Coming of the Day

BY : Shadowed Hearts
Category: Fruits Basket > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 1996
Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

“Kasumi?” The voice from the head of the room made her head snap away from the window, where her mind had gone to join among the clouds. “Were you daydreaming again?”
“Oh! Ah…yeah…sorry Yuki - everyone.” The girl blushed slightly, bowing her head almost to the table. “It’s so nice out, I couldn’t help myself…”
“It’s alright. We were discussing the plans to give parents a tour of the school next year. What do you think?” The violet eyes were soft, as usual, never accusing her for not being more attentive. No one on the student council was, anymore - they knew she had a tendency to daydream, and they also knew she was good at dealing with people.
“That’s a good idea…we could split the parents up into small groups of four or five, and between the student council and some volunteer students, it would be no problem at all.” She smiled. “I’d be glad to take part as a guide…”
“Excellent.” One of the other members commented. “That’s everyone, then! It’s unanimous! We just need a list of parents planning to attend…”
“I’ll have them send it to me, then I’ll email the groups to everyone.” Yuki told them, before gesturing to the door. “And that, is our first meeting of the new student council. Also the last for this school year.”
As the group rushed out, laughing and talking among themselves, Kasumi took her time, blinking as she stepped out of the room to see her sister - far more reserved than herself - speaking quietly to Yuki off to one side of the hallway. Though there was no smile on her face as she turned, Kasumi knew Shiori was glad to see her. Yuki merely nodded, and walked away to go home, himself.
“What was that about, Shiori?” She questioned, watching as her younger sister blushed slightly, and then shook her head. “Shiori?”
“Yuki knows a few people who are already coming…he asked me to speak to you for him, since he needed to get home. Members of the Sohma family will be attending the first day of school next year, and he would like you to be their guide around the school. He said you’re less likely to be startled by anything unusual than anyone else on student council, and he wants a student council member to lead that part of his family.”
“Well, why didn’t he stop me and speak to me, Shiori?” As she saw her twin shake her head slightly and sigh, she knew something was up. “Shiori, you’d better tell me what’s going on…”
“The head of the Sohma family is also coming. As Yuki does not want to see him, he will be accompanying you with his family…while I serve as the guide for Akito Sohma. …Yuki knows about us, sister.”
“What?! How is that possible?!” Kasumi looked frightened, quickly hushing her voice as she drew her sister off to the side of their route home. “I thought you would have taken care of that by now…if anyone finds out, not only will we have to leave here, but we’ll end up as lab rats!”
“He won’t tell anyone, Etsu.” The serious tone in her sister’s voice took the older twin aback, staring blankly. This was the one who had handled everyone else who had ever found out about them, the one who held better safe than sorry as their family motto. “He won’t…trust me. But he does need our ability to track each other no matter where we are, to keep him away from the head of the Sohma family…”
“But Shiori, why would he want that?”
“It’s none of my business - or yours.”

“Excuse me…” Shiori Kuroki had memorized Yuki’s description of the man she was to find and accompany for the remainder of the day, and as she found the man who fit that image, she stepped before him, bowing. “…are you Akito Sohma?”
“Who are you?” There was an attempt to seem pleasant in his voice, but as Aya glanced into his eyes, she forced herself to look away, not wishing to intrude on his private self. Even that was enough, however, to betray the lie in his voice for what it was.
“My name is Shiori Kuroki.” She said coldly, staring blankly at his collar bone, which the tight black turtleneck he wore revealed. Focusing only on her rehearsed introduction, she continued speaking, ignoring that glimpse of what had lurked in those eyes. “I will be your guide to the school for the day. If you will please follow me, I will begin by telling you a bit about the school itself.”
“I see Yuki has found a way to keep me out of his hair.” Akito muttered, blinking as she glanced back to him. “What?”
“Please come along, sir.” From the faint narrowing of her eyes, he knew his remaining behind annoyed her. And as he followed after her at a languid pace, he knew that he had irked her even more, from the irritated glance she shot back toward him.
“Why don’t you just let me roam on my own, Miss Kuroki. I won’t get lost, I promise.” He was taunting her, dangling the thought of escape from him in front of her. He was shocked when her lips twisted slightly, as he saw from the profile of her reflected in a window, only to have her whirl around to face him, large eyes looking up at him as though offended.
“But I couldn’t do that, Mr. Sohma!” He blinked, as she leaned towards him earnestly, hands clasped together before her. “The student body president requested very specifically that I make sure to guide you around the school! If I failed to do so, I would be a disappointment to him, and I couldn’t bear the thought of that!”
It was all very sweetly voiced, tears welling up in her eyes as she reached the end of her little monologue, but Akito felt his eye twitch slightly as he glowered down at her. It did so again, and even as she turned around to continue the tour, he caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window, that twisted little smile on her lips once more. A low growl, fingers twitching slightly as he moved to follow her once more, allowing her to lead him through every floor of the school, around the gym, and around the exercise areas outside. By this time, he wanted nothing more than to throttle her, praying the little charade of a tour would be over soon. She hadn’t paid any mind to his scathing remarks, but as they stepped into an outer area of the school where grass and trees were found, as well as a little bench and bushes, all artfully landscaped, he noticed the tension and irritation fading from her form.
