See incompetence-pleading disclaimer in bio.
Chapter One: Waltz
When he was sixteen, Kyou thought he was in love with Honda Tohru. Tohru happened to be a pretty girl, and a kind girl, and she just happened to live in the same house as Kyou. She had first met Kyou when he was human-shy, moody, mistrusting and ill-tempered. Unlike most people in Kyou's cursed life, she took to him immediately and became his first friend. After the whole eruption with Akito and Kyou's third form, after what she had done for him, he had felt especially indebted to her.
That night Shigure had proven he was wiser than he behaved, Kyou had had to renew his faith in his shishou. Kagura faded herself away from their lives; Kyou didn't miss her at all. He was busy getting over a small trauma.
Fastforward two years: Kyou's life is fine now, better than before. He and Yuki still argue, but now with the understanding brothers argue with; Yuki ran after Kyou to save him, after all. How can you truly hate someone after learning that?
Kyou is eighteen and nearing the end of high school. During the last two years, he discovered several things:
1) he isn't in love with Tohru. She is very sweet and entertaining, but she hasn't got the spark Kyou is looking for. She doesn't always understand him. Sometimes he says things he thinks are funny and she just stares at him -sometimes he even gets more of a laugh out of Yuki, who seems to actually share a dry, cynical sense of humor with Kyou. So with Tohru Kyou feels out of beat. Much though he loves her, she isn't his mate, his match, his partner and arch nemesis the way a real girlfriend ought to be. It's just as well that he isn't in love with her, because
2) Yuki is in love with Tohru. Plain and simple, the boy turns into a blithering pubescent the moment she walks in the room. Kyou has noticed this for the past oh, say, eight months, and is to the point where he has to dig his left fang into his lip so as not to laugh out loud at the blushes and stutterings and sudden shy of the usually too-cool-for-you Prince. Kyou can imagine how he feels, as of late, ever since Kyou realized
3) Kagura is actually very pretty.
Yes, grand shock and general annoyance. It isn't like he is about to ever fall in love with her. He just noticed it the other day when Shigure was going through the family photo albums and Kyou joined him out of boredom.
They had looked through pages and pages of photographs, an astonishing amount of them featuring Momiji, in various joyous poses. One of them had Momiji grabbing a surprised Kagura, the picture taken just as she opened her mouth to say something like 'huh?' as Momiji flashed (another) peace-symbol to the camera. By the next photo the next photo had been taken, Kagura seemed to have become aware of the presence of a camera. She was hugging Momiji tightly, a happy smile on her face as she looked at the camera.
Another picture had Momiji jumping on the back of no one other than Kyou. Shigure had laughed and pointed out Kyou's expression. Even Kyou had admitted it was pretty funny. With Momiji's arms wrapped around Kyou's neck in the photo, Kyou was simultaneously trying to crouch in a late reflex, and trying to arch his back to get Momiji off. His eyes were wide and he looked furious to rampage through Tokyo and cause some serious damage.
'You're not so bad now, anymore,' Shigure had said when he finally stopped laughing.
So yeah, one could say that
4) Kyou has been losing his horrible temper. Probably after the whole bracelet-transformation thing that night.
Not that he and Yuki don't ever fight anymore, and not that he never blows up at Shigure or Arisa anymore, but Kyou is growing more patient.. more stable. Yeah. Heheh.
Anyhow, Kyou's daily life is improving. He still lives snugly in Shigure's house, together with Yuki and Tohru. Kyou's high school grades are way high- his main competitor, as always, dear cousin Yuki. Nothing Kyou can't deal with.
In the back of Kyou's mind, there is still Akito lurking, leering at him with unsharp eyes, and telling him to get ready to spend the rest of his life in a cage. But so far Akito has remained silent and distracted. Hatori let them know he was sicker and madder than usual, not giving any orders save the occasional 'feed me' so Kyou needn't worry about anything for the time being.
But first things first. Kyou has already gotten into a very prestigious Tokyo university. He starts taking International Law there next year, come April, and he can barely wait. He can get a part-time job and move to Tokyo! Each time he imagines getting his own room, with big windows, in a tall building looking over the stretch of other tall buildings, a smile curls onto his lips and stays there. Shigure already promised Kyou financial backing.
