Disclaimer: Even after all of this time, I still don't own Fruits Basket or Kyou or Haru. Oh woe me.
"So there are always eight valance electrons on an element…it's just that some elements share them, which is a covalent bond, and some take all of them, ionic bonds."
"You're not getting this, are you?"
"Gomen, Yuki!" Tohru wailed. "I just don't get this! I'm really trying but… but…"
"It's all right," Yuki said comfortingly, placing a hand on the distraught girl's shoulder. "I'm sure the sensei will let you retake it if you don't do so well on the test this time."
"I know," Tohru sniffled, wiping her sleeve over her eyes and taking a breath to compose herself before she entered the schoolyard. "But I really want to do well the first time. I just couldn't concentrate last night. I was worried about Kyou-kun. Do you really think he's all right?"
"That idiotic cat is always all right, Honda-san. Don't worry. I'm sure after a nice sunny day like this he'll be back to his loud and annoying self."
Tohru smiled up at the purple-eyed boy. "Arigato, Yuki."
The Rat looked startled. "Thank you? For what?"
"For saying that. If you believe that Kyou-kun will be okay then I know he will."
"And if I were to say I know you'll do well on your chemistry test?"
"Then I believe I can do that too!" Tohru cried, a determined expression on her face. "I'll get the best grade in the class! But, I don't know what I'm doing…"
"What are the eight electrons called on the outer shell?"
"The Valence electrons," Tohru said uncertainly.
"And what is column eighteen called?"
"The Noble Gases…"
"You'll do fine," Yuki smiled. "We'd better hurry though if we're going to make it to class."
Tohru nodded and picked up her pace, her stride now even longer then Yuki's. But just as it had to happen, the girl tripped over her untied shoelace and was about to land face first on the sidewalk, and just as the cement was rushing to greet her face, a pair of arms wrapped around her waist.
"I am SO sorry!"
"Honda-san… you're squishing me," replied the Rat from beneath Tohru.
"There you are," purred the man, kicking open the door to the boy's room, the wood splintering on impact. "Time's up, Kyou-kun. I found you."
The Cat remained unresponsive, breathing labored as a thin sheen of sweat gleamed on his bloodied and bruised skin. The covers were now pooled around Kyou's waist, revealing the long gashes from the whip all over his chest and stomach.
"Now this won't do," Akito said softly, staring at the sleeping boy. "I'd much prefer it if you were awake." Looking idly around the room, the Head of the House picked up a water glass from the nightstand. Shrugging, the man dumped the contents of it on Kyou's face, immediately waking him from his one escape from pain.
With a sputter, the boy jerked up, a sharp hiss of pain escaping tightly closed lips as his body firmly protested against the movement, a weak cough sounding in his throat. "That's better," Akito sneered, coming to sit down on the edge of the bed.
"Y-you!" Kyou gasped, frantically trying to back up but feet getting tangled up in the blankets. How had he gotten here? Why was he here? Hadn't he done enough already?
An amused smile played over the man's lips. "Yes, me. Why? Does that bother you? I thought you'd be happy to see me. The Dog certainly isn't doing a very good job of looking after you, so I've decided to take it upon myself to make sure you're not alone."
"What did you do to Shigure?" Kyou demanded, his voice wavering with fear.
"He's taking a small nap downstairs. Which means that I have you all to myself."
"No…" Kyou gasped, crimson eyes widening in horror as Akito grabbed the boy's chin and yanked him towards him.
"The answer would be yes," Akito whispered, gently claiming the Neko's lips, the gentleness soon being replaced with a harshness as Kyou struggled to get away.
"That isn't how you act!" Akito snarled, striking Kyou across the face, his nails digging deep into the already bruised flesh. "You will obey me!"
Kyou gave a soft whimper as he was pushed back onto his back, Akito pressing him hard against the mattress as his hands ravaged over the boy's body, ripping off the bandages and careful work Shigure had spent hours on.
The coppery taste of blood filtered into Kyou's mouth as he bit through his tongue in an effort to keep from screaming as Akito snapped the already broken wrist from the makeshift splint. But then it occurred to him - he wasn't in the soundproofed room at the Sohma house.
He was in his bedroom.
With Shigure just downstairs. Unconcious but still there and he should be able wake up, right?
And so, Kyou screamed.
"Go ahead," Akito said, stopping his attention for the minute and instead sitting idly on the boy's stomach. "No one will hear you. That damn dog is going to be out for a while. And there's no one around for at least half a mile."
The cry gradually subsided to gut-wrenching sobs when no one responded to the desperate plea.
"Told you," Akito smirked. "But it does look like you wanted to see me, Kyou. After all, you're hardly wearing anything. This should make my job much easier."
