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The Main Character

The Main Character
By: Memory Dragon
Disclaimer: Fruits Basket belongs to Natsuki Takaya. I don't own it and make no claim to.
Characters: Hatori and Shigure
Warnings: Spoilers for the last couple of episodes, but they are very mild.
Summary: Witty and wise, everyone goes to Shigure for advice. Underneath a cheery exterior is someone that people innately trust with their problems. So where can Shigure go when he is troubled?
Author's Notes:  Okay, so this fic was based solely on the anime version, not the Manga.  Nothing against the Manga, but I hadn't read it at the time of reading this.  Also, while everyone's said my characterization of Shigure was good, it's always sort of bothered me...  Meh.

 

It was a beautiful fall day when Shigure came to visit the main house. Usually, there was a reason when the dog came to bug Hatori, but today it seemed like the man just had nothing else to do.

Hatori sat in his chair behind his desk, reading the paper with all the appearance of ignoring the other man. Shigure was used to it. He sat on the floor, leaning against a wall where he could see the outside through the open sliding door. Finally after some moments of silence, Shigure perked up. "Hey, Ha-san! I've just decided what my next book will be about!" he chatted excitedly, just like a dog waging its tail.

Hatori looked up from his newspaper briefly. "Did you come all the way here just to tell me that?" A statement that would normally have held some annoyance. But not for Hatori. Emotion of any kind coming from him would be a shock most people. He just wasn't the kind to wear his emotions on his sleeve. Not that Shigure minded, not after all the years they spent together. In fact, the dog would probably be one of the few people who could say they've seen past his coldly polite exterior. Him and Ayame. "You should tell that editor of yours. I'm sure she'd be thrilled."

"But I want to try it out on you first!" He grinned from ear to ear. Bad sign. "Besides, I think you'll like it!" The doctor could almost picture the other man's tail flopping back and forth...

Then he realized that Shigure was waiting for his response. Should just get this over with. "What is it?"

The feeling of dread deepened tenfold as Shigure looked positively gleeful. That look could only mean that he was up to something... "I'm going to write a book..." Hatori mentally shook his head as Shigure paused for the dramatic effect. "About us!"

Silence.

"I mean, about the Sohma family and the curse," he hurried on to fill the uncomfortable quiet. "Though, I haven't decided if I should start with our high school days or when Tohru-kun came-"

"Akito-san would never approve."

"It's not like I'd use our real names or anything." The other man looked liked he'd been slapped across the face. "Besides, no one would believe it anyway. They'd just think I'm being more creative than usual."

Made sense... in a warped sort of way. People would have a harder time regarding what they believe to be fiction as 'real.' It might even make the Sohma family secret more secure. If anyone noticed similarities between Shigure's characters and the Sohma family, it would be easy to say he had just 'based' them on a certain person. And Shigure had his 'tail between his legs' look... "It might be... interesting."

"I'm glad you agree!" Back to tail wagging. And now Hatori wanted to hit his head against the wall for falling for the puppy-dog eyes trick. Again. The look never failed, both to irritate him and to work. "So you'll support me against Akito-san, right?"

The doctor nodded slowly then went back to his paper, unable to see a way out of it. "I think we make interesting characters. Half of us are so far out there," the dog went on dreamily. "And we all have our own reasons for acting the way we do. Even... even Akito-san."

Hatori once again looked up. Was that uneasiness in his cousin's eyes? Whatever it was, it was gone within seconds. "Yes, I think I will start with Tohru-kun's arrival. I think book should be less about us and more about her understanding of us. She's one of those rare people who see things clearly..." Shigure went on almost to himself. It was as if Hatori and the rest of the world were fading away with every minute. More and more, the doctor was getting the feeling that something was wrong with his old friend. Something other than the book. What could be bothering the writer so much?

