Dear reader,

This is the first fanfiction I ever published on the internet, and indeed one of the first I ever wrote. I'm writing you this note five years later, now an adult and much moved on from Fruits Basket and its fandom. However, you may be reading this because I have chosen to continue this story. Before you go on, I'd like to address a few things:

This fanfiction involves, and indeed revolves around, a great deal of mental, physical, and sexual abuse performed by a few different parties, particularly on a very young boy. When I was writing this originally as a fifteen-year-old in the midst of her yaoi phase, I did not have the understanding that these are actually very serious issues. I am not going to go through and change anything from chapters 1-4, which are the ones that got written before my discontinuation, but I want you to know that I am aware of the problematic way the issues were handled, and that I am taking it in a very different direction now, one that is hopefully much more appropriate given the material.

I'm so sorry you decided to read this,


Warnings: This fic contains spoilers to volume 15. Oh, and about Akito? Yes, I know about his little gender issue. Don't ruin the yaoi. It's rated M for later chapters. This chapter is pretty low-key.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own Fruits Basket. Or any of the characters. Sigh. But, if I did, volume 17 would be burned and never given print. And Manabe and Yuki would end up together.

Repeating the Past
I'll Listen

Manabe and Kimi had run off to cause trouble for the Prince Yuki Fanclub, and Naohito had followed to perhaps prevent a war between the students from breaking out. Machi, in her usual dull voice, said there was no more work to be done and left for home. That inevitably left Yuki quite alone in the Student Council room.

All, Yuki thought sullenly, for the better.

Recently, without warning, more memories of Yuki's past had been flooding back with a force that made him feel dazed and really very unstable. He'd hoped no one in the Student Council had noticed, and was thankful for a break to simply sit and think without interruptions.

The rat gazed at the paperwork in front of him, feeling weakened. He'd tried his best to forget all of those things that had happened to him, but, as was becoming clearer each year, some scars are simply impossible to heal.

It wasn't quite like the other things; it was embarrassing to admit even to himself he'd been sold by his own parents to be Akito's toy, but the other memories held a much more terrible humiliation that he knew would not be so approachable. After all, everyone was aware that he'd been given to Akito, but he had never dared to tell a soul of the things that had happened—the things that Akito had done to him in that black room. If he did, he knew that whoever found out would ostracize him for his weakness.

He clenched his hands into fists and willed the more detailed images to go away—

Akito's hot breath mingled with his own, warm hands betraying sparks of pleasure over his body as he whimpered for his cousin to stop—

There was a brief flash of pain as Yuki's fingernails dug so deep into his palms as to draw blood. He clenched his teeth and let out a surprised choke. Had I really enjoyed it…th-that much? The rat narrowed his gaze at the desk, again beginning to doubt; his happiness, his orientation, his reason for existence…

"Leader!" The voice was distant to Yuki's ears, and the rat might have expected it was coming from outside the room had he not glanced up just barely to see Manabe already inside. "AAAH!" Nabe yelled.

"Eh!" Yuki yelled right back, jumping and feeling quite startled.

"Yun-Yun, you're bleeding!"

"So you were thinking too hard again?" Manabe had taken Yuki first to the nurse to get his hands bandaged, then outside in front of the soccer field, the place Yuki had last confessed to the vice president the deep feelings he'd held about his past, and about Tohru.

"Yeah," Yuki mumbled, avoiding Nabe's gaze and holding the glass of water Kakeru had brought for him tightly.

"At least you didn't throw up this time," Manabe said cheerfully. Yuki rolled his eyes and allowed himself a good glance at the other's bright smile before again looking away.

Manabe sat down next to Yuki without a word, for which Yuki was grateful. There was now ay Nabe would let him leave unless he opened up at least a bit; that much Yuki was sure of. The problem was, the thing that was troubling him was even more pitiful and pathetic than seeing Tohru as a mother figure, more terrible than simply being Akito's toy.

"I…I'm not sure," Yuki said, his voice very soft, "that this is something you'd really want me to tell you." He looked at Manabe just to find the other boy staring right back, his eyes unusually cold.

"Yuki, I thought last time would've been proof enough." His gaze was piercing, and as much as he wanted to, Yuki found he couldn't turn away. "It doesn't matter what is bothering you. No matter how bad it is, I'll always listen to you." Yuki became suddenly aware of his heart; how loud it was, and how quickly it was beating against his chest. "I want you to feel good." Manabe smiled gently. "Even if I have to listen to all of Yun-Yun's sob stories." He placed a soft thumb under Yuki's eye and brushed away the water that had spilled over. "Even," he said, his voice as tender as his touch, "if I have to wipe away all of Yun-Yun's tears."

Yuki searched into Manabe's eyes, wondering why something about his friend unexpectedly felt different. It was in his voice, and in the gentleness of his caress.

Manabe moved his hand over slightly so it was cupping Yuki's cheek. He closed his eyes and gave Yuki his best smile. "'Kay?" he asked happily.

