Like a Switch

BY : Demonic_Host
Category: Fruits Basket > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 3566
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, own or make money from Fruits Basket or any of its associated characters.

Like a Switch
Chapter Twenty

You legitimately couldn't remember the last time that you had been in a yukata. It was a bit trickier than you expected even if it was close to being just one big robe. You had needed two soft obi to tie it closed on your body. One was used to size the garment to your height of course. It was meant for Shigure's height after all. The other one you tied around your natural waist to finish keeping it closed. You were just glad that Shigure wasn't a more slender man or the yukata may not have been all that decent. As it was, the yukata was your best option. It wasn't like you would fit into anything Tohru had to lend you. You'd only seem her for a few moments but you could tell that she was quite petite. Besides you'd have felt awkward and guilty about even needing to ask. Wearing something from Shigure seemed easier somehow. He'd been the one to offer after all.

Though from what you could tell when you reopened the door, it wasn't as good of an option as you first thought. Sure he still seemed relaxed and at ease as he showed you where their laundry was done. But from the way his eyes kept trailing you, you knew that he was heavily distracted. That made you feel a little uncomfortable; you definitely not meant to be that much trouble. Internally you couldn't help but blame Momiji. If it wasn't for him you'd have been fine. In fact you probably would been snuggled up at your house studying some more Kanji. Naw, who were you trying to fool? You'd probably would have been doing something unproductive like watching a movie or catching up on anime. Instead you were at Shigure's house feeling guilty for interrupting his day, confused about what happened, and irritated that you needed to do laundry. You had just washed all your clothes. Thankfully no one seemed to be doing their clothes so you could pop yours right in. Unfortunately that also made you feel guilty for using all that water and power for such a small load no matter what Shigure said.

Once the machine started up you turned around and stared at your gracious host. As he stayed quiet, eyes flickering to the washing machine as though they were drawn there, you crossed your arms over your chest. If you'd been able to stay home none of this would have happened. Your patience would have been completely in tact and you would be in such an awkward situation.

"Can you tell me now?"

"Hmm?" Shigure made a sound as he dragged his eyes to look at you instead of the washing machine. "Oh right. Right. You wanted to know about what happened with Momiji."

You nodded as you leaned back against the metal cube. It was pretty cool to the touch even through the folded layers of the yukata. Shigure seemed indecisive but then you watched as he gained a vailed composure. Good. At least you had the feeling that he was going to be serious about this. There was only so much that your parents and intuition could tell you about the curse and your role in it specifically.

"It was because of you," Shigure spoke out; you tried not to let that offend you seeing as he was just starting his explanation. "You know by now that Akito rules the family. He has been able to be the families patriarchs all his life because he is the god of the zodiac. He controls us because he rules over the organized, logical part of us. We have to listen to his commands. But you are different. You influence the chaotic, emotional side of the zodiac. Namely our animal forms. Akito can force us to shift whenever he wants but you, well I guess you can say that you take the beast in each of us."

You could tell that he'd been trying to break the tension that built up. But after what had happened you weren't in the mood. Besides that he wasn't telling you anything that you didn't already know.

"But the thing with that is, you can't control that can you? Any time you hug us do you choose to stop us for transforming? Or does it just happen?"

"It just happens."

"Exactly. Every affect you have on us is unconscious. The possessing zodiac sign in us responds to you. Everything you're feeling, we start to feel. Take earlier for example. I began to get sleepy the longer I was around you. I imagine that Momiji was affected by your dream more than you were given that he was being affected beyond his conscious control."

Wait...what?

"So if I get hurt?"

"We will start to feel like we were hurt as well," Shigure explained patiently.

"That doesn't explain why he looked like he was becoming a demon."

"You affect our zodiac signs," he reiterated. "And if it was stronger because of you, that might explain it."

That made no sense. How did you make the animal stronger just by having an amorous dream? ...that was taking the animal inside a bit too far.

