There's nothing like a trail of blood to find your way back home.

Chapter One

Kyo awoke to the smooth roar of a car pulling up to their small house, turning up dirt and small pebbles as it slowed to a stop. The cat's legs were burning hot, and as he glanced down to wonder why, he noted that he'd fallen asleep beneath the heated table once again. Math papers lay sprawled out in front of him - how he hated studying. It was so easy to succumb to the promise of an extra hour's sleep.

"Yuki!" Kyo could hear Tohru's voice from the other room. A tiny smile flitted across his face, though the expression was erased as soon as he heard soft footsteps and a cool voice.

"Good evening, Miss Honda."

Miss Honda. How could Yuki address her so informally? It made Kyo mad - though that was no surprise. Everything made Kyo mad. Especially that damn rat. And the fact that Tohru… his Tohru… had a crush on that damn rat made him furious.

"Oh, Y-Yuki, what happened to your face?"

Kyo snorted. She just now noticed how ugly his mug was?

"Just a gardening accident. Nothing to worry about."

Hearing a shift in movement, Kyo glanced over and saw that Shigure was sitting on the other side of the table, his reading glasses on the bridge of his nose and a half-devoured newspaper lying in front of him. However, instead of the happy and playful look that normally adorned his childlike face, the dog had a somber expression. As he noticed that the orange-haired teen was staring at him, he smiled - though it wasn't necessarily happy, more like the smile you gave when a loved one dies and somebody tells you that they're in a better place. What was so bad about where they were?

"Please go get Tohru," he began, brushing the front of his loose robe. "And tell her that I'd greatly appreciate dinner being started. It's also your turn to do the dishes, Kyo."

"Miss Honda," the cat heard as he stood, hiking up his loose khaki cargos. The black-and-white beaded bracelet on his wrist clacked as he moved. "Please. I am fine. Akito's garden is merely filled with very thorny plants. I was working and one smacked me in the face, cutting my cheek and lip."

I'll smack you in the face.

Kyo walked out into the entryway, where Yuki had been cornered and interrogated by Tohru. The purple-haired boy looked as though he'd been beaten thoroughly, his lower lip swollen and split, cheek hidden by a large bandage. His eyes were tired. The cat watched as the girl took Yuki's coat and scarf, putting them into the closet, glancing over the rat one more time before Kyo delivered Shigure's message and she scampered off towards the kitchen. This left the two rivals to stand in silence, glaring at each other, the air seeming to warm and spark with tension.

"So, rat, what happened to your face?"

"Like I told Miss Honda, it was a gardening accident."

"Gardening for Akito, huh? Bet that's pretty fun. Does he pay you a lot?"

"He doesn't pay me anything, Kyo."

"But still, being Akito's favorite must have its benefits."

"Why yes, Kyo, every time I go to visit the main house I am lavished in gifts and affection like you wouldn't believe. In fact, I'll bet you couldn't even fantasize about it."

"That's your problem, you damn rat!" Kyo obviously didn't sense the sarcasm in the other's voice, instead mistaking it for a mocking tone. "You don't know what it's like to suffer! You're just everybody's favorite, even Tohru's, you've probably never even-"

"That's enough, Kyo."

Shigure cut in, surprising both boys. Usually, the laid-back male only intervened if their fighting was threatening the well-being of the house, but this time, he was even more serious than usual.

"I'm so sick of him, Shigure! He's a spoiled brat!"

"I'm sick of your ignorance, cat."

With that, Yuki pushed past both males, standing tall as he strode back to his bedroom. The whole house fell silent for a moment, though only to hear Yuki's sliding door clicking shut. After another few seconds, the kitchen emitted a loud yelp and a girlish squeal, probably meaning that Tohru had either spilled or broken something. This suspicion was confirmed when the girl's familiar voice began to repeatedly apologize, causing Kyo's temper to cool slightly. Tohru always made him happier.

"It's okay, Tohru," Shigure assured her, shuffling into the kitchen with his normal, content, and half-asleep expression. "No harm done."

Kyo stood in the hallway, watching the flustered girl bustle about, smiling… she was so cute. However, instead of joining the two in the warming kitchen, the cat wandered back into the living room. Math homework it was.

Over the next several days, the house was quiet. Nothing particularly eventful happened, not even at school. Slowly, the silence began to drive Kyo up the wall. He wanted to do something. He wanted to scream at Yuki or instigate another fight between the two of them. He wanted to prove that he was the better to the rat or to simply gain the small but of satisfaction he received when he landed a punch on the cocky teen. He wanted to become a member of the Zodiac… an official member. But every time he saw that pitiful face and those silent lips that refused to respond to his taunts and instigations, he simply became frustrated and gave up. Finally, his tensions came to a peak.

