Memory Machine

"Pai?"

"What, Taruto?" Pai asked.

"Can we PLEASE do something about how depressed Kisshu is?" Taruto asked. "It's scaring me."

"I think I'm done," Pai said. "Let's go, we're going to bring Ichigo in."

"I get the sense there's more to it," Taruto said.

Pai sighed. "I created something that will show her Kisshu's past," he said. "She needs to know that he's had a hard life."

"Let's hope this works," Taruto said. He and Pai teleported out.

They landed in back of Café Mew Mew, just as Ichigo came out carrying two large bags. She noticed them, and dropped the bags, taking her pendant out of her pocket. Before she could transform, though, Pai had gotten behind her and knocked her out. He pocketed her pendant, and followed by Taruto, teleported back to his lab. Setting her down on a table, he sighed and put a hand on her forehead. She relaxed, and Pai said, "Taruto, go seal the door; we don't need Kisshu getting in here."

Taruto went to do that as Pai picked up a small box with a wire attached to it, and attached the free end of the wire to Ichigo's forehead. He pressed a button, and the wire began to glow as Taruto said, "Done."

Pai just nodded, watching Ichigo.

Inside Ichigo's mind: She appeared in the middle of a scene of chaos. People were running from a rockslide, but they were all Cyniclons. Where am I? she wondered. Suddenly she heard a man scream, "ANZU!" She whipped around, and saw a man who looked like an older version of Kisshu running towards the rockslide. At first she thought it was Kisshu, but then noticed the man's hair was black. He was trying to reach a woman with green hair, and Ichigo wondered, Are those Kisshu's parents?

Suddenly a semi-familiar voice in her mind said, Yes, those are Kisshu's parents. They both died in that rockslide. Kisshu was six years old at the time. I guess you don't need to see exactly how they died, so I'll show you what happened next.

Who are you? Ichigo asked. She didn't get a response; instead, everything went black. The scene cleared again, and showed a room full of people, most of whom were crying. There were two coffins in the front of the room, and it was clear that this was a funeral. The man who had been speaking said, "Kisshu, it's your turn."

Ichigo watched a little boy get up, holding the hand of a slightly older boy, who looked sort of like Pai. The boys walked to the front of the room, and Kisshu said, "Thank you all for coming to honor my parents." It sounded like he was trying not to cry, and Ichigo felt tears come to her eyes as Kisshu continued, "I'll always remember my parents as good people, and obedient to my father's wishes, I will never go into politics." He looked sadly at the coffins, then tugged on Pai's hand. Pai nodded, and the two boys walked back to a couple in the crowd.

The scene went black again, and the voice said, That was Kisshu's parents' funeral. He spent six months after that in his room, crying and refusing to eat.

That's awful… Ichigo whispered.

The next bit is about how things went for him in the military academy, the voice said, and the scene changed again.

This time Ichigo saw what looked like a school cafeteria, and noticed a bunch of kids and some teenagers gathered around a table, where she saw Kisshu sitting. "Just because you're better than us doesn't make you special, Grasshead," a boy with blue hair said.

"I never said it did," Kisshu said. "Why won't you just leave me alone? I never did anything to you before we met, and yet you gathered a gang in order to make my life a misery. And for the last time, my name is KISSHU, not Grasshead!"

"Your hair looks like grass to me," another kid said. "Maybe you should have gone into politics like your dad, then we wouldn't have a chance to make your life worse."

"Why do you have to make my life worse?" Kisshu cried. "I never made a show of being skilled, I don't attack people unless they attack me- and yet I still deal with all of you teasing and bullying me nearly 24/7! I don't notice you doing this to other people! Why just me?"

"We'll never get the attention we deserve if you stick around," the boy with blue hair said. "Not to mention all the girls ignore us and go to great lengths to get you to notice them."

"You can have the girls; they creep me out," Kisshu said. "And by the way, if you started training instead of teasing me, you wouldn't be dead last, and all of you would be better warriors."

The blue-haired boy snarled, and said to the others, "Get him."

All the boys started beating Kisshu up, and Ichigo cried out, "Kisshu!"

