(A.N.) Okay so here's my very first, but hopefully not last, Fruits Basket fic! It's a pretty lengthy Kyo&Tohru oneshot. There are some big spoilers if you haven't watched all of the episodes of the anime, and a few little ones from the manga (which is only up to #17 here in the US). You've been warned! It's not under the 'humor' category, because it is predominately a romance fic, but I did try to put a bit of comedy into it! Note: ( "speech" / 'thoughts' ) Enjoy!
Just for a Moment
The brisk autumn morning air stung at the young man's arms and legs through the fabric of his jeans and halfway zipped up sweatshirt as he made his way back to the house through the wooded area that surrounded it. The suns rays had barely begun to penetrate the horizon hidden behind the trees as he started his return trip back from his morning run. A smile crossed his lips, now a light shade of lilac from the chilly air, as he remembered the young woman he had been living with for the past two years, Tohru, pleading with him not to go out so early in the morning to exercise now that fall had begun for fear that he might end up with a fever or a case of the flu.
To some, her worry might have seemed a bit overdramatic, but he understood the cause of her constant worry about anyone getting sick. When she was still very young she lost her father to a sudden illness that started out as a simple cold. Since then, she had become excessively overprotective of anyone she knew that came down with the flu, or seemed to be at risk for getting it.
Despite her worries though, he had continued his routine of going for a morning run around the park a few miles away from the house where he lived with her and his two cousins: one being that damn rat that he had vowed to one day defeat, and the other being the perverted dog who called himself a novelist. He hated the thought that he made her worry for him, but if he didn't keep up with his daily exercises all of his martial arts training that he had received from his surrogate father, Shishou, would go to waste; and then he would never beat that damn rat!
On this particular morning though, most of his running had taken place at the park, where a devious little grey squirrel had inadvertently caused an acorn to fall out of the tree in which he lived, landing directly on top of the orange haired boy's head with a painful thud. He rubbed the sore spot buried beneath the bright orange locks on top of his head for a short moment before turning his attention upwards to the furry culprit. The tiny animal cocked its head slightly, eyes beaming with curiosity and cuteness, before it promptly turned to scale down the tree's trunk and dart away in the opposite direction of the enraged boy who was beginning to chase after it.
Furious, he quickly forgot about jogging and sprinted after the poor little squirrel; yelling, cursing, and scaring two small children to tears in the process. No matter what he tried the little mammal seemed to always be one step ahead of him; weaving in and out of bushes, through piles of fallen leaves, and around trees, some of which he had caused his pursuer to come crashing in to.
Almost a half an hour later, he had finally given up on catching the furry fiend. Huffing and panting, he retreated back the way he had come, but not before giving the devilish squirrel a look that said, 'I'll be back for you…you just wait…' The squirrel simply hopped away merrily, paying no heed to the crazed teenager's glare as he turned to leave.
Now he was almost back home; his breathing still slightly irregular from jogging the whole way back despite the extra exertion of the park's events. He made his way up the porch in the rear of the house and almost silently stepped through the back door. Warm air from inside the home greeted him and caressed his cold skin gently as he slipped off his shoes and placed them by the front door with the rest of the family's footwear. Morning dew he run through caused small blades of grass to stick all over his orange and white sneakers, so he took care not to allow any of it to fall to the floor, which would cause even more cleaning work for their resident housekeeper.
It bothered him that the lovely brunette girl, or their 'flower' as his older cousin Shigure so perversely referred to her as, had taken it upon herself to single handedly take care of all the housework for the three men who had taken her in. He didn't mind at all that she had offered prepare all of their meals for them; the rat always seemed to find a way to burn everything just beyond the point of being edible, and the dog was even worse. A starving animal on the brink of death wouldn't touch some of the concoctions he dared to call food. He himself actually wasn't half bad at cooking, something he had been forced to learn while he stayed with his master for his four months of training in the mountains, but he knew perfectly well that if his cousins caught on to this ability he would be forced into kitchen duty on a daily basis.
He wasn't usually a very tidy person, which seemed odd to him as he was possessed by the spirit of the cat; notoriously being very finicky animals. But because Tohru had taken it upon herself to keep every last bit of the house they shared spotlessly clean, he was constantly catching her tidying up his room. It made him feel bad that he had caused her to deem it necessary to clean up after him, so he began keeping it as clean as he possibly could so she would stop trying to clean it while he was out.
The idea of her cleaning all of their rooms made him uneasy. Not because he had anything in particular to hide from her, at least not in his room; everything that he hid from her was locked away in his heart, and there it would stay until he was absolutely certain that the moment was right to confess everything to her. Her cleaning habits made him worry because he feared that she would be cleaning Shigure's room or study one day and run across one of his disgusting books, and being as innocent as she was, might actually read it. He shuddered at the thought of having to explain one of the dog's lecherous remarks to the naive girl as he poked his head around the corner of the entryway, looking towards the kitchen where he assumed she would probably be at this time in the morning.
Sure enough, he caught sight of her delicate form standing in front of the stove as he strode into the kitchen area almost silently; his feline abilities causing his sock covered feet not to make a sound as he approached her from behind. He hesitated for a moment as he took her sight in through amber eyes hidden behind orange wisps of hair still clinging to his forehead with sweat. She stood there a few feet away from him, not yet aware of his presence, preparing breakfast for the rest of the family who would soon be awakening and coming downstairs, following the delicious aroma of food wafting from the kitchen.
She was wearing a pale yellow dress that came down just below her knees, and had sleeves that bunched up above her elbows, hiding most of her lily white skin from the bitter cold of the outside air of mid fall. Slippers on her feet also kept away the chilly feeling of the hardwood floor beneath her, but the scoop neck of the outfit left her neck and part of her chest uncovered, but in her modesty didn't dare to reveal any part of her breasts. A plain white apron hid the front of her and was tied in a neat bow around her waist, accentuating her feminine figure while she flipped another one of the pancakes in the pan in front of her.
She hummed softly to herself, not conscious of the young man admiring her as she worked. Her ears took notice to the sounds of the boy and older man who enjoyed sleeping in on weekends like this, emerging from their quarters and coming into the living room adjacent to where she was. Her head turned slightly as she listened to them, causing her auburn hair, that was fashioned with two ribbons that matched her dress, to flutter around her shoulders and gleam softly in the sunlight that crept through the window on the opposite side of the room.
