A Gift To Remember

BY : kashudoreineko
Category: Fruits Basket > General
Dragon prints: 1582
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.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Fruits Basket or its characters. They belong to Natsuki Takaya-san. I make no profit off the writing of this story – other than being able to expend some creative energy and allow myself to sleep off this heinous cold.

WARNING: I have a heinous cold. I don’t trust what’s going to come out of my fingertips when writing with a cold. The last time I was this sick and wrote, I produced my bad medicine story that freaked so many people out. You have been warned.

CHALLENGE FIC: This story was written for the week 71 of the Makin’ Lemonaide group, where I volunteered to write for the fandoms the group members voted for. Hence, this Furuba fic. However, I’ve also managed to fit in a few of the other challenges. Week 57: Pick two and write for both – “Age isn’t everything! Write a pairing where the participants are at least 6 years apart.” And “First Kiss! Describe that initial moment of attraction and a couple’s first kiss. Need not lead to a lemon, but you know we’ll love it.” And Week 59 “Begin your story with this phrase ‘What do you mean it won’t fit?!’” and Week 60 “Let it rip! Shirts, shorts, underwear! Tear someone’s clothes off and give them a night to remember. A lil dark and violent ok, but no rape, please.”


A GIFT TO REMEMBER

“What do you mean it won’t fit?!”

“Are you even stupider than you look, tangerine-head? I mean exactly what I said. It. Won’t. Fit.”

“Don’t call me stupid, you damn yankee!”

“Hey, a rose by any other name…”

The two were now fully standing, both with their arms thrust down, ending in tight fists. Putting an end to the conversation, the dark haired girl with a smile of sunshine pushed an empty box between the two of them.

“Maybe this box will work better?” Her voice was sweet, the undertones compelling them to please stop fighting and just find a solution. “Then, we should be able to fit all our gifts into the box. And I’ll use the smaller one for the food. Okay?”

Arisa and Kyo glared at each other one more time for good measure then looked at Tohru and shrugged. “Thanks for the box, Tohru,” Uo said softly and then began moving the gifts from the first box to the new, larger one. After all the items that had been in the first box were in the new one, she lifted up Kyo’s gift and placed it in. It fit perfectly, with plenty of room to spare.

Uo handed the now empty smaller box to Tohru, who then stood to leave the dining room. “Kyo-kun, since you helped make so much of the food, would you like to help me pack it up?”

The redhead grunted his assent, following her into the kitchen.

Turning to the other girl in the room, Uo asked, “Who’da thought Kyo-Kyo would have such a soft spot for his old man. Planning a birthday party and getting us all together.” She continued packing the remaining gifts. “Everything fits, there’s even room for your gift, Hana.” She held out a hand, expecting the gothic girl to produce her own present.

“No,” her monotone voice brooked no argument. “I will be giving my gift to Kazuma later. Not at the party.”

“Oh?” She cast a suspicious glance and a sly grin at her goth friend. “So… What did you get the old man, anyway? Or should I make a guess?”

A sing-song voice called from the other room, saving the shorter girl from innuendo, “Hatori’s here! Everyone to the car!”

Hana smiled softly as she stood, then held the door for those carrying boxes for the event.

XX

When they got to the dojo, it looked almost like a clown car. The front door opened and out came Hiro and Kisa, followed by Ayame and Shigure on whose laps they sat. In the back, Momiji sat on Haru’s lap next to Hana on Tohru’s lap. Finally, Kyo sat on Arisa’s lap. The entire drive had been laced with teasing about the seating arrangement, but Arisa and Hana were adamant that none of the girls would be sitting on any of the boys’ laps, and since there was an odd number of boys and girls, a grudging agreement was made. Besides, with Kyo on Arisa’s lap, it was assured he’d be sufficiently uncomfortable that an accident which might result in transformation was highly unlikely.

Kyo grumbled as he rapidly exited the car, followed by the laughing yankee voice, calling, “Aw, you didn’t have to get off so soon. Your butt is surprisingly soft.”

“Unlike his head,” Shigure commented jovially.

Kyo ignored the comment and began the action of moving boxes from the trunk into the dojo. They only had half an hour to set everything up before the man who was so much more than a father would arrive. He might never be worthy enough to call the man, “Father,” but that didn’t mean he couldn’t help make this a birthday the man would never forget.

In fact, the jyuunishi had all pretty much seconded the sentiment – if for different reasons. Most of them had been trained by Kazuma sensei, and all of them were excited for an opportunity to show the man honor. The small birthday party Kyo had initially intended had turned into a veritable extravaganza, with everyone pitching in. Hatsuharu and Momiji headed up the music for the event. Tohru and Kyo were in charge of food. Ayame created decorations for the dojo with the questionable “assistance” of Shigure.

Ritsu arrived separately, bringing Kureno, Yuki and Machi. Rin and Kagura would arrive later – they’d set everything up by taking Kazuma out to a birthday movie – the latest Jet Li film.

