title: Crushing
fandom: Fruits Basket
characters/pairings: Kana/Hatori, Ayame, Shigure
rating: G
warnings: romance
summary: Kana is crushing on Hatori.
notes: based on the Hatori sections of the second volume of the manga. *purrs over Hatori sections* i just loved the idea that Kana was crushing on Hatori for a long, long time before she even knew him.
also, this is pretty much completely het. but it's ok, i like it anyway. ^_^

She sat down under the cherry tree at the head of the lane, like she had every afternoon that week. She smoothed out her skirt over her knees. It was her new favorite skirt, the one her father had brought back for her from Kyoto. It was flowery and cheerful, and it was silk. She ran her hands over the fabric several more times, just enjoying the way that the threads sparkled in the sunshine.

She set her bento box down in front of her, positioning it perfectly in the center of the rectangle of her placemat. She had taken one of her mother's good placemats, the white ones with the red trim. Her mother would be furious if she saw it on the ground, but Kana would have it back long before her mother could see it. Hopefully.

She looked up expectantly at the small break in the fence. Inside the confines of that barrier was the main house, and all the Sohma's who were part of the 'main' family. Kana didn't understand why her family was excluded, or what ties of blood or affection made one an inner Sohma, but she envied the people who lived inside that gate. Her cousins who lived next door had moved inside last year. The adults only murmured something about their baby as if he had been born with some disease. She hoped their son would be ok; they were nice people.

Still she waited, her shoulders drooping. She hoped that this wasn't one of those days when they didn't come out; she had worn her best skirt and everything. She had at least twice as much food as she could ever eat at once, and she was sure that she would have the courage to speak up. She began to nibble on one of her onigiri when her patience was rewarded.

Shigure came bounding out first, his eyes bright and excited, like a dog being taken off a leash. Kana always thought that he was too sweet to be really cute, but he made her smile anyway. After Shigure had walked in a circle around the exit, he reached in to help Ayame out. Ayame was always called the most beautiful boy in the world. Everyone in the family loved him. He was delicate and fine-boned, with large, brilliant eyes and hair like silk in the palest of greys, so it looked silver. He was very beautiful, but he didn't make Kana hold her breath.

After Ayame stepped out delicately, Hatori emerged, his hands in his pockets, his posture casual but proper, as he watched his cousins trot ahead of him anxiously.

Kana nearly giggled with delight. She would have giggled, but she was still holding her breath. Hatori was so handsome! He'd been letting his bangs grow out a bit, so they were falling in his eyes, but he didn't want to brush them away, so he would shake his head from time to time. He was quiet, obviously, especially around Ayame, but he was clearly very intelligent. He had the top scores in his whole school - her mother had told her. He wore slacks, even in the summer, and he sometimes frowned at Ayame so that a little wrinkle appeared on his forehead. Most of the time, he would just sigh and do his own thing. He was absolutely perfect in every conceivable way.

"C'mon, c'mon!" Shigure was already miles ahead of them, bounding along the path. Ayame laughed and told him to wait up. Ayame kept walking, but he turned his body so that he was open to Hatori. Hatori followed along sedately, eyes down as he calmly caught up to Ayame.

He was going to pass right in front of her; she just had to speak up! Say something... so he would stop and she could offer him some lunch... but what was she going to say?

Kana watched them walk by her, as if she wasn't even there, just like she did every afternoon. She watched Hatori's back until she could no longer see him at all. She sighed, and looked down at her lunch.

She didn't even like shrimp tempura, but she'd brought along three because boys liked that stuff.

"What do you mean, you're not going to the dance!"

"I should have thought that you would have been able to interpret that without help," Hatori replied coolly.

Ayame rolled his eyes dramatically. "You have to go! You're a class councilor! The men of our school are looking up to you as an example, Tori!"

Kana bit her lip. Tori. She wanted to be able to call him Tori.

"I suppose they will have to follow my example in the classroom, and they can follow your example when it comes to revelry."

"We don't want that," Shigure laughed, peeking up from behind his book. "The whole school will be run down from the chaos!"

Ayame glared at Shigure for a heartbeat and then lit back into Hatori. "What's the matter, there are plenty of girls who would go with you! What about that girl, what's her name, Sakura?"



"Too slutty."

Kana discreetly buttoned another button in her shirt.


"She's got warts."



