title: Favors
fandom: Fruits Basket
characters/pairings: Ayame/Hatori, Hatori/Akito
rating: G/Teen
warnings: Akito and sex
summary: Ayame needs something from Akito, so he goes to Hatori.
notes: none

It was peaceful and dark. Hatori liked these quiet nights. His pen moved over the paper noisily, and he sipped on his bitter coffee. The solitude was refreshing.

And fleeting.

The scent of juniper enticed him before he made the connection. He put his pen down, and turned to see Ayame at the door.

He waited.

Normally, when his cousin came to visit, he would bound through the open door announcing his presence at the top of his voice, and cheerfully begin to ramble about whatever was going on in Ayame-land. Rarely, he would knock first, if Hatori were particularly busy, which probably meant that he always looked before entering.

Tonight, he shielded half of his face with the doorjamb, and just watched Hatori.

Hatori stood up, concerned. He straightened his waistcoat, and walked over to Ayame.

"What the matter?"

Ayame cleared his throat. His eyes were like reflecting pools, deep, clear, and revealing nothing. "I didn't mean to disturb you, Hari."

"It's all right." Hatori inclined his head, and walked past Ayame, leading him to the kitchenette. "What's the matter?"

Ayame sighed. His fingers were tracing the satin of the piping on his gown absently, and he was biting his bottom lip. Hatori put water in the teakettle, and took out the tea. He scooped three heaping teaspoons of Ayame's favorite green tea blend into the kettle, and watched it simmer. Ayame took Hatori's arm, and drew him away from the kettle, setting him down in a chair. Ayame quickly whipped out two cups, the tea strainer, the sugar, and a tray to put it all on. He efficiently set up the tea, straining it with a graceful precision, as was his style.

Hatori watched, giving Ayame his room.

Ayame placed the tray in the middle of the table, then set Hatori's cup in front of him. He placed his own cup off to the side, and then knelt before Hatori.

Picking up his cup gingerly, Hatori took one shallow sip, just letting the bite of the heat of the tea touch his tongue. "Spit it out."

Ayame bent his head down, and clasped his hands together tightly. "I... I need you to do... to help... I need a favor. A big one."

Hatori nodded, a useless gesture as Ayame refused to raise his head. He cleared his throat impatiently for Ayame's benefit.

Ayame sighed loudly. "Yuki has asked Akito to allow him to attend the high school of his choice, and... as the school he wishes to attend is on the other side of town, he has requested that he be allowed to live with Shigure."

Hatori raised his eyebrows. Yuki was showing great promise as the Rat if he was making such a bold request, but it was a dangerous thing to do as well.

"Mother and Father naturally couldn't care less where he goes, and the further away from their house, the better. They even had the gall to suggest that they might be able to get rid of all the vermin in their house if he left." There was anger in Ayame's voice, but not enough. Usually, when he got on the subject of his neglectful parents, which was rare, he was a smoldering cauldron of rage.

Hatori had a sense of where this was going.

"Akito... is toying with Yuki. He said that he would consider it, but it's obvious he just wants to string Yuki along, make Yuki dance to his beat all summer, and then deny him." There was fire in Ayame's voice now, and Hatori picked up his teacup, looking away as he sipped. It would be like Akito to manipulate like that, especially with Yuki...

Ayame put his hand on Hatori's knee. "If I... if I had any sway with Akito, I would speak to him myself, but you know full well how Akito feels about me. I would have him for tea, but... I'm not sure that he would listen to me. And I know that Shigure has already talked to him, but... Shigure is too affable. He doesn't... challenge Akito."

Hatori put his hand on Ayame's. "And you think that I can persuade him?"

"It's not like you wouldn't do it anyway!" Ayame burst out suddenly, his head snapping up. "I... I... I hate to ask you this, but...! Yuki... Yuki has to get away from him! I... I've never been a big brother to him, and I can't protect him now, but... Please, Hatori." Ayame leaned forward, putting both of his hands in Hatori's lap. "Please, make Akito see that this is for the best, and that he shouldn't interfere. I mean, Yuki could just go if he wanted to, he already has the admission and Mother and Father's approval! But..."

"Yuki wouldn't do that." Hatori sighed through his nose. "He's still too afraid of Akito."

Ayame put his head down in Hatori's lap. "This is my fault. How many times did I have the chance when we were younger to intercede, but I was too busy being the center of the universe to care? Yuki's suffered because of my indifference, and because of our parent's indifference, and because we're all afraid of Akito. But this is his chance! He could get away, live with Shigure, have some freedom... Please. I can't bear the thought of you and... But... For Yuki..."

Hatori put his hands on Ayame's head, digging his fingers into Ayame's thick hair. He loved the feel of Ayame's hair, the silky toughness of it. "You are putting a great deal of faith in me, Aya."

"Who else have I to believe in, Hari?" Ayame's voice was muffled as he was talking into Hatori's thigh, but the sentiment got through.

Hatori leaned down to put a gentle kiss on Ayame's hair. "You want me to go right now?"

"I don't know," Ayame muffled, "whatever would be best. I don't know how to get Akito to agree to things."

Hatori nodded, and tapped Ayame's shoulder. Ayame lifted his head, and Hatori was surprised to see a puffy redness around Ayame's eyes. "Stay here. I'll be back."

Ayame nodded mutely.

Hatori walked quickly across the walkway that separated his house from the main house. He had to admit, he was worried about Ayame. It was unheard of for the other man to be so needy. He had no faith that he could actually accomplish what he had set out to do. Akito was more unpredictable than a wild cat and far, far more dangerous.

Akito was sitting in the window of his rooms, his long robes bundled about him, making him seem even frailer than he was. Hatori saw through the act, but that didn't mean that he wasn't affected by it.

