Aki-This is a fic I've been sitting on for a long time and here it finally is. The song used is "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride.
A minor spoiler warning, the kist quotation used it from a volume that is not out yet, however, it does not give anything plotwise away.
Regular text- the story
Italics- song lyrics
Italics and underline- quotes from the manga
In My Daughter's Eyes
"Mom," said a small voice, interrupting the woman's sleep. "Mommy…"
The woman rolled over on her bed and opened her eyes a slit to make out the blurry image of her young daughter silhouetted in the doorway.
"Tohru," she said around a yawn as she sat up. "What's wrong?"
"I had a bad dream," the girl said just above a whisper. Kyoko rubbed her eyes and took a better look at the girl. Her hair was messy from bed, her arms were wrapped tightly around a teddy bear, tear stains still lingered on her face.
"Come here, baby," said the woman, getting out of bed, kneeling down and opening her arms for her daughter. The girl ran into them and Kyoko scooped Tohru up and began carrying her back to the young girl's own room.
"What happened?" questioned Kyoko, inquiring to the nightmare.
"There were monsters," Tohru replied in a horrified whisper.
"Hmmm," said Kyoko, laying her daughter back onto her bed.
Tohru clutched the front of her mother's pajamas in her small fists. "Don't let them get me."
"No worries, Tohru," soothed the mother, tucking a brown strand of her daughter's hair behind her ear. "I'll protect you…How bout I tell you a story?"
Tohru nodded vigorously and Kyoko knew she had come up with the right idea. It would get her daughter's mind off of the terrible dream she had moments ago.
"Okay,…hmm," she said in thought, "Have I ever told you the one about the Chinese Zodiac…when god asked all the animals to come to a banquet with him?"
Tohru shook her head 'no' and Kyoko began the tale, laying down next to her daughter and holding her daughter comfortingly.
In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero.
I am strong and wise,
And I know no fear.
The story rolled off Kyoko's tongue easily. It was one she knew by heart from her youth. She witnessed her daughter becoming entranced in the story, losing the fear that had been in her eyes only moments ago.
Tohru would only have thought of one person to run to tonight in her fear. Her mother, her hero, her protector, her best friend. Little Tohru depended on Kyoko, but Tohru didn't realize how much Kyoko depended on her in turn.
She doubted Tohru, only three at the time, remembered much about her father's death or her mother's own break down afterwards. She almost hoped the girl didn't remember, or at least didn't dwell on it.
She had gone to the ocean one day, stared into its depths. That were Katsuya would be waiting for her…if she dared to join him. And for the first time through all her despair she truly contemplated suicide. That was the only way Katsuya and her would be together again…that was, until she remembered…Tohru.
In that single moment of clarity she realized how ridiculous, how stupid, how foolish she had been. She still had Tohru who loved her and needed her. She still had Tohru, a little piece of Katsuya…
As she came to the conclusion of her story she noticed tears again rolling down Tohru's face.
"Why are you crying, Tohru?" asked Kyoko, a bit shocked.
But the truth is plain to see:
She was sent to rescue me,
I see who I wanna be, in my daughter's eyes.
"Poor thing! Poor, poor, poor cat…" the girl was crying.
"Wh—what?" said Kyoko, trying to suppress a laugh.
"I know what I'll do," said the little girl resolutely, standing up and clenching her small fists. "I'll stop being a dog and I'll be a cat."
Rather than trying to explain that it doesn't work quite that way, Kyoko sat up, shook her head and mumbled to herself. "Whatever, I'm tired…"
Hell, at least Tohru wasn't thinking about her bad dream anymore. Although tired and a little exasperated Kyoko couldn't help but smile at her daughter's antics. It was so like Tohru to be so caring like that, even just with an imaginary story.
Kyoko didn't have a clue how such actions would affect her daughter's life in the future.
I love you. I've always loved the cat from the Zodiac…
Kindness is something that grows inside each person's body…Your kindness is like a candle, Yuki-kun…
Yuki-kun is wonderful, but Kyo-kun is wonderful too…
In my daughter's eyes, everyone is equal,
Darkness turns to light,
And the world is at peace.
"Tohru, come back to bed. It's late. Mommy's got work tomorrow."
Tohru obediently came back and rolled up on her bed. Kyoko pulled up her covers and wrapped an arm around her again.
Tohru looked up at her mother with her big brown eyes. They reminded her of Katsuya's. But they were softer, softer and more loving and innocent and beautiful than either her or Katsuya's eyes had been, at least as she could remember.
"I love you, Mommy," whispered the little girl.
Kyoko smiled. "I love you too, sweetie."