As she turned, she caught sight of the orange haired boy standing in the doorway that led into the kitchen, leaning against the wall with a lazy smile printed on his face. She jumped back slightly in astonishment that he had been standing there without her realizing. Despite her surprise though, she smiled up at him as brightly as she always did, her words bringing him out of the trance he had slipped into while watching her.
"Oh, good morning Kyo! I didn't hear you come home. Did you have a nice run this morning?" she asked, continuing to smile sweetly at him.
"What? Oh, yeah I did…" he stumbled over his words, scratching the back of his head nervously as cherry blush suddenly covered his cheeks. He had become somewhat embarrassed that she had caught him staring at her, although she didn't seem to notice that he had been there that long. Her cheerful expression soon changed to one of concern when she saw his cheeks flush, mistaking it as a sign that he was coming down with something.
"Kyo…" she said as she walked over closer to him, placing a worried hand on his forehead. "You're all red and you're really warm, you don't have a fever do you?"
He chuckled slightly at her motherly antics as he gently pulled her hand away from his forehead, noticing how soft and small it felt within the grasp of his own hand.
"I'm fine." he said smiling, causing her to smile back at him again. "Don't worry about me."
She retracted her hand back to her side, her worry having faded, though part of him regretted losing her closeness. He turned to leave the small kitchen to get a shower and she went back to preparing the fresh strawberries, courtesy of Yuki's garden, and pancakes they were going to have for breakfast. He wanted to stay there with her, but the rest of the family had begun to wander into the kitchen, Yuki mumbling something to Shigure about sexual harassment and restraining orders. He also knew that if he waited any longer to get dibs on the shower, he and that damn rat would end up fighting over the bathroom they were forced to share. Besides, with them being there, it would have ruined the moment anyway.
Breakfast that morning had gone along uneventfully for the most part, although Kyo and Yuki had gotten into a brief argument about who was going to get the last pancake, which luckily hadn't turned physical. This uproar was quickly extinguished by Tohru the peacekeeper, after of course Shigure had tried to 'solve' the problem by eating the pancake himself.
The house was quiet again now, Yuki having gone out on a forced outing with his brother Ayame, and Shigure having retreated to his study to supposedly work on his manuscripts that were due soon, although everyone doubted that was what he really was doing.
With everyone else gone, Tohru was left by herself in the kitchen washing all of the plates, cups and utensils that were used for breakfast in a sink full of sudsy water. Kyo, feeling badly about leaving her to do all the work herself since she already did so much for them, had come back into the kitchen to assist her with the dishes. Before she had realized he was even in the room he had come up behind her and was standing at her side.
"Move over, I'll help." He said sternly, his words coming out sounding more like an order than an offer of assistance. It seemed he was always doing that to her; trying to be kind but because of his lack of social skills, especially with girls, he would end up sounding like he was angry with her. And then, knowing Tohru's selfless nature, she would think she had done something to upset him and he would have to explain, in an extremely awkward way, that he was only trying to be nice and that it had just come out wrong.
That sort of situation happened all too frequently, and Tohru always ended up apologizing, thinking it was something she had done. He hated seeing that look on her face when she thought she had hurt him in some way, she always seemed so sad about it, and it was all because he wasn't able to show her how he truly felt. Very few people had ever shown him real love, not even his own parents and certainly not the rest of the Sohma family. He had always been hated because he was the cat; so even when someone did try to show that they cared about him, he was completely unaware of how to return that affection, and ended up pushing them away. But he was determined to change that; he had to, for her.
She seemed to be the only person who would keep smiling at him even when he got angry. Then again, she was also the only one who and truly and fully accepted his 'true form'. He mused over all of this as he continued to wash all of the dirty dishes that lay in front of him, while Tohru had begun to dry some of the clean ones.
The young girl turned to speak to him quietly while her hands continued her work, all the while studying the expression on his face. "What's wrong Kyo?" she asked softly, slightly tilting her head to the side.
"W-what do you mean?" he asked as the thought crossed his mind that perhaps he had been blushing again while lost in his thoughts, arousing her worry that he may have been sick once again.
She smiled up at him briefly, being able to tell that he was somewhat embarrassed around her. "You looked so serious there for a moment." she said simply. "I thought your head was going to explode." she said letting out a small giggle.
He too, let out a laugh when he looked up at her, but not because of what she said. The cause of his laughter was because when she had tried to rub her nose with her forearm after she finished speaking, she had accidentally wiped some soap bubbles onto her cheek; and the fact that she didn't even notice made it even more amusing, at least for him. As he continued to laugh though, she began to realize that it wasn't because of her comment.
"Okay, what's so funny?" she asked putting her hands on her hips, trying to look serious but failing miserably.
Kyo took a deep breath and tried to compose himself. He hadn't laughed like that in a long time, mostly because he wouldn't allow himself to let his guard down around Yuki, but it felt good for a change. Somehow she was always able to make him smile, even when he was in one of his many bad moods. When he finally began to speak he had stopped laughing, but still had a smile on his face in amusement.
"You've got soap on your face." he told her simply, a few chuckles still escaping from his restraint on them.
"Wha- where?" she asked, slightly gasping and instinctively pulling her hand up to touch her cheek, only it happened to be the one opposite from where the bubbles were, so she missed it entirely.
He dried off his hands and stepped closer to her to wipe off the suds with the corner of the towel. He tossed the rag to the side but remained close to her, their faces lingering only inches apart despite their height difference, which made the innocent girl in front of him blush in embarrassment.
"Um…th-thanks…Kyo…" she mumbled softly, the awkwardness of him being so near to her heating her cheeks.
He noticed this change in her, but stayed where he was. He didn't want to miss out on a rare moment that they had alone together like this, but all the while was taking care to make sure that their chests didn't touch. Transforming into his Zodiac animal now would completely kill the mood.
