Born to be Broken.

Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket. But I do however own Akito Sohma, who owns the rest of the Jyuunishi, which means that they all belong to me!! HA HA HA HA HA!!

Note: As promised, the sequel to The Game we Play. If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the genre is horror/romance/mystery, the first of it's kind I've ever tried so let's see how I go shall we? Hmmm... Couplings for this fic? Ayame/Shigure obviously and Akito/Original Character. (I say no more here, because that would be telling. You'll just have to read to find out!) Hopefully this was worth the wait and that old readers and new ones alike will enjoy this! If not, well, flame away chappies. If it makes you feel better to make others feel bad then go right ahead. I won't cry *much.*

Time is too slow for those who wait,
too swift for those who fear,
too long for those who grieve,
too short for those who rejoice,
but for those who love, time is eternity.
~Henry Van Dyke~

"No! No! I won't go back into the darkness!" The boy screamed. A strong clawed hand reached out and snagged itself in his long dark hair, causing him to cry out in pain. The owner of the hand smiled at the boy's agony and twisted sharply, tearing out a clump of hair at the roots.

"It is your honor... and your privilege to be thrown into darkness." A cold voice hissed from those still smiling lips. "Why such a fuss? You are so very special to us... we love you with all our hearts..."

"LIAR!" The boy sobbed, clutching at the hand that still gripped his blood stained hair. "If you loved me so much you would have let me go to her!! But you didn't!! You want her to die just like they do! I wanted to stay out here in the light with her! With everyone! I don't wanna go! I don't w-wanna g-g-go!!" His words broke off into a series of sobs so that he could no longer articulate himself. The man before him snarled at the sight of those tears and raised his free hand to shoulder height. He brought it down with bone breaking force; cracking the boys jaw and splitting his lips open from top to bottom. His crying ceased immediately as he fell backwards from the impact, crawling away like a wounded animal.

"SILENCE!!" The man shouted as the boy whimpered in pain. "You are to be the master of this family and there is no place for weakness here! Your destiny demands you to be strong!"

"I don't want my destiny!!!" The young man screamed blood splattering from his bruised lips as he spoke. "I want to stay here in the light! I don't want to be in the shadows again! I LOVE her and you tore us apart, just like that thing now tears her apart!! If you truly loved me, you'd let me go to her!! She needs me and she doesn't know..." He fell forward, face pressed against the wooden floor as blood dripped from his mouth to splatter against the paneling like infant artwork. "She... She'll die never knowing the truth! That it's YOUR fault!! It's YOUR fault for all of this!! My love is not false, let it be known to her! Please!! ...Please??"

There was stillness, a passing silence that hung in the air as sweet as an autumn breeze in the very depths of winter. The boy continued to cry from the corner, unable to comprehend which parts of his body were hurting and not knowing how to fix it. Knowing that no one would heal them for him and that he was doomed to fight against the pain, alone in the darkness. As it always had been. His hands clenched against the stab wound in his side; the cut only deep enough to cause excruciating pain at every movement, but not enough to kill him. He wished that it would. He prayed that it would. If only they had stabbed deeper and the horrific torment that twisted his heart from inside would be allowed to end! But no... no, they would never give him an easy way out. This was his punishment for betraying them and they were going to exact it as they saw fit.

"This is unacceptable..." The man said at last with a sneer. "You sicken me... you sicken us all with your pathetic asinine actions. Now, you will return darkness! You will suffer!! You will suffer as you deserve for your traitorous ways! Then and only then will you arise to ascension, when and only when we deem you worthy!"

"Go to Hell!" The boy screamed, clutching the wooden carving around his neck and rubbing it between his fingers, obscuring the symbolism of the piece. "I WON'T go!! I'll tear you limb from limb before you drag me back to that infernal damnation!!"

"You won't be needing such a petty decoration where you're going..." The man said, ignoring the boy's words. He reached out and snagged the necklace, tugging the knotted cord so tightly that it choked the boy for a second before it was torn from his neck. The necklace was discarded to the side, tumbling across the weathered floorboards before slipping down between an enlarged gap. The boy gasped and dove after it, long fingernails scrambling at the sides of the space as he tried to pry it open far enough to reach his hand inside.

