Fandom: Fruits Basket
Pairing: Souma Hatori / Souma Ayame
Word Count: 2200+
Warnings: Lime and Yaoi content
Prompts: For 10_passions, theme #8 - "the space between us" and the Blanket Scenario Challenge one_blanket
keiichi-kun © 2006
DISCLAIMERS: Fruits Basket and its characters are copyright to Natsuki Takaya, no infringement is intended through the publishing of this fan work. I do not profit from this piece of fiction, as this is for my own selfish enjoyment, as well as for the fans who appreciate it.
WARNING: This story contains lime and a copious amount of yaoi. Run away if any or both material offends you. Otherwise, enjoy and let me know what you think!
“No, no stop!” Ayame covered his ears and began wailing at the top of his voice, clearly distressed, “Yamete ‘Gure-san! MOU YAMETE!”
Hatori had sneaked a wary glance from the top of the book he was reading, down at his two (idiotic) best friends who were currently sprawled at the foot of his bed, exchanging even more idiotic stories—or at least, Shigure was. Hatori has been quite successful at ignoring them for a while now, losing himself into the story he’d been reading, grateful, as the raging storm outside helped a lot in muffling their annoying voices. That was, until Ayame’s anguished cries, and Hatori was jolted away from his book to look over at his cousins.
“But I haven’t told you the best part yet, Aya!” Shigure whined in mock complain, continuing with his tale nonetheless, despite the Snake’s frenzied pleas, “And then the guy felt thick liquid dripping down to his shirt, so he slowly looked up the ceiling and recognized the scarlet color of—“
It was then that a bolt of lightning, followed by a deafening roar of thunder, chose to strike somewhere fairly near the Souma grounds, inadvertently adding to the effect of Shigure’s dramatic story-telling.
“EEYAAAAHHH!!!” Ayame let out an ear-splitting scream in near harmony to the clasps of thunder, his voice cracking awkwardly due to the growing pains of puberty. Instinctively rolling himself into a ball, Ayame crossed his arms on top of his head.
Shigure jumped up startled at the lightning as well; but Hatori was immediately at Ayame’s side, tossing away his book without further thought. It was almost instinct that he throw himself at the first clear sign of Ayame’s impending bout of hysterics, although that first outburst should’ve alerted him already. It was an accident not too long ago that Hatori found out about Ayame’s awful fear of lightning and thunder; when he had discovered his friend transformed into his Juunishi one night in the middle of a fierce thunderstorm, shivering under his blankets, crying. Hatori would have found that little irony a bit amusing, if it wasn’t an entirely nerve-racking experience for Ayame. At once, Hatori had a strong urge to stay beside Ayame; which thus, found the quiet boy sleeping beside his friend that first time, shushing him until his shivering had subdued, and even long after Ayame had transformed back into his human form.
The moment he placed his arms around Ayame’s shoulders, the Hebi clutched desperately onto Hatori, burying his face inside the warmth of his embrace. Ayame’s tears wet the front of his shirt but Hatori paid no mind to it as he gently stroked his friend’s back in slow circles, rocking him gently in his arms and whispering soothing words into his ear.
He could feel Shigure’s questioning and slightly amused, gaze on them; watching silently as Hatori continued to placate the other boy. His playful cousin didn’t utter another word until Ayame’s shivers and sobs slipped to a minimum, and he, too reached a careful hand to stroke the frightened boy’s hair.
“Gomen na, Aaya-chan,” Shigure whispered in sincere tones, “I didn’t realize you were really upset.”
Ayame has still not released of his hold on Hatori’s shirt, and even though it was getting a bit uncomfortable for the young Dragon—his shirt was crumpled and wet from tears, his feet were asleep from not moving from one position, and with the impending headache that aftermath of storms were always giving him—Hatori dare not make the slightest shift or movement to relax; he would not let go of Ayame, as long as it takes for Ayame to be alright again, Hatori will never let go. With that train of thought, Hatori unconsciously drew the smaller man further into his embrace, just as he felt Ayame clutch at him tighter.
A sniffle and a quiet nod answered Shigure when he uttered another apology. Hatori saw a pained look flicker across the Dog’s features, and his early irritation at his other cousin faded upon realization that Shigure might not have exactly known about Ayame’s fears, and had probably thought that the Snake was merely putting on one his dramatic acts.
