STANDARD DISCLAIMER:

Fushigi Yuugi and all related trademarks do NOT belong to me. They belong to Yuu Watase-sama and I'm just borrowing a few of its characters and concept for use in this twisted little composition otherwise known as a fanfic.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

I was going through one of my fanfics for another series while listening to Iris (GooGoo Dolls) when the idea for this fic popped into my mind. I tried to ignored it at first since I've got a dozen more chapters for innumerable series that I must accomplish but it just refused to go away. So, I decided to throw everything to the wind and start another series in spite of the fact that it may take me forever to finish all the series I have started at the rate things are going. Anyway, I decided to do it and that's exactly what I'm doing right now. I hope you stick through till the end.

Anyway, about this fic. It is basically a what-if fic that focuses on Tomo and Soi's relationship with one another, this time, not only with regards to Nakago, but with regards to every known aspect of their lives. It's like setting out on a journey with them coz this fics tackles everything from their bitter pasts, their damned existence in the present and promises of a future. I have decided not to alter anything about their pasts, leaving every confirmed fact about it in tact, a thing I know you can't believe. However, I am going to add some little events in there which would eventually lead to the formation of the plot. I will try not to mess up with the events in the series so as to give this story a sense of belongingness, as thought it was something that may have actually happened but was omitted since it had no relevance on its history.

If you like Tomo, Soi or Tomo and Soi together, or if you believe and revel in the concept of serendipity, having soul mates, the power of dreams, predestination and reincarnation, I think you'd enjoy reading this. An overused plot device, at least for me, but I'm thinking it would do well for this series. Anyway, having said what I must, let us now go on to the fic, shall we?

BITTERSWEET MEMORY

By: Ryuuen

Prologue

            Cold.

            The first vivid memory that I had as a child was of a bitter winter - not that of dancing eyes or happy faces, not of a soft gentle voice lulling me to sleep nor the feeling of someone kissing me before the lights go out, not of a loving embrace or a reassuring touch…

Cold.

            I had barely lived two full years when the woman who brought me into this world took it upon herself to end the very life which she gave… my mother. I remember nothing of her. Even if I strained my memory, all I could come up with was a blurred portrait of a woman with long silvery gray hair like mine and steel blue eyes. I don't really care. She didn't love me. She never had really wanted me in the first place. I was an accident… an accident. I remember her telling me that over and over again, the only words I ever remember escaping her lips with regards to me aside from the insults and curses. My mother had a sharp tongue… a sharp tongue only matched by the sharpness of her whip. I've always wondered why she bothered giving me life when she was slowly taking it away…

            Cold.

            Throwing me into the river in nothing more than that tattered piece of clothing that was once her mother's mantelpiece, she left me to die at the mercy of nature. Left me to die, nameless, unsung. She left me to die but I don't blame her…

            Cold.

            I need not. I never did… For someone found me and took me into his home. He was the leader of a group of traveling opera performers, a middle-aged man who took great pride in his singing. He taught me everything I know, made up for the absence of my parents and made me feel wanted for the first time in my life. And he gave me a name, his name… Ryou Chuin. A name that I felt obliged to live up to. He started training me, spending every waking minute teaching me the flips and twirls and high notes that were to be expected of an opera performer. He taught me and taught me well… until…

            Cold.

            He died, just like that. The cause of his death was unknown, not because no one in the group knew about such. They just didn't care. Burying his remains in a shallow grave, we packed up and left. Just like that.

            Cold.

            The man who replaced him was nothing like him. He was tall, muscled and swarthy with a very bad drinking habit and an identical temper. I was afraid of him. He never liked my guardian. There was no reason for him to like me. I became their servant, fetching their drinks, fixing their costumes, and my dream to live up to the name I have been given, I knew, would remain just as it was…a dream.

            Cold.

            A dream that slowly turned into a nightmare. I can still remember it vividly, how he and his friends, upon some sick whim, forced themselves into my tent and upon me, carelessly ripping apart my clothing, roughly handling my limp body as I screamed in pain, how their laughter echoed in the darkness as each took their turn. I lost consciousness, only to awaken to the murky smell of sweat and wine and…

            Cold.

            It has always been that way ever since that night. It didn't matter to them whether I was tired or not. They didn't care as long as they got what they wanted. I didn't care either. At least, I brought myself to think that I didn't care.

            Cold.

            They would leave as soon as they had had enough, smirking and patting my head as I feigned sleep. And in the aftermath of it all, I would draw my knees to my chest and try to imagine everything away… to convince myself that everything was an illusion. My mother…an illusion. My life…an illusion. My pain… an illusion…

            Cold.

            An illusion. And with that, I would slowly drift off into slumber. I would not cry. That would be foolish. It is foolish to cry over things that are never there. Foolish to cry over an illusion. Drawing my blanket closer to my body, I close my eyes. Yes, everything is an illusion… even the bitter winter that was the first thing I remembered. I shiver. Even so, it was still…

            Cold. 

            Okay… that was quite short. Can you guess who I'm referring to? For those of you who haven't figured it out yet, that'd be Tomo during his early years. I know it looks like stand-alone piece material but I'm sorry, it's not. If you noticed, I only narrated half of his childhood. Curious as to what is going to happen in the other half? Write me a nice little review to inspire me to write the next chapter and post it up as soon as possible. I love reviews and the more reviews I get, the sooner I update. Please don't flame me for my unusual preference coz as usual, constructive criticism shall be appreciated. Flames shall be used to light my cousin's birthday candles. (I seem to be coming up with lots of uses for flames, ne?)

            Anyway, until next chap. Ja!

            (((^_^)))