Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket. Any similarities between my stories or whoever else's are coincidences.

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Within the Hidden Soul

Chapter 1/Prologue: Masks are a Specialty

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The sun rose over the mountains to greet the early morning, and filled the sky with pink and orange hues. The sky looked upon, strangely enough, a young boy who tiredly stared right back up at the heavens through the trees of a forest. As early as it was, there sat the boy, next to some simple plants and newly upturned earth, with a gardening spade in one hand and a flashlight in the other. The little boy, about five or so, blinked in surprise, and quickly got up. He carefully placed his spade and flashlight in the hole that was located in the trunk of a tree, and then he turned around and bolted out of the forest. He didn't slow down, despite his wheezing, until he saw a large, pristine mansion come into view.

When he reached the door, he lifted up the welcome mat and took out a spare key. He unlocked the door, put the key back under the mat, and quietly shut the door again. He silently crept across the large and extravagantly furnished living room, which even included statues of what seemed like gods. He padded softly through the hallway, whose walls were adorned with decorative masks and paintings that seemed to be of great value. The little boy shuddered, these masks always gave him a feeling of being watched. He carefully made it to the bathroom. As he was about to enter to wash the dirt from his hands, something grabbed his shoulder.

"Yuki! What are you doing this early in the morning" a man said as Yuki turned toward him.

"H-Hatori. I w-was just... Well, I was goin" Yuki stuttered, trying to think of a cover story.

"Why is there dirt on your clothes and hands" Hatori asked sternly. Answering his own question, Hatori said quietly"Yuki. You know that you've been forbidden to go gardening. Akito even said it was a direct order."

Yuki hung his head. "But I like making things grow! Why won't Akito let me garden? Why'd he take my garden away" Yuki looked up with a pleading, sad gaze.

Hatori sighed heavily. "Yuki, Akito is Akito. We can't question his orders, we just have to obey them. And if he finds out", he stopped abruptly as he sensed another presence lingering around the corner.

"Find out what Hatori" a calm but cold voice asked quietly. Akito, the master, ruler, and head of the powerful Sohma family stepped from the shadows. Hatori did not answer. Akito, instead of asking Hatori to reply looked at the shaking boy next to him. "Yuki, you have dirt on yourself. It seems you have disobeyed me...again. You know I don't enjoy punishing you Yuki, but you always seem to force me." Akito sighed.

"If I may Akito-sama, suggest an alternative to your..." he paused to find the right words as Yuki cowered behind him"usual disciplinary actions."

"Proceed" said the head lazily.

"We can try to redirect young Yuki's focus on gardening to another more pleasing, acceptable hobby." Hatori continued"I know it may be a little early, but we could also easily train him in the family arts."

"Are you suggesting we have him start now" Akito raised an eyebrow in a thoughtful expression. "Hmmm. Now I remember the reason for keeping you around, Hatori. I think I shall take you up on that suggestion. See to it that he starts private lessons with Kazuma immediately tomorrow. Our dear Yuki here, deserves the best after all." With that Akito turned around and reentered the master sleeping quarters.

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A teenager not more than 17, stared blandly out an open window, observing with a stoic expression on his perfectly chiseled face the sun go down. The wind blew in ruffling his dusky gray silk shirt and his equally gray hair. An air of mystery shrouded the enigmatic boy. The only sign of feeling was hidden in his beautiful set of eyes. Purple, the color of violets...the color of kings. But this so called "king" was no not more than a puppet awaiting instructions. Something flickered in his eyes. He was thinking. Thinking of his past, his upbringing and, with a feeling of dread, what his "lord" was planning next.

Random memories flashed through his mind. Lessons from long ago, words of advice he thought he had buried, nightmares hidden in the deep recesses of his mind.

"Yuki, it is vital to never reveal your emotions. Let's try this again."

"At times, you must convince your partner, or whoever you are assigned, to trust you. Just because you must hide your feelings does not mean you cannot conjure up a fake facade."

"I'm sorry, but it was necessary to take action."

"Yuki, you've been trained well. Maybe too well. Remember that you have a heart. Never forget who you are, what you're being is. Never forget your soul. Come now, go gather your bags and straighten your tie. You don't want to make a bad first impression with your new instructor."

"You are MINE and I will use you how I see fit."

"Come here. I think you're training has made you fit to serve us now."

"Failure is NEVER an option."

He snapped out of his reverie and heard his name being called. He picked up his suitcase and traveling bags and walked out of his room, looking as solemn as a man on a mission that had the possibility of death behind it. For a moment, he seemed uneasy, unwilling even. Then, as quick as it was to slip, he flicked on his mask and made his way to the car.

Training. All of it coming up to his first assignment. Failure was not an option. He laughed bitterly. He was told he was young for his age to be given such an assignment, but he was also told that he was a prodigy in the family arts, if that is what it could be called. If deception and hiding emotions was an art, then he was the Picasso of his time. Afterall, masks are a specialty. With that he shut the car door, laid his head back, and readied himself for a journey.

To be continued...

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A/N Hey S.B. Kisses here! This is my second fic! YAY! It might take a while for me to update. I'm kind of busy, but don't worry because I will definitely update. Please review. Comments and constructive criticisms are welcome.

I know that Akito (SPOILER) is a woman, but I decided that since the only people that knew Akito was a girl was Hatori and Kureno, she will be a he in my story.

This is an AU story. The curse does not apply for purposes of this story. I was dropping hints about the 'family art'. You might get more info next chapter.