do you think the others would have just stayed quiet if there was anything that could've been done? That's just the way it is for us. Akito orders us and we obey it. All we can do is damage control."
"Bottom line is, Yuki went without a fight because he wanted to protect the others and protect you. So we have to stay away and not interfere."
"You mean he wants us to abandon him?"
Kyo started to get frustrated with the other. Why was she making things so difficult? How could she still not understand the workings of the Sohma family? Why was she insinuating it was such a terrible thing to leave things the way they are?
"Listen Tohru," Kyo began in a serious tone. "If we piss Akito off, all of us will get locked up. We're not abandoning him, but we can't save him and he doesn't expect us to. He expects everyone to get on with their lives and you to be safe and finish school like you promised your Mom."
It was as if he had slapped her. All the color drained from her face as she looked up at him. And Kyo felt the world collapsing around him, as if he's crossed a terrifying point of no return.
"I don't believe it." The girl whispered brokenly. "I don't believe what you're telling me, Kyo Kun. Even though its what you're expected to say, I can't believe that its what you honestly feel."
"I know its not how you feel, Kyo Kun. That day in the forest, even if you had misunderstood, when you were shouting at Yuki Kun, it was because you cared about him so much that you had to tell him how wrong it was."
"And its because he cares about us that he left. Aren't I right, Kyo Kun? If we care about him, and he us, how could we just abandon our friend like that?"
Now, it was he who was rendered speechless. Was she out of her mind? Care for Yuki? Care for Yuki?
"I know its not impossible, Kyo Kun. Whether you were aware of it or not, it must be true!"
He still couldn't find the words to respond to her insane, unfounded accusations. How could she say that about him? Yuki was the source of all his suffering! Yuki was his natural enemy in everyway possible! Yuki was self centered and arrogant and Kyo was the victim.
It wasn't possible that he actually cared about Yuki, because that bastard certainly did not care about Kyo! He didn't even apologize at the end! He didn't even…
"Yuki Kun told me to trust him, to believe that he cherishes the time we spent together no matter what it may seem like, or what Akito san may make it seem like."
"Well, of course. But, what does that have to do with me?" Kyo replied, uncomfortable with where this was going. Couldn't she see how upset he was about this? The last thing he needed to be reminded of was how wonderful Yuki was and what a good time she and him had spent together. "Its obvious that you and he have this special understanding and…"
"As I do with you, Kyo Kun! So please, please hear me out!" Tohru cried, desperate not to be misunderstood. Kyo was far more saddened about the outcome than he would ever admit. Tohru would never push him more than he could go, however there wasn't any time to waste.
None of them could afford a waste a minute. She would never accept this outcome.
"This letter wasn't addressed only to me, Kyo Kun. You're in here as well! When Yuki Kun wrote that he didn't want to trouble anyone anymore, he must've meant you! After all, wasn't it you who—"
"Tohru." Kyo interrupted her; weary of the conversation and its emotional burden. He had never felt more powerless in his whole life. "It doesn't matter what he said in the letter so you don't have to try. What matters is that we don't make this any worse for him or anyone else."
Why was she being so stubborn? He didn't care if Yuki mentioned him in that precious letter. He didn't expect to be mentioned so it didn't matter.
The only thing that mattered was keeping her safe: his hopes and dreams lay with her. If she was gone, then what would he have left?
"It doesn't matter!" he piercingly declared, with absolute finality. "I will never let you within a mile radius of the Honke! Don't you understand? I won't lose anyone else!"
Only when he took note of her trembling lower lip did he realize how loudly he had yelled. And when a stray tear made its way down a palled cheek, he realized how cruel it had been. Under different set of circumstance it would have been amusing to note that the only thing that he didn't notice was his declaration, and what exactly he had said.
Nonetheless, Kyo was engrossed in his determination. If cruelty was going to keep her away from Akito, then so be it.
He couldn't…wouldn't take anything he said back. All that would do is give her hope, and he had to crush any hope of successful interference. Her dedication was a favorite character of his, and knowing how stubborn she was and how far she'd go, he made the choice to use any means to stop her.