Suddenly everything went black, and the voice from before asked, What do you care, Mew Ichigo? You've done the same thing to him time and time again. Breaking him down into little pieces while beating him up. His heart was already broken from his parents' deaths and the bullying he went through in the military academy; now, it's probably shattered beyond full repair. Everyone hated him except Pai, Taruto, and their parents. And you, the only girl he ever cared about, you hate him too. You're the one who finally caused his heart to shatter, and all you care about is Deep Blue's stupid human host. You don't care that you've broken Kisshu; all you see him as is scum, just like your evil blonde leader.

I don't- Ichigo started to protest, but the voice laughed bitterly.

After all this time, you expect me to believe you don't hate him? the voice asked. That you didn't realize you were hurting him? You've seen the look in his eyes when you reject him. He may laugh it off, but it's killing him to do so. And there's no one who can pick up the pieces anymore, except maybe you. But you'll never do that, because you hate him simply for being himself. You hate him because he loves you, and it confuses you. So you cling to that stupid kid, and convince yourself you hate Kisshu. And maybe you do. Maybe you're not a kind and caring person on the inside as well as the outside. Maybe you're just like that blonde jerk you work for; incapable of caring for someone besides yourself.

Ichigo was silent, hearing all this and realizing the voice was right. I'm… horrible… she whispered.

Glad you finally figured that out, the voice said. Now what will you do about being horrible?

I'll dump Aoyama, Ichigo said. I'll quit the Mews and the Café. I'll get rid of Ryou if he complains. And if Kisshu's still interested, I'll be his girlfriend. That's what he wants, right?

He wants to be with you forever, the voice said. Cyniclons take relationships seriously, and once they find the right person, they stay with them forever. If you mean it, and you want to be with him, you'll have to make that commitment. Do you truly want to be with Kisshu forever?

Yes, Ichigo replied. I want to be with him, and make up for what I've done.

The voice was silent, and then it said, Then you're free. I trapped you in your own mind, along with my memories of Kisshu's past, until you realized that you and Kisshu should be together. And before you ask, everything I just showed you was real. I guess it's time I let you out, though.

Back to real time: Ichigo felt someone tap her forehead, and slowly opened her eyes. She blinked when she saw Pai looking down at her. "Pai?" she asked. "You were the voice?"

"Yes," Pai replied. "Taruto and I both knew something had to be done, so I created a machine that would show you my memories of Kisshu's past, in hopes that you'd realize he has it harder than you think."

"Uh… Pai, I think Kisshu just found out about your plan," Taruto said, as they heard banging on the door. Ichigo got off the table as Pai went to the door and opened it.

Kisshu was standing outside, and he looked MAD. "Explain why you thought it was okay to show Ichigo all my private information," he said coldly.

"Um… I was trying to get her to see that just because you're smiling doesn't mean you're happy…" Pai said uncomfortably.

Taruto sighed as Kisshu glared at Pai and said, "Kisshu, we were worried. You've spent the whole week in your room, and your depression is starting to scare me. We both knew Ichigo was the main cause of you getting this depressed, and we wanted her to understand that you've had it harder than anyone else."

"Did it work?" Kisshu asked, calming down a bit.

Ichigo sighed and said, "Yes. It did work. And I'm going to do everything I can to make this up to you, Kisshu."

"What does 'everything' include?" Kisshu asked warily.

"Dumping Aoyama, quitting the Mews and the Café, possibly annihilating Blondie, keeping my overprotective school friends from interrogating you, and staying with you forever," Ichigo said. "And if you stop calling me a toy, lots of kissing."

Kisshu perked up. "Really?" he asked.

"Really," Ichigo said. "I'm really sorry, Kisshu."

"Can you dump the treehugger now?" Kisshu asked hopefully.

"My cell phone is still at Café Mew Mew," Ichigo commented.

"Okay, I guess we can go there first," Kisshu said. He took her hand and teleported to the Café.

They landed in the back, where Pai and Taruto had captured Ichigo, and Ichigo said, "Wait out here, I think I should do this alone."

"Call if you need help," Kisshu said.

"I will," Ichigo said, and went in. She went to the main room, and found the other Mews, Ryou, and Keiichiro having a meeting. They all looked up as Ichigo came in, and Ryou asked, "Where were you?"

"Making decisions," Ichigo said. "One of which is to quit the Mews and serving cake to people."

"You can't quit," Ryou said.

