Under sheets of perfect
lie the thorns of destruction
the scars that mar his flesh
Pale smooth skin
peeled back in exhaustion
Tiny crimson rivulets bubble forth
To the surface
they rise, defying gravity
consumes him and he can breathe once more
in calm and peace
he'll continue to hide his flaws
to appease others
His silent desperate
Yuki Sohma harbored but one weakness. However, to others, he seemed to be epitomized perfection, absolute equity. An 8th World Wonder that could not (and would not) crumble. Unlike a puzzle, Yuki Sohma was deemed unbreakable.
"Ah! You will surely make a good wife someday!" commented a vaguely somnolent Shigure (he had just woken a few minutes prior). Yuki and Kyo turned to glare at the novelist, both picked up an the ambiguous undertones of the dog's compliment. Yuki narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
"Yes," Yuki agreed after taking a few generous bites (he savored the decadent flavors of salmon sashimi). "Your cooking, as always, is wonderful, Honda-san." Tohru grinned in delight, her features softened as a faint blush appeared on her cheeks. She had truly worked very hard on this dinner. To celebrate the end of the second semester, Tohru had prepared an elegant (but timely) sushi and sashimi dish.
"Thank you, Yuki kun...Shigure-san..." Tohru did not notice Shigure's obvious innuendo.
They continued their meal; the only noises heard, was that of the Sohma's dining.
Suddenly, Kyou stood; his knee cracked loudly on the table in his rush. Kyou frowned slightly, only just realing his error.
"Yeah, dinner was good," he said crossly, before stalking angrily from the room.
Tohru merely smiled warmly as she watched Kyou stomp off; she was so happy they had enjoyed her meal - even Kyou (who commended the sushi to the best of his ability).
For as long as he could remember, Yuki abhorred small enclosed spaces. Most of the blame rested heavily on Akito, but nevertheless, Yuki couldn't bear the thought of a dimly lit room - especially one without an exit. Unless absolutely necessary, he would not close a door...window seats were also quite appealing.
"Yuki-kun?" The sound of Shigure's prodding shook Yuki from his thoughts.
Shigure peered at Yuki from behind a large newspaper. Apparently, everyone had already finished dinner. Oh well, he hadn't been very hungry, anyway. "Aren't you going to help our little flower with the dishes?" He implored cautiously - yet a hint of sexual tension was apparent in the dog's tone.
Yuki blinked, his violet irises clouded in slight confusion. Within moments, he stood and headed towards the kitchen, his half-finished plate in hand. Shigure returned his attention to the newspaper, none the wiser.
Tohru was bent over the trash can, scraping the plates, when Yuki entered. She paused to give the other a bright smile and then continued with renewed fervor.
"Would you like some help, Honda-san?"
Yuki never closed a door without great motive. That fact was a well known truism.
Only in one instance - one lesser noted instance - did Yuki close his bedroom door. His breathing became irregular at such moments, the darkness all-consuming. And that was when the horrible act took place. Only in the sealed off airless room could Yuki treat his illness.
Without waiting for an affirmative, he headed towards the sink (which was already filled to the brim with warm soapy water). Yuki quickly thrust his sleeve clad arms into the water - an attempt to divert Tohru's worried gaze. Even Yuki realized he had not acted in his normal expected manner...he just didn't have the extra stamina to appear content.
The dishes clinked noisily in the small sink as Yuki hurriedly scrubbed each utensil (with lax care). He dropped another handful of used silverware into the watery depths, before submerging his arms once more. The dirty dishes rapidly disappeared, as the pile of clean dishes raised as if wishing to embrace the heavens).
Tohru stealthily observed the unusually solemn Yuki. A concerned frown tainted her cheerful demeanor. Other nights, Yuki had actively joined in (or started) a conversation; why was he so listless recently?
A chilled quiet hung thick in the air, save for an occasional clanging of a plate or two. Tohru cleared the last of the food remains and handed Yuki the final plate. She occupied herself with tidying the kitchen appliances; Tohru detested a cluttered cooking area - a simple pet peeve.
"...Those two people are really strange, and probably wouldn't lose to the twelve zodiacs in that aspect." Yuki grinned wryly as he recounted his day. Tohru voiced a shy confirmation, but her focus was on Yuki's bare arms - not his remark. Tiny white scars littered his arms, practically from shoulders to wrists.
She assumed - at that point - the faded scars had been earned in various scraps with Kyou.
"As their student council president, I'll probably have my work cut out for me," continued Yuki, oblivious to Tohru's lingering gaze.
She smiled, her face beamed with good humor. She responded, all thoughts about the suspicious marks forgotten.
