A/N: Okay, I have a long weekend, I forget what my homework is, and one of the strings on my guitar just broke. That means I have three days with nothing to do but write and watch my Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVDs. I'll start with writing. This is an AU story using Fruits Basket characters. I changed the last names of some characters, and they are the same ages as in the first volume of the manga (Tohru, Kyo, and Yuki are 15-16). The setting is the fictional town of Coalbird. This will contain het, shonen-ai (slash) and shojo-ai (femmeslash). The basic plot is that several high school students discover a strange power is at work it their town, and all try to use it in different ways. There is some violence, and the language in this is also quite strong, so if you don't like that you probably shouldn't read. Oddly enough, I never swear when I talk even though profanity doesn't bother me, and I thought it would help to emphasize the setting and keep the characters realistic. If you want, just ask and I can email you a clean version. I love reviews, both criticism and praise. The O.C.s will be better characterized and described in future chapters, this is a prologue so I tried to keep it kind of vague.
Story Categories: Drama, Romance, Fantasy, Action/Adventure, Angst, Humor (occasionally), Experimental, Dark (I'm not a big fan of Happyfic. But don't worry, this isn't dark in the "everyone-died-let's-cry-about-it" way. I could never kill off my beloved Furuba characters. And Kyo crying his eyes out for a whole story would just be too weird.)
Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket or any characters from it. I make no money off this story, which is unfortunate because I really, really need some new shoelaces.
Inspiration: The band The Vines (The title comes from one of their songs), the movie Happy Endings, and the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Oh, and I copied the Steven King chapter dividing format because I liked it, so I guess he deserves a mention.
The evening air is pleasantly cool against Yuki Aizawa's skin. He walks quickly and purposely towards his destination, keeping all his senses alert for danger. Footsteps. He pauses and looks around him for the umpteenth time. He sees nothing but the white facades of houses, staring blankly at him, under the dark, star-studded sky. It must have been echoes of his own footfalls. Eventually he decides he was being paranoid, and continues on. He is wearing dark clothing, and not doing anything to make himself eye-catching, but he still feels oddly conspicuous. He follows the path he takes every day, but it feels odd, not right. Probably just because it's night. Going to school at night is bound to set off a red flag in his mind.
The building came into view, bright white and deserted. He allowed himself a sigh of relief. Everything was going according to plan. He climbed the grey steps, feeling the cold of the concrete through his shoes. He rests an arm on the handrail as he walks, knowing he could suddenly lose all his strength. When he reaches the top, he looks around himself one more time.
"I thought you'd never get here," says a voice.
"Haru," he states, his tone unreadable. Then he smiles. "You're early for once."
"That I am," responds the voice. A boy steps out of the shadows in the corner of the building where he had been concealed. He is young, maybe 15. He has white hair with black roots, and wears several silver earrings. He obviously hadn't seen the need of not being immediately obvious. "So, did you fulfill your end of the bargain, Yuki?"
"You really don't know me well at all, do you?" smirks Yuki, handing the younger boy a black backpack.
"No," says Haru. "I really don't. But I guess I'll have to trust you."
"Don't trust people so lightly, Haru," says Yuki.
Cryptic much? Thinks Haru as Yuki walks away. Haru begins a trek in the opposite direction away from the building, and the area is left apparently deserted.
Sunlight is streaming in through the open window, past the white curtains. Clothing lays strewn randomly across the floor of the room, so that one cannot even see that the floor is expensive hardwood. Beside the door, there is a collection of textbooks and binders, half falling out of a backpack made from red fabric that is starting to fray and tear. Posters are plastered on all four walls, displaying pictures of strangely dressed musicians, skateboarders performing impossible-looking stunts, and various pixilated profanities and inside jokes that had been printed off a school computer when some friends had skipped a particularly boring language arts class. Metal music is blaring from the sleek, circular CD player, and glowing red not-quite-rectangles almost touch, forming numbers indicating the device is also an alarm clock. A heap of pillows and blankets slowly rise and fall, betraying the fact that there is a person under them.
The scene is surrealistic chaos, yet calm and somehow right. The singer in the metal band keeps shouting, oblivious or not caring that no one is listening as he attacks the fundamental flaws in politics, society, and the media.
The scene is disturbed as a pillow is flung across the room, hitting the wall with a soft whumph. The heap of blankets is thrown to the floor as the sleeping person awakens and sits up suddenly. He checks the time on the clock and frantically throws himself onto the floor, landing awkwardly on his side. Standing up, he grabs a handful of clothes off the ground and opens the door, knocking over the backpack in the process, causing its contents to spill out and become another layer atop the mountain of clothes that had accumulated.
