Title: Second Chances

Author: Gia

E-Mail: http/ sbborg . cjb . net

Rating: G

Pairing: None

Time: Present time during the anime. However, taking place during summer vacation.

Summary: What if Ayame had a second chance to make up for Yuki's childhood? Yuki has reverted into a 6yr-old, with no recollection of his older self. How will everyone react? How will Akito react to this?

Disclaimer: I own not a thing. Besides, if I did. You wouldn't be reading this. You'd be watching it. XD

Author Notes: I needed some fresh ideas to write more chapters for this fanfic so I started reading the manga… HOLY MERDE! CHAPTERS 84 AND 85 ARE SO SAD!I gained a lot of ideas now, not to mention more information on Yuki's past… hence, I must say that you can expect some drama… much drama. XD


'When I was very young, the world was Akito, my mother, and the scenery I saw past the sliding door. That was all.'

Flashback

…The bright day contrasted greatly with shaded rooms of the Main Sohma House. There was more talk within the house, much more than was to be expected on a perfectly ordinary day. At least, ordinary by the Sohma standards.

"I'm worried for the boy." whispered one of the maids, nudging another when she motioned with her head towards the closed, sliding doors. The other didn't even bother to reply, merely shaking her head with pursed lips.

The reason for the concern of the staff was one ten-year old Yuki. His own frail condition, not widely known at first, had quickly become apparent to the maids tending to the house. Having worked there for many years (indeed, it was their own family's tradition), they had all grown accustomed to the children of the zodiac—especially the frequent visitor of the Main House, Sohma Yuki.

"Where's the doctor—" began an indignant maid before she was harshly shushed by the others. At that moment, an elderly man had passed by, presumably the doctor that tended most frequently to Yuki's needs.

Cough, cough…

"His coughs… it just keeps getting worse, doesn't it? Is it alright not having him lying down?"

The man sighed tiredly. "It's probably easier for him to breathe, so it would be better to leave him that way for now."

Cough, cough…

"Poor Yuki… it's alright for me to talk to him right?" Akito smiled disarmingly up at the doctor.

"—you're very kind, Akito-sama."

Akito glanced to his left, just noticing an elderly woman standing nearby. As far as he knew, she was just one of the grandmothers of the 'normal' Sohma children who happened to be passing by until she heard talk of calling the doctor. 'Somehow, her comments disgust me. Of course, the entire world is like that… disgusting.'

After hearing no response from him, she tried again. "But staying too close to him is probably…" she trailed off expectantly.

"What are you worrying about, it's nothing contagious after all." Akito felt the beginning of a smirk come to his face as he noticed the flash of disappointment flit across the woman's face. It wasn't exactly unheard of to hear of the Sohma parents wanting to get into the Head's good graces.

Cough, cough…

"If there's any change," Akito stepped back into the room where Yuki was, "I'll let you know right away." And slid the doors shut.

Akito slowly turned around to face the other boy. Yuki was only slightly reclined against the back of the chair, a thick blanket tossed over his lap. The coughing had abated for now, but the quiet room was now filled with the labored breathing of the ten-year-old.

Akito stepped closer, bending his head so he could meet Yuki's eyes. "Are you going to die?" The question itself was stated with nonchalance, but it was enough to catch Yuki's attention. Noting the widening of the boy's eyes, Akito verbally prodded him for a response. "Yuki?"

Akito rocked on the balls of his feet, the smallest laugh escaping from his lips. "Hey," Akito tilted his head with a growing smile, "are you dying?"

Cough, cough…

The smile he carried on his face bled away. "…how pathetic." Akito muttered, gracefully sitting down in the spot he was just standing on. For awhile, neither of them spoke. It was Akito's chance to survey Yuki and make note of the many similarities they shared. For they shared, Akito was sure, a bond closer than anyone could imagine.

Just as Akito was about to speak, the appearance of a large silhouette behind the doors silenced him. Akito turned his head, wondering if it was the doctor checking on Yuki's condition.

"They don't come to visit, do they?"

Even Akito had to blink in astonishment. It was clear that the two gossiping women on the either side assumed neither he nor Yuki could hear them. 'Fools…' Still, Akito wondered what the two could be talking about… and if it dealt with Yuki, then surely the reaction from the boy would be well worth to see.

