Never Say Good-bye
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I know I must, but I can't...not now. But maybe, just maybe I don't have to... To those who have lost a pet. Oneshot.
Note from Author: The storyline is real in the sense that it was my cat that was involved. I was rather sad and, yes, depressed, so this will be reflected in this story. This was how I indulged in my grief back then, so it doesn't involve any part of the manga/anime. Please keep in mind this story was written back in 2004, so my writing was really in its infancy. Thank you so much.
*~Never Say Goodbye~*
Kyo was busy at school, keeping himself occupied with taking notes as the teacher droned on. He wanted to prove to everyone that he could get just as good a grade as Yuki could.
During this class, he heard through the loudspeaker, "Sohma, Kyo, please report to the office. Sohma, Kyo, please report to the office." Click.
Everyone turned to see Kyo as he had this confused look on his face. With all eyes on him, he got up and went to the office. 'Must be Shishou wanting something...'
As he went into the office, he approached the receptionist and gave her his name. She in turn pointed to the phone...that there was a call for him. Picking up the receiver, he heard Shigure's voice on the other line.
"Kyo-kun, I hope I didn't interrupt your quest for knowledge just now..." said the mischievous Inu.
"Shut up baka...what is it you want?" asked Kyo irritably.
"Now, now, no need for such words. Anyway, I wanted to ask you something..." started Shigure.
"Well, get on with it, I haven't got all day!" replied the Neko on his wits end.
There was an interminable pause, as Shigure suddenly turned serious over the phone. "Kyo-kun, did you hear anything unusual last night or better yet, early this morning?"
"No, why should I? It was like every other morning...I did miss seeing Niki, though. I guess he was still running about somewhere...I bet he's hungry by now. Do you think you can feed him?" asked Kyo casually about the silver-gray kitten that he had found under a car on the side of the road a few months before.
Yes, who would have thought that Kyo would actually keep a cat? He despised them for always clinging to him, but for whatever reason, this kitten reached out to the Cat of the Zodiac in its time of need. Kyo just couldn't turn his back on the little guy who had no home, no one to take care of it. Kyo had to admit that he knew how the kitten felt, all alone in a cold world. When he had first brought it over, Shigure teased him mercilessly. After a couple of knocks to the head, Shigure eventually eased off, and everyone became accustomed to having the little tike around. Kyo even caught Yuki giving Niki a little TLC when no one was looking.
Now it was customary that the cat stayed indoors for the most part, heck if not always. However, the weather had been so pleasant that the cat wanted to venture outdoors, not too far though. As far as Niki went was through their little flower garden behind the house or by a nearby tree. Niki really preferred to stay close by to Shigure as he worked quietly.
So it wasn't a surprise that it wanted to take a little stroll early in the evening the night before as Kyo was coming home from picking up Tohru. Kyo allowed him the little luxury, knowing he'll be back soon, and one of them would let him in. Kyo went comfortably to bed without a worry in the world and slept soundly.
"Kyo-kun," replied the Inu quietly, "I had really meant to stay up all night to finish this deadline, but I was so tired. I totally forgot about Niki, and when I heard this noise this morning..."
"What noise?" demanded Kyo. His heart was beating faster with each passing moment, and for some unknown reason, he felt a terrible pit in his stomach growing.
"Kyo-kun, I really thought you had heard it. Well, it shouldn't surprise me, you've been training so hard lately..." Shigure's voice trailed off.
"Dammit, just tell me what the hell happened?" yelled Kyo in frustration.
"Kyo-kun, I awoke to a terrible fight this morning. I guess because there were a bunch of coyotes involved, I heard the commotion from far off, but then I heard it closer to the house as I heard a cat screech..." continued Shigure slowly.
"Kyo-kun, I honestly didn't see anything as I got up to investigate. Seeing that it was almost daylight, I thought it would be better to wait until morning to check it out further. I really thought you would have sensed something this morning, but seeing that you didn't, I let myself relax," said Shigure quietly. "Kyo-kun, I...I saw Niki dragging himself back to the house this morning after you guys left, and he...looked in pretty bad shape."
"I went straight to the vet and asked that they take care of him. They told me they'd call me with any news as they had to wait for the vet to get in. I waited at home and about an hour and a half later they called..." trailed Shigure's voice.
"She told me it was pretty much from shock that...um...Niki passed away. I guess he was just in that much pain...I didn't even realize it. It seemed that a coyote managed to inflict a bite wound to the hind leg and thrashed him about. The vet also mentioned something about toxins in the bloodstream and probably internal injuries that she couldn't verify since it was too late..." remarked Shigure as he audibly sniffled, holding back his tears. His voice was wavering the whole time he recounted this to Kyo, knowing how much pain this would cause him. "I should have checked harder...I should have taken a flashlight and searched every inch...I'm...I'm so sorry."
