Hotei

By Cappie-chan

AN: Hotei is the Japanese god of contentment and happiness, one of the seven gods of good luck.

Disclaimers: I don't own FB. Gomen gomen!

Note: this is my first time writing for Furuba, gomen if anyone is OOC. *bows*

It was one of those rainy afternoons…the kind where it was never pouring down hard, but at the same time…it was never a gentle sprinkle. The air was warm and rather humid, and it smelt of wet cement.  Inside the house it was quiet, and so one could hear the beautiful sound of each individual drop splashing against the glazed tiles.  It was late summer, and in the evening a sweater was required.  But, at the moment, it was quite fine inside the house; the smell of persimmon cookies cooling off on top of the stove.  If a sound could be heard it would be one of fabric moving and being folded, and then the gentle sound of padded footprints against the polished and reflecting wooden floors.  The rain continued to fall quietly outside, and from somewhere in the nearby forest a bird was chirping for its mate.

Tohru turned around, placing her arms into her lap as she gazed quietly out the window.  Days like this depressed her…of course, she would tell no one. Perhaps, she mused, 'depressed' was not the right word. Perhaps the one she was looking for was 'lonely'?  These gray days made her want to be inside, sitting in front of a fire, or in the kitchen, talking happily with someone.  Watching an old black in white movie, or playing a board game…yes, that would be wonderful.

She turned around, and looked downward at the floor where Kyou was sitting calmly, waiting for him to turn back into normal.  It was strange, ne? The two had the house to their self this one afternoon.  Everything seemed much more slow, relaxed and calm.  Even Kyou.

"I'm sorry…you still haven't turned back yet." She said softly as she looked at his cat form.

Large luminescent eyes, which reminded her of marbles, starred up at her.  Not full of anger or embarrassment—they were just looking. "No. It's alright."

 "I'm sorry…" Tohru whispered.

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She is always sorry.  And yet, can't she see she doesn't do anything? If anyone should be sorry…it's me.

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"What should you have to be sorry for? It's not your fault.  I chose to help you." Kyou said simply as he walked around to the other side of the table.

"Well, still, it was stupid of me to be standing there…I…" she could think of nothing to say. No words could come out.

Kyou sat quietly for a moment, his eyes closed, as he remembered why on this particular instance he was in his cat form.  No, it was not her fault at all…

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…. It had been raining since morning. Yuki and the like had all gone out for something or another. Something to do with Akito—an occasion in which he was not invited. Of course, he was never invited—but one day, he swore, he would be. 'Stay at home.' They said. 'Train.' Had chided Yuki. But he had seen the resentment in Yuki's eyes.  He had seen the longing to stay, the longing to want to sit and chat friendly with Tohru.  He had disliked that he, Kyou, had been given the opportunity.  They had left, with many goodbyes from Tohru, and promises of bringing back something.  The house had been quiet then, except for the rain.  The rain had continued to fall steadily one drop after another after another.  Kyou hated the rain, for one thing his form being a cat; he did not agree to it. Secondly he could not train—something which his body longed to do even now.

He had sat down and began to read, but after a half an hour her absence had begun to worry for her.  Slowly Kyou got up from his sitting position, and quietly walked towards the kitchen.  Through the doorframe he saw her long hair blowing in the gentle breeze of the midday storm.  It was like honey…She stood there, precariously close to the edge, as though she wanted to jump into the murky and muddy waters down below.  He knew that she was not as happy as she acted to be.  He knew she cried.  He knew how lonely she became…how sad…

--But he could never tell her such things. She would just try to hide them even more.  She would smile…--

Silently he had walked towards her, studying her face.  Her large eyes were now closed, and her lips slightly parted.  As though she was waiting for something…

Waiting…

She swayed gently, and perhaps she was not aware…she had almost fallen into the sludge and dirty filth.  However, Kyou had reached out and tenderly grabbed her small wrist as he pulled her towards him.  After all, Tohru would not want to catch a cold if she got wet…perhaps his nerves were not good today due to the rain, or perhaps he had over slept.  Whatever the reason, he had pulled too hard, and for the briefest most precious of moments she had hugged his body, tenderly, protectively.