"No!! It was a gift from her! It's all I have left!" He cried.

"Silence!!" The man shouted and there was enough seriousness in his voice that the boy obeyed immediately. Though he did not raise himself from the floor and continued to cower there, shaking and trembling.

"Now... it's time to return to darkness." The man said.

The boy burst into tears. There was none of the sniffling and sobbing preliminaries that usually led up to a full blown outburst, there was just a loud wailing onslaught that echoed around the dank room like a beasts cry. The man was momentarily taken aback, unprepared for such a violent reaction. For a while he simply stood there, watching the blood covered lad clutching the floor, as though it were his only anchor in reality. But then he got a hold of himself. This was not what the Other's wanted, said a less emotional voice inside of his head, reassuring him. This was of no importance to those in the higher order. So instead of reaching out to reassure the frightened youth he reared back his hand and slapped him again.

"Shut up." He said. "It's time to go."

The boy did shut up. But he found an alternative to the impending prospect and it suited him much better. As the hand struck him he spun with the glancing blow, leaping to his feet in one fluid movement and back flipping away, putting a reasonable distance between them. The man barely had time to react; the response was so unexpected. Before he could blink the boy had reached the opposite side of the room and had ripped an ornamental dagger from the wall; it had seen some heavy wear and was most probably not just for show. The blade gleamed as though it had been thoroughly sharpened time and time again, though never dulled to begin with. The boy perceived this and knew from experience how deep the knife cut, simply by running the tip of a finger over it. He thus anticipated the depth of a wound it would sew, when thrown from a great distance, with a great anger behind it.

It sliced through the air, faster and harder than the man would have believed possible. The youth's strength was indeed admirable, but it paled in comparison to everything that he himself was capable off. The man snapped forward and the blade was ensnared between the nails of his index and middle fingers. He allowed it to hang there, suspended for a moment until the weight bore it to the ground. It fell, embedding itself deep within the soft wood and the man stepped over it's quivering hilt towards the boy, who stared at him with a complex expression on his youthful face. Not shock so much as bitterness towards the situation itself. As though he knew that the action was pointless in the first place but nonetheless he had still hoped...

"Valiant attempt, but futile none the less..." The man whispered almost sinisterly, robes swirling around him as though a breeze had filtered within the confined room. Of course there was no way in which any such breeze could have entered. "Now come..." He stretched out his hand. "Your destiny awaits..."

The boy did take the hand extended to him. Instead he made a sudden rapid dash to the side as though he meant to escape. But his wound would not allow it. The flip he had performed before had split the slash open even wider and blood was pouring from his side, staining his white robes red all the way down to the hem. He staggered, fell over the low table in the center of the room and was promptly caught in the arms of another robed individual.

"Let me help you." The man said. Though he wasn't speaking to the boy. It was the other man that he was addressing.

"Yes, that might be wise..." He agreed, watching as the youth thrashed as much as his abused body would allow. "He may injure himself permanently at this rate and we don't wish to inflict wounds on him that may never heal."

The First came around and grasped the boy by the wrist, tugging him in the direction of the doorway, as the Second held him constrictively by the shoulders. As they shoved the door open, the youth latched his spare arm around the frame, clinging on as tightly as a child to it's mothers bosom. The First darted forward, long fingers wrapping around the circular curve of the boys shoulder, trying to pull him out from where he had wedged himself. The boy put up a fight, lashing out with his free hand and swiping at the two older men with a viscous expression on his face. The First uttered a guttural snarl and, placing both hands on the boys shoulder, pulled backwards with the entire weight of his body. There was a muffled crack; like the sound of a brick falling against concrete as the boys' shoulder popped out of joint and the youth was now screaming in a long sustained note of pain. His grip loosened on the doorway and the two men bundled him between them; the Second clasping a hand over his mouth to stiffle the screams. Together they dragged him outside, where the only light visible was from the three-quarter moon that hung in the cloudy sky. He twisted within their grip, crying from behind the rough palm that encased his mouth. Crying for help, calling for the neighbors that were too far away to hear anything. He relaxed the weight of his body dramatically, such as a child might do when they don't want to go somewhere, making it more difficult for the robed ones to carry him. His bare feet sought out notches in the ground to halt or slow the continual progress, but this effort only resulted in the skin being torn off against sharp rocks and other protrusions.

