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Poor Fake

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Cool morning air wafts in through the open shoji screens as Kyo rummages through the kitchen cabinets, cooling the sweat under his arms and beneath his hairline. It’s still early, but he’d run an extra kilometer this morning and he’s not sure he’ll make it to breakfast. He grimaces as he pulls out a Cup Noodle from deep within the pantry but rips the plastic off with his teeth anyway. He doesn’t feel like cooking, and Tohru will be up eventually. He flicks the electric kettle on, resigned to his meal of cardboard-and-salt-flavored noodles. 

He hears Yuki the second he steps onto the top stair. Kyo freezes and listens to him descend the stairs, his shoulders bunching up self-consciously in anticipation. Yuki’s never up this early, especially on a weekend. 

“Oh,” Yuki says as he turns the corner into the kitchen and sees Kyo. “Hey.”

“Hey,” Kyo grunts. 

Yuki doesn’t say anything else, just slips past him and starts digging around the same cabinet Kyo just closed. Kyo drums his fingers on the counter, watching the water start to bubble through the plastic of the kettle. 

“Kyo,” Yuki says, straightening up. “Is that the last one?”

“Huh?” Yuki points at his Cup Noodle. “Oh. I guess so.”

Yuki sighs and furrows his brows. “Of course.”

“Hey, it’s not yours, you know,” Kyo snaps. 

“I don’t care, Kyo,” Yuki grumbles. “I’m just hungry.”

Kyo stops. Yuki has been less aggressive towards him lately, and Kyo has laid off in turn (mostly for Tohru’s sake), but it’s not like him to not rise to such obvious bait. Kyo looks at him—he’s wearing his pajama pants but a daytime shirt, his hair is a mess, and he looks dazed. He’s also not really looking at Kyo anymore, just spacing out in the direction of the wall right behind Kyo, his fingers twisting absentmindedly in the drawstring of his sweats. 

“Why are you even up right now?” Kyo asks. 

Yuki shrugs. “Never went to sleep.”

“Are you serious?”

Yuki shrugs again. “Not all of us go to bed at eight PM.”

“I do not—” Kyo splutters. “Why are you even still in here? Go to bed.”

“Because I’m still hungry but I don’t know what I want.”

“And you’re asking me?”

“Well, you’re standing in front of me.”

Kyo looks at Yuki closer. His pupils are disconcertingly big in the bright kitchen, and the whites of his eyes look bloodshot. Kyo blinks. No way.

“Are you high right now?” Kyo asks, incredulous.

“You just noticed?”

Kyo’s fists curl, his face flushing red. “You’re seriously doing drugs?”

“It’s not that big a deal,” Yuki says, rolling his eyes. “It’s just weed.”

Just weed?” Kyo splutters. 

“Yeah, maybe you should try some,” Yuki deadpans. “Try relaxing for a change.”

“I am relaxed!” Kyo shouts. 

Yuki scoffs. “Yeah. Okay.”

Kyo huffs, turning away from Yuki. The water is barely boiling, and Kyo is itching to get out of the kitchen. Yuki sticks his face in the fridge, their conversation apparently forgotten. 

“Hey, Kyo,” Yuki says, turning to look at him over his shoulder. 

“What.” Kyo stares at the kettle, willing the water to boil faster.

“Do you know how to make an egg?”

“Of course I know how to make a freaking egg,” Kyo says.

“Okay.” Yuki stands up, grabs Kyo’s wrist from his side, and places an egg into his hand. “Show me.”

“Why should I?”

“Because I asked you nicely, dumb cat.”

“How was that nice?” Kyo snaps.

“The sooner you help me, the sooner I leave,” Yuki points out. His hand is still tight around Kyo, his fingers pressing Kyo’s beads sharply into the thin skin of his wrist. Kyo shakes Yuki off and pulls his hand back before realizing he’s still holding the egg. 

“Ugh, fine,” Kyo huffs. Either he helps Yuki make an egg or he spends the next few minutes with that damn rat’s glazed over eyes staring at him.

He shoves Yuki out of the way and pulls a frying pan out from its organized pile in the cabinet, letting the metal of the other pans clatter against each other as he does. The sound rings across the quiet house like a gunshot, and he can feel judgement radiating from Yuki behind him. 

“I’m trying to help you, so stop being an asshole about it!” Kyo cries, whipping around to face him.

Yuki’s face is as impassive as before, but his eyebrows start to twist up in consternation as Kyo speaks. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Yeah, but I could feel you looking.”

“I can’t look at you?”

“No!”

“Seriously, Kyo.” Yuki leans on the counter and tilts his head. “You can have some of my weed.”

“Oh, fuck off.” Kyo turns the gas on and sets the pan on the stove top, turning his red face away from Yuki. Usually Yuki’s cool, detached words sound pointed and sharp, but now he sounds casual, bordering on lighthearted. Maybe Kyo prefers high Yuki, mellow and dry and a little bit stupid. 