Heaving an annoyed sigh, Yuki said, "Yeah, yeah." He pushed Nabe's hand off his face, perfectly aware of the blush on his cheeks and perfectly aware that it was humiliating the hell out of him. "Vice President-san, don't you have any shame, coming on to me like that?" He wiped at his tears with his sleeve as he spoke, but his voice remained steady. "Your girlfriend would be appalled."

"Actually, me and my girlfriend, we went our separate ways a while back."

The shock of it made Yuki momentarily forget what he was doing, and his arms fell a couple inches as he stared at Manabe, mouth agape. "What happened?" he asked, the surprise apparent in his tone. "I thought you loved her?"

Manabe reached into his pocket and handed Yuki a handkerchief. "Of course I loved her. But things change. Love fades, new loves brighten." He gazed distantly out at the soccer field, and let out a sigh. "We both just wanted to try something new, you know? It was hard, but I'm pretty sure we're both happier this way."

The way he says it, Yuki thought, peering at his friend from behind the handkerchief. He doesn't sound very happy at all. The rat mimicked Manabe and looked out at the soccer field.

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize you were suffering," Yuki said quietly. He turned to look at Manabe just as his friend had done the same. Nabe again smiled.

"Well, unlike me, you're terrible at hiding it when you're really upset." Yuki stared at him, and again felt the urge to cry. The way he said it so calmly, Yuki couldn't help but wonder how many times Manabe had suffered, and how many of those times the idiot had actually bothered to go to someone. "But c'mon, Yun-Yun, enough about me. You've been out of it all day, so tell me what's going on."

So someone did notice… Yuki thought dejectedly. "Was it that bad?"

"Oh yeah, Yun-Yun. You were always gazing off into the distance, and even when you were writing your paperwork, words didn't come out right. I think you were trying to spell imouto but it turned out as Akito. What was that about? Kimi even would have jumped you if I hadn't come to the rescue of Leader!"

Yuki stared at his hands that then rested in his lap, the shock at what Manabe said settling uncomfortably all over him. He'd almost been hugged? That made things infinitely worse.

Kyo is with Shihan until next week, and Honda-san is staying with Hanajima-san and Uotani-san…

"Manabe, would you like to stay at my house this evening?"

There was a long pause that made Yuki feel awkward, but within a couple seconds, Manabe jumped up into a very Kimi-like pose. "Oh my! Yun-Yun wants me to go to his house to watch his erotic videos! How naughty, tee hee!"

"I DIDN'T SAY THAT!" Yuki yelled, his cheeks burning at Nabe's perversion.

The silence that followed almost seemed loud in itself, but after a few moments Manabe shrugged. "Sure, Yun-Yun. As long as you'll talk about what's wrong."

"Yeah," Yuki mumbled as Manabe took out his cell phone to call his mother.

Simply out of curiosity, Yuki glanced up from the alphabet blocks Akito had given him. At four years old, he didn't know much besides that when Akito went silent, something was on his mind. As it turned out, the rat's seven-year-old playmate was watching Yuki, but his eyes were distant, as if he wasn't really seeing anything before him.

"Akito?" Yuki queried in a small voice. The head of the family blinked and focused his gaze solely on his cousin. "Akito, is something wrong?" The seven-year-old blinked a few more times before setting Yuki with a rueful smile.

"No, my little Yuki," he answered softly. "I was just wondering something." The four-year-old gave Akito an inquisitive look, unaware of how adorable he looked. His eyes were wide, glazed with curiosity, and his lips were slightly parted.

"What is it?" the rat asked. Akito's smile faltered, and he looked away before turning his back to his cousin and starting where he'd left off in his book.

Yuki blinked a few times before giving his attention back to the alphabet blocks. Akito didn't want to talk about it, and that was just fine. When the seven-year-old was ready, he would tell Yuki whatever it was that needed to be said.

In fact, it was only until a few minutes had passed that, without turning to face his cousin, Akito broke the silence. "Yuki, do you know what kissing is?" The head of the family abandoned his book and stood slowly, gracefully, facing the wall with untroubled determination. "Or do you know what it means if I kiss you?"

Yuki's head tilted slightly to the side. In theory, yes, he knew what kissing was, but it was something he had yet to experience; after all, his mother had never shown him any type of affection.

"If you kissed me, our lips would be together?"

Silence followed the uncertain statement. Yuki rolled his pants into tight fists and awaited his cousin's reaction.

"… Hm," Akito finally said, his voice light, a small smile playing on his lips. He walked pointedly towards his cousin until he stood directly in front of the boy, where he then dipped down to kneel before the four-year-old, his kimono flying up behind him before settling back in neat folds.

Yuki gaped as Akito ran his slight thumb under the curve of his lower lip, then over the soft skin itself. "Akito…?" Yuki asked, his voice lacking any conviction for protest as the older leaned in and placed his lips gently on his cousin's.

Little memories, marching on
Your little feet working the machine
Say, will it spin? Will it soar?
Empire Ants, Gorillaz