There was something different about all of them, really, but when Kyo was around it seemed harder to breathe.
When Haru was younger, he would leave an apple on the Cat's doorstep every day without fail; someone, he figured, should try and take care of the other boy.
The Ox may have been one-step behind, but at least he had made it to the Feast.
Sometimes the younger boy would crowd him in, chest to back with no space to give; eventually Kyo had to remind himself to act annoyed.
He could never explain it, but no matter when their lips-tongue, teeth, soft and chapped-met Haru always tasted like bitter coffee and sweet cream.
They pressed together in pitch-black night, slowly desperate movements that were felt not seen, but they were both used to the shadows anyway, weren't they?
"We're not the type to be sad, Kyo; we're the types that just go 'snap'."
Slammed up against protesting wood, the grey-eyed boy let his fingers dig into the grain as a clever tongue traced a line across his neck.
"You're drunk," Haru had time to observe just before a smirking Kyo slipped a sly hand down the front of his jeans.
Sometimes the world took things too seriously and the people in it doubly so; it made Hatsuharu feel helpful, reminding them that it could be different.
The Ox said, "We can be a world in the universe or everything at once" while the Cat plucked a blade of grass from the dirt with a shrug and simply muttered, "If that makes sense to you."
The Cat tried hard not to think about 'someday' or 'when', which made it all the worse, with every crossroad leaving a final warning for each tired traveler.
Autumn left a carpet of dried leaves on the ground and Kyo broke them with every step, without a care; they were only dead things, in the end.
Everyone said he was lake-still calm, but Kyo could make him burn like ashes.
They'd bend and bend but never break and that made for some interesting poses.
Back arched, head thrown back in bright locks, coarse moan escaping a bitten mouth; he swore he'd left the ground far behind.
"I don't feel like eating," Kyo growled stubbornly, but the other boy merely sat with an offering on chopsticks until a reluctant hand snatched them away.
Kyo told him he didn't have to do it, bright eyes bruised and ankle fractured, but the Ox didn't mind carrying this boy on his back.
"I'd visit her, someday," the outcast murmured quietly into his pillow, "but I don't know if mom wants to see me anymore."
His throat ached and there were grass stains on his knees, but the way Haru breathed his name was payment in itself.
"You've gotten closer, haven't you, to that monster; all because my poor dumb Hatsuharu can't know any better," the God crooned, spider bone fingers twisting and tugging through white licks of hair.
Sometimes Haru would rest against the base of his throat, hand feeling the push of his heartbeat-real and alive and human just like everyone else-and filled in the carved out pieces of his life.
He had traced the knots of the other boy's spine, the curves of ribs and grooves of the hip, but when his fingers traced beaded blood and bone a second time over, it felt far more significant.
Haru chose to believe that sometimes bad things could be broken, no matter how opposite reality was; somehow it was right, keeping one last gift safe in its box.
Whenever red eyes sparked that tiny bit, it pushed the dark back past the edges.
White on black, he would walk aimlessly for hours and days, random corners turned down nameless streets, until every way could be the right way and the pavement was all that mattered.
Every time Kyo bit the younger Sohma's ear, his teeth would click against tart silver rebellions.
"She'll change things, like spring," Haru commented to the air as Kyo snorted and shook his head.
The clipping was old and faded when he found it, tucked in a corner like an afterthought, black words reporting a tragedy gone by and a smiling woman staring back desperately.
Haru made a V sign with one hand and snapped the photo with the other, all before the orange fury could protest.
"You're trying to kill me," the Cat shouted and clawed at his throat, though Haru hadn't really expected Kyo to drain the entire cup before realizing it was leek soup.
While Ayame whirled around the room displaying his latest fashion creation, Haru commented that it would match Kyo's complexion perfectly; the three-way chase that ensued was worth a bruised arm or two.
Kyo sat huddled in a corner, quiet and forgotten and as still as the storm wasn't, so Haru sat down beside the outcast to be all those things too.
The orange-haired boy cherished everything anyone gave him so much it made the Ox wish he had more to offer.
That Haru could sit and watch nothing but butterflies and gardens for entire afternoons with such ease made Kyo wonder if there wasn't something to this 'zen' business.
"Three can keep a secret if two of them are..." Akito whispered, finger tracing a pattern over polished oak before slamming his fist down hard enough to crack.
Kyo had always found garden snakes in his backyard as a child, too short to climb the high trees or reach the kitchen counter's treasures, and hoped maybe one of them could give him a piece of he future.
Puffs of frozen air were shared between them, arms wrapped around tight and a rushed movement of hips on hips, until the crunch of snow beneath became nothing more than crushed stars.
Pushing into tight, gripping heat, feeling strong fingers grip his arms harder with every thrust, the younger boy felt more whole and grounded than he ever did before.
Since the chirping schoolgirl looked ready to pounce on poor Kyo, Haru calmly took his hand and dragged him away with an even "This way, honey."
Once, Haru almost apologized for the exhausting state of his personalities...but then he figured the Cat understood it all.
It was the oddest bits and scraps of being that held them together.
"Interesting...we've determined that sex on the roof is not the best way to pass time during break," Haru commented to the blue sky above as Kyo swore and clung to the gutter for dear life.
"Incest is fun," Haru said, out of the nowhere, and Kyo just groaned as his head met the wall with a resounding /thud/.
When Haru went Black he snarled and pushed and hit every sore spot he knew, and Kyo punched right back from that knot of rage he always held until they made a horrible mess of each other.
"They're fighting too many battles on too many fronts," Hatori told Shigure, watching the bright-haired figures in the distance, eyes flat but gripping his coffee mug tightly.
When sensei doused the two of them in water to break up their fight, all Kyo could concentrate on were the beads of moisture begging to be licked away.
The mouth beneath his opened immediately, cinnamon tinged and comfortable.
The Ox probably would have stood outside forever, past bare sleeping trees and crisp cold night, if the one that was always left out hadn't pulled him inside.
"We're not out of the woods yet," Kyo sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, but Haru couldn't see why that made any difference.
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