By Rei

A/N: This is going to be Akito/Hatori, in the next chapter, but Hatori doesn't show up until then, It's got some Akito/Yuki in it too...well sort of. They're childhood friends. I'm sorry if Yuki's a bit off-character, but he's alot younger here, and people change as they grow up. ^^;

Disclaimer: I don't own Furuba, I just like to mess with the characters. This is, it wouldn't be a fanfic if I owned it, now would it?

Chapter 1:

His Name Is Akito-Sama

How is it, that sitting here talking with his cousin, he could still feel he had no one? Even though this cousin idolized him, as though he were Yuki's true brother. Onii-san, Yuki sometimes called him, sometimes right in front of Ayame, his real brother. Akito wanted to feel pity then, for the man with the super-inflated ego. His own brother was disowning him, right before his eyes. But Akito couldn't summon the energy.

Yuki loved Akito, trailed after him like a dog. 'A mouse shouldn't act this way,' he'd considered telling him. But it was no good, how could he tell him to go when he enjoyed it? He'd go mad with loneliness, if not for Yuki. Yuki was the only one who's parents hadn't warned him away. 'Stay away from Akito,' they'd say to their beloved offspring. 'He's unstable.'

Unstable. Of course he was unstable, how could he not be? If the slightest thing could make his body sick, couldn't something just as small poison his mind? Those parents were right, to warn their children away. He was dangerous.

"Aki-san?" Yuki said, waving his hand in his face. "Ne, are you alright?"

"Yes...fine. I'm fine," he said, though by most people's standards he was not. Today he had a fever, a headache and a slight cough. This sort of illness was so common it was not worth mentioning. If he told anyone, he'd be confined to his bed for days, again.

"You don't look fine,'' Yuki said, then dropped the subject. "Kagura wanted me to go play tag with her and Kyou. You wanna come?"

"Not really," Akito said, shaking his head. "Sorry."

"Aw, c'mon Aki-san!" Yuki was beginning to whine now, which annoyed Akito, but he had to remember that Yuki was only a child, only ten. Just because he himself was twelve, and far more mature, didn't mean Yuki had reached that stage. Children will complain, it is their nature. "Please?"

"I'm not feeling well," he said, using his best excuse. If he was ill, of course he must rest. Certainly he couldn't risk his health. Or that was what any reasonable person would say, but Akito was not particularly reasonable. Being sick made him want to go out and run around, just for spite. But he couldn't anyway, the other children surely wouldn't allow it.

"You just said you were okay. Come on, please? It'll be great, I promise." Yuki was smiling, pulling at Akito's yukata. What makes you so bold with me, little boy? he wondered. What gives you the right to oppose God?

He responded by coughing, playing it up to sound scary. He didn't need to cough, not now, but he was so good at faking it when need be. Yuki watched him fearfully, thinking Akito was in pain. It was odd, how he didn't feel the slightest trace of guilt, as he stole a glance at Yuki's worried face. Yuki had no right to ask him to play tag. It really wasn't good for him to be running around outside, and Yuki knew full well how the other children hated him.

"Ah..." Yuki said, walking towards him. "Akito...should I get Hatori?"

Akito shook his head, still pretending to cough. Maybe it was time for a good collapse, surely Yuki wouldn't ask him again if he fainted. The easiest way was just to fall over, and it was also the most disturbing. Akito fell forwards, his head banging the wooden floor. He continued to cough, knowing if he stopped now, Yuki would think him dead. He didn't want to traumatize the poor child, he just wanted to give him a good reason why he couldn't go out and play tag.

Besides, this wasn't outright lying. He really was ill, just not so severely as he was leading Yuki to believe. The mouse looked sufficiently frightened, maybe he'd quiet down now. "Anou...Yuki-kun..." he said weakly, trying to imitate the half-dead. "I can't go..."

"It's okay," Yuki sighed. "I don't really want to play unless you do, though, Kyou's really mean to me. And Kagura always takes his side because she wants to marry him. I thought it'd be better if you came, because you're my'd take my side, right Akito?"