Only for the briefest of moments.  The briefest.

"I'm sorry. I got lost in thoughts…I'm sorry."  She was now crouched on the ground, smiling softly.

He glanced up at her, "It's alright." 

Tohru had petted his head then, gently and softly, her fingers light and tender as though she was stoking some porcelain object.  She had hummed some song then as she had done that, and in a way, although in his 'true' form, he would have wished it to last forever.  To not worry about Yuki, or Akito…to not have to remember his mother, or care about training.  Perhaps he would have been content to sit there forever.

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"Ne, Kyou-kun, would you like some cocoa? It's becoming rather cold, ne?"  She asks me so innocently, her eyes wide in anticipation.  She wants to please me.  She never thinks of herself first…other must always come before.

"Aa. Cocoa would sound good." I answer.  She knows I prefer milk to tea…she notices such small things.

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The rain had stopped for a time being, and now drops dripped from the awning into murky puddles below.  From the kitchen window Kyou can see the gray and mist shrouded forest.  Tohru blocks the view momentarily as she pours the steaming brew into two large and sturdy cups.  They are old and worn, but they seemed to be well loved.  They are from a forgotten past.  Probably some long dead potter made them during World War II.  Their glaze is astonishing; it looks like trickles of water running along a fall leaf.  The color is vibrant, almost the color the permissions hanging off the tree which marks the entrance to the forest.  But, traces of light green, yellow and burnt brown are noticeable.  Tohru places the cup softly in front of Kyou, and sits down across from him.  She blows into the cup, and the steam surrounds her face causing her cheeks to turn pink.  She giggles, and glances up at Kyou who is watching her quietly.  The cocoa is untouched.

"Tohru…" he breathed quietly, his eyes are still focused on her.  Tohru looks up, a smile still plaguing her face.  Her eyes are bright in the light.  Her features soften slightly as she finds Kyou's expression to be one of sorrow, and questioning.  She replies, "Yes, Kyou-kun?"

"Are you happy here?"

I hardly know the words that come out of my mouth.  I know that she says she wants to be around 'Kyou-kun and Yuki-kun'…but still, no one can forever be happy. No one. Not even Tohru Honda.

"Of course I am happy! I'm always happy when I am with Kyou-kun or Yuki-kun!" she chirps brightly.  It is almost as though the response is automatic.

"I…that's not what I meant." Kyou stutters as he casts his gaze towards this steaming cocoa cup.  He takes a sip.  It is hot and rich and full of flavor.  It is different from what Kyou remembers hot cocoa to be like.  It has some added ingredients.  He tries to recognize them.  Nutmeg, cinnamon…and a dash of vanilla…

The rain had started again, he dimly noticed. Tohru remained quiet, her eyes downcast and quiet.

"Does Kyou-kun want me to leave? Am I a burden?" Tohru questioned, still smiling, but her eyes gaze away all her fears and sorrow.

"No! No, that's not what I meant." Kyou grumbled more harshly than he ment. He runs a hand through his hair, "I just…I want you to know that its alright if your sad. It's nothing to be ashamed of.  You don't have to hide it from me…or Yuki…" …or Yuki. Yuki.  As much as he hated to admit it, Yuki cared just as much as he did, even though the bastard pissed him off.  When it came to Tohru, they were in agreement.

"Are you sure?" Tohru questioned softly.  A tear had managed to fall onto the tablecloth.

I hate it when she cries.  It makes me feels as though all those years of training have gone down the tube.  People should have classes about how to deal with crying. It makes me feel so weak and insecure. Damn. Damn it!

I can think of nothing else to do. I look at her small, fragile hand resting by her cup.  I reach out and place my own atop of hers.  I even surprise myself.  It is too late to pull away now.  Her hand is delicate, but soft…and warmer than I imagined it would be.

"Of course I am sure."

She looks up, the steam having dissolved from the cup.  The wash of pink on her cheek from another reason entirely.

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AN: okay, its short. Gomen. Please, review. And/or send e-mails to my e-mail: furinkoto_neko@yahoo.com