This was an idea that popped into my head upon watching episode 7 for about the tenth time. It begins with a quick recap of the park scene from that episode and then branches off into a new plot. I hope you guys like it!

Disclaimer: I do not own Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi :(


Memories

"Ryouko!"

She heard a voice calling her name.

It was a slightly raspy voice in a concerned and serious tone that was somehow familiar and foreign at the same time.

"Get it together! Oy! Oy!" The voice went on, tensed.

After her hearing had returned, her sense of touch shortly followed and she felt a gentle hand on her cheek. Wha...? She wondered, taking a deep breath before slowly creaking open her eyes.

She found herself looking up at the face of a boy, his eyes hidden by long bangs, but she did not get the chance to search for them because he pulled away instantly.

"Ryouko-san! Thank goodness!" He exclaimed, relieved. With a bit of effort, she pushed herself up off the grass, blinking confusedly as water dripped from her hair onto her face. "Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere?" The boy asked with a hopeful smile. But that smile quickly faded when she looked up at him, puzzled. "Ryouko-san?" He repeated her name, sounding just as confused as she felt.

"Um... Who are you?" She wondered.

She could tell that her question confused him even more, but she tilted her head to the side when she saw the dismay on his face. He looked as if he wanted to ask much, much more, but knew that there were priorities.

This strange boy told her to first remove her wet socks, lest she caught a cold, and the girl silently obeyed. After that, she proceeded to introduce herself properly and gave an explanation of what she believed to be her current situation.

"I'm Ookami Ryouko, a first year at Mukashibana Middle School. I'm 13 years old."

"13 years old?" The boy repeated, incredulously.

"Um... Who are you, Onii-san?" She wondered politely.

"Eh? 'O-Onii-san'?" He echoed.

"Well, you look older than me..." At her words, his mind seemed to distract him from reality for a moment before he suddenly declared,

"Wait, I shouldn't be happy about this! Ryouko-san, don't you remember me?" He leaned forward and she naturally leaned back, raising her hand to her mouth.

"Have we met before?" Her unfamiliarity with him caused him to become even more dejected. "I'm sorry." She apologized, not sure why this boy was so upset.

Then, her body gave a shiver and she sneezed. As she sniffed, the boy got to his feet and removed his jacket, placing it onto her dripping shoulders.

"It's wet..." she commented thoughtlessly.

"S-Sorry!" he yelped, as if she would hit him. But quite contrarily, she ran her fingers over his jacket, more than a little flustered at the thought of a total stranger being so courteous toward her.

"Thank you for taking care of me." She gave him her brightest smile. He looked down at her with his jaw agape for a moment before regaining his composure.

"N-Now's not the time for this!" He seemed to be scolding himself.

Then, he whipped out a cell phone and dialed before talking fretfully to the person on the other end. When he had finished, he looked just as helpless as he had all the while.

"Onii-san?" Ryouko tentatively stepped forward.

"Uh... you can call me Ryoushi." He offered.

"Then... Ryoushi-san." She tried out saying the name and found that she rather liked it. Once more, he seemed to go off into his own little world for a moment. "Um...Ryoushi-san?"

"Y-Yes?" he snapped back to real life.

"Could you perhaps explain the situation to me?" she requested.

"Oh, of course. Here, follow me first."

He led her over to one of the many vacant benches in the park and he then explained to her about what had happened; she had fallen into the pond while attempting to save a cat, and had hit her head rather hard, resulting in amnesia.

He then explained to her how she was actually 16 years old, as well as his relationship to her, which was apparently 'just friends'. Secretly, the 13-year-old Ryouko wondered what her 16-year-old self was thinking, exactly. Why are Ryosuhi-san and I not dating, I wonder? He certainly seems nice enough, saving me from the pond and taking care of me. I sure like him... She shifted her shoulders as she thought this, glancing at him to reiterate how true it was when her heart began to beat a bit faster.

"My head's been feeling fuzzy since I woke up. Is this really amnesia?" She wondered aloud. She then asked about her 16-year-old self, to try and jog her memory, but nothing worked and her head continued to feel as though it was filled with cotton. "It's no use." She sighed.

