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Will You Remember Me?


by fierwym

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Will you remember me?

     Tori shivered, despite having promised herself years ago that she would show no one any sign of weakness in her. She mentally shook her head at the echo, refusing to remember. If she remembered, she would loose all control. If she remembered, she would not be able to forget.

     Why had she thought about it now, so many years after that day had occurred? Why now? Why did she have to think of that, when she had denied herself from doing so for so long?

     She shook her head physically this time, gently. It did her no good now to ponder exactly why she had thought of it, for as she pondered, she remembered.

     Swallowing hard, she pushed the thought from her mind.

     Tori had been a wanderer since that day. Alone, but hard. Hard as a stone. She forced herself not to remember. Remembering would bring sorrow, and sorrow weakness, and she could not allow that to occur. She sighed, biting her lip. She almost wanted to remember. She had promised… Shivering, Tori realized that she was actually considering renouncing her self-imposed exile. She swallowed again. What would that mean?

     She laughed softly, aloud, causing the Shadow Kougra standing not ten feet away to glance at her. She didn’t notice. She was actually considering doing something she had so forcefully denied herself years ago.

     But…

     Would she remember?

     The fire… the scream…

     She felt her eyes sting. What was that? Was she actually beginning to cry?

     “Hello?”

     Tori felt her heart stop. That deep voice was so much like the one that she knew, the one that had spoken to her on an unseen wind just moments before. The young Electric Kougra slowly turned towards the speaker, and felt her world suddenly come crashing down.

     The Shadow Kougra that stood before her was about four feet tall at the shoulder—massive for anyone who walked on four feet. His eyes were the purest shade of emerald green. Her breath caught in her throat. Running across the left of his face, barely missing the eye, was a long scar that ran from his forehead to his nose. She swallowed hard, trembling.

     “Are you alright?” he asked in the voice that she had once refused to allow to haunt her. “You aren’t crying, right?”

     She shook her head, her neck muscles hard and tight. Every muscle in her body was that way: hard and tight.

     He chuckled, and her heart stopped again: that was the chuckle of the one that had left her…

     No! She wouldn’t think of him!

     A teardrop fell, and she turned her head away in shame. After so many years of trying to show not a sign of weakness, she had let a tear fall in front of a stranger.

     “What’s wrong?” he soothed, and she shook her head, throat too tight to manage words. “You seem to want to keep everything all bottled up,” he guessed. “Something must have happened in your past—something terrible—and you can’t accept it.”

     To hear those words in his voice was too much for Tori. Trembling all over, she turned and fled.

     “Wait!” More tears fell unbidden, sparkling in the daylight. That voice… Why did he have to have that voice? His voice…

     She had thought, once, long ago, that she would never cry again. She could not show any sign of weakness, and tears were one. Weakness meant death. Her chest tightened as she choked back a mournful cry. How could everything that she had built up carefully for years be torn down by an imaginary voice on the wind and a Shadow Kougra?

     But the voice had been his, and the Kougra had looked so similar…

     She found a hollow under a tree. She would rest there for the night, where no one would be able to find her. If any sign of weakness showed, only she would know.

     The fire… It had happened so quickly. There had been no time to escape… and yet she had…

     She shook her head violently, trying to shake the thought out. If strength of will was not enough, surely she could simply throw it off…

     She stopped, sighing. No matter what she did, she remembered. After all these years of hiding from the awful truth, Tori remembered.

     With that knowledge, she tentatively looked back to that day. Surely just a little remembering wouldn’t cause weakness, right?

     No one was quite sure what had started the fire. All they knew was that it was night and that two lives were trapped inside. One was Tori, and the other was…

     She swallowed. Should she try to remember? No! If she remembered, she would cry and then she would be weak. She could never be weak. She just couldn’t.

     She balked from the flames. She should have died.

     Tori held back her tears in frustration. Could she not control her own thoughts? Or did she honestly wish to remember and be weak?

     The flames rushed for her, hungrily licking the dry wood of the home. She screamed…

     “Stop!” she cried, then realized that she had said that aloud.

     Footsteps before her halted, then curiously came forward. At the entrance of the hollow came the face of the Shadow Kougra with green eyes. She looked at him in anger.

     “Can’t you leave me alone?” she shrilled, ashamed and furious that he should see her this way.

     “It seems not,” he said, eyes and voice gentle. “Come: it’s still daylight out. Why don’t you come and join me, and we can speak.”

     “I don’t want to,” she muttered.

     “Of course you do,” he said simply, and she bit down her anger at his cheerful voice. “I remind you of someone you once knew. No, don’t look at me like I can read your mind. I saw the way you looked at me back there.”

     “Yes, you do remind me of someone,” she replied, finding herself suddenly able to trust this Kougra. When she had promised herself not to show weakness, trust and friendship had been sealed up as well. “But…” She remembered… Fire, scream, fear…

     She shook her head slightly, forcing the thought away. “He had blue eyes, not green. And he didn’t have a scar, either.”