Yuki was walking down the hallway of the school, followed - as usual - by Tohru, who was trailed by two of her friends that always seemed to be with her. Uo and Hana, the Yankee and the Psychic. It wasn't as though the rat usually minded the girls, but today he couldn't stand the thought of anybody. It was Friday. That meant he would be leaving as soon as he got home from school, leaving to go visit Akito, as per the male's request.

"Yuki," Hana began, her quiet voice still as calm as ever. "There are members of your fan club waiting to ambush you when you move past this upcoming hallway."

"An ambush?" exclaimed Tohru, her voice worried. "What kind of ambush?"

"Oh, I'm sure they're just waiting to lavish me with their trinkets and confessions of true love," Yuki murmured bitterly, clutching to the school books in his arms. With that said, the rat turned and headed back the opposite way, passing Kyo - who, of course, was not following Tohru but was only on the way to his class - and exchanging bitter looks. It was always bitter looks with them.

"Damn rat," spat Kyo, though his voice was quiet, shoving his hands into his pockets. His head remained towards the ground though a tiny smile upturned the corners of his lips.

"Fucking cat."

The orange-haired male paused, eyes widening momentarily as he stared back at the other teen. Never once in his entire life had he heard Yuki drop the F-bomb. He must have been in a particularly bad mood, but this had been exactly the instigation Kyo had been waiting for.

"Hey, rat, you wanna fight?"

"Fight?" Yuki paused, clutching his school books closer to his chest. A hand, curled into a loose fist, went to his mouth as he softly coughed. It was a very feminine sound, for some reason, making Kyo shiver. "You want to fight with me, Kyo?"

"Yeah. Yeah, I do."

It was almost as though Yuki moved in the blink of an eye. Feeling a fist connecting with his jaw even before the sound of school books scattering against the floor hit his ears, Kyo stumbled back several paces and held a hand to his mouth disbelievingly.

"Fucker!"

Kyo attempted to punch the amethyst-haired male, but it seemed as though he got nowhere close to that bandaged face. Easily dodging the blow, Yuki grabbed Kyo's fist in his own hand and twisted it behind the cat's back in a single, fluid movement. Kyo struggled for a moment, rolling his shoulders to try and escape the other's grip. He quickly realized that this wasn't working and raised a leg to eagerly kick the rat as hard as possible. A foot skimmed past a thin ankle, Yuki forced to jump back and release the orange-haired boy - though he was immediately ready for a retaliation attack. It was only after a few more punches and kicks did a teacher come and break the two apart. Slumped against the wall, the cat's face turned a deep red, having been kicked so hard by Yuki his back cracked as he stood.

Both were bleeding, school uniforms disheveled and light sheens of sweat coating their brows and upper lips. The teacher didn't have to say anything before Yuki collected his scattered textbooks and they both walked silently down to the office to fill out referrals and be sent home, both with detentions every day after school for a week. Funny. They'd only just arrived at school and they were already on their way home.

"This is all your fault, rat."

Yuki didn't respond. Though they walked the same roads, each took a different side. It was at it always was. Though Kyo had finally been able to fight Yuki, for some reason, he still didn't feel any better.

"A-Ah! Akito…"

Yuki trembled as the other male approached him. The rat had been stripped down to nothing, thin frame spattered and slit with traces of his own blood. He clung to himself, arms laced against his chest - though his nipples were erect, he was anything but aroused. The freezing temperature of the room with its paper-thin walls was doing nothing to keep him warm. His toes crossed against each other, slipping on the polished wood of the floor in their desperate attempts to urge his feet to move away. But he was firmly rooted to the spot and it didn't seem as though he were going anywhere soon - and by the look on Akito's face, it was as though he would never see the light of day again.

The blackberry-haired of the two held a whip tight in his fist, the single braided tassel covered in crimson liquid. As Yuki whimpered his name, all he did was grin coldly. His intentions were malicious, but that much was obvious.

"Mmm… Yuki." Again, he cracked the weapon. Blood welled up around the newly-broken skin and Yuki squealed. Without noticing the amethyst-haired teen allowed tears to slip down his round cheeks. It hurt so badly. Akito was merciless, the flicking of his wrist, seemingly relentless.

"This is all your fault, Yuki! I'm going to die! Die because of you!"

"Akito! A-Akito! Please, it's not my fault! I… I didn't mean to be born! It's not my fault!"

It was then, with the teen's desperate pleading did the male grow even angrier. The whip drew across the delicate skin of Yuki's face, slicing open his cheek and the bottom petal of his pale lips. Both began to drip freely, streaming to collect at his chin. The look in the rat's eyes was pitiful. It made Akito laugh softly, the sound causing Yuki to shudder.

"Oh Yuki."


End Note: Please excuse any of my mistakes. XD This is my first Fruits Basket fanfiction ever. -nods- Also, the italicized sentence at the beginning are lyrics from Life is Beautiful by Sixx AM.

~FragilePuzzle