A trail of blood indicated the path of the three men and it wove out into the dark woods, coming close to the border of the lake and then veering off back into the forests very depths, where no light penetrated at all. Even without the aid of illumination the robed ones were able to find what they were after; a seemingly harmless looking shed hidden within a low hanging canopy formed of trees and leaves. The First threw his weight against the door and it sagged beneath him, creaking inwards revealing darkness eternally spiraling downwards into the earth. The youth flinched away from the foul odor that was released from confinement, whimpering in pain and fear. He visibly jumped as a woman's scream filtered up from below, a horse continual cry of suffering, blended with tears. The boy's mouth opened and shut in rapid succession as he realized exactly where he was.

He was taken deep within the bowels of the earth, dragged through dirt and grime and the scent of blood. A pungent intoxicating stench of urine and human excrement soon raped his nostrils and he dry retched, eventually vomiting when his eyes saw what his nose forewarned. He was pulled back up from his own bile and dragged roughly by the hair southward, to a dark room. From the outside, you might not have even known it was there, as it blended right into the wood. There was a coldness in the room that was the first thing the boy was reminded of as he was thrown inside. His back hit another door, with three great elaborate locks on it. The First and Second stepped in behind him, closing the first door almost entirely. A sliver of light was allowed so that they could see.

Whilst they fished through their pockets, searching for the keys that would unlock the second doorway, the boy crawled forward trying to see out through the space that remained, lit only by dull candle light from outside. He had to see. He had to know if it was really—

The First kicked him cruelly in the side, exacting such force that the youth rolled back towards the other door, slamming into it. His injured shoulder took the brunt of the impact and he moaned weakly, too ill from the small glance he had been able to steal, to even scream properly.

"... So much blood... so much blood... so much blood..." He whispered, feeling his mind threatening to cave in on itself and wanting to let it. It was too horrible... what they had done... what they had done to... her...

He vomited on himself again, seeing blood within the almost transparent fluid and wondering if he would ever escape the memory of that vile red color. The robed ones had finished unlocking the door and were reaching out to reclaim him again.

The youth wiped his mouth with his sleeve, his face an animalistic mask of rage. "YOU FUCKING MONSTERS!! HOW CAN YOU JUSTIFY ANY OF THIS??!! HOW DARE YOU DO THIS!!! HOW DARE YOU??!!"

The voice screaming from within him was thickening, as though the substance of his own individual persona was being sucked out and replaced by something else. Another something that was more powerful... infinitely omnipotent and dominant in the compressed nature of it's state. The robed ones paid no mind to it, hefting the boy between them, not registering the sunken gray ring that had formed around the center of his now glassy, blankly staring eyes. Perhaps they perceived it as merely shock, the inability to focus on anything as a result of fear. Whatever the case, they bound the youth within the third room, beyond the third door that was behind the second with the three locks. His clothes were stripped away and thorned willow branches twined around the length of his body, arms strung up unnaturally into the air, suspending him in the center of the room like a fly caught in an expansive spider web. The branches being his only support tore into the flesh, dripping blood down onto the already stained dirt floor. Nothing about this room had ever, ever been altered since it had first been made.

"Close the door..." The Second hissed, stepping out ahead of his compatriot, robe swirling around his slim form. The First cast one last glance at the nude lad as he dangled there in agony, blood dripping steadily from each cruel laceration, creating a steady repetitive noise in the otherwise silent room. He moved to close the door, his hand ensnaring the handle when the youth spoke. It was with some difficulty as one twine of willow was drawn across his jugular and constricted his Adam's Apple.

"...We'll come back..." He rasped. The First stared as the boy painfully lifted his head, blank eyes settling on his own with a frightening indifference. "... She and I... we'll come back... And I assure you... you will pray for death at my hands... long after death finds me."

"Don't speak nonsense." The First tried to say firmly. But his voice wavered.

The youth snickered, blood peeling across his face and into his eyes. "We'll never leave... not ever... you'll never be rid of us, even after you're dead and rotting in the ground." His voice lowered even more so that it was almost inaudible; like a broom sweeping across a wooden floor. "And let it be known, that this face will haunt your dreams... your reality... your every step... even as it rots away within these walls. Ah... yes... because there shall be no sleep for the damned... nor the dead."