"You mean his parents?" the other questioned. There was a pause, and what sounded like a derisive laugh. "Of course they don't. Don't you know? The two of them are in the middle of a trip."

"Eh...!? But then what about his brother?"

Akito's eyes gleamed at the question and he used the pause after the question to look at Yuki. The ten-year-old was already sitting up, one hand forcefully keeping his coughs back as he focused on the conversation outside.

"All he said was oh."

There was a sound of disbelief from the other woman, for at that time, they began to walk away from the door. A final question drifted through the door before the woman disappeared.

"By that… doesn't he understand that it's about his younger brother?"

The response was never heard, but the damage was already done. Smiling to himself, Akito rose fluidly from his kneeling spot on the matted floor. He walked towards Yuki, who by the end of the conversation, had hunched over as if to protect himself from them.

Akito gently laid his hand on Yuki's shoulder, his tight grip the only sign that the comfort was fake. "So… are you dying now, Yuki?"

End of Flashback


The sun was already high in the sky by noon, its rays almost blinding to the eyes. In particular, it was blinding to a ten-year-old Yuki's eyes. He groaned at the harsh glare, turning his whole body away to ignore its rays. The entire situation wouldn't be too bad, if not for one thing.

Yuki was sick.

Yuki clenched his eyes shut, the sudden pain in his head and chest making it hard to form thought. 'Not again…' Yuki thought despairingly, his hands reaching up to stifle the coughs that suddenly wracked his body. He didn't know when he was moved to a bed but after that conversation he overheard…

Yuki only clenched his eyes tighter. 'I'm not…'

Any further thoughts were cut off as soon as the door to his room was thrown wide open. The sound of the impact was enough to stun Yuki from his troubling thoughts but it provided one, very prominent question.

'O-ONIICHAN?'

"YUKI! YOUR WONDERFUL BROTHER HAS COME TO WAKE YOU UP FROM YOUR SLUMBER!"

Ayame, in all his flowery glory, strode into Yuki's room with a purpose. Namely, to wake up his adorably confused brother. The heated blush on his face was so red that Ayame was sure it would become permanent.

"COME, LET ME CARRY YOU OUT OF BED AND WHISK YOU AWAY—"

Unfortunately for the both of them, Ayame was unaware of Yuki's current condition and Yuki himself wasn't prepared to be lifted so quickly from his bed. The action was not only making him light-headed, but quite nauseated.

"…"

Ayame had to pride himself in not dropping Yuki. He wouldn't have, of course, but he was very surprised when his adorable brother threw up on his person…

"—HATORI-SAN!"


Kyou grumbled under his breath, slamming the door to the washer harder than needed. Since that morning, he had been pressured by Shigure to do various duties that the writer could have done by himself.

"Kyon-kichi!" Shigure sing-songed, popping his head into the utility room. "Could bring a blanket? The one Yuki has isn't thick enough."

Twitch. "GET IT YOURSELF!"

Shigure gasped in mock-outrage. "How dare you say that, Kyou! Poor Yuki is teetering between life and death and—"

"—NO HE ISN'T!—"

"—all you can do is complain—"

"—YOU'RE JUST LAZY, YOU FU—"

Shigure opened his mouth to gasp again until a shadow fell across both he and Kyou. The ominous feeling that suddenly enveloped the two of them quickly ceased the yelling.

"Blanket." Hatori intoned with a deep voice, his eyes flashing.

"Eheh… calm down Hatori." Shigure raised his hands defensively. "We know how uptight you are about taking care of your patients…" On cue, Kyou appeared beside Shigure with a blanket in his hand. Kyou wordlessly handed it over and only mumbled curses under his breath when Hatori was a good deal away from hearing range.

"Kowai…" Scary… Shigure laughed nervously to himself.

Hatsuharu came into the utility room right after Hatori had left. He eyed the tense postures of both Shigure and Kyou. "You already got the blanket?"

"Yeah, we did." Kyou gestured impatiently to Shigure. "Get out! What are we even doing waiting in here!"

