Summary: Tohru and Akito have been a couple for around two years now. With the exception of Kureno, Hatori, and Shigure, no one has noticed. It's time for the new year again, and this time,Tohru is invited to the banquet. Akito has a life-changing question that will oust their relationship to everyone who either hasn't noticed or hasn't been around either of them to notice.

Pairing: Tohru/Akito

Warnings: slight manipulation of canon, nonexistent!femAkito, (AKA I'm ignoring that plot twist from the manga) slight language on Kyou's part

Disclaimer: I don't own Fruits Basket or anything else you recognize.

Of Wishes and New Beginnings

Tohru Honda, now twenty years old, sighed mentally as Yuki blushed at her having forgotten the suffix from his name and simply called him 'Yuki' instead of 'Yuki-kun'. She kept herself from internally breaking down into a mini version of what Hiro had over the years come to call her 'Panic Mode', which those who were less afraid of hurting her feelings or offending her and Tohru herself agreed actually fit quite nicely. Akito had chuckled when she first mentioned it, as she recalled; which had been the point. Tohru liked making Akito laugh after all, it was one of those little things she could do which tended to succeed in bringing a smile to his face.

Tohru had come to relax through the years that had passed since she first met and came to live with the Soumas. This was due in large part to the mostly unintentional combined efforts (unintentional meaning the hadn't usually meant to or realized that they had combined forces) of Hiro, (once he'd relaxed a little towards her a bit, though it came across as his being critical or harsh to most) Shigure, Hatori, and her best friends Uotani and Hanajima. Even Kazuma had once said that she needed to calm down and worry less. Akito had had a hand in it too, but Shigure and Hatori were the only ones that might be aware of that.

This was one thing, though, where it took a lot of effort for Tohru to not break down into a Panic Mode the likes of which hadn't really happened since she was in high school... Now that she thought of it, the kind that usually only happened when she was first getting to know the Soumas. Hm, maybe she'd already started to relax by the time she met Akito. After all, she would never have guessed that Kyou or Yuki was in love with her. She'd had no idea till Akito had teased her about it after they had progressed to being friends.

At least Kyou seemed to have something with a girl he met at Kazuma's dojo, anyway. And Yuki kept getting closer to his friend from the student council, Machi-chan. But to Tohru's secret despair- though she was sure Akito was aware of it- nothing had changed. Both still acted like the school boys with crushes they no longer really were. On second thought, Yuki might still count since he was in college.

But that was besides the point, wasn't it? Yuki being in college had nothing to do with it. The situation seemed to be getting worse. Kyou was getting less subtle. Yuki was getting quickly annoyed with it. Tohru had no problems with her antics as much as they sometimes frazzled even her nerves, though. Shigure, on the other hand, was no help at all. His teasing Kyou and Yuki regarding her (which she'd realized a while ago was something that had always been present) had lost some of its subtlety. When no one was in earshot (except for on occasion Hatori) Shigure had even been openly teasing her about the entire situation. Tohru was just glad that Akito had been proving to be a good sport about it all. In fact, he was even amused where Kyou and Yuki were concerned. He knew they had no chance.

What does Akito have to do with it, you might ask? It's simple, really, he was her boyfriend. (or whatever one wanted to call it) Everyone knew that they'd started a friendship at long last close shortly before Tohru, Kyou, and Yuki's last year of high school. Something that everyone either hadn't noticed or hadn't been around enough to be able to notice, however, was that Tohru and Akito had been dating for around two years now. They'd been in love a little longer than that. Not much longer, of course- Akito wasn't one to wait long when he wanted something he knew he could get or in situations along the lines of theirs.

At least there was one upside, though. This year, Tohru was invited to the Soumas' New Year celebration at the main house. Kyou and Tohru were even invited to the Zodiac Banquet. Tohru couldn't wait. She was sure that she'd never been more excited for the arrival of New Year's Eve. She was ecstatic, she would get to spend the beginning of the new year with all but two of her favorite people. She just couldn't stop smiling since she'd heard. Tohru broke herself out of her thoughts and went back to cleaning.

When she was done, she was bringing a pair of bento to the main house so that she could have lunch with Akito; she knew that he must be bored with all of the preparations going on. If he was actually busy, he surely needed a break. Though, she knew that he'd welcome the distraction from the mundane comings and goings anyway.

