DATA 18 "RESOLUTE"
Data 18.5 : One Secret
And that was how I ended up in the hospital. I bashed up one leg and sprained the other, but I should be able to walk with crutches until they heal. My family was there with me when I was admitted; Mom brought me some decorations to spruce the room up, and didn't seem to care when I told her I wouldn't be staying. I told Mamoto he needed to bring my diary back to me before visiting hours ended, and for once he was a good brother and promised to get it. My friends visited me too, and I assured them I was okay... but I told them Sakaki-san needed them more. I think it would be nice for her to see everyone there when she wakes up... her first real friends. Yasuna agreed and dragged everyone else out after I assured them Sandra wouldn't be a threat. So by the time Scott got to my room... I was all alone.
He leaned against the doorframe, his face a neutral mask. "Hey," he said simply. "How's it going?"
His nonchalant question didn't really bother me; that was just the kind of person he was. "My leg kinda hurts, but it's nothing major. I should be able to get out of here pretty soon. What? Oh, the hair... yeah, she got me a little. There's a couple spots where my memory is kinda fuzzy, but my little brother knows where I hide my diary, so I told him to go get it for me. Just a little light reading before bed and I'll be good as new!"
He made a bemused face. "Oh yeah… girls keep those things without having experienced losing memories, don't they?"
"To a girl, diaries are more than just an account of what happened. A snapshot or videotape can do the same thing. But what you felt at the time is a part of our memories, too. That's why it's so important to write them down… your precious feelings, the things that make a memory uniquely yours."
He sighed loudly as he looked at me through narrow eyes. He teased, "Didn't you make me a promise before I left you there? Something about not doing anything dangerous... and what did I say I'd do if you broke it?"
"You can beat me up or whatever, but first there's someone you need to talk to."
He immediately stiffened, the color draining from his face. "Don't you dare..."
"She's not the way you remember, Scott. She can't hurt anyone. But she needs you right now. Just for a little while. Please... just talk to her."
He was still grimacing, but he didn't argue. Well, he didn't precisely agree, either... I guess that was as good as I was going to get. '… Okay. I'm trusting you.'
Sandra's voice replied, 'I wouldn't if I were in your shoes, you know. But… thank you.'
My whole body went numb as I gave up control. It was risky, I know. I would have to tear control away from her quickly if she tried anything. But somehow… I knew it wouldn't be necessary. Sandra looked down at her hand, flexing it a few times to test it. It felt very strange, to have no control over my own body. It was like anesthesia without the pins and needles; I was just a floating ball of consciousness, unable to do anything but watch. And Sakaki-san put up with this for days? It had only been two seconds and already I was getting antsy. In some ways, she was even stronger than I was. Sandra looked up, swallowing a lump that had appeared in her throat. "John..."
Scott looked like he didn't know whether to rush forward or retreat, so his legs settled for leading with his left leg. "What the f--- did you do to Toriko, you-"
Sandra pleaded, "I didn't do anything to her! She's fine! I just… she's letting me borrow her body for just a moment. I swear, I won't do anything. You can stay on the other side of the room if you don't trust me. I just... I wanted to see you one last time. To apologize, and to ask you something."
Scott clenched his fists, still clearly suspicious. "Then spit it out."
"I deserve that," Sandra admitted. "I... haven't been a good person. That's actually what I needed to ask about. I have to go soon. I died a long time ago, but I refused to go into death because there was still so much I wanted to do. But now I've lost those reasons to live... and I can't fight the pull much longer. But still, I'm... I'm afraid." She looked at him, her eyes starting to water. "I've done many horrible things... I stole many people's abilities in America, ruining their lives. I caused trouble for you, and for Toriko. I tried to kill many of her friends. I even murdered my own mother. I have sinned many times, and I can't... I shouldn't be forgiven for them. I don't know what happens after we leave this life, but… I don't think I can make it to Heaven. Even though I deserve it, I'm scared about where I'll end up. What can I do? What's going to happen to me, John?"
Scott swallowed, looking at the door. His stance relaxed a little bit, and he drew himself back up to his full height. Then he averted his eyes, scratching the back of his head. Come to think of it, he never had been good with metaphysical stuff. Finally, he managed to say, "… I dunno. I've never really thought about what happens when I die, so I don't know any more than you do. But, some say that after we die we're born again in a new form. I don't know the Japanese word for it, but it's 'reincarnation' in English. If that's the case, then you'll probably have to spend time as a bug or a worm or something. It'll probably be very hard, but tough it out. Someday we'll meet again. I can't forgive Sandra Powells… but at that time, I'd like to start over with the new 'you'."
"… Saying things like that isn't very John-like." She laughed at herself once before finishing, "But then… you're not John, are you? Scott is… a much happier person than John ever was. I'm grateful that you met someone like Toriko. I really mean that."
He smiled to himself. "She really is too nice of a person. She trusts people too easily. I'm going to have to yell at her later." Why me? What did I do?
Sandra chuckled a tiny bit, then her mental voice came to me at the same time I regained control of my body. 'Thank you. That meant a lot to me.'
'I don't think I would have forgiven myself if I let you go without letting you do that. It really isn't anything to worry about... though, I guess if you want to repay me, you could put in a good word for me with whatever's waiting on the other side?'
