Key to a Forgotten Past

Disclaimer: Why on earth would I be writing Fruits Basket fanfics if I actually owned Furuba? My point exactly.

Chapter 9: A Forgotten Past

The young woman's mind remained alert and ready. Every word her friend told her, she knew, would in some way contribute to understanding this empty feeling that constantly weighed on the back her mind. She could not afford to miss a word Hana said.

"…Your mother had died in an accident on May 1st, which, of course, you would know," Hana began to explain in a story-like fashion. "Then, if you remember, you will recall that you went to live with your grandfather."

"For four months, I think," Tohru added with a nod of recognition.

"Correct," her friend answered with her monotone voice. "However, your grandfather was going to do some remodeling to his home, so you had to find somewhere else to live during that time. Now, you never really were very specific about this part when you told Arisa and me, but somehow, you ended up living in the Sohma household with Yuki, Kyou, and Shigure Sohma." (Those names... Tohru thought. They do sound somewhat familiar, but they do not ring a bell…) "That boy with the orange hair that you said you remembered was most likely Kyou Sohma. He was pretty hotheaded, with a bit of a nasty temper (he jumped out of a second story window on his very first day of school, gave us all a shock, I assure you), but he genuinely cared for you, Tohru-kun; I'm positive of that. Yuki Sohma, however, was the polar opposite. He was fairly kind (though rather distant towards people he did not know) and known around our school as the reigning prince of Kaibara High, though he was only a first year. He had a particularly annoying group of fangirls that made up about half of the school and had a peculiar dislike of you, Tohru-kun. Well, obviously, I was able to take care of that. (They were frightened of my electro-poison shock waves, even though my abilities don't work that way, but oh well, they were just a bunch of fools.) Anyway, those two used to fight like a cat and mouse, very frequently, and could rarely agree on anything. Shigure Sohma, on the other hand, was their older cousin, a novelist (who wrote some decent books, by the way, I remember reading some while over to visit…)."

Suddenly, Tohru had a fleeting vision. Two people fighting… herself begging them to stop… trying with all of her might to intervene, and then… Could it be…?

The girl decided to continue listening, rather than thinking about that now. "For about two and a half years, you lived with them, probably the happiest days you had lived since your mother's death. During that time, you began to fall in love, or… that's what Arisa and I figured, anyway. We never were quite sure, but it seemed like you had fallen in love with Kyou Sohma, and he had felt the same about you…"

Another image… She was standing out in the rain reaching out her hand towards an orange haired boy, her eyes glazed with tears…

"Yet, suddenly, about a week after high school graduation, I received a call from you. You were sobbing and cried that you were going to have your memories erased. It was rather incoherent, what you said… You were not making a lot of sense, saying something about Kyou-kun being locked away and somebody named Akito-san telling you that you had to get them erased to relieve the pain…"

A black-haired man (or was it a woman?) advancing upon her, holding her wrists tightly against the floor to restrain her, in a dark room with walls colored in black paint… "Imprisoned…"

"And then, the next moment we knew, you had forgotten everything. Every memory from the moment right after your mother died had been lost, as if it had never happened. We told you it was amnesia, so you would not worry. Yet, somehow, your waves told a different story to me… of something more sinister…"

And the orange-haired boy trapped inside a tiny, under-kept building of stone, in a filthy, pitch-black room… several bars of metal and a small window separating him permanently from the outside world… "Trapped…"

Tohru's mind was wandering now. What could it mean? What could it mean?

Hana's tale was droning on now, going above her head, like a mere soundtrack running in the background of a movie. "…I never told you this, but there was something else about those two as well, Kyou and Yuki Sohma. Actually, the same held true for all of the Sohmas I met. Maybe it has to do with the curse that you mentioned earlier."

At once, this comment drew Tohru's attention back to Hana. With much curiosity, she asked, "Whatever could it have been?"