"Well, just pick some random cousin then, if you're going to be so damned picky!" Ayame threw his hands in the air. "It doesn't matter who you take; it just has to be a female."

"No," Hatori shook his head once.

"Why not? Give me one good reason why not? We never get a chance to just go out and be normal kids! This could be our last shot before we're old and useless! We have to take this chance to be young and reckless! It's our moral obligation to have fun while our bodies are still fit enough to do so!" Ayame's cheeks pinked from the furor of his impassioned speech, and all the girls at the coffee house started to chitter between themselves.

Kana was oblivious to everything but Hatori's discomfort. She'd gotten really excited when Ayame had mentioned a cousin, but now she was looking at him, she really wanted to know why he didn't want to go. Had some callous girl broken his fragile, beautiful heart? Was there something going on with his family? Was it Ayame himself, the spotlight-stealing drama queen? He was so lovely with his hair falling over his face, and his eyes so pained. She wanted to take his hand and promise him that he would never be sad again. If she ever did get a chance to be close to him, she swore she would never let him dwell in such melancholy.

"The entrance exams for medical school are the next morning, so I need to get to sleep early." Hatori spoke in hushed tones, his cup raised to take a sip, like he was trying to slip the words in quickly and quietly.

Kana almost cheered out loud. Hatori was going to become a doctor! How marvelous! He would have the best bedside manner, with his sympathetic eyes and his dashing good looks. Oh, he'd have so many female patients! Of course, that would make it even harder for Kana to get his attention, but still.

"What?" Ayame gasped. Even Shigure had dropped his book, staring at Hatori balefully. "Medical school? What? What's this?"

"Ha'ri? You can't... you can't leave, can you?" Shigure whimpered.

"Of course not!" Ayame crossed his arms over his chest. "How could he leave? It's not like Akito would ever let him go." Ayame spit out the name Akito like it was offensive to his tongue.

Kana blinked. Akito was the head of the Sohma clan. Even she knew who he was, even though she was never allowed to meet him. Once, she'd been playing the yard and she'd bounced her ball out into the road. She's gone to get it, when her mother suddenly pulled her out of the way. She's nearly run into Akito. She'd been scolded for it loudly for all Sohma's to see, some of the distant cousins from across the street clucking their tongues at her. She's been so ashamed, she hadn't even gotten a proper look at him, but she'd never heard his name said with anything short of total reverence.

Hatori shifted in his seat. "Akito has already given me permission."

"What?!" Ayame jumped to his feet. "What?!"

"Sit down," Hatori hissed, narrowing his eyes. "You're making a scene!"

Ayame plopped down, but he was still glaring at Hatori. "What have you done?!"

Hatori turned red behind his ears. Kana could see it from where she was sitting. It was cute, but her heart broke for Hatori. Why were they giving him such a hard time? Wasn't it good news?

"None of your damn business, Ayame! All you need to know is that I have more important things to do than trot behind you like an obedient puppy while fending off some air-headed female who wants to plaster herself all over me!" He stood up and walked away, purposefully putting his back to Ayame as he did.

Ayame went from furious to contrite in the blink of an eye. "Wait! Tori! Wait, I'm sorry! Don't be mad at me, ok! I'm sorry!" He chased after Hatori, ignoring Shigure completely.

Shigure shook his head, bemused. He picked his book up again and sighed. "I hope, Ha'ri, you weren't implying that I do follow him around like a puppy, zodiac sign notwithstanding."

Kana was torn. She'd barely touched her pastry, but she wanted to follow Hatori and Ayame. Some of the girls in her class had fan club for the 'Flower Trio,' as they called them. Shigure, Ayame, and Hatori. She never joined, not really, because she was Sohma, and Sohma's did not stalk other Sohma's, but she heard them giggling sometimes, as they sighed dreamily over them. Those girls liked to think that the three boys were all very... close, and that Ayame was completely in love with Hatori. Kana certainly couldn't blame him if he was, but she had never seen any direct evidence. Now seemed a good time.

Still. By the time she made up her mind, they would be long gone. Sohma's were a hard breed to track. Dejected, she picked up her fork, and comforted herself with thoughts of Hatori-sensei giving her a check-up.

Kana checked the address three time to be sure before braving the door. Her friend had given her the address of Ayame's new shop so that she could get proper nurse attire. She had her first round of interviews this week, so even though the nurse uniforms were antiquated, she wanted to be as professional as possible for the interview.

