21 January, 2010: I know I've been gone for months, and have left this story hanging. Sorry about that. Some changes: I combined the first two chapters together and reduced it to four instead of five. I also corrected some grammatical errors here and there, but nothing major, so the story is basically still the same. It's finished now. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do NOT own Fruitsbasket. This is just a story by a fan for fans.
"What's wrong, Honda-san?" Yuki asked when he walked in to find Tohru staring into space yet again. This was nothing new, but lately this habit of hers seemed to increase in frequency, and he was starting to get worried.
Tohru who was sitting with her chin on her hands, jolted in surprise.
"Huh?" she asked. Looking at the door, she saw that Yuki was still waiting for her response. "Nothing," she said, smiling at him.
Yuki sighed, then sat down to face Tohru, "Honda-san, we told you already, just act like yourself when you're with us, if you have a problem, you can tell us."
"It's nothing, really," she hesitated, but decided to tell him. Yuki can put her mind at ease. "It's just that I was worried about Momiji, he hasn't come over since school let out."
Kyo who was exercising outside joined the conversation, "Yeah, that noisy bunny hasn't been around all vacation," he said, while grabbing a towel he had laid on the floor. "Good for him."
Yuki smiled fondly at Tohru's concern, "Momiji's going through some…changes," he said, not wanting to spoil the surprise. "We'll see him tomorrow, anyway," he said to reassure her.
"Tomorrow?" Tohru looked at him blankly. Completely clueless, apparently.
"Tomorrow's the first day of school, dummy" Kyo turned his back on them, so that Tohru wouldn't see him roll his eyes. He shook his head. He wondered what Yuki meant by Momiji going through some changes.
Tohru immediately brightened up. She clapped her hands together, already anticipating seeing the bouncy bunny of the Souma family. Yuki smiled, Tohru is really starting to feel like family. The fact that she was worried about them meant that she cared.
I wonder what her reaction would be when she sees Momiji tomorrow, he thought to himself, already amused. Kyo, who saw him smiling, and rolled his eyes for the second time, wondering what the mouse was up to this time.
* * *
The first thing that Tohru noticed when they came to school the next day was that, there was already an assembly of girls on the school gate. It was considered unusual, because they usually gather there only when Yuki was coming through.
There was an expensive looking black car parked before the school. Yuki, Kyo and her ran to join the commotion. They were just in time to see Hatori-san entering the vehicle.
"Ohayo Hatori-san," she greeted him immediately. "Why are you here?" she asked, curious.
Hatori-san nodded in her direction, "I was just dropping of Hatsuharu and Momiji to school," he answered. He entered the car then rolled down the windows, giving a meaningful glance to Yuki, who just smiled at him. "Take care of him" he said, before driving away.
After energetically waving Hatori-san off, Tohru turned her eyes to the gathering crowd. Haru was there, leaning on the school gate, looking bored. "Yo!" the ox greeted them.
Beside him was the circle surrounding someone else. She craned her neck to take a look but couldn't see. The crowd dissipated when Prince Yuki came through.
"Ohayo Momiji" he greeted him.
"Ohayo," a deeper, richer voice greeted him back. It was unfamiliar.
Tohru followed Yuki in the circle. There was a blond guy standing in the middle of it, wearing their school uniform. He was as tall as Yuki. A new student? The honey-blond head turned to her direction when she came close. As soon as their eyes met, she knew immediately who it was.
"Momiji," her voice rose when she asked him. "What happened to you?"
* * *
It happened two months ago…
There was the sound of hurrying footsteps. Hatori-san looked up from his desk, alarmed. The door burst open, the impact almost tearing it off from its hinges. And in came Momiji in his pajamas.
Hatori-san went back to reading his files.
"What's the matter Momiji?" he asked, still reading. He continued to scan his files, when he didn't get an answer after a long time, he looked up again.
Momiji was slump on the floor, his eyes full of tears. He was throwing a soundless fit at the door. When he saw that Hatori was looking at him, he produced a sketch pad from his back.
My voice is gone, it said.
"Huh?" Hatori-san kneeled down to examine him, his medical training kicking in. He checked his pulse, heartbeat, asked if he feels cold, and if he wasn't feeling well. Momiji shook his head to all his questions. "You don't look sick," he said, looking him over. "You're just maturing, that's all."
"You're growing up," he explained. "When your voice comes out it'll probably sound hoarse at first, then it'll be deeper like Kyo's or Haru's"
And it was. He wanted to go to Tohru's to show off his 'mature' voice but a zit grew on his nose, and Ayame and Shigure laughed themselves silly when they saw him when they visited Hatori. He refused to go out or look into a mirror after that, and when he finally did, he was surprised by the huge change that came over him.
