Yuki has the very great pleasure of being related to the fabulous Ayame Sohma, the snake of the zodiac. And they're actually in the same immediate family, not just two distantly related people in the extended network of the Sohma family where everyone is related anyways. Ayame is his older brother by ten years, and turns out to be the only one of his immediate family that actually cares about him, though this wasn't always the case.

As far as we know, Yuki's immediate family consists of Ayame and his parents. We're first introduced to Ayame when he shows up near Shigure's house in snake form and slithers into Tohru's clothing, much to Yuki's extreme dismay, saying that he wanted to finally meet Tohru. Ayame takes Tohru out for a meal before Yuki can protest too much, and Tohru's surprised to learn that he's Yuki's brother. Ayame, on the other hand, isn't surprised that Yuki didn't tell her about him - after all, the two of them aren't particularly close. When Yuki was born, Ayame was merely indifferent, and as Yuki was whisked away to spend time with Akito, Ayame could care less about his younger brother. However, he later came to regret this, but it was too late and there was already a rift between them. He's trying his best to reach out to Yuki, though, and tells Tohru that he actually came to visit Yuki, not her, and wanted to repent for his ignoring Yuki during his childhood.

Later, Tohru (per instruction from Ayame) asks Yuki if he hates Ayame, to which he replies that, no, he doesn't hate Ayame, but rather finds it difficult to communicate with him. (Ayame, always a spirit of great bravado, then pops out of Tohru's shirt as a snake to enthusiastically communicate with Yuki.) In the ensuing chaos, Yuki is shocked to learn that Ayame was student council president, and his flamboyant and extravagant ways pretty much allowed him to do whatever he wanted in school. That day, Ayame leaves at Hatori's behest, and while he's disappointed that he wasn't able to really connect with Yuki, Hatori reassures him that Yuki is still young and Ayame needs to be patient. Yuki, on the other hand, while overwhelmed by Ayame's presence, really respects him for being able to open up so honestly to Hatori and wishes he could be that way as well.

In simple terms, Ayame is simply a force of nature that can't be stopped - throughout the series he occasionally pops up to wreck mayhem and be comic relief and his unconditional love for Yuki. A bishounen at heart, his beauty is so stunning that everything just gets better when Ayame's around. I mean ... uhh ... moving on. It turns out that Ayame owns a costume shop of sorts, selling maid outfits and frilly lolita dresses and whatever else pleases your fancy. One day, Yuki asks to visit, because he, too, wants to get closer to Ayame, and Ayame is beyond thrilled. He calls Hatori to report that the "heartless Yuki has begged me with tears to let him visit my shop!"

The visit to the shop turns into a dress-up session for Tohru and a chance for Ayame and Yuki to talk. Ayame's heard that Yuki is going to become student council president, and assumes it's because of his influence. Yuki vehemently denies this, saying that he doesn't want to be like Ayame because they are too different (and he's disgusted by Ayame's shop). Ayame doesn't deny this, and is happy to be having this kind of conversation with his brother.

Ayame ~ Chapter 36 (You have forgotten! How cruel I was, how I was ignorant of your pain, you still reached out for help, with those shaking hands. But I coldly brushed it off. You would never forget that! Before, to me, Yuki was a person I neither liked or disliked - he was nothing. But now when I think of Yuki using the same attitude towards me, I feel afraid for the first time. Having an uncaring attitude is such a lonely feeling! To understand now might be too late. But Yuki, you looking at me now, becoming angry because of me. Now he's here, sitting in front of me, trying to understand me.) [addressing Yuki] Although our personalities are different, even if our opinions are different, it shouldn't matter! Because we are two different people. I have something you don't have, just as you have something I don't have. It's been like that since birth. For me, the kindness you possess is something I truly admire.

Though it seems like not much came from this conversation other than Yuki's deepening disapproval of Ayame's lifestyle, Yuki's actually pleased as well. "I learned a little more about my brother. He has too many pointless words and actions. If I don't accept his personality, I feel more bitter, and become more exhausted. I'm really starting to feel sorry for myself. But I am glad I came, really."

It's hard to separate the issue of Ayame with the issue of their parents. To advance their standing within the Sohma family, they used Yuki to get closer to Akito, and ignored what was clearly abuse. To them, Yuki was simply a tool. But for Ayame, who at this point in the series has grown out of his younger indifference, knows how Yuki doesn't like their parents. Ever the considerate older brother, he stops by with peaches (and crabs a previous time) for Yuki, some of his favorite things, when he hears about Yuki's parent-teacher conference and volunteers to go instead of thier parents. Yuki denies the offer, saying that he simply won't expect much from them, knowing that they might try to control him for their own gain once again.

