Chapter 13 – The Confession
I hope you like this chapter. We're now finally entering the fluff... even though it won't happen again for a while and it's only a small part at the end, but, still, I hope you like it. If it's too confusing or full of mistakes just tell me, enjoy :D
P-S: I've just noticed that I changed from Mint to Minto, so... that's how it is. It doesn't change the story, but it's just a detail I thought I should point out in case you haven't noticed or did.
'He's going to throw it!'
Akasaka-san saw it before it happened. He had kept silent on the sidelines since the beginning, but now he had to come up and do something. He glanced around him, and saw that Ryou was nearest Pai. He knew what the blue Aqua could do and if he didn't act fast enough there would be much damage done. So he yelled at the top of his lungs.
"Ryou! The blue Aqua!"
Ryou's attention then shifted from Lettuce to Pai, and when he saw the alien ready to cast his precious liquid towards the chemira, he knew he had to do something. If it ever went in contact with the crocodile, it would increase its power exponentially. So he ran toward Pai to try to stop him and maybe snatch the Blue Aqua from him.
During it all, Lettuce was watching the scene unfurl before her eyes. Akasaka-san's interjection had also attracted her attention, but she couldn't fathom why it was so important. She knew that Pai was wasting away all the alien's effort in his revenge streak, but it was the alien's problem, not the human's. Anyway, she knew from experience that the human's were selfish and cruel, so why would they care if their enemies' future was compromised? No one had cared for her when she was human, so why would they care for aliens' now?
"Lettuce it's for you!", her mother yelled from downstairs.
Lettuce felt quite down lately since the Trio of Doom wouldn't stop harassing her. She had decided to take the day off from work since it was Sunday and usually it was quite calm. However, it seemed life had other plans for her. She had only wanted to lay in bed all day and not have to act as if the Trio of Doom wasn't bothering her. Still, she wasn't the kind of person to leave her guests at the door, and if her mother had let them in, it meant that it was surely people she wanted to see.
When she arrived downstairs, the girls were all huddled in her small entrance; Ichigo and Pudding looking everywhere curiously, Zakuro with her ever-on-stoic face, and Minto with a blank stare as if wondering what she was doing there. However as soon as Lettuce came in sight they all smiled happily – maybe that big of a smile for Zakuro, but still – and moved towards her to engulf her in a big group hug.
"W-what are you all doing here?", she enquired, surprised.
"Aren't you happy to see us?", Pudding pouted.
"O-of course, I am", she smiled. "I'm just surprised."
"Well, seeing as of lately you were somewhat down, we decided to come and pay you a visit when we learned you weren't coming to work today.", Zakuro supplied.
"But what of the café?! Surely Akasaka-san and Shirogane-san can't manage alone!", she stated.
"Don't worry about that, Lettuce", Minto interjected. "Our friend here", she pointed to Ichigo, "has talked quite... fervently Ryou into giving us a day off to come and see you."
"We wanted to be sure that you were okay", Ichigo declared ardently, but she still kept a ounce of shyness and never looked Lettuce in the eyes. "B-but if you don't to, we can always go back. I'm sorry, maybe you don't want us here. I only thought of myself and never asked you if it was okay for us to come at your place. Look we'll go and see you..."
"Oh! No, we don't!", Minto interrupted her. "You dragged out of my home at an ungodly hour, because you didn't have Lettuce's address. Then we had to go and wake up Ryou for it, and you know how he acts when he's just out of bed... In the end, we were way too early to come here or to pick up Zakuro or Pudding, so we went and search for something to cheer up Lettuce. What did we bought? Muffins, because no bloody store was open this early a SUNDAY MORNING!", she huffed out her last words.
"Oh, someone's cranky...", Ichigo couldn't help, but tease even though she knew it would end up badly for her.
As usual, whenever Minto and Ichigo got into a fight, Lettuce couldn't help but start laughing. They got into the silliest fight, since Ichigo seemed to always lead Minto in her worst laid plans which then always ended up with the blue haired girl losing her temper. Also, it warmed Lettuce's heart to know that she had such good friends who would go to such length for her.
"Don't worry Lettuce, I kept the muffins myself to be sure that Ichigo wouldn't eat them.", Pudding said in between Lettuce's giggles.
