Ichigo had never told anyone this, but she had been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder when she was younger. Due to an incident that she'd really rather not remember, her personality had split, and she now had three different personalities.
The bubbly, happy personality she usually showed was her main personality, and she tried to make sure the others didn't come out at all. The other two were far less pleasant, and she realized at some point in time that they had somehow named themselves.
Namida was a depressed girl who cried a lot and was very pessimistic. She didn't smile, and lately Ichigo had had a ton of trouble suppressing her due to the fact that Ryou was making her life a misery.
Akai, on the other hand, was a bloodthirsty, angry girl who hated basically everyone except Ichigo's friends Moe and Miwa. Since Akai hated Ryou and actually wanted to kill him, Ichigo spent a LOT of time making sure she stayed buried, because if she ever came out, Ichigo would probably go to jail after she calmed down. Ichigo herself wouldn't mind much if Ryou was dead, but she didn't particularly want to end up in jail.
Unfortunately, Ichigo's anger at Ryou for his treatment of her was causing Akai to start trying to get out.
Ryou's treatment of Ichigo only got worse as time continued, and it became harder and harder for Ichigo to keep Akai contained.
Things finally came to a head after work one day. Ryou had spent the whole day telling Ichigo to work faster, and complaining about how awful she was. Him telling her that she had to stay after for three hours proved to be the last straw, and Ichigo was replaced with Akai. Instead of responding to Ryou, Akai went into the kitchen and took out a butcher's knife, then went back to the main room. "You're going to pay for hurting Ichigo," she snarled. "I've been waiting for you to cross the line, Blondie. Now I can finally get rid of you, and I'm going to do it in the most painful way possible."
"If you're not Ichigo, then who are you?" Zakuro asked.
"I'm Akai, and Ichigo's emotions from Ryou's abuse finally let me out," Akai snarled. She noticed Ryou was trying to sneak off, and went after him, slashing the back of his knee so he couldn't run for it. She then began stabbing him in various parts of the body, ignoring his screams for mercy.
Just as she was about to deliver the final blow by slitting his throat, Akai suddenly put a hand on her head. "Not NOW, Ichigo," she snarled. "You want him dead too, remember?"
The Mews were watching this with no small amount of confusion, and it only got more confusing when Akai snapped, "You don't know that, Namida! Ichigo, I told you to SHUT UP!"
"What's going on?" Mint asked.
"My guess would be that Ichigo has Dissociative Identity Disorder," Keiichiro said, watching as Akai talked to herself.
"What's that, na no da?" Pudding asked.
"It's a mental disorder that occurs mainly due to childhood trauma," Keiichiro said. "Simply put, it splits a person's personality into two or more people. The other personalities might be animals or humans, boys or girls, no matter what species or sex the person with the disorder is originally. Judging by the fact that Akai is talking to two other people, my guess is that Ichigo has three personalities; the one we know being the most prominent. She's probably been suppressing the other two personalities."
The others looked back at Ichigo- or Akai, they weren't sure- just as she shook her head and put the knife down. By this point, though, Ryou had died from blood loss. Ichigo looked at them, and said in a more normal voice, "Sorry about that. Akai took over. I'm sorry that you had to see that, but Ryou had it coming, and Akai's been trying to get out for weeks because of his abuse."
"Ichigo, are you getting treatment for this disorder?" Keiichiro asked.
"I used to get treatment, but since I became a Mew I stopped going because I didn't want to let it slip that I was only half human now," Ichigo said. "Also, since Ryou was forcing me to work overtime, I didn't have the time to go to therapy."
"Is there a reason you never brought this issue up when you started working here?" Keiichiro asked.
"I tried, but Ryou didn't want to hear it," Ichigo said. "He just told me to get to work and that my problems weren't anything he needed to know. Since you two were so close, I figured he would have mentioned it. Outside of my immediate family, the only people who I told were Moe and Miwa, because if Akai or Namida came out while I was with them, they would need to know what was going on and how to handle it. Akai usually stays quiet when I spend time with them because they have similar personalities, but since Ryou started making sure I couldn't spend time with them, Akai got restless."
"Why did you name your other personalities?" Mint asked.
"I didn't- they did," Ichigo said.
Keiichiro sighed, causing the others to look at him. "Ichigo, I think we need to talk with your parents about this; you should be getting treatment for this," he said. "Go get changed; I'll drive you home."
"Okay," Ichigo said. She went to the changing rooms, and put her school uniform back on, then grabbed her schoolbag and went back to the main room. Keiichiro was waiting, and Ichigo followed him to his car, and they got in. Keiichiro drove to Ichigo's house, and parked in the driveway, then went in with her.
Sakura met them at the door, and asked, "What happened?"
"Akai got out," Ichigo said gloomily.
"And why is Keiichiro here?" Sakura asked, letting them in.
"I wanted to talk about getting treatment for Ichigo; after today, I think she needs it," Keiichiro said.
"What happened this time?" Sakura asked, worried.