"For now, we should go to the hospital." Ryoushi decided.

"Okay." She agreed, placing all of her trust in him.

But just then, her stomach grumbled, leading to their little picnic together. They continued to discuss her older self, and how she was similar and different to her younger self, but still, Ryouko could not remember anything.

When they had finished eating and Ryoushi helped her up, she then took the lead as they headed into town. She took him to various shops and places, and she felt that she was finally getting to enjoy herself for the first time; even though she could only recall having just met this boy, she found that she liked him very much.

However, he finally stopped her and decided they must head to the hospital. She lowered her eyes, giving a downcast look to the ground, but his reassuring hand rested on her head as he promised to always be by her side no matter what.

Yes, she truly did wonder what exactly was wrong with her older self for not being romantically involved with this fine young man.

After a while it began raining, and Ryoushi then received a phone call from someone. Within moments, a small, red-haired girl in a red dress found them outside a restaurant, which they all then entered. Despite the small girl's and Ryoushi's best efforts, they could not get Ryouko-san to remember anything prior to that day that involved the Otogi Bank or any of its members.

Ryouko did not particularly pay attention as the other two chattered on, but instead she contentedly enjoyed the parfait they had treated her to. The taste was too amazing not to share with her new friends, and so she offered Ryoushi a spoonful while calling his name.

"Ryoushi-san!" She beamed excitedly, but he either did not hear her or he ignored her completely, too engrossed in his conversation with the other girl. Ryouko withdrew her hand, somewhat hurt, but as he continued to chat away, she felt a pain in her chest. Within seconds, it hurt so badly she was hardly in control of herself anymore. Slamming her spoon down onto the table, she grabbed her basket and pushed away from the table abruptly.

"You said you'd be there for me!" She cried angrily as the pain increased.

And with that, she ran out into the pouring rain. She ran for a moment before she slowed her pace, walking through the gray city as rain splattered her face. She wondered what had come over her within seconds and left just as quickly, and now she only felt more pain, dismay, and sadness than she believed she had ever felt before. Deep down, she knew what she had done was wrong, but for some reason, she felt betrayed by Ryoushi now, as if it was her body's natural reaction; as if this had happened to her before.

I wonder why... she thought to herself, feeling a different kind of liquid than rain running down her cheeks now. He was so nice to me... he worried about me... but he...

She then cut off her thoughts, feeling more tears burning behind her eyelids. She let a few more of them fall before she realized how ridiculous she was behaving right now.

Resolved to go back and apologize, she straightened up and turned around, eager to get back to the restaurant. But she collided hard with something and the impact knocked her over backward onto the cold, soaked sidewalk.

"Sorry." A new, deep, masculine voice sounded from above her. As Ryouko recovered from the brief shock, she looked up to see a tall man with long, white hair and dark, navy blue eyes staring down at her. "Are you alright?" He asked.

"Y...Yes... um..." She quickly wondered what she was supposed to do now, but the man in front of her leaned down closer, rain cascading off of his umbrella as he did so, drenching her further.

"My, my. If it isn't Ryouko-chan." The man said.

Her eyes widened. Another person who knows me? She wondered.

"Um... have we met before?" Her voice was small, but determined; perhaps this man could help her remember who she was.

Initially, Hitsujikai was suspicious of her behavior, but quickly realized that something was off with her; her russet irises were filled with curiosity and a naïve trust, the same trust that had been in her eyes before he had attempted to claim her as his own.

He was not entirely sure what was going on at the moment, however he was not so stupid as to let slide this opportunity that had literally appeared before him.

"Why yes we have met." He answered her. "In fact we're good friends, you and I." He offered her his hand and she hesitantly accepted it. "You're Ookami Ryouko, and I'm Hitsujikai Shirou, if you recall." Even the mention of his name did not have an affect on her, and the flare inside of him quickly ignited. He helped her up before gathering her basket and fallen hat and handing them back to her.

"Um... I'm supposed to be meeting up with Ryoushi-san..." she murmured, trying not to sound rude.

