Disclaimer: it is based on the Anime, Fruits basket, which I do not own.
Musical inspiration for this chapter: How to save a life, by the Fray.
A cool summer breeze wafted through the trees in the forest behind Shigure’s house. Sunlight filtered through the leaves, dappling across the sun-kissed face of a young girl who warmed water for her dinner, on a stove outside her tent. Unbeknownst to the two Zodiac inhabitants of the little Japanese cottage, there was an exquisite young maiden living merely a few hundred metres away from their back door, keeping a close watch on their mystical family.
Meda was a prophetess with extraordinary healing powers whose life had been dedicated to healing and mending, to the best of her abilities, both humans and superhumans alike. She had travelled the globe, using her magic and own medical sense to try and make the world a better place. Sometimes all they needed was some kindness empathy, which her pure heart bestowed unconditionally upon anyone that asked it of her. Despite some of her darker encounters over the years, a genuine heart still beat in a world that's been too long shrouded by hate and horror. When she heard, on her travels through Japan, of the terrible curse of the Zodiac that afflicted 13 members of the Sohma family, her generous heart went out to them immediately. She resolved to stay and help free them of their curse, or at the least help them assimilate to it better.
And so, she enrolled as a senior in Yuki Sohma’s school, managing to pass off a couple of years younger than she was.
Now, as she gently boiled some water, using her extensive herbal knowledge to enrich the vegetable stew with natural herbs and roots she’d found in the forest, her intuitive senses alerted her to the presence of another being approaching. Panic flashed briefly in her fern green eyes, at the threat of being discovered, before they resumed their usual tranquility. It was too late to move and though she could use a simple spell to conceal the tent, she decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. She casually sipped the watery stew, watching expectantly as Yuki emerged from the foliage opposite the small clearing.
She suppressed a small smile at the look of utter shock on his face as he stumbled across her humble set up.
‘Miss- uh’ Yuki faltered, as he tried to desperately recall her surname to no avail. He knew she was in his class- the quiet, new transfer student who had moved from America this year. She always had an air of peaceful tranquility around her, but her eyes… She had the most stunning green, lucid eyes that pierced to the very core of your soul. Most people felt slightly unsettled by the inexplicable perceptiveness she possessed.
‘Meda. Call me Meda.’ She said softly, not looking at all startled by his sudden appearance. It was almost as if she was expecting him…
‘Ah… Miss Meda… What are you doing out here?’ Yuki asked, looking in surprise at the tent and stove.
‘I live here.’ She replied simply, as if it were the most normal thing in the world.
‘Oh…’ Yuki stared at her in silence for a while, shifting uncomfortably. With a gentle smile she proffered him a bowl of the stew she had made. At a loss for what to do in the strange situation, Yuki merely accepted.
Meda spun a story to try and explain her current living situation. The calmness and tranquility she exuded allowed the Rat to relax in her company, believing her words as her dewy, large green orbs were simply filled with too much innocence for her to be lying.
‘If that is the case, Miss Meda, why don’t you come live with us. My cousin Shigure and I live in a house that is very close by.’
Meda took care not to reveal that this news came as no surprise to her as she considered what to do. Although it might help her understand the nature of their curse better at a closer range, she didn’t want to burden them.
‘Oh, I couldn’t possible impose like that.’ She gently declined. She was content to keep an eye on them from afar and besides, she was used to living with nature. Nevertheless, being the gentleman that he was, Yuki wouldn’t hear of it.
And that was how, half an hour later, the tan young prophetess found herself standing awkwardly in front of a grinning Shigure who was fawning over her.
‘Oh my goodness! How exotic! From America too. Ahh a young American high school girl staying at my house.’ A slightly lecherous leer appeared on his face, causing Meda to raise her eyebrows in mild concern.
Thankfully, Yuki stepped in and saved her from Shigure’s overzealous welcome, showing her up to her new room.
‘Thank you so much for your generous hospitality, Yuki.’ She said warmly, flashing him a brilliant, warm smile. Yuki’s heart faltered for a second before it started working at double speed, colouring his cheeks a bright pink.
‘I d-‘ Yuki’s embarassed reply was lost forever as at that precise moment there was a loud noise, as some blurred orange shape burst through the ceiling and tried to knock Yuki down.
‘Oh my!’ Meda gasped quietly, startled by the sudden attack. Her intuition hadn’t warned her about this one. She watched with growing concern as Yuki and a loud mouthed orange haired boy viciously fought each other.
‘I’ll get you this time, damn rat!’ The orange haired boy yelled, swinging a powerful looking right hook, aimed straight for Yuki’s head. Yuki gracefully pivoted out of its way, using his momentum to land a firm roundhouse kick to the other boy’s abdomen. Meda watched as the boy crumpled to the ground, clutching his side.
‘Oh dear.’ She immediately crouched down beside him, her doctor skills kicking in as she expertly checked him for possible broken ribs.