—To which Shigure cheerfully remarked that Kyou had dragged him in to do unspeakable things.

"Sou desu ne…" Is that so… Haru muttered thoughtfully. "Then I'll leave so you can continue—"

"BAKA! IT'S NOT TRUE!" With surprising strength, Kyou grabbed Shigure the front of his clothes and lifted him into the air. "Tell him."

Sweatdrop.

Shigure eyed the flames burning in Kyou's eyes. "But Kyon-kichi—"

The grip tightened.

"—eheh.. it's just a joke, Haru."

Kyou turned his head expectantly to hear the docile agreement from a White Haru until he noticed that his cousin was no longer standing there.

Shigure raised his finger, whilst still suspended in the air. "He left to be polite, ne Kyou?"

Kyou promptly let go.

"Run."


Yuki shifted under the blanket feeling unbearably hot. If it weren't for the heat, Yuki would've been able to process the odd events happening around him. Like how a much older Kyou was chasing an equally older Shigure around the living room. Or why a seemingly adult Hatori was tending to him when it was always Dr. Isumi who visited him.

Not to mention, why his brother was at his side to put a cold compress over his forehead.

The words 'all he said was oh' flashed across Yuki's mind and he shrank away from Ayame's touch. The action wasn't hard to miss, and Ayame stilled his hand from reaching over to brush Yuki's hair back.

"Yuki…" Ayame trailed off. The excited look in his eyes at his brother's wakefulness faded away. 'Did I forget something that happened…? At ten… I only remember…' Ayame's head shot up.

"Yuki, I—"

BAM!

Something sailed through the air, a chair on closer inspection, that effectively knocked a running Shigure off his feet.

"I have you now." Kyou grinned triumphantly, flexing his hands in preparation.

Beads of sweat began to appear along Shigure's brow before he came up with an idea. "Kyou," Shigure put a hand to his cheek, "not in front of little Yuki! If you wanted it so badly, we could go into my bedroom—"

Twitch. "Why you—" Kyou paused and slowly turned his head. There sat a ten-year-old Yuki, flushed from a fever, and with wide eyes, stared up at Kyou. "Tch. Forget it."

Shigure inwardly cheered and glanced at Ayame to share his relief until he noticed the emotions flitting through his eyes. 'What's this…?'

Hatori, too, had noticed the odd tension between Yuki and Ayame. He came up behind the latter, resting a hand on his shoulder to get his attention. "Why don't you take the others out for now while I take care of Yuki."

It wasn't really a question.

Without a word, Ayame stood and left, the others silently in tow. Hatori watched Shigure, the last one to leave. He didn't have to wait long before Shigure turned back to nod his head in acknowledgement.

Shigure would talk to Ayame.

Returning the nod, Hatori looked back down at Yuki. The boy's head was bowed down, his hair blocking his face from view. It was a sight that Hatori was very familiar with, at least, before Yuki joined Shigure in his home. Sighing wearily, Hatori bent down so he could be eye-level with Yuki. In one hand, he held on to the stethoscope and in the other he held a glass of water. The medicine tablet was still in its case but Hatori would give that to him when he deemed it necessary.

"Breathe." He instructed quietly, listening to Yuki's chest.

Yuki did so without further prompting, his head now turned away from Hatori. 'His behavior now is a far-cry from how it used to be..' Hatori could only wonder what Shigure would learn from Ayame.


"This is your chance for some bonding! Why don't you eat at the new Soumen shop down the street together, ne?" Shigure waved cheerfully from the driver's seat, Ayame (in the passenger's seat) waving just as cheerfully. "Ne, ne, come home for dinner! You two behave yourselves!"

Kyou had one hand raised in anger, the twitch in his eye growing more pronounced after each exclamation from the two in the car. "Oi! What are you doing leaving us here!" He glanced at Haru. "DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!"

Haru blinked and waved back.

"Ja, Kyon-kichi, Haru!" And they drove off.

"ARGH! THOSE BASTARDS!" Kyou glared at the people looking at the two of them, smirking in satisfaction when they turned their attention away.

"Those stupid—what're we supposed to do now, huh?" Kyou threw his hands up in frustration. "When I see them… I'm going to kill—"

"Kyou." Haru pointed past Kyou.

