A/N: this is just a little one-shot I did upon request of my sister Hisomi. she came up with the idea, and I wrote it out as a gift for her.
:D So, happy reading sis- hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing!
It was mid afternoon, and the sun was high in the sky when Ayame Sohma set out for a stroll. He had been growing increasingly bored over the course of the day – what with it being his day off and all – and he had decided that a walk would be just the thing to take his mind off of the nothing that had been occupying it.
"It's nice to get away from everything once and a while," he said to himself as he sashayed along the forest path. It was a beautiful day – the sun shone through the trees but wasn't too hot. Just how Ayame liked it.
"Hmm, perhaps I should pay Shigure a visit," He thought aloud, realizing for the first time how close he had wandered to his friend's house. He knew the children would still be at school, and so it was the perfect time to stop by. "I think I will."
Humming as he continued, now with a destination in mind, Ayame stopped suddenly when something caught his eye. "Wait, what's this?" He turned back around, glancing over his shoulder before darting off the path and behind a tree. He glared at the little plant he had just noticed, its green pointed leaves seeming to beckon him towards it. "Is this…?"
Bending over, the man smiled as he recognized the plant, "It is." He could have a lot of fun with this.
"I suppose I should pick some others too then," he thought, "To cover the smell."
Wasting no more time thinking on it, Ayame plucked a good number of the leaves off of the plant stalk, and then moved deeper into the trees, hoping to find some strong-smelling plants as well. It didn't take him long to discover a patch of green – including poison ivy, which he avoided with care – and soon he had a large, leafy bouquet, which he promptly marched over to Shigure's house.
"Good afternoon, Gure!" He announced his arrival loudly as always, and Shigure looked up from the manuscript on his desk,
"Oh, Aya, hello!" He smiled, glad for anything that called him from his work, "What a surprise seeing you here."
"Mine made me take the day off," Ayame said in way of explanation, "Oh, but it was well worth it, for look at what I have found!" He shoved his makeshift bouquet under Shigure's nose, and the writer jumped away, gasping,
"What have you got in there, Aya?" He coughed, waving his hand in the air to dispel the strong perfume, "That smell could kill a–"
"Cat?" Ayame smiled, "You see, it was entirely necessary, Shigure, because this is no ordinary bouquet of flowers. No, not at all. This," he again waved it in Shigure's face, seeming entirely unaffected by the smell himself, "has got a secret ingredient."
"Oh really?" Shigure wasn't really trying to follow his friend anymore, but humored him with a raised eyebrow, "And what might that be?"
"CATNIP!" Ayame threw his arms high in the air, a triumphant expression in his yellow eyes, "I found it in the trees just behind your house, Gure, oh! Can you imagine what Kyon's reaction would be if he were to see – nay! – if he were to smell it? Oh, it would be priceless!"
Ayame continued to blabber on about his newest finding, and Shigure couldn't help but agree that it would be quite an entertaining sight were Kyo to come into contact with the plant.
"So that's your plan then?" Shigure stretched his arms, cutting Ayame off mid-sentence.
The Snake of the zodiac didn't seem to mind at all, "Indeed it is," he said after a moment's pause, "I think that I will put this bouquet in on your table, so that Kyon will not sense it immediately. See, this way, it will be all the funnier when he really does discover it, and by then it will be too late!"
"Oh Aya…" Shigure laughed to himself, used to his friend's antics, but still entertained by the way his mind worked, "You really are completely priceless, you know that?"
"This will be amazing!" Ayame hadn't heard a word, but had gone into Shigure's kitchen to find a vase for his green bunches. Though another room away, Shigure could still hear the Snake's airy voice, and leaned back in his chair.
Really, he figured, there was nothing else to do but let this run its course, see how it all played out. Besides, this really could be fun.
It was all silent in the house for a while after that – or, as silent as it gets when Ayame is around – and for a while things were fine. After an hour or so, however, things began to heat up a little – namely, when the house's usual inhabitants arrived home. Needless to say, none were too happy to see Ayame back in the place.
"What are you doing here?" Yuki narrowed his eyes at the sight of the man lounging in the main room, "You weren't invited."