Kyoko lay next to her daughter and stroked her hair lightly until her daughter fell asleep. Even after she couldn't quite make herself get up and return to her own room. She would sleep the night there, not caring that it would leave her with a crick in her neck and being ten minutes late for work. Tonight she wanted to stay with Tohru…her daughter…her miracle.
This miracle God gave to me,
Gives me strength when I am weak.
I find reason to believe, in my daughter's eyes.
Kyoko smiled as she watched her daughter fall asleep. Tohru's small fist wrapped unconsciously onto her mother's sleeve as though to assure herself that the woman was still there with her. Kyoko's smile deepened.
The world may not need me… but there is still one person who needs me…
Sometimes I wonder how long it will take you. It's hard to find your own answers…
Kyoko knew she had been a rotten person. She knew she didn't deserve such unconditional love from a child, such admiration. But knowing that made her know that her life was worth living. That even though she didn't deserve it, her daughter was giving it to her.
And when she wraps her hand around my finger,
Oh, it puts a smile in my heart.
Everything becomes a little clearer.
I realize what life is all about.
Several years later…
Kyoko had just had a horrible day. It was one of those day were anything that could go wrong did. She seemed to be running perpetually ten minutes late to everywhere she went. She had snagged her new skirt on a desk corner at work. It rained during her lunch break and she didn't have an umbrella, so she got soaked, her hair just wasn't obeying her, she tripped and scraped her knee on the way home, and this all without mentioning the horrible pounding head she has had since quarter to twelve.
It didn't help that she couldn't get it out of her head that tomorrow would be ten years to the day since Katsuya died. She walked rather lopsidedly to her apartment door as the heel on her left show had broken (oh, did she forget to mention that before) and pulled out her keys to the door.
After a few moments of fumbling with her key ring and the front door lock, Kyoko was finally allowed entrance to her apartment. She stumbled not so gracefully through the doorway. Tohru looked up from where she sat at the table, homework spread before her, still in her middle school uniform. She smiled a wide, genuine smile, her brown eyes wide and happy.
"Welcome home, Mom…I am going to make tofu for diner…"
Kyoko shut the door behind her and kicked off her shoes. She walked a few steps across the room and fell to her knees next to her daughter and wrapped her in a hug.
"I love you, Tohru."
It's hanging on when your heart has had enough;
It's giving more when you feel like giving up.
I've seen the light: it's in my daughter's eyes.
Then Tohru made friends. Uo-Chan and Hana-chan. It made Kyoko so happy to see her daughter happy. Too long had she been the little girl that cried and was ashamed because she was teased relentlessly in school. They became Kyoko's friends too. And she loved them.
But it also made Kyoko jealous. Tohru was no longer hers alone. But the feelings quickly passed when all three would hang out at her apartment, laughing and loving. Kyoko knew Tohru was growing up and one day would move out, fall in love, be the center of someone else's world. As much as the thought of losing her little girl was scary, she was proud. Proud that she was able to raise a daughter ready to face the world. A daughter so kind and caring. A daughter that she was proud to know.
Human beings can't help but want other people. All anyone really wants is to be accepted by others. I'm sure of it. And all that parents want is for their children to be happy. So someday, when you girls are older, even if you start to take different paths you'll never have to feel lonely or unloved. Because these are the kinds of bonds that never go away.
In my daughter's eyes, I can see the future.
A reflection of who I am,
And what will be.
She was crying. She didn't want to leave. She didn't want to have to leave Shigure-san, Sohma-kun, and Kyo-kun. With them, for the first time since her mother died, she felt like…
She knew she was only a temporary guest. I made they mistake of letting it feel like "that." She made the mistake of thinking of them as her family. "Even though Mom loved me, even though Grandpa is so generous to let me live with him, even though I have two great friends…I miss…I miss…," thought Tohru, tears running over her cheeks. That's when Sohma-kun and Kyo-kun showed up and told her to "Come home."
Dare she, dare she think of it as…home.
As Tohru walked back hand-in-hand with those two, she thought, "There's no one as lucky as me, Mom…I'm home. With my family."
And though she'll grow and, some day, leave:
Maybe raise a family,
When I'm gone, I hope you'll see,
How happy she made me,
For I'll be there, in my daughter's eyes.
It was not for long that Kyoko was struck with the pain that she would not see her daughter grow into a full woman. That she would not she her daughter gradate from high school, fall in love, get married, have children…that she would never get to tell her only child "goodbye." It was painful. It hurt more then her crushed bones, then the gashes bleeding out, then her pounding head.
Ah, I'm sorry, I guess this is farewell. Let Tohru find happiness. Please by many people let her be loved. If you become perplexed or make errors, in the end have the kind of life that you can have pride in living. The kind where you can say, "I perservered." Repeating delightful things and sad things. And in that way keep getting older. I perservered.