A/N This is a rewrite for The Cat's Last Banquet. it is also about 3x the original length. so... this should pull on the heartstrings alot more. OH THE FEELS! I say rewrite because while nearly everything as been rewritten, the main plot is still there - it just happens slightly differently. so yeah... oh, Disclaimer - i DO NOT own Fruits BASKET! dont ask me why i messed with caps there, i just felt like it...
He lay beaten on the ground for the third time in two days. "Baka Neko" he heard a familiar voice spit contemptuously in his direction. He looked up to see Yuki walking away from him, down the hall. There was a familiar pang in his chest and he blinked back tears. He really was a baka. He couldn't believe that he could fall in love with that. Not only were they both guys, but they were natural (and conditioned) enemies. He picked himself up off the ground and ran full speed into the forest behind the house, not even bothering to open the rice-paper door let alone find his shoes and jacket. He thought he heard a voice call out to him, but he ignored it and ran outside without hesitation. He remembered that it was January as soon as he lay one socked foot upon the snow-covered grass outside. Baka he said to himself again while still running. Well, I can't go back now… might as well… he continued, never stopping, and never, ever looking back.
He was drenched in sweat by the time he finally stopped, ten minutes later, and rested a hand on a large tree, trying to catch his breath. What the hell am I doing he thought to himself, I should be in love with Tohru, the sweet, cheerful girl who is always there, who takes care of us. Yet of all people to fall for, why does it have to be HIM? He could see the image of a perfect posture walking away from him. The sight of Yuki turning his back to him seemed to be replaying itself endlessly in his minds eye. He gripped at his chest through the sodden shirt, trying to release the iron hands gripping his heart. Tears welled in his eyes and froze on his cheeks. He had no right to be with Yuki. He knew it, Akito knew it, everyone knew it, everyone but his heart that is. For some reason he still couldn't let go. Last week he had been called to Akito to be reminded just how worthless he was. Like he could ever forget that fact.
Kyo hesitated outside the familiar door, not knowing the reasons for him being called but knowing instinctively that they couldn't be good. The cat in him was urging to flee, but he stood his ground. He knocked. "Akito, you asked to see me?" he said in a voice much higher than his own, not daring to open the door.
The door slid open seemingly by itself, and Kyo was faced with the dark interior of Akito's room. He couldn't see what was prepared for him, but he knew that whatever it was couldn't be could. "Come in kitty," said a cold voice from the depths of the room. Kyo nervously placed one foot into the room, and then the other. He walked until he couldn't see his surroundings due to the unnatural blackness of the room. The door closed and he was left in pitch black. He felt a hand grip his hair. A mouth pressed to his and he felt something cool run down his throat.
The next thing he knew he had been stripped and tied naked to a chair. He heard moans and wished the person would shut up. A moment later he realized that he was the one making the noise and bit his lips. He heard a high pitched laugh and realized his eyes were still closed, but that there was some dim light from somewhere, so he opened them to see an old fashioned gas lamp with a candle in the corner of the room, providing just enough light to see Akito standing over him with a whip. He looked around and realized that his hands were tied behind his back and his legs tied to the legs of the chair, revealing a sensitive area for Akito's enjoyment, the patriarch already having started playing with his toy when Kyo awoke.
"Let me ask you something cat." Akito said shoving something small and hard into his ass on the final word. "Did you really think if you fell in love with my precious rat that I wouldn't find out about it?" oh shit thought Kyo this is about that? Akito held up two switches, each connected to two wires and without a moment's hesitation pushed them both to their maximum voltage. The sudden harsh vibrations deep in Kyo's body made him scream in agony and thrash as best he could while being tied down. The vibrations stopped as suddenly as they started and Kyo tried to choke back sobs.
"I… was hoping… no one… would find… out." Kyo managed to get out very quietly. Akito laughed that dangerous laugh again and dialed the switches back up to max.
