No, I don't own them. If i did, then this wouldn't be call "FANfiction", now would it? And I'm not repeating this. Don't forget it.
Chapter 1 - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words
Tohru giggled quietly at the picture in her hands. She had borrowed it from a girl in her class who had just returned from a trip to America. The moment she had seen the picture, she had turned to the girl and begged to borrow it, even for one night.
"Please? I promise I won't damage it, I'll even put it in a frame to make sure nothing bad happens to it! I'll guard it with my life!" Tohru looked at the girl, a fist raised in promise as she kept a look of determination on her face.
"Uh... it's okay, Honda-san. You can keep it. I have copies. And that's one I just took for fun. Americans sure are crazy, though, huh?" But Tohru wasn't paying attention anymore, she had gone back to staring at the picture, a bright smile on her face.
As had become usual lately, Momiji and Hatsuharu had walked home with her, since Kyo had promised his Shishou to go to the dojo after school and pick up a package for Shigure, and Yuki had to stay behind and help with the student council. Upon their arrival to the house, Shigure had welcomed them all, and Momiji immediately launched into his newest story about what had happened at school that day, while Hatsuharu merely sat at the table in the background, not really listening, and knowing what would happen in exactly 3... 2... 1...
"Does anyone want tea or a snack?" Tohru asked the room brightly, smiling as she looked at them hopefully. Yuki usually helped her with her school work, so she didn't usually start on it until after dinner. She felt bad for always burdening him with her inability to grasp things very well, but he always promised it was no trouble.
Hatsuharu nodded to her question, watching her face light up at the idea of being able to help the people she came to think of as her family. Shigure smiled and opened his mouth to answer, but Momiji's excited reply cut him off.
"OH! Yes! Please? Do you have any more of that cake you made the last time I was here? It was so good!" Momiji seemed to daze off, thinking of his beloved cake that Tohru had told him was made just for him. It was carrot cake, a rabbit's favorite, and though it had annoyed Kyo to no end, he still had to agree that it "tasted fine".
"Yes, I think I have a few more pieces left. Just enough for everyone!" She hurried off to the kitchen, and Hatsuharu turned a bored gaze to Shigure, who was smiling while pretending to be hurt, his hand over his heart.
"Oh, my precious flower, I can only hope you'll be as kind to me as you are to our dear Momitchi here someday, and grace me with a cake made just for me." He shot her a flirtacious smile as she walked in, causing her to be flustered.
"Ah! But I couldn't think what flavor Shigure-san would prefer. Momiji-kun's was a guess." She smiled brightly, placing small plates of cake in front of each person, then following it with a cup of tea each, placing the teapot in the middle of the table so she could serve it again if someone ran out.
"You guessed good, Tohru! I love this cake! It's perfect!" Hatsuharu merely nodded again to agree with Momiji's delighted outburst, trying to ignore the fact that the bunny had icing on the sides of his mouth.
"Yes it is, Tohru. Ah! I'm truly lucky to have such a perfect little housewife to cook these delicious things for us all the time!" Shigure looked at Torhu fondly, before taking a bite of his own cake.
It was during this that Tohru began to glance at Hatsuharu, unsure of whether or not to show him the picture. It had seemed like a good idea, something to make him smile, since he did it so rarely, but now she was worried about upsetting him. It would be the same if she tried to give Hatori something, anything, that had anything to do with seahorses. She would think it was cute, but he would no doubt be annoyed with it, and merely put up with it to keep from hurting her feelings. 'The sohma's really are too kind to me...' She thought.
Feeling her eyes on him again for the 10th time in as many minutes, Haru turned to look at the girl as she glanced away, her face turning red. 'From being caught, no doubt', he thought calmly.
After everyone had finished their cake and the dishes had been cleared away, Tohru looked at the picture she had kept tucked in her small notebook, which usually held just her mother's picture. She pulled the new acquistion from the notebook and giggled quietly, wishing she could work up the nerve to show it to Hatsuharu.
"Are you okay?" A quiet, polite voice asked. Tohru spun to see the Ox of the Chinese Zodiac looking back at her, the usual calm, slightly bored expression replaced by one with a little more concern.
"O- Of course, Hatsuharu-san! Why wouldn't I be?" She fought the urge to tuck the picture away, but couldn't bring herself to show it to him.
"Because you've been in here longer than usual. Momiji will be asking for you soon." Tohru's eyes widened as she realized that she had become so predictable and was so depended on that a schedule had become developed, and that now she was ruining that schedule and worrying people!
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to keep you waiting, I was just looking at-" She caught herself and blushed slightly. "Something."
