Chapter One: Ichigo, Alone

Author's Note: In this story, I changed the end of Tokyo Mew Mew so that Aoyama-kun dies (sorry, Masaya fans!) so that there's no issues of Ichigo cheating on him. This takes place two years after the Final Battle.

Disclaimer: I do not own Tokyo Mew Mew or any of its characters.

Chapter One: Ichigo, Alone

Ichigo woke up cold, sweaty, and sick. Stumbling out of bed, she made a dash for the bathroom, kneeling over the toilet just in time to throw up. Her limbs were shaking. She reached up unsteadily for the counter top, and with a great deal of effort, pulled herself up off the ground. She turned on the faucet and started to splash cold water on her face. It had happened again. She'd had the dream again.

It was a dream that never changed. Except perhaps that it became more horrifying to witness each night it occurred.

It had been two years since the final battle – the one that had left her weak, alone, and broken-hearted. After Deep Blue had killed Kisshu, and Deep Blue and Aoyama-kun had begun their ferocious, internal struggle, Ichigo had tried her hardest to destroy Deep Blue, while also sparing Aoyama-kun's life. In the dream, she summoned her Strawberry Bell the same as she had in the real battle. Then, using the Full Power of the Mews combined, she had blasted Deep Blue with enough power to destroy him. When the blast dissipated, she'd seen Aoyama-kun's body lying on the ground, lifeless.

Ichigo squeezed her eyes shut as the most horrible part of the dream rushed over her. She'd kissed Aoyama-kun, kissed him with every part of her soul. The Mew Aqua of her essence had been powerful enough to restore Tokyo to a blossoming paradise, powerful enough even to bring all three aliens – Pie, Tart, and Kisshu – back to life.

But it hadn't been enough. Not nearly enough. Aoyama-kun didn't wake up.

Ichigo felt the unwanted tears sliding down her cheeks again. And she was still nauseas. Up until the very last moment, the dream was accurate with reality. In the battle two years ago, she hadn't been able to save him. Her love. Aoyama-kun. The aliens had helped remove the Mews and Aoyama-kun's body from the spacecraft.

Ichigo especially remembered Kisshu's expression when he'd woken and seen Ichigo sobbing over Aoyama-kun's still body. Teleporting over, he'd stared at Ichigo as if he'd never seen anything more terrible and sad in his life. Usually, Ichigo would've shouted at him to go away. But this time, she let it go, because all that mattered then was that she knew she'd lost the battle. Even though Deep Blue had been defeated, she felt as though she'd failed, as both a Mew Mew and as Aoyama-kun's love.

Then, in the last seconds of the dream, as Ichigo saw Kisshu's expression – it made her start a little, so shocked was she by its depth of pain – the body morphed, like a fast-forward tape of something rotting, back into Deep Blue. The carcass opened its icy blue eyes, glazed over with evil insanity, and then the mouth full of broken teeth began laughing. Ichigo screamed, and in that instant, she always woke up, with the last remnants of that horrible face floating in front of her in the darkness. Sometimes, like tonight, she would run to the bathroom to throw up. Other times, she could do no more than curl up into a tiny ball, shivering underneath the covers, and grope around her nightstand for Masha, so she could hold him against her like a stuffed animal and gain some small comfort from his soft cooing.

Her limbs still weak, Ichigo crawled back into bed. She curled up in the fetal position, and closed her eyes. But the terrible face floated up beneath her eyelids, and she opened her eyes with a snap, a small whimper leaving her lips. She reached out one arm and felt around for her cell phone. Then, she suddenly stopped. She remembered that Masha was with Ryou getting a tune-up tonight. The Mews hadn't fought in two years, but Ryou had thought it best for Ichigo to keep Masha with her just in case of an new, unexpected threat. However, tonight, Ichigo was alone, and the thought sent her heart racing as she tried not to replay her dream, like the reel of a horror movie, in front of her eyes again.

It didn't work. The laugh echoed in her ears. She curled up even tighter, gripping her blanket tight between her fists. Her own pitiful voice whispered into the night.

"Go away…just go away…"

Then, one part of the dream returned to her – the only part that gave her any comfort, any sense of peace at all. It was the look on Kisshu's face when he'd seen her in pain. It was as if...as if, if he'd been able to, he would have taken her into his arms, and then, stroking her mop of pink hair, whispered to her that everything would be all right, and that he would take care of her.

All that…just from one look. That's what she'd felt for a brief moment. But two years ago, she had turned away from him, and in the dream, Aoyama-kun's body transformed at that moment into Deep Blue. But the thought of Kisshu – of the way he'd wanted to comfort her, of the way that he had, after all, thought of nothing but her the whole time they'd been pointlessly fighting each other – made it possible for her heart to stop racing.

"Kisshu…Kisshu…"

Whispering his name, very quietly into the night, she was able to drift off to sleep again.