See incompetence-pleading disclaimer in bio.
Chapter Three: Lambada
'Alright.' Says the cat, dignified, getting up from where he has been sleeping to make room for Yuki. 'Let's get this dealt with.'
Yuki nods and sits down beside his cousin. Looking out from the roof of Shigure's house, you can see over tons and tons of trees from one side, and a bit of Tokyo from the other. Yuki prefers looking at the trees. Kyou seemingly does as well, because he always has his back turned to the smoggy city.
'When are your entry exams again?' Kyou asks nonchalantly.
'In three weeks.'
Kyou raises an eyebrow. 'That's right at the same time as our finals.'
Yuki lets out a short laugh. 'I know.'
'Have you already started looking for a room in Tokyo?'
'Not yet. But I don't think I want to be on campus.'
'See if you can find something in between the Art University and Toudai.'
Their eyes meet.
'Good idea.' Yuki murmurs.
Kyou shrugs. 'Considering how, if this works out, you'll be living with a certain art-fart.'
'If.' Smiles Yuki.
'Interesting how when we both have a goal we're working towards that doesn't involve working against the other, we can actually converse,' Kyou remarks, leaving Yuki speechless for a moment.
'For a dumb hysteric cat, you're actually pretty eloquent,' he comments.
Kyou snorts. 'Shove it, Ratman.'
'Anyways. I think I'll get my studying done quickest if I sit up here on the roof.' Kyou turns to smirk at Yuki. 'And I doubt you and Tohru would want to join me.' He waves airily at nothing. 'If Tohru was serious about needing my help on literature class, I'll come down to help her with it..' he grins at Yuki, 'considering I scored several points higher than a certain rodent on the last test.'
Yuki decides not to bite, and simply nods. 'Yes, you were always good at literature. Though I've never seen you read a book in my life.'
Kyou rolls his eyes. 'Of course, this is very baffling, as we spend all our time together, twenty-four-seven, so you would immediately notice if I did something as out-of-character as say, read a book.'
'Point taken. But nonetheless, much appreciated.' Continues Yuki. 'I'd have to agree that Honda san wouldn't be able to concentrate if she were studying on the roof.'
'Heheh. Just imagine her sitting here, trying to study-'
'and whenever she'd move or put down a notebook-'
'It'd slide down the roof-'
'And hit Shigure in the head-'
'And Tohru'd go frantic, apologizing like Ritsu-'
'And lose her own balance, start to slip-'
'"Ah! Falling desu! Not good desu!"' Kyou mimes sqeakily.
'And I could catch her theatrically in my arms before she hit the ground.'
'At which point you'd transform, and her weight would splatter your mousey innards nicely over the lawn.' Kyou finishes. 'We should write screenplays together,' he adds pensively.
'I prefer happy endings, though.' Yuki says, watching his cousin from the corner of his eye.
He grew up with a certain image of the cat in his mind, and all these years, especially after he moved out of the main house and into Shigure's and Kyou moved there too, his image of the cat was right. He had fervently disliked the cat, if not hated him. But with the arrival of Tohru into their lives, each of the Soumas seem to have learned some manners and respect. Yuki is now able to admit that he does not hate Kyou anymore. They still aren't friends, and perhaps they never will be, but their bickering is more benevolent now than at any time before. There is something binding them, keeping them allies of sorts, and Yuki is relieved to have it that way. He has grown to respect the cat very much since that night two years ago. Kyou is intelligent and sensitive and strong, and has similar issues with the Souma family. True, Kyou's position is a bad one, as Yuki's is supposedly a good one, but with Akito as clan head there is little difference.
'Well,' says Yuki, 'if your International Law and my Environmental and Suburban Architecture at Toudai fall through, and if Tohru wants nothing to do with me, and if you don't end up shackled by Kagura, maybe screenplays are exactly what we'll do.'
'Shackled by Kagura!' Kyou grunts. 'I'll show her who's da Man.'
Yuki snorts at him, amused. 'She'd kick your ass. You know that.'
Kyou frowns. 'Maybe if I got her flowers.'
'She'll smell the flowers first and then kick your ass.'
'God, I hate women.'
'Careful who hears you say that. If Ayame overheard, he'd force you to marry him instead. He's always wanted to wear a bridal gown, you know that.'
'.. where's that girl Kagura?' Kyou demands and sits up quickly, pretending to jump off the roof.
Yuki snickers. Maybe things won't go awry, after all.
A hand raps lightly on the edge of a rice paper screen.
The screen slides open.
