Hey! I apologize now for not updating my other fics instead of writing this one. But I can't help it, I have no inspiration for writing them. Instead I came up with this trilogy. I must warn you that this IS a tragedy romance for part one. But it will get better, I promise. Keep in mind there are still two more parts. The story will mainly be in Tohru's POV, but switching to narrative mode when it focusses on Shigure. It will recap a bit during the switches, but I think you ought to understand why I have it like this when you read it.
As a bit of an explanation for the story, Tohru does not know the Sohmas and vice versa. It starts out with her in college. It will most likely contain OOC-ness for most characters, but hey its a fanfic, it ain't gonna be perfect. Tohru isn't so (... hmm... I don't know how to say it) in her head. You'll see what I mean. Oh, and the curse isn't so strict. They don't always transform when they hug someone. Its mainly just the deliberate hugs that really gets the zodiac. Reason being is that some instances I can't have it to where they become an animal.
Also, I'm still a few years from being in college, so any facts I get wrong please correct me on them. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I don't own it, couldn't write something that good anyway. Oh, and also don't own ideas from other manga if you happen to spot 'em. I've also used various quotes from the books.
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"I'm gonna be late!" I was running up the steps two at a time. If I had been thinking straight I would have realized what would happen from doing that, but I was in a hurry. I didn't want to be late to my first class. I ended up running head first into something.
I heard a small oof! and immediately looked down to see what it was I lay on. My eyes met a pair of gray ones staring intently up at me. I felt a blush rise in my cheeks as I quickly climbed off of the person.
"I'm so sorry! I wasn't paying attention to where I was going and now I've hurt someone! I'm so sorry for being so clueless, please forgive me!" I bowed low, listening for anything from the man I'd toppled.
"That's all right, you don't have to apologize so much. I should have been watching as well. Here, let me help you up, umm?" I looked up to see him standing, a hand held out to me. I realized I had just been staring at him, a definite blush evident on my cheeks.
"Oh! Um, my name is Tohru Honda! I'm new. And you are...?" I asked, slightly calming down. I took his hand and he pulled me to my feet.
"Shigure Sohma. But I believe I've heard your name before, now where was it?" he looked to be contemplating it before another bell rang. "Well, I'll have to remember later. Which class are you headed to?"
"O-Oh! I have a creative writing class..." I looked at the clock and took in what it meant. "And I'm late! I'm sorry, but please do you know where it is?" I watched him in earnest, worried what the teacher was going to say when I finally arrived. I was so late, and it was the first day too! I'm too careless... His voice interrupted my thoughts and I listened intently.
"Ah! That is where I heard your name before. You're in my class. Shall we go? The other students are waiting on us." he turned down a hallway, looking back for me as I hurried to follow. I quickly brought myself into step beside him.
"Um, Sohma-san, might I ask why you aren't in a hurry? Are we both not late for the lecture?"
He gave a small chuckle. "Don't worry, it doesn't matter today to be late. We are not exactly the type of class you are imagining." He opened a door on the left side of the hallway. "Now why don't you take a seat? I believe there is one in the front open." He held the door out for me and I walked in. There were only a dozen desks, put into two rows of six in front of a larger desk obviously for the teacher. Upon it lay an open egg cartridge full of different colored eggs.
Eleven heads turned to the door when it opened. I saw them all stare at me as I came in and took the last available seat. 'but where is Sohma-san going to sit? There aren't any other available seats besides...' it dawned on me now why it didn't matter if we were late. I had run into my teacher!
"All right, what has everyone figured out so far?" Sohma-sensei asked the class.
Someone raised their hand and shouted out "So far we've figured out our teacher isn't that competent. Come on, its the first day, sensei, and you've already missed a lot of class!" a couple of people laughed, and a couple more glanced at me.
He chuckled, smiling at everyone. "That was mostly intentional, partly by accident. Now, what have you really figured out?"
There were murmurs between the students while they tried to figure out what it was we were supposed to. My attention kept going back to the eggs on the table. A dozen eggs... Then there is the desk formation, and how there are exactly one dozen students.