“Heiki na desu, Gure-san,” came a muffled response from somewhere near Hatori’s chest. He looked down to watch as a puffy-eyed Ayame slowly turn his head to face Shigure, who was sitting patiently at his side, still patting silver tresses. Even though he couldn’t properly see, Hatori knew the silent exchange of smiles between his two friends; they could never really stay mad at each other, Shigure and Ayame were always a team, a duo, and more like close brothers than just distant relatives and best friends.
“I’ll go get you some water,” Shigure declared moments later, a tender smile now on his usually mischievous face as he got up to fetch his errand.
“Arigatou,” Hatori heard Ayame rasped out gratefully. As soon as Shigure closed the shoji, Ayame inclined his tear-streaked face to Hatori, his hands on Hatori’s shirt loosening a bit as he looked to smile, embarrassed, at his other friend. “You too, Tori-san. Thank you.”
It was such a gentle, almost shy, gesture that Hatori couldn’t help the small smile that graced his lips at that moment. It was very rare that Ayame showed signs of timidity and meekness, especially given his boisterous nature, but it never failed to amuse Hatori. It tugged warmly at him, knowing that he’s one of the select few who ever saw this side to the Snake. Almost like a secret and Hatori rather liked the idea that he too, shared a special bond with his cousin. Growing up as a Souma would never be easy for any of them, especially growing up with having the only one with the “special talent” that, in retrospect, may have been an additional curse. He was simply grateful for his cousins’ company and friendship. Ayame’s most especially, but Hatori would not be wont to admit that, of course.
His small smile was enough for Ayame to brighten his a notch higher, the other boy already had his faith set that Hatori would never let him go. It was such a comforting thought.
“Is it okay if I stay here with you for a while, Tori-san?” Ayame asked tentatively.
To be honest, Hatori found it a tad disconcerting this current behavior of Ayame’s, but he supposed anyone who’s ever had to face his greatest fears would have had his personality short-circuited. He gave Ayame’s shoulder a soft squeeze before he nodded in acquiescence, “You can sleep here tonight if you like.”
If possible, Ayame’s smile grew so much brighter, that it was almost as if the sun suddenly popped out in the midst of the gray clouds at that moment and cast its warm rays of light. What was probably even more out of place though was when Hatori found himself returning Ayame’s smile.
“Come on,” Hatori urged, as he shifted and made to stand, drawing Ayame with him as he did so. Unfortunately for them, the Dragon forgot about his legs that had been deprived of proper blood circulation, so that the instant Hatori stretched, his knees buckled from under him, making him lose his balance. It probably was a lucky thing that they were only a foot from the bed when Hatori realized that they were about to fall. On impulse, he wrapped his arms in a protective embrace around the other boy’s waist as they tumbled down onto soft mattress. Instinct, perhaps.
“Are you okay?” Despite that it was he who fell in contact with the bed; Hatori’s first concern was his friend. Surprise was apparent in Ayame’s pale features, but there was mirth in his eyes when he looked at Hatori. Ayame immediately smiled widely and nodded, and once more, Hatori couldn’t help himself returning back a lopsided grin.
It took another second or so before both were suddenly aware of their compromising position: Ayame’s right arm was supporting his balance onto the mattress, but his other hand rested on a comfortable angle on Hatori’s chest, while the slender length of his body pressed close to his, stretching out on top on the much taller boy.
Hatori, on the other hand, has now both his hands on Ayame’s hips on a death grip, and was very much aware of the very close proximity of their faces; he even felt a few strands of Ayame’s silver locks tickle his flushed cheeks. “Oh, uhm…” It might only have been his imagination that both their pulses suddenly quickened.
Ayame was the first to roll over away from him; and Hatori nearly whimpered in disappointment when the contact was lost. “Su-sumanai Tori-san,” Ayame spurted out apologetically, color pinking his cheeks a little, but he was still smiling.
“Don’t worry about it.” Hatori hid a smirk, schooling his features into its usual passive expression as he quickly moved to arrange the quilt and pillows. “Here, make yourself comfortable on the bed.”
Ayame immediately obeyed his instructions and sunk himself into the soft, warm bed; Hatori carefully drawing the quilt up to cover Ayame’s slightly shivering form. He then eased himself under the quilt, making sure that Ayame was still tucked tight, before settling down beside his cousin. When he had first lain down beside Ayame, Hatori thought it would be awkward and wrong, somehow. But seeing his friend frightened and small under the covers awakened some protective sixth sense; and Hatori found it was more safe, nice and comfortable having Ayame sleep so soundly beside him, after all.
