Wednesday, December 13, 2000

The young Western lady showed up at the gates entirely unannounced. She rang the bell, said her name, had no business, and was told to go away.

The message of her arrival was immediately relayed to Akito who dismissed it just as quickly as it had come.

The girl trudged away, a sack, which held all her possessions, set on her back.

She caught a bus and headed into town to get set up in a hotel. As she sat down people scooted away from her. Deep in their subconscious, a voice warned them of danger and the power she held bottled up inside her small frame.

She brushed a dark twist of hair from her eyes and smiled.

She'd gotten here before him.

xxxxx

Kyo cracked open one demon eye slowly. Sun glittered through the slits in his blinds and the boy groaned. Time to get up for another slightly less than wonderful day. He could hear the patter of Tohru's feet in the hall. She'd probably been up for hours already, cooking and cleaning for three of the long lost Seven Dwarves: lazy, sleepy, and perverted moron. Another groan and he forced himself to his feet. Stretching the sleep out of his lanky teenaged body.

This early in the morning his thoughts were sluggish and inconsequential. The constantly looming threat of his Curse was secondary to getting a glass of milk. Even his dreaded rival was unimportant in the grand scheme of things or, at the very least, first thing in the morning.

He made his way noisily down the wooden stairs, pausing on the way to let out a vicious yawn.

The floor was suspiciously cold in the kitchen…and Kyo found Tohru Honda trying to shoo a stray dog out of the house. The beast was ignoring her and rooting about happily through the kitchen trashcan.

Kyo stomped over to the creature, crouched down beside it and hissed. It looked up at him suspiciously then bared its teeth at the foolish cat that would dare try to challenge it. Kyo smacked it across the nose, his hand like a feline claw. The dog yelped and fled the scene.

The teenage boy stood as if nothing had happened. He moved to the cabinets to get a glass. On his way to the fridge he paused, looked at the mess of trash on the tiled floor, then to the young girl he lived with.

"Are you going to clean that up?" he wondered dryly.

A flush crept to her cheeks. "Yes, yes, of course!" she exclaimed and bent low to begin pushing the refuse back into the bin. She was the live-in House Keeper after all! What on Earth was she doing just staring at the garbage?

After he shut the kitchen door and drank his glass of milk, Kyo shambled back up the stairs to begin preparing for school. Yuki could laze about in early morning stupor all he wanted, but Kyo was most certainly not letting Tohru do all the work around here!

Outside it was a dry, biting day. The weatherman's cheery voice pouring from the radio speakers said it would be 2˚C, at the most, once the sun was all the way up.

Not the warmest of weather, but Tohru simply bundled her two friends up in coats before they set out for on the short trek to their High School.

The forest that their home sat in was long since devoid of leaves on the branches. The wind made the brittle limbs rustle raucously.

It was just background noise in the face of Tohru's voice. Conversation was never scarce with her around.

"I can't believe our English projects are due in only two days," she cried softly, pushing up her shoulders to keep some of the cold air off her already rosy cheeks.

"Have you started yet, Miss Honda?" Yuki inquired. It had taken being dragged out of the warm confines of his bedroll, but he was awake now.

"No, I've been so busy with work and other things," Tohru confessed, her large, brown, doe eyes tearing up with disappointment in herself and frustration.

Yuki met her gaze and smiled, "I am already done, I would be happy to help you."

Kyo kept his peace. His orange hair bristling with the indignation of someone who believes himself slighted. Entirely unreasonable as he hasn't even finished his own English assignment. Why would anyone want to write a paper of censorship anyways?

"Oh, no, Yuki!" the girl protested, blushing scarlet and clapping her hands to her cheeks in an attempt to hide herself. "You're so busy! With Student Council and your own work! I was going to work on it this morning after I made breakfast but there was this dog and it was eating all the trash!"

A strange look passed over Yuki's usually cucumber cool features. He had no idea about the dog and decided that this was one of those moments where he didn't need to ask. Tohru rambled on at times.

They neared the school and split apart after bidding their goodbyes. Tohru had to find her best friends, Uotani and Hanajima. Yuki had a new Student Council to wrangle and Kyo simply preferred to be alone.

His classmates nixed his plan when they commandeered him for a game of kickball. He was the most athletic in the class next to Yuki, mockingly called the Prince because he was good at everything: studies, sports, charm, and good looks.

