this is still happening it is going to be finished there is one more chapter to go
Warnings: noncon, violence/torture
Disclaimer: this is not for profit. at all. like i am not sure it profits anyone at all even in a figurative sense.
Repeating the Past
Manabe yelled, and finally found the power in him to run, but Hatori, thinking he was attempting to escape, took hold of his wrist. Manabe had to quickly grab at the other wrist Hatori was reaching forward in order to press fingers against his temple, taking away the knowledge of what he had just witnessed. But Hatori was stronger than he looked, and Manabe had to pull all his strength to keep from losing his grip. "Hatori-san, please don't, please just look, Yuki was just kidnapped! A man – a man with reddish-brown hair just came up behind him and drugged him and put him in a car, please just look!"
Hatori seemed conflicted between suspicion and worry, and tested loosening his grip, rewarded more with worry than suspicion when Manabe did not immediately try to pull away from him. He did look, and indeed, Yuki was nowhere to be seen.
Turning back to Manabe, Hatori let go of him completely, and was fairly certain of the truth of the boy's words when he did not take the opportunity to run away. He stared at Manabe as he pulled out his cell phone, making sure the boy didn't run away as he dialed Yuki's number.
"Are you calling the police?" Manabe demanded, but Hatori didn't answer, and put the phone to his ear. It rang several times, but went to Yuki's voice mail.
"He isn't answering his phone…" Hatori murmured.
"Of course he's not answering his phone! He's unconscious because someone just drugged him to kidnap him!" Manabe yelled. He grabbed the front of Hatori's shirt, and the man looked at him, the surprise he felt only barely registering on his face. "I'll try to find him whether you help me or not, Hatori-san, but please, think of your cousin!"
Hatori stared into the eyes of this child, this still young man whose memory he should have erased immediately, but who seemed to still care about Yuki despite knowing the truth. He wondered vaguely what Manabe had meant when he said he'd been taken advantage of, and was afraid to think about who Manabe had been referring to when he berated Yuki for acting just like 'him.'
In the end, he supposed he didn't stand a chance against the boy with determination like fire in his eyes.
"Reddish-brown hair, you said?" Hatori finally asked, resigned to the fact that he was about to help this boy change the inner circle of the Sohma family forever in ways Manabe probably did not comprehend.
"Yes! He drove up and came behind Yuki and put a – a cloth over his mouth, and Yuki just fell unconscious. Please! We have to go to the police, we have to find him, what if –"
Hatori placed a hand on Manabe's shoulder, and the boy trailed off, staring into Hatori's narrowed eyes. "Going to the police is unnecessary, because I know who took him," he said. "He's been taken to the Sohma Estate."
As consciousness fought to return to him, the only sensation Yuki felt was dizziness. The sickening feeling was so strong that the pain in the background of his mind was nothing but an afterthought, and only his slowly returning awareness of his body and its surroundings helped him realize that the pain should be sharper, for a sharp object, perhaps the tip of a blade, was painting shallow patterns of red on his skin. Belatedly Yuki felt the cold of wherever he was more strongly because there were no clothes protecting his body.
At last he possessed the energy to open his eyes and was met at first with darkness. He worried that he was blindfolded, and his worry only developed into panic when his sight adjusted to the room around him, and Akito was lying with his head in his lap, playing a knife over his skin with ease. Yuki jerked with a sudden rush of adrenaline, which only caused Akito's knife to dig deeper into his stomach. Worse than that feeling, however, was the final realization, as sensation came back to him completely, that his wrists were bound above his head to a pipe coming down from the ceiling, and that his ankles were bound together as well.
Akito looked up and smiled.
Manabe's mouth dropped somewhat as they drove through the Sohma property, sunlight streaming through beautiful trees lining the streets of their compound. He came from a rich family certainly, but he had never seen such an extensive clan, especially not one with such extensive property. "All of this belongs to the Sohma family?" he asked in wonder. Hatori's eyes didn't leave the road.
"Of course," he said. "The Sohma name goes back to ancient times. We're the oldest and richest clan in Japan."
Manabe turned away from the window and looked at him, expression grave. "Do all of these people know about the abuse that Yuki has gone through? Or only about the Zodiac?"
Hatori pretended he did not hear the cutting tone of his words. "Only those in the inner compound know of the Zodiac. Most of the Sohma family is forbidden from entering the inner compound, however. The thirteen of us, our parents and servants, and Akito are the only ones who know."
"How does it work?"