It seemed odd to her that Ayame would sell nurse uniforms, but she had the address right there. Akano had been very insistent. It was a new Sohma business, and Sohma's should support Sohma's. She took a deep breath, and opened the door.

The tinkle of bells heralded her arrival, but there was no one to be seen. The store looked fairly innocuous, though there were no racks of clothing out at all. There were some reams of fabric laid out, though it didn't appear very professional. Kana stood in the entranceway, nervously looking back and forth.

This was a mistake. The only reason she'd even taken the address was because Ayame made her think of Hatori, and Akano knew that, so she was probably playing a trick on her...

"Hello! Hello, hello, hello, hello! So sorry to make you wait, my dear, so sorry!" Ayame came bounding out from the back, looking utterly ravishing. He still wore his hair long, but his whole body had changed, looking more manly and vigorous, even in the long Chinese gown. Kana felt a thrill run down her spine as she imagined how time had changed Hatori. Could he actually be even more handsome and dashing now? "So sorry! What can I, your humble shopkeeper, do for you, miss?" He bowed low, keeping his eyes on Kana as he did.

Kana smiled tentatively. "I'm sorry, I don't wish to be a bother, but do you by chance sell nurse's uniforms?"

"Ho, ho, ho!" Ayame rushed forward, taking Kana by the waist and drawing her inside. "You're not as timid as you appear! Do we sell nurse's uniforms? Of course we do! We have traditional ones, and more modern ones, in every fabric you could think of, and probably about ten million more, plus we have all the accessories and accruements to make your dreams come true! Now, come, come, my dear, tell me your name and your dream? Or is it the dream of that special someone? Never mind! None of my business! Come in, sit down, relax, have some tea, would you like tea? Now, tell me your name."

"Kana," she supplied quickly, before he started to speak again. "Sohma Kana. And I don't want anything fancy, I just need something for a job interview. I've sent my resume to every hospital in the district, so I need to look professional."

Ayame's face slowly bled of enthusiasm. "S-Sohma? Professional?"

"I'm sorry," she blushed. "I'm not... I didn't come to ambush you or anything. My friend Akano gave me your address. I hope you are very successful, Ayame-san." She bowed from the waist, the best she could do in her seat.

Ayame flushed, and then he laughed. "Oh, please, Kana-san, please, don't be silly! Can I call you Kana-chan? Fabulous! I didn't recognize you, I'm sorry, but there are so many of us Sohma's... please forgive my oversight! And now, I believe your friend is having a wee bit of fun at your expense! We sell nurse's uniforms, but more the fantasy version, for the naughty nurse in every young girl or boy. But no matter! You are family, and we take care of each other, don't we? Of course! Now, come back here with me, Kana-chan, and I'll find... something... suitable."

Kana barely had time to blink before she was ushered into a curtained dressing room, told to strip, and given a simply white dress. Ayame muttered to himself constantly, only every fifth word being audible. He went on about the hem and the sleeves and the placard, all the while taking measurements and sticking in pins. He was like a hurricane, but he worked fast, and his nimble fingers were quite adroit. Before she knew it, she had what was to be the perfect nurse's uniform.

"I will have to line it, of course. When did you say your interview was? And I should reinforce this seam. I think it was intended to be flyaway. Would you like some piping? That would look very smart. Now! How do you feel? Are you ready to conqueror the medical world? Wow them with your style, grace, finesse, and intelligence? Make the world tremble with the fervor of your compassionate care?" Ayame stood behind her, making gestures with his fist that was sure to inspire confidence, but when Kana looked across at the mirror, all she saw was a scared girl who was dressed up like a nurse doll.

She whimpered.

"Come now! Courage, courage, Kana-chan! Just think of all the cute, eligible doctors you will get to work in close quarters with!" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

She set her jaw. She would take courage. "Speaking of which, how is Hatori-san?"

Ayame blinked, confused. "Hatori... you know Hatori?"

She blushed, feeling stupid. "Well, I don't, that is, no, not really, but I've heard a lot about him, and I know him, of course, family and all..."