Kyou stopped his tirade to turn around and follow Haru's line of sight. "What?"

"Let's go to the Soumen Shop." He stated simply.

"ARGH!"


Shigure couldn't help but snicker to himself as he eyed the disappearing boys from his rear view mirror. He had no doubt that Kyou and Haru could take care of themselves but it was just so fun to rile Kyou up.

Shigure suddenly sobered when he remembered why he left those two out. He looked at Ayame through the corner of his eye, taking in the saddened posture of the normally confident man.

There was never an easy way to bring up Yuki as a topic of conversation. From what Shigure remembered of his time spent with Ayame, the boy had never once mentioned his younger brother to them. Shigure did recall mentioning Yuki…

…Shigure shifted in the desk to get more comfortable. He, Ayame, and Hatori had stayed in one of the classrooms to work on a project together. All the research they had down was strewn over multiple desks, of which Hatori was currently bent over to look at. Ayame was sitting atop one of the cleared desks, humming and winking at Shigure alternatively. Shigure gave a small laugh and suddenly leaned forward.

"I was wondering… have your forgotten your brother's name?"

Ayame had unconsciously been swinging his legs at the time, but when he heard the question, he stilled. The pause was brief, however, before Ayame leaned back to rest his palms on the desk. "His name…" he muttered softly in thought.

Hatori abruptly strode past Ayame and Shigure to the door of the classroom.

"Ha-san…?"

"Please stop it." Hatori kept his back to the two. "That's enough." His grip on the doorway of the classroom tightened, before relaxing with his next words. "It's stupid."

Shigure tilted his head in confusion as he watched Hatori walk away. "What was…that…?" Shigure's eyes widened when he look at Ayame's face.

Ayame's eyes were narrowed at the spot Hatori stood, and he was biting his lip so hard that Shigure was sure it would break skin. "Aya…?"

Ayame pushed himself off the desk. "Let's go."

Shigure nodded, still confused, and followed Ayame out…

…but that had done nothing to explain what kind of relationship Ayame truly had with his younger brother.

"Our parents," Ayame suddenly spoke, "sold Yuki for their own gain and used him as their tool."

Shigure had to forcibly stop himself from braking. It was almost as if Ayame had read his mind and was explaining himself in accordance to Shigure's silent questions. Giving Ayame a sharp glance, Shigure quickly found an empty parking spot in front of an antique store. After putting the car into park, Shigure turned to face Ayame. He hadn't expected Ayame to speak up so suddenly, especially with words such as those. How was anyone supposed to respond to words like that?

Ayame kept his eyes from meeting Shigure's, choosing instead to lean his head against the window of the car. "In the house we lived in, it was almost too easy for me to avoid him. But when he did see me, I always managed to disappear before he could approach me."

Ayame closed his eyes, his mind recalling the memories of the past. "And then one day… he stopped. He never took a step towards me when he caught sight of me, which was fine with me." He opened his eyes, the green a startling shade darker than before. "I too, sold him out to gain my own liberty."

And suddenly, Shigure knew exactly what Ayame meant. 'All those times he spent with us… Ayame spent every moment he could've spent with Yuki, with us.' The realization unsettled Shigure more than he would've liked, but Ayame continued.

"Ne, Shigure-san, did you know that I overheard something at the Main House."

Shigure looked up at the words.

"I never had to avoid Yuki now so I could just walk past him… but then I heard…"

Flashback

It was one of the few times he visited the Main House, the reason for his presence now was to congratulate Hatori on graduating from the University for Medicine. It came to no surprise to anyone that Hatori planned on joining the clinic belonging to the Sohmas, although it would be awhile before he was allowed to actually tend to anyone. Ayame was just on his way to leave the foreboding Main House when he caught sight of Yuki walking down the very hallway he was in. Unknowingly bracing himself, Ayame walked faster.

He barely flinched as he walked past Yuki.

Yet, for some inexplicable reason, Ayame was compelled to turn around. Yuki never lifted his head, or made any sign that he was aware of Ayame's presence.

and then Yuki stopped walking in the middle of the hallway.