"Thank you, Pudding-chan", she managed to say when her laughter subsided.
"What? I would never have ate them!", Ichigo defended.
"I'm not so sure. With the way you were looking at the bag, we thought you would eat it whole... muffins and paper.", Minto said matter-of-factly.
"Zakuro, please help me here", Ichigo pleaded when she became short of arguments.
"I'm sorry, but I have to side with those two.", Zakuro replied. "The stare you were giving the bag was worst than when you put Pudding in a candy story."
Minto looked smug, but hearing the comparison with herself, Pudding sulked and sided with Ichigo. However, before it could turn any worst Lettuce reigned in her mirth and butted in.
"So how about we go eat those muffins?", she said clearly now completely at eased with the group. "I know a park not far from here, and it's so nice outside, we should take advantage of it."
Lettuce got out of her trance. She was sure that what she just saw was a memory. But if the girls were all that kind to her, it meant that all she all presumed about the humans were false. She couldn't quite wrap her head around that fact just yet. Nonetheless, even if she had wanted to think it through, the scuffle in front of her snapped her out of her thought.
Ryou had reached Pai before he casted the Blue Aqua away, but he was still struggling to get the upper hand. Suddenly, Ryou distracted the alien by an arm play and lunged for the Blue Aqua. Nevertheless, Pai wasn't one to go down without a fight, and in a last attempt to get his revenge he threw it away towards the chimera.
Ryou was too far to run after it, and could only look at it while it descended upon the Mew Mews and the crocodile battling. As luck would have it, the crocodile, who was stuck in a trap, succeeded to free itself, and Ichigo threw herself in its direction in hope of restraining it. However, she misjudged her angle, and landed in its previous spot; where the Blue Aqua was coming.
Seeing the outcome before it happened, Lettuce didn't think much about it and flew in between the Blue Aqua and Ichigo. Since her capture by the aliens, Lettuce hadn't learned much more about their quest except, that they were searching for something called the Blue Aqua and that it could save their land. Still, she didn't know its true power and when she saw it flying towards Ichigo – also not to forget that it was contained in something that looked like a glass recipient despite its shiny blue hue – she was only scared for the Mew Mews' well being.
In the end, it hit her directly in the abdomen, glass shattering everywhere and covering her in cuts. Suddenly, she felt a strange power entering her body. She tried to fight it, but it was useless. Anyway, when she stopped wrestling against it, a warm feeling surrounded her. It was as if everything was falling into place, and that everything that happened lately wasn't important anymore. She felt happy and confident, like she was her true self finally. But then, the power proved too be too much for her; her Mew Mew power, the alien's and the Blue Aqua were clashing inside of her, each trying to take control.
Seeing she was going to lose consciousness and fall down, Ryou ran to her and caught her before she could hurt herself any further. It seemed, however, that as soon as they touched each other the excess of power within Lettuce's body sought Ryou. Then, before anyone else thought of doing something they were both on the ground unconscious, no one daring to touch them in case something happened to them too.
Lettuce couldn't comprehend nor remember what had happened to her. All she knew was that at one point she was rushing at Ichigo's side to save her and then she was here – even though she didn't know what here was. Everything was white, it looked like a palace of some sort. She was in a grand hall surrounded by balconies, but everything was so bright that she couldn't discern the landscape outside – if there was one. She was at the far end of the corridor/hall and three lights were fighting – she wasn't sure since she never saw energy fighting one another – at the other end. One blue, one green and one yellow. It seemed so surreal to her and all she could do was looking at them – could they be seen as entities – while they fought since there was nothing else she could do. The outside wasn't tempting if she couldn't even look at it since it was too bright and there no doors, only one long corridor with her and three energy balls.
She sighed. Everything she had wanted for her life was to find friends, maybe love and to get by the best she could. She never imagined being enrolled in such adventures where she found herself aiding aliens on their quest to save their planets while fighting who she had once considered as her best friends. Still she shouldn't have been fooled, at first she had trusted the Trio of Doom. Now everything was different, and even though she had hoped for something better in her life, it had all turned bitter.
"Maybe I should've let the others explain...", she trailed off out loud.
