Title: Sympathy

Author/Artist: Maria Szabo
Pairing: Kureno/Arisa
Fandom: Fruits Basket
Theme: #5 "Ano Sa" Hey, You know…

Disclaimer: Fruits Basket is the property of Takaya Natsuki, her publishers and distributors. This is a work of fanfiction and no profit is being made save that of profit.

Spoilers: Some spoilers for later Furuba chapters

Time, it seemed, was always so much sweeter when it was stolen. Not that that was a good excuse to skip class again, but Uotani Arisa took what she could get.

She probably wasn't missing much. They'd just had a test the day before and the teacher wouldn't be so sadistic as to give them a pop-quiz the morning after. And it wasn't like the subject was important—she doubted that Classical Japanese was something she'd need once she graduated. Arisa was all about practicality.

She'd slipped off to one of her favorite spots, a rooftop that none of the teachers seemed to want to check. Probably because you had to climb a ladder to get there, she thought. It wasn't worth their trouble to hunt her down.

That thought reminded her of something else, and she braced herself for the inevitable wave of grief. It didn't seem that he thought she was worth the trouble to hunt down, either. And that hurt, more than she could imagine anything hurting her.

She'd really made a fool of herself the other day, during the play, shouting out for him like that in front of God and Everybody. It had come out of nowhere and she was as surprised as anyone else when it had happened. It could have been that she was taking her anger out on Kyon again, she thought wryly. He was so much fun to rile up, and when he came out in costume that night, it hit her just how similar he looked to Kureno, and it all went downhill from there.

Firmly commanding herself not to start tearing up again (and privately damning the man who could move her enough to do something so stupid), she walked around the perimeter of the roof. It had rained two nights before, so it wasn't as dusty as it usually was.

A noise startled her, and she turned quickly. If it was a teacher, she would be so screwed… there wasn't a way off the roof except to climb down the ladder, unless she cared to jump a couple of stories. Arisa wasn't up to those odds.

A shock of very white, somewhat spiky hair came peeking over the edge of the roof, and she breathed a sigh of relief. That was no teacher. It was one of the younger Souma kids, the taller one who didn't dress like a girl.

He was almost up the ladder completely before he noticed her. Unlike the little blonde kid who was always chattering, this guy usually didn't have a lot to say. He was once again bending the dress code to the breaking point, his uniform shirt unbuttoned to reveal a black muscle-tee underneath, brightened by the glitter of some gold chains, his pants baggier than normal and where on earth did he find those boots?

"Hey," he said.

"Hey."

"Skipping out?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Yeah." He walked across the roof over to where she was standing and looked out over the campus. "I like the view here."

"Me, too. Where'd you get those boots?"

He blinked. "They were a gift."

"They're really nice."

"Yeah. She's got a good eye."

Arisa wasn't sure who "she" was, but this guy usually spoke cryptically, so she didn't worry about it.

"Yuki doing okay? Haven't seen him lately."

"The Prince? Oh, he's okay. Kyou's being a pain in the ass, but what else is new?"

"That's the cat for you." There was a touch of disdain in his voice.

"Cat?"

A flash of something went across his face. "A…nickname. Family thing."

It made sense, she supposed. Come to think of it, Kyon and the Prince were always hissing names at each other. "Oh, I get it. It's like the way he's always calling the Prince a rat, right?"

"Yeah, yeah. They've always fought, like a cat and mouse, so the names kinda stuck."

She laughed. "It must be nice, coming from a big family like that."

His eyes widened in disbelief. "You're kidding, right?"

"No!" She leaned against the wall and crossed her arms. Something about this boy, she didn't know what, always made her want to go into her gang-stance. "I was an only child, and my Dad was, too. Not much of a family."

"And your Mom?" It was almost like he didn't want to say it, but it came out anyway. His glance was furtive.

"Oh. Her. Nah, she ran off, back when I was a kid." Arisa gave him a half-hearted grin. "Had better things to do, I guess."

"I'm sorry," he replied, quietly. It sounded like he meant it. "I guess that's why…"

"Why what?"

"Nothing," he moved closer to her and considered her for a moment. "I liked your performance, in the play. You were good."

"Yeah, right," she snorted. "Just embarrassed myself in front of the whole school is what I did."

He shook his head, slowly, the white hair playing against the black as the wind picked it up. She wondered once again how he had managed to dye it so perfectly without any blending. Maybe it was professionally done? The Soumas were rich, after all, everyone knew that…

"I think I would have done the same thing, if I'd had the chance, and if I knew she would listen. Waiting is the worst thing, especially when you don't know what you're waiting for. It just makes me crazy. And when you got up there and shouted that, I was like…yeah! Me, too!" A smile played across his lips and his eyes met hers, a little shyly. "I wish I could have done that."

"It was stupid."

"It was perfect. Whoever that guy is, I hope he heard you."

It was just a small thing, but the day suddenly seemed a little brighter, a little better. Oh, I've got it bad, she thought, grasping at straws like this. But she somehow didn't care.

To be continued