"Um, does it have to do with desks and eggs? I just noticed there were twelve of each, so..." I asked, hesitantly.
He looked slightly surprised. He smiled at me before bringing the carton over to my desk. I blushed as he set it down, standing right in front of me. "Honda-san is correct. Today's lesson has to do with twelve somethings. Honda-san, why don't you pick one of the eggs? But don't open it yet."
Nervously I reached into carton and pulled out a green egg. I looked it over while Sohma-sensei took the carton to all of the students. He set the empty carton down on his desk before leaning against it slightly. I had to admit that he looked quite handsome in his casual black slacks and forest-green button-up shirt. He had the top buttons undone.
"All right," he said, "open the eggs and tell me what you have." The room was filled with the sound of us all breaking the eggs open. Mine held a small charcoal colored dog.
"I have a mouse!" someone said.
"I've got a sheep!" was another reply.
"I've got a rooster and Lee has a snake," this one girl said, speaking for her neighbor.
"Now I'm hungry. I've got a cow,"
"And I have the horse. Sensei, why do we each have an animal from the zodiac?"
"Caught on, did you? Very good. Now, everyone is to write a short story concerning the animal you chose. This is a creative writing course, so I need to know where each of you lie on story telling. The only requirement as to the animals is that at some point your animal must be in the story. Due at the end of class." he sat down at his desk and pulled out a large stack of paper. I watched as he began to write on the stack, occasionally moving to a new sheet. I stared down at my blank paper and at the dog.
A quick glance at the clock told me I was running out of time. I stared at the face of the dog before I got an idea. I started writing and finished just before papers were called up.
Sohma-sensei came up to my desk and I gave him my row's papers. The girl I sat next to did the same. A bell rang and everyone stood, gathering their stuff. I staggered behind everyone until I was the only one left in the room. I made my way silently to Sohma-sensei's desk.
"I'm really sorry about earlier, I should have been paying better attention to where I was going. And on top of that I wasn't respectful to a teacher! I'm really sorry and I wish there was some way I could make it up to you." I bowed low over his desk. Once again I could feel his stare on me.
I heard him stand up and come around the desk to stand next to me. Something tapped on my shoulder and I looked up. One of his eye brows was raised as he smiled at me.
"You really don't need to apologize over that again. I told you that it was all right. Just don't run in the halls like that again. We wouldn't want you to get hurt, now do we Honda-san," he said, and I stood up straight.
"Thank you very much Sohma-sensei. I won't do that again." I smiled, too, before catching site of the time. "Ahh! Excuse me, but I'm about to be late to my next class. I will see you tomorrow." I left and had only gotten about ten steps down the hall when I turned around. I hurried back and grabbed my bag off my desk. I spoke a hurried sorry before going back to my next class.
Shigure still stood in front of his desk when Tohru reappeared in the class room. He listened as she apologized yet again before disappearing again. He held a bemused expression on his face while it happened.
"Hmm," he smiled, standing in front of her desk. The dog from her egg sat upon it. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. She had been the only one not to take the animal with her. "Tohru Honda. What an interesting girl, very polite, very... what am I thinking?" he shook his head before settling behind his desk again. He had another class coming in an hour and a half he had to plan for.
My last two classes went by very quickly and soon I was making my way to my part time job. I worked at a small cafe. I walked in the door and immediately went to the dressing room for employees. Hastily changing into my short blue skirt and plain white blouse uniform, soon I was back into my routine of being a waitress.
Every once in awhile the party I served would talk to me and we would make small talk. They asked if I was a college student. My answer would be "yes, I want to work with an author someday."
Not all of my customers are polite though. Many times I have to deal with high school boys making a grab for me, making me drop whatever it was I held. My boss yelled at me that the broken dishes were piling up and would be taken out of my pay.
My shift was finally nearing its last hour when a familiar face came into the cafe.
"Sohma-sensei! What a pleasant surprise. I didn't expect to see you here." I smiled while handing him a glass of water. "Oh, but I'm sure you'd rather have your order taken than talk to me, so, order when your ready." I blushed as my voice got smaller, along with my smile.
