Author's Notes: The Ceremony of Innocence

Fruits Basket is owned by Takaya Natsuki, Hakusensha, and others. The Ceremony of Innocence is owned by Ysabet MacFarlane, and was released between October and December 2004.

General Continuity Notes | Individual Chapter Notes | Musical Influence

The Ceremony of Innocence is the only novel-length piece of fanfiction I've ever written, and over the course of its writing it went through quite a few changes. It's based on Takaya Natsuki's Fruits Basket, but doesn't really fit with either the anime or manga continuities. I began writing it mid-2003, when I had just finished watching the anime and was beginning to get into the manga. It evolved substantially as I caught up on the ongoing story, and continued to evolve as new manga chapters came out. I finished the first draft in late autumn, taking time out to work on other projects; two additional chapters (seven and nine) were added later. Between then and the final editing stages, I wrote other fanfiction for Fruits Basket which fits more comfortably alongside the canon story.

Innocence started out as a short scene between Yuki and Akito, and rapidly decided it would prefer to center around Kyo. The fascination I have with Hatsuharu and Rin (they became my favorite characters as I got more into the manga) also began to show up at various points, but they had the courtesy to not try taking over the story (although they demanded their own story in exchange, which resulted in Fear of Falling). There are still lingering overtones of the way I'd felt Fruits Basket might go after the anime, especially in the relationship between the three main characters; some manga developments that happened while I was writing were taken into account, while others were not. (See individual chapter notes for serious deviations.)

The novel's title comes from William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming". All epigraph quotes have been thoroughly credited here and in the text, and I encourage you to check out the original songs or poems.

As always, massive thanks go out to Alishya Lane for the time and effort she puts into editing for me. She's worked on all but one of my Fruits Basket fanfics, and her sense of what I'm trying to say has helped me to stay on track many times.

Additional thanks to Ginny T. for her initial read of the first draft and for her final pronoun check on the finished product.

General Continuity Notes

There are passing references to several events which happened in the manga after the anime left off, but generally speaking it isn't necessary to be familiar with most of the later manga storylines. The one major spoiler which is not mentioned in the anime is the fate of the Cat.

Akito is not precisely the character presented in the anime, but is also not the manga Akito; in particular, the revelation in chapter 97 of the manga is not taken into account. I did briefly try rewriting to incorporate it, and in some ways the story flowed more smoothly as a result, but in the end I had to remove references to it again.

Yuki's relationship with Tohru is definitely out of canon; the novel was essentially finished before he started discussing his feelings about her (and generally opening up) in the manga, and as a result my Yuki bears very little resemblance to the real one. However, I still feel that the way I've written him here is a plausible way he might have turned out from the way the anime left him.

Individual Chapter Notes

This section will be updated as new chapters come out.

Chapter One: Whatever You Say, Say Nothing

The chapter's title comes from Seamus Heaney's poem by the same name. The chapter's only epigraph is from Tori Amos' "Blood Roses", a song which in many ways formed the emotional skeleton of this novel (see Musical Influences).

Mayuko is not a character in this story, partly because I wasn't familiar with her when I began writing, and partly because I like her too much as a character to relegate her to the extremely insignificant role played by the teacher here. (Also, since Innocence starts with the main cast in twelfth grade, she might not have been their teacher anymore anyway.) I'll also note here that the student council characters have not been taken into account in any way.

Chapter Two: Shadows Surge

The chapter's title comes from the Remy Zero song "Shattered". "Blood Roses" makes its second appearance as an epigraph (live improv lyrics from Toriphoria).

Yuki's relationship with his family is somewhat different than how I've presented it here.

Chapter Three: Points of Light

The chapter's title comes from the Tori Amos song "Sweet Dreams". And for once, no epigraphs at all.

I don't think it's ever been clearly explained in the series just how many of the Jyuunishi (or the Sohmas in general) know how the Cat's curse works, or how many of them have seen it in action. There's also never actually been any suggestion in the series that there's any sort of ceremony involved in the Cat's fate.

Chapter Four: The Color of Her Eyes at Midnight

The chapter's title comes from an improv. lullaby that Tori Amos has performed live (lyrics from Here. In My Head). Epigraph lyrics are from the Smashing Pumpkins' "Daphne Descends" and Tori's "Putting the Damage On", which is the other song that fed heavily into the emotional headspace for Innocence.

Again, the whole structure of the ceremony is my invention.

Chapter Five: The Open Grave

The epigraph is, obviously, the source of the novel's title.

My idea of Haru's relationship with his parents gets reevaluated every time I think about it, so it varies a fair bit in my fanfiction. The series drops a few extremely ambiguous hints about it, but never actually states whether it's a good or bad relationship. Every other parent-child relationship in Fruits Basket has been pretty clearly defined, so this vagueness interests me. My suspicion is that in canon it's not such a good one.

Chapter Six: Mirrors

This chapter's sole epigraph is from Tori Amos' "Cooling".