"Ah, Ryoushi-kun, was it? You were with him?" Hitsujikai grabbed onto her mistake of mentioning the boy's name. "He and I are close friends as well. Why don't you come back to my house with me? I'll text him and let him know where you are. Sound good?"

"Ah...okay. If you're sure it won't cause you trouble."

"Nonsense." He grinned.

Then, leaning his umbrella to the side to shield her from the rain, he began to lead her back to his house.


"Did you find her yet?" Ringo shouted to Ryoushi from across the street.

The two of them had hurriedly gotten up to follow after Ryouko after her sudden departure, but she was nowhere to be found.

"No." Ryoushi replied miserably. Dammit! He thought angrily. What am I doing? How big of an idiot am I? How could I let her go like that? What if something's happened to her? He mentally beat himself.

Ringo made her way over to him, worry plastered all over her face, even more so than the rain.

"Where could she have gone? You don't think she headed toward the hospital, do you?" She suggested.

"No, she said that she didn't remember anything about this town before." Ryoushi explained. "She could be lost anywhere..." The thought only made him hate himself even more. "What should we do now?" He gritted his teeth to hold back his rage and fear.

But before Ringo could answer, she was cut off as a new, high-pitched voice joined the conversation.

"You? What are you two doing out here? You're gonna catch colds!"

They both turned to see a small girl dressed in a poofy lolita dress under a frilled umbrella, her long, bubblegum-pink twintails blowing in the wind.

"Usami-san!" Ringo exclaimed.

"What's the matter with you guys? Why don't you get umbrellas and go home like Ookami-san. Why aren't you with her?" She titled her head to one side.

"W-Wait! You saw her?" Ryoushi immediately interjected.

"Hah?" Mimi's eyebrows came together in confusion. "Well yeah. She was just walking home with one of the other Otogi Bank members. Otohime-chan's boyfriend I think..."

"What? Urashima-san?" Ringo clarified. "Hold on a second." She pulled out her cell phone and dialed. "Hello? President? This is urgent! Is Urashima-san there?" She asked in a bombardment of questions. "He is? Oh my god. Okay let me explain to you then. This is really bad..."

As Ringo explained it over the phone to Liszt, Ryoushi realized exactly what had happened.

Mimi had seen Ryouko walking together with someone who resembled Tarou, which was impossible because he was currently at the Bank.

There was only one other man in the entire city with long white hair.

"No..." Despiar weighed his voice down, and he felt so weak that knees might cave in. "No... it can't be... oh my god..." He felt the world around him cracking bit by bit. "I lost her... I let her go... Even when I promised so many times that I would protect her..."

"H-Hey. What's going on?" Mimi asked nervously, sensing the gravity of the situation now.

"Mornino-kun!" Ringo's sharp tone snapped him back into reality. "Here!" She had torn a piece of paper from a notepad in her bag and written an address onto it, and she now shoved it into his hands. "The President just looked up his address. You have to go there right now." Tears were streaming down her face now. "He told me to come back to the Bank because it's too dangerous and I can lead the rest of them there. But his house isn't too far from here." She lifted her finger and pointed where he needed to go. "Alice is speaking to the headmaster right now. There's an emergency security system in the city for situations just like this. If she pulls the right strings, she can unwire the locks of his house to let you in. Go, Morino-kun! You have to save her before...something terrible happens again. You're the only one who can save her!" She cried.

Without wasting another second, Ryoushi dashed off, pelting through the rain as if all the demons in hell were snapping at his heels.

He had never run so fast in his life; he had never needed to.

He felt water streaming off his face, not sure if it was rain or if it was all tears of frustration, and fear, but most of all anger.

There was a rage inside of him, the most powerful, terrifying kind that was so subtle he may as well have been shouting until his voice gave out.

He dashed toward his destination, his mind blank and white with too many emotions, his thoughts racing so much it seemed he thought nothing at all.

In the end, all that drove him forward was a single prayer of her name. Ryouko-san...


Ryouko glanced around the luxurious room in wonder.

