Chapter 16:

Natsu's Past

Will The Stars Remember My Name?


Natsu was on her knees on the station. The train had left just a few seconds ago. She was processing in Miyuki's absence when someone tapped her shoulder. Bookmark here

"Na- Natsu?"Bookmark here

Her eyes widened hearing the familiar voice. She turned around to see Miyuki with his green duffel bag. Bookmark here

She stared at him with her mouth open as he helped her up.Bookmark here

"What're you doing here Natsu? And why are you on the ground like that?"Bookmark here

She grabbed his collar and hung her head.Bookmark here

"You- Why were you leaving?"Bookmark here

"I- I'm sorry. I thought-"Bookmark here

"I know. It's my fault for making you think like that."Bookmark here

Miyuki didn't say anything as her hand slowly slipped to his back and she slid into his warm embrace.Bookmark here

Hiding her face in his chest, she whispered, "Hey... Can I ask for a favour?"Bookmark here

Miyuki wrapped his arms around her and asked, "What is it?"Bookmark here

"Please don't leave."Bookmark here

"I won't."Bookmark here

"Good."Bookmark here

They left the station and headed towards a nearby park. They sat on a nearby wooden bench. Bookmark here

Miyuki looked at Natsu breathing deeply with her eyes closed.Bookmark here

"You ok?"Bookmark here

She nodded.Bookmark here

"I just- I'm gathering courage to tell you."Bookmark here

"It's alright... Take your time. I'm not going anywhere." Bookmark here

She looked at his smiling face and found more strength in herself.Bookmark here

Then, she began.Bookmark here

———————Bookmark here

My parents got married three years before I was born. I was their first child and they treasured me. When I turned 5 my mom became pregnant with another child. My father was beyond excited for the second baby. After all, it would make our family complete. Everything should have gone well but an unfortunate accident occurred. Bookmark here

My mom was on leave from work and had gone upstairs to... I don't really remember... Maybe run a common errand? When she was coming downstairs, she slipped on the stairs and fell down. She hurt her head badly and hurt her tummy too where the baby was growing. It was a very horrendous mishap that changed our lives forever. Thankfully, my grandmother was at home that time so she called an ambulance. But, by the time she reached the hospital the baby was... already dead. Our family was broken. My grandmother was heart broken and also died in a few months. Bookmark here

We had become the gossip of the society. The broken family. Everytime we went for social gatherings, everyone would avoid us. Even the little kids of my age would avoid me because their mothers would tell them to keep their distance from me.Bookmark here

She stopped for a moment to look up at the sky. She sighed, "You know, sometimes the world seems so unfair. Why us? What did we do to deserve this?"Bookmark here

Miyuki sat there quietly waiting for her to continue.Bookmark here

The death of my unborn sibling brought a huge rift between my parents. My father started drinking and my mother left her job. She used to stay at home and rock an empty cradle. Sometimes, she scared me. A lot. She would look at me with her empty eyes and smile at me. I- I would start crying and she would just watch me.Bookmark here

In those times, my father used to take care of the family. He worked hard to make ends meet but he started coming home late. Alcohol was his way to cope, I guess. He would come home late and would immediately go to bed without talking to my mother. He would ask me sometimes if I was doing good in school or not, but he mostly never talked to my mother. Then, for some reason, my mom became scared of my father.Bookmark here

Miyuki interrupted, "Your father hit your mother?"Bookmark here

Natsu shrugged.Bookmark here

Mother became paranoid. She thought my dad blamed her for the baby's death, while dad came home late all drunk so he couldn't notice how she was changing. Mother always thought that dad was going to hit her but my dad... He's a sweet person. He would never do that even if he were drunk. He's sweet to the point where it almost becomes his weakness. Bookmark here

Eventually, one day mother shouted at my dad to stop trying to kill her. He was shocked by her words and the rift became worse. They started sleeping in different rooms until one day my mother ran away. Bookmark here

She took some of their savings and left a note that she was going away and to not try to find her. She had disappeared.Bookmark here

Natsu bit her lip and remembered the faint memories she had of her mom. She felt disappointed and a bit frustrated that she didn't have any memories of her mom before the accident. All she remembered was the paranoid woman whose eyes lived in constant fear and lips turned into a permanent scowl. She remembered an almost insane mother who would scare her to tears almost everyday. Bookmark here

After she ran away, my father was left in shock and pain. His alcohol addiction became worse but, because of alcohol, he found some new friends... All of those alcoholics would meet and drink together. They would get thrown out of bars and then go to the next one. One of them became really close with my father. Bookmark here

She breathed in deeply and whispered the name of the man who had ruined her. Just saying the name made her shudder. She hugged herself to find some warmth and soon found Miyuki's arms wrapped around her. She lay her head on his chest and began to sniffle. Bookmark here

My father's friend had been addicted to alcohol for far more years than my dad. He had no wife, no children or any family. He was an utterly lonely person. He did odd jobs and somehow made it through each day. Bookmark here

One day dad invited him to our house and that's when I first saw him. When they came back home, almost dead drunk, my father introduced me to him and immediately fell on the sofa asleep. I wasn't happy with the presence of the stranger in our house but he behaved properly. He asked me where my father's bedroom was so he could carry him there. I showed him the way and he helped my father up. After helping him to his bed, we sat in the living room and he asked me a few questions about my dad and myself. Bookmark here