What ever it was, interrupting would help nothing. That silly dog would never tell if Hatori asked him outright. Shigure was the one everyone sought out for advice, after all, and often felt obligated to never have any problems on his own. So getting the writer to admit a problem, even to himself, was a long process. Thankfully, years of dealing with both him and Ayame had given Hatori plenty of patience. All he had to do was wait for the dog's ramblings to run out of 'safe' topics.

Which should be soon. "Come to think of it, the story really is more about Tohru-kun than anyone of us. We've all placed so much hope on her..." Ah, so that was what this was about.

Time for a carefully considered question. Any hint that Hatori thought the writer had doubts and the dog would bury the bone again. Sometimes, Shigure was too intelligent for his own good. And infuriating. But one of the best friends the doctor had ever had and he was worth every minute of it.

"Don't you think Tohru-kun would object to being the main character?"

Shigure's eyes clouded over. Hatori had struck a nerve. Right on target. "Yes, she probably would..."

Silence.

Shigure fumbled for a cigarette and finally managed to get it lit with one of Hatori's lighters. He didn't smoke often. Not as much as Hatori did anyway. Which was ironic because Hatori had been the one against the habit in high school. "We've expected so much out of her, and all it's brought her is more pain. What gives me the right to ask her to be the main character?"

Silence again. This time, Shigure turned to face the sliding door that had been left open. He had completely forgotten the cigarette between his fingers; his attention turned inward. "When she saw Kyo's true form, both of them could have been broken beyond repair." A sigh of frustration. "We want her to be the heroine of the story, but what does she get out of it? I've been selfishly putting all my faith in her and all it does is end up hurting her more."

Hatori slowly put his paper work down and watched Shigure for a few moments, thinking about his answer. None of the warring emotions that had to be going on inside Shigure appeared on his face. "She doesn't even know that we've been doing it either. We just put all hopes of breaking the curse on her without even asking her."

"Perhaps you haven't asked her in fear that she'd say yes."

"What?"

Shigure turned a startled gaze on the doctor whom returned it calmly. "If you asked Tohru-kun, there is no doubt she'd say yes." Hatori explained, keeping his voice reasonable. "That's just the way she is; it's in her character. And if you did, she would worry about it constantly, blaming herself if the curse isn't broken soon enough. Better to let her go on as she has, without worrying." Hatori waited a few moments for that to sink into the writer.

"You say all of this has brought her nothing but pain?" Shigure nodded slowly. "Weren't you telling me the other day that the three of them had never seemed happier?" The doctor paused. "You write books for a living and should know more about human nature than most. She's just the type of person who thrives on kindness."

Shigure blinked then flushed with embarrassment. "You're right. I feel silly right now..."

The silence they sat in now was much more comfortable. And in spite of himself, Hatori felt his mouth form the question before he could stop it. He might regret this later but... "So... will it have a happy ending?"

"Hm?" Sleepily content now that his main worry had been made void, he stretched lazily before answering, "Of course. I'm even thinking of adding a little romance to spice things up a bit."

Hatori raised an eyebrow. The dog continued as if nothing was amiss. "Should Tohru-kun fall in love with Yuki-kun or Kyo-kun?" Suddenly, Shigure slapped his hands together, face a picture of triumph. "Or how bout she falls in love with the adorable dog whom she swears to cook and clean for every day for the rest of her life!"

"..."

He smirked in an all knowing way. "Aw. Ha-san jealous? You want me to make her fall in love with you, don't you?"

"There are times when your stupidity amazes me." Hatori just picked his reading back up and resumed trying to ignore Shigure.

Another round of teasing that ended in a comfortable silence made the doctor sure that Shigure was feeling better. As Ayame was usually around when they got together, it was a rare moment of quiet enjoyment of each other's company.

"I think," Shigure said sometime later, "that I shall call it The Riceball."

"What?"

"The name of the book. I'll call it The Riceball."

"Why name it that?"

"I don't know. You think Fruits Basket would be better?"

"... Why are you still here?"

~Fini~

Quotes of the chapter:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
-Dorothy Parker