Summary: Every family has its secrets. They close doors and create imaginary worlds. When the illusion shatters reality becomes a haunting nightmare.
Disclaimer: Fruits Basket is the property of Natsuki Takaya. I hold neither affiliation nor ownership.
Chapter One: Thank You
Chapter One: Thank You
The rain spilled out from the dark clouds as the sky wept. The sound of water splattering on cement was only one part of the storm's symphony.
Tohru looked almost sadly at the dark sky. The day had been perfect earlier, but any trace of sun was gone. They sound of an umbrella opening caused her to turn away from the torrential downpour.
"Are you ready to go Miss Honda?"
She smiled brightly and nodded. "Yes of course." Reaching into her bag she searched for her own umbrella. For a moment she thought that she had forgotten it. Despite the fact that it had rained every day prior to this one, it was very possible that she had neglected to pack it since the morning had been so beautiful. Her hand closed on the handle and she smiled in triumph. "There you are." She pulled it out and smiled at Yuki and Kyo.
"Let's just go," Kyo muttered tiredly.
Concern appeared briefly in her eyes before disappearing when she nodded. Her umbrella opened with a swooshing sound and she stepped out into the rain.
The pattering of raindrops filled the silence between the three of them. Several times she considered starting a conversation only to discard the idea. She raised her eyes to the ink stained sky, wondering when the rain would abate.
Lightning cut through the darkness followed by a deep roll of thunder that seemed to shake the ground.
Kyo glanced at her when he saw her jump from the corner of his eye. "Don't worry, we're almost home."
She smiled and nodded, but her heart still beat rapidly in her chest. A second knife lit up the sky and for a brief instant she saw a dark form on the side of the road. What was that? The passing headlights offered no further clue. As they drew nearer the dark mass grew steadily clearer. Kyo and Yuki walked past, but she paused near it. The rain made it difficult for her to tell what it was. There was another flash of lightning and the shroud was briefly thrown aside. Her eyes widened when she saw the girl that lay on the side of the road.
Tohru was absent. Stopping, they turned around to look at her.
"Miss Honda," Yuki said, but she didn't respond. Walking back the way that they had come he stopped beside her. "Miss Honda, are you all right?"
"Y-Yes," she said. "But…" She turned to face him. "She needs our help."
He looked to where her gaze returned and his eyes widened.
Earlier that day…
The halls echoed the quiet footsteps of the girl as she walked towards the main office. With no one to see her in the early school hours she toyed with the sleeves of her uniform. She was starting late, the transfer having been a last minute occurrence with the sudden move. After receiving her test scores though from her former school they had eagerly admitted her. Now standing just a few short steps within the office she was nervous.
She looked at the outstretched hand of the administrator before giving her hand to his strong grip. Their hands shook briefly and she then pulled her hand back to her side.
"I've been looking forward to your arrival."
It was difficult to tell if he was lying, but she suspected not. She remained silent and nodded in recognition to his words. He touched her arm lightly and turned her to guide her down through the door from which she had entered.
"Come along then."
He led her though the hallways and the different levels of the school. They passed several students and she felt the weight of their gazes before more important things distracted her. She listened to the administrator's voice, but it quickly became a blur of words. Overhead the bell rang and he pattered her shoulder while telling her that she shouldn't worry about being late. They stopped before a closed door and she watched him as he knocked. Within she heard movement before the door slid open.
"Mr. Sohma." Before he could utter a greeting the administrator was speaking again. "I apologize for interrupting, but I was hoping that you could do something for me."
"Yes, of course. What…?"
"Excellent. This," he said grasping her shoulders. "Is Shin Dokaru, our new transfer student. Miss Dokaru this is Yuki Sohma the class president. Now Yuki she is the newest member of your homeroom and I was hoping that you would be her guide for her first week."
"Yes, I would be…"
"Perfect. Now…" He patted his jacket pocket and withdrew a pen. "Do you have a scrap of paper that I could use?" he asked, looking at Yuki.
"One moment please." He disappeared within the room only to reappear shortly there after.
Taking the paper that was offered to him, the administrator quickly scribbled a note on it. After pocketing his pen he handed the paper to Shin. "Just give this note to your sensei Miss Dokaru. Now if you will excuse me."
She started to thank him only to silence herself and watch him as he disappeared around the corner. He never introduced himself.