His hand came up to brush against her very warm and now rosy cheek and she shivered slightly from his touch. Part of her wanted to turn around and get out of that kitchen as fast as she could because of how embarrassed she had become, but her legs wouldn't move because the other part of her was silently begging him to come closer. He leaned forward again, becoming closer to her still, their noses brushing for an instant, but their torsos carefully remaining apart. Her delicate heart began to race as the orange haired boy she had secretly admired for so long came closer to her, her eyelids closing slowly as their lips almost touched, and then-
"Tohruuuu!!!" a young, joyful voice called from the entryway of their house, and then just as suddenly as the noise had appeared a figure came rushing into the kitchen where Kyo and Tohru stood, causing them to jump apart from each other.
Both of them blushed furiously when they realized that it was Kyo and Yuki's younger cousin, Momiji, who had walked in on them having a 'moment', although he didn't seem to take any notice to it. The awkwardly feminine boy had a habit of barging into situations like this, and then being so cheerful about whatever he had come to tell them that he would be blissfully unaware of the glares he was receiving for interrupting and coming over uninvited.
'Damn rabbit!' Kyo thought bitterly, glaring at the gleeful boy who had just interrupted what was going to be his and Tohru's first kiss. 'He always gets in the way of everything!' he screamed in his head while beginning to clench one of his fists. Tohru could sense that he was becoming angry with his ever-cheerful cousin, so she reached out and touched his hand that had become so tightly clenched, instantly calming him down, but not doing anything to help his embarrassment.
The younger boy seemed as hyper as ever, even for that early in the morning, as he hopped around the kitchen energetically, his blond hair, which he got from his German mother, bouncing up and down as he tried to blurt out the whole story he had to tell them in one breath.
"Oh my gosh you guys!" he exclaimed in his usual high pitched and nearly squeaky voice, "You'll never guess what Hari told me earlier! So I was playing in the garden around the main house this morning, right? And then Hatori came over…and…" he suddenly trailed off when he finally took notice of Tohru and Kyo's looks of shock and embarrassment, hidden under a deep shade of cherry on their cheeks as they looked away from each other. Then he began to figure out that he had just walked in on a lot more than the two teenagers just doing the dishes.
"Hey…" he said curiously, having calmed down to a normal level now, "What exactly were you two doing in here?" he asked putting his hands on his hips slyly, seeming to know the answer to his question.
Both Kyo and Tohru's eyes suddenly widened in horror when they realized that he had figured out their secret.
Momiji gasped loudly in realization, "Ooohh! You guys were getting all lovey-dovey in here before I walked in, huh?" he said excitedly as his eyes grew and smile widened, bouncing and twirling around happily.
Tohru tried to stammer some sort of an explanation, but nothing would come out of her mouth. She never was good at lying, and the embarrassment over the whole situation had rendered her speechless. Kyo, on the other hand, was only quiet because he was trying to contain his anger towards the little brat.
All of Momiji's energy had suddenly come back to him and he began to speak extremely quickly again. "Oh, Kyo! I bet you were gonna' kiss her, huh? You were gonna' kiss her weren't you? I knew it! I knew it all along! No one else realized, but I knew you two liked each other!!!" he pranced around merrily, and before either of the humiliated couple had a chance to say anything, he was heading for the door.
"Don't worry you guys, I'll keep everyone else out of here so you two can have some alone time!" he said winking at the now very pissed off Kyo. With that, he darted out of the room before they had time to stop him, leaving Kyo and Tohru to exchange confused looks, both of them still completely stunned from what had just happened.
When Kyo finally broke the silence, his voice sounded more confused than irritated. "What the hell just happened…?" he asked slowly, still being too embarrassed to look at the girl next to him. Tohru just shrugged slightly before they heard Momiji's voice again, this time yelling as loudly as he could.
"Everyone stay out of the kitchen! Tohru and Kyo are trying to make out!" he yelled down the hall, the news surely reaching Shigure's sensitive ears. Now they would never hear the end of this. Yuki also heard Momiji shouting as he climbed out of the car his brother was driving; dropping him off from their morning out together. He shook his head as he came up the porch, knowing all too well that his little cousin had just humiliated poor Tohru.
Momiji popped his head into the kitchen, seeing the two teenagers still staring at him wide-eyed. "Okay Kyo, no one will bother you now so you can kiss her all you want!" he said happily, honestly thinking that he had helped them out.
Kyo's anger suddenly got the best of him, causing him to blurt out the first defensive thing that came to mind. "Why the hell would I want to do something stupid like that?!" he said furiously, then immediately gave himself a mental slap in the face when he realized the cruel words that had escaped his mouth.
Momiji was already gone though, and didn't hear what Kyo had said. Tohru, on the other hand, heard it all too clearly. He turned around to try and offer some kind of an apology to her, but the words stuck in his throat when he saw the look on her face. Tohru had the tendency to cry quite often, so he had seen it before, but normally it was when she was really happy about something. The solemn expression on her face now was one that he had never seen before, and it wrenched at his heart.
"Tohru…I…I didn't mean…" he tried to force himself to say something, anything, to make the heartbroken look disappear from her face, but the one time he needed it the most, the words just wouldn't come. She took a small step away from him when he reached out his hand to try and touch her arm, biting her lip to try and hold back from bursting into tears. Nevertheless, a few shining tears began to form in the corners of her chocolate colored eyes that were focused on the floor because she couldn't make herself look up and meet his own amber eyes, now overrun with guilt. Hot tears had begun to stream down her cheeks when he attempted to speak to her again.
"Tohru…p-please…don't…" his throat closed up as he suddenly realized that he too, was on the verge of tears, it killing him to see her so upset like this and worse yet, knowing that he had caused it. He reached for her hand again but swiftly she jerked it away, his action breaking the tearful trance that she had been standing in and causing her to run out of the kitchen as quickly as she could manage. She was not even bothering to hide her tears any more and they streamed freely down her cheeks as she ran up the stairs and into her room, slamming the door behind her.
She hadn't even noticed that she had run right past Yuki on her way up to her room, who had just come in the front door after having a short conversation with Momiji, in which he had been 'warned' of the no longer secret events happening in the kitchen. When he saw Tohru dash past him with tears running down her face he became concerned for her and tried to stop her.
