A/N: Hey here is my new Fruits Basket fic! No clue if it will be good or not but bear with me. If I get anything wrong please forgive me and tell me, if it is important then I'll fix it and if it isn't then we can all pretend it is like we all do here in Authorville. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nada that isn't mine!
The trees flew by outside of the car window, Trees gave way to pastures and pastures in turn gave way to buildings. My aunt sat in the front seat; she was driving me to the air port. Recently things in my family had begun taking a turn for the worse, but I'm not going to dwell on that now. Its best just to move forward, nothing good can be gained from moping around after all. At least, this was my newest outlook on life.
Aunt Rika was taking me to live with her and my Uncle at my grandfather's house. I hadn't seen them and the rest of my family in ages. I had been very young the last time I had seen my cousins. I was hoping I would get to see Tohru again too, the last time I had seen her we had been 6 or 7 and we spent all of our time play acting tragic scenes from movies or baking things with her mom. I never got to play with Aunt Rika's kids for very long, but from what I remember of them they never really liked me. This was not going to be the most fun life change but I was going to have to make do with what I was given.
"Here we are Jaden, our flight is about to leave so we need to hurry or we'll be late." Aunt Rika was already out of door and three cars down by the time she had finished speaking. I was running to catch up with her when I turned around; my mother was still in the car. She had come along to see me off. I waved at her, but she only stared. Slowly she lifted a hand, but was quick to return it to her lap. She got out of the car and I was about to run back to hug her good bye, but she was only getting out to switch to the driver's seat.
It hurt to watch her leave, she drove away without a word and I was left staring at an empty parking spot. "Jaden? We need to hurry up, get a move on!" I ran to catch up and followed my aunt through the airport, my head hung low. It wasn't until we were seated on the plane that I lifted my eyes from my converse. Out side of the window I watch the world fall away as we took off.
"Bye Mom." I whispered my farewell; it was time to move on. She doesn't need me here, so it's best I don't need her either.
The plane touched down several hours later and we were greeted by my Uncle. "Rika, glad you made it back safely. He gave her a hug and then turned to look at me. "Is this your niece? She doesn't look like much of anything." He leaned in closer his eyes gave me the creeps. "I'll bet she doesn't even speak Japanese." He seemed to be laughing at the blush that had crept on my cheeks. He must have thought I was affected by him, in all honesty the guys was just really scaring my and I was feeling rather embarrassed. I'm not normally so door-matish, but I was trying to act like the obedient daughter or niece everyone expected me to be. They were taking me in after all.
"I do speak Japanese; I'd like to think I speak it fairly well. If I'm wrong then please help me get better at it." My eyes had drifted back down to my shoes by the time I had finished speaking, my voice quivering. Not in fear, I was just disgusted with having to act like this.
'Pull your self together Jaden, you need to play the role of adorable little girl just long enough until you graduate and you can live on your own.' He humph-ed at my comment. "Was I speaking to you? You should just be glad we are being nice enough to let you stay with us." He turned around and slid his arm around his wife's waist, leading her away so they could find the luggage. Fuming I followed behind them, hands clenched around my backpack with my few personal item in it and my head down with my eyes glaring at the floor. 'Maybe I'll leave before I graduate, living on my own can't be too hard…'
By the time we were leaving the air port not only was I carrying my luggage, but my Aunt's, my Uncle's coat, and I was squished into the back of the car with everything because my cousin Arisa's bags from her last sleep over were in the trunk and apparently she needed more clothes for a weekend stay at friend's house than I did to move homes and countries.
Looking over the stack crowding the backseat and giving me a little more than a mild feeling of claustrophobia, I sighed. Out of the window the buildings and people flashed by, a similar pattern as when I was leaving, only this time in reverse. Buildings, a few trees, more trees, and then residential homes. After about ten minutes we had pulled up at the place I would be making my new home.
"We're home, bring the stuff inside and set in on the stairs." I rumbled to myself but thankfully he was to far ahead to hear any of the choice words I chose to use. Stumbling under the weight I made my way up the sidewalk.
Tripping through the door I heard a raised angry teenage voice that I could only assume to be Arisa's. "What! You agreed to let another girl stay with us? Come on, this is so not fair! I already have to share my room with Tohru, now I have to share with her too?" Between feeling pissed at the girls attitude and feeling pissed at the luggage that had suddenly decided to jump from my arms to the floor I had managed to hear the tidbit concerning Tohru. Tohru is living here too? That's great, but why is she living with these jerks... I was taken out of my thought when I heard Uncle yelling at me. "What do you think you're doing? We don't have to give you a place to stay. We could toss you out on the street for all I care. Pick that mess up and make yourself useful!" I had very nearly reached my breaking point when I heard a quiet female voice gasp in surprise. "Uncle? What's wrong?" I turned to face the speaker and saw Tohru.
