As long as Kyou can remember, he and Yuki have been enemies, but there's more to it than that. Dark secrets lurk in the past of every Sohma and one horrible act by the accursed head of the clan will set off the beginning of finding all the answers

Title: Equally Cursed and Blessed

Authors: Caer (caerfree@tde.com) and Triste (TragedyandComedy@aol.com)

Rating: PG-13

Warnings: Yaoi, violence, angst

Pairings: Eventual YukixKyou, ShigurexHatori, HaruxMomiji

Status: Work in progress (part 1)

Disclaimer: Nope, still not ours.

~~

"Hmmm, hmm, hmmm, hmm!" Momiji hummed to himself contentedly as he headed for

his next class, skipping happily. Math was next and he loved that subject so

much! Well, maybe he didn't love Math itself, but he loved his friends who also

shared Math class with him because they were so much fun! His next class was fun

too; band! He got to wear a uniform and play the tuba and march a lot! Actually,

all his classes were fun and after that, he could go to the hotel and see his

papa. Then he could talk with Tohru and maybe, before the day was over, she

would hug him, which was the best of all. He found great comfort in having

someone hold him close, even if he changed.

He skipped faster as the warning bell rung. People started clearing the halls.

That was when he noticed them.

There were three of them and they always laughed when he passed through the

courtyard for class. Sometimes they weren't there, but when they were, they

always stared, snickering and pointing. Momiji was a little afraid of them.

Passing through the courtyard on the way to Math was one of the worst parts of

his day because he always felt sad after that, even though they never said

anything to him. They were the only ones in the courtyard today too.

Momiji gulped, but kept his courage. He couldn't go any other way or he'd be

late for class. As he exited the door, they smiled and started walking toward

him. He walked a little faster, seeing one of them smirk at him while the other

one flicked a cigarette on the ground. They surrounded him and he stopped

abruptly, smiling up at them nervously.

"Hi friends! Can I do something for you??" He grinned broadly, trying not to

be afraid. "I have to get to class though, so please be-"

SMACK!

One boy knocked his books out of his hands and shoved him against the wall.

"Oh yeah, there's something you can do for us girlie boy."

Momiji winced. "Huh?" The taller senior shoved him against the wall.

"I've wanted to kick your skinny little ass ever since you came to school in

that damn dress. Do you have any idea how disgusting that is?" His friends

laughed.

Momiji's eyes filled with tears. "But...but, it looks good on me." He started

shaking, wishing that Haru, or Tohru, or anyone was out there.

"My ass, you creepy little shrimp. It makes you look like a fag whore!"

"A what?"

A knee slammed into his stomach and he fell, gasping heavily. Someone else

kicked him. They were laughing and shouting insults and he couldn't get his

breath to fight, or run away, or anything, not that he had much of a chance.

Kyou cursed under his breath as he headed to the library. He was in his usual

bad mood thanks to that damn Yuki. The mouse had said something to piss him off

like always and they'd ended up having a brief fight in the corridor. Well,

rather Kyou had attempted to fight Yuki who had merely dodged his blows until

one of the teachers passed by and threatened Kyou with detention if he didn't

put a stop to his fighting. Kyou scowled to himself as he remembered the smug

look of satisfaction on Yuki's face and he growled under his breath.

He'd get him back when they were at home and Tohru was out doing her part time

job. He didn't care what Shigure said about wrecking the house, he'd beat Yuki

if it were the last thing he did. That thought cheered him up slightly and he

quickened his pace, almost there. He slowed down however when he heard the sound

of Momiji's familiar, irritating voice. Rolling his eyes, Kyou began to hurry

again, having no wish to have the overenthusiastic brat chasing after him. He

paused again though, frowning when he heard the tone of Momiji's voice. Momiji's

voice was always annoying whiny, but Kyou had never heard the boy sounding so

panicked before.

Grumbling under his breath, he turned the corner to see what trouble the kid had

gotten himself into this time. His eyes narrowed at the sight that met him and

he yelled out a short, "Hey!"