Kyo hadn't realized how much he was shaking as held onto the receiver tightly. He heard everything and felt everything all at once. He felt it all as it was numbing him completely, mentally and physically. He wondered how was it that he didn't hear anything, how was it that he didn't notice something was wrong, how...how...how...
Blinking back to reality, Kyo replied gruffly, "Where is he now?"
"I wasn't sure if you wanted them to dispose of his body or you'd rather bury him..." replied Shigure uncertainly.
"Just take him back home, I'll take care of it," replied Kyo curtly and hung up.
Kyo stood frozen in the same spot, with his hand still on the receiver. He stared at nothing as he vividly recalled the last moments he spent with his cat... 'I never thought I'd be actually saying that in my lifetime...' thought Kyo. He then felt that he just couldn't swallow anymore and it hurt to even talk.
"Sohma-san, will there be anything you need?" asked the receptionist.
Shaking his head, he walked off without looking up. He passed by other wandering students and teachers going about their daily routine. He never acknowledged anything as he continued walking towards the exits. All he could think about was to get home...everything else at the moment seemed so meaningless.
As he went out and started walking to Shigure's, he tried recalling all the times Niki would interrupt Kyo with his homework. He would constantly rub and rub all over him, always getting in the way that Kyo sometimes had to forcefully put him off his desk. Yet, it was that persistence of getting his attention that Kyo finally would relent and just caress the little kitty. He found himself smiling more and feeling very relaxed whenever Niki was around, keeping him company and getting on his nerves. Niki was getting some bad habits, but Kyo was determined to train him.
'This is stupid...he's just like any other cat. Let it go, Kyo," reprimanded Kyo to himself.
'No, he's not just any other cat.'
Kyo shut his eyes as he tried to keep these thoughts at bay.
"It's stupid! It's the damn cat's fault for getting itself in a mess... He should have known better than to wander further out than he should have..." reasoned Kyo to himself.
'Kittens are curious...Niki was curious.'
"Curiosity killed the cat...isn't that how the saying goes?! Stupid...stupid...stupid cat! Why did he wander that far...he should just have meowed its head off like it always does at Shigure's window. Damn cat!" said Kyo gruffly.
'Kittens don't know any better.'
"Can't think for themselves... He's just like every other cat..." remarked Kyo angrily.
'He's not like every other cat.'
"Just like any stupid, good for nothing..." started Kyo.
'He's not like every other cat.'
"He should have...he should have..." remarked Kyo fiercely to himself.
'He's not like every other cat.'
Stopping dead in his tracks at the start of the trail leading up to the house, Kyo looked up. He had his fists trembling fiercely on his sides. He just realized then the tear tracks on his face. He abruptly brought his hand up and wiped it across his cheeks, just looking at the tears in disbelief. "Stupid...this is so stupid..." he cried quietly but fiercely to himself. "Niki should have..."
'He's not like every other cat.'
Pressing his lips tightly together, he tried in vain to hold back his sobs. "I should have...I should have...been there. So he wouldn't be alone in the dark...alone like I was..."
'He's my cat.'
At that thought, Kyo leaned against a tree and felt his sobs overwhelm him. He felt so much pressure in his throat but most of all, in his heart. He couldn't help but feel guilty that he didn't notice something sooner...that he didn't check to be sure his cat was in safely. "He's my cat...I should have been there! How could I have been so stupid...stupid..." cried Kyo fiercely to himself as he punched the tree in frustration. Kyo stared at the tree blankly, so infuriated with himself to care about his bleeding fist.
Closing his eyes, he breathed in heavily as he tried to clean himself up. He couldn't let Shigure see him like this. 'He'd probably laugh at me...tell me that it was just a cat.'
With some composure, Kyo walked on to the house. As he approached the house, he saw Shigure sitting on the veranda outside with a small box next to him. He was smoking and staring listlessly at the ground. Upon hearing Kyo's footsteps, he looked up and got to his feet. Shigure picked up the small box and walked over to meet Kyo.
"I wasn't sure if you wanted him still in the box or if maybe you'd want him buried outside of it..." replied Shigure quietly as he handed the box over to Kyo.
"I'll take care of it," remarked Kyo lowly, grabbing the box, then heading out into the woods.
"Do you need any help, Kyo-kun?" asked Shigure.