So what if she hated him at this moment? He arrogantly knew it wouldn't last. She couldn't stay mad at anyone, even if they meant nothing to her! He almost laughed out loud in his delirious thinking.
Turning his back to her, hardening his resolve as he expected her to sobbingly leave the room to hers. Cruelty had worked with Yuki, didn't it?
He felt like the monster Akito referred to him as, but there was nothing he wouldn't do for her. Nothing he wouldn't subject himself to.
He waited for the sound of her soft footsteps as she would leave the room, yet they never moved. There was only the sound of her gently hesitant voice.
"Dearest Honda San,
I write this letter to you to convey what I can't say to you in person. It is no fault of yours; only my weak inability is to blame. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you've ever done for me, said to me… Being near you has brought me more happiness than I imagined possible. I cherish every moment you spent with us in a place you helped us learn to call home.
I can't fully explain the current situation to you, and it pains me to keep it from you. Honda San, please know that it is only because of how much I care about you that it has to be this way.
More than anything, I want you to fulfill your promise to your mother. I realize that you cannot help but worry about others but I beg you, do not worry about me. I have made a decision I do not regret. I do not wish to trouble you or anyone else, and I'm thankful for everyone's efforts. And so, I take with me the wonderful memories you shared with me and the courage you taught me.
No matter what happens from now on, know that this is how I truly feel. No matter what others or Akito may say. No matter what it may seem."
Kyo remained as he was before she started reading, fighting himself for composure as she read. Part of him wanting to silence her and put an end to the ordeal, while another part longing to hear Yuki's parting words and what Tohru was referring to earlier. Though, it was as he expected, there was nothing but praise for Tohru and Yuki's self-sacrificing babble. He quickly jumped to his feet and turned to address her again.
Yet it was her who spoke.
"Kyo Kun." She said softly, "Its not that I don't understand the situation, or your feelings. But this letter has such a finality to it that terrifies me more than anything."
"Good!" Kyo replied dismissively, "Then Yuki made his case loud and clear. You said that it was against his will, but he's telling you that's it's his decision so, let things be and don't overanalyze everything."
Tohru shook her head in disagreement. How could Kyo not see what she was getting at? Yuki's letter was far more than a goodbye. Tohru could feel that there was something Yuki was trying to tell her that she couldn't grasp.
"Kyo Kun, please! Read this with me, Yuki Kun is trying to tell us something and—"
"No, Yuki isn't trying to tell us anything. This letter is addressed to you and there's nothing in there for anyone else to understand. There is no mystery to solve." He resorted to pleading, "Tohru, stop doing this to yourself. Yuki is asking you to move on with your life. Please, don't try to interfere. It'll backfire and all of this would've been for nothing!" What was it with this girl? Will nothing stop her?
"Just be grateful that Yuki left on his own, and that he was able to tell you about how he felt. It's just too hard for everybody, but we have to accept reality." It's so hard for me so watch you suffer. So please!
"I can't!" She sobbed, "I can't just turn my back on Yuki Kun as if he wasn't an important part of my life. Even if Akito San—" She stopped in the midst of her passionate outburst, trying to comprehend what had been eluding her.
"Tohru, what is it?" The redhead rushed to her side, grasping both of her arms gently.
Tohru blinked slowly and looked down at the letter in her hands, her voice shaking as she verbalized her thinking. "Akito San can't take away those memories from us so we can't forget our time with Yuki Kun. But…What if he takes those memories away from Yuki Kun?"
"WHAT?" Kyo all but yelled. "What do you mean? Hatori would never listen to Akito if he commanded it. The only person he—" Kyo too realized exactly what it was that troubled Torhu about the letter.
With a sinking heart, he finally understood why Yuki left without a fight. It wasn't just that he was afraid of the consequences; it was because the now hopeless Yuki had no choice but to beat Akito at his own game.
Despite his better judgment and everything he had been trying to convince Tohru of up to this point, Kyo could not keep this to himself.
It was as she had said: this was not an acceptable resolution.
Yuki, you damn bastard! Didn't I tell you to leave quietly?!
"Yuki isn't going to let Akito threaten him anymore, because he's planning to erase everything."
Yuki you bastard! Enough drama already!
The next chapter is coming sooner than you think, I swear.