The group of boys who were standing around Momiji looked up and he saw Momiji

looking like he was about to cry. He lost what was already left of his short

temper and he strode up to one of the boys who was currently kicking Momiji,

grabbing him by the collar and throwing him to one side. "And what do you think

you're doing?" he snarled, yanking Momiji up by his arm and pulling him behind

him.

"What are you, the freak's little boyfriend? You'd better just go to class, or

I'll wipe you all over this courtyard too, Red," the punk smirked, staring down

at the blonde's little superman. The redheaded kid was an inch shorter than him,

incredibly scrawny and looked like he couldn't lift his own bags, let alone

fight. He wouldn't be a problem. Actually, he would just add to the fun. He

reached forward and grabbed the kid by the collar.

To say he was surprised was an understatement, as he found himself, crashing

headfirst into one of the stone tables behind him. How in the hell had that

happened? He came up holding his head, which was already forming a lump. His lip

was bloody too. "What the hell?"

Kyou glared down at him, crossing his arms over his chest. "If you don't want

any more of that, then I suggest you leave," he said with a scowl. "If you'd

prefer to stay however, then be my guest. I could use someone to take my

frustrations out on." He smirked, thinking of Yuki. He may not have been able to

beat him this time and seeing as how Haru wasn't around for him to pick a fight

with, he guessed these kids would do just fine. He stared threateningly at the

other students who hung back a little, surprised at seeing their leader so

easily defeated.

Momiji watched in awe and gratitude as the punk wiped his lip and looked at his

companions.

"Let's go." The bully pointed at Momiji. "We'll get you later, you lousy little

freak!"

Once they had left, Momiji doubled over, holding his stomach. The bully's foot

must have caught him right in the bladder since he had this terrible urge to go

to the bathroom, even though he didn't want to. He set a hand down on the ground

and tried to catch his breath. Instead, he started to cry softly.

Kyou stared down at Momiji, uncertain of what to do. Sighing, he knelt down

beside the boy and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Not that I care or anything,

but are you okay?" he asked gruffly. Momiji was rocking back and forth, hugging

himself as he cried. "Momiji?" He gasped in surprise when Momiji threw himself

on him and he went rigid, not exactly sure of what to do. "They're gone now," he

grunted, patting Momiji awkwardly on the shoulder. "Stop crying already."

Momiji clung to him for dear life, but he did stop crying. "They were scary!

Kyou saved me." He whined and squeezed tighter.

"I did not save you!" Kyou growled, trying to pry himself free from Momiji's

grip. It was easier said than done though as Momiji was attached to him like a

barnacle or a very vindictive leech. "They just happened to get in my way. I was

spoiling for a fight. End of story. Now get the Hell off of me so you can get to

class before you get in trouble."

Momiji looked at him gratefully and nodded, letting go, gathering his books.

"All right, Kyou. I'm sorry. I'm okay." He tried to smile, even though he felt

like he was going to throw up. "Thank you." He headed toward the door for

class, wiping a few more errant tears as they leaked out.

Kyou reached out and grabbed Momiji's shoulder before the younger boy could

escape. "Here," he sighed, digging into his pocket and pulling out a relatively

clean handkerchief. "I told you to stop crying already. It's making your face

look all red and blotchy. Tohru won't like it if she knows you've been crying."

He stood next to Momiji, glancing at his watch every few minutes. He was never

any good at comforting people, especially when they were as annoying as Momiji.

Still, the kid seemed pretty shaken up, so Kyou guessed that he had better stay

at least for a little while to make sure he was all right. "Better now?"

The blond brightened up a little and nodded, taking the kerchief and blotting

his eyes. "Yes. I think I'm going to go home though. I feel a little sick," he

admitted. "They kicked me in the stomach really hard. Can you tell Tohru that I

probably won't see her tonight? Please?"

"Oi! Nekozuki!" A young man hurried up, grinning at the two of them, but mostly

at Kyou. "I want to talk to you really quick."

