Disclaimer – I do not own or profit from Fruits Basket. --Insert witty comment here.--

Also? The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Giver, and The Matrix do not belong to me, nor do I profit from them. The references in this chapter were, I thought, fitting, and I also tried to choose movies and books popular enough that their exposure in Japan would almost be guaranteed...

Rated M, still, for slash/yaoi, darkness, et al.

No spoilers in this chapter, unless of course you haven't been reading this story up 'til now.

I apologize for my looong absence of late. I hope I can be more active now...

Anyway, enjoy. Peace, all.

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Kickout

Part Four – How Much More...

by Ghost Helwig

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"You can't seriously tell me you thought 'The Hobbit' was a better book than the entire 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy."

"It was," Yuki insisted, eyes gleaming with mirth even in the midnight gloom. "Cleaner storyline, more likeable characters – after all, at least in 'The Hobbit', we actually get some character development..."

Kyo shook his head, leaning back on his elbows on the cold, hard ground, so that he could look up, directly into Yuki's eyes.

"What's so likeable about dwarves?" he muttered mutinously, just so he could see Yuki's face react accordingly. "And since when don't you like messy plotlines? When we saw The Matrix you were all 'kickass!'" Kyo paused for a moment, a mock-pensive look on his face. "Which I think proves your opinions can't be trusted," he finally went on. "That movie made no sense."

Though it was too dark for him to be really certain, Kyo could practically feel Yuki roll his eyes.

"The Matrix made perfect sense, stupid cat," Yuki muttered, a hint of normalcy in their currently very un-normal world. "As I told you then, it starts out as almost an adult, technologically-oriented version of 'The Giver'-"

"I could trade places with you."

Kyo wasn't sure what made him say it, but it was worth it, just to see the indescribable look on Yuki's face. (Beauty warred with so many un-beautiful emotions that the face might've been marred – had it not been a face so beautiful that ugliness of all kinds was transformed by it.)

Though he could've happily gone without the almost-yelling that followed.

"Are you out of your mind?" Yuki hissed loudly. "Even if Akito would allow it, which he wouldn't," a small, vicious-looking not-smile, "I would never let you do that."

A near-growl, a darkening of those gorgeous, clear eyes.

"Ever."

Yuki's eyes were shining, now, twin lights in the darkness, paler than his skin but not as cold. He looked like he might cry.

And his very vehemence made something in Kyo's gut clench and freeze.

(Yuki... don't you want to get out of here?)

Sometime during his outburst, Yuki's hands had risen to wrap around the bars of his window, strangling them. His knuckles were white, so white they practically glowed.

And Kyo... was somehow drawn to them.

As if from far away Kyo watched his own hand rise, watched his fingers stretch, descend, reach to touch that tense skin. Two fingertips glided over the knuckle of Yuki's pointer finger, traced over the hard bump with fingers that trembled and shook (with nerves? Or what? What!) He thought maybe Yuki gulped at the unexpected contact, but he would never be really sure.

What he knew was that it was fascinating, sliding his touch from finger to finger, feeling silky-smooth flesh tense and un-tense beneath the brush of his own skin. He'd forgotten how graceful Yuki could make even the smallest of movements; the play of a soft night breeze in his hair, the tiny gesture of reaching for a pencil in class, he made each and every one the picture of loveliness and grace...

It's one of the reasons I've always hated him.

...the freak.

He yanked his hand away.

Even more, now, Yuki appeared on the verge of tears.

Kyo couldn't take it; couldn't handle whatever it was this was. Without even scrambling together a pathetic excuse of a goodbye, he left-

Before he could give in...

And weep.

(...even if he had no idea why.)

-X-

"Kyo."

"Kyo?"

"Um, Kyo? Are you okay?"

"Kyo?"

Tohru knocked again, quieter this time, a frown she couldn't suppress crossing her features. It was the fifth day in a row of this, Kyo... locked away (hiding; even she could tell that) in his bedroom, and she was more than a little worried...

"Dinner's ready, if you're hungry," she whispered, hoping her voice carried through the door. No reason why it shouldn't, really; the walls were thin, and as ever, no noise could be heard coming from inside the room...

In a last ditch effort, she murmured, "or I could bring you something...?"

Silence was her only response.

So she turned away, trying hard not to let herself feel too down, lest anyone waste time and energy worrying over her. (But with both Yuki and Kyo gone, her world, so full of love and friends, felt suddenly empty, cold as ice and quiet as the grave that her mother rested in. God, she still missed her mother.)

And inside the room, Kyo buried his face in his hands.

That night, as with the four before, he did not go to see Yuki again. He couldn't.

Because the cat had won, won his right to lord it over the rat, but that did not mean the cat could watch the rat slowly drowning.

There were some things in life that Kyo just could not submit himself to willingly. Spending 'quality time' with that Yankee friend of Tohru's, Uo. Walking anywhere in the dark with Tohru's other friend, Hana. Listening to Shigure speak... at all.

And... this.

It was a good thing, really, that his face was being smothered by his hands. After all...

It was easier to hide from the world that way.

Footfalls, light and hesitant, in the hallway outside his door. Tohru was returning.

He slid down in his bed, pulled the sheet over his head and tried to block out all the little ways he could feel her concern.

Oh yes. It was infinitely easier.

--End Part Four--