Disclaimer: I don't and never will own Fruits Basket.
Summary: Astraphobia- the fear of thunder. Thunderstorms have a way of bringing people closer together. Shigure x Kagura
This fic is dedicated to Princess Miyazawa as a belated b-day present!
There it went again, and with it her heart.
Kagura peered out the window, watching as the gray splattered sky shook again, illuminated with streaks of lightning.
She shuddered and dived under the warm comfort of her blanket. Lying on her back she surveyed the ceiling of Shigure's house, finding the cracks of plaster that panned out onto the surface.
A tingling came to her cheeks when she realized that her and Kyou both were responsible for the damage to her elder cousin's house. But Kagura couldn't help her violent tantrums; after all she was cursed with the sign of the boar, infamous for being violent.
Another deafening bout of thunder rang in the rain drenched sky, and in perfect rhythm, another small squeal left her mouth. Kagura clamped a hand over her mouth and sent the other hand directly over the spot on her night shirt covering her heart. The beat of it drove brazenly, moving faster than the winds outside.
Her fear of thunderstorms had started when she was young, about five or so. Kagura never was really sure what had spurred the fear into forming. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the thunder always took her by surprise.
Kagura had always welcomed spontaneity, seeing as she was a big bundle of it herself. But thunderstorm spontaneity was not for her. She hated being unsure, and thunder left her vulnerable.
Thunder in her younger days at the Sohma complex had always sent her rushing into the arms of her older cousins. And they were always eager to soothe her; Hatori with his fearless demeanor, Ayame who had pretended to fight off monsters for her and finally Shigure who had curled her up in his arms.
White light lit up the room as the lightning cracked again, forming mysterious shadows that reached out to her from the confinement of the wall. The boar yelped again before submerging under the blue blanket. When she was sure the thunder was gone, Kagura peeked out from the under the gauzy material. This couldn't keep happening other wise she would never get any sleep nor would the other residents of the house. And Kagura wasn't too keen on waking Yuki from his slumber.
Standing up, she ambled over to the window, contemplating the choice of whether it would be wise to scream at the sky to shut the hell up. But that idea was soon discarded when a burst of cold air shot through the window, making her shiver and dash to the shoji on the opposite side of the room.
Quickly sliding it open, Kagura ran blindly as if the demons of hell were chasing her, banging loud drums in her ears. She skidded to a stop in front of a random shoji, and burst through it and proceeded to attach herself to the nearest warm body regardless of whomever it maybe.
Once the thunder had receded for the time being, Kagura opened her eyes and peered around in the darkness. Well, she wasn't in the neatest room. From what her eyes could make out, papers with scribbles, pens, and books scattered the small table in the middle of the room. But something else also sat there, a metal framed object with an obnoxious blinking screen.
The only laptop in the house belonged to Shigure who was frequently seen typing away fervently at it. Turing her head, Kagura checked her suspicion. Her arms were rung tightly around a still sleeping Shigure.
Usually Shigure was a light sleeper, awaking at the slightest sound or motion; after all he was year of the dog. But tonight, something was different. He didn't stir at the impact of her body on his nor did his ears perk to the symphony outside or inside for that matter.
Kagura surveyed him through wide eyes, taking in as much of him as she could through the dark shadows of the night. Whenever the lightning struck, his face would take on a whitish glow, revealing his handsome features more clearly to her wandering eyes.
Suddenly, Kagura felt guilty again. Her Shi-chan had been up all night working on his latest novel; and here she was clinging to him, moments away form waking her dear cousin from his well deserved slumber.
Biting her lower lip, Kagura unwound her hands from his middle and made a move to get up as to not disturb the novelist any further. But something stopped her.
Or rather someone.
"Kagura, is that you?"
The said girl looked down, watching as two sleepy eyes blinked back at her. Kagura's face immediately acquired a magenta hue as she realized the compromising position she had put the both of them in.
Even in his half awaken stage; Shigure's mind could conjure up perverted fantasies.
Sleepy eyes brightening, Shigure teased, "Oh Kagura-chan, if you wanted some, you should've just asked. No need to jump on me in the middle of the night."
Kagura's face turned redder, not that the contents of his playful words were true. Gaping for a second, she finally regained her voice.
"Shi-chan you don't always have to….!"