"Not at all Honda-san. I don't mind speaking with you. I'd just like a cup of coffee for now."
"All right, I'll be right back." I gave a small bow as I returned a minute later with a mug and pot. I poured him the hot drink and set the pot down on the table. I noticed a small pile of papers covered in writing. "Um, I don't mean to pry, Sohma-sensei, but are those the stories we wrote earlier?"
He looked up and nodded. He was still smiling, but... something didn't seem right about his smile. "Yes, they are. I didn't feel like going home just yet, so I decided to stop somewhere I could relax to grade them. Now its my turn to ask you a question," he turned in his chair so that he faced me with his whole body, not just his head. "How long have you been working here? I come here frequently and I've never seen you here before. And should you have a part time job while you are a student?"
"Well, I've been working here for almost a week now. I didn't have a choice but to get a job, Sohma sensei. It's kinda... complicated."
"Tohru! Stop socializing and get back to work. We aren't paying you to flirt so get moving!" I blushed and felt a tear try and fall from my eye.
"I'm sorry, Sohma-sensei. I'll come and check on you in a little bit." I walked away towards the kitchen where my boss stood waiting.
"I'm really sorry, Okami-san. I didn't mean to neglect my other tables." I bowed while she yelled at me about how worthless I am and how I should be lucky that they hired me in the first place. I just barely kept the tears at bay while I merely mumbled, yes I know, I'm sorry. I'll get right back to work.
When Okami-san finished yelling at me she stormed back into the kitchen. "Now take this to table six without getting distracted by any more of the men. I'm beginning to think you like all the attention you've been getting and are intentionally breaking all the dishes," she returned to the kitchen and I walked to the table, barely able to keep the tears at bay while I put on my fake smile.
Shigure watched as she walked towards her boss and listened to the entire lecture. He saw many other heads turned that way as well, some whispering amongst themselves.
"Tohru Honda! This is a work environment, sot a social club! You are not being paid to flirt, nor to ignore the other tables." the woman yelling was slightly large and wore a dirty apron. Shigure saw that Tohru was once again bowing.
"Now I don't care if he is so handsome to distract you-" Shigure was surprised to hear the woman bring him into her lecture. Didn't she realize he heard her? "-but you are supposed to act professional, older than your age. If I let you flirt with every guy who walked in here I'd be out of dishes! You should be glad I even hired you in the first place! I've had many bad experiences with college students part timing and let me tell you I won't tolerate it long. I wasn't going to hire any more but I needed a waitress and no one was applying at the time. I was even more hesitant to hire you when you couldn't give me a home address. What else was I supposed to do than hire the penniless orphan living in a tent? I only hired you because I needed the help and I felt sorry for you."
Orphan? Tent? This girl had a story...
"And even now I'm regretting that choice! I hadn't realized you'd be as worthless as you are clueless." Shigure watched as the woman went in the kitchen slamming the door each time she went through. She came out with a tray and pushed it at Tohru, nearly making the girl drop it. "Now take this to table six without getting distracted by any more of the men. I'm beginning to think you like all the attention you've been getting and are intentionally breaking all the dishes!" she went back into the kitchen but didn't come back out. He saw Tohru walk off to a table, easily seeing past the false smile she wore for the table.
Taking a sip from his coffee he dug through the stack of papers until he came across the one she had written. He placed it in front and read:
Just a Dog
By: Tohru Honda
A dog lay in the corner of a room of strangers. She had no idea where her master had gone, nor why she was surrounded by so many new people. She couldn't find the strength to get up, not even sure she wanted to. Every day she just lay in the corner, being ignored by the people in her home. Soon she realized she hadn't eaten for days and was very hungry. The weak dog slowly made her way to her dish, but found no food waiting for her. Instead one of the people came forward.
"Ahh, are you hungry, girl? Well it is dinner time, so I guess its time to eat. Come here." the starving dog made her way to the table and sat next to the one who had approached her. Surely she would be given some food.
Another voice spoke, and though the dog couldn't understand what was being said, she understood the tone.