For a brief moment of panic, Ayame expected Yuki to turn around but the real reason made it known fairly quickly.

A laugh.

It came drifting through the hallway, from the rice paper doors that were neatly closed. Of course, being made of rice paper, sound wasn't easily masked. The laughter itself wasn't particularly chilling or anything of the like, so Ayame wondered what could have caused Yuki to stop. It only left the content of the conversation… Ayame tilted his head to the side to listen to the words floating from behind the doors.

"I hear that Yuki-san's parents are really living it up."

Ayame's eyes widened at the mention of his parents.

"Even though they're also parents of possessed children, the mouse is of special status. You're guaranteed different things, like allowances and positions."

The words caused a frown to mar Ayame's face, and he was prepared to just turn and leave—until the woman spoke again.

"And on top of that, they sold him off to the head… They're leaving out nothing to get on his good side." There was a laugh shared between the two talking behind the doors.

"It's human sacrifice, you can't copy that."

Even more incensed than before, Ayame turned heel and stalked off…

End of flashback

"Human sacrifice…" Ayame repeated faintly. "I never thought of it as like that."

Shigure had half a mind to put a hand on Ayame's shoulder, to convey some kind of assurance but something stopped him. This was something that Shigure couldn't touch on, and that fact alone made the situation all the scarier.


Shigure left Ayame to his own thoughts as he drove back to where they had dropped off Haru and Kyou. Shigure wasn't too surprised to see that Haru and Kyou weren't there, but he was when he found them at the Soumen Shop Ayame recommended. This time, he held his tongue from teasing Kyou for Ayame's sake.

Even though they had no idea what transpired in the car, both Haru and Kyou sensed the tense atmosphere and chose to not to say a word. The day had gone by quicker than usual—they hardly spent any time with Yuki, Shigure realized.

'Wonder how Hatori held up with a sick Yuki.' Shigure idly wondered, as he pulled up towards his home. The fact that his house was so far away from the city afforded Shigure a great deal of privacy but it was sometimes bothersome when he had to drive for so long to get to anywhere he needed to be.

The four trooped to the front door of his house, the two younger boys keeping a good distance away as if sensing Shigure's need to speak to Ayame alone.

The open door loomed ahead. Shigure didn't want Ayame to walk in with such a depressed nature, "Ayame, maybe you should—"

But Ayame was no longer listening. Ayame had alarm written all over his face as he pushed past Shigure to get into the house. It was only then that Shigure realized that something was very off.

The door was left open.

All the lights were shut off.

"HATORI!" came the strangled yell from within the house. Simultaneously, the three left standing outside rushed in. The sight they took in wasn't something they would forget.

There lay Hatori, unconscious on the floor and bleeding from a cut on his head—and no Yuki in sight.


A/N: Oh, cliffhanger! What will happen now! XD I've taken a look a both of these stories and I've realized that this one tends to be more on the angsty side… that is to say, it's not as light-hearted as Brotherly Love. Although, judging by what I've written so far for the next chapter of Brotherly Love, there are definitely some angsty scenes… heh.

Anyway, I needed some ideas for the chapters to come in both this story and Brotherly Love, so I finally picked up the Fruits Basket manga… and did a lot of reading.. thus, I now have many, many ideas.. XD The order of it the flashbacks will be off, since the majority of what takes place in the manga is before Yuki is even thirteen.. but for my story's sake, I'm moving things around. So if you've read the manga and noticed the odd arrangement of scenes, that's only because I need it to fit the timeline of my own stories. Yes, it's the same for both this one and Brotherly Love.

The asterisk in the beginning of the chapter is a quote from chapter 85 of Fruits Basket. I used some scenes I saw from the manga and I'm planning on using them to my advantage for all the chapters to come. You should probably expect to see mention of some of the past memories in future chapters! XD

Overall, the story has been pretty… bleak. Well, I hope that some scenes helped to lighten it up a bit… a teeny bit, but a bit nonetheless. XD It took me ages to write this chapter because I keep deleting whatever I wrote. The entire chapter is completely different from the one I had already planned. Which is lucky for you all because I'm planning on using that for the next chapter! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and look forward to reading more!