"I just happened to be in the neighbourhood," Ayame waved an arm in his brother's direction, "And I thought I would stop by; perhaps to spend some sweet, sweet bonding time with my beloved brother Yu–"
"Goodbye." Yuki slammed the door behind him on his way out the door, and Ayame's face fell, but only for a moment,
"Alright then, I can pass the time with Kyon~!" He danced towards the redhead, who had just entered the room, and Kyo leapt away,
"Heck no!" He hissed, much like a cat as he glowered at Ayame, "Pass the time on your own, you stupid creep!" He too headed for the door, but the next motion from Ayame brought him right back.
"Alright then," The Snake sighed mournfully, "You leave me no choice!" He swooped dramatically to Tohru's side, "I shall have to kidnap Tohru-kun and take her far, far away, to a place where we can–"
"Not a chance!" Kyo was back at the flustered Tohru's side in an instant, delivering a quick punch to send Ayame sprawling on the floor.
"Oh! Ayame-san!" Tohru bent to help him to his feet, and Kyo glared at them both,
"You," he said accusingly to Tohru, "are not helping."
"Thank you, Tohru-kun," Ayame ignored the angry teen, instead focusing all the more on the girl at his side, "Don't pay any mind to Kyon; he just jealous that I don't want to spend my time with him. You are much lovelier than he is anyhow, so why don't we–"
"Would you just shut up already?" Kyo sent Ayame flying again, causing him to collide with the back wall of the room.
"Kyo, please don't destroy my house," Shigure said tentatively, but Kyo paid him no mind, instead grabbing Tohru's wrist,
"Let's get outta here."
"Oh, but Kyo-kun!" Tohru shook her head quickly, "I have to make dinner, I don't' have time to go out and–"
"Then get into the kitchen!" Kyo spat, "Just don't stay in here; there are too many creeps around."
"Uhh…" Tohru didn't know how to respond to this, and so Kyo literally dragged her out of the room, sparing one last death glare in Ayame's direction before slamming the door hard.
There was a sudden silence in the room, during which Ayame examined his earlier handiwork on the table.
"They didn't even notice the vase," he mused, frowning a little, "All that hard work and they didn't even see it…"
"Don't worry;" Shigure piped up from his place across the room, "They'll see it at dinnertime, I'm sure,"
"Oh, I hope so!" Ayame grinned, "This will truly be the funniest thing!"
"Just one question," Shigure, ever the voice of reason, cut in, "How exactly do you plan to get him to smell it? Catnip doesn't exactly have the strongest smell, you know. How do you know he'll even–"
"There is no stronger fragrance," Ayame said certainly, "to a cat, that is. He will smell it for sure, but only when I want him to." He nodded, "During dinner sounds perfect – I think I will even go and find some more to add to the bouquet! Just to be absolutely certain."
Shigure laughed again, "You really want this to work, don't you?"
"Oh, admit it Gure," Ayame waved an arm in the air, "You want to see it as badly as I do."
"That I do," Shigure knew better than to argue, and Ayame let out a loud laugh,
"I knew it!" He exclaimed, "Now, I shall return – don't start dinner without me, Tohru-kun!"
"I won't, Ayame-san!" Tohru hollered back from the kitchen, a smile on her lips. Kyo looked on in disgust as she pulled food from the cupboards.
"How can you even – augh, nevermind." He didn't even have the energy to ask. He watched her in silence for a moment, before a sudden something caught his attention, "Hey – do you…?" He stopped himself, cocking his head to one side and taking a deep breath, "Do you smell that?"
"Hmm?" Tohru turned to face him, "Smell what?"
Kyo shook his head, "Nothing," The smell, it seemed, had vanished suddenly, "I must've been imagining it."
"Oh," Tohru turned back to the food on the counter, "Alright." She paused, before dazzling Kyo with a bright smile, "So what are you hungry for?"
"I'm baaaaaaack~~!" Ayame sang upon entering the house, having stashed his newest pickings under the deck for temporary keeping, "Did you all miss me very much?"
"No," Yuki and Kyo glared at him from their places at the table, and Ayame laughed,
"How wonderful – the food's nearly ready!" He sank down at the head of the table, pretending not to notice when the teenagers both moved down the opposite way, "Isn't this so sweet? Look at all the trouble Tohru-kun has gone to for us!"
"It does look lovely, doesn't it?" Shigure agreed, coming in from the hallway and seating himself next to Ayame, "Tohru certainly does take good care of us."
"She does indeed."
The next few minutes were spent like this, with Kyo and Yuki not saying anything, until finally Tohru came in from the kitchen.
"Oh, Ayame-san," she beamed, "You're back!"
