b u r n .

a/n: I HATE WRITING YUKI. apologies for his likely failure. i just need to stick to writing hotheads, i think. this is set...fairly early on in the manga. you can figure out exactly when. also, i kind of hate this story...i loved the idea, but once it was all down it didn't satisfy me. hopefully somebody can squeeze some enjoyment out of it.

It was an entirely normal day.

Tohru, bless her beautiful self, was fluttering around the kitchen, humming some springy tune and baking cookies. Shigure was out. The cat—he was out too, which meant that Yuki had the house (and Tohru) all to himself. Needless to say, this put him in quite a nice mood. He had entered the kitchen with calculated carelessness, gently asked the girl if he could help (and was turned down, thankfully, because nobody would want to eat the toxic food that would result), and now stood watching her.

He was inside, but he could almost swear that he felt a breeze tugging at him.

"Are you sure that I cannot be of help?" he asked just because, as she pulled on her mitts and reached into the oven. A distressed squeak answered him, and he rushed over in genuine panic.

Red, flustered, and evidently in some pain, Tohru emerged from the oven and deposited the cookies. Yuki took her hand without thinking: yes, it was definitely a burn. "You...you should sit down."

"No, no, no!" she protested, waving her hands and nearly slapping him in her vehemence. "I...I'm fine, really? See? No harm done! I was just clumsy...please don't worry about me!"

He put a hand on her shoulder, which she didn't seem to notice. In fact, she seemed to have entirely forgotten his presence, so that she mumbled to herself something nearly incomprehensible to him. Since this was hardly a rarity, Yuki would have let it go, if not for the single word he caught.


"What's that, Honda-san?" Yuki asked, with a bit of a forced smile. Hearing her discuss the cat, especially knowing how much of a "fan" she was of him, was never pleasant to his ears. Still, he would much rather hear it than worry about what she might have said.

"I-I..." Tohru hesitated, and her blush deepened. His breath caught. "I just said that it feels like when...when Kyou-kun...touches me..."

He blinked slowly. "Has that cat done something to hurt you, Honda-san?"

Yuki almost hoped she'd confirm this, because it would give him quite a pretty excuse to kill the wretched creature.

"No, no, he wouldn't do that! I...it's just that, I feel like my skin is burning when he brushes by or...or we both reach for the same thing...is that bad, Sohma-kun?" Her eyes were large and concerned, and he would have smoothed her brow if not for the sudden fit of nausea that had taken hold of him.

Controlling himself carefully, he asked, "You feel...nothing like this when I touch you, Honda-san?"

She brightened a little. "I feel so content when we are together, Sohma-kun! A lot of contentment! You really are wonderful."

Yuki chuckled. "No, Honda-san, you are the wonderful one." He smiled, and hoped that she wouldn't see the shadow in his eyes.

Despite her injury, he felt as if he was the one who had been burned.