"I plan to do it tonight and whatever happens . . . I thought I should warn you." Those words had stopped me that night from barging in on my martial arts teacher, Kazuma and relative, Shigure. I recoiled from the doorway entrance and back into the shadows, listening to Kuzuma's cruel plan.
I remember wishing that I hadn't stumbled upon their conversation that night. I hadn't wanted to know what I already knew must happen some day. It was only when the two men on the balcony had fallen silent that I knew Kyo's illusion of life was over and it made me very sad. I had slummed away quickly after the men had fallen silent having completely forgotten what I was sent to ask in the first place. All I could feel at that moment was an increasing sense of dread. I remember not being able to stand looking at Kyo or Tohru, knowing what they would endure that evening.
"Kagura? Is everything all right?" I had been wondering aimlessly, not knowing what to do when the soft voice broke through my thoughts. I had looked up into the concerned face of Yuki, close to tears. I had shaken my head and closed my eyes trying to force the tears back down.
"You should prepare yourself for some unexpected events tonight." I remember telling him. I had gone to walk around him, but stopped at his second question.
"It has something to do with that stupid cat, doesn't it?" I had inwardly cringed at those words. Couldn't Yuki see there was more to Kyo? No . . . I guess he couldn't at that time. The two had been rivals for so long that they couldn't seem to get past anything but that.
Though I didn't want to admit it, I found myself nodding my head. "And Yuki . . . Don't tell Tohru." Before he could ask me any more questions I had slipped into the guest room and shut the door behind me.
There, as I sat awaiting Kyo's moment of judgement, I dwelled upon the past, more specifically my childhood. I thought of things that I should've and shouldn't have done, but most of all, I thought about my first true encounter with Kyo. There wasn't much I knew about him except he was the abandoned cat of the zodiac and well disliked among the Sohma family. For me . . . I had found it a sick comfort knowing that someone else had it worse than me.
I had seen him during New Years, but had never talked to him. I also remember wondering why it was he couldn't attend the zodiac banquet if he himself turned into one of the animals from the old folk tale. It was my mother who explained it to me: He couldn't attend because he wasn't officially apart of the Chinese zodiac. I remember feeling slightly bad for him when I learned of it that New Years, but the sympathy vanished as the banquet started.
Then, one hot sunny day I was sent to go outside. I didn't have any friends so I was content with just staying inside and playing with my toys. It was days like those that I hated most. Nice, warm sunny days I loathed, for it was those days that my mother made me go outside. Yet, it had been that day that I was given the opportunity to make a friend.
I had been sitting on my porch sulking like I usually did when I had to go outside, welcomed with nothing but boredom, when I saw him. An orange haired boy sat across the road playing in sandy dirt. Amused, I had continued to watch the boy for a few more minutes as he attempted to create a sand castle. He had been going about it all wrong though and I was compelled to fix it. So I straightened my dress and ran over to him.
"Hi!" I had chirped bending down to peer at the mound of sand. Startled, the boy looked up from his creation and looked at me confused. "Mind if I help?" I smiled at him before plopping on my knees and going about to 'fix' his castle.
He had continued to stare at me obviously surprised and didn't touch the castle as I went on to sculpt it into something (at the time) more elegant. When I was done, I wiped my hands off on my green dress and looked over to the orange haired kid. "Your name's Kyo, right? The cat?"
Kyo had nodded confounded, his eyes never wavering from my gaze. "I'm Kagura. I usually don't like days like these, but today hasn't been so bad." I went on to say gesturing to the sky.
"Why don't you like these kind of days?" Kyo asked curiously, yet quiet. He had been so very different back then compared to he is now. I sometimes find myself wondering how such a transformation came about, but then... All I have to do is think of the hardships he's been through...
I had gone on as if it was obvious why I detested nice days. "My mom makes me go outside."
"Why don't you like going outside?" Kyo went on to ask.
"I don't have any friends, that's why." I replied looking around.
"I don't have any friends and I still like going outside." Kyo retorted.