"Yes, I am," Ayame rose to his feet, with a hand over his heart, "I just couldn't bear to miss seeing your lovely–"
"Sit down." Kyo and Yuki said in unison, and Ayame stepped away from the table,
"Just a moment, please," he said, ducking quickly under the deck to retrieve his 'prize'. He had gathered a large amount of the plant on his second trip, and had hidden it under a pile of strong-smelling flowers until it was needed – to cover over the scent.
"I have a present for you all," Ayame announced, "I brought them just for you, Tohru-kun, to spice up things around here a little bit." Without wasting another second, Ayame pulled out the nepeta bouquet, and threw it onto the table, where it landed directly in front of Kyo.
"What do you think?" Ayame grinned, watching the redhead's face closely for any sign of recognition. There was a lengthy silence then, in which everyone either waited, or tried to figure out what was going on.
"Is… is that…?" The initial reaction was simply one of confusion. The Cat of the zodiac stared at the strange leaves now littering the tabletop, a stunned expression on his face, "That's…"
"Do you like it, Kyon?" Ayame picked up a stalk of the plant, waving it in the teen's direction while the others looked on.
Tohru blinked at the scene, not really knowing what was going on, but Yuki appeared to be getting the idea. Ayame couldn't tell if his brother was amused or irritated, but either way, it was nice that he was still paying attention, wasn't it?
"I'm gonna kill you." Kyo's expression had turned into something entirely different, and the others were surprised to see what looked like a grin on his face. He would have looked overjoyed had it not been for the sudden crazed look in his eyes, which twitched and darted after the stalk Ayame was waving.
"Really, Kyon?" Ayame teased, pulling the leaf farther away, "I thought you liked this stuff."
"I do!" Kyo all but shouted, and wished instantly that he could take his words back, "I don't! Get it away from me!" He jumped to his feet, making his way to the door, but it was too late. Ayame had seen the start of the reaction he was looking for, and was determined to see it through.
"Hold on a minute, Kyon!" Ayame too stepped towards the door, "You can't leave now, just think of the meal waiting for us in the next room!" He pulled back then, seating himself back at the table next to Tohru, "But if you must, I suppose that I can eat with Tohru-kun, and do my best to satisfy her in your stead!"
"Oh no you won't," Yuki's voice, calm as always, cut into the conversation, but Kyo didn't seem to notice,
"Now, now, Kyon!" Ayame waved a finger in the teen's direction, "No need for such language around Tohru-kun. It's hardly worthy of a gentleman."
"I didn't even say anything!"
"You didn't have to."
For the next few minutes, Ayame and Kyo flung insults back and forth - neither gaining much ground as usual, but Shigure and the others didn't really mind. In fact, Shigure thought after a moment, he rather liked this plan. The longer Kyo stayed in the room – he knew, the more the catnip's being there would affect him. After all, he was a cat – he could only resist it for so long.
"Fine!" Kyo stomped back over to his place at the table, "I'll stay! But you have to get rid of all the – hey!" In a single fluent motion, Yuki dumped the entire table's contents (all of which was catnip plants) onto his cousin's lap.
"Would you shut up already?" The Rat asked coolly, "Just enjoy your treat, you stupid cat."
"You da–" Kyo jumped to his feet again, brushing the plants from his shirt, but then freezing in his tracks.
"There we go~!" Ayame shone, leaning up against the table, "This will be fun!"
"I… hate you…" Kyo growled, his fists slowly unclenching as the nauseatingly sweet scent finally started to take over. It smelled so good; it just made him want to… purr?
"Ummm…" Tohru watched as multiple expressions worked their way across Kyo's face all at once – anger, joy, rage, ecstasy… conflicting, to say the least. "Are you okay, Kyo-kun?"
"Shh, shh!" Beside her, Ayame was grinning like a madman, "The show's just beginning!"
"Oh, Aya," Shigure leaned back, "You truly are one of a kind."
"Aughh!" Kyo leapt suddenly onto the pile of leaves at his spot, grabbing fistfuls of them and throwing them every which way, until the entire room was decorated with the greenery. "Get this crap outta here!"
"Oh!" Tohru jumped, "Kyo-kun!" She started to climb to her feet, but Ayame shook his head,
"I wouldn't go near him if I were you, Tohru-kun," he said, "This is about to get a little…. violent, I think." He didn't seem too torn up about this, so Tohru decided to trust him, and sank down into the cushions to watch Kyo.
