Kyo stepped out of the car and looked up at the tall office building before him. He wished Neko were here. His stomach was churning and he felt like he was going to be sick, and the familiar presence of his other self would help to calm him, but the empty void he felt reminded him that Neko had been strangely silent for the past week.
He was alone in this, and frightened. He clutched his portfolio closer. That's what Yuki had called it. He almost laughed at the thought. When Yuki had heard about the interview, he had helped Kyo sort out some of his work and even gone out and bought the case he now carried them in. It was some comfort as he followed Okamoto-san into the forbidding structure, that he could almost feel his cousins support. It was as if in the form of the leather binder, Yuki was there with him, urging him on. The doors opened into an impressive foyer, with glass walls and large sculptures. Okamoto-san walked up to the receptionist, spoke to the girl with authority waving him to follow.
"We are here to see Tamino-san. He has an appointment with Sohma Kyo for ten." the girl scanned the appointment book and nodded. "Yes, it's right here, go on to the direct elevator on the left and to the penthouse. He will be waiting I'm sure." They crossed the large room and pushed the bright red button on the wall before the elevator doors. In seconds, the door opened and they stepped in. It was a very elegent elevator, and Kyo looked around. The walls were lined in cherry wood and the floor of the small conveyence was carpeted in soft maroon plush. Soon the doors reopened and Kyo realized that the elevator was in no way as elegent as the room they exited it for.
"Okamoto-san, come in, come in"
"Tamino-san, Ohayo. This is Sohma-san." Kyo was pushed forward to have his free hand clasped by a large man in an expensive business suit. Okamoto had stopped and removed her shoes and Kyo was greeting the entrepreneur. Kyo followed her lead and then sat on the large comfortable couch in the center of the room.
"So, Sohma-san, show me what you've done" Kyo stared up at the friendly smile on the man's face, and realized he was asking Kyo to show him his work. He quickly stopped staring and opened his case. Tamino reached out and lifted the first paper and examined it. It was a sketch of Hatori in his garden, with the fall of water over the rocks and the doctor sitting on the largest watching the fish that ambled around in the deepest pool.
"Interesting, hmmm. Now this!" he exclaimed as he lifted a portrait of Kagura kneeling on a cushion in an elaborate kimono. Kyo had drawn this to see the boar actually sitting still and not clutching at him for all he was worth. The picture had come out very good, and the best part of it was that Kyo had captured the emotional play of her features that showed her intense love for him, without any other outside source. Tamino continued to scan the picture and talk about it. "This girl in obviously pining over some lost love. Look Okamoto-san, she looks near to tears, and her posture shows defeat, and drama. This is what I am looking for. Have you any others like this?" Kyo looked down at the picture, then coursed through the choices he had brought. He pulled out the drawing he made of Tohru. It was a representation of her at her mothers grave and though the picture was a little vague about who she was visiting it did show that she was feeling loss, and despair. He had secretly wondered when drawing, it how she would feel if he had died.
"Perfect. I love this. So, you can draw the kind of emotional angsty things I need. I also have a few calls for some happier things, like for children. Do you have anything like that?" Kyo rummaged for a bit and pulled out a picture of Ritsu in his monkey form, hanging from the lamp post and chittering happily. Or possibly in apology, it was hard to tell when Ritsu was transformed, that is why he had drawn him this way.
"Oh, good. Animals are very good with children. And for the comedy type, how about something funny?" This would be hard for Kyo, he hadn't done much funny of late.
He hadn't actually been flexing his sense of humor lately. He reached to the bottom and as he flipped through he came to one he had not realized was in here. Yuki must have added it. The rat had asked him to draw another picture for him. It was an honest representation of that horrible dress that the upperclassmen had him wear for the festival.
Yuki had told him, that though he loved the one Kyo had given him, he wanted to know that Kyo had a grasp on reality. So, Kyo had drawn the ridiculous dress-Yuki and all,
and placed him in the center of a crowd of stupid fans all gathered around and fawning foolishly over him. It was funny. It had been at the time, though not for the rat.
Tamino took one look at the silly faces in the group surrounding his cousin and broke out in the most stupendous display of laughter Kyo had ever seen. Okamoto-san was so surprised by the reaction, she looked at the picture also and couldn't control the giggles that issued from her. When they had both regained control of themselves, Tamino-san spoke.
"I think you are just what we need around here, Sohma-san. How would you like to start next week"
"I need a job, but what do you need me to do?" He had no idea what the man wanted from him.
"Oh, I see. I really didn't explain. Okamoto-san, didn't you tell the boy who I am?"
"Gomen, Tamino-san. I never realized he didn't know, but I just assumed"
"Okay, okay. No problem. Sohma-san, I run a publishing company. I need someone to do the artwork for the covers. And some Illustrations for inside of some. I have two other artist, but the public needs new and unusual things to draw their attention. You are new and very unusual. In fact I think you have the talent to possible have a series of your own. If you want to I can connect you with an author to work on a book or two of your own. But, let's start off slow, okay"
Kyo nodded. It was a little overwhelming. He was to be an artist? His sketches inside a published book? One of his paintings, on the cover? "I think slow is good"
Tamino-san laughed again. "I like you, Sohma-san. I think we will work well together. Can you start next week?" Kyo nodded vehemently.
Yuki was sitting at the table and sipping tea as the door burst open and crashed closed. The rat jumped in surprise spilling his cup on the table.
"YUKI! I got it!" Kyo came through the kitchen door and Yuki looked up. "I got the job! And you'll never guess what I am going to be doing"
"No, I mean ,yes. But, for what. Books! Covers, illustrations and maybe even Manga!!!" Yuki put on his best surprised look and stood to clasp his cousins shoulders.
"That's great! I knew you could do it." Kyo had the most possitive expression the rat had seen on his face ever. Yuki was more happy about it than the prospect of money coming into the house. Kyo was feeling good about himself, for once there was no sign of the self-degradation that had clouded the boys features for the last year.
"You really did, didn't you? You believed in me. When no one else did. Thank you, Yuki"
"You're welcome, Neko"
"No. He's gone. It's just me, now. I'm alone"
"Never. You will never be alone, ever again." And that vow, Yuki intended to keep.
Dedicated to James I. Cochrane
Aug 10, 1977 - November 19, 2004
Died of heart failure due to complication of 10 years of battling Bulimia Nervosa
He will not be soon forgotten
If only I could have written the end of his story