Disclaimers on the characters of Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya. I don't own them, so don't sue.
Note that this takes place after the Fruits Basket manga series. There will definitely be changes since I won't be following the original story (almost entirely…). Also, this is fast forward yet again. Because time jumps by authors are awesome.
The woman dressed in a light pink scrub smiled kindly at her as the clipboard slid back into the shelf above the bed. She said to the blonde woman, "It seems like the epidural has worn off and you seem to be recovering from it. If you feel any other pain, please press the button next to your bed for a small dose of painkiller. Also, please take your time and rest well, Sohma-san."
"Thank you," Kisa said in return as she leaned back comfortably onto the pillows behind her. Her tawny eyes closed in exhaustion but immediately fluttered open when she heard footsteps from outside her door. She calmed down when she realized it was only a passerby and chose to stare up at the ceiling.
Silence never seemed sweeter to Kisa. There was an occasional beat of her heart's pulse and the squeaking of wheels along the linoleum tiled floors. The curtains were drawn back and tied, displaying the brilliance of the darkness and the jewels in the skies. The cream walls were darkened with shadows as a small lamp dimly lit the room.
Her mind was drowsily reviewing the events of the past hours. Never had she previously experienced what she did today. It was an amazing yet life changing day. Well, perhaps one of the very few others, she amended to herself when she felt the cold metal wrapped around her ring finger.
Kisa allowed her eyes to rove to her hands folded on her midsection above the thick hot blankets. Two rings sat comfortably on her left hand. A small silver diamond solitaire glimmered as she brushed her forefinger across the set stone. The thin gold band placed in front of it glowed in the soft light of her chamber.
Her pale pink lips lifted in a blissful smile as she recalled pieces of her last eight years.
A dinner at downtown to celebrate her first semester of college. A stroll to Tokyo Tower and the long ride up and down on her first summer break. Hatsuharu knocking on her dormitory door at midnight in the middle of her and his final exams week with toasty snacks. Her calling to ask if he would accompany her to Sapporo for the winter break. Him asking her to this graduation formal. Her timidly pleading him to watch this new movie that came out but was too embarrassed to watch with anyone else. Him giving her the first ticket of a few for his college commencement. Her surprising him with a small home cooked birthday dinner at his new apartment. A step further into their relationship as they decided to move in together in her last year of college. Their first fight over his protectiveness and her ceaselessly trustfulness. Their foolishness as they reconciled. Him securing a job as a technical assistant. Her walking up on stage to receive her diploma and running to him at end of the stage. His long nights at the office as she applied restlessly for teaching jobs. Her shock when half-way through a normal Sunday brunch he proposed to her wearing nothing but sweat pants and she in her pajamas and an apron. Their harried weekends with the photographer and the wedding planner. Their joy as the priest blessed their marriage and sealed their lives to one another. Their sadness as they lost their first child from a miscarriage. Their pain as they struggled to move on. Their love for each other as a miracle was brought in to this world.
Kisa blinked away the heavy tears clinging to her eyelashes. They rolled down her cheeks and splashed the neckline of the gown she wore. She laughed at her silliness, swallowing the sob as more tears filled her eyes.
It already had been over three years since they were married and more than seven since they started. And still, every time she thought back, she couldn't help but to cry from all the happiness that Hatsuharu brought and selflessly gave her. They had tough times but more happy than that.
"Why are you crying, Kisa?" A warm hand cupped her cheek and the rough pad of his thumb wiped the tears away.
Instinctively, she leaned into it, soaking the strength that it gave her. "I'm happy, that's all."
Hatsuharu nodded in understanding and then he frowned. "You should be sleeping."
Kisa smiled and sighed. "I don't feel very sleepy now that you're here. Where is he?"
"He's in the nursery, with the other babies," her husband said in his deep soothing voice. He lifted her hand into her golden crown to smooth down the ruffled hair. "He is strong and healthy."
A tightness found a way to her chest as her breath hitched. "Is he…?"
The bi-tonal male kissed her gently on the forehead. He whispered the words she longed very much to hear. "He is normal. A normal baby boy."
The new mother pressed her lips together in order to stop herself from sobbing in relief. "Oh, Hatsuharu-kun!"
"Shh…" Hatsuharu pulled his wife into his embrace as he shared his joy with her.
She contented herself by pressing her head against his chest and listened to the beat of his heart, syncing with hers. She grabbed his free hand with hers and squeezed it. Her tawny eyes were shinning with infinite joy as she said to him dazedly, "We have a baby boy…"
"Mmm," he hummed in agreement as he basked in the amazement written all over her face. He tucked the long side locks behind her ear and gently cupped her cheek. "Kisa…"
"Hm?" The woman allowed her head to turn upward so that their eyes gazed into one another. Her heart skipped a beat, as it did many times in the past whenever they held this connection between them. It was always a life changing moment, in some way. She felt the butterflies in her stomach flutter with anticipation as she waited for his words.
