A/N: This chapter's wild.
Italics = Flashback
It was New Year and Minami was currently spending it with Hatori, or rather in the same complex as him but not in the same room because that would be strange. He hadn't spoken to her for about a month, not she could blame him, after all she couldn't imagine someone telling her the same thing she told him.
The truth of the matter is that there was nothing she could truly do to show him that she already knew, Kureno was currently with Uo and since Minami had met him and he told her about Akito's gender beforehand, it wouldn't be of any use to say that she already knew Akito was a girl.
Random facts about the Zodiac members also didn't matter as she was close to them and it wasn't as though the original manga went into much depth about Hatori as a character so she honestly didn't have any 'dirt' or 'secrets' about him.
The only person who knew about her existence into this universe was Kureno and… possibly Akito but as she wasn't bothering her, Minami didn't want to break the camels back, overall she actually didn't have many issues when it came to Akito and it was… nice.
Though Akito never interacted much with Tohru, just at a distance… but there was something distinctly different about the way Akito interacted with Minami… but without having a conversation which may into Minami herself getting injured or Akito upset, it was unlikely she would ever find out why.
Not to mention why did Kureno already know that Minami didn't 'belong' here. Minami was sure Shigure at least had some theories that ran through his strange and complex brain, but he never outright brought it up either.
"... Hatori?" Minami asked when she saw him walk by her, making a conscious effort not to look in her general direction. He froze, as stiff as a board, but he didn't move any further, she guessed it must've been okay to ask her question. "What… was Akito like when she was little? I heard a bit from Kureno, but they weren't very close, even when they were younger."
Hatori's brows scrunched together. "Follow me." He said after a sigh and she followed him into his living room, where a kotatsu was laid. They sat across from each other and Hatori was about to take out a cigarette and light it but he tossed the pack into the trash.
"Why do you want to know?" He asked her, looking outside at the lack of snow on the chilly winter night, the stars were barely seen but the moon was out, brightly illuminating the Japanese garden. "Besides that one moment you met each other, I don't believe you've met each other any other time…"
"No we haven't." Minami said and placed a hand on her chin. "But, eventually I'm sure we'll have to… talk to each other again. So I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about her, and who else could I ask but you?"
"Why not Shigure?" His eyes glanced over at her confused before they went back to their original position.
"We're not… exactly on good speaking terms at the moment." Minami paused and held a deep frown on her face, her eyes distant and glazing over. "Besides the act we put up in front of the others, we hardly speak to each other at all."
Minami felt a warm hand on hers and she looked at him surprised, blushing red when se saw the concerned look on his face, it was then that she noticed the stress lines under his eyes and the dark circles. It made her feel guilt, well… guiltier than she already had been.
"Did something happen between the two of you?" He asked, so softly it made her eyes water up.
Minami shook her head quickly.
"I just don't agree with his… methods." Minami said nd he looked at her confused for a moment and then he held a blank look on his face.
"You mean when it comes to breaking the curse?" Hatori asked, his voice void of emotion
Minami slowly nodded her head.
He paused, hesitation laced in his eyes, after a long, deep breath he looked down at the ground and entwined his fingers within hers. Holding them in a tighter grip, but not enough to hurt her. He looked up. "The… thing you mentioned before…"
"Yes?" Minami asked, feeling nervousness and excitement creeping up her spine.
"You… I know you wouldn't lie about that… or at least I hope you wouldn't." He whispered the last part, making apart of her sink inside. "I don't know how I should feel about it, somehow alternate universes seem more fictitious than turning into animals." He cracked a rueful smile. "A part of me believes I should trust you, after all…" He twirled her ring finger, with a soft smile on his face. "... but at the same time— "
"You don't want to be hurt again." Minami stated and he looked at her for a moment in slight shock before she continued. "Honestly I'm not going to pretend like it wouldn't hurt me if you didn't believe and me and you thought I was lying to you, if you didn't think that for a moment I'd question for sanity." She smiled at him for a moment, "But I'm not."
