Revelations about Ayame and Mine, as individuals and as a couple. For 20 Fruits, Live Journal's 20 Facts community for Fruits Basket.
Before Yuki was born, Ayame was the center of his parents' attention -- not because of their love for him, but for the benefits that being parents of one of the juunishi provided. After Yuki was born, Ayame was relegated to the background, and was expected to go against his naturally outgoing personality, and already ingrained sense of superiority, to take his "rightful" place as subordinate to the Rat. Ayame did not make the adjustment well.
Ayame always absolutely hated being ignored, and he was ignored quite a lot by his parents, especially after Yuki was born. There were benefits, however, in that because he was ignored, Ayame could do pretty much everything he wanted, and as he got older, he also had access to enough funds with which to do it. His parents didn't want to bother, so they often threw money at him. It was much more convenient that way, and contributed to Ayame's sense of entitlement, before he really was old enough to know the difference.
Ayame had a series of nannies while he was growing up. He'd developed his afore-mentioned sense of superiority from watching his rather snobbish mother, and from what little he saw of his father, and would not let the nannies forget that his position was above theirs. This resulted in several of the nannies quitting, or being paid off. When Yuki was born, however, Ayame lost most of his [real or imagined] power. Even so, like his parents, his nannies simply allowed him to do what he wanted as long as it didn't interfere with the Head of the Family's orders.
Ayame realized that his family didn't really care about him when he got sick in school one day, and it took almost until the end of the day for anyone to come and pick him up. As it happened, baby Yuki was sick that day as well, and while everybody seemed quite worried about Yuki's well being, all Ayame remembered them doing for him was confining him to his room, while telling him not to go anywhere near Yuki's room, lest the baby catch Ayame's illness. Before this, Ayame had been fairly indifferent to his younger brother, only barely noticing the changes in his elders' attitudes toward him. He didn't really care as long as he got what he wanted. Now that he could actually see his needs and desires being compromised, Ayame began to resent his younger brother, but he still didn't dwell on it much, because that wasn't in his nature. By this time, Ayame was already sure of his own superiority, or at least knew very well how to fake it.
Ayame dealt with his jealousy mostly by becoming oblivious to his younger brother. Since Ayame himself hated to be ignored, he figured that was the best way to treat Yuki, and it was much easier simply not to care. Besides, even if he'd wanted to interact with Yuki, the younger brother was often isolated due to his delicate health, and Ayame wouldn't have been allowed to see him anyway. Even so, given the chance, Ayame was happy to tease and gossip about Yuki to his friends, but since Shigure would only play along to a point before getting bored, and Hatori would ignore him completely, Ayame stopped bothering with Yuki entirely, to the point where he'd nearly forgotten he had a brother at all.
Friends and Family
Ayame hates the fact that he's every bit as much drawn to Akito as the rest of the juunishi. He realizes now that he was jealous, because Akito preferred Yuki...even before he was jealous of all the attention Yuki was getting from their parents and everyone else at Ayame's expense.
Ayame recognizes that his mother embodies many of his own worst attributes. He is making a conscious effort to change them; she is not, and he never hesitates to remind her of that fact, on the rare occasion he takes the time to speak to her.
Ayame learned to consider others relatively late. It's something that doesn't come naturally to him, and it's something his parents never taught him, so it's not surprising that it's taken him so long to realize that his actions have consequences that are often none too pleasant. He's still learning, and often makes mistakes. However, if Hatori brings something to his attention, he is very quick to rectify his actions. He still needs to learn to recognize these things on his own.
Ayame loves Hatori. Hatori is everything Ayame is not and wishes he could be. Even though they are roughly the same age, Hatori is the older brother Ayame needed at the most crucial times in his life. Ayame wishes that Yuki would look to him the way Ayame looks to Hatori, though he realizes that's very unlikely, considering the way Ayame had treated Yuki all along. By the time he realized that Yuki himself had nothing to do with the way Ayame was treated growing up, and that Yuki desperately needed the gentle, guiding influence that only a good older brother could provide, it was very nearly too late. Yuki had developed his own coping mechanisms, and none of them included Ayame. Ayame realized the chance he missed when Yuki had reached out to him so long ago, and he vowed to himself never to miss a chance like that again. Ayame didn't recognize the hurt he'd caused people around him until Hatori pointed it out to him, and even then, he didn't truly understand until he was confronted with the possibility that someone he loved might not feel the same way.