Haru looked at her in his usual passive way, before coming to something that she was obviously trying to hide behind a fold in her skirt.
"What's that?" He asked her, not moving his eyes from her hand as she slowly held it up and toward him, revealing it to be a picture.
She watched nervously as he took the picture, worried as to how he'd react to the photo. "It was taken by a girl in class when she was in America. They had a billboard up like this... I thought.. Maybe Hatsuharu-san might like to see it... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you!"
Haru blinked slowly as he took in the image. Three cows were standing on a billboard, on their hind legs, each holding a sign with badly painted English words written on them. But Haru hadn't mastered English yet, and so couldn't understand what it was saying. He turned and walked to the living room, where Shigure and Momiji both turned to him, interested.
"Ooh! Is that a picture! Can I see!" Momiji bounced in his spot, anxious to find out what held Haru's interest so much.
"Shigure, this is in English. You know English well enough. What does it say?" He handed the photo to Shigure, and Momiji peered over Shigure's shoulder, also curious to hear the translation.
Shigure looked at the picture and began to laugh. A lot. "OH! Where did you get this, Haru-kun? It's perfect!" More laughter. "Those signs say "Eat More Chicken". But it's hard to tell, since they misspelled "more" and "chicken"." He laughed again, then caught Haru's dark look.
"Because cows are stupid, right?" Hatsuharu had missed the humor behind it, and had gone straight to the bad spelling of the cows. "They're cows, so therefore, they're stupid. Right?" His hand balled into a fist, Black Haru's eyes narrowed angrily at the photo, reaching out to tear it from Shigure's hands and rip it up, only stopping when the sound of Tohru's shocked gasp was heard from behind him. He turned to her, his black eyes flashing as he remembered she had been the one to bring it there.
"Oh no, Hatstharu-san! I think those cows are just younger and don't know how to spell well, yet! Plus English is very hard to learn, isn't it? And they have to be very smart to be able to learn to read and write, when no other animals can do it!" Her hands were clasped to her heart as she looked up at him pleadingly, her big eyes shimmering with tears. White Haru began to push at the edges of Black Haru's mind, not liking the idea of hurting Tohru.
But Black Haru merely frowned. "But all cows are dumb, right? That's just the Americans showing they agree." Tohru shook her head vigorously.
"No, no! Hatsuharu-san is very smart, and kind! And since he's the only cow I've ever seen in real life, then I think that cows are very smart!" She blushed a little at her ourburst and looked down, embarrassed.
"Haru-kun," Shigure added calmly, watching his little flower soothe the savage beast. "The point of this picture is that a group of cows are trying to say that they want people to eat more chicken, and less beef. It was meant to be cute, and I'm sure Tohru-kun thought it was very cute, am I right?" He smiled at the girl as she nodded.
Hatsuharu sighed, his mood lightening as he relaxed, White Haru coming to the front again as he looked at Tohru and smiled. "Thank you, Honda-san. I'm sorry for getting angry."
She smiled brightly at him, waving off his apology, while Shigure watched, a small smirk working its way over his face as Momiji sat oblivious, laughing at the picture and his newest imaginings.
Shigure nodded slightly to himself. He knew the Sohma's dirty secret. Everyone among the Zodiac, save Akito, Kureno, Rin, and Hiro, loved Tohru deeply. Even Hatori, who would be stern and strict with anyone else, would soften up, even if it was just a little bit, where Tohru was involved. Kagura and Kisa loved Tohru as their sister and best friend, and the male Sohma's, well... Shigure just thought someone needed to get their butts in gear and ask her out before she graduated, because then he'd be free to ask her, and he was sure that if he didn't, Ayame would. Hatori might not, but Shigure had his suspicions. Even Momiji had to be torn away from her at times. So the fact that she was here, soothing Hatsuharu who managed to come back from being Black without having to be hit by Kyo or Yuki first just because of Tohru... Well, Shigure began to plot. Because he loved Tohru, he wanted her happy. And if he knew his little flower as well as he thought he did, and he was never wrong, she was happiest with someone else. She didn't like being alone.
Finally coming up with a plan, Shigure relaxed and watched the three children play a new game of Momiji's choosing, Hatsuharu looking reluctant about it until Tohru begged him to play as well.
'Yes,' Shigure thought, 'I can't wait to see how this works out..'
Well, there you have it! My First Chapter of my First non-Inuyasha fanfiction! I can't promise to update once a week, but I'll try! I'm in college, and I have 2 jobs, but I like this! I hope you like it too! Please review!