Colour of the Roses

Hatsuharu Sohma wandered slowly through the icy shards of rain that fell in sheets, raining from hundreds of broken mirrors. The water sliced at his bare arms, but he ducked his head down against the rain, and suddenly made a break for the bright light he could see in the distance – a golden glow of a house. He paused, ears listening – and then ran from the sound of rushing land and earth barreling towards him.

---

The doorbell rang, just heard over the roar of wind and rain outside. Shigure chanced a look out the window and saw, much to his relief, the dark shape of a Western car parked outside. Charging down the stars as gleeful as a boy, he moved to the door and flung it open, with a single joyous cry of, "Ha-san!"

"Thanks for saying hello," said a dark-haired girl standing in the doorway, anger hinting in her voice. She looked at him moodily. "I suppose I'm still allowed to come in?"

Shigure blinked for a second, his amicableness cooled, but then sprung back into a smile:

"Rin! It's so nice to see you too, of course! Come in!" He paused as he ushered her inside, where she proceeded to drip large puddles of water onto the floor. He instantly felt a twinge of sorrow, thinking that if Tohru was up and well she would have hurried forward with a towel and hair dryer and warm sweater. But that was why Rin and Hatori where here – Hatori understood blood and bones and Rin understand fate and curses. Or at least better than most – Rin would aggressively tell anyone who praised her for it that she was only out to break the Sohma family curse.

"Where is Ha-san, anyway? He did drive, I presume?"

Rin stripped off her wet outer jacket, revealing clothes skimpy enough to be viewed on the XXX channel. Shigure had to keep himself in check from seeing how the black lace clung to her wet skin. There were more important things to turn his head to.

"He's coming – needed to get his medical bag," sounded a voice from the back door.

Shigure turned to see Hatsuharu standing on the back landing, dripping more puddles onto Tohru's clean kitchen floor. He could just make out a bundle of something furry clutched in his arms.

"Haru," snapped Rin coldly, watching him with dark eyes. "I told you to stay at the main house. It's going to cause suspicion if you and I both go missing."

Haru looked dazed for a moment, as though he couldn't understand what she was talking about. Then his face slid to neutrality as he dropped the wet fur onto the kitchen counter.

A rabbit.

"Damn it," hissed Rin as the rabbit wiggled its nose at her, "If you're both missing then they'll know something's up. Bad enough I left, and Kisa here tonight as well."

"I mentioned to my parents that Momiji and I were going to see a movie. Mogeta's Crusade or some or such thing if he asks." He ignored the sudden pink poof on the counter. "Is there anything we could do? Cook or something?"

Hatori finally appeared at the door, the only zodiac member who had not gotten wet in entering the house; he'd had the sense to bring an umbrella, which he carefully folded up and leaned against the doorjamb.

"You, cook, Hatsuharu? If you can manage water, good. Boil water for the bandages. I need to talk to Shigure." He motioned to the living room sofa and made to sit. Rin's eyes locked on him.

"You can examine her first. I'm sure Yuki and Kyo will tell you all they know about what's going on...magically speaking."

Rin nodded and glared at the wall as she felt Haru's eyes follow her up the stairs. Magical...what a strange word to describe the heavy, looming darkness of the curse, instead of the fairy-tale ending everyone always expected.

Magical.