Kyo didn't acknowledge the question as he continued his way into the wooded area. As he walked on, he started recalling all his memories with the tiny kitten, seeing him growing up nice and healthy...seeing how much fun he would have chasing Kyo's hand as he scribbled on something...seeing how much room one little kitten can take up on his bed. All the little quirks that made the kitten more than just a cat...he was Niki...the one and only cat he ever had.
Sighing heavily as he felt his throat tighten and his eyes smart with tears, he came upon Yuki's vegetable garden and saw a rock nearby. Kyo felt exhausted all of a sudden and sat down heavily on the boulder, with the small box at his feet. Bringing his hand to wipe across the stray tears across his face, he started blankly at the box holding Niki. 'He always liked playing in boxes...in bags...'
Kyo felt the sudden urge to see him. He had to see him...he didn't want to let him go just yet. He still couldn't believe it to be real... Swallowing back his tears, he started opening the box. He then saw that Niki was wrapped securely in plastic bags. 'Stupid people...Niki isn't trash,' thought Kyo irately as he opened the outer bag, then tearing into the second bag his cat was in.
Bracing himself to see the worst, Kyo was surprised to see the little kitten curled up in a ball with no trauma visible. He was cold and stiff, but he really looked like he was just taking a nap—naps like the ones he would take on Kyo's futon. He knew not to touch the cat, but it was so hard not to reach out and try to shake him so he could wake up. "Wake up...please? I'm not ready to say good-bye...I'm not...I can't," said Kyo quietly to himself as he gently lifted the cat's head through the plastic.
Sniffling some more, he covered the body once more within the plastic and closed the box once again. He was so numb...how in the world can one little creature bring him so much grief? It's not like Kyo had known the kitten all its life...it wasn't even a year old.
Maybe that's why...it was too soon. Kyo sensed that somehow he was cheated out of something very special. That he lost something so small yet so important... Like loosing a precious stone...it may be small, but its value is incredible. Except that Niki was no stone...he was Kyo's cat and that made all the difference in the world to Kyo.
'Niki's not like every other cat.'
Bringing both hands to his face, Kyo quietly cried to himself, sitting atop a rock, not sure what to do. 'It's not fair...it's too soon...'
Time crawled by as he sat there. For all he knew, days could have passed by him unnoticed. He then heard a noise coming from the path he came on and looked up. 'Of all the people in this world, it had to be him...'
Yuki approached quietly, carrying a shovel in one hand and a small bouquet of flowers in the other. He stood at the edge of the clearing, unsure of how Kyo would react to his presence there. Clearing his throat, Yuki said quietly while bringing the shovel forward to Kyo, "I thought you might need this."
Kyo stared at Yuki warily, wondering if the Rat of the Zodiac would say anything about how he hated cats and that it was the cat's own stupid fault for getting itself killed. As Kyo continued to stare at Yuki, he only saw a very simple thing across the usually cool fade...sympathy.
Wordlessly, Kyo got up and took the shovel from Yuki's outstretched hand. Kyo turned his back on him once again, standing next to the box protectively. 'Please leave...I can't be like this in front of you...'
Sensing the growing silence between them, Yuki shifted uneasily on his feet. As he was starting to turn away, he thought a moment to himself and braced himself for what he was about to suggest. Approaching Kyo tentatively, he asked, "I have a perfect spot for him. Over here, by these boulders." Walking over to just a little over to the side of the clearing, he gestured to some other rocks. "The soil is soft enough and the rocks will prevent anything from trying to dig him up. We can put some rocks over him, just to be sure, too..." replied Yuki uneasily as Kyo made no acknowledgement of Yuki's suggestion.
What Yuki didn't see was Kyo silently crying at hearing how the Rat was being so sympathetic with his cat's death. Kyo had anticipated cruel comments of some sort but nothing like this. Yuki even offered him a spot at his very reclusive garden for his cat. It took all of Kyo's sheer will not to sob out loud. Instead, he opted to clear his throat and wipe away the tears. He went over to where Yuki was and saw that Yuki had indeed picked a perfect spot. Breathing deeply, Kyo started to dig effortlessly into the soft soil, mindful of the rocks. Yuki walked off in a different direction as Kyo continued digging quietly.
Once Kyo finished with the digging, he walked over to the box and opened it. He lifted the bag carefully and cradled his cat in his arms...for one last time. Trying to regain a little of his composure, he walked back to the hole he just dug and saw that Yuki was there, placing rocks next to the freshly dug hole. Yuki then stood up to face Kyo's small bundle. Once looking at the bundle, Yuki's eyes misted over just enough to indicate to Kyo just how much he too would miss the little koneko.