Kyou scowled upon hearing that stupid nickname, but he lowered his head so that

he could speak into Momiji's ear. "Go home then. I'll tell your teacher what

happened, so you go and get Hatori to take a look at you. Now get lost."

"Bye, Kyou! Thank you!" Momiji smiled weakly and waved at them both, making his

way back to the other door to call Hatori.

Kyou crossed his arms over his chest, staring up at the boy who had asked to

speak to him. Kyou had seen him around before, but he never really tended to

socialise much with anybody, let alone someone from the classes above his.

Shuichi something or other, his name was. Kyou couldn't remember and he didn't

care either. He remembered Tohru telling him once that he was one of the

school's top athletes, but other than that, he didn't know a thing about him.

"What do you want?" he asked irritably.

"Heh. Your cousin's a cute kid," the boy said offhand. "I've been looking for

you all over. Uh...I've been meaning to ask you this for a couple of days now,

but I can never find you. Um...are you free on Saturday?"

Kyou stared at him in confusion. This boy had been looking for him? Whatever

for? "Am I free on Saturday?" he echoed, cocking his head to the side slightly.

"For a fight, you mean? If you want a fight, I can give you one now. I have a

free period before my next class, I may as well do something constructive with

that time." He raised his fists in a fighting stance and stared at the boy

expectantly.

"Eh?" The boy sweat dropped and cocked his head. "You sure are weird Kyou," he

laughed. "Not for a fight. I was wondering, like, if I could-" he got closer,

reaching out and straightening the boy's collar, "-take you out to a movie or

something." He shuffled his feet and drew a piece of paper from his notebook and

put it in the redhead's hand. "Y-you don't have to answer right away, but just

give me a call if you want to."

He swayed back and forth, seemingly unsure of what he wanted to do next, but he

decided and leaned forward boldly and placed a gentle hand on one of Kyou's

arms, brushing his lips against the shorter boy's. It was so brief it was gone

before Kyou even realized it. "I think you're cute," the older teen said

sheepishly and turned to run for the door. "Just call me if you want!"

And then he was gone.

Kyou stared after him in shock and disbelief, clutching the scrap of paper in

his hand dumbly. Well, that had been somewhat...odd. This was the kind of thing

that happened to Yuki, not to him. Occasionally, he got stupid little girls

trailing after him and squealing in his ear, but this was the first time a boy

had ever made any moves on him. He uncrumpled the piece of paper and read out

the number on it. This boy wanted him to go out...on a date? He didn't do dates

though...he didn't really do much of anything besides fight Yuki and study.

Maybe he should have been thankful that it had been a boy chasing after him and

not a girl. He shuddered to think of what would have happened had the situation

been somewhat different. Transforming at school was one thing, but transforming

in front of one of the students was another thing entirely. Shrugging to

himself, Kyou stuffed the paper in his pocket and walked on, deciding that maybe

he'd ask Tohru what to do when he got home...or not...Well, if the boy wouldn't

fight him now, then maybe he'd fight him on Saturday? Cheering up slightly, Kyou

made his way into the library, scowling when he found Yuki already there,

probably working diligently on something for the school council.

As he left, he didn't notice the blond tuft of Momiji hair as the child- like

teen watched the whole scene through the glass door.

~~

Kyou cursed as he walked along the road, pulling his jacket tighter around

himself in a vain attempt to keep himself warm. The sky had been a little

overcast earlier that afternoon, but he hadn't thought it had been anything to

worry about. He'd been proven wrong however when toward the end of his study

session in the library, he'd heard a clap of thunder and had looked out the

window to find it pouring with rain outside. Grabbing his books and bag, he'd

decided to make a run for home.

Tohru was safely at her part time job while Yuki was busy with work for the

school council, which just left him to get home on his own. He supposed he could

have stayed behind to try and wait out the storm, but he was hungry and tired

and just wanted to get home. Weather this terrible always sapped his energy and

it was days like this he wished that Shigure could actually drive. Not that he'd

actually trust the lazy dog behind the wheel of a car anyway, but still...