Hatsuharu stared unblinkingly into his wife's glowing face. "Are you hungry?"
Realizing her silliness, Kisa began to laugh. He didn't ask her why or try to dissuade her from doing so. Instead he rubbed his thumb on her cheek and waited for her answer. She smiled and shyly answered, "Just a little bit… I think Onee-chan brought something earlier. She left it over there by the sink."
He wandered over to the small counter next to the sink. Small bouquets of flowers, congratulatory cards and a large woven basket were neatly set there by the hospital staff. He picked up the basket and returned to the bedside, placing it onto the bed table. It was rolled closer to her reclined person to prevent her from sitting up and craning her neck in order to see what was inside the basket.
It was an assortment of fruits arranged in an appealing manner—the larger fruits lined the sides of the basket while the smaller ones were cradled within. There were ripe plums, a small box of blueberries, a bunch of grapes, fresh pears, lightly dotted bananas, a few fuzzy peaches, and some crisp waxy apples. Kisa felt her mouth water at the sight of the fruits. She hasn't eaten since lunch of yesterday and it was nearly four in the morning of the next.
"Which one do you want to eat?" he asked her as he picked up an apple for himself. He set it aside. She thought for a minute and then reached for the grapes. He stopped her and took it out to wash. When both the apple and the grapes were shaken of excess water, he dropped his apple onto the empty plate and began to pluck grapes individually from the stem. She held back her protest and obediently allowed him to hand feed her.
After she finished her share, Kisa watched her husband steadily peel the apple. Then she glanced over each fruit displayed before her. Her lips tilted upward as fond memories returned to her one by one as she named each fruit in her head. Each color, shape and size reminded her of various times eventually led her to him, to what they were today, to what they had this very moment. She grew up with loving each bite, scent and taste that represented her passage through the journey of life.
Suddenly, a white piece of crisp skinless apple appeared before her eyes. Hatsuharu prodded her closed mouth with the cool slice, moisturizing her chapped lips. She shook her head and insisted, "It's yours. You should eat it."
"I will, after you are well fed," he stated calmly, brushing her pursed lips with it again. Kisa refused it. Instead, she gripped his wrist and guided the proffered fruit to his mouth. He looked at her wryly and moved the plate of sliced apple onto the table. The bi-tonal haired man shifted to the edge of his seat, leaning forward to bite onto one end of the fruit. However, he left the rest of the slice hanging from his mouth.
He stretched his neck toward her and blinked. She watched him for a few seconds before he jutted his chin out and tilted his head lightly to the right.
The golden hair woman giggled and leaned closer to her husband. She approached him shyly and watched his dark eyes. They held a shine of mischief and deep affection. When she reached her target, Kisa took a quick but small bite of the apple before pulling back. Hatsuharu gave her a flat look when she ruined his fun. Regardless, he ate the rest of the slice and sealed their lips in a chaste kiss.
Hatsuharu pulled back so that they were nose to nose. She could feel his warm breath fan across her tingling lips. His hand came up and cupped the side of her face and she leaned into it. It was a familiar action and she relished it each time as if it were the first.
"Kisa," he murmured as if passing her a secret. His thumb rubbed small circles over the swell of her cheek.
She sighed silently and pressed her forehead against his. "Hmm?"
"Thank you. Suki dayo," he said.
A smile grew on her visage, her tired expression brightening two fold. "Suki yo, Hatsuharu-kun."
When he kissed her again, she felt his love in every moment. She could taste the fresh crunchiness of the apples and the dry sweetness of the grapes that they consumed.
They were no longer ordinary foods to her, she decided. They were going to be foods of happiness and family.
AN: And that's a wrap! Thank you all so much for sticking by this story for so long. I am truly happy that you all took the time to read it and I love that you are reading it. So, a big round of applause to my faithful and awesome readers and reviewers!
I'm glad and sad to see this come to an end. This started out as an experiment really when I was browsing through the Furuba section for our beloved ox and tiger. For me, they were the couple meant to be as they grow up. I tried to do them some justice, though I have to admit that there were many times where I just struggled with their personalities, deleted and rewrote each chapter, and threw my hands in the air hoping that the story will write itself. Over this long journey, this story has become a favorite gem of mine. The things I learned about these two and the things I got to develop between them was amazing. I was anxious about the outcome and now, I'm completely content. There were millions of ways that I could have ended it, but I felt this definitely fit them best. I'm going to miss writing about Hatsuharu's laid-back yet serious character and Kisa's timid but determined personality.
Hopefully, I will come back to Fruits Basket in the future with more Hatsuharu and Kisa goodiness. So, until then, happy writing and fulfilling readings!