Slave of Sensation

BY : kashudoreineko
Category: Fruits Basket > General
Dragon prints: 4832
Disclaimer: I do not own Fruits Basket, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Written in response to the Week 22 "Under the Same Roof" Makin' Lemonaide challenge. It's a vague representation of the theme. Sorry. But the overall story fits it so there! :P

DISC: I don't own Fruits Basket or its characters. I make no profit off this story. If anything, it's making me less productive at work and ruining my chances for a raise.

"I don't care what methods you use, Shigure. Just seduce her. I want her in your bed. I want her fully dependant upon pleasure - and who knows more about teaching a woman of the pleasures of the flesh than you? I'm not telling you to make her as depraved as you are, but I want her to be begging for satisfaction.

"Once you've accomplished this task, you will bring her to me. Then I will decide whether she will be invited to officially join this family, or sent back to her family as a woman betrayed by love. And Shigure, how well you do at making her yours will determine her fate. So you would be wise to snare her completely."

Akito's command echoed in his head for probably the 50th time since sitting down to dinner with his lovely young charge. The other two teens were conspicuously absent from the meal. But perhaps it was only so conspicuous since he had this task to attend to.

In an effort to keep his mind off deeper things, he began to ponder the boys' absence. Kyo was spending a pleasant evening with Kazuma under the guise of more training. The father-son bond those two shared was really special - and it was largely responsible for allowing the poor cat to even try to feel hope. It was so stupid that everyone in the family seemed to think traditional roles were more important than the people who filled them. But at least some of the younger family members were trying to break free.

Speaking of which, Yuki was out with his fellow class representative - Machi was her name, wasn't it? They were "taking care of some student council work" at a local restaurant. In his head, Shigure laughed. He wondered when the timid rat would finally admit that these were actually dates he was taking the young lady on. Everyone knew it. And the way he floated when he came home was truly delightful. Ah! Young love!

The only thing vaguely unpleasant about it was Tohru's initial reaction when Kyo had begun teasing Yuki about his "girlfriend". She'd put on her pleased-as-punch face and asked the boy if he was really dating Machi and went on about how wonderful it was, that she seemed like such a sweet girl. But the rest of the week, she'd seemed a touch depressed. Shigure was the only one who noticed, though. He spent that week wondering if the lovely young woman who had saved so many of the jyuunishi from themselves had actually fallen for the rat.

But as it turned out, she had actually been worried that Machi might think that Tohru's living in the same house with Yuki was inappropriate - that she might dislike Tohru, or be mad at Yuki, just because of it. One night, Yuki brought Machi over to study with them, and when Tohru saw that Machi already knew about their living arrangements and didn't have a problem with it - actually, she seemed to enjoy being able to have another girl to talk to - Tohru immediately returned to her normal, happy bubbly self.

It had pleased him immensely to see. And contrary to what some might say, it wasn't because that meant he still had a chance with her. He was in love with Akito, after all. He just wanted the girl to be happy. She deserved that.

Which brought him back to his current dilemma. The task set on him. It was almost laughable. All the time Tohru had spent here he'd been accused of wanting to take advantage of her. And although there was a truth there - he had wanted to use her in breaking the curse after all - he truly hadn't given the idea of seducing her even a second thought. Well... Maybe no more than a third thought. At most a fourth.

How could anyone not be interested in a girl like her? All she cared about was ensuring the happiness of those around her. She took on such pain to do so. This would make her the most giving lover. He could imagine that she'd do anything to please the one she loved.

Oh, THAT could take his mind down treacherous avenues!

But there was a hitch here. Something most people wouldn't catch. Because she was selfless, she'd be great as a lover, but this would not fulfill the overall goal. The final goal, per Akito, was to have her begging for satisfaction.

He would have to teach her how to want for herself.

Was that even possible?

It would be all too easy to get the girl into his bed. Too too easy. Simple as pie to coax her into pleasing him in any way possible. But to get her to initiate, to want... He would have to take her to such realms of pleasure that she would be ruined for anyone else.

Not that he didn't think he was up to that.

But WAS he *really* up to this?

How to even begin? There were so many ways... Akito did say whatever means necessary...

"Shigure?" Tohru's sweet voice cut through his ruminations, and he snapped back to attention.