"What do you think you're doing. No begging is allowed!"
The owner of the voice came to her and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck. He picked her up and opened the back door with his free hand. He threw her into the unfenced yard.
"Get out of here, you mangy mutt. Why did your owner have to leave it in her will to take care of you? Not that it matters. You'll have run away and won't be here to bother us anymore." he shut the door and the dog just lay there. It started to rain, and the dog moved just enough so that she lay on the porch, under the little cover it provided.
When morning came one of the people in the house opened the door and tripped over the dog.
"Wha-? Hey dad! The mutt's still here! What do we do now?" The same man who had thrown her out the night before came out. He took one look at the wet dog before kicking her in the side.
"Get!" he shouted. "Go away, you don't belong here!" he kicked her again, and she stood on shaky legs. "Go on, get out of here!" he aimed to kick her again but she ran before he got the chance. She ran away from the house that had been her home her entire life. She knew her old life was over, and that there was no way she could go back to it.
She slept in the streets eating when she found the occasional food scrap on the ground. Many people would kick her and laugh before continuing on their way. Eventually she just settled down against the wall, and lay there for several days. She didn't eat any thing, but drank the water that rained on her constantly.
Just when she thought she would die where she lay, she felt a pair of strong arms wrap around her. Her weakness from lack of substance caused her to faint, and when she woke she was in a strange room. She lay on something soft and saw a couple of bowls laying in front of her. One held food which she quickly ate, the other water that also disappeared quickly. Both bowls were refilled and and again were quickly emptied. A man sat in front of her while she ate, gently stroking her back. She remembered the sensation from when her master had been with her.
A gentle voice spoke to her.
"I'm glad you're all right. I didn't find any identification on you, so I figured you for homeless. I took you home with me. I don't know who took care of you last but don't worry, you won't have to deal with that anymore.
In her heart she knew what he told her right before she fell asleep again.
"Welcome to your new home."
Shigure sighed as he put the paper down If he was correct about his guess, the story was more like a life story than a dog story.
I checked on Sohma-sensei every time his cup needed refilling. I didn't stay to talk except about his coffee and did he need anything else. Close to nine p.m., closing time, he was the only one left.
I had cleaned the rest of the tables and made my way to his.
"Umm, Sohma-sensei, could I bring you the check? We're closing now."
"Hmm? Oh, yes. Go ahead." I left his table and returned a moment later with his bill. He handed me some money and I went to make change for him.
"Here's your change, Sohma-sensei. Thank you for coming and have a good evening." I turned to go.
"Honda-san, hold on. I need to give you your tip." he held out some folded bills but I gently pushed them back to him.
"I'm sorry, Sohma-sensei, but I am not allowed to take tips. The ones people leave on the table go to Okami-san as well." I bowed and turned away again.
"If you don't take tips, then what are you paid by? I know perfectly well what makes up most of a waitress' pay."
I started to reply but Okami-san came out just then.
"You little tramp! Again I find you flirting! Get out of here, you're fired. And you shall not be receiving a paycheck. You broke too many dishes to have any more earnings. Never step foot in my cafe again!" I quickly left, escaping into the dressing room to grab my stuff. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. I had needed this job, and now it was gone.
Shigure watched as Tohru went into the dressing room. He turned to the woman facing him.
"I'm so sorry you had to see that sir. Its so hard to find good help besides all the little tramps as you've just seen. I apologize for her bothering you."
"What did she do wrong? She had not flirted with me what so ever. I asked her a couple of questions and she tried to answer them but you would start to yell at her."
"Oh really? I'm sorry for the accusation, but I was going to fire her anyway. She's been quite the little slut around my cafe, it hurts business, as well as dishes."
"Forgive me if I pry, but what do you mean by that? She happens to be in one of my classes and is much too shy to behave in the manner of which you accuse her."
"The way someone acts at school is different than out in the real world, sir. She lets many men catch a feel and each time pretends to be so surprised she drops whatever it is she was carrying."
"Are you sure she lets them?" he pressed.