He checks his appearance in the bathroom mirror. He is wearing a baggy black t-shirt with the name of a band emblazoned on it in flaming letters, and rumpled cargo pants. The same things he wore yesterday. His longish orange hair is messy, but he knows it will not do any good to brush it. His big eyes, which are usually a reddish-orange anyway, are noticeably bloodshot. That's okay, everyone thinks he wears contacts anyway, he can claim that they have been irritating him. At least his face doesn't have any noticeable cuts or bruises on it, though he is paler than usual and there are dark circles under his eyes. He knows he should probably stay home, but he is on the verge of failing and already skips way too often. He pulls off his shirt, and is hit by a numb sense of surprised upon seeing how bruised he is. Looks like I'll have to at least skip gym, he thinks. They are doing a wrestling unit, and in his condition that would probably be too painful. Besides, it's just gym.
He changes into a long-sleeved red-and-black striped shirt and a pair of baggy dark jeans. He pulls a black t-shirt on over the long sleeved shirt, and dons a too-big grey hoodie over that. He manages to hide all his injuries, but not quite his slim build. He wishes he had time for a shower, but according to the clock that wish is in vain. So he sprays himself with body spray and wishes instead that he didn't accidentally buy the girl's kind again.
He finds some leftover Chinese food in the fridge, and quickly devours the chop suey. He stuffs his wallet into his pocket so that he can buy lunch at school. He unplugs an mp3 player from his computer and starts to listen to it as he brushes his teeth. Going back into his room, he haphazardly shoves the spilled contents of his backpack back in, picks up the bag, puts it on his shoulders, and leaves.
Some places never seem to change with time. The town of Coalbird is one such place. There is one elementary school, one junior high, and one high school, as well as a 7-11, a couple car washes, and a store that sells everything from food to televisions. Hardly any new residents have moved there since the 50s. Most of the residents are second or third generation immigrants. It's a small town, the type of place where the front-page stories in the paper are about the local kids hockey team. People rarely move away, and when they do they almost always come back within days, saying the big city is not for them. If a person stays away, it probably means they never fit in at Coalbird anyway, and life there goes on as always.
The bus tires screech slightly as it pulls to a stop outside the high school, a white, cube-shaped building with concrete steps leading up to the double-doors at the entrance. The sun is still glaringly bright, and a few fluffy white clouds float leisurely across the absurdly blue sky. As the boy steps off the vehicle along with the throng of other students, something catches his attention. That something is a group of students, gathered by the steps talking animatedly. "Yo! Hirozuka!" calls one of them.
The orange-haired boy gives a nonchalant wave, which is immediately returned by a few of the other students in the group. "What's going on?" he asks as he comes closer. His friends Ian, John, and Marcus are talking to some girls and a boy he recognizes as Cole Thunder. He doesn't usually associate with Thunder, but he knows him because… well, everyone knows Cole. He's a guy who talks constantly, often bragging about how he was named after the town. He is the type of person people either love or hate instantly.
The orange-haired boy finds him annoying and didn't much like him.
But today, no one seems annoyed by him. Rather, they listen enthralled to what he is saying. He stops suddenly, seeing the orange-haired boy approaching. "I think I should go," he stammers, running off.
"Aw, Hirozuka? Why did you have to scare him off?" asks Ian.
"Yeah, what did you do to him?" inquires Marcus.
"How the hell should I know?" the boy mutters.
John moans. "Whatever. I'm sure Thunder was making it up anyway." He laughs. "Man, that stuff was fucking insane."
"Well? What was it?" asks the boy, anger creeping into his words and expression.
"Chill, Kyo," demands Marcus. His voice is calm, as it always is, but it holds an air of authority and control. He gestures to the girls. "I guess I should introduce you. Izzy, Sharla, this is Kyo Hirozuka."
"Hey, nice to meet you," says Kyo.
"You too," says Izzy. Sharla remains silent. Izzy has fluffy straight black hair, short for a girl, that sticks out in oddly random spikes and falls over her left eye. Her appearance is vaguely gothic and her eyes are dark and full of energy. Kyo takes an immediate liking to her. Sharla, on the other hand, has long purplish-red hair and is wearing aviator sunglasses. She is noticeably tall, yet seems like the quiet type. Kyo is not quite sure what to make of her.
"We should probably go," smiles Sharla, walking away.
"See ya," says Izzy, sprinting off after her.
Once the girls were out of hearing range, Ian complains, "Aw, man Kyo! You scaring away Thunder I can tolerate, but this… I tell you, you're risking our friendship."
"Shut up, Ian," says Kyo.
"Yeah, stop whining dude. Not cool," John adds.
"Hey, what smells like strawberries?" asks Ian suddenly.
Dammit! Can't any of my wishes ever come true? Seriously, did I piss off my fairy godmother or something? Kyo thinks. "Who cares," he says aloud. "What was Thunder saying anyway?" he asks Marcus, as he is the most serious of their group and most likely to actually answer the question.
"Well, he claimed that yesterday he was walking past the school for some sort of dance class," starts Marcus.
"Actually, his exact words were "gangsta dance class," interjects John.
Marcus continues. "Anyway, he saw Yuki Aizawa standing outside the school and decided to spy on him."
"Why?" asks Kyo.