Hitsujikai had led her to his house and then insisted she have some tea in his room; his parents were currently out, but he felt his room would be best for her to relax in for now. The room was mostly white on all sides, aside from dark blue curtains a large bed covered with matching colored blankets.

Ryouko's shoes as well as her basket and hat sat near the entrance to his house, as he had convinced her she would not be needing any of them.

Presently, she knelt before a kotatsu, trying not to shiver, as it would suggest the temperature of the house was unsuitable, which would be quite rude of her as a guest. But then, Hitsujikai returned and placed a cup of warm tea before her and then sat down on the other side of the kotatsu.

"Thank you." She smiled as she reached for the cup, holding it with both hands and taking a small sip. She winced slightly; it was not the kind of tea to serve to a guest, it had not been cooled at all, rather it was blazing hot. She slowly placed the cup back down, folding her hands into her lap. "So, Histujikai-kun, you know Ryoushi-kun?"

"Ah, yes." He said suavely. "But you and I have known each other for much longer. We went to Mukashibana together. What a grand time that was." He chuckled, sounding nostalgic.

"You really do know me..."

"What? Did you think I was lying?" There was a sort of sneer in his voice, and Ryouko felt her heart pound harder.

"N-No! I just... what were we like back in middle school?" Forcing her voice not to quaver, she gripped her fists tighter in her lap. She had a sinking feeling in her stomach, something she never once felt when she was beside Ryoushi that day; she suddenly longed to see him very badly.

She stiffened as Hitsujikai got to his feet and stalked over to her.

"You don't remember?" He asked, sounding more angry than anything. "How could you possibly forget, Ryouko-chan?"

"I...I..." She stammered as he stopped before her, leaning down so his face was level with hers.

"Well then, let me remind you."

She squeaked in surprise as he swiftly lifted her up in an ungraceful motion. She froze as she felt herself completely under his control, but it was a moment before she could find her voice again.

Hitsujikai made his way over to his bed and threw her onto it, where she lay trembling on her back. "How could you forget me?" He repeated threateningly as he crawled on top of her. "No one would ever forget me."

"S-Stop...what are you...no!" She whimpered as he violently grabbed her wrists in one hand and pinned them above her head, exposing her body to him, her white dress ruffled. "No!" Her voice now raised into a shriek of terror.

"Scream all you want, Ryouko-chan." He invited. "No one's going to hear you. Just like last time." And with that he pressed his weight onto her, trapping her beneath him like a wolf ensnared by the jaws of some cruel, iron trap.

"No! Stop it! NO!" She cried. She heard him laugh as tears ran down her cheeks, and she desperately thrashed beneath him, but her body was so weak from terror it had no effect at all.

He snickered, watching her writhe and struggle beneath him, burning the image into his mind; he had intended to see this scene again some day, but he had never expected it to be so soon.

"Last time I didn't quite finish with you. But this time you can be sure I'll see it to the end."

With his free hand, he pressed down on her chest, crushing her collarbones onto the mattress and cutting short her breath. He tightly gripped the fabric of her dress, trying to stop himself from laughing too much. He waited again, watching amusedly as she frantically tried to push him off, but he only continued to hold her down, dominating her, asserting his power.

He leaned more of his weight onto her and she coughed in between screams of protest and fear.

Then, he tore at her dress, ripping the material around her chest, but not as much as he wanted. He pressed her down again as she continued to scream and thrash about, deciding to let her wear herself out first.

After only about thirty more seconds, she could hardly move anymore.

"No... stop... please..." she begged.

"I've waited years for this, Ryouko-chan. I'm not stopping now." He leaned forward again, searching her soft flesh for the right spot to sink his teeth into.

Ryouko could no longer feel her own body, and all she could see was blackness, yet her voice continued to choke out protests. "No... no..." she cried. "No... Ryoushi!"

Without realizing what she was saying, the sound of his voice somehow gave her a bit of strength again.

But she felt Hitsujikai's rank breath on her throat, his fangs ready to tear, his weight crushing her.

And then her body was light again.

She thought it was only a dream of a fantasy she had created for herself when in reality the nightmare was still there before her.