"Hatori." Akito's voice drifted across the room, wafting like smoke. "How unusual. You never call after dinner when I'm well."

Akito wasn't turning to look at him, which could mean anything. Hatori had no idea how to read Akito's frame of mind. He strode right up to Akito, and placed himself at Akito's feet. "I have a favor to ask. And a favor to offer."

Akito tilted his head, pressing his temple against the frame of the window. "How interesting. You usually have such intriguing offers."

Hatori made the daring gesture of reaching up to take Akito's hand. It was cold, like ice, and his long, elegantly pointed fingers were stiff. Hatori felt the protective urge swell inside of him, and he wrapped his hands around Akito's. He looked up to see Akito watching him with something like apprehension married to disdain. "I was hoping that you would talk to me about Yuki's request."

Akito smiled, a lightheartedly sinister curling of his lips. "Ah, yes, of course. Did Brother Ayame come to you, begging you to use your wiles to tame the evil Akito and let the innocent rat have his way again?"

Hatori pressed his lips to Akito's knuckled. Akito's skin was so pale, so soft, like finely made paper. Hatori ran his fingers over Akito's hand, the gesture an anticipation of what was to come. "You haven't heard my favor yet."

Akito turned his head away from Hatori. "Are you Ayame's personal whore now, then?"

Hatori turned Akito's hand over, and kissed the palm, letting just enough of his tongue out between his lips so that he could feel the tingle of the taste of Akito. "What do you think of letting Yuki stay with Shigure?"

His eyes were narrowed, but he wasn't pulling his hand away from Hatori; in fact, his arm was quite lax. "Little mice should do as they are told, else run the risk of angering their betters."

Hatori nodded. "There are benefits to the plan."

"Oh?" Akito sneered. "And what might those be?"

"He would be in your debt." Hatori hated the words that passed past his lips, hated his tongue for forming such a vile combination of breath, but it was the best and only argument he had.

Akito was silent, considering.

Hatori took Akito's other hand, and warmed both together between his hands. He did not watch Akito's face, nearly fearing what Akito might be thinking.

"I see. And your favor?" Akito's voice was pleasantly neutral, and Hatori was almost certain that he had made an impression.

"You will give his request consideration?"

"I already said that I would. Don't make me choose right now." Akito sounded testy, but not angry. It was good.

Hatori spread Akito's hands out and slipped closer to Akito's body, placing Akito's hands on his shoulders. He opened Akito's robes to the waist, revealing the soft, sensual skin of Akito's stomach. He placed butterfly kisses on Akito's belly as he prepared himself for what he needed to say.

"It was wrong of me to ask you to let me marry Kana. It was wrong of her to think that she could meddle in our affairs." The words tasted like poison on his lips, and they turned his stomach. It cost him to say it, cost him to even think it, but it was what he had that Akito wanted.

It didn't bother Hatori to give this away for Ayame. It was rare for Ayame to think of anyone else, and Hatori liked to encourage that kind of thinking.

Akito was electrified. He trembled, his wide eyes shaking with complete happiness. "Oh, Hatori!" he exclaimed breathlessly, and, for a moment, his beauty was so perfect, it overwhelmed Hatori. "Thank you. I knew it!" Akito dove down to brutally take Hatori's mouth in a kiss, and Hatori now had his arms full of Akito.

It was too easy to pick up the younger man and carry him to the bedroom. He was too light and fragile, his glassy eyes half closed as he shakily sighed and gasped. Too easy to slip off his robes, leaving him bare before Hatori's full clothed advances. Too easy to get swayed by the uncertainty in his eyes, feeling lost in their grip.

Sex with Akito was like anything with Akito; it was all about balance. Akito was stronger than he looked, something Hatori knew first hand, but his body was frail, and prone to fits of weakness. Akito sometimes had trouble breathing, and so Hatori felt himself holding his breath as he watched to see if Akito would just tumble over, boneless, and pass out.

It was exquisite.

He dressed quietly, Akito behind him sprawled out over the bed on his belly. His legs were separated enough to make himself comfortable, and just underneath the rise of his ass, there was a stain of a bruise where Hatori had gripped him. Hatori traced it with his finger, his chest feeling full and his senses dull. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rough."

Akito sighed happily, and turned over.

Hatori stuffed his tie into his pocket, and slipped his shoes on, rolling his socks into a ball. "Will you let Yuki go?"

Akito waved his hand randomly in the air. "Go, Hatori. I'm tired now."

Hatori leaned down, and kissed Akito's jaw. "Sleep well, my emperor."

Akito smiled, his eyes closed, and Hatori ran his finger over Akito's ear. He was just so beautiful...

He ambled back to his house, feeling disjointed and disconnected. He wasn't surprised to see Ayame in his bed, but he went straight to the shower. He didn't bother to dress after he scrubbed himself clean, and he slipped in next to Ayame, still a little damp.

Ayame didn't turn over, and Hatori was too tired and too out of his skin to bother reacting. He was just drifting off when Ayame spoke.

"Did he agree?"

"I think he will."

"...What did you... Was it horrible?"

Hatori slipped his hand under his cheek, and tried to send his thoughts into the direction of a dream, but he had a tune stuck in his head, and it was keeping him enough awake to be aware that Ayame was looking at him from over his shoulder.


"Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answers to."

"I'm sorry."

Hatori sighed, and put his hand on Ayame's torso, slipping himself closer to his cousin. "Don't worry. Yuki will be safer."

Ayame nodded. "Thank you."

"You'll have plenty of chances to thank me later," Hatori yawned. "Let's just go to sleep."

It was the scent of junipers that finally let him slip into a dream.