The dark-haired woman gazed into her eyes for a moment, as if debating on whether it would be the right thing to tell her. Finally, she said, "Whenever I was around either of them, along with the usual emotions, their waves always had something very unique - a very different quality, almost inhuman. However, what struck me most of all was this terrible sorrow I would sense, unlike anything else I'd ever felt, and I began to wonder what terrible hardship could have caused this constant sorrow…"

Kyou-kun… Kyou-kun, I… the name hung over Tohru's head, tears beginning to whelm up in her eyes. That orange-haired boy, she knew now who he was and what he had meant to her, but…

Hana paused for a moment, looking at Tohru's tearing eyes with a rare expression of worry in her own, and continued urgently, "I will tell you now, Tohru-kun. Don't go involving yourself with them ever again. On that day you called me saying you needed to forget every single memory you had gained in high school, you were not yourself. You were terrified, more terrified than I had ever seen you in your life. Please, do not put yourself into a situation like that once more. Arisa and I would be heartbroken to lose the lovely, cheerful Tohru-kun that we have known and loved since junior high school…"

Tohru was not listening anymore. Suddenly, a whole whirlwind of thoughts had taken their hold on her. The locked door had finally opened in the back of her mind, and the memories were flooding out. She felt herself collapse on the floor, falling unconscious. However, her mind was still very much awake, imagining the wildest collage of abstract thoughts. It could have been the greatest dream or the most horrible nightmare… She did not know, but she knew one thing: it was all her own. Every single scene she was imagining was another memory of hers, just like a photograph out of that small green notebook she had written in so long ago.

Mom, I see it… I know what I've been missing all this time… I know. I know…

The key to her forgotten past had finally been found, but somehow, acquiring this knowledge had not made her any happier.

-

Tohru woke up the next morning to find herself laying on a soft couch in Hana's cramped living room. Somehow, she was feeling different today, but perhaps this peculiar feeling was a consequence of the fact that she had just regained two-and-a-half years worth of memories the previous night. She shook her head. No, I mustn't think of that now…

After she had gained her composure, the young woman turned to find her best friend and her other best friend sitting at the small kitchen table, happily eating grilled meat (what else?) for breakfast. It was only until Tohru sat up and greeted them with a friendly and thoroughly enthusiastic, "Good morning!" when they turned her way and immediately started hugging her and crying out how wonderful it was that she was all right.

"When Hana-chan called saying that you were coming over for a visit and had fallen unconscious, I, at first, didn't buy it," Uo related to her friend, to explain her unexpected arrival. "It was only when I realized that she was actually displaying some worry in her voice that I panicked and said I would rush over as soon as I could. After all, she always sounds calm, even when she is worried. That was a unique experience, right there."

"Well, my dear Tohru-kun had fallen onto the floor unconscious. Of course I would be upset," Hana said calmly. Her speech had returned to its customary, monotonous nature, lacking of any expression whatsoever. "Are you okay, now, Tohru-kun? Is there anything I can get for you?"

Tohru flashed a reassuring smile her way. "I'm just fine. You don't have to worry anymore; I'm alright." That was a complete and outright lie, for she was feeling anything but that, but she was determined not to repeat the mistake she made seven years ago. This time, she would face her fears head on, instead of shrinking away from them. "In fact, I've never felt better!"

Uo beamed at the girl. "Oh… Tohru, you are just the cutest thing! Ever the optimist, no matter what," her expression changed into one of curiosity, "By the way, why did you want to talk to Hana about Prince Charming and orange-top? I thought you couldn't remember them…"

Tohru bit her lip. She had gotten herself into this mess, and they were her best friends. It was only right that they should know. "I… didn't," she answered hesitantly; then, with more strength, she continued, "Not until last night, that is… until Hana-chan started telling me about high school. When she mentioned Kyou-kun, all of a sudden, I started to remember… Terrible, terrible things, they were, but then I realized…"

She smiled warmly at the thought. "Then I realized that amidst all of those horrible things that happened, there were so many warm memories as well, so many kind people I met back then. If I were to have thought about the wonderful things as well as the dreadful, I think I would have realized all that time ago how precious they really were… how beautiful it was that I could look back at those memories and embrace them.

