Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket; all rights are Natsuki Takaya's.

Two Painful Words

Ritsu watched, horrified, as his idol stared at the ground, looking so lost, so broken, before the man screaming in front of him, telling him he was a disgrace, worthless… shameless. Ritsu's eyes darted from one person to another, silently pleading with everyone in the room who claimed to care about Ayame, begging them to say something, do something to put a stop to the man who was putting that look on his idol's face. And then two little words passed through his cousin's lips, two words he knew too well, and it broke his heart to hear them. "I'm sorry…"

Something snapped.

"Don't!" Every eye in the room was now fixed on Ritsu, shocked. Ritsu shook with fear at being the focus of so much attention, but he forced his mouth to move. "Don't apologize to him. Don't apologize for being who you are, not ever. You're perfect, if he can't see that, he doesn't deserve to know you. Everyone deserves to be happy, to be allowed to exist as they are. Don't apologize to him. Don't change for him. If you want to design clothes, then do it. You want tailor fantasies, do it. If he can't accept that, he doesn't need to be apart of you. You're an adult; you can make your own decisions, and live your life as yourself. And… and…" Ritsu shut his eyes tight, his entire body tensed as if to brace himself for a fall; but his mother beat him to it.

She had heard his outburst from another room and come rushing in to smooth things over. Ritsu could hear her in the background, and as he tried to block it out, to it out with the pain of knowing she would never stand up for him, only two words registered in his mind; "I'm sorry!"

"Stop…" He whispered softly, too softly for anyone to hear over his mother's frantic apologies. He shut his eyes tighter and shouted, "STOP!" and the room was quiet once more. Then, softer, "Stop. Stop apologizing for me. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm not sorry. I won't change for you or for them. I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry! I'm not sorry for defending Ayame, I'm not sorry for visiting and I'm not sorry for my long sleeved kimonos! I'm not sorry for my hair or my fear or my tears or for being so clumsy or not doing what wasn't my responsibility in the first place! I'm not sorry for eating or sorry for breathing or sorry for needing help! I'm not sorry for being shameless or selfish or being a burden! Everyone deserves to live- everyone deserves to exist as they are, and… and so do I! Some day, I want to be with someone who will want to eat Takoyaki with me- and if they really love me, they will want to eat it with me even if I'm wearing a dress! I deserve to exist just as much as anyone else and I'm not sorry!" Ritsu slid to his knees on the floor and buried his face in his hands, crying. He felt warm arms embrace him and he whimpered softly into his hands, "I'm not sorry…"

"Good." Shigure whispered back. "Let's let Hatori deal with these grumps. I have a sneaking suspicion Aaya's in need of some Takoyaki."

-The End-

I hope you liked it. This idea has been plaguing me for ages, I'm glad I finally got it written down. Reviews are greatly appreciated.