Akito: It seems Hatori is like snow. He’s as cold as snow.
Hatori: Since long ago, I’ve erased people’s memories on orders from Akito and my father. Even knowing that it would hurt Yuki, I took away his friends’ memories, too. That’s why the words that slipped out of Akito’s mouth then may be the truth.
So this chapter we hear from Hatori as he runs into Tohru in the days after New Year’s (because Tohru just randomly bumps into members of the Zodiac from time to time). They run into each other on the first snowfall of the year.
Tohru: Sohma-kun and Kyo-kun said they were going to pay a New Year’s visit to the main house!
Hatori (internally): I’m sure that was a lie. Both of them have guts to have skipped, especially Yuki. Consequently, there was a big fuss at the banquet over the Rat’s first ever no-show. But on the other hand, I want to pat him on the back. Choosing her over Akito…I wasn’t able to.
And then fate conspires to make Hatori transform (either from Tohru falling into him or the resulting knock on the head).
For the record, Hatori is indeed the “Dragon”…but the Japanese word for seahorse can also be translated as “child of the dragon”.
Hatori: This brings back memories, though. Tohru Honda’s reaction is the same as hers. Kana’s…
He met Kana on a day it was snowing, too. She asked him a question: When the snow melts, what does it become? He naturally says “water”, but the real answer is “spring”.
Hatori: I know sentiments can make you idealize another person…I know that, but I swear, to me, she was “spring.” If I was snow that had been frozen over the years, caged up in the darkness of this house, she was the fresh, vivacious spring.
But eventually she discovered his little secret.
Kana: I’d been wondering why you never embraced me. Now I understand. You were scared. You didn’t want me to know. That’s why you keep your distance from people. And from the one you love even more so. But don’t be scared. Don’t reject me. Meeting you…is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I love you, Hatori. You make me so happy. I want to be with you.
Hatori: I cried. For the first time in my life, it felt as if I’d been forgiven for something. I felt like I’d been saved. It was as if the breath of spring had melted this freezing clump of snow. My tears wouldn’t stop. The next two months or so went by like a joyous dream. […] The dream ended the day I went to seek Akito’s permission to marry Kana.
I suppose the rest is history (or rather, we already went over it in Chapter 10). And then AKITO decides to offer him a little advice.
Akito: Wouldn’t your specialty be useful at a time like this? You really should erase her memories. You’ve never hesitated to use it before. What’s tormenting her right now are her memories with you. Her love for you…shouldn’t your final act of love be to save her from that agony? I imagine she also yearns for release. She wants to forget.
This is our first proper look at how Akito works: Violent outbursts and chilling “logical” advice.
Hatori: Thank you, Kana. You’re going to be okay now. What hurt you is gone. (internally) God. This time, please let her meet someone who can make her truly happy. I’m begging you. I don’t care if I spend the rest of my life surrounded by snow that never melts, but please, please…
Then he wakes up. And who should be walking by but Kana and a group of her friends? It’s totally fate and not lazy storytelling! Anyhow, from their conversation he gleans that Kana is going to be marrying someone else soon.
Hatori: This is the first time I’ve seen her in two years. She still has the same smile. I see. So she’s happy now. I’m glad. I’m happy for her.
Hatori: Question – when snow melts, what does it become?
Tohru: It becomes spring! No matter how cold it is now, spring will always come. It’s magical, isn’t it?
Well, this was a heartrending experience. Even knowing how things end is no defense in Fruits Basket. But another thing about Fruits Basket is that the heartache isn’t the end of the story. There’s always hope.
Someday, the snow will melt. No matter how cold it is right now. It always does.
Until next time…