The Forgotten Zodiac: Chapter 8

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"I'm telling you, I'm just fine," she huffed. She flinched back as Hatori pressed down against the palm of her hand, "this really isn't-"

"I was called, so it must have been bad at some point," Hatori ignored Lyras' objections. He continued to press down against the injury with his thumb. "Unless... I was called here for no reason," his eyes shifted up towards Shigure. A feeling of unease spreading throughout the room, "but who would waste my time like that?"

"Oh, Hatori, you're so silly!" Shigure joked, plopping down next to the two loudly. "But, of course, it doesn't hurt to take a bit of time off now and then to visit the family, now does it?" Lyra's' head sunk down further to avoid being between the intense glares of Hatori and Shigure, while  simultaneously trying hard to not aggravate Hatori further by telling him he was really beginning to hurt her hand.

"We see each other often enough," Hatori dismissed, returned his gaze to Lyra's' hand. "It seems to have begun healing already," he observed. His hand moved towards his bag and began digging around for a brief moment before retrieving a scalpel.

"Oh, no, that's not necessary, I'm very sorry to have wasted your time and-"

"Nonsense, if we re-open it I'll have a real reason to be here," Hatori interrupted, shifting the scalpel around in his hand.

"You must be crazy," Kyo objected loudly, but he remained shrunk in the corner with his hands rubbing his neck. "There's no friggin reason to cut her hand open!"

"He's right... I don't believe there's any logical reason for it, either," Yuki muttered, placing himself at the opposite end of the table. He felt a shiver run down his spine as a cold breeze blew through the house, "we should get started on repairs, Shigure."

"Ah, you're right! We'll go do that while you patch her up," he gave Hatori a smile. "Afterwards, you can help us repair the door!" Yuki led the way out of the dining room, with Shigure following close behind him, giving Kyo a firm glare before trotting after Yuki.

"Ah man, what a pain in the..." Kyo's voice lowered, but Lyra was pretty sure she knew what he had said. "You've gotta help after you get your hand fixed, it's your fault she was here," Lyra let out a sigh. Kyo exited the room, head down and muttering more obscenities to himself. Her hand traveled towards her pocket, the firm outline of her cellphone in her front pocket reminding her that she was now an hour late for work.

"Don't worry about it, I already called in for you," Hatori didn't look up from her hand. "This really isn't that bad, but I have a feeling Shigure didn't call me over to look at some stranger's hand." He kept his eyes on her hand, but hesitated slightly before continuing, "you're the fox, aren't you?"

"H-how did you know?" She whispered, partly out of fear of revealing how much pain Hatori was causing her hand.

"There isn't a lot I don't know," he replied quietly.

"That's... uh, interesting," she stammered. She cleared her throat, trying not to let on to the fact that she thought he acting was incredibly high-and-mighty.

"I know how that sounds, but I live in the main house," he released Lyra's hand, reaching into his bag and drawing out a neatly wrapped wad of gauze. "We've known about the fox for years," he lifted Lyra's hand once more. He pressing her hand flat and held the beginning of the gauze against her palm with his thumb. "Running into this family... wasn't a coincidence, was it? You sought them out. Why?"

"If you know I'm the fox, you know about our curse," her voice had reduced to a whisper once more. "You know the pain the cat and I suffer, yet you do nothing?" Lyra could feel her anger boiling. Hatori remained calm, wrapping the gauze around her hand, clearly taking his time. "We were made into monsters because your God thought it would be funny! How can you be so blind?! How can you just sit by and watch us suffer!?" Her voice was cracking, but she couldn't stop it from continuing to rise. She was furious now, "I crippled my own mother because of this god-forsaken curse, and you sit pretty on piles of cash and gifts from your God while I struggle to earn enough get her medicine!"

"... Are you done?" Hatori had fastened a metal clip onto the bandage, holding it firmly together, and withdrew his hands. "I understand your frustration, but there is nothing I, or any other Sohma, can do for you. It'd be best for you to leave... and never come back." There was an edge in his voice, but Lyra ignored it, all of her restraint was being used to stop the tears that threatened to fall.

"I didn't ask to be part of this," she croaked after a moment. "I didn't ask to be a monster." Hatori gave his thighs a quick pat before lifting himself off the floor, grabbing his doctor's bag from the floor and holding it firmly in his hand. "You've got nothing to say?" She demanded, her lip quivering.

"There's nothing I can say to ease your suffering," he responded calmly. "My work here is done," he cast a glance in her direction; his one showing eye was completely void of emotion. "Shigure, you can come out now." At his direction, Shigure stepped into the dining room.

"So she's all patched up, is she?" Shigure inquired, side-stepping the table and holding his hand out to Lyra. "Let me see, Hatori's bandages are always perfection," she ignored his childish request, glaring angrily from him to Hatori.

"I have to get home," she said through gritted teeth. "Thank you for bandaging my hand," Hatori nodded in response, leaning against the doorway as Lyra stormed out of the room, her eyes beginning to dull from pain.

"... Now that wasn't very nice of you, Hatori," Shigure scolded lightly. "You know you have to tell women what they want to hear," Hatori simply stared ahead. The extended evasion of Hatori's eyes making Shigure shift around to ease the awkwardness.

-

Lyra's hands shook, partly from the anger that had followed her home, but mostly from the guilt of her confession to Hatori. She stared down at the doorknob, the shining copper daring her to open it and face what was inside. Taking a deep breath, she turned the knob, the smell of sickness nearly knocking her off her feet.

"... Mom, I'm home."

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