It wasn't much further back anyway; all he had to do was just keep walking. He

jumped, startled when he heard the honk of a horn and he looked up to see a car

drive slowly past him. Glowering in envy at the driver who was obviously a lot

dryer than he was, Kyou quickened his pace.

He was surprised when the car pulled to a stop however and he shielded his hand

over his eyes, trying to get a look at whom it could be. Someone offering him a

lift? No, it couldn't be. The only person who he knew could drive was Hatori and

no way would the doctor be out in weather like this. The car door opened slowly

and Kyou's eyes widened when he saw who stepped outside. "You..." he said

hoarsely, taking a step back unconsciously.

"Mmm." Akito narrowed his eyes in dark glee. He was wearing a tight black ribbed

sweater that hugged to his horribly slender frame like a second skin and black

slacks that hung loosely off his unhealthily narrow hips.

He stepped away from the car, resting one graceful hand on the door, while

holding the other one up to the rain. "We're having dreadful weather this time

of year, don't you think?" His voice rolled out like cold oil on steel, soft and

a little feminine in timbre, but chilling nonetheless. "It's a shame you're out

in such weather. You'll catch your death." His eyes tracked slowly to rest on

the redhead. "I would give you a ride, but I'm afraid I have to get home or

they'll worry. How long has it been, Kyou?"

"Not long enough," Kyou muttered, not taking his eyes off Akito. He had no idea

what the head of the Souma clan would be doing out here, but then he'd never

understood how Akito worked anyway. The only thing he knew for sure was that he

had no desire to be around the sickly man any longer than necessary. "You should

go home, Akito," he said, trying to keep his voice neutral. "Hatori will be

worried about you." He adjusted the straps of his backpack and began walking

again, hoping that Akito would just leave him be for once.

"Won't you stay and talk?" Akito's soft voice called through the rain. Kyou

stopped, warily. No one was really supposed to refuse the head of the clan, even

him. Akito smiled and laughed softly, taking smooth steps toward the younger

boy. "We missed you at the New Years celebration," he cooed softly. "You're

always so fun to have around." He smiled and moved around to face the cat again.

"You're looking taller since we last met. Funny how you're the same size as

Yuki, but he always seems to beat you." He laughed as if he had just told a

little joke. "But then, he is the mouse I suppose."

Kyou bristled instantly at the mention of Yuki and tried valiantly to reign in

his temper. His knee-jerk reaction was to stamp and yell whenever someone said

that Yuki was better than him at anything, but then this was Akito after all. He

treated Yuki as though he was some kind of special pet and Kyou could safely

admit that was one thing he didn't envy about the mouse. Akito was standing

uncomfortably close to him and Kyou fought the urge to fidget in his

nervousness. Not that he supposed it would matter even if he did. Akito seemed

to know everything that went on which unnerved Kyou slightly.

In spite of the frail man's sickly appearance, he knew what he could do in his

fits of rage. He was much stronger than Akito, but this was one fight that Kyou

was more than willing to walk away from. "I really need to be getting home," he

said steadily. "And so should you. You'll get sick if you stay out in the rain

like this." He hoped his disguised concern would work and that Akito would just

go away. He couldn't be that intent on bothering him if it would mean him

getting sick, right?

"Aww." Akito smiled softly, laughter in his eyes. "I think the rain bothers you

much more than it bothers me." He stepped even closer to Kyou, staring down at

him. "I heard you have a boyfriend at school." Kyou's eyes widened and Akito's

flashed. He backhanded the cat hard, sending Kyou sprawling in the mud at the

edge of the embankment of the road.

"I don't know what that bitch maid of yours has you thinking but she has to be

lying." Akito kicked Kyou hard in the ribs and in the head, anywhere he could.

The boy just blocked as best he could, trying to ward off the blows. Finally,

Akito stopped, kneeling down. "You don't honestly think she would ever want to

touch something like you, do you?" He ran a hand through Kyou's hair fondly.