I shrugged. "I prefer rainy days. Then I can stay inside and watch t.v."
"I don't like rainy days. They make me tired." Kyo had responded sitting up and examining the sand castle.
"Well, I suppose they do tire some people." I said thoughtfully. "Why don't you have any friends?"
"Because I-" He had stopped himself mid sentence before countering the question over to me. "Why don't /you/ have any friends?"
"I asked you first." I returned.
"So? Doesn't mean I have to answer!" The kid had stuck his tongue out at me.
"You're weird." I remember saying to him. A crestfallen look appeared on his face and he dropped his gaze to the castle. I felt kind of bad for saying that. I pitied him, but at the same time I felt better about myself because of him. "Do you wanna be my friend?"
At those words his eyes snapped back onto me. "Really?"
I had nodded with a small giggle. After that I heard my mother call out to me for dinner and so I left my new friend only to meet again the next day. I had been sent outside again and I found my orange haired companion waiting outside. When he saw me, he ran over to my porch and stuck out his hand.
"Come on Kagura!" I took his hand and he led me around the Sohma property. We played tag and I made him push me on a swing. Looking back on how I was then I find that I had been a very selfish child. I took a lot of things for granted.
I had taken this wonderful friendship, a gift from someone or something, only to utterly ruin it a week later. It was due to my bossiness and greediness. The day had started out like any other nice day, Kyo met me at my porch with his outstretched hand, I took it and we went on to play as children do. Yet something had caught my eye that I hadn't quite noticed before.
"Why do you always wear that?" I asked Kyo, pointing to his wrist. Kyo had looked down at his wrist where a reddish/orange and white beaded bracelet rested.
"This?" He had asked gesturing to his bracelet.
I nodded. "Yeah. I didn't think boys wore jewelry."
"So what if we do?" Kyo countered defensively.
"Well isn't more like a girl thing?" I asked.
"Yeah, so?" He went on in his new defensive manner. "I don't wear it because I want to. I hate it."
"Can I have it then? I think it's kinda pretty." I asked taking his wrist and looking at it. But Kyo jerked his wrist away from me.
"It is not! It's ugly!" Kyo yelled.
"Well if you don't like it why can't I have it?" I asked him frustrated.
"Because you can't!" He went on to yell.
"Why?!" I insisted.
"Because you can't!"
"Oh, come on Kyo, you told me you hated this thing!" I had said as I walked over to him. I barely remember him looking a little frightened, but disregarded it. Why I couldn't respect his wishes, I still don't know...
I had grabbed the wrist and tore the bracelet off only to see Kyo fall to ground, clutching his stomach and moaning. I remember staring at him both afraid and curious. A brief thought fluttered though my mind that he had been putting up an act, but as a horrible smell reached my nostrils that thought was distinguished. By instinct I took a few steps back, the bracelet still clutched in my hand. Then I heard him start to cry as I witnessed his body transforming. I was rooted to the spot in horror as a big, ugly, weird looking lizard type thing with a horrible stench appeared before me.
I remember I screamed in horror and threw the bracelet at the thing and ran as fast as my legs would carry me. I remember running into someone who looked as frightened and pale as I had been. She did not try to comfort me or even dismiss me, just stared at the thing alarmed and angry. It had been Kyo's mother.
After that, Kyo didn't come outside any more.
A crack of thunder revived me from my painful memories. I was sitting alone in the dark, rain banging against the windows. The only visible light came from underneath my closed door. Someone rapped on the door twice before opening. It had been Shigure with a rather somber look on his face.
"Kagura?" I met his eyes to acknowledge he was there even though I had felt miserable. Shigure was quiet for a moment before continuing. "Kazuma and I... Well, we had a little talk earlier."
"I know." I found myself replying banefully. "I heard you."
"I see." Shigure had sighed. "We're doing this for Kyo's own good. If he doesn't come to terms with this now... He never will."
