title: Frozen
fandom: Fruits Basket
characters/pairings: slight Momiji/Hatori, slight Hatori/Akito
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Momiji tries to draw Hatori out of his shell.
notes: this takes place in the anime continuity, right after the episode where Tohru visits Hatori at the Sohma main house (ep. 8).

He watched Hatori from the doorway for what felt like ages. The Doctor was at his desk, papers lined up before him, but Hatori was just staring off into the distance.

Momiji grinned. It was perfect.

Seconds later, he was flying through the air, a completely unaware Hatori in his sights.

"Ha~ri!" Momiji landed right in Hatori's lap with an enthusiastic laugh, flinging his arms around Hatori's neck. "Wasn't today great? Don't you like Tohru-san? I like her a lot. Not as much as I like you, Hari, but I like her a lot."

Hatori regained his breath, and then ineffectually attempted to dislodge the bunny in his lap. "Momiji." He spoke in his sternest voice, and it had its usual affect on the childish young man.

Momiji hugged Hatori even harder, laughing merrily. "Isn't Tohru pretty? I wish I lived in Shi-chan's house, so I could live with her. Do you think I could, Hari?"

"Momiji," Hatori intended to be menacing, but as always with Momiji, he only succeeded at being slightly harsh, "you have to stop acting like a hyperactive child. You are growing up, now. You are too old to be jumping into people's laps."

"Too old, Hari?" Momiji's brown eyes twinkled with wicked bliss. He leaned up and kissed Hatori loudly on the lips. "Maybe I'm still a little too young."

Hatori shook his head, his eyes wide and disbelieving. Momiji had always been an unusually affectionate boy... In all honesty, he was probably just affectionate, but Sohma's, as a rule, did not hug. Also, he was always so much younger looking that he actually was, that he easily got away with acting like a child.

And, Hatori was coming to understand, it really was just an act. Momiji could be quite devious when he wanted to be.

Carefully forming a scowl that should have been second nature to him, Hatori chastised the young man cuddling his chest. "Isn't it past your bed time? What are you doing out of the main house anyway?"

Momiji smiled up at him angelically. "I came to see if you could tuck me in, Hari."

"Tuck you in?" Hatori blinked, confused, as Momiji continued to wiggle in his lap.

"Yes! No one else would say yes if I asked them," Momiji pouted. "But I knew that you would, Hari, because I like you best of all."

The very vivid image of Momiji asking Akito to tuck him in swam before Hatori's eyes, and he didn't know whether to laugh or cringe. "All right, brat, but you must start to be more independent. I won't always be there for you."

Momiji's expression sobered instantly. "All the more reason for you to be here for me now, Hari. And vice versa."

It was quite jarring for someone who looked like Momiji to speak so sagely.

Hatori knew better than to think that Momiji would get off to let him get up, so he hoisted the young man in his arms so that he could stand. Momiji whooped, as if he were on a roller coaster, and latched onto Hatori tighter, wrapping his short legs around Hatori's waist as best he could.

The trek back to the main house was slow, but Momiji sang made up songs quietly in Hatori's ear as they went, and despite his best intentions, Hatori couldn't help but enjoy it a little.

Momiji insisted on being helped into his pajamas, giggling as Hatori tried to look away and keep his hands from touching Momiji's skin. Of course, with the young man bouncing around like the bunny that he was, that wasn't easy. Finally, Hatori scooted Momiji off to the bathroom to wash up and brush his teeth, and he was left sitting on the floor by Momiji's bed, lost in thought.

Not a day went by when he didn't think of Kana. Seeing Tohru that afternoon, though... It had been almost like his beloved was with him again, the memory of her was so palpable. He would have been choking on his misery, if Tohru's kindness had not blunted the pain.

She was really remarkable, but Hatori still wished, fervently, that she would leave Shigure's house, and never look back. He had already had to hurt Yuki once by erasing people's memories. He was loath to do it again. And the gods, great and small, knew that, if anything, Kyo was even more likely to be bitter if he had to do anything to Tohru.

But how could it be avoided? Pain and misery were the hallmarks of the Sohma clan. There were times when Hatori believed they should all leap off the highest cliff in Japan, and rid the world of the stain of their existence.