"Ryou was abusing me again, and Akai came out and murdered him with a butcher's knife," Ichigo said gloomily. "Frankly, it was really only a matter of time before this happened; Ryou's been making my life a misery since I met him. The only reason I didn't quit after the first month was that Ryou threatened to kill you and Dad if I quit or took the information to the police."
"What now?" Sakura asked. "I don't want you to go to jail for murder."
"She won't," Keiichiro said. "I'll do something about the body, and the police don't need to know. I have a few therapist friends from college; do you want me to make a few phone calls?"
"Are any of them women?" Ichigo asked. "I've never been comfortable meeting with guys."
"Two of them are, and they both have offices close to here," Keiichiro said. "I think Shimura Hanako would be your best bet; she's more used to working with teenagers, but she does see all ages. Do you want me to call her up?"
"Yes please," Sakura said.
Keiichiro took out a cell phone and went through his contacts, hitting Send when he reached his friend's number. He waited a minute, and then said, "Hi Hanako-san, it's Akasaka Keiichiro. Yes, the one you went to college with. I just found out one of my employees has Dissociative Identity Disorder and isn't getting treatment; would you be willing to see her? Okay, good. When's the earliest you can see her? Uh… I'd really rather not tell you over the phone, it's confidential. Yes, her address is 438 Ayame Street. See you soon." He got a response, and hung up, then looked at Ichigo and Sakura. "She agreed to come here," he said. "I think she got the sense that this was serious, and it's after her normal work hours, so she doesn't have to worry about being anywhere else."
"Thank you," Sakura said. "I'll go make some tea for us." She went back to the kitchen, and Ichigo sighed.
"Do you regret the fact that Akai killed Ryou?" Keiichiro asked suddenly.
"Yes and no," Ichigo said. "On the one hand, I don't like the idea of killing people, but on the other, Ryou was abusing me. He continually told me how I was a terrible worker, he threatened me, and when you weren't around, he'd hit me sometimes too. Nothing I did was ever good enough for him, and apparently if I didn't do things exactly to his specifications, I deserved to be punished. He was also racist, evil, and completely insane. I'm not thrilled that he died by what was essentially my hand, but I can't honestly say I'm sad about it, either."
Keiichiro sighed. "I can't say that I'm not sad, but you're probably right; he had it coming with his treatment of you in particular," he said. "And if we want to go with Lettuce's truce plan, Ryou needed to be out of the way first. I talked to Pai the other day, and he said they're willing to form a truce; the only thing left is Deep Blue. And his human host is Aoyama."
"I broke up with Aoyama a while ago," Ichigo admitted. "He was really boring. As long as I don't have to kill him myself, I'm fine with that, if it's the only way to get rid of Deep Blue."
"According to Pai's and my research, his human host has to die, or he could take over even if we killed him," Keiichiro said. "I'll let Pai know later on; Kisshu's apparently very eager to kill Aoyama."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" Ichigo asked rhetorically.
The doorbell rang, and Ichigo went to get it, finding a woman a little older than Keiichiro standing outside. "You're Keiichiro's friend?" Ichigo asked.
"Yes, I'm Shimura Hanako," the woman said. "I usually ask my patients to call me Dr. Hanako."
"Alright," Ichigo said. "Please come in, my mom is making tea for us."
"Thanks," Dr. Hanako said. She came in, taking off her shoes at the door, and followed Ichigo to the living room. Keiichiro was waiting, and he smiled when he saw Dr. Hanako. "Hanako-san, it's been a while," he said.
"Too long; what have you been up to?" Dr. Hanako asked. "And how's your friend? Ryou, right?"
"Ryou is part of what we need to talk about," Keiichiro said.
Sakura came in at that point with a tray of teacups and a teapot, and set it down on the table. "Let's all have a seat," she said. "Dr. Hanako, would you like tea?"
"I'd love some, thanks," Dr. Hanako said. "So I assume your daughter is the one Keiichiro was talking about?"
"Yes," Sakura said. "Ichigo was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity disorder at age seven, about six months after a traumatic incident that she doesn't like to discuss. She has three personalities, two of which she keeps under control most of the time, but sometimes they get out. According to her, her more angry side is named Akai, and her depressed side is called Namida."
"For the sake of helping her better, can one of you tell me what this traumatic incident was?" Dr. Hanako asked.