"What if I was happy? Would you start dancing around and wag your nonexistent tail? Would you grow a tail?"

You couldn't get the image out of your head now. It took all your self control to stop from looking around him to see if you could make him grow a tail.

"No," Shigure laughed. "No, it's just what affects you physically. Pain, fatigue...arousal."

Well then. That made less sense now. How did a curse like this even make less sense than before? Apparently the confusion and irritation showed on your face because it amuses Shigure. You scowled as he laughed lightly.

"You can't stop us from transforming can you?"

"No. I have to hug you or at least have a lot of contact."

"Exactly. It's your body while it's Akira's will which affects us."

That still made no sense of how that meant Momiji because a horny bunny man. But at least the duality aspect made more sense. You controlled their primal animal side unconsciously through touch. Akito controlled their logical human side consciously through his will power. You knew that they had to listen to him when he gave them a serious order. You just hadn't known about your physical state affecting them. Or at least you couldn't remember knowing this...you might have before Akito forced Hatori to get rid of your memories.

"So what you're saying is that if I get hurt, and you're nearby, you'll feel it?"

Yes it might seem repetitive but it was a lot to absorb. What if you died? That was something physical right? Would they die too? What if you finally got a boyfriend and played around with him? Would they know? Would they feel it too?

"Yes."

"No matter where I was?"

Shigure looked a bit taken back. Did that question shock him?

"No I think we need to be close to you. But I'm not sure how close to be honest. I just know it's stronger the closer we are."

So did that mean that he and Yuki had also been affected by your dream?

"When I was asleep?"

Shigure smiled slightly. It felt suspicious. You narrowed your eyes on him. That smile didn't exactly answer your question. Though it did give you a sinking suspicion. You shifted from one foot to the other uneasily as Shigure folded his arms into his sleeves.

"Do you have those kind of dreams often?" Shigure asked.

The moment he did you felt your face heat up. No matter how you told yourself that you shouldn't get embarrassed it didn't seem to help. In fact, reminding yourself that it was natural only seemed to make it worse. Especially considering the way that he was looking at you. He looked amused on the outside but there was an intensity in his eyes that compelled you to ask what he was thinking. Though you managed to hold that in.

"As soon as my clothes are done I'll go home," you muttered, the embarrassment not letting up.

"Wait, why?"

He seemed thrown off. You avoided looking him directly in the eyes as you kept quiet. Shigure stepped in closer to you and his arms fell from his sleeves. You would have taken a step back but as you were against the washing machine there wasn't anywhere for you to go.

"Because of a dream?"

Any color that you lost in the silence quickly came back. Your cheeks and ears felt like they were on fire.

"That doesn't matter. I don't mind."

He was serious. You weren't sure if that made it better or worse knowing that. At the moment you couldn't help but feel like he was caging you in, even if he made no distinct move to do that. Your heart hammered in your chest as you tried to lower the flush on his skin. Why was it you could say and hear, even feel, cruder things at work and be unaffected? But suddenly you were completely overwhelmed? A small kind of understanding part of you realized that was probably when it started to feel personal. It was fine when it was work but you weren't at work. You weren't even getting ready for work.

"You're not the only one here Shigure. You might not mind but what about the other boys?"

"Oh I'm sure they don't mind," Shigure said in a distracted, flighty tone.

Your expression definitely made him rethink his statement. You even saw that he looked uncertain in his previous statement.

"You're sure we don't mind what?"

You looked from where Shigure stood near you. At the door to the laundry room stood Yuki. And slightly behind him looked like Momiji. It was just that he looked quite a bit more subdued and fearful than you had seen him. But Yuki seemed much like you were used to seeing him. He was a bit of a contradiction. He held himself confidentially which generally meant that someone was comfortable. However there was a stiffness to his upper shoulders and the way he placed his feet that let you know he was on edge. Like an animal that was still deciding between fight or flight.

"I'm sorry," you spoke out quietly despite his original question going unanswered.