     The Shadow Kougra’s eyes glimmered in amusement. “I got this scar from a fire accident,” he said, and she flinched. “Come on out.” The command in his voice was so quiet she almost missed it. But it was there, nevertheless. She found herself uncurling and coming out of the shelter.

     When both were seated casually, he inquired: “Now, obviously you’re hiding something, both from me and from yourself. Why won’t you remember him?”

     That stung.

      She screamed. From the smoke and ash came a shadowy form: a Shadow Kougra. His blue eyes were narrowed, but she could tell from firm line of his mouth and from the fact that his ears were laid back that he was afraid.

     “Come with me,” he whispered to her. He started to lead her out…

     “I don’t want to remember,” Tori whispered, voice pleading. She couldn’t look at the other. “Why are you trying to make me?”

     “That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself,” was the quiet reply. She didn’t realize how patient he was being with her. She didn’t realize that a stranger had persuaded her to look back to that day. She could only remember.

     As the pair tried to escape, the Shadow leading the terrified Electric, fire continued its merciless devouring of her home. She ran blindly, only making sure that he was ahead of her. He… Him… Kyle…

     “Kyle,” she moaned, but there was no answer. The Shadow Kougra before her was silent as he waited, and she could not look to him. Memories of that day, memories she had tried for so long to forget, surged around her as she remembered.

     The roof collapsed from the fire, falling on both of them. Why should that have to happen when they were so near the end of their escape? The red-hot embers burned at her fur, creating scars that would last for the rest of her life. She shrieked out in pain, as did Kyle…

     Tori opened her blue eyes and looked down at her paws. To this day they reminded her of that day, the Electric color singed to silver white across them. She gulped, and closed her eyes. She did not remember that she was not supposed to remember.

      Kyle would not make it. The crash had crushed him, scarred him deeper than she first thought. The heat blistered the air around her. She pulled free from the intense heat on her coat, but that did not stop the heat in the air. She could barely see anything, her eyes cooked and fixed with glaring red images.

     “Go,” he told her when she nudged the wood off of him, trying to free him. “I’ll not make it,” he said gently. “Please, Tori, go.”

     “I can’t,” she whispered, trying in vain to push the large piece of wood that pinned him down. She realized that she couldn’t do it. She was too weak.

     He shook his head, telling her silently to go. She didn’t know how hurt he was. As she watched him, he spoke…

     Tori swallowed hard against the tightness of her throat, too frightened to remember what happened next. But it was not something she could pause, now that she had started it. The terrible memory continued in her mind, and she was helpless.

      He spoke…

     His finale words…

     “Will you remember me?”

     “Of course,” she promised, eyes filled with tears. “I promise.”

     When she spoke those words, he closed his eyes.

     “But I didn’t,” Tori whispered, eyes opening. The Shadow Kougra with green eyes watched her, eyes still gentle as he waited. She did not see him. How long had she been remembering? The next memory came…

      Somehow she escaped the flames and the house, coming out into the delightfully cool air. Beyond the scars on her Electric fur was the scar hidden deep within her, one that she would never tell anyone, one that she would always carry. She had been weak, she hadn’t been able to free Kyle. She had been weak, she hadn’t stayed to help him out. She could never be weak again. Since the memory brought pain and sorrow, and that was weakness, she could never remember. She couldn’t be weak.

     And so… she had not remembered him like she had promised.

     Tears fell from Tori’s eyes, and she didn’t care if the whole world saw them. She had betrayed her only friend. She had done so on selfish whim. She could be weak in that one aspect, she could cry. She had been weaker, more a coward, she knew, by simply locking his memory away.

     “Kyle, I’m sorry,” she whispered to the memory.

     “I know,” he replied. “I was just waiting for you to discover that on your own.”

     She gasped. Kyle!? Eyes wide, she looked around. Only the Shadow Kougra with green eyes was there. But Kyle had blue eyes…

     “Did you say that?” she asked, heartbroken. “Because if you did, it wasn’t funny.”

     “I know it isn’t funny,” the Kougra replied. “I wouldn’t dare say it if it was.” He looked her in the eye, his emerald eyes intense. “You didn’t remember me.”

     She choked back tears. He couldn’t be Kyle! Kyle had blue eyes, not green! And Kyle didn’t have a scar…

     She pushed the fallen wood off her friend. His face was bloody from a deep wound.

     She swallowed hard. Maybe her Kyle did have a scar… But not green eyes! And Kyle would have silvery burn marks just like her…

     Tori’s heart jolted. Looking closely now, she realized that there were some black-silver areas in his Shadow fur. No one could see them unless they looked close enough. But there they were, burn-scars from an old fire…

     “You can’t be Kyle,” she said quietly. “He has blue eyes, not green. This is not funny.”

     “Trust me, I know it’s not funny.” His cheerful voice was now serious. “I am Kyle. Ask me something only he would know.”

     She hesitated, then said: “What were Kyle’s last words to me?”