"This isn't about people finding out, beast," Akito said mercilessly, "This is about you daring to fall in love at all," Akito punctuated the sentence by whipping him hard across his exposed body. "Worst yet," Akito walked over to where the candle was burning. "You fell in love with my Yuki." Akito poured the hot candle wax across Kyo's exposed chest. Akito then poured the candle oil over Kyo's shoulder and down his front. Then the glass covering was removed and the exposed candle was set down in the space on the chair behind Kyo's back. Akito waited until the oil had caught fire and the screams returned before heading to the door. "You have one week to beat him. If you can't, you will start confinement early." Akito smirked at the boy, struggling against the ropes binding him for dear life. "Remember cat, you are nothing, you are less than nothing, no one will love you." Then Akito left.
Not long after Akito left, Hatori ran into the room and put out the fire. Kyo had passed out from pain by then. When he came to, he was in a bed, and he was screaming. There was a yukata wrapped around him, but open at the chest and exposing one shoulder. The bedcovers also only went up to his waist. He writhed hard at the feeling of cloth on his body. A vaguely familiar voice said "Shigure!" and hands grabbed his shoulders gently, but firmly, and held them down. "Kyo," the screaming stopped. He tried to jerk away from the hands holding him, then gasped with pain as he put pressure on the burn on his back. "KYO," the voice said again more sternly this time. He opened his eyes to see Hatori and Shigure standing over him. Shigure was holding Kyo's shoulders to the bed and Hatori was holding a roll of bandages. Kyo blinked blearily and the writhing stopped. He released the tension from his body and sagged into the bed. Numbly he felt Hatori put more burn gel on him then cover it with gauze and a bandage. He closed his eyes again, too tired to feel the pain. He heard Hatori saying something to Shigure, and then his guardian answered. The door opened and then closed quietly. He heard a chair move to sit beside him and turned his head towards the noise. He opened his eyes to see the doctor sitting there, looking at him and the one eye Kyo could see looked kinder than he had seen it in a while. "You will stay here for a while, so I can treat your burns" Kyo shook his head.
"I need to beat him," He said croakily, trying to get up and follow Shigure. Hatori placed a hand on his chest and forced him back down.
"You will have plenty of time for that later," Hatori said, fixing Kyo's yukata and pulling the covers up to his chest. Kyo shook his head again
"I need to beat him in a week, or I go into confinement," he said with a familiar pang in his chest. "I need to beat the rat or I go into confinement early." He tried to get up again but Hatori's hand was on his chest once more.
"You will stay here for at least tonight, we will think about tomorrow, tomorrow" He said, and Kyo stopped resisting. "Now sleep." They fell silent.
"Hatori," Kyo said after many minutes of silence. He was looking up at the ceiling, staring as if lost in thought.
"Don't talk Kyo," Hatori said watching him with concern, "Just rest."
Kyo didn't listen to him. "Why did you fall in love with Kana?" He asked, turning his head to look at his cousin.
Hatori blinked at the question. "Why?" He sat looking puzzled for a moment. "I don't think falling in love has a reason Kyo. I just did, I didn't choose to." Kyo looked back at the ceiling. "Are you in love with someone you shouldn't be?" Hatori asked watching the cat closely. Kyo closed his eyes and tears ran down the sides of his cheeks. "Who is it?"
"Yuki" He said, barely audibly.
End of Flashback
Kyo kept running. The snow was cool against his bare feet – he had discarded his soaking socks earlier. He didn't know how long he kept running, but he needed to get away. Get away from Yuki. Get away from Akito, but mostly, he needed to get away from himself. Finally running wasn't enough anymore. He stood panting next to a tree and looked up at it. It was tall and still had nettles, an evergreen. Perfect. Nimbly he started climbing. 20 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet, until he couldn't climb anymore. His burned shoulder was throbbing from the exertion. He lay on his branch lazily and watched the snowfall. Today was time limit in which he was supposed to beat Yuki. It hadn't happened so if he returned he would be placed in confinement.
