*whimper* Ummm well... hehe... please don't yell at me for starting this when I should be finishing With This Heart... *hides from flying lollipops*

But I think this one might be a bit better. Hopefully it's a more original concept and the characters are fleshed out a bit more. I don't know why or how it came to me, but holy cupcake tops, am I glad it did! :D

Momiji: And how! ^^

OK, and I said I'd explain the pairings. Sooo heeeere we go:

Kyo/Tohru, male!Akito/OC, Yuki/OC, Ayame/OC, Hatori/OC, Momiji/OC, Hiro/OC, Ritsu/OC, Shigure/OC, Kureno/OC (well, it's mentioned, but they never actually show up), and then... there's this thing... well, basically it's Rin/OC and Haru/OC, EXCEPT Rin and Haru still sorta like each other too... so it's kinda like a love quadrangle, I guess... XD

Uhh... where's Shigure? As the author of the group he PROMISED to do the disclaimer for me.

Shigure: Ah, right here, pretty girl. I was just trying to get Mit-chan off my back...

Me: Disclaimer time, Shigure, disclaimer time.

Shigure: But of course. *ahem* A'isha-chan does NOT own Fruits Basket, or any of us, no matter how much she really wishes she could. She just likes to play with us from time to time. And for YOUR amusement, yes? So don't go calling the cops on her. She can't be sued because... well, look at the girl's bedroom, for goodness's sake! Aya would FLIP if...

Me: OK BYE NOW! *shoves him out the door* Hope you guys enjoy! ^^

"I want nothing to do with you."

The blonde woman's meticulously painted lips parted to reveal her white teeth, in the sinister style of a smirk. Some of the people (mostly females) behind her shuddered when she did this. "Aww," she crooned, sounding as if she were giving a pout but in reality she couldn't have cared less. "Must you be so cruel, Aki-chan? Surely you don't mean that."

"I do mean it, and-"

"And don't call you Shirley? Yes, I've heard that joke." The smirk fell, revealing her true look: an expression of general impatience. "It gets trite oh-so quickly, Aki-chan."

"How many times have I told you not to call me that?"

"Hmm..." Her hand reached up toward her chest, fingering the necklace while letting her pinky drift down toward her breast, as if to tease him. "I would say at least as many times as I've done it, if not more."

Akito's eyebrow twitched in annoyance, as if he were tired of dealing with this woman already, after just a minute. "You know, Kami, I seem to remember you swearing to hell and below that you were never going to return here. Have you broken your word?"

"Tch." The woman, obviously named Kami, tossed her hair. "The only one in my family who has broken her word was Niwatori. You remember how she ran off with-"

"Do. Not. Mention. That. Man. In. My. Home." Each word that left Akito's soft but dangerous lips seemed to possess more venom than the last.

"Kureno," Kami hissed, a glint of torturous delight in her eyes. "They flew the coop, so to speak, you know, Aki-chan. You remember, don't you?" She was beginning to look angry now too. "That idiot... you should have crushed their hope of love the first time you saw it. But you didn't, did you?"

"Kami. Stop talking, now." Akito's eyes narrowed and flashed vehemently, making some of his family think he was just going to snap and attack her. "Or something is going to be broken, and it's not going to be this vase here."

Kami snarled at him, her fists clenching. "I'm just stating facts, Akito. Hmm? I'm remembering it right, aren't I? You should have stopped them and you didn't. And do you know why?"

Kami's family seemed to be accustomed to this sort of speech. Akito's family, however, all leaned in closer, on edge, to find out what Kami thought of their patriarch.

"Because you're soft."

That last word seemed to echo through the room for a good thirty seconds, bouncing around in everyone's eardrums and minds.

"Why do we have to be here?" Shigure muttered to Ayame, tapping his head with a pencil. "She's his old girlfriend."

Ayame gasped softly, getting closer to Shigure. "His girlfriend? Why, I didn't know Uncle had a girlfriend! Ever! He doesn't seem the type..."

"I know, right? But the way they're going at it..." Shigure whistled lowly. "It might just be my author's imagination, but it seems at some point they were attracted."

"Speaking of attractive, do you see that girl with the tie-dyed poet's shirt and scarf over there? Oh!" He shook his head. "Simply darling."

"If you say so."

"You know, you could show more interest in our business, love."

"How is staring at a girl considered business?"

"I must know how she made that shirt!"

"Shut up!" Akito suddenly shouted back at them. "All of you, keep your mouths shut!" He turned back to Kami. "It was your fault that Niwatori corrupted Kureno, got that stupid idea in his head to break his curse. All yours, Kami. You ought to have kept her locked up - all of you should never have left the complex!"

"And how would that have given benefit?" Kame shot back at him. "All of your family were inside the house too! Keeping them all in would have just given the two of them more opportunity!"

"This is getting violent..." Ritsu muttered, shrinking back a little.