Best thing is, Yuki and Tohru will be there as well. Perhaps the three of them can get an apartment together. Tohru was admitted to an art college. Both Kyou and Yuki were surprised to hear that was what she wanted, but in reflection.. she is a dreamer. She's good with her hands, and she's creative. Art school should fit her just fine.
And Yuki.. well, holy hell. He'll probably be coming to Toudai along with Kyou. He wants to take Environmental and Suburban Architecture, a combined study course of some kind. Kyou was impressed with his cousin's choice. He doubts Yuki will have any trouble getting past the entrance exams. After all, Kyou didn't have any problems, did he?
Kyou lets a slightly malicious smirk touch his face as he sits back from the last of his finals. He pushes his pen and paper away from him and closes his eyes in the sunlight streaming in. Life is alright.
What day is it today? Thursday? A second smirk follows the leader. Tohru's baito-day. Yay.
Yuki stands there, in front of the high gray building that is owned by Momiji's father. He has been standing there for forty-five minutes already, and he knows Tohru won't be out for another fifteen. Still, there he stands. Lovesick. As bad as those little girls at school who join his fan club to in turn state their undying devotion and hurl themselves at him.
Yuki rubs his eyes and leans back against the metal fence. This is getting out of hand. Yes, he loves Tohru. Yes, he adored her from the very start. No, it wasn't always a romantic thing. Yes, now it is.
He constantly wonders when it was the first time he realized his heart was racing and his breath was catching when she simply even talked to him. He wonders when he first started paying attention to her body, to her smile, her hair. He wonders how she feels about him. He always tries very hard to stay cool and kind and on top of things (pardon the innuendo there, adds his brain with a smirk and a blush) but it is difficult, not losing it entirely when in love.
He flashbacks to one of the first times when he felt- there had been that stupid school fair where she had made all the weird onigiri, and where it had been Kyou's idea to have onigiri death matches, and where he had.. where he.. Yuki groans out loud. Where he had worn the dress.
God, had he hated that thing to kingdom come. He had avoided her eyes all day. He had avoided her in general all day. And mirrors. He had told her he hated being thought of as 'cute', and she had confessed to thinking he was cute too. And he had made her blush, by saying that she was infinitely cuter than he. He remembered that well.. he had been this close to kissing her. He hadn't because he didn't know how, and what the consequences might be.
He sighs out loud. Now he still doesn't know how, and he still doesn't know what the consequences would be, but he isn't sure he'll withdraw if the opportunity presents itself again.
'You're so early it disgusts me.'
Yuki's head jerks up to find Kyou there, glaring at him.
'What are you doing here?'
Kyou is silent. When he smirks, one of his fangs glints in the light of the lantern post.
'Didn't you know I was already going tonight?' Yuki demands.
'Then why are you here?'
'I need to talk to you.'
'Talk? You? Me?'
'That sounded so intelligent.'
'Like you would know what intelligent was.'
'You're in love with her, no?' Kyou prompts suddenly.
Every bit of expression drops away from Yuki's face to leave utter shock. He opens his mouth to deny it, to acknowledge it, to say anything, but nothing comes out. He stares at Kyou.
Kyou's eyes are narrowed a little, as if debating whether or not to try and beat Yuki up.
'Cat got your tongue, Yuki?' Kyou offers softly instead, and climbs onto the fence, perching perfectly, balancing on the balls of his feet. His back curls and he holds that feline grace in his form.
It makes Yuki wonder if certain motions of his own ever remind others of rodents.
'I realized it a while ago. You're just too obvious. You know that, right? Shigure's onto you, but in his perspective it's all cute young puppy love, and he's been making comments about that ever since Tohru moved in with us anyways.'
Yuki nods, staring straight ahead. Kyou pulls out a pack of gum and takes one, then offered the pack to him. Absently Yuki takes a piece of gum and puts it into his mouth.
'The only reason Tohru hasn't noticed is because she's too busy being in love with you back.'
'I guessed you wouldn't have noticed that. She is. Scary thing is, she's sort of being an average schoolgirl about it. Getting all nervous and blushy when you're around.'
'Why are you telling me this?' Yuki asks. He is still having difficulty with the fact that it is Kyou telling him this.
'We'll get there. As I was saying-'
'Are you sure she likes me?' Yuki asks suddenly.
'What do you mean, sure?'
'Sure, you idiot, like, there's no doubt you could be wrong.'
