Disclaimer: I do not own FruitsBasket, Natsuki Takaya owns these characters. I don't even own the next chapter, since this is the last one. Please enjoy.
Chapter 18: That Spoonful of Sugar
"Did you mean what you just said?" She looked at Haru.
"About caring for you? Yes." She rushed to him and he caught her shoulders, preventing her from hugging him. Neither of them saw the others walk away.
"There are things about me that you don't know and might not understand."
She pulled back and looked at him. 'So, tell me."
"First we need to reverse this weird malady we're both suffering from."
"You just want sex." She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
"No…well, yes…but that's not why." He put his hands on her face, bracketing her mouth and cheeks. "If you get lost in the wrong part of town, you could get hurt. And although you can hold your own, quite well, I don't want anything to happen to you." He kissed her gently on the lips, then a little harder just because she was his captive for the moment. "Then we talk about our relationship." They walked off towards the woods. "But we'll have to keep it a secret."
Uotani stopped in her tracks. "Whoa buster. Are you ashamed of me?"
"No, but my sempai is very jealous and is likely to hurt you if he knows we're dating."
She chuckled unkindly. "You do know that I used to be one of the top members if the Reckless Gang."
He smiled. "What is the phrase the Americans use…Bring it on?"
She smiled and grabbed his hand, pulling him into the trees. "Exactly."
Saki turned to Yuki. "Should we follow?"
Yuki smiled. "Only if you're going to imitate them." He looked pointedly at Kyo. "In fact, I think you should."
Kyo glared at the rat. "Saki, there are things about me that are not pretty. I don't believe you will be able to accept me. I've only found one who could." He looked at her.
"Tohru-kun." He nodded. "Than please give me the opportunity to discover if I can be as good of a person."
He looked at the path the two others had gone. "We must take our own path in this journey." She took the hint and they set off for another part of the Sohma land. "And I'm NOT having sex with you."
Yuki chuckled to himself. "Yet." He followed at a very discrete distance, only staying long enough to see her accept Kyo's true form. Then he headed back to the house. How fortunate for Kyo to find not one woman, but two who accept all of who he is.
When Hatori pulled into the Sohma driveway, no one came out to greet them. Tohru hated to admit she was nervous, but she was nervous. He turned off the car and unloaded the bags, then opened her door. "You can get out now, they aren't going to bite you."
"I know, it's just…"
"Hard to face fears. Tohru, I have observed you over the last few years, and have always been impressed by your faith in yourself and your bravery to face new and strange things." He looked hard at her. "There is not a single person in his or her right mind" Akito of course NOT being totally sane "who could think you were a bad person." He grabbed her hand and pulled her to the door. "I will face this fear with you." He slid open the shoji and they both about jumped out of their skins.
Dirty dishes were piled on the table, garbage bags were stacked on the floor, and dirty clothes were strewn across the room in careless abandon. "My goodness!"
"Dammit, most of these clothes look like Shigure's. First of all, he's the adult. Second, what the hell is he wearing?" He walked over to the door that closed off Shigure's room from the rest of the first floor, forgetting he still held Tohru's hand. Quietly he pulled the door open, not wanting to awaken the sloth.
"She locked her ankles behind his back, squeezing her thighs so tightly that he had no other recourse but to pump…" He stopped for a second. "Suddenly he felt that he was being watched, and instinctively wanted to take back the last thing that came out of his mouth." He turned and grinned at Hatori. "Too late. Hello Hatori…" they both suddenly realized they weren't alone. "And Tohru-kun."
"Ano.., hello Shigure-san." She pulled at her hand. "Can I go now?" Hatori let go and she scampered off.
Shigure looked at his friend. "You look like you had a good trip. Too bad you weren't here to moderate. It's been quite the busy week." He looked at his computer monitor. "But good for the muse. Lots of teen emotion and angst. I think I just added to it too." He looked in the direction Tohru had scampered.
"I'm sure. Yes, I had a good trip." Shigure saved what he was working on and picked up his box of cigarettes, offering them to Hatori. "No, I've quit."
The dog was about to pop one into his mouth when he heard that. "Eh? Quit smoking? But I thought we'd agreed to always smoke, as to shorten the time we have to suffer this curse."
"Who says we have to suffer?"
"Been talking to Tohru again huh?" He took a deep drag, letting the smoke swirl in his lungs. "She's pretty wise when she needs to be."
"I'm beginning to see that she's much wiser than we have ever been." That said, he turned to leave. "I must get back to my primary obligation. Please tell the others I am sorry I missed them, and send Hatsuharu and Momiji home if they haven't already left."
"Mmmhmm, I will and they have. Please stay for a few moments." At Hatori's nod, Shigure closed the shoji behind him and left his new work, A Summer Bloom, to walk with his confidant to the back porch to talk.
Tohru quickly scanned the house and realized that Shigure was the only one home. After picking up the mess and starting a load of whites, she headed towards Yuki's secret base. He was nestled between the daikon radishes and the leeks.
"Yuki-san, may we talk?" He nodded, but didn't look up at her. "Are you mad at me?" He shook his head. "Okay, does it have something to do with Akito?" This time he nodded. "Can you not talk about it?"
He looked at her. "This place is not safe. I saw Hatori out here with you one night."
"What place is?"
"I am only aware of one that is available." He started walking.
"The tree." He didn't answer, but he didn't need to.
The two men on the porch watched as Yuki stomped into the woods, a downcast Tohru three proper steps behind. Hatori looked at Shigure. "What the hell happened?"
Shigure exhaled smoke. "No doubt Akito is the cause, but Yuki is wily. There is a good reason why there is not both a rat and a fox in the zodiac."
Hatori chuckled. "True. Lets leave them to their own devices. Are you going to tell Akito anything?"