And the Neko was left alone with his silent tears, no one knowing and no one caring.
A small black and white cat darted away from the window ledge outside of Kyou's room where he'd been sunbathing in the direction of the school, bottlebrush tail held high.
Yuki glanced down in puzzlement at the small cat sitting next to his leg.
"What is going on!" the teacher cried, looking over her glasses with a disapproving glare at Yuki. The purple-eyed boy felt just as confused as the other students in the room did. Clustered all around his desk were cats, more coming in through the open window.
"I thought the cats only liked Kyon-Kyon," commented one of the boy's in the class, his chemistry test momentarily abandoned.
"Yuki?" Tohru asked softly, as a large, gray tabby cat reached up and scratched the Nezumi, cries of 'Prince Yuki!' sounding throughout the room as droplets of blood flew through the air.
The cat that had been lounging outside of Kyou's window hopped onto Yuki's desk and batted the Prince across the nose, the claws fortunately pulled in. A frantic meow came from its throat and it jumped to land on Yuki's shirt, clinging desperately to the material.
"Sensei?" Yuki asked, rising to his feet and holding the cat in his arms. "May I please be excused?"
"Will your absence clear out these cats?" the young woman asked, a tissue pressed to her now rapidly running nose.
"I think it will," Yuki said, fighting to keep the small note of panic out of his voice. Something must have happened to Kyou for the cats to have come to him. Normally, they stayed far, far away. Yuki was the last person to be called a 'cat lover.' "I'll be back in just a little while, Sensei."
Taking careful strides as not to step on the cats swarming about his feet, Yuki made his way to the door, not even stopping to grab a tissue from the teacher's desk to press against his cut. As soon as he was out of the room and a little ways down the hall, Yuki broke into a full out sprint.
'Something's really wrong,' he panted to himself as he raced down the stairs and out the back doors of the school, before moving around and cutting across the baseball fields and towards home. 'If that stupid cat were just sick then Shigure would call Hatori and these cats wouldn't be here since Kyou is getting help. So either Shigure doesn't realize that Kyou needs him and Kyou sent the cats or something really bad happened and Shigure can't contact me himself.'
And Yuki had a sinking gut feeling that the second option was the right one. Even though Shigure could be ignorant at times and had the tendency to forget about something, the way he'd been acting that morning had seemed very off.
Normally, he was the one all for having Yuki go wake Kyou up after a rainy night. It was his way of making sure that the Cat was feeling all right by having him fight or at least yell a lot. But that morning…
Yuki had watched as Tohru had entered the kitchen and listened to her exclaim over the large bruise on Shigure's face. While the girl rushed around getting ice, the Rat stayed hidden against the wall, not wanting to get in the way.
"Where's Kyou-kun? He's normally up by now…" Tohru mused, taking a large bowl out of a cabinet after getting Shigure some relief for his face.
"Kyou got home quite late last night," Shigure said. "He won't be going to school today since he isn't feeling well."
Tohru nodded her agreement. "With all this rain we've been having he really must be quite tired. I'll bring up a plate of rice balls before Yuki-kun and I leave though, he might be hungry later."
"There's no reason for you to do that," Shigure said. "If Kyou's hungry I'll bring him up something later. But please don't disturb him; he's in a rather bad mood."
Hai, I won't."
And then Yuki had entered the kitchen.
The Rat groaned aloud and doubled his pace, although he did make sure that he could still breathe. Collapsing wouldn't be a good idea at the minute.
Why didn't he see it before? Everything had been a puzzle but just now the pieces were clicking into place. A wall? Shigure had paper walls in his room. If he'd crashed into one then he would have just tumbled through it, much like Kyou was always walking around and through them when he was upset and didn't feel like opening the door. So, if his walls were paper he would have had to go downstairs and into the kitchen or the foyer to hit a real wall, but what was he doing down there?
And Shigure had lived in his house for how many years? He knew where everything was, even the creaky step on the staircase. And if he really had run into a wall then how had he hurt himself that badly? He'd have to be going at a full out sprint at it. Even Shigure wasn't that stupid.
And when Tohru mentioned brining up breakfast? Shigure had sounded strangely worried. Like he was hiding something. Had maybe Kyou not come home and Shigure didn't want to worry Tohru? No... because Shigure wasn't like that. He had seemed more then worried. He'd seemed angry although the anger didn't appear to be directed at the Cat.
And wasn't Kyou always in a bad mood? 'Okay, that isn't always true,' Yuki admitted as he raced along the path home, the house looming in the distance. But to warn Tohru from brining up rice balls? Kyou tried his hardest not to lose his temper with her. Seeing Tohru might have actually made him feel better.