And there was a sudden burst of laughter echoing around the room; the youths own as it erupted from his slack jawed mouth, combined with several other indistinct voices that had no visible point of origin. As it increased in strength, the First finally jerked himself into action, slinging the door closed with so much force the dirt walls shook. He quickly dashed through the second door, slamming that also and jamming the keys into the locks in rapid succession, panting with fearful relief as he heard each one click into place. Only when he had shut the final door and locked that too, did he feel safe and was able to slow down. He leant his forehead against the wood paneling, taking deep shuddering breaths as he tried to slow his heart rate. Though it was muffled by the constraints of the walls and doors, he could still hear the distinct sound of laughter from far away. Deep within the earth, in a room where no light penetrated and the only companion of those inside was the dripping of their own blood.

And the laughter...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ayame jerked awake the sound of the laughter still echoing in his head. Instantly, both hands were pressed to the sides of his head and he shook it back and forth as though that might eradicate the sound. It was the same old tired trick, that seemed to work only when it wanted too and never when he wanted it too. Ayame was shaking; his entire body was quivering from the tips of his fingers to the ends of his toes.

Why? He thought to himself. Why do I keep having these dreams?

Already, he was entirely awake and alert. When he dreamt like this, adrenaline pumped through his system like fast working venom for which he was entirely grateful. It was that period of time between waking up and really waking up that was the most frightening; sometimes you couldn't even tell if you were still caught within the confines of a dream or not.

Ayame wearily rubbed his eyes, thinking back to the very first time these nightmares had appeared to him. Two months ago, to be exact... the same time when he and Shigure... well...

He jumped as a strong hand pressed against his shoulder and rough fingers soothed his bare flesh. He turned to see a pair of dark brown eyes staring up at him through the darkness and the vague outline of a weary face framed by a tousled head of hair.

"Nightmare again?"

Ayame gave a slight nod of verification and placed his hand over the one clasping his shoulder, stroking the long fingers thoughtfully. At least there was a consolation prize for awakening in the middle of the night like this. Only, he felt guilty for disturbing his loves sleep. Especially when he had a deadline coming up on his latest novel and was in need of as much rest as he could obtain.

With certain exceptions to the rule of course.

Shigure sighed and rolled over, flicking on the bedside light. Ayame blinked sleepily, trying to get his eyes to adjust and wiggled back down into the covers, pulling them up over his naked body. It wasn't exactly a warm night and the last thing he needed was to go snake because he'd been lying there uncovered. No sooner had he settled himself, then Shigure rolled over on top of him, hands brushing the stray hair from the side of his face. Their eyes met.

"Wanna talk about it?" The inu asked.

Ayame murmured something incomprehensible as he wrapped his arms around Shigure's waist and nuzzled his face against his chest. A moment of silence passed between them, Shigure waiting patiently for his lovers' response and Ayame searching for the response itself. Eventually, he decided it wasn't really important. They were only dreams; he needn't worry Shigure about something so irrelevant.

"You know..." He said softly as he traced imaginary words onto the other mans back. "I... I don't really remember it now... Funny how dreams fade away like that isn't it?"

Shigure didn't seem convinced and raised an eyebrow to express this. Ayame chose to ignore it so the inu decided to let it slide.

"Okay... but if you want to talk about it, tell me, okay? Don't go letting it upset you anymore. It's not worth it."

"If I remember, I'll tell you Gure." Ayame said, leaning up to deposit a small kiss on Shigure's lips. Though it's intention was innocent, that small kiss soon escalated and the two men found themselves kissing one another ravenously, hands all over the place as their passion escalated. As they paused to breathe, Ayame took a chance to gaze fondly at his friend, smiling above him as he panted. He looked exquisite when sleep and the toss-turnings of night had their way with him. Hair mussed by the pillows and Ayame's hands hours before, eyes bleary and half glued shut by sleep, the naked form of his chest still shining with dried perspiration from their previous love making session... Ayame thought he looked gorgeous. But then again... he was always gorgeous in Ayame's eyes. So patient with him even though night after night he continually woke him up, shaking and shuddering at the memories that weren't even real. Ayame wished it didn't have to be like that. When he dreamed, all he wanted to see was Shigure; the same face he saw as he dozed off to sleep. To hear his voice whispering to him of sweet nothings that lovers pass off as some kind of heightened language that only they could understand. To see his smile, to possess those sweet lips with his own and take their senses to new heights that could only be reached through the illusions of sleep.

