Hey! This is the re-done version. I believe that it flows better, and hopefully any problems there was before are gone now. Oh! And here's the disclaimer:
Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket. That belongs to Natsuki Takaya. Not me.
So, here's "The Legend of the Butterfly"! Please enjoy!
The Legend of the Butterfly
Once upon a time, God came up with a marvelous idea. He would host a banquet, and feast with all the animals! It would be a wondrous event. He was so excited about the idea that he summoned them all that afternoon. Standing majestically before them, he told the animals,
"I have decided that I am going to host a banquet. It shall take place here, at my house, tomorrow at sunset. Any animal that attends my banquet shall be blessed with a year named after them, and it's only the first 12, and you'd better not be late! Remember, tomorrow at sunset, and I'll say it again, don't be late!" With that said, he dismissed them all.
Hearing that, all the animals were so excited! They went home, talking amongst themselves and chattering with delight.
"Hey, did you know what I heard?" murmured the wise dragon, as he floated along the side of the road. "I heard that all the animals that attend this banquet get to have years named after them." He wanted to clarify that he had heard correctly.
"Really?" questioned the rabbit as he bounced energetically along, whose energy didn't really allow him to pay attention. "Is that true?!"
"I believe I heard that same rumor," rumbled the ox, but as he had been mostly preoccupied with the luscious grass at his feet, hadn't been listening at full attention either. "But that it was only for the first 12 that arrive on time, who will become known as the Zodiac. God's house is very far away, though. Some animals may not make it in time."
Soon the animals got into an even bigger discussion about the "rumor", which then evolved into an argument over who was the most worthy of receiving a year named after them.
The argument got louder and louder, causing a grand commotion. They soon passed by the cat's house. He had stayed home because he hadn't been feeling well, and missed the assembly's news. The butterfly, who was a great friend to all, especially friends with the cat and rat, who were best friends, as well as the peacemaker among the animals, had decided to stay with the cat. She had been keeping watch over him while he rested when the butterfly heard the noise outside and went to see what the matter was all about.
Flying up and landing on the tiger's shoulder, she asked her what the problem was, and the tiger explained about the banquet and the possibility of having years named after themselves.
"Oh! A banquet!" The butterfly was overflowing with excitement. "That's so exciting!!" Then turning to the rat, who was riding on the tiger's other shoulder, asked, "Isn't this wonderful news, Mr. Rat?"
"It is indeed!" squeaked the rat. "I for one look forward to going." Then to himself, he thought slyly, "Only, I'll be the first one in line!"
"Oh, I can't wait to tell Mr. Cat!" thought the butterfly; and, saying her goodbyes, gracefully flew from the tiger's shoulder back to the cat's house.
The cat was awake when she arrived back, and became ecstatic when she told him what was to take place. However, a thought soon struck the cat.
"Er, Butterfly, do you know when the banquet is to take place?" he asked.
Feeling embarrassed, the butterfly admitted that she hadn't asked for details concerning the time of the banquet.
"Oh, that is so like you," chuckled the cat, and offered to go find out the time of the banquet from someone, since he was feeling better. The butterfly agreed, saying she would go ask around, too.
Going their separate ways, the cat walked over to his neighbor's house, the rat, and explained that he needed to know when the banquet was going to take place.
Hearing that, the rat was about to reply that it would take place at sunset tomorrow, but then a thought struck him. Many of the animals going were so much bigger and faster than him, and if even the cat were to go, too, then he might not make it in time to have a year named after him, and he couldn't have that happen! It meant too much to him!! So, he decided he would play a "joke".
"It's in 2 days," he said, grinning inwardly. "And you can't be late!! So, I'll, er, see you in two days then, friend?"
"Of course!" exclaimed the cat. "Thank you so much, my friend!" Then he turned around and went happily home.
The butterfly was waiting for him, having gone and asked her nearest friend, the tiger.
"So, did you get the time?" the little butterfly asked the cat, as she came forward to greet him.
