kaesaku: Kill me now. I know, I know.. M'so sorry this took almost forever. This chapter was immediately written after my last update (yes, that was last year), but I lost my precious notebook (which includes ALL the chapter outlines for this fic) and hence, the very, very late update. My apologies.
So without further ado, I present the latest chappie.. So sorry for any grammatical errors, English is not my native language.. And I don't have a beta. Never did.
Disclaimer: Fruits Basket is not mine.
Chapter 5: When a Book is Judged by its Cover…
A pair of amethyst eyes squinted at the glare of sunlight that entered the window.
Too damn bright.
He rolled to the opposite side and shut his eyes again. He suddenly wished that shutting his eyes would erase his memories of the events that happened yesterday.
"Ugh!" the silver-haired boy flung a pillow to his face.
Everything that had happened to him these past few weeks had been an embarrassment, no less.
Especially the one yesterday.
The pale-skinned boy stopped battling with what was left of his so-called peaceful sleep and stared at the ceiling. He vaguely recalled the series of unfortunate events that had befallen on him.
Asking help from his idiot cousin was, by far, number one on the 'Stupid Things That Yuki Sohma Did' list. Going shopping with him was number two.
"And being brainwashed in wearing those clothes in front of all our friends was number three..." he added with a groan.
The prince of Kaibara High burrowed his face deeper onto his pillow. Even with closed eyes, he could still see the vivid shock (or was that horror?) on the faces of Arisa Uotani, Saki Hanajima, and... Tohru Honda.
Okay, so Tohru's reaction wasn't nearly that of horror. After all, a reaction that went, "Oh, Yuki-kun, you look... different" did not necessarily connote horror.
On the other hand, Uotani's reaction was more upfront. Although it did seem out of line, the way she looked at the wardrobe change in a very different perspective. But still, it didn't seem like a positive one. The reaction "Oi, prince. Have you cut down on eating? You're clothes seem... loose. Don't tell us you're sick! Or on a diet!", which was followed by Tohru's ramblings of not cooking well and and not making sure dear Yuki-kun was eating properly can hardly be considered positive.
Of course, there's Saki who just stared at him. But not without saying, "You're fine the way you are, Sohma-san" first. He didn't know what to think of it.
And while all that fiasco was happening at the Sohma house in the woods where they were all supposedly having a nice, peaceful snack and game of cards, a certain orange-haired boy was washing his hands clean by avoiding the glares that the amethyst-eyed boy was directing at him.
The latter snuggled deeper into the pillow. His current anchor to sanity.
Maybe I should just lock myself here and be a bane to human existence. I have no more room for humiliation.
Just then the door burst open and interrupted his semi-suicidal thoughts. He sat up with a jerk, surprised at the intrusion.
"There's this thing called knocking!" he spat at the intruder.
The intruder rolled his crimson eyes and shut the door.
"Shitty rat, don't tell me you're still sulking because of what happened yesterday!"
The rat's glare intensified. "Go away!'
"No," the taller boy replied with his arms crossed. "Today's day two of your rehabilitation. Get up so we could start to work!" he exclaimed as he kicked the bed.
Yuki gave him a bewildered look. "Day two?" He shook his head as if the action would clear his thoughts. "No! No more day two!" He sighed. "Look, it didn't work. It failed. And you didn't exactly do anything while I was being roasted in the hot seat!"
It was Kyou's turn to sputter. "Wha- wait here! If I said something, then they would have found out that I was helping you! That would've made you look guilty!" He glared at the boy in the bed then mumbled, "Although why I'm covering this whole shit up, I don't know... Stupid rat!"
The stupid cat did have a point.
Kyou could see Yuki's resolve slowly crumbling. He inwardly smirked. "Day two is slowly ticking away, shithead. So get your lazy ass outta that bed!' he ordered with another kick before moving towards the door.
"Since when did you start ordering me around?" Yuki muttered with less venom than before.
Kyou, who was halfway out of the door, stopped and turned to look at him. "Since you so willingly placed your life in my hands, damn rat," he answered haughtily.
Yuki flung a pillow at the smug-looking cat, but hit the door instead. His aiming, as well as every bit of his life, was off and it didn't help that the stupid cat was right. Again. He just have to rub it in, that sadistic bastard.
The silver-haired boy sighed and started to make his bed. Another day, another problem. another probable solution. What did he get to lose anyway?
And just in case the plan today wouldn't work, there's always day three.