"What?" Hatori turned into a small lot reserved for members of the Zodiac who chose to live outside of the Estate.
"What does it mean to be a member of the Zodiac? Yuki told me that he is the rat, and Kyo Sohma is the cat, and about some of his other cousins we go to school with, but he didn't explain what it meant to be the rat or the cat or whatever."
Hatori parked the car and turned it off, turning in his seat to look at Manabe. "I suppose he couldn't have shown you as he did Honda-san."
"Wait! Tohru Honda-san knows!?" Manabe exclaimed.
"She does," Hatori answered, "because one day a long time ago now, she accidentally hugged Yuki and saw him turn into the rat herself."
The cogs turned in Manabe's head, flashbacks of rare embraces he shared with Yuki running though his mind, the ones from last night straining more heavily on his mind as a blush rose to his cheeks. "Hugging? Is that what does it? But then when he…I mean, when we've hugged before, why did he never…?"
"It's a matter of your gender, Manabe-san. Honda-san is a girl, so when she hugged him he turned into his true form. You are a boy, so when you hug him, nothing happens. But come on, we should head inside."
Manabe was grateful for the chance to turn away, for he did not want Hatori to see how lucky he felt. Out of the dozens of people at school who were in love with Prince Yuki, Manabe was the only one able to embrace him, was likely the only person to have hugged him before besides Tohru. And Yuki saw Tohru as a mother; as terrible as he felt for thinking this way, the fact that she had hugged him as well was no threat.
Maybe I'm worse than his fan club, he thought sullenly as he closed the car door behind him.
Hatori lead him into the inner compound, and Manabe looked around in awe. The buildings were for the most part of ancient design, the grounds-keeping very traditional. It felt like stepping into Japan's past. "Have outsiders ever been able to come here?" he asked quietly, for once conscious of disturbing the peace around him.
"Honda-san has been here once…" Hatori said, his voice drifting off as he deliberated how much it would be permissible to tell Manabe. To his relief, Manabe didn't question him further, though after a long silence the boy murmured, "I never realized how important Honda-san was to this family."
Hatori did not respond to him, and they walked in silence for a short while.
"So does everyone here know what Akito has done to Yuki?" Manabe asked again, not having forgotten that Hatori had avoided his question before. For a moment Manabe thought Hatori was not going to answer him, but finally he spoke.
"Yuki is not the only person in this family to be the victim of abuse by Akito. Not a single one of us have been saved from his punishments."
Manabe stared at him, eyes wide with horror. "Why does no one do anything about it? How can everyone—even you and Shigure Sohma-san, you're adults and you can't even stand up to him? If not for yourselves, then why not for Yuki? He, Kyo, the rest of them…they're only children, aren't adults supposed to protect them!?"
Hatori placed a hand on Manabe's shoulder and stopped him, looking him in the eyes. "Manabe-san, please don't raise your voice here, your presence is supposed to be a secret. I understand your frustration, but our relationship with Akito is…complicated. It's difficult to explain to anyone who isn't intimately knowledgeable of our situation. There is something – something invisible, a connection between all of us and Akito. We hate him, but we love him, and the fact that our love for him is unconditional is completely out of our control. He's our master—we can't do anything to defy him."
Manabe was speechless, and could do little more than stare at Hatori for a long moment, until an old woman was suddenly walking down the path. As soon as she caught sight of them, her expression screwed up indignantly.
"I thought I heard something out of the ordinary. Hatori-san, what in the world is he doing here? You know that outsiders are not allowed in this compound. If Akito-san knew—"
"He is with me, and I do not appreciate being talked down to in such a manner," Hatori cut in coldly. The old woman, a servant Manabe figured, stammered with a flush.
"I deeply apologize, Hatori-san, but you know that there is no excuse to bring an outsider here."
"I am Akito's doctor and must be able to make decisions pertaining to his health regardless of the rules you are forced to abide by. As it turns out, this boy is pertinent to the current state of Akito's health. But if you would wish to stand between your master and his doctor, by all means…"
The servant bowed in embarrassment. "Of course, Hatori-san. Your medical knowledge is most important." She stood straight again, and Manabe felt a shiver run down his spine at the glare she shot him before rushing off in the direction from which she had come.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Hatori murmured, "Let's hurry," and rushed Manabe forward.
"Stop," Yuki whimpered, and he wished more than anything that he could simply drift back into unconsciousness, to pretend that this was nothing but a nightmare. But he stayed persistently awake, Akito's hands alternating between soft touches on his thighs and digging into the shallow cuts on his stomach.
