Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening – by BandGeek99

A short Yuki-centric fic based on Robert Frost's poem by the same title.

We had to elaborate on the poem in English class by telling who the speaker was and why he was in the woods. I chose to write about Yuki, because it gives meaning to the poem for me. I tend to look at these things on a symbolic level, and so…

I don't own Fruits Basket, nor do I own "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening". They belong to Natsuki Takaya-sensei and Robert Frost, respectively.

I'm sorry it took so long to post ANYTHING!! First, we had the ice storm and State of Emergency. Okay. Whatever. Then, it was Christmas. Then, my computer was down for, like, a month or so. And THEN, Destination Imagination picked up and I practically lived at the school working on it with my friends. (*groans*) Between that and the One-Act Play Festival (student-written one-acts) that I was helping to direct, I didn't have time to write much. So… Gomen ne!!

Enjoy.

000

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

~Robert Frost

Snow whirled around the countryside near the town of Kaibara, Japan as a young man of about twenty rode horseback to the top of a large hill, searching for a secret place only he knew about.

He was slim, slightly feminine, with long, silvery-grey hair, which was unusual for someone so young. His large violet eyes took in his white-blanketed surroundings as he neared the top of the hill, his horse panting slightly.

"Good girl, Rin-chan," he murmured, leaning down to go closer to the animal's ear. "I'll only be a moment."

The horse's ears twitched and she whinnied. The man smiled and rubbed her ear before sliding off of his saddle into the ankle-deep snow. Snow. It was hard for him to think about it, for two different reasons.

The first was pretty superficial. His name was Yuki, meaning snow. It was such a cold name for a child. For any person, really, but as a child it was harder.

The second reason for his dislike of snow was because it reminded him of… of her. Tohru Honda, who was a girl that believed that when snow melted, it became spring.

He really did love her. She was a beautiful girl, inside and out, who was always able to make him smile, make him laugh. She unlocked his inner self, the self that was always afraid to do what he wanted, to say what he wanted to say, to laugh around other people and take off the cover on his emotions.

But she had to fall in love with someone, and it wasn't him. Instead, the girl fell for his cousin Kyo, who, albeit rugged and gorgeous, was somewhat bitter and suffered from depression from a young age. Yuki had seen the way he looked at her, and the way she looked at him, and being a rather perceptive person, had seen it months before they did. No matter how much he tried to deny it would happen, it did, and it left him somewhat alone in the world.

Oh, yes, he hated the snow.

But yet he was drawn to it when it fell upon the woods.

The small forest was owned by the head of his family, believe it or not, and he had every right to be there. But he knew that if he was caught while wandering about, he'd be brought to the Main House and forced to endure the manipulation and "loving" his family head would give him. It was enough to make anyone feel lower than deep-sea fish. It was positively disgusting.

No. Yuki had enough common sense to visit only after the sun had set, because the Main House of his family was in the middle of town, a fair distance away. Nobody would even know he'd been there.

The woods were serene at this time of evening. The ghostly white of the falling snow reflected in the moonlight and contrasted with the deep greens of the pines and firs and the dark brown of the sleeping conifers. Midnight blue sky, covered in dark clouds, peeked out from behind the safe shelter of the forest and it looked like something out of a watercolor or a picture book to Yuki.

Yuki sighed quietly and remounted his horse, traveling into the woods upon the black mare.

The horse trotted along quietly until the duo reached a large, frozen lake, bordered by rocks and trees. All of these were covered in snow and shone in the moonlight, like a memory.

The man halted the animal, taking in the silent, eerie, but familiar landscape. He remembered visiting this place with Tohru and Kyo all throughout their adolescent years. Occasionally they would bring their guardian, his uncle, but usually it was either all three of them or Yuki alone.

It was a lonely sight, a man and his horse and no-one else.

Rin whinnied, pawing the ground slightly with her hoof. She was confused because there were no shelters nearby, Yuki realized, and he gently ran his fingers through her long, thick mane. He murmured words of comforting and reassurance to her, and she eased a bit.

Silence filled the whole clearing, but Yuki could have sworn he heard the sound of his mother's piano intermingling with the subtle whistling of the wind that was barely audible over the deafening quiet of the woods.

He settled himself on a rock, staring absently out onto the lake's icy sheen. He missed being alone with Tohru out here.

But…

Yuki-kun… I've… I've fallen in love. I'm very sorry, but I just… I can't return the feelings you have for me. You'll always be my closest friend, though.

Those words had stuck in his memory for almost five years now. Since he was seventeen years old, they'd been like a knife in his heart. He couldn't focus on his other friendships with people from his school days or his college years at all; he was too hung up over a rejection that had happened in his first year at the University.

With each flake of snow that fell, so did another memory into his mind, clouding it up with laughs and smiles she shared with Kyo, the time she spent alone just with him, Yuki, and all of the child-like innocence she'd had, even as a high school student.