"Don't let yourself be fooled by such things. I worry that you'll get the wrong

idea." He ruffled the soaking red hair. "Is that why you're turning to men?

You think that they'll want to touch you? That you're worth anything?" He bit

the word out.

"That's not true," Kyou choked out, clutching his sides protectively. He'd

rather Akito keep on kicking him instead of stroking his hair like that,

touching him as though he cared. Kyou began shivering violently, both from the

rain and the cold and Akito's cold caresses. "Tohru likes me," he protested

weakly. "She doesn't care about what the cat's true form looks like." His voice

started rising in his panic. "Tohru doesn't lie! She wouldn't lie to me about

something like that! She's honest and she's brave and she cares. That's more

than you'll ever be. Now just leave me alone!"

Akito's eyes narrowed dangerously. "She's not all those things, dear cousin.

She's just an idiot who doesn't know what she's gotten herself into." He grabbed

the cat's neck, pressing him into the wet ground harshly as the rain continued

to beat down on them in waves.

"It's been far too long since your last *lesson*, you disgusting cat." He

grabbed hold of Kyou's wrist. "You're starting to forget just exactly *what* you

are." He pulled off the bracelet harshly and backed away, holding it between his

fingers and waiting for the change. His smile was almost manic and flashed

eerily in the strikes of lightning, which were coming like flickering lights in

the growing maelstrom.

Kyou cried out in rage and agony as he felt the bracelet slip from his wrist.

All he could do was clutch his head and scream as the transformation took place.

He knew that Akito was watching, knew he'd be wearing that same cruel smirk that

he always did. He snarled as he felt himself changing, felt his skin start to

burn as it darkened and toughened into the vengeful cat's thick hide. It always

hurt whenever this happened, but the pouring rain and Akito's prior beating only

made things worse and Kyou screamed again, lifting his head and narrowing his

eyes at the head of the Souma clan.

Akito just stood there calmly which only served to infuriate Kyou even more. He

could easily rip Akito apart in this form and there would be no escape for the

sickly man. A twisted smile appeared on the cat's mutated face and he lunged for

Akito, his claws outstretched. Just then, he felt the ground tremble beneath him

and he looked down just in time to see the road give way before he fell down the

embankment. He gave a roar of pain as something sharp pierced his side and he

scrabbled weakly at the earth, trying to pull free. He was too tired though and

he could feel something warm and wet running over his side, something that he

guessed could only be blood.

Akito looked down the embankment, scared and surprised. That *thing* had almost

attacked him. It roared something that he couldn't quite make out, causing him

to step back in fright, but he could see the demon eyes rest on the bracelet

tightly clutched in his pale hand. The creature was lying on it's front under

quite a lot of dirt, but didn't seem hurt. Akito backed away and got in his car,

hoping it wouldn't soon claw its way out and come after him. He held the

bracelet tightly in his hand and sped away. He noted with pleasure that his

heart was racing madly, but lamented that he would probably get sick over all of

this.

Kyou stared at the spot that Akito had just vacated in disbelief. He could just

make out the sound of footsteps above the noise of the rain and after that, the

sound of the car engine starting. "No!" Kyou cried shakily. "Don't go!" Akito

still had his bracelet...Akito could help him out of here, but...Akito was

leaving. Kyou heard the sound of the car revving the then reversing before

driving away and leaving him behind. Kyou tried to pull himself free one more

time, whimpering with pain before slumping over in defeat. The rain continued to

pour down on him, soaking him to the bone and he couldn't stop his constant

shivering.

"Help!" he croaked. Oh, who was he kidding? Who was going to help him? Tohru

would still be working at the hospital and of course Yuki wouldn't care at all

whether he was missing or not. The chances of anyone being out in this weather

were fairly remote and even if someone did happen to pass by and stop to help

him, they'd probably either run away upon seeing his monstrous form, or just

shoot him. Still, he had to keep trying. He didn't want to die. He *couldn't*

die, he hadn't defeated Yuki or been accepted into the Juniishi circle yet. He

wouldn't give in...But he hurt so much and it was so much effort to even move.