Momiji bounced back in the room, and Hatori's dark thoughts evaporated. The young man was once again singing a nonsense song, this one about Momiji and Hatori traveling the world in a circus made of fleas, or some such thing. Hatori shook his head, and tried to keep his amusement out of his face, as he sternly pointed to the bed.

Momiji stuck his tongue out at Hatori as he bounced into bed. "Hari is such a spoilsport. Hari needs to have some fun. Let's play cards!"

"Let's get you into bed so I can get back to my work," Hatori replied with a thinly veiled smile.

Momiji pouted, but he did flop back into bed, and let Hatori pull the covers over him. "Will you tell me a bed time story, Hari?"

"You're too old for that," Hatori shook his head.

Momiji's lower lip extruded further. "Will you sing to me?"

"You sing to yourself so much better than I could sing to you," Hatori shook his head.

Momiji grinned from ear to ear. "Then the only thing left is for you to kiss me goodnight!"

Hatori was taken aback, but he recovered moderately well. "Momiji... Why did you make me come and tuck you in?"

Momiji smiled, beatifically. "You were reminded of sad things today. I can't make the sad things any better, so I thought I would remind you of happy things."

Hatori watched the young man's face for long, pensive moments, before nodding once. He leaned over Momiji carefully, aiming to place a kiss on Momiji's forehead. "You're still too old for this."

Momiji tipped his head back and caught Hatori's lips with his. "Or too young. But even if you didn't read to me or sing to me, if you stay like this while I go to sleep, I can have pleasant dreams of Hari leaning over me!" Momiji continued to smile as he closed his eyes, relaxing.

Hatori shook his head, amused. He waited, and then placed a feather-light kiss on Momiji's lips. "Goodnight, little bunny," he whispered.

He turned out the light as he slipped away, watching Momiji as he closed the door.

Walking slowly through the corridors of the main house, Hatori found that he much less inclined to chuck all the Sohma's into the ocean.

"Isn't that boy too old to be tucked in?"

There was no mistaking the airy, bitter voice that sighed sibilantly as Hatori walked past.

Hatori stopped instantly in his tracks. He would never say out loud to Akito, maybe he's still too young, but that didn't stop him from thinking it.

Turning to face the head of the house, Hatori inquired professionally, "How are you today, Akito?"

Akito leaned against the doorframe dramatically. "Oh, do you still care? You haven't come by to see me at all today. You even had a guest, and you didn't think to bring her by to meet me. I think that's very rude, Hatori."

Hatori inclined his head to the side, and blinked once. "I invited her with the intention of warning her away from Shigure's house."

"And?" Akito's eyes were hidden behind his thick bangs, but Hatori could feel them anyway.

"She is not what I expected."

"Ah," Akito sighed, "another Sohma has fallen under the spell of Miss Tohru."

"No," Hatori denied evenly, "but she is... charming."

"Perhaps I should meet this girl," Akito offered, threateningly. "Maybe I would be entranced by her charms as well."

Hatori nodded once. "You should meet her, Akito. You might indeed be surprised."

"Indeed," Akito's voice dripped with sarcasm, "that would be quite an occurrence."

Hatori stepped closer, and put his hands on Akito's face, standing quite close to him. "You seem to be in good humor tonight, Akito. I hope that means you will be able to sleep well."

"Do you, Hatori?" Akito's eyes lifted, and Hatori froze.

Akito always struck Hatori as being tragically beautiful. No matter what had passed between them, no matter what injury the other man caused him, what pain he inflicted upon him, what suffering he induced Hatori to inflict on others, Akito's frail frame and luminous eyes would chase any thoughts of resentment Hatori might have entertained away. It was both Akito's gift and Hatori's weakness.

But it was always a disquieting comfort to lose himself in Akito's eyes, and know, really know, that it was the curse that was to blame, that there was nothing anyone could do...

Akito smiled, only the very corners of his lips curving upwards. "Well. I suppose I should go to bed as well, then. I don't suppose you would tuck me in? Ah well. Pleasant dreams, Hatori." Akito slipped away from Hatori's loose grip, and disappeared once again into the shadows.

Hatori strode back to his house. He knew he wasn't going to sleep tonight.

He would pull out that old bottle of sake he had hidden away, and contemplate the lifespan of a snowflake.