Kyou and Yuki are at it again, and Shigure's about to snap. For real.
Bah. That's putting it mildly, he thought darkly, flicking another crumpled ball of paper over his shoulder. He didn't even dare sneak a glance behind his back for fear of seeing what he knew he would see if he did turn around; mountains upon mountains of discarded scrap paper.
Another crashing sound from downstairs pierced his ears; in perfect complement to the loud 'boom' which had literally shaken the walls of the house, his house, a few minutes ago.
Shigure clenched his jaw. One of these days his patience would surely run out. One of these days he would deliver those two the death sentence they were asking so badly for: the firing squad; execution-style. One of these days he would chop their heads off and make a batch of rice balls with it. And make them eat it.
One evil thought after another fleeted through his mind at frightening speed; funny how he could conjure such interesting ways for the cat and the rat to prematurely meet their demise, but to finish this one bloody chapter...he might as well climb the Tokyo Tower or something to pass the time, it was taking bloody forever.
A loud of yelp of pain (he curiously noted it sounded like Yuki for once) resounded through the whole house, jerking him out of his reverie. And Shigure knew he had to do something. Although he'd love to see the two brats kill each other and restore peace to the household once and for all, this writers' block he was currently suffering from was one of the worst he had ever had, and the deadline was in two weeks. And he was nowhere near finished.
He surveyed the state of the downstairs hallway as he slowly walked down the stairs. A vase lay broken in pieces. Strange. He was used to seeing all its pieces in one piece.
He poked his head through the living room door. Or rather what used to be the door.
"Anou...Kyou-kun...Yuki-kun..." He guessed he should try diplomacy first.
"WHAT?" They both snapped. Yuki had his arm around Kyou's neck, whose face was dangerously a shade redder than his hair. Yuki didn't look all that great either; a livid bruise was forming near his temple, his usually calm silver eyes wild and crazed. Tohru was nowhere to be seen. Rightfully so...it was like a warzone in here.
"Could you...keep it down a little down here? I'm trying to work," he reprimanded gently, offering one of his sheepish grins. Hopefully they would take pity on him and shut the hell up, or do the laundry or whistle down the chimney or whatever.
He might as well be mute for all the good his tact did him.
As if he were invisible, the fight commenced. Shigure watched, transfixed, as Kyou jabbed an elbow into the ratboy's gut, forcing him to release the choke hold.
"Boys...come on..." he implored, but his pleas fell on deaf ears as the two brats crashed in a tangle of arms and legs onto the table, sending the plates yet to be cleared from dinner, flying across the room.
The mild headache he had successfully ignored for the past few hours amplified its throbbing, and now it pounded heavily in his temples. Shigure closed his eyes. Curse the curse for bringing Kyou and Yuki together. Curse the curse for making them the cat and the rat respectively in the first place.
Kindness and goofiness were part of his nature, but anger, however well-hidden it normally was, was part of it too. And right now he was very angry.
Without thinking, he leaped into the room, grabbing the back of Kyou's shirt, pulling him off the struggling Yuki and with a sudden burst of energy, he single-handedly flung him to the wall. Like Hatori once said, often people overly romanticized those they cared about, especially with him being a novelist and all, but right now, family or no family, he was going to kill these two.
His eyes blazing, he bunched his fists around clumps of Yuki's shirt, lifted him off the floor and slammed his cousin against the wall.
"Have you had enough?" He barked.
Kyou picked himself off the floor, looking stunned. Shigure almost never interfered in any of their fights, aside from making half-hearted remarks or one of his lame jokes.
"Why can't you two listen to me for once, huh? Ever since you were kids, all you two have ever done was beating each other to pulp!" Shigure's eyes flashed. "To think that you two would actually grow up one day-I should have known better!"
The glare he sent them was so uncharacteristic of him that Kyou could only stare at him in shock.
"What, cat got your tongue?" Shigure asked acidly.
"And you. I expected better from you. Guess my writer's intuition is not so reliable after all, huh?" Yuki seemed to cower under his gaze.
"I told you I needed to work. I told you I needed silence. But I don't matter. I'm only the master of the house so who am I to you, right?" His voice rose a notch. "I'm just a mutt, after all!"
"You blame the zodiac, you blame the curse for all the shortcomings you two find in yourselves that make you so loathsome to each other, but you never make an effort to overcome them. That's the problem with you two."
"You let the curse win." He hissed. Even as he said the words, Shigure felt a chill run down the back of his neck. Where was all this coming from? This was unlike him.
Shigure raised his other hand to his forehead and dropped his head forward. He stayed that way for a while, much to Kyou's worry, but he finally lifted his head and let go of Yuki's shirt like it was burning coal.
"Give it a rest for now, okay?" Shigure pleaded, still sounding more agitated than usual, but his warm brown eyes were once again, to Kyou's relief, Shigure's. And from the look on Yuki's face, he had a feeling the rat was relieved too.