"Somebody...anybody! Please...help..."

~~

"The weather tonight is so terrible!" Tohru said in dismay, peering out from

underneath her umbrella. "I hope that Kyou-kun managed to get back home safely.

You know he hates weather like this, so he must be feeling awful." Tohru smiled

suddenly. "When I get home, I'll make him something nice to eat to cheer him up.

Kyou-kun loves salmon...what do you think, Yuki-kun? Does fish supper sound good

to you?"

Yuki smiled at her from under his own black umbrella sweetly. "Honda-san, you

always think of others don't you? I'll like anything you cook!"

He didn't voice his wish for it to be a leek and fish supper though. He wondered

idly if he could slip some leek into the meal secretly but decided against it.

As much as that stupid cat annoyed him, the weather was bad and Kyou would be in

bad shape tonight. Besides, they seemed to be on better terms lately since Tohru

had faced Akito. Everything was status quo and they still fought like cat and

mouse, but it wasn't as hostile as it used to be. Plus, Kyou really was an

honourable person. Whenever Yuki had gotten sick he had always lent a

hand...even if he had grumbled about it the whole way. So he nixed the idea of

spiking the cat's food...for now anyway.

Tohru smiled again. Yuki-kun was always so kind! Kyou-kun was too, but only in

different ways. Kyou-kun always meant well, but sometimes, he just got a little

too carried away with his temper. At least he and Yuki weren't fighting nearly

as much as they had used to. Shigure-san had noticed this too and Tohru

remembered him praising Kyou for not having wrecked the house in over a week.

Tohru's smile widened.

Maybe her dream of Yuki and Kyou becoming friends and finally understanding each

other wasn't so far off in the future at all! And in the meantime, Tohru would

help them by being both their friends. And by taking care of them. She knew how

Kyou-kun loved to cook however much he tried to deny it, but she couldn't let

him do any work on a night like this. She wouldn't let Yuki-kun do anything to

help either. She hadn't been very happy to find Yuki waiting to pick her up from

work that evening. The cold weather wasn't as tough on him as it was on Kyou,

but Yuki still had his bronchi to worry about. Tohru shook her head resolutely.

"Tonight you and Kyou-kun are just going to rest while I make the supper," she

said firmly. "And then maybe we can have a game of cards! If Kyou-kun is feeling

up to it of course. I'm not very good at card games, I'm afraid, but if it helps

Kyou-kun and Yuki-kun feel better, then yay!" She raised her hand in the air.

"Go, card games, go!" She giggled at the strange look Yuki was giving her and

tightened her hold on her umbrella so that it wouldn't blow away. Her smile

faded suddenly and her nose twitched. "Can you smell that?" she asked. "I can

smell something bad...maybe some poor dead animal got knocked down by the side

of the road and is hurt!"

"Uh..." Yuki sighed and bowed his head. "Honda-san, if it was dead, I don't

think it would be hurt." He wrinkled his nose. "You're right though. I wonder if

the rain has backed someone's sewer up, except..." That wasn't it. The smell was

becoming familiar as it became stronger and he could see that Tohru was

realizing it too. His eyes widened and he looked at the girl sharply.

"It's like...it smells Ky-like the cat's other form," he said in disbelief. Why

on earth would Kyou have taken off his bracelet in weather like this? Unless...

They both dropped their umbrellas and ran toward where the smell seemed to be

coming from.

"Kyou-kun!" Tohru cried, running up to the edge of the road and almost slipping

on the wet mud. She would have fallen over and slid down into the embankment had

Yuki not grabbed her sleeve at the last second. She gave him a brief smile of

thanks and then peered cautiously down into the embankment. She brought her hand

up to shield the rain from lashing at her eyes, but it was still no good! It was

too dark, she could barely see anything! The smell seemed to be coming even

stronger though, so Kyou had to be close. She shouted out again, louder this

time, trying to make her voice heard over the sound of the wind and the rain.

"Kyou-kun!"

