Fruits Basket Fan Fiction ❯ Seasons of Sorrow ❯ Memories of Spring = ‘Oh, brother…’ ( Chapter 9 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

DISCLAIMER: Takaya-sensei was just talking to me the other day and said that I could keep Yuki on a short term basis…but I'll need to kiss her feet plus pay for licensing fees, ad space, commission, under the table payoffs, etc.
Memories of Spring
`Oh, brother…'
(A while ago…)
Hatori cursed himself for the umpteenth time as he was literally dragged across the walkway past shops and people staring at them. More to the point, staring at his attention-grabbing cousin with looks that could stop traffic a mile away—not to mention his loud mouth.
“Tori-san, I'm ever so grateful that you are coming to my shop today! I'm having Yuki over to get his suits adjusted, and I'm too excited for words. It's truly a magnificent day to have two of my precious relatives under my roof! No other being on this planet can rival my joy!” exclaimed Ayame jubilantly as he maneuvered with ease through the crowd of people.
“Could you please watch the crowd in front of you?” the dragon asked exasperatedly as the snake kept jabbering on (with his eyes closed, mind you) about his `most fortunate day.'
Indeed, there were times before that Hatori had managed to avoid Ayame's shop and trust him, it was no easy task. Ayame was relentless in his pursuit to have Hatori visit his shop but with little success. So today, of all days, Hatori couldn't manage to excuse himself when he ran into Ayame finishing up a delivery. He hadn't realized how close he really was to the shop, and to avoid hurting Ayame's feelings, he had no other choice but to agree.
That's when Ayame had stopped dead in his tracks in the middle of the walkway. He had stopped so suddenly that Hatori ran into him from behind.
“Ayame, what do you think you're doing stopping like that?! We could have had someone run into us…” trailed Hatori's voice as he stared at his cousin who was paying no heed to Hatori.
Now that was a first. Ayame had completely blocked him out! But why was Hatori's question as he looked quizzically at his silver-haired cousin who was staring at nothing, his head tilted a certain way. He had a look of such disbelief that Hatori actually started to worry. Fortunately, Ayame returned to his jubilant self as a very wide smile spread across his face, and grabbing Hatori's wrist once again, he dashed the rest of the way to his shop, paying no attention to the crowd before him.
“Ayame, slow down!” cried Hatori as Ayame kept dragging him on. `Man, he's got a grip…who'd have thought?'
Finally arriving intact at the shop, Ayame ran through the doors. He made his way to the back of the shop where the dressing areas and loft were, but more importantly, where the piano music was coming from.
“Please, Mine, please be there…” came Ayame's plea as he went quietly to the back.
Hatori just had about enough of the mystery and was trying to free himself from Ayame's iron-like grip. “Look, Ayame, you better explain…”
“Sshh,” came Ayame's fervent request as he placed a delicate finger to Hatori's lips. He turned back around and proceeded to go up the stairs cautiously.
Hatori was now listening to the piano music—he at first thought it to be a radio playing but realized that it wasn't. The music was much louder as it reverberated through the walls of the small shop, and it was definitely coming from upstairs.
`That must have been what he heard outside on the street…he certainly has excellent hearing,' was Hatori's passing thought as he followed Ayame slowly up the stairs.
The sight that they both beheld was incredible to put it mildly. Yuki was at the piano with Kisa and Kagura on either side of him leaning against the piano in beautiful dresses from the shop. Ritsu turned to see them at the stairwell, and with a smile, he made his way to the couch so they could have more room to see Yuki play.
What was more peculiar was what Mine had been doing the entire time Yuki was playing. Mine flashed a brilliant smile to her boss and close friend as well as to his cousin. Ayame just beamed her a smile of gratitude as he returned his attention to Yuki. Hatori couldn't even react in any way.
`How did the piano…? What's Yuki doing playing…? How did Ayame know…?' were just a few of the boggling questions going through Hatori's head as he listened to the last half of what he perceived to be “The Entertainer”.