"I'm quite certain. Now sir, I don't mean to be rude, but I need to close shop. Come again." She led him to the door and locked it after him.
He saw the woman disappear through the same door that Tohru had gone in. A moment later he heard Tohru being yelled at by her boss again. He couldn't make out what was being said. He walked over to the alley and saw the girl pushed down the steps and land in the puddle of water left from last night's rain. A moment later and Tohru's bag was thrown down as well, and she barely managed to catch it before it fell in the water as well.
Shigure heard a gentle crying as he watched her stand up, her skirt dripping from the water. When she stepped out of the alley, he made his presence known to her.
I had just managed to get all my things in my bag when Okami-san came in the room.
"Little tramp! How dare you ask a customer to cover up for you? And such a handsome one as him? Get out of my cafe and never show your face again!" She had opened the door and grabbed my bag from me. She pushed me down the stairs into the puddle outside before throwing my bag there as well. I barely managed to catch it, falling forward slightly. I stood up, my skirt dripping.
As soon as I stepped out of the alley Sohma-sensei came into site. He wore a kind smile.
"S-Sohma-sensei! What are you still doing here?" I asked him, hastily trying to wipe away my tears.
"Honda-san, first, can we drop the formalities? We aren't in class, and I would much rather you called me Shigure."
"Oh, um, all right... Shigure-san?" I gave a weak smile. "Oh! Then please call me by my first name as well!"
"All right, Tohru. Now, would you mind accompanying me? I'd like to talk to you, and it'd be best to speak in a less oppressive and more private environment." he waited on me to say something, so I just nodded.
"All right." he started walking in the direction I would have taken anyway. We didn't talk while we walked. I marveled at how I'd lived in the same section as my teacher and hadn't known it.
"Um, Shigure-san, where is it we are going?" I asked after awhile. With every step we took we were getting very close to my own home.
"Its not much further. Its the apartment building next to the woods and bath house."
"Really? How funny. I live almost next door to you." I gave a slight smile, but I didn't really mean it.
I knew he stared at me slightly while we walked, but I pretended I didn't see him. We kept walking in silence until we arrived at his apartment complex. We climbed the stairs up to the top floor and went to the door closest to the woods. I searched slightly and saw my tent only just peeking out from the foliage. While we stood there I became only all too aware of the dripping still coming from my skirt.
"Ahh, Shigure-san! I don't think I should step inside your home! My skirt is still sopping, and I don't want to make a mess in your home!"
"Don't worry, you can't make a bigger mess than is already in there. I have something you can change into if you want."
"B-but, wouldn't it just be better if I stepped into my own home and changed? It would be easier on you, if I didn't dirty your clothing."
"I don't mind, Tohru. My younger cousin visits often and wears it when she comes. You'll be wearing girl clothing if that is what you were thinking. You won't be getting my clothing dirty." he smiled as he opened the door. Even before he turned on the lights I saw a huge mess in there. "Please excuse the mess, I haven't gotten to cleaning just yet."
"It's like a garbage jungle..." I said, staring bemused.
"That's nearly poetic! And the best way its been described yet." he walked in and took his shoes off. "If you'll wait here I'll bring you a towel and find the kimono you can borrow." I stood there in the entrance while he found the two articles.
"I'm very sorry for being a burden. You've been so nice to me even though we've only just met and I've done nothing to deserve it." I bowed low when he returned with the small pile.
"It's all right, Tohru. The bathroom is the second door on the left. Go ahead and take a shower and change. I don't think you want to be covered in mud all night, do you?"
I looked down at my legs. "Ahh! You're right. Thank you for your kindness, Shigure-san." I took my shoes off and went towards the bathroom.
"Wait a minute Tohru. You're hurt."
"Eh? hurt? Where?" I looked down and noticed the blood running down my leg. I hadn't even noticed it, instead been thinking solely on the man I accompanied. My leg was too dirty to be able to tell the origin of the blood.
"Go ahead and take the shower. I'll bandage your leg when you get out. The kimono opens so I can get to it and you can stay covered. And don't argue with me on this, all right?" he was kneeling by my leg, trying to find the cut. He looked up into my eyes, and I knew it would be pointless to try and change his mind.