Yet it was only the nightmares that would come. Night after night after night. Blood... cruel laughter... pain... suffering... He didn't want to see that anymore! What was wrong with him?!

"Aya?" Shigure asked, hand pressed against the snakes' face. "Aya what's wrong? Tell me what's wrong!"

Ayame realized that he was crying and immediately tried to turn his face away from Shigure, to hide the tears that he had already seen. But Shigure wouldn't allow it. He clasped his face between his hands and forced their eyes to meet, his thumbs moving to eradicate the shameful tears.

"I don't know why these... nightmares have got you so upset Ayame." He whispered, pressing their foreheads together. "But I know that I don't like what they're doing to you, so here's the deal: Tomorrow I'm going to go see Hari and find out if there's anything he can do to help get rid of them. Because God forbid... I hate seeing you this way..."

Ayame whimpered at the sympathy in Shigure's voice reaching up to hook his arms around his neck and pull him down against his chest. This man was just so wonderful, the way he cared for him. True it had taken a long time for him to get to this point, but the important thing was that they were finally here together. Ayame weaved his fingers through Shigure's hair whilst the other man massaged his thumbs across his arms, reassuring him in subtle primitive patterns. Already, Ayame felt calmer. Safer somehow.

"You shouldn't bother Hari." He insisted, closing his eyes. Shigure's touch was working to lull him back off to sleep again. "He's got more important things to worry about then dreams Gure. Besides... I'm probably just nervous about... you know..."

"Nerves have nothing to do with it." Shigure grumbled, moving his thumbs to the gap between Ayame's neck and his shoulders. "Nerves make you drink gratious amounts of coffee. Nerves make you stay up late at night, jumping around the kitchen keeping the rest of the family awake. Nerves make you ring up certain very busy doctors and prattle at them for hours on the phone about random topics such as the meaning behind 'Wassailing' and whether the city of Atlantis really does exist."

Ayame giggled in recognition.

"My point is, that nerves can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, some more peculiar than others. But recurring dreams about blood, satanic rituals and whatnot are definitely not one of them. No matter what Mii might say to the contrary." Shigure and Ayame chuckled in unison. "And for all we know it may be highly psychological in nature and simply by confronting the correct issue and properly decoding it, you can eliminate the likelihood of said nightmares ever stopping in for a visit again. I think it's worth talking to Hari."

At this, Shigure rolled over, off of Ayame and propped himself up on his elbow, surveying him coquettishly from beneath his bangs.

"So what do you say, Ayame? Hmmm?" He teased; tickling the snakes rounded tummy that lay exposed due to him shifting the sheets. "Otherwise I may have to do the Thing again and we don't want that do we?"

Ayame considered. "Which Thing are we talking about again, Shiggy? We've got so many you know that I just seem to have lost count."

"You know... the Thing..." Said Shigure more insistently, raising an eyebrow. "Where I use the... thing..."

Ayame raised both brows. "That thing?"

Shigure nodded.

"But I like that Thing!"

"Aya!!" Growling, Shigure rolled back over, trying to pin him to the bed. Ayame fought back, laughing crazily as Shigure's hands tickled him mercilessly, trying to over power him. A loud thumping issued from the ceiling, which was Kyou code for; "I'm awake, you are the case of my being awake and now I am pissed off and jumping up and down on the floor." Though Shigure was very attempted to just ignore him and continue his molestation, he decided that since the kid had school tomorrow he should in fact, give him a break. He placed a finger over his lips and made a shush noise at Ayame, indicating his laughter volume be lowered to non-existent. Ayame got the hint and lay there quietly, staring up at the ceiling. After a while, it seemed that Kyou was satisfied with this offering of silence and the floor creaked again as his weight was shifted back into his futon. Shigure braced both his arms against Ayame's chest and pushed down hard, pinning him to the mattress effectively. His voice lowered and Ayame had to lean close to hear what he was saying.

