title: Shadow Play
fandom: Fruits Basket
characters/pairings: suggestive Shigure/Akito
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Shigure visits Akito on his birthday.
notes: for the lady demeter (heh) on her birthday. yay!

Even barefoot, his footfalls echoed powerfully in the shudderingly quiet hallway. The only light that stole across the ominously long hall was the sneaky rays that had slipped past the shutters, casting their light surreptitiously, lending just enough of it to Shigure to keep him from actually walking into the walls. There were times when he felt like his feet and his hands were too big, and he would never be able to do anything graceful. These were times when he couldn't type properly or walk quietly, or when Ayame was being particularly suave or Hatori was being particularly proper.

It was a dog's life for him, after all.

Whenever he visited Akito, he always felt too big, too loud, too oafish, and too strong. Akito would taunt him about it, too, but he never minded. He paused outside the sliding door to Akito's private rooms, and adjusted his kimono. Akito could say anything or do anything that he liked, but he was still a frail boy who spent far too much time in pain and alone.

Shigure slid the door open when he was satisfied with his appearance as much as he felt he could be. Not that Akito would care how he looked, regardless. But it wouldn't do to visit the Emperor looking anything less than his best.

He would have gotten to his knees as soon as he opened the door, but there was a dead stillness to the outer rooms, and so he brazenly walked right in and went to the bedroom. Kureno wouldn't approve, but then, there was a great deal that Shigure did and planned to do of which Kureno surely would disapprove.

Akito's bedroom was washed in the eerie, diffuse light from his windows. He had screens over the windows, but he also had layers of fabric that were hung from high above the windows, and pooled on the floor in dainty piles of muslin. There were times when Akito's eyes were terribly sensitive to the light, and therefore he needed more protection.

The room was deceptively simple, which always seemed a shame to Shigure as Akito spent so much time there. Shigure would love to bring in some flowers, or a painting. Even just a wall scroll of calligraphy. But Akito wouldn't appreciate that sort of thing. He liked the plain walls.

Akito was a lump of silk in the middle of the bed. His fine hair was barely visible on the pillow. Shigure held his breath, waiting to hear what sounds Akito was making. There was always the fear that one day, he would walk in here and hear nothing at all.

Shigure had excellent hearing, an advantage of being a dog. He smiled gently at the slight wheeze coming from the bed. Truly, Akito could be so cute! He looked so young and perfect when he was asleep. Shigure leaned over the bed, watching Akito, until his back started to ache. There was no way for him to sit down on the bed without waking Akito. It was unfortunate, but Akito was just too sensitive.

He sat down as gingerly as possible, watching closely as Akito stirred. He leaned down slowly, putting his arm down so it cradled Akito's head. Akito's nose wrinkled with annoyance, and he started to scowl before he even opened his eyes.

Shigure beamed. "Rise and shine, my lovely lord. It's your birthday."

Akito sighed, disgusted. "So what? Go away."

"Can't spend your birthday in bed. At least not alone..."

"Shigure." Akito turned and faced Shigure with his glare. "I'm not in the mood to be pandered to."

"But then you can't get your present," Shigure pouted.

Akito's eyes opened marginally wider. "What could you get me that would be that exciting?"

"Won't know until you open it." Shigure pulled the small, gold foil gift out of his pocket, and laid it on the pillow between them.

Akito regarded the package coolly, but did not move to touch it. "How annoying you can be. And how is your precious snake?"

Shigure cocked his head to the side, and supported it with his hand. "I haven't seen Aya-chan for a while. He gets involved in his work."

Akito snorted in a way that only Akito could do, a sound that was totally dismissive, elegant, and sinister. "I suppose you've seen Hatori already."

"Nope!" Shigure smiled. "Slipped past the good doctor, just in case. Didn't want him telling me I couldn't 'exhaust' you or whatever."

"Hm," Akito sighed. "Are you going to 'exhaust' me, Shigure-kun? Do you think you could?"

Shigure smiled sweetly, and ran his finger down Akito's delicate jaw. "I could never do anything to hurt the most important person in my life."

"And who would that be?" Akito yawned.

"Mm, someone very precious..." Shigure chuckled, "someone very delicate, someone very surprising..."

"You're boring me, Shigure." Akito warned kindly.

"Open your present." Shigure ordered, teasing.

Akito huffed, sounding tired. "Help me to sit up."

Shigure grinned, and pushed himself up, leaning down to take Akito into his arms. He pulled Akito up, holding him in his arms. Akito turned slightly, his hair and cheek brushing against the exposed skin at Shigure's neck. Shigure swallowed hard, holding himself still.

"I don't like to be held like this," Akito complained, but he didn't move. He held his hand out, waiting for Shigure to place the gift in his palm. Sighing, Akito leaned his head back, letting Shigure tuck his head under his chin. "Open it."

Shigure smiled at his commanding tone, rubbing his chin a little over the top of Akito's fine hair. "Ok." He opened the wrapping carefully, wishing he had put on a bow or a ribbon. Tohru-chan could have done it for him, but he hadn't wanted to ask, and risk Yuki or Kyo knowing what he was doing.

Akito's slim fingers came out to touch the wrapping, and poke at the box. "It's too small, Shigure."

"Good things come in small packages. They say that, you know." Shigure smiled.

Akito sneered. "It's too small, I said!"

"Sorry, Akito-sama. I'll do better next time." Shigure spoke softly, brushing his lips over Akito's hair.

Akito sighed. "Open it."

Shigure opened the small lid of the box, and pulled out the small whistle.

Akito looked at it, oddly, fingering it like he wasn't quite sure he wanted to touch it. "What is it?"

"A dog whistle." Shigure grinned. "So you can call me whenever."

Akito stared at it blankly. "That's the worst birthday gift ever."

Shigure laughed, making sure not to laugh too loudly with Akito in his arms. "I know. But you aren't easy to please."

"Hm." Akito sighed, stretching out against Shigure. "I'm going back to sleep. Don't move."

"I won't," Shigure promised, lightly kissing the top of Akito's head. "Sleep well."

"Never sleep well," Akito contradicted bitterly, but he put his head down, and was wheezing gently soon after.

Shigure tightened his arms ever so slightly, and closed his eyes.

He loved birthdays.