"Perhaps it was my fault," one of the women spoke up. Her red hair was cut short, though her bangs nearly obstructed her dark eyes. Her shoulders were clenched up to her ears, her hands wringing uncomfortably in her lap. "I took Niwatori to see Kureno once..."

"Saru, you need to keep your mouth shut," Kami snapped, yanking lightly on a section of the girl's hair. "Need I remind you what happened to all your tuxedos the last time you made me angry?"

The woman, Saru, struggled not to yelp, and immediately her eyes jerked back down to her hands. "N-No, you needn't. I'm sorry, Kami-oba-san, I was out of line. I apologize. Please forgive me."

Ritsu watched Saru with an embarrassed, repressed interest. He blushed very lightly, brought his eyes down to the table, and vowed not to stare at her.

"Now, you should not apologize for things you didn't do," Kami continued in a lighter tone, shaking a finger in Saru's direction. "Niwatori's defection was Akito's fault, not yours."

"You are quickly testing my patience, Kami," Akito spat, as close to a growl as he could muster. "I don't believe you want to find the end of it. You promised my parents you would never return here."

"Plans change, Akito," Kami retorted in a bored manner. "Dear, in case you've not noticed, both your parents died tragically young, didn't they? That's why you're the head of the Sohma at such a young age. I dare say you might want to worry about that yourself, hmm?"

"You better explain yourself in the next fifteen seconds, Kami, or so help me your appendix isn't going to be the only organ that's been removed from your body. And I'm not a surgeon."

Kami blew out a breath. "Yes, well... look, Akito. We've run into a bit of trouble, you see. And I'm afraid that we must temporarily stay here, no matter how much being close to you irritates me."

Akito's eyebrow cocked up. "Why would I agree to this, Kami?"

"Because. You know what we can do."

"What can you do?" Hiro spoke up, crossing his arms. "Other than talk forever, I mean."

One of the black-haired girls leaned forward and growled at him. "Nyan, you don't think you'll get away with that, do you, brat?"

"Neko, calm down," Kami demanded. "He is only a child, after all." She looked back at the young blonde. "As for your question, boy, Akito can tell you."

All eyes of the Sohma family shifted to Akito in expectation.

Akito scoffed. "Are you serious? You're perfectly capable of showing them, Kami." He coughed pointedly a few times. "Besides, you know how bad colds get for me. I'm losing my voice."

"Losing it or hiding it?" Kami commented under her breath. "Very well then." She faced the Sohmas, hands on her hips and displaying a blatantly false smile to them. "Hello, cursed ones. I am Kami Shuzoku." A few seconds of silence passed and she scowled at them. "Well? Is that how you greet someone who's going to make your life bearable, you ungrateful bastards? Come on now, don't be shy. You are to say hello to me and address me only as Lady Kami."

The Sohmas looked at each other. They pointed their eyes down and all chimed in unison, some louder than others. "Hello, Lady Kami."

"Much better." She straightened the front of her blouse, then reached back into the crowd of her family. She pulled forward a teenage girl with white hair, so long it nearly reached her hips. Her reddish eyes were nervous, looking around the entire place, yet somehow she carried herself with the utmost poise. Kami held the girl tight around her upper arm. "Nezumi." She gave an offhanded wave to the Sohmas. "Pick any male one you like and demonstrate our abilities, dear."

The girl, Nezumi, nodded and stepped forward, surveying the Sohma family. At last she advanced on Yuki, and brushed his violet-black hair behind his ear, looking in his eyes for a moment. "I've been told this is uncomfortable, so please don't resent me for what I'm about to do, Sohma-sama."

Yuki raised an eyebrow, turning his head just slightly. "What are you..."

Nezumi bent down just a little, and all of a sudden Yuki felt her hand on his shoulder... the shoulder that was opposite that hand. And before he knew it she was hugging him. "M-Miss Shuzoku," he stammered, trying to wiggle away from her. "This isn't such a good idea... please, I..."

Before he could do anything else, Nezumi stood up, smiled very slightly at him, and promptly collapsed on the floor.

OK. Any guesses as to what their curse thingy is? *wiggles eyebrows*

With the Shuzoku family, what you see is what you get. It's exactly what it says on the tin, with each member's name corresponding to their animal and, by default, their love interest or friend. For exampleeeeee...

Kami = God

Nezumi = rat

Neko = cat

Saru = monkey

Niwatori = chicken (supposed to be rooster, but hey she's a girl)


Shuzoku =family (like I said, exactly what it says on the tin)

oba-san = aunt

nyan = the onomatopoeia for a meow in Japanese (cute, huh? XD)

sama = basically the highest title of respect someone can be given, akin to "Lord" or "Lady" (the Shuzokus don't call Kami this because "Kami-sama" is the phrase for the actual God of the universe, so it'd kind of be blasphemy sooo... yeah...)

PLEASE REVIEW. I'd love it if this got as much buzz as With These Hands and With This Heart... more would be nice! And hey. Reviews are given a good home and plenty of barbecue sauce. O.o Did I say that out loud?

Ayame: Bye bye for now, everyone! ^^