The Box
Formerly titled 'What Goes On'
By Christine Lennoire

Chapter One
Late night

.: LATE NIGHT :.

Yuki ran up stairs and slammed the door shut. What had gotten into him? Suddenly, a feeling of overwhelming fear and pain had overcome him while sitting at the table. Of course Kyo had been tormenting him as usual... but, take note: 'as usual'. Now, Shigure was being his usual cheery, perverted self, and Tohru just smiled as usual, accepting the compliments given to her about her cooking. So... where had that come from? He had been sitting there, in his usual spot across from Tohru, listening to Kyo bickering about how Kagura would probably show up soon and start confessing her dire love for him while beating him into a pulp for not sharing her feelings just as passionately. Then, he got this cold feeling: as if he were being watched. He had looked at the window and saw only blackness. Something happened then, but he couldn't remember. All he remembered was getting up rather quickly and running up the stairs, much to the entire table's surprise. He hadn't said a thing.

Now look at him... he was curled in a ball at the foot of his bed questioning himself about just what had happened. Kyo hadn't even tried to punch him today. It had been one of those. Yuki sat up warily. Vicious memories haunted him. That's what he saw when he looked past the window. He hadn't seen the darkness of the night... but straight into the darkness of his own soul. During weak moments, he had these... visions. It was hard to hide them. Because afterwards, he was prone to start destroying things or... cry a river for anyone nearby. This time it was the second, he realized, as the warm tears trickled down his cheek, falling onto his hands which were clenched tightly in his lap. Now that the emotional impact had faded, he started to remember what it was that he saw when he was supposedly looking at the scenery.

What he saw was his face. His own ugly face. Yuki didn't hide what he thought of himself when he was in these states. His mind told him exactly what it thought without a hesitation. 'I'm a monster... even more so than Kyo at his worst.' There was no hiding. You can't run from yourself. 'You're a mess. No wonder you can't be yourself around others... If they saw who you really were, even Tohru would have to run away.' "No... Miss Honda is not like that." Half-heartedly, he began fighting himself. But she is a good person through and through. If she saw just how mean and nasty you were, she'd hate you. "She would never..." Fool. Nobody can love a cursed child. It is part of the curse itself... the part that says you don't get a happy ending. You can't. You never will. Tohru can't save you. She can't break the curse. She can NOT LOVE YOU! This was Yuki. He could not fight it. In his soul, that is what he believed.

"Who am I kidding. Miss Honda is such a kind, loving person... she would hate to see just a glimpse of what I really am." Yuki cried... and he cried. Ever since the confrontation with Akito, things had been getting worse and worse. He could no longer pretend to fight with himself. He believed every word of it. From the back of his mind, emerged a need. Yuki looked up to make sure it was still there. 'Yes. It is safe'. He thought, seeing his precious object sitting up high above his bed on a nice wooden shelf of red wood, held up by three beautiful golden hooks: one on each end and one in the middle. Yuki sighed in content. No one had touched it... no one saw. 'Thank god.' he thought loudly. Not even he dared to touch it.

In a book, in a box, high upon a shelf, in a locked and guarded vault: are the things that I keep only for myself. "Things even I cannot bear rest upon my shoulder. What a retched being." Yuki snorted, forcing himself up off the floor and throwing himself onto the bed. I have set aside everything I love. I have saved everything else for you. 'You are a monster.' his inner self screamed. "I am you." was his only reply.

At the table, everything was silent. No one knew what had really happened. Kyo was the first to brush it aside, and blame everything on the rat. "Damn rat... it's not your fault, Tohru." he said, well prepared for her nervous breakdown: prepared for her to start to force the blame upon her self. Even if she knew she did nothing wrong, she would assume there must have been something that she could have done. Sometimes... no, most of the times, it made Kyo sick. But this time, Tohru stayed silent. She was staring at the floor as if there was something important embedded there. Shigure tried to laugh it off, but when she didn't smile, they knew she was crying. "Ah, knock it off, would you? It's his own damn fault! He's being insensitive."

