"The Darkness Beyond"

By Chocolate Wolfie

Note: I'm not finished with reading the Manga, nor have I seen the Anime (yet. I have it in the mail). I know that Mint's Grandma said that Mint's parents were away in another country, but if you keep reading, I will explain more on that, this is why they call it a Fanfiction. Also, Ringo (who comes in later in the story) is a character that appeared only in the videogame, and Berry only showed up in Tokyo Mew Mew A la Mode. I'm basing their personalities off of what information that I've read. This takes place a year after Tokyo Mew Mew a La Mode, so Ichigo, Lettuce, and Mint are 13; Purin, Berry, and Ringo are 12; and Zakuro, Ryou are 17. Akasaka is 23. According to the Anime, Zakuro is very religious, so I don't mean to offend anybody, I'm just trying to fit her character. Thanks!

Name Translations (For those who watch the dub):

Ichigo: Zoey

Mint: Corina

Lettuce: Bridget

Purin: Ki-Ki

Zakuro: Rene

Ryou: Elliot

Akasaka: Wesley

Aoyama/Masaya: Mark

Onee-(chan)(sama)/nee-chan: This is a term of endearment the girls use for the girls in the group that are older than them, It means "Older Sister", even though they are not sisters, its just a polite way to address friends that are older than you.

Chapter 1

Keep Looking Foreword

Three young girls trotted down a street. The only light came from that of an old house and a flickering street lamp.

"I can't believe we actually managed to sneak out!" Sniggered the first girl.

"It'll be even more of a miracle if we can sneak into that night club." Nodded the second as they continued along.

"Oh! Oh! Want to hear a story about this neighborhood?" The third girl suggested.

"As long as its not scary... this is a pretty bad area..." The second girl shuddered.

"Its scary, but... oh! I just gotta tell you!" Squealed the third.

"Go on and tell." Nodded the first.

"'Kay, it was about eight years ago. The famous couple- Aizawa, I think it was- was on their was to a party. Suddenly, their car started having problems, so they pulled over to look at it. While the husband was looking under the hood, the wife saw a young girl over by a creek- crying. Nobody knows what happened after that." The third girl's face darkened considerably, "They say that they found them the next morning on the banks of the creek, stabbed to death. Not far away, they found a body of a girl, and that's not all," The girl glanced to her friends, "The girl's body was in horrible shape. It looked as if she hadn't eaten or slept for days. There were scratches and cuts all over her and she had even peed herself. It was like she had just kept walking and walking and walking for Kami-sama god knows how long."

There was a long silence- and the two others burst out laughing.

"Yeah right!" Giggled the first, "How do we know that they saw the girl crying if they were stabbed to death by her?"

"And do creeks even have banks?" Smiled the second.

"Yes they do! I think..." The third girl muttered the last part, "Look! Its true! I their daughter goes to my school- I asked her if it was true and she just snubbed me! If she didn't reply, it has to be true!"

"Baka idiot," Grumbled the second, "That's just an... urban... myth..." Her eyes slowly widened as she stared at a small, woodsy area just beyond the flickering light of the lamp post. What small amount of light did reach it revealed a small silhouette by a ditch that ran through the wooded area. The sound that met their ears was the unmistakable sound of water trickling-

and just beyond it, tiny, muffled cries.

"Oh, Kamis above!" Whispered the girl.

"I-it may just be a trick of the mind- ignore it." Said the first as she rushed up the street, "Come on, girls! Let's get... Yuki-chan?"

The first and second girls stared back to the third girl, who stood as still as a rail, her black hair blowing over her dewy brown eyes in the soft wind.

"Yuki-chan? Daijobu?" Whispered the second girl. She slowly approached the third girl, Yuki, and reached out her hand.

Yuki wheeled around, tears in her eyes, which had unmistakably turned a shade of slate gray.

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"A missing girl?" Ichigo asked as she and the other girls leaned in to look at the picture.

"Yes." Nodded Ryou, "Yokohama Yuki. Age 14, five foot, brown eyes, black hair. She attends the same school as you, Mint."