At the moment, the Cat was sitting in the pile of catnip, eyeing it with – what appeared to be happiness. Pure joy, even. This in itself was enough to confuse Tohru, and she watched silently, waiting to see what would happen next. She hoped it was nothing too… violent, as Ayame had put it. What was going on anyway?
"D-darn it!" Kyo, once again, jumped to his feet, and raced away from the table, ignoring Ayame completely as he broke through the hall door, kicking it right over in his haste to reach his own room. There was a moment of silence in the room he had left, broken only by Shigure's muffled complaints ("He broke my house again!"), and Tohru leapt to her feet,
"Kyo-kun!" She went after him before anyone could intercede, and Ayame laughed,
"Oh, this could be even more fun, perhaps. Alas, we can not follow them up there, I suppose, now can we Yuki?"
"Why are you talking to me?" Yuki, now that the excitement was over, had gone back to normal – cold and uncaring, as far as his brother was concerned.
"Oh, well I was just thinking that since that is all behind us, maybe now we can…"
Ayame's voice faded away as Tohru climbed up the stairs to Kyo's room. She knew that was where he had headed, though she was unsure if he had climbed his balcony to the roof or not. She would be able to find out when she got there, but she was pretty sure he was on the roof as usual. Due to this thought, she didn't bother to knock when entering his room, and was shocked to find the Cat lying on the floor on the middle of his bedroom instead.
"U-ummm… Kyo-kun?" She blinked, and he looked up at her,
"Hi, Tohru!" His voice sounded chipper, and Tohru closed the door behind her,
"Are you… are you feeling alright?"
"Better than that!" Kyo laughed, grinning at her like an idiot, "I feel fantastic!" He jumped up, all but skipping to her side, and then flopped down at her feet, "How are you?"
Tohru had no idea how to respond to this – she had never seen Kyo act like this before. Now she knew he was unwell.
"Umm, I'm fine," she said honestly, also sinking to the ground to be on his level.
"Great!" Kyo laughed again, and Tohru realized that he was sounding a lot like Momiji – something Kyo would not be caught dead doing on a normal day. What was going on?
"Hey – can I tell you something Tohru?" She turned back to see Kyo sitting up straight, his red eyes sparkling as he stared at her. The smile on his face looked out of place, but it was nice to see him so happy. Even if it was creeping her out a little…
"Of course you can," she said after a moment's pause, "Anything you like."
"Okay!" Kyo grinned again, tilting his head to one side as he thought, "I just wanted to say that… uh… well…" he stopped, and the grin vanished from his face, as quickly as it had come. "This is stupid."
"Oh! Kyo-kun!" Tohru's face went red as she realized that he was back to 'normal'… whatever that meant. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he spat, his own face growing red, "Just… just get outta here."
"Ahh… okay! I'm sorry!" Tohru rose quickly, pretending not to notice how close Kyo was to her. She left the room in a rush, closing the door behind her and returning to the others downstairs.
"Oh, Tohru-kun!" Ayame looked up when she entered the room, "How is our little kitten doing?"
"He's…. uh, he's okay." Tohru was still confused as to Kyo's sudden attitude change, and she glanced down at the plants strewed across the floor. "Do you know what happened, Ayame-san?"
"Ahahaha!" Ayame laughed, throwing his head back in the air, "Maybe I do; I only wish I could've seen the full reaction – it must have been priceless! Oh, what I wouldn't give for–!"
"Tohru!" A sudden orange streak burst into the room, and tackled Tohru to the ground. She blinked, shocked to find Kyo standing over her, eyes wide. He was grinning again, and Tohru noticed that he had his hands behind his back – no doubt to avoid accidentally "hugging" her.
"You never let me finish what I was saying!" he laughed, grabbing her by the wrist and pulling her back out of the room, going through the broken door yet again. She stumbled after him, Ayame's loud laughter quickly fading into the background as they made their way back into Kyo's room.
"Kyo-kun?" Tohru waited until the door was closed and he was on the floor again to try saying anything, and Kyo looked over at her expectantly.
"Uhhh, nothing." Tohru found herself looking away from him, though she didn't know why. "What were you saying?"
"Oh, right," Kyo smiled, closing his eyes as he laid back, arms folded under his head, "It was pretty important too, you know… hmmm."