The cloudy sky made it difficult to tell what time of day it was, but a grumbling in Kyo's stomach told him that it had to be past lunchtime. He wouldn't go back. No one would miss him anyway. Maybe he could just disappear right here, join the falling snow and melt into nothing when spring comes. He closed his eyes and let the cold envelope his limbs.
He experienced sensation that he wasn't sure if they were real or from his dreams. He was falling. Something punched him in the stomach, winding him, then something hit his spine, he felt a blow to the ribs and it suddenly became very difficult to breath. He awoke just long enough to notice how small he felt compared to the tree next to him, and then he collapsed.
Yuki didn't see Kyo leave, so he didn't know to be worried about the cat until he arrived home that evening after his student council duties. Tohru ran up to him in the driveway looking panicky. "Kyo isn't home yet!" She said, tears filling her large hazel eyes.
"What do you mean Honda-san?" Yuki asked, concerned more for Tohru than the baka neko. "Why wouldn't he be home?"
Tohru wiped her eyes and took a deep breath, "he ran out of the house this morning after your fight," she said, losing composure again. "He was wearing nothing but socks. And he hasn't returned yet!" She cried into Yuki's chest, careful not to hug him.
Yuki patted her on the head absently, "Don't worry Honda-san," he said, "I will find him." Tohru nodded and ran back into the house.
"Tadaima." Yuki said quietly after entering the house. He took off his shoes and stepped up out of the entryway. He thought for a moment. Then he went to the phone and dialed.
"Moshi moshi" Hatori said, picking up on the first ring.
"Hatori!" Yuki said in a rush, "Is the cat there with you?"
"No," Hatori said startled
"Did Akito call him?" Yuki asked
"Kyo saw Akito last week," Hatori said still slightly puzzled, "Yuki, what's wrong?"
Yuki took a breath and felt an odd disappointment filling him. "He left the house this morning, and we don't know where he went." Then he backtracked, panic filling him once more. "Akito saw him last week?" Yuki asked, Hatori responded positively. "Why would Akito need to see him?"
Hatori was silent for a few moments. "You should ask Kyo, when you find him." Hatori said, slightly sadly. There was a click and the phone disconnected.
Yuki put down the phone and puzzled over this for a moment. Why would Akito ask to see Kyo? Had he done something recently? From Yuki's perspective Kyo had been performing more than adequately for the past few months. He went to the kitchen and saw the hole in the door. Then he noticed the footprints. It was growing dark, but if Kyo had been outside all day, and after a meeting with Akito there was a high likelihood that he was injured, then the cat most certainly wouldn't last the night. He went to the front door and grabbed his winter coat from the rack and his snow boots. He also grabbed a heavy blanket, just in case. He went to the back porch to put on his snow gear and grabbed a flashlight on his way through the house. "I will be back," He called as he left.
Yuki tried to call up some help from the other rats in the area, but it seemed they were all burrowing under the snow and didn't want to leave their nests. It seemed he would have to do it the hard way. Thankfully the snowfall that day wasn't hard enough to completely mask Kyo's footprints. Yuki worked his along the winding trail made by Kyo hours earlier. Yuki didn't see a second set of footprints leading back, and the evidence suggested that it had been fairly windy that day. Yuki's mounting concern was starting to turn into irritation, albeit a fond one "Stupid cat," He thought affectionately jogging with the cat's long strides. "You go get yourself in trouble, and I have to clean-" Yuki stopped in his tracks, mid thought. Beneath a large evergreen, amidst the white snow he could see a mound of fur. He approached cautiously and a dozen pairs of eyes turned to him. There were yellow, green, blue, grey, and black eyes, but he couldn't see any orange. He got closer and saw that each of the cats was curled close to a small orange cat, lying on its side in the snow. "Kyo." Yuki breathed, feeling a hand grip his heart, then he knelt down beside the mound, set the blanket aside and shooed the other cats away. He reached his hand out to pick up his cousin, and was surprised to find that his normal fever-hot body was much colder than normal, and his limbs stiff. Then disregarding the cold, Yuki leaned down and kissed the cat. "Don't die, Kyo," He said softly feeling like his heart would break
Yuki sat down, cross-legged next to the cat and spread the blanket over his legs. Then, ready for the chill, he gently picked up the still feline and placed him in his lap. Yuki covered Kyo in the blanket and brought him into his own arms for warmth. As Yuki picked up the cat, he noticed that there was a large burn scar across his chest that the fur from his cat's form couldn't hide. As he placed the small body in his lap Yuki noticed that there were also a few drops of blood where the cat had been moments before. Looking closer at his cousin, Yuki noticed that there was blood frosting on his nose. Yuki gathered Kyo's clothes and something that looked a lot like a bandage, got up quickly, and started walking back the way he came, pulling out his phone as he went. "Hatori," he said swiftly as the older male picked up, "Come to Shigure's house right away," then quite sadly he said, "I found Kyo." Hanging up, he hurried as fast as he could, without moving Kyo too much, back to the house.
