"Then I Did" by perfect-to-stay

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Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Rascal Flatts or their song "Then I Did". (Nor am I associated with Fruits Basket, for that matter.) No copyright infringement intended.

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"Katie!" Shigure's excited voice yelled. I pulled the phone away from my ear until he had quieted down.

"Shigure, what are you doing? You haven't been in contact with me since I left!" I said into the phone. Not that I wasn't glad to hear from him. I just hadn't been expecting it.

"Now why would you say such a thing to your favorite surrogate uncle?" Shigure asked me, sounding like he was pouting.

"Since when were you my favorite surrogate uncle? I always liked Ayame and Hatori better," I joked.

Shigure didn't take it as a joke and immediately started whining through the phone. Once I had him calmed down, I finally got him to tell me what he'd called for in the first place.

"You have to come back!" he ordered.

I scoffed. "Naw. I don't think so, Bossy."

"But Kaaatiiiiieeeeeeeee!" he whined again.

"Ugh! What's gotten into you today? You don't usually act like this!"

"It's important!" Shigure said, suddenly becoming serious. "You need to come back. No excuses this time. I know you don't have any important tests."

I didn't like that tone. "All right. I'll be there as soon as I can."

I thought about calling you
when I got off the plane
Every time I see this city through the clouds
I get that way

I stepped off the plane and into the freezing airport, looking around with a huge sigh. It had been more than a year since the last time I'd been here. I remembered when I left, giving a hug to Tohru and Kagura and hand hugs to Shigure, Ayame, Hatori, Momiji, and a reluctant Kyo.

I had to grin when I thought of the "hand hugs". When I discovered the Sohma secret (by total accident - Yuki shouldn't have tried to catch me when I fell out of that tree!), I came up with the idea. It was kind of like a handshake, except you interlaced your fingers. It served its purpose.

Call me crazy for missin' you like this
but I do

But thinking of hand hugs reminded me of how I found out the Sohma secret in the first place, which in turn made me think of Yuki.

I was a new kid in school, but a girl named Tohru Honda had immediately reached out to me. I hadn't known her for more than a week before she invited me over to stay overnight. I was glad - both for the new friend, and for the chance to get away from my new family, which was made up of my mother, my stepfather, and my stepsiblings who didn't seem to like me.

I found out that she lived with both Yuki and Kyo Sohma. I had gotten along with Yuki right away and Kyo and I had a sort of friendly rivalry, like siblings.

When I got up the next morning, I decided I felt like climbing a tree. Yuki saw me up there and called up to me, surprising me and causing me to step too far away from the trunk on a fairly small branch. It split under my weight and I went careening down to land on Yuki. But I didn't know I'd landed on Yuki at the time.

When I looked around for him, I didn't find him. Then I felt something wiggling under me, and you know what I found. The little Yuki rat and his clothes. There was nothing he could do to hide himself - all the proof was there - so I was a new keeper of the Sohma secret.

I don't know what I said to convince Akito not to erase my memory or Tohru's, but both of us were allowed to keep on as we were and I became a frequent visitor to Shigure's house.

Over the year that I spent with them (not living with them, but going to school with them and seeing them often), my bonds with Tohru, Yuki, Shigure, and Kyo deepened considerably. Tohru and Kyo were like my siblings, Shigure was like an uncle, and Yuki... Well, Yuki started to become something more.

It took a while. Yuki still hadn't sorted out his feelings for Tohru, so it was weird for him to have feelings for me. But he finally figured things out and we were inseparable for a while there. Granted, there was always the fact that we couldn't hug and the fear that Akito would find out, but we made it just fine, and maybe cared for each other more because of that.

And then we graduated.

It hurts a bit to think about it, though I've toughened up a little in the amount of time it's been. I still miss him.

By now I figured
you had all your numbers changed
It's been at least a year
since I called you up to say
"We need to talk
I got this job and I think I'm gonna take it"

I sighed as I walked through the airport, headed outside where I could get a taxi to my mother's house. I'd say hi to her and my stepfamily and then head over to Shigure's. I hoped nothing was wrong. Shigure had sounded pretty intense.

He was the only one I expected to see there. Maybe one of the other adults, too. But Momiji and Hatsuharu must have graduated by now. Yuki was at his university, and Tohru and Kyo were… somewhere.

Tohru had called me a while back to tell me that she and Kyo were getting married. I wasn't able to make it. Their marriage was scheduled during my midterms, so I had to miss it.

So no, I didn't expect to hear from anybody when I got to Shigure's house. Especially not Yuki. He didn't even see me off when I left.

'Cause I've been waiting all my life
for a break like this
It's my chance of a lifetime
I just know it is
"I gotta go and find these dreams"
was the last thing that I said
And then I did

Shortly after graduation, my dad called from home, offering to let me live with him if I'd like to go to college.

I couldn't pass up that offer. Truthfully, the only thing I had liked about being here was the fact that the Sohmas and Tohru were here. Besides, I had always dreamed of going to Harvard and this was my chance.