Yuki blinked his wide gray eyes. "For what Miss Anita?"

"For today," you responded. "I didn't know that I would...I didn't know anything like that would happen. I didn't mean to force you to feel...anything."

"It wasn't your fault, you were asleep," Yuki said generously.

You still felt guilty over it. Probably about as guilty as Momiji looked.

"It was my fault!" Momiji spoke up from behind Yuki.

His tone just about broke your heart. It sounded like he was about to cry. It hardly mattered that he had been the one to attack you. The Momiji that had done that had been more animal than human - much less the anguished teenager he currently stood as.

"I didn't mean to! I don't remember doing it!"

You could practically see him shaking as his fists clenched as his sides. His head was lowered so you couldn't look into his eyes as he continued to stand behind Yuki.

"I thought I was asleep. But then I wasn't and you were so afraid. And Shigure was taking you away. But what I did...it was all my fault. Please don't leave."

Please don't leave me is the desperate cry you heard in his voice.

"It's not all you're fault Momiji. I didn't know I affected everyone that much. I knew about being able to hug you and stopping a transformation. I didn't know I could affect other things. It was my fault too. I could have called a taxi or something instead of falling asleep around everyone. If I had known that I affect you guys I wouldn't have stayed."

"Don't say that," Yuki seemed far to calm as far as you were concerned.

The moment he took a step forward to get into a more casual distance, Momiji rushed forward. You barely had time to brace yourself before he ran into you. You felt him hold you tightly as he whispered how sorry he was over and over again. You stood awkwardly for a moment, looking between Shigure and Yuki, before you gently put your hands on Momiji. One went to soothe down his messy blond hair and the other went to his shoulder.

That seemed to quiet him down. Especially as you shifted so that he wasn't just hugging you from the side. You still had the feeling that he wasn't going to let you go anytime soon. Even though if you really tried you probably could have pried his hands off. He wasn't especially strong or anything.

"Momiji, let go now you've had your turn. You can't hog her all of the time," Shigure spoke out in a jokingly chiding tone.

Momiji's response was to grip tight and mumble: "Why not?"

"What was that?" Shigure asked as he couldn't make out what the cursed blond child had said.

"I said: Yes I can. She's my Mama."

Well he certainly had no troubles letting go of his own emotional pain. Or at least pushing it down below his normal cheery exterior.

"But that's not fair!" Shigure playfully whined.

You felt Momiji turn his head as based on the sound, you would have to guess that he stuck his tongue out at Shigure. And judging by the affronted sound and look on his face, the kind that wasn't at all serious, you knew that Shigure didn't take it personally. Which was good. This was helping to break up the tension and ease your guilt.

"She's mine. She and Tohru can come be princess and I'll be the prince! We can move wherever they want to be and then I'll never have to share either of them!"

You shivered slightly when you remembered a part of the so called dream. The man in it had called you princess. Of course it hadn't sounded anything like Momiji jay had but...the reminder was a bit embarrassing.

"Momiji..." It almost sounded like Yuki was warning the younger teen.

Momiji stuck out his tongue again. This time in retaliation Shigure used his distracted state to pull you away. You felt him let go of the hand that he kept using to pull you away from Momiji by the moment he could. Instead his arms wrapped around you and he lowered his head so that his forehead touched your hair.

The hug wasn't bad but being pulled around so much didn't feel great. And considering that you just found out that your pain made them be in pain well that made you feel a bit bad. But from what you could see none of them responded. So maybe it had to pass a certain level or something. Or maybe aches didn't count. Maybe it had to be freshly made sensations.

Like how Shigure had shifted his hands down a bit lower. You felt the warmth on your lower back as he splashed out his hands against the borrowed Yukata. Suddenly you realized that he probably didn't care about being affected by your dream because he liked the feeling. You wondered vaguely how far he'd push his luck if the other two boys weren't in the room.

"Shigure..."