'Well, it's not like I went and asked her if she was in love with you too.'
'Arg. No.' Yuki groans and closes his eyes. 'Good thing you didn't.'
'But sure, like, I'm sure I have eyes in my head, yes, sure.' Kyou shrugs.
Yuki makes an exasperated sound, and Kyou laughs.
'Okay, look. I thought about it for a long time, and I figured I should help you out.'
Yuki frowns in disbelief. 'Why would you want to help me? I thought you'd be angry if you found out-'
'I was.' Kyou says, giving Yuki a sidelong look. 'That was about eight months ago. And I started seeing it from Shigure's point of view, too.'
He waves away Yuki's worried look at that. 'I don't mean that like it sounded. I've been studying you two, actively, and have reached the conclusion..' he pauses and looks at Yuki.
Yuki's pride is going to hell for this, but losing his pride to his cousin is worth it, if it means making progress on the project that will someday hopefully be his relationship with Tohru. And he's actually gotten to the point where he can trust Kyou enough to rely on him like this. He has to trust Kyou.
'Conclusion..?' Yuki urges him.
'I've reached the conclusion that you two are grossing me out. Being all flirty and cutesy together, and hoping and pretending no one else will notice, most of all not the other.' Kyou says, making a face.
'Well, obviously, this nonsense has got to stop.'
'I've got to hook the two of you up as soon as possible.'
'Because I'm bored.' Kyou lets out a short laugh. Then he turns to look at his cousin.
'I realized you were the one staring at her and wanting to touch her. You respect her, you understand her, you love, let's see.. her voice, her eyes, her smile,' Kyou counts the words out on his fingers like they are items for a grocery list- 'all four freckles on her nose, her every word.. you worship her clumsiness. You want to kiss her and sleep with her.. and maybe even marry her, don't you, Yuki?'
Yuki feels suddenly naked, buried beneath this new and frightening omniscience of his cousin.
'And I realized those weren't the kind of feelings that were summoned in me by Tohru. Adoration, yes. Respect, yes. Love, sure. As a friend. The girl's like my little sister.'
They are both silent for a while, Kyou's silence one of waiting, Yuki's silence one of bewilderment.
'Then perhaps one day I can make you my brother-in-law.' Yuki mumbles. He can feel Kyou's ruddy eyes boring into his face, but all Yuki can do is stare straight ahead and wonder how he could have been so obvious that Kyou of all people is the one to approach him.
'What are you going to do, Kyou?' Yuki asks softly. 'Are you going to tell her?'
'Nah.' Kyou replies with a grunt, before slipping off the fence and silently touching the ground. 'I figured I'd give you a hand at getting your act together, you ass.'
Yuki's thoughts are racing. He can't figure out Kyou's motivation.
'Why would you care to help me? I assume you want something in return.'
'Should I help you get together with Kagura, then?'
Kyou snorts. 'Even if I wanted to get together with Kagura..'
'I guess you wouldn't need my help. The moment you'd tell her she'd be overjoyed, and start to beat the living-'
'Yeah, I could use you to catch the brunt of the blows, I guess.'
They both laugh for a moment.
'So what is it you want?' Yuki asks.
'I'll get back to you on that sooner or later. Besides the relief from two people keeping 'secrets', which is totally the thing to ruin my day.'
'I know you'll thank me when the time comes, Jerry.' And without difficulty the darkness absorbs Kyou into the woods beside the building.
'See you around then, Tom.'
A humming settles in Yuki's brain as his ears hear Kyou move farther and farther away, quiet though he is.
'Well, that was entirely surreal.' Yuki says out loud.
'Honda-san!' he exclaims, surprised a second time.
'I heard something rustling in the bushes..' Tohru comments, trying to peer over his shoulders at the wood.
'A cat.' Yuki says, feeling himself smile as she stands so close by.
'A Cheshire Cat.'
'A Cheshire Cat? Don't they help people who are lost find their way?'
Yuki smiles and holds out his hand. 'How was work?'
She takes his hand and smiles. 'It was worth it.'
AN. Here's to a fresh start. I hope I don't dissapoint. Any questions you might have, feel free to ask them and I'll do my best to answer. Cheers to Zelda for kicking me into this fandom. Next chapter should be out soon, but I'm a busy person and things randomly go wrong. I've learned to refrain from making promises. Anyways. Cheers! Roku