A/N: After trying unsuccessfully to banish this idea from my brain, I've decided. I'm writing a sequel to Everybody Wants Her and this, my friends, is it. Welcome to Burnt Rice.

Now you may not have read this story. You don't need to. While it's recommended, EWH is seventeen chapters long, and I'm not going to make you read something so massive just because you thought this ficcy might be interesting. That wouldn't be fair. Burnt Rice will be continuing from there, so I'll try to give as much back-story as I can. If you don't understand something, either consult the original fic, or ask me about it. The important thing to know is that Tohru's in a committed relationship with Akito, but messed around with Kyo and had his baby, a little girl named Taeko. Kyo killed himself after being banished from the family for doing serious physical harm to Akito, and the baby's being raised as if Akito's her dad. This all sounds strange when it's summarized, but the story wouldn't be so long if it weren't developed and sense-making! If you do want to read EWH you're more than welcome, I myself think that it's pretty good!

To those of you who have read, thank you your previous support and continued interest! You've made me into quite the happy pancake, and you're continuing to do so, yay!

Anyway! Like Everybody Wants Her, Burnt Rice will focus on a love triangle, but since Kyo-kun's dead, it can't really be the same one as before without resorting to necrophilia. Taking Kyo's place will be Hatori, and Tohru and Akito shall be switching roles, Akito's the one they're vying for instead.

Alright, I'm shutting up now. Read on and enjoy!

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Burnt Rice

Chapter One – Bones

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He is lying in his bed destroyed for days before he understands what's happened. His people spin like pinwheels through the crannies of his shell-shocked brain. Aki's going through the whole damn Zodiac, picking through them just to see if they're okay. One of them has died, Aki has to find the missing piece or he'll go mad.

One by one he calls them in, waits in agony to see his subject's faces. Their cold and guarded greetings fill him secretly with joy, and he doesn't tell them their afflicted comrade's gone. These morons wouldn't get the way he knows. As God it simply comes to him, he is suffering an empty space.

Time passes and he sees each one of them alive. He fights with Haru over his crummy hair, tells Shigure he needs a real job. None of this matters but he needs reasons to see them, innocuous ones that won't leave scars. He goes slowly down the list and none of them are gone. That leaves the one he cares the least for, the one that's burned like lye-marks in his mind.

Sohma Kyo, the imprisoned little kitty cat who brought about the rape of God. It settles in with bitter certainty, he is the one who died.

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Some time goes by before he tells her. Akito's not sure if it's okay to say this thing to Tohru first. He doesn't want to think that this concerns her, that it matters to his darling if her baby-daddy's dead. And she's still not quite a Sohma, Tohru's like blood flying into broken veins to save the day, vital but not arising from the system. Because of this he can't be sure she'll understand, believe him when he tells her Kyo is gone.

And, finally, Aki doesn't want to see her cry. Not for Kyo.

In the end he calls her in, Tohru with her daughter squawking softly in her arms. She smiles at him rather blandly, says she hopes he's feeling better than he was this morning. He can't recall the morning and he guesses that that means that things were bad. "Hatori-san's about to leave," she says, "he's going to talk to Shigure about Yuki-kun…he thinks it's time for him to go home, but the cleaning's barely gotten anywhere. He wanted me to tell you that he's sorry for going off, and that you should say now if you need anything before he leaves. I was just about to come in and say that, but you called me…good timing, huh?"

"You're rambling," Akito rasps, glaring past his bandaged dangling leg to look at her. "I don't even know what you…what you said. I d-didn't, I didn't call you in to t-talk about, about Hari. T-this is, this is important."

She says she's sorry easier than her own breathing, though she cannot fathom what means more than caring for Akito's health. "I just have to know this one thing," she whispers, "just tell me if you need anything, Hatori might not be back all day."

"If I tell you then you'll leave the room, and I don't trust you enough to let you do that. S-sit down, y-you need to, need to listen to me…" As he trails off his neck starts drooping, Akito's mumbling, "fucking hell my head…"

Tohru wants to rush right into fixing this, to making Aki better though she knows not what to do. Enough time's passed so that she knows what pills, but Tohru isn't confident, her instincts claw for Hatori to come and help. But her Aki's glaring cruelly, Aki wants to get this over with and go to sleep. She stays standing.