When she turned to face him this time, there was a sincerity in her that had been absent in all the previous stops of this tour. “This is where…many students sit, when they have any time to spare. When I first came here, the landscaping was awful, a bush here, a flowerpot there, but as you can see, it’s been passably reworked.”
“…It is pretty.” He muttered reluctantly, yet truthfully. He could not deny the utter beauty that had been brought into the small garden, even though it was tempting. Shiori’s gaze drifted to him, blinking as with one glance she took in the paleness of his skin, the faint sweat on his brow despite the coolness of the day, and the irregularity of his breathing.
“…please come sit down.” Her voice was quiet, a hand moving to gesture to the bench as she refused to meet his gaze. Guilt had arrived, as she knew she had been doing everything in her power to annoy him, and here he was so worn out. When he did not move, she stepped forward to touch his shoulder, only for her foot to get caught in a vine from the rose bush she stood beside. As she tripped, she closed her eyes and prepared to keep from making a sound when the pain hit her. When it did not come, but instead a pair of arms caught her, pulling her up into a thin, yet strong chest, she blinked her eyes open in shock. Akito had caught her?
“…you should be more careful.”
“I apologize, Mr. Sohma.” She whispered, straightening and carefully untangling her foot from the vine, turning away to move toward the bench herself, only to collapse when her foot refused to support her weight. A soft sigh. “…great…”
“A sprain?” The apparent caring in his tone made her scowl slightly, able to hear the lie in it even without looking into his eyes now. Yet, he crouched down and lifted her up, and even as she parted her lips to protest, he glared at her. “Shut up.”
“…thank you.” She responded instead, even as he set her on the bench and turned to walk away. Her hand reached out to grasp his wrist, shaking her head. “Please. You need to rest, Mr. Sohma. I…was rather cruel in my rushing you about.”
“…I should go get Hatori. He is a doctor.”
“No, they’ll be here soon. They’re with my sister…” Gaze turned to him, no false earnestness in it now, only a genuine wish to help him. “Please, Mr. Sohma?”
Grudgingly, more directed at his body than at Shiori herself, Akito lowered himself to sit beside her, and after a few short moments of silence, he shot a sideways glance her way.
“Huh?” She blinked, turning to look at him.
“Call me Akito, Miss Kuroki.”
“…Shiori.” Before either could say more, and just as a small, sincere smile started across his lips, the pounding of feet drew their attention, and Yuki and Kasumi burst into view, both freezing at the sight of her slowly swelling ankle.
“What did you do to her?!” Yuki snapped, stalking forward - or trying to, even as Shigure grabbed his arm to hold him back.
“…he did this?” Kasumi growled, glowering at the man who sat quietly beside her sister, that sincere smile suddenly much more twisted. Hatori, however, simply stepped past them to stand before the bench on which the two sat, glancing at Akito.
“…you’re pale…”
“Her ankle.” Akito snapped, gesturing. “The girl tripped, it might be broken.”
“It isn’t broken.” Shiori murmured quietly. “…it might have been, if you hadn’t kept me from hitting the ground.”
“Let me take a look.” Hatori commented, moving to crouch down and slide her shoe and sock from her foot, nodding slightly as he examined it. “…you are right, it isn’t broken…but it is severely sprained. You should go home and put ice on it.”
“No, I don’t want to miss the first day back…I’m sure we can get some ice, and…I can walk, if I’m careful…I just need a short break, really.” Shiori responded, as she watched the doctor replace her sock and shoe.. “Oh…I’m Shiori Kuroki, by the way.”
“Doctor Hatori Sohma.” As he nodded to her, he turned to face the group. “She will be fine if she’s careful. Go ahead and continue your tour, I want to stay here for a moment, Akito-”
“Go.” The low growl was an unmistakable command, and as Hatori glanced back to Akito in surprise, the growl deepened. “I will be fine. Get them out of here. I’ll make sure this girl doesn’t do anything stupid and really break her ankle.”
Shiori huffed and turned to level a glare that sent most grown men staggering back a few steps, only to blink as it had no effect on Akito. Though reluctant to leave her, Kasumi reassured herself with the thought that if anything did happen, she would know, and could rush back. A faint nod to her sister, and the group was lead off to continue their tour.
“…are you okay, Akito?” She was quiet, now looking only at her hands in her lap, feeling guilty for having worn him out so much the doctor seemed worried. When he did not speak, she turned her head, to find him looking over at her. “…Akito?”
“…it’s normal.” He responded quietly, turning his head up to look at the sky. “…I’ve always been…unwell.”
“…Oh…I made it worse, didn’t I.”
“…I apologize…I should have been paying more attention.”
“Instead of trying to make me miserable on Yuki’s orders?”
“Am I right?”
“…no, Yuki just told me to keep you away from him. …I was making you miserable of my own choice…”
“…aren’t you honest…” He couldn’t keep from a soft chuckle, glancing back over to her as she looked away again.
