The Same Shade of Yellow
A Fruits Basket fanfic by Raberba girl
Author's Note: I don't know most of the characters' ages for sure, so on many of them I guessed or approximated.
Chapter 1 - Meeting at the Grocery Store
'He barely even looked at me. Just a, "Hey there, Momo!" before running off to catch up with his friends.' Momo sighed. 'I might as well just give up now - it's never going to happen.'
Momo's depressed thoughts had her close to tears by the time it came for her to pay for the groceries. She did so in a daze, too preoccupied with her own thoughts to pay much attention, and then headed for the door. It was no wonder, then, that she didn't see the person coming in until they had crashed into each other.
"Ach!" Momo yelped and scrambled after the food tumbling out of her dropped grocery bags.
"Oh! So sorry about that! Here, let me help you!" Though the fleet impression Momo had gotten suggested a male, the voice was higher than expected, with a note of playfulness running through it. After stuffing things back into one bag, Momo looked up to find the person she had bumped into on his knees next to her. He was smiling at her as he collected the things that had spilled from the second bag. "What a clumsy way to meet, ne? But I'm glad we did - you're cute!"
At that, of course, Momo was almost too flustered to respond when he stood and held out a hand to help her up.
"Here, let me take that," he continued, reaching for the bag she held. "After all the trouble I caused, the least I can do is carry these for you!"
"Ah— no, no, you don't have to do that, it was m-my fault," Momo stammered, wincing as she heard her words lisping. It was always worse when she was surprised or angry.
Sure enough, to her shame and rage, he grinned at her. "So you do still have that lisp. I love it! It's so cute!"
Momo was almost too furious to look at him. She felt so self-conscious about the way she talked, and it was horrible to have a complete stranger commenting on it like that. "It's so cute" indeed! He was making fun of her!
"Give me my bags," Momo snapped, and grabbed for them.
He swung them up out of her reach. "Ah, no, Momo," he said gently. "Don't be mad! I really do think it's cute, but I won't mention it again if you don't want me to." His smile was very disarming. Despite her hot face, Momo realized, as she looked at him, that she wasn't so angry after all.
He was a very good-looking young man. He seemed to be about her age, fifteen, with beautiful brown eyes and slightly curly yellow hair the exact same shade as her own. His clothes, though somewhat flashy, were not unusual for a teenager, and looked good on him. His amazing smile and round, youthful face peeked out from below a floppy cap.
Momo realized that she had met him before. No wonder he kept speaking as if he knew her.
"Oh…you're a Sohma, aren't you? Didn't I used to see you at Papa's building sometimes? And around the Estate when we still lived there-- But you lived in the Inner complex, didn't you, so I didn't see you very often." 'Since when do I chatter like this?' Momo wondered. It was probably because she was nervous.
His smile, if possible, grew even more dazzling. He looked absolutely delighted. "You remember me! That's wonderful! I hoped you would, Momo - it's been so long!"
"I--" Momo hesitated, embarrassed. She knew it started with M, but beyond that... "I, well, I remember you, but last time I saw you was when I was eight or nine, and I didn't see you that often..."
He giggled. It was an actual giggle, but coming from him, it sounded light-hearted rather than childish. "My name's Momiji!"
"Oh! Thank you." Momo smiled, blushing. Momiji Sohma. She remembered her mother taking her, when she was younger, to pick up her father from his office building. She would see Momiji there every once in a while, helping out the cleaning ladies. Now that she thought about it, it seemed a little odd. Though she had been too young to realize it then, it now struck Momo how alike she and Momiji looked. She supposed it was because they were distant cousins or something, but still...
"It's great how fate seems to bring people together, huh?"
Momo, caught off-guard, nodded politely. The two of them were now walking down the street companionably, Momiji still carrying the groceries.
"I mean, here I am back in Japan after so long - I just flew in this morning-, and I happen to go out shopping at the exact time that you're doing the same thing! Isn't it great?"
"Yes, it is," Momo agreed, still polite. "Why did you leave Japan?" she asked conversationally.
"Oh, I've always wanted to go to Germany - my mama's German, you know-, so I decided to attend college there, like my papa did. I had lots of fun and made so many friends, but then a couple of years after I graduated I thought it was time I ought to come home. Germany's great, and I'm definitely going to visit again, but this is where I belong." He sighed contentedly. "There's so many memories here. I can't wait to see the rest of the family again, too! Akito, and Tohru and Kyo, and Ha'ri--"
"Wait a second," Momo cut in, a little desperately. "Graduated? From - from college?"
"Yup!" Momiji really did have the most adorable grin.
"But - you look like you're my age. I thought you were just beginning high school!"
Momiji was still grinning as he said, "Oh, no, I'm 24! Ta da!"
"Oh..." Momo couldn't help staring at him. He looked so young! Even now that she knew he was 24, he still looked like a teenager. Except for the fact that he was very tall, he would not have looked at all out of place at Momo's school.
"Hey, Momo, can I take you out to lunch?"
"Ah…but, you never bought groceries," Momo flustered, her mind still on college. She winced at how much like an excuse it seemed.
"Oh, that's all right, I can always do it later! I'd rather spend time with you." Again he smiled, and Momo felt warm all the way to the tips of her fingers. Even if he was a relative, it felt so nice that a cute guy, who at least looked 15, was interested in her.
Momo smiled back. "I'd like that. I'd better drop off the groceries and let Mama know, but I think it will be okay."
"Good! Watch out, lunch, we're coming for you!"
to be continued...
Author's Notes: I was baby-sitting when the idea for this fic came to me. Originally, it was supposed to be a one-shot about 15-year-old Momo meeting Momiji again, and what turned out to be chapter 1 of this fic was about as far as I intended to go. However, there wasn't enough material to work with, and I was on the point of deciding to just drop the whole endeavor. Then it occurred to me to wonder what all the other Fruits Basket characters would be up to nine years after the end of the series, and everything took off from there.
This is the first time I have written a story in the third person limited POV.
Though I didn't really like Momo before I started writing this fic, for some reason I found it easy to write from her point of view. It helped that I was able to draw from my own experiences in order to form the character I imagined teenage Momo to be.