"Sure," he said. "But you should go play with your friends, they'll miss you, if you don't."

"Nah, they wont. They don't like me, but alot of their games need more then one person. That's the only reason they ever let me play with them."

"If they didn't like you, they'd ask Momiji or Haru, right? I'm sure they love you, Yuki-kun." Maybe he shouldn't talk so much, surely it was more convincing to stay silent. But then, he wasn't really trying to convince Yuki of anything. He was sick, he was always sick, he had nothing to prove.

"Haru doesn't visit very often, and Momiji doesn't do what they tell him to. And he cries alot."

"I'm sorry," Akito said softly. "Yuki-kun, it doesn't matter what they think. You are perfect...they're freaks. Don't worry about them."

"Akito, you said we're all freaks," Yuki said as he sat down beside him. "All of us."

Akito laughed, and began coughing in the process. This time it was real, but not nearly so dramatic as his fake bout. It would pass in a moment.

It did. "Yuki-kun, Kyou is the cat. That's not even a proper Juunishi. And Kagura...she's a disgusting pig. At least the mouse is something to be proud of."

"Are you a freak?" Yuki asked, as if Akito could really answer a question like that.

"Am I a freak...let me think," Akito said, stifling another cough. Of course he was a freak, he was the most monstrous of them all. Becoming an animal was nothing, compared to his, slightly more earthly curse. All of them were isolated by their affliction, but at least the others had managed to make friends. Akito couldn't go to school, Akito had no life outside managing the Soumas. He always felt uneasy, listening to their pitiful complaints. He was dying, couldn't they see their miseries were nothing compared to that? And sometimes, they'd come to him, saying something amazing had happened. 'I'm in love,' they'd say, 'I've never been happier.' These people were here to flaunt their good fortune to the wretched. Was that right? Were these people really deserving of the happiness they claimed to have? No, they were not. He'd have to rectify that, make them worthy, or take away the thing that gave them joy.

Yes, Akito, the dying child, is a freak. Little Yuki is perfectly normal in comparison.

"Yuki!" A woman stood at the doorway. Her hair was dark and snarled, as if she'd just woken up. Her eyes were yawning wide, and yellow. She wore a loose sleeveless dress, obviously thrown on minutes before. "Darling, Ayame's here to visit. Come on, come say hello to your brother."

"Okay," Yuki said, for he had not yet learned to hate Ayame. "What's he here for?"

"To see us. Why else?" The woman said, exasperated. "Yuki, don't be stupid. Now lets go."

"Auntie Hikaru?" Akito ventured. "Ah...Yuki had plans already. He's...not available to see Ayame."

"And what were those plans?" Hikaru asked. Obviously she wanted Yuki in his proper family spot, and didn't want to waste time discussing it. But it was he, Akito, who had objected, and Akito had to be obeyed. Because he was dying, and they owed him. He kept them alive, he was saving this whole pitiful family!

"Yuki was going to go outside to play with Kyou and Kagura."

"Well, surely they can do without him for an evening. Yuki doesn't get along well with Kyou anyway."

"I'll go see Ayame, Mom," Yuki said, glaring slightly at Akito. Akito didn't glare back, he knew Yuki hadn't wanted to go. But he also knew what a bad state Ayame would be in, and he wanted to shield Yuki from it. Ayame had been living in his car for the past six months, Really, he was only coming home to sleep somewhere warm. No one came back just to visit, once they left the Souma House.

"Right. Ne, Akito-sama? Would you like to see Ayame as well? I'm sure he wouldn't mind, and if you want to..."

"No," Akito said. No use in gracing the lovely family with his disgusting presence.

"Oh, alright," Hikaru said, visibly relieved. "Do you need anything?"


"Okay. Well, we'll be going now. Come along Yuki." Yuki grabbed his mother's enormous hand, and they walked quickly out the door. The prodigal son had returned, their had to be a decent greeting. It would be even more amazing if Shigure were to come back, but the dog's mother wouldn't care.

Akito stood up, took a few steps, and fell again onto his futon. He really was exhausted. Maybe he was sicker then he'd thought. The thing was, it mattered so little, how he felt. He was always in agony anyway.