I answered hesitantly, unable to decide whether to trust him. He asked how old I was and I replied 11. After a bit of light conversation he left and wished me goodnight.Bookmark here

Following his first visit, he became a frequent visitor. For the first two months he didn't lay a finger on me and then one day, he came to my room when my dad had fallen asleep. I wished him pleasantly. I was drawing something and he asked me to show what I was drawing. He quietly slid behind me as I showed him the drawing. His face leaned closer and he whispered in my ear, "You know, you're a really pretty girl."Bookmark here

I thought something felt wrong and suddenly felt a shiver run down my spine as his fingers slipped inside my t-shirt. Bookmark here

"Mi- Mister, what are you-"Bookmark here

"Shhh, it's alright. Adults need to teach their children this. Your father cannot do that so I'll do it for him."Bookmark here

Natsu didn't cry anymore. She just recounted her terrible experience slowly as Miyuki could feel a lump in his throat.Bookmark here

The man didn't rape me. He just felt his way with my body and he continued to do so every time he brought my dad home. This went on for two years till he decided to go a step further. And then he raped me. I... I remember silently crying and fighting him. Trying to scream, shout and scratch him. But in the end, I couldn't do anything.Bookmark here

The worst part was... I- I couldn't even report him to the police or tell my father about him because... Because he was actually a good friend to my dad. He took good care of him. He wasn't evil and what he did was because he had been lonely for far too long. Bookmark here

After that, every time he would visit, I would find ways to avoid him by locking myself in my room. He would bang the door for a few minutes and then leave out of frustration. We played this cat-and-mouse game for a few years. Some days, I wouldn't be able to hide and he would have his way with me. Those became the days of hell for me. I would cry out myself to sleep, feeling hurt, shattered and pathetic.Bookmark here

I would avoid people in school and used to stay away from boys. I would always start trembling whenever a boy spoke to me. I would pinch myself to control my shuddering and somehow get through the day. Each day, my mind would constantly look at my door waiting for the monster to come. Whenever the doorbell would ring, I would sit up straight in shock praying it would not be him on the door.Bookmark here

My only solace during that time was that my dad was unaware of this. I couldn't imagine him being heart-broken on finding out that the only person he could trust after mom left was actually raping his daughter. I desperately waited for my graduation so that I could escape from my terrible hell. Bookmark here

Soon, I graduated and the worst days of my life ended. I moved away and father begged me not to leave him alone but I- I told him I couldn't do that. As for that man... He didn't say anything. He never came to our home during my last days in my town. Bookmark here

I was broken, hurt and almost killed myself many times after I moved. I didn't have the courage to do that when I was at home because everytime I would see my dad I would feel guilty for putting him through more pain if I left his side too. But, I survived. Somehow, and thank god I did, but I survived. Bookmark here

And then... I met you. Bookmark here

You reminded me of dad in some ways. The sweet guy who's always ready to help anyone, who puts others' needs before his, who's mature and respectful and, most of all, who understands other's pains and takes it as his own. Bookmark here

Natsu slowly brought up her hand to his face and rested it on his cheek.Bookmark here

"The guy I fell in love with even after being treated so horribly for many years by a man. You... Are my hope, my eternity and I can't let you out of my life. Not so easily. You helped me rethink my way out of suicide just by being yourself, you helped me rediscover who I am... And then you- you tried leaving."Bookmark here

Her soft eyes started to tear up.Bookmark here

"I can't. I can't bear if you leave me like that. Without even a word. I- I am so so sorry about being so rude to you when you came over... I- I was not in the right state of mind. I was living in my past when I didn't know I had such a wonderful present in front of me... The present with you in it."Bookmark here

She hugged him and Miyuki couldn't stop his own tears.Bookmark here

"Natsu I- I can't tell you how sorry I am. I won't leave. I promise. I'll never leave your side Natsu. I'll stay with you forever."Bookmark here

———————Bookmark here

Ryuuji paced in his house up and down, his face full of anxiety and worry. He called Ryouta for the nth time but he didn't pick up. He was getting worked up now. It was late and Ryouta still hadn't come home. Bookmark here

Just then, the doorbell rang. Ryuuji almost pulled the door apart and found his brother standing outside. As he walked in, Ryuuji's questions fell on him like a torrential downpour. Bookmark here

"Broooo, what the hell! You weren't picking up my calls! I tried calling you like 20 times. What happened? Did Miyuki-senpai go? Was Natsu able to get there? Say something Ryo!"Bookmark here

Ryouta turned around and smiled weakly. He gave a thumbs-up. After many years, Ryuuji hugged him.Bookmark here

"Well done big bro. We did it!"Bookmark here

Ryouta hugged him back and told his little brother to prepare a bath for him. Bookmark here

Tired and drowsy, Ryouta slowly lay down in the bathtub. He breathed a sigh of relief as he felt the warm water heal the aches in his bones. He closed his eyes and lay still. Bookmark here

The voice... Now he knew who that was. Just like it promised, he had disappeared after he stopped Miyuki from leaving. He opened his eyes and looked at his hands recounting what the voice had told him. He knew exactly what the voice was talking about before. Bookmark here

There, in the hot bath, Ryouta felt a chill down his spine as he shuddered. Remembering his past, he whispered to himself,Bookmark here

"殺し屋" (Murderer)Bookmark here

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