     The emerald green eyes narrowed. “Will you remember me?”

     Tori’s hear jolted again. She shook her head in denial, too afraid to believe. “You can’t be,” she said. “You just can’t. He died.”

     “You promised you would.” His voice was cold. “But you didn’t.”

     Tears fell unbidden from her face.

     “All these years you have been too frightened to remember. Please, tell me why.”

     “I would be weak,” she said quietly, though now the words sounded like nothing.

     The ice left his eyes, and they became gentle again. She did not see it, for she had turned her head in shame. “What’s the problem with having some form of weakness? Everyone is weak in one way or another.”

     “But…” She could no longer speak. Her throat was too tight.

     “I forgive you, Tori,” he purred, and suddenly she knew it was him. She had not told the Shadow Kougra with emerald eyes her name.

     “Thank you,” she whispered. “It really is you, isn’t it?” she asked, too afraid to find this wild fantasy just a horrible dream.

     “Yes,” he said. “I didn’t die that day.”

     “But how?” she asked. “The building collapsed the rest of the way, and burned to the ground. Nothing was found…” She realized the implication of those words. “I thought that it meant you had been burned to nothing. But you escaped. Why didn’t you come to me?”

     “You were already gone,” he replied gently. “You had run away.”

     “Oh,” she whispered. “I forgot. I ran away only moments after.” She sighed. “But that tells me nothing about your eyes. They were blue last time I saw them.”

     He chuckled. “I very nearly died that day. Some time after I became unconscious after speaking those last words to you, I woke. I was in a cave, and a Fire Faerie was healing me. She smiled told me I would have just a few scars and nothing else. What she didn’t realize was that the spell that reduced the burns came from the very earth itself. She poured that magic into me, not knowing how much Earth Magic she should use. She went way past the maximum needed for the burns. The Magic had to turn on something.”

     She laughed, and finished the story for him. “It turned to your eyes. The Earth Magic turned them green.”

     “Exactly. Too bad it never touched the scar, only stopped the bleeding,” he said. “Now are you satisfied that it is me?” His voice was not irritated, but still gentle.

     After so many years of holding it all back, Tori finally cried. There was only one that saw her in that moment of what she called “weakness”, and he would never tell anyone. He was there only to comfort her, be there for her, letting her know with a gentle, deep, and caring voice that everything was all right. How she had missed that voice!

     “If I were to disappear right now,” he said after she had finished, several hours later. “Would you remember me?”

     “Of course,” she promised, eyes still full of tears. “I promise.”

     “I don’t know,” he replied, ever gentle. “Last time…”

     “Last time was foolish and selfish,” she sighed. “I didn’t want to be weak again. Never again.”

     “My dear Tori, the only time you’ve been weak was when you hid me away.”

     “I know,” she said. “I’ll never forget you again.”

     “I know,” he replied, smiling. “I’ve always known. I just wanted you to discover that for yourself. Now, come. You still have many things to remember.” He rose.

     “Like what?” she asked, rising as well.

     He grinned. “By locking your memory of me up, you must have locked up everything. You still have a lot to remember, before you forgot.”

     She sighed, knowing he was right. Over time her first and only friend would open her heart again. She would learn to trust, and learn to make friendships. Most of all, she would remember.

     Of all her memories, though, there was one that haunted her both while she was sleeping and awake. The fire, the screams, and the pain…

     But she would never forget. If she forgot, then she forgot everything. And so, everyday, Tori repeated Kyle’s “final words” to her…

     “Will you remember me?”

     “Of course. I promise.”

The End

Author’s Note:

Well, this was my first short story. Hope you liked it. ^^

This story was inspired by Eternally_Forgotten and her story “An Echo on the Wind”. Well, somehow it did. I don’t really remember how it did. Perhaps the whole “remembering your past” thing. This story was planned to be *far different* than what it actually is now. Anyway, thanks very much, Eternally_Forgotten. You will be eternally remembered. ^^

Of course, you may NOT steal or copy Tori or Kyle. If you are inspired by this short tale and wish to write something like it… Ask me first. Of course, if you write a story inspired by this but I can’t really tell, that’s ok. ^^

Fanmail is welcome, as my Neomail is always open. If you like this please tell me. I love fanmail. ^^ Just please, Please, PLEASE don’t send me random Neofriend requests, or I’ll have to block it.

Well, I guess I better end this before I ramble on useless information. Thanks for reading the story! For fans of The Chronicles of Knight: The Knight Within, I must say that there will be quite a few more tales featuring Raatri and Avari, plus a Krawk Island tale somewhere in between. I also have a super cool Terror Mountain one that I’m just dying to write. And I have a really cool ghost tale idea. And once the Maraqua plot is out, I’ll be writing that Maraqua story I’ve planned for so long. So if you like my writing, there’ll be plenty more of it. If, of course, Neo doesn’t block my stories. *glares at Editor* They better not! *laughs insanely*

 There I go again, rambling on. Shut up, Fier, this instant!

*ceases to speak*

 
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