Yuki finished the piece when Ritsu asked him to play another piece related to Ayame and Yuki. Hatori wanted to interrupt this, but he stopped as he saw Yuki preparing to take on the request. Actually, Hatori was a bit curious himself as to what Yuki would play. He saw the smile that the nezumi gave, and he knew that Yuki was pretty satisfied with his choice of selection.
Hearing the “Hungarian Rhapsody” in all its glory gave Ayame much pride…of course, he missed the point of it, but he was still proud of his brother's playing abilities.
Hatori, who didn't miss the point, was smiling inwardly and had to agree to the selection. `Ayame certainly fits the sporadic moments in that piece.'
Upon finishing that, Yuki was asked to play something about his teacher. Hatori knew of the Bird of the Zodiac teaching Yuki to play the piano, and “Fuhr Elise” was definitely hands down perfect for Kureno. Hatori could also tell through this melody how much Yuki respected and cared about his teacher. `Kureno would definitely have felt proud to hear Yuki play that for him.'
When Kisa requested to have a melody played for the family, Hatori and even Ayame were both stunned. They couldn't fathom Yuki playing a melody that wasn't saddening or downright gloomy. Of course, today was a day of surprises and Yuki was the biggest of all. He chose a melody that was bittersweet and full of such hope that only the Jyuunishi could understand its true meaning. Yes, both Hatori and Ayame were struggling to hold back the wave of emotions that Yuki's playing was now provoking. “Ballade for Adeline” was unquestionably a perfect choice for them as a family.
When Yuki finished, both Ayame and Hatori regained their bearings and blinked back their tears. And Ayame, being who he was, couldn't help but voice his appreciation at this point on Yuki's playing.
(Present time - General POV)
`Count on him to ruin the moment,' reflected Yuki dismally as he tried to keep his brother from crushing him into a hug as well.
“Would you let go of Yuki, Ayame?! You're cutting off his oxygen,” was Hatori's reprimand as he helped Yuki with prying Ayame off of him. Ayame was plainly too happy to realize the suffocating grip he had on Yuki.
“Of course, Tori-san, you're right as always! My precious otouto needs his oxygen to play the piano, doesn't he? Such a glorious day has never befallen on my shop, ne Mine?” Ayame was now sitting next to Yuki on the bench while gesturing to Mine to look his way.
It was then that Yuki saw what he hoped was just his imagination. With eyes widening to giant saucers and his jaw slack, he saw in disbelief at a beautiful, state of the art digicam that was looking towards him and his brother. Well, at least the mystery of what Mine was hiding was now over…
`I can't believe them! They were planning this the whole time…the WHOLE TIME?!' Yuki angrily thought. He turned to his brother on the bench next to him, and if looks could kill, Ayame would have been meeting all his ancestors right then and there.
“You were planning this the WHOLE TIME?! You set this whole thing up just to record me behind my back?! What were you thinking pulling a stunt like that on me?!” said Yuki as he ranted and raved at Ayame as everyone quietly made their exit, lest they also be caught in his wrath. Hatori remained just in case his services were needed…he could almost smell blood in the air…
Admittedly, Ayame hadn't expected Yuki to blow up on him so suddenly. Sniffling, Ayame quietly replied, “Well, I knew you'd say no if I asked for you to play for me. (Sniffles) Not that I'd blame you…but I really wanted to hear you play. (Blows his nose-delicately of course) I had hoped you liked the piano enough so that you'll play on your own whenever you came to visit me. But you didn't come by very often, so I thought that with repeated visits that I `arranged' you'd finally play the piano I got for you as a present. And well, about the digicam, I asked Mine to record you if you decided to play when I wasn't around…I didn't mind that you don't play for me, but as long as you played, I would be happy enough to see you recorded on video playing. (Sniffles some more)
Okay, then it was Yuki's turn to feel bad. It really had been a long day for him, and he wasn't used to blowing up so easily at his brother. `Well, that explains why he kept me visiting for so-called adjustments to my suits. He's probably right, though, I wouldn't have agreed to play for him…' Yuki thought guiltily as he closed his eyes and brought his hand to the bridge of his nose as he rubbed away the dull ache there.