“…I’m sorry. If I’d known it would do this to you, I wouldn’t have done it.”
“Hn. …are you rested yet?”
“Are you?”
“Yes.” He got to his feet, bending to lift her into his arms despite her hiss of protest. “Quit wiggling or I’ll drop you. Or throw you.”
“Th….what?!” She froze, staring up at him.
“Throw. You.” He growled. “Now would you mind ceasing to act like dead weight?”
“…Oh. I’m sorry.” Shifting carefully - having no great wish to be thrown - she slipped her arms around his neck to help him carry her. “…I could have done fine if you’d just let me lean on your arm, you know.”
“This is faster.” As he heard her huff, he knew she didn’t quite agree with that, but it was her fault he was so slow. He didn’t want to risk dropping her on accident. Though throwing her was still really tempting, he realized, even as he glanced into her eyes.
“Throw me, and I swear I will hunt you down and give you a living nightmare.” She hissed suddenly, making him blink. A slow smile spread across his lips as he continued gazing into her eyes, and the thoughts that she suddenly saw in his mind made her rip her gaze away.
“…I think I might enjoy that…” He felt her body stiffen, and chuckled softly even as he adjusted her weight in his arms a bit. “But I won’t throw you…as long as you cease tormenting me.”
“Tormenting you?” A blink, though fear kept her from looking into his eyes. “You mean, the tour?”
“Yes. I do owe you a bit of suffering for that…”
“…fear not, you succeeded.” She muttered. “Those mental images were enough to make me want to gouge out my eyes then cauterize my brain…”
“…what mental images?” As she gasped, not realizing he had heard her, he growled. “What. Mental. Images. Shiori?”
“I…” She was panicking, and within minutes, her sister was running to her side, the others right behind her. This made his eyes narrow still more, glaring over at Kasumi, before he looked back to Shiori again.
“What mental images?!” This made Kasumi gasp faintly, rushing forward to try and grab her sister, only for one of the Sohmas to grab her and pull her back.
“Don’t you dare hurt her, Akito.” Yuki snarled. “Set her down and get away from her, now!”
“…tell me, Shiori…” He hissed. As Kasumi saw her sister staring into his eyes and slowly seeming to shrink into herself, she gasped.
“No, Shiori!” Yet, while Shiori said nothing, her gaze never wavered. It then shifted from him, to each of the others present. Only when she had done so, did her eyes close slowly, head dropping against Akito’s shoulder.
“…in your eyes…I can see your thoughts…not all of them…and none at all if you keep them hidden away…but…those…mental pictures.” She whispered, tensing as she waited to be flung away from him.
“You’d better fix this quick, Shiori!” Kasumi hissed. “You can’t let them remember any of this! Not even Yuki!”
“…fix? …remember?” Akito growled, recognizing the words and how he used them. “…what else can you do, Shiori?”
“…I can…make people forget…” As her eyes opened, and she turned her head to see Hatori looking at her with interest, she also caught sight of another Sohma running towards them. To her horror, as he reached the group, she saw him trip and start to fall. Her twin instinctively acted as she could not, in her place, and turned to dive and catch the small blonde. Both were left blinking in shock as said boy turned, quite suddenly, into a rabbit.
Shiori said nothing, and merely turned to look to Akito, questioningly. As he met her gaze, he projected his thoughts toward her, a sign that he wanted her to look into his mind. She swallowed, even as she saw the threat of her twin sister’s memory being erased, then her own. But at that, she shook her head.
“You can’t, Mr. Sohma…my memory…won’t be erased. It would have been dangerous if that were possible…I didn’t always know how to control it…”
“…I see…” He murmured, never moving his gaze from her own. Still holding the adorable bunny, which was now cuddling her, Kasumi found herself watching the two stare each other down. But she knew that her sister was seeking acceptance, but Akito…she didn’t know what he was doing.
“…No.” It was as though Shiori was speaking to herself, but with the latest revelation, the others suspected Akito was letting her read him. “…I swear. …but…thank you…Mr. Sohma.”
“…you need to rest.” With that, he turned away from the group, only to sigh in annoyance as the entire group followed him out to the car. “Get out of here, all of you.”
“…I’m staying with my sister.”
“No, you aren’t, Kasumi.” The voice was not that of Akito, but of her own sister, leaving her to stare in shock at her twin. “…I mean it. Things must be discussed, and I’m afraid your ability would be of no use in the discussions…”
“Akito…” Hatori began, only to sigh in relief as the other nodded, slipping into the car. The door slammed shut, and the driver started the car and drove away. Leaving Kasumi standing shocked in the school parking lot, and however hard that little bunny tried, he couldn’t get her to smile. She simply passed him to Shigure, and walked away in silence - though Tohru acted as though she wanted to follow, Saki Hanajima reached out and shook her head.