All I could do was nod. I had understood perfectly well, but still... It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to Kyo and even more so, it wasn't fair to Tohru. I admitted she had solved a lot of the Sohma's problems, but I remember wondering, could she be the miracle worker of something this painfully large? Shigure left the room without another word, soundlessly closing the door behind him. I was bathed in sorrow once again.
It happened after his mother's death. Kyo was now an orphan, his father having disowned him after finding out his wife killed herself because of the son she bore. I remember feeling so guilty, as if I had done something to bring it about. But hadn't I? I had taken Kyo's bracelet without his consent only to run away, my screams most likely leading his mother to the scene. It hadn't been long after that incident that she died.
Kyo went to live with Sohma Kuzuma who graciously accepted Kyo. I would see Kyo, but never talked to him, just watched him from afar and let the guilt eat away at me. Then one day I saw Kuzuma teaching Kyo martial arts outside of his dojo. I remember thinking, maybe I could talk to Kyo if I learned martial arts too. So I returned home that day and begged my mom to let me.
I remember she laughed lovingly and said, "I think that's a great idea!"
The next day she brought me down to the dojo and signed me up for lessons. I remember watching Kyo practice his training with someone else as my mother and Kazuma talked. When the fighters took a break, I saw Kyo look over at me. We caught eyes for only a second before he quickly walked away. The guilt inside me had manifested as I watched him go.
I remember thinking, maybe if I pretended nothing happened we could go on being friends. So I made it my mission to forget I had done anything wrong and force Kyo to be my friend once again. It wasn't that easy, for Kyo acted as if I was insignificant. I couldn't blame him, but it used to make me angry and I'd end up becoming violent (something that has never diminished itself from my personality).
It took time to register, but I knew that mine and Kyo's friendship could never be the same. It had become one-sided. My plan to rid my guilt failed to an extent, but made me realize some things all the same. I was guilty for breaking something so important to the two of us. I had hurt Kyo in such a way that it made me hurt, and so to keep history from repeating itself, I became very protective of him. I didn't want anyone to hurt him like I had.
I had been so worried what would happen to him when he got older that I actually forced him to promise he'd marry me. I would never break his heart again where as someone else could. I got caught in an illusion that I created. I imagined that I hadn't hurt Kyo and that we had always been the best of friends. As life progressed so did the illusion grow.
I found myself tailing his every move and jealous of any girl he talked to. So when Honda Tohru came to live among the Sohma's, with Kyo, I was very scared. She didn't share the curse that Kyo and I shared and so there was the possibility that she'd hurt him. I was afraid that Kyo would fall in love with her only for her to break his heart. Naturally I could not allow that to happen.
My fears had been confirmed of Kyo falling for her (even if he himself wasn't aware of it yet) when I took my first trip to Shigure's house. I was surprised to find Tohru to be a very nice and generous person. She had accepted him /and/ Yuki, something that the two of them needed more than anything.
And this is why I was afraid. Would Tohru's acceptance of Kyo waver if she saw his true form? Would he have to endure such pain again? It tore me apart because I knew that there was nothing I could do. I had done all I could to protect Kyo, but some things you just can't be protected from...
Another clap of thunder had rang through the air and I looked out the foggy window. Outside stood Kuzuma and a disgruntled Kyo. My heart had ached. He had no idea... No idea of what was about to happen. Kyo's angry yell drifted up to my window.
"I have accepted it!" He had yelled to his guardian. I remember wearily thinking, no Kyo, you haven't. If Kyo had accepted it he wouldn't be as closed off as he was. Another sound of thunder muffled whatever else Kyo had said. The rain began to beat down harder.
The figures outside had begun to blur as the pounding of the rain continued. It had pained me to continue watching, but I couldn't take my eyes off them. When I saw Kuzuma take Kyo's wrist, I knew that Kyo's illusion of life was all over. Kyo had trembled while his master held his wrist and I had felt a surge of resentment for my teacher. I wanted him to leave Kyo alone, but at the same time, I knew Kuzuma was right.
Knowing this broke my heart because my love for Kyo could not protect him. He looked so afraid, trembling, as if waiting to be struck.. When I saw Tohru with her umbrella walk up behind Kyo tears had threatened me..