Tohru fought the urge to panic. Why hadn't she thought to bring a flashlight

with her? Didn't Uo-chan always say to carry a flashlight around to make you

feel safe when you were walking out at night? Tohru's brow furrowed. No, that

wasn't it...it wasn't a flashlight, but a lead pipe! Of course! Uo-chan always

carried around her trusty lead pipe just in case something happened...but what

good would a lead pipe do for Tohru? She wanted a light to see Kyou-kun, not a

huge pipe to beat him senseless with.

"It's no good, I can't see anything!" she called to Yuki. "It's too dark! He has

to be down there though! KYOU-KU-!" She shrieked as she slipped suddenly,

dragging Yuki down with her into the embankment and crashing into something warm

and solid. She shook her head, dazed momentarily, but when she came to, she

realised that the thing she had crashed into was Kyou himself. "Kyou-kun!" she

gasped, reaching out to touch him. The terrible smell was coming even stronger,

but she ignored it as she pulled on the vengeful cat's arm. "Yuki-kun!" she

cried, panicking when Kyou didn't respond. "He's not speaking to me! What should

we do? What if he's hurt? How did he get here? Kyou-kuuun!"

Yuki stared in shock at the creature and tried to swallow his disgust and the

urge to throw up. The smell was overpowering. He quickly gathered his wits

though. Despite the horrid form before them, this was Kyou and he looked to be

badly hurt. Almost his entire body except for part of his torso and his head and

arms was buried under rock and dirt that had fallen off the edge of the road. He

was unconscious and shivering badly. Yuki grabbed Tohru's shoulder with one hand

rather than two so as not to transform and shook her roughly.

"Honda-san! You have to stay calm!" he almost shrieked, though he didn't quite

feel that way himself. "Run home and call Hatori, tell him what happened. I'll

stay here and try to get him out but we need help! Be careful and don't fall and

hurt yourself...for Kyou's sake, all right?" he added. "We need Hatori to help

get him home."

"But...but..." Tohru's lower lip trembled and her gaze kept darting back from

Yuki to Kyou. Yuki looked pale and frightened which in turn made Tohru's panic

rise even more. If Yuki looked bad, it was nothing compared to poor Kyou- kun. He

was half-trapped under dirt and now that Tohru was close enough, she could see

his body trembling violently. Poor Kyou-kun...he must be in so much pain. She

didn't want to leave him, but she knew that Yuki was right. Yuki was being calm

and she wasn't.

She had to be calm like Yuki-kun in order to help Kyou-kun. And she *would* help

Kyou-kun if it was the last thing she did! Even if she tripped over her own feet

on the way home, or got lost, or fell into a ditch herself, she would get help

for Kyou-kun! Her expression hardened into what she secretly called her 'resolve

face' and she nodded once at Yuki. "Yes!" she said, determinedly. "I'll go and

get help! Hatori-san will know what to do." She leaned down and hugged Kyou's

arm tightly. "I'll be back soon!" she promised, letting go of Kyou and

scrambling back up onto the road before disappearing off into the night.

Yuki watched her go, sighing in relief as she made it up the hill all right. He

turned to the creature in front of him and approached its head, kneeling on the

wet ground, but staying on his feet. He reached out a shaking hand and set it on

the trembling animal.

"Kyou...Kyou, can you hear me?" It sounded so quiet beneath all the rain, though

he was saying it quite loud. The creature's neck rumbled in a growl underneath

him and he jerked his hand away as it opened it's red piercing eyes. As it saw

him, the eyes seemed to recognize Yuki, they shook and the creature turned its

head away in shame, whimpering and shaking even more.

Something about the look in the eyes, or the pain in the creature's wail touched

Yuki's heart deeply and he realized how ashamed Kyou must feel to be in front of

him this way. The mouse reached out a hand and touched the soaking fur of Kyou's

shoulder again. This was Kyou...and he was in pain.

"Don't be scared, Kyou," he said close to one of the long brown ears. He was

almost getting used to the smell now. "Tohru went to get help and I'll get you

out of here. Can you move at all?" But there was no response and the

creature...Kyou went limp again, though he was still shivering uncontrollably

and cold to the touch.

