The Monster I Call Me

"Kyo, come with me."

I looked up from the spot on the floor I was sleepily lounging on. Master was standing in the doorway, a solemn expression on his face. Suddenly I was ill at ease. Why was he looking at me with such a deadpan expression?

I stood up slowly and followed him out of the room, a sense of foreboding settling in my stomach. That sense only intensified when he slid the door open leading outside. I stopped at the door, leery of the darkened sky and moist-looking ground. Rain was heavy in the air; I could feel it weighing me down, sapping my strength. Cold wind beckoned me outside, causing me to involuntarily shiver. I meant to steal a glance at Master, but he continued walking until he was a few feet away from the house. Hesitantly I followed.

For a few minutes we stood in an awkward silence. There was something about the way he was regarding me. I felt uncomfortable and exposed under the dark clouds. He knew how I felt on rainy days.

"Master?" I awkwardly prompted. "If there's something you gotta tell me maybe you should do it inside." Sheepishly I added, "You know how I get when the weather's like this."

"Yes, I do," Master sighed, "It was the same with my grandfather," he continued, a pitying look in his eyes. "This sort of weather sapped him of his strength as well."

I averted my eyes from his, feeling ashamed and embarrassed. This weakness, this powerlessness... It was burdensome not only to me, but to him, too.

"I suspect the zodiac cat in it's original form must have also hated the rain."

I stiffened at his words. Why would he say that? That ugly, disgusting, vile thing— why would he bring that up?! What was he trying to get at?

Tension was thick in the air and I felt defenseless. My strength and energy were limited because of the stupid weather and the damn curse. Master was quiet for a moment, but I didn't dare look at him. I was angry, but I was more afraid of what I would see if I chanced a glance.

"If you don't accept that original form is apart of you, you will never move forward—"

"I have accepted it!" I yelled vehemently, cutting him off and meeting his calm, gray eyes with a glare.

It made sense now. Master just didn't understand. How could he? He didn't know what it was like changing into something so vile and disgusting; the fear I felt every time I changed into that thing, worrying that I might never change back. He had never known what it was like to wield such terrific power and the fear for dear life what would happen if it was used. He didn't know the feelings of powerlessness or of mind-numbing exhaustion... Master just didn't know what it was like to have absolutely no control over anything— even life itself.

"But what does it matter?" I added bitterly. "My life was over before it even started— the moment I was born with this curse."

It was true. The moment I set foot into this world I had been rejected, denied the every day simplicities people took for granted. I never knew a mother's loving embrace or a heartfelt endearment. I didn't know what it was like to make a father proud or have a friendship that wasn't born out of pity. For all these simplicities I had been cheated out of there was a very simplistic reason as to why.

"And you know why?" I baited, acidic thoughts racing through my head. "It's because of that damn rat!"

Yuki...

Perfect, flawless Yuki. Anything and everything I had ever wanted he took or some how managed to get without needing to even lift a finger. That girly-boy prince... If it wasn't for him, if he had been born before me, maybe...

I shook with rage so great that it overpowered my special curse that lay heavy with the rain. I exploded.

"IT'S THAT DAMN RAT'S FAULT! FOR EVERYTHING!"

I breathed heavily for a moment from the effort of defying the curse; from the disgust I felt hearing my childish tantrum echoed back at me. I waited for Master's judgment, for his contempt and argument, but it never came.

"You haven't changed."

I looked up from the grass wet with rain and into Master's despondent gray eyes. His voice, though it had been barely audible, held such disappointment in it. And it killed me. He had no argument to make; he had grown just as tired of them as I had.

"Is that the only way you can justify shutting yourself off from the world?" he quietly demanded. When I didn't answer he insisted more forcibly, "Is it?"

I averted my eyes from his which had grown harsh.

"What, then?" he went on, quietly incensed. "Will you simply wait for death? Completely alone?"

I continued to stare hard at the ground, trying with all my might to block out his words, his disappointment in me. What else did he want from me? My fate was predestined, decided for me on the day I was born and cemented after my mother's death. I killed her. I killed her. I deserved to die alone.

"You said before that you hate it here," Master said softly after a few silent moments. "Well, I don't believe that's true. You don't hate it... But you're afraid to face what you know you must. So instead, you run away."

Abruptly he clasped a gruff and calloused hand around my wrist— the one with those ugly beads wrapped around it— and pulled me towards him. My eyes widened in shock. What was he doing?! His grip was so powerful! There was no way I could twist out of it, no way I could run….