"Miss Honda, what's going-" he sighed when he realized she wasn't going to stop to talk with him, and heard the door to her room slam shut beyond the stairs, making the whole house seem eerily silent for a moment. Something surely must have upset her, because Tohru was never one to let herself be sad, not even in the worst situations. Even after he mom died she was still able to regain her smile before too long. He shook his head while he pulled off his shoes and placed them by the door. 'What have you done now, you stupid cat?' he wondered vaguely as he headed up to his own room to work on some documents for the student council.
Kyo was still left alone in the kitchen, slumped against the wall with his fingers tangled in his bright orange locks while he mentally cursed himself for hurting the only girl who had ever truly cared about him and accepted him for who he really was.
'Dammit!' he thought to himself furiously. 'Why am I like this?! Every time I try to show her how much I care about her I always end up saying something stupid and hurting her feelings! Why can't I be normal and just tell her how much she means to me?!' he growled angrily as he kicked the wall in front of him that he had been leaning on, making a slight dent on it in the process.
"Kyo-kun…" Shigure's peppy voice taunted him as he came into the kitchen. "Please don't break my house." He was wearing one of his usual grey and blue kimonos, which, according to him, was the customary attire for any novelist. He had come in to make himself some tea, possibly the only thing he could prepare without burning the whole house down, but he figured he'd poke some fun at Kyo while he was there.
"So…" he began as he put the tea kettle on the stove, still smirking over at his extremely pissed off cousin. "What have you done to upset our precious little flower this time?" he asked calmly, expecting that he would get a rise out of the orange haired boy across from him.
A moment of silence passed, but instead of lashing out at the nosy dog, who now stood leaning against the cabinets by the stove sipping his tea, Kyo just stared at his feet, mumbling under his breath. "I'm just…stupid…"
Although he was a bit taken aback by Kyo's lack of anger, Shigure decided to try and 'help out' anyway. "You know," he said slowly, feigning wisdom in the matter, "it may not be to late for you to go and fix whatever it is that you did to upset poor little Tohru-kun." he said with a grin.
Kyo looked up at him slowly, but didn't say anything to him as he strode past him, exited the kitchen and headed up the stairs to find her. Shigure stood there in awe for a moment that Kyo hadn't shown the least bit of anger towards him. 'That's almost scarier than when he is angry…' he thought to himself as he continued to enjoy his tea in the now empty kitchen.
Kyo stopped outside the closed door that led into her room, which was a little further down the hall from the rest of their rooms, and next to her private bathroom. He knew she was inside because he could hear her sobbing softly within the room, making his heart ache.
He tried gently tapping a knuckle against the door to see if she would respond, but all he got was a sharp, "Go away!" from the heartbroken girl on the other side, and then the sound of more crying. It seemed odd to him that what she said sounded more like she was pleading with him rather than being angry. But then again it was Tohru; a girl who he had never known to have a temper.
Taking in a deep breath, he tried talking to her. "Tohru…please…just listen to me…"
"Why would I want to do something stupid like that?!" she yelled at him sharply through the door, hurting him with the same cruel words that he had said to her earlier, although distinctly leaving out the foul part.
Kyo hung his head; his hand still pressed up against her door as he realized just how hurtful his words must have been for her to hear. He nudged the door handle and noticed that it had been unlocked the entire time. So at the risk of being yelled at, he opened the door just wide enough for him to slip through, and then when he was inside he closed it so no one else would be able to eavesdrop on their conversation; that was, if she would even talk to him.
He had only been inside of her room a few times before, the first time being when he had 'dropped in' quite literally through the ceiling while he was after Yuki, and a few other times, like when he had made her leek soup when she was sick. This time the atmosphere didn't feel the same though, because while it was still brightly lit from the afternoon sun shining through the window and white silk curtains, this time Tohru was sitting a few feet away from him on her bed in tears. When she didn't smile, everything in his world seemed less bright, like it had lost all of its color.
Her legs were pulled up under her chin while her arms hugged them closer to her chest. Her forehead rested on top of her knees as more tears continued to pour down her cheeks and land in her lap; her chest heaving as she sobbed uncontrollably under his gaze. Seeing her this way made him want to kick himself again, knowing that he had done something to hurt her that badly. He knew she could tell that he had entered the room, but she refused to look up at him, even as he walked over and sat on the bed next to her.
"Tohru…" he spoke so quietly that it was barely above a whisper as he scooted closer to her, some of the pink comforter that covered her bed bunching up under his legs as he moved. He placed a cautious hand on her shoulder that some of her hair was draped over, halfway expecting her to lash out and hit him for it, but to his surprise and relief she didn't even flinch.
"Tohru…" she seemed to cry harder when he said her name, but he continued anyway. "I just…I didn't mean…what I said…I was just…" he exhaled slowly, giving up on trying to explain himself. Explanations wouldn't do any good now, although he doubted apologies would do any better. But he was more than willing at this point to try anything, just to put that sweet smile back on her face.
"I'm sorry, okay?" he said flatly, causing her to finally raise her head up to meet his eyes that still held worry for her. She could tell that he was being sincere and she gave him a weak smile, her eyes still reddened and puffy and her nose slightly runny from crying. He brought his hand up and brushed her bangs out of her eyes, using his thumb to wipe away the few stray tears that were left on her cheeks, making her smile grow at his gentle touch.
Kyo sat in silence there with her for a moment before he finally asked what was on his mind. "So…you'll forgive me?" he asked staring at the ground briefly while he waited for her answer.
"Of course." she said as if it were obvious, regaining her sweet smile.
"You mean your not…mad at me…or anything?" he inquired slowly, still a bit surprised that she had forgiven him so easily. But then again, Tohru just wasn't the type of person to ever hold a grudge against anyone.
"I was never mad at you…just…hurt." she said beginning to look solemn again. "But I'm okay now that I know you didn't mean it." Her smile returned, making him smile back with great relief.
Without even realizing it, her hand had slid over on the bed and slipped into his, seeking his touch. It took him a minute to realize what she was doing, partially because he would have never guessed that she would seek affection from him like that, but also because he himself was inexperienced in that area, not that he was afraid to try. When he caught on he held on to her small hand a bit tighter, lacing his fingers through hers carefully and seeing her blush slightly as he did.