"I'm sorry, my lovely flower, I was lost in thought."

She nodded at him. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have disrupted you then. It's just..." She paused and looked down at her dish. "It's just that you looked so sad. I wondered if something was wrong."

He put on his happy-go-lucky face. "No, no. It's nothing. I was just trying to work through a knot in my latest project. That's all."

"Oh. Ok." She looked down at her meal as if she were a little disappointed. Then she looked up at him and peered into his face. "You know, Shigure, I've been thinking. Each Sohma who carries part of the curse - well, they've really been through a lot. No matter how happy they seem when you first meet them, there's a part of them that aches inside. And... I like to think that by sharing that pain with someone else, you can help it to hurt a little less.

"Maybe I'm being presumptuous. Maybe not everyone in the family has that. I don't know. It just seems to me like everyone I've met has had something that bothered them, but once they started talking about it, they've been able to find ways to make it better. Like Yuki. He's learning to trust himself and now he's even dating Machi - although he still doesn't call it that, which I think is kind of funny. And... well, I don't know. I guess I've been able to talk to just about everyone a little. Even Akito. But...

"But I still kind of feel like I don't know anything about you Shigure. Not that you're trying to keep anything from anyone or anything. I'm not trying to imply that you don't want anyone to see what you're really feeling or anything. It's just that I'm so grateful that you gave me the chance to live here with you all - I love you all so much I can't imagine my life without you anymore. And... Well, if you ever have something you want to talk about with anyone ever, I just want you to know that you can always talk to me.

"I know I'm not very smart, but I do listen real well. So... Yeah. I guess that's what I wanted to say."

He had paused with his chopsticks halfway to his mouth when she went into full ramble mode. She truly was amazing. If you didn't pay attention to what she was saying, you'd miss how brilliant she was at deducing people, their motivations, and what they really needed. No matter who she was talking to, she always was able to put her finger right on whatever was the core of the emotion. And truly, it did make sense that she was able to see his pain when no one else did. He was the same as all the rest of the jyuunishi - no matter how well he hid it from everyone else. She could see it because she spent all of her time ignoring her own pain and acting happy so that those around her could be.

He set his sticks down without eating the bit of tempura he'd picked up. "Hm. I guess it takes one to know one, doesn't it?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Well, you WERE born in the year of the dog, weren't you?"

Sensing that he was about to finally reveal something of importance, she simply nodded.

He kept his voice happy and light. "So you've figured out that I must have a dark and tortured past as well as everyone else, huh?" She didn't respond, merely sat waiting for him to decide whether or not to continue. "And you're hoping to help me feel better so that I can stop just pretending to be happy." He picked up his bite of food and chewed on it.

'Well, Akito did say any means necessary... This could be interesting. Let's just see what happens.'

"Unfortunately, Tohru, you are the most perceptive young woman I have ever met." She blushed and tried to wave it off as a compliment, but he didn't let her. "I didn't mean it as a compliment. Just a statement of fact. And it is true that I have a lot in my past that does cause me pain. But most of it was brought on myself. The curse is... rather oddly related to the pain, and I guess one could say that it's directly related, but... I'm just not like everyone else." He continued to eat and act as if he weren't greatly affected by anything.

Tohru looked up at him with great concern. Her eyes round with curiousity.

"Tell me, Tohru-kun. Have you ever been in love?"

She blushed and looked away. "I don't think so."

His eyebrows raised as he questioned, "You don't *think* so?"

Her blush deepened. "Well, Mom always said that either you were in love or you weren't, and if you were you'd know it. And since I'm not sure, I guess I'd say no... I think."

He chuckled. "Yes. That is the way of it sometimes isn't it?"

He took a sip of sake and looked her straight in the eye. "You're very good at keeping secrets, Tohru. I can't think of anyone I would trust more than you to hold onto a secret, actually. So I'll tell you the part of my story that I can bear to tell, if you promise to keep this strictly between you and me."

His demeanor had completely changed from the persona he normally wore. Mr. Happy-go-lucky was replaced by Mr. Sad-and-tired. And serious. "I promise I will never tell anyone else, Shigure."

He nodded. "I'm in love, Tohru. I have been for so long now that I can't remember a time when I was not in love with her."