Tomorrow came, and Yuki had once more been asked to play. "Tag again," he said. "Akito, come on, please? They really need an extra person, and Momiji's got too much homework today."

"No," Akito said, groaning from his futon. He felt worse today, and Hatori had told him to stay in bed. So far, Hatori's advice had never been wrong, and it suited his purposes for the day, anyway. If only Yuki would just drop this stupid tag thing, couldn't he see Akito didn't want to play?

"Why not?" Yuki whined.

"I'm sick."

"You'll feel better, if you go outside..."

"Hatori told me to stay here."

"Aki-san, please? Kyou and Kagura are fighting alot lately, so I don't think we'll be doing this much more. I really want..."

"You think I care what you want?" Akito said cruelly. Then, regretting so much his words, he agreed to come. "Alright, fine. I'll do it. But only for a short time."

"'ll get too tired otherwise," Yuki said sadly. Why did he choose a friend who was so weak? Akito's energy level could never equal Yuki's, Yuki was a normal, mostly healthy, hyperactive child. Akito was the walking dead.

Akito stood up, taking in the pain that came with movement. It wasn't serious pain, he was just stiff from staying in bed all day. All he had to do was stretch a bit.

Before he had a chance, however, Yuki had grabbed his hand and was running to his own room. "You can't play tag wearing a yukata, Aki-san, you'll trip. You can wear some of my clothes." Yuki threw open his closet, and selected a pair of khaki pants, and a blue button-down shirt. "Here."

Akito looked at the clothing with disdain. He couldn't wear this, it was too distinctly Yuki. He'd only recently discarded the typical garb of childhood, in exchange for a real style, and Akito wasn't about to imitate him. He had his own 'outdoor' clothing, all of it black. He was told this was not very flattering, as it made him look even more skeletal then usual, but he didn't especially care. He really preferred the yukata anyway, but Yuki was right, he would trip. Not that he intended to run much, this was only to please Yuki-kun.

"I've got my own clothes. Let me go back and change," Akito said, heading back towards his room.

"What's wrong with these?" Yuki asked, trotting after him.

"Nothing...they're yours..."

"So now I'm toxic? You cant touch something that's mine?"

"It's not that, its wouldn't look right on me..."

"I think you'd look nice, Aki-san."

"Those things look better on you, Yuki-kun." They arrived in Akito's room. His clothing lay in the corner. They were a crumpled mess. He didn't have a dresser or closet, though those things had been offered to him. He owned only a few yukatas, some underthings, and his black outfit. He extracted the black clothes from the pile, and undid his yukata. Yuki didn't seem to mind his changing in front of him, he just watched him steadily. "Ne, Yuki? How was it? With Ayame, I mean."

"It was alright. Ayame didn't really talk to me much. He talked to Mom and Dad for a little, then he went to Hatori's room. They went to Shigure's house...Hatori came home, but not Ayame."

"That's odd. Wouldn't he want to spend time with you? You are his brother..."

"No, not really...I think I did something to make him mad, or maybe he just forgot about me."

"Forgot you? Yuki-kun, you're not exactly forgettable. Besides, he loves you, you're his brother."

"No, he doesn't. I heard him talking to Shigure once a long time ago. He said to him, 'Wouldn't it be funny if ototochan died?'"

"Yuki, I'm sure he didn't mean it. Ayame can be very stupid at times. I'm sure he would be very sad, if that happened. And it wont, so don't worry. Not for a long, long time."

"But you'll die," Yuki said softly. "Then I will. Everyone will..."

"No, you wont, no ones going to die after me. Yuki-kun, someone else will be born to bear my curse. Don' scared...about that, Yuki, you wont die."

"But Hatori said, if the head of the house is dead none of us can survive...our other forms will kill us. He said it might be too late, by the time another head comes along."

"Hatori doesn't know what he's talking about," Akito said, trying to sound soothing. "So...lets go play."

"Akito, maybe this isn't a good're sick, you shouldn't be playing tag. You might..."

