Naked Truths

        One of the fully acknowledged but rarely discussed truths of the universe goes that when you live with someone, sooner or later you're bound to see them naked.  It's an inevitable result of cohabitation, and most people endure it with as much dignity or humor as they can muster when the situation arises.  Family, friends, enemies: it is only a matter of time.

        When one lived with a family as unique as the Sohmas, it was only a matter of daily risk and constant vigilance.

        First, of course, there was the curse.  Surviving under a curse that tended to bring about unpredictable states of nudity sped up the normal timeline for this sort of thing quite a bit.  For most of the people in the house, anyway.  As for anyone else—well, anyone else meant just Tohru—there was the equal risk of continual wall-destroying violence.  When your roommates and guests were randomly punched through doors or leaping through holes in ceilings or simply liked to careen down hallways in a mass of tangled limbs and cussing, privacy was a precious illusion you only pretended to actually enjoy.

         Miss Torhu Honda, age 17, had lived in this environment for over a year.  Tohru being what she was (female), she had viewed all of the habitants of Shigure's home stark naked more than once.  Tohru being who she was (Tohru), she would never ever admit this out loud and most days couldn't even admit it subconsciously.  One might say Tohru and her precious illusions had worked out a strong relationship by now.

        That wasn't even the most tricky part of it, though.  The real question was: had any of them yet seen her naked?  It was very possible given the random destruction of the doors and rooms, but Tohru's brain would probably liquefy before her propriety allowed her to ask them such a question, and she really, really didn't want to know anyway.  None of which occurred to Momiji.

       "Doesn't the question bother you?"

        "Iie, Mimiji-kun.  I… try not to think about it.  Accidents happen.  I know they wouldn't spy on me."  Tohru kept ironing the skirt in front of her and prayed he would change the topic.  At this rate she'd be lucky to make it through the stack of clothes without ruining half of them from nervousness.

        "Shigure might," he quipped, munching on an apple as he hovered over her shoulder to watch her work the ironing table, or possibly to look down her shirt.  Tohru tut-tutted at him for the accusation against his own cousin, a warm smile chasing away her nervousness at her thought.

        "Shigure-san is very sensitive, and… I don't think he is half as…bad as he pretends to be."

        "Oh yes he is," a sharp voice cut into the living room, nearly snarling.  The cat had arrived, and he said hello by roughly pulling Momiji away from Tohru by the back of his shirt collar.  The smaller boy squirmed away and whined about Kyo spoiling his fun, before trotting out the door with a wave.  

        "Don't let him fool you Tohru," Kyou continued vehemently.  "Shigure's a good enough guy on the whole but he's also a complete lecher and he probably spends half his time mentally undres—"

        Kyou noticed the slightly horrified look on Tohru's face and tried to backpedal.  "I mean, uh, that's an exaggeration.  It's probably not half the time.  I'm sure… uh… Dammit!"  The redhead sent the nearest wall a vicious kick, before looking away and bowing his head. 

        Tohru set the iron down beside her and regarded him.  Kyou shifted on his feet.

        "I'm... I don't mean to make you... uncomfortable or scared around him or anything.  I know you like him and I'm ...glad.  It's just... he shouldn't crack jokes about you the way he does!" 

        He raised his head, burgundy eyes wide and raging.  He could go from sulking and hiding to gesturing wildly in seconds.   "It's disrespectful!  And you just let him say that stuff!  You don't deserve that but you never say anything to make him stop and I can't stand it!  I can't stand hearing him say those things about you and—"

        The hand he was waving wildly about became caught up in Tohru's, and Kyou stopped in the middle of his shouting to stare at their intertwined fingers in mystification.

        "What...?" he started, then trailed off.  Tohru gave him a gentle smile, and squeezed his hand.

        "I won't be uncomfortable, Kyou.  Because I know that he says it to rile you and Yuki, not to offend me.  Because I know that Shigure's a good person, and he teases us because it's his way of showing affection."  Tohru squeezed his fingers in hers again, her thumb tickling his palm lightly.  Her eyes were soft as she looked him. 

        "But thank you," she said.