Chapter 47 Ayame: Yuki, I don't know what our parents will say but what's most important is to be self confident, because it's all right. You're not a tool. Even I have someone by my side. You'll be okay too. Because unlike what you think, you're not alone either. [gives him a shirt that says “property of older brother”]
Yuki: Even though you're certainly a moron, I don't think that you're foolish.
[Ayame gleefully calls Hatori to report this great praise]

Since the beginning of the series, this is great progress - though the two don't really get along, they understand each other. Ayame is constantly concerned for Yuki, arriving at their summer home when he heard Akito had stopped by, worried for Yuki's mental state, even promising to hold him while he sleeps (an offer that Yuki naturally declines). Things really come to a head, however, at the parent-teacher(-student) conference.

Yuki's mother agreed to attend, and at the meeting, tells their teacher that it's already been decided that Yuki will attend university, as he's been promised a high position within the Sohma family and thusly needs an education. Shocked, Yuki wasn't aware of this decision and tells her that she shouldn't just make that kind of decision on her own. She snaps at him, saying "You know, Yuki, ever since a long time ago, you really have never been able to think for yourself. If all you want is to be defiant, then be silent. It's about time you started to be more responsible. If not, it'll cause me problems." The teacher is equally shocked to hear this kind of talk, and comments that her words are excessively hurtful. Upon hearing this, Yuki remembers when he decided to go to his high school, saying he hated the Sohmas, and his mother was confused because he had never before mentioned hating it. He asked if he was her tool, and she replied with a cool "So what if you are?", not understanding why Yuki didn't like being Akito's favorite. As Yuki's about to drown in his depression and inability to be heard, Ayame blows into the room in full force.

Chapter 72 Ayame: Would you mind being quiet for a bit, mother? We're here to talk abut Yuki's very important future. Interfering would be utter folly!
Mother: You're the one who came to interfere!!!
Ayame: Kindly do not shout. Both Yuki and I are very delicate.
Mother: In any case, you stay out of Yuki's matters. What's with you anyways, coming out at a time like this, after ignoring him all this time? If he's with you, Yuki will also become a good-for-nothing person!
Yuki: My brother's someone you can count on. There are also parts of him that are quite messed up as well ... but good-for-nothing he's not. [Ayame whips out his phone] Cut it out! Quit reporting everything to Hatori!
Mother: Just when did the two of you become so ...
Ayame: What's this? Do we appear to be burning with such brotherly love? Don't you understand? Yuki has given me the chance to do things over again. Even for you, that which was impossible has started turning around to become possible. Do you not see? Who you are now is very much who I was before - unable to realize just how much you went through life trampling on that which was so very important.

Their mother is furious and storms out of the meeting, and Yuki goes after her, but not before thanking Ayame for coming. Ayame tells Yuki that their mother can't handle Ayame's personality and thus has transferred all her expectations to Yuki, and is really happy that Yuki has come to depend on him, even if just a little. Yuki's forgiveness has given Ayame a chance to redeem himself, and he couldn't be any happier to be there for his little brother.

As Yuki catches up with his mother, he's startled to realize how much smaller she is than him, when he used to look up to her so much, and remembers how much he used to depend on her and fear her abandoning him. In spite of that, he's grown up, and firmly tells her that he wants to make his own path, even if it's something she doesn't approve of. Still upset, she has nothing to say to him, and walks away. Through this self-assertion, he puts himself in his own place, and though his relationship with his parents isn't very good, it's a starting point for them to walk forward as equals. Later in the series, Yuki visits his mother to ask her to sign a form for him to get a cellphone, and knowing that he's on the student council, tells him not to overwork himself - a surprise for Yuki, because it's the first time she's ever said anything maternal to him.

At the end of the series, Yuki and Ayame, though still vastly different individuals, have come to know each other quite well, and appreciate each others' presence. Family is still family, after all. Ayame, though, still makes ridiculous comments and Yuki begrudgingly suffers his exhausting presence as he gives himself all the credit for Yuki's greatness: "You know, Yuki, I am continually impressed with your knowledge and understanding of others. It's an admirable trait that you've clearly developed with the help of your ever-caring older brother!"

har har har har Ayame is the greatest troll ever

Castles In Air is a fanwork © Chrissy 2012 - 2016. No infringement intended.