But as she let her eyes open briefly to release a cascade of tears, she saw that she was alone on the bed.

Still unable to breathe properly, she did her best to focus her vision and was frozen in shock with what she saw.

Hitsujikai lie unconscious on the floor of his room, and another familiar person stood over him, like a hunter who had taken down a beast.

"R...Ryo..." she tried to speak his name but simply could not; her voice was too damaged from screaming, her breath too ragged from crying.

Ryoushi was shaking.

He was shaking with a deadly rage that had been the reason for his easy victory; upon seeing what he had just seen, he had momentarily lost all human nature and had become a demon himself in order to destroy the other demon.

The horrible scene was etched into his mind and he knew he would be seeing it in nightmares for years to come.

Hitsujikai had pinned her down, laughing in her face as she pleaded and cried for him to stop.

Which led to the other reason Ryoushi was shaking.

He nearly collapsed to the floor with fear of what he might have seen in that room.

But he did his utmost best to stop shaking now and remain as calm as he possibly could manage in this situation as he turned to the girl on the bed.

Her body seemed so much smaller than it usually was, her legs curled up defensively, her arms lying limply above her head. Her dress was ripped at the top and there were small trickles of blood on her chest from where his fingernails had pierced her.

She was crying hysterically, tears streaming down her face with no possibility of stopping in sight. Her cheeks were red and her chest was heaving terribly with her efforts to breathe past her choking sobs.

He knew he should not touch her right now, that was what logic told him, however his emotions outweighed that train of thought by about one hundred percent.

"R...Ryouko...san..." he said her name quietly, tentatively, not wanting to startle her any more.

"R...Ryoushi..." she somehow managed to choke out.

Then, with the only strength left within her body, she brought her arms down over her body before lifting them into the air. Ryoushi placed his head between her outstretched, trembling arms before he wrapped his arms around her. He lifted her up and tightly embraced her, pulling her in by the waist and supporting her shuddering shoulders. Her heart was thundering wildly, like a never-ending stampede of horses. Her gasping sobs were almost as painful for him to listen to as they were for her to inhale.

"R-Ryoushi..." she cried into his shoulder, burying her face. "Ryoushi... Ryoushi..." she could not stop saying his name, despite the precious oxygen it took away from her aching lungs. Tears seeped into his shirt as her cold arms tried to hug him tighter, but she just could not stop shaking, and so he did her part instead.

He hugged her as tightly as he could without thinking he was hurting her, wrapping his arms around her shoulders and waist and encompassing her in with his strong, warm protection.

After several moments, Ryouko finally began to calm down and reagin her breath, and though she still trembled uncontrollably, her frantic heartbeat had dropped significantly.

She then realized her shoulder was damp with tears as well, for Ryoushi buried his face into the side of her neck. She nestled closer to him, trying to take deeper, slower breaths and steady herself.

"Ryouko-san...I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..." she heard him whispering.

"Ryoushi..." she sniffed. "Thank you. You saved me... Just like you promised." Her voice hitched in her throat and she sobbed again, but this time, there was a tiny smile on her face.

A few more moments ticked by with the hissing of the rain before Ryoushi finally shifted his arms so that he held her shoulders and supported behind her knees. Slowly, he lifted her bridal style into his arms, and she continued to hold onto his neck, her face still buried in his shirt.

"Let's get out of this place." He growled as he took her away from the accursed room.

As he made it to the entrance door of the house, he pushed his way outside and was met with many pairs of eyes; it seemed the Otogi Bank and their companions had just arrived and were fully prepared to fight, but upon seeing Ryoushi and the girl in his arms, there was a shared air of relief.

The others ran up beside them, all holding umbrellas over Ryoushi and Ryouko as they exclaimed their prior fear, and present relief.

A large black car was parked on the street, driven by the headmaster himself. Otsu opened the door for Ryoushi as Ringo and Liszt helped him place Ryouko into the seat. The other members retrieved Ryouko's items from the house before piling into the car; Otsu was fanning herself with relief, Majou was uncharacteristically silent with relief, Alice and her cousin were quietly questioning Ryoushi, Otohime cried softly in Tarou's arms, and Ringo wiped her own tears away as she sat on Ryouko's other side, stroking her roommate's hair softly as she clutched on to Ryoushi.

