Title: First Catch
Author/Artist: stressbeertje
Pairing: Sohma Hatori and Sohma Ayame
Fandom: Fruits Basket
Theme: #1: "Look over there" /こっち向いて

Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket, nor do I own any of its characters.

Note: This fanfiction was created for the LJ community 30kisses. This was challenge #1: 'Look over there'.

First Catch

"What are you doing in there, Aya? I want to play with you!"

"Just a minute, 'Gure-san! I'm almost done!"

A heavy sigh was audible through the solid door that sealed the hallway from Ayame's bedroom. It also currently sealed Shigure's chance to be with Ayame, as he was standing in the hallway and the door had been locked from the inside of the bedroom.

"But when? I want to play with you, now! Haa-kun is so boring to play with; he just likes those stuffy books…" was the plaintive reply.

"Cheer up, my dearest friend! I will be with you shortly!" Ayame's cheerful voice was loud even at his tender age.

On the other end of the hallway, Yuki woke up with a startled scream. Ayame sighed and gave up on his task when his baby brother continued to yell. The young Snake put down his needle and thread, which had been close to running out anyhow. He glanced at the cuts on his fingers and reasoned that he needed some more bandages, lest his best friends would worry what he was doing alone in his room. It wasn't like Ayame to lock himself up from the outside world and possible contact with other people.

Ayame was flattered that his friends had been worrying about his uncharacteristic behaviour.

Rather suddenly, there was a calm knocking on the door, the sound echoing through the bedroom. He knew that knock anywhere- only one person he knew would knock politely, and that was his other best friend, 'Tori-san. The other people he knew – including his parents – all barged in without prior warning.

Ayame glanced around. The room was filled with haphazardly thrown-around pieces of fabric and all kinds of sharp pointy equipment that might not be a good thing to leave half-hidden under the cloth, in case Shigure decided to challenge him to a tickle match again. Basically, it looked like a hurricane had come through the usually tidy doll-esque room Ayame owned.

"Just a minute, 'Tori-san! I'll be right out!" he hollered towards the direction of the knocking, which ceased as suddenly as it had started, after Ayame had given a response. Rather quickly, the silver-haired boy gathered the cloths and equipment in his arms and threw it under his bed, feeling some of the needles he had lost while creating his Secret Project #001 sticking in his fingers and arms.

Oh well, no time to get those needles out now! I must not keep 'Tori-san waiting! Ayame thought as he rushed to unlock his bedroom door.

Shigure and Hatori both entered the room in their own ways. Shigure leapt at him enthusiastically, causing Ayame to fall on the floor. The silver-haired boy giggled, hugging his friend tightly.

"I missed you so much, Gure-san! I am sorry that I was not able to unlock the door; however, I had very important, secret things to do that would not allow me to see you or 'Tori-san!" The boy looked up from over Gure's shoulder, seeing Hatori walk in calmly, seemingly undisturbed by the loud noises the boys were making, and stood next to them, crossing his arms as he looked at Ayame. He sighed deeply.

"I will not ask," the dark-haired boy stated simply as he raised an eyebrow.

The other two boys turned at Hatori's calm words and stood up simultaneously. They glanced at each other, and nodded, before tackling the other boy down to the floor as well.

"'Tori-hug!" The two more exuberant boys screamed in Hatori's ear whilst still giggling. Hatori, being used from this sort of behaviour from the other two boys, knew that this would be over sooner if he didn't struggle. His point was proven as the other two boys scrambled off of him soon, having lost interest already.

"Come on, 'Haa-san! You should cheer up! Aya-kun was just telling me yesterday that he would like to see you smile!" Shigure grinned as he set down next to his solemn friend on the floor. "I just wish you were ticklish, that would help a lot!"

Ayame chuckled at Shigure's words. "Yes, 'Tori-san! Won't you turn ticklish, for us? You know, we're your best friends, so we are definitely worth it!"