Shigure was at the back door to meet him. "Yuki!" He said without pretense, "Hatori called, you found him?" Yuki nodded and gestured with his head towards the bundle he was carrying. "Shit." Shigure said, knowing without explanation what that meant. They both knew that reverting to animal form meant that Kyo had to have been very weak. Yuki didn't know if Kyo would change back if he died though. He shook the thought out of his head. Kyo wasn't dead. He couldn't be. Shigure opened the door for Yuki and they went upstairs into Kyo's room without saying anything to Tohru. Shigure drew back the futon and Yuki lay him on the bed and they covered him with blankets, not removing the one the rat had carried him in. Shigure then brought in a portable heater from his study and set it on the floor, heat aiming for Kyo, and turned it on.
There was a knock at the door and it was opened. Yuki heard the deep voice of his cousin, Hatori conversing with the higher voice of Tohru. There was crying, then a pair of footsteps coming up the stairs. The door opened and the tall thin figure of Hatori was framed in the doorway. "Where is he?" he asked without preamble. Yuki gestured wordlessly to the bed where there was a small lump and Hatori's face grew grim. He pulled back the covers to inspect the cat. Yuki saw instantly how Hatori switched his emotions to doctor mode as he touched the cold feline. The rat watched with apprehension as Hatori's thin fingers probed the cat's small chest looking for a heartbeat. Yuki felt a hand gripping his heart as his cousin's passive face grew suddenly grim again.
"NO!" Yuki shouted before Hatori could say anything. "He isn't dead! He isn't!" the amethyst eyes were overflowing and tears were falling onto the tatami. "He can't be…" Shigure walked silently over to Yuki and placed his arm around his young cousin's shoulders, uncharacteristically stoic. Yuki shrugged off the arm and went to the bed where his cat was. Yuki caressed the soft fur crying harder when Kyo's limp ear didn't react to his touch. "He was just picking fights with me this morning! He can't be dead!" Hatori placed a hand on Yuki's shoulder.
"I'm sorry, Yuki," He said gently, "Kyo is gone."
Yuki turned a tear stained face to Hatori. "But, I love him," he said desperately, "What do I do now?" Hatori shook his head silently, watching Yuki continuing to pet his beloved cat. Hatori and Shigure exchanged glances, then Hatori took Yuki's shoulders and steered him out of the room.
"Come on Yuki," Hatori said gently. "Lets get some tea, we need to get you warmed up or you will come down with a cold" Yuki tried to shrug off the shoulders but Hatori held him in a firm grip. "You need a bath." Hatori looked at Shigure and the dog left the room to make a call.
"Aya will be here soon," Shigure said a few minutes later as Hatori and Yuki left the room. They both looked at Yuki. He wasn't shouting anymore, or fighting, but his head was still looking towards Kyo's closed door, and his eyes were blank.
Tohru was nowhere to be found, but while they were worried about her well-being, right now the main priority was Yuki. Ayame walked into the house without knocking a moment later. "GURE!" He shouted up the stairs. "I have come to PLAYYY!" Shigure cursed under his breath and ran down the stairs to quiet the absurdly happy snake.