"A-all right. Thank you." I went into the bathroom, gently shutting the door behind me.
Shigure searched through the cabinets in his search for the bandages. He knew he had some around there somewhere...
"Aha!" he gave a small noise of triumph as he brought the items out into the open. He heard the water turn on in the bathroom. At least she had listened to him. He still had no idea what he was going to do. He had seen her look out to the woods and noticed the corner of the tent peeking out from between the trees.
A small noise came from the bathroom, and Shigure heard the water turn off immediately. That had not been long enough for anyone to get a shower. Walking to the door, he gently knocked.
"Tohru?" he asked, "are you all right?"
"Y-yes! I'm fine!" Shigure could hear her pain in her voice.
"OK, but hurry and take the shower. We need to take care of your leg." he knew she had been lying but figured pretending not to notice would get her done faster. As if on cue the water started again but almost immediately was shut off again as he heard her cry from the pain again.
"Tohru, I know you are not fine. Cover yourself, I'm going to come in."
"N-no! Please don't! I'm fine really, it just stings a bit. Really, I'm fine."
"You don't believe me, do you?" she asked, quietly.
"Only because I hear otherwise. I'm coming in in one minute whether you're covered or not." he heard a scrambling on the other side of the door. He left to gather the supplies he'd left on the living room table chuckling to himself. She was an interesting girl all right.
I had just stepped into the shower when I had to shut the water back off. My leg was searing with pain. I must have made a noise because soon Shigure was knocking on the door.
"Tohru?" he asked, "are you all right?"
"Y-yes! I'm fine!" I replied, the sting not subsiding in the least.
"OK, but hurry and take the shower. We need to take care of your leg." I was sure he knew I had lied. His voice all but told me he knew otherwise. I turned the water on again, but the pain got worse. I turned it off as another cry of pain escaped from me.
"Tohru, I know you are not fine. Cover yourself, I'm going to come in." he spoke from the door, telling me he hadn't left.
"N-no! Please don't! I'm fine really, it just stings a bit. Really, I'm fine." I tried to assure him so that he wouldn't come in, but I never heard him move from the door.
"You don't believe me, do you?" I asked him in a small voice.
"Only because I hear otherwise. I'm coming in in one minute whether you're covered or not." was his answer and it sent me scrambling for a towel. I momentarily forgot about the pain as I heard him walk away from the door. I hurriedly dried myself mostly and tried to get the mud from my leg before placing on the kimono. It was so beautiful, I didn't want to ruin it with my blood. I gingerly held the material away from my legs.
The door opened and Shigure walked in carrying some ointment and bandages. I saw he also had some wash cloths. He deposited his load on the counter and handed me a piece of string.
"Tie up the kimono so I can work. I'm sure you don't want me seeing something inappropriate, now do you?" he was smiling, and I knew I was blushing again. I was getting treated by my teacher! Something must be up, like I must be dreaming. That has to be it. But I've never seen anyone so handsome as Shigure before, and the pain in my leg... Surely those aren't just in my head.
My thoughts were running wild while I hesitantly tied the kimono into looking like some short and awkward shorts. I was hiding what needed to be hidden, and my legs were uncovered for Shigure to work.
"Go ahead and sit on the toilet. I'll sit on the tub edge." I did as was told, and he soon followed suit. Just as he was about to put a wash cloth upon my leg, a knock was heard from the front door.
Shigure cursed slightly under his breath. I only managed to make out "now who could that be so late at night?" before he left to answer the door. I wondered the same thing.
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Well, that's all for now. I couldn't really come up with a good stopping point before now, so I decided to make one before it got too long. Well, a little warning now, I won't update until I get five reviews or flames. I know that will probably annoy some of you, but I need the reviews to know if I'm writing something people like. I just got too annoyed when one of my stories had seven reviews and several hundred hits. And another had a few hundred hits and no reviews. So please review or flame! I honestly don't care, though no one has flamed me yet either, so I don't really know what it is like.