Automatically the rival of every boy in school, though he never wanted to be. He could hide his intelligence and fitness, but never his looks. He had existential beauty: a thin face, large gray eyes, and soft silvery hair to frame it all. All a direct result of his Curse.

When Yuki got to the Student Council room he found it empty. Typical, he snorted in disgust. He set his folder of documents on a nearby desk and moved to the window to watch and wait.

He could see Kimi babbling away with a group of friends, Kakeru was playing kickball with the other boys and there was no sign of Sakuragi or Machi.

Yuki watched Kakeru throw his hands up when he failed to tag Kyo out. It seemed that another family member was down there…if the spiky white and black hair was any sign, it was Hatsuharu. Momiji, sat at the sideline cheering enthusiastically.

Yuki would have to have a word with Kakeru later. Either he didn't show up for the meetings or he slept through them…

The door slid open and Machi Kuragi and Naoto Sakuragi appeared. Both of who seemed slightly abashed to arrive after him.

"Shall we get started then?" Their leader forced a smile on his face.

xxxxx

It had admittedly been a long trip. He'd made his way here by sea, walking along the bottom, leaving a trail of chaos and blight in his wake. He was grateful to finally immerge on Japan's smooth beaches.

He smiled at those who stared and rained shadows down upon them.

He marched up the beaches, leaving deep footprints in the sand. The man made his way to the roads with no other plans but to follow them to where they led.

He'd been here once, long before.

He smiled broadly, showing all of his perfectly white teeth.

A visit was long overdue.

xxxxx

The bell rang for school and students flooded to the locker room. The Holiday Break was only a few more weeks away and excitement flowed like wine making them fuzzy headed and time slow as if to spite them. The countdown was on 9 more days.

Happy, adolescent voices echoed over the clang of lockers and the scuffle of shoes.

"Let's go Christmas shopping, okay?"

"Finals! Finals are in only two weeks! We have to study hard!"

"I saw this awesome new game! Come check it out with me?"

"I don't know what gift to get for Junko! Come over for dinner and help me think?"

"Come over for dinner, okay, Hatsuharu, Momiji?" Tohru requested with a grin. The two cousins looked at each other thoughtfully.

"I most definitely cannot pass up a free meal." Though they were both 16, Haru was the taller of the two by nearly a foot.

Little Momiji looked near to tears. "I have violin lessons today! But I'll cancel it for you, Tohru?"

"Oh, no, Momiji," Tohru soothed him, crouching down beside the distraught teenager and petting his mop of hair. "You go to practice. We'll miss you, but there will be other chances and you love violin." Momiji sniffled like a child, mere inches from flat out bawling.

He was still crying and Tohru was near tears as well when they finally parted ways.

Despite the chill air of the late afternoon, their party stayed carefully spread out.

Kyo still hating Yuki and Yuki still hating Kyo. Haru loved to tease Yuki, but the other boy found it quite creepy and kept his distance. Kyo thought it was obnoxious and wanted to beat Haru down for being a perverted brat.

Tohru chuckled at their behaviour and they all cast her a confused look. Of course her amusement was infectious and they were at least smiling when they got back to their secluded home in the woods.

The actual owner of the house bounded from his study to relay a message to Tohru. Her grandfather had asked to see her again…Tohru gasped and rushed up the stairs to call her Aunt who lived with him.

Grandpa was still bedridden after a back injury that had long since healed. He was old and ill and,

"Of course! I'll come right away!" she said, a bit too loudly, and then hung up the telephone in haste. She rushed to her bedroom, sloppily changing into her street clothes, and then running down the stairs to where her shoes waited. "I'm so sorry, Grandpa needs me! I have to go…Oh, I could make dinner before I go and…"

"I can make dinner," Kyo chimed in solemnly. He was an amazing cook, but he despised all chores that were even remotely domestic. His cousin's looked at him in surprise, but declined to comment.

"Will you be needing someone to walk home with you, Miss Honda?" Yuki asked her gently.

"Oh, no…no, that's too much trouble!" she tried to wave it off, fumbling helplessly with her shoelaces.

"It will be late, Tohru," Shigure protested under the guise of a concerned adult but only gullible, naïve Tohru was fooled. "You should allow at least one of us to come get you."

His teenage relatives turned dry stares on him. She needed an escort for protection and Shigure, with his penchant for schoolgirls, was more likely to accost her than anyone else.

"I will," Yuki stated simply. Kyo growled, but decided against protesting. It was a precedent. Yuki usually walked Tohru home from work, why not now as well? Well…that didn't mean Kyo had to like it, dammit!