Only seconds after the car began to move, she lost consciousness in his arms.


The nine members of the Otogi Bank were gathered in a small hospital room with Ryouko lying on the bed, surrounded on all sides by concerned companions.

The doctor's had tended to her immediately and dressed her in a clean set of robes, covering the scratches she had received on her neck. She was almost ensured to regain her memory; now all they could do was wait for her to awaken.

There was a muffled chatter as they discussed the day's events, what they would do about Hitsujikai's predatory actions, and how they could repay Mimi for her invaluable information.

The rain had stopped and the sky was clearing up as the evening set in, the golden sun's rays stretching across the sky in a beautiful, calming array of color.

As the others talked, Ryoushi stood with his eyes glued to the floor, dazed, not even sure what he was thinking anymore; his mind seemed to be a mixture of nothing and everything at the same time. He still felt numb, but there was also a subtle feeling of strength rising up within him as he finally began to come back into the reality in front of him. Majou's exclamation the next moment woke him up fully.

"You guys, she's waking up!" Eight pairs of worried eyes turned toward Ryouko's face as her eyelashes fluttered open, like butterfly's wings to reveal those familiar russet irises. She blinked up at them all in confusion, but the trademark fierceness was back in her gaze and they all knew she had returned.

"Ryouko-san!" Ryoushi spoke at the same time as everyone else called her name. She pushed herself up slowly and almost immediately Tarou was reaching for her hand with a grin on his face; instantly he was punched and Otohime gave him a disapproving look that said he deserved it.

"You remember us now, right?" Ringo asked hopefully.

"Y-Yeah. Why wouldn't I? Why am I here, anyway? What are you guys all doing?" Ryouko looked at each of them in turn, with the exception of Ryoushi.

"What...?" Ringo responded. "You mean...you don't remember what happened?"

"What are you talking about?" Her roommate seemed almost disappointed that she could not follow the conversation.

"W...Well..." Ringo quickly glanced around at her companions for assistance on the matter. Liszt opened one eye as a warning and Ryoushi gave a tiny shake of his head. "Do you remember your double date request with Morino-kun?" The redhead checked. Ryouko nodded once. "You see, you fell into the pond when trying to rescue a cat and hit your head, and well..." she let the statement finish itself.

"So...I forget everything that happened to me today?" Ryouko clarified.

"It would appear that way." Alice cut in. "For now it's best that you remain here to recover for a while before heading home, though. But we're all glad you're okay." She said with a kind smile.

The others all wished Ryouko well before saying goodbye and walking out the door, all aside from Ringo and Ryoushi.

"I'll be downstairs in the waiting room, so take a rest for now. Whenever you wake up, I'll go home with you so just come find me, okay?" Ringo offered.

"Got it. Thanks."

As Ringo exited Ryouko's room, Ryoushi looked like he wanted to say something, but then decided against it and only wound up with, "I'm glad you're okay now. I'll see you tomorrow in school, I guess."

And with that he made for the door, but just as he reached to open it, the sound of her voice stopped him.

"Ryoushi." Her tone was different now from what it had been only moments before. It was graver and quieter, and Ryoushi felt sick as he guessed what she was about to tell him.

"Ryouko-san...you..." he froze for a moment before slowly making his way back to her bedside. "No..." he rasped. But she nodded her head, looking down into her lap, her long, auburn hair spilling out over her shoulders and shielding her face from his vision.

"Yes." She said simply, and Ryoushi felt his knees grow weak.

"No... It would have been best if you'd just forgotten everything..." he went on, helplessly.

"I know. But I had to tell the others I didn't remember. I don't want them to worry any more than they already have to. But..." she stopped and slowly lifted her head, her watery eyes quivering. "I wanted you to know. That's okay...isn't...it?" She tried to force back the tears that burned behind her eyes.