“She needs a little time first, Tohru…”
“Just give her a little longer…we need to go back inside. I’m sure they’ll both be just fine…”

“…aren’t you going to ask me how to get to my home?” Shiori questioned, glancing to the silent man on the other side of the car. Even as he glanced over to her, she swallowed, lowering her eyes quickly so she could not meet his. As he moved to her side, gripping her chin rather roughly to make her look up at him, Shiori gasped and winced slightly. “Mr. Sohma?”
“I thought I told you to call me Akito.” The voice was right next to her ear, and as she tensed in worry, he growled. “What is it? Now that you know what we are, you’re disgusted? What is it, are you unable to handle the fact that the Sohma family is cursed?”
“No…it isn’t that…” As he shoved her away, she whimpered slightly, seeming to close herself off from her surroundings. “…you’re the only thing that’s frightening me.”
“You know nothing of fear…” As the vehicle stopped, he slid out of the car, stepping around to pick her up as well.
“Please, stop…” Shiori’s voice was nothing more than a whisper, head against his shoulder, eyes closed tightly. “…you’re going to hurt yourself, Mr. Soh…Akito…”
“Shut up.” He growled, leaving her to blink up at him, then around at their surroundings as she was brought into a massive, old-fashioned house. She was placed - quite carefully, she noted - on one of the zabuton within a small room. Still, she kept her gaze away from Akito’s, afraid that, now that he knew, he would think she was trying to invade his privacy. “So, now you know the Sohma family secret…we are cursed.”
“…at least it’s a rather cute curse.” She muttered, irritated with his constant accusations. Unfortunately, she was not quiet enough, as his hand came down and struck her across the face, hard enough to send her to the floor. Only now did she look at him - despite the lurking tears in her eyes, she simply stared for a few moments. “I was being sarcastic.”
“Well then knock it off.” Though his tone was perfectly nonchalant, she saw that he flinched slightly at her words. She got slowly back to her seat, rubbing her sore ankle, which had been jarred in the fall.
“Why did you bring me here, Akito? You know I won’t betray your family’s secret.” As she moved to look only at her hands again, Akito grabbed her chin, watching as she flinched.
“Why do you flinch, Shiori?”
“…I don’t like to get hit.” As her large, almost-golden eyes opened to meet his, he could see the beginnings of tears within them, as well as a determination not to allow them to fall. His lips twisted, his thumb moving to caress the bruise forming from his earlier blow.
“…do you fear me, Shiori?”
“…I already told you, you were frightening me…but as a whole…no. I do not fear you.” Her hand reached up to touch his cheek, frowning suddenly. “…Akito…you’re really warm…are you feverish?”
“I don’t need to be pampered, bitch.” The tone warned her of danger, but she merely let her hand move away from his face, to touch the hand that rested on her cheek.
“…go ahead.”
“I said, go ahead. Hit me.” The voice was a low hiss now. “You can’t handle living, so you take it out on everyone and everything around you. You make people hurt, just because you’re too afraid to feel anything but pain yourself. Coward.”
“What the hell do you know?!” He snapped, shoving her away from him. She rose to her feet slowly, limping up to stand in front of him, fists clenched against the pain.
“What do I know? You showed me everything, Akito!” She shoved him back, body trembling from the energy it took to stay standing on her injured ankle, to keep from letting the tears fall, tears she knew he wanted so much to see. “Stop fighting living, just because you’re afraid to die! So what if you think you’ll die young! The way you’ve taken care of yourself, it’s no surprise! Look at you! You never let yourself heal from whatever illness befalls you! You keep acting like it’s nothing! You’re sick, you’re feverish, and here you are wandering around like an idiot!”
His only reaction to her outburst was to stare at her in shock. No one had ever snapped on him like this - even Tohru had been kind and compassionate. This girl was angry. She took another step towards him, the tears now falling from her eyes as she shook her head.
“If you’d just try to live for once, maybe you wouldn’t have to die! I could die tomorrow, or the day after. So could you. Accidents happen, illnesses happen. We’re all born to die, so stop acting like you’re so alone in this, Akito!” As she took her next step towards him, they both heard a loud snap, and she screamed and crumpled to the ground.
“Shiori!” He dove to catch her, his head turning to the hallway where he knew Hatori had been waiting. He had the strangest feeling Hatori knew the girl was not one to lay down and take whatever he threw at her, as he knew Hatori would not have left them alone together otherwise. Once, maybe…but not anymore. “Hatori! Get in here, now!”
Even as he had yelled it, Hatori was rushing into the room, dropping down beside the two, even as Akito sat trembling with the girl in his lap, clinging to him. “What happened?”
“Ankle…” Shiori whimpered, face buried in Akito’s chest. “…walking…and it just…”
“…hmm…” Once again examining her ankle, he gave a faint sigh of relief. “…it’s still not broken…although you seem to be trying quite hard to do so. It’s only dislocated.”
“…only?!” Akito snapped, even as Shiori whimpered yet again. “Are you going to be able to fix it?!”
“Of course I will, Akito. Miss Kuroki?”