We have here my nemesis chapter; I don't think I've ever written anything before that went through so many versions or so much fretting. The events in it are, in the end, profoundly out of character for both Yuki and Rin. Despite that, I opted to have things play out as they did in order to enable the evolution of several relationships are the novel progresses. I do feel reasonably ok with Rin's motivations in this chapter, but I don't think I'll ever be completely happy with this part. However, chapter seven evolves out of it, and that's one of the parts that I feel hangs together best, so sacrifices were made.

Chapter Seven: Holding Pattern

The epigraph is from October Project's "Bury My Lovely".

Writing Yuki and Haru together is a real pleasure--they have one of the most interesting relationships in the series, in my opinion. I really don't buy into the idea of them as a couple, between Yuki's lack of interest and Haru's fierce love for Rin, but the dynamic between them is definitely not straightforward. I was in the middle of writing this chapter when the recurring 'is Haru gay/bisexual?' question was making yet another round, and so on a whim I 'asked him' while writing. Part of his interaction with Yuki in this chapter came directly out of that. I doubt the manga's ever going to address the question directly, so barring new information, the way this plays out is pretty much my final opinion on the subject. (I don't expect everyone to agree, obviously, but this is part of the filter I see and write the characters through.)

On a similar note, the way Haru describes Rin to Yuki also sums up a key part of the way I see and write her. As she appears more often in the manga, readers seem to be warming up to her and getting a better feel for her, but the people who talk about her as if she's overtly sexual do seem to be missing the point about her character rather badly.

Chapter Eight: Where the Razor's Been

The chapter's title comes from Tori Amos' "Never Seen Blue"; I shortened it for this use, but the full line is got a little red line, boy, tells you where the razor's been, and that's what I think of for this chapter. The first epigraph is the final appearance of "Blood Roses"; also used in this chapter are Tori's "Merman" and Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer".

By now the events playing out take place about four years after the anime left off, or about three years after current events in the manga (chapter 100 has just been released as I write these notes). From this point on, pretty much everything is out of canon. The recent revelations about Kureno have simply not been taken into account in any way (nor has his connection with Arisa).

What happens with Akito here was originally rooted in the way the anime played out, but the anime's explanation for him stopped being a factor quite a few drafts ago. Akito is definitely god here, not a pitied sacrificial lamb.

Having Haru and Rin get back together was something of an inevitability for me, because I adore them together, but also because I think it's likely that they'll wind up back together in canon (hopefully it won't take three years of the series' time for it to happen). Also, I think overall I give the impression that their original involvement was more common knowledge within the family than it actually was. At this point in the manga, the only characters who definitely know anything about their history are Yuki, Shigure, Akito, Hiro, and Tohru (and in most cases, these characters probably only know a few things about the situation).

Chapter Nine: All I Ever Needed

The chapter's title is from Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence", and the epigraph is from Tori Amos' "Lust".

Again, canon isn't a big factor in this chapter. Insofar as my fanfiction has internal continuity, though (which it generally doesn't), some of this chapter ties in with my short story "Jaded".

Chapter Ten: Grace in Light

The chapter's title is, again, from Remy Zero's "Shattered".

Nothing in this chapter about the past God, the past Jyuunishi, or the current Jyuunishi's families (particularly Yuki and Momiji) comes from canon. Again, Kureno's actual situation is not taken into account. A few small references to canon manga events made their way in here in passing, but they're negligible.

Specific contradictions: Ritsu is actually about two years older than Akito, and here I wrote him as slightly younger. And there are definitely Sohma children in the same age group as the current Jyuunishi, because Yuki played with some of them when he was little.

Musical Influences

In case anyone has managed to miss this not-so-subtle detail, I'm a Tori Amos fangirl. The strongest factor that determines whether I fall for a musician or not is usually the kind of lyrics they write, and Tori writes some of the most evocative lyrics I've ever come across. When I started to write this novel and I began to get a feel for the kind of story it was trying to be, I decided to try an experiment. Despite having been in love with Tori's music for several years, I'd never been able to connect with her album Boys For Pele. I'd tried once or twice, but it had always been too harsh for me to listen to. Pele is a dark and unashamedly angry album. So for Innocence, I put it on. And it stayed on.

As a result, in many ways, Pele shaped the emotional bones of this novel. The two songs that had the most effect (both of which were epigraphed at various times) are "Blood Roses" and "Putting the Damage On". Both of them are very emotional, painful songs, but they express vastly different things. "Blood Roses" is dark and brutal; "Damage" reaches beyond that to something fragile and lovely. Both of them hit places I wanted to incorporate into what I was writing, and they both lie closer to the surface of the novel than the rest of the album. But in a way it's all in there--so much of what the album (which I love now) says to me worked its way into the writing.

"So many girls will come to me with tears in their eyes and scratches all over their wrists from self-mutilation, and I'll say, 'I actually do understand the obsession to be difficult.' . . . Blood Roses is the on-the-knees version of that, the ripped-open veins and the blood dripping, going 'Why is it my fault now?'" --Tori on "Blood Roses" (quote from Here In My Head)

"I finally understood, 'oh my god, that's the only way that I can write this, if I start seeing him as beautiful. That he's beautiful after all that happened. He's still beautiful, even after--no matter what he does." Now that can say a lot about me, or that can say a lot about him'." --Tori on "Putting the Damage On" (quote from Toriphoria)