Blinking back at the flood of tears, Kyo got down on his knees and carefully laid Niki in his grave. He remained in that position for a few moments when he felt Yuki kneel down with him. "Is it okay that I leave this here with him?" asked Yuki quietly as he showed a beautiful red rose to Kyo.
Kyo closed his eyes and brought his hand to the bridge on his nose. He nodded wordlessly, and Yuki placed the single rose with the cat. Both stayed this way for a short while until Kyo finally stood up. Yuki quietly laid many of the rocks he had around the little bundle, and on top, he laid some heavy stones that were smooth and flat. As Yuki moved out of the way, Kyo replaced all the dirt back onto the small bundle.
Finishing up the task, Kyo let out a heavy sigh and looked up. It would be dark soon...
Coming back to reality a little, Kyo asked suddenly, "Where's Tohru?"
"She's staying over with Uotani-san and Hanajima-san at Hanajima-san's home. I...I didn't tell her anything as I left early today," remarked Yuki a little guiltily at having to hide something like this from Tohru. "I just told her it was a minor emergency we had to take care of for the family and for her not to worry... I'll tell her when she gets back tomorrow."
"How did you know about it?" asked Kyo with a hollow voice.
"Shigure called the school again after you left the school. I got some of the other students to take care of our duties today," explained Yuki. Looking at Kyo, he asked carefully, "Is it all right that I lay these flowers over his grave?"
Kyo glanced up and saw that Yuki brought out his bouquet. Yuki continues to surprise him today... Nodding affirmatively, Yuki then kneeled down once more and laid the beautiful bouquet on the small grave.
As Yuki stood up, he had a thoughtful smile on his face. Kyo must have given him a questioning glance because Yuki started to explain himself. "I was thinking of how many times I caught Niki following me out here, and laying here against the boulders since the sun hits it right at this spot. Niki would always watch me tend to the garden, then he'd doze off as he bathed in the sunlight... But right as I started to leave, he'd wake up and follow me home. It was nice to have his company while I'm out here alone when Honda-san is not around."
Thinking a little more to what he was going to say next, he remarked softly, "A part of me will always miss him, but I'm glad that I'll never have to say good-bye. Instead of him following me back home, he'll be here waiting for me to return and keep him company from now on. That I can accept."
Kyo could only nod silently in agreement...he would do the same. He will have no regrets at knowing the little tike for such a short while because in that short time memories were made that would last always. These memories he had will always stay with him, and as long as he remembered them and kept them to heart, he'll never have to say good-bye.
"Come on, let's see what we can find that's edible before Shigure gets his dirty hands on it," replied Kyo dryly.
With a soft smile, Yuki followed the stubborn Neko. As they walked away, Kyo glanced back to the small garden and the little grave on the side. It still hurt to walk away and the ache will always be there, but in his heart of hearts, he knew that his little koneko was following them back in their memories...yes, he will never truly have to say good-bye.
So this is who I am,
And this is all I know,
And I must choose to live,
For all that I can give,
The spark that makes the power grow
And I will stand for my dream if I can,
Symbol of my faith in who I am,
But you are my only,
And I must follow on the road that lies ahead,
And I won't let my heart control my head,
But you are my only
We don't say goodbye,
We don't say goodbye,
And I know what I've got to be
I make my journey through eternity
I keep the memory of you and me inside
Fulfill your destiny,
Is there within the child,
My storm will never end,
My fate is on the wind,
The king of hearts, the joker's wild,
We don't say goodbye,
We don't say goodbye,
I'll make them all remember me
Cause I have found a dream that must come true,
Every ounce of me must see it though,
But you are my only
I'm sorry I don't have a role for love to play,
Hand over my heart I'll find my way,
I will make them give to me
There is a vision and a fire in me
I keep the memory of you and me, inside
And we don't say goodbye
We don't say goodbye
With all my love for you
And what else we may do
We don't say, goodbye
Dedicated to my very beautiful koneko, Nicholas aka. Nicky. His life was cut short so tragically (details of death here are true...my kitty was attacked by savage coyotes—I live out in the country--and yes, all true down to the vet's comments), but he lived a very happy and fulfilling life to the end. That is what I'll take to heart always...
Chase the little stars, my little koneko...Ill be watching...
DISCLAIMER: Takaya Natsuki original works belong to her solely as I make no profit from this work of fiction based on her characters. Lyrics from "Immortality" by the Bee Gees. Original date story was posted: Sept. 2004. Thank you.
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