"It's been a long time since you've been here, Yuki. You've grown a lot." The tips of his fingers graced along Yuki's flaccid length, and Yuki struggled desperately against his bindings. "You're much more disobedient now as well, I see. Letting that whore Honda stay with you has clearly been a bad influence."
"The only bad influence in my life has been you!" Yuki shouted, and Akito's eyes widened. "Honda-san has shown me that the world is not black, it's full of light and color. You're the only black part of it. Let me go, I don't want you to touch me anymore! I'm old enough now to know that it's wrong."
Akito sat up and stared at Yuki, who was breathing heavily and still struggling. "Such a disobedient boy… I'll have to punish you for speaking to me in such a way." He moved away from Yuki, and the rat froze, the retreating heat of Akito swallowing him with the cold of anticipation. Akito was fiddling with something several feet away, but it was still too dark in the room to make out what it was. "Granted, it wasn't always easy to get you to behave, even back then. Sometimes you would struggle against me for so long you threw yourself into one of your pathetic coughing fits. The tea I gave you always helped the both of us, didn't it?"
When Akito turned around, Yuki could faintly make out the silhouette of a needle in his hands, and felt the blood drain from his face. "The tea was good for your throat, of course. Aphrodisiac, however… you were quite pliable after each cup. Unable to struggle, trembling and waiting for my touch."
One of Akito's hands touched Yuki's side; the other bore his poison. "It'll only pinch a bit," Akito sneered, face so close to Yuki's that he tasted his breath on his lips, small distraction from the needle entering his neck. Yuki's eyebrows quivered, tears in his eyes.
"Please don't," he whispered. But it was too late. He was already drowning.
The drug had an almost immediate effect, a testament to how much stronger it was when not diluted in tea. His mind became like static, but as the moments drew on it lost the sharpness of his panic. The fingers rubbing circles on his thighs raised a flush to his face, and his staccato heartbeats quickened their pace. "That's much better," Akito purred, fingers finally drifting to graze over Yuki's still flaccid penis, though his fingertips left a trail of sparks and tears began to stream from his eyes as he became hard. But somehow, the panic had almost subsided and left him in nothing but the shadow of guilt.
Manabe would be sitting in class by now, no longer plagued by his feelings for the rat, or the terrors Yuki had incurred on him the night before; he would no longer be plagued by a need to save Yuki, because to him now Yuki would be nothing.
Yuki felt like nothing even to himself.
He gasped when Akito dragged the knife shallowly down the center of his chest as his other hand tugged on his erection. "I'm glad the aphrodisiac is so strong, Yuki," Akito whispered into his ear. "Not even your pain receptors take away your arousal. Unless," he added, biting the lobe there quickly, "the pain just adds to your pleasure. With a boy in a world so black I shouldn't be surprised."
Yuki breathed heavily and clung to the only idea that gave him even the slightest amount of comfort: Manabe. His addled mind desperately wiped away the sadness of what he had done and the fact that he would never be able to discover how close he could be to Manabe, the only defense mechanism available. He was left with nothing but the feeling of heat, and the thought of Manabe replaced the feeling of pain. Akito pulled on his erection and Yuki closed his eyes and it was Manabe's hand in his mind. The heat continued to build, and Manabe was with him, bringing him closer, the bites Akito left mere feather-light kisses from Manabe.
He keened as the heat built up enough, and unconsciously felt Manabe's name on his lips, and suddenly the hand on him was removed, and he whined. His eyes opened and through their haziness he saw that Akito was glaring at him, eyebrows drawn in fury. Only belatedly did he realize that he had sighed the name of his friend. Fear quickly descended on him again as Akito raised his blade.
"I go to the trouble of pleasuring you," he started quietly. His knife sank into the skin low in his stomach, and Yuki cried out, breaths coming ragged. "And you're thinking of your stupid friend? Ungrateful, boring, greedy little rat." He twisted the knife deeper into him. Yuki's pained cry cracked under the weight of the searing white that erased everything else from his mind. "I am going to teach you a lesson Yuki. One that will scar so that you will never, ever forget."
Only moments after the servant disappeared, Hatori and Manabe rounded a corner to see Kureno there waiting for them. Manabe started and pointed at him. "That's the guy who kidnapped Yuki!" he yelled as quietly as he could, but Hatori seemed unsurprised by this information. In fact, he didn't seem to have heard Manabe at all. Rather, he stepped in front of Manabe and stared Kureno down, though Kureno was as expressionless as always.