The redhead stomped towards the kitchen to begin making the night's meal. He called a very terse, "See ya," over his shoulder.

Tohru obviously wouldn't be working on her English project tonight…

For dinner that night, as any self-respecting feline would, Kyo made his favorite seafood dish. Definitely revenge on Yuki, who often found the smell of salmon overwhelming.

Shigure came to the dinner table with a bloody face. His adolescent housemate had punched him in the kitchen when he'd quite innocently, and playfully groped him. He often took such jokes too far and no one particularly appreciated it. Aside from one of his best friends, Ayame, who tended to take jokes even further.

"What about the dog this morning?" Yuki inquired, wrinkling his nose in distaste and picking around the smelly fish. Kyo sent the question to the resident adult with a look somewhat similar to a thrown knife.

"It wasn't me, Kyo," Shigure whined.

"Who else could it have been?" Haru wondered around a mouthful of food.

"The door could have been left open," the man pointed out.

"And who would have done that?" the Prince rolled his eyes.

Shigure frowned, appearing stumped as to how to defend himself, before he fell back on the oldest trick in the book.

"You have such little faith in me! How cruel, how horrible!"

"Exactly," the teenagers chimed.

"Even if you are our elder," Haru added before Shigure even had a chance to say it.

Shigure laid the dramatics on thick for the rest of the night, sighing and whining. He was ignored by the other three entirely. When they'd all finished eating, Kyo announced he was definitely not doing the dishes. It was unanimously agreed that it should be Shigure's chore. The man bitched and moaned a bit more, but Yuki went to get his coat and get Tohru, while Kyo went upstairs to take a bath. Haru told the man tough luck and followed Kyo up the stairs.

xxxxx

She found her way to a nice hotel and checked in.

Larissa Meyers in room 216, one queen sized bed and an order for tea brought up to the room.

The lady, the concierge mused, spoke very fluent Japanese. He had honestly been surprised. When a woman with short, curly, hair and large, blue eyes comes in, one assumes she is not Japanese.

She asked simply for a room for one with a large bed and said she was not sure how long she would be staying, but would pay for three-days in advance.

Her tea was delivered up to her room promptly. She dragged an armchair over to the window and settled into it with her tea. Simply watching the bustle that was Tokyo before she had to go out in a few hours…

For now she could only wait, but soon there would be no time.

xxxxx

Haru followed his older cousin into the bathroom. Kyo ignored him for the most part, locking the door and beginning the water. As the tub filled, he began to remove his clothes. Haru leaned back against the door and watched, not saying a word.

When Kyo's tanned body slipped out of sight into the water, Haru began to pull off his clothes. When exposed his body was white, a polar opposite for Kyo's bronze. He climbed into the tub beside Kyo and pulled the redhead close to him. The other teenage settled back against him, their skin sliding pleasantly. Kyo let his head fall back to his cousin's shoulder with a sigh.

"Remind me why you're here again?" Kyo mumbled.

"Same reason as last time, Kyo," Haru rumbled in his ear.

"You haven't made up with Rin?"

"You haven't confessed to Tohru," the younger boy shot back, and then nibbled tenderly on the carrottop's neck. Kyo arched like a cat being scratched. He never started out comfortable with Haru, but the kid was experienced, suspiciously so and as soon as he began to touch him reason flew out the window.

They shouldn't have been doing what they were. They were family, as diluted as the blood was by time and the immense size of their clan. They were both males, although neither of them particularly homophobic, the rest of the world had to be taken into account. Then there was Akito. Akito wanted them for himself, didn't want them sharing with each other. Didn't want them touched by anyone.

The pressure was too much for two lonely teenage boys who both faced trials beyond that of normal adolescence.

Their Curse kept them far from the comforting arms of the women they desired.

Haru loved Rin, but if Akito knew he would probably kill her. Rin withdrew from him to protect him, intent on stopping the Curse.

Kyo loved Tohru, but if he entered the warm circle of her embrace…he transformed into an orange cat.

Both boys were cast out by the outside world, but Kyo was forsaken, even within the ranks of the Cursed; an outsider even to the Zodiac and the God. Led to believe no one would care until Tohru came. Even then he couldn't have her. Haru took her place, drew Kyo in close to him while he was separated from his own heart's dear.

Haru splayed his hands over the Cat's chest, stroking wet flesh until the older was squirming.

