I own nothing (Not even Hatori; Boo-hoo.). Fruits Basket is my favorite manga-storybook. Natsuki Takaya is a WONDERFUL, talented artist and author and I admire her work very much. I am merely playing' with the characters; I do not intend to make any money. Please enjoy! I love comments! Thanks everyone!
Hatori's Remedy presents:
Chapter 1: Strawberries
The sky shone down upon her auburn-brown hair as she took her usual path home from the garden she and Yuki tended to. Spring had withered away, but brought the warmth of summer… and vacation.
"Ah, school is finally over. Now I only have to stress about the final grade. It should be here in a month or so. Argh. I really must thank Sohma-kun for all the help he gave me," Tohru sighed happily, her eyes sparkling; its intensity almost matching that of the sun.
Just a week ago, she had discovered a small watering hole, the perfect swimming pond. Someone long ago might have built the enclosure at the bottom of a small overhang you could jump off of she thought, how very nice. There was a small trickling waterfall, almost dried from the early summer's heat, and a small dock. The water was fresh, sweet, and relaxing. She had been there every day since, bringing her mom's picture enclosed inside a plastic bag to float about the calm ripples: it was peaceful, serene, and the perfect antidote for a hard day's work. It was a sanctuary. Hers. She closed her eyes and told her mom of the day's events, her wonderful experiences with the Sohmas. She told her mom about all of them, even Akito, whom she had met upon a few occasions.
She planned to go to the watering hole tonight.
Now, she had just picked her favorite strawberries, luscious and sweet; from the garden- she was planning to make crepes sprinkled with fresh berries and whipped cream, a recipe she had learned from her mother. The thoughts of her mother brought back aching memories—her smiling face, kind words, everything about her made Tohru smile, but now she was living with the boys of summer, a rowdy bunch she had grown to love. They brought her pleasures that nothing else could bring, except sometimes chocolate. She almost reached the porch, holding the big, heavy wicker basket. Suddenly, Tohru's knees coupled below her as she stumbled, the basket in midair. Her vision blurred as the nanoseconds slipped by, her arms flailing dramatically, like that of oars slicing through the water's surface. Instead of feeling the pain of the hard wood splinters piercing her bare skin, and seeing the dark crimson blood, she fell against something solid, broad, sturdy.
"It" broke her fall and cradled her against him as he fell onto the porch backwards. Tohru cursed herself for letting the strawberries fall onto the dirt paved path leading up to Shigure's house. Everything focused again as she looked up. The man holding her was tall and masculine, wearing a tailored gray suit and striped tie. Shaking her hair away from her eyes she saw the handsome face.
Hatori Sohma, before he transformed into his Juunishi form.
"Ahhh!" she shouted.
She had never really conversed with him, seeing him as an invincible stronghold of the Sohma family. Everyone went to him with their problems, medical and emotional. He was very kind (and handsome), but also very distant. He would seem cold towards other people, but to her, he was just shy, timid, a little mouse. She saw through his façade, a vulnerable, gentle creature. The first time they met, at school, he gave off a scary "wave" as Saki would say. He had told her to visit him when she was free. She had been so scared. With Momiji by her side, she managed to stay calm (or so she thought). He had told her the family was cursed, and that she should leave immediately. She was unraveled by his directness, but learned the truth of his question. He, like Tohru, had lost someone he loved very dearly; only he wasn't able to step away from the past, it was carved into his soul, branded into his heart. His heart had been stomped, stampeded on, crushed as though it was a dirt clod. Now it was a mere shell. Cold drafts blew through the hole in the center. It felt an icy barrier, a cold, hard exterior. The others called him cold-blooded'. Momiji told her that Hatori cried.
That night, Tohru could not help but wonder about this "curse". She cried. She felt his pain coursing through her veins. That was one of her weaknesses, feeling what others around her did; in a way, she lived through those around her, through thick and thin. Why had no one been there to help Hatori?—she had asked herself during many sleepless nights. It made her understand the position she was in and the deep secret she held. She would never betray the ones she loved. She could never. Would never. She wanted to help Hatori, but he was too reserved, too pround; he always disappeared before she got a chance to be alone with him.
"Uh… hi Hatori-san," Tohru blubbered, breathless from the fall, "I…I…I am really sorry," as she searched in the piled clothing for the small seahorse. Finding it buried in a long sleeve, she sighed in relief. "It's just that I was carrying this really heavy basket of strawberries that I picked from the garden. I was going to make French crepes if you'd like to stay over, not that you have to, I was just wondering if you like to try some, they are really good with whipped cream and chocolate…"
"Tohru, are you okay?" Hatori said in her palm, lying still and motionless.
She replied hastily, "Do you need any water?" shrugging off the question with a bobble of her head, even though the pain ached in her hands.
Before she could make a move for the house, Hatori said more firmly, but with a strong air of concern, "Don't worry about me, is that hand of yours okay?"