"I know why you must've taken him, Kureno, but do not try to stop me. He may be our master, but…" He trailed off, and looked back at Manabe, and his cold expression softened. "There is something greater at work here today, and I have brought its harbinger. It would be foolish for either of us to stand in his way."
Manabe felt his heart pound in his chest, and his grateful stare moved from Hatori to land on Kureno. "Please, Sohma-san," he said, his tone as pleading as the words he spoke. "I don't want anything bad to happen to Yuki—to any of you anymore."
Kureno met Manabe's stare and for a long moment both Hatori and Manabe were afraid he would say nothing; but finally, he closed his eyes and sighed, his posture relenting under Manabe's determination. "Akito is holding Shigure in one of his rooms. And Yuki…" He hesitated but momentarily, finishing, "Yuki was taken to the Cat's Room."
That statement meant nothing Manabe, but he nevertheless felt a twinge of panic when Hatori visibly tensed, eyes going wide. He looked as though he was about to ask something more, but perhaps he thought better of it, and instead turned to Manabe and said, "Follow me," before quickly walking off in the opposite direction, leaving Kureno behind.
"Are we going to find Yuki?" Manabe asked quietly. Hatori merely nodded.
For only being the inner compound, it seemed that the area stretched on forever, though Manabe could have attributed that more to his anxiety than anything else. They climbed up a hill, now somewhat removed from the rest of the compound, and surrounded by tall green trees was a small building.
"This is the Cat's Room." Manabe looked at Hatori for a moment before turning his gaze back to it. It looked like a sad, lonely place. That desolate feeling radiated from it.
"I have led you here so that you can start searching for Yuki. Have him bring you both to my office. Meanwhile I need to go find Shigure. Can you do that, Manabe-kun?"
Manabe didn't look at him. "You said before that you couldn't defy Akito because he's your master, right?"
Hatori paused for a moment. "Yes." Manabe turned back around and met his gaze, and Hatori had never seen eyes so determined.
"Well he isn't my master, and I'm gonna do anything possible to make sure he sees justice for doing what he did to Yuki."
With that, Manabe ran the rest of the way up the hill to the house. Hatori felt a small smile reach his lips, and shook his head, turning back to run to Akito's suite.
At the door, Manabe was suddenly hit with the worry that the house would be locked if Yuki was supposed to be there for whatever deranged idea of punishment Akito had for him, but when he tried the door it slid open easily. The feeling of loneliness was even stronger inside, reinforced by the bareness of it. The walls were in stripes of wood, each white panel offset by a thin unpainted strip. There were no decorations upon them. The floor was hard, bamboo, and no furniture was visible from where he stood. No shoes could be seen in the entryway, and Manabe did not bother to remove his own as he entered.
"Yuki?" he called. Silence answered him. His brow furrowed.
He walked into the main room. There was a window there overlooking the back wall of the inner compound. Other than that the room was completely empty. Goosebumps rose on the back of his neck, and he turned back to the entryway. Through the other hall was what he assumed was a bedroom, as the only furniture he had seen so far was there, and it was only a mat. Someone had slept here. Perhaps someone still slept there. The goosebumps spread down his arms. The room's only decoration was the window shaded by trees that overlooked the compound below. The loneliness was strongest here. He shivered and turned back to the entryway.
"Yuki!?" he called one more time, louder, though it seemed he had already exhausted all of his options as far as hiding places were concerned. It didn't appear that Yuki was here. Had Kureno lied? Lied to protect that scumbag of a master?
Manabe entered the main room again, walked around it just in case there was something he missed. Of course there wasn't—the room was very obviously deserted. A flood of anger rose to his throat. He needed to save Yuki, and the bastard who kidnapped him was apparently unwilling to assist with that, in fact appeared to have intentionally stalled him. The anger in his throat felt like it was going to burn through his esophagus and tears burned in his eyes as he turned and kicked the wall as hard as he could—
—only to realize that the plank swung back from the force. It was a secret door.
He walked closer, put his hands on either side of the frame. The light from the window was only good enough to see the first few steps of a staircase leading down. Beyond that was pitch black.
Manabe swallowed, and stepped into the darkness.
One of these days letters are gonna fall from the sky
Telling us all to go free,
But until that day I'll find a way to let everybody know
That you're coming back,
Mm, you're coming back for me
Letters from the Sky, Civil Twilight