To Tantalize Sin
a c a n t h a – c h a n
Authoress' Note & Disclaimer: AU I recently watched an episode of Fruits Basket that inspired me to write this. Now that I can think back (it's that blind-writing thing I do when I block everything else out and just write - faulty, but it works and it kills time), I can't quite remember which episode it is but it'll come back to me.
At any rate, this one-shot is set in an alternate setting in which Tohru did not exist, the curse was never broken and Kyo never finished his end of the bargain with the Sohma house - you know, the one where if he can beat Yuki, his polar opposite in practically everything, he'll be accepted as part of the zodiac and of the Sohma family.
Please bear with me knowing that I have little knowledge about what the storyline is and I only watch the anime on Funimation. Also, I don't own the copyrights either, so you can pretty much diss me for having nothing in my head at this point. Heh.
...Maybe I shouldn't have said that.
When he is eighteen, Kyo is a mistake.
Cage, prison and criminal are all ugly, ugly words; he knows those words by heart and they echo in his head. They haunt his worst nightmares. They lurk in a tiny corner of his heart and mind when he is awake and then prowl around his room at the rare occurence that he should ignore them in favor of rain pounding down on the shabby roof above his head. They are the only shadows on the whitewash walls save for his own.
He imagines they are his saviors, twisted into something grotesque that Kyo cowers from, but the context is always the same: they are there to torture his broken heart. They are his only visitors and he imagines they have come to set his soul free from Death's living embrace. He tries to make himself dream again on the pretext that it will ease his suffering but it only makes him long even more for a normal life.
Of course, his definition of normal involved acceptance and love, whilst the dictionary certainly did not.
When she is sixteen, Sayuri is an illusion.
Aestheticism, salvation and apathy are all beautiful, beautiful words; she likes to forget those words in favor of pictures but they echo to the beat of her jagged rhythm. They make up her best dreams but only when she doesn't want them to. They dance almost mockingly around her spirit and soul, tying it in knots the Devil would have been proud of. They are the only reprieve she can hope to garner from her twisted life of torture and abuse.
She had always thought she was unique, so unlike her zodiac representation that it was uncanny. She prides herself on being beautiful, like her name - Sayuri, a small lily on the edge of a far greater vision of creation than anything she had ever been able to come up with - and wishes on shooting stars to live up to that name. Her dream is be a vexing spark of irregularity on a tapestry of monotonous hues, to stand up and go out with a flame.
Of course, her definition of unique is only what she can conclude from a book of words because she doesn't know how to make up a mind of her own - the perfect porcelain doll, but in her mind, a rebel in a world of tyrants.
When he is twenty-two and she is twenty, they are both living a lie.
Their first meeting is not one suggested by fate, nor by providence or any other godly power above humanity.
Their first meeting, to be frank, is a mistake.
She stumbles upon the Cat House by mistake.
And he speaks to her by mistake.
She tells him blatantly, having grown up to be the independent beauty she once dreamed of, "If I am caught, it will be your head."
And although he already knows that, he still offers her friendship as he replies flatly, "You'll leave soon like everyone else. That's the way it's always been."
He speaks with conviction.
She sweeps sleek locks the color of smouldering ashes over her shoulder, and turns to leave as if she was actually insulted by the feline's remark.
And when she is gone, he notes her unexpected gift.
It's like she actually cares.
When he is twenty-four and she is twenty-two, their paths cross for the last time.
Their nth meeting is an intended one like so many before it, but this time, he knows something is different.
Their nth meeting is the turning point for a change.
She shows up, yes, but this time, she is wearing a crown of lilies and she is in another man's arms.
He is stunned, but not by the lilies.
She relishes the feeling of young love, enduring and all-powerful, but in her heart she knows she has taken too much.
He wants to cry, but the tears won't come.
She introduces the Rat to the Cat, and says (with only the slightest hint of a melody), "Kyo-san! This is Yuki, my future husband; Yuki, Kyo-san, my best friend."
He notes her smile is even more brilliant than usually, but pays no mind to her partner, because he knows if he does, his heart will truly break. ("I know," he replies.)
So long as he chooses not to believe, he won't.
When he is on the brink of death and she is already dead, he cries out for his savior.
He gets no reply because to tempt fate's hand is to tantalize sin.