"Oh really? Why not?" Ichigo asked. "I'm not a slave, you know."

"She's right, Ryou," Zakuro said. "We're not slaves, we're paid employees. Employees who all hate the way you treat us." She looked at the other Mews and said, "Does anyone else want to quit?"

Mint, Pudding, and Lettuce raised their hands. Zakuro smiled and said, "I guess that's settled. Good timing, Ichigo."

"Thanks," Ichigo said. "I'm going, see you all around."

"Ja ne!" the others responded as Ichigo went to change. She got her cell phone and bag out of her locker, and went out the back door. Kisshu was waiting, and he asked, "How'd it go?"

"The others quit too," Ichigo said. "Ryou's going to be ruined! Yay!"

Kisshu snickered, and then asked, "Are you dumping Treehugger now?"

"Sure am," Ichigo said happily. She took out her cell phone, and dialed a number, then held the phone to her ear. A moment later, she said, "Hi Aoyama. I've been thinking, and I think this relationship really isn't working out. We're both too busy, and I've fallen for someone else anyways."

Kisshu couldn't hear what Aoyama said, but then Ichigo said, "I don't think that's a good idea. What do you think's going to happen when Moe and Miwa find out? Yeah, that's what I thought. Have a nice life." She hung up, and giggled. "That threat works on everyone at my school," she said. "If someone hurts me, physically or emotionally, Moe and Miwa become that person's worst nightmare. They've landed about half the school in the hospital at one point or another."

"That's kind of scary," Kisshu said. "Do you think they'll like me?"

"I'm going to make sure of it," Ichigo said. "Let's go back to my place, and we can call them."

Kisshu took her hand and teleported to her room. Ichigo smiled at him when they landed and took out her cell phone. She called Moe, and when the other girl picked up, asked, "Moe, are you and Miwa free?"

"Sure, what's up?" Moe asked.

"I'll explain when you get to my place, if you can come," Ichigo said.

"We'll be there soon!" Moe said, and hung up. Ichigo looked at Kisshu, and asked, "Should we kiss while we're waiting?"

Kisshu perked up, and Ichigo giggled and kissed him. As they were breaking it off, the front door opened, and Moe called, "Ichigo?"

"In my room!" Ichigo called back. They heard footsteps on the stairs, and Moe and Miwa came into Ichigo's room. They looked a bit startled when they saw Kisshu, but then Miwa asked, "So you are Mew Ichigo?"

"Yeah, I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but you know what it's like at school," Ichigo said.

"That's okay, but why are you with him?" Moe asked.

"This is Kisshu, and he's my boyfriend now," Ichigo said. "And I promised him I wouldn't let you two interrogate him, so please don't, 'kay?"

Miwa sighed, and said, "Fine, but you know who to call if anything happens."

"I know," Ichigo said with a smile. "Oh, and Aoyama wasn't too happy with me dumping him, so we might be having trouble soon."

Moe cracked her knuckles, and said, "Well, we're always happy to beat the idiots to a pulp. It's fun watching those stuck-up girls screaming for mercy. It would be REALLY fun to beat up Aoyama; the most popular boy athlete in school taken down by two girls."

"And the principal stopped suspending us, did we tell you?" Moe asked.

"No, that's great!" Ichigo said.

"He finally caved," Miwa said happily. "I knew we'd break him one day."

"Jeez, you two must be good," Kisshu said. "MY teachers never broke down- even the substitutes. Although I think the principal at my school was seen ripping her hair out after I demolished the science teacher's desk."

"Why did you demolish his desk?" Moe asked. "Why not just demolish him?"

"I threw him into the desk, and it split in half," Kisshu said. "That was at my first school. My second school was the military academy, so I had to behave."

"Our science teacher has a laser gun in his desk, so we can't do that," Miwa said sadly. "It would be fun, though."

"Jeez, your science teacher has a laser gun?" Kisshu asked. "My teachers weren't that bad."

"We're not positive, but every time one of the students gets too loud, he reaches under his desk, and we hear this clicking noise," Moe said. "Then the student immediately quiets down, 'cause everyone knows about his laser gun."

"Wow…" Kisshu said.

"I think we're going to get along well," Ichigo said.

"Yup!" Kisshu, Moe, and Miwa said happily.

Well, it had a happy ending! I hope you like this!