A/N: I'm just going to warn everyone not to read this if you don't like this pairing. Go read something else and spare me the flames. Secondly I would like to warn you that while I was wide awake and concentrating very hard on this story when I first began writing it, I stopped writing it because I had to get off the computer and when I was able to get back on I was tired and bored and not thinking straight, so it might seem a bit messed up at the middle and end. But truthfully even when I'm tired I'm creative so you can still give this story a try if you want. It seems like I'm always doubtful of my own work or criticizing it, so I could be exaggerating how bad I wrote it. Either way, read it or don't, but if you do read it, no matter what you think about it, let me know in a review please.
Oh, and also don't read if you like Akito. I don't exactly bash her, but I'm also not her biggest fan, so you have been warned.
Disclaimer: I do not own the anime or manga Fruits Basket.
"Don't hide your true emotions behind a mask, it disgusts me. Be who you really are, or don't come near me anymore. I can't stand fake people."
Shigure looked into Akito's cold, dark eyes and thought that she didn't know him very well at all. His evil side wasn't the mask…but she also didn't need to know that. Not yet anyway…
He smiled a fake smile that somehow managed to look genuine.
"Forgive my rudeness Akito-sama. I should be kinder to you, as you have done so much for me, for all of us. I haven't been feeling like myself lately, but that is no reason to be cold to you."
"Indeed. You are the one most loyal to me, and I expect more from you than from the others. Much more…"
She placed her thin hand on his cheek, and Shigure had to force himself not to shudder at her freezing touch.
"I need you Shigure. Don't ever leave me, or betray me. Promise me that you will always remain loyal to me."
Staring straight into his master's eyes, Shigure uttered only the words he knew she wanted to hear.
"I promise Akito-sama. I will never betray you, and you needn't doubt my loyalty because I will never leave you."
It was the easiest lie he'd ever told.
As much as he respected Akito, he couldn't truthfully say that he agreed with many of the things she thought was right in her mind. He himself wasn't the nicest person in the world, but compared to her he was an absolute saint.
Admittedly he didn't like hiding his true feelings from his own master and lying in her face, but it would be worse for him if he showed his real self to her. Not many people besides Hatori knew his true self, as he was an expert at concealing his feeling and emotions behind a constantly joyful, carefree persona, and he liked it that way.
As Akito's slender arms went around his neck in a weak embrace, Shigure held her tightly around her small waist, thinking only that one couldn't be two separate people for long, and that sooner or later he would have to reveal who he really was to Akito, though he knew that she would not like that side of him one bit. He didn't care though. Not really. He had never been afraid of her like the others, though he did feel an emotion akin to love for her once, it faded quickly only because of Shigure's secret hatred of the woman, which over-powered the feeling of love by ten-fold.
He didn't fear Akito…but he did believe that he was the one most affected by the curse. This was because he was Akito's favorite, and it was never good when someone like Akito was attached to you. If he still harbored those feelings of love for her, he'd be afflicted in more ways than one, since she could never really care for another human being due to her nihilistic nature. That was probably part of the reason he'd closed off his heart to her, he didn't think he could risk having it be broken by such a cruel, heartless person.
"I can hear your thoughts racing, care to share them with me?"
"I'm sorry Akito-sama, but I'm afraid I have to leave you for awhile. I will be back tomorrow though, I promise."
He didn't expect her to let him leave so easily though, but to his surprise she let him go, and stared at him with tired eyes.
"Very well then, leave me be. I am tired now, and need my rest. I will be expecting you to return to me tomorrow as you have promised."
He smiled at her again, glad that she hadn't gotten angry and thrown a fit this time.
"As you wish Akito-sama. I will leave you alone now."
He didn't think about much during the walk home. His visits with Akito always left him exhausted, both mentally and physically, and he was happy when he finally spotted his house.
Stepping through the front door he shouted out happily,
"Everyone, I'm home!"
He frowned in disappointment when he did not get a reply, and with an over-dramatic sigh, he entered the kitchen.
To his surprise he saw Tohru heating up what appeared to be leftovers from the nightly meal she'd fixed earlier. He couldn't believe that even though it was late she was still up. The girl turned and gave him a warm smile when she saw who it was.
"Oh hi Shigure-san, I didn't hear you come in. I'm sure you must be hungry after being gone for so long. Take a seat while I fix you something to eat."
Heeding his "little housewife's" orders, he settled himself into a chair at the table and watched her bustle about the room with mild interest as his thoughts were elsewhere at the moment.
It wasn't until she set a plate of delicious-smelling food in front of him that he tuned back into reality.
Giving her a grateful, and appreciative smile, the inu began eating in silence, believing that the girl would leave him to retire to bed as she must have been tired from staying up so late waiting for him. Instead, though, she walked over to the sink where a pile of dishes had been soaking in soapy water, and began to wash them, one by one.
As she dried off a cleaned plate with a dishcloth, she asked him a question to ward off an uncomfortable silence, and because she was genuinely curious about his day.
"So how did your visit to Akito go? Was it fun? Did you enjoy his company?"
Tohru, just like the others, with the exception of Hatori and himself, wasn't aware that Akito was really a woman, and Shigure saw no need to tell her or any of them her true gender.
He answered her question calmly, even though he didn't really like any of the visits very much.