"How can you prove it to me?" He asked her, tightening his grip.
"I'm not sure how." Minami confessed. "Kureno, I know he knows, maybe Akito and Shigure at least has some theories. But I'm not sure how to prove it to you."
They stared at each other, hardly blinking for a few minutes, though to Minami they felt like hours.
"Just…" He started making her blink. "Be yourself."
"What do you mean?" She asked him confused and he let go of her hands.
"Your real name it isn't.. Minami is it?" He asked her and she looked at the ground. "Look at me." After a moment of hesitation she looked back up into his eyes. "This person you are, right now, do you think she's you?"
Minami twitched anxiously. "I don't understand entirely what you mean."
"Did you look like this person, this girl before?" He asked her and Minami paused, a thoughtful look on her face. "Do.. I look like that person you read about in that book?" He added and Minami frowned deeply.
"It was a drawing, so no you don't look like that version of you, but at the same time you still remind me of that H-Hatori. I could understand how the author recreated you as that person. After all, all art is based on reality and I believe that version must've been based off of a real person, not necessarily you."
Minami brought her hands to her head. "Explaining this makes my brain hurt."
"You didn't answer the question." Hatori said after a moment.
"Pushy today aren't you?" Minami muttered and Hatori looked at her surprised. She sighed and got up. "I need to go get changed into something more comfortable if we're having this discussion." She looked at his suit. "I'd suggest you do the same."
Hatori stared at her for a moment and then went to his room.
Both of them returned, Hatori wearing a baggy long sleeved blue shirt that looked like it was just brought from the store and baggy, but not overall so pants. It amused her to see them, Minami came back wearing baggy shorts that went to her knees and a tan crop top. Her hair was down and any makeup she wore was taken off.
"I'm me." She said not looking anywhere in particular, her voice distant. "But I'm not me. It's as though I was given another chance at life, being a child, a toddler, a teenager and soon enough an adult, although I didn't get to live much after my twentieth birthday. It was in May I believe when I left my family, though all of the years seem to blur now and there are sometimes when I wonder if I'll be able to live much past my twentieth in this life, or this reality."
She looked at him, his eyes only on her.
"I didn't get to be a child, I didn't get to pretend like the universe was a nice and kind place and people are always sweet and looking out for me, I spent the majority of my childhood balancing between being too mature for a child and too immature to be an adult. If you met anyone who knew me in my childhood, in this life of course unless I mention otherwise, they would tell you I was strange, no deranged. My entire existence wasn't entirely there and I moved too slowly, too precisely, some would wonder if I had been raised in a horrible family and was abused before I met the Hondas."
"I'll be the first to tell you that I had a rather privileged life back in the U.S, with the various difficulties that come with having a broken household and being a Black American during the 2000s."
"2000s?" He asked Minami and she nodded.
"I was born in the year 2000s, in February, the same date that I gave myself in this universe. Though the years are very different."
"But we just reached the 2000s." Hatori said confused and she shrugged. (A/N: Fruits Basket was published in 1998 and finished in 2006, so I just made it so they started in 1998 and since Minami started as a 1st year and is a third year now it's 2000).
"I don't pick the rules." Minami said. "Though I wonder when my birthday passes, will the me that was born finally come to exist in this universe?" She questioned out loud. "Nevermind, that's for another day, another 'adventure' if you would call it. The point that I'm trying to making is that 'Minami' is not entirely the real me, in the way that you would think about it, physically we share the same body and are the same person but my personality and the way I mentally project myself is different then the way I actually am. Though I'm sure you can tell that."
"The heart of me remains the same, how I want to help… no how I want to end these chapters in my current life still remains, when 'Fruits Basket' ends then I won't have to keep this façade. Or this person of myself." Minami looked over at Hatori, who had an expression on his face that she couldn't place.
"Do you care about us?" Hatori asked.
