Disclaimer: Fruits Basket belongs to Natsuki Takaya.

For various upcoming birthdays—we know who we are.

Like That

He had done it on a whim, really; painted those little Zodiac ornaments merely as an excuse to escape one of Yuki's moods and to tell Miichan, with a relative amount of truth, that he was in the middle of a very important project.

He had stalked in the garden for days, picking up a rock whenever someone passed by, extolling its virtues with passionate artistic fervor. It was luck rather than care that procured twelve stones of roughly the same size and shape. Then he locked himself in his office, deliberating over each and every expression, before finally painting a few simple lines. But when he set them out to dry, excuse exhausted, he would have forgotten them.

"Oh… how cute!"

Later, Shigure realized she was like that.


The night he moved the Zodiac ornaments to his office, he had taunted Yuki and Kyou about this little set of good-luck charms that had brought him his flower. They would be enshrined in his room, and he would make her a present of them on their wedding day.

When the boys were sufficiently riled up, Shigure prudently escaped.

But even then, he still forgot. Reference books were propped up in front of them, papers and manuscripts scattered everywhere. Sometimes even the odd article of clothing was left lying around.

Tohru generally left their rooms alone, as she was very concerned about respecting their privacy, but he suspected that after a while she had become rather puzzled by the occasional disappearing teacup and vanishing laundry. Whatever her reasons, he noticed that she had cleaned his office, primarily because those twelve painted stones sat on the shelf and stared at him.

Sometime after that, she had been gardening with Yuki when she discovered "the perfect stone!" She had carefully washed it in the stream on their way back to the house, proud and triumphant in that way only Tohru could be.

Shigure was equally as bemused as Yuki when she had come to humbly ask to borrow his paints.

He let her, of course, and because he was curious, he followed her out to the porch. Deep in concentration, she had not noticed, as she lovingly and painstakingly sketched an orange cat on the rock.

When he found it nestled beside the other ornaments in his office, he was starting to realize that Tohru was like that.


He could always hear her dusting.

Tohru tended to sing while cleaning. Sometimes she hummed, sometimes she recited tunes her mother had taught her, and sometimes she sang pure nonsense like a child. He had offered once to teach her a little ditty he liked to call "High School Girls," but Yuki and Kyou had loudly objected.

But it was never singing that he heard in his office.

"Yuki-kun, good morning!"

One cheerful future housewife, yes. But when had Yuki ever successfully assisted in housekeeping? Naturally, Shigure had peeked in through the crack of the door.

She picked up each Zodiac ornament, one by one, talking to them as she dusted them.

"If Yuki-kun got too dusty, I don't think it would be good for his lungs. But now he's clean again!"

"Ah, Hatsuharu-san, I nearly lost you under Shigure-san's papers! I'm so sorry!"

"Kisa-san is so adorable, it always makes me happy to see her!"

"I think Momiji-kun has been playing in the dust. Ah… I wonder if he would like snow, too?"

"Hatori-san looks so funny covered in dust, but he's usually very serious. But, I shouldn't laugh… there! Clean again!"

And so on, all the way to Kyou-kun. He supposed he should have expected it, because Tohru was like that.


She had made a stone for the Jade God, too, he noticed.

She must have thought she was alone in the house, and had not heard him come back. So he caught her in his office, two of his books laid out, and fourteen ornaments seated around the pretend table, complete with teacups.

Strangely enough, at Tohru's banquet, all their painted expressions seemed so much happier.

Shigure snuck off quietly, because he did not want her to apologize and stop. He could not always understand why she did things like this, but he had long ago learned that Tohru was simply like that.


Owari

-Windswift