Her throat suddenly felt paper dry; she turned towards Yuki. Tears sprang to her eyes and she just watched as he organize the remaing bowls. She wanted desperately to laugh at Yuki's befuddled actions (somehow, he had managed to fit every remaining dish onto the old fashioned rack).
Yuki held a fierce staring contest with the last two bowls; he had no idea where to put them. The dish drainer was not an option. One spoon, much less two bowls, could cause an impending avalanche. So, Yuki remained still, erect in contemplation.
He took no notice to the mess he was creating. Water dripped relentlessly to the floor; his sleeves drooped slightly from fatigue. Tohru glanced quickly at the other's water stained sleeves; she cleared her throat and Yuki turned to meet her questioning gaze.
Yuki-kun, your sleeves...they're soaked..."
If possible, the stillness returned ten-fold. Yuki gripped the edges of the bowls tightly, his knuckles turned a ghastly white in strain. Yuki smiled softly; Tohru instantly remembered the look he had worn on the first day they had met. His features were cold - distant and aloof.
"It's not a problem..." Yuki trailed off, realizing how tenuous his response sounded.
"But, Yuki-kun!" Tohru protested rather forcefully. A solitary tear slipped from her impressive brown eyes. Grief was clearly evident upon her tears stained face.
A resonating crash started the two; Yuki's hands went limp. The small bowls fell from his grasp and rolled out of sight.
Yuki narrowed his violet eyes in defiant conviction. His mannerisms reflected perfect control, but the minute tremble in his voice told otherwise. "I...I...Please..."
He stammered slightly, cleared his throat, and tried once more to formulate a coherent explanation. Yuki bowed his head in a submissive gesture, his eyes followed the intricate designs on each individal tile.
"Honda-san, it's just..." He swallowed hard, forcing air into his deprived lungs. Violet eyes shimmered with unnoticed tears; fists clenched tightly at his sides. His body went limp with exhaustion.
"I'm sorry!" his voice cracked sharply - unintentionally.
"What did I tell you?" A harsh voice broke the uncomfortable silence. The room filled with light and a very small Yuki turned towards the figure in the doorway. Childish hope brought a relieved smile to his face. Little Yuki's heart swelled with futile confidence.
Akito, his savior and punisher, leaned against the doorway, a mean-spirited smirk graced the God's lips as he watched Yuki's eyes shimmer with thought's of freedom.
"Apparently," began Akito coldly. "It matters not.
"Again, you believe that my presence ensures your immediate liberty. I will not allow my rat to be servant to such beliefs." Fathomless eyes stared, unmoving, directly at the boy only 3 years Akito's junior.
The door slid shut and closed with an audible "click".
Yuki was left in the pitch black room. He blinked back a few stray tears. Emotions were a weakness...Sohma men, especially those of the zodiac, were forbidden to shed tears. Akito-san disliked such frivolous behavior.
The rat always had to remain in control, even as a young child.
Tohru watched the unsettling scene unravel, almost sickened. Yuki turned away, hiding his anguish. He countenance slumped, the calm facade shattered completely. Infinite despair marred his every feature. Yuki's shoulders trembled slightly in rebellion.
A soft gasp tore her from her sorrowful thoughts. Finally, Yuki's knees buckled. The tired muscles refused to hold his weight and Yuki slumped, broken and thwarted, to the tiled floor. Another sob escaped; Tohru instantly rushed to his side.
She kneeled in front of her fallen friend and stroked his soft hair - a pointless attempt to console him.
"Honda-san," Yuki started. One last effort to regain his composure, it was sure to fail. "You needn't worry; I'm fine".
This time, Yuki couldn't muster a cheerful grin. Tohru smiled a sad smile. A few tears slipped down her own cheeks. A nervous chuckle.
"No. No, Yuki-kun, You're not."
Darkness overwhelmed him, every fiber of his being shivered. The door had been closed and locked. Once again, he could not make an escape. Yuki curled into a ball; his voice was cut of in paralyzed fear.
Suddenly, his throat constricted. Yuki inhaled deeply, but no air came forth. A pale hand reached up to clench his chest, his heart hammered painfully.
It had been almost a year since his last attack. Damn bronchi, thought Yuki, as his world descended in a curtain of nothingness. Useless damn bronchi... Through the black haze, Yuki vaguely realized that Tohru was screaming, crying, yelling, for help. If only he had a blade.
Yuki lifted his right hand, flexed slightly, and lowered the blade in strategic fury. He cut. Over and over, he slashed vertical lines. A sanguine beauty.