Stupid child. It doesn't matter if I'm putting my own life in danger, oh no. You're completely fine with that until you realize you might get hurt too. I'll play alright, I'll play, just to spite you.

Many of the things he did, he realized, were for spite. He didn't want to play tag, didn't want to face Kyou and Kagura's disgust. But he would anyway, both to please and to hurt Yuki.

"Okay," Yuki said. After all, this was what he'd wanted all along. Just because he'd finally been enlightened, he finally knew what a bad idea it was, didn't mean he wasn't going to go along with it anyway. Yuki was thick like that. That's what Akito thought, but Akito knew his own view was a bit cynical.

Akito finished changing, and they walked outside, into the light. Kyou and Kagura were waiting a few feet away. They said nothing, but watched silently. Finally, Kagura, the braver of the two, spoke.

"What's he doing here?" she spat, referring to Akito.

"I brought him," Yuki said proudly. "Akito's my friend, and I want him to play with us."

"Well, my mom says I'm not allowed to talk to him," Kagura said, as if that was the be all and end all of everything. "So he'll have to go back inside."

"And I hate him," Kyou said. Akito watched them, amused. These children had no respect for their leader. Well, respect was a learned thing. He'd just have to teach them, later, when he was feeling better. The whip would show them what was right.

"He's really nice," Yuki said defensively, as though Akito were a snarling rabid dog he was trying to convince his parents to let him keep. "You guys would like him, really, just give him a chance."

"Kazuma says I cant," Kyou said. Kazuma. Of course. The man had adopted him against all reason, naturally Kyou would feel absurdly grateful. He was stupidly obedient to his new father. Akito felt sure that would change in future years, as Kyou became surer of his place in Kazuma's heart. "He says you're crazy, Akito, and you'll probably kill me or banish me. Says your grandpa was a much better head then you."

"That's nice," Akito brushed it off. He didn't feel like getting angry right now, he felt like playing Yuki's stupid game.

"You can't play," Kyou said.

"That's really too bad, because I am playing," Akito glowered. "As head of the Souma family, I will do whatever the hell I want, and no one, not even self-important little brats like you, will stop me."

"What?!" Kyou yelled. "You say that one more time! I'll kill you!" He lunged at him, fist flying. Akito took the blow, he knew he was not quick enough to avoid Kyou. Pain exploded on the side of his neck, where Kyou had hit him, but he ignored it. Pain like this was trivial, a minor discomfort only.

"Tag. We were going to play tag, am I right?" Akito said. He didn't want to play, why was he fighting so hard to do so? All he wanted was to crawl back into bed and have a good, long nap. He was sick, he shouldn't have to do this kind of thing when he was sick...Hatori had told him to sleep...and that was what he wanted, sleep. His head was pounding by this point, much worse then yesterday. No one noticed, or cared though, as usual. Humans were really very selfish.

"You're not playing," Kagura said, automatically agreeing with Kyou. "But me, Kyou, and Yuki are."

"Akito's playing!" Yuki yelled. Why did he defend Akito? Why risk his friendship with these children? His other friends, his non-Souma friends, had already been taken from him. It had been Akito's fault, he'd ordered it. But Yuki should've been more careful, he shouldn't have let them see his mouse form. Really, Yuki was to blame.

"No!" Kagura screamed. "He's creepy, he looks like the grim reaper, and I don't want to be anywhere near him, let alone play tag with him! He's probably gonna kill you later on Yuki, he's not really your friend! He's always saying we're freaks, well he's the freak! I hate him! Kyou hates him, and you'd hate him too, if you weren't so stupid, Yuki!" She was breathing hard, unnerved by her outburst. Akito reached out for one of her pigtails, and pulled it as hard as he could. If he could just pull a little harder, it'd come out...just a little longer...

Suddenly, he was holding a lank of brown hair in his hand, tied by a yellow ribbon. He'd yanked out half a head of hair. He looked at it in wonder, he hadn't known he was that strong. Kagura was screaming, clawing at her head, but Akito barely noticed. All he could perceive was the hair in his hand, the pain in his head, and the amazement at what he'd done.