"H-haru…stop?"

The boy possessed of the Ox stilled, reluctant and disappointed when Kyo pulled away to turn the taps off. Then the redhead twisted, looking at him with his peculiar eyes, he was on his knees, hands balanced at his gravity's center. He was just staring and Haru raised one snow-white eyebrow in invitation.

"Like what you see? Then get over here."

Kyo scowled back at him dangerously. "I don't like how we use each other."

"It isn't using," Haru whispered, leaning forward to take the other in his arms. "We both agree that we're helping each others."

"Your definition of helping each other is you jerking me off," the Feline hissed in his ear.

"I don't do anything you don't want me to," the younger fellow replied calmly. "I don't do anything you can't handle."

"What do you get out of this?" Kyo demanded, jerking back from him, sloshing water, he was getting cold sitting up out of the water like this.

"The satisfaction of helping you?" Haru suggested.

"I don't need you to feel bad for me!" Kyo was not looking for any fucking charity!

"Is that what I said?"

The redhead held perfectly still then leaned forward once more, pressing his lips tentatively to the Ox's.

"I'm not a child, I don't need to be taken care of I just want to be cared for," he murmured.

"Isn't that what I do?" Haru wondered, flicking his tongue over the other's lower lip.

"Don't you want the same thing?"

"Kyo, are you asking me to have sex with you?"

They kept themselves liplocked neither of them willing to look the other in the eye during this strange conversation.

"I don't want to use people, I want you to get the same things I do," the Cat clarified.

"You can't use the willing,"

"You can't rape them either," Kyo didn't know how he could make it any clearer. He wanted Haru. He wanted Haru to touch him; he wanted to touch Haru. He wanted to kiss Haru because he cared about him. It was different from how he felt for Tohru. He didn't love Haru and Haru didn't love him, but he could still have Haru if he wanted, he would still be hurt if Haru betrayed him. He could push Haru up against the edge of the tub and rub up against him if he so chose.

The ability to choose was possibly the most arousing part of the whole scenario.

Haru paused to consider what Kyo was saying very seriously, then grabbed the lithe body and dragged it to him.

"That is a very tempting offer," he said, licking a slow line up the tepid flesh of Kyo's neck. The redhead squirmed ignominiously in his cousin's lap. His desire for the Bovine had been building with their time together. The kinder Haru was, the more Kyo felt himself burn to repay the favor; to worm his way into the sanctuary of the younger teen's arms.

Haru groaned, his kindheartedness paling in comparison to his lust.

"The others are out…" Kyo whispered, enticing him.

"Don't freak out if you bleed," Haru growled low in his throat.

xxxxx

As the sun went down, he continued to walk down the road. Small Japanese cars full of small Japanese people continued to zoom past him. Not a one stopped to offer him a ride into the city.

Several swerved off the highway and burst into flames under the watch of his dark eyes, set to a slant in his round face. The flames flickered and danced off his olive skin.

The bright lights of the city were finally beginning to peak out over the country hills. He would be able to catch a train soon.

Tokyo was waiting.

xxxxx

With the setting of the sun, the temperature only decreased. It was to be expected in December, but Yuki still found himself grumbling about it within the confines of his head.

Of course, he could never complain about going to get Tohru. Just the weather, which was currently making it so that he wasn't sure if his toes were still present in his shoes. He kept plodding along down the street, so apparently they had not just disappeared off the face of the planet.

He blew out a shuddering train of breath and tried to cover his entire face with the collar of his coat. He failed miserably and looked a bit ridiculous, but he didn't care at the moment. He was alone out on the street, no one could see him.

The boy who held the spirit of the Rat inside his small body passed under a street lamp and paused. He looked up at the sky…a few gauzy clouds hung over the moon and stars…Dark clouds. He hoped it would snow. That would make Tohru happy. He let himself smile, something that had always been rare with him but since Miss Honda's introduction to his life the rarity had been decreasing.

He felt a thrill shoot through him and he took off at a run. Nothing particularly fast as to aggravate his asthma, just to speed up his heart rate and warm his veins.

He came to a stop before the small house and huffed for breath as he went to ring the bell. Tohru's aunt opened the door to find the beautiful boy standing there, rosy cheeked and expectant.

"I came to pick up Miss Honda," he said softly, bowing slightly, taught to have good manners. "If you would please be so kind as to tell her I am here?"

"Tohru," the woman called, with a bit less disdainful than usual. "Someone is here to get you!"