‘Get off of me, damn woman.’ The boy yelled ungratefully, pushing her aside, face red with embarassment at having been defeated yet again. Unfortunately, as he tried to get up, he tripped over Meda who was doing the same, and they both went down.
The orange haired boy immediately changed and Meda found herself sitting on the floor with an adorable little orange cat, tangled in a pile of clothes, on her lap.
‘Awww. What’s this? A cat?’ Unfazed, Meda merely picked the cat up gently, cradling it in her arms.
‘What! How comes you weren’t surprised when I turned into a cat?’ The kitty demanded in the loud voice of the orange-haired boy.
‘Yeah, Miss Meda. You don’t look at all surprised.’ Yuki seconded, a frown furrowing across his face.
‘Not the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.’ She smiled cryptically, still cuddling the cat who’d given up his furious struggles at escaping her clutches, ‘What’s your name?’
‘Kyo. What the hell do you mean this isn’t the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?!’ The cat demanded.
‘Surely you didn’t think that you guys were the only ones in the world with supernatural abilities?’ She asked softly, stroking the tabby’s fur gently and enjoying the stunned silence her revelation had brought upon the room. They were far too loud for their own good.
Despite himself, Kyo was enjoying her gentle ministrations and soon was purring softly in her arms.
‘What’s this? Our brash Kyo- purring?’ Shigure suddenly appeared in the doorway, looking upon the scene with a disturbing glee in his eyes.
‘Really?! After what she just said, that’s the thing that caught your attention.’ Kyo yelled, stopping his purring immediately, ‘Who are you? Who sent you here? What do you want?!’ He demanded, resuming his struggles to get out of her warm embrace. This time she let go, allowing the small cat to streak to the other side of the room- as far away from her as he could get.
‘What? What did she just say- I missed it.’ Shigure asked curiously.
‘I am Meda,’ She introduced herself with a slight bow, ‘I am the prophetess of the Lord. Well, one of them.’
Yuki’s jaw dropped, Kyo’s eyes narrowed at her and Shigure just looked mildly surprised.
‘What do you mean a prophetess?’ Yuki asked, looking genuinely confused.
‘It means that I have startlingly perceptive intuitions and visions- sometimes of the future, sometimes of the past. I have also been gifted with abilities beyond human capabilities.’ She answered patiently, her soft voice calming them down.
Huh, Yuki thought, Reminds me of Hanajima- san.
‘Yes, Hanajima is one of us, although she isn’t aware of it. It may perhaps, be best to keep it that way, for now.’ Meda answered his thoughts aloud, causing Yuki to blanch.
‘Y-you… You can read minds?’ He asked incredulously.
‘I knew it! She’s a witch. Grab a hold of her Shigure- we have to make Hatori erase her memories!’ Kyo yelled, his fur standing on end.
Meda laughed softly. ‘No, Yuki, I cannot read minds. We are simply more perceptive than most humans. My talents lie within healing as I am descended from the Quileute tribe. I can heal and cure most afflictions- human or not. Hanajima, on the other hand, has an affinity for reading and interpreting emotions. Those waves of hers- they allow her to interpret both situations and living beings.’
‘Well, Meda, if that is the case, then what are you doing here?’ Shigure asked.
‘I am here to help. I heard of the Sohma curse and the fact that the head of the family is severely ill and I am here to offer my services.’
They all gaped at her. This stranger, who’d arrived out of nowhere, suddenly claimed to be able to lift this terrible curse off their heads. It seemed too good to be true.
‘How?’ Kyo asked, his curiosity getting the better of him.
‘Ah… well, I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.’ She cocked her head thoughtfully.
Suddenly, Kyo transformed back to his handsome young self. Muscly, toned and… naked as the day he was born.
‘AHH!’ For once, the ever-collected Meda lost her cool, blushing a deep crimson as she scrunched her eyes closed. She blindly held out his clothes, unable to see that Kyo was just as red as she was as he snatched his clothes from her hands and stormed out of the room.
‘Sorry!’ She called after him, a blush still colouring her freckled cheeks.
‘Don’t mind Lucky Kyo- he’s like that with everybody. Now, Meda, why don’t you freshen up and we can have dinner. It’s been quite an eventful day!’ Shigure said cheerily as he left.
‘I’m so sorry about everything, Yuki.’ She said quietly to the purple eyed youth who was still staring at her, as if she had sprouted wings.
‘Don’t worry about it, Miss Meda. Do you really think you’ll be able to lift the curse?’ He asked, a long lost hope beginning to piece back together in his heart.
‘I don’t know, Yuki,’ she answered honestly, ‘But I promise I will do everything in my power to help.’ She flashed him another one of those incredible, heart stopping smiles and Yuki felt himself grinning like a fool as he floated out of the room.
Yes, I won’t stop until I help you. All of you. Meda vowed silently to herself.