This time it wasn't Yuki that was doing the warning. You did it in a quiet enough whisper that you were sure only he heard. You didn't want to lead him on; you weren't sure if cranking up the level of intimacy was something you'd be comfortable with right now. You were still young and you didn't want to be in a relationship that was bound to get serious so quickly. Nor did you want to worry about only being chosen because your partner didn't have that many options. As cheesy as it was you wanted to be with someone you knew that would like you for you. Someone who wouldn't try to cage you or control you. But based on the way that Shigure hadn't wanted to share you with Momiji, even if it was half jokingly, you were pretty sure he'd be the possessive kind.

"You're right. Now's not the time. We'll wait till the kids go to bed," Shigure commented as he let go of you.

Yuki practically blinked out of existence before reappearing to hit the back of Shigure's head. "Pervert."

"Don't be too mean to him Yuki," Momiji chirped. "He can't help it."

Yuki gritted his teeth. "He doesn't **want to or even try."

Okay. Back to awkward territory.

"That's not fair," Shigure said with one eye closed as he rubbed the back of his head. "My feelings are completely natural. Who am I to deny my nature?"

"You're not an animal," you reminded him.

Shigure grinned and suddenly you regretted saying anything. You could think of quite a few pins or jokes he could make. And unfortunately it seemed he thought of a few of them himself if the playful look in his eyes was anything to go off of. Thankfully he didn't say any of them. Which was a mark of restraint that he personally thought everyone should have congratulated him for.

"Maybe you should go take a shower, cool down," you said calmly.

"I will if you will," Shigure teased.

And that was another lump he'd earned from Yuki. Afterwards Yuki grabbed your other hand, the opposite one that Shigure kept choosing, and let you away from the laundry room. This time it was Momiji who admonished Shigure for his perverted comments. As Yuki pulled, well lead really, you out of the room and down the hall you gave his hand a light squeeze.

"Don't be too mad at him Yuki. If he's right, he can't help it. It's partially my fault."

Yuki stopped moving you away from the amorous zodiac member. He let out a deep breath but he didn't let go of your hand. Which you thought was strange because he kept glancing at you like he wasn't sure why your hand was still in his.

"Don't. Don't blame yourself for Shigure's actions. He's always been a pervert. It's not like he's the only one that was affected. He just doesn't have any self control or sense of decorum."

"Unlike you?" You asked as you gripped his hand to remind him that he was still holding onto you.

Yuki started to nod but then he stopped. His eyes widened as he realized that he was still holding your hand. More so when half of him really didn't want to let go. But he did regardlessly and took a half step back out of respect.

"Yuki, relax. I was joking."

"I know. But you're right. I will do better in the future."

"Holding my hand isn't the same thing as trying to get me into bed," you laughed a little as his face flushed.

Good. Someone else could be embarrassed for a change.

"But I do have a question. Why were Shigure and Momiji fighting over who gets to hug me? I mean I know that you won't transform and that it protects you. But I mean the length of the hug doesn't change that. So what does it matter if it's a second or an hour?"

Yuki looked surprised. Like he'd just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He cleared his throat as he composed himself.

"It makes us feel safe and warm. Like a personal protective blanket that you leave with us even when we're gone," he seemed embarrassed to say anything yet you could see that he felt obligated to. "And it disappears whenever we transform. But the longer we're...in contact, the warmer it feels. And please forgive me if this seems too personal but it feels very nice to feel safe and loved. Even if it is just a trick of the curse."

You didn't give him warning. You stepped forward and wrapped your arms around him. Yuki stiffened up as you held onto him. You leaned your head to the side of his so it wasn't nearly as awkward as it would have been face to face.

"I can't fix the bad things. But if this makes you feel better, even if it doesn't solve the problem, I don't mind. If you want to hug me just hug me. Okay?"

It felt like he was about to say something but then he stopped.

"Hey no fair Yuki! It was my turn!" Momiji called out from behind you.

 



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