The rest of her sentence was drowned out in colossal booms and partly by the shriek that left her mouth. Closing her eyes, Kagura dived into Shigure's shoulder, whimpering as the thunder clashed a second time.
His hands came to rest on her back, eventually snaking around her in a protective grip. Shigure crooned comforting words into her ear hoping to calm the jumpy girl down. When the booms stopped for the time being, Kagura looked up at him, gray eyes wide in apprehension.
"Old fear kicking in again?"
She nodded, averting her face in shame.
"I'm sorry Shi-chan, I- I shouldn't have woken you up. But the thunderstorm, it was-was well…you know…" Her voice died out in a soft whisper.
Shigure nodded, remembering the years in the Main House when he had comforted his younger cousin during similar occurrences. He had assumed the fear had left her but he was sorely wrong.
"No, no it's okay Kagu-chan, I don't mind" He punctuated his sentence by gently pulling her head down to rest next to his chest. Kagura sighed contently, snuggling into his shoulder and well at ease.
"Hm, what does that mean?"
Shigure shifted slightly so that his face was staring directly into that of the boar's.
"It's a term relative to your condition. It means a fear of thunder and lightning."
"Aa, I see. That would make me an astraphobic right?" Kagura asked, features lighting up in a thoughtful manner.
"Hai, I suppose so." He responded, eyes interested in the patchwork of the ceiling.
"Well, Shi-chan, I don't wanna be an astraphobic. I hate being scared of thunder!"
The outburst startled him and he chuckled, eyes fluttering close momentarily.
"Kagura, I don't think you can really choose what you want and don't want to be scared of. However, it's always possible to overcome your fear."
"Well, it still sucks to be afraid, ne?" Came the down to earth reply.
"I wouldn't know" he answered honestly. Truly he wouldn't, Shigure had never been afraid of thunderstorms before. On the contrary, he welcomed them and the mood they would give him for writing.
"Oh," Kagura looked at him for a second silver eyes flashing in thought. "Then what are you afraid of Shi-chan?" She turned to face him, head barely lifted from its place on his body.
His maroon eyes spun for a second, swimming with childhood fears and demons before lighting up in realization.
"My greatest fear," he paused dramatically, "is…do you really want to know Kagura-chan?"
She nodded her head, eyes fixed on his and totally unaware of the playful gleam in his eyes. "It's…it's…Mii-chan."
Kagura froze for a second, before she fell headfirst into his pillow. "But Shi-chan isn't that your editor?"
"What can I say Kagu-chan, that woman is a maniac, especially when mad but she is lovable indeed."
Kagura's heart throbbed lightly at the last part of his statement but she ignored it, choosing to reprimand her cousin instead. "Shi-chan," she scolded, "how could say that, Mii-chan works so hard to keep in you in line even if she doesn't always succeed…"
Shigure grinned at this.
"But," Kagura continued, "what I'm trying to say is don't be so lazy and Mii-chan will longer get mad, so she won't be scary. There problem solved."
Shigure laughed, the merry sound cutting through the thick darkness of his room. Kagura pouted at him, eyes narrowing. He immediately ceased his merriment.
"Shigure, I mean it! Do you promise?"
A strained silence followed where Kagura had the sudden urge to punch him. He could be so dense at times! But part of her knew he was only joking.
"Promise to be nicer to Mii-chan."
"Shi-chan!" The younger of the two growled.
Shigure sighed before smiling through the velvet of the dark, "Okay, I promise I won't bother Mii-chan. Besides, anything for my dearest Kagura." He said before wrapping a tighter arm around his cousin.
Kagura giggled out loud but it was immediately drowned out by rumbling thunder and the noise of her own fear. She mumbled to herself as she once again sought refuge on his shoulder. Shigure said nothing, just made comforting sounds into the hollow of her ear.
The thunder died out and rain strummed against the house as if a thousand voices were all aching to speak at once. The brown haired girl let out a sigh, the thunder would not strike for another good 10 minutes and if she was lucky maybe 15.
Shigure's breathing brushed against her ear, making warmth shoot through her body. Summer breezes that wafted through trees and daisy fields came to mind in her current position. But still one question nagged at the edge of her mind: what did her cousin truly fear?
"Shigure?" Her voice broke the thick silence between them, sounding jagged as it left her mouth.
He opened one eye lazily and responded with a casual "Hm?"
"Can I ask you a question?"