“It’s okay. I’ve…dislocated my ankle once before…I know what comes next.” She whispered, though when Akito saw the tension on her face, he began to worry. Though he had intended to watch Hatori closely, as the woman in his arms yelped in pain, he was forced to focus on her, watching as she shook her head at his sudden growl. “…it’s…okay. It’ll only take a minute…”
“Done.” Hatori murmured. “Akito, stay with her, I need to go get a splint.”
“…are you alright?” Akito questioned, looking down at the girl, who had become noticeably paler. Though she nodded slightly, he still shifted to touch her forehead, sighing in relief as he felt cool skin beneath his fingertips.
“…how is it that you’ve managed to carry me, when you’re so thin and weak yourself?” The question made him blink, before laughing.
“…Because I refuse to do otherwise.” At this answer, she couldn’t help but laugh also, nodding slightly, even as Hatori returned to splint her ankle, making sure she would not manage to hurt it yet again, for a little while at least.
“I’m going to call the school and let your sister know what happened.”
“Make sure she knows her sister will be staying at the Sohma Estate for a short time, also.” Akito informed him calmly. “We don’t want to risk a broken ankle.”
“…Miss Kuroki?”
“…it’s okay, Dr. Sohma.” She smiled faintly. “I need to rest before I do anything else…especially try to go home…”
“Very well.” He left the room, even as Shiori sat up slightly, careful not to jar her hurt ankle more than absolutely necessary.
“…where am I going to sleep?”
“Here.” Akito told her, getting up as she managed to sit up fully, and beginning to draw a futon out of the closet in the side wall. As soon as he had set up her place for the night, he left the room, returning some time later dressed in a kimono. “Would you like to go outside?”
“…only if you will not carry me.” When he merely extended a hand towards her, she smiled, the first true smile she had directed towards him. Her hand grasped his own, and as he pulled her to her feet, he slid an arm around her, helping her out of the room, and into a much larger one, with sliding doors that were open onto the outdoors. When he had helped her to the edge of the room, she carefully sat down, blinking as he simply stepped back and slid down the wall to rest not far away.
“I’m fine, don’t look at me like that.” He growled, blinking as she simply scooted back so that she was sitting beside him. As she simply looked at him expectantly, he couldn’t mask his own confusion, frowning at her. “What do you want?”
“…you can rest your head on my lap, if you’d like, Akito…” It was spoken in a very quiet voice, her gaze dropping when he did not move, and a blush spreading on her cheeks. That blush only deepened when he took her up on the offer, and the shift of position ended with his face towards her stomach, his kimono sleeve sliding downward to show a good portion of his shoulder, legs curling slightly in such a way that they were no longer covered by his kimono.
“…thank you…” His eyes opened, locking on her own. For the first time in her life, Shiori couldn’t force herself to look away from another’s eyes, and as she saw his eyes narrow, she felt his hand at the back of her neck. Even as he lifted himself on his free arm, he pulled her down towards him, until their lips met. While she stiffened at first, every hair on her body rising in tension, when he did not pressure her further, she relaxed into the kiss, eyes drifting closed in time with his. The moment this happened, a piercing shriek rang through the courtyard in which they sat.

“What the hell? Who are you?” The tone was gruff, but not entirely unkind. As Kasumi turned her watery eyes to the figure standing on the roof nearby, that figure jumped. “Oh hell, don’t cry, whoever you are!”
“…oh…” A hand moved to languidly wipe her tears from her face, shaking her head slightly. “I apologize…my name is Kasumi Kuroki…”
“…Kyo Sohma.” He twitched closer to her, rather like a cautious kitten would a large dog. “What are you doing up here?”
“…I wanted to get away from everyone for a bit…”
“Everyone who?”
“As it turns out. Your family.” She couldn’t help the wry smile on her lips, and as he realized she was serious, he burst into laughter.
“I give it ten minutes before one of the nosy bastards comes running.”
“No, I think Tohru will be the first up here looking for me…she’s known me much longer than anyone in your family has.” As the ginger haired male plopped down next to her, she sighed, staring out at the skyline.
“…so what happened? I know you were guiding them around…all but Akito - which, let me tell you, you should be grateful for.”
“…no…because my twin sister ended up as his guide. And he was the only one she had to lead around the school.” A groan, head dropping into her hands. “First she twisted her ankle…then she revealed absolutely everything!”
“…everything?” As he saw her pause and look at him suspiciously, he was confused. Kasumi frowned. She couldn’t very well demand his loyalty, as without Shiori, she wouldn’t know if he was lying. Recalling what had happened with one Sohma, however, she knew she could make sure he wouldn’t tell anyone. She reached out, and hugged him. “NO!”
With a loud sound, Kasumi was left holding something small, and furry, much like before. A gust of wind blew the puff of smoke away, and she glanced down to find herself holding a ginger cat in her arms. As blood red eyes identical to Kyo’s narrowed on her, she had to struggle not to squeal.
“You’re a kitten!!”
“…you knew, didn’t you?!”
“…well…I had a suspicion. Momiji, that underclassman related to you, almost fell, and when I caught him, he turned into a rabbit…I figured, since Akito seemed furious, it must not be just Momiji that it happens to.”
“Did you have to use me to find out for sure?!”