"No..." Tohru sobbed. "I saw how he was. Yuki was detached all day. I should have done something when I realized something was wrong." She said, wiping away a pool of her own tears. Shigure smiled sadly at her as he remembered what Hatori had said on the day of the first-year's orientation. 'If it is possible for a person to hurt someone, it is possible for them to be healed by another.' Or something like that, Shigure told himself. Kyo got up rather quickly, unable to handle the sad atmosphere and Tohru's uncontrollable tears. "Forget him. He deserves it." Kyo huffed. They both knew he was going to the roof. It was Kyo's thinking spot. Besides, it helped him cool down, and that was always a good thing.

Shigure sighed. "Don't let it get to you. Yuki probably just had a bad day. But... I think if you paid him a visit, you could turn his frown upside down." he smiled warmly at Tohru. When she just looked at him curiously, he sighed. "What I mean is... I think a visit from you would make him feel a lot better. Just don't leave him alone. I would go, but it wouldn't be the same if it were me telling him. You have a way with him, really." Shigure winked. "So while you go make Yuki happy again, I should do the same for other people... by... you know, doing my work for once. In the spirit of things, I might just send it in early!" He grinned. "My editor won't know what hit her!" Tohru laughed. He was being silly, but she thought she might have hinted a bit of sense coming from it. So why did that sound so wrong coming from someone like Shigure? It probably had nothing to do with the fact that he's friends with Ayame... she thought to herself.

'But then again... so is Hatori...' Tohru thought to herself with a smiled. "Okay!" She said, wiping away her tears. After Shigure left for his office, she quietly padded up the stairs to Yuki's room. She lightly knocked on the door. But there was no answer. Once again she tried, calling, "Yuki. Yuki?" Silence was all that greeted her. 'Is he avoiding me? Maybe I really did something wrong? But what...? Oh it could have been a number of things, who am i kidding.' "If I did something wrong, I'm sorry." she said, but Tohru got nothing again. So she decided to sit and wait until she could get a chance to talk to him. 'Maybe he fell asleep.' She thought. So she sat and waited. In time, Tohru couldn't help but fall asleep at the door.

Some time around midnight, Yuki woke up, completely drained... and empty. Yuki had hardly eaten anything. Noticing how late it was, he decided he would have to be very quiet. So he tip-toed out of bed and quietly went to open the door. When he did, something fell back against his legs. Frightened and shocked, he looked down to see a sleeping Tohru resting there. 'She... Miss Honda was... was waiting at my door. She... she was waiting all night! I must have worried her.' he thought sadly. Carefully, he picked her up in his arms, keeping her as far away as possible, and carried her to her bed. Once she was safely lying on the bed, Yuki softened at sat on the edge of the bed next to her. "I'm so sorry, Miss Honda..."

"That's okay... really!" Yuki jumped, not realizing when she woke up. "I was just really worried. You left without saying anything and... I thought maybe you were mad at me or something, but I really couldn't think why you would be. Plus I noticed how sad you looked all day, and I felt really bad for not saying anything, even after I noticed how you were suffering. So I wanted to wait and make sure you were okay and... be there if you wanted someone to talk to... because it's okay if you want to vent your frustrations or share your sadness. It's so difficult if you always try to carry the burden on your own... so..." Yuki smiled genuinely at her and brushed a stray stand of hair from her face... she was rambling, but it was okay.

"Miss Honda, that's really sweet of you. I'm sorry I made you go through so much trouble. That's not what I wanted at all. No... I'm very sorry." I can not decide what this doubt's made of though I've thought over it through and through. "My weakness is my own problem... one I'm not very good at taking care of and my insecurity keeps me from sharing my faults. That's why I've locked it away, so it can't hurt anyone..."

Tohru frowned. "But it hurts you..."

Yuki frowned. "That's the price I pay for keeping the people I love safe from it. If they... or you... knew the truth, it would change everything. I would lose everything. I'm afraid I'm not strong enough to take that chance. You saved Kyo... even after seeing the monster he became. It's easier to deal with it, though, when you can tell it's all on the outside. But what I deal with is on the inside... something much worse and... unacceptable. If you never know, maybe you won't have to hate me." Tohru's eyes began to water and a few stray tears fell.