Everyone quickly began grabbing boxes from the trunk and heading in to set up.

Hana delayed her entrance, taking a moment to fully absorb the atmosphere of the mountains, the beauty of the building, the color of the sky, the clouds overhead. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. A slight smile could be seen on her face, hopeful yet with a slight trace of anxiety. Opening her eyes, she nodded to herself and then entered to offer whatever assistance she could toward the upcoming festivities.

XX

It was after midnight. No longer the man’s birthday officially. But the celebration had gone on and on. So she was forced to wait. Patience was something she possessed in abundance, but this waiting was more difficult to bear.

The music had been very pleasant. The food delicious – like everything Tohru prepared. And the vibrations in the room were such a pleasant mix. Such a wonderful confluence of desire and fear, jealousy and envy, hope, lust, love, friendship. Truly a delightful mix. Any other time, she could have sat back and just floated in the wonderful waves.

But tonight, her own thoughts and feelings seemed to amplify those around her.

Shigure had spiked the punch.

It was a good thing. It took the edge off. And brought down inhibitions of all involved. Soon, quiet pairings and games were taking place. And by the time they’d realized how much alcohol they’d all consumed, it was too late to really do anything – they’d all be spending the night at the dojo.

It was a Saturday night, though, so no one seemed to mind. Rin and Haru, Yuki and Machi, Kureno and Uo, and Kyo and Tohru were having quiet conversations alone in different parts of the room. Hatori, Shigure and Ayame were chatting about old times. Ritsu, Kagure, Kunimitsu and Momiji were playing a quick card game. And Kisa and Hiro had fallen asleep together on the sofa.

It was perfect. The perfect opportunity. Kazuma was smiling down on the two youngest family members and wondering whether he should bring them a blanket to cover them where they lay, or to carry them up to a bed.

“I will carry Kisa for you,” she offered quietly.

Surprised, he nodded without realizing it, and she reached down and picked up the cute tigress in response. Once in her arms, Kisa cuddled up against her, and Hana couldn’t help but give a small smile. Kazuma picked up Hiro and with a nod of his head indicated that he should follow her.

Her thoughts flashed through the events of the night. This night was going to be something she never forgot. From the moment he walked through the door and they all yelled, “Surprise!” she could not take her eyes off of him. The emotions on his face were cautious. He was kind, but he was tempered. He opened each present with delight, thanking the giver kindly. But he kept much of his heart hidden. Only somehow she could see it all. He was… beautiful.

When he’d finished with the presents, there had been thanks given to everyone – except Hana. She was the only one who had not provided a gift for him to open. He’d just smiled at her at the end, and she’d looked at him intensely, hoping that he understood, while also hoping that he didn’t. “Soon,” was the thought repeating in her head.

X

They hadn’t really surprised him. He knew them too well. Certainly it was true that Rin and Kagura had brought him to a movie each year on his birthday for the past five years. But this time Kagura was a little too excited, and Rin a little too nonchalant. And when they’d picked him up, Kunimitsu had been a little too casual in his assurance that he’d take care of the dojo for the night.

So when he’d come through the door after the girls, listening to them argue about the quality of the movie – Rin was offended by the fact that they used wires to exaggerate the effects of the karate while Kagura was enamored of the beauty of Jet Li’s form – and everyone had yelled, “Surprise!” it wasn’t their presence that had made him catch his breath.

It was her.

He was beginning to believe there was something wrong with him. He had never been so affected by a woman before. Oh, sure, he’d had crushes in his youth. But this young slip of a girl took his breath every time he saw her. Every time. He was turning into a sick old pervert to look at someone less than half his age and feel his heart skip a beat at what he saw in her dark eyes.

Thank the gods for his training, because pure strength of will allowed him to react normally as her eyes burned into his own. He greeted all his guests kindly, smiling and joking with his son.

That was another help against the dark temptress. His son, a source of sorrow that the boy still faced such a dark future, was also a source of joy in that he finally, occasionally would slip and call him father. Like when he was drunk. Like he was now, thanks to Shigure’s punch. Also of interest was the blossoming relationship between his son and the Sohma’s brightest hope, Tohru Honda. On a night like tonight, where inhibitions had been chemically lowered, he could see exactly how highly she held his son in regard. She was very close to falling in love with him. And a kinder soul he could not find to match his son’s fiery temper.

It gave him hope, too.

With this thought in his heart, he turned to see the dark beauty smiling at him over her cup of punch. And again, he felt himself react.

Mentally, he smacked himself across the face. This would never do. She was far too young, and far too innocent – no matter what tale of maturity those dark eyes held – for one such as him.

With an effort, he turned and joined Shigure, Ayame and Hatori in their discussion, his back an attempt to put a wall between the two of them. Still, he could feel her eyes. They set a tingling in his spine that kept him highly on edge.