'My dear boys,' Akito welcomes the infamous Mabudachi Trio.
'Hello, Akito,' Shigure greets back. Hatori says nothing but walks into the center of the room, where there is a porcelain ash tray on the table. There is fine calligraphy written inside it, almost abstracted. It says 'peaceful springtime'. Hatori bends over, tie hanging down, and jabs his cigarette against the porcelain, aiming especially at the character for 'spring'.
Ayame has followed closely behind Hatori. He nods at Akito. Ayame never could hide his instinctive fear of him.
'He makes my blood feel cold,' he had confessed once to Shigure and Hatori, 'colder than a snake's already is.'
'Sit down,' Akito says.
Shigure sits down, a goofy grin on his face. Ayame hovers near the door. Hatori exhales his last smoke with the words, 'I'll stand.'
'You'll sit,' Akito replies coldly, 'because I want to sit and I don't want to have to look up at you.'
They all settle around the low table, folding their feet beneath them. The rustle of the tatami mats beneath them stops and the room becomes so static that they all feel afraid to breath. Except for Akito, who is never afraid of anything.
Akito regards them each in turn, running his eyes up and down their figures. The Ayame who is usually so lively has become a pale statue staring at the ash tray. 'Ayame, your little brother resembles you very much. He is growing up every bit as beautiful as his older brother.'
Ayame's gold-slitted eyes flit up to Akito's face and away again. A smile trembles on his sculpted white lips. 'If only he'd let his hair grow, I think he'd become more beautiful than me in an instant.'
Akito laughs dryly. 'You're so modest about being perfect.' He looks over to Hatori, who is staring out of the window. Hatori is the one who sees Akito every day; he is the one who can read him best. Hatori is seperating himself from the conversation already, perhaps in protest to what he knows it will be about.
Akito looks over to Shigure. Shigure's eyes are half-closed. He has a relaxed smile on his face, and when Akito makes eye-contact with him, Shigure raises his eyebrows and lights a cigarette. The smoke he blows out hangs over the table between them and only wafts away very slowly.
'So, Akito.' Shigure says, cutting through the silence with a voice that makes you feel there never was any. 'Why did you call for us?'
Akito smiles. 'Don't pretend. Hatori told you.'
Shigure takes a long drag. 'Hatori san wouldn't say.'
Akito cocks his head at Hatori. 'Is that so?'
Hatori meets Akito's eyes. 'I don't see why your secrets would be my business.'
'Secrets!' Akito exclaims with false delight. He claps his hands together, and the sounds cracks through the room, causing Ayame to start.
'I love secrets. Now I'm interested. I was never aware of any secrets taking place in this family.'
'Me neither,' says Shigure. 'but I think you know what Hatori is talking about. And what I expect you are talking about. So, please.' And he makes a slight gesture with the hand holding the cigarette.
Shigure, you're the bravest of all of us, sometimes. Hatori thinks. You're the one that's managed the most, because you show the least. Your words and smiles surrender less to Akito than my silence or Ayame's avoidance. But aren't you afraid you could fall the hardest?
'I don't believe for one second that Hatori didn't fill the both of you in on every detail he possibly could, so I'll take off from where ever I see fit.
'This is regarding the scrolls.-'
'What scrolls?' Shigure interrupts, voice whiney.
'The scrolls I know Hatori told you about. Don't interrupt me again.'
'He tells us nothing,' Shigure goes on mournfully, having no qualms about interrupting Akito. 'he doesn't trust us worth a yen coin.'
'Do no lie, Shigure. You already reek of dog when you enter a room.'
'Under the belt, Akito.' Shigure responds in a low, half-teasing voice. 'Now, the scrolls.'
'It disgusts me that it is you I am turning to in this matter.'
'Thank you for your faith,' Shigure chirps.
'The scrolls are family heirlooms dating from the Edo and Meiji periods, some from even before that.' Hatori starts, tiring with the delay at getting to the point. 'They are kept at the library here at the Honke, in the restricted area. The scrolls are extremely sensitive to light, touch, and vibrations and are therefore all locked away in a vault full-time. However..'
'However, Hatori collected a few from their tomb at my request, and has begun to work on an analysis of them.' Akito says.
Shigure laughs briefly as he taps ash off into the ashtray. 'So?'
'Shigure, these scrolls are being kept locked away not because of their extreme fragility and antiquary value but because of their content. They discuss the Curse of the Twelve Jyunishi.'
Ayame looks up for the first time and Shigure's eyes widen noticeably.
'Is that so?' he tries to deadpan, startled.
