Disclaimer – I do not own or profit from Fruits Basket. Rated PG-13 for language and yaoi (slash), though the rating may go up if I decide to add to this story...

Author's Note – This is what comes of reading one too many Yuki-bashing fics... and even one is too many to me...



by Ghost Helwig


People don't touch me. Most of them don't even like me. Oh, they say they do, and they think they do, but it isn't real. I know that. I have always known that.

That's why I wish I were like him. Stupid cat. He may carry the burden of the curse, him and Akito and I, but he is still more blessed than either of us. Because the Zodiac members, twelve people in a world of many, may look down on him, but no one else does. We may think lesser of the cat, but Kyo is more than just the cat, and if he'd just look at himself one day he'd see that.

But he hasn't yet, and I doubt he ever will. Being the cat consumes him, so that he doesn't even see the world around him. Does he notice how much easier it is for people to love him than it is for them to love me? It's easier to love someone who screams than someone who's forgotten how. So they embrace him, accept him, yet he looks at me with jealous, hateful eyes. And when I fight him, and win, I'm left looking like I beat a disobedient but innocent child, and feeling like I drowned a box of puppies.

But he doesn't see me, either, doesn't look in my eyes and see the regret. Does he think I want to fight him, that I enjoy it? Can't he see how sometimes it just tires me? I don't want to be the bad guy, but Kyo won't let me be anything else.

If it were up to me, we'd never fight again.

And yet...

Kyo is the only one who touches me.

...That sounds... horrible. But it's true. He touches me when I block his punches, he grabs my shirt when he's angry, my skin slides over his wherever I end up hitting him – and it's the only touch I get.

Last year during 'safety week' at school I volunteered to help with teaching the grade school kids how to keep themselves protected from all the dangers in the world, and before I got up to exhibit some very basic, practical martial arts moves they could use for self-defense a girl lectured on the differences between 'good touches' and 'bad touches' - and it's terrible of me, but I so badly wanted to laugh. Because Kyo's touches aren't covered in that little speech, are they? They aren't 'good touches'-

But they aren't 'bad', either. Not to me. Not when they're all I get.

I've felt the brush of his skin more than anyone else's, ever since... For a long time. For a long time, his anger has been my only source of comfort.

So I've learned to bait him. I never mean to do it, not really, but I find my mouth opening and insults pouring out. And part of me really does mean those words, because part of me is so damn jealous of him I could scream.

But the rest of me...

I don't really look down on him, and I've never hated him. But this is the role his hatred makes me play, and I'm locked into it, as locked as I am into this family.

I know how I'm seen. I know I'm cold. I know I show nothing, and so everyone thinks I feel nothing. But it isn't true. I feel. I feel...

I feel like I'm freezing to death.

And there is only one person I know who is made of fire.

...I just want him to keep touching me. Even though his touches are slowly killing me. Please, God, just don't ever let him stop touching me.

Because I think he's the only one who ever will.