Anima
A Fruits Basket fanfiction by Akurei Usagi

Disclaimer: The Fruits Basket anime and manga are the property of Takaya Natsuki. This fanfiction is for entertainment purposes only; no profit is being made.

Secondary Disclaimer: This story will deal with dark, adult themes. If you are offended by the following situations, this story is probably not for you: psychological torture, BDSM, mutilation, murder, sex, and shounen ai/yaoi.

Anima is an Alternate Universe story dealing solely with the Mabudachi Trio. There is no Juunishi curse; however, to say the trio is not cursed at all wouldn't be accurate.

Anima

Definition: The inner self of an individual; the soul. In Jungian psychology, The unconscious or true inner self of an individual, as opposed to the persona, or outer aspect of the personality. The feminine inner personality, as present in the unconscious of the male. It is in contrast to the animus, which represents masculine characteristics.

Prologue:

See No Evil

Who are we to say where obsession begins? Surely it begins somewhere – a look, a touch, a taste. A tiny spark, fanned into a greater flame, fed until it becomes an unquenchable blaze. And it is that blaze that burns in the obsessed, the blind search for more -- more money, more power, more sex... more.

Even Shigure was not sure what had sparked his obsession. In fact, he would have disagreed that it was an "obsession" at all. A hobby, perhaps, or maybe a fixation –a task to be done to pass the time much like some would write poetry or paint. He was an artist at heart, and what some might have called obsession, he called inspiration.

Sohma Shigure was an aesthete.

He admired the beauty of the light glinting almost blindingly bright along a polished blade. His breath caught at the sight of creamy, trembling flesh before it was adorned with scarlet lines and curves -- with each line, every sweeping curve so painstakingly drawn with the hand of a practiced master. Soon, almost too soon, glossy, gleaming drops formed upon those lines like a string of flawless ruby beads. He watched, mouth dry, as those beads slid into each other, forming a perfect crimson ribbon dancing across achingly fair skin. Tears and sweat glistened like diamonds, and while it was his deepest wish to capture them, these rarest gems, and hold them forever, the diamonds soon dried into salt, and rubies soon darkened, thickening into ugly pitch. They would not be preserved; even photography failed to capture the brilliance of blood and tears as they mingled, sliding seductively across a living canvas that shuddered with tears and whimpered cries.

He could not say with any certainty why he did this. Did Michelangelo know why he chose to infuse cold, hard marble with life? Did Baudelaire know why poetry poured, tangled and tormented, from his soul? Creativity and inspiration were not things to be questioned. The muse, if challenged, will depart, and Shigure was not willing to allow his muse to dissipate into the ether, under any circumstances.

He'd been in college -- he remembered that much. After having cut himself, quite accidentally, Shigure had started to clean the wound preparatory to covering it with an adhesive bandage. The movements had been automatic -- perhaps Hatori's influence on him -- but then, something stopped him. Something made him pause and watch the blood bead up on the cut. He'd been struck by the flawlessness of it. Even after gravity had turned the sphere into a streak, he watched transfixed as the brilliant line drew itself across the surface of his skin.

And then, after the cut healed, Shigure found himself craving the sight over and over again. In the half-light of his college dormitory, he let sharp steel slice his skin, watching as garnet ribbons slid enticingly down his arm, or his leg, or his chest. But something was still missing. There was emptiness in this beauty, and Shigure had been at a complete loss as to how to rectify that. How to reach the fullness of the perfection he could sense was just beyond his grasp. The answer had come, quite unexpectedly, when Ayame had walked in on him.

It was in that moment, that timeless moment when their eyes met and he watched Ayame's face slide from shock to realization and finally… to enthrallment. That had been the exact moment Shigure realized what he'd been missing.

What was art without an audience? An audience who could fully appreciate the beauty his soul cried out to create.

It progressed this way for quite some time, well beyond their college years -- Ayame watching Shigure. Always silent, holding his breath as his eyes followed every move of the dark-haired young man dragging a sharp blade across his skin. Ayame understood. He understood art; he understood the necessity to create, to admire. Ayame had an inherent appreciation for all that was beautiful, and Shigure strove to foster that.

However, no plan is perfect.

Shigure could still remember the sight of Ayame's face, ashen white with fear; glittering green eyes huge and almost hypnotic to him as he watched the unmitigated panic reflect through them. Ayame's hair, his beautiful silver hair had been clinging to a forehead slick with perspiration, bringing a sense of pride even through the pain at the condition only he could stir in his cousin.

But still... he had cut himself too deeply in his enthusiasm, allowed himself to become sloppy in haste.

With his vision blurring and the sounds fading all around him, he'd fallen into a sort of daze. There was the vague recollection of Ayame running from the room, slamming the door behind him so hard the floor shook beneath him. Then there was only blackness.