Rain patted on the roof tiles above, racing down onto the gutter to join the rest, as water continue to fall from the skies, a dull flash of lightning illuminating through the gray once in a while. The thunderstorm did not show any sign of giving up any time soon, but one boy did not find it as scary as before.
Somewhere under the covers of the warm blanket, Ayame’s left hand found its way to Hatori’s right, and his thin fingers wound snugly on the other boy’s. Hatori clasped at them tightly, warmly; and for the nth time that night, he let his lips spread into a slow, small smile.
“When did things start to change between us Ayame?” He didn’t mean for it to fall out from his mouth, but apparently, foolishness—and to some extent, haplessness, seemed to have taken precedence over logic in his brain (he made another mental note to stay away from the likes of Shigure for a while). And Hatori regretted it immediately when he sensed Ayame cringe slightly beside him.
For a while, Hatori merely listened to the Snake’s even breathing; he shivered occasionally still, but proved to be much better than when they arrived at the cabin earlier. It was the only response Ayame offered him and Hatori had almost given up, resigning himself to the thought that the other man might have probably fallen asleep again.
“Nothing has changed between us, Tori-san.” Ayame’s soft baritone broke the cumbersome silence at last.
Hatori could not hide his surprise at Ayame’s unexpected response, but even more so at the tone with which he said it: melancholic, wistful…
“I – It was me who changed. Or rather, my feelings for you did.”
It was Hatori who cringed this time, impulsively tightening his hold on Ayame’s bare arm. How could Ayame say something like that as though it was his own fault for changing the way he did? As though Ayame was almost… sorry for loving him, *that way*. It was the first time that Ayame admitted his, as he called it ‘changed feelings’ towards Hatori with a tinge of regret in his tone. And even if the Dragon was to admit that never had he really given any answer to Ayame’s declarations in the past, he still cared immensely for his friend. The sudden shift in emotions was rendering Hatori more miserable; and left him feeling somewhat… hollow.
Perhaps caring so much wasn’t enough anymore. Perhaps their friendship was not as strong as he thought before, and it was doing nothing else but hurt Ayame. Perhaps… perhaps it was high time that Hatori sorted out his feelings and confront them, finally. But what did he really feel? And why was he confused in the first place?
Propping himself on his free arm, Hatori leaned onto Ayame and nudged him to gently turn on his back towards him. His face hovered mere inches away from Ayame’s, but the other man gave no sign of reluctance or hesitation as he met Hatori’s cool, blue eyes. “Aaya, ore wa…”
One pale hand reached up to touch Hatori’s cheeks; he felt as though his skin burned from that touch—a pleasant, welcoming burn, nonetheless. “I’ll always love you, Tori-san.” Ayame gave him one his brightest smiles; but the Dragon did not miss the sadness that clouded his hazel eyes.
The logical part of his brain has probably stopped functioning altogether at that moment as Hatori, rather detachedly, became aware of the fact that he was slowly closing the gap between them, his lips descending in anticipation towards Ayame’s. He vaguely heard Ayame let out a surprised, soft gasp.
Somewhere, at the depths of his muddled brain, Hatori supposed he could blame it on gravity.
Mou yamete - "Please stop it!"; it's actually a more feminine way of saying it but I think that it suits Ayame just fine (no implications on his sexuality), the masculine version is Yamero
Gomen na - "I'm sorry"; impolite, spoken with close friends
Heiki na desu - "I'm fine"; direct translation would be "I'm calm" or "I'm comfortable"
Arigatou - "Thank you"; impolite, spoken with close friends
Sumanai - "Excuse me" or "I apologize"; either are acceptable
Ore wa - "I..."; referring to self, masculine version of watashi wa
AUTHOR’S NOTES: I’m really starting to –hate- Hatori at this point… it was supposed to end in this 2nd installment – he won’t let me! One last chapter to conclude--vindication for Ayame! (oh yes, don't ask me where Shigure and his glass of water went *shrugs*)
09/30 - thanks Saku Rose for the rushed beta-work :)
This is for the precious person who continually inspires me to write.
This fan fiction is copyright 2006 to © keiichi-kun. All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited without the written consent of the author.