"Yes, I did," replied the cat, "and I'm looking forward to this banquet even more!"
With that, the two parted ways, both dreaming of a banquet that would tear the friendship of the cat and the rat apart.
The next day, all the animals set out to go the banquet.
The butterfly, having hurried with her preparations, was late. When she finally caught up with the group, she looked around for her two best friends, but only found the rat, who was riding in front on the back of the ox.
"Hi, Mr. Rat!" she panted. "Have you seen Mr. Cat? I can't find him anywhere!"
"That fool must've forgotten about the banquet," the rat laughed. "Oh well, one less space to fill on the list for the Zodiac. I really don't care about him as long as I can enter the Zodiac."
The butterfly was horrified. "How can you say that about your best friend, Mr. Rat? What if he actually forgot? How can you feel fine going on without your best friend?"
"Forgot? I told him the wrong date on purpose!" The rat laughed. "And you know what, I don't think that I want to share the glory of the Zodiac with you, either!" And with that, the rat took a swipe at the butterfly, who gave a tearful yelp and flew away, flying as hard as she could back to the cat's house to retrieve the cat. There wasn't much time left to enter the banquet, and she had a fair distance to travel back, since she had nearly arrived at God's house when she left.
After several minutes of persistent flying, the butterfly began to lose strength, but she refused to stop and rest until she reached the cat's house.
Finally, she reached her friend's home, who hurried outside and caught her in his paws before she fell to the ground from exhaustion. The sun was already setting, and she feared that she might've been too late. Hurriedly, she told the cat that the banquet was today, and that they had to hurry if they were reach God's house in time to enter the banquet.
The cat laughed, saying that she must be mistaken, because the rat had told him that it would be tomorrow, and he wouldn't lie to him.
The butterfly persisted, saying that he had been tricked by his best friend. The cat still didn't believe her.
As the butterfly attempted a third time, the cat lost his patience. He yelled at her, saying to go away and stop trying to deceive him about his best friend. The butterfly left in tears, flying away from his house as fast as her little wings could carry her.
Meanwhile, the rat, who had hitched a ride on top of the ox, leaped off him and ran into the banquet hall, first in line, just as he had planned from the beginning. After him were the ox, the tiger, and so on, all of the remaining animals that had traveled to God's house for the banquet. He felt happy for his success, yet somewhere deep in his heart, as he entered the banquet hall as saw all colorful decorations, lights, and food, he felt a little sorry that he couldn't have been there with the cat and butterfly. But then he felt it no more as the banquet began, and he became lost in happiness that would last throughout the night and into the morning.
The butterfly flew, brokenhearted and destroyed. She couldn't believe what had occurred between her friends. Not paying much attention to where she was flying, she just flew. She flew on and on, swallowed by her grief. Soon, the evening became the night. Still she flew, until eventually she discovered that she had flown to God's house.
Deciding to go inside, she tried to enter, but found that the door was closed. She tried to find another way in, but couldn't. Finally, her little face streaming in tears over fresh grief, she sat on the window ledge outside of the banquet hall and cried.
Hearing soft sobs coming from somewhere outside, God stood up from the banquet table and walked softly to the window. Quietly, He opened the window and peered outside.
"Oh, it's you, little butterfly," God murmured kindly, reaching down to stroke one of her wings gently with His finger. "Please tell me, why are you crying?"
And so, with her voice choking with sobs, she explained about the trickery of the rat, her being unable to convince the cat to come, how their friendships were torn apart, how this would probably affect the other animals, and how finally she had been unable to enter the banquet hall.
"Well," God said, holding her gently in His hands, "what's in the past is in the past. Perhaps you could fix the friendship, though. I have heard a great deal about how you are the peacekeeper and friend among all the animals. Perhaps, like I said, over time, you could heal the wounds caused by this event. Would you like to try, little butterfly?"