She was much older and somehow even prettier than when I last saw her. "Who's thi-" She stopped half way through her sentence once she had gotten a good look at me. I waited; convinced she would have forgotten me after so long. "Jaden! Oh my gosh! I haven't seen you in forever! What are you doing here?" Turns out I was wrong, she did remember me. Tohru launched herself across the room and latched herself onto me in vice grip hug. "My parent's thought it best if I went to visit family for a while. How have you been?" She smiled at the thought of me staying and I felt bad for lying to her. But what could I do? The truth would have only troubled her more than she deserved.
"Would the two of you knock it off? You can have bonding time later, just get to work." Having Tohru by my side seemed to have improved my mood and also made me more like my old self. "Sir yes Sir!" I saluted causing Tohru to giggle. Before he could reprimand me I got to work picking up the mass of luggage that had flooded the entrance. Tohru helped because she was always the kind to lend a helping hand no matter what.
Later that night I was sleeping on the floor in Arisa's room and Tohru had joined me. We were trying to keep our voices down so as not to wake the sleeping beast. Arisa was annoying as all get out but some times it was just easier to do what she said instead of fight with her about it. Somehow I was getting the feeling that no matter how wrong she was as long as we were in this house she was going to win.
"I've missed you so much Tohru-chan. What have you been up to? Why aren't you at your Mom's? I don't think you would be the type to come have a sleep over with Arisa for the fun of it." Honestly, who would? Tohru became very quiet and I wondered if I had said something wrong. I reach for her hand and she grabs on tight, just like we used to do during sleepover as kids. "My mom died in a car accident almost a year ago," I was shocked but being the moron I was all I could do to comfort her was hold her hand tighter and say 'I'm sorry sweetie'. Could I be a worse cousin? "I came to live with grandpa, but he…" And so she told me everything that had happened to her, about living in a tent, about being found by 'prince' Yuki, and about living with them. When she spoke about the Sohmas I could tell how much she cared for them, in a way I was jealous. I had always wanted a friend like Tohru who cared about me this much, man I sure hope those boys, Yuki and Kyo she called them. I hope they know just how lucky they are. "But then two days ago Grandpa called and said that the remodeling was done and I could come back. I'm not sure I wanted to leave but I could impose on them anymore."
She had that spaced out look on face, the smile she wore settling over features as more of a reflex than an actual portrayal of emotion. "Sweetie, if you want to stay with them, I'm sure Gramps would let you. He's not a stickler and he wouldn't want to see you as unhappy as you are." Tohru blinked and tried to deny it. "I'm not unhappy, I just kind if miss them fighting, he-he, not a day went by when there wasn't some kind of fighting going on."
I reached up to lightly flick her on her head. "Idiot. If you want to say something then say it. I haven't seen you since you were seven and you still haven't changed a bit. Go to bed, we'll talk about this in the morning." She smiled and snuggled down into the blanket. We lay facing each other, our hands clasped the same way they always had been when we were little. Oh Tohru, I never meant to lose contact like I did, Momma moved and then I wasn't there to protect you any more. Not that I was doing the best job to begin with. I tightened my grasp unconsciously and stared at her sleeping face. Tohru is one of the few people on this planet that can appear perfectly content just about anywhere. I promise to protect you Tohru, from the world and from your self. You need to learn when to take and when to give. You need your friends, and I'm going to get them back for you. I slept soundly that night for the first time in years. I had a purpose, a goal, and I was going to deliver on that promise. Tohru was my cousin and my one and only true friend. Heaven help me if I let something keep her unhappy.
"Get up you lazy bums. Breakfast isn't going to make itself." It took every ounce of my self control not to hurl a pillow at that idiot called my uncle. "Oh, so sorry! I'll be down in a second!" Ugh, figures, Tohru jumped up at his words and began rushing around finding her clothes. She had one arm through the sleeve of her shirt and one sock on when I told her to sit down. "But Jaden, I need to go make breakfast-" "I'll do it Tohru, just sit down and quit running around like a chicken with its head cut off."
"Oh thank you Jaden but you don't have to, I can make breakfast. It is your first day back in Japan so I shou-" I turned around, my face void of emotion. "Tohru."
Chipper as always, "Yes Jaden?" "Shut up and finish getting dressed, I'm making breakfast and that's final." She smiled dumbly up at me, but sat down nonetheless. I glanced at the mirror at the wall. Blue eyes stared back at me, my skin was a light tan, more pale than tan, but I had some color. My hair was a tangled mess after having slept. It went past my shoulders down to about my waist. I had colored it at one point in my life but then it had grown a lot since then, so instead of having blonde tips that were like the rest of my hair, purple tips were flung haphazardly over my shoulder giving me the makings of some lazy punk chick. "Eh. Good enough." I reached for the blue jeans I had worn yesterday and threw them on along with a clean long sleeved black shirt. Grabbing the gray vest I had packed that had the wolf ears I had sewn on one day when I was bored and the black cap I had rescued from a yard sale a year ago. Flipping it on my head backwards I headed down the stairs to be met face to face with my dear cousin Arisa.