Akito smirks. 'It is. These texts handle extensively on the myth, on the reality of the curse and the development of the cursed Soma family through the eras.'
'But is it all stuff we already know? The scrolls must have been extensively studied time and again..'
'No. When Hatori's grandfather was still Head, the World War going on destroyed part of the Honke. When they cleared away the rubble they discovered a waterproof old box that must have once been buried beneath the floors of the largest Shinto shrine.' Akito leans back. 'Never say the gods don't know irony.'
'So when people discovered it and opened it and read about the curse then-' 'No. People held them at face value of being ancient scrolls. All the information on the Jyunishi was simply considered as an elaborately worked-out version of the myth.'
'This is where we come in, I believe.' Hatori says slowly. He looks over at Shigure, who has finished his cigarette and is reaching for his next, and at Ayame, who is tracing lines in the wood of the table.
'I have been studying these scrolls for several weeks, and the problem with almost all of them is that they are almost illegible.'
'How?' 'Written in old Japanese. Lots of stylized characters, lots of sweeping lines. Some vague illustrations in the sidelines.'
'Sounds like my bowl of sake,' says Shigure, squinting in anticipation.
'Don't feel too flattered, you foolish twit.' Akito says snidely. 'I am not calling upon you for any self-supposed literary or artistic skills. Merely that the process of reading and transcribing is long and tedious and I have no desire to perform it myself. The next obvious reasons are that you three are part of the Jyunishi, and you are older and more learned, if not more wise than the others. Yuki and Hiro are far too young to understand the scrolls, all the others too self-absorbed and stupid. If you three do not do this it will not happen the way it should.'
'If I understand correctly then Hatori, Shigure and myself will read and transcribe your scrolls to see what is written about us.'
'Very good, Ayame. You cower like a snake coiled, playing dead in long grass, but you listen in on us none the less. I would expect no less from you.'
Ayame's mouth tightens and his gaze drops back to the table. Shigure is silent for another moment before he leans forwards and says, 'alright, I'll do it. I'm interested to read what these texts of yours say. Can I pick them up and work on them at home?'
'First of all, of course you'll do it. I never put it to you as an offer or a choice. I decided for you a long time ago. Secondly no, you may not take any scrolls with you out of the library. They are to remain in a special room at all times. I had a room built with regulated temperature and humidity in the air, so the scrolls would not rot away unnecessarily.'
'I understand. How many scrolls are there?'
'Fifteen or sixteen.'
'What lengths?' 'No idea. Sooner longer than shorter, I think.'
Shigure nods. 'What exactly are we looking for?'
Akito's eyes are shooting back and forth, watching the smoke from Shigure's cigarette drift up. He doesn't respond or acknowledge the question, and Shigure opens his mouth to ask it again.
'My life,' Akito says suddenly, eyes still focused on the cigarette smoke. Ayame's head snaps up. Shigure observes the clan head motionlessly, his mouth slightly open. Hatori keeps his eyes on the window.
'I think that those scrolls can save my life.'
AN: Nyah, here we go again! I owe a belated apology to anyone reading this.. I tend to make fanfiction extraordinarily OOC. As you reviewers may have already noticed, I make some weird and apparently unexpected choices as to what 'my' characters do and why.
Fruits Basket is a new fandom to me.. though I wrote fanfics for it more than a year ago, I never posted anything on fanfiction.net. I have, however, been writing and posting for other fandoms for a few years, so I guess you could say I'm set in my ways, for better or worse. Basically, this fic is my big 'what if'.. I think the main what if is, 'what if Kyou and Yuki actually got along?' neheheh.
To respond to R Junkie's review of chapter two (the only one! *sob*) and to generally explain my psychotic behavior on this: I know it seems weird, that Yuki might be shy or feel awkward towards his beloved Honda san. But in my experience *insert next sob* if you've been friends for a long time it becomes increasingly difficult to develop, or confess, to romantic feelings for one another. So I think that if Yuki and Tohru get together it wouldn't be until they're a bit older (as in this fic), and there would be these years of friendship hanging between them like a dark cloud. Also, maybe it's silly to think he would need Kyou's help, but in a way Yuki needs an opinion from the outside and maybe an extra kick up the ass, and as soon as Kyou steps down as a rival, to me he seems the perfect answer!
Anyways, this probably served mainly as further confusion to you, my beloved readers, but I say all's fair in love and fanfiction. :D
oh yeah, and i inserted some *clash bang* plllllot. Forgive me. *runs off, singing 'YuuukiiiiRuuuuuu~'*