Sniffling, the butterfly murmured, "Yes. Please, God, I would like to try!"
He smiled at her gently. "All right, then. I will allow you the opportunity to try to heal the wounds of the cat, rat, and all the animals, including your own.
"As the banquet itself," God continued, "I'm sorry, but the last slot for the Zodiac has already been filled, so you may not enter the Zodiac. You couldn't enter it anyway, since you aren't even an animal."
At this, the butterfly's eyes went downcast.
"However," God continued, noticing her sad face, "you may still stay and feast with us if you choose."
"Oh, please, may I?" the butterfly asked, her eyes brightening a little over the invitation.
God gave the butterfly a kind smile; and, carrying her with great care over to the banquet table, sent out an order to have fresh nectar be brought to soothe the saddened butterfly.
So, God and all the animals feasted until morning, and eventually, the little butterfly's spirit was lifted, and she was filled with the hope of God's promise that their friendship may be saved someday.
When questioned once again, the butterfly accepted the burden, and the banquet soon ended. None of the animals wanted to leave, so until the time came when the friendships could be healed, all the animals would come together every year as the Zodiac until their curse was broken and all their wounds were healed.
The next day, the cat, hearing about it from all the animals returning from the banquet, discovered that he had indeed been tricked by the Rat. Angry that he hadn't been able to go it, but angrier that he had been tricked by his friend and had also hurt his friend. He yearned for revenge on the rat, and was always trying to catch him to make him pay. He was saddened over the hurt he had caused the butterfly, and yearned to fully apologize to his friend, who, unbeknownst to the two of them, had already forgiven both of them and would spend the rest of her life on Earth trying to bring them back together, until her spirit was continuously reborn and searching for them to continue her duty.
So the butterfly was never allowed to join the Zodiac; but, like the cat, remained an unofficial member of the Chinese Zodiac, and is never spoken of. All the other animals, disgusted by how the rat took the first position of the Zodiac all to himself and how he achieved it, couldn't let it rest; but, not wanting to ever leave the banquet, they all pledged to stay together forever and never found peace anyway. The cat, forevermore an outcast for not having gone to the banquet, was never accepted, and couldn't rest until he was finally accepted by the other animals. The butterfly was doomed, along with all the other animals, to remain as a "revengeful spirit", until she was able to heal the wounds between the cat, rat and all the animals, thereby bringing their friendship back together and allowing all the animals to rest in peace when the Zodiac was finally broken.
The Sohma family was chosen to be the bearers of their revengeful spirits, until the time when their friendship could be repaired and they could rest in peace. However, as the spirits soon discovered, while it was easy to distinguish the 13 animals of the Zodiac, it was more difficult to find who was to represent God and be the head of the family, and even more difficult to discover was who was the butterfly. Sometimes generations would pass before the head of the family would find someone that might be the butterfly to heal all the wounds and allow all the revengeful spirits to rest in peace, but it wasn't in the end.
Over time, only a handful of butterflies were discovered, and none of which were able to heal the wounds of all the spirits. The butterfly, whose bearer was doomed to a hard life, was not always found, but one sign was certain. The bearer would always be a girl, just like the original butterfly. Over time, some of the animal spirits began to despair over ever finding the butterfly.
However, it was not their destiny to find the butterfly.
It was the butterfly's destiny to discover them, and by entering their lives willingly, only then could the butterfly heal the wounds of all the spirits, and break the chain of the Zodiac by bringing the cat and the rat back together.
The butterfly's bearer is now Tohru Honda, but although by birthright it is her destiny, will she be able to heal the wounds of those within the Chinese Zodiac and thereby end the curse placed upon those members so that the revengeful spirits that they carry may rest in peace? Only time will tell.
A/N: You know, I was actually inspired to write this after watching AMVs of Fruits Basket with the "Butterfly" song by Smile on YouTube. So I guess some credit is due to them, too. :)
So, I hope you all enjoyed it, and please R&R! Thank you!