A little under two hours later brought Tohru to the main house. She hadn't had to worry about Kyou or Yuki. Yuki was somewhere hiding from Ayame's latest attempt to get closer and close the gap. Kyou was as usual at Kazuma's dojo. Shigure could come up with a mostly true excuse for her if someone needed her. Tohru walked right in and to where she knew Akito would be. The maids hadn't figured out the extent of their relationship as far as she knew but they were used to her appearances by now all the same. She knocked on the door to his room.

"Come in." Akito said.

"Konnichiwa, Akito-kun." Tohru greeted.

Akito turned, knowing that she was the only one who called him that. "Tohru. What are you doing here?"

She smiled, knowing that he was just surprised. "I know you find the antics of the preparations for New Years annoying so I thought we could have lunch." she said, holding out the bento she brought.

He smiled. "That sounds wonderful, Tohru. I've been cooped up in here all day in order to escape the chaos and the maids' food gets tiresome."

They ate lunch leisurely, simply enjoying each others company. Both of them found the only one they could fully relax around. They laughed as they speculated about the Zodiac's reaction to Tohru not only being at the celebration but being invited to the banquet. Shigure and Hatori were the only ones who were aware, after all. Tohru told Kyou and Yuki but they had been caught up in an argument, causing the comment to escape their attention.

A few days later, the party was in full swing. Kisa had hugged Tohru as soon as she saw her. Having never gotten over how adorable Kisa was, she hugged back. Both were affectionate by nature after all. Even if they tended to be shy at first. Momiji too, he was taller now but little had changed about his personality and the curse had broken on its own around the time Tohru graduated he no longer had to hold back or be held back by someone else.

Kagura, for once, wasn't adding to the chaos by adding to Kyou's grief. She recently started dating a guy she had met at college. Haru was just chatting with Yuki; Rin had long since left Japan to live her life and heal her emotional and mental scars left by her parents' cold treatment. Ayame, Hatori, and Shigure were in a corner, off in their own little world as they usually were when all together. After all Yuki had already turned down Ayame's ritual attempt to spend time together. Kyou... was in the middle of his first argument of the night. Which was with Hiro of all people. Though no one could bring themselves to be surprised. Akito seemed content to watch it all. Kureno was talking quietly with the shy Ritsu about something both of them had read. Which left Tohru, Kisa, and Momiji free to chat to their hearts' content.

Eventually, Momiji decided that it was his job to try and make sure that Kyou had at least a little fun. Hiro took the opportunity to monopolize Kisa's time, bored with riling Kyou up. So Tohru went over to Akito. He patted the spot next to him, and she sat down.

"Are you having fun?" Akito asked.

Tohru nodded, smiling brightly. "New Years was always a blast with Kaa-san and with Uo-chan and Hana-chan. But I've never had so much fun on New Year's Eve."

Akito just chuckled, there were times when seeing Tohru so happy was all one needed to feel happy themselves. "Good. Things have certainly come a long way, haven't they?"

Tohru nodded, humming in agreement. Kyou and Yuki were arguing again, but there was no sign of violence and rather than showing signs of starting a fight Haru was talking to Momiji now, playing some sort of game the blonde had apparently made up. Kazuma had finally shown up and was watching Kyou's antics with amusement. Once upon a time, things would never have been so peaceful with everyone together. Shigure had even started teasing Ritsu but the younger man hadn't started one of his manic apology attacks. (In Akito's words for lack of having a better term.)

It was later on, after the dance performed by that year's Zodiac. Things were winding down a bit. Kisa, Hiro, and Momiji were now playing a game... Hiro would probably claim that it was only because of Kisa. The two youngest members of the Zodiac were pretty much teenagers now, but Hiro still had as much pride as it was easy for him to (unwittingly on both parts) be manipulated by Kisa. Tohru just thought it was cute. Akito just thought that it was amusing how not only did Hiro still have a crush on Kisa, but that said feelings were obvious to everyone except Kyou and Kisa herself. (Even Yuki had caught on by now.)