“…I wanted to be sure I could trust you with my secret. If I know yours, you won’t tell anyone about mine, for sure.” A faint nod, setting him on her lap as she looked at him. “Do you still want to know?”
“…fine, you might as well tell me, since you humiliated me already.” The tone was irritated, but instead of apologizing immediately, she merely giggled and reached out to scratch the top of his head. As he realized he was purring, he jumped, growled, and glared at her.
“Sorry, you’re just so cute, Kyo.” Letting her hand fall back to her lap, in front of the irritated cat, she looked down. “You see…my sister and I are…not normal. We can sense each other, wherever we are - that’s why we were chosen to lead your family around today, so that Yuki wouldn’t have to see Akito. Not only that…but… Kyo, have you ever seen my sister meet someone’s eyes?”
“…what? …no, but why are you asking such a stupid question?”
“…There’s a reason for it, you know. …when she looks into someone’s eyes, she can see into their mind. Unless they know about it, they can’t block off their minds to keep her from invading their private thoughts…so she doesn’t look anyone in the eyes.”
“Yeah? So what about you? I’m guessing you do something weird too, since you said you were both abnormal.” Even as he finished speaking, he realized he was hovering in midair a good foot above her lap, and this made him panic. “What the hell is this?! Put me down!!”
“…well, you did ask.” Kasumi huffed, letting him slowly back down onto her lap. He looked at her for a few moments, then turned his back.
“So, what about it?”
“…Akito knows…and…he just took her into a car, and she wouldn’t let me go with her…I’m worried, and she just…she just left me here alone!”
“…So your sister’s an idiot. Quit freaking out about it, she made her choice.” He glared at her over his shoulder. “There’s nothing you can do now but wait.”
“Ki-chan? Ki-chan!” Tohru looked relieved at the sight of Kasumi, climbing up onto the roof only to stare in shock at the cat perched quite unruffled on her classmate’s lap. As though to make her life awkward, it was at that moment that he changed back. Tohru yelped, turning away from the sight of the nude body, and Kasumi squeaked in horror, hands snapping over her face.
“AW HELL!” Kyo jumped away from her, quickly throwing on his clothes. “…alright, I’m decent.”
“Ki-chan, are you okay?” Tohru questioned, trying to fight off the blush that had overcome her when Kyo had changed forms. Kasumi merely nodded slightly, hands dropping to her lap again. “I’m sure she’ll be fine, Ki-chan…”
“I’m not…I don’t trust that guy.”
“And of the two of you, I’d say Kuroki has the more intelligent outlook.” Kyo grumbled, arms crossing over his chest. “I mean, honestly, Akito’s a prick.”
“…I have…bad news.”
“What bad news, Tohru?!” She turned to stare wide-eyed at her classmate, only to see her biting her lip in worry. “Tohru!”
“…Hatori called the school…he asked to speak to me, and…well…”
“Would you just spit it out already!” Kyo snapped, seeing the tension that was overcoming Kasumi. “Melodrama is not something Akito needs help with!”
“…she’s staying at the main house.” Tohru managed, before continuing as quickly as she could, before it sunk in and Kasumi flipped out. “She dislocated her ankle because she kept trying to walk on it and so Hatori had to fix it and Akito offered to let her stay there so she won’t get hurt and until Hatori knows she’s not going to do something like that again he’s decided to agree with them and let her stay there.”
“…where is this main house?” Kasumi questioned softly, a few minutes later. “…I need to see her…to speak to her…myself, before I believe anything like that.”
“…why not? It seems you guys have been giving Akito a hard time already, why not make it worse? I’ll come with you idiots.” Kyo got to his feet, hopping down to the next level of the roof, before opening the stairwell door for the two girls as they joined him. Snickering, he followed after them, though that amusement faded when Yuki, Haru, Shigure, and Momiji decided to join them.

“…THAT WAS MY EAR!!!” The irritated roar followed shortly after the scream, and though she would have pulled quickly away, Akiko held her head in place. Slowly, he drew away from her, her eyes opening on a sigh. A sigh that was not her own, at that. Akiko simply lowered his head back onto her lap to keep her from rising, his eyes falling closed, though his arm remained stretched above him, his hand on the back of her neck.
“…you both might need to yell again…and a bit louder.” Shiori grumbled. “I can still hear out of my left ear.”
“What were you DOING?!” Kasumi shrieked, fists clenched. Fortunately, this time Kyo had covered his ears to stare at the girl before him, who was so furious her hair was rising slightly all over her body. “Answer me, Shiori! AND WHAT IS THAT BRUISE ON YOUR FACE FROM?!”
“…he hit me.” The plain truth made her twin stop for a moment in shock, and before she could get started again, Shiori continued. “And what I was doing was no business of your own, I told you not to follow.”
“…she was worried about you, Kuro-chan…” Tohru whispered, stepping forward with a worried frown. “…and obviously she needed to be…”
“…Oh really?” A tilt of her head, brow arching. “I was being a smartass…and utterly rude. I deserved to be slapped for that.”