"Yes sir," Yuki and Kyou mumbled, their eyes downcast.
Shigure smiled wanly. With a brush of his hand, he straightened out the front of Yuki's shirt he had crumpled in his anger and ruffled the rat prince's hair briefly, a rare gesture of affection even for someone as loving as him.
"Gomen," he whispered, and turned around. On his way out the door, he did the same to Kyou, letting his hand linger for a few seconds on the cat's shoulder before finally walking out.
"You don't have to clean up, I'm sure Tohru-kun will take care of most of it tomorrow once she comes back from Saki-chan's house. But leave the broken vase and dishes alone, she could cut herself. I'll clean them tomorrow myself. Why don't you two go rustle up some midnight snack and go to bed, hmm?"
His words trailed off as they finally lost sight of him as he disappeared up the stairs, his steps heavy and trudging, indicating the lack of light-heartedness that was Shigure personified. A barely concealed sigh from their older cousin almost escaped them, and once again they were left to themselves, but this time, instead of fighting, they could only uneasily regard each other in tense silence.
Shigure dropped heavily into his chair and squeezed his eyes shut. His head was throbbing still; he'd give anything for some aspirin and a good twenty hours of sleep, but Mii-chan would kill him if he couldn't come up with 60 pages of manuscript by tomorrow morning.
One night without Tohru to keep a leash on those two boys and he was a wreck. He guessed this was how PMS-ing would feel like if he were a woman. Good thing I don't menstruate, he thought tiredly, cupping a hand over his eyes. The bright fluorescent light was drilling harsh stabs of red into his eyeballs, penetrating his closed lids.
He didn't know how long he had been resting against the headrest when his olfactory receptors caught a whiff of what deliciously smelled like hot chocolate and warmed milk buns. And at the same time he felt something cold and damp on his forehead.
He opened his bleary eyes. Yuki, looking slightly concerned, hovered over him, his purple-silver eyes staring down at him. "Yuki-kun?"
Shigure lifted his head off the headrest gingerly, raising a hand to keep the damp cloth his cousin had pressed to his forehead from falling off.
He looked at the door and saw Kyou standing there with a tray filled to the brim with milk buns and three mugs of steaming hot cocoa.
Shigure frowned. "Kyou-kun? What are you guys doing?"
Yuki mumbled. "Growing up."
Kyou just glared sullenly at Yuki. "Overcoming."
Shigure grunted involuntarily as strong hands started kneading the tight muscles in his shoulders, moving from one scapula to the other; prodding deep into the ridges of his bones, easing away the cramps which had settled in from sitting up too long.
Kyou placed the tray on the floor in the middle of the room, brushing stacks upon stacks of stray paper aside to make room. "Ah. There's the carpet. I was wondering where it's gone."
Shigure couldn't help but smile. But he was enjoying Yuki's massage too much to counter the smart-ass remark with one of his own.
"You're kinda warm," Yuki observed.
Kyou narrowed his eyes. "You should have told us you weren't feeling well. We could have made plans to kill each other tomorrow or something."
Shigure smiled at him kindly. "Then I'll just be unwell every day if that would keep you two from fighting."
Yuki raised an eyebrow. "You do that and I'll personally see to it that Hatori comes over every single day to give you a jag right in the arse."
"Ratboy's right. I said I was overcoming, not signing a treaty." Kyou made a face. "Seriously though, do you need us to call Hatori or something? Or Tohru? You look like death warmed over."
Shigure winced as Yuki pressed on a particularly sore spot on the back of his neck. "No, I'm alright. I'm just tired."
"I know just the thing to make you feel a whole lot better. Here, have some hot cho-" Kyou was about to bring over a mug of cocoa when Shigure stopped him with a wave of his hand. His head finally clearing, he rose from the chair.
"Let's drink together, ne?" His face much brighter than a few moments ago, Shigure grabbed Yuki's arm and dragged him along as he went to sit next to his cousin on the floor.
Between mouthfuls of delicious hot bun, Shigure found his spirit returning. And for the first time in ages Yuki and Kyou were laughing at some joke they just heard at school earlier, and that alone was every bit as therapeutic as the fragrant hot cocoa.
"Shigure, you should get some sleep. Honda-san's not going to be happy seeing you like this when she gets back." Yuki handed him some round white pills, which Shigure gratefully swallowed in one go.
"No, I have to finish my-"
"Book, yeah yeah." Kyou flicked a few crumbs off his T-shirt. "Do it tomorrow morning. Ratboy's making breakfast."
"I am?" Yuki asked sharply.
"Yes. We discussed it downstairs remember?" Kyou retorted. "You make breakfast, while I take care of the mess you made. That was the deal. Boy, rats sure have short memories. I guess it comes with the territory, small brains and all."
"You know everything I make turns to ash, you trying to rub it in my face? Why can't I clean up? And since when is it my mess anyway? You broke the damn vase, you stupid cat!"
Shigure groaned silently.