Rapt, Tohru's eyes were trained on him, and she nodded encouragement.

"But the curse doesn't seem to like love very much. I swore... I swore so many years ago that I can't even count them all now that I would do anything in my power to help her - to save her. And I thought that she loved me. I still do. Sometimes.

"What exactly is love, though? I write about it all the time. It's the core of everything I write. Everything. Because I just want to figure it all out.

"Most people think that if you love someone you'd do anything for them. But sometimes, you find yourself doing exactly what the person you love wants you to *not* do. Sometimes you can't do what they want because you truly believe it will hurt them more in the long run. Or because you just don't want to do it. And if that's the case, is it really love? Isn't love supposed to be self-sacrificing? Because if it is, then I don't know that I'm truly capable of love. And I don't think she is either.

"What god would sacrifice herself for love?"

The honey-haired girl kept her eyes on him as she spoke, "Akito." It wasn't a question, just a confirmation.

"Perceptive. Like I said." He picked up his chopsticks again and began to eat in between speaking. "So. I wouldn't go by what your mom said about love. I know she's usually right, but maybe she just didn't have to deal with things as confusing as we Sohmas." He smiled and said,"Not that I'm implying that you're in love with a Sohma..." and waited for her blush, which arrived right on schedule.

"Tohru, I'm convinced that I love her. There are those who doubt it. She is chief among them. But..." He set his chopsticks down and smacked the table with his palm, startling Tohru into jumping. "She's a woman first, not a god. They all tell her that it's the other way around. That she can't be a woman. That she's not allowed to fall in love. But she did, dammit! She did. She does love me." His voice had grown quiet, and he stared down at the table, unmoving.

"Oh, Shigure." Tohru's voice was laden with sorrow and sympathy.

Quietly, "I do as she commands when she commands. But usually with me she asks. She doesn't do that for anyone else." Suddenly, he looked up at the girl, and his eyes were haunted with pain. "Tohru, tell me. When your mother knew that your father was going to die, how did she deal with it? How could she stand by and just watch?"

"I... don't know. I'm sorry, Shigure. All I remember is that she didn't sleep very much. And I was left at my Grandfather's a lot, so I really don't know."

"I'll never give up hope, Tohru. I'm running out of time, but until that time comes... I'll keep searching."

She nodded. Then paused. "Shigure. Why do you live here instead of at the main house - near her? I mean, Mom needed to be with Dad every chance she could."

He frowned. Then shrugged. "In for a penny...

"She ordered me out. We... do not have the most traditionally romantic history. We're cursed. We don't really know how to deal with love. Or other people. We've hurt each other more than any one else, I think, except ourselves."

He sighed. "You know that she dresses as a man because she is the head of the household, supposed to be a god, and all that. This was her mother's idea. Her mother is... not quite right in the head. The two of them don't get along. And her mother has always had ideas about how a god is supposed to behave. Gods aren't female, they're male. Gods can't indulge in things like emotion. Gods must have unwavering loyalty from their subjects. Blah blah blah." He'd gotten dramatic at telling it. The character he played so often had become a part of him, and he found that it just pulled him along sometimes without willing it.

Tohru giggled softly at his dramatic sarcasm. All those rules really were ridiculous.

"Akito... decided that it was beneath her to be with me. And to declare it she..." he was surprised at the venom that issued forth with the following words, "She decided to choose another to 'service' her. HER words." He gritted his teeth as he spit forth, "So I slept with her mother for spite."

Tohru clapped both hands over her mouth in horror.

He lashed out at her. "So is this SHARING really supposed to help me feel better?" His words were intended to sting, but failed because of the target being who she was.

"Oh, Shigure! You must have hurt so badly!" She took his hand in both of her own and squeezed it. Tears were escaping her eyes. "And Akito! Oh, I'm so sorry!" This was even more tragic than Hatori and Kana. And no wonder Akito reacted as she did to them. Oh, it explained so much! Poor Akito! Poor Shigure!

She couldn't take it any more and she threw herself at him, hugging him fiercely. A loud poof was almost instantaneous, and she kept her face buried in his fur, hugging him. "Oh, Shigure. I'm so sorry," she repeated as she held him.