Minami frowned and placed a hand under her chin, biting her nails, something she hadn't done in this life or else Tohru would've noticed her anxiety or she wouldn't be a good 'helper' to Yuki, Kyo and the others. "The way I care about… you all, isn't the same way others care about each other. For me, I know how some things will turn out to be, though there has been some irregularity in this 'timeline', I know that if I say this or if I act this way then it will help Yuki or Kyo. I don't want them to get hurt so I act accordingly, but I wouldn't say I love them or care for them."
"... and me?" He whispered and Minami felt herself freeze and looked away from him.
"I.. I do lo— Care about you, but I honestly wonder if you knew the real me would you still be around, would I still matter, or would you find someone else, someone less complicated someone more tethered to this reality…. I shared some part of my real self to Kureno, emotionally I was able to release some of my anxiety but it was never to this extent. We've never spoken this deeply nor did he openly ask questions, because that's just in his nature to allow for someone to remain comfortable." Like Tohru.
"I don't get to be some regular person who worries about kids or marriage or their love-life… Instead I worry about if I'm making the correct decisions or if everything that I'm doing right now is just going to fail and I'll be the reason why all of you aren't able to free yourself from this curse. There's no luxury in being in my position, the idea of meeting your 'favorite characters' and 'falling in love' aren't true realities because you, all of you, that I've read about through the manga were only character and the people I see nearly everyday are just as complicated and complex as I am."
"I won't pretend like I never had an infatuation for you, Shigure, Ayame or Kureno because you were people I've read about and they have impacted the way I felt about you in the past, and for you Hatori, I honestly don't understand my feelings, one moment I feel as though I'm in love one moment and hopelessly confused the next. I love Kyo and the rest but it's in a way that a Mother loves a child or a dog loves it's owner, but whenever I see you my emotions are all a mess."
Minami takes a deep, shuddered breath, feeling a massive weight crushing her body.
"I don't even understand myself or love this version of me, so how could I even love you?" She asked and covered her face with her hands, the feelings of exhaustion, confusion, melancholy and depression all coming over to her similar to the way it was during the Summer Vacation. "I don't know what I'm even doing here… I don't know why it was me when Tohru was so much better than I was. I can't understand anything."
Minami heard Hatori get up and felt him crouch down towards her. She tensed up and waited for him to say something but instead she felt his warm arms around her. "W-What're you—" She went to say but he released his hug and took a seat across from her.
"What's your name?" He asked her.
"W-What?" Minami stuttered.
"What's your name?" He asked again and Minami's eyes looked back and forth at his, looking for something she couldn't see.
"It's…. But I'm not… I'm not that person anymore and I'm not Minami either." She said confused. "I don't know."
"You do know." He said and wiped one of the tears from her face. "You're just thinking too much about it."
"... Mina. I just… I just want to be called Mina." She whispered. "My fr… friends back at school and T.. Tohru used to call me that. I'm sure you've heard the others call me by that name before…"
"Mina." He said softly and she covered her face and looked away from him, thoroughly embarrassed. "Are you embarrassed?" She gave him a weak glare and pushed him lightly on his chest.
"No.." She lied. "Are you done teasing me?"
"What were you like? Before all of this, what was the world like for you?" He asked her. "What were truly like as Minami? I want to know everything."
"..." She couldn't find anything to say and wrapped her arms around her. "Why? It's not that important." Feeling very self-conscious.
"I want to know because it's important to me." He said and placed a hand on her cheek making her look at him. "I want to know because I want to understand you, and understand… us. How I made you feel before and what you actually think of me."
"I already told you what I thought of you." She argued back.
"But was it unfiltered?" He asked and she shook her head and paused. "Did you even like my gifts?"
"I did!" Mina said immediately and stood up. He blinked at her surprised and sent her a soft smile, and Mina made a face.
"Are you trying to stop yourself from smiling?" He asked standing up, trying to peak at her face but she turned around. "You never did that before."
"My mom always told me I looked ridiculous when I was I did." She said embarrassed. "Not that she's wrong. Anyone pretending not to smile looks ridiculous. And I know what you're trying to do, you're trying to not answer the question I asked you before."