At that moment he wished more than anything that he could pull her into his arms and hold her there forever. He needed to be able to wrap his arms around her and feel her next to him, but he knew he couldn't. They both knew it. If he were to try and hug her, he would transform, ruining everything. That was the curse: not being able to hold the one you love close to you, ever. Even when they needed it the most, it just couldn't happen for the members of the Zodiac; and it hurt every one of them, and the ones they loved.
That was the nature of the curse; cold and unyielding. It ripped apart families, destroyed marriages, ate away at happy childhood memories, and doused any hopes of ever being able to find and hang on to true love. It pushed people away, leaving the people under the terrible curse to live in solitude, never being able to be truly accepted by the outside world.
But Tohru was different. She had never seemed to be bothered by it when she learned of the bizarre curse that resided over the Sohma family, causing them to change into animals of the Chinese Zodiac when their bodies were weak or when they were hugged by a member of the opposite sex. She wasn't like some of the others who pretended to care for the people under the curse; her love for them was genuine, especially for the poor cat who had never been allowed into the Zodiac. She had always loved the cat from the legend who had been tricked by the rat into missing the banquet, and after meeting the real thing, Kyo, she had begun to care for him too.
Her genuine care and concern for all of them granted her a special place in their hearts, especially in Kyo's. For him, it was because she had been the only person to truly accept him for all that he was; something not even his own mother had been able to do. His mother would say that she loved him and that she wasn't afraid of him, but it was obvious to him even at a young age that she was only pretending; but not Tohru. She had witnessed him change into a cat, and while she had admitted that it freaked her out a little at first, she was able to accept him anyway. Even on that one horrific night that he had been forced to reveal to her his 'true form', the terrifying beast that he became when the beaded bracelet that he always wore was removed, she had stuck by him. She was able to admit to him that he scared her, but she accepted that part of him anyway.
After that, it seemed inevitable that she would steal his heart, and he soon found himself falling in love with her. Everyone seemed to notice the feelings he harbored for her, all except Tohru that is; she was pretty naive when it came to things of that sort. Her two best friends, Uo and Hana, had picked up on the subtle signs that he had feelings for her quite some time ago and had tried to drop her a few hints, but she had always brushed their comments off saying that she and Kyo were merely good friends and that he couldn't have possibly have felt that way about her. But the truth was that, although she would never tell anyone, she secretly wished that he did feel that way about her; the way she had felt about him for a long time.
All of his life Kyo had been told that he was worthless and he deserved nothing because he was possessed by the spirit of the cat. So even when he did develop feelings for Tohru, he never felt that he deserved to be with someone as amazing her, but she had changed that in him. She had helped him see that he deserved a lot more because of who he was, not what he was. The problem was that he could never get up the nerve to tell her how he felt. He was glad that Yuki hadn't shown that he wanted to be anything more than a friend to her, or Kyo would have some serious competition, as well as a bigger reason to start a fight with him. At any rate, Kyo had promised himself that he would tell Tohru how much he cared about her soon; if he could ever manage to get everyone to leave them alone.
Kyo snapped back into reality and away from his thoughts when he heard her sigh next to him, making him realize that they had been sitting there holding hands in silence for quite a while, both lost in their own thoughts. He stared at her for a moment, admiring how beautiful she looked in the light that flooded through the window. Her eyes were half lidded as if she was lost in a daydream, their color seemed brighter and he noticed flecks of gold and amber around her pupils.
He reached over to her with the hand that wasn't intertwined with hers and brushed a few stray strands of hair away from her face, waking her from her dream as she turned towards him.
She laughed nervously. "Sorry, I guess I was spacing out…again."
He smiled. She did have a tendency to zone out from time to time, causing her to look rather ditsy, even though she was really quite intelligent.
She looked down again, still holding on to his hand. Suddenly, something inside of him made him very bold, and he decided to take a chance. Leaning in towards her, he cupped the side of her cheek with his palm, bringing her face towards slightly him as he pressed his lips to her other cheek, and then slowly backed away, leaving her stunned for a moment. Her whole face flushed bright red with embarrassment but she smiled at him anyway. She surprised herself by being a little disappointed that he hadn't kissed her on the lips, but maybe she wouldn't have to wait too long for that either.
He leaned back into her, now more determined than he had ever been to kiss her before someone got in the way. This time she was ready for him, although she didn't quite know what to expect, this being her very first kiss. What she didn't know though, was that on the inside he was just as nervous as she was because it was his first time too. Kagura may have attacked him with death-grip hugs, but she had never kissed him; something he was grateful for.
By the time he had leaned close enough to her for their noses to brush against each other, her eyes had already closed in nervous anticipation. He took her cheek in his hand and tilted her chin up slightly, bringing her mouth to his as he slowly pressed his lips onto her own. He lingered there for a moment, noticing how velvety soft her lips felt against his, as he waited for her to respond. She had gone stiff for a moment, staying in shock of the brand new sensation that overtook her whole body, caused solely by the meeting of their lips. Although she was unsure of how to react, an instant later she began trying to push her lips against his a little more firmly, surprising him this time.
One of his hands now had a delicate hold on her waist and the other one was tangled in her silky hair. She had brought one of her hands up to rest on his shoulder as he continued to kiss her gently and patiently, both of them wanting to savor every second of the incredible feeling it brought them. Getting brave again, he slipped his tongue out of his mouth for an instant and ran it along her bottom lip quickly before retreating, granting him a small gasp and a bit of a muffled moan from her. Her sweet taste pushed him to kiss her more deeply, but he held back. He didn't want to push her too fast, but feeling her like this made him want more every second.
For some reason, when she felt his tongue she was almost surprised that it was so smooth, because she halfway expected it to be rough. He was the cat after all, but she was glad it wasn't like that. Something else though, would make her second guess that his catlike characteristics didn't carry over while he was in human form.
The hand that had been resting on her hip came back up and to stroke her cheek gently as he kissed her. He failed to notice though, the small almost inaudible sound that had begun to reverberate throughout his chest and into his throat. Slowly but steadily, the sound's volume had begun to increase while he continued to kiss her softly, although her reactions to him had started to lessen as she was distracted by the unidentifiable noise that seemed to be coming from him.