“HE MADE YOU DISLOCATE YOUR ANKLE!” Kasumi screeched - Kyo, having had more than enough of the screaming in such close proximity to his sensitive ears, turned to clasp his hands over her mouth. Only for the motion to end as he quite suddenly turned into a cat. Fortunately for him, Kasumi reacted quickly and caught him in her arms.
“…if you will shut the hell up, all of you, maybe I would get a chance to correct your rude accusations.” The tone in her voice had even her twin stepping back in fear, as she was beyond furious - and not just for the accusations. “After he hit me and yelled for a bit, I lost my temper, got to my feet, and snapped on him. When I was stepping forward after shoving him back, I stepped wrong and it dislocated my ankle. Even after all of that, Akito was kind enough to let me stay here, and even help me outside.”
“Oh yeah, then he demanded rights to your body in payment?!”
“…for the love of HELL.” She quickly, but carefully, shoved Akito up into a sitting position and shot to her feet, only to fall as she tried to step forward. Akito, fortunately, stood quickly as well, and managed to catch her, glaring at them all now.
“…what…is the meaning of this…?” It was a tone he had never taken with any of them, a slow, dark, menacing tone that frightened even Momiji. The group froze, as he shook his head slightly. “…I only wish I were surprised…I expected no better of my family…denying me any chance to find some form of happiness…and as for you, Kuroki…I don’t remember permitting you to enter my lands…you’re trespassing…”
“…Kasumi…I told you, I’m fine…” Shiori looked more upset than anything now, eyes closing as she turned her face into Akito’s shoulder. “…he didn’t force me to kiss him. I wanted to…”
“…oh…” The quiet little sound from the group below came from the other twin, as she looked down at the cat in her arms, which had looked annoyed until she did so. “…I…was just worried…after everything that’s happened…”
“…just…listen for once…not to what you’re telling yourself is best for us…but to what I’m saying is good for me right now…you won’t die if you aren’t with me at all times, I promise.”
“…oh shut up, smartass.” The snickers were coming from both girls now, but before more could be said between them, Akito turned away.
“…if you must be nearby…you may ask to stay at Shigure’s house. You will not be permitted here.” He said coldly, carrying Shiori inside and sliding the door shut quite sharply.
“…Shigure?” Turning with Kyo’s cat form held in her arms, she turned a pleading gaze on the older man, who sighed.
“…I can’t say no to a cute girl with a fluffy kitten.”
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” Kyo started struggling to get out of Kasumi’s arms, causing her to let him go. Shigure ran, laughing, even as Momiji grabbed Kyo’s clothes to run after them just in case Kyo changed back. The others, laughing, followed them back to Shigure’s house.

“Akito?” As he heard the hesitatant tone from the doorway, he turned to find Shiori leaning against it, a worried look on her face. “I…don’t have any of my own clothes…is there anything here I could wear to bed tonight?”
“Oh, right.” He got to his feet, turning away from the book he had been reading, and helped her back into the room where her futon lay. As he opened another closet, and removed one of his dress shirts, she gasped. “What is it now?”
“…this is your room, Akito?”
“But…where are you going to sleep, then?” When he opened another door, she saw a much smaller room with a futon lain out, and she frowned slightly. “…but…why don’t I just sleep in there, Akito?”
“Because you’re sleeping in here. Goodnight.” The door snapped shut immediately after he entered the room, leaving her standing to stare at it in shock. Shaking herself, she quickly changed out of her school uniform into his dress shirt, folding her clothes neatly and placing them beside her bed. Sliding into the covers, she closed her eyes, and slept.

It was a quiet night, the doors of the house open onto the world outside. Their grandparents had never feared criminals - after all, it would take talent to get into the compound itself, and that talent was welcomed by the family. Anyone who managed to break in would be more likely to get adopted than arrested. Still, some nights, Shiori was left sitting up and staring out into the wilderness, watching the shadows move as though sentient.
“H…hello?” She whispered into the darkness, clutching her blankets to her chest even as she saw the eyes moving in the darkness. “Who…who’s there?”
“Ahh…” The cracking voice made her hair stand on end, teeth biting into her lip as she whimpered, remembering the stories her cousins frightened her with. At least, she had always thought they were merely stories. Suddenly, the coldness of her eldest cousin’s eyes, a young woman who had a power not unlike her own, seemed less from personality, and more from the warnings she had thought horror stories, being true.
“Who’s there?! Answer me!” Leaping to her feet, Shiori stood ready. Though children, their grandfather had trained every Kuroki in the arts of battle, and she had taken to these arts as a duckling to water. It wasn’t enough. The eyes leapt towards her, the creature no more than a giant, looming shadow of death and despair, sucking her in and leaving her screaming uncontrollably.

~End Dream~

“Shiroi?!” Even at the sound of the man’s voice, her eyes snapped open, filled with terror as she reached blindly for him, gasping as the tears began to fall and his arms wrapped around her. No one had come to save her, back then. She had screamed and screamed, but no one had come. They found her the next morning in the bushes beside the room’s outer door, bruised and bloody, but with no signs of an attack. “Shiori, what’s wrong?!”