The scrambling and crashing left no question as to whether or not Tohru had heard. The brunette appeared in the door eyes wide as she frantically tried to get coat and shoes on in record time.

"Oh, Yuki, you didn't have to come!" she repeated several times as she flailed with the zipper of her jacket. The Rodent waited silently on the stoop for her, a small smile painted on his face.

At last she conquered her coat, ran back inside to say goodbye to her grandfather then returned, still blushing furiously.

"How is he?" her taller friend inquired gently.

A frown pursed her lips, a disturbing look on her face. "He's very tired."

Yuki took a deep breath, unsure of how to comfort her, so he simply continued on at her side silently for a little while. "Tomorrow, in the morning, we should work on your English project."

"Oh no!" she gasped, "I forgot about it again…now I only have one day to do it…"

"I think if we talk with Ms. Shiraki she will give you a bit more time," Yuki suggested.

"No, no, I forgot! I should get it done in the same time as everyone else," Tohru shook her head vehemently.

"I will still help you anyway, Miss Honda," the young man chuckled. A snowflake dropped unceremoniously onto his nose and he stopped mid-chortle. He and Tohru stopped in the circle of light from a streetlamp, tilting their heads back to look at the sky.

"Oh! How lovely! Yuki…it's snowing…" she breathed out happily. Clouds of condensation came from her mouth, and her cheeks turned red with pleasure. She looked at him, brown eyes sparkling delightedly. He grinned back at her, unable to help himself.

The stomp of feet broke the spell that had been cast. They turned to look down the street. A woman was running towards them and slamming right into Yuki, embracing him tightly. Tohru made a surprised sound and hurried to try and diffuse the situation. Yuki was already transforming in the woman's arms!

Yuki squeaked in mousy surprise. When the dust that accompanied his transformation had cleared he was sitting in someone's hands, staring up into a pair of large sparkling blue eyes; full lips quirked in amusement.

"Excuse me," the lady said politely, offering the Rat over to Tohru who was completely flabbergasted. Once the girl took back possession of her friend, the woman bent down to gather up the teenage boy's fallen clothes. She folded them neatly and hung them over Tohru's arm. "My apologies," the strange woman said brightly then walked away, leaving Tohru standing in the snow still stunned.

"Miss Honda?" Yuki asked worriedly. When she made no response he repeated himself. "Miss Honda?"

"Oh! Yes! Yuki! Are you all right!" she asked, her features drawn with anxiety.

"I am fine, but I do not know how long I will stay transformed, can you hurry home?" He hated to ask her to run or anything like that, as she was a horrible athlete, but what else could he do? If he changed back outdoors he would be naked in the snow!

"Yes! I will run my hardest!" Tohru declared, then steadied Yuki in her hands and took off through the snow. Her breath puffing in time with the crunch, crunch of snow beneath her boots.

As she ran Yuki thought about what he would do. Someone had seen him transform. When Cursed children were young that was one of the first things they were warned about. Never, ever, let anyone see you transform. That foreigner though…she hadn't seemed surprised. That seemed to be the reaction she was looking for…what she was testing for. Yet, she'd seemed a little disappointed as she walked away, as if he wasn't the one she was looking for.

Yuki should tell Akito, but he was loath to do so. The family head was unpredictable, insane at best; there was no telling what that news would bring.

The Rodent concluded that he would get Shigure's advice in the morning.

xxxxx

Wild. Everything around him felt wild. He felt wild. His blood thundered in his veins. The smell of wild orchids assaulted his nose, making his eyes water…He wanted to run…to fly. To cast aside any illusions of being human and just take to the skies.

He felt his flesh unravel. Scales, horns, whiskers, talons, tail. All felt so natural as if they'd always been. He was rising up to the dark grayish blue of the nighttime sky. The moon was hidden behind light barely lingering wisps of cloud.

Up here the smell of flowers was even stronger. It made his chest ache and his throat tighten. He pressed on faster, clawing the air to fly faster. To escape the scent, overpower it with a rush of cold air up his nose.

As he struggled, the smell did began to dissipate…and on the horizon rose a red star, brilliant and shining, different from the others, not truly planet or star. It pulsed and his blood coursed to answer.