A few moments later they pulled away from each other reluctantly, but also in severe need of air. Both of them breathed heavily, trying to catch their breath, although Tohru was now more curious about the sound she had heard.
He smiled widely at her, never taking his eyes off the beautiful girl he had just shared the most amazing moment of his life with. She reached over and touched his hand again, then leaned forward to catch his lips in one last sweet kiss which he readily responded to before settling in to her place next to him on her bed. She leaned her head against his shoulder where she was still able to hear the unusual sound resounding in his chest, and prepared to ask him somewhat of an embarrassing question.
"Um…Kyo?" she asked quietly, almost afraid to break the silence.
"Hmm?" he asked, his eyes closing sleepily for a moment while he laced his fingers through hers once again.
She hesitated a moment before asking him, slightly fearing his reaction. "Um…are you…purring…?" she asked looking up at him again.
He jumped back slightly but still held on to her hand. "What?! N-no!"
She giggled a little noticing how much he was beginning to blush. "I'm sorry. It's just that that noise coming from your chest…it sounded like you were purring…I mean, you are the cat so…"
"H-hell no!" he said pulling his hand away from her and crossing his arms and pouting as she continued to giggle, obviously being more embarrassed than mad. "I mean it! It's not funny!" he shouted trying to defend himself.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to laugh at you." she said touching his arm, making his face soften. "I thought it was cute, that's all." she added with a little smile. He looked like he was going to say something, but stopped when he heard an all too familiar voice calling from down stairs.
"Tohru, my precious little flower! Where have you gone? I'm starving!" Shigure voice echoed down the hall to her room. Kyo growled with anger when he heard his cousin's words, although he was sort of glad that there was something to distract Tohru from the little 'purring' incident.
"That's it!" he said jumping up from the bed and heading towards the door. "When is he gonna' learn that he can't order you around like that?! He's an adult, why can't he make his own damn food?!" he shouted angrily, silently remembering that she cooked for him too.
Tohru stood and took a few steps closer to her door that Kyo had already slid open and started to go out. "I-it's okay, really." she said thoughtfully. "It's almost dinnertime anyway-"
"No." he said being careful to not yell at her in his frustration and motioning with his hands for her to remain seated. "You stay here, and I'll go knock some sense into him." he said before closing the door behind him and heading down the hall.
She opened her door again and poked her head out to listen. Sure enough, within a few seconds she could hear Kyo yelling at Shigure who was probably in the kitchen waiting for her.
"What the hell is your problem?!" Kyo demanded to the older man as he came into the kitchen.
"Oh, Kyo. You're here…" Shigure said laughing nervously knowing that he was about to get scolded for his mannerisms towards Tohru again. "I uh, thought you had gone out…" he said diverting his gaze down to his kimono and bare feet, getting ready for the yelling that would surely ensue.
"I've told you before, don't order her around like that!" Kyo yelled, stomping his foot against the floor, enforcing his words. "She's not your maid!"
"Oh come on, Tohru likes being my little housewife." Shigure said happily, knowing all too well it would make Kyo even more angry.
"You sick bastard!" Kyo yelled sharply, being appalled by the perverse remark.
"Oh, Tohru, hello." Shigure said smiling and giving a little wave to the young girl who had just entered the kitchen, forgetting the fight in an instant.
Kyo growled and kept his fists clenched, but discontinued his yelling rampage, not wanting to continue his fight with the dog in front of Tohru
"It's alright Kyo. I can get dinner started now. I'm getting a little hungry too." She smiled at him, although he was still turned away from her. She didn't feel all that hungry, but she figured she should do some cooking for them since she had spent most of her day up in her room.
Kyo sighed and turned around to lean against the wall as he watched her go over to the refrigerator. "Yeah, whatever… Just don't go taking orders from him all the time." he instructed her, giving Shigure another glare across the kitchen.
Shigure smiled. Having Tohru around really was like a tranquilizer for Kyo's anger, even with Yuki. They hardly ever got in fist fights anymore, although they did still argue almost every day. That was a big improvement that some of their family members, like Hatsuharu, couldn't hardly believe. That fact would be challenged though; the minute Yuki came into the room.
Yuki scratched his head as he walked into the kitchen, being roused from his bedroom by the rather loud argument going on downstairs. He figured it had something to do with what he had also heard Shigure say about dinner, so he came to check if there was any food. "What are we having for dinner tonight, Miss Honda?" he inquired in his usual soft voice, being more careful than normal to make sure he wouldn't upset her because of how she had been when he saw her earlier that afternoon.
She turned around from the pot she had placed on the stove top and smiled. "Leek soup." she said happily, watching Kyo's expression. His eye twitched for a second and he looked a bit sick to his stomach, but to her surprise he didn't protest even though she knew how much he hated anything with leeks in it.
She laughed a little before she spoke. "I'm just kidding Kyo; I know how much you hate leeks. Don't worry, I'm making cod." He still refused to say anything, but she noticed that he did look a bit relieved.
"You shouldn't be so picky, you stupid cat. You'll only cause Miss Honda trouble." Yuki said as he sat down at the table, where Shigure was reading the newspaper, to wait for his food.
Kyo immediately jumped up from his place resting against the wall and pointed a finger at the ever calm Yuki across from him. "That's none of your business, you damn rat!" he shouted.
Shigure shook his head, hoping that their argument wouldn't lead to any more destruction of his house. Luckily for him, Tohru was able to calm them down in time for all of them to have a nice, non-violent dinner together.
Dinner that evening was a bit more quiet and not to mention awkward than it normally was. Kyo and Tohru were both still embarrassed about what had gone on between them earlier. Their budding relationship was different than most because no matter what happened between them, they would always have to see each other at the house; there was no hiding from the embarrassment. That, and the fact that they felt as if everyone knew about them, kept them quiet all the way through the meal.
Feeling like everyone knew wasn't entirely wrong though. Shigure had heard what Momiji had been shouting about them and Yuki had seen Kyo go into her room on his way to the bathroom, and he figured it wasn't just because she was upset. In fact, most of the Sohma family was aware that there was something going on between the cat and the Honda girl. It was just too difficult to hide it when they were around each other so much.