Yuki's gaze hardened and he got up, grabbing armfuls of dirt off the hapless

creature and heaving them to the side, trying to uncover the cat's body, but

every time he took an armful of dirt off, it was replaced by more dirt falling

from the side of the embankment. After five minutes of desperately trying to

uncover the cat, he started to cry angrily. Kyou couldn't die! If he died, Yuki

would kick his ass all over the mountain. Who would he fight with? Who would

cook healthy meals for Tohru when she was sick...and meals for them when she was

away? Who would help keep Haru and Ayame from molesting their sweet Tohru?

As his anger and frustration increased, he could see thousands of eyes staring

at him from the darkness. "Help me!" he sobbed, throwing more dirt to the side.

"I need to get him out!"

The rats complied and the mountain almost looked like it was moving with the

thousands of wet creatures that swarmed the dirt pile, carrying away heaps of

dirt. For such tiny animals, they worked fast and soon Yuki could see Kyou's

legs and torso revealed. The rain was beginning to subside a little as well and

it wasn't so heavy that it was ripping chunks of the hill off to tumble down on

them.

Soon Kyou was completely uncovered and Yuki kneeled down, using what little

first aid training he remembered, to feel all along the monster's body and check

for injuries. One of the creature's legs was bruised quite badly. His ribs

seemed okay, but when Yuki ran his hand over the cat creature's back, he felt

something sharp poking out at his waist. In the dark and the wet, Yuki couldn't

guess how much blood the cat had lost, but he guessed a lot. He could feel that

it was a sharp piece of broken off tree branch and feeling behind and under the

cat, he could feel the rest of the tree, buried under the hill. That meant that

he had fallen on the tree and the branch had pierced his stomach first.

Yuki really felt like he would throw up now, not because of the smell, but

because he was afraid. He was terribly afraid. He didn't want Kyou to die. He

let out a sob even as the rats surrounded him, waiting for more orders. He took

off his raincoat and removed his school jacket underneath, laying it over Kyou's

shivering body. He didn't dare pull Kyou off the branch for fear of making him

bleed to death. He put his raincoat back on and lay over Kyou, shielding the

creature's upper body from the rain and letting the coat drape them both. He

leaned as close to the creature as he could, trying to lend his warmth without

getting wet.

"Please don't die, Kyou," he sobbed, letting the tears fall and mix with the

slowly subsiding rain. "I don't know what to do."

Kyou's face was turned away from Yuki, but he could still hear what the other

boy was saying. He tried to feel concerned when he heard the sound of Yuki's

sobs and whimpers, but everything just felt so foggy. Usually his hearing was

almost as good as Shigure's, but right now, his ears felt as though they had

been submerged underwater. He could still feel himself shaking, but he had long

since stopped feeling the cold. Even the terrible pain in his stomach and side

had decreased somewhat, leaving him aching and numb.

Kyou supposed he should be worried, but he just felt too tired. He tried

desperately to make sense of what was going on. Obviously he was still

stuck...how long must he have been lying here? How long had Yuki been here? Why

wasn't he turning away from him in horror? Why was he helping him, even at the

risk of his own safety? Kyou was too exhausted to figure it all out right now

and he fought the urge to close his eyes. He was so tired...something told him

that if he gave in to the pull of sleep, everything would be better and he

wouldn't hurt anymore.

There was another voice however that was yelling at him to stay awake, no matter

how painful it was. Funny how that voice sounded like Yuki's. No wait...maybe

the voice *was* Yuki's...Kyou couldn't tell for sure. He sounded too far away

and it felt like too much effort to try and speak. No, he had to save his

strength...or what was left of it. Yuki was here, so that must mean that help

was on the way. He had to stay awake. It was so hard though and his eyelids kept

slipping shut more often than he blinked them open and eventually, they just

stayed shut, a single tear of helplessness sliding down his cheek as he lay in

the darkness with Yuki...and waited...