"You're up. Good, where's that Tohru chick, I'm hungry and she ought to be making breakfast by now." Glaring at the lazy brat who had obviously stumbled down not ten minutes before us yet still had the nerve to act like we were at fault for not having breakfast made on time. "So sorry your highness. I'm making breakfast today so if you be so kind as to go have a seat and wait." My tone was far from pleasant and the sarcasm was very apparent. She growled at me but turned around and shuffled to the kitchen in her bunny slippers and sweat pants with some lame name brand scrawled across her butt.
I stuck out my tongue and headed to the kitchen. My Uncle was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper; my Aunt also had coffee and was complaining to Gramps about the teacher's her daughter had to deal with at school. "Good morning Gramps." I wasn't actually related to the man personally, he was Tohru's father's dad, and I was only Tohru's cousin because my mom is her sister. But he had always treated me kindly when ever I would visit him with Kyoko and Tohru. I had never met my other grandparents, so he was as much of a grandfather to me as anyone else.
"Good morning Jaden! I didn't get to see much of you last night. Was your flight a good one?" I smiled at him kindly. It was nice to be worried over a little, and I could always trust Gramps to worry just enough if that makes any sense. "It was perfect. What do you want for breakfast?" Uncle glared at me from over his paper. He seemed insulted that I didn't wish to hear his opinion. 'It isn't like this is your house, so suck it up you big oaf!'
"Anything is fine dear, no need to worry. Where is Tohru?" Moving to the pantry I decided to make scrambled eggs and French toast. While rummaging through the ingredients I replied over my shoulder. "I told her to take break and let me make breakfast. She ought to be down a little bit later if she hasn't fallen back to sleep." The ingredients in question found I went after the pans and other cooking utensils I would need.
"That was nice of you. Have you thought about school? I will pay if you want. With your grades you could probably go straight on into high school if you haven't been slacking off while you were gone of course. I heard a grunt of surprise from the other home crashers. It was true though, I was always told I did very well in school and had been offered the opportunity to skip grades multiple times, I just hadn't seen a need to before. But because I was a year younger than Tohru and would be going to a different school as her if I didn't then I might finally take them up on their offer.
"I'll get on that soon. Let me have a week to settle in and then I'll take care of it Gramps. I appreciate all that you're doing for me now and I couldn't allow for you to pay for my tuition too." He sighed but nodded in understanding. I slid his plate of eggs in front of him and then began working on everyone else's. "You and Tohru never let me help out." I kissed the top of his head as I slid the plates of the other family member's to their respective places.
"That's a lie and you know it." I walked down the hallway to the bottom of the stairs. "Tohru! Breakfast is done! Come eat!" I hollered up at her and was answered by a series of thank yous and a crash as she tripped down to land on top of me.
"Ah! Jaden I am so sorry! I didn't mean to but I was walking and my foot missed the floor…" She leaned over me trying to see my face. My body was convulsing in what appeared to be tears. Tohru began another panic attack and was trying to apologize and call for help at the same time when I caught her arm. She stopped to look at me and instead of finding me crying in pain she found me clutching my stomach trying to hold back the laughter threatening to spill out.
"I'm…fine…Tohru. You…should have…seen… you're face!" I couldn't take it anymore and began laughing out loud. It seemed to take Tohru a little while to process what exactly had just happened. But when she did she began laughing as well. We stayed that way for a while but eventually we had to get up and on with our lives. "Ok, now get off of me. Your food is getting cold and your classes start soon."
She jumped up and gave me a hand to my feet. We walked back into the kitchen to find that Gramps had had to leave and that the lazy, mooching trio was talking quietly amongst themselves. That is of course never a good sign, but it didn't seem to bother Tohru. She skipped to the table and I handed her a plate, never once taking my eyes from the creeps in question. Apparently my French toast was good and my eggs were delicious. They tasted like eggs to me and the toast seemed a little too sweet, but what do I know? Tohru said they were fine. Then again, she would probably say raw iguana with peanut butter was good if someone else made it for her.
Glancing at the clock I realized Tohru was going to need to scoot if she was going to make it to school on time. While she was eating I had fixed her a bento, she didn't seem to know how to handle me doing everything for her and kept trying to repay me in some way or another. Finally I was getting fed up with her overly kind and generous attitude because it was going to make her late.