Kureno had even made a point of talking to Tohru and asking about Uotani, to her not-so-secret delight. She loved how she'd actually managed to get close to every Souma that she had met... Though everyone had made a point of making sure that she never met either Kyou's biological father or Yuki and Ayame's so-called parents. Momiji's father, on the other hand, was a very nice man and had admitted to her once Momiji was out of earshot when they met that the one thing he regretted was how saving his wife, the woman he loved, had required making his son sad instead. (She had been very shocked when he approached her and Momiji while she was on a break during one of her shifts at the building he worked at. If she'd been holding the drink Momiji got for her, she probably would have spilled it.)

Then, Akito stood up. He made his way to Tohru, who had been talking to Hatori. The doctor merely raised an eyebrow, though it was hidden by his hair. What happened next surprised everyone except Hatori, Shigure, and Kureno. (Kureno was closer to Akito than any Zodiac except for, perhaps, Shigure after all. So he knew too.) Akito took both of Tohru's hands in his... and he knelt to the ground. Tohru's eyes widened, she knew the Western tradition. Was he really...?

"Tohru Honda, we've known each other for four years now. We became closer than even we might have guessed despite overwhelming odds. You healed a scar that I hadn't even know existed until it was no longer there. Will you marry me, my koishii, and make me the luckiest man on Earth?" Akito had such a soft and gentle look on his face that those who were more wary of him or simply didn't like him hadn't thought he could get such a look on his face; Akito himself just made a mental note of the fact that his proposal had sounded very mushy yet every word was true, he wondered when he'd turned into such a sap.

Tears of joy welled up in Tohru's eyes. She nodded her head. "Yes! Of course I'll marry you. I love you, Akito."

Akito stood up, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her. All was silent for a minute. Then everyone gathered closer to the two.

"Well, well, well. You'd better treat my little flower well, Akito." Shigure said.

Hatori smiled. "I had a feeling that it would happen soon. Congratulations, both of you."

"I'm happy for both of you." Kureno said.

"My, my. Congratulations on winning the heart of the princess, Akito-san." Ayame said, being one to go with the flow and not being all that surprised somehow.

"I'm so happy for you Tohru! Akito-san, you'd better be nice to her!" Momiji said.

"C-congratulations, Nee-chan, Akito-san." Kisa said.

"Who'd have guessed? Makes sense, though." Haru said.

"How wonderful Tohru!" Kagura said.

Hiro didn't really comment... It seemed like it was because Kisa was ecstatic and he didn't want to ruin it. Ritsu congratulated them too, but had been so quiet Tohru and Akito didn't really catch what he said. Kyou and Yuki, on the other hand...

"... Honda-san, how long?" Yuki asked.


Tohru flinched slightly. She should have known they would react badly, they'd always been overprotective... She couldn't but panic, though. She didn't know what to say. Wanting Tohru to have time to calm down and gather her nerves, Akito was the one who answered.

"We've been dating for two years now, Kyou-kun." Akito said, not at all phased by either of the two.

"Two years? But surely we would have heard of it or noticed it by now." Yuki said.

Shigure stepped in. "Tsk, tsk. Yuki-kun, Hatori, Kureno, and I all noticed soon after they got together. It's not like it was a secret or anything, even if Tohru was worried about how you would react."

"The two of you might consider growing up a little sometime;" Hatori added, "Tohru's been stressed when it comes to you two ever since Akito made her aware of your feelings because she was sure that it would eventually cause a disaster."

"... But it can't be." Yuki protested.

"This just isn't fair!" claimed Kyou.

Akito raised an eyebrow. "Oh? And why not?"

"Because I loved her first!" Yuki and Kyou said at the same time.

"Oh, I'd say that it's completely fair. By the time we developed feelings for each other, both of you had had plenty of chances to confess to Tohru or try to make her realize your feelings." Akito pointed out.

"I'm disappointed in how you're reacting, Yuki;" Ayame scolded, "I must admit that in spite of all of my good qualities I'm not the best role model, but you should at least be a little happy for Tohru with how much you care for her."

"And I'm not the best influence either, but you're still old enough to know that if you don't even try to reach for what you want, eventually it won't be possible to get it." Shigure said.

Later on, the now engaged couple slipped away to star-gaze. Neither of them said anything. It was one of those moments where words just weren't needed. They were content in each others company, knowing that they would be together for as close to forever as they could manage. As a clock was striking midnight somewhere inside, Akito turned to Tohru, leaned down, and kissed her. This was one fairy tale that really did have a 'happily ever after'.


Next pairing: Probably Ayame, I've had an idea for a while...