Chapter One: Memories
Kyou Sohma had never been one to believe in fate or destiny. He relied on no religion, worshipped no divine power. He gave little thought to chance or circumstance. He held no large quantity of values or beliefs, a reasoning made in his ever changing and shifting world. He held only a small number of things to be true, and he treasured them above all others, beyond his life, his world, and his soul.
One of those constants in his life was his acceptance of who he was. None of the entailments, the consequences, the suffering, or the pain that came with being the cursed cat of the Jyuunishi, left out of the Zodiac, an outcast of the Sohma family. No, none of that interfered with a simple truth. It was his acceptance of the fact that he existed, quite simply, as the cat. It was ingrained so far into him, so far that he no longer questioned. He simply existed.
There was one thing he held to be ideal, true beyond all doubt, and completely constant. Love. Not the love that others would feel, or even his hope that others loved him. It was merely the love he felt for the people in his life that were dear to him.
He had stopped questioning when he had begun to think that his name held a special ring, a sound different from all others when it came from her. His name, said in that infectious gleeful manner, accompanied by that precious smile, the kind that would brighten every day and moment. He would do anything, say anything, again and again for eternity, if he knew it would make her smile.
The voice that had broken through an introspective quiet, a silence that held no discomfort but rather an ease with each other's presence. The voice had not been unwelcome, nor was it considered an invasion of his thoughts. When he said nothing in reply, no offense was taken, his unspoken invitation evident as he shifted against the roof tiles, making enough space for her beside him. The warmth of a body beside him, a gentle and uncertain hand that slipped into his own, an open and inviting ebony sky stretching out above them, glittering with its display for the eyes watching. That was all he needed in the world from that moment on.
The drop of the honorific, her use of his given name falling from her lips like the sweet caress it was, had been a reflection of the intimacy invoked between them. He remembered the heat of her body agonizingly close to his own, for he was as close as he dared to be without having to fear his transformation.
He was damned, he was condemned, he was without hope and he was without the means to keep up the fight to win his freedom. All he could do was surrender and wait, savoring the time he had left at her side as months and weeks quickly spiraled down to days, and then hours and minutes as the clock ticked away his fate.
She knew. She knew, and she accepted. She was devastated to see him go, could not imagine her life without him in it, but she had understood. That sad understanding had been shining in her eyes when he had given into a final temptation and kissed her for the first time.
"It makes me happy," she had said softly, cradling his hands, his rough and clumsy hands, against her face as he settled them against her cheek, hoping and praying to communicate the sheer volume of his feeling through the touch.
"It makes me happy to know that I mean so much to Kyou-kun. Because Kyou-kun is precious to me as well. More precious than anything else."
She had kissed him then, returning the favor as her lips lightly brushed over his, trembling slightly as she raised her arms to wrap around his neck. He had smiled, taking gentle but insistent control as he pulled her into his embrace and pressed his mouth more firmly over hers. Graceful hands threaded their way through the fiery locks of his hair, consequently pulling him more deeply into the kiss, and pushing both their minds further from the impending reality.
They broke away for sake of breath, and he leaned his forehead against hers, framing her face with his hands and closing his eyes to savor their proximity. He struggled to make sense of the maelstrom of love and affection that flooded through him, tantalizing his senses and overwhelming his already jilted mind.
His eyes were a warm and brilliant amber as he gazed down at her, his features softening with his gentle smile, awkward but kind. He leaned closer still, his ragged breath brushing her lips, teasing over her skin. He was close, so very close. Her body shivered in anticipation.
He closed the distance between them, and the knowledge of what was to come the next day was pushed away with the sharing of their love and their bodies.
He made love to her that night the best way he could, giving everything he was, his heart, his soul, his joy, and his tears; gentle, tender, and passionate.
His memories were the only things to accompany him in the abysmal darkness that enveloped his prison.
She rose from her bed that morning before the sun had yet to grace the earth with its light, following a habit that had been hers since she had come to this house two years before. For once, she was glad for the unbroken silence the house possessed; its serenity still unbroken by the home's other occupants. She even pushed away the guilt that usually accompanied such an uncharitable thought.
Mou, mou. Shame on me. I should not think such things. Shigure-san was so kind to take me in, and I am very grateful to him and Yuki-kun. But…
She bit her lips and squeezed her eyes shut against the tears that threatened to come. If there was one thing she had promised herself, it was that she would be strong. Kyou would want her to be strong.
For now she could be grateful for the time to be alone. She made her way through the kitchen and quietly slid open the shoji leading to the porch outside.
His body was beautiful, sun-tanned skin illuminated in the moonlight to seem almost golden as he leaned over her. Warm skin, smooth and silken as velvet, the cords of hard muscle rippled beneath as he moved. The faintest of scars on his golden skin was the only thing marring the perfection.
His touch was inflaming, taking her breath away again and again as he touched, caressed, and tasted that which was pure and untainted, offered to him and only him.
The heat he radiated was intoxicating as he coaxed her into another kiss, and his kisses were as sweet as they were passionate. As his body rocked against her, the intimate contract eliciting a soft whimper from her and a low moan from him, he stared down at her through hooded eyes, amber eyes clouded with emotion and passion, and overall, his feeling for her.
"I love you, Tohru. Gods, koishii, do I love you."
In the silence of the predawn hours, as her arms curled protectively around her abdomen and she fell helplessly to her knees, Tohru's last conscious thought was awareness that at this time of day, there was no one around to hear her sobs. There was no Kyou-kun there to comfort her, but most of all, there was no one to see her break down.