Turning to him, she looked at him as she waited for him to continue.
"Welcome to our school." She nodded, but was silent. Meeting her dark gaze he suddenly felt as if he had been laid bare before her. "I'll show you to class," he said, turning away from her. Starting to walk down the hallway he could hear her soft footsteps as she followed him.
Mayu turned away from her class, pausing in her lecture.
Despite the annoyance that flickered in her eyes, Yuki came forward and handed her the note.
After reading the note she glanced past Yuki to the girl who stood just outside the doorway. She smiled slightly and motioned for her to enter. The students began to speak in hushed whispers, but a look silenced them. "You may call me Mayu-chan-Sensei," she said with a warm tone. "Welcome to our class Miss Dokaru."
Yuki glanced at the clock on the wall. "If you would excuse me sensei I should return to the meeting." He turned to Shin and smiled ever so slightly. "Miss Dokaru, I will meet you here after the bell."
She nodded and listened to his footsteps as he left the classroom.
"You may take a seat in the back, Miss Dokaru."
Ignoring the weight of her new classmates' gazes, she walked to the lone empty desk that had more than likely been added to the room in preparation of her arrival. Sitting down, she quickly pulled out a notebook and listened to the lecture that Mayu resumed shortly afterwards.
The bell echoed in the silent halls, the sound lingering even after it silenced after several seconds.
She took her time packing her bag, waiting for the classroom to empty before standing. Walking to the doorway, she paused for a moment. Their laughter was loud and she wished for the silence that was within the room behind her.
Turning to face Yuki she stared at him, waiting for him to speak any form of instruction that he may have to give her.
He looked away to watch those that passed them. "There is no specific area where we must eat lunch. Is there somewhere that you would like to eat on the grounds?" he asked, turning back to her. She was silent and he was reminded of Machi. "If you wish you may join my friends or we could sit somewhere else." Her head lowered in what he assumed to be a nod. Though slightly confused as to what she had actually agreed to, he started walking in the direction that would lead them to the stairs.
The looks that followed them caused her to wonder. There was curiosity as she had expected, but in the eyes of most of the girls they passed there was hostility.
Yuki took a seat halfway down the staircase and after a moment she sad down two steps below him. It was quieter here, calmer. She glanced up at him and saw that he was unpacking a lunch that she had not noticed he had.
He glanced at her when she made no other move. "Are you hungry?" She shook her head and he watched her as she removed a book from her bag. He couldn't read the title or author, which was written in a foreign language. Knowing that she would not speak he didn't ask her what it was that she was reading. He glanced at her from time to time. She seemed oblivious until he looked at her again to see that she was staring at him. The bell rang and he shook his head to clear his feeling of unease before standing. She had all ready put her book away and was staring at the ground as she waited for him. He started walking up the stairs and sensed her following after him.
Several pages of her notebook had been filled within two hours. She glanced out the window. A bird flew by and then it was gone. Turning back to the front of the classroom she looked at Mayu again before resuming her notes.
There was only the sound of pens scratching on paper and every now and then the shuffle of a page as it was turned. Soft noises beneath the sound of Mayu's voice.
The students jumped when they heard a loud bang. Mayu looked at the window with her students. There was a smear of blood and a few feathers that stuck to the glass. "Damn it." The room suddenly became loud and she turned back to her students. "All right, quiet now. It's not…" She trailed off and sniffed the air, smelling smoke. Glancing around she looked for the source. There was an explosion of fire to her right and she stumbled back. She heard several screams and many of her students jumped to their feet. "Get out of the room. Now!" They rushed to the doorway and she thought to tell them to remain calm, but there was no clogged doorway and they had abandoned the room. She grabbed her jacket off of the back of her chair before walking to the trashcan. The fire fed on the discarded papers, but it was nothing that couldn't be easily put out.
The hall was crowded with students. Yuki glanced into the classroom as he passed, seeing many of the staff and an annoyed Mayu who held a burnt jacket. He sensed rather than saw her. Walking past the other students he eventually came across her standing before one of the windows. "Miss Dokaru." She glanced at him before turning away. "Are you all right?" he asked, coming to stand beside her. When she didn't answer he looked out the window and saw that several more students had gathered outside, his cousins and Tohru among them.
Her voice was soft and he didn't realize at first that she had spoken. Turning to Shin her dark eyes met his before she turned and walked away, disappearing within the crowd.