“When did you find out that I played at all?” was Yuki's tired question as he glanced at his brother.
“Your music selection of course when you downloaded the piano pieces to your player got me thinking. Then when you had visited some time ago and I had a customer waiting. He mentioned having trouble with his piano, and you gave him some suggestions on having it maintained properly. I figured that it was a long shot, but I decided that it would be something you'd play. I went and started shopping for a piano the next day, and so, here we are,” explained Ayame as he gestured at the instrument behind them.
He had such a look of guilt that Yuki just couldn't stay mad at him. In some twisted way, Ayame was trying to get closer to him by using the piano as a bridge, hoping that in the end it would work out. Seeing that in a way it did, Yuki decided to let it go and just accept his brother's latest escapade to draw the two of them closer.
“Just let me know next time what you're planning for the two us, at least when you plan to record me behind my back? (`That can be a shock to anyone's system.') And you really didn't have to get me this gift. It's just too much Nii-san. I don't want you to put yourself out just for me…” said Yuki quietly as he eyed his hands.
Smiling broadly, Ayame brought his hand to Yuki's face and lifted it up to his, gray-lavender eyes meeting golden-green eyes. “I would put myself through so much more just for you and only you. And I'd do it again every single time…do you like your present, Yuki?”
Yuki just sat in shock—he just couldn't stare at him anymore, so he glanced downward and turned forward in his seat. The look he was giving Yuki was one that Yuki wasn't used to seeing from him…it was a look of brotherly love that knew no bounds.
“M-hm,” responded Yuki quietly as he folded his arms against his body and closed his eyes, letting out a heavy sigh. He cracked one eye open and dared to look at his older brother. Yep, the snake was definitely in high heaven by now if the mile wide grin was any clue. Yuki just couldn't help himself but smile a little in return. `Call me sick and disturbed, but I just wouldn't want him any other way.'
Hatori was still leaning against the stairwell, marveling at how these siblings managed to get along with each other despite their differences in personality, age, maturity level… Shaking his head in obvious disbelief at how Yuki managed to sanely survive each of Ayame's brotherly bonding moments, he walked over to the two at the piano.
“Ayame, it's getting late, and you need to finish those adjustments to Yuki's suits, correct?” the dragon placidly asked the snake.
“What will I do without you, Tori-san? Thank you for your reminder—come Yuki, off we go to fit those marvelous outfits on you once and for all! You too, Tori-san! I do believe you've not had a new suit in years, ne?” Ayame then dragged the two from the loft and down the stairs to the dressing areas where the others were already finishing up their shopping.
“Tenshou, I have all the outfits ready for you and Otouto-kun. Which would you like to start with first?” asked Mine in her professional manner as she started observing from afar Hatori's measurements. She really wanted to start on him, too…
“Always reliable, my dear Mine! But for now I want to serve some very fine tea I just purchased this morning to my very dear brother, the undiscovered and gifted pianist, and to our family's talented and young doctor, not to mention the best friend anyone could hope for…” continued Ayame joyously as he started preparing the tea and set the table all the while.
Hatori and Yuki both knew that it was pointless to `tame' Ayame at this point, so they decided to settle back into the couch as Yuki asked how Hatori came to be there.
Just as Hatori was about to respond, the snake presented himself with the tea set and poured the tea for each of them (the others had already bid their good-byes). “Now where were we…oh yes, I wanted to ask you Yuki, how is your speech coming along for the Graduation Ceremony?”
`This tea is pretty good. Maybe he can give me some to take home for the others,' thought Yuki as he sipped his tea further before answering his brother's question. “Well, it's coming along fine…still a few more details I have to figure out, but I'm almost done.”
