AN: And all of the sudden I realize, I'm far more active on this account than I ever intended to be in the first place.
And of course there is implied YukixKyo. Because. Yeah. So.
The Opposite of Frozen
(Or how Al gets over a bad case of Writer's Block)
Implied Yuki x Kyo and Hatsuharu x Isuzu
"Well... I'm still confused on why you wanted to meet with me today."
"I thought that would be fairly clear by now."
A sigh, "You are still head of the family, aren't you?"
"And I am still a part of this family, at least last I heard." The smile spread easily onto his features and it made the woman across from him frown.
Yuki chuckled at the comment as he took a sip of his coffee before setting it back down on the saucer. "It's not that shocking, is it?"
The woman crossed her arms as she leaned back in her chair, letting the locks of hair that had grown out over the years glide across her shoulder as a river flowed and parted around stone. "What are you expecting from me, Yuki? Really?" A sneer, "Perhaps you're waiting for me to hit you? Maybe throw this plate at you?" The woman looked out the window of the cafe, watching as people passed on the sidewalk, faces blurring at the ever changing paces. "Or maybe I could just talk at you. That always seemed to work when you were younger."
Yuki watched as the well manicured nails dug into the clenched skin of her arms, how her face hardened, how she wouldn't look him in the eye. He found a smile had made its way onto his lips again.
"I'm not expecting anything from you, Akito."
Her head didn't turn from the window, but her eye trailed away from the sunlit scenery to the boy sitting patiently at the other end of the table.
The boy with hair that was neatly gathered into a ponytail, though still not nearly as long as his brother's. The boy with the narrow face, and equally narrow eyes. The boy with a cup of black coffee.
The man who she still saw as a boy.
Because that is what she had seen for so long. A shaking boy who would cough and cry without sound, just like he would laugh.
It was as if everyday brought a new regret.
"You know, when the curse broke, I heard quite an earful from some of your cousins."
"You did?" Akito almost wanted to laugh at how boyishly innocent his face could appear after so much physical maturity the former rat had endured. She shook off the feeling and continued.
"That horse actually slapped me. Right across the face. It used to be that anytime I would enter a room she would simply get up and leave. Now she's living somewhere far away with Hatsuharu. I'm sure you've heard." Akito let out a sigh as she continued. "I got quite the earful from your brother, as well."
"Brother?" A nod.
"Between the trauma I caused to his precious brother's childhood and the marriage I destroyed between Hatori and that woman so many years ago," another sigh, "Snake doesn't even care that the man has already married another woman."
"I didn't know that..."
"There were others too. Hiro, of all people, gave me quite the scolding. Hatsuharu had a few words for me as well." The woman shifted so that her head rested on her hand as she leaned over the table, giving Yuki eyes that reminded him of the chill he used to feel. "But not you..."
"No, no, not you. The boy who was so separated, so isolated, so weak, so desperate to leave the curse, to leave my family, is now the one still so closely tied to us all." Akito reached across the table to cup the man's cheek, observing how his eyes hardened but made no other movement besides that. "Tell me, Yuki. Do you miss the curse?"
A moment passed. Plates clattered and mixed with the sound of indistinguishable voices, sprinkled with the heavy ding as customers entered and left.
Yuki looked into Akito's dark, searching eyes, as she looked into his guarded, yet completely free gaze.
His hand moved to clasp the pale hand that had snaked its way around his cheek and into his hair, before gently pushing it off.
"I don't see any point in regretting something that has already shaped so much of who I am...I refuse to blame you for anything."
The woman let her features form into a sneer once more as she crossed her arms once more over her chest, "Yet, you still fear me."
"...I suppose I do." Yuki chuckled a bit, "Is that all right?"
"...No." Akito sighed, "No, it's not. And I still don't know why you wanted to meet with me today."
And suddenly everything muted. The only sound she could hear was her own breathing, the only thing she could see was this serious man sitting before her.
And all she could feel was the laughter bubbling up through her chest.
"Polite?" She said between genuine outcries of chuckles, "Oh, Yuki, you remain a good boy until the end, don't you?"
Yuki watched, a bit frazzled by the reaction, and waited for the laughter to die down. A sweat breaking out on his forehead, still waiting for what he had came for in the first place.
Akito waited for her breathing to calm and the stares from other tables to direct away from her before she smiled a smile Yuki knew all too well, but one that he refused to turn away from. "Go ahead, do whatever you want. What happens between you and that cat has nothing to do with me anymore." The smile stayed on her lips, making Yuki tense once more. "It's not like I could do anything, anyway."
Another moment passed where the sounds of the outside world seemed to seep in so easily into their conversation, it seemed so unnatural, so unreal. Akito sighed.
"You can go. We're done here." Yuki nodded and scooted back in his seat, taking out a few yen pieces and tossing them on the table.
"For my half." Akito watched as he lifted himself up and walked toward the door.
She watched as he passed by her through the window, just as everyone else did. Watched his face blur and his pace blend with the moving feet.
And before she knew it she found herself on the other side of the window too.
Her heels clacking against the pavement and her hair whipping against her face in the wind. And she spotted the familiar shade of hair that hadn't seemed to fade, even years after the curse had broken, and the stance that had grown so tall and strong, even after years of being cursed.
She clenched her hands into fists.
She watched from the corner of her eye as everyone else blurred and blended, and watched for a moment as Yuki's features stood still, watched as his face remained frozen against the melting stream of nobodies.
What was it that he didn't regret?
Why was it that she still had so many?
She had tortured him.
Kept him away.
Locked him into a room painted as black as a rotted soul.
But he was so strong. So tall. So still against the wind that threatened to knock her down.
Where did he go right?
Where did I?
How am I not a regret?
"How did you think of me as a child?"
He seemed taken aback by the question, but his face formed into something pensive, as if he had to pull the memory from a shelf.
"I was scared of you." He said honestly. "I was scared, but..."
Akito tensed, her eyes hard and her skirt gathering and scattering against the breeze.
"But, you were my best friend."
She felt herself inhale a breath that she couldn't feel herself let go of.
She stood there, watching, waiting, waiting for something she didn't know but still holding on. Holding on one last time, because she wasn't allowed to for so long.
"Go away. Go back to your cat or something. And be sure to send my invitation first."
Yuki smiled at the serious tone. At how it was said with no smile, as if it were a threat.
He bowed and took a step away.
No longer frozen.
And she had no choice but to do the same.