When he finally woke, Shigure had struggled to sit up in the bed, only to stop at the sight of Ayame half-sprawled across his legs. His cousin looked exhausted, worried even in his restless slumber. And as Shigure brought his hand down to stroke soothingly over the fine silk of that silver hair, the realization struck him. He could no longer practice his art on himself. The need to create... his inspiration, his muse called for more.

The solution that Shigure reached that night, lying in the dark with Ayame held so close under his hand was logical. Obvious.

Hear No Evil

So very much of the sublime, intrinsic beauty of the world was completely lost on the untrained senses of the common person passing by on the street… They had no appreciation for the intricacies of true art, no concept of the depths of sensation they should have been capable of experiencing.

And to think… if not for one thing, one moment frozen forever into his memory, he might have lived his life just like them.

Sohma Ayame paused just beyond the road leading to Shigure's private home, their home. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply as he let the feel of those hollow eyes and empty smiles melt away. Turning his face upwards, he bathed in the weak heat radiating off the winter sun as his arms wrapped carefully around his slender torso. The wind picked up, caressing his face with its icy fingers and fanning the perfect curtain of silver hair in a wide arc behind him.

A shiver chased down his spine and Ayame let his head fall back, baring his throat to the kiss of the elements. The whispers of wind through the leaves took new form, drawing his mind backwards into memories of so many nights before. One puff of air seemed to warm, bringing the faintest hint of a moan from his lips as his heartbeat grew louder in his ears.

So many sounds… nothing could ever compare with each individual, delicious pant in his beautiful Shigure's voice. The rustle of clothing that sounded almost painfully loud in the stillness of night, and the nearly silent sound of Shigure creating his own perfection.

Ayame shifted restlessly, caught up in his own world as his mind hungrily built the memories in stark clarity. He could practically taste the sweat from the back of Shigure's neck, hands tingling at the feel of that impossibly warm, silky body that never seemed to fully erase itself from Ayame's skin.

How long ago had it been? That one moment when those enticing sounds had stirred his curiosity? Called to his very soul?

What would he have become if he hadn't opened the door?

Ayame took a shuddering breath as he tried to calm his body, letting his head roll to one side until he could raise one shoulder to rest it on. Would he have even noticed the emptiness gnawing away at him from the inside before his beloved Shigure had shown it to him? Would he have spent forever calling himself an artist and never realized how trapped he was within soulless, passionless drivel no better than the next?

Ayame shook away the familiar questions drifting through his mind when he heard the sound of a voice in the distance. A blinding smile spread across his face, spinning around and darting along the tree-lined path with a much lighter step.

Shigure was calling.

Speak No Evil

If he'd known then what he knew now, he would have handled things differently from the very start.

In Hatori's more honest moments, he would have admitted that he regretted getting involved at all. He regretted being home that night, opening the door to Ayame's frantic pounding. He regretted the pang of worry that clutched at him when he saw his cousin's face, so panicked and bloodless that his skin was practically translucent in the moonlight.

But, no -- he knew nothing of reservations, then. He only knew that something was wrong, terribly, desperately wrong. And when something was wrong, his cousins, his closest friends, knew that they could count on him; they knew they could depend on him; they knew that they could trust him.

Looking back, he knew that there was nothing innocent in Shigure's "accident." Hatori had known even then, but hadn't said a word. There were too many other seeping red lines across Shigure's bare torso, too many half-healed wounds making distinct patterns across his pale flesh. And the cut along the inner thigh, dangerously close to the femoral artery was an unlikely "accident," given his cousin's state of dress at the time. To say nothing of the shaving razor -- an old-fashioned straight razor -- held loosely in his slack hand.

He should have said something then. He should have helped them then, instead of simply cleaning up the mess. But, no, he'd patched Shigure up before calming Ayame, sitting with him, comforting him for an hour or two before he felt confident enough to leave them alone.

Unfortunately, his involvement that night ended up setting something of a precedent. He should have said no from the start. He shouldn't have listened to Shigure, but when his cousin -- one of his closest friends -- asked for his help, he couldn't say no. And when he realized what that "help" entailed...

When he knew, it was too late to back out.

Over and over again, Hatori replayed the night Shigure had come to him. It had seemed odd, even then, the solemnity shading his cousin's dark eyes, contrasting wildly with the excited flush beneath his skin.

"I need your help, Ha-san," was all he'd said.

And Hatori, of course, had been instantly worried, thinking only of the need to help his troubled cousin. The words haunted him still, those simple words he'd given so easily in the innocence of ignorance-- those words that ate away at his soul night after night.

"Of course, Shigure. Anything. What's wrong?"

And then Shigure had shown him what, exactly, was "wrong."