"C-can that kid, can that k-kid…can it u-understand me? I mean, h-has it, has it stopped being stupid? Is it old enough?" He's stalling though he wants it done, he's dreading her reaction. The shrieking of the recently bereaved will grind his head down like a bug into the tiled floor. He will die, he will be broken when she bursts into tears. She will die when she hears this.

"I think she…no." Tohru shakes her head, sits down with Taeko cuddled close. Aki drums his fingers and she wonders if she's spoken wrong, if she should have said what she believes, her little girl knows everything. With Akito one never knows, and she doesn't want him thinking that she's stupid. "Whatever it is, you can tell me, she won't…she's too young for it to matter. Just…just say it, Akito."

He rolls his eyes up in his skull, coughs harshly as he starts to laugh, no there's nothing funny and his lungs are scorched, it doesn't matter because he simply cannot stop this. Kyo's dead. Kyo's dead and he should be so happy, he hates him and he's wanted this for ages, the bastard fucking raped him, but there's Tohru. Lovely little Tohru leaning into him alarmed. "What's funny?" she asks, "I don't understand…"

"Kyo's dead!" he says, voice crackling. "I don't know why but he, he's dead! Go ahead, cry you little prostitute, burst into tears for me!"

It takes some time for this to register, for a time she can't do much but watch Akito throw his head back, laugh hysterically. He's hyperventilating, soon Tohru's breathing matches his and she starts screaming. Her throat reddens and raws and the baby joins in, Akito's neck snaps forward and her slaps her. "You're just making noise 'cause I am," he accuses, "you're j-just reacting, you, you don't even know what I fucking said. Tell me what I said you stupid whore!"

She sniffles, wipes her watery eyes and says he told her Kyo was dead. "I wouldn't have screamed like that, it's just that you were laughing when you told me and well…that scared me. And I guess we both scared Taeko-chan…you…you didn't mean that, did you Akito?"

"Yes," he tells her, reaching for the infant past the few remaining needles in his arms. "I know you don't think highly of my morals Tohru, but I wouldn't fucking lie to you. You've lied enough for both of us, I think. Anyway this little monster's dad is dead. So, that's it. That's all I wanted to tell you, so go get Hari for me. Go away."

Tohru sits there with her small mouth hanging open, she grabs his feeble hand and begs with burning eyes for more. "But Akito you have to tell me what happened!You can't just say he's dead and then just stop, you have to tell me how! I mean maybe you don't know but if that's true then you should say so Akito…" She trails off, overtired. Now she doesn't want to know, now she wants her baby back because he's crazy, Akito's begun to giggle. "Stop laughing!" she squeaks, "it's not funny when someone else is dead Akito, I know you hate him but it's not!"

This is ringing bells that she doesn't want rung. Tohru-kun's replaying the start of this nightmare, the day she snapped at Kyo for taking sickness lightly, for being glad that Yuki-kun was ill. This was when he kissed her, when who and what they were began its terrible mutation. This space is sacred, it's killing her to stay here and she's snapped out of it when Akito starts to cough.

Yes. Recent sickness and the here and now. "Aki, Aki sweetie just try to calm down okay, are you feeling alright? Maybe, m-maybe you're just saying these things because you're sick, Hari says you've had a fever and that might mean you're not in your right mind…"

"I am in my right mind!" he snaps, coughs driving spikes through each and every word. "I'm telling you, Kyo is dead! My Zodiac is broken Tohru, I think that I would know!"

"So tell me how it happened," Tohru says, watching warily the way he holds her girl. Akito can't be bothered to support the child's head, hell he doesn't even know that he's supposed to. All he knows is that he needs this closeness, that with Kyo-kun gone he'll have to find a reason not to hate this baby girl.

