Aki- This didn't really come out the way I imagined…Anyway, this is in Hatsuharu's POV. Um, this is my first Furuba fic, but I've been in love with the manga for ages.


Protector

I don't know how I became the 'protector' of the group. The protector of us, the younger group of the Zodiac. But that is what I am, and I am proud of it.

It's not like I am the strongest. I have yet beat Kyo in a fight, and Kyo has yet to defeat Yuki. No, I'm not the strongest.

I am not that smart either. I'm not stupid, no, I tried most of my younger life trying to prove that I wasn't the stupid, dumb ox. But I am rather aloof, I'll admit it. But it helps me to see things others don't. Like Yuki when he is out of it, or when Kisa is too quiet, or how stupid both Yuki and Kyo are because they don't realize they are in love with Honda-san.

I am not particularly brave or outgoing or strong. I am not a selfless giver, Momiji has that part covered pretty well already. But I am a protector, that is what I am.

It's not like I am uncrippled emotionally either. Sure Yuki has to face his memories of Akito's torture, and Momiji was rejected by his mother, and Kyo has his own anger issues, and Kisa has self-esteem problems, and Hiro can't stop being sarcastic to save his life, and Rin doesn't know why she hurts others by being brutally honest… and I have a split personality, one of which isn't very kind. But they have problems, and that's why I want to help them.

I guess I am the only one who sees all of this, the only one who understands all the little things that are happening to them, to us.

I saw how Yuki was treated by Akito and I see how the memories still haunt him now. He didn't speak. And I was the only one around to hear the silence. He was the first person I protected. He's happier now, every now and then I see him smile. He's better, but he's not completely fixed. You can see it reflected in his eyes when the memories of Akito's torments, of his mother's bitterness, of his brother's abandonment…

Kisa is similar. She stopped talking also, and again, I hear the silence. She's so nervous, so shy, so timid. So easily broken by the taunts of her classmates. Shattered… Like Yuki had been. Kisa's mother come crying to my room in the main house when she went missing. I ran out into the rain with even a jacket to find her, a little tiger hiding in bushes by the sidewalk. I saved her…

Others might not realize it, but Momiji need protection too. He is so child-like, innocent, care-free, or at least he appears so. He is not so safe from the taunts of others. Even though he is the same age as me, I cannot help but see him as younger.

Most people would not define how I treat Kyo as protection or kind in any way. But it is all part of a plan. He needs someone to vent his frustration about life on other than himself and Yuki. It's not healthy. I'm just giving him a reason to relieve some nervous energy.

And then there is Hiro. I'm not quite sure what happened to him to make him as sarcastic as he is. However, I have been around enough of us, the Zodiac, to know that it must be a defense mechanism. His real problem is how he hurts others with it. I'm fine, but Kisa isn't, and neither is Honda-san. She takes what he says to seriously, that's why I tell him to cool it. He doesn't realize it himself, he is still too young. The funny thing is I'm young too. I don't feel young. I feel I have seen too much to be considered young. Maybe it's the curse, we aren't normal like others. Not that I am anywhere in touch with what normal is.

I don't know how to protect Rin. She is too fiercely independent. That's the horse in her. I want to protect her, but she wouldn't let me. Sometimes I get the feelings she is trying to protect me.

But I don't need to be protected.

I don't say that because I am proud, or disillusioned, or hopeful, or hopeless, or because I am dumb. I say it because when I look around, I have it easier then everyone else.

I am not busy protecting Honda-san or myself.

I say it because I do not have to fear as much as they do. I was not rejected by my family. I overcome my insecurities. I am not haunted by what the future holds for me. I know what it is like to be in love.

So I became the protector. They don't realize it, but I don't need them to. In fact, I don't want them to.

Yeah, sure maybe I have split personalities and I explode every now and then. But comparatively, I think I've got it good.