Oh yes, something was definitely wrong.
A loud hiss brought Yuki out of his musings and he stared down at the cat that had still not left his shirt. In his urgency, he'd completely forgotten it. As a matter of fact, all of the cats had left him except for that one.
"What?" he snapped, reaching the driveway and charging up towards the front door.
The cat gave another hiss and then swiped its paw across the Nezumi's face, another bloody scratch in its wake. It gave a soft hiss and leaped from his arms and stood quietly next to him, not even so much as twitching its tail.
"Quietly?" Yuki breathed. He looked upat the front door, firmly shut although Shigure normally left it open - he claimed that he liked to feel the breeze. Plus, if it were open then the less chance of Kyou walking through it and damaging the poor house even more.
Merow, the cat mewed before taking off around the back of the house and disappearing into the trees. Treading lightly, Yuki walked up the front path, his heart beating unnaturally loud. He didn't understand why he was so nervous. He only felt this way when Akito wanted to see him.
Easing open the shoji door, Yuki paused on the threshold. Silence assaulted his ears and he cautiously stepped inside. Normally, silence wasn't a bad thing. After all, he got very little of it. But Shigure always had some sort of music playing while he wrote.
"Shigure?" Yuki whispered, leaving the door open as he stepped into the house, carefully taking his shoes off and laying them quietly down on the mat.
The Rat knew that Shigure could hear him. After all, being the Dog had to have its perks and excellent hearing and smelling was one of Shigure's. In fact, he'd probably already heard the door opening.
But no one answered nor did anything move, except the potted plant in the corner that was now receiving the gentle breeze. Biting his lip, Yuki started into the house and turned the corner into the side corridor of the front hall.
And then he froze, every instinct he had telling him to run and get away while he still could. Lying by the hall table was Shigure, a large puddle of blood pooled around his head. The telephone receiver dangled from its cord, a faint buzzing tone emitting from it.
Ignoring the screaming voices in his head to run, run, run, Yuki approached Shigure and knelt down next to him, two fingers stretched out to find a pulse. Seconds later, the Rat let out a sigh of relief. Shigure's pulse was slow, but it was there.
Rising to his feet once more, Yuki started further down the hall, ears straining for any sound that might point him in what was wrong. And then he heard it. A soft, hoarse crying from upstairs. Taking one last glance at Shigure, Yuki began to ascend up the stairs, keeping as close as he could to the wall.
The higher he climbed, the more pronounced the crying became. And with it he heard another voice… a voice he hated and feared above everything else.
'Akito,' he registered, his stomach twisting into a knot. 'Now what?'
He was scared of Akito…terrified, actually. And he hated Kyou. Was it worth it to risk himself to figure out what Akito was up to?
Another soft whimper sounded from the bedroom and then the thud of a body being flung into a wall with a small cackle of laughter. Yuki shivered where he was on the stair, and closed his eyes.
'I'm not running,' he thought. 'If I really did hate that stupid Cat I wouldn't care what Akito was doing.' The Rat suppressed a shudder at his own treatment under Akito. He never wanted to go through that again and he didn't want anyone else to either, no matter how much he disliked them.
Steeling his resolve, Yuki continued up the stairs and down the hall towards Kyou's room, the door now wide open with splinters of wood all over the floor. Sneaking along with his back to the wall, Yuki paused right before the busted door.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Yuki heard Akito say pleasantly. "I didn't know you wanted both broken. Here, let me help." A sharp crack sounded inside the room followed by a short howl of pain that was quickly cut off by what sounded like a hit to the head.
"So you still have some voice left, do you?" Akito said, his voice deadly. "I thought I'd worked it all out of you. It appears I was wrong. And you know that I hate to be wrong, Kyou-chan."
Yuki winced as he heard the sound of another hit and the dull crack as a rib or two gave out underneath Akito's fist. Taking one last deep breath, Yuki moved away from the wall and looked into the room, his eyes widening in horror.
Kyou was lying on his floor, face ashen as blood leaked from injuries all over his body. Loose bandages were tied haphazardly around parts of him, most of the wrapping ripped free, however, and covered the ground. Kyou was wearing nothing, not a new sight for Yuki since the two were always transforming together when Tohru was around. But the odd thing was the ripped pair of sweat pants that were half-way on the Cat's bed.
Akito had his back to Yuki, his kimono splattered with blood that Yuki doubted was his own. Even though Yuki couldn't see the man's face, he would bet everything that it was in one of Akito's twisted little smiles.