He licked her face and said, "How can you do that, Tohru?"

She pulled back, streaks from the tears still on her cheeks. "Wh- How can I do what?"

"How can you feel sorry for me when I did something so despicable?" 'When I'm about to do something even more deplorable?'

She cocked her head at him and said, "But you're already mad enough at yourself. And people often do things that they don't really mean when they're hurt. Once..." she whispered the next, "once I told my mom I hated her because she made me do something I didn't want to. She got really quiet, and left the room. And I knew I didn't mean it, and I felt so bad I wanted to die. I ran to her room crying and told her I was sorry, that I didn't mean it, that I loved her, and she hugged me and kissed me and told me she loved me, too. I told her I was just mad, but I didn't mean it. And she told me that when people are hurt, they can say or do things they don't really mean. That's why she left the room - because she was hurt by what I said and she didn't want to risk saying something back. She said you always have to be most careful when you're hurting that you choose your words and actions carefully because once you say something, once you do something, you can't always take it back."

She'd pulled away from him a bit, and was hugging her own knees.

His voice carried his pain, "So what do you do when you hurt ALL the time?"

She was petting his doggy head, but not looking at him. Her voice was more grown up than he'd ever heard it. "That's when you have to be the most careful of all - to look at all sides of things before you act. And to try your best to be kind whenever you can."

"Ah. So that's it. I always suspected."

She turned to look at him, startled, and a little scared by what she'd just revealed.

"It's okay, Tohru. It really does take one soul in pain to recognize another." He poofed back, but she was still so startled that she held his eyes and didn't look away. "And as I recall, someone wise once told me that sharing your story can help ease your pain." His hand was cupping her chin tenderly.

She blushed and looked aside. He couldn't help himself. He leaned in toward her. Sensing his presence, she looked back at him, saw his movement, and her heart flipped in her chest. Without realizing it, she leaned in toward him and he captured her lips.

Her eyes fluttered closed. Soft and warm. His lips were soft and warm. She placed her hands on his shoulders to remind herself to keep her distance - or to keep herself from continuing in, she wasn't sure. Was this right? Should she be letting him kiss her? Should she be kissing him back? But it felt... She opened her mouth to moan and his tongue darted in to taste her. There was a strange tingle that was starting to develop very far down in her abdomen. She'd never felt anything like it.

But he loved Akito and she loved- OH! Did she love him? Why did kissing Shigure make her think about... him? Unless...There was a feeling that this might not be right. She was getting in the way of Shigure & Akito's relationship - that was certain. And if she did keep kissing him, if she ever did decide she was in love, wouldn't he not like her for kissing someone else?

But her heart... Shigure...

She pushed away from him gently. With regret in her voice, she stated, "You love Akito."

He nodded, and then took the opportunity of her being turned away to get dressed. "Tohru," he gently questioned, "You never did say who it was that you might be in love with."

She shook her head and smiled. "Well, I didn't know before if I was in love... And now I... REALLY don't know!"

He chuckled. "Damn! I was hoping it was me."

She looked up at him, obviously a little upset. "You're joking with me. You love Akito."

"Sometimes, Tohru, people have been known to find room in their hearts to love two people." He found himself surprised by the sincerity in his voice. He wasn't sure if he meant it or had just gotten really excellent at his acting prowess. He hoped it was the latter, because the former might be frightening. He was surprised at how scary that thought really was.

She was startled by the honesty in his voice. And by the fact that she felt his words echo in her heart as if they must be true. It was possible to love more than one person. But would both people accept that? Oh, that made things more difficult. More confusing. As if they weren't confusing enough.

When was the last time he'd kissed someone like that? He silently cursed Akito for setting him to this task. She would find a way to make this the most painful experience of his life. Of that, he was certain. Only Akito could twist his heart like this. Glancing at Tohru, he felt another wave of guilt. When was the last time he'd felt guilty about anything? Wasn't his motto that you took what you wanted and paid the price later if necessary? But Tohru...

Tohru's cheeks were pleasantly flushed, still, and he could almost read her thoughts as they occurred. She believed him. Of course she should, he was telling the truth. I mean, he was practiced at *appearing* to tell the truth by using just enough of it. That's what it was.

