Hello, hello, hello! After a long abscence, I am back with another fic. Gimme is dedicated to Peridot Scarves. Not only did she inspire me to write this, but she inspired me to write again in general. Thank you, Scarves-chan! If this turns out to be a success, she gets partial credit. If it sucks, feel free to throw bricks at her... Just kidding, Peri. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: After such a long abscence, I should be exempt from saying I don't this anime, shouldn't I? No? Okay. I don't own Fruits Basket.
Chapter One: First Word
Her response to her dearth of inspiration was a wall of growing anxiety.
Kagura as usual procrastinated on her writing assignment; she was too easily distracted to concentrate on her studies. And she strongly believed that writing wasn't her forte. It was more Shigure's talent than hers, albeit the only literary genius he could conjure up was graphic at best. The Boar heavily considered relinquishing the notebook as blank as her mind presently to him at the risk of her essay becoming a beautifully detailed... Well, she didn't want to think of the trouble she'd get in if she turned anything from Shigure's mind in.
Her scattered attention span could mainly be attributed to one thing. Not one thing, but a person. A boy with hair the vivid color of tangerines...
Kagura's arm violently collided with the stack of books on her desk. Still smiling, she restored order to the wooden surface. The girl traced the deep indentation in the wall with her finger, its accumulation in size due to years of passionate musings about him.
"Gotta stop doing that," she muttered, returning to her seat.
Well she had made no progress just sitting there. Kagura decided that a walk was the best course of action for an uninspired soul.
She grabbed a scarlet jacket and slid it over her arms and back. She vacated her room and bounded down the stairs, yelling a quick, "I'm going out, mom!" in case her mother was interested in her comings and goings.
The night was chillier than Kagura initially expected. Adapting to the winter cold winds was a Herculean task, especially in a summer jacket. She tried her best at retaining her warmth by hoisting her shoulders to her ears and coiling her forearms around her waist.
"Recall a time when you were drawn from the depths of despair by another," she murmured, reiterating the essay topic she had been assigned for homework. No matter how hard she wrapped her mind around it, she couldn't focus on one person who had changed her life for the better. There were too many painful times in her young life to count. And she never liked dwelling on the dark side of her past.
"Kagura, what are you doing out here alone?"
The voice came from the walls of her mind. She stopped, eyes sliding to the porch of the dark house to her right.
As if controlled by a puppet master instead of her own free will, Kagura walked to the generous wooden surface in a trance-like manner. She sat down, the frigid material sizzling into her legs. It startled her at first, but she slowly accepted it.
Just like the house, she thought morbidly. She turned her head to gaze at the building. Like the wind-chilled wood, it was a cold place, devoid of love, of happiness, of any type of deep emotional family ties. Many of the memories of Akito's house were dark, sinister, to be swept away in shadows as cold as he was.
But there were times when the winds stopped blowing. There were snatches of times when the sun, golden and regal, commanded full court among the pure white clouds and rained not bad times and hardened voices, but smiles and maybe even a laugh or two.
There was one person who epitomized those times, those snatches of joy...
"Kagura, what are you doing out here alone?"
A five-year-old Kagura looked up at the vocalist. Shigure peered down at her inquisitively, still in his school uniform.
A tremor shook her small body. He sensed that she trembled not only from the cold, but from deep sadness. He settled beside Kagura and coiled his arms around her like vines.
"Something's wrong," he said, not issuing a question he already knew the answer to. "You want to tell me?"
Her first instinct was to tell him she had no desire to say anything. This incident had to be buried in her heart forever, never reaching another soul's ears. To admit to it, to allow it to reach the air, would be acknowledging its existence. No, she'd never repeat his cruel words. Never.
The little girl looked into his eyes and suddenly was compelled to. There was...not pain. Pain didn't describe the emotion properly. Neither did anguish. There was a solemn, quiet death unfolding in his chocolate-chip brown orbs. This funeral procession trampled over her soul. Never again did she want to hurt him this way, especially since it was a sharp contrast to his usual mood.
This was the wrong type of attention.
Kagura couldn't lie to him. He wasn't a deceptive person, and so denying him the truth would be the equivalent of a heinous crime.