"Oh it was fine. Nothing new really happened, we just talked for awhile, and then I left. Same as always really."
"Oh, I see. Well, if you don't mind me asking, what did you talk about? I hope I'm not prying by asking you that…"
"No it's quite alright. Hmm…well we really just talked about our long-term companionship and how wonderful it was to have each other as a friend."
Tohru, knowing him well enough by now, could tell he was joking, and laughed lightly.
"No, really, what did you talk about?"
"What, you don't believe me? I'm so hurt by your distrust in me!"
He pretended to be really upset, and Tohru, being the gullible girl that she was, started to panic at his charade.
"Gomen Shigure-san, I didn't mean-I just thought-I'm really sor-"
He stopped her stammered apology, chuckling at how cute she looked when she was nervous.
"It's fine, I was just playing. Truthfully I can't really tell you that. What we talk about is private and unfortunately, even you my delicate flower, can not know what it is we talk about."
"Oh…okay. I apologize for asking, I was just curious."
Inwardly she berated herself.
'I'm so stupid! I knew I shouldn't have pried! Why can't I just mind my own business? I'm sure he's upset with me now, he's just being kind by not showing it. Why do I always bother people? I'm such am idiot!!!"
Shigure knew her very well, and therefore knew what she was thinking. Smiling gently, he decided to calm her down before she started feeling even worse.
"It's alright, you really weren't prying. I'm glad that you asked, it showed that you are interested about what's happening in my life, and that you care about me. And your not bothering anyone by asking such an innocent question, so don't feel bad about it, okay?"
Instantly she cheered up at those words.
"Thank you Shigure, I'm glad your not upset with me. Ano, I can see that your finished, do you want me to wash your plate too?"
"Yes please, arigato."
"It's no problem at all."
She moved to take the plate from the table, and Shigure observed her, thinking to himself again, but thinking something completely different to his previous thoughts.
This girl…she had changed everyone's lives, even Akito's, so much by just being around them. It's like she was brought into their world for a reason, with the gentlest touch of her hand she swept away all of their problems and made everything right again. She was the single ray of light in their dark world, the only brightness they had. If it wasn't for her, things would have gotten much worse in the junishin's lives. As it was, everything was better in all of their lives, and it was all thanks to her.
Yuki was happier and more social, no longer the cold, distant, person he used to be, the being eternally scarred by Akito, both mentally and physically. Tohru had changed his personality by befriending him, and showing him kindness and compassion. All that he needed was someone like her, someone to show him that life wasn't as bad as he thought it was, and that it was okay to have friends, to love and be loved, by another person. She had given him a gift so pure, it couldn't be stolen or taken from him. He was a different person, a better person, because of her.
As was Kyo. The poor boy used to be constantly blinded by hatred, believing that no one could ever love him because of who he was, the worst one affected by the curse, because of his true form. He thought he would be forever shunned because of it, but Tohru hadn't cared, she had been afraid, even terrified, when she saw his ugly, twisted body for the first time, but she bravely put her worries for him before her own feelings, and helped him transform back into his human form. Something no one but her had ever been able to do.
It was because of her that he was no longer so self-conscience of his appearance. He knew that he would always be the outcast, always be hated by others because of who he was, but now he knew that there would be at least one person who cared about him, and would never leave him. He became a kinder person because of Tohru, and also, Shigure decided, easier to be around. Before his presence was almost unbearable because of his temper, but Tohru could soothe him even on his worst days. That was one of the things he most admired about her. She could make anyone calmer by just being in their presence.
She had attempted to change Akito, but it wasn't so easy. The woman had placed an invisible barrier between herself and anyone outside of the zodiac family. Shigure knew Tohru wouldn't stop trying though. That was another thing he liked about her, she was very persistent.
She had gone back to the dishes now, and he could tell she was almost done. Sadly he realized that she would leave soon, but that was fine because he planned to retire to bed anyway.
As he watched her silently, he couldn't help, but wonder if she had changed him a little too.
Even though he pretended to be someone else so often that he almost forgot who he really was sometimes, he knew the kind of person he was on the inside.
The kind who cared more about himself than others, and who would manipulate a person to get what he wanted.
He hated that side of him, but he couldn't do anything about it. It was just a part of who he was, the part that being around Akito for so long and loving her, no matter how temporarily, had made come out.
He admitted, at least to himself, that she had turned him into cold person. Though he tried to hide it, he couldn't deny that part of himself, and he loathed it, he loathed feeling like the bad guy, hated using everyone, even Tohru, when he felt it benefitted him.
If there was one person on earth that needed some kind person like Tohru to change them, it was him. The only problem was that mentally he was so closed off from other people that even she couldn't reach him. Perhaps there would never be anyone who could.
"Ah, yes Tohru-kun?"
"I said that I was going to bed now, and asked if you were doing so as well."
"Yes, I believe that I will. It's been a long day and I must admit that I am very sleepy. Goodnight Tohru-kun. Have pleasant dreams and don't let the bedbugs bite."
She giggled at that.
"I won't. Goodnight Shigure"
And then she left, leaving him staring after her with a cheerful, yet slightly wistful expression.
"If only I could have her to myself, that's all I would ever ask for."
With a sigh he left the kitchen to go to his own room, already knowing who he would dream of that night.