"Yuki... nothing could m-make me h-hate you! You have been so kind... so wonderful to me. Could I ask for anything more? All the Sohmas, but you and Kyo especially have spoiled me rotten. It's I who should be ashamed. I'm so selfish, but I don't want to give up a single thing. I want to stay here with all of you and stay this way forever. So for that, I am the most terrible of all."

He wrapped her in his arms: or as close to it as he could. "But that's not who I am. Your the first person I have treated this way. You are very special to me... precious even. If you only had a clue, you would run away. You would hide, you would cry, and you would scream. No. I will keep the pain locked up. I will keep it in that box. And I won't share a single thing. If that makes me selfish too, then I am twice as bad as you." Yuki said, pushing her away and standing up. "I am terrible for using you this way. You are not my saving grace. I am just lucky to see you each day. But yet you smile at me and treat me like family. It's more than I deserve."

Tohru forced herself up and she walked quickly to his side. "Don't say that! I would never believe that! I-I-I..." She was red as a cherry by now, and took the quick way out by kissing him on the forehead, like he always did to her. Yuki's eyes widened at the act of sweetness from her. "No... Yuki is very important to me, and nothing can change that." she said, talking to him like he wasn't there. Suddenly, against his will, and breaking the beautiful moment, his stomach growled. Tohru giggled. "Oh! You must be starving! You hardly ate anything! Let me go make you something quick!" she said, running downstairs. Yuki reached out to stop her, but she was gone.

She really is too good to me... It's your fate but it's not your fault...

He went downstairs after her to see her cooking everything in sight. Could she really look past who he was and the things he had done and still think of him the same? Just like she did with Kyo? Maybe? Would he take the chance? No... he was scared. Because... who was he without 'Miss Honda'? A monster... With her, he felt like he was slowly becoming more and more of the person he wanted to be.

If I hide myself wherever I go, am I ever really there?

"Miss Honda, you really shouldn't have gone to so much trouble! But... thank you. I will try to be more like you want me to be. I will try to open up." Tohru smiled extra wide and hugged him. Poof He turned into the rat... how becoming...

"I'm soooo sorry! But it made me so happy. I like to think that one day, when you open that box, you'll let me be there." Yuki's eyes widened considerably. 'How did she know?' he asked himself. "It's okay... really! It's just an expression." She said. "It's like the expression about what goes on behind closed doors. When a person has regrets or secrets, sometimes you say they have a box or something. Mom said it a lot about people like that." Yuki smiled. 'She doesn't know... and she doesn't mind my transformation... she really is an angel.'

And for every useless reason I know, there's a reason not to care...

'But I can't find a good reason not too... I really do care about what Miss Honda thinks about me.' Yuki thought. 'I can use all the stupid, silly reasons to back it up that I want, but it don't mean a thing. Miss Honda is very special to me. She is very precious, like the wonderful person she is. Can I risk all that for the hope that she maybe... just might... stay and save me. I think I'd rather be damned, if I could keep her by my side.'

"Here! Eat up." She said, smiling at her handy work. The food looked wonderful and his stomach agreed that it just had to go. He laughed and started eating. Tohru watched with delight in her eyes. "I'm glad you like it." She stayed by his side the whole time he ate. She never once left his side. And for the second time that day, she fell asleep waiting for him. When he was finished, he took her upstairs and then went back down to clean. He was still uncertain, but he had a new ray of hope, shining brighter than ever inside of him. Yuki went back upstairs and went back to his own bed and he decided that now he could rest in peace. 'Thank you, Tohru. For everything you have done. Whether or not you can look upon my real self and not turn away is still a mystery. But you have stuck by me this far. That much I can see... and I am grateful.'

Tired, he rest his head upon the pillow and this time, he was blessed with good dreams instead of the haunting nightmares.

There is nowhere else I would rather be, but I can't just be right here. An enigma wrapped in a mystery or a fool consumed by fear...? I will give you all I could ever give though it's less than you will need. Could you just forget if you can't forgive all the things I could not conceive?

TBC (If people like it, that is.)

I love Kyo so he will have to come back again soon!

Please... REVIEW!

Love Christine Lennoire