Mint nodded, recalling a past incident with the girl, whom she had instantly recognized from the photo.

"What happened? Where did she go missing?" Berry asked, her deep-amber eyes shimmering with worry.

"Last night, at roughly none forty-five PM, her two friends, a Shinju Emiko and Momo Natsu, made a frantic phone call to the police. They had snuck out to go to a dance club, and supposedly had seen a girl crying at a creek. Then their friend had looked at the girl, her eyes went pale, and she- just disappeared. Out of thin air." Akasaka read from a news report.

"A girl crying at a creek..." Mint repeated so softly that the only person that had caught it was Zakuro, "Tell me- where were they?"

"A small suburbia- about a twenty minute drive from here." Akasaka explained.

"Kind of a shitty neighborhood if you ask me." Ryou sniffed.

"Ryou-kun!" Lettuce gasped as Mint suddenly became very interested in her fingers.

"What do you think this could be?" Zakuro asked.

"I've heard of an old myth about a couple getting killed by a ghost! Na no da!" Purin exclaimed.

Silence.

"G-ghost!" Ichigo stammered loudly, hiding behind Berry, "I don't wanna go! Not if there's a ghost!"

"Quit being such a baby!" Ryou scolded.

"We have to go! Its our job as Tokyo Mew Mew! You know the motto 'At Your Service, Nya!'." Berry recited with a catty pose.

"Nooooo!" Wailed Ichigo, "Don't make me gooooo!"

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"Onigai please, don't make me go!" Mew Ichigo wined as she clawed desperately at the asphalt. The other girls walked along casually as Mew Mint dragged the pink haired neko-girl cat girl by the tail.

"Ah! We were wondering when the infamous Tokyo Mew Mew was going to arrive!" A man dressed in a black suit said as he clapped his hands, a herd of people ran to the edge of the bright yellow crime scene tape as the girls climbed under or over over it, Mew Purin leaping, and landing, facing the crowd, with a "Na no da!"

"We were going to let you handle it, but it seems as if the police are incapable, yet again." Zakuro said as she rested a hand on her hip.

"So what do we have here?" Mew Berry asked as she approached the banks of the creek with a rustle of her pale orange skirts. The girl gasped and turned away in disgust.

"IS IT A GHOST!" Ichigo screamed.

"I think I'm goanna be si- siii-" Mew Berry interrupted herself with a gagging, coughing fit; her frame trembling. Mew Zakuro calmly approached her.

"Squat down and put your head between your legs- that's a girl." Zakuro nodded as the girl's blonde hair flopped down to the ground over her white ears.

"Mew Berry, what did you see?" Mew Lettuce asked intently, ribbons of white flesh flying behind her green lox. Berry simply shook her head.

"HOLY RAMEN! ITS A BODY!" Mew Purin screamed, her eyes wide.

Zakuro, Lettuce, and Mint approached, Ichigo peeking over Mint's shoulder, and gasped.

The corpse itself looked as if it had run itself into the ground- literally. Cuts and scrapes littered its arms, dirt was caked all over its body and in its hair. Its hand limply ran in the stream.

But worst of all, was the fact that its eyes had been gouged out.

"Who would do such a terrible thing?" Gasped Mew Lettuce, putting her hand over her mouth as warm tears rolled down her cheeks.

"She would." Mint whispered, and once more, only Zakuro caught her voice. Mint turned on her heel and headed away from the group. Zakuro stared at her as she went, and silently followed. Mint quietly found a patch of grass under the shade of a low tree and picked up a Dandelion. She took the small weed and put it to her lips, gently blowing. The seeds slowly floated through the air twirling up into the low branches where Zakuro had rested her arms.

"Mint. Is there something you would like to say?" Zakuro said softly, watching the white seeds float about.

Mint shook her head as she twirled the bare stem in between her gloved fingers.

"I understand." Zakuro said softly. Mint stared at the stem until she finally but her hand down on her lap, turning around.