"You creep!" Kagura cried. "I'm telling my mom!"

"Don't bother," Kyou said darkly. "She wont do a thing. It's always Akito who matters, more then anything else."

"But I'm half bald!"

"I know, but you deserved it. If Akito did it, it must be right." Kyou's voice was cruel, like he was posed for attack. But he did nothing, only stared fixedly at Akito.

"He's mental!" Kagura yelled. "Yuki, why'd you bring him? He's crazy!"

"He isn't..." Yuki said, defeated. Has your little pet let you down, Yuki-kun? Akito thought bitterly. He should've known, how could he have been so stupid? Of course these people would never let him play their games, there had been no point in trying. And now Kagura's scalp was bleeding.

There was just too much wrong with him, with his mind. And Yuki knew that. Yuki had known that, and yet he'd led him to be humiliated by these idiot children! How could Yuki have imagined that they'd accept him? He couldn't have, surely he knew...he'd led him into this, to hurt him, but why? Akito didn't know. It could be some sick joke, Yuki would laugh later about how he'd played his cousin for a fool. Akito was no fool. He would not be tricked like this again. No one cared for him, no one wanted to be around him, and he needed to remember that from now on. If he forgot, it would just be proved to him again, and he couldn't take that.

They all hated him, they all wanted him dead. They couldn't wait...he could just see his own funeral, the adults standing around politely, pretending to cry, the children cheering and smiling, 'He's gone, he's gone, he's finally gone!' And then he'd be replaced, just as they would one day, by other Juunishi. No one would die, no one would suffer. Only Akito would suffer.

His head felt like it was about to explode now, and he was coughing again. He wished he could simply fall on the soft grass, and sleep forever, but there was a rain warning, and it was best not to get soaked. But he was so tired...the others seemed concerned as he coughed, all except Kagura, who was still raving about her hair. But no one did anything, they only looked at him warily.

"Aki-san, lets go inside," Yuki said quickly, giving Akito his arm. "You can lean on me if you're tired."

"Sama," Kyou said. "You have to call him Akito-sama."

Back in Akito's room, Yuki tried to lead him over to the futon. "You should get some rest..."

"No!" Akito shouted, so angry now. He had every right to be angry, but why now? Why hadn't he exploded for everyone else to see? "Yuki, you've humiliated me! You betrayed me! How could could you be so disrespectful?"

"Look, I'm sorry about Kagura and Kyou, but I really thought..." Yuki trailed off, already tearing up from Akito's rage.

"You're an idiot! Don't you know by now not to trust your own thoughts? You can't think straight, you're too stupid!" Even as he said this, Akito knew he was going overboard. Yuki wasn't stupid, but...what else did he have to throw at him? He certainly couldn't call him ugly, Yuki only needed to look in a mirror to see that wasn't true.

"Akito...I'm sorry, I...I didn't mean for that to happen, shouldn't have torn out Kagura's hair!" Yuki shouted, trying to summon up anger to match Akito's. "Now they'll always hate you! They could've been your friends, but you screwed up! It wasn't my fault!"

"Wasn't your fault?" Akito sneered. "You made me go with you, Yuki, this never would've happened if it weren't for you! I told you, they hate me!"

"No you didn't, you said you couldn't go because you were sick."

"Well that wasn't it! I'm always sick, do you honestly expect it to matter? I didn't want to go because they hate me! This whole family hates me!"

"Well, you hate them," Yuki said quietly. "You can't expect them to like you in return."

"I don't hate them! I...well if I do, they deserve it! They're conditioned from birth to hate me...nothing I can do will change that. So why not hate back?"

"If you were nicer to them, they might like you."

"No, they wouldn't!" They were silent for a moment, stewing in what had happened. Then Akito spoke. "And you hate me too, don't you Yuki? You wouldn't have put me through that, if you didn't!"

"I don't hate you, Aki-san, you're my friend, you're my only friend...those guys hate me too, and Haru hates me, he even told me so! So we're both outcasts, together! What could be more perfect?"