"About Akito?" Hatori asked and she nodded her head. He sat back down and patted the tatami mat beside him, she took a seat. "Akito, before she was a very happy girl, only ever getting possessive when her Mother came around. Though there were some moments when Akito would look off into the distance, looking for something and other times when she'd search the entire estate trying to find something. I can still remember the lost expression on her face and the words she'd say whenever we'd ask her what was wrong."
" 'I lost something. I don't know what but I lost something. I can't remember what it was either but it's not here anymore. I think something bad happened. I think I did something wrong because it's not here anymore.' She would say similar sentences whenever she'd went to sleep, Akito was never able to sleep much even when she was a baby. The maids would go on to say that her father, Akira, would say the same things in his sleep. Some believed that's why those who were possessed by 'God' was always so sick and died young, because there was something wrong or lost. They had hoped that when the last Zodiac member was born Akito would be able to sleep well and live a good life, but that never did happen."
He looked over at Mina. "I don't know why you're asking me this when you still remember much of the book."
"That wasn't there before." Mina said confused. "... Kureno… his curse was supposed to have been… broken —" His eyes shot up to that, a look that could only be dsescribed as shock filled his face. " — when he was in high school, and he should've been with Akito afterward. Instead they're distant and Kureno's curse didn't break until—"
Mina's eyes shot upward and she felt her breath stop.
"What's wrong?" Hatori said placing a hand on her shoulder.
"Kureno he… I remember him saying strange things to me when we saw each other during the Summer."
"It seems like you really are special."
"You're just as cursed as the rest of us."
"Do you miss your home?"
"Your old home."
"I wonder what you will choose…"
"I hope your curse can be broken."
"It's apart of your curse."
"It seems like you really do know a lot about us, your expression didn't even change when I said Akito's real gender."
"That you're from another world?"
"Yes I know, I know that you even know things about us. That to you, back at your own home, we weren't real only fake. I can't imagine the shock you must've gone through."
"Are you going to explain how you know this?"
"I'm sorry but I can't."
"Disappear? I'm sorry, but you're stuck here, I'm sure of that."
"The most miserable one is you, so how could I leave your side? The two of you… really are too much alike.."
How could she forget?
"Everything, me being here, the curse, Akito, it's all connected." Mina said and looked over at Hatori. "When you met me… what did it feel like?"
"It felt like I already knew you." He explained and touched his heart. "Something, no the Dragon, it knew you somehow. You were familiar and when you hugged me, if felt as though something I had… lost a long, long time ago was found again and I felt a feeling so strong that it was hard to explain. Shigure, Ayame, they all felt the same way I'm sure of it. But it faded with time, and for me it shaped into something else. But, there's no doubt in my mind that you were someone I had missed… It was as though there was a… spirit within you that the Dragon had latched onto you and begged to stay."
"Did it stay for long?" Mina asked and he shook his head.
"No not as long as the other's had. Yuki's… affections lasted the longest, Ayame's ended after mine and Momiji's was before." He explained.
"How do you know all of this?" She asked.
"The Bond, it connects us in mysterious ways, the way they acted towards you changed the moment their feelings changed." Hatori said. "It's… in the same order as the Zodiac, but Kyo… his…"
"It lasted for years." Mina said and thought of the story behind the Zodiac and how they came to be, a part of the history that was forgotten, one that she wouldn't tell the others because it was for Akito to do. Mina frowned. "It doesn't sense, considering I knew Kyo since he was young and he felt that level of emotions, why didn't he just find me or remember me immediately when we met at Shigure's for the first time?"
"Did you want him to? When you saw each other?"
"No. No I didn't, because Tohru wasn't here. It wasn't… until I confronted him about it." Did those feelings return. "But I had missed Kyo when we were younger, that never caused him to look for me."
"Not enough for the timeline to change." Hatori added and Minami slowly nodded. "You knew already about Rin and Hatsuharu."
She nodded. "Haru was only ever kind, nothing more. Yuki saw me as a friend, no it was originally something more I'm sure."