Hatori seemed uninterested in accepting Ayame's strange request.

"I will not turn ticklish. I don't even think it is clinically possible to turn ticklish if you are not to begin with."

Ayame pouted at Hatori's discouraging words, but didn't appear to be hurt for too long, or bothered too much about not knowing the word 'clinical'. "You'll see, Tori-kun! I will make you smile one day, and you won't be able to stop me!"

Shigure nodded, fully understanding his friend's desires. "Yes, he will, because he's the magical Prince Aya! He is the one made of lilies and dreams, and he will one day free your heart of the prison you created yourself! You are like… the captured princess, waiting for her prince!"

Ayame blushed slightly as he heard Shigure's words. "Gure-san, you are so good with words! You are, of course, totally correct! Tori-san is the princess, and I will rescue him from his boredom with my wonderful sparkling personality! I will get him one day!"

Meanwhile, Hatori sighed at his friends' antics, and realised that it was probably safest for his sanity that he left. With a brief wave of his hand, the young boy left again, calmly walking towards the safety of his own home, and returning to his books and homework. At least they made sense.

"Ah, Gure-san, you scared him off!" Ayame complained, briefly ignoring that he had been the one that had spoken to Hatori before the boy had escaped.

"I apologise, my dearest Aya, but I just had to know what you had planned! I am assuming this is a chance to lure your beautiful princess?"

"Ahaha, you see right through me, Gure-san! I am so lucky to have you as my friend!" Ayame laughed loudly, once again scaring his baby brother down the hall into a crying fit. A mumbling of his parents was heard, cursing their older son. Ayame paid no heed to it, and simply smirked at Shigure, as though he had the greatest plan ever. Probably, in his mind, he did.

He leaned over to stare conspiringly in Shigure's face, his yellow eyes sparkling with mischief. Ayame kept leaning over, closer, and closer

Until he bumped foreheads with Shigure painfully, ruining the scheming, secretive mood completely. The two friends laughed, rubbing their foreheads painfully. "Anyhow… I won't tell you!" Ayame exclaimed, grinning from ear to ear, and pushed his disappointed friend outside of the room.

Several days passed, and Ayame grew more and more enthusiastic about his project, whereas Shigure grew more curious - but also gloomy- as time passed. It had better be a good scheme to keep him away from me. His efforts are lost on Haa-kun anyhow…

However, Shigure knew not how to stop it from happening, and did not want his best friend to lose the hope of one day being able to see the Dragon smile. In any case: Ayame trying to get Hatori's attention was bound to be entertaining. The Dog smiled, pleasurable anticipation running through his spine.

The day has arrived! Ayame thought to himself excitedly a few days later, as he literally leapt out of his bed. His body was brimming with energy at an even higher level than usual, his nerves making him slightly nauseous. Ayame didn't really understand why he was feeling like this, but he supposed it was just the amount of work that had gone into it. Ayame was simply so used to slacking off, that he never really applied himself unless the stakes were high to him. 'Tori means the world to me! Ayame reasoned with himself as he contemplated whether the work put into this Project had been worth it, never mind the fact that he had to get up as early as he had to be able to catch the Dragon before having to leave for school. He put the last bow on his Secret Project #001 and stepped outside, the sky still yellow as the sun had not quite risen yet.

"Hello, my dearest 'Tori-san! Your best friend – and Prince – Ayame is here to see you! I failed to bring Gure-san, so we could be the Prince and Princess!" He ran up to his solemn friend, who was currently reading in a stiff position at his desk.

I don't even own a desk. Ayame thought, shaking his head at the fun his friend must be missing out on.

"What are you doing here?" was the unenthusiastic reply the Snake received. Hatori never even bothered to glance up from his homework.

Ayame sighed heavily. "Tori! You're my friend, the least you can do is be a little enthusiastic to see me, or at least pretend to be." He briefly glanced down at the book Hatori was reading, successfully avoiding the other boy's glance. Mathematics? Ew. Ayame quickly looked back at Hatori's face, removing any disappointment he might have shown with his customary wide grin.