"Yuki, we are vital parts of this family. The only outcast is Kyou."

"On a technical level, sure, but...people like Kyou. No one likes me, and no one likes you, so we are outcasts!"

"Don't your classmates like you?"

"They don't remember my name, mostly. They all ignore me, ever since...ever since their memories were erased. Most of them...were those friends who...saw me."

"Yuki, I don't care. Leave now, or I can assure you, something very bad will happen." If Yuki left, Akito could finally sleep...

"Akito, you're my best friend, okay? We have each other, those other guys don't matter..."

"Yes, they do, Yuki. The Souma family is all that matters to me, and that includes members such as Kagura and Kyou. They will be punished later, but I will discipline you now."

"Discipline me?" Yuki gasped, as Akito pulled a long, snaking whip out from under his pile of clothes.

"Ever seen this, Yuki-kun?" Akito said, each word dripping poison. "I've only used it twice in the last two years, and you'll be the third."

"You're going to whip me?"

"Yes," Akito said airily, and then began thrashing the whip against Yuki's flesh. The whip was heavy, it took alot of energy to lift, so he probably wouldn't do this for too long. But Yuki's pain was beautiful...of course, Yuki's screams could never match Akito's own. There were times when Akito would welcome the whip, if only to take his mind off his internal agony. Still, Yuki, falling to the floor, writhing and howling, was beautiful. He was getting exactly what he deserved, and Akito didn't think he was being cruel. It would be cruel to kill Yuki, surely, but not this.

"Aki-san!" Yuki screamed. "Please....please stop! I...I can't take this, stop Akito!!!"

"No," he said simply, and continued the torture. His arm felt like it was going to fall off, but Yuki didn't yet understand that he deserved what he got. Akito had to teach him that, before he let him go. "It hurts, doesn't it Yuki? But every bit of this pain is rightfully yours."

Yuki was crying openly now, sobbing like the suicidal. He seemed to be choking as well, was he having one of his attacks? That was fine, wonderful even. He needed to know what it was like to have your own body betray you, just when you needed its strength the most. The only problem was, he might faint, if he wasn't getting enough air. Then how would he feel the pain?

Akito stopped. "You may regain your breath before we continue." Yuki continued to cry and struggle for air. "Calm down," Akito said. "You'll make it worse."

He looked over the child's broken body. Their were wounds everywhere, and his clothing was ripped, stained by blood. He seemed to be injured enough, but had he learned his lesson? He'd wait, for Yuki to breathe again, for pain to stop exploding behind his own eyes. Maybe he'd continue, and maybe he wouldn't, but Yuki was better off thinking there was more pain to come .If he did pick up the whip again, he wouldn't want to shock Yuki into another attack.

"I...I promise..." Yuki gasped. At least he was getting enough air to speak, he'd be alright, "I promise, I'll never do anything to make you mad again, I promise...I'll be good, Akito-sama, just please don't hurt me anymore..."

Sama. So he was learning respect, at least. But Akito didn't want Yuki calling him that, this submissiveness bothered him. Yuki was his friend, no he was not! He didn't have friends! Sama was fine, Yuki had to call him sama. In fact, this was reason enough to end the punishment, that Yuki had finally realized it.

"Alright," Akito said softly. "It's over. Can you stand up?"

"I...think so, I..." Yuki said, struggling to pull himself upright. He stood shakily, but could probably manage the distance from Akito's room to his own. Akito would send Hatori to the child, to patch him up. He didn't want any lasting damage.

"Are you alright, Yuki-kun?"

"Yes...I'll...see you later...Akito-sama..." Yuki shook with pain and rage, and Akito knew he'd never be forgiven. But he found it hard to care right then, when he was so exhausted...

"Good. Go to your room now, I'll send Hatori along in a few minutes."

As Yuki left, Akito dragged himself over to the futon. To regret what he'd done would be pointless. Yuki had deserved the beating, and Akito was simply to tired to care that he'd just broken the only friendship he'd ever had.


Rei: Okay, that's the end of chapter one! Up next is the Hatori/Akito one! Let me know what you think, okay? Thanks!