"The air that you said was smothering you; you know that it can also heal you. But you refuse to let it! You refuse to let anyone see you for you're true self!" Master hissed. "You're too afraid of what you might lose."

It suddenly became painfully clear why we were out here, talking as the rain seeped through our very flesh, numbing any suspicions I might have had; why he gripped my beaded wrist so powerfully, so forcefully... He intended to show them. He intended to show them all what I really was. He was going to show her.

I tried to pull away, but his grip was like iron. Why couldn't he just let me be!? Tightening his vise-like grip on my wrist he forced me to look him in the eye, silently trying to convey the imperativeness of what he about to say next. "You're running away because you're afraid to admit your feelings even to yourself."

I felt my knees go weak with fear. I panicked and tried to counter the truth he had unearthed, but he wouldn't let me. His voice, weary with determination, drowned out any feeble protests I tried to make. I vainly tried to pull away again, but he refused to let me do that too.

"And so," Master soldiered on, "I will grasp your hand as you turn to run. And though this path may lead to ruin I will lead you to it's end."

He stared sternly into my eyes, his face hard and expressionless, his grip slackening only slightly. "Kyo, we will discover now whether your life was truly over before it began!"

And then he did it.

I felt him swipe my beads from my wrist before I could even react... All I could do was stare, vacant of any emotion except for fear. I didn't understand; I couldn't comprehend why was he doing this to me, why here, in front of the house for everyone to see? What had I done to make him this angry with me? I could feel my heart thumping painfully in my chest, my mother's shame ringing in my ears...

"DON'T LOOK AT ME!" I bellowed, throwing my hands up and around me in a desperate attempt to cover the monster I was about to become.

As if on cue the agony ensued; pain beyond imagining. My bones reset themselves to suit something bigger, something more monstrous than my human form could contain. A smell of rotten flesh floated all around me, eliciting a gagging reflex. I didn't want to do this... I wanted it to stop... to end...

I fell to the ground and I could hear the embarrassing moans of agony escaping my lips as I gripped my sides, trying to keep the monster inside. Through the white hot pain I managed to look up at Master pleadingly, begging him to return me my beads— my security— but he continued to stare vacantly down at me and did no such thing. I doubled over with another cry as I felt my spine re-aligning itself. With great difficulty I once again forced myself to look pleadingly up at Master, desperately trying to convey my need for those horrid beads, trying to understand why this was happening. Amidst the chaos and confusion that's when I saw it, the one thing I had been dreading more than anything since Master took my beads: She was approaching us.

"No..." I inwardly cried. "Please, not Tohru…"

But it was. With one last painful cry the transformation ended. I stared at the ground for a moment, stunned and panting. I couldn't grasp onto the thoughts racing through my head or will my heart to come to a stop. Slowly, I looked up knowing that all I could do now was stare into her terrified brown eyes. She clutched her pink umbrella, slightly trembling as she surveyed me, unable to fathom my hideousness. I closed my eyes, letting the harsh truth sink in. "It's disgusting."

"K-Kyo?"

It was over.

I leapt backwards into the thicket of woods and ran in my newly formed and awkward body. All I could think of as I ran was the fact that she saw me— the real me, the hideous me... And I knew it was over, all over. I had tried so hard to keep that grotesque thing in check, keep her safe from it's repulsiveness, but now... I could not hope for anything more. The masquerade was over and though her heart was made of gold I could not hope for her judgment to be merciful.

My eyes stung.

And the rain only came down harder.


Author's Note: I originally wrote this back in…. 2004, 2005? I had intended to expand upon it, make it a sort of companion piece to Undying Love, but I've been gone from the fandom too long and this poor thing has already been waiting three to four years for publication. Not much has been changed from its original premise save a few awkward phrases and needed editing, but I think it stands on it's own well enough. One day I may come back and finish it the way I had originally intended to, but until that muse strikes me….

The song "Monster" by One True Thing was an accidental, but pleasant discovery while I had been writing this. If I could have (even before my passion for the fandom cooled) I would have made a songfic out of it. I've always felt that it suited Kyo's frame of mind during these events— especially this fic. I highly recommend it for any Kyo-Angst loving fan.

I do hope you enjoyed this. Maybe I'll be back again one day. After all, I still have a notebook's worth of unfinished story ideas (not to mention some fics).

-April