The Elegance of Captivation

This is dedicated to my parents, who were proud of what I was ashamed of, read when others didn't and encouraged me every step of the way when I thought I was just dancing foolishly. Thank you.

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The air was too thick around her. Too little oxygen to breathe, to think, to even swallow. It was a humid day whenever she was near, oppressive with the weight of the words he could never say.

Why is it that only love brings out the poetry in a person?

There was once a time when he wouldn't care if the sky was the exact hue of her eyes, or notice that the kitchen felt colder without her in it. He would have never found peace in quiet, and never would he have discovered he could feel pain in the sorrows of others.

And one little girl had changed all that.

How odd that she had been, talking to the picture of her mother, enthusiastic in simple household chores. He couldn't comprehend how one person could care so much about others. It had annoyed and frustrated him to no end.

But now he lingered in the door of the kitchen one sunny morning, no different from any other morning, watching her bustle about the kitchen in a comforting familiarity. She was humming off-tune, a habit he might have once found obnoxious, now frighteningly endearing, and even her spastic clumsiness gave her a break during this now sacred morning tradition.

It almost made him smile. Almost.

There was something about her that made him forget the darkness in his life, a danger that he couldn't afford to indulge himself in. She smile was easy, her charm immediate. She was the warm sun, and he was contented to stretch out in her warm light. But that light was not his, and never could be. He was the cat.

He was never to come to the banquet, never to belong, and the sun, the sun that held him in such elegant captivation was only a dream. One that he would watch from the doorway, but never, ever intrude upon. It was a heartache, but one that he bore. She may have been a beauty, but this wasn't a fairy tale, how could anyone ever really love the beast?

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It had gotten to the point that she could feel him.

It was subtle, a faint tugging from somewhere in her, probably her heart, that let her know scarlet eyes were on her. It felt as if the world within her was shifting, pulling slightly toward him. Disorienting, yes, but in the same way pleasant, like a roller-coaster or a tilt-a-whirl. She felt her smile deepen and a delicate warmth dust her cheeks. He was near.

There wasn't a specific time that she could pinpoint when she fell for him. She couldn't even say that she had. There was no epiphany, no flash of insight in the night, only that gentle tugging of her heart toward him and the smile that appeared.

Certainly she'd had crushes before, wild and unruly, boisterous and so clumsy. She could still remember how her throat would dry when the object of her affections would look in her direction. There was something undefinable and different about her feelings for Kyo. They weren't tremulous, but a peace, a warmth that grew from something deeper.

She was old enough to understand the beginnings of love, and young enough to fear it in her own way, but there was something in the way he'd watch her that would send those fears scattering. In the light of his eyes, they seemed foolish, though neither of them had ever put words to the peace between them. She had decided once that it was in the stars... the nights they'd spent in relative silence on the roof. No, not destiny, but a captive elegance that held her to his sway.

It had been over a year since they met, more than a year since he'd crashed into her life. Each day was something she cherished, and though it made her feel like a foolish school girl to think it, every moment she spent with him was like a burst of oxygen, clear and clean... heady.

She'd found a new address that night her tent was buried. She'd found new family in Shigure and Yuki. But in Kyo, Tohru Honda found a home.

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That night was cooler than the day, as if the last vestiges of the summer had burned out, mellowing into a gentle autumn with clear skies and cool winds. The night sky was alive with thousands of lights, stars that glistened in hundreds of constellations drawn by two sets of eyes perched high on a roof. Kyo still felt the stifling weight of all that he needed to tell Tohru settle on his shoulders. His heart was bursting with the need to tell her how he felt, while his traitorous brain held him in check, afraid of his curse, and more than happy to remind his heart of the role of the cat.

It startled him when her head settled on his shoulder, her long hair tickling his neck in the wind. He could feel her breath against him, and he was lost in the magic wonder that such a creature could exist, and that she would choose to sit so close to him on this roof. So much was this wonder, in fact, that he almost missed her whispered words as she drifted to sleep against his shoulder, her answer to his unspoken words, "I love you too, Kyo."

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Sap, sap, sap. Well, anyway. That was my first attempt at a Fruits Basket fanfic, and I hope it didn't offend. If you would be so kind to let me know what you thought, I'd appreciate it, I really would. Anyway, thanks for reading!