She looked down at her bloody hand; she had used it as support when it fell hard against the splintered railing. Suddenly, Hatori changed back and Tohru spun away to avoid the naked man, her face turning a bright crimson color. Quickly, he said, "You can look now."
Hatori thought Tohru was one of the few people in the world who treated him respectfully, but not because of his role as the family doctor. She treated him as a friend. After Kana, he had been lost, swirling in guilt, pain, shame, loss. He remembered when he was with her, he never smoked. She had changed him, taunting him, "Ha'ri, smoking is bad. It'll burn your lungs. Plus, I want to be able to kiss you without gulping in the smoke." Kana loved him for who he was, even if he was cursed and they would never truly be intimate. She had taken care of him, emotionally and socially. It had been inevitable. He had been in love. He had never told her how he felt though. She was the one who initiated the "I love you", and he always nodded complacently. That day at the beach, just the two of them, he opened up himself, told Kana about the curse, the family, himself. Old habits die hard. Kana was gone, and his smoking was back. Now, he felt like Tohru had shone light on him, bringing him back into the world. She cared about him as she had showed in previous occasions. Even the small things, like putting on a blanket and reminding him not to smoke made him ache for love. He was falling apart, and he knew it.
"Let's get you into the house," as he put his hand at her waist and gently propelled her forward. "Do you know where Shigure keeps the first-aid stuff? We need to get you some anti-bacterial spray and a bandage."
Dazed from the pain that tingled in her hand, she said, "It's in the downstairs bathroom."
Together, the two walked into the bathroom. Hatori opened the medicine cabinet and found a butterfly bandage, spray, and tweezers. "You might have a splinter or two."
They sat down at the edge of the tub and Tohru offered her hand to Hatori. He looked at it with a sad grimace on his face, the skin was scraped and blood oozed. Gently, using the tweezers, he removed the bits of wood. Her pained face stung his heart.
He longed to kiss the agony away, to hold the young girl in his arms.
Mentally he slapped himself in the forehead. What was he thinking? Were Shigure's smutty novels getting to him? Ugh.Wrong, wrong, WRONG!He was a decade older than Tohru. She was an innocent high-school girl (someone a pervert like Shigure would be attracted to… a compliment for her… a sin for him), and he… an old, broken, scarred man who swatted away any compassion that came toward him, including Tohru's. She had attempted to open his heart out, but he couldn't let anyone see his tormented soul. It was too painful. For anyone. Even this angel'.
"Tohru, it's done." He put the oversized bandage across her hand. Then he pulled away and looked at her, the sweet, tender face, tears brimming.
"Thank you so much Hatori, first for saving me, now for putting on the bandage." Tohru said sincerely. Hatori was mysterious. Around the other men, he seemed so… distant and cold. However, now he was showing a new side of himself.
He nodded slowly, hating to hear apologies, because he didn't deserve them and rose. "Would you like some tea?"
She rose to her feet too, left the bathroom, and entered the kitchen, Hatori following. She tried to get the kettle, but her hand sprung away, she snuffled a sound. Hatori's hand instantly moved toward hers. He helped her bring the kettle to the cup. Hand on hand, they poured two cups of steaming tea. He didn't want to let go. She turned around and looked directly into his eyes, dark and opaque.
Disliking the silence, Tohru smiled back and asked, "Hatori, would you like something to eat?" It was late afternoon, and the others were busy, Yuki at school discussing the next semesters' clubs, Kyo in the mountains, and Shigure away on a "business" trip, which Tohru took to be a "pleasure" trip because he had brought along beachwear.
"Uh… sure. Do you need any help, if it's not any trouble?" Hatori asked openly.
"No…ahhhhh, the strawberries are still outside!" She ran out the door on to the porch. Grey nimbus clouds loomed overhead, forshadowing, casting an ominous harbinger. She began grabbing the red berries, blowing the dirt off. Hatori came alongside her, doing the same thing. Tohru looked up, and saw Hatori genuinely smiling (actually a smirk; it was as close to a smile as Hatori could get).
He looked at Tohru, always so eager and willing to do things for others. She also looked good doing it. Her hair fluttered in the gentle zephyr and her blouse flapped against her skin. He saw her blushed cheeks and shoulders from the wind, yearning for him to touch. Hatori unconsciously leaned in to place a strand of her silky hair back behind her ears. Tohru smiled at him playfully, bringing her gentle hands to cup his cheeks, swiping back his bangs to see his precious eyes.
"Hatori, would you like to make crepes with me?" Tohru said eagerly as a light drizzle began to pitter-patter softly on the roof. The perfect atmosphere for warm crepes.