Yuki knew it to be rather dimwitted to be so focused on one person. But he couldn't just let go of her. Not after all of the help she'd given him, not after she changed him to be who he was.

She was the first person who'd decided to look past his beautiful exterior and help the distraught boy underneath. She was the only person to help him take off the lid on his hidden emotions. She was the first person who hadn't ridiculed him for his ideas, his fantasies, and his dreams. No, she was the only person who had actually tried to help him.

No matter how much it pained him to do so, the young man promised to still be her friend as she asked, even though she left him behind for Kyo, his cousin, his rival.

And as long as he kept that promise, he'd keep holding on to her.

The horse whinnied once more and Yuki looked up, realizing it was getting darker and darker. He sighed and stood up once more, knowing that he had to be home before she worried about him.

He slowly dragged himself to his seat atop his horse and gently pushed her into walking back out of the forest, musing over the realization that he still had a long way to go.

The house in which he lived with Tohru and Kyo wasn't far away by any means, but he knew that he needed to eventually move on from her. It would take him a long time.

Yuki looked back over his shoulder at the slowly retreating woods and gave a slight smile. The trees almost looked like they were waving to him, in the clouds of snow and wind that twirled in the night air. Waving, as if they were old friends.

He knew it was childish to do so, but he let go of Rin's reins with one hand and waved back, a small smile on his face.

The wind howled harder, and the snow whirled around him, almost as if to give him a hug. Cold kissed his pale cheeks and his smile grew. Nature was encouraging him to go on, it seemed.

Strangely renewed by this knowledge, he turned his attention back towards the front of his horse and urged her on. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard. Maybe he would just wake up one day and forget about her.

His spirits high, Yuki trotted the horse home, a bold smile on his usually placid face. He guided the mare into the small barn nearby and made her comfortable before running across the snowy yard and flinging the door open.

Kyo sat on the sofa with Tohru next to him, and it appeared they'd been flipping through a rather thick book together. Kyo nodded to acknowledge Yuki, but stayed silent, whereas Tohru sat up, sliding Kyo's hand off of her waist, and moved forward, giving Yuki a large hug. "Yuki-kun! I'm glad you're back, I was starting to get worried."

"Ah, I knew he'd be back," Kyo said with a sigh. "Damn nezumi always manages to get home. He might be an idiot, but he's not stupid."

"Who are you calling an idiot, baka neko?" Yuki asked with a smirk.

There was always a running joke (if you could even call it a joke) between the two of them. Yuki was always referred to as a rat, because, as Kyo put it, "he's small, weak, and helpless," just like the animal itself. Kyo was called the cat because he was always searching for high places "to hide, like a scared cat" and he disliked water of any shape or form. And thus the name calling began.

Tohru stood in the middle of the fight, staring helplessly at both men. They were in their early twenties, for goodness sake, shouldn't they be able to control their childish urges to fight?

"You wanna take this outside, pretty boy?" Kyo growled, his tenor voice suddenly dropping a few octaves.

"Sure. I'll dropkick you from here to Timbuktu."

Kyo grinned malevolently, rolling up the sleeves on the red sweater that matched his fiery hair. "You're gonna regret that, you little—"

"Stop it!" Tohru cried, stepping between them. She looked at Kyo. "Didn't we settle this a long time ago? Please, leave Yuki-kun alone!" The brunette fixed her gaze upon Yuki. "And Yuki-kun, please leave Kyo alone. I know you don't like him much, but you're cousins! Could you please put a little effort into being nice?"

Her big blue eyes bore into his violet ones, beseeching him to listen to her plea.

He let out the air he'd been holding in. "Yes, Tohru-chan. Gomen ne."

She sighed in relief, blushing slightly from her fast bout of annoyance. "Arigato." Her smile instantly returned. "Are you hungry? I cooked leek stew!"

Kyo made a face, showing his loathing for the vegetable.

"And I also made some onigiri for Kyo!"

The red-head's face instantly brightened at the mention of his favorite food.

"That sounds good, Tohru-chan. I would love some." Yuki gave her a soft smile.

She nodded and bounced out of the room, leaving the two cousins alone together.

Kyo closed the book, resting his head against the doorframe, while Yuki settled down in a large, overstuffed armchair, looking towards the doorway.

Tohru was so… nice. So sweet. So innocent. His heart clenched when his eyes flickered to Kyo, who was watching her from the doorframe. He couldn't believe he'd lost her.

Maybe forgetting her wouldn't be so easy after all.

000

I hope I actually conveyed the message that Frost did… Ah… ^^'

JAPANESE NOTES:

-chan: an honorific, added to the name of a friend, typically a female one

-kun: another honorific, added to the name a friend, typically a male one

Nezumi: rat

Baka: stupid, idiot

Neko: cat

Gomen ne: I'm sorry, forgive me

Arigato: thank you

Onigiri: rice ball, often with a filling of salmon or other fish, fruit, or vegetable

I hope I got everything right!! Thank you for your time, I hope you enjoyed this! ^^