Throughout The Night
Chapter One: In The Beginning
"Come on, Mama! Come see!" A little girl with long, silky, dark brown hair and large, gentle turquoise eyes tugged on the skirt of a woman with orange hair and a welcoming face.
"Alright, alright Tohru! I'm coming!" She laughed. She followed as Tohru led her mother through the Royal Gardens. The moon was full, and was like the gentle glow of a lantern. Tohru trotted toward the edge of a small pond and silently kneeled down. The woman knelt down next to her.
"What is it, Tohru?" she asked. Tohru looked at her and pointed to the pond's glassy surface. Like a spotlight, the moon lit up the ripples on the water, revealing pearly white and calico koi fish as they swam gracefully through the clear water. It was like an underwater ballet.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" the woman whispered. Tohru nodded, her eyes shining with wonder. Just then, a frog hopped on top of Tohru's head. Tohru slowly looked up and saw it peering down from its perch. They stared at each other in silence, and then…
Tohru let out a small yip and flailed her arms in surprise, the frog remaining perfectly balanced and calm despite this. Her mother laughed as she picked up the amphibian and lifted it off Tohru's head.
"Looks like you found a friend." She laughed, raising it for Tohru to see. "A frog may not be as beautiful as a koi fish, but remember Tohru: Everyone deserves love, no matter how course or rough they look."
Tohru gazed at her mother, and then smiled as she stroked the animal's slippery back with a delicate finger. Just then, a boy who worked at the palace ran up to them, panting.
"Your majesty, Queen Kyoko. The King wanted to speak with you." He managed to say. Queen Kyoko stood up.
"I see. Thank you." She turned to Tohru and placed a hand on her daughter's head. "Promise me you'll go to bed soon, OK?" Tohru nodded quickly.
"Uh-huh!" Kyoko chuckled, and then went with the boy back to the castle. Tohru stood still for a moment, but continued to walk through her favorite part of the Royal Gardens. She walked past the Great Blossom Tree, as she called it, for it was the largest tree in the garden.
What seemed so special about this tree was that its trunk was so thick; it would take two people holding hands with their arms wide to wrap all the way around it. It also leaned to one side, so it was easy to climb, even for her.
She closed her eyes and inhaled. The sweet scent of the cherry blossoms was as soothing as a lullaby. But then she heard the grass rustle, and her eyes snapped open.
"W-who's there?" she whispered nervously, but the rustling noise stopped. Right behind her apparently.
Tohru had spun around and instinctively threw her hands out in front of her, making quite a perfect example of how such contact sounded….when it hit human skin.
Whatever it was fell backwards and onto the ground. It rubbed its sore cheek. NOW Tohru started to panic.
"OH MY GOSH! I'M SO SORRY! I DIDN'T MEAN TO HIT YOU! I'M SORRYYYYY!" she flailed her arms and her face was more flustered than anyone could've thought possible. She quickly knelt down and tried to help whomever it was get back onto his feet.
"Are you all right?" she fretted.
"….You've got a mean sucker punch, you know that?" the voice commented. Tohru's eyes widened in surprise. The moonlight lit up where they were standing, and revealed the mysterious stranger. He was a young boy, the same age as she was, but he was lankier and had bright orange hair.
"Er…no. No one's ever told me that, before." She replied. The boy bopped her on the head, which, understandably, hurt.
The boy laughed, but it wasn't a mocking kind of laugh. It was a happy kind of laugh.
"I'm Tohru." She introduced.
"Kyo." He replied.
Tohru smiled brightly. She held out her hand and grabbed his, and pulled him along. He blushed profusely.
"Wha-WHAT ARE YOU-" he sputtered, but he was silenced when she looked over her shoulder and smiled at him.
"Come with me. I want to show you something." She whispered.
What could Kyo do? He couldn't say no to such an innocent face. He glared at his feet, red from one ear to the other. But then again, no one had ever smiled at him like that. Not once. He gave a small smirk, but he made sure she wasn't looking.
A little while later, they had managed to wander deep into the Royal Gardens. But this area was old and forgotten. The groundskeeper didn't even bother to make sure it was in good shape. The stone walls and fences were crumbling, and statues were weathered and eroded from time and laced with wild ivy. Flower beds had spread messily out of their boundaries, and moss grew in between the cracks in the stone path. But it was beautiful that way, especially at night. Kyo never thought something so old could look so fascinating.
"Where ARE we?" he asked curiously. Tohru turned and looked at him.
"We're still in the Gardens, but no one bothers taking care of it anymore." She said wistfully, as if she were sad that such a pretty place wasn't visited anymore. "But I like to come here by myself. Everyone else has forgotten about it. I didn't know about it either until I came across it by accident."
Tohru blushed. She squeezed her eyes shut in embarrassment.
"I got lost." She confessed. Kyo sweatdropped.
"Of course." He muttered.
"But anyways, come on! We're almost there." She exclaimed. Soon they made it to what looked like a simple garden shack, but when they stepped inside, it was easy to see it had been turned into a clubhouse. Tatami mats and small pillows were on the floor, and a small chest served as a table as well as a trunk. It wasn't much, but an open door showed behind it. A small pit made of stone was actually a fishpond. A small waterfall trickled down crumbled rocks in the corner of the stone-brick fence that bordered around the back area, shielding it from view from any other perspective.
Tohru's eyes shined as she looked at the sight she had seen so many times, yet never failed to love, while Kyo was at a total loss of words.
Tohru smiled. It made her happy to know something she loved made someone else happy, too. Just then she noticed a sundial that was lit by the moonlight.
"BWAA! I FORGOT! I NEED TO GO TO BED!" she yelped, flailing. She dashed off, but not before stopping long enough to turn around and wave.
"See you later!" she called, smiling brightly. Then, she ran off. Kyo was surprised. No one had ever said that to him before. Not him. Not ever. But he liked it.
As the days went by, Tohru came across Kyo more often. They would meet around the Great Blossom Tree and go to the Secret Hideout to play. They became best friends. But only at night would they meet.
But meanwhile, someone far from the castle was kneading his fingers into the armrests of his chair. He thought hard, his face scowling.
"…I want their memories ERASED." He hissed. Another man was in the room. His bangs covered his left eye, but one could still recognize his serious face.
Tohru walked towards the Blossom Tree, but right when she reached Kyo, she fell to her knees and collapsed, and then lay still.
"What the-? TOHRU! WHAT'S WRONG!" he cried, kneeling beside her and trying to get her to roll on one side. But then, a searing pain seemed to electrify through his body, was over as soon as it began, like a lightning bolt. He slumped over, leaning against the tree. A figure stepped out of the brush, took Kyo's arms, and dragged him into the shadows.