"Tohru, why don't you repay me by letting me walk you to school eh? I need to ask some questions if I'm going to enroll there soon and I have no clue where it is." She seemed pleased with this arrangement so off we went.
It was a fairly quiet walk; the morning air seemed to make the whole world seem quieter than it should be. It wasn't long before the school came into view. "There it is! Kaibara High! Are you going to go to school here too Jaden? It would be so much fun if you could be in my grade. We both know your smart enough for it." Tohru latched onto y arm and began leading me through the court yard. "Probably, and you know it's not that I'm smart, I just have an eidetic memory. If anything I cheat."
Before she could try and argue over my apparent skill or lack there of the sound of running foot steps interrupted us along with some calling out. "Hey, Tohru! Wait up!" Tohur turned to look at the tall blonde girl running to catch up with us, she looked vaguely familiar to me, and so did the dark haired stoic girl following behind her. It took me a moment but there names came to me. "Uo and Hana, right Tohru?" She smiled and nodded as they came up to us.
"Hey Tohru, who's she? Wait a minute, do I know you?" She leaned down to look at me better. It made me feel short, I was at least two inches shorter than Tohru and Uo wasn't making that fact any less apparent. "Yes you do Uo, we met briefly when Tohru was 7, almost in passing. You hadn't made Tohru as close of a friend as she is now at the time and you paid little to no attention to me." The eyebrow that I could see rose a little bit higher as she stepped back.
"Uo, this is my cousin Jaden, her parents sent her to Japan to visit family for a while. Jaden this Uo and Hana like you said." Uo raised a hand to question what it was I had said no doubt but Tohru beat her to the punch. "Jaden has an eidetic memory so she is really good at remembering things." This seemed to answer the laid back Yankee's questions for now so she smiled and waved at me. Not quite used to this treatment from practical stranger I returned the favor.
"Strange," Our head swiveled to look at Hana who had chosen to speak up. "Your electrical signals are strange. Much like the Sohma's signals, only different." Uo seemed vaguely interested and nodded. Tohru however gave the strangest look, almost like I had suddenly grown a second head.
"Is there something on my face?" I gave her a pointed look, but she simply smiled. She blushed in embarrassment and then began babbling. Uo dropped a hand on her head so that she would shut up and quit worrying. I took that moment to act. "Hey Tohru, I know you need to get to class but could you show me to the office. Only if you won't be late though, I can find it on my own if you'll be late." She looked like she was about to say yes but her face fell. I inferred I was on my own and waved her ahead. I turned around only to run into, quite literally, a boy with pale purple, almost gray hair. He stepped back quickly causing me to almost face plant, but I was able to pull myself together in time. "Yuki-kun!" I racked my brain to see if I knew him. He must be the Yuki Tohru had been living with. Hmmm, looks like fate might favor me after all.
"I apologize, I didn't see you there. Hello Ms. Honda. How are you today?" Tohru smiled a truly brilliant smile and I saw the poor pale boy's face tint a slightly pinker shade. "I'm great, thanks for asking! This is Jaden, my cousin. I found out yesterday she is going to be living at Grandpa's too." I stuck out my hand to shake and I saw him waiver. Remembering I was in Japan and not America I quickly pulled it back and bowed. "Sorry. Nice to meet you. Tohru has said many nice things about you."
He blinked, momentarily stunned but quickly recovered his princely demeanor. "That is good to know. Did I hear right that you needed to see the office? I was just heading there myself to drop off a few announcements for the student council. If you would like I could show you the way." Tohru clapped her hands in approval and thanked Yuki profusely. Chuckling at her enthusiasm I accepted. "That would be most appreciated. I'll see you after school Tohru, I'll wait by the gates." Smiling she skipped off to class already in her own little world, Uo and Hana close at her heels.
'She is such a space cadet' Sweat dropping at my cousin's childish antics I turned to face the apparent prince. "Lead on my good man. I am putting my only hope of survival in this labyrinth in your capable hands." I managed to get a chuckle out of him with that statement. With out think I latched on to his arm much like Tohru would do to me whenever we went somewhere new as kids. He seemed shocked and tried to politely extricate himself as if he would melt, but after a minute he calmed and the shocked look made way for wonderment. "Is something wrong 'Prince'?" He shook his head no and led me away to the office. I can't be sure if I heard him right or not but I was almost certain I heard him mumble "You most definitely are related to her." But I can't be sure. From this moment on things would only get weirder, but unfortunately I wouldn't have any warning until it was much too late.
And is it just me or does my hat feel like it suddenly got tighter?
A/N: Okay, first chapter done! I can't promise they will all be this long or that I'll update on time, but every now and then you may get lucky. I promise to try my best though. Scout's Honor! I'd love to hear your feedback. Thanks for reading!
Lots of Love!