Kyo knocks the egg on the edge of the pan and cracks it in. They both quietly watch it sizzle for a moment before Yuki turns away. Kyo watches him grab the electric kettle, which had shut off at some point when he was looking for a pan, and pour water into the styrofoam cup on the counter.

“What’re you doing that for?” Kyo asks, unable to keep the surprise out of his voice.

“Well, you’re making me breakfast, so.”

“I am not making you breakfast.

“I mean, you kind of are.” Yuki rests a pair of chopsticks on the lid of the cup and sets the kettle back onto its stand. “What now?”

“It has to actually cook, you know,” Kyo says. “Man, you really are hopeless.”

Yuki just hums before leaning across Kyo’s front to grab a bowl from the drying rack. He quietly fills it with leftover rice from the rice cooker, his actions slow and meticulous, fingers pale against the plastic spoon. 

Sometimes, Kyo starts to get what others see in Yuki. When he’s not being sarcastic and bitchy, Yuki is calm, collected, maybe even graceful. He really does look like a girl at times, but less so now, his jawline becoming more defined and his shoulders broadening with age. Sometimes Kyo is a little jealous of how approachable Yuki must seem to others, how good he is at putting people at ease. 

Kyo shakes his thoughts off. This is so not what he wants to be thinking about right now, especially after a work-out. He’s not about to go on a second run just to clear his head. He turns away from Yuki and flips the egg over. 

“You’re good at that,” Yuki says.

“It’s not hard,” Kyo answers gruffly.

Yuki purses his lips and studies Kyo. Kyo ignores him, watching the egg spit quietly in the pan. It’s the reason he doesn’t see Yuki bring his hand up to the side of Kyo’s head before he feels fingers carding through his hair.

Kyo jerks his head away, slapping at Yuki’s hand. “What the hell are you doing?”

“It’s pretty,” Yuki says.

“What?” Kyo hisses.

“Your hair,” Yuki replies, nonplussed. “It’s pretty. The color.”

“O-oh,” Kyo stutters. The back of his neck is burning and he wishes he could disappear into the floor. He’s fucking embarrassed, and he doesn’t want to be in this kitchen with him anymore. “You making fun of me or something?”

“No.” Yuki looks at Kyo, eyes wide, expression genuine. “I’ve always thought so. That’s what I thought the first time we met.”

Kyo doesn't really remember that. It’s just another memory in a catalogue of memories that are tinged with fury and shame and grief. Kazuma’s presence flits around the edges of them, but even he couldn’t pierce the swirl of desperate emotion that made up Kyo’s small body then. Those times aren’t something Kyo likes to think about, and he had assumed the same of Yuki. Maybe he was wrong.

“That’s…really weird,” Kyo says. He turns away, scooping the egg out of the pan and plopping it on top of Yuki’s cold rice, but not before he sees a look of hurt flit quick across Yuki’s face. 

“Sorry for being weird, then,” Yuki says, picking up the bowl and poking the egg with his chopstick. “It’s kind of burnt.”

“Well, you could’ve made it yourself!”

Yuki huffs a small laugh, his nose crinkling a little. “You’re so easy. Thanks for breakfast.”

“Hey, what’s that supposed to mean?” Kyo shouts at him, but Yuki’s already leaving the kitchen and heading up the stairs.

Kyo grunts to himself, scrubbing his hand over the back of his neck. He’s itching with frustration and bouncing on his toes to fight off his growing irritation. That guy always manages to get under his skin so effortlessly.  He’s really considering going on another run to shake off his bad mood when his stomach grumbles, reminding him why he was in the kitchen in the first place. He reaches for his noodles. They’re cooked already, the seasoning floating on top, lazily dumped in by Yuki. 

That was thoughtful. He can’t stop the thought from rising to the top of his brain. It was. He didn’t have to do that for Kyo, and he did. And he’d complimented him, even if the compliment made Kyo feel deeply uncomfortable in a way he can’t really articulate. 

Their fights have definitely gotten tamer since they’ve started living together; Kyo would have to be an idiot to not have noticed that. They haven’t swung at each other in almost a year, and their verbal spats don’t come close to how they used to be, vicious and painful and charged. 

It’s almost like they get along now. Almost.

But they’ll never truly be friends. Kyo knows that. They can’t. It’s how things are, and how they always will be. They’re supernaturally at odds with each other, and Kyo hates Yuki’s holier-than-thou attitude and sad eyes and condescending words.

And if Kyo doesn’t hate Yuki, then there’s no one else left. 

Kyo thumps the counter with his fist, breathing out harshly through his teeth. He angrily slurps his noodles down in front of the sink, the sun fully glaring in through the open shoji screens now. He watches dust motes dance in front of him and ignores the burning on the roof of his mouth from the broth.

When he’s done, he crunches the styrofoam between his fingers and shoves the cup into the trash. He leans on the kitchen counter, palms pressing hard against the cool metal of the sink. The sun is making him sweat even more than before. He shifts on his feet.

He goes for another run.