"Ayame," Shigure said sternly, Aya looked surprised and confused. Shigure had called him, but now he was so stern… "I didn't call you to play." This confused the snake even more. Ayame cocked his head and looked questioningly at the dog. "Your brother," Shigure said, motioning up the stairs. Aya and Shigure ascended the stairs and Ayame grew worried at Yuki's catatonic state.
"What happened?" The snake asked his friends.
"We will tell you later, Ayame," Hatori said rather stiffly. "We are putting Yuki under suicide watch for the time being." Ayame looked highly surprised by this news but accepted it. "We need to get him warmed up, he has been outside for a while," Aya nodded and felt his brother's cheek. It was chilled, but Yuki wasn't showing any signs of wanting to warm himself up, his purple eyes still red and puffy from crying, were now blank and unseeing. Ayame knew this look, the last time he had seen it was when Yuki was 8 years old and living with Akito. Yuki had numbed himself to the harsh realities around him.
Ayame took Yuki from Hatori and steered him towards the bath. "You will inform me of everything that has happened," He said looking back at the doctor over his shoulder, an uncharacteristically steely look in his eye. The door closed behind the brothers and Hatori sighed. He went back into Kyo's room with Shigure and collapsed into a chair by the bed, his head in his hands.
"Shigure," He said seriously, "Do you know why Akito called Kyo to him last week?"
Shigure shook his head. "I didn't even know he had until you called me saying that Akito had seriously injured him." The dog said, brown eyes watching the doctor carefully. "Kyo had been called before, but his punishment had never been that extreme."
Hatori nodded, "After you left Kyo asked me some very interesting things, and told me some things that were even more worrying." Shigure stayed silent, letting the doctor continue. "He asked me WHY I fell in love with Kana. Not what I liked about her," he said quickly forestalling the question, "But what my reason was. Like it was some sort of equation."
"Akito hurt him because he was in love?" Shigure asked in disbelief. Hatori nodded.
"But I think it's more than just that he was in love." Hatori said contemplating aloud. "I think it was who Kyo was in love with."
"Who was it?" Shigure asked softly.
There was a thump from behind them, they turned around to see Yuki in the doorway, fresh tears pouring down his cheeks. "Yuki!" Ayame shouted from down the hall. The snake hurried over, joining the dragon and dog at Yuki's side. Yuki curled up in his bathrobe, leaning against the doorframe.
"He…He loved me!" Yuki sobbed "He loved me… and now he is gone!" Yuki looked at Ayame pleadingly. "Nii-san" he said in anguish. "What do I do now? I love him!" Ayame was lost. He didn't know if he should say to go after his love, what did Yuki mean, "gone"? Who was gone? How?
"Lets go to sleep Yuki," Hatori said, picking up the sobbing rat, bridal style and carrying him to Shigure's room. "Shigure, Yuki cant sleep up here alone, do you have an extra futon you can put in your study?" The dog nodded and ran down the stairs into the bedroom he converted into a study. Hatori lay Yuki gently down on the sofa and as Shigure was covering the rat, he grabbed his doctor's kit. Taking a syringe he withdrew a small amount of clear liquid from a small bottle, then taking Yuki's arm he pushed the needle into the pale flesh and released the drug. Yuki's convulsing body relaxed. "Sleep Yuki" Hatori said, running a finger down the pale cheek.
As the amethyst eyes slowly closed Hatori stood and looked over at Shigure who was in the kitchen reading a note. "Tohru is spending a few days at Uo-chan's" He said, giving a weak smile. "Well, now we don't have to worry about her, but I will call to make sure." Shigure disappeared into the hall. Ayame entered with Haru. Hatori seemed surprised to see the young cow there, but didn't question it.
"What happened?" Haru said roughly, eyes slowly turning black. Hatori led them over to the kitchen and made four cups of tea. He didn't feel like dealing with Black Haru right now. And Kyo wasn't here to snap him out of it… "Hatori!" Haru snapped the doctor back to the present.