"No. Let's call Ayame! We'll have a party tonight!" Shigure rushed into the room to pick up the phone.
"Great, two days of peace broken by two idiots in less than two hours of returning." Oh well, what else would I be doing tonight, besides sharing a dream with Rio. He walked in and looked at Shigure, who had just hung the phone up. "I appreciate the offer, but I think I'll pass tonight."
"Will we share our dreams at least?"
"No, I suspect tonight you dream alone." Hatori walked out, leaving a very thoughtful dog behind. Ah, and I suspect Ayame didn't answer the phone for a good reason as well.
Ayame would have agreed, but he was too busy admiring the way a certain myopic female looked in and out of his yellow creation.
Yuki had chivalrously hoisted Tohru up to a higher limb, chivalrously because he resisted the temptation to peek up her skirt while she was standing above him. Now they both sat leaning against the trunk, taking in the fading sunset and the first of the night stars.
"You've lost Kyo."
"Hana-chan?" He nodded. "I hoped that would eventually happen." She took a deep breath. "It's really not that big of a sadness."
"But you care for him, both of his forms."
"I care for all of the Sohmas, just in different ways."
And how do you care about me? No, that's not my right. "I believe they will make a good couple. When I left, she had accepted both of his forms."
Tohru smiled to herself. "She'll keep your secrets Yuki, don't worry about that."
"I don't. Uo-chan and Haru have managed to 'hook up.'"
She blinked and looked at him. "That is surprising." There were several moments of silence. "If they survive, they'll make a good match, he'll temper her when he's white, she'll keep him out of trouble when he's black." Again, silence reigned. "…so, where does that leave us?"
"Akito brought you back because he thinks I hate you and that you rebuff Kyo, causing him pain."
"Why would he think that?" Tohru was torn apart by this statement. She knew Akito did not like her, but to use her to hurt the boys…
"Because that's what I told him." Yuki clenched his jaw and looked out into the night.
"Why?" Tohru felt a tear slip over the corner of her eye.
He turned and raised himself to be eye level with her. Laying a hand on her knee, he looked her straight in the eyes. "Because that's what I had to do in order to get you back." She sniffed and he caught another escaping tear on his fingertip. Taking a second to watch it gleam in the moonlight. "I won't lose you." The conviction was clear in his voice.
"But to lie…"
"I'm willing to sacrifice anything I need to in order to protect what was given to me to care for."
"I was not given to you to care for."
"Oh, but you were. You camped on my land, moved into my house, and set up residence in my heart. I will NOT let you be removed from my care." He caught another tear. "Stop crying Tohru, you're making me feel bad."
Tohru caught a watery breath. "But I'm just so happy that someone cares for me!"
He caught her lips gently with his, kissing her with all the kindness she'd shown him over the years. "Don't ever question my feelings for you Tohru, especially over the next several months." He kissed her again, before settling back down and explaining what needed to be done. She listened and agreed with his plan.
As they headed back to the house, he grabbed her hand. "I would like permission to court you in a formal manner. Unfortunately, it will have to be in secret for now." She stopped and he noticed she was blushing. "Without sex of course, I respect you too much to be expecting that for a long time."
She chuckled lightly and pulled his hand, causing him to step closer to her. "Okay, but when we're both ready, I have several really good ideas." That said, she started walking. Thinking maybe they had a chance after all.
Somehow the three couples managed to keep their relationships a secret until they were of age to break away from the Sohma household. Upon discovering the truth, Akito was so enraged that Hatori had to sedate him and provide around the clock surveillance to prevent Akito from harming himself or others in his fury. When Akito confronted Hari, he was informed that the good doctor would no longer suppress the memories of any person involved with a Sohma unless that person directly asked for suppression. That angered the head of the Sohmas so much that he threw Hatori out. Although he thought it was a good way of punishing the doctor, Hatori just used the opportunity to visit Rio and cement their relationship with a ring. When Akito called and told him to come back, Hatori informed him that he was getting married and that he'd decided that since Akito could not accept non-Sohmas into the family, he would be moving out of the compound permanently.
Haru and Arisa moved to America and were very successful as stunt coordinators for fighting movies. Arisa actually stared in several of the films as the stunt double, while Haru chose a less hands-on approach. The only sparring in which he participated involved a bed, and his wife.
Kyo and Saki became traveling illusionists. Their abilities made them legends. They were last seen headed into an old Mayan Temple that was believed to have been built thousands of years ago in honor of a cat monster that was said to walk as a man, and his witchy wife.
Yuki and Tohru stayed with Shigure, and finally overcame their sexual repression to raise several non-cursed Sohma children. These offspring proceeded to lead lives much more exciting than what their parents lived. They loved each other dearly, and although Shigure accused them of being 'red bean sticky sweet,' he made millions off of love stories based upon the two of them.
But most important, is Kagura, who was the unwilling instigator of this entire fiasco. She was finally allowed to go back to college, and graduated with a degree in law. The same degree that she used to gain the right to marry Logan, and allowed the other Sohmas to finally break the hold Akito had on them.
As for the rest of the Sohmas, those are stories that are better told by another campfire, on another night.
A/N: I hope you have enjoyed this story. I enjoyed writing it, and I have enjoyed every review received. I do hope you'll take a moment and let me know if the story was credible or not. I've worked very hard on in-character development and would love feedback on whether I stayed basically true to characters, although they all changed within the bounds of the story.
I do not know if I will write another Furubu anytime soon. Currently I'm posting a new GITS fic, and I have a monster InuYasha tale in the works. Each story improves a skill lacking in the previous ones. Maybe some day I'll get good enough to step out and do some original work.
Until the next time… Thank you! - TK