He was falling from the sky…he pushed forward, trying to get there to that magnificent point in the sky…but he was enveloped by that smell again…heat stifled him and he was hard pressed to draw breath…

xxxxx

Hatori awoke with a start. He didn't remember falling asleep…His hand was still clutched around a pen and he sat at the chair behind his desk. He must have dozed off and been awoken by the ringing of the telephone. He hurried to his feet, regretting it as his body protested, leaving him momentarily lightheaded. It was terrifyingly reminiscent of the dream he could now barely remember. He reached the phone on the third ring, praying they wouldn't hang up.

"Hello? Hatori Sohma."

"Tori?" It was Hatsuharu. "Are you alright, you sound ragged?"

"I am all right, what do you need?" the doctor, who cradled a Dragon within his soul, pressed. He hoped to return to sleep soon.

"I stayed a bit too long at Shigure's house and I need a ride home. "

Hatori looked for the clock. It was 10:00 already? How long had he dozed off? "A bit too long, indeed."

"I could stay here for the night, but my clothes are back at the Compound—"

"I will come get you," the man interrupted his younger cousin. Hatsuharu thanked him and they placed their phones back in their cradles.

A grating yawn worked its way from Tori's mouth and he rubbed the last of his nap from his eyes before going in search of his keys.

Why hadn't Shigure, his best friend, made note of what time it was for the Ox and saved the poor doctor some trouble? Hatori wasn't even sure why he bothered to ask. The answer was simple Shigure was a dog: a carefree, irresponsible, mutt.

Hatori made an irritated noise as he slipped his shoes on at the door then draped a coat over his shoulders. He noted, as he made his way to the car, that it had started to snow while he slept.

He drove through the quiet—empty but for snow—streets, and his mind was much in the same state. He hoped he would be able to fall back asleep after dropping Haru off at his own home.

Hatori felt a peculiar itch in his skin. Not a physical one, it was a restlessness that penetrated his body, but not the depths of his mind, which remained inconspicuously blank.

The snowflakes fell onto the windshield of his car and melted almost immediately from the blasts of warm air that came from the vents. Hatori almost wanted to turn it off. A completely arbitrary whim…almost as if he would be preserving the little droplets of ice's lives, silly as that sounded.

He couldn't even find it in the blank chalkboard of his mind to hum a toneless song as he drove…After seeing no one in the streets, he finally came to the turn into the weald that led to Shigure's secluded home.

He navigated the dark twists of the narrow road and at last came upon the house. Most of the lights were out, so he decided against honking the horn for Hatsuharu. Instead he forsook the warmth of his car and got out to rap gently on the wooden door.

Much to the Dragon's surprise, Shigure answered the, looking wide-awake despite the late hour.

"My dear friend, Hatori," he crooned in his teasing, lilting, voice. "What a pleasant surprise."

"I am here to pick up Hatsuharu, is he ready to go?" Tori replied flatly.

"I'm coming!" the teenager called from the living room where he was lacing up his boots. He appeared behind the Dog a moment later, ready to go.

"Hatori, you never come just to visit me anymore," Shigure whined, clutching at his sleeve as if that would make the doctor stay. Quite the contrary, the taller man drew his arm away, green eyes flashing with disgust.

"Goodnight, Shigure," he said coldly. He often wondered why Shigure and even worse the last third of their trio, Ayame, were his friends when they were such immature morons. He and Haru got into the car and drove away.

"I'm sorry it's so late," Haru murmured, sounding only a little bit apologetic.

"What kept you so late?" Hatori questioned.

The Ox was quiet for a moment, an obscene grin on his face. "Nothing in particular," he decided, face sobering quickly.

The man cast the boy a suspicious look, but decided he had no interest in what debauchery Haru had been up to this time. The ox was not the best behaved of kids. Just looking at him one could tell. He had wild hair, piercings, collars, and cuffs.

The rest of their drive home was in silence, though this one not nearly as peaceful as before. Hatori wanted to open the windows and let the chill in. He wanted to feel the little flecks of ice against his face.

They made it back to the Sohma family compound without any trouble. Hatori dropped the teen off at his home, and then went back to his own humble abode.

After he parked his car…he walked slowly towards the front door. He simply stopped about halfway there. He held out his hands and let the snowflakes fall there. He watched them melt into miserable little dots of moisture.

He tried to feel sentimental. About Kana and the snow…but he simply felt restless. His skin felt hot despite the fact that it was December and he was standing in the snow.

Maybe that was a good sign. Maybe he was finally moving on. Letting the past be the past and accepting that no matter how much he loved Kana, circumstances had gotten in the way. He could be happy with his new life, just like she was.


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