Chapter one.

Overwhelming darkness. It seemed so fitting, perfectly suiting his mood and demeanor. Yuki stared apathetically into the night, one hand resting under his chin. His garden offered little comfort, although it was usually his favorite pastime and a source of joy. Nothing compared to the physical labor required to suppress all thoughts and bypass time and space. There was no other way to forget the terrible memories that so often plagued him.

He stood, grunting as if in pain. His hands were covered in soil, but he could not pay attention to such minor details at the moment. Yuki stared at the destruction around him. He had been so incredibly angry, and heedless of the consequence he had destroyed one of the few things that remained precious to him; his garden. This terrible act of betrayal caused a lump in his throat, but he stubbornly ignored it. He had to go back to the house, and put on another mask.

"Yuki! It's terrible!" Tohru's worried face greeted his first thing the next morning. She was biting her bottom lip, as if afraid to tell him what exactly was so terrible.

"I just…went out to the garden. I think an animal must have gotten into it, because everything has been torn up!" she said it in a rush, clutching his hand as she explained.

"Oh," Yuki forced his face into a suitably grave expression. "I guess I had better see for myself,"

When they reached the small patch, Yuki feigned shock and anger. He would not allow Tohru to help him clean up.

"Go on back to the house. You don't want to be late for school," he gave her a small smile, hoping she would leave him alone.

"Oh, alright. But come in for breakfast, okay?" she smiled back and walked towards the house.

Yuki fell to his knees, a broken tomato plant in his hand.

"I'm such an idiot," he whispered. He did not see the red eyes watching him from the bushes.

"So what did you want for dinner? I was thinking fish and vegetables," Tohru was chatting beside him, but he could not bring himself to pay much attention, even to her. She was the bright, shining light in his life, but at that moment her light was almost overwhelming. He did not want to be comforted with sweet words and laughter. He wanted to wallow in darkness and pain, find solace alone.

"Miss Honda?" his voice sounded weak, even to him.

"Yes?" she smiled and tossed her long brown hair over her shoulder.

"Do you think you could go the rest of the way alone? I mean, there's something I wanted to do…"

"Sure," she replied, ever cheerful. It was just not in her nature to argue, or ask questions. She was utterly devoted to the Sohma family and spent every spare moment anticipating their needs.

"You're going to buy some more things for the garden, aren't you?" Tohru asked, a small smile on her face. "Make sure you get leeks!"

He nodded, too preoccupied to laugh. She frowned and walked away, possibly planning dinner as she went. Yuki began to walk to familiar path to Sohma house.

"I trust you were not seen by any members of the family or otherwise?" Akito drawled softly. His back was to the younger man, robe dropping below his shoulders in its usual way.

"I was not seen," Yuki replied equally softly. He did not want to provoke Akito so earlier in the afternoon; there was a small chance he could come through this unscathed if Akito controlled his temper.

"Good. You know why I have called you here again?" Akito turned his dark eyes to the kneeling Yuki, face unreadable.

"I disobeyed you," Yuki whispered.

"Yes," Akito covered the ground between them in seconds, long, pale fingers gasping him by the chin. "Your defiance continues, even now you look at me with such hatred in your eyes. Am I not head of this family? Do I not deserve your respect and loyalty?"

Yuki did not answer, overwhelmed.

"I think we need to ensure this does not happen again. You understand, don't you?" Akito murmured, raising his fist for the first blow.

Undaunted and unbowed, Yuki refused to move. If he gave Akito the pleasure of his pain it would only make it all seem more real.

Never did he leave any obvious sign of the abuse. His face and arms remained unblemished, in stark comparison to his back, chest and stomach. For this reason, he had begun skipping his doctor's appointments, and although each breath seemed to be taking more of a toll than usual, he refused Hatori's ministrations. Bad enough that he suffered this indignity at all, without anyone else finding out. What could they do to help him? It was as Akito said; all members of the Sohma family obeyed his wishes without question. Even if they wanted to help, there was nothing they could do. Besides, if it were not he, Yuki, than one of the other, possibly younger Sohmas would be targeted. The thought of Momeji or Kisa losing their innocence in such away made him physically sick; Akito had threatened it on more than one occasion. Better he suffer than they; he was used to it anyway.

"Oh Yuki, you're back!" Tohru seemed genuinely happy to see him, but then she seemed happy to see anyone. She handed him a small bowl of meso soup, watching until he took a mouthful.

"Did you get any seeds?" she asked suddenly.

"Oh, uh, no. I guess I got a bit distracted," Yuki replied sheepishly.

"Oh," a brief look of disappointment flashed across her face making him feel unaccountably guilty.

"I thought it might be nice to choose some together?" he proffered, hoping to make it up to her. Tohru's face shone with delight this time.

"Really? Oh Yuki, that would be fantastic!" she crowed. He listened to her excited chattering for a few minutes, nodding occasionally.

"I don't care what you plant, so long as I don't have to eat the leeks!" Kyo cut in suddenly. He had been sitting quietly up until this point, and Yuki had barely noticed his presence. Kyo turned his reddish eyes and glared at him, daring him to refute his statement.

Instead Yuki looked away; he had the sneaking suspicion that if Kyo challenged him to a fight, his ailing body would let him down. The repercussions of such a thing were more than he could bear.

A/N my first Fruits Basket story, so be kind- a little. If it's truly awful, just tell me ^_^