My Mother's Daughter

Prologue



Momiji picked mournfully at the edge of his blanket. He loved his room. It was filled with bright colors and things that reminded him of his mother, or of Germany. But as much as he loved his room, he hated being stuck in it.

A nasty flu worked its way into the Honke, leaving few people untouched. Akito was one of the first to fall to it, given his weak constitution, but even he was on the mend by the time Momiji caught it. Haru was down with it, and Kisa was just starting to walk around again. Hari was kept at his wit's end just trying to take care of everyone. He was over in Haru's room down the hall right now, checking up on him.

And Momiji was miserable. He was at the peak of the flu now, could barely keep down solid food. His back ached, his throat burned and his eyes got all watery in direct sunlight. But most of all…the absolute worst of it…he was so *bored*.

There was a soft knock at the sliding door to his room. He cleared his throat, "Ja?"

And to his surprise Honda Tohru slid the door open and walked inside. "Forgive the intrusion," she said sunnily.

"To—ru? What are you doing here?" He tried to straighten out the bedclothes as best he could so he looked somewhat presentable. He shouldn't be so surprised, she came to visit the rest of the Juunishi when they got sick.

She smiled, "I heard that you were sick, and I wanted to come visit. After all, Momiji-san was so kind in visiting me when I was sick, and even helped out at my job! If I didn't do something it would be very rude of me.

"Oh! Momiji-san's room is so cute!" she exclaimed once she'd gotten a good look at it.

Momiji puffed up a bit in pride. "Danke! I don't think Akito likes it very much, it's not very Japanese is it, and the Honke is so…traditional. But I get to decorate it however I want! I'm glad you like it, I thought you might."

His voice was raspy, but even if it hurt it was just *good* to talk to Tohru. She was like sunshine when the rest of the Honke was in shadow. She made him feel like the person he wanted to be. Just as he thought that he was seized with a coughing fit.

Tohru rubbed his back with one hand, comfortingly. "Are you all right?"

"Ja….yes."

"Good," There was a sadness to her face that surprised him, "You have to be careful when you're sick, it can be dangerous. I wouldn't want anything bad to happen to Momiji-san."

He nodded and sank down into his mountain of pillows. "I hate being sick."

"I don't think anyone likes it," Tohru agreed. She reached into her bag and pulled out a small package. "It's not much but…"

It was small, about the size of his fist, and wrapped in pale pink paper. He blinked at it. "I thought Shi-chan said you weren't supposed to buy presents anymore."

She smiled, and tilted her head in a way that implied that Shigure or no Shigure, she'd do what she wanted if it made someone happy. It was almost sly, except that Tohru could never be sly. "I didn't *buy* a present exactly, I made something." Her expression changed to one of worry and she rushed, "But it really isn't anything special. I just saw instructions in a magazine, and it made me think of Momiji-san…but if you don't like it…"

Momiji hurried to open his present so he could assure Tohru he loved it. Whatever it was, he loved it. Inside was a small terrycloth rabbit head. Two long ears poked up around the ball of a head, and there was twist of terrycloth that made the body. It was a pale yellow, with ears that were dyed just like his in rabbit form. He blinked at it in utter astonishment.

"It's made from a washcloth. You can put ice inside the hole. I thought…if you had a fever…but it's a bit small for that isn't it?"

"It's perfect, To—ru. I really, really, really like it."

"Really?"

"Yes! If I weren't sick I'd give you a big hug!"

Tohru laughed.

Momiji leaned back into his pillows and fingered the ears of his washcloth bunny with a dreamy expression. "To—ru really is like a Mutter."

"Momiji-san, what's a 'Mutter?'"

He wasn't really thinking, or maybe it was the fever that was making him perfectly honest. "Mutter means Mother. You always look after us, all of us, like a mother."

Tohru turned a brilliant red, "Oh no! I'm not! I can't be compared to such a wonderful thing."

"Kisa loves you, Kyou and Yuki like you. Everybody loves Tohru." Momiji yawned as he felt drawn back into sleep, exhausted just by being awake. He was vaguely aware of saying things that would embarrass him later, but couldn't seem to stop himself. "I love Tohru, lots and lots. Just like a Mutter."

Tohru smiled just a little and tucked the sheets around him a bit, careful not to get too close. Then she looked down at her watch. "Aa! Look at the time! I'd better leave now if I'm going to get to the store to buy things for dinner tonight. I hope you get better soon, Momiji-san."

"I feel better already," he told her and she rewarded him with a warm smile.

She turned and walked for the door, and just as her hand reached for the edge of the door it slid open on it's own, skimming open with a harsh snap.

"What are you doing here?" Akito glowered at her.

"Akito!"

"Akito-san!" Tohru's hands went to her face, but then she remembered herself and bowed quickly and low. "I just came on a get well visit. I heard everyone was sick. I'm very sorry to intrude on your hospitality."

Momiji felt a cold rush sweep down his spine. He wasn't tired anymore. Akito looked bad. His eyes were dark and his mouth was pressed into one thin, bitter line. The rabbit wondered how much of their conversation he overheard. From the look on his face it was more than enough. He had sudden memory flashes of Yuki, Kisa, Hari, and the pit in his stomach grew deeper. "Akito…" he began, but the head of the household cut him off.

"That's very kind of you. You didn't have to go to so much trouble."

Tohru knew she was standing on thin ice and hesitated before she answered him. "All the Juunishi are very important to me…they're my friends. It's no trouble."

Akito stepped away from the door, allowing Tohru to pass. She bowed to him again before she stepped into the hallway. She'd almost made it to the top of the stairs before Akito spoke again.

"Over and over again I am amazed at the others, how they can care so much about a bitch like you."

//Oh no, he heard me.// Momiji stumbled out of bed and grabbed onto Akito's arm. "I didn't. I didn't mean it like that. I didn't, I swear I didn't." Then his babbling broke into a river of desperate German that spilled from his lips.

Tohru's fear was blank with shock and fear. "What?"

"The Juunishi are under MY care. I am the one that looks after them, keeps them safe. ME! NO ONE ELSE!" He advanced on her, pulling Momiji with him.

Tohru backed up a step, "I…I…Akito-san, if I have offended you in any way…"

"Shut up! You're plain! You're ordinary! There isn't a single special thing about you! So why do they keep choosing YOU over ME!?!?"

Tohru backed up another step, arms held in front of her, "Akito-san."

"I WON'T HAVE IT!" he yelled…and pushed.

Tohru had a split second to realize she was falling, to see the stairs rushing up at her before it was all over.

"HARI!" Momiji screamed at the top of his lungs, "HARIIII!"



Author's Notes:

Um. Yes, I'm evil. I like ending on cliffhangers. But don't worry, I haven't done anything horrid. Honestly. Everything will be zettai daijoubu.

Momiji's present is called a boo boo bunny, you can find instructions for them online, and they're really cute.

I apologize if any of the characters are OOC, I'm trying hard to keep them in character, but I'm not sure if it worked or not. Especially Momiji.

If you like Akito, you might not want to read this fic. I personally would like to boot kick the little bastard. I was really annoyed at the ending of the anime (what I could get of it, my copy was horribly hard to hear) and I'm writing this to make me feel better.