Chapter 2: A Full Moon
Hatori stared, surprised at the questions, but soon the revelation turned into a small, sexy smile. He helped her gather the berries in the basket and they headed toward the kitchen, Tohru leading the way. Hatori couldn't help but wonder the life they could live together; with Tohru, he never though about Kana, his lost love. Tohru was the perfect match for him.
In the kitchen, Tohru placed the strawberries in a large wash basin and turned the faucet on. Humming lightly to herself, she patted the strawberries clean in a small hand towel. Meanwhile, Hatori looked at her musingly leaning against the threshold leading into the kitchen, his feet bare and relaxed.
"Hatori, would you like to cut up the berries while I make the batter?" she asked innocently.
He headed toward the knife drawer and drew out a small knife and cutting board. Then he meticulously began to chop the strawberries—with the agility of a top chef. Hmm. Tohru got the crepe ingredients—wheat flour, milk, butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Working side-by-side, they were quiet and once in a while turned to look at one another. Tohru reddened when she saw Hatori stare intently at her. His dark eyes bore into hers. She turned away quickly.
Was this "attraction"? Does he like me? Or was he merely seeing her as an interesting specimen? Was her hair messy from the wind? Did she have a crush on him?
No, Hatori was too perfect for her, he was smart, handsome, well-mannered (unlike Kyo, who was too hotheaded for any reasoning of any sort) and mysterious. Characteristics of the perfect male being. Was she getting a crush on an older Sohma?No. It wasn't a sudden epiphany, but rather a growing fondness for the older man. Something about him…
She drew her hands to her hair to smooth out any bumps there might be, self-consciously. The sky outside grew dark and cold, but inside was cozy and warm, the stove top on and the crepes cooking. She had poured on a thin layer of batter. Using the spatula deftly, Tohru flipped the crepe, not wanting to burn anything. She already added the strawberries. Just as she was about to reach for the mitts in the drawer to carry the pan, Hatori gave them to her swiftly. She stared up into the eyes of her benefactor; they were warm with a tinge of mystery. A phone call disrupted the tense air.
Hatori reached the phone quickly and answered gruffly, "Hello?"
"Tori-san, oh you are there? Ah, perfect, because I won't be home tonight, I am at a business trip that will involve staying overnight," Shigure continued, while Hatori smirked, "I wouldn't be home tonight, so you can take care of the youngsters. You owe me. You can take my room. It's a little messy for your taste, and don't trip on my books. Don't do anything to my little flower Ha-san." And the phone clicked off. But not before Hatori heard loud grunts in the background.
How did Shigure always seem to know what was on his mind? Not that he planned to do anything. Tohru was too young, too innocent, too… perfect.
"Shigure won't be home tonight, so I will stay over with you and the others. Where are they by the way?"
Tohru replied, "Kyo won't be home tonight, he's in the mountains for a week or so. That's all he told me."
The crepes were finished and Tohru was adding the finishing touches to the dish, extra strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar.
"I'm sorry Hatori, I know you're hungry after a busy day's work. Is all this stuff okay for you? I didn't ask before." She said, pulling her lower lip between her teeth. He looked at her, liking the habit. He felt warmness fill throughout his body, especially the lower half. He nodded and helped her carry the two plates over to nook. Tohru brought over the forks and knifes.
They ate in silence. Finally, Tohru got to look at him from head to toe-- his long legs were spread next to the table. (They couldn't fit under the small table, Ha'ri being 5'11" and all) He was wearing a double-breasted gray blazer, oyster-colored slacks, and a white shirt. The shirt's collar was opened to reveal… what was she thinking? Why was she looking at him like that? His casual appearance sent streaks of sensation from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.
When they were done, she brought the dishes to the sink to wash. Hatori slipped his fingers to her shoulders.
"Can I do those for you?"
Deep down in her chest, butterflies danced, one fluttered up to her throat as she tried to speak. She didn't struggle out of his hold, but felt her cheeks burn. She continued working so he wouldn't see the desire in her eyes.
"Ah no, it's okay."
Just then, the door opened quietly, Yuki stood in the doorway, damp from the light precipitation looking at the two of them.
Tohru spun around, "Would you like some dinner?" directed towards the both of them.
"If Hatori wants any, I already had some at the meeting. I'm really tired; I'm going to head upstairs. I also need a shower. Good night guys." Yuki yawned, stumbling up the stairs to his room.
Tohru finished and said, "Would you like any dinner?" He shook his head lightly. The truth was, Hatori was too star-struck to be hungry. Looking at Tohru's sweet face melted away all his fears, desires, hopes…life. She became his only focus, a remedy to all his internal pain.
Then he asked, before thinking (something he rarely did) "If you aren't hungry, would you like to… to… go for a walk outside. It's a full moon tonight and the rain has stopped."
It was only seven o'clock and the sky was clearing up. Tohru nodded in compliance. "I'll be right back, let me get a sweater."