Now that she was stuck in somewhere she was starting to have regret. She couldn't help, but second thinking what she had previously believed. If only some of her fuzzy memories could become clearer and then, with the truth, maybe she could face the others once again on equal grounds.
Suddenly she felt the atmosphere around her shift. Then a blinding light, even brighter than the one outside, surrounded her and she felt herself being transported elsewhere. When she opened her eyes she was in the café with Ichigo, Minto and Akasaka-san facing the Trio of Doom. They had an angry look etched on their faces while the Trio of Doom wore smug faces.
"What...?", she started, but then she was cut off by Minto.
"You know you shouldn't waste perfectly good tea", she stated. Her words may not have been much, but her movements were nothing less than threatening. After fighting since forever against the aliens, she knew how to give off an heinous aura. She advanced slowly, almost regally, and looked down upon them. "At least, you should've taken a sip out of it before tossing it away as garbage." She still had her cup of tea in hand and took one sip for good measure.
The Trio of Doom wouldn't let themselves get intimidated so easily. They were used to be on the other side of it and they wouldn't abandon the upper hand so easily.
"Yeah, and what would a small thing like yourself think could do?", Aya snickered and the others followed suit. "You're in no way frightening. You'll what? Throw your cup of tea at our heads?"
"Oh, I wouldn't have done that if I were you?", Ichigo interjected. "But still you seemed to have a death wish the moment you started coming here to attack Lettuce"
"What, that little nothing?", Satsuki said. "How could you be friends with her?"
"I don't think you three ladies can judge us about whom we make friends with since you don't seem to know how to respect others", Akasaka-san admonished the girls like he would a child.
"And there goes the old man's speech", Aya responded.
The girls were seeing red. Not only the Trio of Doom were attacking Lettuce, but now they insulting another one of their own.
At that point, Lettuce tried to interrupt them, but no one seemed to notice her. Not only was she invisible to them, but she couldn't interact with them nor could she interact with anything in fact. When Minto was advancing, she walked out of the way, but then she went through a table. She wasn't solid. She was like a ghost seeing and hearing everything, but unable to act physically. All she could do now was watching while the customers were starting to flee seeing the argument getting out of hands.
"Don't you dare insult us!", Minto spat flinging her teacup at the nearest table.
"Since you seem so eager to waste food every time you come here, why don't we use that to our advantage?", Ichigo interrupted, letting Minto calm down.
She knew she was acting immaturely, but, at the moment, her only thought was to get rid of those little pests. So she took a piece of cake – 'Strawberry shortcake', Lettuce noticed – and threw it at the Trio of Doom. It attained Aya directly in the face. The face she made was priceless as much for Lettuce as it was for the others. The rest of Aya's clique hurried to her side to wipe the cake smudged on her face and clothes.
"Aaaaaaaah!", she yelled pushing the girls away. She was having a fit and, secretly, Lettuce was greatly enjoying the show. "You! How could you?!"
"Akasaka-san?", Minto inquired completely ignoring the hysterical girl. "Would you mind if we made a little bit of a mess in the café?", she asked naively.
"As long as you clean it afterwards", he answered, then stepped aside just to keep watch.
"In this case", she said turning towards the Trio of Doom. "I think we shall show you what we're capable of. It should make you think twice about coming back here. Lettuce is our friend and we won't let you mess with her any longer."
Suddenly, a gush of wind picked up and pushed every tables down. The remaining clients got up and flee before they could be pulled into the fight. The Trio of Doom was stuck there being immobilized by the wind. They were now completely afraid and didn't doubt that the Ichigo and Minto would make their life miserable if they didn't leave Lettuce alone.
Then Ichigo started to talk. But her voice was sweet and sugary enthralling the Trio of Doom.
"You will never come back here ever again and you will leave Lettuce alone. Be prepared to suffer our wrath if we see you three bothering any of our friends."
Lettuce made a sharp turn toward the voice. She knew who it was, but she couldn't believe it.
'How did he come here?', she thought.
Ryou was standing a few feet behind her. He looked as lost as she did when she first arrived there – once again, wherever there was. None of them knew what to do... They were completely lost in each other, when the air around them shifted once again. They were surrounded by a blinding light, and, when they reopened their eyes, they were once again in the bright white corridor.