Then, without warning, Kuzuma took Kyo's beads and covered his vision. I could only imagine what had rushed through Kyo's mind. Tohru watched on, confused. Kyo may have figured the plot out as he fell to the ground clutching his stomach, but Tohru had no idea. She did not know this particular side of Kyo...
More than anything I wanted to go out there and shield Kyo from Tohru. I knew he would be deeply hurt and would feel betrayed from the two he loved. Even so, I knew I couldn't protect him any more. My days as the body guard were over. Tohru was the only one who could help him.
Kyo's cries and pleas to not look at him were unheeded. I had dreaded watching him transform before Tohru, having him know that she was right there to see him become a hideous monster. It had hurt me so much knowing how this would affect him, but it hurt even more listening to his cries as he painfully became his true form, the very thing he had been running away from his entire life.
As noisily as his transformation took place, he silently left into the forest with one, great leap. Tohru had been left standing completely stunned. I had looked on long enough to see her run into the woods before closing the green curtain. She was going after him, her first intention, but would she make it to him? Could she bare to see him in such a form?
I can barely remember getting up and leaving the room, but I do remember reappearing in Yuki's room. He was standing by the window stunned. Yuki had known about Kyo's true form, but I had suspected that had been the first time he saw it in all it's glory. I remember sitting on the floor behind him and in front of a table with my sewing kit.
"Yuki?" I found myself questioning the boy. "Why didn't you go after him? Do you still hate Kyo that much?"
"I've always hated him." Yuki replied quietly. "He's the cat and I'm the rat. We were born hating each other. That's the way it's always been and that's the way it'll always be."
However, Yuki didn't seem to sound too sure of himself and I found myself speaking out loud. "I wonder... Who decided it had to be that way?" I had started sifting through my sewing box looking for that familiar color. "It's sad, isn't it?"
"And what about you Kagura?" I found Yuki rounding on me. "Aren't you going after him?"
I had thought for a few minutes on that, debating whether I should go after Kyo... But then I remembered, I had failed to accept Kyo in his true form the first time I saw him. It was because we both shared a family curse and couldn't help it, that I truly came to accept him and then to love him.
"No... No I'm not." I responded after a moment. "I made up my mind. Kyo already knows I accept him, no matter what form he's in." Truthfully, I didn't know if he knew this, but it felt good saying it. "There isn't another girl in the whole world who loves him as much as I do, which is why I know that I can't help him."
At the time I told Yuki that, I wasn't so sure of myself being the only girl who loved him so much. All I could think about was Tohru and how she seemed to make Kyo feel all right, unlike me... "Right now the only one who can help him is Tohru..."
It hurt me to admit that, but I knew it was true. Kyo wouldn't allow himself to be accepted by anyone but her. She was all that mattered to him... "I'm a member of the zodiac, the same as him. So for me to go to him now wouldn't give him any comfort."
Tears had started to form behind my eyes. "He needs to be accepted by someone else. Someone who doesn't share our curse. And so, all I can do is leave things up to Tohru..."
I had known that Kyo and Yuki may never come to like each other, but I knew their common ground was Tohru. Tohru meant so much to both of them that they would do anything for her. If Yuki wouldn't go to Kyo to help him, I knew he'd go to help Tohru. Yes, all I could do was put my faith into Tohru, but I wasn't one-hundred percent sure she could do it by herself. She would need someone else there that she cared about. She needed Yuki.
So when I heard Yuki's footsteps it didn't come as a surprise, but it made me so grateful. It was at that same moment I found the color I had been looking for in my sewing box. The tears that had formed began to fall onto my cheeks. Usually sewing calmed me, but if anything, the simple orange string had caused me to become more stressed out.
After Yuki left it hadn't been long after that Shigure left the house. I had wondered what he was up to, but it wasn't too long after his departure that he turned up again. It had scared me to see such a melancholic look on Shigure. He always seemed so cheerful and content. It had only made me realize just how badly the situation could go.
Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. Not once did I leave that room though. I retired from my sewing having not accomplished anything and parked myself at the window. I waited anxiously for the hopeful return of Kyo, Tohru, and Yuki. I lost myself in thoughts of the past that did nothing but make me feel miserable. I had heard murmured voices outside and I thought that maybe Kyo had returned. It wasn't though, it was only Shigure coaxing Kuzuma to come inside from the rain.
As the minutes drifted into hours I started to realize I was passing back and forth between sleep and consciousness. I started wondering what was the real thing, my dreams or the window that I gazed out of?
After that all I can remember is waking up to the sight of dawn. A happy cry had woken me. I had looked around catching my bearings before peering out the window. There stood Tohru holding Kyo in his kitty form and Yuki holding his shoulder slightly behind the girl. It had been Shigure who woke me, he looked like he had been crying out of sheer relief. My body ached from the way I had slept, but nothing else mattered except the three of them were safe and okay.
I had rushed downstairs to greet them. Kuzuma had taken Kyo from Tohru who had looked like she was going to collapse from exhaustion the poor thing. I had offered to escort her to her room, but she said she could make up there. I smiled at her, not knowing how else to express my gratitude towards her. As she took leave to her room I turned around to inspect Yuki.
Shigure kept inquiring how the gash in Yuki's shoulder came about and Yuki didn't feel like explaining. He looked like he too was about to pass out so I offered to bandage him. I didn't need to ask any questions nor did I need any answers. Just knowing everyone was okay had been enough for me. So I sent the tired boy upstairs as I went to fetch the first aid kit.
We were silent while I tended to his wound, both exhausted from the night's events. Yuki didn't know how thankful I was that he went after the two. It had meant a lot to me and I just wanted to cry again, but this time from relief. However, I didn't want to lay it on Yuki who had already endured enough for a day. So I settled with thanking him and leaving for home.
Everything seemed to be fine at Shigure's house, so it came as a surprise when I saw Kyo jumping from roof to roof of Sohma central today. It was the first time I had seen Kyo here in over a year and I wondered what was going on. At first I thought he was here for Kuzuma, but Kuzuma wasn't at the dojo and if Kyo had been here visiting Kuzuma I don't think he'd be hopping roofs...
Other than visiting Kuzuma I didn't see any other reason he'd be here. It's not like he visited me, or any other zodiac member, and Akito never, ever sent for him. So the only other reason for him being here must be for Tohru... If so, then where was she and why wasn't he with her?
"Hey!" I heard Kyo yell. Startled I looked over to the roof top he had been sitting on. "Hey!!" He went running down it and leapt to the ground. Then I saw who he was referring to. Tohru, Yuki, Shigure, and Hatori had just emerged from somewhere... And from the looks of the houses over there it looked to be Akito's place.
He ran over to Tohru, concerned and demanded to know what happened. It made me smile seeing how open and happy he was. I couldn't hear anything exchanged between the five people, other than Kyo's loud voice. I giggled as I saw him bounce from Tohru's side to the Sohma gate and back.
Over the past few days I realized that though my love for Kyo had originally been meant to help me coupe with my guilt, I found out that I deeply cared for Kyo. Somehow I knew that he recognized that I really did love him, and even though I sadly knew he couldn't love me back, it didn't bother me. As long as he went on smiling nothing else mattered to me. Just his happiness.
I had an undying love for him. An unconditional, undying love that had started out as something for myself. None of that mattered anymore though. All that counted was how I felt presently. As a child I had been very selfish and now it was time to change, to grow up. You can't always get what you want, but it doesn't matter if you learn to want what you have. I have wonderful friends that I thought I might never have and the satisfied feeling that everything would be okay no matter what happened.
As I watched Kyo and the others leave I knew that somehow if Kyo ever needed someone to talk to, he knew deep down that he could come to me. Until then... I'd still put him on the spot, just for fun. I knew I could never truly have him, but even so...
My undying love for him would never waver.