Ayame's flirting with Shigure is all a bit of fun. Part of it is simply that they've always done it, but more importantly, for Ayame, it's a way of drawing attention away from the truth. Ayame has always been attracted to women, though not necessarily to Akito, beyond her hold on him and all the juunishi. Before he met Mine, it was little more than a game, loosely designed to keep people guessing, but now he uses his foppish ways to hide his deeply romantic feelings for Mine. Ayame holds onto the thought that perhaps if Akito thinks he's gay, then his relationship with Mine won't be suspect.
In addition to his jealousy, Ayame had to cope with the feelings of worthlessness endemic to the juunishi. He desperately needed to find something that he could do...something he could create that would not have its existence apart from him. This is how he discovered he was an artist, and after some soul searching and experimentation, he found that his greatest talent was in the area of clothing design.
While he was finding his artistic niche, Ayame also became fairly skilled at portrait painting and pastry baking, but he now only rarely indulges these interests, as he recognizes where his strengths lie. However, he always likes to have a few surprises in store, so he keeps some of his lesser-known talents under wraps just for that purpose.
Ayame worked very hard to get his business off the ground. Although he did have a good deal of the funds he needed in an account that was established for him while he was a child, he didn't have very much moral support from most of his family, particularly when they found out what his business was going to be, though Hatori and Shigure had always stood behind him. In fact, Shigure was instrumental in getting Akito's permission for Ayame to live on the outside and devote all his time to the business. Akito simply got tired of hearing Shigure talk about Ayame, and did not wish to hear Ayame babbling on about the same subject. Even so, making his business work was not easy, but Ayame succeeded, largely due to his personal charisma and unstoppable confidence.
Ayame is so charming and confidently flamboyant that most people don't realize how smart he is, and he often uses that to his advantage, particularly in matters concerning his business.
Ayame would often work very late hours at his shop, putting in extra sewing and designing time, even after sending Mine home for the evening. However, one day, Ayame overdid it, and came down with a fever. Mine found him quite ill the next morning, and tearfully made him promise never to do that again. So now, if there's late work to be done, they work together, watching out for each other's well being.
Ayame is very comfortable with his own body. He's not terribly embarrassed if he happens to transform naked, as it's simply a fact of life, and he has nothing to be ashamed of, though, as he's quite sensitive to extremes in temperature, he certainly prefers being clothed.
Ayame hates to go out of the house if he's not looking presentable. He spends a good deal of time devoted to his own personal hygiene, probably more than most men...but indeed, Ayame is not like most men -- he is a king! When Shigure gave him that nickname while they were in high school, Ayame took it to heart, and continues to take much pride in his royal comportment.
Ayame actually has quite the sweet tooth, as well as a taste for the finer things. He adores fine European chocolates and pastries, and elaborate desserts, as well as more ordinary sweets. He probably indulges himself more than he should, but thanks to his natural tendency to remain slender, it doesn't show. Most of Ayame's indulgences are in his chosen field anyway -- extravagant fabrics, bright colours, elaborate designs. Ayame feels these give him a distinct sense of identity -- a signature that sets him apart.
Generally speaking, Ayame doesn't let things bother him. He can usually give as good as he gets, only every now and then, he can get very depressed -- often when he's ill or overly tired, but also sometimes when someone hits a raw nerve, possibly concerning his relationships with Yuki, Mine and Hatori, all of which carry a lot of deep feelings. These dark moods pass fairly quickly, as Ayame has never been one to dwell on uncomfortable feelings for long. He never resorts to self destructive behaviour of any kind, though he may cry to Hatori or Mine, depending on the situation. After he talks it out, it's done, and he moves on.
Hatori is the only person Ayame listens to, however, Mine is certainly next in line. Aside from Akito, for whom it is part of the duty, Hatori and Mine are the only ones he routinely shares his special blend of tea with -- more than that, they are the only ones he deigns to serve -- but if Yuki would accept it, Ayame would gladly share it with him as well.