"I have no idea," he tells her, hacking endlessly into the child's face, Taeko doesn't like this and she's crying for her mom. "I just, all I know is that he isn't in the world now. A space has opened up for another cat. I have n-no proof, but this is the, the d-deepest knowledge t-that there is, f-for me…"

"So you didn't see him," she says, relieved 'cause this could mean that it's not true, that Aki's lying or deranged. Not that she'd be pleased with either meaning, but she'd prefer them to the death of Kyo. So she can't believe it, won't believe it 'til she sees his rotting corpse. And when she tells him that Akito just gets mad, goes red-faced with his rage and balls his fists. He's powerless, shattered leg trapping him in bed and that just kills him, Aki's not okay with being doubted.

"I know," he snarls, "it doesn't matter what I saw, I know. If you don't trust me then fuck you, just get Hatori and go."

She does. It sears her soul to separate, but Akito is no Poor Baby now, so she gets Hatori and she goes.

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Tohru stalks outside sans Taeko-chan, face flaming with blood because whatever just occurred was wrong. Her Akito was clearly pained, but the things he said were vicious lies, sickness spewed for senseless reasons. She can't accept that what he's saying might be so, that Kyo is gone because he feels it, knows it in his broken bones. No, Kyo's setting up a life somewhere, he's meeting girls and life is beautiful, there's no reason in the world he should be dead.

She paces back and forth, thinking that she's handled Aki wrong, she's pissed him off beyond repair and she's to leave here. If that's not the case by now it will be soon, she's got to get to Hatori before he goes, mull on this some other time so she can catch him.

It takes little effort, all that's needed is for her to storm the main gate, tell Hari in a huff that Aki wants him, she's not sure why but she suspects the usual, he'd like some painkillers, Dilaudid or something else stat. "Thanks," he tells her, fleeing before she can say a word, heading fast into the world where he is needed. Tohru wants to call him back, tell him that Akito's talking crazy and be reassured that what he's saying really is insane. But he's left her and she thinks she hears her daughter screaming, Taeko bouncing off the treetops when she's really in Akito's arms.

All of this is unacceptable, she's overwrought and pacing but there's nothing she can do. So she figures that she'll seek out Yuki, talk to him about his going home because she doubts she'll see him much when he departs. She doesn't miss him a bit right now, but she's sure that she will later, and if her mind's on Aki and the awful things he said she'll fall apart, go crazy in the flowerbed she's trying not to trample.

And that aside, Tohru's learning fast that she can't go long without hearing someone cough. Like a city girl grown used to traffic, the landscape in her head seems blank and static if she's denied these small sick sounds. Yuki will provide, Yuki will do until she's let back into bed with Akito.

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Hari runs inside, face drawn and hair mussed up, he's trying not to show how hard he's panting. It's slightly sacrilegious to seem sick in front of Akito, which he's not, or tired, which he is, Hatori's goddamn exhausted. So he sits on the bed, blinking rapidly as he waits for his heartbeat to slow. If he could just get more sleep he'd be okay, but that's impossible, he's got to be on call if Aki needs him. "Hello Akito," he says, turning around the look at the shivering god. "Tohru tells me that you need some medication."

Akito works his sweaty way into sitting position, gasps wetly as he glances up past Taeko's squirmy limbs. She's shunted aside, ignored as she settles into fitful slumber, the little girl's dreams already wrecked up by her dad. "Y-you should know," he says, gearing up for the irrelevant, for a repeat performance that he hopes Hatori will believe. "Kyo's dead. T-tohru, Tohru-kun doesn't believe me. But she, she's not a Sohma, and she's fucking stupid. H-hari, you know that I can s-sense these things, right? I don't have to try and justify myself to…" He trails off, spent and close to death for several seconds.

Hari's hardly even heard him; to him these words are simply febrile nothings, the ravings of a sick sick boy. So he holds off on responding, glides his hand past Aki's forehead, oily with illness and blazing in pain. "You have a fever," he tells him, voice soft as if he's breaking bad news, something that's not plain to him already. "You should get some sleep."