"Kisa needed someone to help her and be kind of her. I was that for her."
"Momiji… He felt the same way you do, I'm sure. Even now."
"Ayame was affectionate and loving for a moment."
"Rin needed a sister, and I became that for her."
"Hiro had a simple crush, he already loved Kisa.'"
"Ritsu's like a brother to me, same with Kureno." Although they had kissed once.
"Shigure's only interested in how I relate to the rest of you."
"Hated me, loved Kyo."
"Avoids me, even now."
There was a moment of silence.
"Originally, what did everyone need towards the end?" Mina looked over at Hatori consciously.
"You mean the originally ending of Fruits Basket?"
He nodded his head.
"You won't tell anyone?"
He nodded once more then gave her a look with could only be defined as a dull yes.
She explained and after a moment he began to speak,
"Tohru was important for Momiji and Kyo was important for love. Momiji fell in love and Kyo was deeply in love with her. For Kisa, Yuki and Rin they needed a familial figure. Myself, Hiro, Ayame and Ritsu needed guidance and affection. Shigure, Kureno and Akito used her to fulfill a purpose. Haru was only needed friendship. Kagura disliked Tohru because of Kyo's feelings. Am I correct?"
"It seems like you're fulfilling the same purpose, just in different ways. Kyo and Momiji fell in love with her, so they fell a similar way towards you because she passed away. You were able to an important figure for Kisa, Yuki and Rin. Guidance and affection was given to Hiro, Ayame and Ritsu. Haru seems you for friendship only and Kagura remained the same. Shigure only finds interest in you as a way to break the use."
"Then… You, Kureno and Akito?" Mina asked.
"We're the outliers." Hatori said. "I had met with your teacher but we moved passed any previous affections or lack thereof. Kureno never became close to Akito due to his curse breaking and momentarily held affections for you though it is only platonic now. Akito avoids you."
"Well both you and Kureno have seen me breakdown." Mina said a bit sarcastically. "Kureno's curse broke and he helped me become more open to plot changes. You already know about everything and know the other verison of me, Minami and 'Mina'."
"Perhaps Akito is the one who will explain the truth about the curse and how all of us are connected. The reasons for you being here, how you are able to hug us and the familiarity we have all faced when we see you." Hatori said. "Akito and previous 'Gods' have all lost and I have a feeling it must be you."
"The one who is the saddest of all of us, is most definitely you. You're worse than the cat, just a little girl stuck in another world, not only losing one family but also causing your other family to leave you alone too. I wonder, if they miss you... How I pity you."
"Are you going to go see her?" Hatori asked, looking at the expression on her face.
Mina paused and thought of the timeline, the plot and…
"No… not yet. There's other things that still need to be done." Mina said and moved Hatori's hair from his damaged eye, letting her see his full face. "My name was —"
And she told him everything.
This time, without any filter as her true self Mina only to him.
When all of the questions were answered, she felt at peace and Mina hoped one day, she'd be able to show the others her true self.
But until that day.
She was fine with just telling Hatori.
A/N: This was a super meta chapter and was making my head hurt trying to think of how to explain how Mina felt being in an alternate reality. Yeah so Hatori knows everything including who he originally was supposed to be with.
Kyo and various other character's have mentioned that Minami acts older or weirder than everyone else and treats people her 'age' like kids so I was going into more of her actual personality. She's still very much the Minami from the previous chapters but her filter is gone, though only around Hatori.
Hatori and Minami haven't really had a long talk chapter, that's different from the manga so I had to add this in since originally Tohru and Kyo are over Shishou's getting closer.
The infatuation for Minami actually is a plot point and wasn't just something I just threw in for fun lol I had it planned since the beginning, I'm between two different ideas for how Minami is connected to Akito and the others but I feel like I'm leaning towards the other one.
If you're an anime only watcher you might be confused since the whole 'Zodiac' thing is in later chapters, but I'm sure the anime's gonna finish before this so you'll understand the more it comes up.