(Sigh) “I wished you would take my speech into consideration—just as source material. It would bring wonders to your fine speech. Why, back at my Graduation Ceremony, everyone was flushed with pride at hearing my speech.” Ayame was clearly reminiscing that moment in time with `stars' all around him.
Coughing up his tea, Hatori brought a napkin to his mouth as he cleaned himself off. Yuki pretty much reacted the same way and while cleaning himself off, he replied, “(Cough, cough) Nii-san, I've read your speech…it'd make censors blush with shame. (Cough) How you got away with it is beyond me.”
“How rude…everyone congratulated me at my beautiful and liberal speech. Many commented it was the most original speech they've heard in ages!” exclaimed Ayame as he held onto his cup with one hand and with the other hand was gesturing towards himself in full model fashion.
Original is definitely a word to describe your speech (`among other words'). You certainly had them floored with that speech that they were too shocked to stop you,” commented Hatori as he put his teacup down.
“Oh the memories, it certainly makes you want to relive the moment, ne Tori-san?” Apparently, Ayame was once again missing the whole point.
`Not that particular moment…' thought Hatori wryly as he continued to clean up the mess he made on his tie and slacks. “Why don't you stop daydreaming and finish your work with Yuki? He still has to go home and finish his schoolwork before having his dinner.”
`I believe there was a hint somewhere in that remark,' thought Yuki languidly as he continued drinking his tea peacefully.
“Tori-san, you can spoil such moods. Well, then, let me get my things ready first. Yuki, help yourself to these cookies!” said Ayame grinning as he shoved a plate of very yummy cookies to Yuki's startled face.
“Give me that…now go!” remarked Hatori, as he ran his hand through his hair frustrated.
“Of course, Tori-san, as you beckon, it shall be done. Toute de suite…at once...immediately even…” blabbered Ayame as he left the room to go to his office. The silence (minus the radio) was deafening.
“Want more tea?” asked Yuki with a sly smile as he offered more tea to his tired cousin. “Or perhaps, a sedative?”
Hatori just arched his brow at his cousin in response as he accepted Yuki's offer for more tea. “If you have a sedative, I won't be the one taking it,” replied Hatori as he glanced in Ayame's direction. Both cousins smiled deviously at this thought with teacups to their mouths…very tempting indeed.
As Yuki set his cup down, Ayame swept into the room gallantly. “Here we are—now, let's get to work my precious little brother; no time to dawdle,” said Ayame as he dragged Yuki from the couch to the area where he did most of his alterations.
`Wasn't he the one dawdling?' thought Yuki sardonically.
`Finally—now, for the trip home,' was Yuki's waning thought while exiting the shop. He could still hear Ayame saying his list of farewells to him as he walked away with Hatori. It was practically twilight, and Yuki wasn't looking forward to the long road ahead of him. With a sigh, he started to get his gear out of his backpack.
“Don't worry, Yuki, I'll drop you off before I head to the main house,” came Hatori's reply as he started to light a cigarette…being in Ayame's presence for any length of time usually required one. He was careful, though, where he blew out so that it didn't go into Yuki's direction.
Yuki looked up to the dragon and gave a small smile of appreciation. “Arigatou, Hatori…I know it's a drive for you to go up to Shigure's.”
“It's no trouble at all,” said Hatori calmly as he drew in deeply his cigarette. Leading Yuki away towards where he parked the car, he reflected on how much Yuki's health had stabilized. He hated to take such drastic measures, and he knew Yuki hated being monitored so closely, especially with taking his medication. His medication…if he only knew what it really was for…
`No matter…thankfully it all paid off—Yuki's health is on the mend and that's all that really matters. He's got enough worries,' reflected Hatori as he glanced at Yuki.
