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Year of the...

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It happens near the end of lunch break, everyone milling around as they drift back into the classroom. Sunlight beams through the windows and a haze of chatter fills the air.

A classmate approaches the desk where Yuki and Kyo are hanging out with Tohru, squabbling more or less amicably as they wait for class to resume. He's holding a pen and a paper with a scribbled chart, and seems to be on some sort of a mission.

"Hey Yuki-" the classmate says, and Yuki braces himself for snark about his looks, or questions about the student council, or even complaints about whatever Haru has been up to recently. "When were you born?," the classmate asks, instead, and Yuki blinks. "We're working on a thing for the class records, so- what zodiac animal are you?'

Kyo chokes on his milk, and Yuki feels his face freeze in as polite an expression as he knows how to fake. Tohru looks vaguely stricken, fidgeting her hands like she wants to catch something about to fall and can't figure out where to reach, but the classmate charges on oblivious.

"You're probably Year of the Dog, right?"

"Not in a million years." Yuki says, way too forcefully, and Kyo snorts in agreement.

The classmate grins, starting to write something down. "Oh, really? You must be younger than me then, some of the class are Boars instead, and-"

"NO WAY," says Kyo, at the same time as Yuki says "No thank you, no, not that one."

"Wait, for real?," the classmate asks. "How old even are you, what animal are you?"

Yuki's smile is strained. "Year of the... Rat?"

"What the fuck dude, how many grades did you even skip??"

Yuki shrugs, unwilling to explain that he hasn't actually skipped any. Kyo is cackling at Yuki's awkwardness, and Tohru's face is contorting in ways that faces probably shouldn't be contorting, and Yuki is honestly slightly concerned.

"Wow, holy shit dude," the classmate says. "But if anyone could do it it would be you." He makes a note, then turns to Kyo. "Okay what about you, what animal are you?

Kyo snaps immediately from amused to irritated. "Year of the Cat, fuck you," he says, then attempts to leap out the window- only to be intercepted by a group of girls telling him off for always leaping out the window from the second floor, and seriously he's setting a bad example and is gonna get hurt and class is starting soon anyways is he really gonna skip just cuz he wants to court flying death- within moments Kyo is shoved into a seat, looking irritated but mostly sheepish and glad to be away from the conversation.

The classmate blinks once or twice, then shakes himself and turns to Tohru.

"And... what about you?" He seems to be bracing himself, waiting for another answer that deviates entirely from what he should be getting.

"...Year of the Dog?"

"Oh thank god."

When the teacher calls the class to order a moment later, Yuki is relieved.

------

When the project goes up on the wall and Kyo is conspicuously listed as Year of the Tiger, he shrugs.

"Better than that pervert weirdo," he says, and despite the new rumors circulating about him, Yuki finds himself agreeing.