"Oh well, it doesn't matter now! Here, I brought you something!"
The Snake quickly revealed a flashily-wrapped package from behind his back, and pushed it in Hatori's chest, forcing the other boy to accept it.

"Oh… Thank you. But why did you get me a gift? It's not my birthday." Hatori now felt vaguely guilty for not being more caring about the arrival of his friend. After all, it was true what his friends had said a few days prior. They were his only friends.

For the first time since the bouncing Snake had entered the room, Hatori truly looked at him. Ayame seemed exhausted, dark bags under his eyes and his usual pale complexion now seemed almost healthy in contrast to how white he looked this morning. He now truly looked like his namesake, the lily, white and fragile. His hands, and even arms, were covered in bandages. For a boy who usually cared so much about how he appeared in front of other people, this was certainly odd. It worried Hatori more than he would have liked and anticipated, and he certainly did not want to dwell on the thought.

"What happened to your hands, Aya?" He asked patiently, taking the other boy's hands in his own and pulled a bandage off in one short tug.

Ayame could barely react in time to suppress a –probably very unflattering- shriek.

"What are you doing? How cruel, 'Tori-san!" He exclaimed frantically, and then put the brutally abused finger in his mouth to numb the pain.

Hatori shook his head. His friend just had to be a drama queen 24/7, didn't he? Carefully this time, he grabbed the finger that was being sucked in his fist and slowly pulled it from Ayame's lips. He examined it briefly before getting up and calmly leaving the room.

Ayame blinked, very confused at his friend's actions. And why hadn't Hatori opened up his gift yet? He had worked so hard on it; it hardly seemed fair that his friend would not appreciate it.

By the time Hatori returned with some salve he had managed to get from his parents without asking them what he needed it for, Ayame had already unwrapped his own gift.

Hatori looked from the gaudy pink wrapping thrown all around his carefully tidy room, and countless of ribbons were scattered over his desk and bed. Then he noticed what Ayame had lying on his lap, probably the gift Ayame had given him. It appeared to be a sort of rag, with differently coloured prints and fabrics, the patterns seemingly randomly placed between the squares with no patterns. Then Ayame lifted its head, and… Oh dear God.

It appeared to be a stuffed animal in the shape of a snake.

Only Ayame… The thought came to Hatori's mind automatically, as he sighed and took a few hesitant steps in Ayame's direction. The dark-haired boy had no idea what to expect this time, but as he saw the disappointed face of the Snake as he looked at the stuffed animal, he knew he could not in good manners leave. He sat down next to the Snake, hesitantly putting a hand on the other boy's shoulder to draw the attention of the Snake, who kept brushing over the snake's mouth with his sore finger.

"Hey 'Tori-san… look over there." Ayame spoke, uncharacteristically softly, as he turned to face Hatori. He pointed a bandage-covered finger out the window, following some birds flying towards the red-painted horizon.

Hatori followed the line of Ayame's finger, looking out the window as well. What was Ayame trying to show him? Hatori prayed that this would not be one of those 'look at the real world instead of your stuffy books for a change, 'Tori-san' conversations Ayame was so used to giving him.

Instead of a lecture, Ayame had picked up the stuffed animal, and lightly bumped its head to Hatori's cheek.

"Got you."

A/N: Did I make Shigure too much of a sadist? ; I'm sorry; I couldn't totally interpret how they would be as children… XD; I'm much more comfortable with them as adults (in body, anyhow XDD; I don't think any of them (not even Hatori, as the emotional cripple ©) will ever grow up in spirit XD) Oh, and the whole sucking-finger-then-brushing-it-on-stuffy-then-bumping-it-on-Hatori was supposed to be the kiss. Just so you are not wondering what happened to the kiss. XD

For those of you who don't know it, Ayame means 'lily' in Japanese.