Hatori then gave thought to Shigure's whining about how he feared for his life at times (ever the dramatist). Shigure was apparently finding that it was getting harder for him to get Yuki to take his medication in the morning. Considering that in past years Yuki flat out refused to take any pill in any form, Hatori was amazed that Yuki's keeping up with it now, even it did take him 30 minutes of intense staring at a pill that refused to get smaller (not to mention the death glares to Shigure when he teased him about it). Hatori couldn't help but smile a little at this scenario while Yuki looked at him strangely.
“What are you smiling at?” asked Yuki curiously.
Hatori just smiled a tad wider and ruffled his cousin's hair as he walked on without replying.
Yuki just tilted his head to the side in confusion. “What? What is it, Hatori? (Pouts) Hatori…” called out Yuki as he walked faster to reach Hatori.
Meanwhile, back at the novelist's home, the others were attending to a most welcome guest.
“Shishou-san, would you like some tea with your snack?” asked Tohru cheerfully while sitting next to Kyo's adoptive father.
“That is so kind of you, arigatou,” Kazuma replied returning the smile.
“Shishou, don't drop the cup on the floor like the last time you were here,” warned Kyo as he eyed Kazuma's unsteady hand with the cup. Kazuma was known to be just a tad bit absent-minded about these matters.
“What was that, Kyo?” asked the martial arts teacher, cup teetering ever so closely to the edge of his dish.
“That's no way to speak to your elder, Kyo-kun! I must apologize on behalf of the little koneko…he's still managing to learn the fundamental basics of etiquette,” commented the inu with an air of superiority.
“Shut up, BAKA! Shishou, your cup…!” commented Kyo as he watched with panic in his eyes.
(CRASH!) “Well, that was rather careless of me, wasn't it?” was Kazuma's bashful response while picking up his mess.
Kyo merely let his head droop as Tohru hurried to help Kazuma with the mess. `The great martial arts teacher of the Sohmas is a complete klutz…' thought Kyo dejectedly as his image of a refined martial arts teacher came crashing down around him (for the thousandth time), much like Kazuma's cup did just now.
“See, no harm done. I'll get another dish for you Shishou-san,” replied Tohru cheerily as she went into the kitchen to retrieve another cup set.
“That's alright, Tohru-san. You need to tend to your dinner, so please go right ahead,” remarked Kazuma cleaning himself off.
“Oh my, I almost forgot! And today I wanted to make everyone's favorite dishes…oh no, the leeks!” cried Tohru in a panic as she went to look at her overdone leek stew.
“Speaking of leeks, when is Yuki due to arrive?” Kazuma asked Shigure.
“Let the damn rat stay away for good,” was Kyo's two-cents worth to Kazuma's question.
“Such deplorable manners, Kyo-kun. What must the ladies think of such an uncouth character…” replied Shigure with a dramatic air of helplessness. Dodging a swing as Kyo headed past him to the kitchen to help Tohru, Shigure answered Kazuma, “Yuki-kun should be coming along pretty soon. He was stopping by Aya's shop to have his suits adjusted. Knowing Aya, he'd want to keep Yuki-kun to himself for as long as he can.”
“They seem to be getting along better, ne Shigure?” said Kazuma with a hopeful smile.
“Well, they're definitely heading in that direction…with a few detours along the way,” smiled the inu wryly as he began sipping his tea.
“I hope he'll agree to my request. I'd like to have him present for the tournament my dojo is participating in a few months from now,” replied Kazuma anxiously. “It'd be great for morale. I'm sure he'll be very supportive of the team.”
“NANI??!!” yelled Kyo from the kitchen. “Having Kagura and Haru there is bad enough…why drag the kuso nezumi into this?! He doesn't even train like the rest of us at the dojo, so it's not fair! He's got no right to be there!”
(Heavy sigh) “Kyo, I told you this last week, and you didn't object then…why now?” asked Kazuma quizzically.
“Isn't it obvious, Kazuma-dono…(giggles) he wasn't listening before,” said Shigure with a smirk as he dodged an unidentifiable flying projectile from Kyo.
