Title: Unearthly Things
Fandom: Fruits Basket
Characters: Akito, Hatori, and Kureno is... there in spirit XD
Genre: Angst I guess...
Warnings: Akito spoilers, including the Big Important Manga Spoiler and the lesser anime spoiler; animal death
Summary: When a child Akito finds a dead bird, Hatori ponders the mortality of certain family members.
Disclaimer: If I owned Fruits Basket, there would be more girls in the zodiac >.>
A/N: I'm mixing canons here a little bit, since I'm using manga!Akito with some anime elements. The timeline for this: Akito is somewhere under 10 at this point.
The bird must have died sometime during the night, because it was there on the porch when Akito first went out in the morning. She had almost stepped on it, recoiling just in time to avoid crushing the small, dark form under one foot. Perhaps it was nothing more than childish curiosity, but the sight mesmerized her.
Hatori found her just as the sun was beginning to warm the dew off of the bird’s feathers; he began chastising her instantly with worries that she was sure to come down with something after sitting outside on a cold morning and handling dead animals.
She ignored him, until, “Hatori? Will Kureno buy me an owl now?”
It was such a strange question that he couldn’t even think of a proper reply, but she carried on regardless of his lack of reaction. “He bought me that bird feeder a few years ago when he was away for a while. But since this bird got killed by an owl, maybe he should have bought me an owl feeder instead, if owls are better.”
He blinked. This was obviously kid logic, or even worse, Akito logic. “Akito-san, I don’t think this bird was killed by an owl.”
“Yes it was! You’re being stupid. I read a book about it, where owls kill other birds sometimes and eat them.”
“Ah... A lot of little birds like this one will just die on their own, though.”
She looked up when he said that. “Was it sick?”
“N... no,” he said noncommittally. Honestly, why did she seem to always expect him to know these things? “It was probably just old. Small animals like this just burn out quicker than people do.”
She was silent for a moment in which other, living birds chirped joyously, out of sight somewhere in the branches of the maples that had just begun to green with spring. Then she began the obvious question, the ugly little one that now had nowhere left to hide.
“– Is safe in bed,” he finished for her. And, feeling some other reassurance necessary, he quickly added, “He’s not going to have any trouble. I think he must be the most healthy of all of us, to be honest. There are a lot of other people in the family who would be more likely to–”
He stopped short, realizing the inevitable direction the conversation was heading.
“I mean, we should get you inside. My father will want to make sure you’ve had all your shots after this,” he finished lamely.
Wanting just to take the girl inside and be done with the awkwardness of dead birds, he reached out to grab her hand, but her patterned sleeve slipped through his fingers as she fainted, and he was left to pick her up and carry her indoors.
The trouble was, he mused, Akito read more than nature books on owls, and if she hadn’t already found a copy of the family history and looked up the birth and death dates of all their personal gods and goddesses, it was only a matter of time.
All in all, it was much easier to hope against hope that Kureno was the only family member to feel a kinship with small, unearthly things that could live only for a brief season.
The unconscious girl began to cough, leaving a trail of dark red droplets leading towards the house. In Hatori’s arms she was as light as a feather on a bird’s hollow-boned wing.