Disclaimer: Fruits Basket belongs to Natsuki Takaya

I watched part of a show on rats a while back. Rats are going to take over the world one day. And, thus, I needed a fic where Yuki could bond with the rats. Joy.


His bare feet are cold.

Hatori would be mad. But he isn't here, and neither is Shigure. That's why Yuki came down to the kitchen—because Shigure won't be back until sometime in the morning, possibly drunk.

He wriggles half-numb toes. There is a cold draft from where he opened the door a few centimeters. It's for the mice to come in. Not that they would not find other ways inside, but he does not think he should encourage them to eat holes in Shigure's house. And that is why he waited until the man left; Shigure may not appreciate cleaning, but Yuki doubts he will appreciate the rats either.

That is the second reason for the draft. Yuki might be the Mouse, but he does not enjoy the smell of the garbage.

It's all their own fault, for refusing to remove the trash from the kitchen. Especially now, with the introduction of take-out. The rats were not as enticed to eat here when it was just Shigure and Yuki cooking. They complained about Shigure's meals quite a bit, but it was the leftovers of Yuki's attempts that they warned each other to avoid in shrill voices not meant for human ears.

Yuki tries not to be offended that the mice think his meals are toxic. After all, he never learned to cook. What use did Akito's favorite, the special Rat, have for skills such as cooking and cleaning? The maids had always taken care of it when the two were small and got along as best as any two children kept together day-in and day-out could. And even after things got worse, Yuki was still well provided for.

It is Shigure's house, and Yuki does not mind the rats. What incentive does he have for learning housework now?

He can hear the first rats arrive now, their constantly running commentary emanating from what Shigure jokingly calls the Sea of Decay. Yuki has asked them not to come into the house until the writer is asleep, just in case he might thoughtlessly set out traps.

The entire mischief of mice is clamoring for his attention now. They do not like the spices the new cook of the take-out restaurant used. A litter of rats has just reached adulthood, and tonight they are adding to the numbers of the swarm. There was a cat in the woods—terrifying. But it is safe here. They tell him everything, even when he does not listen.

Their compact furry bodies press against his bare feet, warming them. Rats carry diseases; Hatori would be so angry.

Is this what it feels like to be loved?

But not to be needed… the rats would manage just fine without Yuki, too smart to get caught or killed.

The mice tell him everything and nothing, regardless of whether it makes sense or is relevant to anyone but themselves, and they can tell he's feeling lonely. A lot like Haru. Haru used to sneak in to visit Yuki in his room at the Main House, where it was much harder to tempt rats to come. He wishes Haru would visit, but he supposes he has just traded one company for another.

Yuki does not deserve it, anyway. He should not be congratulated just for running away. Especially since he did not make it any farther than Shigure's house—he could not even break from the Soumas.

He wraps his arms tight and rests his head against his knees, feeling the rats shift their attention and press closer to him as the tears prick the corners of his eyes. If he cannot be big and strong and courageous to stand up to his mother and Akito, then he would like to be as small as the tinniest mouse, to slip away through the cracks so they can never catch him again.