"Don't you remember?" Tohru felt a little flustered at all of this, but she didn't really want to alarm Kyo, and so she did her best to act normal – surely he would revert soon?
"Nope, I don't." Kyo shrugged, "That's okay though; it wasn't really that important."
"Oh, okay." Tohru smiled, "Maybe you'll remember later?"
"Yeah, maybe." Kyo didn't appear too concerned, and so Tohru decided to let it slide.
There was a short silence between the two of them, during which Kyo rocked back and forth, humming happily to himself, and Tohru grew more and more worried. After perhaps a minute of this, Kyo spoke up again.
"Oh, Tohru!" he jumped up in her face, "I remembered what I was going to say!"
Tohru did her best to smile, "Oh, did you?" She kicked herself mentally – she was talking to him like a child! But… he was acting like a child? She was so confused. "What is it?"
"Welllllllll," Kyo dragged the word out, "It's not that important, but I wanted you to know." The little smile remained on his face as he stared, "See, it's just that I've been trying to tell you for a while, but I've never really had a real chance to and, well…" he trailed off, each word becoming quieter than the one before, "I…" The smile too began to vanish, and when he stopped talking it was gone completely. "Never mind." His voice was practically a whisper now, and Tohru frowned,
"Did you forget what you were going to say again?"
Kyo shook his head slowly, "No… no, I didn't." The joy had faded from his eyes, and he brushed the bits of catnip from his hair as he stared forlornly at the ground, "it's just… really stupid. Never mind."
"Ahh… okay." Tohru felt like she shouldn't push the topic, no matter how much she wanted to know what it was he was thinking. He would tell her when he was ready, she supposed, and no sooner. "Would you like me to leave?"
"Yes," Kyo snapped without thinking, but quickly held out a hand to her, "No! I mean no. You don't gotta go anywhere."
"Okay." Tohru sat back down obediently, "I won't then."
"No, but," Kyo looked over at her, "you can if you want to; I mean, I'm not gonna keep you here if there's something else you gotta be doing."
"No, there's nothing," Tohru smiled at him, "Nothing at all, really!"
"Ahh… okay." Kyo looked back to the floor, "If you say so…"
Tohru didn't say anything more, but watched him, smiling happily even though there was nothing in particular she was smiling about. She was just happy to have had the chance to see Kyo like that – it had even been kind of funny, now that she thought about it. She held back a giggle, and Kyo glanced over at her,
"What're you laughing about?" he scowled.
"Oh, nothing," Tohru smiled again, "Just thinking is all." Just thinking…
"Hmm, I wonder where Tohru-kun has gotten off to?" Ayame leaned up against Yuki, much to his brother's annoyance, "I'm positively faint with hunger!"
"Mmmm, it is getting rather late," Shigure frowned, "It's not like Tohru to keep us waiting like this."
"You both realize the food is sitting in the kitchen?" Yuki glared at both adults, "you are more than capable of getting it for yourselves."
"Yes, but where's the fun in that?" Ayame yawned, stretching his arms far, and hitting Yuki in the process, "I suppose I should go and check on them, shouldn't I? We don't want anything illegal going on up there."
"Ayame…" There was an edge to Yuki's voice, and Ayame laughed,
"I'm going, I'm going!" He pranced away from the table, heading upstairs and leaving the other two to themselves. Finding his way to Kyo's room, Ayame didn't bother knocking before throwing the door open, secretly hoping to save the princess from some sort of distress.
However, much to his astonishment, the scene that met his eyes was far from what he had expected. There was no illegal action going on – not that he had truly thought it was – but they weren't even sitting up talking. No, to the contrary, it seemed the two of them had fallen asleep while in discussion. Kyo was sprawled out across the hardwood floor, his head near Tohru's lap, as though he had been lying on her but had rolled off in his sleep. Tohru herself was lying up against the wall, eyes closed and a little smile on her lips.
Watching them, Ayame couldn't really help but smile himself, and he slid the door shut quietly, making his way back downstairs as carefully as he could. He paused before entering the main room again, staring out the kitchen window and just thinking. Sure, he had caused quite a scene today, and it really had been quite entertaining. However, he couldn't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, something more had happened.
Had something gone on in the little room upstairs while they had been waiting? And no, for once he didn't mean anything perverted – he was truly mystified. If something had gone on… if something had changed, well… Ayame wasn't sure, but he hoped it was for the better. Perhaps she really could be the one… perhaps…
Perhaps this is only the beginning.