"The life I've been living up to now isn't truly happy, I've come to realize. All along, there has been a feeling of emptiness in my heart. Where I really belong is with the Sohmas. They were my family, whom I loved with all my heart. They made me complete. If it weren't for the fact that I have you, my two best friends in the world, my life would be so cold and lonely without them.

"And the sad part is that I was the one that left them behind, for my own selfish desires. I just feel so sickened by myself that I could…" Tohru's voice trailed off, unable to finish her phrase. Instead, she was sobbing now, as hard as she could. I have been so selfish, she thought amidst all of the tears. They gave so much to me, and I took away their only hopes of freedom.

Uo and Hana came towards her at once to comfort her. Tohru sniffled momentarily and tried to get some words through from beneath her heavy sobs, "If only there was some way I could help them, a way to repay them for all they did for me…" She tilted her head downwards, as she said this, covering her face with her hands.

Uo opened her mouth to speak, but Hana managed to get her words out before. "Tohru-kun, you know that curse you asked me about yesterday? The one that I did not know of, do you know of its nature, now?"

Tohru looked up at her and thought for a moment. "Yes," she replied, eyes still watering. "I do. Although, now that I think about it I really shouldn't have told you about it…"

"Well, could you tell me of its nature?"

"Unfortunately, I cannot. It was meant to be a secret. Perhaps, someday I might tell you, but I wouldn't want to betray their trust…"

Catching on to where this was leading, Uo chimed in, "Of course, we wouldn't want that. What she means is, maybe you could try finding a way to break this curse."

Tohru's eyes opened wide in shock. Were they seriously suggesting…? "I-I couldn't… I tried seven years ago, but it was impossible."

"Since when has anything been impossible for you, Tohru?" Uo replied, raising a questioning brow.

"'If you do your best, you can accomplish anything.' That's what you've taught us, Tohru-kun," Hana added matter-of-factly.

At first, Tohru did not know how to reply to this, but as she thought more about it, it was true. Be yourself, Tohru, she reassured herself kindly. That's all you can do. Just like Shigure-san told you all those years ago and Mom, before him. Then, unable to think of anything else to say, she grinned widely at her two best friends and knew that everything would turn out well in the end, no matter what ended up happening in between.

Neko's Rambling Corner Part 10: Oh… there you are Tohru - ever the optimist, as always. Too bad I'm just too evil to make things easy for you. Ohohohoho! -evil laugh-

Somehow, I always seem to plan one thing, and then, my fingers write something completely different (it's a curse, I tell you). As always, my plan for this chapter ended up being completely different from the finished product. I didn't even mean for her to regain her memories until a few chapters from now! Oh well, maybe it was better this way (so I wouldn't continue being so darn repetitive… ah, that was it, I see). I don't know, though… I might have just burrowed myself into a major plot hole that I'll regret in about five chapters. –sigh- Then again, since I'm so unable to stick to my plot outlines, chances are this story will completely let itself wander into some direction that I really didn't want it to go in. I shudder to think what kind of mess it'll become.

You see, Uo and Hana weren't supposed to know about the curse yet, but then I realized that Tohru had actually mentioned the curse to Hana, and I was like, "Oh crap," and had to add it in (thankfully, they don't know any details, they only know of its existence). Oh, and where the heck did Uo come from? She wasn't even supposed to be in this chapter! For some reason, I don't control the characters; they control me (is that the mark of a good writer or a bad writer?). Yet, it made the most sense that way. I had to include Uo. Anyway, the "orange-top" and "Prince Charming" thing was too fun to miss, so in a way, I feel glad that I unknowingly started adding her in (or that she added herself in –shifty eyes-).

All in all, this was the surprise chapter of this story for both the reader and me: built courtesy of my random impulses.

(I know I'm going to hate myself when I sit down to write next chapter and realize I've left myself with nothing to do, since this completely ruins what I had in mind for next chapter.)

Much love, and please review (critique or compliments accepted) to let me know you are reading (I'm so happy you all are still reading, by the way -hugs-)! I don't bite (much).

Nekochan Kawaii