Red beads bubbled to the surface. Pale skin fell victim to blood. Small ethereal river dribbled down his hand, his fingers, his arm...It all depended upon the flick of his wrist. Yuki stared dazedly, a bit clueless, at the bloodied mess. It had been far too long.
Now, he could breathe.
His head hurt. The pain immediately woke him from his unconscious state. For the first few minutes, Yuki remained still; he kept his eyes closed. Through his closed lids, his eyes ached from the garish light.
Aggravation and curiosity persuaded Yuki to open his eyes. Suddenly, an obnoxious noise.
He quickly placed a hand to his head, anything to quell the throbbing headache.
"Momiji?" Yuki murmed, noticing vibrant blonde hair (not a common occurrence in Japan). A feeling of impending dread welled and knotted in his stomach. He could not fathom as to why Momiji was in his room.
Before Yuki could vocalize his thought, Momiji had turned away and left the room.
Alone, again. Akito had left him in "his" room.
Yuki jumped a bit, as various members of the Sohma family entered his room. Momiji led the group (which consisted of: Kyou, Hatsuharu, Shigure, Ayame, Hatori). The door was closed and Yuki felt his heart race.
Hatori spoke first
He perched a chair next to Yuki's bed and situated himself upon the chair. In a strictly professional diction, Hatori asked, "Yuki, you skipped our last check up. Aside from this attack, you have not been afflicted - correct?"
Yuki nodded, but did not expound. He said nothing of the times he had prevented and halted the attacks. No one knew they were, in fact, becoming more severe.
Hatori merely raise an inquisitive brow, then continued.
"And, how is your arm?" He questioned in an abnormally gentle tone. Yuki choked.
Suddenly, Yuki realized that he lacked a very important article of clothing. Namely, his shirt. Every scar, scratch, cut, gash, and laceration was revealed for all to view.
And they did; each individual stared at the macabre canvas that Yuki's flesh had become.
It seemed Yuki generally mutilated his upper arms. Ironically, the newest marks encircled his left wrist in angry red slashes. Only a few took note of the faint scars on his forearms - How long had this been going on?
A silence filled the room. All the members could distinctly hear quiet footsteps patter up the staircase.
The door slid open and Yuki breathed deeply. Tohru poked her head into the cluttered room. Yuki smiled softly - a wordless invitation.
Tohru quickly crossed the room and kneeled next to the bed; Momiji followed suit. She placed her hand upon his. Although soft, her next words broke through Yuki's confusion.
"Yuki-kun, whatever I did to make you...I mean, I'm sorry if I did something bad? Wrong?"
The pause lengthened; Yuki did nothing as Tohru lowered her head and began to cry.
"No! Honda-san, this is not your fault! I could never blame you!" He mouthed, but no sound uttered. The room remained suspended in dumbness. No one dared move, much less speak. Time had stopped.
A snort broke the stillness. Time moved forward. All turned to the culprit, who merely shrugged his shoulders and walked out of the room. That damn cat...
"Yuki," Hatori commanded, the group's attention focused on him and his disgusting filthy secret once more.
"My rat, you are truly a perfect being. So smart and clever. Quite the cunning one, as well." Akito stood mere inches from Yuki, their noses almost touching. "That is why I brought you here. You must accept punishment to be granted the reward!
"And what is your reward, my rat?" Yuki felt Akito's warm breath on his neck; he shivered.
"...My namesake...the perfect rat."
Now it was over; his secret exposed. Akito would not be pleased by this news. The perfect rat was not perfect. He had never been perfect and now Akito would surely know.
"My perfect rat."
Yuki balled his hands into tight fists as tears threatened him for the second time. He was a Sohma, one of the zodiac and the rat. He could not cry. He was not allowed to cry. The rat was - and is - perfect.
"My perfect rat."
His back trembled rebelling against his will. Yuki brought his knees to his chest. He was drowning and Hatori's lecture became noting more than meaningless babble.
"My perfect rat."
His hands fisted delicate locks of hair. Yuki, the rat, did not cry. He was in control.
Yuki is perfect, a perfect unyielding enigma.
Ayame stood near the door. He watched, transfixed, as Yuki curled himself into a ball. He wanted desperately to run to his brother and offer him aid; Shigure grabbed Ayame arm and muttered a definite "no".
Hands quickly released the dark locks, finding a better location. Yuki clamped his hand tightly over his ears. Strident echoes screamed endlessly in his mind.
Tears fell from Yuki's clenched eyes.
Loudly and defiantly, Yuki screamed.
Even the perfect can be damned; broken into thousands of little pieces.