"Onee-sama-" But it was too late, Zakuro had already left.

At the crime scene tape, a woman was sobbing as her husband put his arms around her.

"Oji-san sir! Oji-san! Is it true that it was your daughter's body found by the creek?" A reporter yelled.

"Oba-san ma'am! How do you feel about loosing your child?" Another reporter cried. The woman simply let out a long, hysteric sob.

"Let them be." A commanding voice said as Zakuro walked up to the couple, her pastel violet hair blowing in the summer breeze.

"Mew Zakuro! Mew Zakuro! Has they body been identified? Are there any clues?" Reporters began to ask at random. Zakuro put her arms around the woman and lead her and the man off.

"Onigai, try to stop crying, it will only provoke them." Mew Zakuro said gently to the woman as soon as they were in the wooded area.

"Gomen nasai I'm so sorry!" Sobbed the woman, "I- I- oh! Its so terrible! She was only fourteen, my little Yuki-chan!"

"So that's your daughter's body in the woods?" Zakuro asked as she leaned against the tree.

"No! Not that we know of! Her friends said that- that she just disappeared!" Stammered the man.

"Onigai! You'll save her, right?" The woman asked hysterically.

"I can't make any promises, but we'll do our best to save her." Zakuro nodded, "I'll say a special prayer for her."

"Arigato thank you, Mew Zakuro-san. Arigato." Said the man with a bow, tearing up as well; Zakuro briefly bowed before returning to the group.

"So, did you find anything?" She asked.

"No." Ichigo shook her head, looking grave, "We started to search the area, but we found nothing. There was only one set of footprints in the mud, and they were the girl's. But- but-"

"But you can't help but feel there's something more to the situation than that?" Zakuro asked as she watched policemen carry the body away, covered by a white blanket.

Ichigo nodded, looking to the ground.

"That poor girl." Lettuce whispered, wiping tears from her eyes as Purin clung to her around the waist. The blonde seemed to have lost her usual cheer.

"What about you?" Ichigo asked.

Zakuro glanced at Mint as she walked Berry out from the woods. Berry was still trembling, tears rolling down her cheeks. Mint was looking downwards, a blank expression on her face.

"Nothing." Zakuro stated, and then approached Mint and Berry "How are you, Berry-san?"

"I-I'm..." Berry stammered, "I'm shocked. I never knew someone could do something so cruel to a living being..."

"None of us did." Lettuce nodded.

"She has passed on." Zakuro said gravely, "The only thing we can do now is to pray for her safe arrival into heaven. Her life was hard and painful, she has been eased of the pain and is now in a better place, in the arms of her lord."

The girls stood in a circle, looking to the ground, then, Purin clasped her hands, semi-gloved in goldenrod, looked to the sky and spoke:

"Mama, please, take good care of her up in heaven. Make her your special banana pancakes and give her hugs from all of us, ne?"

The rest of Tokyo Mew Mew all nodded in silent agreement as they quietly headed out to leave.

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"Amazing grace, how sweet, the sound..." The nun's fluidic voice echoed through the church, empty, save for her and Zakuro.

Quietly, the young woman knelt at the base of a small candle-lighting alter and pressed a red button below a candle, a tiny, golden flame sparked to life on top of it before Zakuro put a small donation into a wooden box.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee, blessed art thou, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, prey for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." Zakuro recited with her hands clasped before her, "Dear lord, please bless the girl who had passed on and safely deliver her to Heaven, please also protect and watch over Yuki-san and help us bring her offender to justice and find her out of harm's way. Amen."

"...was blind, but now, I see..." The nun's voice ended on a silvery note which sent shivers up Zakuro's spine. The young woman gathered herself up and went to leave as the nun approached her.

"Young Miss, I couldn't help but hear your voice. It is very deep and rich. I was wondering if you may want to join choir..." The nun began.

"I'm terribly sorry, but I can't. I already have a higher calling." Zakuro bowed to the woman, who smiled and bowed back.

"Ah, yes. I know we all do. I give you my prayers to find the missing girl." She nodded.