"Kyo is dead." Ayame and Haru just stared at him, shocked. "Yuki found him in cat form in the snow. Tohru told me that he ran out of here without a coat or shoes this morning around breakfast. There is also evidence of trauma to his lungs and spinal cord. I think he may have fallen out of a tree."
"What the HELL?" Haru shouted rising from his chair before Shigure put a hand on his shoulder and pushing him back down. "Why didn't he come back on his own?"
"Akito," Hatori said simply.
"Yeah," Haru said, eyes still furious. "We all know Akito is a bastard, but what does that have to do with Kyo?"
"Kyo was called into Akito last week." Hatori continued. "From what I gather Akito found out that Kyo was in love with Yuki, and then changed the rules for his confinement. After quite a bit of torture…"
Shigure narrowed his eyes. "What do you mean rules for confinement?" he asked suspiciously. "There are no rules, he is confined when he graduates. I mean, he would have been…" He said, correcting himself.
Hatori looked at Shigure thoughtfully. "Maybe not. Kyo said 'I need to beat him in a week, or I go into confinement, I need to beat the rat or I go into confinement early.'" Hatori said contemplatively, "I think Akito had given Kyo an ultimatum. If he beat Yuki, he wouldn't have to go into confinement, but after learning about Kyo's love for Yuki, he decided to play with Kyo and shorten period of time in which he had to complete the task."
"Sick bastard," Haru said harshly.
"So they were in love with each other, and never knew it." Ayame said softly, looking at the couch where is brother lay sleeping. "Now Kyo is dead and Yuki is…" he couldn't bear to say the words. Hatori nodded.
"Yuki is grieving," He said simply. "It didn't help that it was Yuki who found him in the woods." The four men sat in silence, trying to figure out what to do next. Eventually Haru and Ayame left for the night, but promised to come back in the morning. Hatori set up a futon by the couch, and Shigure went into his study.
The house was dark when Yuki woke up from his drug-induced slumber. He didn't know how long he had been sleeping, nor did he really care. There was only one thing on his mind. He needed to be reunited with Kyo. They were in love with each other. And if Kyo couldn't come back to him here, then Yuki would just join him over there. He got up quietly from his place on the couch, careful not to wake Hatori. He took a knife from the knife block in the kitchen. Since Tohru had come into their lives their kitchen knives had always been sharp. Then he trod up to Kyo's room trying to be as quiet as he could. He entered the room and instead of the cold body of a cat on the bed, he found Kyo, naked under the covers, and ice cold. His eyes were closed and face pale. Yuki pressed his lips to Kyo's and tasted warm tears mix with the cold lips. The rat silently slid under the covers and rested his head against Kyo's chest. He positioned one cold arm so that he could snuggle closer to the dead cat and took the knife firmly in one hand. Without a second of hesitation he slashed one wrist, deep. Blood poured out and Yuki watched in fascination as his life left him little by little. He dropped the knife onto the hard floor next to the bed and carefully placed his bleeding arm over Kyo's bare stomach. He reached up for one last kiss, weakly murmuring, "I love you, I love you, I love you," over and over as the lips met and then as he nestled back against Kyo's chest once more, eyes closed.
The door banged open. "No!" There were hurried footsteps and Yuki numbly felt someone take his arm. "Yuki, why?" Yuki continued to murmur his mantra. 'I love you, I love you, I love you.' Then finally the words stopped and Yuki lay still.
A/N - so... did you cry? i nearly did writing it :D oh FF, its so good to be back...
anyway, Please Review. If i dont get people asking me for continuation, then i wont write one...
Baka Neko - Stupid Cat - yeah i used this one last time too. It is used a lot in Fruits basket...
Yukata - a japanese bathrobe. or a really thin, cotton kimono
San - like Ms, or Mr, or Mrs. its relatively polite. mostly used for last names and people you dont know very well.
Tadaima - I'm home, what you say when you return to your place of residence.
Moshi Moshi - what you say when you answer the phone
and i dont think there is anything else...