"Ryouko-san..." It felt as though he could only say her name and pray that it could somehow help her.

"He tried to do it again..." she mumbled almost inaudibly, touching the scars on her neck. "But... this time... I was saved." She reminded herself. "I was saved..." There was a deep gratitude in her voice, as though she had been rescued from the fate that was supposed to be unavoidable against all odds. "You saved me, Ryoushi. You saved me again..." Finally having said all she had wanted to say, Ryouko let the tears begin falling, staining speckles onto the white bedsheets.

"I'm so... truly sorry." Ryoushi mumbled wretchedly as he sat down beside her and wrapped his arms around her once again; her shoulders that always appeared so strong and sturdy during battle were actually soft and fragile. "It was all my fault. I shouldn't have let it get that far. I never should have let you out of my sight. Even after all I've said... even after I'd just promised to protect you, I let this happen..." he hugged her even tighter as an alternative to clenching his fists until his hands turned white.

"No. I was the one being rash at the time." She admitted.

"That's no excuse!" He hissed, still not willing to forgive himself. "You didn't remember who he was either...and he... that bastard..." Fighting the images away from his thoughts, Ryoushi buried his face in her shoulder.

"But you saved me." She reminded him, trying her best to reassure him.

"But I almost didn't make it in time! I almost let him do to you what he did years ago, even when I swore I'd be there to protect you!" He tried to keep from shouting in frustration.

"And you did!" She raised her voice in exasperation. "Ryoushi, don't you see that? You did protect me, more than anyone ever has in my entire life. Don't be so upset about what almost happened. You did save me, and that's the most important thing. I'm here right now, and I'm okay, and it's all thanks to you. Isn't that enough?"

Her words and her tears finally gave Ryoushi the push he needed to see the reality before him.

She was in his arms right now, still conscious, still safe. She was crying and trembling slightly, but she was not hurt in any way worse than he had seen her before. But he knew that she was still scarred on the inside from the past, and that the revisiting of that past had torn open her mending wounds anew.

"You remembered all that..." he spoke quietly, but more calmly now, his head cleared from illusions of what could have been. "You remembered everything he did to you, and yet to pretended not to. I can't imagine how painful that must have been." She clutched his shirt with curled fingers as he spoke. "But... I'm so thankful you told me. I'm so thankful that you still decided to rely on me, despite my failure to protect you."

"Didn't I tell you? You did protect me, Ryoushi. And I can't thank you enough. You saved me again..." Shifting a bit, she brushed her cheek softly against his; a tear from each cheek slid down and merged together before falling to the bed. "I owe you so much more than I can ever repay."

"Well then if you really want to repay me, then please just keep moving forward; keep being you." He pleaded.

"Of course I'll do that." She whispered. "But I won't more forward alone." She then moved back, gently loosening their embrace until they gazed into one another's eyes. "Promise you'll come with me?" She requested, the last tear rolling off her chin.

"I promise." He swore. "I'll protect you, no matter what, Ryouko-san."

"Thank you." She breathed.

"I love you." He continued. "More than anything else in the world."

"Thank you, Ryoushi." She gave a small laugh, as though she had been wanting to say something for a very, very long time. "I love you, too."

She saw his jaw drop and his eyes widen for a split second until his face broke out into the biggest smile he had ever worn.

"Ryouko-san!" He threw his arms around her again, and she giggled as she hugged him back. "I love you!" He repeated over and over again, as if she may forget.

"Thank you." She murmured back each time.

The golden rays of the sun leaked in through the window and mixed with the dusty gold of her hair, causing it to shimmer.

After many more confessions were given, received, and returned, the pair had fallen asleep in each other's arms, supporting and being supported.

Dried trails of joyful tears stained their cheeks, and they each wore smiles of happiness itself.

They had learned that surely there were things to be forgotten about and things to be remembered, but most importantly of all, there were always new memories to be made.


A/N: I apologize it was such a dark, terrible story :'( It was rough to write, but I just needed to make Histujikai the biggest asshole ever, so Ryoushi could be the best hero. Hope you liked it!

Please review!