She laughed at that; not the crazy, mocking laugh I was used to from her, but a soft, pleasant laugh that brought a smile to your face just by hearing it. 'Toriko… Before I left, I just wanted to say… I wish I could have met you sooner. Maybe things could have been different then. Please… take good care of Scott for me.'
And that was that. I opened my eyes, smiling sadly at Scott. "She's gone," was all I needed to say.
He nodded, exhaling sharply. He walked up to the side of my bed and put one hand on my shoulder. "Yeah. I'm still mad... but you did the right thing."
I'm still not too sure about that. Even though I had the best of intentions, even though it ended better than I could have hoped, and even though my only other options were to erase her entirely or be erased myself, I still tore apart Sandra's mind. I went into her psyche and changed who she was on a level I'm not sure I understand. No matter how much I rationalize that it was the best possible option, that isn't something I should ever be comfortable with doing.
Despite my misgivings, I nodded. "Yeah," I said, though I think it might have sounded a little unconvincing. "But... that's it. It's... really over this time, isn't it?"
Scott suddenly looked away from me, pursing his lips. "I... guess it is."
"Huh? Is something wrong?"
"It's just..." He stopped, shook his head, and continued, "I know I said I'd tell you when all this craziness was over. But… uh… can't you just… read my mind, or something?"
I smirked. Oh, that's what he was thinking about. Back when I confessed I liked him, he told me he wouldn't give me a response until things settled down. I thought about telling him it was okay to wait a little longer, but it was fun watching him squirm. "So it's only okay for me to hear your thoughts when it's convenient for you? Besides, hearing the thought isn't the same as hearing you say it."
"But it's embarrassing!" he argued. He sighed in resignation as he pulled a slip of folded paper from his pocket. "It's from my journal. I ripped it out before I went to Arynth Tower two days ago. You can read it, but you can't tell anyone what it says."
"Scott! You're being difficult!"
"Give me a break!" he said, turning away from me. "I... hid it in a different place than the rest of my journal. I wanted to make sure it was never found. Because... even if I forgot everything else, even if someone found my journal and destroyed it, this was what I wanted to remember most of all. Just... promise you won't tell anyone what I wrote." He thrust the piece of paper toward me once more, blushing furiously.
Well, when he put it like that I guess I could accept it this way. I gingerly took the paper from him and slowly unfolded it. His note was written entirely in English, but the words were very simple so I had no trouble reading it.
Heh heh heh… sorry to cut it off there, but a promise is a promise! Even if it's the most precious memory I have, I can't write it down here. It will have to be the one secret that will never touch these pages.
I finished reading, hugging the paper to my chest. "... Thank you," I said.
"Yeah, but... what now?" he responded, looking out the window. "It's not like it'll be easy to stay together. Arynth is going crazy right now, and it is my dad's company. I'm going to have to be the one to explain what happened to Dad and Victoria, and they'll try to involve me more in the business from now on. Not to mention my student visa-"
Graaaaagh! That's enough thinking out of you! "C'mere," I said, grabbing onto the collar of his shirt and pulling his lips down onto mine.
You know, I heard somewhere that most people think their first kiss is sort of underwhelming. They'd built it up to be this big, momentous occasion and been let down by it either because they didn't get to kiss the person they wanted to or because when they finally did it wasn't that special. I get to gloat to those people now. The second my lips touched his, it was like an explosion went off in my brain. Suddenly, I felt like I was in two places at once. I was me, lying in the bed, kissing him, and at the same time I was him leaning over, kissing me. I got the distinct impression it was the same way for him. It was oddly pleasant kissing myself, or was that just what Scott thought of kissing me? It was getting hard to tell where "Toriko" ended and "Scott" began, but I didn't care. I couldn't tell how long we were like that; it felt like only a moment, but that might have just been because a lifetime wouldn't have been long enough. We stared into each others eyes as we caught our breaths; I noticed his cheeks had turned bright red, and if the heat in my brain was any indication I was blushing furiously as well.
My first kiss was pretty awesome, actually.
I'm not Takigi-san, but I think my telepathy caused our emotions to feed into each other; we "became one" a bit more literally than most people mean when they say it. I guess I'd better learn to get a handle on that. Eventually. Maybe not right away.
So anyway, a little while after that Mamoto delivered my diary just before visiting hours ended. So I think this is the first time I've written in it outside of my room! I've read over the whole thing, and I did remember most of what Sandra had erased. Though, part of my hair hasn't turned back to its normal color yet. It makes me nervous about what I'm forgetting, but I figure it couldn't be that important if I didn't write it down. Besides, now Scott and I match!
So yeah! Turns out I survived squaring off against the most powerful psychic in the world! Not only that, but I helped her get some closure in her life and... well. It's really amazing, looking back over the last month or so. Even though I'm sitting here in a hospital bed, I can hardly believe all of it happened... or any of it, really. I wonder if I'll ever tell this story to anyone? I wonder if anyone would even believe me?
In my last entry, I told this diary goodbye. Even though it turned out not to be goodbye, I wanted to introduce myself again. Maybe to signify that this really is a new start in my life, if nothing else.
I am Michuu Toriko. I am a first-year student at Yawobumi High School. I am reasonably good at all subjects… except math. I am a big sister to a precocious and smart-mouthed boy. I am the daughter of the best mom and dad in the world. I am a good friend to lots of different people. I am the girlfriend of a wonderful person who I care for very much. I am a psychic. And I am proud of who I am... all of it.
I wouldn't change a single thing about me.