Kyo looked over at her from across the table. She was smiling pleasantly over at Yuki who was holding a light conversation with her, although Kyo wasn't listening to what they were saying. A year ago, it would have made him really irritated and jealous that she was paying so much attention to the rat, but now he was more focused on how pretty she looked as she smiled. Maybe it was because he had matured, or perhaps it was knowing that Yuki was more interested in the new member of the student council at school, Machi. Either way, Yuki didn't bother him as much as he used to anymore, but Shigure still did with the way he seemed to constantly be flirting with the innocent high school girl, even if he said he really was just kidding around.
After dinner, Tohru was left to do the dishes, Yuki and Shigure became glued to the television set in the living room, and Kyo retreated to his special place up on the roof of their house. He loved it up there; it was quiet and secluded, and he could look up at the sky without any buildings getting in the way. Although he often found himself going there to blow off some steam after getting angry for some reason or another, it was an even better place just to be alone so he could think. Not that he minded when Tohru would come up to talk with him or bring him some tea.
He had been up there for awhile after dinner, making sure he wore his favorite blue sweatshirt to keep him warm. He was laying down against the roof tiles, his hands behind him supporting his head, as he looked around and admired all of the trees around the house. Their colorful leaves that had changed for the season blew around in the air and made red, yellow, orange and brown mixed piles around the house, yard, and even up on the roof where he laid.
One particular leaf landed on his abdomen when it few by, sticking to the cloth of his sweatshirt. He looked down at it slowly, his eyes refocusing from looking up at the sky and the few stars that had begun to form in the early evening as the sun sank behind the clouds in the horizon. Taking one hand from behind his head, he picked up the leaf that had decided to land on him and eyed it carefully. It wasn't very dead yet so it didn't crumble as he shifted it through his fingers lazily, vaguely recognizing that its color almost matched his hair as he relinquished it from his hand, letting it get carried away by the light wind of autumn.
Just as he laid back to look back up at the sky, he heard a creaking sound coming from the ladder that he used to get up to the roof. As he sat up slowly he spied the coffee colored hair, which belonged to the person who had been on his mind the entire time he had been up there, emerging from below the roof. He lay back down again but kept his head turned to the side towards the ladder. Brushing his messy orange hair out of his eyes, he watched as she came up to join him on the roof. She didn't have tea or anything in her hands, so he knew she had just come up there to talk with him; and the thought of that made him somewhat nervous.
A million possibilities raced through his mind about what she would have to say to him, some much more nerve wracking than others. He wondered if maybe she was mad at him for the way he had kissed her earlier. He had gotten a little carried away by the moment, but he couldn't help it. Just being near her drove him crazy, and the way she had responded to him while he kissed her, it was just too much to handle. But then again, she had responded to him, deeply in fact. That meant she enjoyed it, right? His brow furrowed slightly as he thought about all of that, but relaxed when he saw her smiling as she climbed all the way up on to the roof and walked over to him, her arms steadying her, trying to be careful not to loose her balance.
"Hi." she said shyly, smiling at him sweetly as the wind blew her hair around her face.
A quiet, "Hey." was all he could manage to say, not trusting his mouth to say anything more just yet for fear he would blurt out something foolish again.
"Do you mind if I join you?" she asked politely, biting her lip slightly as she waited for his answer, remembering all of the times he had shooed her away when he had been up there fuming after yet another loss to the rat.
"N-no, go ahead." he said softly, scooting over and offering her a place to sit next to him. It was strange; just a few hours ago they had been extremely intimate with each other, but now it was hard for him to even talk to her, and he sensed it was the same way for her. Perhaps it was because they both knew that they were going to have to talk about what had happened sooner or later.
He watched her as she made her way over to him, slipper covered feet maneuvering across the roof tiles, and plopped down next to him, but not at all far away. She tucked her knees up close to her for a moment, silently admiring the view around her. He suddenly became aware that he was staring at her through fiery tresses of hair that had blown back into his eyes, so he turned away from her as she lay down next to him, their shoulders almost brushing.
"It's beautiful outside this time of year, isn't it?" she commented gazing up into the sky, picking out the few stars hidden beneath the clouds that had turned pink with the sunset.
At that moment, Kyo was more focused on the beauty laying next to him, rather than the sky. There were a million different wonderful things he could have said to her at that moment, even without making it sound like it came from some cheesy romantic comedy movie, but all he could manage was a quietly mumbled, "Yeah…" before looking away from her again.
She let out a tiny sigh and moments later his heart skipped a beat when he felt her hand slide over and hold on to the his hand that had been resting at his side. It was funny, he thought as he laced his fingers through hers, he was able to stare down any opponent in battle without even flinching, but one little touch from Tohru sent him shaking. A slow smile formed on his lips as he relaxed into her closeness and she leaned her head on his shoulder, nuzzling into his bicep.
"Kyo…" she whispered softly against his arm, her words almost being so quiet that they were carried away by the wind.
"Hmm?" he asked, his heart rate quickening slightly, knowing what she was about to ask. He leaned over slowly and pressed a light kiss against her temple that, despite the wind, was still covered by her bangs. He had almost hoped that his action would distract her from asking the inevitable, but she continued anyway.
"Why…why did you kiss me earlier…?" she asked slowly, not being able to look up at his fiery eyes. He was a little surprised at the directness of her question, and apparently she was also because a scarlet blush began to cover her cheeks as the words left her mouth.
"B-because…" he started, taking a deep breath. There was no avoiding it now, the only way he could get out of it now was if he fell off the roof, and that wasn't something he was willing to try. "Because I love you, alright?" he managed finally.
Her eyes snapped up to look at him, but he had already turned his eyes away from her, blush heating his cheeks as he swallowed hard with nervousness. For a minute, she was speechless, hardly believing what she thought she had just heard had really come from his mouth.
"W-what…?" she asked, needing to know if she had really heard him correctly. He turned back to her then, amber eyes that seemed to be burning with fiery emotion locking on to hers.
"I said I love you, Tohru." This time his words sounded more definite, like his decision had been made clear by what he said.