She completely trusted him. But she wasn't certain where he was leading her. She WAS certain he was leading her someplace - someplace that he needed her to be. Maybe even wanted her to be. But there was something he was holding back. She didn't want to ask - everyone had some secrets they kept to themselves - but he'd kissed her. Her first kiss.

"Shigure-san, forgive me for asking, but... when you speak of having room in one's heart for two, were you... referring to you, or me? ...or Akito?"

Anyone who thought this girl was dumb did not pay attention to the right things. Flippantly, he responded, "Can't I mean all of us?"

Her look of patience - oh, she could sit and wait more patiently than anyone - spoke volumes: I asked you first. He barked a laugh. "Hatori was right. You should have run from us when you had the chance." She cocked her head and he continued waving his hand airily, "You're far too good for any of us."

"Now you're making fun of me." Her frown made her seem so much more adult than he'd ever seen her.

Quickly his eyes changed from merry to serious. "No. I wouldn't do that." He leaned back, propping himself up with his hands behind him. "Not when we're alone like this and I don't have an audience, anyway."

She smiled at him indulgently, softly. He really did know how to lighten the mood. "I don't think I'm too good for anyone. I'm just thankful that I've been so blessed - to have the opportunity to get to know each one of you. You all are really so much more wonderful than you seem to know.

"Sometimes I think I'm going to wake up some morning and it's all going to be just a dream. I'll still be living in a tent - or with my grandfather. I'll never have had Ayame dress me up, or Kisa help me cook, or Yuki tutor me and take me to his secret base, or Hatori tend to my injuries. Or Kyou talk with me on the roof and smile. Or Shigure give me my first kiss..." She blushed and smiled at him, touching her lips.

'So. It IS Kyou. Well, that's interesting.' The writer could not fail to notice the order she'd listed them all in. Nor notice that he got last billing. But he was, of course, present at the time.

She was always so honest. The only time she ever ventured into deception was when it came to her own feelings - and how they might impact others. But she was a horrible liar if asked a question straight out. It was a noble trait, and he felt compelled to, for once, use the whole truth to his advantage instead of just a part.

"Tohru, how much do you... What are you willing to risk to become a member of this family permanently?"

Blinking eyes, her mouth in a little "O", she hesitated then asked, "Permanently?" A far-away, dreamy look overcame her and as he continued to watch, he could imagine her conscience had appeared with a large stick which it used to beat the dream out of her as she settled her face into calm. "I'm not quite sure I understand..."

He smirked. "Were you thinking I was going to ask you to marry me?"

Her mouth dropped open and her eyes widened in shock. She hadn't even THOUGHT of anything like that! "Shigure!" She playfully swatted at him - an almost Kagura-like gesture, only not painful, and he laughed.

"You, Tohru, are without a doubt, the sweetest, kindest, most genuine and honest person I've ever met." She blushed and made to interrupt, so he quickly continued. "No. Let me finish. When I'm done, you will probably dislike me very much. I know I probably would if I were you. But my hope is that because of your kind heart, you'll understand that I am telling you the whole, rotten truth - in respect for how truthful you always are to everyone. I don't like to be redundant, but you really ARE too good for any of us.

"Akito has charged me with a task. I'd like to say that I find the task completely distasteful, but that would not be true, and I'm being unlike myself and speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth tonight.

"A part of me hates this task for what it will do to Kyou, and to you." He watched her try to not stiffen when he said Kyou's name. "And a part of me hates this task because it feels like a betrayal to Akito - even though she ordered it. But more of me... More of me than I like to admit is incredibly excited."

Looking away from her, he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. "I know I normally don't smoke in the house, but forgive me this once." He took a long drag and then continued.

"I believe that Akito has given me this task because she thinks it will hurt Yuki - but I don't think it will. And because it will irritate Kyou - but I know that it will pain him dearly while giving him a sense of bitter relief. And she believes it will break you - change you from who you are into someone else. But most importantly, it's a slap in my face. A way to try to prove once and for all that I'm nothing more than... just one of her jyuunishi.

"Everyone loses if I do as she has commanded.

"But. She's *commanded* it.

