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Making Nice

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The alarm blared. It ruined the peaceful stillness of a late autumn morning. Kyo groaned. Snaked his hand out from underneath the warm covers. Turned it off. Got out of bed. Made his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth.7:00 AM on a Saturday in November. Bright and early. Time for his morning run. But first: breakfast.

Not bothering to change out of his pajamas, he finished in the bathroom and padded down the stairs, stopping on the second to last step when he heard voices. An angry conversation. He recognized one of the voices as that damn formar rat’s, but couldn’t place the other one. It was a woman’s.

Who the Hell thought it was a good idea to come for a visit this early in the morning?

Whatever. He freaking lived here and if whoever it was couldn’t handle seeing him in his pajamas that was their problem. Also, again, who was rude enough to come for a visit this early on a weekend?

He turned the corner and saw Yuki and a woman who looked a whole lot like Yuki. Oh. Must have been his mom. He snickered to himself. What had Golden Boy done that was so bad that his perfect mother was angry at him? Might be worth it to stick around and watch. See Yuki be taken down a peg for once. He dismissed the appealing idea almost as soon as he had it. Not his problem. Not his business.

Yuki’s back stiffened. He must’ve heard him. He turned around and glared at him. Kyo was tempted- really tempted- to snap something at him. But he’d been trying to be nicer to the formar rat. Not start as many verbal matches with him. Only ‘cause Tohru had asked him and Yuki to be nicer to each other, of course. Apparently, she wished that they could be friends one day. They’d pretended like it could happen when she’d asked, but both of them knew deep down it was never going to happen.

He raised his arms in a pacifist gesture, murmured “just getting breakfast before my run,” and walked past them to the kitchen. Grabbed some ingredients and turned on the stove. Put the kettle on to make some tea for Tohru for when she woke up.

Behind him, Yuki and his mom continued their conversation. And it was getting kind of hard to ignore them. Yuki’s mother wasn’t bothering to keep her voice down. Which was incredibly inconsiderate of her. Whatever. As long as she didn’t wake Tohru, he didn’t care.

“Really Yuki- these are the colleges you’re thinking of applying to?” Yuki’s mother hissed. “They’re all second rate colleges. None of them are especially prestigious, have particularly mentally challenging classes, or are hard to get into. They’re not appropriate choices for somebody who is one day going to take a leadership position in the Sohma clan.”

“I don’t want a leadership position in the Sohma clan. I don’t want to work for the Sohma clan at all! Never have. And these are all great colleges!”

Kyo stopped what he was doing for a second. Wait. Really? The Golden Boy had no desire to take over? That was unexpected.

“Don’t be selfish Yuki. The Sohma clan is depending on you to take over certain operations in the future. That’s final. And as for your claim that these are good colleges-” She scoffed mockingly, “No Sohma member has ever attended any of these colleges. No Sohma clan member would ever consider going to one of these colleges. They’re embarrassing choices.”

“Just because no Sohma member has attended them doesn’t mean they’re bad choices. They have great agricultural, business, and marketing programs!”

Kyo turned the stove off, having finished making his breakfast. Slipped it onto a plate and leaned against the wall to eat. Took the whistling kettle off the stove and made a mug of Tohru’s favorite tea for her to find later. And as much as he tried to ignore the conversation happening in the room next to him, found that he couldn’t.

“Yet all of their engineering, technology, law, and medical programs are complete crap. Those are your four options.”

“But I’m not going into any of those fields!”

“Don’t be naive, Yuki. You’ve always known those are your options. And of course, like always, I’ll have to make the final decision for you. Because you can’t make good ones.” She paused and sighed. Kyo waited for Yuki to respond, but he didn’t and his mother continued. “If you’re going to insist upon having your own opinions you should make sure they aren’t horrible ones. You’d turn into a useless person if it weren’t for me making the ultimate decision.”

Well that was a little harsh.

“You- making the ultimate decision? What’s this about?” Yuki sputtered.

“Did you really think I was going to let you run your life completely on your own and not step in when needed? Sure, I was willing to hear you out. But I see that was wrong of me. No, you are not going to apply to any of these colleges. I’ll send you a proper list to choose from.” There was a note of finality in her tone that didn’t leave any room for debate.

Kyo waited for Yuki to respond. And waited. And waited. But he didn’t. In the meantime, his mother continued berating and insulting Yuki. His biological father’s words came back to him. It’s your fault your mother is dead. You killed her. Sure, Yuki’s mother weren’t the same as his biological father’s. But they weren’t entirely dissimilar either.

He put his plate down and glanced into the main room. Yuki’s mother’s back was to him, but Yuki faced him, head down and….was he curling into himself? He seemed to be. Yuki suddenly lifted his head, his eyes meeting Kyo’s. They were silently screaming “help me”, and it was obvious he was struggling to breathe.

Okay. Time to get involved.

He made his way back into the main room, holding his hands up in a peaceful gesture and approaching Yuki’s mom with his head tilted down, a pacifying smile on his face. He didn’t want to scare her. And he was determined to be polite about this.

“Ma’am could you please lower your voice? You could wake the other members of the household if you continue shouting like this.”

She laughed derisively, “Who do you think you’re talking to little boy? You’re nobody- just the formar cat monster- and you think you can ask me to leave? And who am I disturbing? The perverted writer? That mindless, simple girl without an important family name?”

Kyo’s temper flared. How dare she insult Tohru. Okay. He was done trying to be polite.

He stepped into her space, scowling and was satisfied when she took a step back, “It’s time for you to leave now. If you don’t I’ll contact the proper authorities and have them arrest you for trespassing and harassing the residents,” He hissed

Her back straightened as she recovered, glaring at him, “What makes you think you have the right to do that?”

“I live here. You don’t. Now LEAVE!”

He made a show of taking out his phone. Her face paled. She walked to the front door, making sure to bump his arm as she went. Kyo followed behind, making sure she was aware of his presence. She put on her shoes and opened the door. Then paused and turned back to Yuki.

“I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done to ruin your life. And you’d better hope you get a scholarship to whatever pathetic college you choose. Your father and I won’t be paying for it. Not like we can since we haven’t gotten paid by the Sohma family ever since the curse broke.”

Was this woman for real? Acting like the curse had been a good thing?

“Woman. Leave. Now. Don’t make me repeat myself again.”

She looked at him over her shoulder, yet still managing to look down her nose at him. “I’m going. Though I’m still not sure why the good-for-nothing formar cat thinks he has any right to tell me what to do.”

Kyo took a deep breath and somehow managed to keep a hold on his temper. She opened the door and left, but kept the door open behind her. Kyo made sure to slam it hard.

He turned to Yuki, “Hey dumb rat. You okay?”

Yuki nodded minutely. “Thank you,” He whispered.

“Don’t mention it. Having shitty parents really fucking sucks, doesn’t it?” Kyo replied, already making his way back up the stairs to finish getting ready for his run.

That little scene in the main room had been surprising. Apparently, Prince Yuki didn’t have the perfect life he’d always thought he’d had. Or at the very least, he didn’t have the perfect parents Kyo had assumed he had. He mulled it over. Was his father just as bad as his mother? Nah, couldn’t be. Maybe his mom was just grossed out by rats and had projected that onto Yuki. Yeah. That had to be it.

And having a shitty mother didn’t change the fact that Yuki was the favorite. The most beloved and the one held up as an example to everybody else. He was naturally gifted at everything and only had to work half as hard to get twice as far. That remained true even after the curse had broken.

He ignored the voice at the back of his head that suggested that maybe being the favorite had its drawbacks while checking in on a newly awakened Tohru and finally leaving for his run.