The three lights at the other side had diminished, they were smaller, but they were still fighting as fiercely. At least, in lettuce's eyes it looked like that. It was as if the energy they were emitting was calling to her. She could feel their battle like it was her own inner one. Then, she understood. It really was her inner battle; her human side, the alien's and the Blue Aqua. She could now feel the power flowing within her, but, at the same time, she felt torn.
Before she could think it any longer, Ryou approached her from behind and encased her in his arms. He hugged her tightly, breathing deeply into her neck.
None of them moved. Even though they had parted ways in worst circumstances, it seemed that now they couldn't remember why. They fit together and, in that moment, everything was perfect. Well, almost, because Lettuce now had all of her memories back. She remembered all of the good things he did for her, but also of the betrayals. So she detached herself and tried not to think about the loss of heat, thus of Ryou.
"Please... I think we need to talk", she said without stuttering. It seemed that her recent finding of her true power had hatched her from her shy persona. Now she was in control of herself and confident in what she was doing. However, it didn't mean that she wanted to do it, because as far as she knew, the conversation she had to have with Ryou was nothing near amusing. However, if they ever wanted to get back as friends – she couldn't let herself think of more, she didn't have such hope – they had to sort everything out. Despite all, Ryou understood what she wanted and stepped away to give her some space to think.
"Just so you know, I'm really sorry for everything, Lettuce", he stated with a pitiful bow of his head. He didn't dare look into her eyes and see rejection. He wanted what was best for her, and of she deemed better not to see him nor talk to him, he would understand and step down.
Still, it wasn't what Lettuce wanted neither. She only searched for the truth and for it to be revealed the two of them needed a real conversation.
"I just want to know, Ryou, why all the lies.", she asked pleadingly.
"I-it was never meant as a lie Lettuce. We just didn't want you to get hurt. I didn't want you to get hurt. So I decided not to reveal you your true nature.", he confessed.
"Then did you see me as something weak that couldn't fight for herself, who wasn't worth fighting at the Mew Mew's side", she said with tears in her eyes now. " – at your side?", she completed.
Ryou couldn't hold it anymore. He had decided to let Lettuce the free reign of her decision, but seeing her so hurt – because of him – proved to be too much. He took a step forward and hugged tightly her once again as if it could protect her from anything... everything.
"I promise you, I never meant to hurt you, I never would", he whispered in her ear. His words were only murmurs, but it carried so much truth, certainty and love. She could hear it, feel it. And she decided, it was time for her to face her fears. The girls truly were her friends – all her repressed memory had came back and she could feel it – and even though it was Ryou's secret that had hurt her the most, she could see he only meant well. The bubbling feeling inside of her only grew, and she had to hide her face in Ryou's chest. She buried her face there, hiding her smile and the blush that was creeping up at the thought of her confession. She finally looked up to face the man of her dreams.
"Ryou – "
"Lettuce – "
They had started had the same time, which made Lettuce laugh and then Ryou. He couldn't believe she was finally back and laughing with him. Seeing her again had only stirred the feeling in his heart and now he couldn't stop looking at her. He had to commit her face to memory, and be sure to never hurt her again. He finally realised in that moment that he loved her and would do anything in order to protect her.
He cradled her head in his hands, brushing his thumbs lightly over her cheekbones and looked her in the eyes. He was searching for any doubt that Lettuce wasn't feeling the same as he did, ready to step if he was to ever make such a discovery. However, he could only see trust, admiration and love – he so desperately hoped so – and started to slowly bend down his head. When their lips finally met, it was soft and moist, and finally happening like an oasis sought for an eternity in a desert. It was right.
Suddenly, the energy lights at the other end of the corridor started to buzz and once again a bright light encased them to bring them back to reality.
I know it's not all that clear since I'm writing along and even though I have the bigger lines drawn out, I haven't pinpoint the exact plan for it all. Anyway, just so you know Lettuce feels betrayed because no one told her who they truly were and she had to discover it by herself and get transformed by the aliens to get the whole truth. (That's the big line out) If you have any questions about things that aren't clear enough, just ask and it'll be my pleasure to answer :D