It took Yuki a few seconds to register what he'd seen, but the moment he did his eyes narrowed in hatred, fear momentarily pushed aside. "Akito," the Rat snarled, stepping into the room, his eyes drilling into the back of the head of the house's head.
Yuki normally never showed this side of him. Yes, he could be fierce. Normally, one only saw this side in him when he'd grown tired of Kyou's complaints and had beaten him to a pulp. Never had he taken this tone of voice with anyone else, especially not Akito.
But something primal was roaring in his heart, a deep instinct to fight and protect. He'd never thought Kyou would be in need of protection, least of all his, but he knew too well what Akito was capable of. And he was here now and he wouldn't let any more harm come to the Cat.
Akito turned, his black eyes glittering with malice. "Why, dear Yuki, it's so nice to see you," he smiled. "Shouldn't you be at school though? You wouldn't want your grades to… slip…"
"What are you doing here?" Yuki growled. Normally, any kind of implied threat would have him leaving immediately and going back to his own business, but not this time. This time he wouldn't run.
"I thought I'd come pay Kyou-chan a visit and see how he was doing," Akito grinned, rising from the floor to turn and face Yuki. "He didn't look so well last night, you see."
Yuki's mind raced as Akito stepped towards him and he automatically took one back. "You mean you saw Kyou last night?" he asked, trying to keep his voice even.
"Yes," Akito said, a smile stretching across his face. "He was all alone in the park. Rightfully so, being the freak he is, he doesn't deserve to have friends after all. But I felt bad for home and took him home to cheer him up."
"What did you do to him?" Yuki ground out, his hands now clenched into fists at his sides as he fought to keep his gaze trained solely on Akito and not the slightly quivering lump that was normally his arch-rival.
"He just got some well deserved attention from me. I hope you're not jealous, Yuki. I took things a little farther then I ever have with you. Kyou-chan certainly did seem to enjoy it though." He ran his tongue over his lips and glanced at Kyou on the floor. "Well, I know I enjoyed it."
Yuki put the pieces together almost instantly. "You raped him, didn't you?"
Akito just smiled.
"Get away from him!" Yuki snarled, lunging at Akito. The man easily caught Yuki's hands but wasn't prepared for the feet. They came crashing into his stomach and sent him stumbling backwards, giving Yuki time to get his hands free.
Grabbing Akito by the front of his robes, Yuki bodily shoved him across the room and towards the door, the Rat now between Kyou and Akito. "Get out," he hissed, eyes glimmering with rage and fury shaking his body.
Akito picked himself painfully off the floor, one hand wrapped around his stomach from where Yuki had kicked him. "Fine," he snapped, all pleasantry gone from his voice. "But soon that freak will be living with me and I'll be able to do whatever I want to him."
Yuki stayed perfectly still, until he heard the front shoji door shut with a bang behind Akito. Only then did he turn his attention to Kyou. Walking the few feet towards the Cat seemed like an eternity. But when he reached him, Yuki realized he hadn't a clue what to do.
"Kyou?" he whispered, crouching down and placing a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder. The Neko didn't say anything but simply shuddered and tried to shake the hand off of him. Tears were still pouring out from beneath tightly shut eyelids and his hands had been clenched so tight that his nails had cut into his palms.
Straightening up, Yuki crossed over to the bed and pulled off the comforter. Going back to Kyou, he gently draped it over him to at least cover him for now. "Just stay there," he said softly, heading for the door.
Taking the steps two at a time, Yuki ran towards the phone, making sure not to step on Shigure. Taking the receiver he dialed.
After two rings, in what seemed like forever, the phone was picked up. "Hatori," was the greeting.
"Hatori, you have to come over here right now!" Yuki said, his voice panicky and shaky. Only then did he realize that his legs were threatening to give out and he slid down the length of the wall, phone in hand.
"Yuki? Calm down. What is it?" Hatori had never been one to question anything, but he'd never heard the Rat sound so rattled before.
"Akito… he… he…Shigure and Kyou… they need help…I don't know… why…"
Hatori could sense the distress, not only in voice but in the jagged sentences. "Okay. Listen, Yuki. Are you all right?"
"Yes," came the soft reply.
"Good. I'm coming over right now. Don't leave the house. If you can, put a blanket over both of them. I'll be there in a few minutes. Hold tight."
As Hatori raced around his office, gathering equipment he might need, a worried frown creased his features. Something had upset Yuki terribly. And if Akito was a part of it then there was no telling what could have happened.
Umm…hi? Well, I'm back :)
So this is my Thanksgiving present to you. :D If you'd like to submit a review it'd make my Turkey Day :P Hope you liked the chapter and I'm going to seriously try to update within three months next time. :D