"You fear the Thing Aya, okay? You fear the Thing so much, that you would give into anything I suggest just to avoid an encounter with Its Awfulness. So come on..." At this, he lifted Ayame's hand and lightly kissed his knuckles, rubbing the spot tenderly following the kiss. "Let me go talk to Hari? I'm sure he won't mind."

Well it was hard to argue when he was being that charming. The bastard knows it too... Ayame thought, biting his lip as he looked up into Shigure's eyes. He sighed, realizing he was looking at this from the wrong perspective. Shigure wanted to do this because he was concerned about him, not because he wanted to get one over him. He needed to understand that and just let Shigure do, as he wanted. Sometimes it was easier that way.

"Whatever you want Shiggy." He murmured.

Shigure smiled gently and framed his lovers' slender chin, pushing it up so he could kiss his full, sensuous lips. Ayame kissed back, loving how the action was never automatic between them. Not once, in their two months of being together had either of them ever displayed affection to the either on a basis of it being appropriate. It was quite natural between them and neither ever had a reason to pretend that they wanted to be kissed, or touched or made love too. Every time they did it was out of a genuine desire that passed between them, not an obligation on behalf of the other.

Shigure trailed kisses along to Ayame's ear, toying at the gold hoop with his teeth and nibbling on the lobe. His tongue snaked up the sensitive shell and he whispered in his ear.

"Good." He said, pausing to lay a small kiss on the space behind Ayame's ear. "But... in the meantime... is there anything that I can do right now to take your mind off of it sweetheart?"

Ayame smiled and tugged his arms free, sliding them up around Shigure's waist and then further down to stroke his buttocks. Shigure had once told him quite blatantly that he had a butt fetish. Ayame's defense was that he simply liked Shigure's ass and not everyone's in general. Which was mostly true. He had liked other butt's than Shigure's, obviously, but not nearly as much. None could compare to the muscled tight flesh his hands could so easily need and massage. Ayame smiled as he rubbed, watching his lovers' face twist into an assorted array of expressions at the stimulation that was something of a ritual now. Shigure rolled his hips forward and back, rubbing his growing hardness against Ayame's all the while kissing him passionately. His hands wrapped around the other mans slimmer shoulders, pulling him up a little off of the mattress so that he was able to rub the entire length of his smooth back as well as the subtle curve of his buttocks. Ayame moaned through the heavy kiss, raising a hand and pressing it against Shigure's cheek as they pecked at one another's lips. A bead of sweat dripped down the tailors' face and Shigure caught it with his tongue, tracing it back up to his hairline before licking it away completely. Their bodies were already florid and slick from arousal, dampening the thin sheets around them. Shigure pushed the up most layers off so they could both lie on the mattress alone, sparing the sheets from any mess they would create. No words were exchanged between them during their foreplay, other than the moaned cry of each other's name. Sweet words and lovely phrases were reserved for love making alone. Not for sex.

When both were eventually hard enough, Ayame positioned himself with his legs spread wide beneath Shigure, indicating that he wanted to be penetrated. Only after Shigure had lubricated him, did they proceed further and they made love, more so for the physical intimacy it afforded, rather than the emotional. It was nearing the very early hours of the morning by the time they had finished and together they pulled the sheets back over one another and curled up beneath the canopy they'd created. Arms reached out and cradled one another and then all the right words were said. Vows of love, comments on positive aspects of the physical appearance, more talk of love. Mostly on Ayame's side. He wasn't quite as shy as expressing that as Shigure was.

He said it a lot more regularly that morning however, in the midst of the cuddling and touching and kissing. He said it at every chance he had.

Ayame was glad that Shigure never inquired further about the particulars of his dream. He feared that if he did, he might not be able to lie again.

But how could he tell him, that the boy he had seen in his dream, the one he saw buried deep within the earth, in a room where no light penetrated and the only companion of those inside was the dripping of their own blood... how could he tell Shigure...

-That the boy looked like him?

Note: Not meant to make much sense yet folks. Only the epilogue so don't start sending me emails going; "WTF???!!!" First chapter coming soon so R and R my pretty pretty pretties...