"So. If I have to at least try, then I'll at least be honorable and let you - who is innocent and deserves to be hurt least of any of us - know exactly what's going on. And you..." He laughed bitterly and took another hit from his cancer stick before continuing, "You'll probably say that you'd rather take the hard way out and not let me succeed at the task, so that fewer people will be hurt." He rubbed his head. "Or maybe you'll know that we'll hurt more if we lost you than if you let me succeed. I honestly don't even know.

"Akito is truly inspired by the Devil to come up with this." He hid his eyes with his free hand and breathed deeply.

"Shigure, what is your task?" Her voice was quiet, but unafraid.

He crossed his arms tightly over his chest - protectively, and his eyes rolled up toward heaven as if he were asking to be spared. "She wants me to sleep with you."

Silence in the room.


Her single syllable got him talking again, and he stood and began to pace as he did. "No. That's not it. See sleeping with you - that would be simple compared to this. She wants me to... teach you. Teach you how to... crave pleasure. She doesn't understand that there are good people in this world who like to be kind to others - why should she understand it? She's been surrounded her whole life by people like me! So she wants to make you as broken and needy as the rest of us. She won't consider the task complete until you know what physical pleasure is and... WANT it."

"Oh." Her heartbeat had sped up. She felt like she was running. He was supposed to... She would need to...

"And if I don't succeed, she claims she'll have enough of your memory erased that you won't be able to live with us anymore, but you'll remember sleeping with me, and being dumped afterward. If I do succeed, she says that she will allow you to permanently become a part of the family. But that could mean she forces you to marry me. Or that she forces you to marry someone else. I don't even know." His voice had become high and it almost seemed like he was wailing. Except he was Shigure. He didn't behave like that. He didn't care about anyone but himself.

He looked at her sitting there, and he knew that was a lie. Room for two. How had he not noticed? Had Akito noticed? Was this the reason for her cruelty? Damn her to hell!

'Sleep with... Have sex. Akito wants me to have sex. Why? This doesn't make any sense.' She thought over what Shigure had said. It would hurt Yuki. Pondering this, she could only conclude that Akito thought that Yuki was... in love with her? That was kind of funny, actually.

And Kyou irritated - she must think that Kyou saw her as a kid sister or something. Was that how he saw her? Only as a sister? Then why did Shigure - who always knew more about everyone else than anyone else - say it would hurt him deeply? And also make him feel better? She felt like her heart was a paper towel being wrung out to dry from these thoughts. Kyou.

Of course, it would hurt Shigure. Akito was making him reenact his biggest mistake. It was so incredibly tragic.

But hurt her? If she learned how to want sex, Shigure had said, then she'd somehow get to be part of the Sohma family. And if not, then she'd have to leave them. She didn't want to leave them!

If Shigure made love to her... her heartbeat quickened. But then Kyou! She had no reason to think Kyou wanted her. So why did her heart still yearn? And Shigure. His kiss. She could feel his pain calling to her.

"I'm sorry, Tohru. But I've always been the most selfish bastard I've ever met. So I have to tell you that the idea of having you in my bed is the most delightful thought I've had in a while - even with all the crap that comes with it."

Her brow was furrowed in thought. "Shigure. If I were to... do this. Try to learn what Akito wants me to. I... No one else would want... I mean..." She was thinking hard. Which was the right choice? Was this the end of her family? "Shigure, I need you to answer my question."

She didn't need to explain which one. His smile was so sad. So... Tragic. "Do you think I've ever told anyone else the whole truth about anything ever? Don't you know the bastard I truly am?" He closed his eyes, still smiling as if it were the only thing keeping him from falling apart. He should have known that if he let loose with one emotion, they'd all start to rear their ugly heads. "Yes, Tohru. Apparently, I do have room in my heart for two. Who'd have guessed?"

Tears began to spill down her cheeks. "Me, too, Shigure."

She stood and began gathering dishes. "Let me just clean up, and then... the boys won't be back for a few more hours, so we could probably start with your task." She bit her lower lip shyly, and when he opened his eyes to stare at her in disbelief, the sight of her with wet eyes and chewing on her soft - so soft - lip stabbed him through the heart. She would do it. Of course she would. She'd even try to learn this. Oh, dear, Sweet Tohru.

"I promise you, I'll do everything I can to protect you." She smiled at him as if that were of no consequence. 'Sweet Tohru.'


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