- o -
The day was turning out to be a good one for a certain Sohma. First, he had the chance to see his usually calm and controlled cousin looking like a panic-stricken lost animal. Second, he had the chance to order said cousin around and get him to do anything he wanted. And third, he was going to have the chance (finally!) to show said cousin his expertise... in certain things.
Indeed, the day was turning out to be a good one.
"So, what're we gonna do today?" his smaller cousin asked lifelessly as he poked the rice on the bowl with his chopsticks.
It was a good thing that both Tohru and Shigure were out that day. Tohru was working at her part-time job and Shigure was, well, doing... business.
Or the snake, Kyou thought with a shudder, suddenly feeling sick.
"Oi, cat," Yuki began.
"Yes, yes," Kyou answered irritably. "I have a plan, y'know!" He shook the gross thought away.
"Fine," Yuki mumbled. "I'm listening."
Kyou raised an eyebrow. Maybe it would have been better if their two other housemates were here. They would die from shock after they hearing the words 'I'm listening' come out from Yuki's mouth, and moreso, to see that it was directed to him, his archrival and nemesis, Kyou.
But then again, that's not a normal occurrence and they would think that something's up. They would get suspicious.
Suspicion was never good.
"Well, the clothes didn't seem to work-"
"Didn't seem? It sucked!"
"Rat, if I were you, I would shut up!"
Yuki huffed and crossed his arms.
Kyou straightened his shirt.
"As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted, manly clothes didn't seem to click well with you..."
Yuki's eyebrow twitched.
Kyou suppressed the evil snigger that was threatening to surface.
"...but, you don't have to worry because manliness is not measured on clothes alone."
"Oh, really," the smaller boy muttered.
Kyou glared at him. "I heard that!"
Yuki stopped the urge to poke the chopsticks into those orange eyes.
"So, we'll take this a step further. Away from the physical aspect..." He eyed Yuki, "...because it looks like there's no solution to that," he continued, "and more on the content."
Yuki stared at the taller boy. Oh my god, who is this guy? "So, you're saying..."
"I'm saying," the taller boy interrupted, not wanting the limelight to be stolen from him. "...is that if we can't work out the clothes, then we'll work out on the personality."
"Y'know, your hobbies, things you like to do, where you hang-out, stuff like that," the cat said matter-of-factly.
"I know what personality is."
"Just making sure!"
Kyou looked pointedly at the smaller boy. "You don't believe me."
"You're not the one who's gonna have a personality change!"
"Fine!" Kyou yelled. "Be gay for all I care!"
Yuki gave a long-suffering sigh. Why must he endure this? Was he a hard-core homophobic criminal in his past life and this was his karma? And why, oh why, must he always be the first one to concede?
Yuki placed his head in his hands. "Okay, I give up. You win." He stopped the urge to pull his hair in different directions. "How do we do this?"
A single admission of dependency from the rat was enough to switch the cat's surly mood to excited-but-trying-to-hide-it-by-becoming-a-know-it-all bastard.
"Simple," the orange-haired boy smirked in that haughty matter he seemed to have gotten accustomed to these past few weeks. "We'll hang-out," he paused a second for a more dramatic effect, "...the guy way."
Fifteen minutes and twenty-five seconds later, Yuki Sohma found himself face-to-face with a big screen of fighting overactive ninjas.
He turned to scowl at the boy beside him. "Tell me, why am I here with you?"
Kyou rolled his eyes. "Do I have to repeat myself to you every two seconds?"
Two tokens were dropped at the slot in the center of the machine and the ninjas began to show off their skills. Yuki swore his ninja glared at him.
"Told you we're gonna hang-out the guy way," Kyou said as he flopped on the seat in front of the machine. "And by gods, that does not include planting strawberries in your garden..." The taller Sohma tipped his head to the seat beside him, urging his cousin to sit. Yuki eyed the seat like it was a snake that was about to attack him before sitting down on it.
"Oh, and going to the arcade is?" the smaller boy asked irritably.
"Look around you, rat."
Yuki scanned the video arcade. There were young boys, teenage boys, and even some middle-aged men all seemingly absorbed with the machine in front of them. And his idiot cousin's point is...?
"As you can see, most people who go here are boys," he heard Kyou say, as if reading his thoughts. He continued, "Boys who don't even emit half of your gay aura."
Yuki's vein throbbed. That bastard...
"Shall we begin?"
Before Yuki could comprehend what was happening, his eyes flickered to the big screen in front of him. A blonde-haired ninja was beating the hell out of a dark-haired one.