"You already did Kagura." Came his reply, his tone had turned slightly sarcastic.
"But another one, a more important one." Sensing her somber mood, the novelist turned on his side as to face her fully.
Taking his gesture as a means to continue she asked quite hesitantly, "Shi-chan, please don't kid around, what are you really afraid of?"
She looked at him, almost fearing the reaction she would receive. Shigure was never cold and distant like this. Or maybe it was her own blindness that caused her to see otherwise. Kagura bit her lip for the umpteenth time that night, ignoring the thunder crashing outside.
Afraid of? Truly afraid of? One word stuck to his mind like honey, except the taste was bitter: Loneliness.
One glance at him would never reveal his hidden fears. Of course it wouldn't, he was always playing a masquerade, dancing among carefree smiles and jovial laughter. But in the darkness of the night, all the theater wear would come off leaving him bare and with loneliness as his only companion.
That was the kind of person Shigure was, and probably the only kind of person he could ever be.
It was an ugly thing to fear, loneliness. It could consume you in an instant and the sad thing is, you would never even know. Family surrounded him, friends surrounded him and still Shigure felt alone. What stupid trap the world was!
He clenched his fists as the brown of his eyes were covered with eyelids. Cool cobalt met his irregular breathing and Shigure felt as if he were drowning in it. Gasping, panting, struggling for breath in the inky blackness of it all.
He never wanted to lose them, any of them, not one single one. They were a family of misfits, of curses, of strained relationships yet he loved them all even if a bit selfishly. They would stick together because that's what Somhas did, and what they would continue to do till the end.
But that didn't stop the loneliness from persisting. It didn't stop the dreadfully long nights that haunted him to the point of insomnia.
And that was how it was, and probably how it would be forever.
After all, they were cursed not only in body but in spirit.
She watched him through the corner of her eye.
His head was tilted away from her probing eyes; instead glossy cobalt met her demure gaze.
Shi-chan… What's bothering you?
She wanted to comfort him, to hold him and tell him that with dawn all of his fears would vanish like darkness in the presence of the sun. But only if she could believe it herself, if only…
Words formed in her mouth, questions, reassurances waiting to voice themselves to his ears but they never did.
Because he beat her to it.
"Loneliness… it's an ugly thing isn't it Kagura?"
For a moment her mind registered blank, slightly taken back at the sound of his voice.
Lonely? Her Shi-chan was afraid of being alone?
If she were younger she would have laughed at the notion but right now, right here, with the thunder and the rain orchestrating outside it was oddly believable.
She pulled the word out of her mind randomly, as if she had always known it but never seen the opportunity to utter it.
"The fear of being lonely, I assume?" He asked, eyes now glancing outside the window.
"Hai, the fear of being…lonely." Kagura said the last word slowly, still not used to associating it with her normally happy- go- lucky cousin. Lonely sounded more like it would suite Hatori rather than Shigure.
"It's stupid, isn't it Kagura-chan, to be lonely yet to have so many people near you."
Kagura's head snapped up, her gray eyes meeting riveting chocolate ones.
"No, I don't think so. Anybody can be lonely Shi-chan."
"But to fear it?"
"Is just as normal as to fear thunder, besides you're the one who said you can't choose what you fear, just overcome it."
No reply voiced it self from the other party.
The moments ticked by slowly and Kagura felt as if she was being eaten alive by the silence. Had she said something wrong? She never was the best advice giver, rather it was him always giving her advice.
So Kagura did the only thing she could.
She wrapped her arms tight around him, hugging him like he was the only thing she had left in this life.
"I'll help you Shi-chan, you won't ever be lonely 'cause I'm right here and as long as you need me, I'll always be here…forever." The words came out muffled by the cloth of his yukata but he heard them not with his ears, but with his soul.
Grey met brown.
"And what about astraphobia Kagura-chan? Who'll cure you of that?"
An impish smile spread across Kagura's face, "You already did Shi-chan, you already did."
Shigure grinned, allowing Kagura to snuggle in closer to the warmth of his body. Maybe the dark would look a little less darker now.
And the thunder continued its rumbling outside, aided with the hammer of the rain. But nobody inside the small house cared, after all none of them were astraphobic right?
A/N: How was it? I really love Shi/Kagura! Anyway, was the ending a little too rushed do you think? Comments and criticism are welcome. By the way, you can look forward to seeing more Kagura/Shigure!