“Dammit, SHUT UP! Shishou, you mentioned somebody else was going, but you never mentioned names!” stated Kyo with a huff.
“Kyo, I clearly said Yuki—how many do you know with that name?” replied Kazuma as he felt a headache coming on. Yep, he knew it was too good to be true when all Kyo said last time was `sure, great…'
“I can't believe this, dammit…” said Kyo angrily to himself while leaning against the doorframe between the kitchen and living room. Running his hand through his hair angrily, he lashed out, “I've lived with the damn fool these past three LONG years! I can't stand to be near him anymore than I already have to! How much more will I have to put up with, Shishou?!”
`Dear me, this isn't going well,' thought Kazuma tiredly as he prepped himself to calm Kyo down, but a certain chocolate-haired beauty beat him to it.
“Um, Kyo-kun, these past three years weren't so bad, were they? I mean you and Yuki-kun aren't fighting as much anymore, and I'd have to admit I've never been happier than being here with you two and Shigure-san. I couldn't imagine living these past three years without anyone of you…I'm so grateful,” commented Tohru with a soft but broad smile.
Kyo looked at her with wide eyes and just let out a frustrated sigh as he returned to the kitchen to finish with the dinner. “Come on, the food isn't going to cook itself,” he replied to Tohru.
“Oh, yes, of course! Eep…the rice!” cried Tohru frantically as she went to save her rice from the cooker. Kazuma just sat quietly and regarded her with admiration.
`Count on the beauty to calm the beast.' Shigure smiled slyly and just couldn't resist one more shot at the cat. “Ne, Kazuma-dono, it is possible to have a kitty on a leash.”
“WHAT DID YOU SAY KUSO INU?! DO YOU HONESTLY WISH DEATH THAT MUCH???!!!!” yelled the fuming neko to the amused inu. Just then he felt a strong wind rush right past him.
“Could you please watch the meals for me, Kyo-kun? I'll need to run to the store really quick to get some more leeks. The stew just isn't salvageable without more,” replied Tohru frantically as she zipped through the house and got her shoes on at lightning speed. She flew out the door and was doing fine for not tripping over her own feet until she ran into a soft and warm body.
The inevitable `poof' soon manifested itself…
Edited by: Seiren-no-Kaze 02-23-07
Author's Maze:
Whew! What a chapter…Ayame can give me a pounding headache! Hopefully you found the musical moments worthwhile
I hoped you enjoyed my filler moments…I really, really recommend you get the music if only this once and listen to it while reading these two chapters. They can lend so much to the story!
Before I forget, a big hello to all my anonymous reviewers and the ones that signed in before (hope you're still reading!)…I've not forgotten you!
The next few chapters will be ones for the books so look out for them!
Also, to acknowledge the ever-famous spoiler many are talking about, I mentioned under my profile that I've been having quite some difficulty going around the spoiler. To my readers and reviewers…do you want to see this latest development in this storyline? I've mentioned before that this will NOT impact the story…I'll just have to enhance it here and there but nothing major. In fact, I plan to downplay the whole thing in my fic. I know many are still very sensitive to the latest development, and I don't want to deter anyone from reading my fic just because of it. Think about it and let me know…I really could use the break from having to go around the spoiler…I'm actually afraid that it's affecting the way the story rolls along…
Muchos thanks!
(SOS Chapter 9 Post Remarks - 8/31/04)
Well, that's over!
I fear of receiving many a kitchen sink thrown my way because of the obvious pairing I dropped in the last chapter...I wonder if it'll hurt...
Aya and the censors...I think anyone would blush around Aya!
Anyway, I had a good time with the Hatori/Yuki moment after Aya's shop...Hatori teasing Yuki?! It can happen...very discreetly, of course!
Musical moments besides the obvious..."All I Wanna Do" by some group I don't know the name of. It was just fun for me!
Leave me your reviews, and please don't forget about letting me know what you think I should do with this spoiler...thanks!