Disclaimer: Fruits Basket belongs to Natsuki Takaya.

I Love Tohru Honda

I love Tohru Honda.

It's no secret, everyone knows it. I tell her all the time. I'm not shy about it. In fact, I tell everyone who will listen how wonderful she is.

From the moment I met her I knew that I loved her. Well, maybe not the very first moment. Maybe it was more like the second moment. That was when I kissed her for the first time. It was just on the cheek, but it was still a kiss. At the time I hadn't even known her name.

The second time I met Tohru I hugged her. Okay, so I launched myself into her arms. Who can blame me? I'm glad that if I have to be cursed that I am cursed with becoming something soft and cuddly. I don't mind admitting that I milk that for all it's worth. I don't pass up a moment to touch and cuddle with Tohru. And she lets me.

What's more interesting is that the others let me too. I know that they all love her in their own ways, and wouldn't think twice about protecting Tohru from each other. They are insane with their jealousy. But not with me. Never jealous with me.

That should bother me. It should bother me that I'm not even worth considering as a rival for her affections.

But I'm the one who grabs her hand to walk together down the street. I'm the one who isn't embarrassed to tell her that I love her. Though no one takes it seriously, not even her. Maybe because I look young she thinks I'm young, though I'm only a year younger. So she thinks my love for her is a child's love. That's okay, I'm still growing. One day she'll look at me as a man instead of a child. I can wait.

One day I will be strong enough to protect her the way I want to.

Part of me is ashamed of how many times Tohru has protected me... from the past... from Kyo... from Akito... And another part of me is touched that she does.

She held me and cried with me when I told her how my mother rejected me as a monster and chose to have me erased from her memories. If she doesn't understand how painful it is to have my family so close but never being a part of them, she is at least empathetic.

With her I allowed myself to cry. The world sees me as childlike and perpetually happy. They wouldn't believe for a moment that I feel sorrow. But pretending to be happy is how I get by. If I pretend to be happy, then maybe I can fool myself into believe that I am. It's a defense mechanism of sorts. But when I'm with her I feel like I'm myself and... I am happy. Honestly and truly happy.

I love Tohru Honda.

Strangely enough, she doesn't think she's pretty. Compliments make her blush and she never believes them. Tohru is not the tallest, thinnest, or most developed girl in school. She gets teased almost as much as I do about not looking her age. But she is. Pretty, I mean. It isn't her figure or her hair or her clothes. Her smile and her eyes are what makes her so beautiful.

Her eyes are always full of kindness and compassion. She can't hide anything, it's all there for anyone to see if they care to look. And her smile... It makes me smile just thinking about it.

What I'm most proud of is the fact that I get her to smile the most. Real smiles, not the ones she uses to try to keep people from worrying about her. I decided long ago that it is my full time job to keep that smile on her face. I have nothing that I can give her, except for that. But there is nothing I can think of that is worth more than her smile.

I love Tohru Honda.

But she works too hard.

At school she works hard to keep her grades up. Good grades don't come easy for her. She has friends to help her through, and Yuki tutors her. But it's never easy. I wish that I could help her, but I'm pretty useless for helping her with schoolwork. We don't take the same classes, and I doubt that I would be able to keep serious enough around her to do any studying at all. At the first sign of distress I know I would convince her to abandon her homework to do something fun. I can't help it. Making her smile is almost a compulsion.

At home she works hard to keep the house clean and my cousins happy. She cooks all their meals, cleans the house, and washes the clothes. Shigure even refers to her as his little housewife. I wish that I could help her, but I'm pretty useless for helping her with her housework. I'm not there enough for her to feel comfortable letting me help. She sees me as a guest. In fact, she rarely lets anyone help, she always assures everyone that it's what she wants.

At work she works hard too. She's the youngest worker in my father's building, but she works just as hard, if not harder, than the adults on the cleaning staff. At last there is a place where I'm not totally useless. I like to drop in and help her with her work when I can. We talk and joke and play while we work together. I like those nights the best. There's no Kyo or Yuki to deal with. Just the two of us.

I love Tohru Honda.

I called her Princess Tohru when we went to the hotsprings for her White Day present. And she is. To me at least, she will always be Princess Tohru. My Princess Tohru.

I would give anything to be able to be her prince to swoop down and save her. Unfortunately, more often than not, she is the one doing the saving. Like with Akito.

Never will I forget the night we were at the summer house. I was the only one awake. I was too excited to sleep. After being forced to leave poor Tohru alone for so long we were finally going to spend time together. So I was happily going through the fireworks while everyone else slept when I noticed someone at the door. Akito.

It is not in the nature of the rabbit to be the protector. But I couldn't allow Akito to see Tohru, so I blocked the door with my body. Getting hit by Akito is not unusual for any of the zodiac, though I imagine it was a great surprise when it was me who did not back down. But I couldn't bear the thought of Akito seeing Tohru in the middle of the night with that look... I just couldn't.

That's when I knew that I didn't just love Tohru Honda, but I was IN love with her.

It wasn't until Tohru jumped in front of me to protect me that I knew true fear. I can never forgive myself for giving in to the rabbit's nature and running. It doesn't matter than I ran to get Shigure and Hatori, the fact is that I still ran.

I failed her as a prince.

Of course she didn't blame me, that's just not in her nature. Instead we sat together and watched fireworks. It didn't matter that the rest of my cousins were there with us, at least we were together and I had another chance to touch her, to hold her hand. To rest my forehead against hers. Matching bruises and all.

Those are the moments I live for. Moments to hold her hand. Moments to be close. Moments that will be the memories that I will hold on to and treasure for my entire life regardless of what the future holds.

I love Tohru Honda.


Her voice makes me smile and I jump from the edge of the wall I had been sitting on. "Tohru!"

"You didn't wait all this time for me did you?"

"I'm going to walk you to work!"

"Oh! I wouldn't want to inconvenience you!" Suddenly she looked a bit panicked.

"OH! I shouldn't have taken so long putting my books away if you were waiting for me!"

Before she can work herself up into a tizzy I take her hands in mine and give her my very best smile.

"We'll call it the Momiji and Tohru Going to Work Adventure! I even made up a song for us to sing along the way!" I knew that would wipe the worry out of her eyes.

I let go of one of her hands and keep the other as I begin to drag her down the sidewalk towards my father's building. I start humming the tune to our song. We often change the words, but the tune stays the same.

"I love you, Tohru."

"I love you too, Momiji."

She loves me too.

Maybe she doesn't love me the way that I want her to, but she does love me. I don't doubt that for a moment. For right now I can be content with that.