He was taller, that explains why his clothes didn't quite fit anymore. His face was different, less cute, more like Yuki's. It was like a different person staring at him in the mirror. Things that seemed fun to him before, doesn't interest him anymore. He put all his toys inside his closet, although he kept one bunny doll by his bed, it was special to him. The only gift his mother gave him, bought before he was even born.
Well…he wasn't totally uninterested; it's just that…it doesn't suit him anymore. Yuki who had also visited, told him that he should start acting his age. And so he did…
"Ohayo, Tohru-chan," he greeted her.
Tohru was staring at him dumbfounded; her body was frozen in midwalk. She turned her face slowly to face him, her motions mechanical.
"M-M-Mo-miji," she struggled to say his name, "you've change!" she said, stating the obvious. Haru, who was leaning on the school gate, chuckled to himself, Kyo slapped his forehead and Yuki smiled kindly at Tohru.
"You seem so surprised Honda-san," he said.
"Of course," she said. "When I last met Momiji, he was only this tall," she gestured it with her hands. "And now…" her sentence trailed.
"I've grown," he said, "Pretty cool, huh?"
But before she could answer, the morning bell rang causing all of them to hurry to their assigned homerooms. Haru and him ran to the junior's room while Yuki and Kyo ran to their own, with Tohru on tow, (she was still too shocked to move). Momiji looked back at the three, wondering what would happen when the shock finally wore off.
* * *
Haru was still chuckling to himself when they came to their classroom. Luckily, the teacher was late. The girls in the class looked him over from their seats. They were surprised by the sudden change too. All the guys were nonplussed. When they had changed, that didn't happen.
Momiji slumped on his seat, his chin on his hands, looking out the window. Surely Tohru-chan would be surprised, well, who wouldn't be? As if to prove his point, the teacher who had just entered the classroom, dropped all his books, upon seeing him. Unable to believe he was the same student who enrolled last year.
All day it continued, everyone staring at him, or doing a double-take when he passed. He found himself being constantly watched, and couldn't help but sigh in frustration.
"Did you hear what the people were saying?" Haru asked him. He was as tall as him now. Momiji shook his head. He wasn't interested. Haru continued nonetheless. "They're saying we're the Souma legacy in this school," he shuddered inwardly. "You'll take over Yuki's position and I'll take over Kyo's"
Momiji continued staring forward. He gave a noncommittal response, just saying uh-huh at Haru's statement. From beside him, Haru stopped walking. "If her opinion is that important, you should ask her now."
"Huh?" he asked, looking back.
"You want to know what she thinks, right?"
Haru gestured to the door, and to Momiji's surprise, they were in front of Tohru's homeroom. He hadn't realized his feet brought him here. As if on cue, the door opened, revealing Tohru who was about to leave with her two friends.
"Ah, here comes the little Souma," her blond ex-gangster friend said.
"Momiji-kun," Tohru was gaping at him. She had frozen on the spot again. Momiji suppressed the urge to sigh loudly. He had hoped that the initial shock had worn off by now.
"Tohru-chan, I need to talk to you,"
* * *
They went at the back of the school for privacy. Tohru noticed that Momiji kept biting his lips, and couldn't help thinking how cute he was. She smiled, thinking that even if he has change, there's still that part of him, that didn't. She admits that at first she was pretty surprised when she saw him again. He seems like a different person, but she could see now that he was still Momiji.
"Tohru-chan, why are you smiling?" he asked. He had been bothered that Tohru has not spoken a word since they walked away from their friends. But seeing this familiar smile brought a sense of relief on him, he hadn't even known himself that he had missed seeing Tohru's smile.
She shook her head. How could she tell him that she had been so afraid to be alone with him now that he was different? Silly her, Momiji would still be Momiji no matter what happened.
"Let's go back…" Momiji said, surprising her.
"Huh? But we haven't even talked yet," she protested.
"No need," he held out his hand. "Let's go Tohru-chan," Hesitantly, she took it. She felt better right away. She was worried that she might have offended him with her reaction.
"So, can you tell me the reason why you're smiling?" he asked, his usual bubbly demeanor showing. It was so easy to fall back into the old him when he was with her. He looked into her eyes, which was now level with his.
She looked away, embarrassed.
"C'mon, tell me," his voice adopted the whiny tone he used to have. Tohru laughed but it was cut short when Momiji caught her chin, and tilted her face so that she could look at his eyes. He had seen Yuki do this to some people to get what he wants. "Won't you tell me?"
"I-I thought that Momiji would be a stranger now that he's change," Tohru stammered. "But now I see, you're still you…"
"I thought it might be something like that," Momiji released her face. He walked a few steps ahead of her and then turned back. "I was worried that now that I'm not as cute as before, Tohru-chan wouldn't like me anymore."
She started to protest, but stop when she saw that he was grinning. She hurried to catch up, and run to his side.
"No, I like you just the same."
Please review, and tell me how I'm doing. Constructive criticism is always welcome.