Zakuro watched the nun as she walked off gracefully, her voice ringing through the halls, this time, carrying a hopeful tune.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ichigo stretched as she headed up the stairs towards Ryou's apartment. She held Lettuce's rich green uniform in hand. Yet again, the girl had managed to spill something (this time, cherry pie) all over her, and once more, it was Ichigo's job to badger Ryou for the money to get it dry cleaned. The teen reached for the door handle and then stopped with a drop of sweat.

'Remember what happened last time you went in without knocking?' The good Ichigo in her head asked.

'Yeah, better not knock!' The evil Ichigo replied. Ichigo blushed at her own perverseness and knocked on the door.

"Come in." Ryou's muffled voice cried.

"You better have a shirt on!" Ichigo cried as she pushed open the door.

"No, I'm naked." Ryou said as she walked in, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Ichigo was relieved (and at the same time, a little bit disappointed) to see Ryou, fully clothed, hovering over him laptop.

"Lettuce needs her uniform dry-cleaned again." Said the redhead, holding up the girl's uniform.

"She can get it cleaned herself." Ryou grunted.

"Gee, arigato. You're the nicest person I know." Ichigo huffed as she plopped down on his bed.

"Hey! What're you doing?" Ryou snapped.

"Nothing, just wiping my boogers all over it..." Ichigo said as she rubbed her face into the pillow.

"Quit it!" Ryou demanded.

"And getting my cooties all over it..." Giggled the girl was she flopped about the bed.

"Get off of my bed, Ichigo!" Yelled the blonde.

"I'll get off if you get Lettuce's uniform dry-cleaned." Ichigo said as she curled up and placed her chin on her hands.

"Fine! I'll get the damn uniform cleaned, happy?" Ryou asked loudly, throwing out his arms.

Ichigo responded by making a purring noise with her tongue.

Ryou rolled his eyes, "That's it! Off the bed!" He snapped.

"Make me!" Ichigo giggled, sticking out her tongue and pulling down one eyelid.

Ryou then proceeded to dive on his bed, attempting to wrestle Ichigo off. The girl giggled and squirmed under him before reaching under his armpit.

"Ak!" Ryou suddenly began to tremble and laugh, "Ichi-ich! Ha! Go! Let! Ha! Ha! Go-o-o-o!"

"There we go, I knew you could smile!" Ichigo grinned as she pulled her hand back.

"It wasn't funny!" Ryou snapped before hitting Ichigo in the face with a pillow.

"Yeah it was." The teen replied, "Hey, Ryou, where do you go when you die?"

"Huh?" Ryou blinked, he hadn't been expecting that.

"I mean, when you die, you go somewhere, ne?" Ichigo inquired, giving him a serious look.

"I dunno." Ryou shrugged, "There's no evidence to prove-"

"Yeah, I know that, but... do you really go to Heaven or do you just disappear, like, poof!" Ichigo put her hand into a loose fist and sprang it out to illustrate her point, "All that stuff has to go somewhere, like your soul..."

"I'm really not the person you should be asking, Ichigo. I don't really have a religion. Its never been scientifically proved that you even have a soul, accept for in once case that a person put a dying man on a weight, and at the time of his death, he lost three grams, however, the hospital wouldn't let him repeat the procedure for whatever reason. There are also many different theories on the afterlife, like, if you are going to heaven, going to be reincarnated, or if you are just going to go, poof! like you said. Its hard to believe there are so many theories, but only one can be right, and everyone thinks their theory is right, according to their religion. So I'm guessing- Ichigo?" Ryou looked down to see that Ichigo was curled up, her head on his pillow, breathing tiny, deep breaths. Ryou rolled his eyes and stood up, "Baka neko..." He muttered, and then saw Ichigo give an involuntary shudder. Ryou sighed and grabbed a sheet off of the bedpost, throwing it over Ichigo.

"You sleep well, little neko." Ryou said softly as he lightly patted Ichigo on the head.

To Be Continued...