"Hatori!" he shouts, voice wracked with rasping and he's short-circuiting, sacred and scared. "I'm trying to…tell you something, none of you s-stupid, stupid fucks are listening…"

"You're dreaming," he tells him, "what you think you know when you're sick isn't always what's real. The most important thing right now is that you rest." And then, he can't help it, Hatori apes Tohru-kun and runs his fingers through Akito's limp hair. "You've been through hell," he says, "and there's no way you're going to get better unless you sleep."

"Don't patronize me Hatori," snarls Akito, clutching the bed sheets and cursing his arthritis, even simple gestures are too much for him and Hatori is right. Still he's less than thrilled that Hari sees him simply for his weakness, that he cannot put the fear in him the way he has before. He's God and he wishes to retain that, but aside from that he's sleepy, his eyes are aching and he's influenced too much by fever and knock-you-out drugs. "Kyo's dead," he says, ripping his hands out of twisted position. "I'll go to sleep, but Hatori you need to do something about that."

He agrees and thinks he'll maybe mention it to Shigure, its not like he believes him but it's best to say he'll see it through. Though their very existence is mired in magic, Hari has a hard time with the irrational details of the curse. Akito can't know without knowing, he's God but he's pathetic, there's nothing about him that's psychic or surreal.

Before he turns to go he asks Akito if his pain's been sufficiently killed. "Tohru says that you need meds, but you're on schedule with everything, so…I suppose it's up to you. Do you think the Dilaudid that you had this morning is going to hold you?"

"'S fine…" Aki slurs, twiddling with sleeping Taeko's tiny hands. She wakes and flinches, flails around like a firework as she screams out for her mom. "My head hurts, Taeko looks like she's exploding…it doesn't matter though, 'cause, Kyo's dead…I hate him but my Zodiac is broken so…" And he rambles on, just spewing the same things he's been saying all this time, vague muttering's that his whole world's been destroyed.

"Akito," says Hari in a tone that tries to be stern but comes out pleading, he wants him normal, sleeping now so that it's safe for him to leave. He does not want to see the sickness swirling in his dear lord's eyes, the manic insistence that would reach horrible proportions could he move. "Akito please. Kyo's left us but he isn't dead. You need to understand that and you need to go to sleep. Didn't you just promise me you'd do that?"

"I'm empty," he tells him, choking back tears because God ought not to cry for Kyo. All the human bits in him are filled with loathing, but the god's bereft, the god is calling out for the cat to complete him. The empty space is stark and scary, it gets him curling up as best he can and trying not to scream. "E-even, even if you're too stupid to believe me, you should understand that this is painful…I…I want to…I need to…I need to suck on your hand Hatori!"

Neither one of them is sure exactly where this comes from. It's a strange request, a strange desire, and when it pops from Aki's swollen lips he doesn't want it. He looks it over, scrutinizing the paw that he's demanded as he wonders why in hell he's asked for this. This is disgusting, he thinks, this will make me sick.

Hatori's not helping, he's quiet and he asks his lord no questions. It may be strange but how can he deny the kid small comforts? He told him he was empty, he must be needing filling and it's better, much better than the other things that he could try. Akito could be cramming food down his throat, tossing it later 'cause his guts can't take the job. Or he could fill up with fucking, leave body and mind a miserable wreck. So this is odd but he understands it, and anyway it doesn't matter if he wants this thing or not, Akito's begun to demand it. "Give me your hand!" he snarls, ripping through the air for it and all he knows is that Hatori just has to do what he is told.

He does. He insists on washing his hands first, but after a quick stop off at the sink, he's huddled by the bed with his arm outstretched, letting Akito drip spit onto his fingers 'til he slides off into restless sleep. And then he leaves him, taking Taeko with him since a child should not be there for the hell that always comes when God wakes up alone.

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Nana: Alright, well I'm hoping you enjoyed that! I know the hand thing was kind of weird, but I loved the idea too much to toss. Looks to me like it worked, but I'm the writer, not the reader, and I want to know what the reader thinks, about that and the story as a whole. Anyhow, I'll come back with another chapter relatively soon, provided my school doesn't overload me with too much work at the last minute. So keep a look out for that, review me, and have a great day!