"Haru wanted -- needed -- to elicit a reaction." A brief character study taking place during chapters 13/14. Manga-based.
He hated his curse, but he loved his family -- at least, the younger ones, the ones who couldn't take care of themselves, the ones who were weak or fragile or broken or outcasts. He took care of the ones that would let him and even tried to help those who wouldn't, and sometimes, it hurt that no one really tried to take care of him. His black side was the only one that ever got their attention.
He'd hoped Kyo would be there at New Year's; he liked the Cat. Not like the Rat, who was the only member of his family he could remember ever offering him any measure of peace, but he liked Kyo all the same. Kyo fell into that category of people he felt needed something from him, but was special because Kyo himself refused to admit it. When neither Yuki nor Kyo showed up at the celebration, it had tapped a hairline fracture into his personalities, slowly easing them apart. It was like being left, like being abandoned, like knowing that he wasn't important enough to either of them to tempt them out onto the Sohma estate. He rationalized this, told himself it was nothing personal, but that just made it worse. He wanted it to be personal. He wanted to feel like a person, not a shadow. The rift between Black and White grew until, finally, he had Kyo in his hands.
And no one could ignore Black Haru.
Yuki didn't try to stop him, and something about that made him angry. The Rat knew the kind of guilt Haru would suffer after his black personality receded, but he was letting it happen anyway. Haru wanted -- needed -- to elicit a reaction, to shock Yuki out of his apathy. He needed Yuki to feel something for him, even if it was only disgust. But a sensual, stroking hand to the older boy's chin, a roughly sliding shiver of possessive words, failed to bring about anything but a mild question, a kind of distantly curious pity that pierced him like a poisoned arrow. Pity was the one thing he didn't want the boy to feel for him.
He loved Yuki, and he needed to believe that meant something to the Rat. I let you ride on my back, he wanted to say. I let you use me. And I'd do it again, in a million different ways.
He turned back to Kyo, knowing that if he was going to get a reaction out of anyone, it would be the short-tempered Cat. He needled and leered and hit all the right buttons -- and Kyo's were all out there, easily accessed, just waiting to be pushed -- and grinned wider by the minute as Kyo's rage soared.
"Hit me!" he taunted. "Come on, /hit me!/" He could feel himself begging, desperate for a winding punch, something that would hurt past the adrenaline, past the exhilarating flare of self-destruction, past the deeper pain. A fist snapped his head back, splitting his lip. The blood ran warmly into his mouth, over his chin, and he laughed as he lapped it up. "I barely felt that!"
Fighting brought everything to the surface; the side of him that thought, the White side, stood no chance against the side that purely felt, raw emotion of memories that built beneath his skin like swelling bruises until he finally bled. He wanted Kyo to hit him, wanted the Cat to take him down. He wanted to hit back, too; wanted to lash out against everything they'd ever done to him, every time they'd laughed at him or ignored him or left him to wander out in the cold. He wasn't hitting Kyo; he was hitting his family. But he expected the punches, craved them on some level, thought and felt that he deserved them. Of course he did.
But he didn't.
No, I didn't deserve any of this -- I never did. All I ever did was try to help. That's all.
The girl's voice broke through the sound of fighting and Haru and Kyo both stopped, turned, Kyo's hand fisted in the front of Haru's shirt, ready to pull him in for more. Yuki was coughing, gasping for air, and suddenly Haru's lungs felt pained, constricted. Guilt washed over him, exhaustion on its heels, and he shivered as he felt Yuki's hand on his leg, pleading. He felt guilty for ever resenting the other boy -- or anyone else, really -- and knelt quietly by Yuki's side. He wasn't nothing; there was still something he could give that no one else could. His blackness began to slink back, his rancor temporarily lanced, and he surrendered his body yet again to carry his friend home.