Yuki was heartbroken when I told him. He gave no sign, but I'd been around him long enough to know what he was hiding from me.

I can see clear to the mountains
as we head up our old street
I remember how we'd call in sick on days like these
and turn the music up
and roll the windows down
and just drive

The sun shone brightly while I walked beneath the canopy of trees on my way to Shigure's house, just reminiscing. There had been many good times on this path. This was where I first found out Yuki liked me, where I first turned Kyo into a cat, where I first met Ayame, and where I had almost passed out from heat exhaustion. There had been a lot of laughter and smiles here. Skipping with Momiji, ambushes by Hatsuharu, talking with Tohru, and getting Yuki to call me by my first name. I missed it all.

You talked me out of givin' up on myself
so many times
Convinced me to get it in while I could
Regrets hang heavy on my mind
You never doubted me
You kept pushin' me

Sayin' "you've been waiting all your life
for a break like this
It's your chance of a lifetime
You just know it is" - yeah
"You gotta go and find those dreams"
was the last thing that you said

But there were also bad times on this path. This was where I told Yuki that I'd be going back to live with my dad.

I could see right through his smile, his encouragement.

"Go, Katie. You deserve to have a chance like this. Anyone who works as hard as you deserves this."

Yeah right, Yuki. You wanted me to stay. You just thought it was wrong to tell me so.

I'll admit that at the time, I was glad he was so supportive of me. Or that's what I told myself. That he was truly supportive. That I truly wanted to leave, to go get the education I'd been dreaming of ever since I knew what college was.

"I'm coming in!" I yelled as I opened the door to Shigure's house. It was strangely quiet - very unlike how I'd remembered it. Of course, Yuki and Kyo weren't there to argue and Tohru wasn't there to freak out about it.

I kicked off my shoes and went inside, to find a whole group of people there waiting for me.

"Welcome back, Katie!" they greeted.

I scanned the faces with happy tears building up in my eyes. They were all here - Kyo, Tohru, Shigure, Ayame, Hatori, Hatsuharu, Kagura, Momiji, and… well, maybe they weren't all here. Yuki wasn't here. But I had almost been expecting that and didn't allow it to ruin the moment.

I was soon being crushed in a huge hug from all angles. They kept sandwiching me until I feared for my life, then pulled back, all grinning at me foolishly.

I stared at them for a few seconds, the wheels turning in my mind.

"Wait a second… Did you guys just hug me?"

They all nodded, still grinning like fools. Hatori was probably the only one without a dumb grin on his face.

"All of you?" I asked.

They all nodded again. I broke into a grin of my own.

"The curse!" I said happily. "Come back here! Let me hug you again!"

This time I was hugged individually and even Kyo consented to give me a small hug.

The rest of the day was full of fun and merriment. I congratulated Tohru and Kyo on their marriage and admired Tohru's ring. I congratulated Hatsuharu and Momiji on their graduation. I congratulated Shigure on his new book, which was rapidly on its way up in the best-seller's list. I listened as Kagura told me about her new boyfriend, who apparently put up with her violent tendencies just fine. I played a game with Momiji and went on a quick ride with Hatsuharu on his new motorcycle. I had a civil conversation with Hatori, mostly checking in on how things were going, both for him and for me. I even put on the outfit Ayame had designed for me (though I took it off after everybody had gotten pictures).

I left the house feeling happier than I had in a while.

And then I did
But you were wrong
Love was what I wanted all along
and now you're gone

I still couldn't help but feel sad as I walked back down the path, underneath the trees that now seemed lonely in the twilight.

He hadn't come to see me even when everybody else had. Sure, it would have been awkward, but that was no reason to avoid me. Or maybe he just doesn't care anymore. He left me when I left him. I shouldn't have even hoped for a chance at trying this again, but I couldn't help but hope either.

I felt the lump in my throat and decided to allow myself one sob. I loved him, after all. He was worth a whole night of crying, but I had already done that more than enough times. Tears hadn't changed anything before, and they weren't going to change anything now.

I thought about callin' you
when I got off the plane
Every time I see this city through the clouds
I get that way

I got out of the taxi and walked back towards the airport, turning around to look one last time at this place. I didn't think I'd be coming back again.

I made it through security and sat at my gate, waiting to board the plane. I closed my eyes and tried to imprint yesterday into my memory forever. I didn't want to forget a good day like that.

But you were wrong
Love was what I wanted all along - ooo yeah
But you were wrong
Yeah love was what I wanted all along

'Cause I've been waiting all my life
You gotta go and find those dreams
You gotta go and find those dreams

Somebody tapped lightly on my shoulder, breaking me out of my reverie. Or nap, as it had turned into.

"Yes?" I asked politely, turning to meet a pair of beautiful violet eyes. I could never forget those eyes.


He smiled, seemingly with his whole being. What did he think, that I'd forgotten him or something? Like I could do that even if I wanted to.

"Hello Kat-"

But I didn't let him finish. I practically flew at him from my seat, giving him the biggest hug I'd ever given anybody in my whole life.

And he was hugging back.

You've been waiting all your life...

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