"Oi, rat," a voice sliced through his thoughts. "You're supposed to push the buttons to make your player move, y'know."
"I'm not stupid."
"Well, you sure are acting like one now," the cat couldn't help but snicker. "And so is your ninja!"
Yuki didn't bother pushing any of the buttons, though. Instead, he faced the boy beside him. "What the hell do you think you're doing, stupid cat?"
"Winning! You're ninja wasn't even able to land a kick..." Kyou shook his head.
"You know I'm not referring to that..."
Kyou faced his cousin. "If anyone asks you about your hobbies, tell them you like video games. All real boys do. Everyone would buy that stupid rumor if you mention even an inkling of fondness towards gardening. That's my point in bringing you here and I hope that thick head of yours finally got it." He turned back his attention to the screen and dropped two more tokens into the slot. "Now, move your damn fingers. I want a hard-earned victory."
Loud music blared from the machine speakers, a signal that round two was about to begin. The violet-eyed boy faced the screen too, his cousin's words slowly sinking in.
He hated it whenever his cousin made a good point.
- o -
"Did not," a calm reply was heard. "You just..." violet eyes twinkled in amusement, "...sucked."
"I do not suck in that game! I never suck in that game!" the louder of the two yelled. "How can you be an expert in 3 minutes?"
The smaller boy shrugged nonchalantly. "Guess I'm a genius," he replied with a hint of smugness.
The two continued their banter, which if one who knew both boys well took notice of, might have seemed a bit friendlier than their usual verbal spats. It was as if they weren't really insulting each other, but rather, teasing each other in a playful way.
And of course, that was strange. Because the words 'Yuki', 'Kyou', and 'playful' would never bode well in one sentence.
They reached the door to their house, still engaged in their mock-insulting conversation, when suddenly, the door burst open revealing their nosy, annoying, equally-loud guardian-slash-cousin Shigure Sohma.
"Where have the two of you been?"
The vision of their leering cousin brought the two boys back to their places, suddenly remembering that they were 'Kyou' and 'Yuki', 'cat' and 'rat', and that they weren't supposed to be enjoying a night of video games at the arcade with each other's company, nonetheless, because it was just not possible. Seeing Shigure was like getting ice-cold water dumped on your head while in the middle of a nice dream. Not that being with each other seemed like a nice dream, of course.
And since cats hated water with all their might, Kyou was the first to react. "None of your business, dog!" he yelled grumpily, all good mood forgotten, as he stomped to the direction of his room.
Shigure, being Shigure, wasn't as much fazed with his younger cousin's display of annoyance. He was used to it, after all. He turned to Yuki to repeat the question. Apparently, the boy was too fast for him, giving him an answer before he can verbalize the question.
"Just as the cat said, it's none of your business, Shigure," he answered with less annoyance and more grace than Kyou did. He neatly took of his shoes, put on his house slippers, and started to head towards his room, too.
"Well, whatever it is," he heard Shigure's voice as he ascended the stairs, "it might've been a good place."
Yuki stopped walking and turned back to his older cousin. "Why do you say so?"
"Because," he started as he placed a cigarette on his lips and lighted it, "...I've never seen the two of you look happy while walking beside each other like you did just minutes ago." He took a long drag of his cigarette and exhaled lazily.
"Ah," was the only thing Yuki said before he continued his way to his room.
A faint "Good night, Yuki-kun!" was heard before he shut his door.
But before Yuki could realize and argue with himself that 'happy' wasn't exactly a word to describe what he felt after hanging-out with Kyou, his eyes gave out and his mind went to a peaceful slumber.
- o -
Thud. Thud. Thud.
Yuki groaned. What kind of noise would be present this early in the morning? He tried to stuff his head with another pillow but he could still distinctly hear it.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
It was as if the sound was just inside his room. Or worse, beside him.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
That's it! Yuki thought menacingly. Who would have thought of disturbing him while he was sleeping and get away with it? No one messed with Yuki Sohma during the mornings! He threw the pillow away from him and got up to face the soon-to-be-deceased intruder. Yes, no one messed with Yuki Sohma in the morning... no one but Kyou.
Kyou smirked. He loved that look his cousin got whenever he saw him inside the room. There was murder, utter confusion, then recognition. Who knew people could go through different kinds of emotions in 3 seconds? "Get up, lazy ass. Put on a shirt, shorts, and sneakers."
The thudding sound stopped. And as Kyou lifted his right hand, Yuki was able to make out in his hazy, semi sleep-induced consciousness a round, orange thing.
"We're going to play ball."
- tbc -