“…It was…a nightmare…” She managed, pressing her face into his chest and clinging to him as though he were the only thing that could keep her safe. Scrawny and underweight as he was, the idea was laughable, if one did not understand the will within the man.
“…a nightmare…?”
“…I…I’m sorry…I always have it if I fall asleep with the doors open…I forgot…it’s been so long since I lived in a traditional house…” The neat pile of clothes was scattered around the room, as was the bedding she had been sleeping under, but neither paid any mind to it as Akito merely helped her into the room in which he had slept, one blanket trailing behind them from her free hand. Though he had intended for her to lay down in his bed, she shook her head, pulling him down to lay beside her.
“…I…don’t want to be alone…please?”
“…you trust me that much?”
“…yes.” He crawled into bed, blinking as she lay atop the covers, cuddled into his chest, the blanket she had brought with her draped over her form. “…I’ve seen your heart, remember? …I know I can trust you, Akito…”
“…I’m glad…” The whisper was made even softer by the sleep that was stealing over him, his hand reaching out to touch her cheek with a soft smile, eyes usually so harsh and cold suddenly soft…caring…falling closed on a contented sigh, as sleep overcame them both.

Both smiles remained until morning, fading abruptly when awakened by a loud yell from the doorway. While Akito started, and sat up, it was Shiori who shot to a crouch, prepared for battle. As she saw her sister, she merely groaned and fell back to sit on the bedding beside Akito, fingers moving to her temples.
“…you have got to start greeting us normally, sis…” She muttered, looking wearily up to the speechless figure in the doorway, before blinking. “…are you wearing Kyo’s pants?”
“…huh? Yeah, aren’t they super cute?! I needed to wash my clothes, so I borrowed some of his pants since they were right there in the dryer, and he said it was okay. HEY! Stop trying to distract me! Did you sleep with him?!”
“Obviously, since I was sleeping when you opened the door, yes, I was sleeping. And as he’s with me, yes, I was sleeping with him.” Putting specific emphasis on the sleeping part, she continued glowering at her sister, who had the grace to blush. “…I had the nightmare again, and…Akito saved me.”
“…he…saved you?” She blinked slightly. “What do you mean?”
“…he woke me up…right as I started to scream…I don’t think I’d even made much sound yet…he woke me up before it could really get me again…” There was a faint blush on Shiori’s cheeks, as she looked down at her hands, fingers twining together. At that moment, Kasumi realized just how vulnerable her twin was at times. It was hard to believe, since Shiori was always the steadfast rock to her rushing flame, but at that time, she could see it, for the first time since they were children. No, she realized, since before then. It was the first time she had seen her sister vulnerable since the night that spawned her nightmares. Even when she woke the house with her screams, she was always awake when they entered her room, brushing them off like it was nothing.
“…Shiori…” She whispered, one hand moving to her chest, slowly forming into a fist as she struggled against tears that mirrored those in her sister’s eyes. “…I’m sorry…”
“…It isn’t your fault…you’re my big sister - if only by a little. Of course you want to protect me…but…one day, that won’t be your job anymore…” A soft smile towards her twin, who nodded slightly, stepping out of the room to close the door.
“…why didn’t you tell her that day has come?” As Akito spoke from the shadows in the back of the room, having gotten up and slipped to the window, she gave a start, turning to see him watching her warily. “…hasn’t it?”
“…I don’t know. I can’t speak for others, only for myself…I’ve been waiting for that day since I was very small…but I can’t demand another bring that day to fruition…it has to be of their own free will, or it means nothing…”
“…so why didn’t you tell her?” He was stepping towards her slowly, in that lazy, predatory way of his. Rising to her feet, she stood with her arms hanging down at her sides, body seemingly limp but for the fact that she still stood.
“…why didn’t you?” The whisper passed her lips even as he stood directly before her, only a few inches away. Lifting her head to look at him, she blinked as his fingers slipped around to press into the back of her neck, drawing her forwards as he bent slightly to meet her lips with his. As his other arm snaked around her waist, her eyes slid closed, hands moving to grasp his shoulders as she leaned up into him. Standing on her toes as she was, she soon had to move her lips from his to stand normally. Her eyes opened, looking into his. Once again, it was as though she could not look away, a hesitant smile forming on her lips even as tears began to well up in her eyes.
“I didn’t want to speak for you, without knowing your own thoughts…any more than you were willing to do so to me…” Those tears, instead of fading as he had expected them to upon his admission, began to slide down her cheeks, his hands moving to cup her face and allow his thumbs to wipe them away, confusion darkening his gaze. “…what? What is it? Why are you crying, Shiori?”
“…I…I’m so happy…” A soft laugh, burying her face in his chest as her arms pulled him closer to her. “…It’s just…I never expected it to happen…quite like this…”
“Neither did I…but I’m glad that it did…” He rested his cheek against the top of her head, eyes closing so that neither saw the door open, neither knew there were others to witness the scene. “…I think you may very well have saved me, Shiori…”

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