Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket
It was unbelievable. Unbelievable.
Hatsuharu grumbled as he sat by her futon. He looked into the blond's sleeping face and instantly loathed her.
Then he looked at the dress hanging up in her closet and instantly regretted it.
So now the white-and-black-haired teen was a garbage disposal of emotions.
He had absolutely NOTHING against Uo. It wasn't her fault that she had fallen ill. It wasn't her fault that she happened to get sick on prom night. This was supposed to be a magical night, a night devoted to one person...
Instead he was expected to fluff Uo's pillows and spoon feed her chicken noodle soup.
She wanted Kyo, Tohru, Yuki, Momiji and Hana to go to the prom. Tohru was practically in tears and pleaded with Uo to stay by her side. But Uo insisted that if they weren't dancing and making beautiful memories, how could they tell her what the celebration was like? They agreed on leaving, but then Kyo had the bright idea of assigning a person the job of watching over her.
Then he grinned wickedly at him.
Kyo was so pathetic. If Hatsuharu wasn't around, that'd make his chances of spending some alone time with Tohru that much easier. That had to be his thought process. The thing was that she was interested in Yuki. And Hatsuharu knew for a fact that Yuki would so jump Tohru's bones (if he had Hatsuharu's mindset, which he didn't. The bottom line was this: Yuki was digging Tohru.).
It was kind of a relief to not be witness to the love triangle, if it could be called that. And Hatsuharu wasn't attending the prom with anyone, so it wasn't a complete loss...
"Yo," he greeted her as her eyes opened.
Her hair was stringy from perspiration. Uo's face was pale except for her cheeks, which were carmine. While she was clothed in pink and white polka-dotted pajamas, Hatsuharu was still in his suit.
"Why the hell are you here?"
Not a good response. Especially when he was her temporary caregiver. Hatsuharu gave Uo a half-hearted shrug. "While you were passed out, they booted me out of the running for Who's Going to the Prom? and I'm supposed to take care of you."
"I can take care of myself. Go to the prom. You sure as hell don't want to stay here."
Damn right, he wanted to say. But considering that the woman had a metal pole stashed somewhere in her place, he didn't want to get on her bad side. Not that it wasn't already exposed.
"Dragon lady has awakened," he muttered. "Uo, you're stuck with me. Deal with it. And I'd never hear the end of it from your friends if I left."
Uo flopped back onto her futon as if expressing her frustration. He wished he could do the same thing. Normally he liked Uo. She was a bitch now.
The blond sighed. "What do you plan to do? Cater to me?"
"Yeah, I'm your slave bitch now," he said in jest as he bowed. "What would you desire, Mistress Uo? Beer? Wine? Sake?"
"Jolly good, a fine brew," she said in a pseudo Irish accent.
"Wrong accent, dipstick. Jolly good is what Englishmen say," Hatsuharu teased.
She released a wan smile before groaning. "My head's gonna explode."
"You need an aspirin?" He jumped up to rummage through the cupboard. "While I'm up, you want some soup?"
"Just an aspirin and water, thanks."
He handed her the requested medication with a glass of H2O. Uo swallowed the pills and chased them down with the liquid.
"What?" she asked as she caught him looking at her. "Afraid I'll choke?"
Just when they were co-existing peacefully, she had to turn bitchy. "Afraid you won't."
"Ha. Ha. Ha. You'd be blamed for my death if I did. But then again, you'd kill me with your lousy cooking. That's why I passed on the soup. You can't possibly screw water up. Unless..." She pretended to weigh the possibilities as she shook the remaining liquid and peered into the cup.
"I happen to be a great cook."
"Since when? Since burnt was considered done in your eyes?"
"You've never even tasted my cooking."
"I saw you burn that cake you tried to make for Tohru's birthday."
"Some would consider it sweet. It's the thought that counts."
"Why didn't you buy her a cake? Or let Shigure take care of it?"
He balanced his head on the backs of his hands. "I'm going to make a kick ass soup you won't forget," Hatsuharu promised as he stood and maneuvered himself into the kitchen.
"Why'd you change the subject?" Uo asked.
His back was to her so she couldn't see the pain on his face. "Didn't change it really."
"Now you're getting tense." Uo sat up. "What's wrong? Your cooking might suck but..."
The cold vibes he emitted made her stop.
"I didn't mean-- Oh, why am I apologizing? You're the one being moody."
"And you were acting like a bitch before. But I didn't say anything."
He was aware of his cruelty. He could even feel her laser hot glare burning into him.
