I woke to the steady slapping of waves against the sand. My head throbbed horribly, and my mouth was filled with salt water. I opened my eyes blearily, and saw it was very dark outside, except for a glowing light in front of me. Then I noticed a man with a lantern, looking at me concerned.
"Hullo! Are you alright?" he asked, as I tried to sit up and promptly fell back down, feeling dizzy.
"I... I don't know. How did I get here?"
"No idea. I was just taking a quick swim, when I saw you lying here in the sand. Looks like you took a nasty hit on those rocks over there," he said, nodding towards the craggy boulders behind me. "Do you remember anything?"
I tried hard, searching through the dark corners of my brain, but to no avail. "Not at all," I said, worried. "In fact, I can't remember anything before I woke up!" The man looked even more troubled after this. The dizziness in my head seemed to dissipate a bit, and I noticed his strange get-up: a trench coat, compass, and square glasses.
"Well, it is very late. Would you like to come stay the night with me and my tribe, The Ouran's Paradise? If you'd like to recuperate, you can come to my hut, not a few minutes away from here."
I nodded gratefully. "What's your name?"
"Oh, I'm Kyouya," he said, extending a wet hand to help me up. I took it, but not without another question as we walked along the beach to his village.
"Why were you swimming out so late at night?" I asked curiously. Kyouya was certainly a person full of eccentricities.
He laughed. "Why not?" And that was the last thing I remembered before half sleep-walking into Kyouya's hut, and falling asleep nearly instantly.
I had a fitful sleep, tossing and turning in the night. I had strange dreams, none of which I remembered when I awoke. The next morning, I woke up to hear someone banging pots and pans in the kitchen next door. I looked at myself in the mirror, and saw purple eyes staring back at me. What was I doing here? I still couldn't remember how I had ended up lying in the sand the night before.
"Good morning! I'm Renge!- welcome to Paradise Island!" an enthusiastic girl cried, bouncing in through the door. "Here, I've made some welcome waffles just for the occasion. Chocolate, Asparagus, or Strawberry?"
"Uhm, choclate please." I replied, and seconds later she had a plate of three waffles loaded with chocolate syrup. I was ravenously hungry, and had wolfed down all of them like wolf eating sheep. Renge was prepared, and flipped another two onto my plate with her spatula. She waited for me to finish eating before she spoke.
"So, what do you remember from last night?" she asked. It sounded like she had been waiting all morning for her to ask just that.
"Nothing," I said truthfully. "Don't even know my name!"
"Hmmm. Strange, isn't it? Well, we can't just call you 'it' forever, y'know." she said, smiling. "Luke, Jake, Ralph?" I shook my head, not knowing if I would even recognize my own name if she said it. "Well, we'll just call you Z for now, because it's a cool letter."
"Sure," I said- it sounded just as good as any other name. "Do... do you think I could have another waffle?"
With a grin a mile wide, she hustled back into the kitchen. "Haven't had anyone around here appreciate a good waffle in years!" she exclaimed.
Ten minutes later, after I was all filled up and showered, I went out on a walk. "Haiii!" squealed a kid, his blonde hair bobbing up and down in his excitement. "I'm Honey. Welcome to The Ouran's Paradise! We're so glad you're here; we haven't had a new tribe member in ages. What's your name?"
I paused, trying to explain my little problem when Renge came out of the hut behind me. "This is Z. Just came last night! Kyouya's trying to find him an open hut, but for now he'll need to share with someone- poor Kyouya had to sleep on the floor." I felt a bit ashamed, kicking the tribe's chief out of his bed, but no one else seemed to mind.
"Ooo, I would, Z, but my hut's only one bedroom anyway. Ask around, though; I'm sure you'll find someone! I've got to go, my bunny gallery needs updating." And with that, he scurried off. As he was leaving, ta pair of twins were walking out of another hut, obviously awoken by Honey's noisy chatting.
"'Ello!" one called, sporting a bright red bag "You must be the new tribe member. I'm Hikaru! This is my twin brother-"
"Kaoru. We're pretty much joined at the hip," he said with a laugh. "I thought I heard someone coming in last night- how'd you come across TOP?"
"TOP?" I asked, curiously.
"It's The Ouran's Paradise- Paradise Island, basically. But doesn't that sound much more... defenestrating?" I blinked.
"Word Nerd!" Renge hissed, laughing. "You're scaring Z off."
"Defenestrate: a throwing of a person or thing out of a window," Kaoru stated, as if reading from a dictionary. Renge elbowed him in the ribs. "Hey! Nothing wrong with a good set of vocabulary."
"Anywho," said Hikaru, munching on a cookie, as I found he was prone to do, morning, noon, and night. "Want a tour of the island?" I agreed, and Kaoru, Hikaru and I went off, Renge to the YYB field for the anime convention that day.
"This is the Clubhouse, here, where you'll find the Host Club.." Kaoru waved to a lady through the window. "Hi, Alicia!" Pointing to another room (which looked very lonely), "And that's the Newspaper club, run by-"
"Which has only a handful of members, mind you," Hikaru said, sniggering. "Then we have The Perfect New Thing: Billions of Dollars! It's a race to see who can reach 2.93 billion first- that's how much you need to make one million bucks in interest per day!" I gaped. I had no idea how rich or poor I had been in my life before TOP, but I knew that was a feat only attainable by Japan's richest.
At dinner, I met Haruhi, who offered to share her hut with me, as her Dad had gone out exploring the seven seas of the world a few months before. She had an adorable pair of eyes; bright brown and eager. I found myself staring at them.. Hikaru, the co-chief of TOP, also gave me a warm welcome that night, along with Eclaire' and Mori. I couldn't help but feel that they were watching me all night, but from what I've heard from the other tribe members, they're friendly creepers... Whatever that means?
The day went on and on, and I grew to love Paradise Island more and more. But then, I hit a lull in activity- I explored the island by myself, stayed in my room, didn't talk to anyone very often, and just generally was bored by what was here for me at Paradise Island. Deep inside me, I wanted to go out and explore Japan- my face was the only clue to my origins, and I felt as if I couldn't rest until I had at least tried to find where I had come from.
I had then come to a decision that I had to go, just for a few days, to see if I could find my past. Late one night, I crept out of the hut that Haruhi and I shared, and slipped into the cool, calm waters of the ocean. I had quite a time finding my way to Japan- who knew that sea monsters and sharks could be so menacing? Narrowly avoiding becoming fish food, I swam on and on.
Finally, I arrived at the city of Tokyo. At the city's lines, I stopped in my tracks. How was I going to do this? There must be thousands of people just like me in this city... I didn't even know my name. Feeling ridiculous, I wandered through the city streets, trying to formulate a plan in my mind.
"Oooo! Mommy, Mommy, a puppy up for adoption. Could we pleaseeee get him? Please?" a toddler whined.
"Yes, I'd like a plate of gourmet cookies please," said a teenager, ordering his dessert at Kelp.
"Like I said, Elon Hughlis has the highest goals per game in the whole Cup. Of course Tokyo's going to be in the Top Tier!" a young man said, arguing with his peers.
A pang went through my heart every time I heard something like that. I seemed to be finding TOP everywhere. Every girl reminded me of Alicia, anime of Renge, hyper kids of Honey, cookies of Hikaru, brown eyes of Haruhi, and nerds everywhere seemed to be exactly like Kaoru. The second day of my trip in Tokyo, I knew I had to swim straight back home. I was content with not knowing my past- my present was with TOP, and that was obvious. There was no other place for me but Paradise Island, and I knew it.