Later, they had him open gifts. There had been none from her. He didn’t know if he should be surprised or disappointed. Or a bit of each. At the end, when they were all opened, he couldn’t help but turn to look at her and smile. No gift was probably for the best. But the look she gave him was inscrutable. In his head, he could swear she had promised something before she turned away from him to talk to her two friends.

She turned away from him. It was wrong that this small thing felt so huge and dark. He smiled at Yuki who was saying something about good health and fortune and thanked him for his kind wishes. He needed some time alone to meditate.

Throughout the evening, he didn’t have to see her to know where she was in the room. Like a compass to the north pole, he could have closed his eyes and pointed to her with deadly accuracy. He carefully kept his distance, so as to not disgrace himself.

That is, until he noticed the two youths sleeping on the sofa. So young to be in love already, but it was another blessing that gave him hope for the future. The fact that Akito was relenting enough to allow them this was hope as well. So much hope in the younger generation of Sohmas – a hope previously too tremendous to be allowed room to grow. He smiled down at the two and wondered how likely they would be to wake if he tried to carry them up to a bed. Young love.

The distraction of the tiger and the lamb – and this symbolism was not lost on him – was sufficient for him to be startled by her announcement into jerking his head in a nod. Before he had realized what he had agreed to, she had picked up Kisa. The young girl was held in her arms so naturally – like a mother with her own child. She was beautiful.

And then, he was picking up Hiro and climbing the stairs toward a guest room. Once they were tucked into the bed, and he had closed the door behind him allowing the two to sleep in peace, he realized his mistake.

The girl had taken his hand. She was leading him down the hall, down toward his own room. She had never been here before, but she unerringly lead past the doors of the other guest rooms to his own room and entered it unhesitatingly.

He was about to protest. A young girl should not be entering his bedroom with him. It was unseemly. But she turned to him and her eyes were so deep that he could not interrupt as she stated, “It is late – I have missed your birthday. But still, I would very much like to give you a belated birthday gift.”

How did the door end up closed behind him? She reached up to him – she was so petite, so fragile – and pulled him down toward her. And then her lips were on his.

How had that happened? He would have to have bent down. So he must have bent toward her.

Sweet. Her lips were so sweet – he’d never tasted anything like it. And soft. All of her was soft. He pulled back, licking his lips, still tasting her there, and saw her eyes gazing up at him.

“Happy birthday, Kazuma,” she said. A rare smile, unshadowed and pure lit her face so that it glowed.

“Hanajima-” he started, but she placed a finger on his lips.

Her finger tasted sweet, too. It was a struggle to not open his lips and suck it in.

“Please call me Saki.”

Her eyes on his, and she could read all his objections. His eyes on hers, and he could see all the counter arguments.

You’re too young – love knows no age.
You don’t know me well enough to love me – and yet I do.
How do you know I won’t hurt you – because I know your soul as you know mine.
Why would you want someone old and used up like me – why would you want someone as dark and jaded as me?
What is it you want from me – everything you’re willing to give, and nothing you aren’t.

He could hear her heart beating loudly. And recognized the depth of pain in her eyes. She was older than her age.

Still, he also saw her nervousness. And he knew. “Was that your first kiss?”

She broke eye contact as she nodded, suddenly fearful that he would reject her gift. “Yes,” she murmured softly.

His hand was lifting her chin so that she’d look at him. “You gave me your first kiss as my birthday present?” Her eyes met his as she slowly nodded. His eyes held so much pain, and so much hope. Hers held so much hope and so much pain.

And then his lips were on hers again, and thought was gone. Lips opened to allow tongues the freedom to explore. Her arms wrapped around his neck as he lifted her. He fell back against the door as she moaned into his mouth. Then his lips were moving down her neck and she sighed his name, “Kazuma.”

As he pulled back, she began nibbling on his neck, his ear. “Saki. Oh, god, Saki, I…”

Gently he pulled her off of him and whispered, “Saki. We shouldn’t…”

His vibes at this moment were so easy to read. “I want to. I want you.”

“It’s too soon.” Too soon after her first kiss. His heart would never heal if she regretted this later and he’d taken advantage of her.

Smiling with certainty, her hands grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled. The sound of tearing as buttons popped and tinged across the room, and she was there in just her bra and skirt. She let the remains of her shirt slide off her shoulders.

“Life is uncertain and you never know what tomorrow will bring.” Her voice was shaking, even though she knew with complete certainty that this was right. Her thumbs pushed her skirt down and it quickly fell to the ground. She stood before him in a pink lace bra and panties, with a large pink ribbon around her middle. “And you have one more birthday present to unwrap, Kazuma.”

Only she ever – in his entire life – did this to him.

Kneeling before her, his lips began trailing kisses over her skin as her hands gently began untying the sash of his yukata, then tracing lines of electric fire along his skin.

And then, there was only the two of them.


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