Kitsune Here. You know, , I resent having to re-agree to the guidelines every time I post a new story...*grumble* Ok. This story is JUST what the summery says it is. Feel free to read and review, or read and ignore. Or just ignore. Shigeru really needs more screen time. He's kinda just there for a lot of the story, and really, I think out of the Fujiwaras, he's more likely to figure out what's up, don't you? I have a couple other one-shot ideas bouncing around for this series, all for different characters. I may or may not do them.
Question of the story: What's your favorite season? Mine is summer! The hotter the better, even if I can't get anything done * sweat-drop*
Shigeru was always watching Takashi. When he and his wife had agreed to take in the boy he had been wary at first. Being childless themselves, they had thought long and hard about taking in his second cousin's son. It would require a lifestyle change, for one, and Takashi was known as a troublemaker. He barely managed to stay with one family for more then a year, usually less. Shigeru's cousin had even confided in Touko that she felt the boy was probably crazy. She had even had the audacity to suggest that it wasn't surprising since his grandmother was a loon. His attention seeking behaviour was spoken of in hushed tones by the lawyer even. Really, it was troubling, but not as troubling as the blatant disdain which with those so called relatives spoke with when the boy ended up at the doctor for a cracked wrist, or went missing over night.
Shigeru and Touko had spent a long time combing over all the records provided by the lawyer, including schooled documents and notices of Takashi's erratic behaviour in class. It reminded him a bit of a girl he used to know when he was a child himself, a bit odd and a little scary, she had seemed strange to him, strange but harmless. In the end, he left the decision up to his wife. She, after all, would have the most interaction with the obviously troubled youth.
Touko immediately informed him that there was nothing to decide. Takashi-kun was in need of a family, she told him, a real family, not some people who felt obligated to care for him. Defiantly NOT some people who viewed him as crazy. It didn't matter to her if he wasn't perfect, they could learn from each other like a real family should. And that was that. For a quiet housewife, there was no arguing with her once she'd made up her mind. Needless to say, they didn't speak to his cousin for a long time after the paperwork went though.
The first meeting with Takashi was actually heartbreaking. His lawyer had told them that the boy was stand-off-ish, and not to expect much of the way friendliest. Touko had responded that it was to be expected from a boy who lived with a different family every year, actually giving the lawyer pause. The meeting was stiff and formal, as expected. Takashi eyed the two of them warily the whole time with a pleasant smile on his face. It was a little creepy. The trip home, the boy was silent, staring out the window, only speaking when spoken too. Takashi only had three trunks worth of things, truly only the bare necessities. Even so, he apologized for the amount of items, shrinking in on himself. He seemed confused when Shigeru laughed it off and told him the three of them would go shopping the next day.
The first meal was much the same. He ate what was given, thanked them, then went to leave, though it was obvious he was still hungry. When Touko made him sit back down, he actually cringed slightly and apologized. It was in that moment when Touko's eyes meant Shigeru's that they realized that something was very wrong here. The woman smiled and gave the boy another bowl of rice, saying he should eat up, that she made more then enough for seconds, even thirds if he wanted.
That night, when they were sure he was sleeping the two spoke about the fox-eyed youth they'd taken into their house. Touko was livid. She wanted to take every single person who had ever had him in their house to court and throw them in jail. Shigeru attempted to calm his wife, telling her that for all they knew it was a ploy Takashi used. To her disbelieving look, he admitted it was unlikely, but still, they knew coming into this that the boy was potentially damaged after all.
Time went by, and Shigeru and Touko settled into the roles of parents surprisingly quickly. Takashi was remarkably accommodating, going out of his way to help Touko around the house and run errands for Shigeru whenever he could. The school dutifully reported to Shigeru on all his odd, distributive behaviour, which continued though at a lesser degree. Shigeru would catch the boy speaking to the wind on occasion, and Touko spoke often of how he'd come home covered in dirt from a simple walk. There was no doubt about it, Takashi was defiantly odd.
Unfortunately, as time passed, there was also no doubt that he had been mistreated by the others who were supposed to care for him. Shigeru hesitated to call it abuse, though Touko had no such qualms naming it for what it was. They'd contacted a child psychologist who, upon hearing them describe Takashi's behaviour and overlooking his history conformed that he'd been emotionally abused for a long time. She'd said there were signs to suggest physical abuse as well, but without seeing him, she couldn't confirm that. The psychologist agreed, however, that due to his history, getting him in to see her would destroy what little trust he was developing for the Fujiwara's. Instead, she offered to provide what help she could to Touko and Shigeru, which for now was continue as it had been.
One day, Takashi became strangely attached to an ugly cat. He carried the thing everywhere, and spoke to it constantly. Oddly enough, the cat reacted almost as if it could understand the boy. It became a welcome, if really ugly, addition to their family. Touko made note one day that since the cat came, Takashi was more outgoing and self-confident. Shigeru had to agree, the change was good to see. Weird things still happened with a disabling frequency around the boy, but as a whole he was opening up. Then came the day when the past repeated itself. Strange sounds could be heard in the house at all hours of the night, the garden was destroyed, graffiti appeared on the walkway. Really, it seemed like a bad joke. Shigeru mentioned in passing that it reminded him of what had happened when he was a child to Takashi. The boy's reaction was the most surprising of all.
Hugging his cat close, Takashi had asked hesitantly if Shigeru would tell him more about the strange girl from the past. The strange girl who Shigeru told the boy he barely remembered, though that was a lie. How could you forget your first crush, really? Yes, she had been odd, and maybe more then a little scary at times, particularly when she'd trashed his room, but she was never mean. She'd always seemed so good to him, much like the boy in front of him asking about a woman few people remembered and fewer still remembered fondly. Both of them danced around a name, Shigeru feeling if he said it, he'd scare the youth into flight.
Later that night, eyeing the destruction of the room, the blown out windows and thrashed walls with paper everywhere, his first thought was thank god he's safe. He almost missed Takashi's stammered apologies, his panic-filled-excuses, as he eyed the damage that was worse, much worse then his memories of what she had done. He didn't, however, miss Takashi's downcast eyes as the boy visibly cringed, obviously expecting to be yelled at. Shigeru knew then that something had happened here, much like before. Something big, done to protect him, to protect this house. That nagging feeling he'd felt about Takashi finally clicked. This boy who everyone claimed was touched in the head saw things like she had. He wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but, one day, he hoped that Takashi would trust him enough to tell him. Until that time came, and even if it never did, this was the boy's home, and Shigeru would watch him.