"Probably because he's a sick freak with no life," responds Ian. "Besides, Yuki doesn't really talk to anyone much so no one knows that much about him. Who wouldn't want to know what he does when he's not at school? He's such a weird guy. Sorry, no offense Kyo."
"Why would I be offended? I can't stand him either."
"Oh. I just assumed the two of you would be friends, since you're both… you know, Japanese."
"And that means we have to be friends?" Spits Kyo, feeling hot anger rise in him. " He's a pretentious jerk. I hate his type."
"Chill out, I didn't mean anything by it!" defends Ian, holding up both hands in a placating gesture.
"You know, I'm just gonna go. I don't really care about what he said anymore," mutters Kyo, storming off.
"What's his damage?" raises John, perturbed.
"Who knows," sighs Marcus, exasperated. "He's gotten more and more difficult to talk to, and you know how he's always been the type to take the whole troubled teen thing too far."
"Hey, the smell of strawberries is gone!" exclaims Ian. He looks around to see that his friends have walked off without him. Aww, crap, he thought. Now who's going to tell me what "pretentious" means?
Inside the school, Marcus deposits his backpack in his locker and slams the door shut with a metallic clang. He stands leaning against the row of lockers, absentmindedly spinning a combination lock with his index finger. "Hey John?" he asks, spotting the other boy close by at his own locker.
"Do you think we should find Kyo and tell him about what that Thunder kid said?"
John snorted. "Come on, why bother? Why should we even believe there was a word of truth in that story?"
"Because I doubt the guy would make up a story about him going to "gangsta dance class" to earn popularity points. "
"Um, this is Thunder we're talking about. I mean, who knows? But can you honestly believe a story that involves a weird white-haired kid, a mysterious evil power, and Yuki Aizawa actually talking to someone?" He emphasizes random words in an extremely accurate imitation of Cole. "Damn, that Thunder kid could really use some counseling."
"He already has a counselor."
"Well, he needs a better one."
Her first day in a new town, at a whole new school. The girl feels a mix of excitement and fear at the thought. She is surprised at how many people she sees here, she'd heard it was a small town. A group of guys are talking excitedly, and occasionally one of them bursts out laughing. She decides against going to talk to them, they seem too outgoing for her, and she'd stick out and not know what to say. At the other end of the stairs, a tall girl with long black hair stands off silently to the side by herself, immediately catching her attention.
"Hello, I'm Tohru Honda. I'm new here," she says to the tall girl.
"I can tell," replies the black-haired girl. Tohru sees that she's older than herself, probably in her last year.
"Um… It's very nice to meet you!" exclaims Tohru.
"Thanks," says the girl. "Look, I have to go to class. We can talk later if you really want," she declares, starting to walk away.
"But, I don't even know your name!"
"Isuzu," the older girl answers, not even turning back.
Tohru checks her watch nervously. It is still about ten minutes before class starts. She digs into her coat pocket, closing her fingers around a folded piece of paper. She withdraws it, and looks it over… again.
"I see you've met Rin," says a soft voice from behind her. Tohru gasps, startled. The voice laughs. "Sorry, I didn't mean to sneak up on you."
"No, it's okay, really," says Tohru, turning around and coming face to face with a boy her age. He's tall and has long silver-grey hair and amazingly beautiful grey eyes.
"Allow me to introduce myself. I'm Yuki Aizawa," he says.
"I'm Tohru Honda. It's very nice to meet you," she says.
"So, I see you've met Rin."
"Rin?" the girl asks, looking bemused. "Oh, I was just talking to a girl named Isuzu."
Yuki laughs. "Yeah, that's her. Did she act weird?"
"Er, um… Why do you call her Rin?" replies the girl, obviously attempting to change the subject.
" Oh, sorry. I thought you spoke Japanese," apologizes Yuki.
"I do a little, but I'm not great at it. My dad spoke it, but not my mom. I took lessons on weekends for a while, but they weren't available in every town so eventually I just stopped. Ah, I'm talking too much, aren't I?"
"Not at all. It's good to talk to people when you're new here. I wish I would have talked more when I was new." He gets a far-off look in his eyes. Suddenly, he says " Anyway, Isuzu means a bell in Japanese, and Rin is the sound a bell makes. It's her nickname."
"Oh! That's cool."
"So, from what you said it sounds like you move a lot."
"Oh… yeah. I'm used to big cities, so this is a change for me. I only moved here because I have relatives here. Can you tell me what it's like? Living here, I mean. And going to school here. What are the people like?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. It's different for everyone I guess. I'm really not the person to be asking these sort of things. I'm not the most social guy."
"What do you mean? You've been really nice to me," says the girl.
"Thanks," he says. "You know-" he is cut off by the high-pitched sound of the school bell signaling the start of classes. As it ends, he continues. "I'm sure you'll do fine here. I can show you around if you want later."
"I'd like that," she says, and begins walking towards the building.
Why did I have to go talk to her? Yuki asks himself. Now I've put her in danger too. Tohru Honda, it really would have been best if you had never come to this town.