"I did it for Tohru, but mostly for Yuki," he explained, amazed at the words he uttered. Was he going to confide in Uo? "I...loved him and wanted to impress him with my kindness. But he's enamored with Tohru, so..." He felt his defeated shoulders rise with his drooped head. "The past is the past. I just want to forget, so..."
His dangling sentence was finished by Uo. "You don't want to talk about it." Silence. "Hatsuharu, don't forget. It's not okay to forget. Trust me, I know."
He turned around. "You do?"
Uo licked her lips, whether from their dehydrated state or nervousness, he wasn't sure. "There was this guy, you see..."
"Uh-huh," he encouraged. He hadn't heard such emotion in her voice before. Hearing of Uo's love woes would be interesting.
"And I liked him a lot."
"But he broke the head of my doll off! And did I cry? No. I chucked my loser friend. It hurt a lot, but I-- What?"
He was stunned. "I thought you were talking about love here!"
"I loved that doll," Uo said simply.
He paused before laughing. Imagining Uo hugging a doll was amusing.
She pretended to be upset. "I loved that doll, you know."
"A lot," he gasped.
He didn't even know why she laughed along with him, but he enjoyed the warm feeling their intermingled laughter brought. Their laughter died a natural death, gripping onto life through stifled giggles.
"Remembering the pain, facing it head on. That's how you'll heal."
"You sound like an After School Special. Shut up," Hatsuharu said as he threw an abandoned pillow at her head.
"Don't mistreat the sick!"
"Here you go." A bowl of soup on top of a tray was placed on her lap.
"Speaking of mistreating the sick..."
"Just eat it. It's canned. Can I screw up canned soup? Surely I'm not that hopeless."
Uo blew on the yellow concoction and took a tentative sip from the spoon. "There's hope for you yet, Hatsuharu." Uo smiled.
"You have a pretty smile."
Uo blushed at the unintentionally said words. She coughed while reaching over her side so he wouldn't notice. "You look good. In your tux. It's a shame you couldn't go." She brushed off a lint ball that didn't exist off his shoulder. "You had to settle for second best."
He scooted closer to her. "If I were at the prom, I could dance with, oh, Sir Nobody since I didn't have a date in the first place. I'd hit on various people, ruin Kyo's chances of having fun, hang out with my friends, but," he shook his head, "would I have fun? Noooo."
"B.S. You would've." She finally met his gaze. "I didn't have a date either. Pretty sad, right?"
He looked at the blond, wondering when his stomach would stop turning. He wasn't hungry and had no irregularities with his health that he knew of.
His eyes became enamored with her lips. They were pale and chapped but he suddenly wanted then against his own.
Uo's my friend! This is plain dumb!
"What's wrong? Do I have something on my face?"
"What?" he asked, ripping his eyes off of that mouth that captivated his interest.
"A stray noodle? A bit of chicken? What?"
He put his hands on hers, so many emotions running into each other. Before she could ask him what it was this time, he flattened her lips with one of his passionate kisses.
Uo wanted to melt. She wanted to become one with the soup on her lap. She would've pulled him in closer but his hands pressed down on hers so firmly she was sure to have her hand prints embedded in her futon.
What the hell are we doing? was the thought simultaneously ringing through their minds. We're friends. And this is so dumb but...it feels so good.
After an eternity, he ended it with equal confusion on his face.
He didn't mean to kiss me, she thought sorrowfully. Now what?
Hatsuharu stood, gathered her tray and dumped it in the sink. Instead of Uo making a comment on how she wasn't finished her soup or easing the tension with a joke, she wallowed in disappointment.
"Hatsuharu..," Uo finally said.
"I have no idea what just happened," he admitted.
"Me either," she agreed, dying internally.
"And it's just...I just did it."
"Exactly," Uo chirped, trying to noncommittally shrug. "Hormones."
"We should just..."
"Forget it? Definitely. It wouldn't work."
His eyes bored into hers. "I won't be able to forget. Will you?"
She felt trapped. "No."
"And denial's dumb. Practice what you preach, Uo."
She laughed. "Yeah. No regrets. No forgetting."
"To no regrets!" he cheered as he handed her a cup of juice. His was raised.
"To no regrets," she repeated as their cups collided.
"If this is second best," he gestured to the room and included her in his voice, "then I wouldn't rather be anywhere else."
"The feeling's mutual," Uo responded. She sipped her juice along with Hatsuharu, feeling high on the kiss and the warmth they shared.
There's no room for regrets... About anything.