It would be nice to go for a nice, refreshing walk, though Hatori, sitting down on the porch bench, arms and legs crossed in front of him. His eyes were closed as he dreamed.
"I want to touch you," he rasped as one hand snaked its way around her shoulder and spun her toward him, chest to chest. The moonlight lit her face, his eyes penetrating deep into hers. He could see through her diaphanousdress, unyielding around the curves of her breasts.Her breasts were pert, yet soft and ever-kissable.His arms embraced her tightly as he snuggled his body against hers, unable to get close enough. She didn't know what to do with her hands, so she hesitantly rested them on his shoulders. Her breasts ached for his touch. Insanity and love kept her from pulling away. Hatori'shand skillfully worked its way down the front of the bodice of the dress. When all the buttons were unfastened, he slid his hands into the open dress and pressed affectionately into her full breasts, caressing, molding."Oh, you feel so good," he said against her lips. "Soft and beautiful, perfect. I want to see you. Kiss you."
He took her mouth, making love to it with his tongue while histhumb stroked her nubs until theypeaked with desire—pencil tips on the cold night air. She moaned desperately between short breathes; the breaths formeda haze of seclusion around the couple as they glistened in the moonlight. Her chest and his molded together, a puzzle that could not break apart. An ache grew inside him, winding tighter and tighter, until, until… until.
He snapped back into reality. What is going on? Was it the full moon? Was it making him lustful and wanton? How could his chest touch hers without bad consequences? He hadn't been like this for a while.
Well, ever. Damn fantasy!
She was too perfect, and… and, he would never be released from his pains. Kana. Akito. Broken glass shards. Blindness.
Looking at the impassive man, Tohru was the first to speak.
"Would you like to visit the veggie garden?"
The air was clean and cool against their skins. Hatori stood up and said, "Sure." They followed the dirt path leading into the wilderness. They walked side by side. Tohru thought it was amusing that they walked in step. Left leg, right leg, left leg, right leg.
Her arm grazed his, softly, bringing a stinging sensation to his groin area. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! He turned away slightly just in case she saw his lap or his face. Tohru, seeing him turn away thought she had offended him in someway, so the remainder of the stroll they walked silently, letting their minds wander. They reached the garden. She bent down and shook the newest inhabitants slightly... the pumpkin squash.
"These are our newest little babies," she beamed, looking up at Hatori, "When they are ripe enough, maybe you could come over for some sweet pumpkin squash soup."
The word, "babies" brought Hatori naughty thoughts. He couldn't admit it, but he wanted Tohru in bed with him. He would love to "create" a child with her. What am I thinking again?Stupid moon, playing tricks on my mind, Hatori thought. The night was too dark for Tohru to see him blush, and he said, "Sounds good."
"This is about it. Yuki and I have been pretty busy with school and all. This summer we plan to grow a jungle—more strawberries, watermelon, peppers, carrots, sweet peas… any other ideas"
Without any further thought, Hatori asked, "Can I help with the garden sometime?"
What was he thinking? This was Tohru and Yuki's garden;he couldn't just intrude upon a sanctuary with his dark aura. Spending any more time with Tohru would, would… tame him. Release him from... what?
His past. Kana. Akito.
Tohru, a little surprised, smiled.
"Of course, Hatori! I would love that!"
She stood up, almost wanting to hug him, but remembered the "curse" and instead brought her hand out for a shake. Very professional, she thought. After all, he was a doctor.
Hatori took it tentatively. She felt his large, warm, callused hand grasp hers, and she gasped a bit. It felt so good. Warm. It sculpted into hers perfectly, Cinderella's shoe. Hatori couldn't help but smile a bit; she did so many things that surprised him. And he loved it. He finally let go of the little flower's' hand. He longed to stroke her rosy cheeks and embrace her.
Tohru lead the way home.
"Goodnight, Ha'ri," Tohru yawned, walking up the stairs after removing her sweater and hanging it in the foyer closet, along with her slippers.
Lapsing back to reality, Hatori mumbled, "You too." He stared at her back as she disappeared at the top of the staircase. His mind was worn out from his feelings toward her (especially since she had just called him is pet name).
She was a "normal" girl, like Kana, and he was a cursed Juunishi—someone who no one else could love. He had been trained to suppress memories, even the ones he most cherished. He could never utter the words, "I love you." Even when he was in love with Kana; he had never once uttered those beautiful yet harsh words. Saying them would have broken his hard, cold demeanor, which had grown over the past two years.
Hatori took off his vest, unbuttoned his shirt, and went to the porch with his cigarettes. Smoking was the only way he could release his pains. Looking at the darkened sky, he saw a falling star; it faded away just as fast. Even though he did not believe in superstition, he made a wish-- that Tohru would find someone to love. To be loved.
As long as the life of a star.
A/N: I hope everyone enjoyed this story. I'd love to hear your thoughts, constructive criticism, anything that's on your mind! Thanks.