Ayame's eyes softened, and he smiled, an inner light shining through that made him radiant. Kana drifted off as she watched him, suddenly seeing what everyone else saw in Ayame. "Where did you say you were applying? Because now that you mention it, I think I've had a great idea. Hatori is working as the Sohma family doctor now, and, well, you know there are about a billion Sohma's, and the last family doctor was a complete boob, so poor Hatori has been swimming in work. Also, he's doing this research project, something to do with genetics and heredity and something else, I forget, it's hard to pay attention all the time, you know? Not that Hatori talks that much, but still. He could use an assistant. In fact, the more I think of it, the more certain I am that this is a marvelous idea, and you shouldn't go anywhere else. Yes! Do you have your resume? I could talk to Hatori about it this evening. Better yet! I'm taking Akito tea this afternoon. He'll need to approve anything anyway. Let me take your resume to him, and I'm sure we'll get you suitably employed lickity split! And who knows? Maybe I don't need to adjust the uniform after all! Kidding! I just meant you wouldn't need to buy it. I'd give it to you. Now come along, get dressed, give me your resume! This is splendid, isn't it? Totally splendid!"

Kana's head was spinning. She blushed all over her body. "B-but! Ayame-san!"

"Call me Ayame-chan! No, no, just call me Aya. That's what my friends call me." He beamed.

She blushed harder. "Aya-san, are you sure Hatori-san won't mind? Will this really be what he wants? I'm sure he'll want a more experienced nurse."

Ayame winked at him. "I think it's safe to say that Tori has no idea what he wants, Kana-chan." He looked her up and down appraisingly, leaving her feeling naked in the tight nurse's uniform. "And it's my understanding that there's a certain charm to less experienced... nurses."

She thought she would die of spontaneous combustion.

"Take heart!" He kissed her cheeks brightly. "Isn't this what you want? Besides, you will be good to him, won't you? Very, very good to him."

She smiled, and bowed her head down, hiding her eyes. "Ah, Aya-san... You really must care for Hatori-san a lot, huh?"

He was quiet for a moment, something that had to be seen as well as heard. It wasn't just that he wasn't speaking, but he was quiet as well. "I believe, Kana-chan, that that could well be the understatement of the century." He took her hands, and lifted them to his lips. "Now! Let's take care of this, shall we?"

"Should I go with you to speak to Akito-sama?" She asked nervously. The legend of Akito had only grown with time, strange, vague stories filtering down to her.

Ayame laughed. "No, no, I think it's safe to say that that would not be for the best. Trust me, Kana-chan. I'll take care of you," he winked, and suddenly, she felt very optimistic.

They were sitting on the floorboards, overlooking the koi pond. The water was as still as glass, reflecting the twilight sky. Hatori had her fingers intertwined with his own. His shirt was open at the neck, revealing a large triangle of Hatori-chest. She'd already messed up his hair a little, making him look rakish.

They had become quiet, just watching each other watch each other. Kana felt she could stare into his eyes forever. Hatori was the most handsome, wonderful man she'd ever known. Meeting him in person, working with him, getting to know him... He was a billion times better than she had ever imagined him to be. She scoffed at her childish Hatori-fantasies now, amused and ashamed at the girlish immaturity of her crush.

She was in love with Hatori, now, not in love with the way he looked or his posture or the way he walked or his demeanor, but with him.

She had never been happier.

He crinkled his eyes, and bit the corner of his lip, and then he leaned in closer, watching her carefully for the slightest move. He was going to kiss her. Hatori was going to kiss her.

Kana held her breath and closed her eyes, parting her lips, but after a minute passed, and she was starting to feel lightheaded, she opened her eyes again. Hatori was very close to her, looking at her with a puzzled expression.

"What's wrong?" she whispered.

"Your lips are turning blue."

She blushed. "I was... you... you were going to kiss me! I... I forgot to breathe."

He cocked his head to the side. "Why?"

"Because... Hatori-sensei was going to kiss me. It was going to be the best moment of my life. It was going to render all the dreams of my youth meaningless. I... I wanted it to last forever."

His eyes went soft, beaming with affection, and awe, and her heart leapt in her chest. He took her face in his hands, holding her in place. "Breathe," he whispered, and then his lips were on hers, and they were kissing.

She fidgeted forward, holding his elbow down so they could get into a comfortable position. Then she parted her lips.

She tasted Hatori.

She wanted him to sweep her into his arms, hold her tightly to his chest, and tell her that he loved her, but she was already ecstatic, because he rubbed his thumb against her cheek, and smiled warmly at her.

It surpassed every dream.