"Shigure, am I too young to be in love?"
His lips formed an O. "Of course not, Kagura. Love is love, whether you feel it at five or forty."
"I love Kyou," she said. What she uttered wasn't an out-of-the-blue proclamation. It was widely known the extent her love went for him, a roaring tsunami at times, a turbulent river at others. Nevertheless, he allowed her to speak without interrupting.
"Ever since...he held out his hand." Kagura offered her hand to the shadowy Sohma property as if reliving the incident, a simple, quiet event that merged simple affection with romantic love deeper than any canyon. The zephyr amused itself with her hair before lapsing into a death-like slumber for the moment.
"Maybe...I should give up."
"Why? What brought this on all of a sudden?"
She gave him a grim smile. "He told me..." Saline water oozed from her storm-cloud grey eyes. This triggered a tightening of his arms around her.
He didn't tell her not to cry, for which she was glad. "To tell a person not to cry," he once said, "is to tell them not to be human. Everyone needs to express themselves, and if tears is the only way for them at the moment, let them cry." For minutes on end, she fulfilled her emotional need, a torrential downpour over her pale cheeks.
"He said he wished he had never offered his hand to me," she sobbed into her tiny hands. "To me, that day was special and..."
"That tactless little monkey!" he said sternly. "I never expected him to understand a woman's heart; he's too dense for that kind of thinking. But for him to be so cruel... Of course, Kagura, you always were strong. I know that you'll get through this. Don't get discouraged." A long pause. "I remember your first word."
She looked up from her saturated hands. "My first word?"
He smiled in reminiscence. "It wasn't the conventional mama or dada for you! I remember everything about that day. I was trying to get you to say my name. 'Gure, Gure,' I kept saying, hoping you'd at least say an abbreviated version if not the whole thing. And," he augmented his already large doe eyes, impersonating Kagura as an infant and drawing a laugh from her, "I was so excited when you said, 'Guh.' Just Guh.
" 'Gure, Kagi-chan. C'mon, say it,' I coaxed. 'Guh Guh', you repeated. "
"That 'Guh' became a 'Giii'. And then, suddenly, you yelled, 'Giiiimmmmmeeee!' and pointed at the ice cream cone in my hand." Shigure laughed as she smiled. "And you punched me in the head since I said you were too young to partake of my ice cream," he added in a mock-wounded voice, pointing to the top of his cranium. "It's weird, but I always felt that you were intuitive, even as a baby, comprehending whole words and sentences before even being able to speak yourself.
"The next word-- Well, I should say name-- you said was, 'Kyou.' You'd totter around, arms outstretched, yelling, 'Gimme Kyou, Gimme Kyou!' You know," he sank even deeper into nostalgia with another dreamy smile, "he really does love you, despite what you may think. And someday, he'll love you as much as you do him. It's just gonna take him a little longer for him to realize it since he's so dense." He pinched the round puffs of skin under her eyes, conjuring another joyous laugh.
"So, Kagura, since birth, you've always been..."
"Demanding?" she asked dully, eyes fading into a somber shade of grey.
"Well, yeah. But also determined. Full of...resilience. I admire that. I know this'll sound corny, but follow your dreams. If everyone gave up, what do you think would get accomplished? Nothing. We Sohmas," he said with a tsunami of encouragement, "are strong. We always endure every hurtle in our way. Endure!" he cried at the moon, raising a fist in a fighter's stance.
"Endure," Kagura echoed, then, in a stronger voice, "Endure!" and emulated Shigure's stance.
"Gimme!" And she lunged forward and fell into his surprised lips. Her arms orbited his neck, her frame merging with his.
The vision of the passionate kiss faded from her sight. In confusion, she blinked.
"Is something wrong? You looked spaced out for a second."
She shook her head. "I'm fine," she smiled. "I just want to say thank you."
With a hasty kiss stamped on his cheek, she got up and entered the house.
"I found it. My inspiration," she murmured to the night sky.
The person who uplifted me. Who not only lifted me out of the depths of despair, but carried me out of it. Shigure-kun...
She was actually excited about doing a homework assignment for once. Kagura stood up and dashed inside, ready to write about her voyeuristic yet sweet cousin.