She gasped a little, still being unable to believe that he had really just said that to her. She knew she wasn't dreaming though, when she felt his lips against her skin again, this time on her cheek. Being completely overwhelmed with emotion she let a few warm tears slip from her chocolate colored eyes, one of his hands that held her face already brushing them away.
Her arms draped over his shoulders and around the back of his neck, slender fingers toying with the strands of hair at the base of his neck, causing him to make the low purring sound in his throat once again. She found herself panting a little when he kissed along her jaw line, leaving a trail of light touches of his lips down her neck and on her collar bone. But she soon relaxed when his lips made their way back up to her mouth, capturing her lips in a passionate kiss before he leaned back to look at her again.
His amber eyes appeared almost sorrowful as he looked at her, like a sad child that needed to be told he hadn't done wrong. Giving him a little smile and taking hold of his hand again, Tohru told him what he longed to hear, and what she had wanted to tell him for a long time.
"I love you too, Kyo." she said giving his hand an affectionate squeeze.
She leaned towards him with the intent of embracing him, but stopped short, remembering painfully that she couldn't hug him or else he would transform. Kyo hung his head, suddenly feeling more ashamed of his curse than he ever had been before.
"I-I'm sorry." he said after a moment of intense silence had passed between them. He bit onto his lower lip, his gaze focused on a small crack in one of the tiles of the roof beneath him even when he felt a small hand reach over and touch his shoulder tenderly.
"For what?" she asked, although she was pretty sure she knew what the answer was going to be. Her hand grabbed onto his again, trying to give him some comfort as he looked up at her.
"For being…like this…" he choked out, leaving her with no doubt about what he meant. His fiery eyes somehow seemed dimmer now, like all of his hope had left them. The beginnings of tears stung at his eyes, but he wiped them away with his sleeve as soon as they had formed, not wanting her to see his pain.
"Don't apologize for that." she said quickly, leaning forward to plant a soft kiss against his cheek. "It's not your fault." she said moving closer to him. She sat between his outstretched legs, leaning forward so she could wrap her arms around his neck and rest her head against his shoulder, making sure that their chests didn't come into contact. One of his arms came up to rest a hand on the small of her back, while the other one supported him in his sitting position.
"It's not fair…" he mumbled softly into her hair, fighting back the flood of tears that so desperately wanted to break free. He closed his eyes, inhaling her sweet scent while she pulled herself closer to him, wanting to be as close to him as possible without making him transform.
Then, something in his mind clicked, and he just didn't care anymore. Maybe it was the overwhelming desire he had to hold her close, or perhaps it was the frustration from knowing that he never could, but something inside of him just let go. He leaned backwards, towards the slanted surface of the roof, pulling Tohru with him. She jumped back slightly, afraid that his movements might through her off balance and send her falling into his chest, transforming him.
"Kyo, what are you doing?" she asked him quickly as she pulled back slightly. "You'll transform." she informed him as if he wasn't already aware of the fact. She tried to pull back further, but his hand that now held her waist wouldn't allow her to move away from him any further.
"I don't care." he said, sounding almost desperate. "I don't care anymore, I just want to hold you. I need you, Tohru. Please, even if it's just for a moment…" She looked at him, his eyes pleading with her as he spoke, tearing at her heart.
"Even if it's just for a moment…" he repeated, this time sounding even more desperate than before. "I want to hold you close to me…I want to know what it feels like…to hold the one you love next to you…even if it can only be for a few seconds…I need that…" His was barely able to choke out the last words, but he never took his eyes off of hers, even as they began welling up with tears. He had never shown her this side of him before; hurt, needy, but still completely full of love.
She stopped resisting the will to hold him then, and fell into his arms, pushing them both into a laying position on the roof with her on top of him. Her arms wrapped around him tightly, the need to hold him close that she had held back for so long now rushing forth as she let her tears flow freely while she tried to burry her head in his chest, his sweatshirt absorbing the salty droplets before they could fall. Both of his arms now held her firmly around the waist, pulling her closer still, inhaling her scent and feeling her heart beat through the softness of her breasts, trying desperately to memorize every little detail about how she felt against him before he would be forced to let go.
They both lay there in silence, holding on to each other as tightly as they could, never wanting to let go but dreading the inevitability that they would have to. A few tense seconds passed while they lay there in each other's arms, breathing heavily while they awaited the 'pop' sound and puff of smoke that would remove his arms from around her, turning him into a familiar orange cat.
But after a few more seconds of waiting, the popping sound never came and he remained there as a regular human despite how closely he held her to his chest. They were both amazed, but to afraid to move or say anything because neither of them wanted to ruin the perfect moment of being able to hold each other with false hopes. The thought crossed both of their minds that perhaps they had been counting the seconds faster than they really had happened. But sure enough, a few long moments later, he was still there holding on to her. Tohru finally decided to break the silence, but still held on to the confused orange haired boy beneath her.
"Kyo…y-you're not…changing…" she breathed, her head still snuggled up to his chest and her arms around his torso.
"I-I know…" he spoke softly, his breath tickling her ear as she laid against him. She spoke more tentatively next, afraid of what her words could mean for the both of them.
"D-do you think the curse…is…broken…?" she asked hesitantly, tugging at the cloth of his sweatshirt with one hand. She let out a sharp gasp in realization and sat up to look him in the eyes. "The curse! W-we should go tell the others!" she said hurriedly, looking to him for an answer. He gave her one, but just not the one she expected.
"Later…" he said slowly, pulling her back down to him so he could embrace her once again. "For now, I just want to lay here with you." He yawned sleepily, stroking her hair. "Just for a moment."
Tohru smiled, listening to Kyo breath softly while she rested against his chest and she felt him press a light kiss on her forehead. She was finally able to be held by the man she loved, who loved her back. She had broken the curse that restrained him, and he was set free. Neither of them could have been happier as they slowly drifted off to sleep in each other's arms into a dreamless night, no dream being able to be sweeter than reality of that moment; their moment, that because of her love, could now last forever.
(A.N.) So there you have it, my first Fruits Basket fic! This one is only a oneshot, but do expect to see more FB fanfics from me. I'm planning on writing another one really soon, (also Kyo&Tohru because I love them) but I think it will be an angst fic. Love it or hate it, I would appreciate it if you would leave me review with your comment!