"Finally! It's about time we were done with those d&^ tests."
Kyo's voice rang out down the hall to where Yuki was standing in front of his locker. He couldn't agree more with his bright-haired cousin, but for entirely different reasons than he imagined spurred the comment. Yuki needed some time away from the press of people. A short break for the weekend was going to do him a lot of good. Some finely cooked meals hot from the kitchen definitely served to calm nearly everyone down.
"Yes, quite. Miss Honda, are you ready to go?" Yuki asked quietly, waiting with bag in hand.
"Oh, right! See you later Hanna, Uo!" Tohru said, turning to leave.
As the three of them walked towards home, they chatted about the different happenings at the school, mostly just classes and trying to devise ways to avoid the ever-persistent girls that had seen fit to plague Yuki's life from the moment he stepped foot there. It's not that he had a problem with talking to girls, or even the idea of going out with one; no, it was these girls with their ever-present cameras and giggles for no apparent reason. Everywhere he turned, there was another one, just waiting, begging for another little piece of him.
"What do you think Yuki?" came Tohru's question snapping him out of his stupor of thought.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I got rather lost in thought. I'm afraid I didn't hear you; would you mind repeating yourself?"
"What the hell? She's trying to help you and you can't even-" Kyo's criticism was cut short by the sudden placement of a gloved hand firmly over his mouth.
"Can't even what? He was clearly thinking about something important; something you couldn't do if your life depended on it. Now back off before your stupidity spreads!"
Yuki watched with mixed amusement and exasperation as the fight quickly ensued. Hatsaharu was always standing up for him. It was kind of nice really, knowing that someone out there could and would fight for him, even if he didn't really need it. Sure it could get a little frustrating at times, but it was better than having to stand against the world completely alone. Having such a good friend meant worlds to Yuki. All too soon, it was over; Haru was rubbing his head and side, and Kyo was storming up to the roof of the house with Tohru chasing behind to start on dinner and make sure Kyo didn't break anything.
"Thank you Haru, but that really wasn't necessary." The words were belied by Yuki's grateful tone. He really was getting sick of constantly fighting with that stupid cat.
"What, and let him trash talk you? You know I can't do that." And it was true. Haru never could just let something like that go. Protecting Yuki seemed to be his self-appointed task, and he took to it with a zeal that was hard to find in almost anyone. And what a blessing it was. Yuki could hardly find a moment's peace anywhere, and having someone there to look out for him made a huge difference. He'd actually lost count of the times Haru had managed to get him out of a tight spot, whether with Kyo, his fan club, or even just the other guys at school.
"Hey Haru, you think Shigure will mind if we stay here for dinner?" Momiji's innocent voice broke through Yuki's thoughts, which seemed to be rather in control of his life lately.
"I don't see why not, as long as we call Hatori." Haru's voice of reason assuring them both that he had gone back to his usual, calm self.
The three of them walked calmly down the rest of the path, and eventually through the front door of Shigure's house. All that could be heard was the quiet clinking of dishes from the kitchen, meaning that Tohru was cleaning up before she started cooking. Haru went down the hall to talk to Shigure, while Momiji left to go find the phone. Left alone to his thoughts once again, Yuki wandered up stairs to his room. Fully intent on getting some studying in on his own before dinner, he pulled out his books and began rifling through them, looking for today's notes. As he flips through the pages, something falls to the floor at his feet. It seemed another one of those notes had found its way into his locker when he wasn't looking. He didn't even bother to read it this time. Seeing that it wasn't school-related, it went straight into the trash bin. He nearly tossed it out the window for the heavy scent of perfume on it; but it cleared away some of the stale scent the room had gotten the last couple of days of being closed off from the rain.
Having lost all ambition to study, Yuki found himself going back down stairs and following his nose to the delightful smell of steamed leeks. This could do nothing but infuriate the stupid cat, but he didn't really care. Besides, it seemed she had also fixed some fresh salmon, so the idiot didn't have to eat them if he didn't want to.
"Oh, Yuki! You're just in time, dinner's just about done." Tohru's gentle smile seemed designed to make everyone else in the room smile with her.
"Here Miss Honda, let me carry some of that out for you"
As dinner went, it was pretty usual. Kyo complained about the leeks; Yuki shut him up with a mouthful of them. Momiji talked non-stop; everyone but Tohru and Kyo pretty much ignored him. Shigure made some of his infamous comments; both Yuki and Kyo would hit the dog. By the end of the meal, there were a couple bruised heads and a lot of full and contented bellies. Life was never boring around here, that much was certain.
"Yuki, I hear there's been a little trouble at school. Anything you want to talk about?" Shigure was in one of his more caring moods it seemed. Well Yuki was not at all interested in confessing his problems to his brother's best friend.
"Just the same as always." Yuki hoped the non-committal answer would assuage the meddling mutt.
"All right then. Just know I'll be here if you need me."
Shigure's sigh said that he had actually been genuine in his offer. But what was there to say? 'I've got too many girls fawning over me?' 'I'm too popular?' 'I hate being pretty?' Just how stupid did he want to sound? No, it was better to just deal with it like he had since starting at the school. Smile and wave, and let the world go on without you.
As soon as he could, Yuki excused himself to go up to his room; finally doing the homework he had been attempting to do earlier. Hatsaharu and Momiji had left for the main house, quieting things down quite a bit. When it was clear that everyone else had gone to bed, Yuki pulled out his journal, venting out all the anger and frustration that had been plaguing him that day. There wasn't much that could really bother him, but his little fan club seemed to like to push every single one of those buttons. He could hardly explain to them why he was so aloof. Even if he did, they would just assume he was joking, or that all the stress of being Student Council President had finally driven him crazy. All he really wanted was to be normal; to go on a date; to be able to show affection for someone without worrying; to smile and laugh with everyone else. Was that really too much to ask?
Eventually, when he had emptied all the many emotions that bothered him onto the receptive pages, Yuki closed the journal and turned away from the desk. Letting himself rant to someone, even if it was only the unsuspecting and unspeaking pages of a journal, let him relax. There was no one he could really turn to with all this, but so far he had managed with the help of his journals. So far he had managed to stuff half of a dresser drawer with all the journals he'd filled over the years. He opened that drawer, placing his latest one to its hiding place. Only then would he let himself dress and fall into bed, allowing the sweet oblivion to take him from his hectic life for a few hours.