Sakura nodded and said, "I'll do it. When Ichigo was six, she went over to a friend's house, since they had agreed to have a playdate. I had to go shopping, so I left her with her friend and the friend's mother. Unfortunately, I was unaware that the woman's husband was abusive, and he apparently beat up the woman pretty badly when he learned she had allowed Ichigo to come over. The little girl Ichigo was friends with had the sense to call the police, and by the time I got back, the girl's father was in handcuffs and the mother and the little girl were on the way to the hospital. One of the police officers stayed with Ichigo, because she was quite obviously traumatized. My husband and I have never even raised our voices toward each other in all the time Ichigo's been alive, and so Ichigo was really shocked to see that not all families operate the way ours does. Her two friends Moe and Miwa's families are also very stable, so Ichigo had no prior experience to parents fighting, much less an abusive situation like that. About six months later, a little after Ichigo turned seven, we started noticing that when Ichigo was sad, she wouldn't respond to her name when called, or when we were trying to calm her down. The same was true when she was really angry. When she was sad, she would tell us that her name was Namida; when she was angry she'd tell us to call her Akai. We took her to a specialist, and they said she had Dissociative Identity Disorder, and would need therapy. Up until she met Ryou and Keiichiro, she was going to therapy once a week. She stopped going after she started working for Ryou, and she seemed fine, so I didn't push her to go. After what happened today, though, I'm beginning to think I should have discouraged her from taking that job in the first place."
"What happened today?" Dr. Hanako asked.
"Ryou was abusing me, and my angry personality, Akai, took over and killed him," Ichigo said gloomily. "I would have quit that job a long time ago if it weren't for the fact that Ryou was threatening to kill Mom and Dad if I didn't work for him. I don't think he had anyone's permission to try to control my life, either."
"He certainly didn't have ours," Sakura said. "Is there some reason you never went to the police?"
"Ryou spies on me," Ichigo said. "Ever since he turned me into Mew Ichigo, he's used my transformation device as a means to spy on my every move. And I can't figure out how to destroy it without him noticing. Of course, now that he's dead, it shouldn't be a problem. He was planning on brainwashing me if I ever went against his orders, so I just kept quiet."
"Excuse me for interrupting, but did you say you're Mew Ichigo?" Dr. Hanako asked.
"Yeah, Ryou somehow infused me with the DNA of an Iriomote Wildcat, and forced me and four others to fight the aliens," Ichigo said. "Now apparently we're forming a truce with them, which never would have happened while Ryou was alive. He had a revenge mission, and just used me and the other Mews to get what he wanted. As far as I know, he never got permission to turn me half-cat, either. I really only went along because he said he'd kill Mom and Dad if I didn't."
Dr. Hanako looked at Keiichiro, and asked, "Keiichiro, as Ryou's guardian, is there a reason you never attempted to curb this kind of behavior?"
"I'm actually not Ryou's guardian," Keiichiro said. "Not legally, anyways. Ever since he restarted his father's Mew Project, I've been working on a way to ensure he can't use the cat form he gave himself to escape prison. I was planning on taking everything I knew to the police as soon as I figured out a way to suppress his cat form. And I tried to get him to stop abusing Ichigo, and I also tried to convince him that the Mew Project was a bad idea. He didn't listen, and did it anyways. I mainly stuck around to protect the girls after it became clear that anyone who sympathized with the aliens' motives would end up dead. Ryou was seriously dangerous and unhinged; I was the only one who could even attempt to stop him from doing worse things to the girls. Before Ichigo killed him, I was planning on asking the courts when I managed to suppress his cat form to give him a life sentence for what he'd done."
Dr. Hanako sighed. "If the situation was as bad as you say, then I won't tell anyone about Ryou," she said. "I'm sure by the time the police even got to you, there'd be no evidence of a crime, and he'd end up in jail even if he was still alive." She looked back at Ichigo and Sakura, and said, "Ichigo, I want you to have sessions with me at least once a week from now on, and I will look into whether or not I can find a medication that will help you suppress your other personalities better. Is there a day and time that works best for you?"
"I can do any day of the week after three," Ichigo said.
"Wednesdays at four?" Dr. Hanako suggested.
"That should be fine," Ichigo said. She looked at her mother, who said, "I can take you, I just need to know where the office is."
Dr. Hanako reached into her purse and pulled out a business card, then handed it to Sakura. "This has all my information on it," she said. "I'd like to start meeting as soon as possible, so please come by next Wednesday, since it's already Thursday. Do you need me to write that down?"
"No, I can put it on the calendar," Sakura said. "Thank you."
"Of course," Dr. Hanako said. "I'll see you next Wednesday at four. I should get home now."
"I'll walk you out," Sakura said. The two women got up, and left. Keiichiro sighed when they were gone, and said, "I'm sorry, Ichigo. If I had been more careful, this might not have happened."
"It's not your fault Ryou was an evil revenge-obsessed maniac," Ichigo said. "You realize I have no plans to return to work, though, right?"
"I know, and I can't say I blame you," Keiichiro said. "Will you come back to form a truce?"
"Yep, let me know when and I'll be there," Ichigo said. "Just not on a Wednesday, please."
"Understood," Keiichiro said. "I should get back, I need to talk to Pai."
"I'll walk you out," Ichigo said.
They both got up, and Ichigo walked Keiichiro out. She was relieved that she didn't have to deal with Ryou ever again, and when she went back inside, she felt happier than she had in a long time.
Nice long one-shot there. I thought it would be interesting to write a one-shot solely about Ichigo, with no romance or Kisshu popping up randomly in Ichigo's room. Tell me what you think, please!